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Mo. Dept. of Corrections

Ernest Lee Johnson came within minutes of being executed last November when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay.

He challenged Missouri's use of pentobarbital, saying it could cause severe pain because he still has a brain tumor, even though most of it was removed during surgery eight years ago.

U.S. Lacy Clay raises the arm of Kim Gardner in victory at the Exodus Gallery after the primary election. Gardner made history as the first African-American to hold the office of circuit attorney. Behind her is Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, and to the right is s
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

For the first time, an African-American will be the top prosecutor in the city of St. Louis. And in St. Louis County, County Executive Steve Stenger has lost a well-known ally on the County Council, after a big upset in the District 4 Democratic primary.

 Eric Greitens, Republican, left, and Chris Koster, Democrat
Jason Rosenbaum and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Greitens has emerged victorious from a bruising, four-way contest to be the Republican nominee for governor. He will face Attorney General Chris Koster, 51, who coasted to win the Democratic primary.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

A group that advocates for low-income Missourians is warning that a drop in revenues two months ago could get worse unless lawmakers take action next year.

Amy Blouin is executive director of the Missouri Budget Project.  She says revenue is currently projected to grow at only 4.1 percent, meaning that the state is facing a budget shortfall of $216 million.

The Missouri 2016 August primary election will take place August 2. To learn about the candidates and issues before you vote, don't miss our collection of Election 2016 coverage.

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John Brunner tilts his head back as Eric Greitens speaks at St. Louis Public Radio's GOP gubernatorial candidate debate.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

SOMEWHERE IN AMERICA – You could say that Missouri’s 2016 primary cycle was a bit unwieldy.

This election has everything: An unpredictable and incredibly expensive governor’s race, statewide contests that turned thermonuclear nasty, and high-stakes legislative contests. For St. Louis voters, there’s a critical four-way race for circuit attorney and even a scramble for sheriff.

St. Louis Public Radio file images

Tomorrow's primary election is notable for the divisive and expensive ads (especially for the Republican races for governor and attorney general). But voters have a lot of choices to make all the way down the ballot.

In the months before the primary, all of the major candidates for statewide office appeared on our Politically Speaking podcast. For those who haven't yet discovered it, the podcast is a place where politicians talk about issues and introduce themselves to listeners in an informal setting. Below, you will find links to each of those podcasts and more

St. Louis County Board of Elections director Eric Fey was suspended without pay on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County elections officials say they are ready for Tuesday’s primary.

During the April municipal elections, many voters were faced with long lines when several county polling places ran out of paper ballots. County Democratic Election Director Eric Fey says that won’t happen this time.

Mae Quinn is the director of the MacArthur Justice Center's St. Louis office, which started taking cases this we
Raquita Henderson | MacArthur Justice Center

Since Michael Brown's death in 2014, firms like the Arch City Defenders and the legal clinics at Saint Louis and Washington universities have become household names.

Now, they have a new partner in their fight

Ah, Friday. Fri-yay, as some have come to call it. And this is not any Friday—it happens to be a Friday that also marks the end of presidential convention season.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the winners, losers and what exactly you should take away from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions… from a Missouri perspective. Jason has been reporting from the Democratic National Convention and spent significant time with the Missouri delegation this week.

Balloons drop on the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

PHILADELPHIA – There’s a decent chance Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign could greatly impact Martin Rucker II’s professional career.

The former Mizzou football star is running as a Democrat for state representative in the Kansas City area. Since he’s running in a district that’s not exactly a sure thing for Democrats, Rucker will probably need strong showing from people higher up the ballot to help him out.

The primary election is Tuesday.
File photos

(Updated with Greitens' rally and new Koster donation) Missouri’s four-way Republican battle for governor is getting roiled with last-minute attacks ads and fliers by outside groups – including one with Democratic ties.

According to the online news site Politico, a group called “Jobs and Opportunity" is launching a barrage of TV ads over the weekend that attack Eric Greitens, an author and former Navy SEAL who is the best-funded of the four GOP candidates. 

s_falkow | Flickr

A U.S. Department of Justice report released last year raised concerns about how well St. Louis County protected the civil rights of kids in the juvenile justice system.

"The Justice Department found reasonable cause to believe that the St. Louis Family Court fails to provide constitutionally required due process to juveniles appearing for delinquency proceedings," said Vanita Gupta, the head of the Civil Rights division in July 2015 at a press conference announcing the findings of a 20-month investigation. "The Justice Department also found the court's administration of juvenile justice discriminated against black children. They are less likely to be given diversion, more likely to be detained, and more likely to be committed to state custody than white children."

Juvenile justice advocates say little has changed in those 12 months.

Joel Goldstein recently published “The White House Vice Presidency: The Path to Significance, Mondale to Biden.”
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The news is in: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the Republican and Democratic candidates to become the 45th president of the United States of America. They’ve also chosen their running mates: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, respectively.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Saint Louis University law professor and vice presidential expert Joel Goldstein joined us to dissect Pence's and Kaine’s experience, what they bring to the table and answer your questions about the role of the future vice president in this election season.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine waits by the stage on Thursday as U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill prepares to introduce him. Kaine was the guest speaker at the Show Me State's Democratic National Convention breakfast.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

PHILADELPHIA – Democratic vice presidential hopeful Tim Kaine may have departed from Missouri a long time ago. But for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Virginia senator still retains Show Me State sensibilities.

McCaskill expressed her enthusiasm almost immediately after Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton picked him as his running mate. Not only was she excited that an alum of the University of Missouri-Columbia was getting his time in the sun, but also the fact that a “good guy” was getting his due.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Gaming Commission is preparing to oversee daily fantasy sports websites under a new law passed this year.  

House Bill 1941, signed last month by Gov. Jay Nixon, takes effect Aug. 28, but its provisions still have to go through a public comment period before they become permanent next spring. 

U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, left, and Kansas City Mayor Sly James were the keynote speakers to the Missouri delegation at the Democratic National Convention.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

PHILADELPHIA – For Kansas City, Mo.,  Mayor Sly James, gun violence isn’t a philosophical exercise or a buzzword.

The Democratic official told members of the Missouri delegation at the Democratic National Convention that he often goes to crime scenes where a person has used a gun to kill someone. Often, James said he sees people who are “prostrate on the ground because they’re so grief-stricken.”

Members of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment conduct a silent protest during a public hearing on municipal court reform on Nov. 12, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly two years ago, Michael Brown's death brought to light abusive municipal court practices in the St. Louis area. A new report released by auditor Nicole Galloway on Wednesday shows the problems exist statewide.

"We've seen repeated challenges that prevent Missourians from having the municipal courts they deserve," Galloway said in a statement accompanying the report. "Courts should operate efficiently, effectively and fairly, and these audits shine light on problems and make recommendations, so that work can begin toward regaining citizen trust."

Members of the Missouri House have a different perspective than Missouri senators on ethics.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Many districts in St. Louis and St. Louis County are drawn to be heavily Democratic or Republican. Thus, when a seat opens up, the August primary can be most competitive election for eight years.

The victors in these “primary-are-the-election” races will face different realities in Jefferson City, depending on their political parties. Republicans could get a chance to handle big-ticket legislation and move up in leadership. Since they’re a super-minority, Democratic winners will have fewer opportunities to influence the legislative process. But often times, they can provide a counterpoint to the GOP supermajority.

U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, right, and candidate Bill Haas, center, speak as state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal answers a question.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In their only forum before Tuesday’s primary, Missouri’s major-party candidates for the 1st congressional district seat were civil and concise. Both attributes were required by the area’s League of Women Voters, which conducted the forum at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis.

The star participant was U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-University City, who has held the seat for 16 years.  He succeeded his father, Bill Clay Sr., who served for 32 years. That long tenure was a key topic for one of Lacy Clay’s Democratic rivals, state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City.  She told the audience, “You must ask yourself a question: Is 48 years too long for one family?”

Updated July 27 with statement from state Sen. Kurt Schaefer's campaign — Several local Asian-American organizations and businesses are condemning political attack ads in Missouri's attorney general’s race. In a united wave of opposition, the coalition calls the ads “xenophobic,” “racist” and “divisive.”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill reads a prepared speech off her smartphone as she casts Missouri's delegate votes at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill admitted that she cast Missouri’s votes at Democratic National Convention with a bit of emotion.

Missouri’s senior senator was given the honor of announcing how the Show Me State was divvying its delegates. It was part of a roll call vote that made Hillary Clinton the first female presidential candidate of a major party.

File photo

Updated July 26 with new lawsuit filings – Opponents of a ballot initiative to raise Missouri's cigarette tax have filed two new lawsuits designed to stop it from appearing on the November ballot.

The first new suit was filed Friday by Joplin convenience store owner Patty Arrowood.  She contends that the ballot initiative would appropriate state funding, which only the legislature can do, and also allow religious groups to receive state revenues.

Michael Brown's mother, Lezley McSpadden, listens on March 5 as attorney Daryl Parks announces the family's intent to sue former police officer Darren Wilson and the city of Ferguson for her son's death.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File Photo

PHILADELPHIA – Michelle Argento may be living proof of the vast impact of Michael Brown’s shooting death.

Argento lives in Gillette, Wyo., a 30,000-person town in the middle of the Mountain West. The Bernie Sanders delegate paid close attention to what happened in Ferguson – and added that it showcased a need to overhaul America’s criminal justice system.

Jo Mannies, Rachel Lippman and Dave Robertson discussed Missouri's Aug. 2 primary and answered listener questons on July 26.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Next week, Missourians will go to the polls in their Aug. 2 primaries.  A week before the primaries, three guests joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss what issues and positions you should keep an eye on.

St. Louis Public Radio reporters Rachel Lippmann, who is covering the city primary, and Jo Mannies, who is covering the statewide primary, broke down what you need to know with the help of UMSL political science professor David Robertson.

Workers carry and install sheet rock in late August.
Willis Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court has restored the length of the state’s unemployment benefits to 20 weeks, by tossing out the General Assembly’s action last year that reduced payment of benefits to 13 weeks – the shortest in the country.

Republican lawmakers and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce say they’ll try again next session. The state Department of Labor says 14,612 people have been affected by the 13-week limit since it went into effect Jan. 1.

For the court, the issue was timing. The court ruled, in effect, that the Missouri Senate waited too long to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill.

Rescue crews from the Monarch Fire Protection District work at the scene of a motor vehicle accident on May 3, 2016.
Monarch Fire Protection District | Facebook

Updated July 26, 2016 with appeals court ruling. — A Missouri appeals court says firefighters in the Monarch Fire Protection District can continue working under their old contract while negotiating a new one.

Tuesday's ruling upholds an "evergreen" clause that says the current contract, negotiated in 2013, remains in effect as long as good faith negotiations are going on between the board and the union. The district provides fire and ambulance service for parts of west St. Louis County.

A legal challenge to Missouri’s execution protocol brought by four taxpayers has been rejected by the Missouri Court of Appeals.

In a decision Tuesday, the appeals court upheld a lower court’s dismissal of the taxpayers’ claims just days after they filed their lawsuit.

The lawsuit sought to halt the scheduled execution by lethal injection of convicted murderer David Zink. The execution went ahead as scheduled, on July 14, 2015.

Rick Stream and Andrew Koenig
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of daylight between Rick Stream and Andrew Koenig: The two Republican contenders for the 15th District Senate seat won House seats through intense door-knocking campaigns. They’ve both served four terms in the Missouri House. And they can point to big accomplishments during their legislative careers.

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