Politics & Issues | St. Louis Public Radio

Politics & Issues

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A police officer speaks to a woman after an October 2016, shooting.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

After 205 people died from gun violence in St. Louis last year, the city's research universities and hospitals decided to take steps to reduce such deaths. Police data show there have been 10 homicides in St. Louis this year so far. 

The St. Louis Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program, to begin this summer, will employ medical treatment and therapy to reduce deaths and new injuries among gunshot, stabbing and assault victims.

Washington University, Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis will collaborate on the effort. The medical centers involved include, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s voter-approved contribution limits curbed the amount of money that some candidates could take from a political donor. What it didn’t do is stop a candidate from encouraging big contributors to send money to political action committees that could help their electoral pursuits.

Facebook launched News Feed 11 years ago so users could see friends’ posts without having to visit their profiles. Today, News Feed is the unofficial homepage of the internet with billions of viewers each month.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed how users will experience new changes on Facebook and how media organizations such as St. Louis Public Radio and NPR are dealing with the changes.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House and Senate leaders are balking at Gov. Eric Greitens’ plan to establish a line of credit to ensure that all state income tax refunds are paid on time.

The $250 million credit line is part of the governor’s proposed state budget for Fiscal Year 2019, which begins July 1. But President Pro-tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, gave a flat-out “no” to that idea while talking with the media Thursday.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson addresses the media on July 14, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Concerns over whether city resources are equally distributed to people of color and poor residents has prompted a shift to assess St. Louis policies.

Mayor Lyda Krewson has hired Cristina Garmendia to manage the Equity Indicators project to develop a tool that measures equity.

“This project provides an opportunity to develop a common set of goals and measurements to guide institutional decision-making, and empower residents to hold us accountable to the priorities identified by the community in the Forward Through Ferguson report,” Garmendia said in a statement.

Members of labor unions watch speakers at a rally last year in St. Charles.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation opposed by unions is being pushed again by Republican lawmakers in Missouri, and the latest efforts are targeting the state’s prevailing wage.

Four bills that would either scale it back or eliminate it are being considered by a state senate committee. The law requires non-union workers to be paid the same amount of money as union members on public works projects, which include roads, bridges, schools and other public buildings.

(L-R) Peter Joy, William Freivogel and Mark Smith discuss recent issues pertaining to the law.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, our monthly Legal Roundtable panelists discuss recent issues pertaining to the law, including the FBI’s investigation into Gov. Eric Greitens’ sex scandal and blackmail allegations, the lawsuit that seeks to stop the Missouri governor from using a secretive phone app and the death of civil rights lawyer Frankie Freeman.

Joining the discussion was:

Speaker of the House Todd Richardson (L) and Lt. Gov. Mike Parson (R) listen as Chief Justice Zel Fischer delivers his State of the Judiciary address on January 24, 2018.
Tim Bommel | House Communications

Missouri Chief Justice Zel Fischer wants the state’s lawmakers to help him expand the reach of the state’s drug court program.

“Right now, there are 15 counties with no access to any type of treatment court,” Fischer told legislators Wednesday morning in his State of the Judiciary speech. “Individuals addicted to opioids and other substances in these areas are restrained by county lines they cannot see.”

Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate is again considering capping the state’s two biggest tax credit programs, despite their popularity with local leaders in urban and suburban areas.

Two separate bills, SB 590 and SB 591, would place limits of $50 million a year on incentives for both historic preservation and low income housing, which are both currently capped at $140 million. State Senator Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, sponsors both. He touted them Tuesday before the Senate committee on ethics.

Alex Garcia jokes with his 3-year-old daughter, AriannaLee, while sitting with kids before the start of a church service.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Alex Garcia has lived in Poplar Bluff, Missouri for 15 years. In the past, he received permission to remain in the U.S. even though he entered the country without authorization. But in September, Immigration and Customs Enforcement ordered him to report to its St. Louis sub-field office for deportation.

Missouri Supreme Court building
David Shane | Flickr

Can a woman who disagrees that life begins at conception exempt herself from Missouri’s informed consent laws around abortion?

The state Supreme Court is considering that question following oral arguments on Tuesday. But first, they have to consider whether the woman, identified as Mary Doe in court documents, has made a strong enough legal argument to avoid having the case thrown out.

This is a recent photo of the building that once housed Club Imperial.
Robert Vroman

Updated Jan. 23 — A building that was the site of an historic St. Louis music venue will remain standing, at least for the time being.

The St. Louis Preservation Board Monday night unanimously backed a decision to deny a demolition permit for the former Club Imperial.

Building owner Robert Vroman, who bought the building last August in an auction, said he hopes public attention will entice a new buyer with plans to restore the space. The deadline for paying additional taxes is summer 2019, Vroman said. He said that if no one steps forward with a renovation offer by then, he’ll let the property return to the city for another tax auction.

Alex Garcia poses for a portrait at Christ Church United Church of Christ, where he’s taking sanctuary.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When the letter from immigration officials came in the mail in September, Carly Garcia knew her life was about to change.

Panicked, she opened the envelope then called her husband, Alex, and told him to rush home.

In the past, immigration agents had given Alex Garcia temporary permission to live in the United States with Carly and their five children. But now, the letter said, he had two weeks to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office for deportation.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to reporters after the 2017 adjourned. Greitens didn't have the smoothest relationship with legislators — including Republicans that control both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens unveiled his proposed state budget in his first public appearance in nearly two weeks.

But much of the attention remained on his past extramarital affair. Nearly half the questions asked at Greitens’ budget rollout focused on allegations that he threatened to blackmail his former hairdresser.

Jean Maneke, counsel to the Missouri Press Association, and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley on Monday discuss changes to the Sunshine Law. 1/22/18
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

 

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley wants the state legislature to adopt a few changes he’s proposing this year to Missouri’s Sunshine Law.

First, he wants to set up a transparency division within his office that would have the authority to enforce the Sunshine Law against state agencies.

Rep. Marsha Haefner, R-Oakville
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Marsha Haefner to the program.

The Oakville Republican has served in the Missouri House for close to eight years. She is a member of the House Budget Committee and the chairwoman of the House Fiscal Review Committee.

Sisters Rosa Rojas (L) and Suleima Rojas (R) are officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Char Daston | St. Louis Public Radio

The seventh floor conference room of St. Louis Police Headquarters is windowless and sterile, but it was the designated location for an interview with officers Suleima and Rosa Rojas.

Suleima and Rosa are sisters, they live together and are very much the opposite of the uninteresting conference room environment. They're friendly, talkative, and eager to joke around.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Jan. 22 — Federal employees will return to work Tuesday, after hundreds of thousands of federal workers were not on the job because of a government shutdown.

Congress on Monday passed a stopgap spending bill and sent it to President Donald Trump.

The shutdown occurred after Republican lawmakers in Washington failed to pass a short-term spending Friday and continued to disagree over the weekend on funding for immigration proposals, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, natural disasters and other priorities.

Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET

President Trump has signed a stopgap spending bill passed by Congress on Monday, ending the partial shutdown of the federal government after three days.

The White House has said normal government operations will resume by Tuesday morning.

Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Young women and mothers at the St. Louis Women’s March for Truth want people to know they plan on leading the world into a more equal society.

Maplewood teen Anabel Parveno held a sign with words from Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech: “A new day is on the horizon.”

“It’s time for a change, you know,” Parveno said. “And if women keep coming out like this to this march and we keep speaking up against all these injustices, a new dawn is going to come and we’re gonna rule.”

Parveno, 16, said those injustices for her include the wage gap and sexual harassment.

Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

The federal government is in the midst of a partial shutdown, and it appears it will be that way for some time.

President Trump and members of Congress publicly say they want to reopen the federal government, but, in the first day of a shutdown, Republicans and Democrats on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue showed no signs of ending their stalemate.

File Photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

One busy week leads to another as Missouri lawmakers wrestle with tax credits, a major ethics bill, and next year’s state budget.

The House this week sent a proposed lobbyist gift ban to the Senate, which is conducting a public hearing on it next week. The bill has died two years in a row over concerns that accepting a piece of gum or a slice of pizza could become illegal. But Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said he’s committed to crafting a gift ban that the full Senate can support.

St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jo Mannies and politics editor Fred Ehrlich talk about Gov. Greitens' governance after his exposed affair.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

 

On Friday’s Behind the Headlines segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed Gov. Eric Greitens’ impact on governance after his admission to having an extramarital affair. Joining the discussion were St. Louis Public Radio politics editor Fred Ehrlich and reporter Jo Mannies.

Ehrlich said he believes the scandal affected business in the Senate since the governor’s statewide tax-reform tour is on hold and proposed state budget has not been released.

A crowd likely numbering in the thousands filled Luther Ely Smith Square during the rally after the St. Louis Women's March January 21, 2017.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The first National Women’s March was held in Washington, D.C., one year ago. That's when thousands of pink pussyhat-clad people filled streets in the nation’s capital and cities across the country to rally for the rights of women.

KRISSY LANE | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has released portions of his plan to cut taxes in Missouri.

Greitens said in a written statement Thursday afternoon that most of the details of his proposal will be laid out “in the coming weeks.” But the Republican governor has listed several goals, or “principles,” that make up the plan.

Rep. Crystal Quade was a supporter of a plan to fund in-home care for low-income elderly Missourians.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Rep. Crystal Quade to the show for the first time.

The freshman legislator is the only Democrat to represent a House district in southern Missouri. She is a member of the powerful House Budget Committee, which makes big decisions about the state's financial future.

St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger said his transition into his new office is going much more smoothly than last week.
File photo | Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's attorney general has accused St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger of multiple violations of the Missouri Sunshine Law.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Josh Hawley, a Republican, accuses Stenger, a Democrat, of failing to respond to records requests by the deadline set in state law. Stenger’s office is also accused of failing to have one person handle all records requests.

St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards speaks at a Citizen Advisory Committee meeting in 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards made remarks about crime in St. Louis that prompted a sharp response from civil rights law firm ArchCity Defenders.

Edwards told a crowd at a Martin Luther King Day event that black-on-black crime was a problem African-American residents need to tackle.

Colorful photos hang on the walls at HCI Alternatives in Collinsville. The marijuana dispensary is set up like a typical doctor's office.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Jim Neely, one of a handful of doctors in the Missouri General Assembly, believes medical marijuana would help people with terminal illnesses.

That includes his daughter, who died of cancer several years ago.

A view looking out on the rotunda from the second floor of St. Louis city hall.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

An effort to change the city of St. Louis charter and eliminate the residency requirement for city employees is underway.

Aldermen on the city’s legislation committee heard about two hours of testimony on the measure Wednesday night. A vote by the committee and the full Board of Aldermen will come on later dates. Because it’s a charter change, eliminating the residency requirement would also take a 60-percent vote of the people.

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