Politics & Issues

Political news

Governor Jay Nixon and the chairmen of the state House and Senate appropriations committee have come to an agreement on the amount of money available for the budget year that starts in June 2011 (FY 2012).

The projected revenue estimate is made every December, and is the figure the governor and lawmakers use to craft budget proposals.

A special Missouri Senate committee is recommending that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education be merged with the Department of Higher Education.

The proposal was one of several announced today that Senate leaders say will improve education in Missouri. Republican David Pearce of Warrensburg says combining the two will have benefits beyond cost savings.

(Bill Greenblatt, UPI)

UPDATED 5:51 p.m. Dec. 16, 2010:

Looks like Governor Nixon is comfortable in the top spot in Jefferson City - he's confirmed that he'll seek re-election in 2012.

Though Nixon confirmed his intentions with a "Yea" to the Associated Press today, his campaign says he's already raised about $1 million since the Nov. 2 elections, and Nixon said he's "committed" to running, he could still follow the precedent of former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

The incoming Speaker of the Missouri House is again voicing doubts about a report that recommends eliminating nearly half of the state’s tax credit programs.

Bill Greenblatt / UPI

Often programs called "important" and "a blessing" by lawmakers on both sides of the isle aren't in much danger of elimination, but this time might be different.

207,000 low-income seniors and disabled people in Missouri participate in the Missouri Rx prescription drug assistance program. Well, at least until it expires in August 2011.

Unless the Missouri General Assembly reauthorizes it.

(Flickr Creative Commons User aflcio)

Republicans in Missouri are praising Monday's ruling by a federal judge in Virginia that declared portions of the new federal health care law unconstitutional.
The Missouri Republican Party released a statement criticizing Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill for supporting the bill.

(Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon has picked a new Director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Sarah Parker Pauley, 45, will succeed former Director Mark Templeton, who left the DNR to run a trust fund for victims of the BP oil spill. She told reporters her priorities include promoting clean energy use.

Mo. Dept. of Corrections

 The Missouri Supreme Court has set an execution date of January 12th for Richard Clay, who was sentenced to death for the 1994 murder of Randy Martindale of New Madrid.

The prosecution argued that Clay was hired to kill Martindale by the victim's wife, Stacey. She was later convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Clay's attorney, Jennifer Herndon, says there is no physical evidence connecting her client to the crime, and that he fled from police because he was in possession of drugs. She also says Clay deserves a new trial.

(Flickr Creative Commons User JD Hancock)

Gov. Jay Nixon is opposing efforts to end a Missouri tax break for some low-income seniors and disabled residents.

 Governor Jay Nixon has finally spoken to reporters about last week's cancellation of a trip to Taiwan and South Korea.

Catherine Morrison, MoDOT

 Missourians killed or injured by drunk drivers were remembered today in a ceremony at the State Capitol.

Officials say 281 people were killed in crashes involving impaired drivers last year. More than 1,100 suffered serious injuries and more than 3,700 received minor injuries.

Colonel Ronald Replogle is Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He recalled the first fatal crash he worked early in his career, in which a young man wrecked his pickup while driving drunk.

 The French government has recognized another veteran from Missouri for helping to liberate that country during World War Two.

Perry Coy, 86, of Jefferson City was given the Legion of Honor medal today by Governor Jay Nixon at a ceremony at the State Capitol.

Coy was one of thousands of U.S. soldiers who took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6th, 1944.

It appears diplomatic concerns, not travel issues, are what's keeping Gov. Jay Nixon in the United States next week.

(Flickr Creative Commons User meddygarnet)

The bill is sponsored by GOP House Member David Sater, who owned and operated a pharmacy in Barry County for 30 years.  He says it would not bar pharmacies from selling the so-called "morning after" pill, but would guarantee their right NOT to if the owners so choose.

Bill Greenblatt / UPI

Missouri lawmakers have been pre-filing bills this week in preparation for the legislative session that begins next month. Here's the lowdown on these early ventures:

(Flickr Creative Commons User MoNewsHorizon, credit for photo: Tim Bommel of Missouri House Communications)

Three Democratic members of the Missouri House will chair committees next year, despite the increase in power by the Republican Party in that chamber.
Incoming House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) told reporters at a press conference today that he picked the best qualified lawmakers to head the committees, regardless of party.

File photo

The incoming Speaker of the Missouri House is hinting of a battle with Governor Jay Nixon over tax credits.
A committee appointed by the Democratic governor has recommended eliminating nearly half of the state's tax credit programs. House Speaker-elect Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) says he has doubts about the accuracy of the tax credit committee report.
"My preliminary evaluation of it is (that) they've used false data and incorrect conclusions to come up with the recommendations," Tilley told reporters at a press conference today.

Isle of Capri Casino

The Missouri Gaming Commission has selected Cape Girardeau as the new site for the state's 13th casino license.

Commissioner Jim Mathewson said that Cape Girardeau "made a good presentation" and "had lots of support from the community."

Mathewson also cited "oversaturation of the market" when asked why St. Louis was not awarded the license.

(Updates have been made to this story below)

Amid a toxic atmosphere of attack ads, biting websites and accusations of corruption and incompetence, perhaps it's hardly surprising that the campaigns for many area candidates on the Nov. 2 ballot are still debating over whether to debate.

Likely because of the sniping, this fall's negotiations over debates are particularly tense, said Linda McDaniel, co-president of the St. Louis League of Women Voters, which has been tapped to organize or moderate many of them.

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but the sound of a voice can sometimes tell you even more.

Two recent Beacon slideshows included audio of conversations with longtime small-town residents recalling the history of their communities. In both cases, the unhomogenized twang of the speakers transported me instantly to a different place and time, conveying as much about the subject at hand as the words and images.