Politics & Issues

Political news

Missouri has a new State Auditor.

Tom Schweich was sworn in today during a ceremony inside the State Capitol Rotunda. 

Legislation that would block pay raises for judges in Missouri has been introduced in the State Senate.

The raises were recommended by a special commission to bring salaries for state judges closer to their federal counterparts.

The Missouri state budget is already due for more cuts this year, and that's the reason Republican Sen. Jim Lembke, of St. Louis, cites for filing a resolution to block a recommended pay raise for judges.

The Associated Press reports that "Judges have argued for several years that higher salaries are needed to persuade qualified people to serve as judges instead of working as private-sector attorneys where they might earn more money."

Lawmakers weren't the only ones filing into the Missouri Capitol today.

Around 200 people attended a Tea Party rally inside the Capitol Rotunda.  Most of the speakers sounded off on national issues, primarily taxes and the Democratic agenda.

The Missouri General Assembly has begun its annual legislative session in Jefferson City.

New Republican leaders in both chambers emphasized job growth as their top priorities.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Business interests in Missouri have outlined what they want from lawmakers during the 2011 legislative session, which begins tomorrow.

Their requests include increased protection from lawsuits, changing worker compensation laws, and freezing corporate franchise taxes.

 

The family of Missouri death row inmate Richard Clay and an anti-death penalty group are asking Governor Jay Nixon to halt Clay's scheduled execution next week.

Clay was sentenced to die for the 1994 shooting death of Randy Martindale in New Madrid.  But his supporters say authorities arrested, tried and convicted the wrong person.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon plans to deliver his annual State of the State speech on Jan. 19.

The speech is given each year in the House chamber before a joint legislative session. Governors use the speech to outline their priorities, highlight past polices and present their proposed state budget.

Policymakers estimate that Missouri is facing a $500 million budget deficit.

Nixon's speech is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Read last year's state of the state address here for some perspective on where Missouri was on the issues a year ago.

Missouri lawmakers return to Jefferson City this week for the 2011 legislative session.  There’ll be many new faces, thanks to term limits, along with new leaders for both the State House and Senate.  And Republicans now hold a veto-proof majority in the Senate and fall only three votes short of one in the House.  St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin takes a closer look at the major issues they’ll be facing this year.

 

The Associated Press recently surveyed a group of Missouri print and broadcast news editors and named the top news story of 2010: The November defeat of longtime 4th District Congressman, Ike Skelton.  But since the end of December is nothing if not a time for thoughtful chin stroking and  list-making, we decided to gather a panel of experts and come up with a list of the year’s biggest news—St. Louis on the Air style.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Early in 2007, Mayor Mike Swoboda delivered a candid warning to the Kirkwood Ministerial Alliance: Meacham Park, the mostly African-American neighborhood on the edge of town, was on the verge of exploding, he said, and the white ministers needed to reach out to defuse the situation.

Outgoing auditor Susan Montee has released two new reports that find problems in a couple of the executive branch offices in Missouri.

One report, on the office of Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, found some problems in manual timesheets and leave slithat Kinder's staff filled out. For example:

Missouri has its missing moon rock back. Yes, its missing moon rock.

This week, former Missouri Gov. and current U.S. senator Kit Bond's staff found the rock while sorting through memorabilia as he prepares to retire.

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.

St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis –

"There's nothing like being eulogized while you're still breathing," Sen. Kit Bond said Tuesday as he stepped to a podium in the U.S. Senate to say farewell to the chamber where he has served for 24 years.

On the best way to solve the nation's problems:

(Bill Greenblatt/UPI)

ST. LOUIS –

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.

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.

ST. LOUIS – Gov. Jay Nixon is urging Missouri's General Assembly to reauthorize Missouri Rx, a program providing prescription drug assistance to needy senior citizens and those with disabilities.

Nixon was in St. Louis on Tuesday, where he called on lawmakers to approve the program for another five years. The program expires on Aug. 28 unless lawmakers reauthorize it.

(Flickr Creative Commons User The National Guard)

ST. LOUIS –

Asking "what if?" is usually pretty benign, but when a new report asks the same question, the answers are about preparedness for disasters, diseases and bioterrorism.

(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.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – 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.

(Flickr Creative Commons User meddygarnet)

ST. LOUIS –

We're sure you know it's pretty cold outside. But just how cold is what's surprising. And dangerous.

But hey, we're not the only ones feeling the freeze. And it could be worse.

(https://ecf.ilsd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/ShowIndex.pl)

St. Louis –

The first federal salvo in the legal battle over the sales of extended auto service warranties will be fired by Stephen R. Wigginton, the federal prosecutor for the southern district of Illinois.

(St. Louis Public Radio photo)

ST. LOUIS –

Have you ever dealt with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department? The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies wants to hear from you.

The department got its first CALEA accreditation three years ago; it's trying to get re-accredited for another three years. As the department explains :

(UPI)

Jefferson City, Mo. – 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.

"Claire McCaskill thumbed her nose at the clear will of Missourians and the American people as one of the most ardent supporters of Barack Obama's health care plan," the statement read in part.

The CityArchRiver Foundation

ST. LOUIS –

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior and the Transportation Secretary were in East St. Louis today to talk about improvements to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a.k.a. the grounds of the Gateway Arch.

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