Politics & Issues

Mo. Capitol rallies
1:32 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Hundreds rally against contraception mandate at Mo. Capitol

iPad photo of the Protect our Religious Liberty rally inside the Mo. Capitol on March 27, 2012.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Two rallies in Jefferson City today each called for the repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act and for employers to have the right to not provide coverage for birth control.

Several hundred people attended the rally held at the State Capitol, led by several religious leaders.  Maggie Karner with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod told the crowd that President Obama’s birth control mandate is an attack on religious freedom.

“This debate is simply about us being forced to pay for products and services that are contrary to our religious beliefs, and we cannot be expected to check our faith at the door," Karner said.

Read more
Public Schools
5:10 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Wide-ranging public school bill still looking for spot on Mo. House schedule

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

With less than two months left in this year’s legislative session, House Republicans still haven’t scheduled a wide-ranging public school bill for debate.  It would create tax credit scholarships that would pay for students to transfer from unaccredited schools to adjacent better-performing schools, and expand charter schools beyond St. Louis and Kansas City. 

Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones admits there are wide differences of opinion on the bill, even among Republicans.

Read more
cigarette tax
5:47 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

5th bill filed in Mo. Gen. Assembly to raise cigarette tax

(via Flickr/Fried Dough)

Yet another bill has been filed in the General Assembly this year that would raise Missouri’s cigarette tax, currently the lowest in the nation.

This one would raise it to 75 percent of the current national average – in other words, from 17 cents per pack to $1.09-1/2 cents per pack.  Missouri’s tax per pack would also rise or fall as the national average changes, and it would require a referendum by Missouri voters to take effect.  The bill was filed by State Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (D, St. Louis), who spoke in favor of raising the cigarette tax during budget debates on Thursday.

Read more
Mo. State budget
3:13 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Mo. House passes budget, cuts blind aid

An inside look at the Missouri Capitol.
(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri House has passed all 13 bills that make up the state’s $24 billion budget for FY 2013.

The process took longer than expected, because of the large number of Democrats who took issue with cutting funding to blind pensions and for not spending enough on K-12 schools.  Sara Lampe (D, Springfield) urged fellow lawmakers to look for other ways to balance the budget besides cutting services.

Read more
death penalty
9:44 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Death penalty abolition bill before Mo. House committee

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

A House committee heard testimony Wednesday evening on legislation that would abolish the death penalty in Missouri.  The bill would also commute sentences of all current Death Row inmates to life without parole.

Several people testified in favor of the bill, including Kevin Green, a California man who spent 16 years in prison on charges that he raped his wife and killed their unborn baby.  He was eventually exonerated after DNA evidence showed another man had committed the crime.  Green says doing hard time in prison is a harsher punishment than being executed.

Read more
Mo. State budget
3:59 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Crowell threatens to derail state budget approval over one-time monies

Mo. Senator Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau)
(Harrison Sweazea/Mo. Senate)

One day after the Missouri House gave first-round approval to the state budget, a state Senator is threatening to derail the entire budget process.

Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) is objecting to the use of one-time sources of money to plug holes in the FY2013 budget.  He singled out both Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and House GOP leaders for plans to divert $40 million from a federal mortgage settlement to the state’s Higher Education budget.

Read more
Missouri Budget
7:17 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Mo. House endorses Budget

Missouri State Capitol dome
Flickr/david_shane

Missouri’s state budget for next year has received first-round approval by the State House. 

As promised, Republican leaders defunded a program that aids blind Missourians and used the money to erase Governor Jay Nixon’s proposed cuts to Higher Education. 

House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey told the chamber he’s no longer willing to cut money from Missouri’s universities and community colleges:

Read more
Mo. State budget
3:50 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Mo. House debating FY2013 state budget

Mo. House chamber
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House is debating all 13 bills this afternoon that make up the state’s proposed budget for next year.

Lawmakers are offering up several amendments to the budget – one in particular would have shifted $150,000 from the state’s biodiesel fund to Alzheimer’s patients.  It was sponsored by State Rep. Tracy McCreery (I, Olivette).

Read more
Security at Mo. Capitol
3:31 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Mo. Senate debates adding more cameras in Capitol

An inside look at the Missouri Capitol.
(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri Senate is considering legislation that would beef up security at the State Capitol.

The bill would increase the number of security cameras at the State Capitol and allow the Governor’s Office of Administration to hire private, armed security guards if needed.  It’s sponsored by Robin Wright-Jones (D, St. Louis).  She filed the bill shortly after someone placed rifle target stickers outside her office and the offices of several other Democratic Senators and one House Republican lawmaker.

Read more
Tom Schweich
1:57 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Schweich will not run for U.S. Senate

Missouri state Auditor Tom Schweich.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich has decided not to enter the Republican race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Schweich said in a statement Tuesday that he determined his candidacy would have made the Republican Senate primary more contentious, and thus would not have helped Republican chances of defeating McCaskill in November.

The Senate race already includes three prominent Republicans - former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin and businessman John Brunner.

Read more

Pages