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Politics & Issues

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Missouri candidates line the hallways at the secretary of state's office in Jefferson City for the first day of filing for office for the August and November elections.
Erin Achenbach | St. Louis Public Radio

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The coffee flowed, sweet rolls abounded and the candidates flooded in.

Tuesday marks the kickoff of candidate filing in Missouri for the August and November elections. And in Missouri’s state capital, it’s a tradition for candidates to pack the secretary of state’s building to try to become the first on the ballot for their particular office.

State Rep. Jay Barnes, left, will chair a House committee set up by  House Speaker Todd Richardson, right, to investigate the allegations that led to the indictment of Gov. Eric Greitens.
House Communications

When it comes to Gov. Eric Greitens’ legal troubles, the split among Missouri Republicans was obvious Monday during back-to-back news conferences.

Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson, a Republican from Poplar Bluff, announced that he has set up a bipartisan committee to investigate the issues surrounding the governor’s indictment Thursday for allegedly taking a photo of a partially nude woman without her consent.

Right after the speaker’s brief event, two St. Louis area lawmakers held a rival news conference that urged the governor to resign.

Legal experts (from left) William Freivogel, Rachel Sachs and Mark Smith comprised this month's panel.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, our monthly Legal Roundtable panelists discussed recent issues pertaining to the law, including the indictment of Gov. Eric Greitens, the potential privatization of public defenders, research by Washington University students looking at gun violence and human rights, and more.

Joining the conversation were Mark Smith, J.D., associate vice chancellor of students at Washington University; William Freivogel, J.D., journalism professor at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale; and Rachel Sachs, J.D., associate professor of law at Washington University School of Law.

Editor’s note and Feb. 28 update: One of the prosecutors in the invasion of privacy case against Gov. Eric Greitens said they do not have the photo that he allegedly took of the woman with whom he had an affair in 2015.

Media outlets reported that at a hearing on Wednesday, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Robert Steele said prosecutors are hoping to obtain the photo, although one of Greitens’ lawyers said the photo “does not exist.”

The judge set a May 14 trial date for the case. That’s a few days before the end of the 2018 Missouri legislative session.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

The decision by a St. Louis grand jury to indict Gov. Eric Greitens for felony invasion of privacy has raised a number of legal issues.

We’ve looked at what it means politically, and what happens next in the court process. We’ve also tried to answer some of what you want to know. Here, we try to explain some of the legalese.

File | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans are split over what to do about Gov. Eric Greitens, a fellow Republican who’s been indicted for felony invasion of privacy after allegedly taking a semi-nude photo of a woman without her consent.

The state Republican Party contends that the indictment is “a political hit job’’ engineered by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, a Democrat. But there are increasing calls from GOP lawmakers, especially in the state Senate, for Greitens to at least consider stepping down.

A volunteer with Coalition for Life St. Louis, an anti-abortion group, waves as a car exits the Planned Parenthood parking lot on Forest Park Avenue. Volunteers hand out anti-abortion pamphlets to passers-by.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It soon could be harder for opponents of Planned Parenthood to get their message to people going to the St. Louis Central West End clinic.

On a 15-13 vote, St. Louis Aldermen gave the measure, sponsored by Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, D-6th Ward, first-round approval on Friday. It sets up an 8-foot buffer zone around health care facilities.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens sits  for an interview with St. Louis Public Radio in downtown St. Louis on July 17, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday, a St. Louis grand jury indicted Gov. Eric Greitens for felony invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a semi-nude photo of a woman without her permission. Greitens was arrested Thursday afternoon, but was released without having to post bond.

Here’s a roundup of what’s happened so far and what’s ahead:

Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis-based Centene Corporation found itself in a precarious situation this week when a BuzzFeed News investigation uncovered that a troubled compounding pharmacy the company now owns sold drugs used in executions to the state of Missouri.

Jamaiyah Redmond and Chloé Guerin, both Clayton High School juniors, while listening to classmates call for school safety improvements Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

High school students in St. Louis are lending their voice to the national debate about making schools safer.

On Friday morning, a few dozen student from Clayton High School trudged across a soggy field in front of their school and called for an assault-weapons ban in Missouri and money for security upgrades to schools.

Gov. Eric Greitens greets guests at his residence after being sworn in on Jan. 9, 2017.
File Photo |Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s indictment of Gov. Eric Greitens for one count of felony invasion of privacy raises lots of questions. St. Louis Public Radio asked our social media followers on Twitter and Facebook to send their questions to us.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted Thursday evening on a charge of felony invasion of privacy. But what does that mean, and how will it affect Missouri politics?

What is an indictment?

An indictment is a legal process where a grand jury decides that the attorney prosecuting a case has enough evidence to begin basic criminal proceedings.

(L-R) Paul Crane, Irene Augustin and Cynthia Duffe talked about the issue of homelessness in St. Louis and the new local film "Living in Tents" portrayal of it.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Filmmaker Paul Crane didn’t know much about homelessness until he happened across a tent city while walking around taking pictures in downtown St. Louis.

The blue tarps set up along the Mississippi riverfront sparked Crane’s curiosity and eventually led him to direct the documentary, "Living in Tents.”

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about the new documentary film, which features the stories of homeless people in St. Louis and more broadly, the issue of homelessness in St. Louis.

Gov. Greitens' booking photo from Feb. 22, 2018
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

Updated Feb. 23 at 9:10 a.m. with  additional comments from Kim Gardner — A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Gov. Eric Greitens for felony invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a semi-nude photo of a woman without her permission. Greitens was arrested Thursday afternoon, but was released without having to post bond. 

One of his attorneys, Edward Dowd, said in a statement that he plans to file a motion to dismiss the charges.

“In forty years of public and private practice, I have never seen anything like this. The charges against my client are baseless and unfounded. My client is absolutely innocent,” he said.

The Missouri Capitol building.
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the potential impact of House Bill 2179. It would prohibit Missouri from entering into contracts over $10,000 with companies that engage in the boycott of, divestment from and sanctioning of Israel, an ally of the United States.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers and agricultural groups have joined with Americans for Farmers & Families to urge President Donald Trump and Congress to not withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump has criticized NAFTA as not being in the best interest of the U.S.

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis aldermen will wait a few months before voting on a bill that would change the city’s residency requirement.

A committee heard public testimony on Alderwoman Carol Howard’s bill earlier this month but did not take a vote. The current session of the board essentially ends in March, and Howard, D-14th Ward, now says she will wait until lawmakers come back after the break for a new session in April to get a different version approved.

Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri.
File photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Feb. 21 with St. Louis on the Air conversation with reporter Chris McDaniel

Original story from Feb. 20 — A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that a St. Louis-area compounding pharmacy with a troubled safety history has provided execution drugs to the state of Missouri for the last four years.

Sources told BuzzFeed News reporter Chris McDaniel that Foundation Care, based in Earth City, supplied the drugs for 17 executions since February 2014. Foundation Care denied its participation in executions to McDaniel, and did not respond to requests for comment from St. Louis Public Radio.

The Movement for Black Lives hopes to increase voter turnout among African-Americans across the country by texting "WAKANDA" to 91990.
The Movement for Black Lives

Civil rights activists are tapping into the success of the "Black Panther" film to encourage blacks and other minorities to register to vote before the 2018 midterm elections.

#Wakandathevote is a national campaign created by the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 50 organizations around the country dedicated to social activism. The campaign was organized by Rukia Lumumba, Jessica Byrd and St. Louis activist Kayla Reed.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, greets teens at the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment in downtown St. Louis on Feb. 9, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For Missouri Democrats, success or failure this fall will likely hinge on whether they can persuade about 300,000 area voters to drop their habit of skipping mid-term elections.

Most of those infrequent voters are believed to be  urban and suburban Democrats. And their absence at the polls in 2010 and 2014 are among the reasons why the state’s Democrats have found themselves seriously outnumbered in the Missouri Capitol.

Which helps explain why the state party set up an unusual schedule for Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who’s vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, when he flew into St. Louis earlier this month.