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GMOs, Monsanto and the fight against climate change

Jul 12, 2015
A storm hovers over an Illinois rural landscape on May 29, 2015. Extreme weather is likely to become more common in the Midwest under climate change conditions, according to researchers and federal reports.
Darrell Hoemann | Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Twenty years ago, less than 10 percent of corn and soybean acres in the United States were planted with genetically engineered seeds, the type of biotechnology now commonly known as GMOs.

Farmers have rushed to adopt the engineered seeds since then, in part because of climate change concerns.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder announces his running for the Republican nomination for governor.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder says that this time, he really is running for governor.

After several almost-runs over the past decade, Kinder told supporters Sunday that he’s committed this time to capturing state government's top job. If elected, he says he'll improve the state, particularly when it comes to education, employment, ethics and health care. But his chief focus at this campaign kickoff on a hot parking lot near last summer’s unrest in Ferguson was to promise "No more Fergusons, never again.”

Kyra Sanders, 13, holds a handwritten sign as she lines up without about 20 others to bring attention to a new non-profit that wants to bring jobs and businesses to a strip mall in north St. Louis County.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A former Democratic campaign manager is partnering with a Greendale resident to start a new non-profit in Ferguson called Communities in Unity.

Damion Trasada and Theresa Bradley say they want to buy an empty strip mall in the Ferguson area and recruit local businesses to locate there. They would then use the revenue from the shopping center to support youth development programs. The stores in the strip mall would also provide jobs for young people living in the area.

Aldermen Joe Vaccaro (rear standing) and Shane Cohn (front standing) debate the minimum wage increase on July 20, 2015.
Sarah Kellogg/St. Louis Public Radio intern

A measure that would boost the minimum wage in the city of St. Louis for most workers got back on track Friday, following a contentious Board of Aldermen debate that lasted nearly an hour.

The bill appeared dead two weeks ago when the chairman of the Ways and Means committee, Alderman Joe Vaccaro, abruptly canceled all future meetings. He told reporters at the time he saw no way for anyone to achieve a "reasonable compromise" before aldermen went on summer break.

FortLeonardWood.net

Plans by the Army to reduce overall strength by 40,000 troops will mean 774 fewer uniformed positions at Fort Leonard Wood by September 2017. The announcement comes as Senate Democrats continue to refuse to debate Republican budget bills, insisting that lawmakers first negotiate an end to mandatory spending caps. The connection to the two issues is a Republican plan to boost the Pentagon’s budget in what Democrats say is a “budget gimmick” designed to avoid hitting spending caps.

Karen Anderson and Mike Kinman
Alex Heuer

In the weeks following the shooting incident in Charleston where nine black churchgoers were killed, several predominately black churches have succumbed to fire. In response to the fires, congregations across the nation have collaborated in the “Rebuild the Churches Fund.” Led by Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, the group’s goal is to raise $250,000, which will be divided among four churches. Currently, the group is over halfway to its goal.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay wants to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. But the big could run into legal problems if Gov. Jay Nixon doesn't sign a bill authorizing increases before August 28.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Mayor Francis Slay is throwing his support behind a compromise proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage.

The measure unveiled Thursday is an effort to break a political logjam and pass the legislation in what appears to be a narrow window of time

The main sponsor of SB5, state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, talks about the bill as Gov. Jay Nixon, right, looks on.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Amid continued concerns over the state’s response to last summer’s Ferguson unrest, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed what he calls “the most comprehensive and sweeping municipal court reform bill in Missouri history.”

The governor and a bipartisan cadre of the bill’s sponsors gathered triumphantly Thursday in a courtroom at the historic old St. Louis Post Office. The setting offered up a symbol of the changes that the bill – officially known as Senate Bill 5 – imposes on communities and their local courts.

Jay Ashcroft
Provided by campaign

Jay Ashcroft, a Republican running for secretary of state in 2016, is pleased that the Missouri Secretary of State’s office has authorized him to circulate his initiative petition proposal to allow a photo ID requirement for voters.

Now, he just needs a bunch of volunteers to help out.

teacher in classroom
U.S. Department of Education

Both of Missouri’s U.S. senators like the idea of shifting more control over elementary and secondary education back to the states and away from the federal government. A Senate education bill being debated this week does just that, but the degree to which state and local officials may reclaim control over their schools will depend on a wide-range of amendments being offered and whether Republicans and Democrats are able to compromise on some divisive issues.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

The U.S. Supreme Court recently passed monumental decisions on same-sex marriage and upheld a high-profile challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

Lilly Leyh, left, and Sadie Pierce wait to get their marriage license in November 2014 at the St. Louis recorder of deeds office.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has issued an executive order mandating that state and local agencies comply with the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriages.

That order is aimed at places like Schuyler County, where county Recorder of Deeds Linda Blessing says she’s exploring options on whether she has to comply with the court’s action or Nixon’s order.

Sam Dotson and officers listen to James Clark before a hotspot patrol in the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Crime in the city of St. Louis continues to be higher in 2015 compared to the numbers from last year.

Statistics released Tuesday by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police show crime was up nearly 14 percent overall in the first six months of 2015 compared to the same period last year, though the rate of increase has slowed each month. Every category of crime except rape and arson was up by double digits.

Former Sen. Maida Coleman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome former Missouri state Sen. Maida Coleman to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat was tapped last year to lead the Office of Community Engagement, an entity set up by Gov. Jay Nixon that, in his administration’s words, is aimed at “engaging communities, public and private sector leaders, clergy and citizens across the state in communication regarding critical issues affecting Missouri communities.” 

Cuba has a population of approximately 11 million. At the closest point it is 93 miles from the island to the United States.
Wikipedia

President Barack Obama’s move to re-establish full diplomatic ties with Cuba, including last week’s announcement that the two countries plan to reopen embassies in each other’s capitals, is intensifying congressional debate over the best way forward: continued isolation by the U.S. or engagement, with increased trade with the Castro government.

Peter Kinder primary election night 2010
Rachel Heidenry | 2010 | St. Louis Beacon

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is proposing that Gov. Jay Nixon and state Attorney General Chris Koster engage in public debates with him in the coming weeks over the issue of right to work.

“He would be willing to do any forum,’’ a Kinder spokesman said. That includes appearing jointly on TV or on radio.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Dozens of bills passed by Missouri lawmakers this year remain unsigned as the deadline for taking action approaches.

They include the sole Ferguson-related bill passed during the 2015 legislative session.

City of Pine Lawn website

The former mayor of Pine Lawn will spend 33 months in federal prison for extorting money from businesses in the tiny North County town.

Sylvester Caldwell pleaded guilty on April 13 to forcing the owners of a towing company and a convenience store to pay at least $2,600 to protect their businesses. He also admitted that he frequently took items from the convenience store without paying. The plea agreement included a recommended sentence between 27 and 33 months. 

St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch delivers a keynote address at a Saint Louis University law school  symposium on policing after Ferguson on February 20, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 9:00 am Tuesday with a copy of the order.

A St. Louis County judge has short-circuited an effort to oust prosecutor Bob McCulloch from office.

Judge Joseph Walsh on Thursday dismissed what’s known as a quo warranto action filed by four North County activists. The group was asking Walsh to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the way McCulloch handled the Darren Wilson grand jury. That prosecutor could have officially challenged McCulloch’s right to hold office if misconduct was discovered.

Children at the JSO Summer Learning Enrichment Program line up to play dodgeball last Tuesday. The camp takes place at Greater St. Mark Family Church's school, which had its air conditioning units stolen earlier this year.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a balmy Tuesday afternoon, dozens of young children could feel the competitive spirit floating through the hallways of Greater St. Mark Family Church’s school.

Youngsters enrolled in the JSO Summer Learning Enrichment Program filed into a gymnasium to play a spirited game of kickball. It’s one of numerous activities offered at the camp, which caters mainly to low-income children from north St. Louis County.

But competitiveness wasn’t the only thing wafting through the building. Walk into certain classrooms, and the sticky, sweaty aura of heat is unmistakable.

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