Politics & Issues

Political news

/ Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

A handful of agriculture-related bills passed by the Missouri General Assembly this year have been signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Senate Bill 665 renews the Qualified Beef Tax Credit through December 2021 and caps the incentive at $2 million per calendar year.  The size of the tax break will become larger for cattle weighing 600 pounds or more; it's set to increase to 25 cents per pound. For cattle weighing less than 600 pounds the tax credit will remain at 10 cents a pound.

Metro East Redeploy staff member Mollie Hente with client Leah at a poster making group for awareness to fund Redeploy. Hente learned last week that she is being laid off.
Provided by Mark Smith of Children's Home and Aid

A social service agency making cuts in the Metro East due to lack of state funding says even if Illinois legislators pass a stop-gap budget this week it won’t be enough to reverse the damage to its finances.

Children’s Home and Aid notified another nine Metro East employees last week that they were being laid off.

Their departure reduces the number of teens the agency’s programs for at-risk youth are able to serve, adding to the almost one million people the United Way estimates have lost access to social services in Illinois this year during the state budget stalemate.

The full Board of Aldermen is expected to take up the stadium funding plan next Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

St. Louis aldermen want to place stricter regulations on “payday loan” establishments, part of a broader movement to combat institutions that provide short-term cash to primarily low-income individuals.

Payday loan companies tend to provide small, short-term loans to people. Some critics of the institutions say that they place high interest rates on the loans, which send low-income people who use the service into a cycle of debt.

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week.

This week, we discussed the very public disagreement between area leaders over MetroLink expansion, some Missouri Republicans participating in a national ‘Dump Trump’ campaign and the role social media is playing in current election and politics coverage.

We were joined by:

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, left, and professor Josh Hawley came out swinging in their campaigns for the Republican nomination for attorney general.
official photos

Updated Saturday, June 25:  Missouri’s Republican contest for attorney general – long this year’s  nastiest battle in the state  – has gotten so bitter that the two combatants already are running vicious attack ads six weeks before the Aug. 2 election.

Kurt Schaefer's new ad accuses Josh Hawley of providing legal help for “a terrorist,’’ while Hawley’s ad features Schaefer repeatedly referring to himself as “a moderate.”

Each candidate claims the other is intentionally misrepresenting the facts.

Rear view of the new Energy Control Center (ECC) and Services Facility at Fulton State Hospital.  Solar panels cover portions of the roof.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Efforts to rebuild Fulton State Hospital have reached a "milestone," in the words of Gov. Jay Nixon.

The first new building in the reconstruction project is complete and expected to become fully operational next month. The Energy Control Center and Services Building will house several functions, including the emergency command post, power supply, computer services, maintenance and food preparation for patients.

NPR's ombudsman, Elizabeth Jensen.
James Wrona

In January 2015, Elizabeth Jensen was appointed to a three-year term at NPR as the organization’s ombudsman. What does that mean? Otherwise known as the public editor, Jensen is the public’s representative to NPR, answering thousands of listener queries and criticisms.

Jensen stopped by St Louis on the Air Thursday while she’s in St. Louis to attend the national conference of the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. She talked with host Don Marsh about challenges she faces in working to develop a closer relationship with news consumers.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's proposal would impliment minimum standards for police departments to follow. If they don't meet those benchmarks, Stenger's office could effectively disband departments.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is proposing studies for three potential expansions to MetroLink – but they don't include a North/South line that St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay strongly supports.

It’s part of an increasingly public disagreement between the leaders of St. Louis and St. Louis County about how to expand public transportation throughout the region.

(via Flickr/cayoup)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed a wide-ranging education bill that includes an expansion of the A+ scholarship program.

Senate Bill 638 will allow private schools in Missouri to take part in the program if they meet the same requirements as public high schools. Students from A+ schools are eligible to attend community college in Missouri for two years, free of charge.

Joe Biden speaking at the August 23, 2008 vice presidential announcement in Springfield, Illinois, while presidential nominee Barack Obama listens.
Daniel Schwen | Wikimedia Commons

It seems like a silly time to ask the question “do vice presidents matter?” when every half hour there’s chatter on news networks about who Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will choose as their running mates. But, yet, the vice presidency wasn’t always considered as significant as it is now.

A $40 million restoration project is underway at the Missouri Capitol. Phase One, on the south side of the building, is scheduled to be finished by mid-December.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's state Capitol is open for business and tourists, though it may not look like it right now.

Major renovations have been going on for months and will continue through the rest of this year. 

Kim Gardner
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome back state Rep. Kim Gardner to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat is one of four Democratic candidates for circuit attorney. We are running shows featuring each of the candidates this week. (Gardner was a guest on Politically Speaking before she  announced her bid for the job.)

St. Louis County Executive Stever Stenger, center, talks with state Treasurer Clint Zweifel, left, and Brian May on Tuesday. Stenger sent out a letter this month raising concerns about the North-South MetroLink line.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is throwing cold water on a proposal to build a North-South line for MetroLink.

Stenger's opposition isn’t going over well with some St. Louis officials, many of whom support the project as a way to spur economic development and bridge the region’s racial divide.

Republican Presidential candidate Dontald Trump points to protesters that he tells to "get out," during his speech at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis on March 11, 2016.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Some of Missouri’s Republican delegates to their party’s national convention in Cleveland are involved in a national “dump Trump” campaign, which appears to be gaining at least temporary steam.

Delegate Carl Bearden, a Republican from St. Charles, acknowledged Tuesday that the movement was anti-Donald Trump, currently the presumptive nominee.  But Bearden emphasized that the effort is actually a “free the delegates’’ movement, in Missouri and nationally, to allow delegates to vote their conscience.

Patrick Hamacher
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Patrick Hamacher to the program.

Hamacher is one of four Democrats running for St. Louis circuit attorney. Incumbent Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce is not running for re-election, which likely contributed to the larger-than-normal field. The winner of the Aug. 2 primary will likely be Joyce’s successor, since St. Louis is heavily Democratic.

Steve Harmon
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann are pleased to welcome circuit attorney hopeful Steve Harmon to the program.

Harmon is one of four Democratic candidates competing to succeed St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, who has decided against running for re-election. And since St. Louis is a Democratic stronghold, the winner of the Aug. 2 primary will likely become Joyce’s successor.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt meets with people Feb. 20 at Washington University's Alzheimer's Research Center in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

The U.S. senators representing Missouri and Illinois are playing an active role in congressional efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Dick Durbin, D-Ill. and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., all voted for the popular Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act known as CARA.

A supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is seated for the Missouri Democratic Party convention in Sedalia.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

You could say that Ken Jacob was for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid before it was cool.

The former Democratic state senator from Columbia backed Clinton when she ran against then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in 2008. Eight years after narrowly falling short both in Missouri and nationally that year, Clinton is poised to become the Democratic presidential nominee when the party meets for its national convention. And after being selected a Clinton delegate at congressional caucuses, Jacob will get to witness Clinton getting the nomination later this summer in Philadelphia.

Patrick Hamacher (standing) addresses a crowd gathered at Saint Louis University on June 18, 2016 for a forum with the Democratic candidates for circuit attorney.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A two-hour debate about the root causes of crime and disparities in the system helped some St. Louis voters better understand the Democratic candidates for circuit attorney.

Mary Pat Carl, Kimberly Gardner, Patrick Hamacher and Steve Harmon gathered Saturday for the forum, sponsored by Decarcerate St. Louis.

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Prompted by a Democratic filibuster, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote next week on proposals to expand the nation’s background checks for gun purchases, and to bar some people on no-fly lists from purchasing guns.

But the proposals are expected to highlight a sharp divide over what Congress should do, if anything, in the wake of last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando that killed at least 49 people in a gay nightclub.

Jimmy Hawkins, center, stands at the Transgender Memorial Garden as marchers continue to arrive.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people who produced them and contributed to them. This week, we turned our discussion to the tragedy in Orlando and how the St. Louis community has responded to the mass shooting at a popular gay nightclub there that killed 49 people.

Mary Pat Carl
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome circuit attorney contender Mary Pat Carl to the program.

Carl is one of four candidates running to succeed Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, who is not running for re-election. We taped shows with all four circuit attorney candidates last week, and we are posting the shows throughout this week.

    

Brandon Reid takes part in a video project that aims to deliver messages of support and solidarity to the LGBT community in the wake of this past weekend's Orlando shooting.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For decades, many LGBT people could only talk freely about their lives, hold hands with a partner or feel completely safe in one kind of place: a gay bar. Some would say that's still true today.

But the horrific mass shooting at an Orlando club has stripped away the idea of safety.

Early Sunday morning, the shooter surprised a lively crowd with a spray of bullets that killed 49 people and injured 50. Across the nation, people in the LGBT community said it was a painful reminder that they can be targets of hate and violence.

A St. Louis social work student has launched a project to help people in St. Louis and Orlando begin to heal.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The use of the term “Ferguson Effect,” first came into play in November of 2014, when city police Chief Sam Dotson said that police officers had reduced arrests following Michael Brown’s death and “the criminal element is feeling more empowered by the environment.” He used these ideas as reasoning for why the homicide rate in St. Louis was going up.

Teresa Hensley
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome attorney general hopeful Teresa Hensley to the program for the first time.

Alderman Lyda Krewson
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson jumped into the wide-open race for St. Louis mayor, promising to bring her mixture of legislative and fiscal experience to the city’s top job.

(via Flickr/M Glasgow)

Even before the shootings this week in Orlando, Fla., guns had become a major issue in Missouri’s contest to choose the next governor.

The state’s four Republican candidates have made clear for months that they support gun rights, and several — notably former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway — have pressed for expansion.

The likely Democratic nominee, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, delivered strong words last week condemning gun violence. But he also has not backed away from his pro-gun stance that earlier has won him endorsements from the National Rifle Association.

On Sunday morning, a gunman at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Fla., perpetrated the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. He killed 49 people and injured more than 50.

The city of Orlando has released the names of the identified victims, after notifying their next of kin.

Gov. Jay Nixon made expanding Medicaid a top priority when he first ran for governor. While he made some small steps, he was largely unsuccessful in achieving that goal.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

After Gov. Jay Nixon placed his signature on legislation that could expand Medicaid for Missourians who are disabled or elderly, I couldn’t help but think back to when the Democratic official visited Bob Pund’s apartment.

Nixon was a mere attorney general when he ventured into Pund’s residence back in 2007. Pund is paralyzed from the shoulders down and had been critical of major cuts made to Medicaid in 2005. As Nixon sat in Pund’s living room, the aspiring governor vowed to make reversing those reductions a priority of his eventual administration – even if he was faced with a Republican-controlled legislature.

Illustration by Susannah Lohr I St. Louis Public Radio

Meredith Anderson spent most of her life in Maryland before relocating to the Show Me State a couple of years ago. The O’Fallon resident got a surprising "welcome to Missouri" letter in the form of a personal property tax bill on her well-worn van.

Needless to say, Anderson was more than a little confused. She didn’t pay personal property taxes on her vehicle in her old state. And she didn’t get why you needed to pay such a tax in Missouri.

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