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Politics & Issues

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For most families in the United States, planning for a future without your parents is not something often talked about — at least, not until adulthood.

But for thousands of families with mixed immigration status in the metro, the sudden disappearance of a mother or father — or both — feels like a real possibility. An estimated 20,000 children of unauthorized immigrants live in the Kansas City area, according to 2014 census data analyzed by the Migration Policy Institute.

For African-Americans and people from Africa and the African diaspora, the 2020 census is already raising questions.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The 2020 census is still two years away, but there is plenty of buzz about what the federal survey will ask, including questions about citizenship and country of origin.

For the first time, people will be able to write in their origins in a blank box on the census instead of just checking a race.

The survey, which happens every ten years, is designed to count the population so federal funds can be allocated across the country. But the new questions about where people come from can generate confusion or suspicion — especially from African-Americans, who may not know where their ancestors originated, or immigrants who believe their responses might be used against them in the future.

Erin Achenbach | St. Louis Public Radio

Several hundred union members rallied Wednesday in Jefferson City against the right-to-work law state lawmakers passed last year.

In November, voters will go to the polls to decide on Proposition A, and a “yes” vote would uphold Senate Bill 19, a controversial bill signed by Gov. Eric Greitens last year that would enact a right-to-work law. The law, which effectively was suspended until voters decide its fate, mandates that no person can be required to join a labor union or pay dues to a labor union as a condition of employment.

(L-R) Mark Smith, Jennifer Joyce and William Freivogel discussed current issues pertaining to the law.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Former St. Louis circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce joined our Legal Roundtable on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, alongside recurring guests Mark Smith, associate vice chancellor of students at Washington University, and William Freivogel, journalism professor at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Shelley Richmond, a transgender woman, and her wife live in the same house in this Cahokia neighborhood where Richmond grew up.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Eighty-year-old Wisper Lowe, a transgender woman from Belleville, grew up during World War II, a period that demanded patriotism and strict gender roles.

Lowe was assigned male gender at birth. When she was 5, her mother caught her putting on lipstick.

“And her response was to smear the lipstick all over my mouth and then push me onto the front porch where all the neighborhood kids were playing in the street — and lock the door,” Lowe said.

Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, opined on the idea of iron-clad pledges during an interview on his "right to work" vote. While he says he refrains from absolutes, Wieland doesn't envision any scenario where he'd vote for right to work -- which bars arrange
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Control of the United States Senate could depend on how well Democrats like Bob Butler fare in Jefferson County.

That might sound like hyperbole, but it’s not too far from the truth. Butler, an attorney who unsuccessfully ran for the House in 2014 and 2016, is one of two Democrats seeking to oust state Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial.

Democrats like U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and state auditor Nicole Galloway need strong performances in Jefferson County to win their elections — and will depend on people like Butler to bring Democratic voters to the polls.

Andrew Ostrowski, a Constitution Party candidate for St. Louis County executive, filed right before Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline at the county's Board of Elections office in St. Ann.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the last hour of Missouri’s candidate filing, real estate agent Bill Ray of University City became the second Democrat to challenge St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger in this summer’s primary.

County Republicans declined at the last minute to field a prominent contender for the county’s top job. But two Republicans – bail bondsman Paul Berry III and Daniel Sampson – filed earlier. Also seeking the post are Libertarian Nick Kasoff and Constitution Party candidate Andrew Ostrowski. 

Three-year-old Brigid Horn looks up at the Gateway Arch after the opening of the Park Over the Highway. March 26, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Area schoolchildren made history at the Gateway Arch Monday afternoon, becoming the first visitors to cross the new walkway over Interstate 70 to enter the national park.

Officials with the Gateway Arch Park Foundation say the massive overhaul of the Arch grounds that began in 2013 is all about the future, so they wanted schoolchildren to be the first to use the Park Over the Highway when the construction fences came down. The entrance connects downtown St. Louis with the Arch and riverfront.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is calling for Congress to do more to curb sharp increases in prescription drug prices.

 The Missouri Democrat on Monday unveiled a new congressional report showing that, since 2012, the top 20 drugs prescribed for Medicare recipients have gone up in price far faster than inflation.

“What we found is startling; in some ways it’s shocking, and it’s certainly troubling,’’ the senator said at a news conference held at the Five Star Senior Center at 2832 Arsenal St., which serves elderly residents in parts of southeast St. Louis.

Police Chief John Hayden responded to a wide range of questions from host Don Marsh and from listeners during Monday’s talk show.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis began 2018 with a brand-new police chief, John Hayden, in place – and with a double homicide occurring on New Year’s Day. Three months later, the city’s high rate of violent crime remains a key challenge along with the need to rebuild trust with citizens in the wake of protests.

Both issues loomed large on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air as Hayden discussed his leadership of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department thus far.

Ed Dowd, defense attorney for Gov. Eric Greitens, speaks to reporters outside the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. March 26, 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated March 26 at 4:30 p.m. with ruling on effort to throw out case based on grand jury instructions — A group of 12 St. Louis residents will decide if Gov. Eric Greitens invaded the privacy of a woman with whom he had an affair in 2015.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison on Monday denied a request by the governor's defense team to hear the case from the bench, rather than a jury.

A grand jury indictment stemming from the death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab at the Schlitterbahn park alleges designers and park officials ignored minimum industry safety standards in their race to build the world's tallest water slide.  

The 47-page indictment says that Schlitterbahn’s private construction company was co-owned by a high school dropout, Jeffrey Wayne Henry, with no technical or engineering credentials.

Sen. Scott Sifton, D-Affton
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Sen. Scott Sifton to the program.

The Affton Democrat (who is now tied with state Treasurer Eric Schmitt for most appearances on the show with five) represents parts of south and central St. Louis County in the Missouri Senate.

St. Louis Public Radio and other local news outlets took a guided tour of the Medium Security Institution, also known as the Workhouse, in March 2018.
Ashley Lisenby | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis public safety officials want city residents to know people jailed at the St. Louis Medium Security Institution are treated humanely despite allegations to the contrary.

In March, the mayor’s spokesman invited reporters to tour the jail — commonly known as the Workhouse — after weeks of requests for access from local press. A pending lawsuit against the jail by ArchCity Defenders alleges inhumane conditions, including poor ventilation, rodent and insect infestation and problems with black mold.

Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards and Corrections Commissioner Dale Glass fended off the claims in the lawsuit.

Mitali Sharma, center, marches with Clayton High School classmates in downtown St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

 

Thousands of people marched in downtown St. Louis on Saturday morning to protest gun violence and advocate for stricter gun control.

Saturday’s March for Our Lives event was a culmination of a month-long effort to honor the 17 people killed during the Feb. 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Survivors of the shooting helped organize the rally in Washington, D.C., with sister marches occurring across the U.S. — including the one in St. Louis — and around the world.

 

As a light rain fell, demonstrators chanted and carried signs reading “enough is enough” and “make our schools safe again.”

Maplewood Richmond Heights students honor victims killed at a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month during a walkout Wednesday, March 14, 2018.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Thousands of people are expected to march through downtown St. Louis to protest gun violence on Saturday. They’ll walk a 2-mile route with March for Our Lives STL, one of hundreds of student-led rallies planned for this weekend.

Student organizers, survivors of gun violence and local leaders, including Rep. Bruce Franks, will speak at the event. City officials say they’re prepared to accommodate up to 10,000 marchers.

What is March for Our Lives?

Supporters greet Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner after the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 6, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is alleging that Gov. Eric Greitens may have used a text-erasing app to transmit a photo of his former mistress.

That photo is at the center of Greitens’ felony invasion of privacy case, where he’s accused of taking a revealing photo of the woman without her consent.

Eric Greitens sits beside his wife, Sheena Greitens, and Attorney General Josh Hawley and his wife, Erin Morrow Hawley.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | 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 round up this week’s legal and political news surrounding Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

This week’s episode zeroes in on how Greitens’ political plight is weighing on other political figures — including Attorney General Josh Hawley.

File photo | Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers return to Jefferson City next week to begin the second half of the 2018 legislative session.

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, said his chamber will spend the bulk of their first week back debating the fiscal year 2019 state budget and voting it over to the Senate.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announces he's issuing subpeonas in his Mission Continues investigation.
Erin Achenbach I St. Louis Public Radio

Attorney General Josh Hawley announced he’s issued 15 subpoenas as part of an investigation into how Gov. Eric Greitens’ campaign received a fundraising list from a veterans charity he founded.

He also said he would fight any attempt by Greitens to use “executive privilege” in the matter. Representatives of Greitens’ campaign did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

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