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U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine waits by the stage on Thursday as U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill prepares to introduce him. Kaine was the guest speaker at the Show Me State's Democratic National Convention breakfast.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

PHILADELPHIA – Democratic vice presidential hopeful Tim Kaine may have departed from Missouri a long time ago. But for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Virginia senator still retains Show Me State sensibilities.

McCaskill expressed her enthusiasm almost immediately after Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton picked him as his running mate. Not only was she excited that an alum of the University of Missouri-Columbia was getting his time in the sun, but also the fact that a “good guy” was getting his due.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Gaming Commission is preparing to oversee daily fantasy sports websites under a new law passed this year.  

House Bill 1941, signed last month by Gov. Jay Nixon, takes effect Aug. 28, but its provisions still have to go through a public comment period before they become permanent next spring. 

U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, left, and Kansas City Mayor Sly James were the keynote speakers to the Missouri delegation at the Democratic National Convention.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

PHILADELPHIA – For Kansas City, Mo.,  Mayor Sly James, gun violence isn’t a philosophical exercise or a buzzword.

The Democratic official told members of the Missouri delegation at the Democratic National Convention that he often goes to crime scenes where a person has used a gun to kill someone. Often, James said he sees people who are “prostrate on the ground because they’re so grief-stricken.”

Members of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment conduct a silent protest during a public hearing on municipal court reform on Nov. 12, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly two years ago, Michael Brown's death brought to light abusive municipal court practices in the St. Louis area. A new report released by auditor Nicole Galloway on Wednesday shows the problems exist statewide.

"We've seen repeated challenges that prevent Missourians from having the municipal courts they deserve," Galloway said in a statement accompanying the report. "Courts should operate efficiently, effectively and fairly, and these audits shine light on problems and make recommendations, so that work can begin toward regaining citizen trust."

Members of the Missouri House have a different perspective than Missouri senators on ethics.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Many districts in St. Louis and St. Louis County are drawn to be heavily Democratic or Republican. Thus, when a seat opens up, the August primary can be most competitive election for eight years.

The victors in these “primary-are-the-election” races will face different realities in Jefferson City, depending on their political parties. Republicans could get a chance to handle big-ticket legislation and move up in leadership. Since they’re a super-minority, Democratic winners will have fewer opportunities to influence the legislative process. But often times, they can provide a counterpoint to the GOP supermajority.

U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, right, and candidate Bill Haas, center, speak as state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal answers a question.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In their only forum before Tuesday’s primary, Missouri’s major-party candidates for the 1st congressional district seat were civil and concise. Both attributes were required by the area’s League of Women Voters, which conducted the forum at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis.

The star participant was U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-University City, who has held the seat for 16 years.  He succeeded his father, Bill Clay Sr., who served for 32 years. That long tenure was a key topic for one of Lacy Clay’s Democratic rivals, state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City.  She told the audience, “You must ask yourself a question: Is 48 years too long for one family?”

Updated July 27 with statement from state Sen. Kurt Schaefer's campaign — Several local Asian-American organizations and businesses are condemning political attack ads in Missouri's attorney general’s race. In a united wave of opposition, the coalition calls the ads “xenophobic,” “racist” and “divisive.”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill reads a prepared speech off her smartphone as she casts Missouri's delegate votes at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill admitted that she cast Missouri’s votes at Democratic National Convention with a bit of emotion.

Missouri’s senior senator was given the honor of announcing how the Show Me State was divvying its delegates. It was part of a roll call vote that made Hillary Clinton the first female presidential candidate of a major party.

File photo

Updated July 26 with new lawsuit filings – Opponents of a ballot initiative to raise Missouri's cigarette tax have filed two new lawsuits designed to stop it from appearing on the November ballot.

The first new suit was filed Friday by Joplin convenience store owner Patty Arrowood.  She contends that the ballot initiative would appropriate state funding, which only the legislature can do, and also allow religious groups to receive state revenues.

Michael Brown's mother, Lezley McSpadden, listens on March 5 as attorney Daryl Parks announces the family's intent to sue former police officer Darren Wilson and the city of Ferguson for her son's death.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File Photo

PHILADELPHIA – Michelle Argento may be living proof of the vast impact of Michael Brown’s shooting death.

Argento lives in Gillette, Wyo., a 30,000-person town in the middle of the Mountain West. The Bernie Sanders delegate paid close attention to what happened in Ferguson – and added that it showcased a need to overhaul America’s criminal justice system.

Jo Mannies, Rachel Lippman and Dave Robertson discussed Missouri's Aug. 2 primary and answered listener questons on July 26.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Next week, Missourians will go to the polls in their Aug. 2 primaries.  A week before the primaries, three guests joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss what issues and positions you should keep an eye on.

St. Louis Public Radio reporters Rachel Lippmann, who is covering the city primary, and Jo Mannies, who is covering the statewide primary, broke down what you need to know with the help of UMSL political science professor David Robertson.

Workers carry and install sheet rock in late August.
Willis Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court has restored the length of the state’s unemployment benefits to 20 weeks, by tossing out the General Assembly’s action last year that reduced payment of benefits to 13 weeks – the shortest in the country.

Republican lawmakers and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce say they’ll try again next session. The state Department of Labor says 14,612 people have been affected by the 13-week limit since it went into effect Jan. 1.

For the court, the issue was timing. The court ruled, in effect, that the Missouri Senate waited too long to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill.

Rescue crews from the Monarch Fire Protection District work at the scene of a motor vehicle accident on May 3, 2016.
Monarch Fire Protection District | Facebook

Updated July 26, 2016 with appeals court ruling. — A Missouri appeals court says firefighters in the Monarch Fire Protection District can continue working under their old contract while negotiating a new one.

Tuesday's ruling upholds an "evergreen" clause that says the current contract, negotiated in 2013, remains in effect as long as good faith negotiations are going on between the board and the union. The district provides fire and ambulance service for parts of west St. Louis County.

A legal challenge to Missouri’s execution protocol brought by four taxpayers has been rejected by the Missouri Court of Appeals.

In a decision Tuesday, the appeals court upheld a lower court’s dismissal of the taxpayers’ claims just days after they filed their lawsuit.

The lawsuit sought to halt the scheduled execution by lethal injection of convicted murderer David Zink. The execution went ahead as scheduled, on July 14, 2015.

Rick Stream and Andrew Koenig
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of daylight between Rick Stream and Andrew Koenig: The two Republican contenders for the 15th District Senate seat won House seats through intense door-knocking campaigns. They’ve both served four terms in the Missouri House. And they can point to big accomplishments during their legislative careers.

Jason Kander skipped Philadelphia to travel the roads of Missouri. The incumbent he's challenging, Sen. Roy Blunt, will travel  next week.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

On two points, Missouri’s two major candidates for the U.S. Senate seem to agree:

  • Skip your presidential convention.
  • Hit the road in a campaign bus.
Money gift
Flickr

With a week left to go, Missouri’s four Republican candidates for governor are engaging in a final money-raising – and spending – frenzy.

Just since July 1, the four – former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and businessman John Brunner – combined have raised almost $6 million and spent more than $10 million.

Most of that spending is for the mass of TV ads that are flooding Missouri homes.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane pose for a picture with a supporter in Philadelphia. Sanders make a surprise appearance at the Missouri delegation's breakfast on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

PHILADELPHIA – Ralph Trask doesn’t want Donald Trump to become president. But that doesn’t mean he’s completely sold on Hillary Clinton.

Trask is a farmer from Iron County who is attending the Democratic National Convention as a Bernie Sanders delegate. He arrived in Philadelphia amid a somewhat tense time between supporters of the two campaigns, and national speculation over whether Sanders supporters can work this fall for Clinton.

Mike Carter, Anne Zerr and Bill Eigel are running for the St. Charles County-based 23rd District Senate seat.
Courtesy of Carter and Eigel's campaigns and House Communications

There are probably few legislative races in Missouri with stakes as high as the GOP primary for the 23rd Senatorial District.

The St. Charles County-based district has been vacant since former Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey resigned nearly a year ago. And the race to replace him features three candidates with vastly different philosophies and political experience. It’s one of several competitive state Senate primaries in the St. Louis area, and perhaps the one where the end result could matter quite a bit.

PHILADELPHIA – In some ways, Hillary Clinton’s impending presidential nomination has been a long time coming for U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.

The Kansas City Democrat was a strong supporter of Clinton in 2008. He said he felt immense pressure to back then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama – who, of course, would go onto become America’s first black president.

House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, leads the Democratic end-of-session press conference as state Rep. Karla May, D-St. Louis, looks on.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio |file photo

Updated July 23 with the nominee — Democratic committee members in St. Louis and St. Louis County have nominated House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, as their party’s candidate to replace former state Sen. Joe Keaveny.

Keaveny resigned as the state senator for Missouri’s 4th District after the 2016 legislative session to become an administrative law judge.

William Bailey | St. Louis Planning Department |Provided

After a two-day delay, a new homeless shelter in St. Louis is back on track to being ready to operate.

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment on Friday approved a $360,000 contract with St. Patrick Center, which will run the facility at the old Biddle Market north of downtown. Mayor Francis Slay and Comptroller Darlene Green voted to approve the funding; board president Lewis Reed maintained his opposition from Wednesday.

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies covered the Republican National Convention last week.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh looked back on this week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland and ahead to next week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

We were joined by:

Democrats Judy Baker and Pat Contreras are each running for state treasurer.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

If you’re wondering why there’s a competitive battle for Missouri state treasurer, look no further than the innards of the Missouri Constitution.

If the Show Me State’s pre-eminent legal document didn’t restrict a state treasurer to two terms, it’s a good bet that incumbent officeholder Clint Zweifel would be running for re-election – and probably without competition from his fellow Democrats. But it does. And with Zweifel taking a hiatus of sorts from electoral politics, two Democrats – former state Rep. Judy Baker, D-Columbia, and Kansas City native Pat Contreras – are seeking to capture the weighty, but slightly low profile, statewide office.

Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Roy Temple speaks at the Missouri Democratic Party convention in Sedalia. Temple will be leading the Missouri delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

You could say Jimmy Loomis has accomplished a lot in a short period of time.

The 21-year-old Washington University student is president of the school’s College Democrats chapter. He’s also a Democratic committeeman in St. Louis County, which means he’ll get a say in who will follow state Sen. Joe Keaveny in the Missouri Senate.

But perhaps Loomis’ most impressive feat may have been besting dozens of people to become a national delegate for likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. That means he’ll get to go to Philadelphia next week with some of the Show Me State’s most prominent activists and political figures. And he’ll get to be an active participant in what’s been a historic presidential election.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Regardless of who they backed before, Missouri’s GOP delegates are leaving their convention committed to electing Donald Trump for president.

And his acceptance speech was a hit.

“He was confident, he was strong, he was energetic, enthusiastic’’ said delegate Chuck Williams of Town and Country. “He had the crowd fired up.”

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies covered the Republican National Convention last week.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Bev Ehlen, a Missouri GOP delegate from Warren County, has long been a fan of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and had hoped he’d be the party’s nominee for president.

But now that Donald Trump has the nomination, Ehlen is upset that Cruz is opting against an endorsement.

“I was very disappointed’’ by Cruz’s Wednesday night speech, Ehlen said. “I’m probably the biggest Ted Cruz supporter you can find. I was expecting so much more because he’s such an articulate speaker. I was expecting a home run, and I didn’t get it.”

On Thursday, St. Louis on the Air’s Legal Roundtable returned to discuss pressing legal issues of the day.

We were joined in studio by:

  • William Freivogel, J.D., Professor, School of Journalism, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale
  • Marcia McCormick, J.D., Professor, Saint Louis University
  • Mark Smith, J.D., Associate Vice Chancellor of Students, Washington University

Here are some of the issues they discussed:

Group of women speak to reporters under the spotlight of a video camera.
Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

A group of mothers whose sons have been killed or wounded by police or others is calling for concrete action against racism in law enforcement and the justice system.

At a town hall meeting Wednesday during the National Bar Association’s annual convention, the mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Jordan Davis, and Robbie Tolan decried the deaths of young black men at the hands of police, and deaths caused by others.

U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield
Official portrait

CLEVELAND — Missouri U.S. Rep. Billy Long is arguably the state’s version of Donald Trump.

Long was a well-known auctioneer and radio talk-show host in Springfield, Mo., who emerged from a seven-person GOP field in 2010 to win the congressional seat that had been held by fellow Republican Roy Blunt until Blunt opted to make his successful shot for the U.S. Senate.

Long says he was impressed with Trump when he first met him in 2011, just months after Long arrived in Washington. The occasion was a charity event, and Long approached the billionaire businessman to thank him for his charity support.

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