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Politics & Issues

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Rauner To GOP Voters: 'I Have Heard You'

Mar 23, 2018

Governor Bruce Rauner says he needs to “find common ground” with the nearly half of Republican voters who rallied behind his primary election opponent, Jeanne Ives.

In his election night victory speech, Rauner said he heard the message those voters wanted to send, but he has yet to give specific details on what that message is. 

Twenty years ago Saturday, two middle school students outside Jonesboro, Ark., lured their 11- and 12-year-old classmates out of school and opened fire from across the playground. They killed four students, all girls, and a teacher, wounding 10 others.

When the Columbine High School shooting occurred the following year in Littleton, Colo., the horror at Westside Middle School was, in effect, superseded. As the years passed, Columbine became the touchstone, the school shooting everyone remembered. And it left the survivors in Jonesboro feeling forgotten and even more bereft.

Belleville News-Democrat reporter Joe Bustos discussed the results of Tuesday’s election.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Chicago-based billionaire J.B. Pritzker has already sunk $70 million of his own money into his gubernatorial campaign, and incumbent Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has spent $50 million himself. That spending will only increase as the Democratic and Republican party nominees, respectively, now look toward the general election later this year.

But how much of the candidates’ resources will be directed downstate is yet to be seen, said Belleville News-Democrat reporter Joe Bustos. He joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh for a discussion of this week’s primary election results.

The St. Louis County pet adoption center in Olivette. March 22, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

UPDATED March 28 with lawsuit:  St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger says he is committed to an “exhaustive search” to find a new director for the county’s animal shelter.

Stenger fired former director Beth Vesco-Mock earlier this month because of what he says was “inappropriate behavior.”

“Racist or discriminatory behavior is not going to be tolerated by this administration,’’ Stenger said in an interview. He declined to be specific, but referred to a hearing that the council held last month on problems facing the shelter.

File Photo |Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Ethics Commission currently has three members, which is not enough to decide complaints filed against elected officeholders or candidates for public office.

The commission lost half its members last week when their terms expired, and Gov. Eric Greitens has yet to fill them. James Klahr, the commission’s executive director, said it can still carry out some duties.

Nicole Galloway poses for a portrait at St. Louis Public Radio. March, 22, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

“I am tough and I am thorough,” explained Nicole Galloway, Missouri’s state auditor.

Galloway, who joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday, detailed what her job entails, explained her ongoing audit of the City of St. Louis and addressed the mood in Jefferson City as Gov. Eric Greitens’ felony invasion of privacy trial is set to get underway May 14.

Galloway’s audit of the City of St. Louis began a few months ago and will likely take several years. Part of the audit, Galloway explained, will be a review of development incentives.

State Treasurer Eric Schmitt announces changes in Missouri's Linked Deposit Program on March 22, 2018, in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt is expanding a program that delivers low-interest loans to businesses.

Schmitt was in St. Louis on Thursday to announce changes in Missouri’s Linked Deposit Program. That program places state money into banks, and those dollars can then be used for low-interest loans.

The region actually grew slightly from 2016 to 2017, but Baltimore and other cities gained more residents in the same period.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the St. Louis metropolitan area continues to lose ground compared to other cities.

Data released Thursday show the area, which includes St. Louis City and 14 neighboring Missouri and Illinois counties, dropped to the 21st most populous metropolitan area in 2017. Baltimore replaced St. Louis in the 20th position.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to reporters after the 2017 adjourned. Greitens didn't have the smoothest relationship with legislators, including Republicans that control both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated March 21 at 5:45 p.m. with comments from Wednesday's hearing — Gov. Eric Greitens will go on trial in May in St. Louis for felony invasion of privacy.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison on Wednesday denied an attempt by Greitens' defense team to start the trial in April, in order to get it done before a special state House committee investigating the governor finishes its work.

J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami (left) and Rabbi Jim Bennett (right) talked about being “pro-Israel and pro-peace” in the 21st century.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

There is a divide in the fundamental beliefs among supporters of Israel regarding the future of the Israel-Palestine conflict. For Jeremy Ben-Ami, pursuit of peace is something he considers critical to the security and survival of the State of Israel in the 21st century.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with the J Street president about his organization and his appearance this week at Congregation Shaare Emeth. Rabbi Jim Bennett also joined the conversation about being “pro-Israel and pro-peace.” 

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated March 21 at 6:15 p.m. with additional comments — The presiding judge in St. Louis County has ruled that nearly 80 percent of the circuit’s public defenders have caseloads that leave them unable to effectively represent their clients.

In an order issued Monday, Circuit Judge Douglas Beach proposed several solutions, including a waitlist for defendants who are not in jail and having private attorneys handle low-level felonies.

Tony Monetti
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 Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tony Monetti to the program.

Monetti is one of 20 people that have signed up to run for the seat that U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill currently holds. Ten Republicans, including Attorney General Josh Hawley, have filed thus far.

Rauner (Barely) Wins Primary, Will Face Pritzker

Mar 21, 2018

Illinois primary voters have spoken. This year’s race for governor will be a battle between two of the wealthiest men in the state.

But this outcome almost didn’t come to pass.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker won easily, but incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner barely escaped a humiliating defeat.

Gov. Eric Greitens, at top, faces a state House committee investigation. The panel members are shown in clockwise order: Rep. Jay Barnes, Rep. Tommie Pierson Jr., Rep. Jeanie Lauer, Rep. Shawn Rhoads, Rep. Don Phillips, Rep. Kevin Austin, Rep. Gina Mitten
Office of Missouri House of Representatives, and File photos | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and his lawyers have repeatedly attacked St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s investigation into the governor’s personal and political activities, and the related grand jury indictment.

But the governor and his team are notably silent about the state House panel that could decide his future.

Missouri Dept. of Corrections

Updated March 21, 5:55 p.m. – Russell Bucklew's scheduled execution has been called off.

In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay Tuesday evening, based on Bucklew's assertion that Missouri's lethal injection protocol would cause bleeding and suffocation due to a medical condition he suffers.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks with reporters in the Missouri Governor's Mansion on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018.
File photo | Erin Achenbach I St. Louis Public Radio

Attorneys for Gov. Eric Greitens are again asking a judge to throw out the felony invasion of privacy charge against their client, saying grand jurors heard no evidence that he had committed a crime.

“In answering a grand juror’s concern about the lack of a photograph, Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Steele, whether intentional or not, flagrantly misstated the applicable law — misleading the entire grand jury as to the essential elements of the crime on which it was asked to vote,” defense attorney James Martin wrote in a motion to dismiss filed late Monday. For that reason, he said, the charges should be dismissed.

Ken Cooper (left) and Bing Dempewolf (right) talked about different ways to address and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Even with more awareness and updated policies surrounding the issue of sexual harassment, offensive advances and interactions in the workplace have not gone away. But have employers overlooked other ways to deal with the matter?

Ken Cooper, corporate trainer and author of "Stop It Now: How Targets and Managers Can End Sexual Harassment," thinks so. He said workplaces need to address the matter beyond the legal ramifications and introduce behavioral trainings once.

Students at Maplewood Richmond Heights remember the victims of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
File Photo| Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Since the fatal shooting of students in Florida in February, many young activists have organized walkouts, rallies and calls to action. On March 24, young people all over the country will take to the streets again in a nationwide rally they’re calling “March For Our Lives.”

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with local students involved in myriad causes they are passionate about to discuss youth’s role in activism.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to reporters in his office at the state Capitol in Jefferson City on January 22, 2018.
FIle photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Attorneys for Gov. Eric Greitens want to get his felony invasion of privacy case tried as soon as possible.

His defense team told St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison on Monday they plan to file a motion to move the trial date to April 3, from its current date of May 14. They are also planning to ask that Burlison hear the case, rather than have it go before a jury.

Money And The Legal Weed Debate In Illinois

Mar 19, 2018

Lawmakers see chance for green with recreational marijuana.

Marijuana legalization is getting another look in Illinois, particularly for the money it could bring the state. The state has overdue bills nearing $9 billion after a more than two-year budget stalemate, and some argue a little extra cash could go a long way.

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