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Politics & Issues

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State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. joined St. Louis on the Air on Thursday to discuss his freshman year as a state representative and his plans for the future.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Democratic State Representative Bruce Franks Jr., representing District 78 in St. Louis, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday to reflect on his first year as a state lawmaker. He also discussed the challenges facing his district and the state of Missouri going forward.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks in front of the Capitol during a rally in support of the Noranda bill on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
File photo | Krissy Lane | St. Louis Public Radio

There was a sense of urgency when Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens called the first special session on May 18, aimed primarily at reopening an aluminum-smelting operation that had been southeast Missouri’s largest employer.

But in the weeks since Republicans gave the new governor what he wanted, there’s been no communication between smelting-plant officials and the state agency tasked with approving lower utility rates for such projects. However, leaders in the area are pinning their job-creation hopes on the other issue in that special session — a new steel mill that could employ up to 200 people.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s going to get more difficult next month for a worker in Missouri to prove he or she was fired because of their race, gender, age, religion or heritage.

A new law, which Gov. Eric Greitens signed June 30 alongside the state budget, was championed by Republicans, businesses and the state Chamber of Commerce. But opponents want to make sure Missouri’s workers understand what may be in store if they’re suddenly unemployed.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., April 2017
Provided | Office of Sen. Claire McCaskill

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill still doesn’t know who she’ll be up against in the 2018 midterm elections. She’s ready for the fight, however, having banked a little more than $5.1 million.

That’s almost twice the size of her campaign fund in July 2011, which was the last time she was preparing for a re-election contest.

This story was updated at 1:06 p.m. to include comments by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley in a phone interview.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley struck back Wednesday at Backpage.com, the controversial classifieds website that sued him the day before, saying “there is no First Amendment right to engage in human trafficking.”

Heather Navarro will serve at least two years on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen for the 28th ward.
HEATHER NAVARRO VIA CAMPAIGN WEBSITE

Updated at 3:50 p.m. July 12 with details from Secretary of State's office about voter ID law — Lyda Krewson’s ascension to the mayor’s office left an open seat on St. Louis' Board of Aldermen. It was filled Tuesday by Heather Navarro, who won with 69 percent of the vote.

Navarro was one of four candidates vying to fill the 28th Ward seat for the remaining two years of Krewson’s term. It was also the first election in the St. Louis area since Missouri’s new voter ID law took effect in June, and there were differing accounts on whether there were issues at the polls.

Donald Trump, Jr. speaking with supporters of his father, Donald Trump, at a campaign rally at the Sun Devil Fitness Center at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
Gage Skidmore | Flickr

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted images of emails regarding his 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer on Tuesday. An intermediary said he could connect Trump Jr. with people who had information "that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] ... and would be very useful to your father."

Reena Hajat Carroll, the outgoing director of the Diversity Awareness Partnership, reflected on diversity and inclusion efforts in St. Louis over the past 10 years with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Reena Hajat Carroll, the outgoing executive director of the Diversity Awareness Partnership, is leaving St. Louis after 10 years at the helm of DAP.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Carroll joined host Don Marsh to discuss what she’s learned over her years leading the organization and what work St. Louis needs to do in the areas of diversity and inclusion going forward.

Carroll said that when she first started in the position, she found St. Louis struggling to conceptualize diversity and inclusion outside of solely racial lines. 

Ameren's Callaway nuclear power plant produces about 19 percent of the electricity the company generates in Missouri. It is the only nuclear energy facility in the state.
File photo | Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended Missouri’s time to comply with the federal Real ID law, which means Missouri residents can use a current driver’s license to get into federal facilities, military bases and nuclear power plants.

Nationwide, Real ID-compliant identification has been required to get into such facilities since October 2015. Missouri’s extension goes through Oct. 10, Homeland Security spokeswoman Justine Whelan said. The extension was granted Monday. 

Heather Navarro, Celeste Vossmeyer and Steve Roberts Sr. are the three major candidates for the vacant 28th Ward aldermanic seat.
Navarro, Vossmeyer and Roberts via campaign websites

Updated at 1:28 p.m. with details about voter ID law during election — Voters in the 28th Ward will choose their new representative on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Tuesday.

Polls in the ward, which covers parts of the neighborhoods around Forest Park, are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The seat has been vacant since April, when Lyda Krewson was sworn in as mayor. The winner will serve the remaining two years of her term.

Gov. Eric Greitens announces the "St. Louis Safety Plan" in north St. Louis on Monday, July 10, 2017.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ crime issue is now the state’s issue, too. At least, that’s what Gov. Eric Greitens indicated Monday when he announced a plan to direct state money and personnel toward the city.

The Republican’s proposal has the support of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, but other elected Democrats are skeptical that it addresses the root causes of the violence. Greitens did not detail how much money the state would spend for these efforts.

Kali takes a swim at the Saint Louis Zoo.
File photo | Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The fate of a sales tax hike to support the Saint Louis Zoo will be in voters’ hands, as Gov. Eric Greitens signed a bill into law Monday.

Jay Ashcroft speaks at the Drury Inn in Brentwood.
File photo | Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is responding to angry voters throughout the state after he said June 30 that he’d partially comply with a data request from a White House panel investigating voter fraud.

His reasoning, as explained Thursday: He wants fair elections.

The Illinois State Capitol.
J. Stephen Conn | Flickr

On our Friday “Behind the Headlines" segment, we take a look at a top news story from the week. This week, we turned our attention to the Illinois budget and, then, to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' actions this week. 

Joshua Peters, July 2017
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 state Rep. Joshua Peters.

The St. Louis Democrat represents Missouri’s 76th House District, which takes in a portion of north St. Louis City. He was first elected to the House in a 2013 special election before being re-elected in 2014 and 2016.

Under the new law, registered voters can bring one of four IDs to the polling place: a state-issued driver’s license, a state-issued non-driver’s license, a U.S. passport or a military ID.
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

 

There’s an election around the corner, so it’s time to double-check that you have what you need to vote under Missouri’s new voter ID law. The law took effect June 1, 2017 and it's not without controversy

Find out if you have what you need to vote in the next election right here.

Saint John's United Church vigil gun violence Kenneth McKoy
FIle photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

President Donald Trump and members of his Cabinet repeatedly have promised to help get violent crime in cities like St. Louis, which is on pace to have 180-plus homicides for the third year in a row, under control.

The administration has promised an additional $200 million to combat the problem, with most of the money targeted to boosting enforcement. Though St. Louis is guaranteed none of that money, the budget is praised by local law enforcement and criticized by those who daily try to fight crime on the ground.

Deb Lavender, May 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 8,000 low-income and elderly Missouri residents entirely lost in-home health care services on Saturday and another 6,500 have had their time cut in half. That’s because Gov. Eric Greitens vetoed a bill last week that would have provided $35 million for those services.

Without the services, advocates say, some of those who lost services could be forced into nursing homes or need to visit an emergency room. The vetoed money is also likely to be the focus of a lawsuit.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner
File photo | WUIS Radio

Illinois broke its long-running budget stalemate Thursday when the House followed in the Senate's footsteps by voting 74-37 to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto. Both Democrats and Republicans backed the measure.

Without a budget for two years, Illinois racked up billions in unpaid bills and had to significantly cut funding to social services and education. The $36 billion spending plan for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, retroactive to Saturday, is paired with a $5 billion increase in income taxes. 

Police officers from several St. Louis area departments salute Officer Blake Snyder's funeral procession as it arrives at St. Louis Family Church in Chesterfield on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens fought back tears Thursday as he explained why it was important for him to sign a measure creating a system to swiftly notify the public when an on-duty police officer is wounded.

Heather Navarro, Celeste Vossmeyer and Steve Roberts Sr. are the three major candidates for the vacant 28th Ward aldermanic seat.
Navarro, Vossmeyer and Roberts via campaign websites

Arguably, the biggest challenge for the four candidates in St. Louis’ 28th Ward special election isn’t fundraising or policy positions: It’s reminding people in the central corridor know to vote on July 11.

Democrat Heather Navarro, independents Celeste Vossmeyer and Steve Roberts Sr., and Green Party candidate Jerome Bauer are vying to serve the roughly two years remaining on Mayor Lyda Krewson’s term. The ward represents parts of six neighborhoods, including the Central West End and Skinker DeBaliviere.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens made a rare stop in Kansas City Wednesday to sign four bills into law.

One measure would start the process of creating four adult high schools around the state to help Missourians over the age of 21 get a high school diploma and job training.

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

Missouri residents and businesses may see a small tax cut in the coming months due to the state bringing in a little more income than expected during the fiscal year that ended Friday.

But there’s nothing official, as Gov. Eric Greitens’ administration said Wednesday it’s still reviewing numbers released by the state budget office.

Fast food workers take part in a protest organized by Show Me $15 outside a McDonald's on Natural Bridge Road in St. Louis on March 15, 2017. They want the city's $10 minimum wage increase to be enforced immediately.
File photo | Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

If it were up to Cynthia Sanders, St. Louis would sue to stop a state bill from voiding the city’s minimum wage increase. Sanders, a janitor who saw her pay go from $8.50 an hour to $10 an hour earlier this year, said it’s not right for workers like her to get a raise “and then just take it back.”

It isn’t clear whether there will be a lawsuit, but if so, Mayor Lyda Krewson won’t be the one behind it. The Democrat told St. Louis Public Radio in a statement that while she strongly supports the city law bringing the minimum wage up to $11 an hour by 2018, the legislature has the right to overturn it.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to Republican supporters in East Alton on April 12, 2017.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

After two years without a budget and under threat of “junk bond” status, Illinois Democrats finally convinced enough Republican lawmakers to break with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday.

Rauner vetoed the budget as expected. The Senate quickly overrode him, and the House will try to follow suit Thursday.

Franklin County Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Franklin County Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies on the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast.

Griesheimer has served as Franklin County’s top elected official since 2011. Before that, the Republican served for 18 years in the Missouri General Assembly.

The 'Baby Arch' stands outside a visitors center in Warren, Pennsylvania. (June2017)
Provided by Walt Atwood

More than a half-century after the 630-foot Gateway Arch was “topped out” on the St. Louis riverfront, a 14-foot “Baby Arch” has been unveiled in a little town in northwestern Pennsylvania to honor the boilermakers who built the 142 triangular sections of the national monument.

“It’s a baby masterpiece,’’ said Ed Atwood, who led the effort to construct the tribute outside a visitors center in Warren, Pennsylvania.

President Harry S. Truman standing in an open car, speaking into microphones in 1948, Washington, DC. President Truman had just returned from a campaign trip.
Abbie Rowe | National Archives and Records Administration

For 118 years, Missouri has been represented in the U.S. Capitol’s esteemed Statuary Hall by two statues of slavery opponents from the 1800s: Francis Preston Blair Jr., and Thomas Hart Benton (the politician, not the painter.)

That’s likely to change, according to U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill, who issued a rare joint news release a few days ago to declare, in effect, that they’re wild about Harry S. Truman and optimistic his statue will soon bump Blair’s.

The Illinois House has approved a 1.2 percentage-point increase in the state income tax.

Last night, more than a dozen Republicans joined the majority Democrats to pass the legislation, despite the objections of Governor Bruce Rauner.

U.S. Rep Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin, raised $804,000 from Jan. 1 to March 31.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin, has upended Missouri’s 2018 expected contest for the U.S. Senate by announcing Monday that she won’t challenge Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Wagner instead plans to seek re-election for the House seat she has held since 2013.

She had been expected to announce her Senate candidacy in the next few weeks.  A number of Republicans and Democrats already had been privately maneuvering to run for her 2nd District seat, once she declared her Senate bid.

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