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The four Republican candidates for Missouri governor kicked off their debate Wednesday night with a variety of statements about the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion. KCUR fact-checked some of those statements. Here’s what we found:

Catherine Hanaway:

Gov. Jay Nixon
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Missouri's new state budget is $115 million lighter, after Gov. Jay Nixon announced temporary cuts to 131 programs and state agencies.

He told reporters Wednesday it was necessary because state revenues are not growing as fast as projected.

Catherine Hanaway looks on as Eric Greitens speaks at St. Louis Public Radio's GOP gubernatorial candidate debate.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If Missourians tuned into their NPR affiliated station Wednesday night expecting an easy-going session from Lake Wobegon, they were in for a big surprise.

That’s because the debate between Missouri’s four GOP hopefuls for governor was a, dare I say, lively event. It came as Catherine Hanaway, Eric Greitens, John Brunner and Peter Kinder head into the final stretch of the high-stakes and expensive campaign.

Peter Kinder, Catherine Hanaway, John Brunner and Eric Greitens speak at St. Louis Public Radio's GOP gubernatorial candidate debate.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

With time slipping away, Missouri’s four Republican candidates are heightening their attacks — in person and in their ads — as they head into the final stretch before the Aug. 2 primary.

By even their own accounts, Wednesday’s debate at St. Louis Public Radio’s studio – and broadcast by public radio stations around the state — appeared to be their liveliest. And the nastiest.

Join St. Louis Public Radio on July 6 for a live broadcast debate between Missouri GOP gubernatorial candidates.
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio.

On July 6, St. Louis Public Radio hosted Missouri's GOP gubernatorial contenders ahead of the August primary so you could hear their stances during a debate. Scroll down to listen to the audio, watch a video of the debate or read our reporters' analysis of the night.

St. Louis city police convene June 28, 2016 at the park across the street from the St. Louis Public Library headquarters on Olive Street downtown. People experiencing homelessness often can be found at the park.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Homeless advocates say a bill being considered by St. Louis aldermen would bar them from helping people in need.

The measure would require a vendor’s license to distribute food, blankets or other goods on city sidewalks or parks — even if those items are being given away. It would also make it illegal to give anything away between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

We want politicians to focus on the issues, right? 

But it's pretty tricky to agree on what the issues are and a lot depends on who's doing the defining. 

St. Louis Public Radio wants to help you —  first time voters and keen political observers alike — understand the basics for our live debate with the Missouri Republican candidates for governor. And these are likely the same issues that will come up when the GOP candidate faces off against Chris Koster in November. 

Here's some background on the issues we expect our politics team, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum, to ask the candidates about at tonight's debate. 

cigarette
seannaber | Flickr

A Missouri appeals court will hear arguments Thursday in a case that could result in a proposed cigarette tax increases being kicked off the November ballot.

arty representation of jackson on currency
_J_D_R_ | Flickr

The state of Missouri’s income collections for June are down more than 22 percent, compared to a year ago. 

That sharp decline is among the reasons Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration will not be implementing the first phase of a state income tax cut that had been scheduled to go into effect when the new fiscal year began last Friday.

In fact, Nixon is planning a news conference Wednesday to announce possible cuts or withholdings he may make in the new budget, which kicked in on July 1.

Zack and Brie Smithey's railroad-shipping container home on Elm Street in St. Charles will be painted taupe and include glass windows across the front.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Charles City Council defeated a proposal Tuesday night that would have banned residents from building shipping-container houses in areas with only brick and siding homes.

But that's not the end of the controversy.

At the center of the flap is a home under construction on Elm Street. St. Charles residents Zack and Brie Smithey are building their 3,000-square-foot house out of eight railroad shipping containers.

Steve Eagleton
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies continue their interviews with candidates for the 15th District Senate seat. This time around, they’re interviewing Democrat Steve Eagleton.

The 15th District takes in parts of south and central St. Louis County. Since Sen. Eric Schmitt is term-limited, the race for the seat this year is wide open.

A voter enters Our Lady of Guadalupe School on election day in Ferguson.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

Updated with new comments - The deadline to register to vote for Missouri’s Aug. 2 primary election is Wednesday, July 6.

You can register in person at your city or county board of election office, a local library or the Department of Motor Vehicles. To register online, submit your application through the Missouri Secretary of State’s website GoVoteMissouri.com by 5 p.m.

Mark Boyko
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome Democrat Mark Boyko to the show for the first time.

Eric Greitens, John Brunner, Catherine Hanaway and Peter Kinder are campaigning to become Missouri's GOP gubernatorial candidate.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On July 6, St. Louis Public Radio will host a live debate with the Missouri candidates running to become the GOP candidate-of-choice in the August 2 primary for governor.

An infrared photograph shows a water main leak in Webster Groves. Water utility companies photograph roads at night to determine which pipes may be in need of repair.
Missouri American Water | Provided

The Missouri Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether Missouri American Water can keep charging its St. Louis County customers an infrastructure fee, despite a drop in the county's population.

Since 2002, the utility's 340,000 customers in the county have paid an additional $3-a-month infrastructure replacement surcharge, which allows Missouri American to replace old water mains before they break. But in March, a state appeals court ruled that the utility could no longer collect that surcharge because St. Louis County's population had dropped below the required 1 million people.

credit cards
Frankieleon | Flickr | http://bit.ly/293yef2

A St. Louis alderman wants to give the city's municipal court a way to cover the cost of processing credit card payments.

It is much more convenient to pay a fine on a credit card all at once, rather than dropping off a payment in person or going to court every week. But the convenience comes at a cost for the court, because credit card companies charge for each transaction.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The United States is welcoming about 7,000 new citizens this holiday weekend, including a number of St. Louis area residents. 

Twenty-four St. Louisans took the oath of citizenship in the rotunda of the old courthouse in downtown St. Louis in a special Independence Day ceremony Friday afternoon.

Planned Parenthood supporters rally in 2015 outside the agency's clinic in St. Louis after a mass shooting at a clinic in Colorado Springs.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

State officials charged with overseeing Missouri’s changes in its women’s health program for the poor are officially estimating it will be next April before a new state-funded program is in place that bars Planned Parenthood from participating.

Missouri’s Department of Social Services has posted its phase-out plan on its website. It comes after Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that it will take months for the state to replace its federally funded women’s health program – which must include Planned Parenthood – with a state-funded program that does not.

Fair St. Louis is happening in Forest Park this weekend.
Fair St. Louis Foundation

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed some of the top news stories.

Topics included the Illinois budget negotiations as well as this weekend’s Fair Saint Louis in Forest Park.

We were joined by:

This blowup hit Highway 54 in Callaway County during June's heat wave.
Provided by Missouri Department of Transportation

The recent heat wave has damaged several highways across Missouri, especially in the central part of the state.

At least a dozen incidents of buckling concrete, sometimes called "blow-ups," were called in to MoDOT during the recent heat wave. It occurs when the surface of a road expands at a crack or joint where water has seeped in.

hundred dollar bills bound in rubber bands
Pictures of Money | Flickr

Updated with more money: Since June 10, Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway has received roughly $2.4 million from three groups: Grow Missouri, Great St. Louis and Missourians for Excellence in Government.

And all three groups got their money from one man: wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield, who is – by far – the state’s top political donor.

People who are homeless rest in the cafeteria at the Bridge Outreach on Wed. March 30, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

The Bridge Outreach is closing Thursday after serving thousands of meals a week to homeless people for more than a decade.

St. Louis officials and service providers have come up with a patchwork plan to fill the gap in services until the city’s 24-hour shelter opens.

But some advocates for homeless people say they’re worried the plan won’t be enough to meet the need.

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

Do not fear, lobbyists — your place on the floor of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is safe for the foreseeable future.

The city's rules committee on Wednesday voted down a piece of legislation sponsored by Alderman Megan-Ellyia Green, D-15th Ward, that would have banished lobbyists to the hall, the galleries, or the side rooms at City Hall. Just one committee member, Alderman Christine Ingrassia, D-6th Ward, voted yes.

Vinita Terrace trustee Mary Tevlin speaks in favor of a proposed merger with Vinita Park at a public hearing on May 24, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated June 29 with ballot approval - The St. Louis County Boundary Commission had approved a proposed merger between Vinita Park and Vinita Terrace. The issue now goes on the ballot in both towns. No one who spoke at a public hearing in May opposed the idea.

Vinita Park already provides a number of services, including policing, for its smaller neighbor.

The Rev. Michael Kinman, dean of Christ Church Cathedral and Magdalene St. Louis board president during Magdalene House opening ceremonies May 30, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh spoke with Rev. Michael Kinman, dean of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis. Kinman will be leaving St. Louis to serve Episcopal congregants in Pasadena, California this fall.

Ashely Tate dances between two of her students in preparation for "Dance to Vote."
Nancy Fowler / St. Louis Public Radio

Dancers are helping people get a leg up on voting this Saturday afternoon in University City.

An outdoor performance in front of Vintage Vinyl is designed to encourage passers-by to register and cast their ballots in the Aug. 2 Missouri primary. Three dance companies will alternate voting-related performances from 2-5 p.m.  Four spoken word artists will also participate.

Rick Stream 2016
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Former state Rep. Rick Stream – who almost became St. Louis County executive and now is running for the Missouri Senate – once again joins Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies on St. Louis Public Radio’s Politically Speaking podcast.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

It was a busy day for Gov. Jay Nixon, as his final year in office heads toward the halfway point.

He told reporters Tuesday that he signed seven more bills into law while vetoing eight others. Several of those approved and shot down are composed of tax breaks.

He specifically singled out three bills for criticism Tuesday: SB 641, HB 2030, and SB 1025.

Bloomsberries | Flickr

Prosecutors in the city of St. Louis are taking their push to protect witness information to the public.

The circuit attorney's office is holding a community forum Wednesday night at the headquarters of the local branch of the NAACP to "talk about how important the participation of victims and witnesses is in the criminal justice system and how we all play a role in supporting them." But it's nearly a guarantee that an usually obscure state Supreme Court rule will come up.

William Freivogel, Elizabeth Sepper and Susan Appleton joined Don Marsh in studio Tuesday.
Kim Oswalt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a panel of local legal experts in a conversation about the month’s most pressing news about the law.

Guests:

  • William Freivogel, J.D., Professor, School of Journalism, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
  • Susan Appleton, J.D., Lemma Barkeloo and Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law, Washington University
  • Elizabeth Sepper, J.D., Professor of Law, Washington University

Topics Addressed:

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