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Anders Krusberg | Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Ted Koppel, former “Nightline” anchor and commentator for NPR, joined guest host Steve Potter to discuss the responsibility of the media during the 2016 election.

“It certainly has the atmosphere of a three-ring event,” said Koppel. “The tone of it probably owes as much to entertainment as it does to the serious pursuit of politics. … I don’t think it has ever been at a lower level of politesse as it has been in the last fifteen years.”

Missouri's five major gubernatorial candidates
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The so-called religious shield law, SJR 39, has already made a big impact on the Missouri General Assembly’s session. And depending on what the Missouri House does in the next couple of weeks, the proposed constitutional amendment could loom very large over the race for Missouri governor.

The proposal would legally shield people from participating in or selling services to a same-sex wedding. To say the measure stoked controversy would be an understatement, especially after GOP senators used a parliamentary maneuver to cut off debate and get it to the House.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt are the front runners for the Democratic and Republican nominations in the next Senate race.
official photos

With Missouri’s primary and general elections just months away, some of the state’s top candidates are focusing on their base as much as their bank account.

That’s particularly true of the state’s U.S. Senate candidates — Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and his Democratic rival, Secretary of State Jason Kander.

Aldermen Joe Vaccaro (rear standing) and Shane Cohn (front standing) debate the minimum wage increase on July 20, 2015.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio intern | File photo

Monday is the last day of the Board of Aldermen session that began back in April. Things start fresh again the very next day.

Aldermen introduced 324 bills in the 41 weeks they were in session. Ninety-two percent of them passed, most without fanfare or controversy. Some, however, rose to the level of national news. Here is a look back at the aldermanic session that was.

This fall, U.S. Census Bureau workers will come to St. Louis to verify, using in part smartphones, the agency's address lists, compiled using a new method. Those lists will help the Bureau conduct the 2020 Census.
U.S. Census Bureau

If you've ever wondered how the U.S. Census Bureau prepares to count the nation's population every 10 years, a new test being done in St. Louis offers some insight.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, who is running for state attorney general, speaks during the Pachyderm Attorney General Forum on Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Days.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate has voted to required the director of Planned Parenthood for St. Louis and Southwest Missouri to explain why the organization hasn’t released subpoenaed documents relating to the disposal procedures of aborted fetal tissue.

Kristi Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people that produced them and contributed to them.

This week, we discussed Peabody’s bankruptcy filing, Senate Joint Resolution 39 and the Washington University-adjunct faculty contract negotiations.

Joining us:

Tim Bommel|Missouri House Communications

The first of several ethics proposals to come out of the Missouri legislature this year has been signed into law.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed House Bill 1983 during a brief ceremony in his state Capitol office. It bars lawmakers and other elected officials from hiring each other as paid political consultants.

Tom Villa
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann break down St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s stunning decision not to run for a fifth term with St. Louis Alderman Tom Villa.

After he told Rosenbaum in late March that he would run for another term, Slay shocked the political world last week by effectively changing his mind. The decision sets up an unpredictable race to replace Slay, which may involve citywide officials, state lawmakers, aldermen and business leaders.

K9 Inspector Jasmine Bourne and her partner, Eette, screen a traveler's luggage at Lambert Airport.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

Bomb-sniffing dogs will begin screening travelers for explosives at Lambert Airport in the next few weeks.  

The Transportation Security Administration announced plans Tuesday to expand its canine program in St. Louis.

The presence of the dogs among passengers does not mean the airport faces any new danger, said Missouri’s TSA Security Director Jim Spriggs.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Business and religious leaders were on opposite sides at a committee hearing on a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would shield some people from participating in or selling services to a same-sex wedding.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 passed the Senate last month, but only after Republican leaders forced a vote and shutdown a nearly 40-hour filibuster by Democrats.

Nate Birt | Provided

Updated with comments from researchers. - A team led by University of Missouri-St. Louis researcher Beth Huebner will get more than $2 million to reduce the population of the St. Louis County jail.

St. Louis County  is one of 11 jurisdictions to receive a grant through the  John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge. Over the next two years, the county and its partners will use the funds to reduce the number of people held at the jail by at least 15 percent.

paper ballot voting places
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Updated on Wednesday with comments from state lawmakers: In Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander’s view, what happened last week in St. Louis County was an “inexcusable” event that prevented eligible voters from casting their ballots.

The Democratic official launched an investigation into why roughly 60 polling places ran out of ballots during last week’s municipal elections. His findings largely matched up with what St. Louis Board of Elections director Eric Fey said: There were errors in a database detailing the number of ballot types needed at certain polling places.

A view looking out on the rotunda from the second floor of St. Louis city hall.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

With nearly a year to go before St. Louisans pick a mayor to replace Francis Slay, people are floating lots of names.

Now in his fourth term as mayor, Slay announced last week that he would not seek re-election. When it comes to qualifications for his successor, people are looking for someone who supports healthy economic growth, has a keen eye for justice and equity, and who knows how the system works, but isn’t afraid to shake things up.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The latest legislation against the 1 percent earnings tax in St. Louis is on hold in the Missouri Senate.

Late Monday, Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, unveiled a revamped bill that would NOT phase out the tax, but instead would exempt St. Louis residents from paying on the first $10,000 earned. Also, anyone at or below the federal poverty level would not have to pay the tax at all.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

Bicycle enthusiasts in Missouri are breathing a sigh of relief over the fate of one bill while worrying about another.

First, there's House Bill 2046, which would require bicycles to have reflective orange flags mounted on 15-foot-long poles whenever they're being ridden on state lettered routes. The second, House Bill 2047, would allow limited use of golf carts and so-called utility vehicles on the Katy Trail.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signs an executive order  "banning the box" on state job applications at the office of the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon “banned the box” for potential state employees, the Show Me State joined a nationwide trend aimed at helping ex-offenders move back into the workforce.

His executive order would remove application questions about criminal history for most state jobs.

There are exceptions for positions where a criminal conviction is disqualifying, such as a bank examiner. “Ban the box” doesn’t necessarily mean that a person’s criminal history won’t come up in the hiring process — it just wouldn’t be placed on a job application.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Beyond Housing President and CEO Chris Krehmeyer and Normandy Mayor Patrick Green joined host Don Marsh in discussing Senate Bill 5, which deals with municipal court overhaul. Recently, a Cole County judge rejected major parts of the law. More background on that here.

Jason Smith
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbuam and Rachel Lippmann are pleased to welcome U.S. Rep. Jason Smith to the show for the first time.

The Republican lawmaker was elected to represent Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in 2013 in a special election. The 8th District encompasses a swath of southeast and south central Missouri, as well as portions of the St. Louis metropolitan area like Jefferson County and all of Ste. Genevieve County.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

The 2016 baseball season finally starts HERE on Monday.

There’ll be a sea of red in the stands at Busch Stadium and Clydesdales circling the warning track, as Cardinals fans put a rocky week of on-the-road baseball behind them and welcome home their 2015 National League Central Division champs.

Scroll down for info on opening day ceremonies -- a highlight will be the first pitch by beloved Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock -- and changes fans can expect at the ball yard this season.

And, because it’s the 10th anniversary of the stadium, we begin with a little quiz.

Steakpinball | Flickr

In the past year and a half, St. Louis County’s municipal courts have a handful of self-reforms like recalling warrants and standardizing traffic fines.

 Now, they’re turning their attention to technology for the newest effort at improving the way courts run.

 Officials are developing a smartphone app that literally puts information about municipal courts into people’s pockets. 

Blues musician Bobby Rush, museum leaders and Mayor Francis Slay celebrate the opening of the National Blues Museum on Saturday, April 2, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

It was just a couple of weeks ago that St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay unequivocally told this reporter that he would run for a historic fifth term.

Now, the Democratic official has changed course and won’t be running for another four years in office. And that means next year’s mayoral contest could be a free-for-all of epic proportions.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This week's "Behind the Headlines" segment took a quick turn on Friday morning when St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay announced he would not run for re-election. Luckily, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Rachel Lippmann and Jason Rosenbaum, were on the story and able to share some perspective into the announcement and what possibly could come next.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

This is a developing story and will be updated. Mayor Francis Slay is not seeking a fifth term in office.

The longest-serving mayor in the city's history made the announcement Friday at a hastily called press conference at City Hall. He was first sworn in in 2001.

"I will not be a candidate for mayor next year," Slay said. As recently as March 28, he had indicated he would be seeking another term, and said as much on our Politically Speaking podcast.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Working to pass Missouri's state budget ahead of schedule seems to be the new normal.

Usually at this point in the legislative year, the 13 bills making up the state budget would have barely been in the Missouri Senate's hands for a week. But on Thursday the upper chamber passed 12 of the 13 bills, sending them back to the House to set the stage for final negotiations.

Ferguson City Manager De'Carlon Seewood
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson officials say mixed results from Tuesday’s election will not keep the city from complying with its consent decree with the Justice Department.

Voters approved a sales tax increase but a measure to hike property taxes fell short of its needed two-thirds majority.

Bill Kreeb, president and CEO of Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, and Elizabeth Patton-Whiteside, public health administrator at the East Side Health District.
Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Updated 12:00 p.m., April 7 with news of more layoffs — Metro East social service agency Lessie Bates Neighborhood House says it can't afford to continue offering in-home care to 300 seniors from the East St. Louis area.  

If the state is unable to find another agency to provide in-home care, the seniors could have to move into nursing homes when Lessie Bates temporarily closes its in-home care program at the end of the month.

Lessie Bates is also laying off 117 employees who work in the program. 

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

While Donald Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric about immigrants (calling Latino immigrants “criminals” and “rapists,” for example) has scored thousands of headlines across the globe, political scientist Zoltan Hajnal said there is a growing number of white, working class Americans who back up those kind of beliefs.

St. Louis fire chief, Dennis Jenkerson, is all smiles on April 6, 2016 after city voters overwhelmingly approved the earnings tax and a bond issue.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The overwhelming votes in St. Louis and Kansas City to keep the earnings tax may short-circuit efforts at the state level to eliminate it in St. Louis.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, is spearheading the measure, which would phase out the 1 percent tax over 10 years. On Thursday, Senate Republican leader Ron Richard said he will not push to bring his colleague's bill up for a vote.

Eric Fey, the Democratic director for the St. Louis County Board of Elections.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

It would be an understatement to say that Tuesday was not a good day for Eric Fey.

The Democratic director for the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners is in charge of the largest and most complicated local electoral jurisdiction in the state. And during yesterday’s slate of municipal elections, polling places across the county ran out of paper ballots — even in the early hours of the morning. Things got so dire that a court ultimately extended voting hours — after the polls had already closed.

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