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(Updated) Three weeks to go before the Aug. 2 primary, Missouri’s GOP candidates are hitting the road — and doubling down on the negatives.

police car lights
Jason Rojas | Flickr

A new law signed by Gov. Jay Nixon last week will make it easier for county law enforcement agencies in Missouri to assist one another in an emergency.

House Bill 1936 removes language in state law that only allowed a county sheriff's office to lend immediate assistance to a bordering county. Cole County Sheriff Greg White says the new law will reduce red tape.

Wikipedia

Regardless of whether Missouri becomes a battleground in the presidential contest, national labor leaders see the state as one of their top priorities this fall.

“Missouri has the most important governor’s race in the country going on right now,” said Richard Trumka, national president of the AFL-CIO, during an exclusive interview while he was in St. Louis over the weekend.

Legislation on Mayor Slay's desk would encourage the use of bump-outs, such as this one at Chouteau and Mississippi, to calm or slow down traffic.
Donna Korando | St. Louis Public Radio

Traffic calming is the use of street design, or construction like speed humps or bump-outs to control speed on residential streets. And legislation awaiting Mayor Francis Slay's signature would bring a comprehensive policy on traffic calming to St. Louis for the first time.

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, and Congressman Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay and state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal don’t have a lot of commonalities. But they’re both good at winning elections.

Inspired and fueled by their successful mentors, Clay and Chappelle-Nadal have withstood strong challenges to survive and advance through Missouri politics. Now, the two University City Democrats are putting their unblemished electoral records on the line in a battle to represent the 1st Congressional District.

Jake Zimmerman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman, now a Democratic candidate for Missouri attorney general, joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum for our latest Politically Speaking podcast.

It’s Zimmerman’s second appearance on the show, but his first since the current candidate field was set. The Politically Speaking crew has now hosted all four of the major-party contenders for attorney general.

Curran | Flickr

Updated with reaction: Backers of a ballot proposal to increase Missouri’s tobacco tax apparently have only until 4 p.m. Monday to seek a rehearing or an appeal of a court ruling that otherwise could keep the measure off the November ballot.

Late Saturday, the backers — officially known as the Raise Your Hand for Kids coalition — filed the paperwork to do just that. Other players in the court fight still face the Monday deadline.

All of the action comes after a state appeals court ruled Friday that the ballot summary for the proposed constitutional amendment was  “unfair, insufficient and likely to mislead voters.”

Law enforcement officials are investigating identified suspect Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, of Mesquite, who was killed Friday morning by police after an hours-long standoff.

Father Mike Boehm, right, a chaplain with the St. Louis County Police Department, spoke with county police officers Evan Roettering, center, and Benjamin Selz, left foreground, at the incident command post for the Ferguson civil unrest. Fr. Boehm witnesse
Teak Phillips | St. Louis Review

St. Louis area police chaplains say the shooting of a Ballwin police officer Friday has shaken the local law enforcement community, especially since the incident came hours after word that 12 officers had been shot by a sniper in Dallas. Five of those 12 officers were killed.

The chaplains are making themselves available so St. Louis officers can have a listening ear and a comforting presence.

s_falkow | Flickr

Gov. Jay Nixon has signed a wide-ranging bill into law that contains language limiting the release of video recorded by police cameras.

Senate Bill 732 mandates that video recorded by cameras mounted on police cars or any other device carried by an officer, including body cameras, to be a closed record under Missouri's open records law.  It will also remain a closed record until the investigation becomes inactive.

Dotson Precautions Tweet
Provided by Twitter

The deadly ambush of police in Dallas is prompting law enforcement in the St. Louis area to take precautions to better protect officers.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson says he is taking steps to “maximize the safety of officers” throughout his department.

They include:

Five officers were killed and six others injured Thursday night in downtown Dallas after a protest over two recent fatal police shootings. A suspect was reported dead early this morning.


Ethical Society of Police president Sgt. Heather Taylor speaks to a forum on disparities in the St. Louis police and fire departments on July 7, 2016. Her organization has called on chief Sam Dotson to resign.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

The organization representing black police officers in the city of St. Louis is demanding that St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson resign.

Sgt. Heather Taylor, the president of the Ethical Society of Police, made the demand Thursday night at a forum set up to tell people about the disparities in the police and fire departments.

Voting booths
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Legislation that would have required Missouri voters to show photo identification at the polls has been vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

"(House Bill 1631) is such an affront to Missourians' fundamental right to vote that it requires that our Constitution be amended for its voter suppression provisions to become effective," Nixon said in his veto letter. "Making voting more difficult for qualified voters and disenfranchising certain classes of people is wrong. I will (also) oppose the constitutional amendment in November."

A crowd gathered at Ferguson police headquarters Wednesday night to stand in solidarity with Alton Sterling's community in Baton Rouge and continue to demand racial equality and police reform.
Lawrence Bryant | The St. Louis American

Near a Save-A-Lot in south St. Louis, two young men stood on Jefferson Avenue on Thursday, selling DVD’s and discussing two other men who died many miles away.

Ikane Smith, a wiry man who wore a large blue T-shirt and jeans, bounced from foot to foot. Derrek Haggins wore a white button down shirt and a black bowtie.  Both were painfully aware of the thin line separating their lives from the lives of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

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.

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