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Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson addresses the House on the final day of the legislative session. May 18,  2018
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

For the first time in memory, the Missouri House skipped its traditional end-of-session celebratory paper toss at 6 p.m. Friday.

And outgoing House Speaker Todd Richardson quoted from Shakespeare’s great tragedy, “Macbeth.”

Such were some of this session’s significant differences, large and small, from its predecessors.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 10:22 p.m. May 18 with the latest on the special session.)

Missouri’s special legislative session to consider whether to impeach Gov. Eric Greitens has officially begun, but so far nothing much has happened.

House and Senate members briefly opened the session Friday to make a few motions, then adjourned until Tuesday to hold technical sessions, which last a couple of minutes and only require two or three lawmakers per chamber. But the committee that’s been investigating Greitens is meeting twice next week.

Flickr | Mike Mozart

Missouri voters will be asked in November to increase the state’s gas tax by 10 cents a gallon.

The Missouri House approved the proposal Friday, in the final hours of the legislative session, after the Senate had tacked it onto another bill.

The increase would be phased in over 10 years, and would be used to pay for road and bridge projects, and underwrite some of the costs for the Missouri Highway Patrol.

“We just can’t keep putting this off,’’ said state Rep. Kathie Conway, a Republican from St. Charles. “We need the money.”

Gov. Eric Greitens walks away from reporters after making a statement outside the Circuit Court building. May 14, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Rachel Lippmann and Jo Mannies detail a dramatic week in Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ legal and political saga.

This was supposed to be the first week of Gov. Eric Greitens’ trial for felony invasion of privacy. But as jury selection trudged along at a glacial pace, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office shocked many observers by dropping the case.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen chambers on July 7, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen Friday delayed a final vote on changes to the city’s residency requirement for workers and the number of aldermen.

Supporters of reversing a 2012 public vote that cut the number of wards from 28 to 14, and of eliminating the residency requirement for most city employees, did not have the votes to send the measures to Mayor Lyda Krewson. She had already pledged to veto the ward reduction reversal.

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

On the surface, it may seem odd that Catherine Hanaway decided to join Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ flourishing legal team.

The former House speaker and U.S. attorney ran against Greitens during a contentious GOP Republican primary, often trading sharp barbs against the eventual victor’s credentials and fundraising. Ultimately, Hanaway was an enthusiastic surrogate for Greitens after he won the primary — and several people from her campaign joined his administration.

Gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens looks at his ballot before sitting down to vote at the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson announced he will not charge Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens for filing false campaign finance reports.

It’s a situation that stems back to April 2017, when Greitens signed a consent order with the Missouri Ethics Commission about a matter that may become a major rationale for his potential impeachment.

Paul McKee on March 28, 2018.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis alderwoman is pushing for state and federal law enforcement to investigate St. Louis developer Paul McKee, whose 1,500-acre redevelopment project in north St. Louis has received millions in development incentives.

The investigation would pursue allegations that McKee inflated property values to gain more state tax credits when he purchased buildings, Alderwoman Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward, said. Spencer introduced a resolution Friday calling for the investigation.

Lily Dayan, left, and Devin Corley, right, take part in a walkout at Kirkwood High School to protest gun violence on March 14, 2018.
Devin Corley

Kirkwood High School freshmen Devin Corley and Lily Dayan decided they were going to make a change, starting with themselves and other local teens.

At Corley and Dayan's instigation, students from across the region are set to participate Saturday in a Black Lives Matter Youth Protest at the Aloe Plaza in downtown St. Louis. 

Missouri Capitol on April 24
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated Friday, May 18, to reflect change in corporate tax rate)

The Missouri General Assembly has approved significant cuts in income-tax rates for individuals and is expected to do the same for businesses before it adjourns Friday.

But the exact impact on the state’s finances is not quite clear.

State Rep. Elijah Haahr, a Republican from Springfield, is chief sponsor of the bill that drops the individual income-tax rate from 5.9 percent to 5.1 percent over several years. The first rate cut goes into effect next year.

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

The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens has sued two political groups connected to the governor demanding they turn over documents.

“The Chair of The Committee, as a member of the House of Representatives, ‘has an absolute right to have a subpoena issue(d) to obtain evidence concerning an offense over which the House of Representatives has jurisdiction,” attorneys for the committee wrote in the suit, filed Thursday in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City. “The impeachment of an executive officer of Missouri, including a governor, is an offense over which the House of Representatives has jurisdiction.”

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks Thursday in Jefferson City to a group of mostly farmers and students about what he called "rip-off" artists who were out to get him.May 17, 2018
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Standing in a light rain in the shadow of the state Capitol, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens blamed “rip-off artists” in the state’s low-income housing program “who thought they ran Missouri” for many of his legal troubles and the threat of his impeachment.

But recalling his past as a Navy SEAL, Greitens declared Thursday that they won’t succeed because he was taught to never quit.

Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

The first open hearing of the Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens featured some heated exchanges between members and the governor’s attorneys.

Committee members heard from Ed Greim and Ross Garber, two attorneys hired by Greitens “in his capacity as governor.” They appeared before the committee Wednesday to propose several rules and a tentative schedule for the 30-day, special legislative session, which begins Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Lawmakers in the Missouri House work to pass legislation before the close of session Friday evening. May 16, 2018.
Casey Nolan | KSDK, published with permission

The Missouri House has approved a massive tax bill that, among other things, trims the state’s historic tax credit program, and bars any general-revenue spending for sports stadiums.

The bill approved Wednesday also would punish developers who provide false information to obtain state tax credits by barring them from the state aid for 10 years.

And it would require homeowners who rent out rooms under such programs as Airbnb to pay the local tourism taxes already assessed on hotels.

The task force will explore what kinds of affordable housing county residents need and how to finance the trust fund.
Creative Commons

Housing experts say goals to build more moderate-cost housing to St. Louis County could founder without incentives. Developers are less likely to build properties for low-income renters without them because the cost of development could outweigh profits.

The 2018 For the Sake of All report, “Segregation in St. Louis: Dismantling the Divide,” shows how neighborhoods a few miles apart vary in unemployment, poverty, income and life expectancy rates. It identifies how a few changes in housing policies in the region could give low-income households greater access to areas with more opportunities, such as employment. Several organizations, including ArchCity Defenders, Empower Missouri and Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, helped produce the report. 

Michael and Danielle Abril pose for a portrait in front of their home in Kirkwood's Meacham Park neighborhood. April 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Michael and Danielle Abril are active members of the Meacham Park Neighborhood Association. They show up at meetings. They volunteer. They help inform others in the community.

“Meacham Park is a blessing to us because it allowed us to be relatively close to my work and in a great place, a great community,” Michael Abril said.

The neighborhood is a mostly black area of Kirkwood that had been segregated from the rest of the city for years. But that’s changing.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has overwhelmingly approved a wide-ranging criminal justice bill that would revamp the state’s system.

Among other things, the measure ends the statute of limitations for prosecuting sex crimes when the victim is under the age of 19.

The House also has passed a different bill, which includes a provision that would allow the lieutenant governor to step in and appoint members of boards and commissions if the governor fails to make those appointments within six months after the posts become vacant.

Dozens of Palestinians and supporters, including Hadeel Salameh, marched in downtown St. Louis to commemorate Nakba Day.  May 15, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A planned local observance of Nakba, the day Palestinians commemorate their displacement following Israel’s establishment in 1948 and the Arabic word for "catastrophe," took on greater significance for a group of St. Louis activists and business owners Tuesday.

Joining host Don Marsh on Tuesday’s show to unpack the developments of the past 24 hours were (from left) St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann, former Missouri Supreme Court chief justice Michael Wolff and STLPR reporter Jason Rosenbaum.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the surprising turn of events that made headlines late Monday afternoon in the continuing legal saga surrounding Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

As St. Louis Public Radio reported Monday, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner dropped the felony invasion of privacy charge against Greitens after the prosecutor was herself endorsed as a witness in the case. The news came with jury selection for the trial already well underway.

Governor Eric Greitens speaks to reporters outside the Civil Courts Building in downtown St. Louis after his felony invasion of privacy charge was dropped. May 14, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In a saga that’s featured twists, turns, drama and intrigue, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s decision to drop a felony invasion of privacy charge was genuinely surprising.

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