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Politics & Issues

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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 heads back to City Hall Monday for the final day of the current session with several pieces of legislation hanging in the balance.

A protest buffer zone around medical facilities such as Planned Parenthood in the Central West End is the highest-profile measure still awaiting action. Supporters say buffer zone is needed to keep clinic patients and staff safe. Opponents call it a violation of the First Amendment.

Missouri Statehouse
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House and Senate members were able to get some work done this week, despite the time and attention paid to the report that came out Wednesday on Gov. Eric Greitens.

Among the measures passed by the Missouri Senate is a proposed constitutional amendment to change term limits for members of the legislature, allowing them to serve up to 16 years in any one chamber or to divide that time between the House and Senate. Currently they can only serve up to eight years in each chamber.

Gov. Eric Greitens on Wednesday blasted a Missouri House committee report, even before it was released, calling it "filled with lies" and part of a "political witch hunt." April 4, 2018.
Erin Achenbach | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Rachel Lippmann and Marshall Griffin examine all of the developments in Gov. Eric Greitens’ legal and political saga.

This week’s episode focuses on a House committee report that’s prompting bipartisan calls for Greitens to step down.

Attorney Al Watkins speaks with reporters outside the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis following a hearing. March 26, 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Lawmakers want to know who helped pay legal expenses for a man intricately involved in Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ legal and political saga.

It comes as a bipartisan contingent of lawmakers also want to know who is paying the governor’s legal bills.

St. Louis Symphony music director David Robertson spoke about the 2015-16 season with "Cityscape" host Steve Potter.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

On May 6, David Robertson will raise his baton for the final time as music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Coming to a close is Robertson’s 13-year tenure, highlighted by Grammy Award-winning recordings, national and international tours, and hundreds of concerts at Powell Hall.

Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh speaks to reporters on April 12, 2018. Walsh doesn't want any bills sent to Gov. Eric Greitens until the impeachment process starts soon.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Some Senate Democrats don’t want to send any more bills to Gov. Eric Greitens’ desk unless House members begin the impeachment process immediately — as opposed to a special session after May 18.

It’s a sentiment that capped off an emotional day in the Missouri Senate, where lawmakers from both parties lamented on a startling House report on the governor’s conduct.

Scores of reporters look on as House Speaker Todd Richardson addresses the media on April 11, 2018. The release of House report on Gov. Eric Greitens' conduct is opening the door to impeachment proceedings.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

State Rep. Kathie Conway was one of the first Republican lawmakers to suggest that Gov. Eric Greitens resign.

It was a move that set her apart from most of her Republican and Democratic colleagues, many of whom wanted to wait for more information to come out about a 2015 extramarital affair.

Now, high-ranking members of both parties have joined Conway in calling for Greitens to leave after a startling House committee report. But Conway isn’t saying ‘I told you so.’ Instead, she’s lamenting how his refusal to step down may affect the business of state government.

Harvard University’s Jonathan Walton will discuss “Religion at a Conversation Starter! Embracing King’s Political Philosophy of ‘Somebodiness’” on Tuesday, April 17, at Wash U.
Jeffrey Blackwell | Harvard University

Religion and politics don’t always pair well, and both have a reputation as conversation stoppers. But so much of the work of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. occurred at the intersection of those two often-avoided topics, and his efforts were part of a tradition that lives on.

“I’m thinking, for example, of folks here in St. Louis, names like Rev. Traci Blackmon, Rabbi Susan Talve,” said Lerone Martin, a Washington University faculty member who joined St. Louis on the Air on Thursday for a discussion of King’s legacy. “And even more broadly in the U.S. we can think about someone like Rev. [William] Barber, who’s trying to plan a poor people’s campaign in a similar tradition and vein.”

Howard Weissman and Nichole Dawsey of NCADA
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The number of opioid-related deaths in the St. Louis region is poised to once again break a record.

Opioid-related deaths include overdoses on prescription painkillers, heroin and, increasingly, fentanyl - a prescription drug more potent than heroin that is often mixed with other substances.

In 2016, 712 people died due to opioids. That number is expected to be about 750 people in 2017, explained Howard Weissman, executive director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA).

Gov. Eric Greitens on Wednesday blasted a Missouri House committee report, even before it was released, calling it "filled with lies" and part of a "political witch hunt." April 4, 2018.
Erin Achenbach | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 8 p.m. with reactions from state officials including Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who called for the governor to resign — The woman with whom Gov. Eric Greitens had an affair in 2015 told a special Missouri House committee investigating his conduct that she felt coerced into a sexual act during one of their early meetings.

The woman, who had been Greitens’ hair stylist, told the committee that Greitens was “controlling” during the encounter on March 21, 2015, tying her to pull-up rings in his basement and tearing her shirt and pants without her consent. She also told the committee she felt compelled to perform oral sex in order to be able to get to work on time. 

Jeff Clements (left) and Alderwoman Megan Green (right) discussed a nation-wide campaign thats calls for a 28th amendment to limit campaign contributions.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

A series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission struck down long-standing campaign finance laws. The rulings determined that the use of unlimited money to influence the outcome of an election by individuals, corporations, unions and other entities is free speech protected by the First Amendment.

The organizations American Promise and American Constitution Society have launched a national town hall tour to garner support for election financing reform which could result in a proposal for a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Ed Dowd, defense attorney for Gov. Eric Greitens, speaks to reporters outside the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. March 26, 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The judge in Gov. Eric Greitens’ invasion of privacy trial is ordering attorneys, witnesses and parties to stop talking publicly about certain aspects of the case.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner sought and received an order from St. Louis Circuit Judge Burlison on Tuesday that prevents “counsel, the parties, and endorsed witnesses” from “making any public statements outside the courtroom regarding the identity of witnesses and their expected testimony, references to specific evidence to be offered at trial, and any personal belief in the defendant’s guilt or innocence.”

Statewide population data shows that females in Missouri ages 16 and older who work full-time jobs all year won’t earn as much as men until 2066.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

While pay for most Missouri women lags behind that of men, leaders at the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis say some local businesses are leading the way in compensation as well as hiring and promoting women.

The organization released results from a 2017 Employment Scorecard survey ahead of Equal Pay Day, April 10, a symbolic date that draws awareness to pay inequality between men and women, and some cases among women themselves. 

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 now has more time to do so.

The deadline for the committee to wrap up its investigation and recommend action has been extended to May 18. That’s four days after the Republican governor’s trial for invasion of privacy is set to begin, and the last day of the 2018 legislative session.

SLU soccer stand-out Saadiq Mohammed (at left) and local attorney Javad Khazaeli talked about how they’ve been impacted by recent shifts in U.S. policy.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has been home to Saadiq Mohammed for about three years now – ever since he fled Somalia to seek safety and education in the United States. But along with college coursework and soccer at Saint Louis University these days, Mohammed has something else weighing on his mind on a daily basis: whether his request for asylum will be approved.

“It’s really tough,” he told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh during Monday’s show. “Every day I think about it a lot … When you wake up, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Immigration scholars (from left) Jorg Ploger, Adriano Udani and Florian Sichling discussed the incorporation of immigrants and refugees into their respective communities.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Thousands of miles separate St. Louis, Missouri, from Dortmund, Germany, but when it comes to immigration and refugee resettlement, the two cities aren’t so far apart.

Among the most pressing debates that link them are the “politically contradicting messages about the purpose of immigration,” as Florian Sichling describes the issue.

Gov. Eric Greitens' defense team outside the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis following a hearing. March 26, 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10 p.m., with comments from Greitens' former mistress' attorney.

A filing from Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ legal team is contending that the woman at the center of his invasion of privacy case may have seen a cell phone as part of a “dream.”

Greitens’ attorneys’ latest filing is getting fierce pushback from the lawyer for his former mistress, who said in a sharply worded statement that the governor's legal team was mischaracterizing her deposition testimony. It's the first time the woman has publicly accused Greitens of taking a photograph without her consent. 

File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Budget Director Dan Haug says the state’s general-revenue income is expected to be enough to balance the budget for the current fiscal year.

That good news, though, is tempered by the impact of federal and state tax cuts that just began going into effect in January. Haug says those cuts will trim the state’s income by $109 million for the first six months of 2018, or $218 million for the entire calendar year.

“I think costs are generally under control,” the budget director said in an interview. “Revenues are right now on track where we thought they would be.”

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Sen. Jamilah Nasheed to the show for the fourth time.

Nasheed represents roughly half of the city of St. Louis. The Democratic official was first elected to her state Senate post in 2012, and was re-elected in 2016.

St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas
Alex Heuer I St. Louis Public Radio

A special prosecutor is recommending that St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas forfeit his post because his legal work for school districts violates the county charter.

The prosecutor’s petition, filed late Friday, is expected to set off a process that could force Trakas off the council within a few months. Trakas is part of a bipartisan, four-person council coalition that frequently is at odds with County Executive Steve Stenger, a Democrat.

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