Politics & Issues

Political news

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane pose for a picture with a supporter in Philadelphia. Sanders make a surprise appearance at the Missouri delegation's breakfast on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

PHILADELPHIA – Ralph Trask doesn’t want Donald Trump to become president. But that doesn’t mean he’s completely sold on Hillary Clinton.

Trask is a farmer from Iron County who is attending the Democratic National Convention as a Bernie Sanders delegate. He arrived in Philadelphia amid a somewhat tense time between supporters of the two campaigns, and national speculation over whether Sanders supporters can work this fall for Clinton.

Mike Carter, Anne Zerr and Bill Eigel are running for the St. Charles County-based 23rd District Senate seat.
Courtesy of Carter and Eigel's campaigns and House Communications

There are probably few legislative races in Missouri with stakes as high as the GOP primary for the 23rd Senatorial District.

The St. Charles County-based district has been vacant since former Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey resigned nearly a year ago. And the race to replace him features three candidates with vastly different philosophies and political experience. It’s one of several competitive state Senate primaries in the St. Louis area, and perhaps the one where the end result could matter quite a bit.

PHILADELPHIA – In some ways, Hillary Clinton’s impending presidential nomination has been a long time coming for U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.

The Kansas City Democrat was a strong supporter of Clinton in 2008. He said he felt immense pressure to back then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama – who, of course, would go onto become America’s first black president.

House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, leads the Democratic end-of-session press conference as state Rep. Karla May, D-St. Louis, looks on.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio |file photo

Updated July 23 with the nominee — Democratic committee members in St. Louis and St. Louis County have nominated House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, as their party’s candidate to replace former state Sen. Joe Keaveny.

Keaveny resigned as the state senator for Missouri’s 4th District after the 2016 legislative session to become an administrative law judge.

William Bailey | St. Louis Planning Department |Provided

After a two-day delay, a new homeless shelter in St. Louis is back on track to being ready to operate.

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment on Friday approved a $360,000 contract with St. Patrick Center, which will run the facility at the old Biddle Market north of downtown. Mayor Francis Slay and Comptroller Darlene Green voted to approve the funding; board president Lewis Reed maintained his opposition from Wednesday.

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies covered the Republican National Convention last week.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh looked back on this week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland and ahead to next week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

We were joined by:

Democrats Judy Baker and Pat Contreras are each running for state treasurer.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

If you’re wondering why there’s a competitive battle for Missouri state treasurer, look no further than the innards of the Missouri Constitution.

If the Show Me State’s pre-eminent legal document didn’t restrict a state treasurer to two terms, it’s a good bet that incumbent officeholder Clint Zweifel would be running for re-election – and probably without competition from his fellow Democrats. But it does. And with Zweifel taking a hiatus of sorts from electoral politics, two Democrats – former state Rep. Judy Baker, D-Columbia, and Kansas City native Pat Contreras – are seeking to capture the weighty, but slightly low profile, statewide office.

Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Roy Temple speaks at the Missouri Democratic Party convention in Sedalia. Temple will be leading the Missouri delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

You could say Jimmy Loomis has accomplished a lot in a short period of time.

The 21-year-old Washington University student is president of the school’s College Democrats chapter. He’s also a Democratic committeeman in St. Louis County, which means he’ll get a say in who will follow state Sen. Joe Keaveny in the Missouri Senate.

But perhaps Loomis’ most impressive feat may have been besting dozens of people to become a national delegate for likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. That means he’ll get to go to Philadelphia next week with some of the Show Me State’s most prominent activists and political figures. And he’ll get to be an active participant in what’s been a historic presidential election.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Regardless of who they backed before, Missouri’s GOP delegates are leaving their convention committed to electing Donald Trump for president.

And his acceptance speech was a hit.

“He was confident, he was strong, he was energetic, enthusiastic’’ said delegate Chuck Williams of Town and Country. “He had the crowd fired up.”

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies covered the Republican National Convention last week.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Bev Ehlen, a Missouri GOP delegate from Warren County, has long been a fan of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and had hoped he’d be the party’s nominee for president.

But now that Donald Trump has the nomination, Ehlen is upset that Cruz is opting against an endorsement.

“I was very disappointed’’ by Cruz’s Wednesday night speech, Ehlen said. “I’m probably the biggest Ted Cruz supporter you can find. I was expecting so much more because he’s such an articulate speaker. I was expecting a home run, and I didn’t get it.”

On Thursday, St. Louis on the Air’s Legal Roundtable returned to discuss pressing legal issues of the day.

We were joined in studio by:

  • William Freivogel, J.D., Professor, School of Journalism, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale
  • Marcia McCormick, J.D., Professor, Saint Louis University
  • Mark Smith, J.D., Associate Vice Chancellor of Students, Washington University

Here are some of the issues they discussed:

Group of women speak to reporters under the spotlight of a video camera.
Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

A group of mothers whose sons have been killed or wounded by police or others is calling for concrete action against racism in law enforcement and the justice system.

At a town hall meeting Wednesday during the National Bar Association’s annual convention, the mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Jordan Davis, and Robbie Tolan decried the deaths of young black men at the hands of police, and deaths caused by others.

U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield
Official portrait

CLEVELAND — Missouri U.S. Rep. Billy Long is arguably the state’s version of Donald Trump.

Long was a well-known auctioneer and radio talk-show host in Springfield, Mo., who emerged from a seven-person GOP field in 2010 to win the congressional seat that had been held by fellow Republican Roy Blunt until Blunt opted to make his successful shot for the U.S. Senate.

Long says he was impressed with Trump when he first met him in 2011, just months after Long arrived in Washington. The occasion was a charity event, and Long approached the billionaire businessman to thank him for his charity support.

Marty Murray, a candidate for 7th Ward committeeman, talks to Stacy Kistler while knocking doors in the Lafayette Square neighborhood of St. Louis on June 10, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated July 21 with additional Mobilize Missouri endorsements. — The biggest races in August are getting all the attention. But a group of seats on the St. Louis Democratic Central Committee could prove to be just as important in the long run.

Candidates from across the city have their sights on being committeemen and committeewomen, in an effort to push for change in the party now and at future elections.

Jacqueline Hutchinson, Co-Chair of the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance SLEHCRA coalition, discussed Tuesday a new report that indicates significant racial and income disparities in home purchase lending in St. Louis.
Wiley Price | The St. Louis American

Amid a long stretch of boarded-up store fronts in the Baden neighborhood, a coalition of equal-housing advocates rallied outside today to decry the mortgage lending disparities in the St. Louis region.

Margo McNeil
Jason Rosenbaum I 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 state Rep. Margo McNeil to the show for the first time.

The Florissant Democrat was first elected to the Missouri House in 2008. She’s finishing her last few months in the General Assembly’s lower chamber, as she is unable to run for re-election due to term limits.

Longtime Republican stalwart Phyllis Schlafly said Donald Trump is "a choice not an echo," which references her long-ago support of Barry Goldwater.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly was on the convention floor Tuesday night and was pleased as punch, when Donald Trump — whom she endorsed months ago — officially became the Republican presidential nominee.

“He’s a take-charge person and he’s going to attack the establishment,” said Schlafly, who’s attending her 12th straight GOP convention. “And the establishment, as I’ve pointed out, has given us a whole series of losers.”

From left: John Hawley, Kurt Schaefer, Teresa Hensley and Jake Zimmerman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Until a few days ago, the battle to become Missouri’s next attorney general appeared to be one-sided:

Only the two Republicans seeking the job — law professor Josh Hawley and state Senator Kurt Schaefer — were hotly fighting over it.

But now that’s changed. Although the Schaefer-Hawley contest remains the nastiest, the two Democrats — St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman and former Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley — also are tussling.

Mass of cars in a parking lot, lined up under the hot sun.

Sitting in a hot car can be uncomfortable for adults — but for children it can be deadly. A law Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed this month by aims to keep kids from that danger.  

The bill, HB 1649, protects individuals from property damage charges when they break into hot cars to save children. The bill stipulates that a person must first contact emergency responders before entering the vehicle. They also must reasonably believe that entering the car is necessary to help the child.

Peter Kinder answers a question during St. Louis Public Radio's GOP gubernatorial candidate debate.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Fans of Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder are hoping that his campaign for governor embodies the axiom of “it’s a sprint, not a marathon.”

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies reported last week, Kinder generally lagged behind the other three GOP gubernatorial hopefuls in the latest fundraising quarter. He also spent the least amount of money, which means he’s been on statewide television much less than the other three Republican candidates.

Nuns on the Bus, a program of NETWORK lobby, came through St. Louis on July 14 and has since moved on to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio (pictured).
Jennifer Wong | Nuns on the Bus

St. Louis was the fifth stop on a 21-stop tour for Nuns on the Bus, a program started by the NETWORK lobby, which has nuns and their allies riding on a bus advocating for social justice across the country.

Now, the sisters find themselves at the Republican National Convention serving lemonade to attendees in hopes of enticing Republicans participating in the convention to answer three questions about the 2016 election and the future of the United States.

The Missouri delegation may be housed in Akron, but it has a clear view of the stage.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Missouri Republicans are increasingly optimistic that presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump could offer a boon, not a bust, for the GOP’s entire statewide ticket in November.

“The worst poll I’ve seen has him eight points up in Missouri,’’ said U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, as she mingled Monday with Missouri delegates. “The best poll has him up 12.”

That’s among the reasons Wagner dismisses the last-minute effort by some anti-Trump delegates — mainly in other states — who are seeking a rules change to allow them to vote for somebody else.

St. Louis City Hall
Richie Diesterheft | Flickr

No one is quite sure when St. Louis began charging $35 to cancel a municipal court warrant. But a deal reached on Monday between the city and thousands of defendants who paid the fee over a seven-year period means it will never be charged again.

Ballwin Police officer Mike Flamion
Ballwin Police press release

Updated July 18 with news on Flamion's condition — The Ballwin police officer shot during a traffic stop on July 8 is paralyzed from the neck down.

The bullet that struck 31-year-old Michael Flamion caused "catastrophic damage" to the spinal cord, Ballwin Police Chief Kevin Scott said on Monday. Flamion remains on a ventilator to help him breathe.

Left to right. Top, Vernon Betts, Joe Vaccaro, Charley "Big Will" Williams, Bottom: Johnnie M. Chester, Jimmie Matthews
Liz Schlemmer and provided photos

Several candidates are vying to replace long-time St. Louis Sheriff Jim Murphy, who is retiring after holding the office since 1989.

The St. Louis sheriff's office is responsible for the security of the 31 courtrooms of the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit Court. The office also serves court papers and eviction notices.

Update July 18, 1:34 p.m.


Kansas City, Missouri, police say the man arrested Sunday afternoon at the house on 77th Terrace linked to the Gavin Eugene Long was picked up on a "minor warrant."

Sarah Steelman
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 former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman to the program. Steelman provided a candid assessment of Missouri statewide politics — and the legislative process in Jefferson City.

A local police sergeant briefed Missouri delegates to the Republican National Convention about security.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND — Sunday’s tragic police shootings in Louisiana have added an exclamation point to what was already heightened concern about security among members of Missouri’s delegation to the Republican National Convention.

At Sunday’s first gathering of Missouri’s contingent, state Republican Party chairman John Hancock called for a moment of silence to honor the fallen officers in Baton Rouge. Missouri delegates then gave a standing ovation to the local police sergeant overseeing the round-the-clock security detail at the Akron hotel where the delegation is staying.

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 the Aug. 2 primary just weeks ago, Missouri’s Republican candidates for governor are spending far more money than they are raising.

That’s documented in the latest campaign-finance reports, due Friday, which show a neck-and-neck spending battle between St. Louis businessman John Brunner, former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens and former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway.

Lt. Peter Kinder raised and spent the least during the last three months.

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 who produced them and contributed to them.