Politics & Issues

Political news

Elijah Haahr
Mallory Daily | St. Louis Public Radio intern

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. Elijah Haahr to the show for the first time.

The Springfield Republican was first elected to the Missouri House in 2012. Haahr represents a somewhat suburban area of Springfield, an area that encompasses a very popular Bass Pro Shop. And he is chairman of the House Emerging Issues Committee, which has been a staging area for some high-profile pieces of legislation.

Volunteer J.R. Wilkerson Jr. prepares broccoli at the Bridge Outreach on Wednesday, March, 30, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday was chicken, broccoli and rice day at the Bridge Outreach in downtown St. Louis. With the help of volunteers, Chef Charlotte McClendon serves close to 3,000 meals to the homeless each week.

But the days where people without a place to live can go to the Bridge for a meal are now numbered.

Shell gas station
(via Flickr/dno1967b)

A revised version of a proposed fuel tax hike has received first-round approval in the Missouri Senate.

A substitute version of Senate Bill 623 was adopted Wednesday evening, which would raise the tax on both gasoline and diesel fuel to 23 cents per gallon from 17.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a discussion with Rev. Starsky Wilson and Thomas Harvey about municipal court reform. Wilson was a co-chair of the Ferguson Commission and is president and CEO at the Deaconess Foundation. Harvey is the co-founder and executive director of ArchCity Defenders.

Mike Michaud, assistant secretary of labor for veterans employment
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

The declining jobless rate for U.S. veterans is a good sign, but the need for training and employment services will continue to grow, said Mike Michaud, assistant secretary of labor for veterans employment, who was in St. Louis Wednesday to visit the St. Patrick Center.

A city tow truck brings a St. Louis Fire Department ambulance in for  repairs.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

For the second time in seven months, voters in the city of St. Louis are being asked to authorize borrowing for major capital needs.

Last August, voters rejected Proposition 1, which would have funded $180 million in borrowing with a property tax increase. On April 5, city residents will consider a smaller version of that proposal in Proposition F.

The Goldenrod Showboat's final resting place: The Illinois River, near Kampsville, Ill.
Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

Volunteers will gather on Thursday at a remote spot on the Illinois River to say their final farewells to the Goldenrod Showboat, a St. Louis landmark they worked relentlessly to preserve.

The century-old showboat suffered irreparable damage last summer during efforts to save it from the flooding river. Since then, volunteers have worked on weekends to remove artifacts -- chandeliers and gilded mirrors, furnishings and photographs -- for future display in museums.

300 pixel elderly health care
National Institutes for Health

The St. Louis County Council is the first of area political entities to consider a new tax that would support programs that help older residents.

Councilman Sam Page, D-Creve Coeur, introduced a bill that would raise property taxes by 5 cents for every $100 of assessed property. If the council passes Page's bill, the measure will go to the voters. And if county voters approve the measure in November, the proceeds from the tax increase will go into a fund that could be used for senior service programs.

Attorney David Pittinsky stands with mayors of numerous St. Louis County cities on Thursday. Pittinsky is leading a lawsuit against a state municipal overhaul.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Updated with decision to appeal - A Cole County judge has rejected major parts of the most significant public policy achievement in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death.

It’s a decision that serves a major victory for African-American-led St. Louis County municipalities, and likely places the future of municipal governance overhaul in the hands of the Missouri Supreme Court.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III listens to public comments on Saturday during a public hearing at the Ferguson Community Center.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson residents will consider raising taxes next week to fill a big budgetary gap, a potentially critical decision for the beleaguered city.

Before the city approved a consent decree with the federal government, members of the Ferguson City Council placed a sales tax increase and a property tax hike on the April 5 ballot. The sales tax proposal would boost the city’s sales tax rate by 0.5 percent. The property tax item would increase the city’s property tax rate by 40 cents per $100 assessed value.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Shortly after the Missouri General Assembly returns Tuesday from its weeklong recess, lawmakers are expected to attempt their first override this session of a bill vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

And either way, the vote could be close.

The bill in question – dubbed by backers as “paycheck protection’’ and by critics as “paycheck deception” – would make it tougher for many public-employee unions and teacher groups to collect dues or fees.

car lot
Martin Kleppe | Flickr

On April 5, all St. Louis County voters, and residents of more than four dozen municipalities in St. Louis and St. Charles will see a variation of the following proposition, known as Proposition B  (A, V, or 1) on their ballot.

Michael Brown Sr. and organizers with his Chosen for Change Foundation talk outside the Ferguson Community Center after the City Council's vote to approve the terms of the Department of Justice's consent decree.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A few months ago, Starsky Wilson ended his time on the Ferguson Commission with stirring and strong words for politicians who would have to do the work ahead.

“If the win for you is getting elected, we don’t need you,” said Wilson, the president and CEO of the Deaconess Foundation. “If you eat steak because you got what you wanted in the community that’s still fighting for a generation, you’re not the one.”

The Missouri Senate Chamber
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

The Missouri Senate will take up the state budget when it reconvenes from spring break.

The $27 billion budget was passed by the House the same week Democratic senators orchestrated a 37-hour filibuster to stop a vote on a bill that would provide legal protections for businesses that refuse wedding-related services to same-sex couples. Due to the high tensions that resulted, Senate leaders decided to wait until after vacation to start discussing the budget.

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

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay back to the program for the second time.

The Democratic citywide official has been in office since 2001 and already is the longest-serving mayor in the city's history. Slay has developed a sophisticated and successful political organization, and he’s often played a big role in helping other candidates and ballot issues succeed.

On the Eleven Point
Charlie Llewellin | Flickr

In the wilderness of southern Missouri, 44 miles of the Eleven Point River is part of the National Wild and Scenic River system. Part of the river is nestled between the Mark Twain National Forest and a historically rich parcel called the Irish Wilderness. As the river descends to the Missouri-Arkansas border, cattle grazing intermingles with the edge of the forest.

Now, Missouri is considering developing the southern part of the river into a state park. But the park has become controversial -- both for its very existence and for the money used to buy it.

Kelly Moffitt | 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.

Both sides in the earnings-tax campaign are mailing fliers.
Scanned documents

If you are a wage earner and live or work in the city of St. Louis, you pay the city’s 1 percent earnings tax. No exceptions.

Ads and fliers that claim otherwise are “a big lie,’’ says Mary Ellen Ponder, chief of staff to Mayor Francis Slay. 

The ads and fliers come from the group, Vote No On The E-Tax. It is running a vigorous campaign to persuade St. Louis voters to decide on April 5 to phase out the city’s earnings tax, which has been in place since 1959.

Justin Alferman
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. Justin Alferman to the show for the first time.

The Hermann Republican is serving his first term in the Missouri House. His heavily-GOP seat includes parts of Franklin, Gasconade and Osage counties, and it takes in most of Washington, Mo.

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