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Ashely Tate dances between two of her students in preparation for "Dance to Vote."
Nancy Fowler / St. Louis Public Radio

Dancers are helping people get a leg up on voting this Saturday afternoon in University City.

An outdoor performance in front of Vintage Vinyl is designed to encourage passers-by to register and cast their ballots in the Aug. 2 Missouri primary. Three dance companies will alternate voting-related performances from 2-5 p.m.  Four spoken word artists will also participate.

Rick Stream 2016
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Former state Rep. Rick Stream – who almost became St. Louis County executive and now is running for the Missouri Senate – once again joins Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies on St. Louis Public Radio’s Politically Speaking podcast.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

It was a busy day for Gov. Jay Nixon, as his final year in office heads toward the halfway point.

He told reporters Tuesday that he signed seven more bills into law while vetoing eight others. Several of those approved and shot down are composed of tax breaks.

He specifically singled out three bills for criticism Tuesday: SB 641, HB 2030, and SB 1025.

Bloomsberries | Flickr

Prosecutors in the city of St. Louis are taking their push to protect witness information to the public.

The circuit attorney's office is holding a community forum Wednesday night at the headquarters of the local branch of the NAACP to "talk about how important the participation of victims and witnesses is in the criminal justice system and how we all play a role in supporting them." But it's nearly a guarantee that an usually obscure state Supreme Court rule will come up.

William Freivogel, Elizabeth Sepper and Susan Appleton joined Don Marsh in studio Tuesday.
Kim Oswalt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a panel of local legal experts in a conversation about the month’s most pressing news about the law.

Guests:

  • William Freivogel, J.D., Professor, School of Journalism, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
  • Susan Appleton, J.D., Lemma Barkeloo and Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law, Washington University
  • Elizabeth Sepper, J.D., Professor of Law, Washington University

Topics Addressed:

Andrew Koenig
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 welcome state Rep. Andrew Koenig to the show for the first time.

The Manchester Republican is running against former state Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, in the Aug. 2 GOP primary for the 15th Senatorial District. Stream’s episode of Politically Speaking will be posted soon.

supremecourt.gov

Some of Missouri’s restrictive laws governing abortion clinics will likely face a legal challenge as a result of today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision knocking down similar restrictions in Texas.

But abortion-rights supporters and opponents in Missouri agree that it’s “too soon to tell’’ the specific effects of the high court’s 5-3 ruling on the Show-Me state, which long has had some of the nation’s strictest abortion laws.

Free gun locks will be given out Friday at City Hall in St. Louis
M Glasgow | Flickr

Updated 3:14 p.m. with reaction -- Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a wide-ranging bill that would have eased regulations on people seeking to obtain or renew a conceal-carry endorsement or permit.

Nixon cited one of his main concerns with Senate Bill 656 when he told reporters last week that it could rob county sheriffs of the authority to deny conceal-carry privileges when they see fit. He expanded on that concern in his veto message today.

Cornel West, center, is part of a 15-person platform drafting committee that met last week in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When Democrats gather in Philadelphia next month, the focus will probably be on whom delegates select to be the party’s presidential nominee. But that’s not the only piece of official business.

Democrats will also ratify a platform, which is effectively a statement of principles for the party. While the document isn’t binding, it could provide a glimpse of what’s to come if Hillary Clinton becomes the next president. And it could provide a voice for the millions of people who supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

A banner in memory of Orlando started the 2016 Pride St. Louis parade.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Transgender and LGBT minority groups were brought to the front of the Pride Parade Sunday in downtown St. Louis.

The drums and chants of QTPOC — Queer Trans People of Color — followed immediately after two men carrying a banner in memory of the 49 people killed at a gay nightclub two weeks ago in Orlando.

/ Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

A handful of agriculture-related bills passed by the Missouri General Assembly this year have been signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Senate Bill 665 renews the Qualified Beef Tax Credit through December 2021 and caps the incentive at $2 million per calendar year.  The size of the tax break will become larger for cattle weighing 600 pounds or more; it's set to increase to 25 cents per pound. For cattle weighing less than 600 pounds the tax credit will remain at 10 cents a pound.

Metro East Redeploy staff member Mollie Hente with client Leah at a poster making group for awareness to fund Redeploy. Hente learned last week that she is being laid off.
Provided by Mark Smith of Children's Home and Aid

A social service agency making cuts in the Metro East due to lack of state funding says even if Illinois legislators pass a stop-gap budget this week it won’t be enough to reverse the damage to its finances.

Children’s Home and Aid notified another nine Metro East employees last week that they were being laid off.

Their departure reduces the number of teens the agency’s programs for at-risk youth are able to serve, adding to the almost one million people the United Way estimates have lost access to social services in Illinois this year during the state budget stalemate.

The full Board of Aldermen is expected to take up the stadium funding plan next Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

St. Louis aldermen want to place stricter regulations on “payday loan” establishments, part of a broader movement to combat institutions that provide short-term cash to primarily low-income individuals.

Payday loan companies tend to provide small, short-term loans to people. Some critics of the institutions say that they place high interest rates on the loans, which send low-income people who use the service into a cycle of debt.

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.

This week, we discussed the very public disagreement between area leaders over MetroLink expansion, some Missouri Republicans participating in a national ‘Dump Trump’ campaign and the role social media is playing in current election and politics coverage.

We were joined by:

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, left, and professor Josh Hawley came out swinging in their campaigns for the Republican nomination for attorney general.
official photos

Updated Saturday, June 25:  Missouri’s Republican contest for attorney general – long this year’s  nastiest battle in the state  – has gotten so bitter that the two combatants already are running vicious attack ads six weeks before the Aug. 2 election.

Kurt Schaefer's new ad accuses Josh Hawley of providing legal help for “a terrorist,’’ while Hawley’s ad features Schaefer repeatedly referring to himself as “a moderate.”

Each candidate claims the other is intentionally misrepresenting the facts.

Rear view of the new Energy Control Center (ECC) and Services Facility at Fulton State Hospital.  Solar panels cover portions of the roof.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Efforts to rebuild Fulton State Hospital have reached a "milestone," in the words of Gov. Jay Nixon.

The first new building in the reconstruction project is complete and expected to become fully operational next month. The Energy Control Center and Services Building will house several functions, including the emergency command post, power supply, computer services, maintenance and food preparation for patients.

NPR's ombudsman, Elizabeth Jensen.
James Wrona

In January 2015, Elizabeth Jensen was appointed to a three-year term at NPR as the organization’s ombudsman. What does that mean? Otherwise known as the public editor, Jensen is the public’s representative to NPR, answering thousands of listener queries and criticisms.

Jensen stopped by St Louis on the Air Thursday while she’s in St. Louis to attend the national conference of the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. She talked with host Don Marsh about challenges she faces in working to develop a closer relationship with news consumers.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's proposal would impliment minimum standards for police departments to follow. If they don't meet those benchmarks, Stenger's office could effectively disband departments.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is proposing studies for three potential expansions to MetroLink – but they don't include a North/South line that St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay strongly supports.

It’s part of an increasingly public disagreement between the leaders of St. Louis and St. Louis County about how to expand public transportation throughout the region.

(via Flickr/cayoup)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed a wide-ranging education bill that includes an expansion of the A+ scholarship program.

Senate Bill 638 will allow private schools in Missouri to take part in the program if they meet the same requirements as public high schools. Students from A+ schools are eligible to attend community college in Missouri for two years, free of charge.

Joe Biden speaking at the August 23, 2008 vice presidential announcement in Springfield, Illinois, while presidential nominee Barack Obama listens.
Daniel Schwen | Wikimedia Commons

It seems like a silly time to ask the question “do vice presidents matter?” when every half hour there’s chatter on news networks about who Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will choose as their running mates. But, yet, the vice presidency wasn’t always considered as significant as it is now.

A $40 million restoration project is underway at the Missouri Capitol. Phase One, on the south side of the building, is scheduled to be finished by mid-December.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's state Capitol is open for business and tourists, though it may not look like it right now.

Major renovations have been going on for months and will continue through the rest of this year. 

Kim Gardner
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome back state Rep. Kim Gardner to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat is one of four Democratic candidates for circuit attorney. We are running shows featuring each of the candidates this week. (Gardner was a guest on Politically Speaking before she  announced her bid for the job.)

St. Louis County Executive Stever Stenger, center, talks with state Treasurer Clint Zweifel, left, and Brian May on Tuesday. Stenger sent out a letter this month raising concerns about the North-South MetroLink line.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is throwing cold water on a proposal to build a North-South line for MetroLink.

Stenger's opposition isn’t going over well with some St. Louis officials, many of whom support the project as a way to spur economic development and bridge the region’s racial divide.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump points to protesters that he tells to "get out," during his speech at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis on March 11, 2016.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Some of Missouri’s Republican delegates to their party’s national convention in Cleveland are involved in a national “dump Trump” campaign, which appears to be gaining at least temporary steam.

Delegate Carl Bearden, a Republican from St. Charles, acknowledged Tuesday that the movement was anti-Donald Trump, currently the presumptive nominee.  But Bearden emphasized that the effort is actually a “free the delegates’’ movement, in Missouri and nationally, to allow delegates to vote their conscience.

Patrick Hamacher
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Patrick Hamacher to the program.

Hamacher is one of four Democrats running for St. Louis circuit attorney. Incumbent Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce is not running for re-election, which likely contributed to the larger-than-normal field. The winner of the Aug. 2 primary will likely be Joyce’s successor, since St. Louis is heavily Democratic.

Steve Harmon
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann are pleased to welcome circuit attorney hopeful Steve Harmon to the program.

Harmon is one of four Democratic candidates competing to succeed St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, who has decided against running for re-election. And since St. Louis is a Democratic stronghold, the winner of the Aug. 2 primary will likely become Joyce’s successor.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt meets with people Feb. 20 at Washington University's Alzheimer's Research Center in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

The U.S. senators representing Missouri and Illinois are playing an active role in congressional efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Dick Durbin, D-Ill. and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., all voted for the popular Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act known as CARA.

A supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is seated for the Missouri Democratic Party convention in Sedalia.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

You could say that Ken Jacob was for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid before it was cool.

The former Democratic state senator from Columbia backed Clinton when she ran against then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in 2008. Eight years after narrowly falling short both in Missouri and nationally that year, Clinton is poised to become the Democratic presidential nominee when the party meets for its national convention. And after being selected a Clinton delegate at congressional caucuses, Jacob will get to witness Clinton getting the nomination later this summer in Philadelphia.

Patrick Hamacher (standing) addresses a crowd gathered at Saint Louis University on June 18, 2016 for a forum with the Democratic candidates for circuit attorney.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A two-hour debate about the root causes of crime and disparities in the system helped some St. Louis voters better understand the Democratic candidates for circuit attorney.

Mary Pat Carl, Kimberly Gardner, Patrick Hamacher and Steve Harmon gathered Saturday for the forum, sponsored by Decarcerate St. Louis.

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Prompted by a Democratic filibuster, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote next week on proposals to expand the nation’s background checks for gun purchases, and to bar some people on no-fly lists from purchasing guns.

But the proposals are expected to highlight a sharp divide over what Congress should do, if anything, in the wake of last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando that killed at least 49 people in a gay nightclub.

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