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Politics & Issues

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In July 2016, black organizers with the St. Louis Action council hosted a protest against police brutality and systemic inequality in the region and across the nation. This Saturday, the Women's March on St. Louis will walk through the same streets.
File Photo | Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

This weekend, hundreds of thousands plan to gather for the Women's March on Washington. Expected to be one of the largest demonstrations in American history, the march aims to send President-elect Donald Trump a message on his first day in office: women will not be ignored or disrespected.

More than 3,000 people who can't make it to the national march Saturday plan to join a local march through the streets of downtown St. Louis. While this local march is in solidarity with the national effort, for some participants, it's been hard to find solidarity. 

In the weeks leading up to St. Louis' march, white organizers have fielded complaints that they’ve marginalized women of color and transgender women. Although the march aims to unite all women in a fight for their rights under a Trump presidency, many critics have vowed not to participate in an event they say is exclusionary.

New Life Evangelistic Center doesn't like to be held to a set capacity for shelter. Administrators say they don't want to turn anyone away.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Jan. 13 with results of appeal — A city board is ordering a downtown homeless shelter to close by April 1. 

On Thursday, St. Louis' Board of Building Appeals denied New Life Evangelistic Center's appeal of a cease and desist notice issued in early November. The center has been operating without an occupancy permit since May 2015.

Farai Chideya, an award-winning journalist and former host of NPR's News & Notes, joins St. Louis on the Air on Friday.
Farai Chideya

Farai Chideya, former host of NPR’s News & Notes, is an award-winning journalist who has worked for CNN, ABC, and most recently FiveThirtyEight. She’s covered every election since 1996 and written several books, including “The Episodic Career: How to Thrive at Work in the Age of Disruption.”

A flier on Rep. Nick Marshall's Capitol office door offering to let constituents borrow his firearm while visiting. (Jan. 13, 2017)
Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

A Kansas City-area lawmaker is offering to allow some visitors to the Missouri Capitol to borrow a gun while inside the building.

Martin Luther King Jr. statue in St. Louis' Fountain Park (Jan. 11, 2017)
Linda Lockhart | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Jan. 13 at 1:11 p.m: Some events have been canceled or postponed, due to the weather. Check with specific groups for more information. — Martin Luther King Jr. was born at noon on Jan. 15, 1929, at his family’s home in Atlanta. He was the first son and second child born to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King.

Under his leadership, — from December 1955, until he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 — African-Americans achieved significant progress toward racial equality.

St. Charles County executive Steve Ehlmann, Mayor Francis Slay, and St. Clair County executive Mark Kern (right) at the State of the Region breakfast on January 12, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The top elected officials from the city of St. Louis and St. Louis, St. Charles and St. Clair counties gathered in one of the city's poshest hotels Thursday to give business and government leaders their take on where the metro area stands on a variety of development issues.

Like everyone, the region is facing a lot of change. There are new faces in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C., and soon there will be a new face in St. Louis' City Hall. This event was the last State of the Region event for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, who is not running for a fifth term. 

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

Missouri’s budget problems could be getting worse, just as the state is grappling with phasing in a tax-cut package approved several years ago.

New Gov. Eric Greitens and legislative leaders announced that they’ve reached a consensus on how much more money the state government is expected to collect during the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Members of the public and the city's Ways and Means committee listen as Nahuel Fefer, an economic policy assistant to Mayor Francis Slay, answers questions about a proposed sales tax increase on January 11, 2017
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The committee that handles budget issues for the city of St. Louis went to Cherokee Street Wednesday night to hear from members of the public about a proposed half-cent increase in the sales tax to fund economic development. 

Aldermen want to put the measure before voters in April. If approved, the tax would generate an additional $20 million a year.

The two dozen speakers were generally supportive of using some of the sales tax revenue to fund a partial north-south expansion of MetroLink. It's what else is, and isn't, in the bill that caused concern.

The Delta Queen is in dry dock in Houma, La.
Photo provided by Delta Queen Steamboat Company

Legislation that would enable the owners of the Delta Queen to return the historic steamboat to cruise service on the Mississippi River has been reintroduced by Missouri’s U.S. senators.

Beth Prusaczyk, Helen Petty and Kim Gamel discusses their reasons for joining Women's Marches on Jan. 21, 2017.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Hundreds of St. Louis women are planning to either travel to Washington D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington or attend a similar “sister march” planned in St. Louis for the same day, January 21, the day after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. There are 270 marches around the country — and globe, for that matter — planned in tandem with the march in Washington.

Vinita Park Mayor James McGee speaks against proposed standards for polcie departments in St. Louis County in December 2015.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals has ruled that the St. Louis County Council overstepped its boundaries when it tried to impose certain minimum standards on the 50 or so municipal police departments in the county's borders.

File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Greitens, Missouri's new governor, has issued his second executive order in 24 hours. The latest one bars any new government regulations without approval of his office. It also calls for a mandatory review of all existing state regulations.

Greitens said in Tuesday’s announcement, "Burdensome regulations hurt businesses and they hurt working families across the state of Missouri. Today, I'm signing an executive order that immediately freezes all regulations. We came here to cut government and help people."

Mayor Francis Slay and Police Chief Sam Dotson at a press conference on January 15, 2015, discussing six homicides in 13 hours.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

St. Louis' homicide level remained unchanged in 2016 compared with the previous year — 188. At the same time, aggravated assaults and other violent crimes were up and property crime was down, according to the latest crime statistics.

St. Louis' mayor and police chief on Tuesday touted an overall crime reduction of 4.1 percent, or 1,072 fewer incidents, in the last year. Compared to the peak crime year of 1993 when the city experienced 173 crimes per 1,000 people, last year saw 79 crimes per 1,000 residents.

A rendering of the proposed St. Louis soccer stadium.
Courtesy of HOK

Public financing for a soccer stadium near Union Station in downtown St. Louis is unlikely to appear on the April ballot.

Alderman Christine Ingrassia, D-6th Ward, confirmed Tuesday that she will not move forward legislation that would have asked voters to chip in $80 million in tax revenue for the stadium. The money would have come from an increase in the use tax that would be triggered by a separate measure.

State troopers stand outside the Missouri State Capitol at the start of the ceremony on Jan. 9, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Greitens just became the 56th governor of Missouri. And two of Missouri’s preeminent political podcasts have joined forces to analyze this historic day.

Right after Greitens took the oath of office, Brian Ellison of Statehouse Blend Missouri and Jason Rosenbaum of Politically Speaking interviewed the leaders of the Missouri House. First, the two podcasters interviewed House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, and state Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia.

Governor Eric Greitens greets guests at the Governor's Mansion after being sworn in on Jan. 9, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If you spent enough time around Eric Greitens during his successful bid for governor, you probably heard the former Navy SEAL say, “If you want different, do different.”

That was one of the many slogans that echoed throughout Missouri over the last few months. And it’s fair to say that the Republican chief executive is going to bring some stylistic and policy changes to Missouri’s highest office. His first variation may have been at his own inauguration, when he scrapped the traditional parade to turn the spotlight instead on the state’s veterans, teachers and first responders. 

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to the crowd after taking the oath of office outside the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City on Jan. 9, 2017.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Eric Greitens took the oath of office as Missouri’s new governor today, he ushered in an era of complete Republican control of the state’s legislative and executive branches. It’s an opportunity that many members of the GOP are relishing – even though some warn that the party risks taking all the blame if it can’t govern to Missourians’ liking.

As Eric Greitens is sworn in today as Missouri’s 56th governor, he’s pledging to support the state’s constitution and to serve the more than 6 million people living in the Show Me state.   

Shortly after Greitens was elected in November, his spokesman, Austin Chambers said,  “… the governor’s priorities for this first session are jobs, ethics reform, public safety and education reform."

St. Louis Public Radio recently asked listeners and readers to share their priorities  for the new governor. In addition to issues Greitens has already raised, some of his new constituents cite discounts and tax breaks for older homeowners.

Missouri Gov-elect Eric Greitens offers a thumbs-up to supporters at his final 'thank you' rally, held in Maryland Heights Jan 7, 2017
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

As Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens prepares to be sworn in Monday, he’s completing a week filled with thanking the folks who helped get him there.

“I will always remember that I am standing here because of you,’’ Greitens said Saturday as he addressed supporters gathered in a Maryland Heights warehouse for his last official rally before taking office.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner takes the oath of office at the Old Courthouse on January 6, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the rotunda of the courthouse where Dred and Harriet Scott sued for their freedom, the first African-American circuit attorney for the city of St. Louis took the oath of office Friday night.

"I'm humbled and honored that you have entrusted me with this responsibility of this very essential office," Kim Gardner told the crowd of more than a hundred at the Old Courthouse in downtown Friday night. "As a community we have a lot of challenges and opportunities to address the criminal justice system. The team at the circuit attorney’s office and I are ready and eager to take on this work for the community."

city hall with flowers
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Filing for the March 7 primary is over, and we've got a pretty good idea about who wants to be an officeholder in the city of St. Louis.

The seats for mayor, comptroller and odd-numbered wards are up this cycle. There will also be a special election in the 16th Ward to fill the unexpired term of Donna Baringer, who was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in November.

This list may change. Independent candidates have until Feb. 13 to file for office, and primary candidates have until Jan. 26 to can drop out. With those caveats, here's the field.

State Treasurer Clint Zwiefel
Courtesy of Clint Zweifel's office

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Treasurer Clint Zweifel to the program.

The Democratic statewide official was kind enough to record the show on his last working day in office. He’s departing from elective life on Monday, primarily because state treasurer is one of two statewide offices that have term limits.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visits students at Mason Elementary School in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Jay Nixon has begun what's in effect his farewell tour across Missouri before stepping down next week as governor.

It began Thursday in Jefferson City at the annual governor's prayer breakfast. The ecumenical event features elected officials and several hundred members of the public who buy tickets. 

The U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
(via Flickr/Wally Gobetz)

Missouri’s U.S. senators may have been on opposite sides during the 2016 presidential contest, but both plan to be present when President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in on January 20.

Sen. Roy Blunt, a fellow Republican, is overseeing the proceedings as chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., criticized President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday for his criticism of U.S. intelligence experts.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.,  contends that members of Congress in both parties – and the public – should be disturbed by President-elect Donald Trump’s recent comments criticizing the nation’s intelligence community.

Among other things, Trump has been firing off comments on Twitter that question the conclusions of intelligence experts that the Russian government was involved in hacking during the presidential campaign.

St. Louis Public Radio's Donna Korando and Dale Singer have led storied journalism careers in St. Louis. On Friday, they retire.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Politics editor Donna Korando and education reporter Dale Singer have made their marks on the St. Louis Public Radio newsroom, but they’ve also led storied journalistic careers in St. Louis at outlets including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the St. Louis Beacon.

As of Friday, both Korando and Singer will leave St. Louis Public Radio for their next adventures: retirement.

Gov.-elect Eric Greitens' opposition to publicly funding a St. Louis soccer stadium may be placing the city's Major League Soccer bid in jeopardy.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When those who are working to bring Major League Soccer to St. Louis rolled out their stadium proposal, it seemed as though everything was in its right place.

The ownership group known as SC STL included people with experience with top-flight sports franchises. Many of the region’s top leaders were on board with the proposal. And in stark contrast to the failed bid to keep the St. Louis Rams, this group promised a public vote before any taxpayer funds were expended in St. Louis.

What soccer stadium proponents apparently didn’t foresee was what Gov.-elect Eric Greitens had to say.

The Missouri Capitol Building at dusk
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A cold arctic blast greeted lawmakers, lobbyists and reporters who filtered into the state Capitol Wednesday for the start of Missouri's 2017 legislative session.

But it didn't take long for things to heat up, at least on the House side of the building.

stacks of money
sxc.hu

Missouri state government’s income was almost flat in December, compared to a year ago, a possible sign that Gov.-elect Eric Greitens may face tougher financial decisions than he had expected.

The state’s latest revenue numbers, released Wednesday, show that Missouri’s income growth for the current fiscal year is less than half the increase needed to fully fund the state government’s current budget.

portable metal detector
Reyham Dhuny | Flickr

The Missouri Capitol is restoring security procedures, and metal detectors, that have not been in place at the complex for almost 14 years.

As of  Tuesday, most visitors to the Missouri Capitol – including journalists and lobbyists – will be subject to security searches and be required to go through metal detectors. The new procedures won’t apply to elected officials.

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