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s_falkow |Flickr

A comprehensive rewrite of Missouri’s criminal code will take effect Jan. 1. The overhaul stems from legislation passed in 2014 and marks the first complete revision since the late 1970s.

“Overall, the idea was just to make the code logical, coherent and consistent — both structurally and internally,” said Amy Fite, president of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

Hammering out the wide-ranging legislation took nearly eight years and two legislative sessions, involving significant contributions from state prosecutors, a special committee of the Missouri Bar and other law enforcement groups.

Jeff Belmonte | Cuiabá, Brazil | Creative Commons, Wikipedia

The age in which teenagers can receive a marriage license would increase to 17 under legislation pre-filed in the Missouri House.

Currently, teens as young as 15 can get married in Missouri with at least one parent's permission.

Green, Ingrassia and Alderman Sam Moore, D-4th Ward, listen as the Board of Aldermen's Tuesday session continues.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:40 p.m. Tuesday to reflect conversations between the sponsor and city attorneys. — Two St. Louis aldermen, in partnership with NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, have launched an effort to make the city a sanctuary for reproductive rights.

“We are a board of people who are very aware of the challenges for women that are being brought forth at both the state and national level. And so it’s up to us at the local level to really ensure that women’s rights are protected," said Alderman Megan-Ellyia Green, D-15th Ward.

This collage includes pictures of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon from every year of his tenure.
Provided by Gov. Nixon's office and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s tenure in the executive branch ends, he's leaving something of a paradoxical legacy.

The Democratic statewide official achieved nearly unprecedented political success for himself, even as his party lost huge areas of support in rural Missouri. After his promises to expand the state’s Medicaid program ran into intractable opposition, Nixon spent a sizable part of his tenure paring back state governmental agencies.

Illustration by Susannah Lohr I St. Louis Public Radio

Meredith Anderson spent most of her life in Maryland before relocating to the Show Me State a couple of years ago. The O’Fallon resident got a surprising "welcome to Missouri" letter in the form of a personal property tax bill on her well-worn van.

Needless to say, Anderson was more than a little confused. She didn’t pay personal property taxes on her vehicle in her old state. And she didn’t get why you needed to pay such a tax in Missouri.

File photo

Patrick McKenna has begun his second year as director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, and he’s hoping for more understanding and results from Missouri lawmakers and Gov.-elect Eric Greitens.

Many of last year’s proposals to find more money for transportation went nowhere, including a bill to raise the state’s fuel tax and a ballot measure to raise cigarette taxes.  St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin sat down with McKenna to talk about why Missouri leaders and citizens can’t seem to agree on how to fund transportation.

Fred Wessels Dec 2016
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.-elect Fred Wessels to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat — a former alderman and city official — was elected this fall to represent the 81st House District, which takes in most of southeast St. Louis. He defeated two other Democrats, Steve Butz and Adam Kustra, in August, which was tantamount to election in the heavily Democratic district.

Photo courtesy of Missouri History Museum

Every month, a million passengers come through the St. Louis airport named for Albert Bond Lambert. Most have no clue who Lambert was — and that includes people from St. Louis.

According to a survey conducted for the airport a year ago, only 17 of 600 respondents correctly identified the connection between Lambert and the airport.

Runners pass the Confederate Monument in Forest Park.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

On Christmas Eve last year, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay used what is traditionally a quiet period for news to announce that he wanted a 102-year-old monument to Confederate war dead removed from Forest Park.

A year later, the statue remains in place. But city officials say they are committed to fulfilling the mayor's promise.

It's been just over a year since we introduced Curious Louis — our reporting project where you ask the questions and we find the answers — to St. Louis.

Since then you've asked a lot of questions. But most importantly, we've answered a lot of questions, with your help. 

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

Less than two months after president-elect Donald Trump  won in November, some of his allied groups are zeroing on U.S. Senate Democrats like Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

She’s among 10 Democrats in the Senate  who represent so-called “red states” where Trump won big – and who will be on the 2018 ballot.

A new TV ad is airing on cable stations in the St. Louis and Kansas City markets this week that seeks to pressure McCaskill to support Trump’s agenda, notably his calls for tax cuts and his promise to repeal the health-insurance program known as Obamacare.

Peter Kinder December 2016
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 Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder back to the show for the third time.

Originally from Cape Girardeau, Kinder is rounding out roughly 24 years in elected state government. He served three terms in the Missouri Senate, eventually becoming the first GOP Senate President Pro Tem in generations. Many Republicans credit Kinder for turning a largely Democratic Senate into a Republican stronghold. 

Bill Freivogel, Mike Wolff and Mark Smith joined Legal Roundtable in December.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday, St. Louis on the Air’s monthly legal roundtable returned, this time to address pressing issues of the law while also looking back at the big legal news of 2016 and looking forward to 2017.

Once perceived as all-powerful, Missouri’s two major political parties have been relegated to the balcony ever since the state got rid of campaign-donation limits in 2008.  That change allowed the bulk of the state’s political cash to flow directly to the candidates. 

The state Republican and Democratic parties found most of their income eliminated, and ended up being beholden to their top politicians for payments just to keep their offices open and staffed. 

But now, unless the courts rule otherwise, Missouri once again has campaign donation limits for some elective offices, courtesy of Amendment 2, which almost 70 percent of the state's voters approved last month. 

Mayoral hopeful Lyda Krewson, the 28th Ward alderman, selects the number that will set her position on the March 2017 ballot at the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners on November 28, 2016.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Police Officers Association has endorsed Alderman Lyda Krewson, D-28th Ward, for mayor.

"This particular election is probably one of the most important that we're going to see here in the last decade," union president Joe Steiger said at the Wednesday afternoon announcement. "As police officers, it's extremely important to us, with the rising violent crime here in St. Louis. Lyda was, by far, the candidate that was most friendly with law enforcement."

This November 2016 photos shows the front of Zack and Brie Smithey's shipping-container home in St. Charles.
Zack Smithey

As Zack Smithey began building his shipping-container home in St. Charles last May, the controversy around it grew along with the house.

Compliments came, but also complaints: Even after Smithey painted the red metal gray, it just didn’t look like other homes in the neighborhood.

On Tuesday, the City Council voted to categorize such dwellings as “conditional use” buildings. That means anyone who wants to build one will have to seek city approval to do so. The council also decided that container homes must include a pitched roof, and be fully sided — using vinyl siding, brick, wood or some other material.

Mike Parson
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Of all the new statewide officeholders elected this year, only one comes from rural Missouri

Mike Parson has represented eight counties in west and central Missouri in the Senate for the past six years, and prior to that served in the House for six years. For 12 years, he was sheriff of Polk County, and he currently owns a cattle operation near Bolivar.

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens hugs Rev. Ken McKoy, a pastor with Progressive Zion A.M.E. Church. Greitens walked with McKoy as part of NightLIFE, a group that seeks to curb violence in north St. Louis neighborhoods.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The bone-chilling streets of north St. Louis were largely empty last Friday night. An icy mist brought both automobile and foot traffic on Kingshighway to a halt, with the exception of a few cars and trucks – and a governor-elect.

On pavement that at times resembled an ice skating rink, Gov.-elect Eric Greitens walked methodically through the sidewalks and on the streets with a medium-sized scrum. The Republican chief executive-to-be was out with NightLIFE, a group seeking to curb violence in Fountain Park and Lewis Place neighborhoods.

The vast bulk of the 100 or so demonstrators at the Missouri Capitol today called on electoral college voters to reject Trump and send the presidential race to the U.S. House of Representative.
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

No surprise: Missouri has officially cast its 10 presidential electoral votes for Donald Trump.

Roughly 100 demonstrators showed up at the Capitol to call on the state's presidential electors to vote against Trump and send the election to the U.S. House of Representatives. But in the end, all voted Trump for president, then Mike Pence for Vice President.

House Speaker Todd Richardson and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard spent time talking in the Senate chamber on Wednesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photos

House Speaker Todd Richardson joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum for the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast.

In his third appearance on the show, Richardson – a Republican from Poplar Bluff – lays out his key objectives for the coming legislative session. For the first time in eight years, the GOP will control the legislative and executive branches of Missouri state government.

Jeannine Chanerl, left, talks with poll worker Peter Orth outside of the Pine Lawn municipal court. Chanerl is one of more than 750 people surveyed in 2015 by SLU researchers conducting an opinion poll of St. Louis County municipal courts.
File photo | Kameel Stanley | St. Louis Public Radio

The city of Pine Lawn is still struggling to properly manage its municipal court.

Nicole Galloway, auditor for the state of Missouri, released the follow-up review on Monday. An previous audit, from June, gave the Pine Lawn court a "poor" rating, which triggered the need for a second look.

"Municipal courts have an obligation to conduct themselves with fairness. This court has a long way to go to meet the standards that any citizen should have of a local government," Galloway said.

The proposed office building would be on the west end of Ballpark Village, across the street from Busch Stadium.
St. Louis Cardinals

Updated Dec. 19 with Greitens opposition to public stadium funding - The St. Louis Board of Aldermen considered millions of dollars in economic development incentives Friday, sending some to Mayor Francis Slay while setting others up for approval in the New Year.

At a meeting that stretched over three hours, aldermen gave final approval to $56 million in incentives for the second phase of Ballpark Village and to an agreement with Saint Louis University that gives the school control over the development around its planned new hospital.

University City lions at city hall (2010)
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Fair housing advocates in University City are planning to bring back a bill the City Council killed this week. The proposal would have protected people who use Section 8 vouchers from discrimination.

Had it passed, the bill would have made the municipality the second in the St. Louis region to ban housing discrimination based on a renter’s source of income.

“We’re disappointed,” said Glenn Burleigh, a community engagement specialist at the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council who helped create the bill. "University City has always touted itself as being extremely progressive and pushing forward toward integration, [but] has not taken the charge from the Ferguson Commission and helped moved us forward here.”

Faizan Sayed, executive director of Missouri’s branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations, organized a news conference to speak out against current events in Syria.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Several of the 300 families of Syrian refugees who have settled in the St. Louis area this year are still afraid to publicly condemn their former government's attacks on Aleppo — even living so far away from their native country.

“They’re worried that someone’s going to see their picture or their [social media] feed on TV, they’re going to find out who [they are] and they’re going to hurt their family in Syria,” said Faizan Sayed, executive director of Missouri’s branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Sayed reached out to at least 20 Syrian families asking them to speak at CAIR press conference Thursday denouncing the bombardment of rebel-held neighborhoods in Aleppo. Every single one turned him down.

The agreement between the St. Louis County Family Court and the Justice Department, almost a year and a half in the making, is aimed at correcting violations in young people's due process and harsher treatment directed at black children.
Bloomsberries | Flickr

Updated at 5 p.m. Dec. 15 with comments from juvenile justice advocates. - The U.S. Department of Justice and the St. Louis County Family Court have reached a deal to settle claims that the court routinely violated the civil rights of juveniles it served.

"We applaud the St. Louis Family Court for taking these important steps to begin implementing critical reforms," Vanita Gupta, the head of the department's Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. "We hope that juvenile courts around the country review this agreement and use it as a model to protect the constitutional rights of all children."

State court rejects request by Wilson grand juror to speak about the process.

Dec 15, 2016
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announces that the grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson on any of five counts that were presented to it.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

This story has been updated to reflect events since it was initially published. A member of the grand jury that decided not to charge former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the August 2014 death of Michael Brown will not be able to share information about that experience.

A St. Louis County judge dismissed the grand juror’s suit on Tuesday. Judge Ellen Ribaudo wrote that the juror had not shown why the state laws around grand jury secrecy should not apply in his or her case. And while prosecutor Bob McCulloch chose to make some evidence from the grand jury public, Ribaudo said, not every detail needed to be released.

John Hancock Dec. 2016
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 welcome back Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock, as he prepares to leave that post in a few weeks.

Hancock, a former state legislator from St. Louis County and a political consultant, has been state chairman for arguably two of the most eventful years in the Missouri GOP’s modern history.

MetroLink trains make about 300 trips across the Eads Bridge each day.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Separate initiatives designed to be on the city's April ballot could fund a host of projects, including MetroLink expansion and a professional soccer stadium.

Two St. Louis Board of Aldermen bills were introduced on Wednesday. The first would have voters decide on a one-half cent sales tax increase. The proceeds, estimated at more than $20 million annually, would go toward things such as a North-South MetroLink line, infrastructure improvements and security cameras:

State Rep. Kip Kendrick
Nathan Lawrence | KBIA | File photo

Democrats in the Missouri House are calling on Gov.-elect Eric Greitens to keep his campaign promise to clean up Jefferson City.

They've pre-filed several bills that range from banning gifts from lobbyists to giving the state ethics commission the authority to prosecute violations. Democrat Kip Kendrick of Columbia said they want to see if the incoming Republican governor is serious about ethics reform.

David Cunningham is a professor of sociology at Washington University. His research centers on hate groups.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In the past few weeks you’ve heard a lot of reports about hate crimes, white supremacy and the ‘alt-right.’ What does it all mean? And, importantly, do hate groups exist here, in St. Louis, and how are they active?

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