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Attendees wave the peace sign as Jamie "KP" Dennis performs Sat., June 3, 2017, at the St. Louis rally for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis area politicians and organizations rallied against gun violence this weekend, joining a national movement, amid a run of gun-related deaths in the area.  At least seven people have been shot and killed in the city of St. Louis since Thursday.

Activists with Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence wore orange and held a rally Saturday in Tower Grove Park. Several dozen people attended the event to mark Friday's National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

Public schools and other institutions in Missouri that receive state money likely won’t see any last-minute cuts before the fiscal year ends June 30, budget chief Dan Haug said Friday.

That’s even with the state’s income collections running slightly behind estimates used to craft the current budget.

Mayor Lyda Krewson addresses reporters on Fri., June 2, 2017, after a violent week in St. Louis left seven dead and 13 injured by gunfire.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Mayor Lyda Krewson said Friday that she’s “beside herself” over a rash of gun violence in St Louis this week that killed seven and injured 13 others, including a 7-year-old girl.

But even as she pledged more money for police officer salaries, Krewson seemed at a loss for how to bring the spiraling violence under control.

Eddie Roth, the director of human services for the City of St. Louis, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the state of services for the homeless in St. Louis.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s “Behind the Headlines” with St. Louis on the Air, we took an in-depth look at a top news story of the week.

This week, host Don Marsh was joined by Eddie Roth, the director of Human Services for the City of St. Louis. We discussed the current state of services for the homeless in St. Louis. 

A rendering of the $55 million POWERplex athletic facility in Chesterfield. Its developer, Dan Buck, touts it as the largest indoor athletic complex in North America.
Big Sports Properties LLC

The developer hoping to build in Chesterfield what’s touted as North America’s largest indoor sports facility wants more time to secure vital financial support from the region’s economic development group.

But the long-in-the-works deal for the $55 million POWERplex project, for which St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is an ambassador, may be in jeopardy, because developer Dan Buck didn’t meet a Thursday deadline for one of four requirements — a commitment from the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership to help pay for water and sewer lines. That’s why, according to documents obtained by St. Louis Public Radio and confirmed by Chesterfield officials, Buck plans to ask for an extension. The City Council will discuss the request Monday.

State Rep. Bruce Franks takes part in a recording of Politically Speaking at Yaquis on Cherokee.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies shook things up, recording the show with state Rep. Bruce Franks on Wednesday in front of a live audience at Yaquis on Cherokee in St. Louis.

Franks, a St. Louis Democrat, was elected to the Missouri House last year to represent the 78th District, which stretches from Carr Square to Dutchtown in the eastern part of the city.

New data show black drivers in Missouri were 75 percent more likely than whites to be pulled over last year. 

The annual report, which was released Wednesday by the state attorney general's office, shows the disparity rate last year increased from the year before, when blacks were 69 percent more likely than white motorists to be stopped. 

House Republicans talk during the last day of the legislative session.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Mike Meinkoth vividly remembers how term limits were sold to Missourians in 1992: By limiting lawmakers to eight years in the House and eight years in the Senate, proponents contended the General Assembly would become more responsive — and consistently get new members with fresh ideas.

More than 25 years after voters approved the constitutional amendment, Meinkoth wanted to know if those promises were kept. He asked Curious Louis: “It's been 25 years since term limits went into effect for state legislators. Has there been a study to determine the effect of these limits?”

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.
File photo | Seth Perlman | Associated Press

The Illinois General Assembly is once again ending its annual legislative session without passing a budget. 

Although Senate Democrats passed both a budget bill and a variety of tax hikes earlier in May to pay for it, House Democrats couldn't agree on what to do. Try to meet Gov. Bruce Rauner’s demands, as the Senate tried and failed to do with the so-called grand bargain? 

Denise Lieberman, with the civil rights group Advancement Project, on Wednesday speaks at a news conference at the Old Courthouse about Missouri's voter ID law. May 31, 2017
Erica Hunzinger | St. Louis Public Radio

A day before Missouri’s new voter ID law takes effect, a coalition of civil rights groups and Democratic politicians warned Wednesday that the law could disenfranchise minority voters and older people.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, whose office oversees elections, scoffed at the concerns, arguing that “if you’re a registered voter, you’ll be able to vote.”

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 31 with oral arguments — A case that could expand legal protections for the state’s LGBTQ community is in the hands of a three-judge panel of Missouri’s Court of Appeals.

Judges Anthony Gabbert, Victor Howard and Cynthia Martin heard arguments Wednesday in the case of a 17-year-old transgender boy from the Kansas City area who wants to be allowed to use the boy’s restroom and lockers rooms at his school. His attorneys argue that the decision by the Blue Springs R-IV district to deny the request violates Missouri’s Human Rights Act.

Peggy Hubbard breaks up a small scuffle between demonstrators over whether a Black Lives Matter sign could be placed in the arm of the soldier on the statue on Tuesday, May 30, 2017.
Jenny Simeone-Cases | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 31 with information on aldermanic hearing — St. Louis’ parks committee weighed in Wednesday on the controversy surrounding the memorial to Confederate soldiers in Forest Park.

The first in a series of hearings on a bill sponsored by Alderwoman Sharon Tyus, D-1st Ward, came the day after those for and against keeping the monument in its current location held simultaneous protests.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signs a bill on Tues., May 30, 2017, banning project labor agreements before workers at Automation Systems, a firm in Earth City.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens appears to be reinforcing his anti-union image, inviting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — who also has built a reputation for taking on unions — to a rally Tuesday, where Greitens signed a bill outlawing a longstanding practice.

The bill bans cities and counties from using project labor agreements, which have been in use in the St. Louis area for decades. PLAs require all subcontractors to pay union wages, and often bar work stoppages over labor disagreements. Already, there are PLA bans on state projects.

St. Louis officials signed a lease for a temporary homeless shelter to be put at this building, at 23rd and Pine.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is poised to meet a Monday deadline to move homeless men from a temporary emergency shelter in a city warehouse.

Mayor Lyda Krewson, comptroller Darlene Green and Board of Aldermen president Lewis Reed signed a 10-month lease on Tuesday for a space at 23rd and Pine streets, west of downtown. The lease starts Thursday, about a week before hundreds of local government officials, social service providers and community and business leaders will meet to seek a more regional approach to reducing homelessness.

File photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court said Tuesday that it won’t hear a group of lawsuits that aims to force the state Department of Corrections to release the name of the pharmacists who supply the state’s lone execution drug, the sedative pentobarbital.

The case declined by the high court was an appeal of a Feb. 14 ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals.

St. Louis on the Air's Legal Roundtable returned on Tuesday with Bill Freivogel, Rachel Sachs and Mark Smith.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Legal Roundtable panel returned to discuss pressing issues of the law. They discussed a number of topics, starting with national issues of government leaks, the Supreme Court, and President Trump's executive orders on immigration.

Joining the discussion:

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 30 with news of appeal — Missouri's attorney general will appeal a federal court ruling that struck down parts of the state's limits on campaign finance.

In a statement released Tuesday, Republican Josh Hawley said it was his duty as attorney general to defend the laws and constitution of Missouri. A federal judge earlier this month kept in place donation limits, but threw out a ban on certain committee-to-committee transfers.

Seventy percent of voters approved the amendment in November.

A volunteer with Coalition for Life St. Louis, an anti-abortion group, waves as a car exits the Planned Parenthood parking lot on Forest Park Avenue. Volunteers hand out anti-abortion pamphlets to passers-by.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For proof of Missouri’s prominent place in the national abortion debate, one only needs to look at the two developments energizing abortion rights and anti-abortion activists.

Due to a recent federal court ruling, Missouri, which only has one abortion clinic at the moment, likely will see several others open in the coming months — a rarity in the U.S. And St. Louis will be engaged in a legal battle over a new ordinance that bars employers and landlords from discriminating against women who obtain abortions.

Black Lives Matter posters were placed on the Confederate monument in Forest Park on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The question of whether a Confederate monument in Forest Park should be removed was explored on our weekly Behind the Headlines segment amid the controversy surrounding it.

Some people want it removed, including St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and Treasurer Tishaura Jones, who launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for its removal.

Tracy McCreery, May 2017
Carolina Hidalgo 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 state Rep. Tracy McCreery.

The Olivette Democrat has represented the 88th District since the beginning of 2015. Her district includes portions of Creve Coeur, Olivette and Ladue.

Gov. Eric Greitens leads people who attended a rally during the special session into the Capitol on Tues., May 23, 2017.
Krissy Lane | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ first special session was a success.

On Friday, the Senate passed a bill 24-5 designed to reopen an aluminum smelting plant once operated by Noranda, as well as to build a new steel plant nearby. The bill will take effect the moment the Republican governor signs it.

Councilman Mark Harder's (left) bill aimed at replacing two bridges in western St. Louis County sparked a war of words between councilmembers and County Executive Steve Stenger.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger always was going to have a hard time getting along with most of the St. Louis County Council. After all, the county voters filled the majority of those seven seats with people who have longstanding disagreements with the Democrat.  

That expected acrimony has come to pass in the form of a dispute over replacing bridges, prompting some council members to question Stenger’s ability to effectively communicate with them.

A family flees violence in East St. Louis following the 1917 race riots.
Courtesy of East St. Louis 1917 Centennial Commission and Cultural Initiative

The social, economic and political factors that led to the deadly East St. Louis race riots 100 years ago will be examined at a conference that begins Friday. 

The point is to educate people about the riots while beginning an ongoing conversation about what the region still faces today, said the Rev. Joseph Brown, chairman of the East St. Louis 1917 Centennial Commission.

Firefighters work outside of the Loy-Lange Box Company building on South 3rd Street. (April 3, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

 

 

April's deadly boiler explosion at the Loy-Lange Box Company in the Soulard neighborhood occurred because steel at the bottom of the tank had deteriorated, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said in a report released Thursday.

The board noted that investigators found the metal in the area of the tank that ruptured was less than one-third of its original thickness.

The number three
Tom Huesing | Flickr

According to estimates released by the U.S. Census, three local cities are among 10 in Illinois and Missouri that gained the most people between 2015 and 2016. The  numbers are estimates of the population for cities and towns across the United States.  

Wentzville, in St. Charles County, grew by more than 1,800 people, second only to Kansas City. O'Fallon, Missouri was 4th on the list, gaining about 1,400, and Clayton, in St. Louis County came in 8th, with an increase of around 750.

Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications

Updated May 25 with the day's actions — The special legislative session called by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is getting closer to the finish line.

A Missouri Senate committee voted 10-1 Thursday to pass a bill designed to reopen an aluminum smelting plant in southeastern Missouri that was operated by Noranda. They made no additions to the bill, which goes before the full Senate on Friday.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers raise their weapons at a preshift meeting 3.23.15
File photo | Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

The interim chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department asked the city’s Board of Aldermen on Wednesday to find money for hiring more officers and providing better pay. Liberal activists, however, want city leaders to ignore the drumbeats of demands for more officers and instead find funding for social services that could help stem crime.

The request from the police department will be competing with other urgent public safety needs, including funds for the drug Narcan, which reverses opioid overdoses.

Starting June 1, Missouri residents who want to vote will need to show a photo ID or do one of two other things — sign a statement and show approved types of documents (for registered voters only) or vote a provisional ballot. 

Missouri isn't the first state to enact voter ID law like this — several states, including North Carolina and Texas, have it, too. But such laws haven't been without controversy.

What questions do you have about the new photo ID law? Ask Curious Louis and a St. Louis Public Radio reporter may follow up on your question. 

Lezley McSpadden addressed the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans on July 2, 2016. She will receive her high school diploma from Jennings High School on Friday, May 26, 2017.
Lawrence Bryant | St. Louis American

Lezley McSpadden, the mother of the late Michael Brown Jr., will receive her high school diploma from Jennings High School on Friday, as part of the school’s 100th commencement.

McSpadden, 37, worked with Jennings School District Superintendent Art McCoy Jr. to start the Adult Education Program through which she earned her diploma as its first graduate.

“When I first met with Lezley, I wanted to help with her foundation,” McCoy told The American.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks in front of the Capitol during a rally in support of the Noranda bill on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
File photo | Krissy Lane | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House expects to send the Senate a bill Wednesday that would reopen a shuttered aluminum plant in the Bootheel region — long known as Noranda — and build a new steel plant next door.

What the Senate will do remains to be seen, considering at least one Republican is using the special session to again harangue fellow GOPer Gov. Eric Greitens for his agenda-pushing nonprofit.

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