Rory Ellinger

campaign photo

During the late 1950s, Rory Ellinger, a high school student at Bishop Du Bourg, had a job as a checker at Kroger’s. During a lunch break, he became transfixed by people picketing the nearby Woolworth’s over dining practices.

“Blacks could only order food to go out,” he recalled in the 1999 book, A Generation Divided. “If you were black, you came in and they served you in a bag and you had to leave.”

He joined the NAACP picket line. It was the prelude to a life defined by the civil rights movement.

Sean Sandefur/St. Louis Public Radio.

State Rep. Rory Ellinger's colleagues paid tribute to him last week with quick passage and ceremonial signing of his bill to help breast-feeding mothers. The gesture more than the bill itself symbolizes Rory's legacy as a public servant.

Somehow, despite extreme polarization and a rightward turn in Missouri politics, one of Missouri's most liberal legislators has earned both respect and genuine affection from colleagues of all ideological stripes.

How did this happen?

State Rep. Rory Ellinger, D-University City, waves to the audience earlier this month at a bill signing ceremony for HB 1320.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Governor Jay Nixon has signed legislation that would allow breastfeeding moms to be exempted from jury duty in Missouri.

Tim Bommel, Mo. House Communications

  Legislation to expand legal protections in Missouri for breast-feeding moms is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon.

Sean Sandefur/St. Louis Public Radio.

State Rep. Rory Ellinger, D-University City, announced Monday that he’s withdrawing as a candidate for re-election. Ellinger is in his second term.

Ellinger, 72, cited health reasons. A consultant, Jim Ross, said that Ellinger has been undergoing medical tests for several weeks.

Ellinger has been one of the state Capitol’s most outspoken progressives. He has been at the forefront of several recent legislative battles over Medicaid expansion, tax credits and crime bills.

(via Flickr/Tax Credits)

Nice restaurants in Jefferson City should be sad to see the Missouri Legislative session end. They’ve received tens of thousands of dollars worth of business from lobbyists courting Missouri’s legislators over dinners and drinks.

Who were the legislators taken out for expensive meals? Well, in many cases, we don’t really know.

(via Flickr/ M Glasgow)

The Missouri House has passed legislation that declares any future federal ban on semi-automatic weapons or large capacity clips is "unenforceable" in Missouri.

(via Flickr/Roomic Cube)

A measure outlined in the Missouri House on Tuesday could give first-time offenders for marijuana possession the opportunity of community service, instead of jail time.

After completing the sentence, the bill would also allow for the convictions to be removed from the offender’s record.

Representative Rory Ellinger, a criminal defense lawyer from St. Louis, hopes that the bill will help youth offenders to get jobs by not having to disclose the conviction to employers.

(via Flickr/Torben Bjorn Hansen)

A St. Louis-area State House member is proposing legislation that would lessen penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Missouri, and would allow for some misdemeanor criminal records to be expunged.

Report: Campaign Finance Laws Worrisome

Jan 17, 2013
Sean Sandefur/St. Louis Public Radio.

 

All of the money given by small donors in the 2012 presidential race was matched by only 32 billionaires and corporations, according to a report released Thursday by MoPIRG, the Missouri Public Interest and Research Group.

It was the first major election since the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision that allowed an unlimited amount of money to be spent by so-called Super PACs, often without disclosing where the money is coming from.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has passed legislation to limit where and when funeral protesters can demonstrate.

The action comes despite this week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that threw out a lawsuit against a fundamentalist church that holds protests at military funerals.