Scott Sifton

Former Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley
Courtesy of Hensley's Twitter page

When Scott Sifton bowed out of the attorney general’s race last week, Democrats appeared to avoid a resource-draining primary battle between the Affton state senator and St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman. 

Well, at least for a few hours.

Before the preverbal ink (or, in this site’s case, pixels) dried on Sifton’s departure from the 2016 statewide scene, former Cass County Teresa Hensley announced she would enter the Democratic scramble for attorney. It showed that if the goal of getting Sifton out of the attorney general’s race was to avoid a primary, that plan didn’t really succeed.

Scott Sifton
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, state Sen. Scott Sifton joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to talk about his decision to scuttle his attorney general bid.

State Sen. Scott Sifton angrily speaks on Wednesday. The Affton Democrat was a key figure in grinding business of the Senate to a halt after Republicans stopped a filibuster of right to work.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Democratic State Sen. Scott Sifton has set off political turmoil in south St. Louis County -- and elsewhere -- with his announcement that he’s dropping out as a candidate for Missouri attorney general in 2016, and running for re-election instead.

Sifton is from Affton and represents the 1st state Senate district, which takes in much of south and southwest St. Louis County. Sifton’s decision initially left St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman as the only Democrat running for attorney general.

But by Thursday night, former Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley announced her candidacy. Sifton and St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce (who had backed Sifton) swiftly endorsed her.

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Tim Lloyd welcome St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman to the show.

Zimmerman grew up in St. Louis County — attending Clayton schools — before attending Claremont McKenna University and Harvard Law School. He worked for Attorney General Jay Nixon and former Gov. Bob Holden before getting elected to a state House seat in 2006.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia
Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s edition of Politically Speaking uses the magical power of radio to speak with Sen. Kurt Schaefer from his office in Jefferson City. 

The Columbia Republican chairs the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which makes him one of the most influential figures in the budget-crafting process. He’s also chairing a special committee looking into Gov. Jay Nixon’s performance during the unrest in Ferguson.

(Courtesy Zimmerman Campaign)

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman has announced he’s running in 2016 for Missouri attorney general, setting up a primary with state Sen. Scott Sifton, a fellow Democrat.

In a telephone interview early Tuesday, Zimmerman said he was making his intentions public now because “2016 will be a critical year in Missouri politics.”

Sifton, from Affton, announced his candidacy a couple months ago. At present, the only announced Republican is state Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia.

Missouri State Capitol Building
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Just after the sun set on Nov. 24 — the day that then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s fate would be disclosed to the world — Missouri's Gov. Jay Nixon faced a throng of reporters at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

Appearing before cameras that would simulcast his words across the globe, the Democratic governor talked  at length about how law enforcement officials were ready to respond to the grand jury’s decision. 

Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

This week, the Politically Speaking trio welcomes back state Sen. Scott Sifton. The Affton Democrat won election to the Missouri Senate in 2012 in a hard-fought race against then-Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay. 

Most recently, Sifton, an attorney with Husch Blackwell, made waves in the Missouri Senate with his filibuster during the fall veto session of legislation mandating a 72-hour waiting period for abortions. He’s also been part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers calling for curbs on meals, travel and entertainment paid by lobbyists.

File photo

Renewed efforts to change Missouri’s law on school transfers look pretty much the same as the bill vetoed earlier this year by Gov. Jay Nixon, but sponsors of the newly filed legislation say events in Ferguson have changed the atmosphere for the upcoming debate.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Scott Sifton became the first Democrat to jump into the 2016 race for attorney general. 

In an e-mail this weekend to supporters, the Affton Democrat cited his experience working in the attorney general’s office and his tenure in the legislature as rationale for his statewide run. 

His campaign sent out an e-mail on Monday morning officially announcing his candidacy. He said in a statement that "as attorney general, I will work to make Missouri safer for every family, consumer, community and business.”

KWMU Staff

With a veto of the school transfer bill all but certain, Missouri lawmakers who worked on the wide-ranging legislation say they hoped a compromise could still be reached on the question of using public money to pay tuition at nonsectarian private schools.

But they acknowledged that it won’t be easy coming up with terms that will please Republicans and Democrats, urban, suburban and rural lawmakers — and Gov. Jay Nixon.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 6:12 p.m.)

House and Senate negotiators have wrapped up work on a final version of a bill to ease the burden of Missouri’s student transfer law.

Senate Bill 493 would allow for individual school buildings to be accredited, instead of the school district as a whole, and it would create regional authorities to oversee transfers.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Five identical bills that would each revamp Missouri's student transfer law were examined Wednesday by a State Senate committee.

photo of Thomas Schweich
Provided by the auditor's office

Democrats may be deciding between "fight or flight" when it comes to taking on state Auditor Tom Schweich in November.

Last week, state Rep. Jay Swearingen, D-North Kansas City, bowed out of the state auditor's contest. He told the Associated Press that he wanted to step aside for another Democrat who's better able to raise money for the race.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Beacon

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Just weeks away from its implementation, the Kirkwood School District held an informational meeting Tuesday night to answer questions from parents and residents about the school transfer process.

The basic message from speakers was this: The system is flawed, the law is broken, there wasn’t nearly enough planning, the legislature is dysfunctional, and what happens if we get sued?  But we need to do everything in our power to make sure the incoming students get the best possible education we can provide.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A Democratic candidate for the Missouri Senate is calling for a ban on all gifts from lobbyists to state lawmakers, and accusing his opponent of accepting more gifts and free meals over the past decade than any other Missouri legislator.

Scott Sifton (D, Affton) is a member of the Missouri House and is trying to unseat incumbent State Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) in the 1st Senate District that covers most of South County.  Sifton accuses Lembke of accepting 560 gifts over the past 10 years.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Tax Day can be a tough time for anyone, but it’s especially hard for seniors facing rising personal property taxes on a fixed income. That’s according to some local lawmakers who are asking the state to give seniors a break.

State Representatives Jill Shupp and Scott Sifton are pushing two bills in Missouri’s legislature to help seniors: