Strictly Politics

Tom Dempsey R. Mo Senator 02182014
Official photo

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, says he has yet to take a position on the “right-to-work’’ bill that is headed to his chamber after passing the House last week.

“I’m still looking at it,’’ Dempsey said in an interview.

He also remains skeptical that the measure — which would restrict union rights in the workplace — has enough Senate votes to override what he sees as “a certain veto’’ by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat with close labor ties.

Wikipedia

Missouri Republican activists will signal their first 2016 presidential preferences by participating  in a straw poll this weekend during the party’s annual Lincoln Days festivities.

This year, the event has been renamed “Reagan-Lincoln Days’’ in honor of Ronald Reagan, who was president in the 1980s.

The unscientific straw poll is among the activities aimed at energizing the hundreds of party faithful expected to attend the three-day event in Kansas City.

Ray Howze / St. Louis Public Radio

The Republican gubernatorial primary is more than a year-and-a-half away on Aug. 2, 2016, but candidates are already busy staking out their positions and priorities.

(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

Over the past 10 years since it faced two federal lawsuits, the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners has quietly cut 75,000 people off of its voter rolls.

That represents more than a quarter of the 281, 316 voters on the city's rolls in 2004. St. Louis' voter list now totals 206,349, according to state election records.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Just hours before the Senate confirmed Ashton Carter as defense secretary on a vote of 93 to 5, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., issued a brief statement saying he would oppose both Carter’s and attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch’s confirmation.

“After careful review, I’ve decided to vote against President Obama’s nominees for both the departments of defense and justice. Unfortunately, I believe both of these nominees will simply continue to uphold President Obama’s flawed agenda at these important agencies.”

House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town & Country
Tim Bommel, House Communications

On this special edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to talk about the passage of “right to work” legislation in the Missouri. 

The bill in question – sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield – would bar unions and employers from requiring all workers to join a union and pay union fees, if a majority votes to organize. It passed the Missouri House on Thursday with 92 "yes" votes, which falls short of the majority needed to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

(Updated 12:40 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12)

For the first time ever, the Missouri House has approved a right-to-work bill that curbs union rights.

But the House’s 92-66 vote Wednesday afternoon was far short of the number – 109 -- needed to withstand a likely veto by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat with close union ties.

Final House approval came Thursday morning. The  measure now moves to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future and a possible Democratic filibuster.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 1 p.m., Wed., Feb. 11)

By a voice vote, the Missouri House gave first round-approval Wednesday to a bill to bar construction unions and employers from requiring all employees to join a union and pay dues if a majority votes to organize. The bill, HB 582, is sponsored by Rep. Courtney Curtis, D-Berkeley.

----- Our earlier story

Rep. Lacy Clay
St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s two members of the Congressional Black Caucus both say President Barack Obama encouraged members of the caucus to find Republican colleagues to help pass criminal justice system reforms sought by many in the group. 

State Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin
Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum welcome state Rep. Shamed Dogan to the podcast for the first time. 

  Dogan, R-Ballwin, is a Northwoods native who worked in Washington, D.C. after graduating from Yale University. Among other things, Dogan worked for former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Roy Temple
Official photo

As expected, leaders of the Missouri Democratic State Committee have re-elected Roy Temple as state party chairman, despite the party’s poor showing last fall.

Temple faced no major opposition during Saturday’s vote, held at the Truman Hotel in Jefferson City. He is close to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and state Attorney General Chris Koster, who had supported his initial ascension to the top party post in 2013.

St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green was re-elected as the state party’s vice chairman.

New numbers show Missouri's women who worked full-time earned about 78 percent of men's earnings in 2013.
(via Flickr/Tax Credits)

As Missouri legislators roam the state Capitol, they frequently run into familiar lobbyists. More and more, though, these lobbyists are working for groups financed by unfamiliar donors. In fact, their identity is secret.

Such groups are nonprofits officially known as 501C4s, a designation that refers to a provision of the IRS’ tax code. Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2010 known as “Citizens United,” these organizations can get involved in politics in favor or opposition of candidates, just like political action committees.

Washington University

Washington University, which has hosted several presidential debates, may once again be on the national political stage because of a challenge issued Tuesday night by three nationally prominent Republicans who also are gay-rights activists.

They included Meghan McCain, daughter of 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain, and Gregory T. Angelo, national executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans – the GOP’s LGBT arm.

Ed Martin 2012
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | file photo

Just weeks before a divisive Missouri GOP fight, state Republican Party chairman Ed Martin has announced he will not seek re-election. Instead he plans to take over as the new president of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, a longstanding conservative group.

But Martin’s announcement may not clear the path for John Hancock, a fellow St. Louisan and prominent political consultant, to take over as state party chairman.

Republican sources say that Eddy Justice, the party chairman in Dent County and of the 8th congressional district, is considering a bid for the top party post.

Schweich launches his campaign for governor on January 28, 2015
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich launched his campaign for governor by lashing out at the man who he says is a symbol of the “rampant corruption” in the state Capitol -- wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield.

Schweich said that Sinquefield, the state’s top political donor, has been engaging in “corrosive tactics’’ with “an army of mercenaries.’’  Their aim, he said, is to advance proposals – such as the elimination of Missouri’s income tax and replacing it with a huge sales tax -- that he says would help the wealthy but hurt small business and middle-class Missourians.

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.

Rep. Keith English of Florissant left the Democratic Party on Tuesday and announced he will serve as an independent.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Keith English, D-Florissant, has left the Missouri Democratic Party and is becoming an independent. He says the decision stemmed from his personal beliefs, which “do not seem welcome among current party leadership."

But some of English’s colleagues say his defection has more to do with comments he made about Michael Brown’s shooting death.

English said in a press release that the Democrats are no longer the party “of Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy.” He says he’s “leaving the party because the party left me.”

Green Park Alderman Tony Pousosa hasn't been successful in last two races for county offices. But the GOP nominee for the 6th District county council seat may be a better position, thanks to the unpredictable dynamics of a special election.
Parth Shah, St. Louis Public Radio

By now, Tony Pousosa may be considered a grizzled veteran on the St. Louis County political scene.   

The Green Park alderman, a Republican, unsuccessfully ran for both the St. Louis County Council and St. Louis County executive. He was the underdog in both contests because his opponents had a lot more money and organizational clout.

File photo by Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

When President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union address earlier this week, reaction was pretty predictable: Most Democrats liked the speech, while Republicans were generally less favorable. 

But in the flurry of emailed statements from politicians that flooded reporters’ in boxes, one stood out: Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel, a Democrat, criticized part of the president’s proposal to streamline higher education incentives.

St. Louis had a large contingent at the March for Life in D.C.
Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri General Assembly may be taking a break from handling major anti-abortion legislation, but that’s not necessarily true in Washington – and that could have an impact on Missouri’s 2018 contest for the U.S. Senate.

The drama in the U.S. House centered on its decision to drop plans to vote Thursday on an abortion ban after 20 weeks, as thousands of abortion opponents participated in the annual March for Life to mark the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing most abortions.

Pages