On the Trail

On the Trail
11:20 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

Five Questions To Ask In Legislative Session's Waning Weeks

With about a month left before legislators adjourn, some key story lines still haven't reached a conclusion.
Credit UPI/Bill Greenblatt

With roughly a month left to go before adjournment, many of the Missouri General Assembly’s big issues remain unresolved.  

That’s not too surprising. Big-ticket legislation often passes – or dies -- in the last weeks of the session. With about a month to go before the final gavel falls, legislation dealing with tax cuts, the state’s criminal code and the student transfer situation are all still up in the air.

The resolution of some conflicts could hinge on unity from Republicans who control the legislature, while others may fall along less predictable fault lines. 

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On the Trail
9:48 pm
Sun April 6, 2014

Ronnie White's Nomination Recalls Past Battles — And Hard Feelings

Judge Ronnie White
Credit Missouri Supreme Court

Nearly 15 years after the U.S. Senate rejected his nomination to be a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Ronnie White is getting a second chance. President Barack Obama has nominated him again for the same type of judgeship.

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On The Trail
11:00 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Republicans Vie To Keep Control Of Democratic-Leaning District

Republican Jay Ashcroft fills out the necessary paperwork to run for the 24th District Senate seat. The son of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's first electoral bid won't be easy.
Courtesy of Jay Ashcroft

While Jay Ashcroft, the son of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, was always interested in politics, he also said he didn’t consider it “the highest calling.”

“My highest calling in life is to be a good husband to my wife and to be a good father for my kids," said the attorney and engineer from unincorporated St. Louis County. “In the last couple of years when I’ve seen how government has been working at the state level and unfortunately not always working, I kept coming around to the conclusion that I need to be part of the solution.”

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On the Trail
10:12 am
Wed March 26, 2014

For Election Junkies, 2014 Is A Great, Big Bust

Credit Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

For all intents and purposes, the 2014 election season looks to be a great, big bust.

Nobody should be surprised, as 2014 was always a way station to 2016. But hardly anybody expected that the only statewide race on the ballot would feature state Auditor Tom Schweich facing off against a Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate -- but not even a token Democrat. And some previously heated state Senate contests completely fizzled out.

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On the Trail
11:54 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

As Lawmakers Debate Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Syndicators Face More Scrutiny

Credit Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 3/17 at 10:30 a.m.)

State Sen. John Lamping learned two important lessons during his relatively short tenure in the Missouri General Assembly: It’s hard to pass new laws; and it’s easy to stop changes to existing ones. 

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On The Trail
9:40 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

With Medicaid Expansion In Limbo, Some Lawmakers See Promise In Collaborating With Critics

Credit Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Rob Schaaf is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to health-care policy. But some believe that this staunch opponent of Medicaid expansion holds the key to ending the legislative impasse over it.

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On the Trail
8:24 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

As Dooley and Stenger Duke It Out, Zimmerman Seeks Quieter Re-Election Bid

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman is running for his first full term as St. Louis County assessor, a bid likely to be overshadowed by a contentious Democratic primary for county executive.
Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

In some strange, alternate universe, St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman would be running for a third term on the St. Louis County Council. 

Back in the mid-2000s, the Olivette Democrat seemed to be on a collision course with Barbara Fraser, a fellow Democrat, for the 5th District council seat. But the two agreed on a deal: Fraser would run for county council while Zimmerman would run for Fraser's spot in the Missouri House.

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On the Trail
3:34 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Despite National Focus, Missouri Minimum Wage Vote Faces Murky Future

Democrats are hoping that focusing on increasing the minimum wage will pay dividends come election time. But chances of a Missouri ballot initiative are up in the air, at best.
Credit Erin Williams / St. Louis Public Radio

President Barack Obama sent a message during his State of the Union address to every mayor, governor and state legislator who want to increase the minimum wage: Don't wait on Congress, Americans will support more local government initiatives.

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On the Trail
8:18 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Showdown Looms Over 'Right To Farm' Amendment

Former state Sen. Wes Shoemyer, D-Clarence, has formed a political action committee to oppose the "Right to Farm" amendment.
Credit Flickr/MoDOTNews

Wes Shoemyer was content to ride off into the political sunset. 

The former Democratic state senator lost his re-election bid decisively in 2010. Afterward he told people in Jefferson City that he had a great “consolation prize” – going back to his farm near Monroe County.

But Shoemyer is leaping back into the fray to fight an amendment making it more difficult to regulate agriculture. And he’s taking on familiar adversaries – some the state’s largest agricultural organizations.

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On the Trail
10:18 pm
Sun January 19, 2014

Is There A Democrat To Take On Schweich In 2014?

State Auditor Tom Schweich is in an enviable electoral position after Democrat Jay Swearingen dropped out of this year's auditor's race. Democrats do have candidates that could mount credible campaigns. But the question is whether any of them will run.
Credit 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.

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