On the Trail

On The Trail
10:06 pm
Sun July 27, 2014

'Skin In The Game' Or Excessive Tipping Point? Self-Funding For Legislative Seats Raises Eyebrows

What does it take to win a seat in the Missouri General Assembly? In some cases, five or six-figures of somebody's own money.
Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 8 p.m. on Monday with news about Schneider repaying her loan.)

Vicki Schneider got on the phone earlier this year with Bob Onder after he loaned himself $200,000 for his state Senate bid. 

She said she asked a fairly simple question of one of her opponents for the St. Charles County-based 2nd District seat: "Do you want me to help you spend that?"

“And he just laughed,” she said.

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On The Trail
9:37 pm
Sun July 20, 2014

Legislators May Have Numbers To Counter Nixon's Vetoes

Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a record number of bills this session. But some of those objections could be overridden by the GOP-controlled Missouri General Assembly.
Credit Bill Greenblatt | UPI

(Updated at 1 p.m. Monday with additional comments from House Speaker Tim Jones.)

Gov. Jay Nixon proved that he can outdo himself, at least when it comes to vetoing legislation. 

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On The Trail
1:12 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

We Asked Five Questions About Campaign Finance Reports. Here Are The Answers

Credit flickr/yomanimus

The seven or eight people who love watching political ads will be in for an exciting three weeks.  

Everybody else in Missouri may want to become familiar with the “fast forward” button on their DVRs.

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On The Trail
9:28 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

Money, Money, Money: Five Things To Look For In Tuesday's Campaign Finance Reports

Credit (via Flickr/Tracy O)

A fundraising quarter before an election is when Missouri politics starts getting real. 

And by “getting real,” I mean getting "real expensive.”

Tuesday is the deadline for campaign committees to turn in their fund-raising reports. These are the documents showing how much money political candidates and ballot initiatives have for the final push to the Aug. 5 primary.  They can also reveal how much cash is being shelled out in competitive primaries.

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On The Trail
10:12 pm
Sun June 29, 2014

St. Louis' Newly Wed Gay Couples Reflect On Why Attitudes On Gay Marriage Have Shifted

Tod Martin, left, and David Gray speak at a press conference last week. St. Louis officials married the couple last week, sparking a challenge -- and public reflection -- of the state's gay marraige ban.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Tod Martin wasn’t going to let 20 words keep him from marrying David Gray.

While it took more than 20 years, St. Louis officials last week issued Martin and Gray a marriage license. They’re among eight people who are testing the state’s nearly 10-year-old, 20-word ban on gay marriage.

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On The Trail
6:01 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

Dooley Vs. St. Louis County Council: Will Schism Last Beyond August Primary?

Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger, R-Town and Country, Councilman Greg Quinn, R-Ballwin, and Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, are part of a five-person coalition blocking some of St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley's agenda.
Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

The few long-time regulars at  St. Louis County Council meetings may be longing for the legislative body's customary 10-minute meetings after the past few weeks.

That’s because in recent weeks, the meetings have turned into lengthy – and often bitterly hostile – clashes between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and most of the council. But it's more than just legislative melodrama; a coalition of five council members (out of seven) have managed to block quite a bit of Dooley’s agenda.

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On The Trail
12:24 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

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

Judge Ronnie White
Credit Missouri Supreme Court

Updated 12:22 p.m., Thurs., June 19: On June 19, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Ronnie White's nomination to the U.S. Senate floor. The committee's 10-7 affirmative vote makes it highly likely that White's nomination to the federal bench will be approved.

Here's the original story about White's nomination from April:

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On The Trail
8:03 pm
Sun June 15, 2014

Dooley Once Again Embroiled In Debate Over County Parks

The 2011 battle over proposed cuts to St. Louis County Parks is receiving attention again thanks to ads from Councilman Steve Stenger.
Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley has claimed in recent weeks that he never proposed shutting down county parks in 2011. But now, as the issue begins to heat up again, Dooley is, in his own words, "walking back" from his comments.

Dooley told St. Louis Public Radio that he “never proposed shutting down anything,” adding that “people will be saying things every election cycle about Charlie Dooley. Just because they say it doesn’t make it so.”

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On The Trail
10:39 pm
Sun June 8, 2014

Analysis: Roads Far Outweigh Bikes In Transportation Tax List

Most of transportation tax project requests from the five East-West Gateway jurisdictions would go to road, highway and bridge projects.
Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis area leaders squelched any doubts last week about how they want to spend money from a transportation sales tax. 

Sure, some of the regional projects funded with the .75 percent sales tax increase would bolster mass transit service or bike trails. But that's the exception rather than the rule: Most of the roughly $1.5 billion worth of requested projects would go toward roads, highways and bridges.

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On The Trail
11:17 pm
Sun June 1, 2014

Agencies Scramble To Decide Projects For Early Transportation Tax Vote

Policymakers have until the end of the month to decide which transportation projects would be funded if a sales tax increase passes in August.
Credit (via Flickr/KOMUnews)

If you had $1.49 billion for transportation projects, how would you spend it? Would you repair highways? Bolster mass transit service? Enhance bike lanes?

This isn’t some academic exercise. The St. Louis region’s political leaders are considering how to divide the potential proceeds from a 0.75 percent sales tax increase for transportation. These decisions could have a transformative impact on how St. Louis area residents get around.

But here’s the twist: You have to make this decision very, very quickly.

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