St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay calls a new report documenting a plummeting population "absolutely bad news." News U.S. Census figures released Thursday show that the Gateway City lost nearly 29,000 people over the past decade, a decline of about 8 percent of its population. The reports said the city had a population of a little more than 319,000 in 2010.
Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:
Missouri Legislative leaders and Gov. Jay Nixon expect to receive population an demographic figures from the U.S. Census Bureau today. The data is important for state lawmakers to start developing new congressional districts. Missouri officials already know the state will drop from nine to eight congressional districts based upon statewide population figures released in December by the Census Bureau. State lawmakers will develop and approve the new boundaries for Missouri just like any other legislation. The Legislature plans hearing on redistricting in the state Capitol and across the state.
Missouri lawmakers are poised to make another run at outlawing some synthetic drugs. Missouri was among more than a dozen states last year that banned a synthetic form of marijuana known as K2, which is a concoction of dried herbs sprayed with chemicals. But before the law even took effect, alternatives were hitting the market that had made slight changes to the synthetic formula and thus got around the new law. Republican Rep. Ward Franz of West Plains is sponsoring legislation this year that would add more synthetic cannabinoids to the outlawed list. The bill also would outlaw a synthetic form of cocaine that is being sold as bath salts in some Missouri stores.
Good morning! Here are a few of today's starting headlines:
Missouri lawmakers are preparing to start redrawing the state's congressional districts. Officials said Monday they expect to get more detailed population data from the U.S. Census Bureau this week. Missouri is losing one of its nine congressional districts, based on the statewide population figures released earlier. The new details of where people are living will hep the Legislature as it draws the eight new districts. The chairmen of the House and Senate redistricting committees are planning to hold public hearings in several places around Missouri. They hope to complete the hearings in the next couple of weeks and will begin developing new congressional maps after that.
The Missouri House is to begin debate soon on a plan to use $189 million of additional federal stimulus money for public schools. The House plan would use some of that money to offset shortfalls in casino tax revenues that were to go to schools. But most of the additional federal money would be used to offset state revenues already budgeted for schools this year - allowing the state money to be saved and distributed to schools next year. House Majority Leader Tim Jones said the chamber could debate the legislation as soon as Tuesday. The House plan would maintain a more steady funding stream for schools than one originally proposed by Gov. Jay Nixon. His plan would have boosted school funding this year and cut it next year.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Humane Society of Missouri has received custody of 74 dogs from a licensed breeder after investigators found the dogs malnourished and living in their own waste. State investigators found the Collies and Bichon Frises living in crates in a double-wide trailer on the breeder's Stone County property in southwest Missouri. One dog had to euthanized. The Post-Dispatch reports that examinations found several of the dogs suffered from dehydration, malnutrition, ear and respiratory infections, as well as internal parasites.
UPDATED: 4:09 p.m. Dec. 21, 2010, with information about reapportionment of Missouri congressional districts.
There’s already speculation that the Republican-dominated Missouri House and Senate will target the St. Louis-area districts held by Democrats Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan. But GOP House Member John Diehl, who chairs that chamber’s reapportionment committee, downplayed that possibility before reporters at the State Capitol.
The 2010 U.S. Census figures are to be announced today. One of Missouri's nine congressional districts is on the chopping block as officials await word on whether the state's population is high enough to keep its current delegation. Missouri has been on the bubble between retaining its nine seats in the U.S. House or dropping down to eight. Losing a seat would mean one less vote for president in the Electoral College. And it could make it harder for Missourians to get help resolving issues with federal agencies. Don't forget the political ramifications, especially for Democrats. That's because the Republican-led state Legislature will be in charge of drawing new congressional boundaries based on the 2010 Census.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis county is studying how to link major north-south arterials between Interstate 64 and points south of I-44, just west of the River Des Peres. The South County Connector Study will also look at a new I-44 interchange. County officials say those living in the southernmost reaches of the county suffer poor access to the commercial and governmental core of the region. Garry Earls, the county's chief operating officer, envisions a possible extension of River Des Peres to connect with Big Bend and Laclede Station Road north of I-44. The study will look at multiple options. The Post-Dispatch reports that no funding has been set aside for the project, but once funding is found, construction could begin within five to ten years.
The St. Louis County Council has ordered a freeze on new demolition permits for commercial and industrial property until Jan. 31. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the move gives the council time to consider a bill that would require owners to restore such demolition sites to their pre-built state. The measure was introduced Monday into the council. County officials are upset about the demolition of the closed Chrysler South Plant. They said the demolition contractor tore down the structure leaving a slab and environmental problems behind. The Post-Dispatch reports the bill would add site restoration to requirements for demolition permits. Applicants would be forced to remove all elements of structures and slabs, cover the site with dirt, seed or sod the site and install appropriate landscaping.
"Gutted factory buildings offer precious little incentive for prospective future developers." -County Executive Charlie Dooley said in a letter to the council. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Supporters of a ballot question to amend the state constitution and ban personal property taxes may now begin collecting signatures to put the question on the 2012 statewide ballot. The secretary of state's office approved the ballot summary on Monday. Richard LaViolette of Fenton proposed the ballot question which seeks to ban personal property taxes on vehicles, farm machinery, and manufactured homes. LaViolette says they're a nuisance and people cannot really own their property if a tax is levied upon it. Officials estimate abolishing the tax could cost state and local governments more than $1 billion per year.