Will Kraus

Jay Ashcroft, left, and state Sen. Will Kraus are both running for the GOP nomination for secretary of state.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

You could say that the Republican primary election for secretary of state is a choice between a familiar name and a familiar policymaker.

Will Kraus
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back state Sen. Will Kraus to the program.

The Lee's Summit Republican was on the program about a year and a half ago after he announced he was running for secretary of state. But the journoduo wanted to bring him back now that the GOP field in that competitive contest is set.

Voting booths
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Democrats in the Missouri Senate have ended their filibuster of a proposal to require photo identification at the polls.

House Bill 1631 was changed to allow voters without a photo ID to cast a regular ballot if they sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, that they are who they say they are. They would also have to present some other form of ID, such as a utility bill.

Jay Ashcroft
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome secretary of state aspirant Jay Ashcroft to the program for the first time.

Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, is sponsoring legislation that would implement a photo ID requirement for voting.
Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications

Two pieces of legislation that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls have been passed by the Missouri House and are on their way to the Senate.

The first, House Joint Resolution 53, is a proposed constitutional amendment to allow for a photo ID requirement, following the Missouri Supreme Court's 2006 decision tossing out an earlier photo ID law passed that same year. It's sponsored by Rep. Tony Dugger, R-Hartville, who has sponsored several photo ID proposals in recent years.

State Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The Politically Speaking podcast team – Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies – this week welcomed state Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit and  a 2016 candidate for Missouri secretary of state.

But first, the duo joined Jefferson City correspondent Marshall Griffin in commemorating the late state Auditor Tom Schweich, who died last Thursday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A memorial service is to be held Tuesday at his church in Clayton.

The Missouri Capitol Building
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Dysfunction in government is in the eyes of the beholder.

That, in essence, was the upshot of Friday’s Third Annual Ethics Conference at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

What some speakers viewed as dysfunction, others saw as evidence of proper government action – or restraint.

Take, for example, the four-person panel of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers, past and present.

Tim Bommel, House Communications

With dozens of sections and subsections, it wouldn’t be that easy to fit the Missouri Constitution in a shirt pocket. 

In the past 10 years, 24 amendments have been proposed to Missouri's constitution. Not all of those propositions passed, but the Show Me State’s constitution has been changed more often than the federal one. (The U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times.)

This year’s election cycle featured more constitutional amendments on the ballot – nine – than any time in last decade. Three of them passed in August, and four more will be decided Tuesday.

(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.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House acted quickly Tuesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a tax-cut bill that is estimated to cut the state's revenue by about $620 million a year when fully implemented.

The House obtained the exact number of votes needed — 109 — with the help of one Democrat, Rep. Keith English of Florissant.  He joined all of the chamber's 108 Republicans.

The House joined the Senate, which voted 23-8 on Monday to override the governor's veto, which he issued last week.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A controversial tax cut proposal has been sent to Gov. Jay Nixon, after the Missouri House passed it late Wednesday afternoon.

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. 

Flickr/David_Shane

The Missouri Senate passed a tax cut bill, after two different versions were blocked by Republicans who opposed a compromise between the GOP sponsor and Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Carl Miles' apartment at Rosie Shields Manor has everything he could want in a home – and then some. 

Miles’ spacious room has sleek wood-like floors and a modern-looking kitchen. He’s within walking distance of a bank and grocery store. And he can even throw parties in the Pagedale facility’s community room or common area – with management’s permission, of course.

“It’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful place to live,” said Miles, who is 70 and retired. “It’s got a lot of security. The people are generally pretty friendly. We socialize a lot. And we have a pretty good time.”

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A proposed tax cut that conformed to conditions laid out by Gov. Jay Nixon was radically altered Monday in an effort to move the overall proposal forward.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House passed legislation on Thursday curtailing two of the state’s largest tax credit programs. 

State Rep. Anne Zerr’s bill would reduce the historic preservation tax credit’s cap to $90 million from $140 million. That program helps refurbish older buildings and has been used extensively throughout St. Louis.

The bill would also gradually reduce the cap on the tax credit for low-income housing to $110 million from $140 million. That credit provides an incentive for developers to build housing for the working poor, elderly and disabled.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate has begun debate on a compromise tax cut brokered last month between Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, and state Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Debate has begun in the Missouri Senate on this year's attempt to cut the state's income tax rate.

File photo

A Missouri Senate committee heard testimony Monday on the latest effort by Republicans to require voters to show photo identification at the polls.

The proposal comes in two pieces of legislation:  Senate Joint Resolution 31 would amend the state constitution to allow for photo ID requirements at the polls, and Senate Bill 511 would implement those requirements.  

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

So far, there has not been a ground swell of support for the idea of a special legislative session in Missouri to pass an alternate version of the tax cut bill vetoed earlier this year by Governor Jay Nixon (D).

Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Updated 5:02 p.m. May 31

Newly released emails show that Gov. Jay Nixon's administration and legislative bill drafters each had a role in crafting an apparently inadvertent tax increase on prescription medications.

The prescription tax hike is included in a bill passed by the Legislature that cuts the state's income tax. Nixon has indicated he may veto the bill.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation is on its way to Governor Jay Nixon (D) that would forbid the Missouri Department of Revenue from scanning and storing source documents of driver's license and non-driver's license applicants.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri House approved wide-reaching legislation cutting personal income, corporate and business taxes, sending the measure to Gov. Jay Nixon for consideration.

The House passed state Sen. Eric Schmitt's legislation, SB 253, Thursday by a vote of 103-51. That vote came a day after the Missouri Senate passed the bill by a vote of 24-9 and sent it to the House. Now Nixon will have to consider whether to sign or veto the bill.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Republicans in the Missouri Senate have scaled back a proposal to cut state taxes in order to emulate tax cuts in neighboring Kansas and Oklahoma.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has strongly objected to the bill's sales tax hike, saying it would hurt the poor and elderly the most.  That provision has been dropped.  House Bill 253 would now cut the personal income tax rate by half a percentage point and the corporate rate by three points, and phase them both in over the next 10 years.  Republican Will Kraus of Lee’s Summit is handling the measure in the Senate.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would prohibit the Department of Revenue (DOR) from scanning and storing source documents for driver’s license, conceal-carry, and other applications.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation that would cut Missouri’s income tax while raising the sales tax was examined today by a State House committee.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to a phased-in tax overhaul designed to help the Show-Me State compete with neighboring Kansas, which recently slashed its tax rates.

Senate Bill 26 would lower state income taxes for individuals and corporations by three-quarters of a percentage point while raising the state sales tax by half a point.  Both would be phased in over a five-year period.  State Senator Will Kraus (R, Lee’s Summit) says it would result in a revenue loss of around $450 million a year.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation is moving through the Missouri Senate that would strictly limit where Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT cards, can be used in the state.

State Senator Will Kraus (R, Lee’s Summit) is sponsoring Senate Bill 251.  He says a new federal law that just took effect will ban EBT card use in casinos, liquor stores and adult entertainment venues.

“We’re taking that federal law (and) putting (it) into state statute," Kraus said.  "But we’re also adding a few places that we think these cards shouldn’t be used at:  amusement parks, entertainment events, athletic events, (or) to purchase alcohol, tobacco (or) lottery tickets.”

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would add cell phone numbers to the state’s Do-Not-Call list.

There was little to no debate on the bill Monday and it was easily approved by voice-vote.  The sponsor, State Senator Will Kraus (R, Lee's Summit), says the measure has failed in recent years because it was always paired with proposals to ban robo-calls.

Flickr/jdnx

Gateway Arch project may not be finished by anniversary

The 50th anniversary of the Gateway Arch is three years away, but the project to improve and expand the grounds by then may not be finished on time.

Walter Metcalfe, director of the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation, which is leading the effort, says it's more important to get it right than to get it done in time for the anniversary.

Pages