Julie O'Donoghue | St. Louis Public Radio

Julie O'Donoghue

Politics Correspondant
St. Louis County jail
File photo

St. Louis County’s recently revived justice services advisory board chastised jail officials Friday for being secretive about the circumstances surrounding the death of an inmate in late December.

“You guys seem to know what happened and we do not know what happened,” said board member and jail ministry volunteer Mary Zabawa Taylor to jail director Raul Banasco and the county’s top medical officials at the group’s monthly meeting.

Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum take a look at local, state and national stories that made news this week.

They include the unsuccessful proposal from the head of the Bi-State Development Agency to revive the Loop Trolley, which shut down after a string of financial difficulties. St. Louis Public Radio’s Kae Petrin joined the show to talk about the proposal, which failed to get approval from a Bi-State board committee on Friday.

St. Louis County Council Chairwoman Lisa Clancy (left) and County Councilman Ernie Trakas (center) both have proposals to change the county's panhandling regulations.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Staff attorneys have told the St. Louis County Council that vagrancy and panhandling ordinances need to be updated, because the ones currently on the books might be unconstitutional. 

But the council hasn’t agreed on how to proceed.

Loop Trolley
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The head of the agency that runs the region’s transit network characterized the Loop Trolley as a “troubled project” Tuesday but still said his organization should attempt to turn it around.

Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Sen. Dan Hegeman returns to Politically Speaking to talk with St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum about Missouri’s finances and his proposal to change state legislative redistricting.

The Cosby Republican represents Missouri’s 12th Senate District, which takes in a huge swath of northwest Missouri. It's the largest Senate district in the state.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson delivers his second State of the State address on January 15.
Marta Payne | Special to St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 with comment from legislators 

Gov. Mike Parson highlighted public safety, behavioral health services, education and job training as priorities in Missouri’s $30 billion spending plan for the budget cycle that starts July 1. 

He spoke about these programs in his annual State of the State address Wednesday — and also touted many of what he considers successes of his first 18 months in office.

“The state of our state is strong, and by working together, we will be even better prepared for the future,” Parson said. 

St. Louis County Council Chairwoman Lisa Clancy.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

At 34, Lisa Clancy is the youngest member of the St. Louis County Council and one of its newer members — she only joined the council a year ago. 

Last week, her colleagues unanimously chose her as chairwoman.

A Democrat from Maplewood, Clancy has pushed for more affordable housing resources in the county. She’s also part of the progressive wing of the board, which is controlled by Democrats.

Entrance to Harris-Stowe State University, April 2013
Paul Sableman (cropped image) | Flickr

Missouri higher education leaders are asking lawmakers for more funding for operational needs and facility maintenance in the budget cycle that starts July 1. 

Several public university and college presidents from around the state appeared at legislative hearings last week in Jefferson City to advocate for more money.

Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis is struggling to pay its faculty a living wage, said interim president Dwayne Smith.

State Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage, is the chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

State Rep. Cody Smith is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. The Carthage Republican spoke with St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue about his role as House Budget chairman — and his thoughts on overhauling Missouri’s criminal justice system.

Smith was first elected to the Missouri House in 2016 in a district encompassing parts of Jasper County in southwest Missouri. He became Budget chairman after his predecessor, Scott Fitzpatrick, was appointed as state treasurer.

Raychel Proudie
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Pubic Radio

Rep. Raychel Proudie, of Ferguson, will be the only Democrat in the Missouri House of Representatives to head a committee in the 2020 session.

Proudie, who took office last year, is the chair of the Special House Committee on Urban Issues. She took over the job after Rep. Bruce Franks, D-St. Louis, resigned last year to address his mental health.

“Right off the bat, one of my priorities is to make sure the committee is taken seriously,” Proudie said.

Rep. Rasheen Aldridge takes his seat after being sworn in to the Missouri House of Representatives on the first day of the legislative session. (Jan. 8, 2020)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

We talked to state Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis, who was sworn into office this week. 

Aldridge represents the 78th District in St. Louis, which includes Hyde Park, Old North St. Louis, Carr Square, downtown, Soulard, Benton Park and LaSalle.

St. Louis County Council Chairwoman Lisa Clancy.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Democrats took over both leadership roles on the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday night.

The council unanimously selected Lisa Clancy, D-Maplewood, as its chairwoman. Rochelle Walton Gray, D-Black Jack, was selected as vice chair on 4-3 partisan vote, with Democrats’ support and Republican opposition. 

State Rep. Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis County
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Jim Murphy is the latest guest on Politically Speaking. The south St. Louis County Republican joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Julie O’Donoghue to talk about what to expect in the 2020 legislative session.

Murphy represents Missouri’s 94th House District, which includes places like Mehlville and Green Park. It is one of the most competitive House seats in the state, as it famously flipped between Democrat Vicki Englund and Republican Cloria Brown for roughly a decade.

The latest episode of Politically Speaking features St. Louis Public Radio's political team counting down the top stories of the decade.
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Politically speaking, Missouri politics changed dramatically throughout the 2010s.

At the beginning of the decade, the Show-Me State was a place where Democrats dominated in high-stakes statewide contests — while Republicans prevailed in state legislative elections. By the end of 2019, Republicans maintained unprecedented control over Missouri politics.

State Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial
Tim Bommel I House Communications

State Rep. Dan Shaul joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum on the latest edition of Politically Speaking.

The Imperial Republican represents the 113th District in the Missouri House. That takes in a portion of northern Jefferson County, particularly parts of Arnold, Imperial and Barnhart. 

A worker trims marijuana plants in Ascend Illinois' growing facility in Barry, IL.
Eric Schmid | St. Louis Public Radio

On the final Politically Speaking roundup show of 2019, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum look at some of the headlines that made an impact in the waning days of the year.

O’Donoghue talked with St. Louis Public Radio reporter Eric Schmid about impending legalization of marijuana in Illinois. It’s a move that will have a profound impact on towns in the Metro East — and on neighboring states like Missouri.

Gov. Mike Parson
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the 18 months he has been in office, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has acted on just one of over 3,500 clemency cases. 

The Republican governor inherited a decades-old backlog of clemency requests. Some of the cases have been pending for several years, with multiple governors before Parson not taking action.

But Parson doesn’t seem to be in any rush to dive into what can be a politically risky part of the job. He declined to put one man’s execution on hold in October. Beyond that, he hasn’t denied or approved any other clemency applications. 

Missouri Rep. Keri Ingle, D-Lee's Summit
AVIVA OKESON-HABERMAN | KCUR

State Rep. Keri Ingle, D-Lee’s Summit, joins public radio political reporters Julie O’Donoghue, Jason Rosenbaum and Aviva Okeson-Haberman to talk about her first year in office and what she expects in the upcoming 2020 legislative session.

Ingle has a background in social work and has investigated child abuse and neglect. She won election in 2018 in a district outside Kansas City. She flipped her House seat from Republican to Democrat. 

via Flickr/functoruser

In this week’s Politically Speaking news roundup, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Julie O’Donoghue discuss St. Louis' proposal to bring back red-light cameras, the city’s ban on “conversion therapy” for minors and how Missouri’s delegation is handling President Trump’s impeachment. 

St. Louis Public Radio’s Kae Petrin and the Kansas City Star’s D.C. correspondent, Bryan Lowry, join the podcast for some of these conversations. 

Former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ray Price
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ray Price talks with St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum about his legal career and his new role as chairman of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page appointed Price to the board that oversees the police department this fall. Page has now appointed four of the five members — and could replace former county executive Steve Stenger’s final appointee at any time.

St. Louis County jail
File photo

St. Louis County plans to launch a six-month pilot program in January that tracks people accused of crimes by using a smartphone app. 

County Executive Sam Page told the County Council in a letter Monday that his administration plans to hire eHawk Solutions, based near Kansas City, to provide the software. 

The county’s smartphone monitoring program could be the biggest one of its kind in the U.S., according to the company. County officials are hoping such a program could reduce the local jail population. 

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, speaks to supporters and media on Tuesday night. She defeated Democratic challenger Cort VanOstran in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District.
File photo I David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum break down the big stories that have made headlines over the past week.

Arguably the biggest was Democratic state Sen. Jill Schupp announcing she would run for Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes parts of St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson counties. She’ll face Republican incumbent Ann Wagner. While the 2nd District has been in Republican hands for a generation, it’s become more competitive as white suburban voters have soured on President Trump.

State Rep. Trish Gunby, D-St. Louis County
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep.-elect Trish Gunby is the latest guest on Politically Speaking. The St. Louis County Democrat talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jo Mannies about her victory in the 99th House District special election that flipped the seat.

Gunby defeated Republican Lee Ann Pitman to serve out an unexpired term in a district that takes in Valley Park, Manchester, Twin Oaks and parts of unincorporated St. Louis County. 

Christine Ingrassia
JASON ROSENBAUM | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

St. Louis Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann on the latest episode of Politically Speaking.

The Democrat represents the city’s 6th Ward. Her district encompasses nine neighborhoods, including Lafayette Square and Fox Park. 

Electronic Gambling Machines
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

They look like slot machines. They sound like slot machines.

But they aren’t in casinos — which is the only place you are supposed to be able to find slot machines in Missouri. 

Thousands of new gaming devices have been popping up at gas stations, veterans homes, union halls and fraternal lodges across the state. Their growing presence has raised the hackles of state regulators and the traditional gambling industry, which says the machines are draining business from them. 

On the latest news roundup show for the Politically Speaking podcast, the St. Louis Public Radio team discusses vaping, St. Louis' police residency requirement and General Motors state tax incentives.
File | Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Julie O’Donoghue and Jaclyn Driscoll review some of the week’s biggest stories in state and local politics.

We break down how Gov. Mike Parson is responding to the recent spate of illnesses and deaths related to vaping.

State Rep. Becky Ruth, R-Festus
Tim Bommel I House Communications

State Rep. Becky Ruth joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum on the latest episode of Politically Speaking.

Ruth represents a portion of eastern Jefferson County, which includes the cities of Festus, Herculaneum, Pevely and Hematite. The Festus Republican is the first woman to ever lead the House Transportation Committee.

Colorful photos hang on the walls at HCI Alternatives in Collinsville. The marijuana dispensary is set up like a typical doctor's office.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue, Jason Rosenbaum and Jaclyn Driscoll review some of the week’s biggest stories in state and local politics.

One of the big topics on the show is the first meeting of the Board of Freeholders, which can propose consolidating services in St. Louis and St. Louis County — or even combining city and county governments.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said he needs a lot more money to run his office properly.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell wants at least $1.4 million more in next year’s budget than the county executive has recommended his office receive. 

Sam Page has included $11.9 million in general funding in his 2020 spending proposal to the county council. At a county council budget hearing Thursday, Bell asked to have that bumped to $13.3 million.

State Rep. LaDonna Appelbaum, D, St. Louis County
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jaclyn Driscoll welcome state Rep. LaDonna Appelbaum to Politically Speaking for the first time. The discussion includes the Democrat's efforts to improve health care.

Appelbaum represents Missouri’s 71st House District, which takes in portions of Chesterfield, Creve Coeur, Maryland Heights, Olivette, Overland and unincorporated St. Louis County. She was first elected in 2018.

Pages