Julie O'Donoghue | St. Louis Public Radio

Julie O'Donoghue

Politics Correspondant
The Loop Trolley during a test drive on June 13, 2018.
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 break down some of the week’s biggest stories in federal, state and local politics.

Of particular interest for many St. Louis area residents is the financial peril surrounding the Loop Trolley.

St. Louis Alderwoman Sarah Martin
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderwoman Sarah Martin is the latest guest on Politically Speaking. Martin represents the 11th ward, which includes parts of the Boulevard Heights, Holly Hills, Patch, Mount Pleasant and Carondelet neighborhoods. 

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

The St. Louis County Council is expected to take up a proposal to ban the use of self-deleting text message apps for government business.

Councilwoman Lisa Clancy, D-Maplewood, asked staff last week to draft legislation that prohibits the use of self-deleting text apps when communicating about county business. She said she plans to introduce the policy at a county council meeting over the next several weeks. 

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
File photo |Tim Bommell | Missouri House Communications

In this week’s Political Speaking news roundup, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Julie O’Donoghue and Jo Mannies discuss Sen. Roy Blunt’s reaction to the Democratic House’s move toward impeaching President Trump and the Ukraine controversy.

We also chat about the ongoing discussion over new gambling machines that have popped up in gas stations, fraternal lodges and convenience stores across the state. House lawmakers held a hearing in Jefferson City on Thursday regarding whether the new machines are legal and the challenges with regulating them.

A MetroLink train
File Photo | St. Louis Public Radio

This story was updated at 2:49 p.m. on Oct. 9, 2019 with comments from Bi-State CEO Taulby Roach. 

The St. Louis County Council voted 6-1 Tuesday to send the Bi-State Development Agency about two-thirds of the money it requested for its annual budget.

Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, is a member of the six-person Conservative Caucus.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Sen. Bill Eigel is the latest guest on Politically Speaking, where he talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Julie O’Donoghue and Jaclyn Driscoll about the future of the Conservative Caucus in the Missouri legislature.

The St. Charles County Republican is a member of a six-person Senate faction that has questioned GOP proposals involving transportation spending and economic development.

St. Louis County is interested in joining a statewide eletronic monitoring program for people awaiting trial once Missouri gets it up and running.
FIle photo | Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri is planning a statewide electronic monitoring program for people awaiting trial in local jails — with the hope of saving money.

The state put $5 million toward electronic monitoring in its current budget, but the program is still several months away from being launched. 

Missouri is required to help counties and cities cover the costs of holding people in jail and transporting them to state prisons, but the state hasn’t been able to keep up with its payments — leaving local governments in a lurch. The state ended its last budget cycle in July owing cities and counties a total of $32.5 million.

Missouri Rep. Ian Mackey, D-Richmond Heights
JASON ROSENBAUM | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Missouri Rep. Ian Mackey is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. The Democrat from Richmond Heights talked to St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum.

Mackey won his first election to the state house in 2018. His district includes Richmond Heights, Clayton and University City. 

According to Washington University's Center for Social Development's latest study, predominantly black residents and low-income communities in the region face barriers in casting their ballots.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County is considering an overhaul of the way its government operates. 

The St. County Charter Commission is exploring the following options: bringing a county manager into government; doing away with partisan elections; electing the county auditor; appointing the county assessor; requiring minimum standards for the county’s 55 local police departments; and requiring county council members to work for the county full time. 

Sen. John Rizzo, D-Independence
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. John Rizzo is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast.  The Democrat from Independence talked to St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jaclyn Driscoll.

Cathedral Basilica
(via Flickr/kat93117)

Attorney General Eric Schmitt will refer 12 cases of Catholic Church sexual abuse allegations to local prosecutors after reviewing 2,300 personnel records of priests, deacons, seminarians and nuns provided by Missouri’s four Catholic dioceses over the past year. 

Overall, Schmitt said his office found 163 priests and other clergy members had been accused of sexual misconduct involving minors in Missouri since 1945. In some cases, they were accused of abuse multiple times and by multiple people. 

St. Louis County Councilwoman Kelli Dunaway
JULIA O'DONOGHUE | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Councilwoman Kelli Dunaway is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. The Chesterfield Democrat talked to St. Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Julie O’Donoghue about her childhood in rural Illinois and her first month in office. 

According to Washington University's Center for Social Development's latest study, predominantly black residents and low-income communities in the region face barriers in casting their ballots.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Board of Elections unanimously voted Tuesday to shift toward using paper ballots and away from touch-screen voting machines. 

The elections board is moving forward with a $6.9 million contract with Hart InterCivic to provide new voting machines and software that primarily run a paper ballot system. The new apparatus is expected to be in place for the Nov. 5 election. 

St. Louis County Councilman Sam Page is a strong supporting of a prescription drug monitoring program.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The balance of power on the region’s transportation authority board has shifted toward St. Clair County in Illinois — and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page isn’t happy about it.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a new state law this week that gives St. Clair County another permanent seat on the Bi-State Development Corporation board. The change effectively gives St. Clair veto power over operations that include local light rail and bus service. 

State Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Hannah Kelly is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. The Mountain Grove Republican talked to St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Julie O’Donoghue about some of the important issues for her rural Missouri district.

Kelly represents portions of Wright and Webster counties. She has served in the Missouri House since 2017.

St. Louis County jail
File photo |

St. Louis County’s top public health officials want more medical workers at the county jail. 

The facility needs about 20 more full-time nurses to reach its ideal staffing level of 60, they say. 

Currently, the jail is relying on nurses hired on short-term contracts to fill the gaps in staffing, said Dr. Emily Doucette, co-director of the county’s public health department. 

St. Louis County Councilwoman-elect Rita Days
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, Rita Days talks with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Julie O’Donoghue about her impending service on the St. Louis County Council.

Days was elected to fill out the rest of Hazel Erby’s term in the 1st District, which takes in more than 40 cities in central and north St. Louis County. The Bel-Nor Democrat’s term goes until the end of 2022.

Michael Person
JULIA O'DONOGHUE | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Michael Person is likely to be the next state representative from the Ferguson area after local Democratic officials unanimously nominated him to represent the party in a November special election. 

No other candidates sought the party’s endorsement Wednesday night. The district leans so heavily Democratic that the nomination makes Person the heavy favorite to win the 74th District seat on Nov. 5.

Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger walks out of federal court Friday after pleading guilty to federal charges.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum reflect on the rise and fall of former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.

The Democratic official was sentenced to 46 months in prison last week for his role in a pay-to-play scheme. He’s been the subject of public scorn after a sentencing memo detailed vulgar and boorish comments about his political enemies.

U.S. Reps. Lacy Clay, D-University City, and Ro Khanna, D-Calif.
Nick Telep I St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

Federal law enforcement officers would have less latitude to use deadly force under a bill U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay plans to introduce. 

Clay, D-University City, wants to raise the threshold for when it is acceptable for federal officers to kill a person in confrontations. He said that other tactics — such as de-escalation strategies — should be employed first, and that deadly force should only be used as a last resort.

U.S. Capitol
Liam James Doyle | NPR

St. Louis-area members of Congress said they are ready to act to prevent mass shootings like the ones that took place in El Paso and Dayton over the last weekend — though it’s sometimes unclear what exactly they are looking to do.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell speaks after taking the oath of office.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Julie O’Donoghue and Rachel Lippmann take a look at how politics and policy has changed in five years since Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson.

This show looks at how the slow change picked up last year with the election of Wesley Bell as St. Louis County prosecutor. That ushered in a new political coalition that’s affecting other parts of county government.

Calvin Treat, with the crop science division at Bayer, shows the company's short stalk corn innovation at a press event Friday. The corn naturally grows shorter than regular stalks.
Eric Schmid | St. Louis Public Radio

Bayer has already started relocating some of the 500 workers it has committed to moving to the St. Louis area. The agricultural megabusiness expects to move the bulk of those positions over the next two years, said Liam Condon, president of the company’s crop science division.

“People are literally, physically moving now — this summer,” Condon said during a visit to the company’s agronomy center in Jerseyville, Illinois.

State Rep. David Wood, R-Versailles
Tim Bommel I House Communications

State Rep. David Wood is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. The Versailles Republican spoke with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jaclyn Driscoll and Jason Rosenbaum about controversy in the state’s Medicaid program and other issues.

Wood was elected to Missouri’s 58th House District in 2012. He’s currently serving his final term in the General Assembly’s lower chamber, where he’s chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee for health, mental health and social services.

State Rep. Doug Clemens, D-St. Ann
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The latest episode of Politically Speaking features state Rep. Doug Clemens talking to St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O'Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum about his first impressions of legislative life.

The St. Ann Democrat represents the 72nd House District, which takes in portions of Maryland Heights, St. Ann and Breckenridge Hills. He was first elected to his post in 2018.