Julie O'Donoghue | St. Louis Public Radio

Julie O'Donoghue

Politics Correspondent
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.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport. August 2018
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Julie O’Donoghue break down some of the week’s biggest stories.

To do that, Rosenbaum and O’Donoghue enlisted the help of St. Louis Public Radio colleagues Corinne Ruff and Kae Petrin. Ruff talked about the ongoing process of potentially getting a private operator to run St. Louis Lambert International Airport. And Petrin discussed Paul McKee’s bid to redevelop parts of north St. Louis.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

Under the best-case scenario, St. Louis County has about $12.5 million readily available to pay a police officer who won a nearly $20 million verdict in a workplace discrimination lawsuit two weeks ago.

But county officials and legal experts say it’s likely the county won’t end up owing Sgt. Keith Wildhaber near the amount he has been initially awarded. Existing state laws and court precedent suggest that $20 million verdict could be reduced on appeal or through a settlement. 

People place bets at the Sports Book at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
File photo | Leila Fidel | NPR

Missouri legislators heard from Major League Baseball, the NBA and the PGA on Thursday about their leagues’ role if legalized sports betting comes to the state.

The General Assembly is expected to consider legalizing sports betting in the 2020 legislative session. 

Among the details that need to be worked out is whether lawmakers will consider a sports gambling proposal that includes college sports as well as professional sports, mobile phone betting and in-game wagering on a particular play during an event. 

Democrat Trish Gunby is congratulated by her son, Kyle Gunby, who worked on her campaign, after winning a traditionally Republican Missouri House seat in the 99th District.  Nov. 5, 2019
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Democrat Trish Gunby won a high-profile Missouri House race in the 99th District on Tuesday, capturing a historically Republican seat with 54% of the vote in west St. Louis County.

Gunby’s victory over Republican Lee Ann Pitman is a morale boost for a Missouri Democratic Party that’s struggling to pick up the pieces after three disastrous election cycles that left the party out of favor in the state.

Attorney Michelle Schwerin and former Supreme Court Judge Ray Price
Capes Sokol law firm, File Photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page nominated two new members to the five-person Board of Police Commissioners on Friday. 

Page picked former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ray Price and local attorney Michelle Schwerin. The lawyers are meant to replace Laurie Westfall, the widow of former County Executive Buzz Westfall, and Roland Corvington, a former FBI agent who stepped down from the police board earlier in the week.

The nominations still need confirmation by the county council. Neither nominee could be reached for comment Friday.

St. Louis County police Chief Jon Belmar on July 24, 2017.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum take a closer look at some of the biggest political stories of the week.

Topping the headlines was turmoil in the St. Louis County Police Department after a jury awarded a nearly $20 million verdict to Sgt. Keith Wildhaber in his discrimination suit. That decision is prompting calls for sweeping change in one of Missouri’s largest local law enforcement agencies.

Missouri Rep. Donna Baringer, D-St. Louis
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Donna Baringer, D-St. Louis, talks with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about the need to regulate vaping and other topics during the latest episode of Politically Speaking. 

Baringer’s district includes the neighborhoods of South Hampton, Princeton Heights, St. Louis Hills, Villanova and parts of Lindenwood Park, Northampton, Bevo Mill and Boulevard Heights.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page answers question on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, from a group of reporters. Page is poised to appoint new members of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

In the first St. Louis County Council meeting since a jury awarded a police sergeant nearly $20 million in a discrimination lawsuit, County Executive Sam Page on Tuesday promised “serious changes” in the police department.

That came just hours after the county Board of Police Commissioners announced it is hiring an outside consultant to review the department.

Jay Ashcroft
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and at least one state lawmaker are trying to educate the public about false media reports.

“Some of the fake stuff online looks more real than the real stuff,” Ashcroft said at a town hall meeting in south St. Louis County earlier this month. “Our form of government is dependent on educated voters.”

Ashcroft said he intends to distribute information about how to distinguish reliable news reports from misinformation at high school voter drives that his office conducts. 

Police Chief Jon Belmar (left) and Ron Corvington (right) in 2014
File Photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The head of the St. Louis County board that oversees the police department quit suddenly Monday, a day after County Executive Sam Page said publicly he was seeking to replace members of the panel

The board’s chairman, former FBI agent Roland Corvington, resigned without explanation in a text message to Page on Monday.

Dr. Will Ross of Washington University in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue, Jason Rosenbaum, Rachel Lippmann and others talk about Missouri and St. Louis politics. 

Here are the topics covered:
 

St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-south St. Louis County, voted against a few nominees to the Board of Freeholders that were proposed by County Executive Sam Page.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council signed off on eight of nine nominees to the regional Board of Freeholders on Tuesday night.

It is waiting to vote on the ninth nominee, independent Dee Joyner, until next week, said the council’s presiding officer, Ernie Trakas. The county council members haven’t had a chance to interview Joyner yet because she has been out of the country.
 

State Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin
File Photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Shamed Dogan returns to Politically Speaking to talk with St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum about his efforts to change how Missouri handles criminal justice.

The Ballwin Republican represents the 98th House District, which includes parts of Ellisville, Fenton and Wildwood. 

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 Council Chairwoman 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. 

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