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Missouri Senate

House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, leads the Democratic end-of-session press conference as state Rep. Karla May, D-St. Louis, looks on.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio |file photo

Updated July 23 with the nominee — Democratic committee members in St. Louis and St. Louis County have nominated House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, as their party’s candidate to replace former state Sen. Joe Keaveny.

Keaveny resigned as the state senator for Missouri’s 4th District after the 2016 legislative session to become an administrative law judge.

Steve Eagleton
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 continue their interviews with candidates for the 15th District Senate seat. This time around, they’re interviewing Democrat Steve Eagleton.

The 15th District takes in parts of south and central St. Louis County. Since Sen. Eric Schmitt is term-limited, the race for the seat this year is wide open.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The 2016 Missouri legislative session is officially closed. What happened? What didn’t happen? What might change during the September veto session? On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed it all.

Sen. Joe Keaveny receives a hug while walking out of the Senate chamber on Friday. Keaveny announced he will resign from the senate to become an administrative law judge.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Senate Minority Leader Joe Keaveny plans to leave his post early to become an administrative law judge.

The St. Louis Democrat’s decision could set off an intense political competition to represent part of St. Louis in the Missouri Senate.

Before the Missouri Senate convened today, Keaveny told St. Louis Public Radio that Gov. Jay Nixon’s office had approached him about becoming an administrative law judge. He said once paperwork and background checks go through, he’ll resign his seat.

An HD camcorder
Nebrot | Wikipedia

The Missouri Supreme Court is weighing a lawsuit that accuses state senators of violating the Sunshine Law. Progress Missouri filed suit after being kicked out of Senate hearings on multiple occasions while videotaping proceedings.

The group's appeal to the state Supreme Court comes after the circuit judge of Cole County sided with the Senate. The high court heard arguments from both sides on Wednesday.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, speaks at a Wednesday press conference Lesley McSpadden. McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, wants the legislature to help expand the use of body cameras for law enforcement.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When then-Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, the policeman wasn’t wearing a body camera. And the uncertainty that followed provided a spark of sorts for programs to help law enforcement get the devices.

But Missouri did not pass legislation last year that would assist local police departments pay for body cameras – and provide guidelines for when footage is released. On Wednesday the issue returned with lawmakers receiving encouragement from Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown.

Sen. David Pearce presents his bill capping campaign contributions Tuesday during the Senate Rules Committee.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers have spent the first part of the session angling to overhaul the state’s ethics regulations. But for at least one Republican lawmaker, one issue has been absent from the discussion: capping campaign contributions.

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

As its first order of business the Missouri Senate unanimously elected Ron Richard, R-Joplin, to be its president pro-tem.

His fellow Republicans chose him for the post during a private caucus meeting Tuesday; his formal election  at the start of the 2015 veto session was a foregone conclusion. Richard says he's honored, but added that he'll actually have less power than he had as floor Leader.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, is set to resign on Friday. Some feel his departure could serve as a departure to a Senate ruled by compromise.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The imminent departure of Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey amounts to an end of an era for the Missouri General Assembly, at least for Missouri Public Service Commissioner Scott Rupp.

Rupp – a former Republican senator from Wentzville – served in the Missouri House and Missouri Senate with Dempsey for years. He said the soon-to-be former St. Charles Republican senator was part of a very exclusive club within the Missouri General Assembly. 

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, presides over the Missouri Senate on Wednesday. Dempsey missed the final two days of session to attend his daughter's college graduation.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The top Republican in the Missouri Senate is stepping down.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey announced on Friday he will resign from his St. Charles County-based Senate seat next Friday. In a lengthy statement, the Republican legislator cited a return to the private sector and a desire to be closer to his wife and three children.

Missouri State Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, announced he was resigning from office on Friday evening.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Facing heavy pressure from some of his party's top officials, state Sen. Paul LeVota announced Friday night that he was resigning from his seat.

In an announcement posted to his Facebook page, the Democrat from Independence cited "media attention" as being a "distraction from doing the people's work." The Missouri Senate detailed sexual harassment and retaliation allegations in a report released on Wednesday.

Senate Communications

Missouri Senate leaders are hoping to find a way to pass a critical medical funding bill, despite the chamber being all but shut down.

File | St. Louis Public Radio

Moving on fast parallel tracks, with the assistance from Gov. Jay Nixon’s office that has absent in the past, the Missouri House and Senate have advanced legislation designed to change provisions of the state’s student transfer law.

Logos of the St. Louis County and St. Louis Metropolitan Police.
St. Louis County website / file photo

Footage from police body cameras would be exempt from Missouri’s open records law if a bill moving through the Missouri Senate becomes law.

Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

After a Thanksgiving hiatus, the Politically Speaking podcast team is back in the saddle. And this week, we welcome state Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis, who will be the new Senate minority leader when the General Assembly goes back into session in January. 

Keaveny – a lawyer and the 28th Ward Democratic committeeman -- also chairs the Senate’s Democratic campaign arm. He has been in the Missouri Senate since late 2009, when he won a special election to fill an unexpired term. He won re-election on Nov. 4.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The November elections were very good for Republicans in the state Senate. Come January, when the new legislative session opens, Republicans will hold 25 seats in the 34-member body. So it shouldn't be too surprising that Senate Republicans are sticking with the leaders they have.

On Thursday, senators met at the capitol and re-elected Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, as president pro-tem, and re-elected Ron Richard, R-Joplin, as majority floor leader. 

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 8 p.m. on Monday with news about Schneider repaying her loan.)

Vicki Schneider got on the phone earlier this year with Bob Onder after he loaned himself $200,000 for his state Senate bid. 

She said she asked a fairly simple question of one of her opponents for the St. Charles County-based 2nd District seat: "Do you want me to help you spend that?"

“And he just laughed,” she said.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate had seven new members after the smoke cleared from the 2006 election cycle. Only two served for the maximum time allowed under term limits – Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and state Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah.

The two lawmakers are at the opposite ends of the political spectrum. Justus entered the General Assembly as a combative fighter who fought tooth-and-nail against the Republican majority. Lager, who was arguably more conservative than his Republican counterparts, seemed on a course for higher office.

It make take longer than expected to fill Ryan McKenna's void in the Missouri Senate.

When the Jefferson County Democrat resigned in December to become director of the state labor department, he left open the possibility that his Senate seat may remain vacant throughout 2014. If that occurs, the Missouri Senate would not be at full membership for an entire calendar year.

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