Nicole Galloway | St. Louis Public Radio

Nicole Galloway

A voter fills out a ballot at Central Baptist Church on March 10, 2020.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 9 p.m. with lawsuit filed against the initiative

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday that the question of whether to expand Medicaid will be placed on the August primary ballot, a move he said is more about policy than politics. 

Parson said that expanding Medicaid to insure more low-income people will be a “massive spending initiative” and that the state needs to know where it stands financially. 

The Missouri state minimum wage will increase from $7.85 an hour to $8.60, after voters approved Proposition B in November.
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Challengers for Missouri governor, Congress and St. Louis County executive raised more money in their campaign committees in the first quarter of 2020 than the people they’re seeking to oust from office. 

In at least two of those contests, the challengers still have a long way to go to close a gap when it comes to money in the bank — a key metric when examining campaign finance numbers.

Voting stations at Central Baptist Church in St. Louis on March 10, 2020.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s 2020 campaign season is effectively on ice because of the focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

But that doesn’t mean that candidates haven’t been signing up to appear on the August primary ballot.

By the time the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline hit, 490 people filed to run for federal, state, county, city and judicial posts. That included 31 stragglers who decided to make the trek to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office on Tuesday.

A bid to expand Medicaid has received substantial amounts of monetary and organizational supporter over the past few months.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

A new audit found problems with how Missouri’s Medicaid system determined whether a participant in the health care program is still eligible.

Federal regulations require state Medicaid programs to check on someone’s eligibility every 12 months. State Auditor Nicole Galloway’s audit, released on Thursday, found Missouri’s system that examined eligibility was error-prone and incorrectly removed people from the program.

Voting election illustration
Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies try to wrap their arms around Missouri’s Democratic presidential primary — which will take place on March 10.

One of the reasons that contest is difficult to gauge right now is that Missouri’s delegates are up for grabs a week after Super Tuesday. And it’s unclear how many of the seven major candidates will still be in the race by the time the Show-Me State goes to the polls.

State-level candidates flocked to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft's office on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, to file for the Aug 4. primary.
Jaclyn Driscoll I St. Louis Public Radio

The two top candidates for Missouri governor signed up to run in their party’s respective primaries on Tuesday, and spent their first moments as official candidates diverging on a ballot item to expand Medicaid.

Gov. Mike Parson and state Auditor Nicole Galloway’s entry into the 2020 gubernatorial contest came as scores of other congressional, statewide and legislative candidates traveled to Jefferson City to file for office.

Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri University of Science and Technology chose the state Capitol building to launch its yearlong 150th anniversary celebration, in part to get lawmakers' attention as it asks for more state funding.

More than 100 people gathered in the Capitol rotunda Tuesday morning to hear from university officials, students and lawmakers.

Missouri S&T Chancellor Mo Dehghani told the crowd that the school, which started as Missouri School of Mines and was later called the University of Missouri-Rolla before taking its current name, has a proven track record.

Members of the Board of Freeholders listen to concerns from St. Louis aldermen during the board's first meeting earlier this year.
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 stock of the events that made headlines this week.

At the top of the list is the release of state Auditor Nicole Galloway’s audit of Josh Hawley’s tenure as attorney general — which had made waves in Jefferson City several weeks before it was publicly released.

Attorney General Josh Hawley speaks during Thursday's televised senatorial debate. Oct. 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:30 p.m. with comments from Attorney General Eric Schmitt

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway released an audit critical of Josh Hawley’s tenure as attorney general, with the Democrat questioning how some of the GOP’s official’s campaign consultants interacted with governmental employees.

The audit, though, states that Galloway’s office “cannot conclude any laws were violated” from the interactions between the consultants and staff — which became a flashpoint near the end of Hawley’s successful 2018 contest against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. And attorneys for Hawley, who has sharply criticized Galloway for how she conducted the audit, took issue with the audit’s conclusions.

Attorney General Josh Hawley
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the newest edition of Politically Speaking, Jason Rosenbaum, Julie O’Donoghue and Rachel Lippmann talk about the latest in local, state and national politics.

Jon Hawles and Paul Harper, who work for state Auditor Nicole Galloway's office, answered questions on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, about an audit of Josh Hawley's tenure as attorney general.
Jaclyn Driscoll I St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley has been critical of how state Auditor Nicole Galloway is conducting a closeout audit of his former state office, contending that the Democratic official has been treating him unfairly.

Galloway’s office directly addressed some of Hawley’s objections on Wednesday about the unreleased audit, noting that a staffer overseeing the look into his two-year tenure as attorney general was replaced to avoid any appearance of bias. Galloway’s director of quality control told House lawmakers that he doesn’t believe any bias occurred during the audit.

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. 

Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger walks out of federal court after pleading guilty to federal charges of bribery, mail fraud and theft of honest services.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When historians look back at Missouri politics in 2019, they may get whiplash from all the twists, turns, scandals and controversies.

These past 12 months brought seismic change to the St. Louis region, especially with the sudden collapse of St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s administration and a nearly six-year effort to merge the city and county. In Jefferson City, Gov. Mike Parson dealt with a host of difficult policy issues — including economic development, Medicaid and abortion.

December 11, 2019 Nicole Galloway
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has the highest sales tax rates in the state of Missouri. Some parts of the city see rates as high as 11.679%. But the revenue doesn’t all go to the government. The areas with the highest tax rates may be as small as a few blocks — with extra taxes incurred by special taxing districts that operate largely without oversight from City Hall.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway took on the city’s poor oversight of these districts in an audit last month. And, on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, she said she’s referred one of them to law enforcement for investigation.   

Missouri state auditor Nicole Galloway presents an audit's findings of the city of St. Louis' local taxing districts. 11/21/19
File photo | Andrea Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

A state audit gave the city of St. Louis poor performance reviews in regard to its handling of 138 special tax districts. 

State Auditor Nicole Galloway discussed the findings Thursday in St. Louis and said the city needs to change its procedures to ensure responsible spending of tax dollars. 

“When these districts operate unchecked, taxpayers do not have assurance their money is being used efficiently, effectively and for the benefit of the public in the community,” Galloway said. “And that's just what we found: rampant use of local taxing districts throughout the city.”

Republican Lee Ann Pitman, left, and Democrat Trish Gunby, right, are running to represent Missouri's 99th House District.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the special state House elections, Missouri’s political watchers are focused on a west St. Louis County race between Republican Lee Ann Pitman and Democrat Trish Gunby.

While the outcome of the Pitman-Gunby race won’t make much of a difference in how the Missouri House operates, it could provide a glimpse into St. Louis County’s political future — and how the area may respond to the Republican and Democratic statewide contenders.

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. 

By September 2019, thousands of Missourians are still waiting to receive their tax refunds.
401(K) 2012 Flickr

Taxes were due roughly five months ago, but thousands of Missourians are still waiting to get their state refunds. 

According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, 9,671 tax returns have been processed and are pending. That amounts to $20 million that the department has yet to pay out. There are an additional 12,791 tax returns in manual review and just over 7,000 that may be “intercepted by another state agency” for debt payments or other reasons. 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson at a press conference on government restructuring on Aug. 28, 2019.
Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson reiterated Wednesday there will be no special legislative session on gun violence. 

Parson called a special session to resolve a car sales tax issue to run concurrently with the state’s annual veto session. It’s set to begin on Sept. 9 and will cost taxpayers an estimated $16,000. 

State Auditor Nicole Galloway speaks at the Truman Dinner on August 17, 2019.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

As Jean Peters Baker spoke to a packed room at the Missouri Democratic Party’s Truman Dinner last weekend, she acknowledged the obvious: The past few years have been bruising for a party that used to dominate state politics.

Republicans up and down the ballot generally prevailed in the past three election cycles — leaving Democrats on the outside looking in when it comes to policy and leadership. But Baker, chairwoman of the Missouri Democratic Party, said this isn’t a time to sulk. Instead, Democrats should use the 2020 election cycle as a prime opportunity for a comeback.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson delivers his first State of the State address at the Missouri State Capitol building Wednesday afternoon. Jan. 16, 2019
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Mike Parson is calling a special session next month to clear up an issue regarding sales tax bills on new cars. 

In June, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in Kehlenbrink v. Director of Revenue that the sale proceeds of only one used vehicle can be applied as a credit on a new car. The Department of Revenue was allowing couples to turn in more than one used vehicle to bring down the sales tax on a new model. 

State Auditor Nicole Galloway speaks at the Truman Dinner on August 17, 2019.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

State Auditor Nicole Galloway is promising to take the fight to Gov. Mike Parson in next year’s gubernatorial contest, contending that Missouri Democrats are better equipped to solve state problems than the GOP.

Galloway’s speech at the Missouri Democratic Party’s Truman Dinner on Saturday in St. Louis was her first major address since announcing her bid for governor Monday. Her party is trying to bounce back after three dismal election cycles in a row.

Gov. Mike Parson addresses a crowd of supporters at the Governor's Ham Breakfast on Aug. 15, 2019
Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s two likely nominees for the 2020 governor’s race have similar stances on gun reform measures needed in the state, but are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to access to abortion. 

Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway and Republican Gov. Mike Parson both spoke with members of the press at the annual Governor’s Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia on Thursday. 

Parson has not officially entered the race yet, but Galloway, who announced her candidacy Monday, was critical of the incumbent’s leadership. 

Nicole Galloway poses for a portrait at St. Louis Public Radio. March, 22, 2018
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

State Auditor Nicole Galloway officially launched her 2020 gubernatorial bid on Monday morning, emphasizing her record as Missouri’s lone Democratic statewide official and criticizing how a GOP-controlled government has operated.

While Galloway will likely have little competition capturing the Democratic nomination for governor, in the general election, she will be dealing with an electorate that leans toward the GOP and the incumbent's financial advantage.

Tens of thousands of Missourians are still waiting to receive their state tax refunds this year. 

And some are saying this year’s wait is particularly bad.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway said this has been an issue for years, under both Republican and Democratic governors. Despite significant improvements in the timeliness of refunds last year, Galloway said problems persist and little has been done to remedy the situation.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

The De Soto School District can improve its tracking of employee compensation, contracts, attendance reporting and handling of lunch and athletic money, according to a state review of the school system’s accounting.

The Missouri state auditor released an audit of De Soto schools Wednesday evening. The report lists 12 findings, including some that require immediate attention, earning the district a rating of “fair.” State audits earn one of four rankings, from excellent, to good, fair or poor.

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway announces her office will audit the government of St. Louis County , the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the St. Louis County Port Authority. May 15, 2019
File photo | Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 5:23 p.m., May 15, with statement from St. Louis Economic Development Chariman Karlos Ramirez — Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway announced Wednesday that her office will accept the St.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway, right, slammed Carpenter for "mismanagement" -- and criticized her response to the audit.
File Photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council wants state Auditor Nicole Galloway to look into county government in the wake of Steve Stenger’s guilty plea on federal corruption charges.

That move came as St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced that the county is getting back to the negotiating table with the owners of Northwest Plaza.

Missouri Department of Revenue officials may have violated the law when they adjusted the state’s income tax withholding tables once again earlier this year, according to a report from state Auditor Nicole Galloway.

The January adjustment came after two prior adjustments in response to the federal tax cuts that took effect last year.

Nicole Galloway poses for a portrait at St. Louis Public Radio. March, 22, 2018
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It appears to be up to Missouri’s last remaining statewide Democrat – Auditor Nicole Galloway – to investigate the validity of allegations of campaign violations made against outgoing state Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Galloway said Friday that she’ll comply with the request of Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a Republican who initially had been charged with examining a formal complaint filed against Hawley.

The complaint alleges Hawley, also a Republican, used public money to support his Senate bid against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill. Hawley defeated McCaskill and will take office in January.

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