Missouri Statehouse

We begin with a look at the many challenges media outlets face when, under increasing scrutiny from all sides, they are covering a presidential race unlike any other.

UPDATED: Democratic leaders in the Missouri House are suggesting that likely state representative-elect Steve Roberts Jr. reconsider taking the post in the wake of sexual assault allegations leveled against him by a fellow new legislator, Cora Faith Walker.

Roberts and Walker are both St. Louis-area Democrats who in August won their respective primaries in the 77th and 74th districts. They face no opponents in the November election.

Why are so many teachers running for political office? We talk with local educators who want to be local legislators.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend, Missouri Rep. Judy Morgan (D-Kansas City) talks about transportation funding, Right To Work legislation, and this year's gubernatorial election.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend, Missouri Rep. Judy Morgan (D-Kansas City) talks about transportation funding, Right To Work legislation, and this year's gubernatorial election.

Guests:

  • Rep. Judy Morgan, (D-Kansas City), Missouri House of Representatives
  • Maria Carter, News Director, KCUR

PHILADELPHIA – In some ways, Hillary Clinton’s impending presidential nomination has been a long time coming for U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.

The Kansas City Democrat was a strong supporter of Clinton in 2008. He said he felt immense pressure to back then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama – who, of course, would go onto become America’s first black president.

Briana O'Higgins / KCUR 89.3

KCUR 89.3's Statehouse Blend podcast returns to the Westport Flea Market for another live special. Host Brian Ellison leads the audience in a discussion with Senators Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, and Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, about the central issues from the 2016 session of the Missouri General Assembly. 

Guests:

  • Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City
  • Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph

Missouri's use of deadly force law would become more in line with federal standards under a bill being weighed by a House committee.

Current state law does not specify that a police officer has to believe a fleeing suspect is dangerous to use deadly force. Senate Bill 661, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, would change the standard to more closely align with the national standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The so-called religious shield law, SJR 39, has already made a big impact on the Missouri General Assembly’s session. And depending on what the Missouri House does in the next couple of weeks, the proposed constitutional amendment could loom very large over the race for Missouri governor.

The proposal would legally shield people from participating in or selling services to a same-sex wedding. To say the measure stoked controversy would be an understatement, especially after GOP senators used a parliamentary maneuver to cut off debate and get it to the House.

The first of several ethics proposals to come out of the Missouri legislature this year has been signed into law.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed House Bill 1983 during a brief ceremony in his state Capitol office. It bars lawmakers and other elected officials from hiring each other as paid political consultants.

A Senate-sponsored constitutional amendment that would shield businesses in the wedding industry from legal repercussions if they denied their services to same-sex couples is headed to the House. The amendment passed 23-7.

Missouri's $27 billion state budget is on its way to the Senate.

The House Thursday passed all 13 budget bills, which includes a nearly $9 million cut to higher education.

For that reason, several state representatives voted against the higher ed bill, HB 2003.

Legislation designed to allow business owners and clergy to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings is being blocked in the Missouri Senate.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would bar the state from "penalizing clergy, religious organizations, and certain individuals for their religious beliefs concerning marriage between two people of the same sex."

Updated 3:27 p.m. March 3 with final passage. - A bill that prohibits labor unions from automatically withholding fees from the paychecks of public employees is on its way to the governor's desk. The Missouri House passed the Senate version of the bill today 109 - 49. The House support is the exact number needed to override a veto. Opponents say the bill will weaken workers' rights, but supporters say it's necessary to check the power of union lobbying.

Updated 3/3/2016 - Legislation designed to expand the sales of cold beer in the Show-Me State is now on tap in the Missouri House.

The Senate on Thursday voted 18-14 to pass Senate Bill 919, with support and opposition coming from both sides of the political aisle.

The bill would allow beer companies to lease portable refrigeration units to grocers and convenience stores, and allow those same stores to sell beer in reusable containers known as growlers.

For his final state budget, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is taking no risks.

His proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 features no grand gestures of setting up new programs, and calls for limited increases for the state’s current operations.

Missouri House Republicans are keeping their foot on the gas as they steer the first group of ethics bills through their chamber.

Four ethics bills were heard by a House committee, then easily passed after little more than an hour's worth of discussions.

Missouri lawmakers are back in Jefferson City as they prepare to kick off the 2016 legislative session at noon today.

In addition to passing the state budget, they're expected to tackle several other issues, including ethics reform and Gov. Jay Nixon's push to build a new NFL stadium for the Rams.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Besides the biggest celebration ever in Kansas City history, there also was an election on Tuesday.

Voters were deciding a couple of open Missouri statehouse seats, capital improvement taxes in Independence and Oak Grove, and a school board seat in Kansas City Public Schools.

At lunch time, a polling place in Brookside was completely empty, except for the poll workers. Some voters came in early, every single one with a Royals shirt on.

The Western District Missouri Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that a man's claim of discrimination against his former employer, Cook Paper Recycling Corp., was not covered under Missouri Law.

James Pittman alleged he'd been harassed for years and subsequently fired because he was gay.

In the opinion, Chief Judge James Welch wrote that if the state meant to cover sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination law, it would have said so. 

The last time the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life met, members threatened to hold a Nixon administration official in contempt unless she produced documents identifying which hospital had a working relationship with Columbia's Planned Parenthood clinic.

That became a moot point when Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling sent the committee a letter stating that Colleen McNicholas, M.D., had received admitting privileges from University of Missouri Health Care.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Judy Morgan from District 024 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss infrastructure, education, and the culture of Jefferson City.

This is only an excerpt of this week's episode, but you can listen to the full show here for even more Missouri capital conversation.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Judy Morgan from District 024 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss infrastructure, education, and the culture of Jefferson City.

Guests:

  • Judy Morgan, Rep. for the District 024, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Eric Bunch, Citizen Voice
  • Gina Kaufmann, Host of Central Standard, KCUR

Amid all the talk about the misbehavior so obviously plaguing Jefferson City, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill contends that the real issue is that little has changed.

She was an intern in the Missouri capital 41 years ago. “I am bitterly disappointed that the climate has not changed significantly since 1974,’’ the senator said, recalling her own experiences with off-color jokes and unsolicited sexual comments.

Dozens of bills passed by Missouri lawmakers this year remain unsigned as the deadline for taking action approaches.

They include the sole Ferguson-related bill passed during the 2015 legislative session.

Missouri families in need are facing some big changes. On May 5, the Missouri House completed the override of Governor Nixon’s veto of the Strengthening Missouri Families Act.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we examine the reasons behind the governor’s rejection of the act and what its supporters say will result from altering welfare assistance.

It's been 20 years since there's been a Latino on Kansas City, Mo.'s city council; and there isn't currently any Latino representation on the Unified Government board of commissioners either. That's even while our metro's Hispanic community has been growing significantly.

  • CiCi Rojas, president and CEO, Central Exchange
  • Irene Caudillo, president and CEO, El Centro
  • Louis Ruiz, Kansas state representative, District 31 (Wyandotte County)

The 2015 Missouri legislative session is underway, and here are some of the highlights of the day.

Nixon gets first say on start of session

The day began with the annual Governor's Prayer Breakfast, after which he answered questions from reporters on a few topics, including whether Medicaid expansion was already a lost cause for 2015.  Nixon, of course, said it wasn't at all.

jimmywayne / Flickr

With more than 500 bills pre-filed so far, the Missouri General Assembly will be facing a variety of issues – from school transfers to ethics — when its 197 members return to Jefferson City this week.

But compared to recent legislative sessions, legislative leaders have so far sent few signals as to which bills will get serious consideration and which ones will simply serve as political wallpaper.

The first half of Missouri's 2014 legislative session is over, and lawmakers have left Jefferson City for their annual spring break.

House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican from Eureka, touted the passage of several of his priorities, including photo voter ID legislation, conscientious objections to certain medical procedures, and ending the economic border war between Missouri and Kansas.  Jones told reporters Thursday he wants to push several issues when they return in a week and a half, including right-to-work legislation.

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