Jason Rosenbaum

Since entering the enticing world of professional journalism in the mid-2000s, Jason Rosenbaum dove head first into the world of politics, policy and even rock and roll music. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Rosenbaum spent more than four years in the Missouri State Capitol writing for the Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri Lawyers Media and the St. Louis Beacon. Since moving to St. Louis in 2010, Rosenbaum's work appeared in Missouri Lawyers Media, the St. Louis Business Journal and in the Riverfront Times' music section. He also served on staff at the St. Louis Beacon as a politics reporter. Rosenbaum lives in St. Louis City with with his wife Lauren Todd, an engineering librarian at Washington University. Their son, Brandon Todd Rosenbaum, was born in February 2014.

When we last checked on the Missouri Constitution before the November election, it was roughly six to eight times bigger than the federal one – especially after three amendments were added to it in August. 

Flash forward to today and the Show Me State’s constitution is even bigger. Missourians added two amendments in November -- one limiting the governor’s budgetary powers and the other making it easier to prosecute people for sex crimes.

Gov. Jay Nixon plans to call a special session of the Missouri General Assembly to pay for the Missouri National Guard and Missouri Highway Patrol’s operations in Ferguson and the St. Louis region. 

It’s a move that comes amid immense disapproval of how the governor handled the aftermath of a grand jury’s decision to not indict Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown.

As St. Louis residents nervously await a decision regarding Michael Brown’s shooting death, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley had a simple piece of advice.

“Take a deep breath, stand back and calm down,” Dooley said.

Dooley and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay told reporters on Wednesday that law enforcement agencies are prepared to protect lives and property – and the rights of protesters – if Wilson isn’t charged with Michael Brown’s shooting death.

It’s somewhat instinctual for Missouri political reporters to describe every election as decisive, critical or groundbreaking. And to be fair, it’s not an unnatural impulse – since every Show Me State election year for the past couple of decades has featured a competitive statewide, U.S. Senate or presidential contest.

This year, though, state Auditor Tom Schweich likely won’t lose to his Libertarian or Constitution Party opponents, and the Missouri House and Senate will remain firmly in Republican hands. And there's no U.S. Senate contest.

Police forcibly dispersed dozens of protesters in Ferguson early Wednesday morning after hours of  confrontation and the smashing of a window at the Beauty Town shop. Tensions had been running high since Tuesday morning when a memorial for Michael Brown burned down close to where he was killed.

From looking at the raw numbers, Republican legislators might consider the Missouri General Assembly’s recent veto session a smashing success.

After all, the Republican-controlled body overrode 10 of Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes – and even more of his line-item vetoes. Nixon even faced a blistering condemnation from a Democratic senator over his response to Ferguson.

(Updated 9 p.m. on Wednesday with comments from Mayor Knowles)

When Louis Wilson spoke at a Ferguson City Council meeting -- a meeting filled with rousing moments and white-hot anger -- he turned his attention directly to Mayor James Knowles.

This week's edition of Politically Speaking is fully focused on Wednesday's veto session. St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcomed state Rep. Caleb Jones, R-Boone County, to our St. Louis studio to tell us what to expect. 

A forum Thursday evening peering into Ferguson’s longstanding tensions as well as the St. Louis region’s racial divisions became angry and heated, with most of a crowd’s ire directed at the town’s mayor.

Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a Ferguson police officer brought about an intense examination of the conduct, racial composition and “militarization” of local police departments.

But one topic that hasn’t been talked about that much is how elected representatives exert fairly little direct control over the region’s law enforcement agencies.

A group of attorneys is asking Ferguson’s mayor to “wipe the slate clean” and grant clemency to certain people who broke the city ordinances, such as speeding or getting a parking ticket.  

On a sweltering Tuesday outside the Ferguson Police Station, a dedicated group of protestors blessed a late lunch of water, fruit and fried chicken to fuel their demonstration.

This is one of the central hubs where people have demonstrated after a Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown. Most of the protestors have come from the St. Louis area. But on this day, they’re getting a little help from Kevin, Vicky and Jay Mattson. The Athens, Ohio, family made a detour from unrelated travels to get to Ferguson.

Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a Ferguson police officer placed St. Louis in an international spotlight. In the past week, the region experienced a torrent of anger, unrest, violence and sorrow.

The 18-year-old’s death positioned the world’s camera lens on riveting images of looting, protesting and overwhelming force from law enforcement. Derrick Robinson, the bishop at Kingdom Destiny Fellowship International, contends there’s a longstanding tension within the soul of St. Louis.

When Antonio French noticed social media activity bubbling up about Michael Brown’s shooting death last weekend, the St. Louis alderman got in his car and drove to Ferguson. 

What he said he saw was striking: Police from neighboring municipalities had formed a “human shield” around the scene. Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, was screaming and crying over not knowing what happened to her 18-year-old son. And Brown’s body was still in the street after being shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer.

St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed has an idea about what’s driving the frustration about Michael Brown’s death. 

As federal and local investigations into Brown’s shooting death unfold, Reed said more and more people want details and quick action. They want to know what really happened when a Ferguson police officer shot the 18-year-old last Saturday.

When it comes to donating to Missouri candidates and causes, retired financier Rex Sinquefield may subscribe to the idea of “going big or going home.” 

This past election campaign is no exception. Sinquefield has  given out around $4.4 million so far this year to support ballot initiatives, candidates and friendly political groups. That money has flowed directly -- or through outside groups -- to a host of candidates who competed in last week’s primary elections.

By any conceivable measure, Missouri doesn’t have a particularly robust election cycle this year. But that doesn't mean that there aren't lessons to learn.

Even though this year's primary season featured fewer contested races than usual, the past few months still produced twists, turns and surprises. That’s especially true because a number of ballot initiatives were placed on the August ballot, making up for a relative dearth of competitive legislative contests.

Gov. Jay Nixon is taking heat from his own party, especially from women, for appointing Maynard Wallace to the state Board of Education. 

And while Nixon, a Democrat, isn’t backing down, the outcry from several Democratic legislators may not bode well for the appointment to be confirmed.

Wallace is a former teacher, superintendent and Republican state legislator from Thornfield. For a time, Wallace was also a registered lobbyist for the Missouri Association of School Administrators.

If Missourians back a transportation sales tax next month, road workers can expect a busy decade. 

That's a key takeaway of a St. Louis Public Radio analysis of a project list approved by the state's Highways and Transportation Commission. It's what will be funded if voters approve a 0.75 percent sales tax increase on Aug. 5.

(Updated at 1 p.m. Monday with additional comments from House Speaker Tim Jones.)

Gov. Jay Nixon proved that he can outdo himself, at least when it comes to vetoing legislation. 

A fundraising quarter before an election is when Missouri politics starts getting real. 

And by “getting real,” I mean getting "real expensive.”

Tod Martin wasn’t going to let 20 words keep him from marrying David Gray.

While it took more than 20 years, St. Louis officials last week issued Martin and Gray a marriage license. They’re among eight people who are testing the state’s nearly 10-year-old, 20-word ban on gay marriage.

Attorney General Chris Koster reached an agreement with Walgreens regarding overcharging consumers. 

Koster sued the pharmacy giant last year, contending that stores around the state were charging more than the prices displayed on shelves. His office’s lawsuit stated that the company was violating the state’s consumer-protection laws by “engaging in false, misleading and deceptive advertising and pricing schemes.”

If you had $1.49 billion for transportation projects, how would you spend it? Would you repair highways? Bolster mass transit service? Enhance bike lanes?

This isn’t some academic exercise. The St. Louis region’s political leaders are considering how to divide the potential proceeds from a 0.75 percent sales tax increase for transportation. These decisions could have a transformative impact on how St. Louis area residents get around.

But here’s the twist: You have to make this decision very, very quickly.

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.

When it comes to a proposal to raise the state’s sales tax to pay for transportation projects, two of Missouri’s top Democratic officials appear to be on opposing sides of the fence.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill favors the proposal, which – if approved by voters in August – would enact a 10-year, 0.75 percent sales tax for transportation projects. And even though he’s sent signals that he opposes the proposal, Gov. Jay Nixon is withholding statements about the tax increase for now.

Former U.S. Sen. Kit Bond was tapped by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce to get Medicaid expansion across the finish line. 

He didn’t succeed. Despite the attempts of several Republicans in the House and Senate to pass some form of expansion this year, Bond told St. Louis Public Radio on Monday that “we were just a few filibustering senators short of getting it done.”

Few could accuse the Missouri General Assembly of languishing during its last few days of session.

In fact, the legislature’s last dash was something of a whirlwind: It featured fierce debates over bills about student transfers and abortion restrictions. Lawmakers also sent proposals on a transportation tax and early voting procedures to the November ballot. Other efforts fizzled out, including last-minute pushes to expand and reconfigure the state’s Medicaid system.

Updated 12:22 p.m., Thurs., June 19: On June 19, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Ronnie White's nomination to the U.S. Senate floor. The committee's 10-7 affirmative vote makes it highly likely that White's nomination to the federal bench will be approved.

While Jay Ashcroft, the son of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, was always interested in politics, he also said he didn’t consider it “the highest calling.”

“My highest calling in life is to be a good husband to my wife and to be a good father for my kids," said the attorney and engineer from unincorporated St. Louis County. “In the last couple of years when I’ve seen how government has been working at the state level and unfortunately not always working, I kept coming around to the conclusion that I need to be part of the solution.”

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