Jo Mannies

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter.  She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

Republican Rick Stream waited until the deadline to go to court Thursday and request a recount in the close contest he lost Nov. 4 for St. Louis County executive.

Stream lost by fewer than 1,800 votes to Democrat Steve Stenger, who is to be sworn in on Jan. 1.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is calling for state highway officials to examine the possibility of imposing tolls on parts of Interstate 70 – and to report back to him before the end of this month.

In a letter sent Tuesday, the governor told the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission that he wanted them to report by Dec. 31 on “analyzing and providing options for utilizing tolls to improve and expand I-70 and to free up resources for road and bridge projects throughout the state.”

Nixon noted that the newest parts of I-70 in Missouri “are 50 years old.”

(Updated 11:30 p.m. Nov. 25)

After a night of rioting and flaming businesses Monday, elected officials and business leaders were reassessing what happened and how to prevent more of it.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon found himself under fire, as critics blasted the low-profile use of National Guardsmen late Monday.

The Missouri General Assembly’s 19-member Black Legislative Caucus is asking that Ferguson drop the charges for non-violent protesters who have been arrested since demonstrations began following the Aug. 9 shooting that killed Michael Brown.

In a release issued Monday, the caucus called for the city to set up “a restorative justice plan in lieu of municipal fines for the non-violent protesters that have been arrested.”

In 1991, then-Missouri Attorney General Bill Webster’s ascension to become the next governor seemed inevitable. He had the looks, charisma, campaign cash and the connections.

But then a controversy erupted over whether his office was giving preferential treatment to donors when it came to state contracts. A federal investigation ensued. Webster’s reputation took a huge hit.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to return to Jefferson City on Monday after an undercover, whirlwind trip to Afghanistan over the weekend.

It was Nixon’s fourth trip to the war zone, where U.S. troops have been present for more than a decade.

According to the governor’s office, he “arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday as part of a delegation of four U.S. governors that included Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Tennessee Gov. William Haslam.”

(Updated 12:15 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 11)

The Missouri General Assembly has made the state the third in the country to require a 72-hour waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion, after the state Senate killed off a filibuster.

The Senate voted 23-7 – along party lines -- to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill, but only after deploying a procedural action that it hadn’t used in seven years to end a Democratic filibuster that had gone on for about two hours.

Missouri residents who have concealed-carry permits will be able to openly carry their firearms anywhere in the state, as a result of the General Assembly decision to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a broad gun-rights bill.

The bill prevents municipalities from barring people from openly carrying firearms, lowers the minimum age to 19 for concealed carry permits in the state, and allows school districts to arm teachers. Police officers also will be barred from disarming people unless they are under arrest.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has lifted the state of emergency that he imposed several weeks ago in Ferguson – thus ending his power to replace St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch as the head of the local investigation into the police shooting that set off the community’s unrest.

Executives with Noranda, the aluminum-smelting operation in southeast Missouri, are following through with their threats of cutbacks as a result of the Public Service Commission’s refusal to cut their electric bill.

Noranda now plans to lay off up to  200 workers over the next six months at its New Madrid plant, and is suspending its planned $30 million expansion project, said  chief executive Kip Smith at a news conference Tuesday.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says that Centene Corporation’s plans to build a new claims processing center in Ferguson doesn’t just create jobs.

It’s also about sending a message.

"We're very heartened by their willingness to make an investment,” Nixon said Tuesday. “It now sends a signal, not only in St. Louis but around the world that North County is open for business."

Nixon offered up praise for Centene at the beginning of his luncheon address to members of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association.

As the state – and his reputation – seeks to move beyond Ferguson, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is rekindling his longstanding pitch in favor of expanding Medicaid.

And Nixon may be seeking to subtly link the expansion with Ferguson’s headline-grabbing racial and economic unrest, by emphasizing what the state has been giving up in federal money – and what he said has resulted in less help to those who need it.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has nominated former St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom to be the state’s new public-safety director, a move that will put Isom in charge of a number of diverse state agencies – from the Highway Patrol to the Gaming Commission.

Isom served 24 years on the St. Louis police force, and retired as chief 18 months ago. He holds doctoral degrees in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he has served as a professor for the past year.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster plans to host a two-day public workshop this fall – in St. Louis and Kansas City – to probe ways to improve the minority makeup in both region’s law-enforcement agencies.

(Updated at 4:20 p.m., Thurs., Aug. 14)

As of Thursday, the Missouri Highway Patrol is now in charge in Ferguson. And Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who announced the change, said at a news conference that the public should see a difference at once.

The St. Louis County police have been widely criticized for their aggressive, even militaristic stance -- using armored vehicles and tear gas -- to quell protests stemming from last Saturday's police shooting. 

Vice President Joe Biden today lauded the nation’s military veterans who have fought battles overseas, but he made clear that there’s a limit to what the United States’ military can do.

“It’s time for those we liberated to stand up and put themselves together,” Biden said at the end of a lengthy speech to about 12,000 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars gathered in St. Louis at the America's Center convention hall downtown.

Todd Akin’s new book is entitled “Firing Back.’’ But based on the former St. Louis area congressman’s  interviews over the past week, an equally descriptive title could be “No Apology.”

Two years after losing a nationally watched contest for the U.S. Senate, Akin is arguably more passionate than ever as he defends the message that landed him in hot water in 2012.

The immortal phrase in question: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

The group backing the proposed transportation sales tax is the biggest money-raising operation in the state – but it has yet to air a single TV ad.

Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs, the campaign committee for the sales tax known as Amendment 7, appears to be entering the final weeks of the campaign with more than $2.5 million to spend.

(Updated 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 15)

Former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Wildwood, is continuing this week to make the rounds of the national news outlets as he promotes his new book, “Firing Back.”

But most Republicans, nationally and in Missouri, are continuing to ignore his book – and him.

In the book, Akin generally defends his controversial 2012 contention that in cases of “legitimate rape,’’ women rarely get pregnant because “their bodies have ways of shutting the whole thing down.”

(Updated 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 2)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have tripled the state’s waiting period for an abortion to 72 hours, saying it reflected  “a callous disregard for women who find themselves in horrific circumstances.”

The governor noted in Wednesday’s veto message that the bill, HB 1307, had no exceptions for rape or incest.

“This extreme and disrespectful measure would unnecessarily prolong the suffering of rape and incest victims and jeopardize the health and wellbeing of women,” Nixon said Wednesday.

(Updated 11:40 a.m. Friday, June 27)

Just a few weeks ago, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster  was publicly exhorting Missouri Republicans to change their party’s platform, which endorses the state’s 10-year-old constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says the Iraqi government bears most of the blame for the violence now engulfing the country and is urging caution as the U.S. government decides how to respond.

“The mess that is in Iraq right now is Iraq’s doing,” McCaskill said in a conference call Tuesday with Missouri journalists. “The U.S. put them on a path of free and fair elections, and to have a military that could enforce the rule of law...I’m sick to my stomach that what we have done in that country has been so carelessly and casually abandoned in favor of sectarian dominance.”

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon followed through with his earlier threat by vetoing on Wednesday 10 bills passed during the last day of the legislative session. The bills set up special tax breaks for a variety of businesses, from restaurants to data centers.

Missouri’s chaotic history with presidential primaries may finally be settled, now that Gov. Jay Nixon has signed into law a measure that sets the state’s presidential primary date in March.

Under the new law, Missouri’s once-every-four-years primary would be held on the second Tuesday after the first Monday. In 2016, that date would be March 15 – the first day allowed by the two national political parties without incurring penalties.

(Updated Thursday, May 29)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says that local governments stand to lose almost as much money as the state because of a final tax-cutting spree by the General Assembly before it adjourned earlier this month.

All told, Nixon said Wednesday, local jurisdictions around Missouri — from city halls to fire districts, libraries and ambulance services — could lose $351 million in annual sales tax revenue because of “a grab bag of giveaways’’ approved by legislators.

After telegraphing his intention for a week, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday announced that he is indeed going to veto the student-transfer bill because of its provisions allowing public money to be used for private schools.

He also faults the bill because it does not require unaccredited sending districts to pay any transportation costs for students transferring to accredited districts, as the schools now are required to do.

On Friday, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is releasing the latest results of a survey of Missouri military veterans who have received care at Veterans Administration’s facilities around the state, including Cochran and Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.

While not disclosing any details, McCaskill told reporters Tuesday that “every year we’ve done it, the VA has done a little better. I’m particularly pleased this year because we’ve had even more responses this year than we had last year.”

(Updated 11:40 a.m Thursday, May 15)

After more than an hour of emotional – and often loud – debate, the Missouri House voted to send to the governor a bill that would triple Missouri’s waiting period for abortions to 72 hours from 24 hours.

If approved by Gov. Jay Nixon, the measure would make Missouri only the third state in the nation to mandate a 72-hour wait – and possibly set the stage for a legal challenge.

Missouri House and Senate budget chiefs are accusing Gov. Jay Nixon of misusing state money because his office has paid dues to the National Governors Association for the past three years out of the Department of Social Services’ budget.

“He basically misspent the money,’’ said House Budget chairman Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, during a news conference Wednesday. He was joined by House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, and state Rep. Sue Allen, R-Town and Country, who heads the House panel that oversees social-service spending. Senate leaders fired off similar complaints.

The Missouri House has given final approval to an early-voting ballot proposal that includes a provision aimed at knocking out a more-generous rival proposal that also may be on the same ballot.

Opponents call the Republican-backed measure “a sham,’’ while backers say it’s a reasonable compromise.

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