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.

Some of Missouri’s restrictive laws governing abortion clinics will likely face a legal challenge as a result of today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision knocking down similar restrictions in Texas.

But abortion-rights supporters and opponents in Missouri agree that it’s “too soon to tell’’ the specific effects of the high court’s 5-3 ruling on the Show-Me state, which long has had some of the nation’s strictest abortion laws.

Updated with final House action - The Missouri House has sent to Gov. Jay Nixon a broad version of what’s called a Stand Your Ground law, that would allow a law-abiding person to use deadly force in any public place, even if they are not under immediate threat of harm.

The bill also expands concealed-carry rights.

The House's final 114- 36 vote was comfortably above the 109 votes needed to overturn a possible Nixon veto. The Senate's 24-8 vote, taken earlier Friday,  had two supportive votes more than needed to override the governor.

Passage makes Missouri the first state to pass such a law in years. Backers say the Stand Your Ground provision is needed for protection. Opponents contended the measure would legalize murder.

With Missouri legislators heading home, the focus in Jefferson City now shifts to Gov. Jay Nixon – who will decide what to sign and what to veto among close to 140 bills now sitting on his desk.

And despite what the governor called “stark differences’’ of opinion, Nixon sounded more conciliatory in his post-session address than he has in recent years. The governor’s implied message Friday was that, from his perspective, this 4 and ½-month session could have been worse.

Updated at 2:20 a.m. with override failure - A photo ID proposal will definitely be on the ballot, and it will be up to Gov. Jay Nixon to decide if more cold beer is on the way.

But the surprising news actually came early Friday morning: The Senate failed to override Nixon's veto of the paycheck protection or  depending on your position on the measure  the deception bill.

Missouri voters will likely decide later this year whether to amend the state’s Constitution so that the General Assembly can require that all voters show a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot.

The state House is expected to take final action today on the ballot proposal, called SJR53, after the Senate passed it late Wednesday by a vote of 24-8.  House approval is expected.

Gov. Jay Nixon has no voice in the proposed constitutional amendment, other than deciding whether it goes on the August or November statewide ballot.

Barring another sex scandal, the Missouri General Assembly could be facing a low-key final week.

The thinner-than-usual final schedule reflects, in part, legislators' success this year — and last — in passing the state's bloc of budget bills early. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was required to approve or veto by last Friday the state's planned spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1. He only used his line-item veto on two items on Friday; lawmakers overrode last week his earlier veto of their new school-funding formula.

For now, it’s all over but the counting. The Missouri Secretary of State’s office will be busy the next few weeks determining whether five initiative-petition proposals collected enough valid signatures to get on the state’s August or November ballot.

True to national predictions, Missouri’s presidential primaries ended up being Tuesday night’s nail-biters, with no clear winner declared as of dawn.  Although Democrat Bernie Sanders led the vote tallies most of the night, the late returns from the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County put Hillary Clinton on top – by just over 1,500 votes.

Republican Donald Trump appears to have defeated rival Ted Cruz  by less than 1,800 votes, but the results aren't conclusive.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she is embracing her job — and her constituents — with a vengeance now that she’s back at work after spending several weeks in treatment for breast cancer.

Next week, she expects to barnstorm the state with a series of stops to highlight her concerns about the rising cost of college education, and what the government might be able to do to help.

For 40 minutes, Bill Clinton embraced his image as "explainer in chief" as he laid out a series of reasons he believed his wife is the most qualified and best candidate to be the next president.

His audience Tuesday consisted of several hundred Hillary Clinton supporters, many of them union members and party activists, packing the Machinists union hall in Bridgeton.

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.

(Will be updated as campaign-finance reports are filed)

Republican Eric Greitens, an author and former Navy SEAL, appears to have bested his rivals for governor in both parties with his latest fundraising numbers.

Greitens’ latest campaign report, filed Friday, showed that he has raised $1.5 million since Oct. 1. That puts him slightly ahead of the $1.4 million reported by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat and the longstanding fiscal frontrunner in the crowded battle to succeed outgoing Gov. Jay Nixon.

Although Missouri’s state revenue collections dropped slightly in December, the state’s budget chief says plans are still on track for Gov. Jay Nixon to base his budget proposal on a hoped-for 4.1 percent income hike during the coming fiscal year.

Missouri Budget Director Dan Haug says Nixon and the General Assembly’s budget chairmen have tentatively agreed on that income growth estimate to use in crafting budgets. Based on the 4.1 percent hike,  $360 million in additional revenue should be available for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Missouri’s crowded GOP contest for governor has lost a participant, as state Sen. Bob Dixon is dropping out.

The departure of Dixon, R-Springfield, isn’t entirely unexpected. He was at the bottom of the pack when it came to fundraising. His last campaign finance report showed him with less than $83,000 in the bank.

Talking Politics - List of Governor GOP Candidates Grows

Oct 6, 2015
missouri capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

The list of GOP candidates for Missouri's gubernatorial election continues to grow as John Brunner announced his candidacy yesterday via a video message posted on his campaign website.

Marshall Griffin and Jo Mannies have the story.


Josh Hawley, a Republican candidate for Missouri attorney general, says that if he’s elected next year, he will act to protect county clerks who object to issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

In fact, “on Day One,” Hawley says he’ll issue an opinion allowing county clerks and others – such as recorders of deeds – to avoid issuing such licenses if it violates their religious beliefs.

Reflecting party leaders’ desire to change things up, the Missouri Democratic Party chose an unusual venue for Saturday night’s renamed Truman Dinner: the field of Busch Stadium.

The “unusual” extended to the evening’s highlight – a surprise video by Hillary Clinton, displayed on the “jumbo-tron” – and the closing: fireworks.

On this week’s episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s political journo-duo – Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies – welcome state Auditor Nicole Galloway to the program for the first time.

The Democratic official was appointed to statewide office earlier this year after the death of state Auditor Tom Schweich. Before taking the reins, Galloway was in her first full term as Boone County’s treasurer.

Fifteen months before the 2016 election, Missouri’s major candidates for the U.S. Senate – Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander – are ensnared in two familiar issues:

  • The use of private planes;
  • Accusations that each is too tied to special interests.

A key difference is that, for the most part, the attacks aren’t coming from the candidates or their campaigns. Rather, they’re being launched by party surrogates on their behalf.

Former Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, who resigned less than a week ago, says his new title is “director of business development’’ at a Clayton-based lobbying firm, Gate Way Group.

Dempsey, a Republican from St. Charles, said in an interview that he began work this week. His resignation from the state Senate was effective last Friday.

Amid their hunt for a bunch of statewide candidates, Missouri Democrats now have at least one well-known contender for secretary of state:  former KMOV reporter Robin Smith.

Smith, who just retired from her 40-year TV career, announced Sunday that she plans to run for the statewide post — which will be open in the 2016 election because Democratic incumbent Jason Kander for running for the U.S. Senate.

Underscoring the political power of the abortion issue in Missouri, Attorney General Chris Koster’s announcement that he has “opened an investigation into whether Planned Parenthood clinics in Missouri have violated state law” touched off a series of actions on both sides.

A federal appeals court has resurrected a St. Louis area legislator’s battle against the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that insurance cover birth control.

Last year, a lower court had tossed out state Sen. Paul Wieland’s suit against several federal agencies over the requirement. But the federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in St. Louis, ruled Monday that Wieland’s suit can proceed.

Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield, the wealthy duo who are among the state’s most prominent political donors, have apparently made a choice for president: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

The couple is hosting a fundraising event for Walker on July 26 at their St. Louis home in the Central West End. (They also have an estate near Lake of the Ozarks.) Depending on the category of ticket, prices range from $500 a person to $10,800 a couple.

Amid continued concerns over the state’s response to last summer’s Ferguson unrest, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed what he calls “the most comprehensive and sweeping municipal court reform bill in Missouri history.”

The governor and a bipartisan cadre of the bill’s sponsors gathered triumphantly Thursday in a courtroom at the historic old St. Louis Post Office. The setting offered up a symbol of the changes that the bill – officially known as Senate Bill 5 – imposes on communities and their local courts.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has issued an executive order mandating that state and local agencies comply with the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriages.

That order is aimed at places like Schuyler County, where county Recorder of Deeds Linda Blessing says she’s exploring options on whether she has to comply with the court’s action or Nixon’s order.

Amid GOP calls that he give back the money, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says any controversy over $50,000 that he recently received from the national UAW misses the point of why he vetoed an anti-union bill known as “right to work.”

“This is not partisan to me,’’ Nixon said in an interview Thursday after an unrelated news conference to herald a new business coming to the city’s Grand Center area.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, has adopted one of the GOP’s favorite words – “overreach” – as he attacks President Barack Obama’s habit of using executive orders and rule changes to implement his policies.

Kander’s  prime pitch Thursday to the St. Louis Regional Chamber was that the White House was too dependent, in his view, on using executive orders and rule changes to circumvent the Republicans who control Congress.

(Updated 11 a.m. Friday, May 15) Missouri Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, was elected and sworn in as new House speaker Friday, and swiftly got the House back to the business at hand — passing bills in the final hours of a surreal last week of session.

"This is not the time for speeches,'' Richardson said, ending tumultuous applause from the packed chamber. "This is a time to get back to work."

Updated 1:40 p.m. Thurs, May 14: Missouri House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, has announced he's resigning as speaker and as a member of the Missouri House.

His statement was issued less than 28 hours after news broke that he had been exchanging sexually salacious texts with a college-age female intern earlier this spring.

Diehl's statement does not say, however, when he will step down. The General Assembly's legislative session officially ends at 6 p.m. Friday. State Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, told reporters the House's GOP caucus will select a new speaker tonight.

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