Politics

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tractor on farmland
(tpsdav/pixabay)

Two proposals on Missouri's August ballot are attracting millions of dollars of campaign spending.

Finance reports filed Monday show supporters of a transportation tax already have spent $2.5 million and have nearly $1.7 million available for their final push.

By contrast, opponents of the three-quarters-cent sales tax have spent just a little over $22,000.

A proposal creating a constitutional right to farm has spawned a somewhat closer financial battle.

The young officers at F.E. Warren Air Force Base have an enormous job: to keep 150 nuclear-tipped missiles ready to launch at a moment's notice.

Understandably, they're expected to know exactly what they're doing.

Three times a month, they're tested on the weapons and the codes used to launch them. Anything less than 90 percent is a fail.

Wikimedia Commons / wikimedia commons

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Kansas City, where he's expected to speak about the economy.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt is touting passage of legislation that authorizes the appointment of a special ambassador to the Middle East focused on religious freedom.

File / KBIA

City Manager Mike Matthes is proposing that the city ask voters to approve a property tax increase and to renew the Capital Improvement Sales Tax in order to fund Columbia police and fire departments. Matthes announced this when presenting the proposed 2015 fiscal year budget at a press conference Friday morning.

For the fourth time this year, an inmate's lethal injection did not go as planned. Last night, it was Arizona, but the state has company.

An Ohio inmate took 25 minutes to die in January. In Oklahoma, there were two apparent botches: In one,  an inmate said, "I feel my whole body burning," and in another, the prisoner took more than 40 minutes to die.

But Arizona's execution took even longer. Joseph Wood's execution began at 1:52 p.m., and he died nearly two hours later at 3:49 p.m.

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.

Hand Guns
File Photo / KBIA

A City Council committee in Kansas City has endorsed a measure that would ban people from openly carrying firearms in the city limits.

The Kansas City Star reports Mayor Sly James has pushed for the ban, noting that the tourist town of Lake Ozark also has voted for a similar prohibition, even by those with concealed carry permits.

The council's Public Safety Committee on Wednesday endorsed the ban, which will go before the full City Council on July 31.

Strange theories abound following the shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. What impact is that having on the people of Russia? Rupert Murdoch makes a bid for Time Warner. What does that mean for the future of corporate media? And Jill Abramson has been making the rounds, speaking with several prominent women journalists, but have they been going easy on her? Missouri School of Journalism professors Mike McKean, Judd Slivka and Stacey Woelfel discuss these issues and more on this edition of Views of the News.

Roman Boed / Flickr

  While Western media have for days been focusing on Russian-backed separatists as the culprits behind the missile attack on MH 17 over eastern Ukraine, the people of Russia have been hearing different stories from their government-controlled media.

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The White House has announced President Barack Obama will be in Missouri next week to deliver a speech on the economy.

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.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was in Blue Springs Friday asking local elected officials to oppose the tax breaks state lawmakers approved in the session's eleventh hour.

Nixon vetoed the cuts, which would have created sales tax exemptions for restaurants, dry cleaners and power companies, earlier this week. He says they weren't accounted for in the budget legislators sent him and would make it difficult for municipalities to raise the money they need through levy increases.

Of the five proposed constitutional amendments Missourians will get to vote on in August, two of them have generated little attention and virtually no controversy.  One would expand the right against unreasonable search and seizures to include electronic communications and data, while the other would create a new Missouri lottery ticket to fund the needs of veterans.

(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. 

Regional coverage from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

  • Missouri regulators return to the issue of paying bills with payday loans
  • Demolition scheduled to begin on Monday at University Village Apartments
  • Columbia City Council will vote Monday on approving funds for snow removal expenditures from last winter
Snowplows
Rachel Lippman / St. Louis Public Radio

The Columbia City Council is set to take a final vote Monday to appropriate funds to cover expenditures from the planned snow removal budget, according to the Columbia Tribune.

University Village Apartments
Miranda Metheny / KBIA

Demolition is scheduled to begin Monday at the University Village Apartment Complex on South Providence Road in Columbia, according to the Columbia Tribune.

By Gregory F. Maxwell / Wikimedia commons

Missouri regulators are again considering whether to stop payday lenders from collecting utility bill payments from their customers.

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."

Israeli Ground Operation In Gaza Continues

Jul 18, 2014

This post was updated at 6:15 p.m. ET:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will travel to the Middle East on Saturday in hopes of finding a way to stop the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

"Israel has legitimate security concerns, and we condemn the indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into Israel that ended yesterday's temporary cease-fire," Jeffrey Feltman, deputy U.N. secretary-general for political affairs, told the Security Council on Friday. "But we are alarmed by Israel's heavy response."

This post was updated at 5:00 p.m. ET.

joetta@sbcglobal.net / Flickr

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley's new campaign ad accuses his primary opponent of condoning sex trafficking, a charge that the opponent says "rises to the level of defamation."

This post was last updated at 6:40 p.m. ET.

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 298 passengers and crew aboard has crashed in eastern Ukraine in an area of the country that has been wracked by a separatist insurgency.

Updated Thursday, July 17 to include a statement from Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka).

Seventeen years after his first nomination, former Missouri Supreme Court Justice Ronnie White has been approved for a federal judgeship in the Eastern District of Missouri.

The U.S. Senate voted 53-44 to confirm his appointment Wednesday.

It was a long journey that began in 1997 when President Bill Clinton nominated White for a seat on the Eastern District Court of Missouri. At the time he was the first African-American judge on the Missouri Supreme Court.

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.”

Manuel M.V. via Flickr

Missourians with epilepsy that cannot be effectively treated by conventional means will now be able to use a cannabis extract under legislation signed into law Monday by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The legislation was sponsored by St. Louis County Republican Eric Schmitt, a state senator whose 9-year-old son has the central nervous system disorder.

Chrisf608 via Flickr

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation barring people younger than 18 from buying electronic cigarettes while also exempting the nicotine products from other tobacco sales restrictions.

Nixon called the Senate bill a "thinly disguised and cynical attempt" to exempt e-cigarettes from the state's 17 cent-per-pack cigarette tax as well as further public health restrictions. His rejection on Monday fell on the deadline for the governor take action on bills passed by state lawmakers earlier this year.

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

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

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