Politics

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Sam Lin / KBIA file photo

In a strange twist, Republicans are supporting a proposed tax hike that’s drawn fire from Democrats and Gov. Jay Nixon.

U.S. Army photo

It was 2009 when Army Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl was captured and held as a prisoner of war in Afghanistan.  Saturday, President Barack Obama stood on the White House lawn flanked by Bergdahl's parents, to annnounce his release.

The Taliban freed Bergdahl as part of a prisoner swap.  In exchange for his release, the U.S. government agreed to release five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.

Tom Kackley / KBIA

The city of Columbia revealed the rebranding and renaming of Columbia's public transportation system as "COMO Connect" in a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

Jefferson City Transit Division

The Jefferson City Council will discuss ideas on June 30 that could improve the city's transit system.

File / KBIA

City Council voted in their meeting Monday night to shorten term lengths for members of the Planning and Zoning commission from five years to four years.

The amendment was proposed last month and passed with a 4-3 vote. Congressmember Barbara Hoppe introduced the amendment in hopes of drawing in more interest to serve on the Commission from community members.

“We have more work for Planning and Zoning now than ever before,” said Hoppe.

Nick Komisar / KBIA

Members of the Nigerian community locally, gathered at the Capitol building Saturday to raise awareness for the abducted schoolgirls in Nigeria. Participants of the rally wore shirts and help up signs with the words “Bring Back Our Girls” as they marched around the Capitol. “Bring Back Our Girls” is a national campaign.

On April 15, a terrorist group named Boko Haram attacked a girl’s boarding school and kidnapped over 200 girls ages 15 to 18 from their dormitories. The name of the group Boko Haram translates to “Western education is a sin.”

machinecodeblue via Flickr

The Obama Administration unveiled new proposed rules for power plants on Monday, but Columbia’s two power plants won’t be drastically affected.

Columbia Water and Light is mandated to purchase at least 5 percent of its electricity from renewable sources because of an ordinance passed by the Columbia City Council and the city’s coal plant only operates part of the year.

However, the city does currently get its power from a coal burning power plant from Sikeston, Missouri.

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.

Many news organizations ran Eliott Rodger's YouTube video as part of their coverage of the Isla Vista shootings. How is that different than publishing a suicide note? Missouri School of Journalism professors Mike McKean, Jim Flink and Amy Simons discuss the national and local media's response. 

missouri capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Missouri tax officials are getting audited. 

KBIA

A federal appeals court in St. Louis has overturned a Missouri law that makes it a crime to burn or otherwise desecrate the American flag. 

nixon
File photo / KBIA

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has spoken out about legislation recently passed by the Missouri General Assembly.

Katie Hiler / KBIA

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt continued his tour of mental health facilities in the state on Thursday with a stop at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital in Columbia. 

Blunt spoke with Veterans Affairs administrators about how to better assist veterans experiencing a mental health crisis who need treatment immediately. Blunt says he is encouraged by the efforts the hospital has made to shorten waitlist times but says there are also many ways it can still improve.

Columbia Police
KOMUnews / Flickr

Two bills to further protect on duty officers are currently awaiting Gov. Jay Nixon's signature.  The Columbia Police Officers' Association has supported legislation that would make it a felony to disarm a law enforcement agent of any weapon, not simply their handgun. 

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Flickr / steakpinball

Missouri's attorney general says the state should establish its own laboratory to produce chemicals for use in executions rather than rely on an "uneasy cooperation" with medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies.

vote here sign
KBIA file photo

The Boone County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday morning to put a one-eighth-cent sales tax on the August ballot that would benefit the Central Missouri Events Center, county parks and recreational facilities.

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.

Northwest Missouri will have a new state senator next year, as Brad Lager prepares to leave office.

The Republican from Savannah can't run again because of term limits, but he says he's ready for the next chapter in his life -- which for now does not include politics. 

Lager sat down recently with St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin to talk about his time in office and about what he considers to be roadblocks toward making Missouri better. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

steakpinball / Flickr

Missouri lawmakers would create a permanent joint committee on the state's criminal justice system under bills awaiting action by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The panel would review criminal laws, law enforcement, prison issues and state efforts related to terrorism and homeland security. The committee would include members of the House and Senate, with the state's chief justice, the state auditor and the attorney general as ex officio members.

(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.

A Republican political consultant is questioning whether supporters of an early voting initiative gathered enough valid signatures to get the measure for the November ballot.

Supporters have said they submitted about 300,000 signatures for a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow six weeks of early voting before Missouri elections.

Digital privacy bills waiting for Nixon's approval

May 28, 2014

A bill that would keep information about those who check out e-books or other digital resources private is headed to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk.   

It also makes it so any third party involved with library records must disclose information of those people who use the libraries' facilities. Many of these third parties provide electronic services to libraries.

E-books and other digital resources would be considered "library materials." Other traditional materials are already covered by this type of protection.

The tales of two papers: how one student newspaper on the campus of University of California – Santa Barbara covered a mass shooting while the other chose to ignore it. Also, NBC’s sit down with Edward Snowden, dangerous conditions for reporters in Ukraine, CNN anchors moving to New York, and avoiding conflicts of interest – real and perceived. From the Missouri School of Journalism professors Amy Simons, Mike McKean and Jim Flink: Views of the News.

  

School children on Capitol Boulevard
KBIA

Legislation pending before Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon would require new oversight of some unlicensed child care centers.

The legislation would require state workers to visit unlicensed facilities that receive federal money. It also would require the development of quality indicators that parents could use to evaluate the safety and caliber of child care centers.

Courtesy Prixas Films via Wikimedia Commons

NBC News has landed the first sit-down interview with NSA leaker Edward Snowden by an American television network.  The hour-long special will air at 9 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, May 28. 

Richard Esposito, Matthew Cole & Mark Schone, NBC News: “EXCLUSIVE: Edward Snowden gives wide-ranging interview to Brian Williams

Updated with additional comments from Take Back St. Louis, Mayor Francis Slay, and the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

A St. Louis Circuit judge has permanently blocked a ballot measure that would have allowed voters to put restrictions on which companies could receive tax incentives.

Judge Robert Dierker ruled on Tuesday that the Take Back St. Louis initiative was "illegal and void on its face" because it conflicts with Missouri laws governing tax increment financing and special business districts. 

SkiStar / Flickr

Legislation pending before Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon would require new oversight of some unlicensed child care centers.

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.

401k2013 via Flickr

Missouri lawmakers approved special tax breaks this year that could benefit pizza parlors and power companies, clothes cleaners and computer data centers. And that's just the start of it.

columbia city hall
File Photo / KBIA

First Ward Columbia City Council Member Ginny Chadwick announced Friday her opposition to a new referendum petition stated to be in favor of repealing improper downtown development.

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