Category Archives: Local

Election Recap, St. Louis, MO metro area

By S. Christopher Emersonvote-here-sign

The following is a roundup of the results of last week’s midterm elections. Locally, small progressive gains were made. But statewide, Republicans continue to build Missouri as a conservative stronghold with urban progressive holdouts. Outstate constituencies largely elected, re-elected or fought tooth and nail conservative and ultra-conservative candidates, while passing forward measures on the state level.

*While US Rep Lacy Clay retained his office with 80.1% of the vote, Claire McCaskill was upset by Josh Hawley in her bid for US Senate. Hawley’s lead became apparent early in the returns as he soundly defeated the incumbent with 51.4% of the vote to her 45.5%. Many observers suggest progressive apathy toward McCaskill and her moderate to centrist messaging. Hawley’s tribute to the president and his divisive agenda endeared him with outstate conservatives. Some wonder if this means we should expect more minstrel-esque radio commercials advertising Republican candidates in future races.

*Missouri Auditor- Democrat Nicole Galloway won with 50.4% of the vote, followed by Republican rival Saundra McDowell with 44.6%.

*Democrat Mavis “Tessa” Thompson retained her position as St. Louis License Collector, having been soundly elected with 82% of the vote.

*Democrat Steve Stenger kept his St. Louis County Executive seat with 56.9% of the vote, with a surprise showing from Black Republican plant Paul Berry III getting 37.3%. Berry III seemed to ride on a red wave of messaging that attempted to take advantage African American voter frustrations with an ineffective nationwide Democratic agenda.

*Joyce M. Roberts and Donna M. Jones were elected to the St. Louis School Board with 29.4% and 24.1% of the vote respectively.

*St. Louis Circuit Judges Paula Perkins Bryant and Michael Noble were retained with 74.8% and 71.7% yes votes respectively.

*Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1- Redistricting, campaign reforms and opening legislative records: Yes- 62.0%

 

*Missouri Constitutional Amendment 2- Legalizing medical marijuana 4% retail tax fund going to Missouri Veterans: Yes- 65.5%

 

*Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3- Legalizing medical marijuana with 15% retail tax funding cancer research institute: No- 68.6%

 

*Missouri Constitutional Amendment 4-Limits bingo advertisement language and reducing time of membership for game facilitators: Yes- 52.4%

 

*Missouri Proposition B- Raises the minimum wage to $8.60 with 85 cent yearly increase until 2023: Yes- 62.3%

 

*Missouri Proposition C- Legalize medical marijuana, removing prohibitions on growth, possession and production and 2% retail tax fund for veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education, and for public safety in cities with a medical marijuana facility-No- 56.5%

 

*Missouri Proposition D- Two and one half cent motor fuel tax for state road fund for law enforcement and road construction and maintenance: No- 53.6%

MLS Team Bid May Come with New Stadium Proposal

Major-League-Soccer-RosterBy MCNS Staff

Though a new stadium was voted down last year, another massive complex has found its way into a bid for a new Major League Soccer team.

According to local reports, a multi-generational cohort of the founding family of global car rental behemoth Enterprise Holdings is bidding for one of the last two planned MLS expansion team slots here in St. Louis. Reports state that the Taylor family members are forming the group and plan to make the team majority-owned by women. This will be the first of its kind in the league and one of few women-controlled ownership groups in all of professional sports.

A roughly $250 million stadium dedicated to the soccer franchise would be “overwhelmingly” privately-financed, the Taylors say, according to local reports. Public help would likely come from dedicated sales taxes on concessions and other merchandise sold to patrons, a property tax break from a city agency owning the stadium site and leasing it to the group, state tax credits and a break on the city’s 5 percent ticket tax. Possibly, the group has learned that proposing sales tax on purchases is a “no go” for city voters.

Missouri Judge Blocks Portions of State Voter ID Law

By MCNS Staffvote-here-sign

On Tuesday, a Missouri judge blocked parts of the state’s voter photo identification law, which could make it easier for some people to vote in the November election.

According to the Associated Press, the ruling prevents the state from advertising that the photo ID is required to vote. It also stops election officials from requiring that voters lacking photo ID sign a sworn statement while presenting some other form of identification to cast a regular ballot.

AP sources state that the permanent injunction issued by Senior Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan takes effect immediately. But Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft says he will ask that the injunction be put on hold while he appeals the decision to a higher court.

The ruling may affect the outcome of the upcoming November elections, which feature a highly contested constitutional amendment measures toward legalizing marijuana sales and use, a minimum wage increase and US senate race between Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill and Republican challenger Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Voter ID laws have been promoted by Republicans for decades in many states to supposedly prevent voter fraud. But most state voter fraud percentages remain in the lower single digits, with some even a fraction of a percent. Many progressives oppose voter ID laws and liken them to Jim Crow Era voter suppression tactics. They argue that voter ID laws are used to disenfranchise the vote for the people of color, the elderly, the disabled and the poor, who sometimes have trouble obtaining the required identification.

The AP states that Attorneys for Priorities USA, a Washington-based liberal advocacy group that sued on behalf of some Missouri voters, argued that more than 300,000 voters may lack valid photo identifications. According to local reports, as of last week, the state issued free photo identification cards to 1,456 voters who requested them.

Priorities USA Chairman Guy Cecil praised the ruling as “an important victory for voting rights that will ensure that future elections in the state are open and accessible to every eligible voter.”

Missouri’s current voter ID laws were activated in 2016 when the Republican-led legislature overrode then-Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto. A 2016 vote approved the constitutional amendment intended to permit voter ID laws in the state. The law was not in affect for the 2016 elections.

The AP states that the law had allowed people lacking a photo ID to cast regular ballots if they show one of several non-photo forms of identification and sign sworn statements saying they don’t possess personal identification, understand they can get an ID for free from the state and acknowledge that personal identification is required to vote.

Callahan said the sworn statement is “contradictory and misleading” and “impermissibly infringes on a citizen’s right to vote as guaranteed under the Missouri Constitution.”

National reports indicate that it is not clear from Callahan’s ruling whether the secretary of state’s office could come up with a new version of the affidavit that could be required in elections. Otherwise, the ruling appears to allow people lacking photo IDs to nonetheless cast regular ballots if they show some other form of identification, such as a student ID card, utility bill, bank statement or paycheck that contains a home address.

The ruling leaves another option for people lacking identification to cast provisional ballots, which are counted if their signatures match those on file or they return later to show a photo ID.

Missouri Granted Extension for Federal ID Compliance-Again

By MCNS Staffimages

Missouri has been given another extension in order to comply with stricter requirements outlined by the federal Real ID Act.

Bridging the current extension, which is set to end on October 10th, the new grace period allows Missouri until January 21, 2019 to comply with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“During this grace period, federal agencies will accept Missouri-issued driver licenses and ID cards for official purposes, including domestic air travel,” Missouri Department of Revenue Director Joel Walters said, according to KMOV.com.

Compliance hangs on Missouri IDs meeting the conditions of proof-of-identity guidelines, needed at airports, some federal facilities and military bases.

Some Missouri lawmakers worried about privacy have held up compliance with federal law for years. A new Missouri law that took effect in August 2017 gives residents the option of obtaining new driver’s licenses or other identification that meets the federal requirements.

According to local reports, Missouri Department of Revenue officials expect the state to be compliant with the Real ID Act in March 2019.