Missouri News

The latest news from every corner of the state, including policy emerging from Missouri's capitol. 

Beyoncé tickets. Pricey steak dinners. Royals games. 

Lobbyists used to be able to spend thousands in an effort to influence Missouri lawmakers. Voters approved a $5 dollar limit on gifts for lawmakers in November. A KCUR analysis of data released this month by the Missouri Ethics Commission shows there’s been a 94% decrease in spending from the 2019 to 2018 legislative session. 

In this year’s session, lobbyists spent less than $17,000 on lawmakers. That’s a significant drop from the about $300,000 spent in the 2018 session. 

In baseball circles, the St. Louis Cardinals organization is known for its so-called “The Cardinal Way,” a manual of sorts that players and managers adhere to in the quest for consistency. 

Since August 2018, Missouri state government has been teaching “The Missouri Way,” a leadership training program that’s already indoctrinated more than 1,000 employees from the 16 executive departments. Statewide-elected officials like the secretary of state, auditor and attorney general are not required to take the training, and neither is their staff. 

In many respects, Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision taking partisan gerrymandering cases out of the purview of federal courts has a mixed impact for Missouri.

On the one hand, the court’s majority opinion didn’t preclude states from adopting rules to curb maps that help one party or the other. It specifically mentioned a successful ballot initiative known as Clean Missouri that created a new redistricting system aimed at state House and Senate maps that emphasize partisan fairness.

But the decision could make it significantly harder to challenge Missouri’s congressional map for being skewed for a political party. Missouri’s Legislature and governor are responsible for coming up with congressional maps, where partisan gerrymandering is not specifically prohibited. Clean Missouri did not affect that process.

On a hot morning in Cape Girardeau, two men pulled up nets from a lake in hopes of catching alligator gar, one of the largest and most feared fish species in North America.

They’re scientists with the Missouri Department of Conservation, which has spent 12 years trying to restore the alligator gar’s dwindling population in the state. Its numbers in Missouri have fallen partly because the state doesn’t have strong regulations to prevent overfishing of the species.

Man-made structures like levees and dams have also separated the Mississippi River from the floodplain. They block the alligator gar from reaching critical habitat, said Solomon David, an aquatic ecologist at Nicholls State University in Louisiana.

The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday set an execution date of Oct. 1 for Russell Bucklew, whose challenge to the state’s lethal injection method was rejected three months ago by the U.S. Supreme Court.

If carried out, Bucklew will be the first Missouri prisoner executed since January 2017, when Mark Anthony Christeson was put to death for the 1998 murders in south-central Missouri of a mother and her two children.

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