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Sunday Poll: Will Missouri Voters Approve Constitutional Amendment A Returning the City of St. Louis to St. Louis County?

April 1, 2018 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will Missouri Voters Approve Constitutional Amendment A Returning the City of St. Louis to St. Louis County?

Please vote below

Missouri Secretary of State John Ashcroft has verified a citizen petition for an amendment to the constitution for the statewide August 7th primary ballot. If approved it would make the City of St. Louis a municipality within St. Louis County — reversing the Great Divorce of 1876. A simple majority os needed to pass.

Official Ballot Title
Constitutional Amendment A

[Proposed by Initiative Petition]

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

Strip the City of St. Louis of status as an “independent city”; 
Redraw the boundaries of St. Louis County so the City of St. Louis is fully within said boundaries;
Eliminate county-level offices in the City of St. Louis;  

Fair Ballot Language:

A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to make the City of St. Louis a municipality within St. Louis County. 

A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

If passed, this measure is expected to lower taxes.

Today’s poll is about this effort.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

Opinion: Video Gaming Would Be a Mistake For Missouri

March 14, 2018 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: Video Gaming Would Be a Mistake For Missouri

Remember back to 1994 when gambling in Missouri was limited to actual boats?

Two riverboat casinos recently opened in Missouri despite the state’s ban on slot machines and many other games of chance.

The President Casino on the Admiral is permanently moored on the Mississippi River, just north of the Gateway Arch. The recently renovated riverboat, which dates from 1907, has 70,000 square feet of casino space with nearly 100 tables assigned to blackjack, poker and craps, and 150 video poker games.

Admission is $2 during the week and $5 on weekends. Boarding is allowed every two hours from 10 a.m. to midnight. Entrance is restricted to adults at least 21 years old. For information: 800-772-3647.

About 30 miles away in St. Charles, Mo., the Casino St. Charles has a 24,500-foot casino with 52 tables for blackjack and craps, and 813 video poker machines. The riverboat cruises the Missouri River for two hours, weather and water levels permitting. Otherwise, gambling is dockside at the St. Charles Riverfront Station. (Chicago Tribune)

Boats either literally cruised the river or, like the Admiral, admission wasn’t allowed while it was “cruising” in place. Next came buildings with a little river water moat next to them. Eventually that was scrapped too. Now lawmakers might approve video gaming in the convenience store down the street.

Lo0k at Illinois. The following is one of many examples in Springfield IL.

24 hour video gaming!
A new wall was built to create a small gaming room. Not even close to being ADA-comliant.
Three signs mentioning the 21 age requirement.
Inside the small room

Above photos by my husband, David. This makes losing your money more convenient than in a casino.

As to the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll question — new revenue isn’t necessarily a positive — it could also result in a greater reduction of casino revenue. For communities that don’t receive any casino revenue, video gaming will add to their budgets. But is this new money or just money not spent/taxed elsewhere in the community?

Here are the poll results:

Q: Agree or disagree: Video gaming could help ease Missouri’s tight budget

  • Strongly agree 2 [11.11%]
  • Agree 2 [11.11%]
  • Somewhat agree 3 [16.67%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 2 [11.11%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 4 [22.22%]
  • Strongly disagree 4 [22.22%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [5.56%]

The number of responses was half that of a typical week.

— Steve Patterson

 

Opinion: Missouri Governor Eric Greitens Should Resign

February 28, 2018 Crime, Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: Missouri Governor Eric Greitens Should Resign
Mugshot of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens

The reasons why Eric Greitens should NOT resign as Missouri’s governor are few, the reasons he should are numerous. Let’s review the issue quickly:

Missouri GOP Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted on Thursday amid looming allegations of sexual misconduct and blackmail following an admission of an affair last month.

He was charged in St. Louis with a first-degree felony invasion of privacy, according to the Missouri court system. 
In a statement Thursday, Greitens denied committing any crime and instead called the situation “a personal mistake” from his time prior to taking office. (CNN)

Here’s a little more detail:

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who was swept into office in 2016 with a vow to clean up a corrupt state government, was indicted and booked Thursday on a felony invasion of privacy charge for allegedly taking and transmitting a non-consensual photo of his partly nude lover shortly before that campaign started.

It stems from a scandal that broke last month, in which Greitens was accused of threatening his lover with the photo — an allegation that isn’t mentioned in the indictment. Greitens has admitted having an extramarital affair, but has denied the rest. (Post-Dispatch)

So here’s why he shouldn’t resign:

  • An indictment isn’t proof of guilt. The prosecution & defense are both going to debate the applicability of the Missouri privacy law Greitens is accused of violating in 2015. Innocent until proven guilty by a jury of peers is an important part of our justice system.
  • This is a personal matter from before the election.

The above sound very logical until you look at it from other perspectives — here’s why he should resign:

  • Defending himself against this charge will require his full attention. Sorry Missouri…the governor is preoccupied. The day after the indictment he resigned from a leadership post with the Republican Governors Association — to focus on Missouri. More like to save his own skin.
  • The felony charge is serious. Ok. not Illinois-level serious but still possible jail time if found guilty.
  • Even some members of his own party are saying he should:

    Greitens should resign, even before his criminal case reaches a conclusion, said Reps. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, and Marsha Haefner, R-Oakville.

    “The recent news of Gov. Greitens’ indictment on a felony charge is very disturbing,” Dogan said. “While the governor is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, the governor appears to have lied to the people of Missouri when he said in January that he had not taken a photograph of a woman who was undressed, blindfolded and bound.” (Springfield News-Leader)

  • His defense team wants an early trial, like May, but the St, Louis Circuit Attorney says more time is needed to conclude the investigation and prepare the case. With state primaries in August and the midterm elections in November this could hurt GOP candidates. Hmm, perhaps he shouldn’t resign — that way neoliberal Sen. Claire McCaskill has a chance at being reelected.
  • Until a jury finds him guilty or not guilty this will prevent him from doing his job. Who will slash budgets of programs helping the poor, lower taxes for the wealthy, etc?

Here are the results from the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Missouri Gov Eric Greitens, indicted last week, is innocent until proven guilty in court. He should only resign if found guilty.

  • Strongly agree 9 [18.37%]
  • Agree 4 [8.16%]
  • Somewhat agree 3 [6.12%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 3 [6.12%]
  • Somewhat disagree 2 [4.08%]
  • Disagree 16 [32.65%]
  • Strongly disagree 10 [20.41%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 2 [4.08%]

A little more than half think Greitens should resign.

Even if he somehow continues he’ll only be in office for one term. I think we’ll see Lt Gov Mike Parson sworn in as Governor before the midterm election in November.

— Steve Patterson

 

Happy Labor Day

September 4, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Happy Labor Day
Labor Day Parade in downtown St. Louis, 2009

Missouri is book-ended on eat side by blue-ish cities: Kansas City on the West and St. Louis on the East. In between is a lot of red. Wages & labor, among many others, are areas where the differences clash.  Though the GOP controls Jefferson City the people are fighting back.

From last month:

With the submission of more than 300,000 signatures Friday, Missouri’s right-to-work law won’t go into effect Aug. 28 and its fate likely will be put to voters in 2018.

 The law is suspended, Secretary of State spokeswoman Maura Browning told St. Louis Public Radio. The office still needs to verify that at least 100,000 of the signatures are from registered voters — the minimum to force a statewide vote in November 2018. (St. Louis Public Radio)

If the signatures are conformed, this gives lots of time to mount a campaign to override the legislature on unions. St. Louis’ higher minimum wage has been rolled back by the state GOP, but again efforts are underway to change that as well:

In Missouri, advocates of a higher minimum wage are already mobilizing a new statewide campaign to get a minimum wage measure on the November 2018 ballot. If organizers with the “Raise Up Missouri” campaign gather enough signatures and voters approve it next year, Missouri’s minimum wage would go up to $8.60 in 2019 and increase 85 cents each year until 2023, when it would hit $12 an hour.

Jake Rosenfeld, a sociology professor at Washington University who studies labor and inequality, points to the successful 2014 statewide measure raising Arkansas’ minimum wage as an example of the issue’s resonance beyond a liberal base. (Post-Dispatch)

Arkansas is just as backwards as Missouri, perhaps more. So if they can increase their statewide minimum wage we should too.

Have a great Labor Day today.

— Steve Patterson

 

Opinion: Missouri GOP Gutted Missouri’s Civil Rights Law

August 9, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: Missouri GOP Gutted Missouri’s Civil Rights Law
Top of the Civil Courts building in rainbow colors for PrideFest2013

Senate Bill 43, signed by Gov Greitens, guts Missouri’s civil rights protections:

The governor’s signature on Senate Bill 43, for which Greitens had not publicly stated his support, will require workers who claim discrimination in wrongful-termination suits to prove that bias was the explicit reason they were fired. The current standard requires only that dismissed workers prove that bias merely was a contributing factor.

“I’ve met with passionate advocates on both sides of SB 43,” Greitens said. “I respect all of them. I’ve listened to every side. I believe we need to bring Missouri’s standards in line with 38 other states and the federal government.”

The new law applies a “motivating factor” standard for employment discrimination cases, which Greitens’ office said is in keeping with standards used by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in analyzing claims under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The measure changes Missouri’s whistleblower laws — including removing protections for state employees — and limits punitive damages for victims of workplace discrimination.

The bill also says employees can’t sue the individual who engaged in discriminatory actions. They can sue only the business itself.(KC Star)

The applies to all discrimination, not just employment. Housing, public accommodation, etc are all changed. As a gay disabled person this is troubling.

Despite high-profile opposition from civil rights groups, a personal friend and Democratic lawmakers, Gov. Eric Greitens approved a measure that will require people to explicitly prove their race, sex or other protected status actually motivated their boss or colleague to mistreat them to win an employment discrimination case.

[snip]

Missouri workers currently need only prove their protected status was a “contributing factor” to prevail in court. For example, if a Hispanic plaintiff is fired for being late for work while white workers show up late and aren’t fired, the Hispanic employee could ask a jury to compare the treatment and contend that race “contributed” to the boss’s decision.

Under the new law, which goes into effect Aug. 28, such an employee would need to meet a higher standard: The worker would have to show that race explicitly “motivated” mistreatment through, for example, written documentation of racist comments. (Post-Dispatch)

To  prove motivation in a discrimination case is nearly impossible.  Therefore, I applaud the National NAACP for backing the Missouri NAACP Travel Advisory, as a way to call attention to what is happening. They and other groups should boycott Missouri until this is reversed.

Readers were split in the recent Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: The NAACP travel advisory is unnecessary and should be pulled

  • Strongly agree 9 [23.68%]
  • Agree 5 [13.16%]
  • Somewhat agree 4 [10.53%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 2 [5.26%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 7 [18.42%]
  • Strongly disagree 10 [26.32%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [2.63%]

Everyone reading this falls into at least one protected class, but your legal options to address discrimination will soon be limited.

— Steve Patterson

 

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