Archive for the ‘Missouri Politics’ Category

StL Tensions Rise as ” Ferguson October” Weekend Arrives
October 10, 2014

Post Dispatch:

FERGUSON • Police already tense from a series of violent confrontations have turned to 12-hour shifts and limits on vacations as they face a new challenge of potentially hostile protests that may blanket the region this weekend.

Effective Thursday, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson began requiring that two officers answer every call, even for a parking violation.

St. Louis County officers and Missouri Highway Patrol troopers also are on 12-hour shifts. Ferguson has all its officers working through Monday.

The immediate concern is a national invitation that could bring protesters by the thousands to the area to vent frustrations stoked by the Aug. 9 killing by white Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

A march to St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch’s office today will kick off days of marches, rallies and civil disobedience planned by organizers who demand action on behalf of Brown and others they say struggle against racial profiling and police violence.

Mervyn Marcano, a spokesman for Ferguson October: A Weekend of Resistance, said he expects 6,000 to 10,000 people at attend.

“I’m coming to Ferguson because repentance has not happened there yet,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of the Christian magazine Sojourners and a spiritual adviser to President Barack Obama. He is one of the key speakers at Sunday night’s interfaith event at St. Louis University’s Chaifetz Arena.

Wallis said from his base in Washington: “What is very clear is black lives just are worthless in America.”

On the Ferguson October website, people are seeking or offering rides to the area from as far away as Massachusetts, Florida and California. The site is brokering free lodging and information about hotels, mainly in downtown St. Louis and Clayton.


Missouri Insurances Moving to Extend Coverage to Same Sex Couples
October 10, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s main health-care and retirement plans are expanding benefits to same-sex spouses after a recent court ruling requiring the state to recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere.

The decisions about state benefits come as Republican legislative leaders on Thursday continued to criticize Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster for not aggressively defending the state’s constitutional prohibition on gay marriage.

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Youngs ruled last Friday that Missouri must recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states or countries — the first ruling to put a dent in Missouri’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. Koster announced Monday he won’t appeal, stating that “Missouri’s future will be one of inclusion, not exclusion.”

Koster’s announcement came the same day the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear appeals of several rulings striking down bans on gay marriage in various states. Missouri was not one of the states covered by those rulings.

The Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan cited Koster’s decision while announcing on its website it will begin covering same-sex spouses of state employees or retirees who have valid marriage certificates.

“It is good to see it happening so quickly,” said American Civil Liberties Union attorney Tony Rothert, who represented 10 married same-sex couples in the Jackson County court challenge.

The state health insurance plan covers 96,519 people, including current employees and retirees and their spouses and children. It’s not clear how many same-sex spouses and their dependents will seek coverage, but the health plan already has received some inquiries about it, said spokeswoman Mia Platz.

Club for Growth Spot Jabs at Nixon
October 6, 2014

(AP) – Although he’s not on the ballot this year, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is the target of new TV ads released Monday by a conservative group supporting a voter proposition that would limit the governor’s budget-balancing powers.

The ads from the Missouri Club for Growth accuse the Democratic governor of “playing political games” with budget cuts while urging support for proposed Constitutional Amendment 10 on the November ballot

The proposal would allow legislators to override a governor’s decision to freeze or slow spending on items in the state budget. It also would bar governors from assuming new revenues from policy proposals when making budget recommendations to the Legislature.

The measure was referred to the ballot by the Republican-led Legislature, which has grown increasingly frustrated with Nixon as he has repeatedly cut, frozen or delayed spending in recent years. In some cases, Nixon has cited declining state revenues, but in others he has used his budget-cutting powers as leverage to persuade legislators not to enact tax breaks that Nixon feared could harm state revenues.

Nixon said Monday that he plans to vote against the amendment on Nov. 4 because it could “lessen the fiscal strength” of the state that has allowed it to maintain a good credit rating.

“I don’t think it’s right for us to limit the power of the chief executive, the power that’s been used by governors over the years,” Nixon said after a press conference in St. Louis about a planned expansion by aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

Ketchmark Invited Nixon into Prime Crown Seats for Royals Clincher
October 6, 2014

Many people noticed Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has a great seat for the Royals’ Game 3 Clincher over the California Angels of Anaheim Sunday night.
He was in the front row of the high dollar Crown seats. He was on TV frequently during close ups at home
The Governor office says Nixon asked for and was able to buy ticket for the game.
Then he was invited into the Crown seats by Mile Ketchmark a political ally and friend, according to the Governor’s office.
Nixon always has nice things to say about the Royals.
The Governor, however, was raised on the eastern side of Missouri and his first rooting interest in
Baseball are the St. Louis Cardinals.

Jackson Court Judges Order Misssouri to Recognize Out-of-State Same Sex Marrriages
October 3, 2014

(AP) – A judge struck down part of Missouri’s gay marriage ban for the first time on Friday by ordering the state to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states, saying state laws banning the unions single out gay couples “for no logical reason.”

The order means such couples will be eligible to sign up for a wide range of tax, health insurance, veterans and other benefits now afforded to opposite-sex married couples. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, who has defended the state’s ban on gay marriage, said his office was reviewing the ruling.

The decision comes in a lawsuit filed by 10 same-sex couples who legally married outside the state, including Arlene Zarembka and Zuleyma Tang-Martinez. The St. Louis couple, who married in Canada, said Friday’s ruling could boost their household income, and they plan to apply Monday for Zarembka to receive Social Security benefits as Tang-Martinez’s spouse.

“To me, it’s a real validation by the judge of our relationship and our commitment to each other,” Tang-Martinez said.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is helping the couples, noted the ruling was a first in the state.

“We’re gratified that the court recognized that married same-sex couples and their families are no different than other couples, and that the Constitution requires them to be treated equally,” ACLU attorney Tony Rothert said. “This is not the first court to reach this conclusion, but it is the first court to do so in Missouri, so it’s a tremendous day for our state.”

Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs sided with the couples, who argue that their rights to equal protection and due process are being violated by Missouri’s ban on gay marriage. Youngs said the couples deserve the same recognition as opposite-sex couples who married in other states.

“The undisputed facts before the Court show that, to the extent these laws prohibit plaintiffs’ legally contracted marriages from other states being recognized here, they are wholly irrational, do not rest upon any reasonable basis, and are purely arbitrary,” Youngs wrote. “All they do is treat one segment of the population – gay men and lesbians – differently than their same-sex counterparts, for no logical reason.”


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