Archive for the ‘Missouri Politics’ Category

Judge Rules for Teacher Performance Evaluation Ballot Question
September 2, 2014

(AP)–A Missouri judge has rejected a legal challenge to a November ballot proposal that asks voters whether to link teachers’ jobs to the performance of their students.

An attorney for public education groups challenging the measure said he intends to appeal Tuesday’s decision by Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment 3 would require schools to adopt teacher evaluation systems based largely on student performance data. Those evaluations would be used in decisions about paying and retaining personnel.

The lawsuit contends the amendment violates the Missouri Constitution by addressing two topics at once — by requiring the evaluation system and limiting the ability to collectively bargain over it.

Green ruled that the provisions all relate to the single topic of teacher employment.

Jay Nixon’s Summertime Blues Featured in Politico
September 2, 2014

Jay Nixon was headed into a news conference last Wednesday, ready to announce his new choice to lead the Missouri Department of Public Safety, when he spotted one of his old law school classmates in St. Louis’ Wainwright State Office Building. Stopping to speak with Mary Nelson, the governor shared a terse appraisal of his new life at the center of a national firestorm.

“It’s been a hell of a week,” Nixon told his former study group partner.

The governorship has never been a smooth ride for Nixon, a 58-year-old Democrat who took office in the midst of a national recession. Under his watch, the state has been buffeted by ice storms, tornadoes and all-out political warfare pitting Nixon against an array of stridently conservative opponents.

Still, as he approached the midpoint of his second term, Nixon looked firmly secure in his role: limited in his power to enact a legislative agenda, but plainly in command of the Missouri political world.

That world has turned upside down in the three weeks since a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man. Now, Nixon’s early-summer trip to Iowa is all but forgotten. Far from preoccupied with 2016, he is working overtime to rescue his state and administration.

The governor himself is frustrated and exhausted amid the ongoing emergency, according to Missouri political veterans and Nixon’s longtime associates, some of whom were granted anonymity in order to speak bluntly. Already, Nixon has run repeatedly into the bounds of his own political capacity: a stubbornly procedural mind set shaped by 16 years as state attorney general and a long-tense relationship with leaders of Missouri’s black community.

Amid weeks of protests, Nixon has faced a barrage of questions about his management of the volatile situation and sharp denunciations from certain African-American leaders. There is no end in sight: A grand jury has only just begun to examine evidence in the case of Brown’s killing, a process likely to last until October. Nixon faces intense pressure from black officials to remove the local prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, from the case, a demand he has so far rejected

Hillary Clinton On Ferguson Troubles, Almost 3 Weeks After Shooting
August 29, 2014

(AP) – Hillary Rodham Clinton broke nearly three weeks of silence Thursday on the fatal police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old in Missouri, saying his death and the violent protests that followed resulted from frayed bonds of trust in a racially divided community.

The remarks by the former secretary of state during a speech to a technology group were her first about Michael Brown’s Aug. 9 death in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

As a potential Democratic presidential candidate, Clinton was criticized for waiting so long to talk about the shooting of Brown, who was black, by a white police officer after a midday confrontation on a street.

Clinton lamented the shooting and the numerous tense confrontations that followed between angry protesters and heavily armed police.

“This is what happens when the bonds of trust and respect that hold any community together fray,” she said. “Nobody wants to see out streets look like a war zone. Not in America. We are better than that.”

She said America cannot ignore inequalities in its justice system.

Nixon Picks Former St. Louis Police Chief to Head Dept. of Public Safety
August 27, 2014

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon named the former St. Louis Police Chief, Daniel Isom as the new Director of the Missouri Department of Safety.
Nixon made the announcement in St. Louis, not far from the suburb
of Ferguson, the scene of racial tensions for theist two weeks.
“Dr. Isom has experience and training in law enforcement that are almost unmatched, including as a top-level manager and as a front-line officer in one of the state’s largest police forces,” Gov. Nixon said.
“Protecting the public is one of the most fundamental obligations of government, and I am honored to lead the Missouri Department of Public Safety at this critical time,” Dr. Isom said.
Isom replaces Jerry Lee. He is retiring after three years in the post.
Nixon will be in Kansas City Wednesday afternoon to repeat the announcement.
Jo Mannings of the St. Louis Beacon tweeted Nixon “avoided” questions that did not release to Isom’s appointment.

‘Right to Farm’ Recount Requested
August 26, 2014

Election officials across Missouri will conduct a recount of the narrow passage of a constitutional amendment creating a right to farm, as opponents of the measure seek to reverse the results.

The recount on Constitutional Amendment 1 is expected to begin in the coming days. The secretary of state on Monday was officially certifying the results of Missouri’s Aug. 5 primary elections.

Those results show that voters approved the right-to-farm amendment by a margin of 2,490 votes out of nearly 1 million cast, a victory of one-quarter of a percentage point. Missouri law allows the losers to request a recount whenever the margin of victory is less than half a percentage point.

The amendment makes farming and ranching official constitutional rights, similar to existing protections for the freedoms of speech and religion. Missouri is just the second state, after North Dakota, to adopt such a measure.

One of the opponents seeking a recount is Wes Shoemyer, a former Democratic state senator from northeast Missouri who is president of Missouri’s Food for America. Shoemyer said he’s not aware of any particular election problems that would cause the results to be reversed.

But “when you’re at a statistical dead heat, you don’t know for sure, so you want a recount,” Shoemyer said.


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