Former Missouri Justice Ron White Confirmed as Federal Judge
July 16, 2014

Fifteen years after a decisive defeat at the hands of a Republican Senate, Ronnie White is on his way to the federal bench.

The former Missouri Supreme Court Justice was approved by the Senate, now controlled by Democrats, to serve as a judge in the Eastern District of Missouri on Wednesday afternoon, 53-44. The vote marks a significant turnaround from 1999, when White was turned away from the federal bench in a party line vote and cast by Republicans as soft on crime.

“It’s not often that the Senate has a chance to go back and fix a grievous error that occurred in our history. And that error occurred in 1999 when a good and qualified man was defeated in the United States Senate,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who served as Missouri’s state auditor at the time. “This is a mainstream jurist. This is not someone who is outside of the mainstream.”

Missouri Closes in On Setting 2 More Executions, Could Set Record
March 14, 2014

(AP) – Missouri is on pace for a record number of executions in 2014, with two more inmates on the verge of getting their execution dates.

The Missouri Supreme Court on Thursday issued show cause orders in the cases of Leon Taylor and Michael Worthington. The orders give attorneys for the two men until April 14 to show why an execution date should not be set.

Missouri executed two men late last year and has already put to death two other convicted killers in the first two months of 2014 – Herbert Smulls in January and Michael Taylor in February.

Jeffrey Ferguson is scheduled to die March 26 for abducting and killing a teenager in St. Charles County in 1989. In addition to Taylor and Worthington, the Supreme Court has issued show cause orders for five other death row inmates, meaning their execution dates could be set soon.

Missouri’s highest number of executions in a year was nine in 1999. The state executed eight men in 1938 and seven in 2001

Chastain Calls for August Vote on Revived Mass Transit Plan
February 5, 2014

Light Rail Activist Clay Chastain says Kansas City should put in multi-billion dollar light rail
Plan on the August 2014 Missouri primary ballot.
Chastain claimed victory in a news release after Tuesday’s Missouri Supreme Court opinion
The opinion sends the matter back to the trial court. The majority opinion says the trial judge made some errors.
The opinion, however, did not endorse Chastain’s plan.
Chastain sued the city, saying it had no right to not present voters with his plan after he obtained the required voter signatures to put it on the ballot.
Chastain now wants the August vote.
“What are they afraid of?” He asked in his statement.
The City intends to put the first of two street care expansion votes on the same August ballot.
The City has plans to extend its still-under-construction street care line to much of the heart of the city.
The original two-mile line will go from the River Market area to Union Station.
Construction starts later this
Month. It’s expected to be running in late 2015.

Missouri Supreme Coury IKs Student Transfers Out of KC District
December 10, 2013

The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled students from the unaccredited Kansas City District may transfer to adjoining suburban schools.
The court ruled the transfers would not place a new burden on the receiving schools systems, but only re-locates existing state money.
Kansas City had argued the transfer would severely hurt the district’s enrollment and its finances.
Suburban schools fear being swamped with student fleeing a failing school system.
The ruling may turn the issue of student transfers into one of the pressing issues lawmakers will deal with when the 2014 legislative session starts next month.

Changes Proposed to Missouri Student Transfer Rules
December 4, 2013

(AP) – A Missouri House interim education committee is recommending changes to student transfers, more funding for early childhood education and increased learning time for students.

The panel held 11 public meetings throughout the state this fall and released its report Tuesday to the House speaker.

One of its major topics was Missouri’s law allowing students in unaccredited districts to transfer to neighboring districts.

That is a big issue for suburban Kansas City schools. Some have gone to court over the issue since the Kansas City school district is unaccredited and some student may be able to transfer out of the district. The student transfer issue in the Kansas City area may depend on an upcoming ruling from the Missouri State Supreme Court.

The committee recommended setting a fixed rate of tuition that schools receiving transfer students could charge. It also suggested prescribing the scope of receiving districts’ control over the numbers and conditions of transfers they accept.

The panel also recommended that the Legislature look at providing more money for early childhood education, and longer school days for students, especially those who struggle academically or attend troubled districts.


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