Ethics investigation into Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher continues next week

BY: - November 27, 2023

The Missouri House Ethics Committee will reconvene for a third time next week for a closed-door hearing into allegations of misconduct by Speaker Dean Plocher.  The hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Dec. 6. The public notice says the committee will discuss a “personnel inquiry” and an ethics complaint.  Though it doesn’t mention his […]

An empty pre-school classroom with wooden desks.

Funding lag creates barrier for Missouri private school tax credit program

BY: - November 21, 2023

When students returned to classrooms around Missouri in August, only 601 had secured a scholarship through the MOScholars program as a returning recipient — half as many as were in the program in May.  There were also 247 first-time participants.  Three months into the school year, MOScholars has ballooned to 829 returning students and 675 […]

Missouri voter ID trial digs into purpose, results of strict 2022 law

BY: - November 21, 2023

Almost one out of every 10 voters who cast ballots in Missouri’s two largest jurisdictions during recent elections lacked the identification now required at polls in the state, an expert testified Monday at a trial over the voter ID requirement. Kenneth Mayer, a political scientist from the University of Wisconsin, estimated that about 175,000 votes […]

Challenge to Missouri voter ID law focuses on barriers faced by the elderly, disabled

BY: - November 15, 2023

Missouri’s requirement for voters to show government-issued photo identification before casting a ballot will be on trial starting Friday. Over four days, Cole County Circuit Judge John Beetem will hear familiar arguments that the law passed in 2022 unconstitutionally restricts the right to vote by imposing burdens that disenfranchise large numbers of people. In 2006 […]

Suburbs braced to use the legislature to block a south Kansas City landfill

BY: - November 11, 2023

Subdivisions, restaurants and retail shops pop up around Lee’s Summit and Raymore amid rising property values as single-family homes spread across what was farmland just a few years ago. But residents say a proposed 430-acre landfill could threaten that growth. And they’ve rallied together to block it — raising money and deploying lobbyists to get […]


Why I think a scandal-plagued speaker is wise to hire a scandal-scarred former speaker

BY: - November 10, 2023

Even during his reign atop the Missouri political world, former House Speaker Rod Jetton’s life was a looming disaster. He’d lost the discipline of his Southern Baptist upbringing and his Marine training. He was drunk on Southern Comfort and power, and it is not hard to see how both inebriations impaired his judgment.   Over a […]

Missouri House GOP caucus sticks with Plocher as speaker – for now

BY: - November 9, 2023

Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher scurried away from waiting reporters Thursday rather than answer questions about the events that have launched an ethics inquiry and caused some members of his party to ask for him to step down from his powerful post.  Plocher spent most of the afternoon in a closed-door Republican caucus meeting at […]

Rod Jetton’s political career ended in scandal. Now he’s Dean Plocher’s chief of staff

BY: - November 9, 2023

Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher’s new chief of staff is a former legislative leader whose political career was upended more than a decade ago by a federal bribery investigation and allegations of violent sexual assault.  On Thursday, Plocher announced to a closed-door Republican caucus that Rod Jetton will take over as his top legislative aide. […]

Democrat leaves ethics inquiry into Dean Plocher to avoid conflict of interest

BY: - November 7, 2023

A Democrat running for the same statewide office as Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher will not participate in a House Ethics Committee inquiry into the speaker. House Assistant Minority Leader Richard Brown of Kansas City, who is running for lieutenant governor, was replaced Tuesday on the committee by Rep. David Tyson Smith of Columbia. In […]

Players in Missouri gambling debate chase stakes worth billions

BY: - November 7, 2023

Missourians spend billions every year in pursuit of instant riches. They buy lottery tickets, play casino games and dab bingo cards.  And increasingly in recent years, they play games of questionable legality in convenience stores, truck stops and small gaming parlors. Everyone involved in the industry thinks people would spend more, if given the chance. […]

Ethics hearing, GOP caucus could determine fate of embattled Missouri House speaker

BY: - November 6, 2023

Whether Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher can survive the storm of scandals that has engulfed him over the last month could start to come into better focus after two meetings this week.  The first is on Wednesday, when Plocher will for the second time be the subject of a hearing of the Missouri House Ethics […]

Blue and red states slash taxes despite warnings of hard times ahead

BY: - November 3, 2023

With a $750 million budget surplus on hand, there was little doubt whether North Dakota lawmakers would cut taxes earlier this year — the question was how much. “The surplus was strong, and we believe it’s going to be sustained into the future,” said state Rep. Craig Headland. “So, it just made sense to cut […]