Commentary

The Missouri House floor for the 2019 State of the State address.

Capitol Perspectives: Punishment of legislators

BY: - February 19, 2021

Missouri history provides a fascinating contrast to the US House vote to remove Rep. Marjorie Greene, R-Georgia, from committee assignments. Unlike Greene, similar disciplinary actions in Missouri against members have avoided a partisan split and required a simple action by the leader of the legislator’s own party. Currently, Missouri has three House members who have […]

Evaluating the moral case for and against Keystone XL

BY: - February 16, 2021

The Keystone Pipeline has been a political buzz phrase for some time. This 10-year-old oil pipeline system runs from Alberta, Canada, all the way to Texas. The chief controversy around the system arose with the introduction of the final phase of development: Phase 4. The “KXL extension” of the system, as it is informally known, […]

Missouri Department of Natural Resources sells out to foreign factory farms

BY: - February 15, 2021

I’m an independent Missouri farmer and livestock producer, and JBS, the largest meatpacker in the world and a Brazilian corporation, is attempting to put a 10,500 head hog operation next to my community and the Poosey Conservation Area in Livingston County. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is in the process of giving Missourian’s water […]

Watching history unfold through my daughter’s eyes

BY: - February 8, 2021

When I asked my 7-year-old daughter what she thought of the inauguration, she told me, “it was fine.” Filled with hope and excitement, I pressed her further, trying to unearth some recognition of the historical nature of last month’s events. I asked if she understood how significant it was that we have our first female […]

Capitol Perspectives: Legislative independence

BY: - February 5, 2021

A major question for this year’s session of the Missouri General Assembly is whether Republican legislative leaders will continue a recent display of independence from their fellow Republican Gov. Mike Parson. Three times in recent months, Republican legislative leaders have shown near historic resistance to their party’s leader. In the first 2020 special session, the […]

Gov. Parson’s letter exposed longstanding rift with Missouri House leader

BY: - February 2, 2021

Gov. Mike Parson’s scolding letter over the weekend accusing House GOP leadership of scheming to embarrass him caught Missouri’s political world by surprise.  Not because the governor was attacking his fellow Republicans, but because he was doing it publicly.  Those close to both Parson and House Speaker Rob Vescovo — who was the clear target […]

Exterior Missouri State Capitol building

There should be no pandemic privilege for religion

BY: - February 1, 2021

Even before we are out of the coronavirus pandemic, Missouri’s lawmakers are considering bills that would make it more difficult to keep people safe in a future pandemic. And several bills would also upset our healthy church-state balance by carving out a special pandemic privilege for religious groups. As a Baptist minister who takes seriously […]

I thought I had a sure thing. After the D.C. insurrection, I’m not so sure

BY: - January 20, 2021

There’s an old poker adage that says, “if you look around the table and can’t figure out who the fish (that is, sucker) is, then you’re probably the fish.” In a very different realm of gambling, I had a recent experience evoking that maxim. Just after the Dec. 14 Electoral College vote, an old friend […]

Capitol Perspectives: An invasion of the U.S. Capitol 

BY: - January 18, 2021

This column is prompted by the pictures of the Capitol assault that triggered fond memories of where I had been an NPR reporter for about six months before I was recruited to start MU’s State Government Reporting in Missouri’s Capitol. While the invasion of our U.S. Capitol raises several major issues for our country, this […]

How Eric Greitens and Josh Hawley soared so quickly in Missouri politics

BY: - January 15, 2021

Flush with ambition and cash, a newcomer arrives like a bolt from the blue. Or, in Missouri’s case, red. He jumps a line of aspirational politicians, lands in a statewide elected office and immediately sets his sights on a higher target, heedless of the wreck just up the road. Missouri has seen this movie twice […]

Let’s not get fooled again: Fight lies by learning to recognize truth

BY: - January 14, 2021

We have a crisis of credulity in this country. We’ve become a nation of dupes. The inability of far too many Americans to separate fact from fantasy, and the people who are eager to take advantage of that failure, are the root of the rot in our country. The consequences, long evident, should now be […]

Our home was attacked Wednesday. It may never be the same.

BY: - January 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — Many of us in our working lives have places away from the office that feel like a second home. It could be a back room at a business, a warehouse, a barn, even the front seat of a car. For me, that place for years was the U.S. Capitol. Thousands of people’s lives […]