WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats are determined to cast an election-year spotlight on Republican opposition to raising the minimum wage and overhauling immigration laws.
To try to accomplish that, Democrats are planning to rely on an infrequently used and rarely successful tactic.
It's known as a "discharge petition."
It requires the minority party — Democrats, in this case — to persuade some two dozen Republicans to defy their leadership, join Democrats and force a vote on setting the federal minimum wage at $10.10 an hour.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will push the wage issue when Congress returns from break Feb. 24.
Forcing a vote on immigration could occur in a few months.
The odds are daunting for Democrats in what clearly is political maneuvering ahead of this fall's elections.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Opposition is starting to form around a ballot measure that would enshrine a "right to farm" in Missouri's Constitution.
A former Democratic state senator has started a political action committee to fight the ballot measure. Wes Shoemyer says the amendment would take away the people's ability to use the initiative petition process to regulate agriculture.
A coalition of farming and livestock associations, known as Missouri Farmers Care, argues the amendment is necessary to protect farmers from groups that use the ballot box to restrict farming and ranching.
Missouri lawmakers referred the measure to the ballot last year. It will appear on the November ballot unless Gov. Jay Nixon moves up the date. North Dakota voters approved similar constitutional protection in 2012.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Openings for the top job at Missouri state agencies no longer could mean an extended reign by a temporary leader under legislation proposed in the state Senate.
Missouri department directors chosen by the governor require Senate confirmation, but acting leaders do not. Two state agencies currently are led by acting chiefs, and Governor Jay Nixon this past week announced he was elevating two other acting directors to permanent positions.
Under the Senate legislation, state department directors would file a designation with the governor and the Legislature naming a deputy director who has the authority to exercise the director's powers during a vacancy. Acting directors could serve for 120 days.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has taken a new, more left-leaning approach in his second term.
Nixon has long been a Democrat. But he could have passed himself off as a moderate Republican during his first four years as governor. He cut taxes, spending and thousands of government jobs. And Nixon shied far away from President Barack Obama's signature health care law.
Since he won re-election a year ago, however, Nixon has sought to expand Missouri's Medicaid eligibility under Obama's health care law. He vetoed a big income tax cut and numerous other bills passed by the Republican-led Legislature. And this past week, Nixon came out in support of gay marriage.
Some political scientists say Nixon appears to be re-positioning himself to appeal to national Democrats.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie seldom makes a political miscalculation.
But when the likely 2016 presidential candidate tried to dump Tom Kean Jr. as state Senate Republican leader, he suffered a rare defeat — and alienated his political mentor, the popular former Gov. Tom Kean Sr.
The elder Kean, who is 78, tells The Associated Press Christie's maneuver surprised and disappointed him.
The question of the governor's loyalty has come up before.
His 2012 Republican National Convention speech was panned as self-serving. Christie's allegiance to Mitt Romney was questioned again when the governor embraced President Obama days before the election.
Obama's win — and Romney's loss — gives a Republican like Christie an open shot at the party's presidential nomination in 2016.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Sen. Claire McCaskill says she'll introduce legislation requiring U.S. defense officials to address mismanagement in a military-led unit responsible for finding service members missing in action.
McCaskill's remarks come several months after an Associated Press story revealed an internal Pentagon report harshly critical of the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command, which searches for missing soldiers' remains. The Pentagon report included accusations of misconduct among those responsible for overseas missions to investigate prospects for recovering remains.
McCaskill, a Democrat, said Friday at a news conference in Kansas City that she's preparing an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill. The amendment would give the Defense Department one year to submit a plan for reorganizing the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command and improving its accountability.