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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Republicans have outlined a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing gun control laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights.

Under the bill endorsed by a Senate committee, federal agents who enforce those laws would be banned from future service in any state or local law enforcement agency.

The change comes as House and Senate backers try to reach a compromise on the legislation that has been passed separately by each chamber. The current version is pending in the Senate.

Supporters say the measure would make federal agents think twice before enforcing a gun control law. But the new approach is unlikely to sway opponents of the measure, who still say it is unconstitutional because states cannot nullify federal laws.

Published in Local News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City remains in the running to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.
 
The Republican National Committee said Wednesday that the list of competing cities had been narrowed from eight to six.
 
Besides Kansas City, those still in the running are Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver and Las Vegas.
 
Republican staff members now will visit each of the six cities for a more in-depth look at the financing, convention site, media work space and hotels. They are to present their findings to a site selection committee in May. The panel then will determine which sites will get official visits from the full delegation of Republican National Committee members.
 
The two applicants eliminated Wednesday were Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio.
Published in Local News
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 15:19

GOP lawmaker files for new office

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Another Republican state lawmaker from eastern Missouri is looking to extend his political career with a bid for a local office.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Republican state Senator Brian Nieves of Washington on Monday filed for election as the Franklin County recorder of deeds. Three other Republicans have also filed for the August GOP primary.
 
Nieves initially filed for re-election to the state Senate but dropped out of the race.
 
On Monday, state Rep. Rick Stream of Kirkwood filed as a candidate for St. Louis County executive. Stream is chairman of the House Budget Committee in Jefferson City.
Published in Local News
Thursday, 20 March 2014 03:52

Cunningham not running for STL County Exec

   Despite months of speculation and tweets this week indicating a big announcement, former Missouri State Senator Jane Cunningham says she's not going to run for St. Louis County Executive.  

   The West County Republican says the party has another candidate in mind, but declined to name names.  Cunningham says voters should expect an announcement on Monday.  

   There had been some criticism of a potential run by Cunningham, since she's only one year into a six-year term as director of the Monarch Fire Protection District and had promised constituents that she wouldn't leave the post early.  

   The GOP will formally nominate a candidate for County Executive in the August primary.

Published in Local News
   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A state senator from eastern Missouri is forgoing a re-election bid, potentially setting off a scramble among Republicans vying to replace him in the reliably GOP district.
   Republican Sen. Brian Nieves (nee-EH'-vehz), of Washington, withdrew Thursday after initially filing for re-election.
   One candidate, House Republican Dave Schatz, of Sullivan, had already filed to challenge Nieves. But with Nieves' exit, Republican House Speaker Tim Jones, of Eureka, is now also considering a run.
   Jones says he will take time next week to weigh his options. Nieves did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
   A potential primary could be an expensive contest. Schatz loaned his campaign $350,000, and Jones reports having $900,000 in his campaign account.
   The Senate district includes Franklin County and parts of western St. Louis County.
 
Published in Local News
Thursday, 27 February 2014 13:30

GOP candidates ready for next debate in Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) - The four Republican gubernatorial candidates are gearing up for another televised debate just weeks ahead of the March primary.
 
Thursday's event in Chicago comes as two candidates lag far behind in money. State Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady also acknowledge polls that show them behind businessman Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur) and Treasurer Dan Rutherford (ROOTH'-ur-furd). But they say they're not worried.
 
They've vowed to defy expectation and are counting on a late surge. Dillard received an endorsement Wednesday from the Illinois Retired Teachers Association
 
The primary is March 18.
 
The debate is hosted by the League of Women Voters of Illinois, WLS-TV and Univision.
 
Gov. Pat Quinn faces primary challenger Tio Hardiman, an activist. Quinn's campaign says the Chicago Democrat won't participate in any debates ahead of the primary.
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The four Republican candidates for Illinois governor are set for another debate ahead of the primary election next month.
 
The Citizens Club of Springfield is hosting a forum Tuesday evening. All candidates are expected to attend. They are Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford, businessman Bruce Rauner and state Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady.
 
All four appeared at a debate earlier this month in the Chicago suburb of Naperville where the main issues were state spending, taxes and Illinois' business climate.
 
The primary contest is March 18
 
Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, is seeking re-election. He faces one primary challenger, activist Tio Hardiman. Quinn's campaign says the Chicago Democrat won't participate in any debates ahead of the primary.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Two bills making their way through Missouri's Republican-led Legislature represent the state's latest attempt to oppose the federal health care law.
 
Senators passed measures last week that would impose additional regulations on insurance navigators, who help consumers sign up for health plans on the exchange marketplace.
 
One bill would require navigators to take a written exam and undergo a criminal background check before working with consumers. Another would require navigators to purchase a $100,000 bond and be liable for unlawfully sharing a customer's personal or financial information.
 
Republicans say the measures would protect Missourians from fraud. But Democratic opponents say the bills are designed to block access to health care.
Published in Local News
   WASHINGTON (AP) — It was once the backbone of the House Republican majority — the hard-line stand that brought President Barack Obama to the negotiating table and yielded more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction.
   On Tuesday, it abruptly vanished, the victim of Republican disunity and a president determined not to bargain again.
   During the summer budget negotiations in 2011, House Speaker John Boehner had insisted that any increase in the nation's borrowing limit be matched dollar for dollar with spending cuts. It became the "Boehner Rule," a mantra of fiscal discipline. And while it didn't always live up to its tit-for-tat formula, it helped drive budget talks and kept deficit reduction at the fore of the Republican agenda.
   But there are limits to Republican power, and on Tuesday inevitability finally caught up to the speaker.
   Boehner let Congress vote on a measure to extend the nation's borrowing authority for 13 months without any spending conditions — a "clean bill" that was an unequivocal victory for Obama. It passed 221-201, with only 28 Republican votes. The Senate still has to approve the extension, but that's considered a mere formality in the Democratic-controlled chamber.
   Boehner's retreat hardly came as a surprise.
   Conservative lawmakers had failed to back a couple of proposed attachments aimed at Obama and his fellow Democrats. One would have approved the Keystone XL oil pipeline and the other would have repealed a provision of the health care law. Either of those faced unified Democratic opposition, so Boehner would have needed 218 Republican votes to pass it in the House. But conservatives were either determined to vote against the debt ceiling increase, no matter what, or found the provisions too small a price for their vote.
   "When you don't have 218 votes, you have nothing," Boehner said.
   Starting last year, Obama has steadfastly refused to negotiate over giving the Treasury Department the authority to borrow the money it needs to pay bills like Social Security benefits, payments on government debt and checks for federal workers.
   For Boehner, however, not all was lost. He placed the burden of extending Treasury's borrowing authority — not a politically popular vote — on the Democrats, and most members of his party got to vote no.
   What's more, the decision helped remove a potentially damaging diversion. Republican allies in the business community have long pleaded with Republicans not to play brinkmanship with the nation's credit. Last year's threat of default, followed by a partial government shutdown over stalled budget talks, harmed Republicans in the eyes of the public.
   Instead, Boehner and his leadership team have decided to keep the political focus on Obama's health care law, which they have targeted as the Achilles' heel for Democrats in this election year.
   It was the second time in two weeks that Boehner swept away an issue that threatened to overshadow the GOP attention on health care. He had outlined principles on how to achieve an overhaul of immigration law. But faced with a conservative outcry, Boehner last week deep-sixed the issue, declaring that immigration legislation this year was a long shot.
   "Boehner's thinking here is we have to pick the smarter fight," said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist and former senior congressional leadership aide. "The smarter fight is Obamacare. If we get dragged into a protracted fight over the debt limit, like the one we saw over the government shutdown, it provides a distraction over the bigger issues the party can litigate."
   Conservative, tea party-aligned groups immediately objected to Boehner's decision, calling it a capitulation and demanding that Republicans vote against the debt ceiling increase.
   "When we heard that House leadership was scheduling a clean debt ceiling increase, we thought it was a joke," Andy Roth of the conservative Club for Growth wrote in an email to congressional offices. "Something is very wrong with House leadership, or with the Republican Party."
   But among lawmakers, the reaction was muted. When Boehner announced his decision in a private meeting with Republicans, one participant described the reaction as resigned silence. And during scheduled debate on the House floor, Rep. Dave Camp, the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, was the only Republican to speak, reluctantly giving his support for allowing Treasury to borrow more money.
   "While I believe that we must increase our debt limit, I'm clearly not satisfied that there are no provisions that would help us address the long-term drivers of this debt," he said, before becoming one of the 28 Republicans who voted for the measure.
   This all could change if Republicans win control of the Senate in November. Republicans would then control Congress and Obama might have little recourse but to accept some Republican demands.
   A Republican victory in the fall, Madden said, would mean "the most recent electoral mandate would be favorable to the Republican bargaining position."
   Boehner, for one, was not giving up. Asked if the "Boehner Rule" was dead, he said, "I hope not."
Published in National News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - One of Missouri's largest labor organizations has hired a former Republican House Speaker as a lobbyist.
 
The Missouri AFL-CIO hired Steve Tilley this week as the labor organization prepares to combat "right to work" measures this year. The legislation would prohibit labor contracts from requiring that all employees pay union fees.
 
Tilley was first elected to the House in 2004 and became Speaker in 2011. While in that office he shied away from "right to work" and said it was not part of his agenda.
 
He left the House in 2012 to become a lobbyist when term limits barred him from seeking re-election.
 
"Right to work" is a top priority this year of House Speaker Tim Jones, Tilley's successor. Jones says Missouri needs the policy to compete for jobs.
Published in Local News
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