September 21, 2014

New words will cost Missouri counties thousands (AUDIO)

Twenty-one words are going to cost Missouri Counties tens of thousands of dollars.

They’re the words the legislature left out of its ballot title for the early voting proposal that will be on the November ballot.  A state appeals court says early voting will happen “but only if the legislature and the governor appropriate and disburse funds to pay for the increased costs of such voting.”

Election authorities in every county who already had ballots printed, now have to reprint them and include those 21 words.

Atchison County Clerk Suzette Taylor, the president of the Missouri Association of County Clerks and Election Authorities, has checked the printers who produce ballots throughout the state and has found two-thirds of the November ballots will have to be reprinted–a hard blow to county budgets this late in the year.

Her costs might be as low as $500-$1,000.  But she says the big counties such as Jackson, St. Louis, and Greene could be facing $75,000 to $100,000 in unexpected costs. The state does not reimburse counties for costs of statewide elections.

Taylor calls the situation “terrible” because of the cost and because military ballots start going out today and absentee voting starts Tuesday.

The issue is expected to become the primary topic when her association meets next week.

AUDIO: Taylor interview 4:35

Group pushes mandatory civics test (AUDIO)

A bipartisan group has launched an effort to make sure Missouri’s high school graduates know as much about their country and its system of government as immigrants know when they become citizens. They recall a time when Civics was a course taught in high schools.

Backers of the Missouri Civics Education Initiative point to studies showing a need for a return to civics education.  The Pew Research Center says two-third of Americans cannot name the three branches of government. Studies show less than four percent of Oklahoma and Arizona high school students could pass the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services test that 92 percent of immigrants pass on their first try.

The group wants every Missouri high school student to pass that test before they can graduate.

National campaign director Sam Stone says Civics has gotten lost in the push for STEM subjects–science, technology, engineering, and math. “We’re just saying this is absolutely equally as important [as] those subjects.”

He says when citizens don’t understand how government works and who we are as a nation, they’re not likely to vote or take part in intelligent policy decisions, thereby failing their states and the country.

Former Governor Bob Holden, one of the co-chairmen of the effort, says understanding the American system of government is “fundamental to the well-being” of the country and its states.

AUDIO: conference call 24:21







Study: ending gay marriage ban would be economic boost (AUDIO)

A study done at the UCLA law school says Missouri could get an economic boost if it lets some people get married.

UCLA’s Williams Institute figures legalizing same sex marriage in Missouri would add more than $36-million to the state’s economy in the next three years.  And 311-934 new jobs would be created.

The Institute’s Chief Counsel, Christy Malloy, says the figures are based on anticipated expenditures if  half of Missouri’s 10,557 same-sex couples get married.  Some couples already have gone to Iowa, where the marriages are recognized. But “a lot of people prefer to stay in their own state,” she says…

She also says Missouri could become a marriage magnet for same sex couples from the other six neighboring states where same sex marriage is not legal.

Seventy percent of Missouri voters approved a constitutional ban on same sex marriage ten years ago this year.  But two lawsuits challenging the ban have been filed in Kansas City and a third lawsuit in St. Louis also could produce a court ruling.  In addition, the U-S Supreme Court might rule  next year.

The Executive Director of the LGBT advocacy organization PROMO, A. J. Bockelman, has said in an email to supporters that, “It is entirely possible–indeed it’s quite probable–that within the next year, we could see both nondiscrimination and marriage won on behalf of the LGBT community in Missouri.”

The issue also is expected to be before the United States Supreme Court soon through a case from Utah..

AUDIO: Malloy interview 11:13

Washington University finds multiple disorders make up schizophrenia (AUDIO)

Ground-breaking research at Washington University points to a major change in understanding  and eventually treating or preventing the disorder.

People with schizophrenia don’t have multiple personalities.  They do have hallucinations or delusions or disorganized thinking.  Washington University researchers looking at gene clusters say the issue is not “does someone have schizophrenia?” but “what kind of schizophrenia does a person have?”

One of the researchers, Doctor Dragan Svrakic (Su-RAH-kiss), says previous research has looked at individual genes.  He and his partners have located specific clusters of genes that contribute to eight classes of schizophrenia.   He says the study has identified different genetic pathways to the disorder.  “We will be able to find what are the pathways that lead eventually to the illness and maybe act to act therapeutically or prophylactically when the rain has not developed yet and when the round wiring the brain has not happened yet to … increase the chances of the illness not even to develop,”  he says.

It might lead to development of medicines that can treat the specific disorders. He says the research could also open the doors to treatment of all other forms of mental illness, including bipolar disorder and autism, or could lead to greater understanding of the development of intelligence.  He says all require  interactions within clusters of genes.

The study has been published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

AUDIO: Svrakic interview 16:10

Both sides of the aisle critical of Nixon (AUDIO)

A common saying at the state Capitol is that “The Governor proposes; the legislature disposes.” Legislators from both sides of the aisle are growing more publicly disenchanted with Governor Nixon’s follow-up on his proposals.

To hear Republicans talk, Governor Nixon doesn’t get involved in developing legislation until lawmakers have passed a bill–and then he criticizes their work and vetoes the bill. Senate leader Tom Dempsey of St. Charles, a Republican, minces no words…

AUDIO: Dempsey

Even Nixon’s fellow Democrats sometimes struggle to defend his relations with the legislature. Senator Scott Sifton is from St.Louis.

AUDIO: Sifton 

But Nixon had few defenders on bills reinstating spending bills had vetoed. Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal called Nixon a “coward” for his handling of the Ferguson disturbances. And the senior member of the legislature, Democratic Representative Chris Kelly of Columbia, said Nixon’s only relationships are with slaves or enemies. Senator Paul LeVota of Independence has heard those comments.

AUDIO: Levota

But he wouldn’t say which half.