Barbara Shelly

Forget the interns — Missouri legislators have much bigger distractions

It’s not just the interns. To be a legislator in Missouri is to fend off distractions all day long. There is the “where is my next free meal coming from?” distraction. And its companion: Who’s paying for drinks tonight? Also: Can I score some freebie playoff tickets for the (pick one) Royals/Cardinals? Not to mention unlimited donations.

Barbara Shelly

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez hails minimum-wage increases, other fairness measures

In the weeks before Labor Day, U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is traveling the country promoting what he calls “the simple notion that if you work a full-time job you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.” It’s a simple notion, all right, but one that is very complicated to bring about. Just witness the friction in Kansas City and throughout Missouri over attempts to raise the minimum wage.

Barbara Shelly

Missouri loves secrecy, except for Planned Parenthood

Missouri is very secretive about all aspects of executions; it won’t even reveal the source of the drugs it uses. And Missouri is one of eight states with an “ag gag” law, meaning it’s illegal to secretly film suspected animal and environmental abuse on industrial agricultural operations. But when it comes to revealing all aspects of abortion services — even if the information could put providers in danger — the politicians in charge insist on total transparency.

Barbara Shelly

Why Kurt Schaefer is the scariest person in Missouri government

If someone were to ask me who is the scariest person in the Missouri government right now, I would say Kurt Schaefer. This is quite a distinction. The Missouri Capitol, as we have learned, has its share of intern harassers and after-hours miscreants. Schaefer is a different kind of scary — a politician with the talent and ambition to acquire power and a willingness to misuse it.

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