The Buzz

TheChat: Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson promises a better Capitol culture for women


Enjoy the long weekend.

▪ “We have a responsibility as stewards of the institution right now to try to make it better.” — Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson on his pledge to improve the atmosphere in the Statehouse for women.

The Star recently described a corrosive culture. Richardson said he hopes a task force examining the internship program in the Capitol will come up with constructive recommendations. A cautionary note to the new speaker: The issue is broader than college interns.

▪ “That’s the big question.” — John Robb, a lawyer for school districts suing the state over school funding, saying that total funding for schools remains the key issue in the lawsuit.

Last week a three-judge Shawnee County District Court panel ordered the state to pay about $50 million to poor schools. That issue is one of two now before the state Supreme Court. Issue one is whether the state is funding poor districts comparably to wealthier ones. The second deals with whether schools are adequately funded. That’s the more significant issue, Robb said.

▪ “577.” — The number of road and bridge projects in the Missouri Department of Transportation’s latest five-year plan. That’s down 246 projects from last year’s five-year total.

The decline represents the new reality for MoDOT, which is experiencing a dramatic drop in funding. Fewer dollars means fewer projects to keep roads and bridges in good shape.

▪ “So it’s best just to hold off.” — Cape Girardeau County Recorder of Deeds Drew Blattner on his decision to wait 25 days before issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Blattner said his lawyers advised him to wait because there could be a motion to reconsider. The county is one of two in Missouri — the other is Schuyler County in northern Missouri — that’s declining, for now, to issue licenses. The ACLU is offering legal help to anyone who is denied.