McCaskill: Not Sure If Rape Victims and War Vets with PTSD Should Get Medical Marijuana

Like any politician these days, Senator Claire McCaskill wants to talk about jobs, the economy, and how she can create more jobs and a better economy. But during her town-hall meetings across Missouri this week, McCaskill was bombarded with questions about marijuana legalization -- and she's really surprised about that.

Fortunately, that didn't stop people from asking McCaskill about marijuana reform, including whether rape survivors and war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder should be allowed to medicate with marijuana instead of powerful pharmaceutical painkillers.

During a town hall in Kansas City on Wednesday, the Democratic senator expressed her amazement over how many questions she was asked about marijuana-law reform:

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Wanna Marry a Prisoner? New Law Designed to Make it Easier Could Make it Harder

Categories: Politics

Eager to get married to your incarcerated boo but tired of being unable to get that marriage license because both parties need to apply in person?

Well, a measure moving through the Missouri legislature is supposed to make it easier for prisoners to get married to their lovers outside, but don't get too excited: The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri says it could just eliminate one barrier while creating another.

Missouri prisoners are allowed by law to get married, but that right is more on paper than it is in reality: Prisoners aren't able to get the marriage license they need to tie the knot because they're unable to visit the recorder of deeds in person, which is a requirement under Missouri law. In some cases, a recorder of deeds has visited prisons to issue licenses, but this has recently been complicated in cases where recorders refused to hand over the necessary identification documents needed to enter a prison. Therefore, no recorder visiting the prison means no marriage license.

Cole County recorder Larry Rademan is one recorder who refused to hand over those documents, and his actions sparked lawsuits filed by the ACLU.

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Sen. McCaskill: If Pot is Legal "Kids Will Get Handed Joints Like They Get Handed Beers"

Claire McCaskill/Facebook
Sen. Claire McCaskill "won't give you the answer you want to hear."
Senator Claire McCaskill might be Missourians' "liberal" voice in Washington D.C., but when it comes to reforming marijuana laws, the Democrat lawmaker is quite the conservative.

On Monday, McCaskill attended a town hall in Columbia where she fielded questions on a wide array of issues, including jobs, the economy, Ukraine, and of course there was some guy asking about Benghazi.

But among the main concerns of McCaskill's constituents was the cannabis question.

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Will Sen. Brian Nieves Run for Reelection? According to Facebook, Even He Doesn't Know

Categories: Politics

Sen. Brian Nieves.
Sorry, Daily RFT readers. Our stories about the Missouri Legislature are about to get much less interesting.

Well, that's only if Missouri state senator Brian Nieves really is leaving the legislature.

Nieves took to Facebook this weekend to write an ambiguous 1,607-word post saying he may or may not run for reelection in the 26th district.

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Sen. Wayne Wallingford Is Having A Really Hard Time Defending His Religious Freedom Bill

Sen. Wayne Wallingford
Last week, Republican state legislator Wayne Wallingford introduced his religious freedom bill to the Missouri Senate. We're willing to guess that he's starting to regret his timing.

That's because last Wednesday -- two days after his bill hit the Missouri Senate floor -- Arizona governor Jan Brewer vetoed a similar, extremely controversial religious freedom bill in her own state; like Wallingford's, the Arizona law would have enabled businesses to refuse service to customers based on the business owner's religious beliefs.

Since then, Wallingford has struggled mightily to defend his bill, SB 916, from the same criticisms that tanked other religious freedom bills in Arizona in Kansas.

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As Legislature Debates Health Care, Voter ID, Politician Asks: Just How Dumb Are Women?

Categories: Politics

Rep. Kevin Engler.
Missouri State Representative Kevin Engler doesn't think women are dumb.

After all, says Engler, the Republican representative for Perry, Ste. Genevieve and St. Francois counties, the women in his district aren't so dumb that they can't access food stamps, Medicaid, and other government benefits.

So they should also be able to get a photo ID, he says.

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Rep. Rory Ellinger, One of MO's Most Progressive Voices in House, Won't Run in 2015

Categories: Politics

Rep. Rory Ellinger
Rory Ellinger, one of the most progressive Democrats in Missouri's house of representatives, has formally announced he will not run for re-election in 2015 owing to health issues.

The announcement comes less than a week after he announced that he had filed for re-election. But the 72-year-old U. City Democrat says his doctor recommended that he focus on his health, so he decided to withdraw his name from contention.

"For the past four years I have been privileged to represent the people of Missouri's 86th District in the General Assembly," he said in a statement posted on Facebook Monday. "I have had the pleasure of working with dedicated public servants on both sides of the aisle and community leaders and activists in the communities that comprise the 86th District."

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St. Louis Unite: Slay, Dooley Call for Open Minds at City/County Merger Symposium

Categories: Politics

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
Are St. Louis City and St. Louis County ready to hug it out and become one entity to benefit the region? That was the big question at Friday's public merger discussion at the Saint Louis University School of Law.

Panels of community leaders, regional historians and policy experts spoke about the pros and cons of merging completely or partially, but civic activists primarily cared about the ideas from St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charley Dooley. We followed the discussion on Twitter through the #MergeSTL hashtag (with host @SLULAW doing the heavy lifting) and learned that while local leaders are heavily involved in the merger conversation, they've still got plenty of issues to address. Check out the symposium highlights below, or go to Storify for a much longer tweet recap.

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Kacie Starr Triplett: Former St. Louis Alderwoman Admits Looting Campaign

Categories: Politics

Kacie Starr Triplett: "I know I have disappointed you."
A former St. Louis alderwoman used her campaign funds to treat herself to salon and spa services, pay her mortgage and student loans and pad her wallet with spending cash.

In 2007, a 26-year-old Kacie Starr Triplett became one of the city's youngest politicians ever when she was elected alderwoman of the city's Sixth Ward. Five years later -- in November 2012 -- Triplett resigned while in office to take a job working as a homeless advocate and consultant with the nonprofit Behavioral Health Network of Greater St. Louis.

In an apology letter emailed to her former supporters today, Triplett admitted wrongdoing.

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Gov. Nixon Says "Maybe" to Medical Marijuana; Is He Evolving Like He Did on Gay Marriage?

photo via
Gov. Nixon: Leading in the polls or according to polls?
In what could possibly be a shift in the way Governor Jay Nixon will approach reforming Missouri's draconian marijuana laws, he gave an ever-so tepid "maybe" to the question of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes when asked about it on CNN's State of the Union Sunday.

On a panel with three other governors - Rick Perry from Texas, Mike Pence from Indiana, and Dan Malloy from Connecticut - host Candy Crowley asked Nixon his thoughts on legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Well, sort of.

Crowley asked Nixon by stating: "I can't imagine that legalizing marijuana for recreational use sells in Missouri."

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