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UM System Asks Missouri Supreme Court to Block Graduate Students' Unionization

Sep 12, 2019
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

The University of Missouri System is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn a decision that declared the university's graduate student workers employees and eligible to unionize.

The request came late Wednesday as lawyers for the university system filed paperwork asking the Supreme Court to take the case, following three consecutive rulings against the university by lower state courts.

The NFL, Los Angeles Rams and team owner Stan Kroenke are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider why a lawsuit over the team's departure from St. Louis should be settled in arbitration, not open court.

Judge George Draper is set to be the Missouri Supreme Court's next chief justice.

Draper will take the reins Monday. His term is set to end in 2021.

Missouri Supreme Court judges take turns serving as chief justice for two-year terms. The role is largely administrative.

Draper will succeed current Chief Justice Zel Fischer, who will continue serving as a high court judge.

Draper is the second black judge to serve on the state Supreme Court. Former Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon appointed him to the Supreme Court in 2011.

Judge Defends Missouri Supreme Court Ruling at City Council Meeting

May 21, 2019

The Columbia Municipal Court will add three full-time positions with appropriated funds in order to aid in the new parking ticket ordinance passed down from the Missouri Supreme Court. The Columbia City Council approved adding these positions and changing the current ordinance to align with the new rules during its Monday meeting.

The chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court announced new rules Wednesday requiring judges to first consider non-monetary conditions for pretrial release, a shift aimed at reducing court costs that can sometimes derail the lives of low-income defendants.

Judges still will be able to set bail if needed, but only at an amount necessary to ensure either public safety or that the defendant will appear in court, Chief Justice Zel Fischer said his State of the Judiciary address to lawmakers at the Capitol. The changes take effect July 1.

He said it's the responsibility of judges "to ensure that those accused of crime are fairly treated according to the law, and not their pocket books."

A Missouri health provider will have to pay tens of millions of dollars to a former patient with a rare disease after the state's Supreme Court rejected the hospital's appeal.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that the high court ruled Tuesday that Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities owes Emilee Williams nearly $29 million.

Lawyers for a transgender student and a gay man argued before the Missouri Supreme Court Wednesday that state law protects LGBT rights even though sexual orientation or gender aren't mentioned in its human rights statute.

The court heard cases involving a transgender student kept from a boys' locker room and a gay man who said he was discriminated against as an employee of the Department of Social Services.

Stymied by state regulators, a renewable energy company seeking to build one of the nation's longest power lines across a large swath of the Midwest has turned to a prominent politician in an attempt to revive its $2.3 billion project.

Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, now working as a private attorney after recently finishing 30 years in public office, is to argue Tuesday to the Missouri Supreme Court that utility regulators he appointed wrongly rejected the power line while relying on an incorrect court ruling written by a judge whom Nixon also appointed.

The Missouri Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases on LGBT rights.

One case transferred Tuesday involves a transgender teen who wasn't allowed to use the boy's locker rooms and restrooms in his Blue Springs school. An appellate court upheld the dismissal of his case.

The Missouri Supreme Court is considering whether some of the state's abortion restrictions violate the religious beliefs of a woman who is part of the Satanic Temple.

Updated at 5 p.m. with comment from Williams' lawyer, governor's office — The Missouri Supreme Court will not stop next week's scheduled execution of Marcellus Williams, it said Tuesday. 

St. Louis Arch
paparutzi / Flickr

St. Louis' city minimum wage could rise to $10 an hour starting next week now that the state's highest court won't reconsider its ruling upholding it.

The Missouri Supreme Court in February rejected claims by business groups that setting a wage higher than the state's $7.65 one would spawn regulatory confusion. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to revisit that, ending the issue.

The ordinance sets a $10-an-hour minimum wage in the city this year, climbing to $11 in 2018.

execution gurney
California Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons

A media advocacy group and the American Civil Liberties Union are asking Missouri's highest court to settle whether the state's prison officials must publicly reveal their source of the execution drug pentobarbital.

The nonprofit Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the ACLU and others asked the Missouri Supreme Court in a filing Wednesday to resolve the issue that's produced conflicting low court rulings.

The Missouri Department of Corrections has refused to disclose its pentobarbital supplier, saying the identity is shielded by a state law.

Missouri Supreme Court
Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A panel has selected three choices for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to fill a state Supreme Court vacancy.

The Appellate Judicial Commission's nominees are state Western District Court of Appeals Judge Lisa Hardwick, attorney Benjamin Lipman and Jackson County Circuit Judge W. Brent Powell.

In Missouri, the Appellate Judicial Commission screens applicants and recommends three nominees to the governor, who makes an appointment.

Greitens said at a press conference Thursday that he'll interview all three candidates.

Kansas City residents will vote in August on whether to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The Kansas City Council agreed Thursday to comply with a Missouri Supreme Court order and put the petition initiative on the Aug. 8 ballot.

The Kansas City Star reports the proposal would increase the current $7.70 minimum wage to $10 per hour by Sept. 1 and gradually to $15 per hour by 2022.

The initiative is backed by civil rights activists, urban core ministers and other social justice advocates.

David Shane / Flickr

Missouri's unemployed would again face losing several weeks of jobless benefits under a bill advancing in the state House.

House members in a Wednesday voice vote gave the measure initial approval.

Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick's bill is a revival of a failed 2015 plan to cut the maximum benefits to 13 weeks if the state's jobless rate is below 6 percent. That's seven weeks fewer than what's now allowed.

Missouri's unemployment rate in December was 4.4 percent. More current data are not available.

The Missouri Supreme Court is ordering Kansas City to put a proposed minimum-wage hike to $15 an hour on the ballot.

Supreme Court judges ruled Tuesday that a vote is needed before judges can decide if a wage increase is lawful.

A group of citizens had collected enough signatures to force a vote on minimum wage in 2015. But the vote was scheduled to take place after the enactment of a new state law prohibiting higher local minimum wages from the state's minimum wage.

Missouri's minimum wage is $7.70 an hour.

KBIA/file photo

An attorney for a man sentenced to 25 years in prison for rape is arguing that a Missouri law allowing sexually violent predators to be indefinitely committed to mental institutions is unconstitutional.

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday from attorneys for Jay Nelson and the state.

Nelson was convicted of rape in 1989. While in prison, he was accused of sexually assaulting female guards.

Missouri Supreme Court Suspends Lawyer Who Used a Slur

Nov 28, 2016
Missouri Supreme Court
Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

  The Missouri Supreme Court has suspended a southwest Missouri lawyer who referred to a federal judge using a racial slur.

The Springfield News-Leader reports a disciplinary order announced Tuesday shows Jason Henry has been suspended indefinitely from practicing law for his comments about Senior U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr., who presides in the Western District of Missouri.

Missouri Supreme Court
Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

  Missouri Supreme Court judges are weighing arguments over the constitutionality of a law passed in the wake of the unrest in Ferguson that would cap the amount of revenue cities can keep from traffic fines and court fees.

A lawyer for several St. Louis suburbs told judges in the capital courthouse Wednesday that the law unfairly targets those cities.

The law limits most cities to 20 percent of their budgets. St. Louis County municipalities face a 12.5 percent cap.

David Shane / Flickr

The Missouri Supreme Court says several municipal courts in St. Louis County are consolidating.

Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge said in a statement Tuesday the move is designed to reduce costs and lessen the incentive to use municipal courts as revenue generators.

Municipal operations from Charlack, Northwoods and Vinita Park are consolidated into the St. Ann municipal division. And municipal courts from Bellerive Acres, Cool Valley, Glen Echo Park, Greendale, Pasadena Park and Uplands Park are expected to be consolidated into Normandy municipal court.

Challiyan / Flickr

The Missouri Supreme Court says voters will get to decide whether to raise cigarette taxes to benefit early childhood programs.

Judges ruled Tuesday that the proposal will stay on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The measure would phase in a 60-cent-per-pack increase of the state's lowest-in-the-nation tobacco taxes. It also would raise fees by 67 cents a pack for off-brand cigarettes, in addition to the tax hike.

Cigarette giant Reynolds American Inc. is backing the proposal.

Missouri Supreme Court
Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

A Missouri initiative to re-instate campaign contribution limits has cleared its final legal hurdle to appear on the November ballot.

The state Supreme Court on Monday turned down a request to hear a challenge of the proposed constitutional amendment.

The proposal known as Constitutional Amendment 2 would limit contributions to candidates to $2,600 per election and cap donations to political parties at $25,000.

Missouri's previous campaign contribution limits were repealed in 2008. Since then, some donors have routinely given five- and six-figure checks.

David Shane / Flickr

  Missouri lawmakers have overridden Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a measure to require voters to present photo identification at the polls.

The Republican-led Legislature overturned the Democratic governor's veto Wednesday after GOP senators forced an end to debate.

Lawmakers' action is the first step to enact the policy in the state. Voters on Nov. 8 also must vote to amend the Missouri Constitution to allow for a photo identification law in order for the policy to be enacted.

That's needed because the Missouri Supreme Court has previously found voter photo ID laws to be unconstitutional.

Missouri Supreme Court
Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

The Missouri attorney general's office is reviewing a recent state Supreme Court ruling that may impact the criminal charge of felony stealing.

KBIA file photo

A Missouri Supreme Court ruling last month opens the door to possible parole for a Jasper County man and 80 other inmates who were convicted as juveniles of first-degree murder.

David Shane / Flickr

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Supreme Court is considering a claim that state senators violated the Sunshine Law by barring some people from taking videos at committee meetings.

The court heard arguments Wednesday in a case brought by Progress Missouri. The liberal group was denied permission to record videos in four Senate committee hearings last February and March.

Its lawsuit claims the Senate violated the open-meeting requirements of the state Sunshine Law.

Missouri Supreme Court
Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

The Missouri Supreme Court says a recent amendment to the state constitution doesn't mean some felons now can carry guns.

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