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Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

Politically Speaking: Sen. Schupp focuses on mental health, protecting whistleblowers

Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, stands to speak on the first day of the 2018 Missouri General Assembly session.
Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, stands to speak on the first day of the 2018 Missouri General Assembly session.

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio's Jo Mannies and Marshall Griffin welcome back state Sen. Jill Schupp, a Democrat from Creve Coeur.

Schupp’s 24th District takes in part or all of at least 20 municipalities in St. Louis County. She’s finishing up her first four-year term and has filed for re-election this fall. Her first Senate race in 2014 was the most combative and expensive in the state that year.

As a member of the Senate’s Democratic minority, Schupp acknowledges that her party is sometimes on the sidelines. But Senate Democrats also are often the sole roadblock to controversial legislation – notably on social-services, abortion and labor issues – sought by Senate conservatives.

Among her observations on the podcast:

  • The state Senate is “walking on eggshells’’ as it watches the House investigate the allegations against Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican accused of breaking state law by taking a photo of semi-nude woman without her consent. He was engaging in an affair with the woman at the time.
  • She’s optimistic about the chances for her bill to encourage additional professional training for some healthcare workers in mental health in order to curb suicides. “Missouri has a higher rate of suicides than the national average.”
  •  She’s trying to restore whistleblower protections for public employees, which were apparently accidentally stripped out of state law with the passage of SB43 last year. That bill, now law, makes it tougher to sue for discrimination in Missouri. Schupp says her restoration bill is being held hostage by some GOP senators who want her to first agree to vote on some of their favored legislation, such as tax cuts.
  • She’s expecting a stiff fight over Republican proposals to require public-employee unions to get annual written approval from members before collecting dues, and to end existing “prevailing wage’’ requirements for local government or school construction projects.

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

Follow Jill Schupp on Twitter: @JillSchupp

Music: "Dirt" by Death in Vegas

Copyright 2018 St. Louis Public Radio

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.
St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.