WBEZ | Missouri http://www.wbez.org/tags/missouri Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Driver licenses for undocumented youths? http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/immigrant%20map.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 369px; width: 600px; " title="WBEZ asked eight states whether they are planning to provide driver’s licenses to immigrants who receive Social Security and employment-authorization cards as a result of President Barack Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” policy. (WBEZ map by Elliott Ramos)" /></p><p>Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are planning to provide driver&rsquo;s licenses to undocumented immigrants who get work papers under a new federal policy.</p><p>The Obama administration policy, called &ldquo;Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,&rdquo; will allow as many as 1.7 million illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children to get Social Security and employment-authorization cards, along with a deportation reprieve. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications Aug. 15.</p><p>&ldquo;As long as the Social Security Administration issues an individual with a Social Security number, and they have the other documents that are required under Illinois law, then they can apply for a driver&rsquo;s license,&rdquo; said Henry Haupt, spokesman for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who oversees that state&rsquo;s driver licensing.</p><p>WBEZ surveyed eight Midwestern states about their response to the policy change. Along with the four states planning to provide licenses, Wisconsin and Iowa officials said they had not decided yet, while Minnesota and Missouri officials did not respond to numerous WBEZ inquiries.</p><p>The states planning to issue the driver&rsquo;s licenses differ from Arizona, Nebraska and Texas, where governors have vowed to block illegal immigrants from getting licenses.</p><p>The immigrants must meet several requirements to get the Social Security and work-authorization cards, including having been younger than 31 on June 15; having arrived in the U.S. before turning 16; having lived in the country continuously since June 2007; being a student or graduate, or having served in the military; and having no serious criminal record nor posing any public safety threat. The work authorization will last up to two years and, if the federal policy stays in place, be renewable. The policy does not provide a path to citizenship.</p><p>Assuming some of the immigrants have been driving illegally, states that enable them to get a license could make roads safer. &ldquo;They have to pass the road exam, they have to pass the written exam, and they pass the vision test,&rdquo; Haupt said about Illinois. &ldquo;We require so many different things of our young drivers and &mdash; by doing so &mdash; they, of course, become better drivers.&rdquo;</p><p>Illinois also requires proof of liability insurance on the car the driver uses for the road test. So it&rsquo;s possible that allowing undocumented immigrants to drive legally could reduce the number of uninsured vehicles.</p><p>The immigrants themselves have more at stake. Karen Siciliano Lucas, an advocacy attorney of the Washington-based Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., points out that driver&rsquo;s licenses are vital for working and attending school in most regions of the country. &ldquo;Not only that, it is a state-issued identification that shows who you are,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The issue is complicated because most states require driver&rsquo;s&nbsp;license applicants to prove &ldquo;lawful status&rdquo; or &ldquo;legal presence&rdquo; in the United States. Officials in some states say the work authorization under the Obama policy will be sufficient proof. But a USCIS statement says the policy &ldquo;does not confer lawful status upon an individual.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s unclear whether courts will enable states to define lawful status differently than the federal government does.</p><p>States expecting Obama administration guidance about the driver&rsquo;s licenses could be waiting awhile. In response to WBEZ questions, the Department of Homeland Security sent a statement saying the department does not comment on state-specific matters.</p><p>Until federal courts weigh in, states are likely to face lawsuits no matter their course. &ldquo;We will see battles on this,&rdquo; Lucas predicted.</p><p>Making matters more complicated is the federal Real ID Act, a 2005 law aimed at fighting identity theft and keeping terrorists out of federal buildings and airplanes. Among other things, the act requires states to verify that driver&rsquo;s license applicants have lawful status in the United States.</p><p>The law is set to take effect in January, but it&rsquo;s not clear how the Obama administration will enforce it. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has fought for the measure&rsquo;s repeal, calling it unworkable.</p><p>That irks advocates for tougher immigration enforcement: &ldquo;If you want to protect against identify theft, you&rsquo;ve got to eliminate the fraud,&rdquo; said Janice Kephart, who focuses on national security policies for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies. &ldquo;That means you have to eliminate the illegal-alien community out of that scheme. It doesn&rsquo;t mean that states cannot give driver&rsquo;s licenses to illegal aliens. It just means that they have to do it outside the Real ID Act.&rdquo;</p><p>Kephart praised Utah, which has created a &ldquo;driving privilege card&rdquo; specifically for undocumented immigrants.</p><p>At the moment the only other states that let undocumented immigrants drive legally are New Mexico and Washington, which provide them the same licenses that U.S. citizens can get.</p></p> Mon, 27 Aug 2012 13:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986 Bluntly put, endorsements have no impact for Romney http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2012-03-08/bluntly-put-endorsements-have-no-impact-romney-97100 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-08/AP120228067522.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="512" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-08/AP120228067522.jpg" title="Senator Roy Blunt (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)" width="483"></p><p>Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/03/everyone-wants-you-know-roy-blunt-likes-mitt-romney/49629/">endorsed</a> Mitt Romney in the Republican contest Wednesday, just weeks after his state’s primaries, where Rick Santorum scored a victory with 55 percent of the vote.</p><p>But what exactly is the point here, Sen. Blunt?</p><p>The endorsement also comes in the aftermath of the Blunt amendment vote defeat (51 to 48 last week in the <a href="http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/02/romney-didnt-know-what-blunt-amendment-was%20defeated">senate</a>), which Romney initially said he was against, then turned around less than an hour later after getting his chain yanked by his campaign, and supported.</p><p>This is the bill that would have allowed employers to opt out of any aspect of healthcare coverage -- or all of it -- on personal moral grounds.</p><p>“Of course I support the Blunt amendment,” <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/article/Romney-clarifies-his-position-on-Blunt-amendment-3371654.php">Romney said</a>, as if there were any doubt at all, after he’d earlier said, just as unambiguously, "I'm not for the bill, but look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, husband and wife, I'm not going&nbsp;there."</p><p>Anyway, days after his amendment defeat, Blunt has decided that Romney’s stumble didn’t matter. Now that the primary’s over in Missouri and there’s virtually no chance of impact, Romney -- for whom Blunt has served as Capitol Hill liaison for the last four years -- is Blunt’s man.</p><p>Blunt joins a long line of establishment figures whose Romney <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/73762.html#ixzz1oYGcoeZF">endorsements have proved fruitless</a>. Last week, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Gov. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee all gave Romney their imprimaturs -- and Romney lost all three of their states by substantial margins to Santorum. Nikki Haley, the South Carolina governor, also endorsed Romney -- she campaigned heavily with him -- and he lost the state monumentally to Newt Gingrich.</p><p>Sure, there have been some endorsements that matched the victory, like Sen. John McCain in Arizona, but the entire GOP establishment came out for Romney there, and Santorum skipped Arizona. Ditto Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s nod in New Hampshire -- Romney had invested two years of his life in that state, and Ayotte came on board late in the game anyway.</p><p>Just this week, Romney racked up more <a href="http://www.mittromney.com/News/Press-Releases/Endorsement_Elliott?page=3%20">establishment endorsements</a>: Hawai’i’s former congressman Charles Djou, former Missouri Sen. Kit Bond, former Kansas senator and GOP VP candidate Bob Dole, Illinois congressman Aaron Schock, former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Tennessee Congressman Scott Desjarlais.</p><p>Most of these endorsement’s, like Blunt’s, come without money or manpower. They’re “value” endorsements to help convince voters of Romney’s conservative bonafides.</p><p>Yes, Romney’s still working on that...</p></p> Thu, 08 Mar 2012 19:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2012-03-08/bluntly-put-endorsements-have-no-impact-romney-97100 Joplin debris 'reborn' in Kansas City art project http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-08-26/joplin-debris-reborn-kansas-city-art-project-91131 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-27/joplin-debris-as-art-1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Pieces of twisted metal and scrap wood left behind by a massive tornado that tore through Joplin, Miss., are now sitting in a gallery in Kansas City. The sculptures and paintings from the wreckage are to be sold at auction Saturday.</p><p>Ann Leach is a grief counselor who has lived in Joplin for 14 years. She's one of the survivors of the May tornado, which left 159 people dead. When the tornado struck, Leach was protected by a slab of sheet rock that fell on top of her, forming a protective barrier.</p><p>Now, though her home is being rebuilt, she says she can't go back. Every day, Leach would remember a piece of her home, she says — where her favorite dishes used to sit, or an old piece of furniture she loved. Some of those pieces she remembers have now found a new home, and a new form, including a music box of her grandmother's.</p><p>"Luis Garcia created a new music box, with pages of the bible from [Leach's] home, and then from her ... decorative aluminum dishware collection, and then the music box that still works, so I can't wait to show her that," says Holly Swangstu, the curator of Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in Kansas City, which is housing the Reclamation Project.</p><p>The concept of artist Matthew Dehaemers, the project connects artists from Joplin and Kansas City. Debris from the town was used to create sculptures and paintings.</p><p>"All these objects and materials have a story behind them, and that story's only made through the people that own them," Dehaemers says. "So what I thought was in between us and them is this material that has a choice of being put in this giant landfill or it has an opportunity to be reborn in a new, positive way."</p><p>Back in Joplin, the billions of dollars of damage is still being cleaned up. Leach says the community has been resilient, and projects like these help the healing process.</p><p>"I can be emotional, and I can collapse in this pile of rubble and sob — and I have, don't get me wrong. But really, how is that going to serve me?" she says. "Change is something you don't have to be afraid of. A lot of people are, but when it hits you right between the eyes, it kind of forces you to respond and just trust that more good will come."</p><p>Project Reclamation is auctioning the pieces Saturday in Kansas City. The proceeds will go to help Joplin artists rebuild their studios and host art therapy classes to help continue the healing in a grieving town.</p><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Sat, 27 Aug 2011 04:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-08-26/joplin-debris-reborn-kansas-city-art-project-91131 Flooding prompts debate between Missouri farmers and Illinois residents http://www.wbez.org/story/flooding-prompts-debate-between-missouri-farmers-and-illinois-residents-85756 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-27/113208785.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Army Corps of Engineers is waiting to decide if it will intentionally break a levee to help relieve flooding problems in a Southern Illinois town. But farmers in Missouri are objecting to the plan.</p><p>Flooding in Cairo, Illinois is so bad, more than 100 people have been evacuated. It's a town of 2,800 residents at the southern tip of Illinois between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.</p><p>"I'm 50 years old, and I can't recall seeing it higher before," said Sheila Simon, Illinois' lieutenant governor.</p><p>She said she hopes the water levels start to go down, or else the Army Corps might have to poke holes in a Mississippi River levee near Cairo.</p><p>But farmers in Missouri say that would flood their land and ruin crops. In a statement, Blake Hurst, the head of the Missouri Farm Bureau, said 130,000 acres of farmland could be destroyed.</p><p>Missouri has filed a lawsuit to block efforts to break the levee. A court hearing is scheduled for Thursday.</p></p> Wed, 27 Apr 2011 19:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/flooding-prompts-debate-between-missouri-farmers-and-illinois-residents-85756 Sen. McCaskill Hits Political Turbulence; Didn't Pay Taxes For Private Plane http://www.wbez.org/story/2012/2011-03-21/sen-mccaskill-hits-political-turbulence-didnt-pay-taxes-private-plane-84047 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sen-clair-mccaskill.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, was expected to have a difficult 2012 re-election campaign according to the political experts who handicap such things.</p><p>University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato <a href="http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/category/2012-senate/">has her listed</a> as "very vulnerable."</p><p>So the last thing she could afford was to have a story erupt that will give her Republican opponent ready made negative campaign ads, assuming she doesn't have a primary challenge or survives same.</p><p></p><p>Unfortunately for her, that has happened. Politico <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/50957.html">broke the story</a> earlier this month about McCaskill billing the government for the use of a plane she co-owns with her husband.</p><p>White there were no indications of illegality or ethics violations in terms of the flights and McCaskill has said she'd repay more than $88,000 to the U.S. Treasury, a realization of how toxic the story is in the current political climate.</p><p>But on Monday <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51675.html">the story</a> got even more poisonous for her political future. Politico reported that she and her husband failed to pay $287,273 in personal property taxes on the airplane.</p><p>McCaskill is known for being a frequent Twitter user but it <a href="http://twitter.com/clairecmc">doesn't appear she's tweeted</a> on this yet.</p><p>And that's despite obviously having some passionate feelings about the aircraft. A <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51675.html#ixzz1HGladgAT">Politico excerpt</a>:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"I have convinced my husband to sell the damn plane," McCaskill said on a conference call with reporters. "I will never set foot on the plane again."</p><p></blockquote> Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1300744045?&gn=Sen.+McCaskill+Hits+Political+Turbulence%3B+Didn%27t+Pay+Taxes+For+Private+Plane&ev=event2&ch=129828651&h1=Claire+McCaskill,2012,Congress,Democrats,It%27s+All+Politics,Missouri,Around+the+Nation,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=134742716&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110321&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=134743939,131551086,130215202,129919600,129828651,125942042&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 21 Mar 2011 16:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2012/2011-03-21/sen-mccaskill-hits-political-turbulence-didnt-pay-taxes-private-plane-84047