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2014 Tax Sale Notice

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Fixing Congress

by Lee H. Hamilton

These are hard times for Congress. Its approval ratings have seen a bump from their historic lows of a few months ago, but it’s a small one. Our representative democracy’s keystone political institution is widely derided as ineffective, unproductive, irrelevant, and sadly out of touch.

It is no coincidence that this comes while Congress has developed a taste for so-called “unorthodox lawmaking,” wandering far outside its

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Where Congress Falls Short … And Where It Doesn’t

by Lee H. Hamilton

At a public gathering the other day, someone asked me how I’d sum up my views on Congress. It was a good question, because it forced me to step back from worrying about the current politics of Capitol Hill and take a longer view.

Congress, I said, does some things fairly well. Its members for the most part want to serve their constituents and the country.

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Capitol Perspectives: Legislative Difficulties with Education

by Phill Brooks

The Missouri Senate’s recent debate on how to handle troubled schools demonstrates the history of how difficult it has been for lawmakers to find lasting solutions to the problems and issues facing public schools.

Over the decades, I’ve listened to countless hours of lawmakers debating the same issues; over and over again. They’ve repeatedly debated school choice, equity in education funding, failing schools, support for private schools,

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Capitol Perspectives: Ways Politics Impact the Legislature

A colleague recently suggested to me that the March 25 deadline for candidates to file for the August primary is going to have a dramatic effect on the second half of the Missouri legislative session.

In particular, he thinks it will lead to passage, at least in the House, of the governor’s call to expand Medicaid eligibility that has been so harshly criticized by Republicans. The thought is that after

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An Alternative to the Imperial Presidency

In his State of the Union speech to Congress last month, President Obama drew widespread attention for pledging to use his executive authority to advance his priorities. He insisted he intends to act with or without Congress, and listed well over a dozen actions he plans to take by executive order. “Wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families,” he said, “that’s

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Capitol Perspectives: Nullification

by Phill Brooks

I have become intrigued by how similar are the debates surfacing this year in Missouri’s legislature protesting federal laws, compared with the conflicts that confronted President Andrew Jackson nearly two centuries ago.

History, in a way, may be repeating itself as I have been reminded listening to legislative complaints about the federal government while, at the same time, reading Jon Meacham’s biography of Jackson.

A major portion

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Balancing Liberty and Security a Never-Ending Challenge

by Lee H. Hamilton

Every few days, we learn yet one more way in which government’s expanded surveillance powers intrude upon our privacy and civil liberties.

Recently, it was the revelation that spy agencies in the U.S. and Britain have been snagging personal data from the users of mobile phone apps. Before that came news that the NSA was tracking our social connections; that it was delving into our contact

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Investigation on Propane Gas Price Spikes Announced

Attorney General Chris Koster announced his office is investigating the cause of the recent rise in the price of propane gas, and will issue a report when the inquiry is complete. On Jan. 24, Koster received a request from Senator Mike Parson to conduct an investigation, and forty consumers have filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division about the increased costs. Consumers indicate that the price charged for

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Hold the Congratulations for Congress

by Lee H. Hamilton

Now that Congress has its immense, $1.1 trillion bipartisan funding bill in hand, Capitol Hill is breathing easier. They ended the specter of a government shutdown for the moment, and funded the federal budget for most of the year. The media has been commending Congress for finally doing its job.

This praise works only in the context of recent history, however. The bill that congressional leaders

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