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

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.

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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.
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