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Politically Speaking: Sen. Sifton On His Attorney General Run — And Fallout From Veto Session Clash

Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

This week, the Politically Speaking trio welcomes back state Sen. Scott Sifton. The Affton Democrat won election to the Missouri Senate in 2012 in a hard-fought race against then-Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay. 

Most recently, Sifton, an attorney with Husch Blackwell, made waves in the Missouri Senate with his filibuster during the fall veto session of legislation mandating a 72-hour waiting period for abortions. He’s also been part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers calling for curbs on meals, travel and entertainment paid by lobbyists.

With Attorney General Chris Koster planning to run for governor, Sifton announced earlier this fall that he would run for the Democratic nomination for attorney general. Sifton nabbed the early endorsements of  several prominent officials from the St. Louis area, including St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Senate Minority Leader Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, announced in 2013 he would run for attorney general. Other Democrats who are either mulling a run or have been mentioned as possible candidates include St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker.

Credit Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

During the podcast, Sifton said:

  • Regarding Ferguson, he agrees with Koster that the state's "use of force'' statute, which governs police behavior, is out of date and "clearly out of step'' with the U.S. Supreme Court's latest rulings.
  • He plans to press for a change in state law to bar municipalities from collecting more than 50 percent of their revenue from traffic violations, even if they comply with the existing law that mandates all traffic-related revenue over 30 percent go into state coffers.
  • He believes Missouri Democrats -- hammered in the Nov. 4 elections -- need to be clearer about how the party would help average Missourians. He also supports a "big tent'' that encourages Democrats with varied views.
  • Sifton lambasted the new law requiring a 72-hour waiting period for abortion, saying it will force a college student who has been raped, for example, to wait an unreasonable length of time before obtaining an abortion. But, he said, reproductive-rights advocates believe that a court challenge would face better prospects in other parts of the country with friendlier federal appeals courts.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter@jrosenbaum

Follow Scott Sifton on Twitter: @scottsifton

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.