St. Louis aldermanic president says workers’ rights and traffic safety are 2024 priorities
2023 was a transformative year for politics in the city of St. Louis.
The Board of Aldermen shrank from 28 to 14 members — the biggest structural change to St. Louis’ powerful legislative branch in a generation. And in April, progressive allies of St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Megan Green prevailed in elections, which secured the left-of-center’s coalition’s hold on the board.
During an appearance on The Politically Speaking Hour on St. Louis on the Air, board President Megan Green recounted some of the accomplishments of her colleagues and challenges she expects to face in 2024. She also discussed how the board’s reduction in members changed the culture of the legislative body.
“It's really forced us to be a more policy-oriented board,” Green said. “We have now filled the majority of open staff positions that we had at the board to give us greater capacity to do public policy research, engage in stakeholder meetings in ways that we haven't been before and be able to respond to constituent concerns.”
Green labeled 2023 the “Year of the Tenant,” especially after the board passed measures guaranteeing people the right to counsel in eviction proceedings. Aldermen also passed a regulatory framework for short-term rental properties, such as Airbnbs.
In the coming year, Green is hoping aldermen will pursue policies that herald the “Year of the Worker.” That includes what she calls “labor neutrality agreements” for people who are seeking out city incentives.
“We really need on the front end some assurances that we're not going to be blocked from unionization if the workers there choose to want to unionize,” Green said.
One issue that did not make it past the finish line in 2023 was a legislative package aimed at helping the city’s homeless population. Some of the provisions received widespread criticism, including one that would have made it easier to approve shelters in the city.
When asked about why those bills didn’t end up getting passed, Green replied, “We have to recognize that the legislative policy process is just that: It's a process.”
“And so, anytime you bring a bill that requires a lot of change to the public and to the board, a lot of times people need to sit with it for a while,” Green said. “I think the slate of bills got the city to a place where we were talking about the issue in a substantive way.”
Green expects discussions about how to best help the city’s homeless to continue in 2024.
Green discussed a slew of other issues on the Politically Speaking Hour, including oversight at the city’s Justice Center, how to spend a settlement from the departure of the St. Louis Rams and raising pay for city employees.
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Ulaa Kuziez is our production intern. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to firstname.lastname@example.org.