The American Civil Liberties Union is suing an eastern Missouri county in an effort to halt prayers at county commission meetings.
The Washington Missourian reports that the suit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis by the ACLU on behalf of an anonymous resident of Franklin County. It alleges that the commission begins meetings with a prayer in violation of the U.S. and Missouri constitutions.
A Missouri judge has upheld a ballot summary for an initiative that would grant St. Louis local control over its police force.
The St. Louis police department currently is overseen by a board consisting of the mayor and four appointees of the governor.
Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce ruled Thursday that the summary prepared by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's office fairly and impartially describes the measure, which supporters are trying to get on the November ballot.
Both sides of the debate on how St. Louis would handle local control of its police department are digging in their heels over issues of public oversight and transparency.
At a Board of Alderman community forum last night, critics argued that language on a proposed ballot initiative would preclude the department from a civilian review board and restrict public access to disciplinary records.
John Chasnoff is a program director for the ACLU, which supports local control but is suing to block the initiative.