At least one lawmaker was missing when Missouri's newly elected representatives took the oath of office.
Republican House member Keith Frederick of Rolla was not at the Capitol on Wednesday for the first day of the annual session.
Frederick's office assistant, Joyce Bush, said he was in Washington, D.C., bidding his daughter goodbye as she left on a yearlong mission trip. She said Frederick plans to be back Thursday to take the oath of office in Jefferson City.
Farmers across most of Missouri now are eligible for federal aid as a result of a natural disaster declaration by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Governor Jay Nixon said Wednesday the declaration means farmers can get emergency loans and other assistance from the USDA's Farm Service Agency.
The disaster declaration applies to 31 counties that have suffered extreme or exceptional drought, or have been in a severe drought for more than eight weeks. Farmers in an additional 32 neighboring counties also can receive aid.
Coming up we’ll take a look at how the drought affected an outdoor industry completely dependent on water. But first, the United States Department of Agriculture is currently accepting claims from female and Hispanic farmers who believe the agency discriminated against them in farm loan or loan servicing programs. As Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports, the claims process is complex—but the payouts could be large.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently accepting claims from female and Hispanic farmers who believe the agency discriminated against them in farm loan or loan servicing programs. The claims process is complex—but the payouts could be large.
After the courts rejected a class action lawsuit from the farmers, USDA agreed to a voluntary settlement process with women and Latinos.
Claimants must submit a 16-page claims package plus additional evidence, and then a third-party will review and determine eligibility.
Missouri lawmakers have convened their 2013 session with Republican supermajorities controlling both the House and Senate.
Republicans have made tax cuts one of their top priorities for the 97th General Assembly, which runs until May 17.
They also plan to pursue business-friendly changes to the state's legal system, a bonding proposal for colleges, job-protection changes for public teachers and potentially a new transportation funding plan.
Legal wrangling from last November's election has not prevented a southeastern Missouri Republican lawmaker from being sworn in to office.
Kent Hampton narrowly defeated Democrat Tom Todd in the 150th House District. Todd is challenging the election's outcome in court because some voters who live in a neighboring district were given the wrong ballots and vice versa.
Hampton, of Malden, participated when the newly elected legislators were sworn-in Wednesday for the start of the 2013 legislative session.
Missouri's finances could take a $60 million annual hit because of a recent 2 percentage point increase in federal Social Security payroll taxes.
State budget director Linda Luebbering says the lost revenues resulting from the federal Social Security tax already had been taken into consideration for budget projections. She says the reduced revenue should not come as a surprise to state officials.
The Social Security tax reverted to 6.2 percent this month after the expiration of a 2 percentage point cut that had been in place for a couple of years.
The Supreme Court is considering whether police must get a warrant before ordering a blood test on an unwilling drunken-driving suspect.
The justices heard arguments Wednesday in a case involving a disputed blood test from Missouri. Police stopped a speeding, swerving car and the driver, who had two previous drunken-driving convictions, refused to submit to a breath test to measure the alcohol level in his body.