Associated Press

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Missouri lawmakers are trying again to reduce the duration of state jobless benefits to one of the shortest periods nationally.

House members gave the measure initial approval in a voice vote Tuesday. It needs another vote to move to the Senate.

University of Missouri Law School / MU

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley says if a military parade doesn't happen in Washington D.C., the state of Missouri would be happy to host it.

 President Donald Trump says he wants a parade of troops, tanks and other military hardware in the U.S. capitol. The idea has been criticized by former military personnel, veterans' groups and other politicians.

missouri capitol
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Even as Missouri's Republican governor takes to the road to promote his $800 million tax overhaul proposal, a Republican-led Senate panel has endorsed its own tax cut plan worth an estimated $630 million.

The Missouri House is advancing a bill to make it legal for organizations to provide free needles to drug users. 

Republican Rep. Holly Rehder on Tuesday said Missouri groups now pass out clean syringes to intravenous drug users with the goal of preventing the spread of hepatitis C and HIV through dirty needles. 

The Missouri Board of Education has now missed two of 11 meetings scheduled for this year because it still doesn't have enough members for a quorum.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the board has lacked a quorum since early January, when Gov. Eric Greitens withdrew and re-submitted his five appointees in an effort to buy more time for their Senate confirmations. Lawmakers upset with Greitens' move have threatened to hold up the appointments.

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The Missouri House has passed a bill to change how public-sector union members pay dues.

House members voted 91-55 to send the bill to the Senate Monday.

The legislation would require public employees to annually reauthorize paying their dues through paycheck withholdings. It would also require those unions to make financial records available to workers.

A business watchdog has found that only a small portion of money from a Missouri-based veterans' group that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is associated with actually goes toward helping veterans.

Kobach is listed as a member of the advisory board for Veterans in Defense of Liberty, a Springfield-based nonprofit with a stated mission of upholding the Constitution, the Kansas City Star reported. Kobach is also running for governor of Kansas,

missouri capitol
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Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway on Thursday warned that the state is moving toward similar financial hardship that Kansas faced after the neighboring state enacted tax cuts.

Galloway told reporters in her Capitol office that the state economy hasn't grown enough to offset losses from recent tax breaks, including perks for some industries and a gradual individual income tax cut passed in 2014 that's now starting to take effect. She said Missouri is not financially prepared to deal with another economic downturn.

Missouri lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase penalties for protesters who block highways.

A Missouri Senate committee heard the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Jeanie Riddle this week.

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The Missouri Senate on Thursday advanced legislation that could reward utilities making improvements to their infrastructure with more consistent rate increases on their customers, a move that came after a more than 20-hour, overnight filibuster finally ended.

The legislation changing the way utilities are regulated drew intense opposition from some senators who said it would drive up costs for millions of residents and businesses. Supporters countered that rates are likely to rise anyway, and the bill would provide predictability by limiting annual average rate increases to 2.85 percent.

Missouri's top election official is asking lawmakers to overhaul the initiative petition process by charging fees to file them and verifying collected signatures.

The number of initiative petitions filed in the hopes of making it on the statewide ballot went from 15 a decade ago to 330 so far this year, the Kansas City Star reported.

The Missouri House has given initial approval to a bill requiring both custodial parents to receive notice when a minor is seeking an abortion.

The legislation endorsed Wednesday would expand Missouri's current law that requires the written consent of one parent or guardian before girls younger than 18 can have abortions.

University of Missouri - Kansas City logo
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An official from the University of Texas at San Antonio will be the new chancellor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

A new report from Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley says lawsuits against the state cost taxpayers at least $23 million last year.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a year-end report from Hawley, a Republican, showed that 16 of the 45 major payouts were related to employee discrimination, including six from cases involving workers at the Missouri Department of Corrections.

A Missouri lawmaker has introduced a bill that would address the issue of pregnant inmates being shackled and chained during labor.

The Columbia Missourian reports that the bill would ban a state correctional center or a city or county jail from using restraints on a woman in the third trimester of her pregnancy during medical care. It would also require correctional centers and jails to create policies for the care of pregnant inmates, including mental health evaluations, substance abuse treatment, dietary supplements and postpartum recovery.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens does not have to provide the state attorney general with records related to his social media accounts such as private messages and names of blocked users.  The Kansas City Star reports that the office of Attorney General Josh Hawley said in a letter this week that the governor's Twitter and Facebook accounts are not public records. Both Greitens and Hawley are Republicans.  The Star also reported that Hawley's office on Thursday announced it found no open records violations from Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway's office.

Veronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced a $236 million plan to clean up a suburban St. Louis landfill where Cold War-era nuclear waste was illegally dumped decades ago.

The EPA said Thursday the plan calls for removing all of the radioactive contamination that poses a health risk by partially excavating the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton. Crews will also install a permanent "engineered cover system" at the site.

Missouri Capitol Building
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Two Missouri Senate Republican leaders are raising concerns about fellow GOP Gov. Eric Greitens' tax proposal.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard on Thursday said he's "not too excited about it." Appropriations Chairman Dan Brown said it will be difficult to pass this year, and added that he hasn't gotten much information so far from Greitens' administration.

Greitens is asking lawmakers to cut individual income taxes from 5.9 percent to 5.3 percent for most Missourians. He also wants to cut the corporate tax rate from 6.25 percent to 4.25 percent.

The University of Missouri is naming the newest residence hall on the Columbia campus after a prominent late black journalist once denied admission there.

The Board of Curators voted unanimously Thursday to name the 279-student dorm after Lucile Bluford. The hall's atrium will honor Gus Ridgel, the university's first African-American graduate.

Gov. Eric Greitens' administration says businesses would shoulder most of the costs of roughly $800 million in income tax cuts the Republican is proposing.

Missouri state colleges and universities are being warned not to consider tuition increases greater than the inflation rate despite Gov. Eric Greitens' proposals to cut appropriations by 10 percent in the coming fiscal year.

A feasibility study announced Tuesday will look at the value and cost of an ultra-high-speed hyperloop system across Missouri, potentially moving people between St. Louis and Kansas City in a half-hour's time.

Mike Parson, R-Bolivar / Missouri State Senate Website

Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Parson is asking for a larger office budget to allow him to hire a personal driver.The request from Parson comes as Gov. Eric Greitens has proposed cuts in funding to colleges and universities and to social service programs. Both Greitens and Parson are Republicans.

 Parson said Tuesday that his budget of $541,000 needs an additional $50,000 so a driver is available for the many trips he takes on state business, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Parson, a former state senator from Bolivar, said he traveled to 150 destinations in Missouri last year.

"I don't have anybody to help drive," Parson said in testimony Tuesday. "The state of Missouri is a big state. It takes a lot to travel."

KBIA

The task force that recommended closing nearly 30 graduate programs and consolidating others at the University of Missouri's flagship campus used information from a flawed source criticized as unreliable and inadequate, a faculty group said.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is proposing to cut the state's top individual income tax rate by 10 percent and reduce the corporate income tax rate by nearly one-third.

Greitens was traveling the state Monday to outline the details of what he calls the "boldest state tax reform in America."

His plan would reduce the top individual income tax rate from 5.9 percent to 5.3 percent and create a nonrefundable state tax credit for low-income workers that he says would essentially eliminate income taxes for 380,000 people.

missouri house floor
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A proposed ballot measure that would ask voters to make sweeping changes to state government ethics policies is attracting attention from donors and criticism from Missouri Republicans.

The Kansas City Star reports a group called Clean Missouri is collecting signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. The proposal would ban all lobbyist gifts to legislators larger than $5; require legislators and their staffs to wait two years after they leave the Capitol before becoming lobbyists; and rework how legislative districts are drawn.

KBIA

  The University of Missouri's flagship campus in Columbia is raising concerns that proposed cuts will make it more difficult to meet goals that include paying for new research and academic buildings.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that Gov. Eric Greitens proposed Monday cutting 10 percent from current appropriations for state colleges and universities and putting 10 percent of the remaining funds into a pool that would only be distributed if performance measures are met. That would put more than $80 million of the appropriation at risk for the four-campus University of Missouri system. 

 Missouri State University is decreasing the number of credit hours required to graduate as part of a plan to make the school more affordable.

The Missouri Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases on LGBT rights.

One case transferred Tuesday involves a transgender teen who wasn't allowed to use the boy's locker rooms and restrooms in his Blue Springs school. An appellate court upheld the dismissal of his case.

Missouri Chief Justice Zel Fischer is calling to expand drug treatment courts to help fight opioid misuse.

Fischer in prepared remarks for the annual State of the Judiciary Wednesday said he expects treatment courts will be on the front lines of the opioid epidemic.

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