Associated Press

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  A Missouri representative says the nearly $1 million it costs to pay for cable TV in state prisons is too much.

But in a committee Tuesday, Rep. J. Eggleston's proposal to take away cable service and replace it with free antennae channels was met with resounding bipartisan opposition.

Prisoners pay for cable through a portion of the cost for small items such as sodas and candy bars bought at prison canteens. The items are bought with money inmates earn from working each day or from family members.

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Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are one step closer to being able to operate statewide in Missouri.

In a 140-16 vote Thursday, the House passed a bill that would outline statewide regulations, such as a $5,000 fee, background checks and vehicle inspections. It will now go to the Senate for approval.

The legislation has moved quickly through the House after speaker Todd Richardson listed it as a priority at the beginning of the session.

ameren logo
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Missouri utilities want lawmakers to pass a law to help them get money more quickly from customers to pay for infrastructure improvements.

Ameren Missouri and other utilities told a panel of state senators Wednesday that a proposed bill to recover costs would enable modernization and could promote economic development.

ALEX HEUER / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is empaneling a committee to study and recommend how to reform the state's tax rates and credits.

The state's Republican chief executive signed an executive order Wednesday creating the 10-person "Governor's Committee for Simple, Fair, and Low Taxes." He says the current system is "broken," hurting Missouri's budget and job creation.

Greitens says the unpaid panel's tasks will compare Missouri's tax credit programs and tax rates to "peer" states and assess the economic impact of state tax credits.

Missouri Capitol
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Missouri's Republican-led Senate is advancing a right-to-work bill to ban mandatory union fees.

Senators voted 21-12 to give the bill initial approval Wednesday. It needs another vote to move to the House, which has already passed an almost-identical bill.

Three Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the proposal.

Right to work has new momentum with Republican Gov. Eric Greitens' support. He says he'll sign it if the GOP-led Legislature sends it to his desk.

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Lawmakers are anticipating tuition hikes in Missouri after recently announced budget cuts.

Gov. Eric Greitens announced nearly $68 million in core funding for public universities and community colleges last week. The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that Republican Rep. Lyle Rowland, of Cedarcreek, says he sees little chance of providing more than static spending in the coming year. Rowland is the chairman of the House committee that will take the first look at education spending for the coming year after Greitens submits his budget

Missouri Capitol
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The rideshare company Lyft says it will start providing services in Springfield, Missouri.

The announcement comes Tuesday after the Missouri House gave initial approval to statewide regulations for app-based transportation companies. Uber and Lyft say statewide regulations could enable them to expand throughout the state.

Lawmakers showed support in a voice vote for a bill requiring rideshare companies to pay a $5,000 licensing fee, conduct driver background checks and vehicle inspections, and exempt such companies from paying local or municipal taxes.

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Missouri's new Republican attorney general says he doesn't intend to live in Jefferson City, despite a state law that appears to require him to "reside" there.

Josh Hawley took office Jan. 9 after a campaign that touted his experience as a constitutional lawyer.

A state law says the attorney general "shall reside at the seat of government," which the Missouri Constitution says is Jefferson City. Hawley lives about 20 miles north Jefferson City near Ashland.

Missouri Supreme Court
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Missouri Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge is calling for a review of the way courts hold people in jail before trial.

In her final State of the Judiciary address Tuesday, Breckenridge told lawmakers that costly pretrial incarcerations affect poor people and have negative consequences for the individual and society. She says a Supreme Court task force will recommend changes to current practices.

Breckenridge also called for higher pay for state employees who work in courts.

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School administrations would be restricted from censoring student journalists under a bill discussed in a Missouri House committee.

The Columbia Missourian reports that the bill discussed Monday would broaden protections for high school and college journalists. Schools would remain able to limit content if it is deemed libelous or slanderous, invades privacy, violates federal or state law or violates school policy or disrupts school.

After unanimously passing through the House last legislative session, a Senate committee held the bill while waiting for a vote.

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 A Missouri Republican wants people who donate to political campaigns to get up to $100 in tax credits.

Sen. Rob Schaaf said Tuesday that the goal is to increase small donors' role in politics.

Schaaf's bill would allow donors to redeem the credit for contributions to county political parties and candidates for the Legislature and statewide seats.

No one testified in opposition during a Tuesday hearing. But the bill's estimated $4.9 million per year price tag could pose problems in a year when poor revenues are causing financial strain.

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  A proposed bill would impose penalties on Missouri gun owners who don't report a lost or stolen firearm within three days of discovering the item is missing.

St. Louis Arch
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Some charter schools in St. Louis are starting to worry that their increased popularity is making it difficult for them to stay accessible to low-income students.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports City Garden Montessori, Lafayette Preparatory Academy and The Biome are all working on creating income integration programs specifically for charter schools. The Missouri Charter Public School Association is helping draft a bill that would allow charter schools to set aside a percentage of enrollment spots specifically for low-income students.

Missouri Capitol
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Supporters of a right-to-work measure to ban mandatory union dues in Missouri are challenging ballot proposals that would undermine that policy.

The National Right to Work Foundation announced today it's helping three workers sue against ballot initiatives that would ask voters to amend the constitution to ensure union negotiating rights.

The lawsuits come as the Republican-led Legislature is moving quickly to send a right-to-work bill to Republican Gov. Eric Greitens. The new governor supports right to work.

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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is making a school choice measure called education savings accounts a priority this legislative session.

The accounts, which transfer state dollars to parents through a bank account, can be used for educational costs including private school tuition, textbooks, online classes and therapy. Greitens' proposal is that parents of special needs students have access to the accounts.

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A report from the Women's Foundation and a University of Missouri researcher shows that women in Missouri continue to struggle to close the pay gap with men.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports the foundation's 2015 Status of Women in Missouri was updated Thursday. The report found that women who work in the state full time earn 78 cents for every dollar that men who work in the state full time earn.

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Missouri Democrats are asking Gov. Eric Greitens to support their efforts to force the new leader of the state's consumer watchdog agency to resign.

House Democrats are pushing for the ouster of Dave Minnick, who was appointed last week by Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to head of the secretary of state's securities division.

St. Louis Arch
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The man who was the face of Ferguson, Missouri, in the turmoil that followed the 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown has opposition in his re-election bid.

The St. Louis suburb announced Thursday that two candidates are running for mayor in the April 4 election — incumbent James Knowles III and councilwoman Ella Jones. The election is nonpartisan.

Knowles was elected to his first three-year term in 2011 and re-elected in April 2014. That August, white officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Brown, who was 18, black and unarmed.

Missouri Capitol
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  A bill prohibiting mandatory union fees in workplaces is moving to the Missouri Senate after winning House approval.

The 100-59 vote Thursday by the House comes after Republican supermajorities made the right-to-work law a priority for this year.

If the law passes, employees won't be required to pay union fees, even though the union may still be required to represent all employees.

Proponents say the laws give workers more freedom and will bring more jobs to Missouri. Opponents argue it will take power away from unions and lead to lower wages.


  A Missouri man who was fatally shot during a traffic stop was accused of exchanging gunfire with a state trooper days earlier.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol identified the man killed Wednesday as 35-year-old Troy Bateman, of Marshall. Investigators are trying to determine whether officers shot the man or if he suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound. An autopsy is being conducted.

The patrol says the confrontation began when Columbia police pulled over a car. Two women got out of the vehicle, and police fired at the car after they heard a gunshot.

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  A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit challenging Missouri regulations limiting how alcohol producers and retailers can advertise.

An 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Thursday unanimously reinstated the 2013 lawsuit by the Missouri Broadcasters Association, a radio group, a retailer and winery.

U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan dismissed the lawsuit last year at the state's behest.

St. Louis Arch
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  Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has made it clear he's opposed to state funding for stadiums, yet a revised proposal for a $200 million soccer stadium in St. Louis calls for the state to contribute land that's potentially worth millions of dollars.

An aldermanic committee delayed a vote Thursday to advance a measure putting the proposal, which also requires city voters to approve $60 million in funding, on the April ballot.

St. Louis Arch
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There's new life for a plan to have St. Louis taxpayers help fund a new downtown soccer stadium.

Eight days after the public funding proposal was declared all but dead, Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia on Wednesday requested a hearing before the city Ways and Means Committee. The hearing is set for Thursday.

Ingrassia says a revised proposal would ask voters to approve about $60 million in new tax revenue for the $200 million project. The earlier plan sought $80 million from the city.

Missouri Capitol
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The commissioner of Indiana's Department of Environmental Management will move to Missouri to lead the Department of Natural Resources under Gov. Eric Greitens.

Greitens announced Wednesday that Carol Comer will be the newest addition to his cabinet.

Comer worked under Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who will be sworn in Friday as vice president.

In a video posted to Greitens' Facebook and Twitter accounts, Comer touted her success in partnering Indiana' environmental department with economic organizations to promote business and investment.

Ryan Ferguson
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A man whose conviction in a Columbia sports editor's death was overturned after spending nearly a decade in prison is closer to seeing his civil lawsuit go to trial.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey ruled Tuesday that six officers aren't entitled to immunity shielding them from liability in Ryan Ferguson's case.

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Missouri's Republican-led House has pushed forward a proposal to make Missouri the 28th right-to-work state despite Democratic efforts to send the measure to a public vote.

The House voted 101-58 Wednesday to give initial approval to the bill, which would ban mandatory union fees. The bill needs another House vote before it can move to the Senate.

The legislation is likely to pass following renewed momentum from the recent inauguration of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, who has vowed to sign the bill that his Democratic predecessor vetoed.

The Missouri Supreme Court is ordering Kansas City to put a proposed minimum-wage hike to $15 an hour on the ballot.

Supreme Court judges ruled Tuesday that a vote is needed before judges can decide if a wage increase is lawful.

A group of citizens had collected enough signatures to force a vote on minimum wage in 2015. But the vote was scheduled to take place after the enactment of a new state law prohibiting higher local minimum wages from the state's minimum wage.

Missouri's minimum wage is $7.70 an hour.

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New Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens will outline his policies on jobs, ethics, public safety and education during his first State of the State address.

The Republican will speak Tuesday evening at the Capitol.

Spokesman Parker Briden says more higher-paying jobs are a priority for Greitens. He also will touch on so-called labor reform, which likely means a right-to-work law banning mandatory union dues.

Central Missouri Democrats nominated an attorney who formerly worked for the Missouri Senate to run in a special election for the 50th House District seat.

Michela Skelton will run to replace Republican state Rep. Caleb Jones, of Columbia, who resigned from the Senate to become deputy chief of staff to Gov. Eric Greitens.

Skelton was nominated Monday by the 50th District Democratic Committee.

Missouri Capitol
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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is cutting $146 million of spending from the budget, including tens of millions of dollars to public colleges and universities.

The Republican governor said the cuts announced Monday are necessary to keep the budget in balance because of lower than expected tax revenues and rising costs in certain programs such as Medicaid.