Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:30 pm
Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, has been tapped to deliver the Republican response to next Tuesday’s State of the State address by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat.
Jones had been on the short list for the response, usually delivered within minutes of the governor's annual speech. Others believed to be in the running had been Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who has delivered the response several times since Nixon took office, and state Auditor Tom Schweich, who’s running for re-election this fall.
The Missouri House has approved legislation barring the state Revenue Department from scanning the personal documents of drivers' license applicants into a state computer system.
The House passed the measure 118-40 on Tuesday. It now returns to the Senate.
The Revenue Department began scanning documents, such as birth certificates and concealed weapons permits, in December. Agency officials say it provides more security to licensing. But Republican lawmakers objected to the procedures and argue it is an invasion of privacy.
It appears that Democrats in the Missouri Senate have successfully stopped legislation that would have redefined what constitutes a maintenance project and exempted those being done on public property from the state's prevailing wage requirement.
The Missouri House has passed a $1.2 billion bonding initiative that would finance construction and repairs at public buildings across the state.
The House's 136-23 vote sends the measure to the Senate. But with only one week remaining in the legislative session, the proposed constitutional amendment appears unlikely to win final approval. If it did, the measure would go before voters in 2014.
Supporters cite a backlog of building needs at state facilities and note that low interest rates make this a good time to borrow money.
Missouri House and Senate budget negotiators have crafted a final version of next year's state budget.
The nearly $25 billion spending plan includes a $66 million increase for K-12 schools, and a $25 million hike for state universities and community colleges. It still does not include the Medicaid expansion proposed by Governor Jay Nixon (D), which disappointed committee member and State Senator Kiki Curls (D, Kansas City).
A Missouri House committee has advanced a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at protecting gun rights.
The amendment approved on Tuesday would define the right to bear arms as "unalienable" and require the state to defend against any "infringement" of that right. It would also include defending one's "family" with a firearm as a guaranteed constitutional right.
Sponsoring Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer, of Columbia, says the legislation would protect against proposed gun control laws at the state and federal level.
Firearms manufacturers looking to relocate to Missouri could collect a tax credit under a bill given first-round approval by the Missouri House.
The tax incentive endorsed Tuesday would expire in six years and be capped at $3 million annually. Gun and ammunition manufacturers would be able to claim the credit on withholding taxes from creating new jobs.
The Missouri House has approved legislation requiring employers to use a federal system for checking potential employees' legal resident status.
Missouri already requires public and private employers that receive loans, contracts or grants from the state to participate in a federal work authorization program. The bill would extend the requirement to all Missouri employers.
The Missouri House has sent back to a committee a proposal to issue $1.2 billion in bonds to fund construction projects at college campuses, parks and other state facilities.
House member Chris Kelly, a Democrat from Columbia, says the proposal needs adjustment and that working it out at the committee level would save time.
The bonding package would need voter approval if it clears the Legislature, which adjourns May 17. The House Budget Committee will re-examine the bonding measure, and Kelly says the full chamber could vote on it next week.
The Missouri House has endorsed legislation requiring the prescribing doctor to be present when a woman takes any drug to induce an abortion.
The bill received first-round approval 119-41 on Wednesday. It needs another vote to move to the Senate. Sponsoring House member Jeannie Riddle, a Republican from Mokane, says the legislation is intended to protect women's health and safety. Opponents said the goal appears to be more restriction of abortion.\
The Missouri House has backed a tax credit overhaul that is sharply different from a Senate version. A bill given initial approval 120-31 Wednesday night would set much higher caps than the Senate on the amount of tax credits that can be approved annually for the renovation of historic buildings and development of low-income housing.
Unlike a bill passed previously by the Senate, the House version would combine several existing business incentives into a new program with greater flexibility for state economic development officials to award tax credits.
The Missouri House has preliminarily approved sweeping measures that would expand gun rights in the state and allow certain school officials to carry concealed weapons in school buildings.
The bill would allow appointed "protection officers" to carry concealed weapons as long as they have a valid permit and register with the state Department of Public Safety. The officers would also be required to complete a training course established by the peace officer training commission.