missouri legislature

Ozarks Community Hospital says it will lay off up to 60 of its employees in the Springfield area.

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Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation that enacts performance-based funding for Missouri's public universities and community colleges.

missouri capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Missouri tax officials are getting audited. 

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Several Missourians in the U.S. House are backing a proposed amendment to the state Constitution on farming.

The Missouri Senate had seven new members after the smoke cleared from the 2006 election cycle. Only two served for the maximum time allowed under term limits – Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and state Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah.

The two lawmakers are at the opposite ends of the political spectrum. Justus entered the General Assembly as a combative fighter who fought tooth-and-nail against the Republican majority. Lager, who was arguably more conservative than his Republican counterparts, seemed on a course for higher office.

Northwest Missouri will have a new state senator next year, as Brad Lager prepares to leave office.

The Republican from Savannah can't run again because of term limits, but he says he's ready for the next chapter in his life -- which for now does not include politics. 

Lager sat down recently with St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin to talk about his time in office and about what he considers to be roadblocks toward making Missouri better. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Missouri lawmakers would create a permanent joint committee on the state's criminal justice system under bills awaiting action by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The panel would review criminal laws, law enforcement, prison issues and state efforts related to terrorism and homeland security. The committee would include members of the House and Senate, with the state's chief justice, the state auditor and the attorney general as ex officio members.

(Updated Thursday, May 29)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says that local governments stand to lose almost as much money as the state because of a final tax-cutting spree by the General Assembly before it adjourned earlier this month.

All told, Nixon said Wednesday, local jurisdictions around Missouri — from city halls to fire districts, libraries and ambulance services — could lose $351 million in annual sales tax revenue because of “a grab bag of giveaways’’ approved by legislators.

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Legislation pending before Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon would require new oversight of some unlicensed child care centers.

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Missouri lawmakers approved special tax breaks this year that could benefit pizza parlors and power companies, clothes cleaners and computer data centers. And that's just the start of it.

Few could accuse the Missouri General Assembly of languishing during its last few days of session.

In fact, the legislature’s last dash was something of a whirlwind: It featured fierce debates over bills about student transfers and abortion restrictions. Lawmakers also sent proposals on a transportation tax and early voting procedures to the November ballot. Other efforts fizzled out, including last-minute pushes to expand and reconfigure the state’s Medicaid system.

david shane / flickr

  The proposed student transfer fix is now on its way to Governor Jay Nixon.  In addition to allowing individual school buildings to be accredited instead of districts as a whole, the bill would also allow some students to transfer from unaccredited public schools to private, nonsectarian schools.  Republican Rick Stream of St. Louis County handled the bill in the House. 

Ryan Levi and Mary Kate Metivier / KBIA

 

UPDATE (Associated Press):

On May 15, the Missouri Legislature passed a bill that could potentially allow people convicted of drug felonies to qualify for food stamps under a bill passed by the Missouri Legislature.

Drug felons are currently banned for life from the aid program. But the bill would allow them to receive the benefit if they have completed or been determined by the state not to need a substance abuse program. It would not apply to people with three or more felony drug convictions.

Bobby and Christie Clark share a late afternoon snack of frozen chicken fingers inside their Sedalia, Mo., home on Monday, April 21, 2014. Christie and her two kids receive food stamps, but Missouri denies Bobby access because of his drug felony. Missouri
Ryan Levi and Mary Kate Metivier / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers are scrambling this week to finalize and pass legislation before the end of the legislative session on Friday, May 16.

As Missouri senators and representatives put the finishing touches on their work, we took a look at some of the biggest bills this legislative session. This edition of Talking Politics looks into the abortion wait-time bill, the student transfer bill and the override of Nixon's veto on an income tax decrease.

 

With fights over tax cuts and budgets out of the way, the Missouri General Assembly appears poised to spend its final week focusing on some familiar topics: guns, abortion and voting rights.

    

Measures to restrict enforcement of federal laws, triple the waiting period for an abortion and to ask voters to mandate photo IDs at the polls are among the hot-button proposals expected to eat up some of legislators’ precious floor time during the final five days.

House and Senate budget negotiators have finalized the 12 remaining bills that make up Missouri's state budget for Fiscal Year 2015.

Both sides signed off on increasing funding for K-12 schools by $114.8 million. If Gov. Jay Nixon's rosier revenue projections hold true, school spending would get a $278 million spending hike. Higher education would increase by $43 million, about 5 percent. State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, chairs the House Budget Committee. He said they also put money in next year's budget to help finance a new state mental hospital at Fulton.

missouri capitol
File photo / KBIA

  Missouri legislative budget leaders have embraced a financing plan for a new facility on the Fulton State Hospital campus.

The proposal calls for issuing bonds through the Missouri Development Finance Board and paying them off over 25 years. The upcoming year's budget would include $14.2 million for payment on bonds. House and Senate negotiators are working today on a final version of next year's state budget.

The financing proposal approved today by the lawmakers follows Governor Jay Nixon's plan for the project.

The Missouri House acted quickly Tuesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a tax-cut bill that is estimated to cut the state's revenue by about $620 million a year when fully implemented.

The House obtained the exact number of votes needed — 109 — with the help of one Democrat, Rep. Keith English of Florissant.  He joined all of the chamber's 108 Republicans.

The House joined the Senate, which voted 23-8 on Monday to override the governor's veto, which he issued last week.

vote here sign
KBIA file photo

Missouri would hold presidential primary elections in March instead of February under a bill on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon.

Mammogram
Dreamstime

Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to a bill that would require a notice be provided to women following mammograms.

state capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

The state Senate's budget chief says there are no plans to revise Missouri's financial projections despite a recent decline in tax revenues.

Missouri Capitol
j.stephenconn / Flickr

Missouri lawmakers could decide this week whether to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of an income tax cut.

missouri capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

  The Missouri Senate passed the rest of the state budget Tuesday April 29, after taking care of the first 5 bills on Monday.  Democrat Paul LeVota of Independence made an indirect attempt to expand Medicaid. He offered an amendment to create a line item in the Department of Social Services’ budget for extra Medicaid dollars to be drawn down if lawmakers ever decide to expand Medicaid.  Republican Kurt Schaefer of Columbia opposed the amendment.

jay nixon
File Photo / KBIA

  In Springfield Tuesday, Governor Jay Nixon continued to rally support for his expected veto of an income tax cut bill. He questioned the credibility of outside interests that are campaigning for a veto override. The Democratic Governor’s statements came a day after Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist joined Republican House Speaker Tim Jones to challenge Nixon’s arguments on SB 509, which was passed two weeks ago.

File Photo / KBIA

  Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to legislation that could make it harder for people to collect unemployment benefits after being fired for repeated absences or other alleged misconduct.

The House passed the bill Tuesday by a 107-45 vote. Because it already had cleared the Senate, the measure now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon.

Flickr User Smabs Sputzer

  Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to a bill that would let retailers sell beer by the bottle.

Stores currently must sell beer in packages containing at least three bottles. The newly passed legislation would allow sales of single bottles, cans or pouches of beer.

The change would take effect in 2015.

The state Senate approved the bill on a vote of 31-1 last month. The House passed it Tuesday on a vote of 143-1, sending it to Gov. Jay Nixon.

missouri house floor
File Photo / KBIA News

  Missouri House members have endorsed a proposal for funding a new facility on the Fulton State Hospital campus.

The hospital is Missouri's only maximum-security psychiatric facility and the oldest public mental health facility west of the Mississippi River. Patients include those committed by the courts for evaluation and treatment, and people found not guilty or unable to stand trial because of mental disease.

It'll be a busy week for Missouri lawmakers as they enter the homestretch of the 2014 regular session.

First, the Missouri Senate is scheduled this evening to begin debates on the 13 bills making up the state budget, and they may actually try to pass them all tonight, according to Appropriations chair Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.

school buses
KBIA

A coalition of education organizations representing teachers, administrators and school board members objects to student transfer legislation because it could lead to students attending private schools at taxpayers' expense.

Jacob Fenston / KBIA

  Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is raising new concerns that an income tax cut passed by the Legislature could have "cataclysmic" consequences for state revenues.

The Democratic governor said Tuesday that the bill could eliminate taxes on all income over $9,000, punching a $4.8 billion hole in the state budget.

Republican legislative leaders called Nixon's assertion "ridiculous," ''absurd" and "laughable."

Nixon did not veto the bill Tuesday but has indicated he will do so.

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