Missouri's Republican-led Legislature put a priority on cutting taxes this year. But the same lawmakers who passed a $700 million income tax cut also approved numerous little-known fee increases.
One of those measures could increase fees on driver's licenses and vehicle registrations, costing Missourians almost $22 million annually. Another bill would impose fees on mailed-in speeding traffic tickets, affecting an estimated 170,000 cases annually.
Missouri lawmakers will continue working on several issues after last month’s end of the 2013 regular session. House Speaker Tim Jones has announced the formation of an interim committee to examine the state’s election laws. It’s being chaired by fellow Republican Sue Entlicher, who formerly served as Clerk of Polk County:
“We’re looking for anything to keep the statutes up to date and not repeat anything…then also we’re going to comprise, hopefully, a plan to take care of any of the voting machines that need to be updated or need to be replaced,” Entlicher said.
Some Republican lawmakers are vowing to try to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a bill that reduced income taxes. Shortly after the Democratic governor rejected the bill today, the leading sponsors of the legislation said they would attempt to get the two-thirds vote needed to override his veto when the Legislature convenes in September.
Republicans hold enough seats in the House in Senate to override Nixon’s veto without any Democratic support. They would have to hold all of the GOP members together in the House and could afford to have only one Republican defect in the Senate.
Legislation that could ease the caseload of Missouri public defenders is being considered by Gov. Jay Nixon.
The measure would allow the public defender system to ask the presiding judge of a judicial circuit for a conference to discuss caseload issues. The judge could decide whether to grant relief in a particular case.
Missouri state lawmakers launched an interim committee Thursday to examine the issue of Medicaid reform. Governor Jay Nixon pushed heavily for the legislature to expand Medicaid this session, and accept hundreds of millions of federal dollars to do so. But Republican legislators were worried about the long-term costs of the move, and no measure was passed. Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican member who started the committee, says accepting the federal money wouldn’t fix the problems that are inherent to the Medicaid system.