Missouri legislators are cutting their work week short because of concerns about a winter storm.
The House and Senate usually meet from Monday until mid-day Thursday each week. But the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch from late Wednesday through Thursday for most of Missouri. The forecast calls for a mixture of ice and snow, depending on the location.
Advocates for child sex abuse victims are urging the Missouri Legislature to renew a funding increase for their social services.
At issue is an increase of more than 20 percent in funding for child assessment centers that was included in the 2013 budget. That $500,000 increase brought the total funding for the centers to $2.8 million. The centers conduct forensic interviews and sexual assault exams on children that can help make a legal case against their perpetrators.
The proposed constitutional amendment would create a one-cent sales tax that would expire after 10 years. It’s co-sponsored by State Senator Mike Kehoe (R, Jefferson City). He says the one-penny tax would not be levied on groceries, prescription medicine or fuel.
A Missouri legislative committee is creating a new funding model for the state's public colleges and universities.
The Joint Committee on Education plans to release a detailed draft Monday at the state Capitol. The panel will accept public comment on the proposal until Feb. 11.
A recently approved state law requires development of a higher education funding formula similar to the one used for public school districts. Missouri now bases funding for colleges and universities largely on how much they've received in past years and how much money is available.
Democratic Missouri Governor Jay Nixon delivered his state of the state speech Monday night; to a legislature that this year again has enough Republican members that if they all vote together, they won’t even need his signature to alter the state’s laws.
Tax breaks for food pantries, pregnancy resource centers and the Children in Crisis program all expired last year when lawmakers failed to pass any type of tax credit reform package. Scott Baker, State Director of the Missouri Food Bank Association, testified today in favor of renewing the incentives. He says according to the USDA, Missouri has the nation’s 7th highest food insecurity rate.
Missouri lawmakers are kicking off the state's annual budgeting process this week. The Senate Appropriations Committee will take public testimony on education and health care issues at a hearing Tuesday.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster plans to create a new task force to focus on urban violence. The attorney general's office says the panel could start work in late spring with meetings in Kansas City and St. Louis.
Koster, a Democrat, won a second term this past November. During his re-election campaign, he said he was considering task forces to focus on urban crime and to evaluate the annual report on law enforcement traffic stops.
Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 6:30 am
Missouri lawmakers return to Jefferson City this week for the start of the 2013 regular session. So far it appears that this year’s dominating issue will be the expansion of Medicaid, which Democratic Governor Jay Nixon has called for and which Republican leaders in both chambers say won’t happen. St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin takes a closer look at that looming battle and other issues facing Missouri lawmakers this year.
Taking advantage of its close proximity to the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, Westminster College is launching a program for students to get an opportunity to work full time in the state government. The program will begin in the spring semester of 2013.
Westminster College’s new Capital Internship Program would have students work 20 to 40 hours per week in Jefferson City. So, other than just shadowing another government officer, students will get chances to work like real state officials.
A former Missouri lawmaker has been indicted on charges of receiving Social Security disability payments while serving in the state Legislature.
The indictment Tuesday alleges that former Democratic House member Ray Salva received about $60,000 of disability payments that he wasn't entitled to while representing the Kansas City suburb of Sugar Creek from January 2003 through December 2010.
Salva did not immediately return a telephone message Tuesday.
Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 4:51 pm
Updated 9/13/2012, 4:51 p.m.
A Kansas City-based labor group is seeking to block the new law allowing Missouri employers to deny health insurance coverage for birth control pills and other contraceptive procedures.
The new law took effect after the Missouri General Assembly overrode Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) veto during Wednesday’s veto session. Attorney E.E. Keenan represents the Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women.
Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 5:27 pm
Lawmakers are returning to Jefferson City for their annual veto session, which begins Wednesday at noon.
House and Senate leaders will attempt to override Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) veto of a bill that levies local sales taxes on out-of-state vehicle purchases. The issue has heated up, as Nixon’s supporters are running radio ads urging Missouri citizens to call their lawmakers and tell them not to override the Governor’s veto.
Nixon calls the bill a retroactive tax hike on anyone who’s bought a vehicle outside of Missouri this year, while GOP leaders say it will provide much-needed revenue to local police and fire departments and encourage car and boat buyers to shop in Missouri. Speaker Pro-tem Shane Schoeller (R, Willard) admits the chances of overriding the veto of the vehicle sales tax bill are slim.
Missouri lawmakers continue debating bills in the closing minutes of the 2012 regular session.
Among the bills passed so far today is one that would require legislative approval before a health care exchange can be created in Missouri. State Rep. Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) accused Governor Jay Nixon (D) of trying last year to create an exchange via executive order.
The Missouri Senate has passed a tax credit measure after hammering out an agreement between GOP leaders and fiscal conservatives who’ve been trying to reign in tax breaks for years.
The agreement would cap historic preservation tax credits at $75 million per year, give a one-year extension to food pantry and other charitable tax breaks, and create incentives to draw amateur sporting events to Missouri. State Senator Eric Schmitt (R, Glendale) urged the chamber to pass it before time runs out on the regular session.
Most of the big issues this legislative session were tied to the state budget, which has been passed and sent to Governor Jay Nixon. That has many political pundits wondering if the last week of the 2012 session will be anticlimactic. But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin tells us, there are still a few hot-button items left to fight over.
But the likelihood that the House will also override the Governor’s veto is virtually nonexistent, according to Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka). He says they just don’t have the votes, even within their own party.
“We would have to first convince our caucus," Jones said. "And even if we did, we’re still simply three votes short on a bill that no Democrat, I believe, has supported to this point…that’s a tough vote.”