The Missouri House has given first-round approval to a measure that supporters say will help protect farmers. The proposed state constitutional amendment would prohibit laws that limit what it calls modern farming and ranching practices unless they're passed by the Legislature. The measure would add that the right to engage in modern farming and ranching practices are "forever guaranteed."
House members endorsed the measure Wednesday. It needs another vote before moving to the state Senate. If it passes the Legislature, the amendment would go to a statewide vote.
Missouri lawmakers are looking for ways to collect taxes from some online and out-of-state retailers. State budget officials estimate that Missouri could gain about $10 million annually in tax revenues if legislation filed in both the House and Senate were to pass.
The bills address two areas that traditional retail stores contend put them at a disadvantage. One provision would require Missouri taxes to be collected on out-of-state retailers that personally deliver products like furniture and appliances to Missouri homes.
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.