Missouri Senate

As of today, there are 92 new laws on the books in Missouri.

All of them were passed by the Missouri House and Senate during the 2015 regular session, and all but two were signed by Governor Jay Nixon.  Lawmakers passed Senate Bill 24 by overriding Nixon's veto.  The new law shortens the lifetime eligibility for welfare recipients in Missouri from five years to three years and nine months.  Although most of the provisions in SB24 officially takes effect today, the shorter eligibility period won't kick in until January 1st, 2016.

On this week’s episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s political journo-duo – Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies – welcome state Auditor Nicole Galloway to the program for the first time.

The Democratic official was appointed to statewide office earlier this year after the death of state Auditor Tom Schweich. Before taking the reins, Galloway was in her first full term as Boone County’s treasurer.

Missouri Capitol
j.stephenconn / Flickr

  A former spokeswoman for various causes backed by conservative donor Rex Sinquefield has been hired as the communications director for the Missouri Senate.

Missouri House of Representatives

A Missouri state senator has left his credit union job following allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances toward Capitol interns. 

Updated 5:26 p.m., July 24 - It appears that the University of Central Missouri is siding with one of its students over allegations that she was sexually harassed by State Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, while working for him as an intern earlier this year.

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri Senate administration committee next week plans to release findings from an investigation into possible workplace harassment.

Every bill Missouri lawmakers sent to Gov. Jay Nixon this year has now been signed or vetoed, with only one bill becoming law without his signature.

That bill, HB 137, tweaks the bidding process for license fee offices by doing away with rewarding points to bidders based on how much revenue the state would get back in return. It was co-sponsored by state Rep. Dean Dohrman, R-LaMonte.

Dozens of bills passed by Missouri lawmakers this year remain unsigned as the deadline for taking action approaches.

They include the sole Ferguson-related bill passed during the 2015 legislative session.

Senate floor at the Missouri Capitol
File / KBIA

Missouri Senate leaders have approved a workplace policy book that includes steps for dealing with allegations of harassment.

Senate floor at the Missouri Capitol
File / KBIA

The Missouri Senate has hired a lawyer in response to a "workplace harassment complaint."

A document obtained on May 26 by The Associated Press shows the Senate hired the attorney on May 7, 2015.

The legal fee agreement didn't give any details in regards to the complaint, but Minority Leader Joe Keaveny said the Senate is conducting an internal investigation. He declined to comment further.

Jim Nowogrocki of the St. Louis-based Weiss Attorneys at Law will be paid $270 an hour for legal counsel and advice. Senator Keaveny, D- St. Louis, also works at the same firm. 

It wasn't particularly surprising that state Sen. Bob Onder was pushing hard to get so-called "right to work" legislation through a seemingly intractable Missouri Senate.

The Lake Saint Louis Republican campaigned last year in support of right to work, which bars arrangements that force workers to pay union dues if a majority voted to organize. He supported that measure even though the population of union members has steadily increased in St. Charles County, which may be why his two unsuccessful GOP rivals opposed right to work during the campaign.

Taxes sign
401(K)2013 / Flickr

  A measure that would require Missouri's tax collection agency to notify affected businesses when there are changes in tax policy is headed to the governor's desk.

After shutting down a Democratic filibuster, the Missouri Senate voted 21-13 to approve an anti-union measure that would make Missouri a “right-to-work’’ state.

Republican backers were two votes short Tuesday night of the 23 needed to override a guaranteed veto by Gov. Jay Nixon. They also achieved the final vote by using a controversial and rarely used procedure – called “moving the previous question,’’ or PQ – that angered many of the bill’s opponents.

File / KBIA

Missouri's Republican-controlled Legislature already has powered through many GOP priorities as lawmakers approach a Friday deadline to pass bills.

Updated 5 p.m., Wed., May 6 -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon had harsh words for the General Assembly’s action to override his veto of a bill that shortens the period for low-income families to receive welfare benefits. The bill also imposes new work requirements.

During a stop in St. Louis, the governor said he didn't object to changing the work requirements. But he did object to the way it was done, which his administration says will result in about 6,500 children getting knocked off the state's welfare rolls.

"You don't move the state forward by taking benefits away from 6,500 kids,'' Nixon said. He explained that there were ways, such as a "protected payee program" that would have penalized the parents, but not the children.

"What did a 5-year-old do wrong?" he asked. "There were a lot of ways where kids didn't have to suffer here."

Missouri Capitol
David Shane / Flickr

Military voters returning from service would have a longer window to register to vote in Missouri elections under a measure headed to the governor's desk.

The Missouri Senate gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that would allow military and overseas voters to participate in elections for statewide offices, the state Legislature and statewide ballot initiatives.

missouri capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Missouri senators have passed a measure calling for a constitutional convention to enact a balanced budget requirement for the federal government.

Attorney General's Office

The state's attorney general will defend the Missouri Senate in a lawsuit filed by a liberal advocacy group over alleged violations of the state's open records law.

Attorney General Chris Koster's office said Monday in a statement the office would provide legal counsel in the case involving administration of official Senate business.

jcarlosn / Flickr

A proposal to raise Missouri's fuel tax for the first time in two decades appears unlikely to move forward this session despite warnings from transportation officials about the future of the state's infrastructure. 

missouri capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

A measure allowing Missouri lawmakers to hire defense attorneys for lawsuits is moving forward.

school buses
Twix / Flickr

The Missouri Senate is sending back to the House a measure that supporters say will address problems with the state's flawed student transfer law. 

Missouri Capitol
David Shane / Flickr

One of the state’s most aggressive groups when it comes to recording Missouri Senate hearings has had enough with some senators saying no.

missouri house floor
File Photo / KBIA News

Missouri lawmakers are proposing a 2-cent gas tax increase as a step toward easing a projected funding shortfall that officials warn could result in the deterioration of many roads and bridges.

Similar proposals considered Tuesday by the full Senate and by a House committee would raise the state's 17-cent fuel tax to 19 cents a gallon in January 2016.

missouri capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

A compromise between Missouri House and Senate Republicans that would lower the lifetime limit for temporary cash assistance for low-income families from 60 months to 45 months is moving forward.

The Senate on Tuesday approved by a vote of 25 to 9 the measure that would also impose stricter work requirements and higher sanctions for noncompliance.

Nixon Signs Two Agriculture Bills Into Law

Apr 10, 2015
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

  Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday signed into law two agriculture bills aimed at making it easier for farmers to do business in Missouri.

Nixon signed the bills at a ceremony in Barry County, which is located southwest of Springfield.

Stephen Webber Announces 2016 Run for State Senate

Apr 10, 2015
Stephen Webber
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Democrat Stephen Webber announced Thursday he will be running for State Senate in the 2016 election. A former Marine, Webber is currently on his second term as a member of the Missouri House of Representatives.

Legislation designed to aid some delinquent taxpayers in Missouri is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk.

The House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed HB 384, the "tax amnesty" bill, which would allow people behind on their state income taxes to pay them off without additional penalties or interest.

j. stephenconn / Flickr

Some mental health providers in rural Missouri are raising concerns about a provision passed by the Missouri Senate that would shift about 200,000 Medicaid recipients onto privatized managed care programs.

Loretta Fuge is a psychologist based in Mansfield, Mo. Currently, Fuge is reimbursed for seeing Medicaid patients through the state’s fee-for-service model. She has some experience with managed care and, she says, she isn’t a fan.

missouri house floor
File Photo / KBIA News

A measure Missouri lawmakers hoped would be in place before Tuesday's local elections to exempt some elections from partisan requirements is getting a second chance.

The length of time a Missourian could receive welfare benefits would be cut in half, if legislation passed by the Missouri House becomes law.