Missouri Senate

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Supreme Court is considering a claim that state senators violated the Sunshine Law by barring some people from taking videos at committee meetings.

The court heard arguments Wednesday in a case brought by Progress Missouri. The liberal group was denied permission to record videos in four Senate committee hearings last February and March.

Its lawsuit claims the Senate violated the open-meeting requirements of the state Sunshine Law.

File Photo / KBIA

A newly filed piece of legislation that would protect the first amendment rights of student journalists in Missouri public schools and colleges is making its way through the State House. Abby Kempf is a senior at Rock Bridge high school, and one of the editors-in-chief of the school’s journalism program.


Brandon Bartoszek / Flickr

 

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate has given initial approval to a bill changing how medical expenses are handled in court cases.

The Senate's endorsement Wednesday came after Democrats staged an all-night filibuster that dragged out a debate that began Tuesday.

The bill would require the actual costs — not the value of medical treatment for plaintiffs — to be considered as evidence in civil lawsuits.

Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

JEFFERSON CITY - Michael Brown's family is urging Missouri lawmakers to overcome politics and pass a law requiring police to wear body cameras.

Brown's mother told a Senate panel Wednesday that body cameras are only one piece of police reform, but would help restore trust. A body cameras proposal failed last year.

The bill would require police in Missouri's largest cities to record all official interactions. Departments would store the footage for two years, and the public would have access to it as they do incident reports.

Afternoon Newscast for February 10, 2016

Feb 10, 2016

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:


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JEFFERSON CITY - A Senate panel is considering four bills that would change Missouri's laws on texting while driving, seatbelts and motorcycle helmets.

One bill reviewed in a hearing Wednesday would require everyone in a car to wear a seatbelt, including adults in the backseat who are currently exempt from seatbelt requirements.

Two other proposals would ban texting while driving, which currently is forbidden for commercial drivers and people younger than 22.

vote here sign
KBIA file photo

Two proposals aimed at requiring Missourians to show photo ID before voting are heading to the Senate floor.

Missouri Senate discussing concealed weapons on college campuses

Jan 27, 2016
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JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri lawmakers have begun discussing whether to allow concealed weapons on college campuses.

A Senate committee began hearing testimony Wednesday on a bill that would only allow campuses to ban concealed weapons if the school posts armed guards and metal detectors at every entrance to every campus building.

Other bills in the House and Senate would also expand access to guns on campuses.

gavel
Flickr / steakpinball

The Missouri Senate has passed a bill that would add requirements for expert witnesses' testimony.

Senators voted 20-10 in favor of the bill Thursday. It now heads to the House.

Members of the news media who regularly cover the Missouri Senate will soon be doing so from another location.

The Senate voted 26-4 Thursday to bar members of the press from the floor of the Senate, including use of a table that has been reserved for reporters for decades.  The new rule takes effect March 29.

It appears that Republican leaders in the Missouri House and Senate are putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to ethics changes.

During his opening speech, House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, said he'll refer all ethics bills to committee on Thursday, a move that often takes place days, weeks, and sometimes months after the start of a legislative session.

Ron Richard is about to spend his first full session as president pro-tem of the Missouri Senate.

He was elected to the post by his colleagues in September after Tom Dempsey resigned a year ahead of time, and shepherded the upper chamber through veto session. The Republican from Joplin also served as House Speaker from 2009 to 2010, and is the only elected official in Missouri history to lead both chambers.

Richard sat down recently with St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin and talked about what he hopes to accomplish, and about getting started as president pro-tem:

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 Building
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.

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