Missouri senators trying to target budget cuts at the agency that issues driver's licenses may have instead blocked funding for the registration of boats and mobile homes.
The Senate passed a budget plan late Monday that eliminates the entire $3.5 million allotment for the Motor Vehicle and Driver Licensing Division.
During debate, senators said the proposed cut could halt the issuance of driver's licenses. They described it as negotiating leverage to get additional information from state officials about the data collected from driver's license applicants.
Missouri senators are considering a roughly $25 billion budget plan that may be most notable for what it doesn't contain.
Senate debate on the budget is scheduled to begin late Monday, with some of the most agreeable items up first. Those include a $66 million increase in basic aid for public schools and a $34 million increase for public colleges and universities.
Missouri senators have endorsed a plan that could provide $15 million to Joplin to rebuild street curbs and gutters that were damaged as a result of the 2011 tornado.
The bill given initial approval Wednesday would fund disaster recovery projects by redirecting money from other areas of state government. Among the entities that would lose money are the state insurance department and an agency that helps finance health and educational facilities.
The Missouri House has backed a tax credit overhaul that is sharply different from a Senate version. A bill given initial approval 120-31 Wednesday night would set much higher caps than the Senate on the amount of tax credits that can be approved annually for the renovation of historic buildings and development of low-income housing.
Unlike a bill passed previously by the Senate, the House version would combine several existing business incentives into a new program with greater flexibility for state economic development officials to award tax credits.
The Missouri Senate has passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee farmers' rights.
The legislation originally would have barred voters from passing initiatives that would infringe on farmers' rights. But that portion was removed after opposition from senators concerned about blocking the petition process.
Nursing mothers could be excused from jury duty under legislation given initial approval by the Missouri Senate.
A bill endorsed Monday would expand protections in Missouri law that already allow mothers to discreetly breast-feed in public places. The bill adds expressing breast milk to the list of protected activities and prohibits cities from enacting local ordinances restricting breast-feeding mothers. Under the legislation, nursing mothers would be excused from jury duty upon submitting a written note from a doctor.
Nearly a full month of hearings wrapped up Monday into a Missouri Senate bill that would revise the state’s criminal code, but it may already be too late to get the bill to the Governor’s desk this year.
A Missouri Senate panel is preparing to begin drafting its plan for the roughly $25 billion state operating budget.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has scheduled hearings throughout the week to begin work on the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The panel is also scheduled to consider the budget for the state Revenue Department, despite recent tensions between the department and Republican senators over new driver's license procedures.
The Missouri Senate has passed legislation that would ensure that pharmacies could refuse to stock certain prescription drugs, such as emergency contraception.
The legislation passed the Senate by a 24-9 vote Thursday and now heads to the House.
Sponsoring Sen. David Sater is a Republican pharmacist from southwest Missouri who describes the legislation a business freedom issue. Sater says some states have mandated that birth control or emergency contraception be stocked by pharmacies. But he says a pharmacy — like a clothing store — should be free to sell what it chooses.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:51 pm
Missouri’s budget for the next fiscal year has been passed by the State House.
While Medicaid expansion has dominated most of the debate, spending hikes were approved in other areas. There’s an extra $65 million for K-12 schools, although the increase still falls short of fully funding the state’s public school formula. Republican Mike Lair of Livingston County chairs the Appropriations committee on Education.
The Missouri Senate has passed an unusually large number of tax cuts, credits, deductions and increases at the midway mark of the legislative session.
The bottom line could be a net gain in state revenues, if all the proposed changes become law.
A calculation prepared for The Associated Press by former legislative tax analyst Brian Schmitt shows that Missouri may reap $355 million in 2016, with that gradually decreasing to $118 million by 2019.
Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 2:09 pm
The Missouri Senate has given first round approval to a scaled-backed version of the so-called Paycheck Protection bill.
The original bill would have barred unions from automatically withholding dues from the paychecks of public employees, but Senate Democrats spent nearly ten hours Monday night and Tuesday morning blocking the bill. The filibuster ended when the bill was changed to allow annual consent for withholding union dues from paychecks.
The typical Missouri household might have relatively little to gain from a Senate-endorsed overhaul of the state's tax policies.
The proposed mixture of income tax cuts and sales tax hikes could save a few dozen dollars annually for a family of four earning just slightly more than Missouri's median household income of about $45,000.
Wealthier taxpayers, particularly those running their own businesses, might save a lot more. Yet seniors reliant on Social Security benefits could pay more.