A Missouri House Democrat has introduced legislation that would repeal the state's ban on gay marriage.
Mike Colona, a House member from St. Louis who is gay, filed a proposed constitutional amendment this week that would go before voters in November. Colona was joined by 30 of his Democratic colleagues as co-sponsors.
Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 5:07 pm
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and some potential allies in the latest legislative battle over tax cuts stepped up their attack Thursday on two fronts.
Just as the General Assembly was leaving for its long weekend, the governor issued a statement making clear that the tax-cut measures that the House and Senate have been considering so far don’t meet his standards for approval.
Missouri House members have approved legislation allowing commercial sales of motorcycles on Sunday.
State law currently bars dealers from selling cars, trucks and motorcycles on Sunday. The House legislation approved 139-5 on Thursday would repeal that ban — but only for motorcycles.
Some dealerships in western Missouri assert they're losing business to potential customers who visit their showrooms to shop on Sundays, then head across the state line to buy motorcycles in Kansas. Supporters hope the legislation would help Missouri-based businesses compete.
The Missouri Senate passed a bill Thursday that would impose tougher penalties on drivers who run stop signs, if they cause crashes resulting in injury or death.
The legislation would increase fines and require the suspension of driver's licenses in certain cases of failing to yield the right of way. The bill would set a minimum fine of $500 and raise the maximum to $1,000 instead of the current $200 for violations resulting in injuries. For serious injuries, there would be a new minimum fine of $1,000, and the maximum would rise to $3,000 from the current $500.
A proposed tax cut is once again moving forward in the Missouri Senate after it was rewritten yet again. The bill had stalled after its sponsor, Republican Will Kraus of Lee’s Summit, offered a substitute that conformed to conditions that Democratic Governor Jay Nixon said were necessary for him to sign it.
Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 4:12 pm
The Missouri House has passed all 13 budget bills with an estimated $26.6 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins July 1.
During Thursday's round of budget votes, House Democrats began sharply criticizing this year's budget writing process. Along with Gov. Jay Nixon, they disagree with House Republicans about how much revenue they think the state will take in. State Rep. Margo McNeil, D-Hazelwood, accused GOP leaders of crafting an unnecessarily low budget.
US Senator Roy Blunt hopes Missouri could be one of 8 states to try to make significant changes to how mental health issues are treated in clinical settings as part of a 2-year pilot program. But that program still needs to be approved by Congress, and it’s been lumped into a bill seeking to address looming cuts to Medicare payments to doctors.
Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 3:55 pm
For all intents and purposes, the 2014 election season looks to be a great, big bust.
Nobody should be surprised, as 2014 was always a way station to 2016. But hardly anybody expected that the only statewide race on the ballot would feature state Auditor Tom Schweich facing off against a Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate -- but not even a token Democrat. And some previously heated state Senate contests completely fizzled out.
Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 1:53 pm
A Texas judge ruled the state must tell two death row inmates where it is buying its execution drugs from.
The AP reports that the inmates sued the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for the information. The state has argued that it wants to keep the information secret, because its previous supplier backed out of the relationship when its name became public and it received threats.
Missourians could lose welfare benefits if they go too long without using them in the state under legislation advanced by the House.
The House gave the measure first-round approval Wednesday. It needs a second vote before moving to the state Senate.
Recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families would be warned of possible suspensions if they go 60 days without using their electronic benefit card in Missouri. The Department of Social Services would suspend accounts if benefits went unused in Missouri after 90 days.
A state judge has been asked to put an immediate halt to Missouri's acceptance of joint tax returns from gay couples who got married legally in other states.
The request for a temporary restraining order was filed Wednesday in Cole County Circuit Court. It's part of an ongoing lawsuit brought by several Missouri residents, including officials from the Missouri Baptist Convention. They're challenging a decision by Governor Nixon's administration to accept combined tax returns from legally married same-sex couples.
Missouri senators have endorsed an income tax cut that could eventually waive an estimated $464 million a year in state revenues.
The legislation given initial approval Wednesday would cut taxes by half of the amount originally proposed by a Republican-led committee. It could gradually cut the state's top individual income tax rate to 5 and a half percent from the current 6 percent.
It also could phase in a 25 percent deduction for business income reported on individual income tax returns, and add a $500 tax deduction for lower-income individuals.
Federal and state elections in Missouri this fall will feature the lowest number of candidates in at least a couple of decades. A total of 429 candidates filed for federal and state offices before yesterday's deadline.
The highest profile state office to be elected this fall is that of the state auditor. Incumbent auditor Tom Schweich is seeking his second four-year term, but will not face any Democratic or Republican opposition.
Schweich's only challengers are Libertarian Sean O'Toole and Constitution Party candidate Rodney Farthing.
Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 11:56 am
The Missouri House has given first-round approval to next year's state budget -- after spending most of Tuesday on amendments to the FY 2015 budget, including two attempts to expand Medicaid. Both failed, and both were sponsored by state Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur.
A Missouri Senate panel has endorsed legislation that seeks to recoup money from a settlement with tobacco companies.
Under the settlement, Missouri expected to get $130 million this year. But it will likely get less than half because of an arbitrator's ruling that state officials failed to diligently enforce the settlement a decade ago.
The Missouri Senate has endorsed legislation that would require local elections authorities to phase out the use of some electronic voting machines. Under the bill, voters could only use electronic machines that produce a paper trail of marked votes. All other types of electronic voting machines currently in use for elections could still be used, but could not be replaced once they malfunction.
The legislation given first-round approval Monday also declares the paper ballot as the official ballot of Missouri elections. It needs one more Senate vote before moving to the House.
If you want to run for statewide office, your time to file is running out. Candidates must file paperwork by 5 p.m. Tuesday to appear on Missouri's August primary ballot.
The top office on this year's ballot will be state auditor. So far, Republican incumbent Tom Schweich doesn't face much opposition. No Republican or Democrat has filed against him. His only challenger at the start of Tuesday was Constitution Party candidate Rodney Farthing.
Missouri's ballot will include races for half the state Senate and all of Missouri's U.S. and state House seats.
Several Republican state senators are making it clear that there will be no expansion of Medicaid eligibility this year in Missouri.
Five GOP senators took to the Senate floor Monday as the Legislature returned from spring break to say they will block any attempt to expand Medicaid eligibility during the session that ends in mid-May.
Advocates for the poor say Missouri is making it harder for the state's neediest residents to receive food stamps.
Officials with the Missouri Association for Social Welfare tell the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Missouri is the only state where fewer people have received food stamps through the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance in recent years amid the recession and a subsequent slow recovery.
Missouri's auditor is raising concerns about state payments to subsidize child care costs for lower-income families.
Auditor Tom Schweich criticized the state Social Services Department for not having enough quality control over the payments. The findings were included in an audit issued Monday of nearly $12 million in federal funds received by Missouri.
Schweich found that one-third of the payments reviewed by his office were not supported by proper documentation or were not in compliance with department guidelines.
An associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Law is involved in a case that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court this week.
Josh Hawley is on a team of about 15 lawyers working on Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Inc. The case addresses whether businesses can use religious objections to avoid a requirement to provide insurance coverage for birth control for employees.