Morning headlines: Tuesday, March 6, 2012
House budget writers finish reviews of Missouri's proposed spending plan for next year
Members of the budget committee now have until 4 p.m today to offer amendments, which will be debated and voted on Wednesday.
Republican Ryan Silvey of Kansas City chairs the House Budget Committee:
“Hopefully it will be smooth like it was last year," said Silvey. "In years past, we’ve had several hundred amendments offered. Last year, I think we disposed of nine amendments across all 13 bills, got it done in about an hour, hour-and-a-half, something like that, and I’m hopeful that we have a similar process this year.”
Silvey is also moving forward with his plan to eliminate the Supplemental Aid to the Blind program and shift the $28 million used to fund it to higher education. The program provides aid to vision-impaired Missourians who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid. But the head of the Missouri Senate opposes the plan. President Pro-tem Rob Mayer says his chamber would likely restore the funding if the House eliminates it.
Mo. House member seeks to change requirement for unemployment benefits
A Missouri House member is seeking to expand a law that exempts businesses from being charged for the unemployment benefits of some short-term employees.
Existing law says businesses cannot be charged for the unemployment benefits of people who earned less than $400 – a threshold that was set long before the current minimum wage. Rep. Mike McGhee says that threshold is so low that a business could be held responsible for unemployment benefits for a worker who spent less than two weeks on the job. The Republican from Odessa is sponsoring legislation that would require a worker to have earned at least $1,500 from a business before the employer could be held responsible for the person's unemployment benefits.
University of Mo. researchers say people will pay more for sustainably grown U.S. cotton
Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia surveyed 500 people nationwide. They found consumers preferred the sustainably produced U.S.-grown cotton over apparel made in unknown locations using conventional practices.
Additionally, consumers were willing to pay up to $5 more for a $30 cotton shirt produced sustainably in the U.S.
Researcher Pamela Norum says many U.S. cotton farmers are using sustainable practices but aren't communicating that fact well enough to the public. She says the research shows how important it is to promote those sustainable practices.
The research has been published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing and in the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal.