Missouri General Assembly 2016

Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis, speaks against SJR 39 during Wednesday's House Emerging Issues committee meeting.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A proposed constitutional amendment to shield clergy and business owners in Missouri from punishment for refusing to participate in same-sex weddings has failed.

The House Emerging Issues committee voted 6-6 Wednesday on Senate Joint Resolution 39, the tie vote effectively killing the measure.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

A proposal to raise Missouri's fuel tax is getting attention again at the state Capitol.

Senate Bill 623, which would raise the tax by 6 cents a gallon, was considered Tuesday by a State House committee. It was passed earlier this month by the Senate.

Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's use of deadly force law would become more in line with federal standards under a bill being weighed by a House committee.

Current state law does not specify that a police officer has to believe a fleeing suspect is dangerous to use deadly force. Senate Bill 661, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, would change the standard to more closely align with the national standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Supporters of legalizing marijuana for medical use in Missouri now have only one option this year – the ballot box.

That comes after the state House last week defeated House Bill 2213. In its original form, the measure would have allowed for medical cannabis centers in Missouri, which would have sold medical cannabis to patients with a "debilitating medical condition."

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Planned Parenthood's St. Louis clinic has agreed to hand over some documents to the Missouri Senate on how it disposes of fetal tissue.

As part of the negotiated agreement the Senate will suspend contempt proceedings against Planned Parenthood regional director Mary Kogut. The contempt measure was sponsored by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The only task the Missouri General Assembly is required by law to accomplish has been accomplished and, for the second year in a row, accomplished two weeks before deadline.

Lawmakers have sent a roughly $27.2 billion state budget to Gov. Jay Nixon that increases spending on higher education as a whole, while specifically cutting funding from the University of Missouri System.

Eric Greitens
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Let there be no ambiguity anymore: GOP gubernatorial hopeful Eric Greitens opposes a so-called “religious shield” amendment that’s dominated the Missouri General Assembly’s attention.

It's a stance that sets him apart from his Republican rivals — and has stoked questions about the former Navy SEAL and author’s conservative credentials.

Tim Bommel|Missouri House Communications

The first of several ethics proposals to come out of the Missouri legislature this year has been signed into law.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed House Bill 1983 during a brief ceremony in his state Capitol office. It bars lawmakers and other elected officials from hiring each other as paid political consultants.

Field of students at a graduation
j.o.h.n. walker | Flickr

Updated at 10:08 a.m. Thursday, April 14, with date set for curator vote: Students who plan to attend Washington University this fall know that their tuition will be $48,950. Toward the other end of the scale, in-state tuition at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville has been set at $8,352.

But as students try to finalize their academic plans, those headed for any of the four campuses of the University of Missouri don’t know yet how much their bills will be, and they don't know when the decision may be made.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Business and religious leaders were on opposite sides at a committee hearing on a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would shield some people from participating in or selling services to a same-sex wedding.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 passed the Senate last month, but only after Republican leaders forced a vote and shutdown a nearly 40-hour filibuster by Democrats.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The latest legislation against the 1 percent earnings tax in St. Louis is on hold in the Missouri Senate.

Late Monday, Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, unveiled a revamped bill that would NOT phase out the tax, but instead would exempt St. Louis residents from paying on the first $10,000 earned. Also, anyone at or below the federal poverty level would not have to pay the tax at all.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

Bicycle enthusiasts in Missouri are breathing a sigh of relief over the fate of one bill while worrying about another.

First, there's House Bill 2046, which would require bicycles to have reflective orange flags mounted on 15-foot-long poles whenever they're being ridden on state lettered routes. The second, House Bill 2047, would allow limited use of golf carts and so-called utility vehicles on the Katy Trail.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Working to pass Missouri's state budget ahead of schedule seems to be the new normal.

Usually at this point in the legislative year, the 13 bills making up the state budget would have barely been in the Missouri Senate's hands for a week. But on Thursday the upper chamber passed 12 of the 13 bills, sending them back to the House to set the stage for final negotiations.

Mary Kogut
Provided by Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, is initiating contempt proceedings against Mary Kogut, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, for failing to release subpoenaed documents.

Last November, the Missouri Senate demanded six years of documentation about Planned Parenthood’s disposal procedures for fetal tissue. On Tuesday, a state Senate panel discussed two resolutions sponsored by Schaefer (SR 1794 & SR 1793) that summon Kogut and Dr. James Miller, owner of a pathology lab that analyzes fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood, to testify before the Senate chamber at 10 a.m. on April 18. If charged with contempt before the Senate, they could face up to 10 days in jail.

Christopher Buchanan / Insignia Films

Updated April 8, 1:04 a.m. -- A proposed exemption to Missouri's motorcycle helmet law continues moving forward.

The state House passed HB 1464 Thursday by a vote of 103-43.  It's not enough to survive a potential veto from Governor Jay Nixon, who vetoed an outright repeal of the helmet requirement in 2009.

Quadrangle at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
(Flickr Creative Commons User Adam Procter)

A review commission designed to implement changes to the University of Missouri System is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 66 would create an eight-member commission to recommend changes in the wake of last year's campus unrest. And refusal to implement any changes from the commission would result in future budget cuts.

Normandy Mayor Patrick Green, center, speaks to the media after a judge struck down numerous aspects of SB5.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

As he stood with his fellow mayors in corridor of the historic Wilson Price Hunt House, Normandy Mayor Patrick Green declined to gloat over the judicial body blow dealt to a landmark overhaul of municipal governance.

Instead, Green took the opportunity to extend a hand to lawmakers who had substantially restricted the percentage of fine revenue St. Louis County cities could keep in their budgets. The truce offer, though, had a caveat: St. Louis County cities had to be treated the same as the rest of the state.

Shell gas station
(via Flickr/dno1967b)

A revised version of a proposed fuel tax hike has received first-round approval in the Missouri Senate.

A substitute version of Senate Bill 623 was adopted Wednesday evening, which would raise the tax on both gasoline and diesel fuel to 23 cents per gallon from 17.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Shortly after the Missouri General Assembly returns Tuesday from its weeklong recess, lawmakers are expected to attempt their first override this session of a bill vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

And either way, the vote could be close.

The bill in question – dubbed by backers as “paycheck protection’’ and by critics as “paycheck deception” – would make it tougher for many public-employee unions and teacher groups to collect dues or fees.

The Missouri Senate Chamber
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

The Missouri Senate will take up the state budget when it reconvenes from spring break.

The $27 billion budget was passed by the House the same week Democratic senators orchestrated a 37-hour filibuster to stop a vote on a bill that would provide legal protections for businesses that refuse wedding-related services to same-sex couples. Due to the high tensions that resulted, Senate leaders decided to wait until after vacation to start discussing the budget.

Justin Alferman
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Rep. Justin Alferman to the show for the first time.

The Hermann Republican is serving his first term in the Missouri House. His heavily-GOP seat includes parts of Franklin, Gasconade and Osage counties, and it takes in most of Washington, Mo.

Civic Progress President Tom Irwin stands with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon at the St. Louis Regional Chamber. Business groups held a presser condemning the amendment.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s business organizations are waging an all out attack on an amendment aimed at allowing clergy and business owners to refuse services to same-sex weddings. 

The measure, known as SJR39, was the central focus of a nearly two-day-long filibuster by Missouri Senate Democrats. Republicans employed a rarely used parliamentary procedure known as the "previous question" to squelch the talk-a-thon, and now the amendment awaits action in the Missouri House.

Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A Missouri Senate Committee is considering legislation (SB 1036) that sets up a pilot program to reduce and prevent violent crime in St. Louis. Sen. Joseph Keaveny, D-St. Louis, says the city needs a comprehensive approach.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, has become one of the loudest critics of University of Missouri decision-making in recent months.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A Missouri Senate committee is considering legislation to create an appointed, eight-member Review Commission for the University of Missouri System. The sponsor, Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, says this panel will help sort out a recent lack of leadership.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated March 15, 12:15 p.m. -- The slow-down in the Missouri Senate has entered its third day and forced Republicans to adjourn Tuesday after less than an hour in session.

Democrats began by forcing another full reading of the prior day's journal, which only took about 14 minutes.  Monday's journal reading was much longer, taking nearly an hour.

Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, campaigned last year as a proponent of right to work -- even though labor unions have gained a bit of a foothold in St. Charles County.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A Senate-sponsored constitutional amendment that would shield businesses in the wedding industry from legal repercussions if they denied their services to same-sex couples is headed to the House. The amendment passed 23-7.

House budget chair Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, at right, directs debate on budget bills Tuesday.
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

Missouri's $27 billion state budget is on its way to the Senate.

The House Thursday passed all 13 budget bills, which includes a nearly $9 million cut to higher education.

For that reason, several state representatives voted against the higher ed bill, HB 2003.

Wikimedia Commons

Republicans in the Missouri Senate have given first-round approval to legislation that would shield clergy and business owners from state penalties for refusing to work on same-sex weddings.

Democrats had filibustered Senate Joint Resolution 39 nonstop since Monday afternoon, but early Wednesday morning GOP leaders used a procedural move, known as "moving the previous question," to cut off debate and force a vote.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation designed to allow business owners and clergy to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings is being blocked in the Missouri Senate.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would bar the state from "penalizing clergy, religious organizations, and certain individuals for their religious beliefs concerning marriage between two people of the same sex."

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's proposed $27 billion budget for next year is up for debate this week in the Missouri House.

Last week, House budget writers cut $7.6 million from the University of Missouri System's proposed budget over the way it handled last fall's racial protests and over a perceived cozy relationship with Planned Parenthood. Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, was unable to persuade House budget writers to restore the funding, but he plans to try again this week.

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