Missouri General Assembly

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House passed legislation on Thursday curtailing two of the state’s largest tax credit programs. 

State Rep. Anne Zerr’s bill would reduce the historic preservation tax credit’s cap to $90 million from $140 million. That program helps refurbish older buildings and has been used extensively throughout St. Louis.

The bill would also gradually reduce the cap on the tax credit for low-income housing to $110 million from $140 million. That credit provides an incentive for developers to build housing for the working poor, elderly and disabled.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio) / St. Louis Public Radio)

Alderman Antonio French is sponsoring legislation to require videotaping or transcribing various meetings and hearings in city government. French is one of several people seeking to use the web to make government more transparent to the public. 

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French knows something about putting a camera in the face of government. 

(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

Leaders in the Missouri House and Senate have just one day left to reach agreement on a number of unresolved issues, including an ongoing dispute over how to control spending on state tax credits.

"There's four or five things I've promised senators that we'd get to," said Republican floor leader Ron Richard, including some form of an economic development bill.

The two chambers remain divided over the cap on historic preservation and low-income housing credits. The House has sent a proposal over to the Senate, but it's likely to fail.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A new audit of the Missouri state House and Senate knocks both chambers for their failure to comply with portions of the state Sunshine law.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Lawmakers have returned to Jefferson City and begun the new year’s regular Missouri legislative session. 

So, what do they want to get done?

Senate Republicans are focused on:

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

A joint House-Senate committee met today at the Missouri Capitol to discuss a proposed review of wages and benefits paid to state workers.

State Senator Mike Kehoe (R, Jefferson City) sits on the Joint Interim Committee on State Employee Wages.  He says they’d like to hire a company to review Missouri’s entire compensation package for state employees.

(via flickr/ensign_beedrill)

Term limits have been in effect in Missouri’s General Assembly for 20 years.

Tomorrow a public conference held in St. Louis will explore how the limits have changed Missouri politics for both good and bad.

Representative Chris Kelly, a Democrat from Columbia, served in the state house for 12 years before voters passed the term limits and two terms since then.

Kelly says the General Assembly still attracts smart, hard-working people, but he says they don’t have as much time to learn the ropes.

(via Flickr/brains the head)

Updated 9/13/2012, 4:51 p.m.

A Kansas City-based labor group is seeking to block the new law allowing Missouri employers to deny health insurance coverage for birth control pills and other contraceptive procedures.

The new law took effect after the Missouri General Assembly overrode Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) veto during Wednesday’s veto session.  Attorney E.E. Keenan represents the Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The state of Missouri and the city of St. Louis will go in front of the state Supreme Court on Thursday to argue over who can decide where city employees live.

(Tim Bommell/Mo. House Communications)

It's the final day of the regular legislative session for the Missouri General Assembly.

Lawmakers have spent the past week clearing a backlog of bills that accumulated during a showdown over the state budget.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Larry Rice arrested at new homeless camp

The Rev. Larry Rice was among four people arrested last night at the site of a new homeless encampment in south St. Louis.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri General Assembly has sent its first bill to Governor Jay Nixon (D) this year, which would revamp the state’s workers' compensation system.

The House passed the bill today, while the State Senate passed it last month -- it passed both chambers on partisan votes.  The bill would bar employees from suing each other over workplace injuries and illnesses, and would restore workers’ comp coverage of occupational diseases.  State Rep. Dave Schatz (R, Sullivan) argued that it would give Missouri a more business-friendly climate that would be less subject to massively expensive court judgments.

The Missouri Supreme Court has struck down a 2010 ethics law that took a long and twisted path to its final form.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The 2012 Missouri legislative session is underway, and much of the first-day talk revolved around the challenges facing the state’s public schools.

In addition to Missouri’s K-12 schools not being fully funded, suburban school districts near St. Louis and Kansas City may be forced to accept thousands of transfer students from the inner cities, thanks to the State Supreme Court’s ruling in Turner v. Clayton.  House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) says any solutions to those problems should include tuition tax credits for kids in unaccredited areas, and statewide expansion of charter schools.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri lawmakers return to Jefferson City Wednesday for the start of this year’s legislative session.  2011 was marked by House and Senate Republicans fighting with each other over tax credits and redistricting, while still managing to take pot shots at Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s handling of the state budget.  St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin takes a look at how the 2012 session may play out.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri lawmakers began pre-filing bills today for next year’s legislative session, which begins January 4th.

One bill was influenced by the deadly Joplin tornado.  If passed, it would allow Missouri residents to deduct up to $5,000 from their state income taxes for building storm shelters on their properties.  It’s sponsored by State Representative Terry Swinger (D, Caruthersville).

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A state legislative committee heard testimony today on what options should be considered for students enrolled at unaccredited schools in Missouri.  It’s part of another effort to address a recent State Supreme Court ruling.

Turner v. Clayton affirmed that students not only have the right to transfer away from an unaccredited school district, but that the failing district has to pick up the tab.  State and local officials fear it could lead to a mass exodus from schools in St. Louis, Kansas City and Riverview Gardens.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Today was the Republican-led Missouri General Assembly’s annual veto session, but neither chamber made any attempt to override any of the 14 vetoes issued by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon this year.

However, House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) used the occasion to blast the governor for withholding money from various state agencies.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A package of bills that Gov. Jay Nixon says is about "dignity and practicality" for the 100,000 Missouri individuals with a developmental or intellectual disability is now law.

Gov. Nixon signed the legislation today at Paraquad, one of the largest centers in the country dedicated to helping disabled individuals live independently. Its founder, Max Starkloff, died Dec. 27.

(Tim Bommel/Mo. House Communications)

Legislation that would have returned oversight of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department back to City Hall has failed in Jefferson City.

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