Missouri General Assembly

(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.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

The GOP-controlled Missouri General Assembly has sent a few controversial bills to Democratic Governor Jay Nixon early enough for any veto to be overridden during the regular session.

They include the rollback on dog breeding regulations in Proposition B, and a bill that makes discrimination a “motivating factor," rather than a “contributing factor” in wrongful termination lawsuits.

St. Louis City Hall is ratcheting up pressure on Jefferson City to relinquish control of the city's police department, or pay for it themselves.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says he expects the Missouri legislature to return control of city police department this year.

If not, the Mayor says St. Louis is within its rights to bill the General Assembly for part of the cost of running it.

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