Missouri General Assembly

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Now in his third year in the Missouri Senate, state Sen. John Lamping hasn’t had much of a reputation for filibustering.

But that changed Tuesday when the Ladue Republican took a leading role in filibustering a one-cent sales tax increase for transportation. His opposition played a big role in derailing – at least for the time being – a measure sponsored by State Sen. Mike Kehoe and supported by a wide range of interest groups.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri Senate could determine the fate of three of the biggest legislative issues looming during this session’s final week: liquor, highway bonds and an early childhood program known as First Steps.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri General Assembly is launching into its final week of the session by redirecting its attention to certain issues – such as health care, abortion and labor unions – that had been on the back burner until the state budget was completed.

By a vote of 118-40, the Missouri House has overwhelmingly approved a bill that bars state agencies from scanning or retaining any personal documents, such as a birth certificate, that are presented to obtain a driver’s license or nondriver ID.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The effort in the Missouri legislature to abolish local foreclosure mediation ordinances, such as those in St. Louis and St. Louis County, had all the right kind of legislative momentum.

State Rep. Stanley Cox and House Majority John Diehl's legislation had unchallenged support from Republican legislators. It was a major priority for the state's banking and real estate industry, two powerful and influential interest groups that opposed the ordinances in St. Louis County and St. Louis. And some Democratic legislators in the Missouri House supported it.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In an apparent backlash to the "puppy mill wars" of a couple years back, the Missouri General Assembly has approved a proposed "right to farm" constitutional amendment for the 2014 ballot.

The proposed ballot measure, which won’t require Gov. Jay Nixon’s approval, has general, seemingly non-controversial ballot language:

"Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?"

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Although chances of passage this legislative session remain slim, bills to extend Missouri’s anti-discrimination protections to gays are still attracting a lot of attention in Jefferson City -- because of the number and prominence of their backers.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster this week became the latest of three statewide Democratic officials – including Secretary of State Jason Kander and state Treasurer Clint Zweifel – who are featured in new videos promoting two companion bills (SB96 and HB615) that seek to prevent discrimination in housing, jobs and public accommodations on the basis of someone’s sexual orientation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri lawmakers finished work on the bills that encompass the state's budget, sending the 2014 fiscal year plan to Gov. Jay Nixon a day before a mandated deadline.

But the bills passed by the legislature include several provisions that have raised the governor's ire, including partial funding of the Department of Revenue's Division of Motor Vehicles.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: With only two weeks to go in the Missouri General Assembly's session, those who favor revamping the state's troubled Second Injury Fund -- in limbo for years -- are optimistic.

Dan Mehan, chief executive of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, and business allies are encouraged that the House acted Thursday to approve, with some changes, the Senate bill (SB1) overhauling the fund. The Senate had approved the bill months ago.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri Capitol's continued debate over the state's scanning of personal documents, including concealed-carry permits, has taken another turn as state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, has raised the prospect of doing away with the state’s new system for producing drivers licenses and returning to the old over-the-counter setup.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Nixon’s office has swiftly sought to dispute questions raised by Republicans, including Schaefer, about a 2010 letter from the federal Department of Homeland Security that lauded Nixon for complying with aspects of the federal REAL ID mandate.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: With time ticking on a number of key issues, including the state budget, the Missouri House returned on Tuesday to one of its favorite topics this session: guns.

The chamber acted to approve several bills or amendments dealing with firearms, including measures that:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For all the buzz in the Missouri Capitol about guns, education and the budget, a different issue is attracting all the bucks – alcohol.

At least two dozen lobbyists are wandering the halls, representing one side or another in a complicated case that is fueling an array of lawsuits, has given birth to two bills and has now entangled a disparate band of regional politicians and national political groups.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Save it, spend it or give it back? That, in essence, is the growing debate in the Missouri Capitol as legislators are monitoring the state’s apparently improving income picture, which could result in a budget surplus when this fiscal year ends June 30.

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, is adamantly in favor of the “save’’ option, and he displayed a bit of pique Monday as he blasted the state Senate for approving a FY2014 budget last week that earmarks some of the possible windfall for needed physical repairs to the state Capitol, among other things.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: State Rep. Joshua Peters could have waited his turn to run for elected office. But the 25-year-old instead decided to join a growing crop of young Missourians who felt the “fierce urgency of now.”

After a few years of toiling behind the scenes in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C., Peters won a special election earlier this month to represent the north St. Louis 76th District in the Missouri House. He was sworn into office Wednesday.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A bill that would bring big changes to how Missouri teachers are evaluated – and how those evaluations could affect their jobs – lost big in the Missouri House last week, but those who favored the changes aren’t giving up yet.

The legislation – House bill 631 – had sailed through committee to the House floor, but when it came up for a vote last Wednesday, opposition from teachers unions, some school districts and others resulted in a lopsided defeat, 102-55.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: One week after discussing Medicaid expansion with House Republicans, Gov. Jay Nixon will sit down Tuesday morning with Republican members of the Missouri Senate to talk about the issue.

But the meeting may not go too smoothly. On Monday, the top Republican in the Missouri Senate indicated that Medicaid expansion may be dead for the session. And another senator told the Beacon in no uncertain terms that the Senate won’t approve either an expansion of the program to 138 percent of the federal poverty level or a Republican proposal that passed out of a state House committee last week.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri General Assembly is at half time, but that doesn’t mean lawmakers are getting treated to a musical extravaganza from Beyonce.

Instead lawmakers are prepping for what could be a busy second half of the  session. Not only do lawmakers have to complete work on next year’s budget, but they must also tackle some substantial bills that – perhaps surprisingly – advanced in the first part of the session.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In an apparent attempt to nudge Missouri’s Republican legislative leaders, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has told employers around the state that if the state doesn’t expand Medicaid, they’ll be left holding the financial bag.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Before leaving town for a trade trip to Asia, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon made clear to the state Senate that he dislikes the business tax-cut package that the chamber has approved.

In particular, Nixon said in a statement that he “strongly opposes the large sales tax increase contained in” the bill, SB26.  

The Senate gave final approval to the measure on Tuesday, by a vote of 23-11. The supportive votes were exactly enough to override a possible Nixon veto. All 10 Democrats opposed the bill, along with one Republican.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, a huge booster of Missouri’s historic tax credit program, isn’t happy with the bill approved Thursday by the Missouri Senate that slashes the program’s annual allocation ceiling by almost two-thirds.

But Slay's chief of staff Jeff Rainford said the mayor is confident that the state House will mandate a higher ceiling and “not anything close to this draconian” limit.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Show Me State political obsessives, take note: It’s no longer necessary to be glued to a computer when legislative debate is afoot.

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.

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