Missouri House of Representatives | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House of Representatives

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House members are proposing a statewide bond issue they say could launch a building boom across the Show-Me State.

House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) has created a special committee to examine several bonding proposals that could fund new buildings, repairs and upgrades on state property and college campuses.  The effort is bipartisan, as the Republican speaker has appointed Democrat Chris Kelly of Columbia to chair the committee.  Kelly says the proposal can be done without raising taxes, unless transportation needs are included.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) has been touring the state this week, promoting the so-called three “E’s” that House Republicans say they’ll focus on next year – the economy, energy, and education – but their agenda still likely won't include a fourth “E," expansion of Medicaid.

Jones told a group of reporters in Jefferson City today that House budget writers start off every year looking for $150-$200 million for the state’s Medicaid needs.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

People and groups who work with Medicaid clients urged Missouri lawmakers today to expand coverage in next year’s state budget.

Cynthia Keele from NAMI Missouri (National Alliance on Mental Illness) told a State House budget subcommittee that expanding Medicaid would help families dealing with medical debt.

“Missouri medical debt is responsible for about 40 percent of the bankruptcies in Missouri, and I know that because I’m a banker’s wife," Keele said.  "Those bankruptcies and medical debt kill jobs.”

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Members of the Missouri Senate have begun pre-filing bills for the 2013 regular session.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

House Democrats say they’ll again try to get campaign contribution limits restored in Missouri when next year’s regular legislative session begins.

The Missouri Supreme Court reinstated caps on campaign contributions in 2007, but a 2008 law removed them again.  Jake Hummel of St. Louis takes over next year as the top Democrat in the Missouri House.  He says they’ll push for an ethics bill similar to one in 2010 that had support in both parties.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Sheriffs from around Missouri want state lawmakers to tighten the requirements needed to become a county’s sheriff.

Cape Girardeau County Sheriff John Jordan (R) told a State House committee today that the only current requirements for potential candidates are that they are “breathing,” and can pay the $50 filing fee.  He wants lawmakers to craft legislation that would require sheriff’s candidates to have prior law enforcement experience.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis County lawmaker wants more cooperation from the Nixon Administration as her committee looks into the way contracts for license fee offices are awarded.

State Representative Sue Allen (R, Town and Country) chairs the House Interim Committee on Government Bidding and Contracting.  She says the legislative liaison sent by the Department of Revenue (DOR) to her committee hearing this week was unable to answer her questions.

“We started asking questions, and he could not answer," Allen said.  "He came with a prepared statement…he couldn’t, or didn’t, go any further than that.”

Tim Bommel, Mo. House Communications

Missouri House members have chosen Tim Jones (R, Eureka) as their speaker for the next few months.

Jones had served as the chamber's majority leader for the past two years. His selection Wednesday fills the vacancy created when former Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) resigned from the House in August to work as a paid consultant.  House members will decide in January whether to keep Jones for two more years as Speaker, assuming that he is re-elected in November and the GOP holds onto the Missouri House as expected.  Jones said Wednesday he wants to encourage job creation by streamlining government, offering tax relief and paring back government regulations. He also wants to focus on energy independence and education policy.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 6:07 p.m. with comments from House Maj. Floor Leader Tim Jones.

Updated 2:32 p.m. with letter.

Updated 12:47 p.m. with details from Tilley press release.

Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) is resigning today as both a member of the Missouri House and as Speaker, effective this evening at 11:59 p.m.

Courtesy of the Missouri Department of Transportation

A panel created by the Missouri House to review the state's transportation needs met Monday in Columbia.

Most of the testimony heard by the Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee on Missouri's Transportation Needs centered on improving the state's highways, and whether those improvements should include a toll road -- be it I-70 or another major highway.  Bob Gilbert with the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce told the panel that the state should also upgrade U.S. Highway 50.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

A new temporary committee has been created in the Missouri House to examine how the Governor’s Office of Administration (OA) awards government contracts.

The Interim Committee on Government Bidding and Contracting may also be used to recommend new legislation for next year’s regular session.  State Representative Sue Allen (R, Town and Country) will chair the committee.  She says last year’s controversy surrounding former Medicaid contractor SynCare LLC played a part in the committee’s creation.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri House has passed legislation that would bar local governments from interfering with the day-to-day operations of alternatives to abortion agencies.

The bill would forbid municipalities from regulating advertising and advice given out by crisis pregnancy centers run by pro-life groups.  Supporters say they’re trying to protect the First Amendment free speech rights of volunteers and staff at the centers.  The sponsor, State Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R, Lake St. Louis), admits it’s a preemptive move.

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The Missouri House has approved a measure intended to block rating systems from being used at child care centers and preschools.

The child care measure passed Tuesday is tied to legislation that also would create a dedicated funding stream for state veterans' homes. Both items have been at the center of a legislative logjam that so far has prevented the state's $24 billion budget from passing.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri lawmakers have approved legislation that would allow residents in the St. Louis area to vote on whether to raise a local sales tax to help fund improvements at the Gateway Arch.

The measure would allow a local election on a 3/16 percent sales tax. Part of the money would go to the Gateway Arch, and a portion would go to local parks. It also would allow voters in the Kansas City area to decide on a 1/10th percent sales tax for parks, trails and greenways in Jackson County.

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The Missouri House has narrowly approved legislation that would prohibit seniority and salary from being considered when laying off teachers.

The bill would require school administrators to make teacher performance the most important factor in teacher layoffs, rather than starting layoffs with teachers who have not earned tenure.

Training and certification also could be considered.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate took the next step Tuesday toward beginning final negotiations with the House on next year’s state budget.  But Senate members struggled with whether to bind themselves to various positions they support.

via Flickr | jennlynndesign

The Missouri House has approved legislation that could make it harder for employees to be shielded from retaliation by their employer for reporting wrongdoing in the workplace.

In an 86-66 vote Thursday, the House approved a measure that limits "whistleblower" status to employees who report or refuse to carry out illegal acts. The bill also caps the amount of punitive damages a person can recover if a company retaliates against the whistleblower.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to legislation that would expand tax breaks for auto parts manufacturers.

Ford and General Motors already have access to the incentives.  State Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R, Lake St. Louis), the bill’s sponsor, says it would expand the benefit to smaller auto parts builders.

(via Flickr/theogeo)

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to legislation that would require most teenagers to get their parents’ permission to use tanning beds.  Those younger than 17 would have to have a parent or guardian show up in person at the tanning salon and sign a document giving their consent. 

The bill’s sponsor, GOP House Member Gary Cross of Lee’s Summit, says his daughter suffered cell damage from regular tanning bed use.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House has passed legislation that seeks to both bar and criminalize enforcement of the 2010 federal health care law.

If passed, the state of Missouri would not recognize the federal Affordable Care Act, and any federal official who tries to enforce it in Missouri would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.  Also, any person who is targeted by a federal official seeking to enforce the ACA would have the right to sue that official.  The sponsor, State Rep. Kurt Bahr (R, O’Fallon, Mo.), says the U.S. Constitution doesn’t give the federal government the right to force citizens to purchase anything.

via Flickr | jennlynndesign

Women seeking prescriptions for abortion-inducing drugs could face greater requirements than those wanting surgical abortions under a bill endorsed by the Missouri House.

Missouri law already requires a woman to have a consultation with a doctor or qualified professional 24 hours before undergoing an abortion.

The bill given initial approval Tuesday would require a woman to receive a physical examination by a doctor 24 hours before the doctor prescribes the abortion-inducing drug RU-486.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

The Missouri House has endorsed legislation seeking to make it a crime for undercover activists to produce videos portraying poor conditions at agricultural facilities.

The legislation given first-round approval Tuesday would create the crime of "agriculture production facility interference." The crime would apply to people who produce or distribute photos, videos or audio recordings of the activities at an agricultural facility without the consent of the owner.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Republican leaders in the Missouri House say they’ve been negotiating with Governor Jay Nixon (D) over the two bills he vetoed last month.

The governor vetoed bills that would redefine workplace discrimination and that would place occupational disease claims solely within the workers’ compensation system House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) says discussions have been productive, but that there’s been no compromise reached yet.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Drug Enforcement Administration)

Missouri House members have endorsed legislation that would reduce the disparity in prison sentences between people charged with crack and powder cocaine crimes.

Under current state laws, someone found with 2 grams of crack faces the same prison sentence as a person who has 150 grams of cocaine.

The proposed legislation would raise the minimum amount of crack to 28 grams.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House has passed its version of a workers’ compensation bill that also proposes to fix the state’s ailing Second Injury Fund.

The vote again fell mostly along party lines, passing 92 to 56, with one lawmaker voting "present."  The measure would place occupational disease claims back within the workers’ comp system and would bar employees from suing each other over workplace injuries and illnesses.  Democrats, including Kevin McManus of Kansas City, objects to moving claims out of the courts and back to workers' comp.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to another workers’ compensation bill.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) vetoed a similar bill last month that originated in the Senate.  The House version contains most of the same provisions – it would bar employees from suing each other over workplace injuries and illnesses, and it would restore occupational disease claims within the workers’ comp system.  State Rep. Jacob Hummel (D, St. Louis) debated with the bill’s sponsor, Dave Schatz (R, Sullivan).

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House has passed legislation that would exempt doctors and other health care workers from being forced to perform medical procedures that violate their religious beliefs.

The bill re-ignited intense debate over women’s reproductive rights.  State Rep. Margo McNeil (D, Hazelwood) argued that allowing health professionals to opt out of performing certain procedures could result in a public health threat.

(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

The Missouri Senate today overrode a veto by Governor Jay Nixon (D) that would make changes to the state’s workers’ compensation system.

But the likelihood that the House will also override the Governor’s veto is virtually nonexistent, according to Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka).  He says they just don’t have the votes, even within their own party.

“We would have to first convince our caucus," Jones said.  "And even if we did, we’re still simply three votes short on a bill that no Democrat, I believe, has supported to this point…that’s a tough vote.”

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

With less than two months left in this year’s legislative session, House Republicans still haven’t scheduled a wide-ranging public school bill for debate.  It would create tax credit scholarships that would pay for students to transfer from unaccredited schools to adjacent better-performing schools, and expand charter schools beyond St. Louis and Kansas City. 

Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones admits there are wide differences of opinion on the bill, even among Republicans.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

A House committee heard testimony Wednesday evening on legislation that would abolish the death penalty in Missouri.  The bill would also commute sentences of all current Death Row inmates to life without parole.

Several people testified in favor of the bill, including Kevin Green, a California man who spent 16 years in prison on charges that he raped his wife and killed their unborn baby.  He was eventually exonerated after DNA evidence showed another man had committed the crime.  Green says doing hard time in prison is a harsher punishment than being executed.

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