Missouri Senate

(Missouri Senate)

A commission tasked with redrawing State Senate districts in Missouri has thrown in the towel and will allow a panel of judges to do the job.

The main sticking point was over the 24th Senate District in St. Louis County.  Despite an approximate 59 percent Democratic population, the seat is held by a Republican, Senator John Lamping.

The Democrats on the redistricting commission, including Chairman Doug Harpool, cited population shifts for seeking to eliminate Lamping’s district and create a new one in southwestern Missouri.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The commission to redraw State Senate district boundaries in Missouri has given itself one more week to agree on a new map, or else it will hand over the responsibility to a panel of state judges.

The biggest dispute remaining is over how to redraw St. Louis County’s State Senate districts, according to commission chair Doug Harpool.

(via Flickr/xpda)

A Missouri Senate subcommittee heard testimony at the Capitol today from state officials who handle disaster response.

Andrea Spillars, Deputy Director of the Department of Public Safety, told the Subcommittee on Emergency Response that state and local officials coordinated their response efforts very well following the Joplin tornado.

A freshman State Senator wants Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) to call a special legislative session to approve a site permit for a second nuclear power plant.

Mike Kehoe (R, Jefferson City) carried the issue in the Senate this year.  He sent a letter to the governor requesting a special session.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Now that the dust has settled on a rather contentious 2011 legislative session, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is denying reports that he’s about to call a special session to deal with unresolved issues. 

The two most glaring are the Aerotropolis proposal and a major overhaul of the state’s tax credit system, and those bills were just a few examples of the contentious issues that lawmakers had to wrestle with this year.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation to limit workers’ compensation lawsuits. Lawmakers made changes to worker’s compensation rules in 2005, which the courts later determined gave employees the right to sue each other over workplace injuries. 

Republican Senator Jack Goodman of Lawrence County says his bill would eliminate that option.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri Senate last night stopped just short of approving legislation to restore local control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

Some amendments were added to the local control bill.  They include giving two-thirds of the slots on the police pension board to retired officers and those associated with the police retirement system.  GOP Senator Kevin Engler of Farmington says they held off on first-round approval last night in order to give both sides time to review the changes:

(via Flickr/jennlynndesign)

The last week of the 2011 Missouri legislative session has arrived.  Some major issues have already been resolved.  Lawmakers have passed the state budget, forced changes to dog breeding regulations in Proposition B and overridden the governor’s veto of the state’s congressional redistricting map - but there are still plenty of issues waiting for action.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri House has voted to override Governor Jay Nixon's (D) veto on a proposal to redraw the state's congressional districts.

The House overrode the veto today by a vote of 109-44.

Overriding the veto required a two-thirds majority.

Harrison Sweazea, Mo. Senate Communications Office

Updated 1:32 p.m. May 4:

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says the all-night filibuster in the Missouri Senate of a capital improvements bill containing federal stimulus funds was "political theatrics."

McCaskill, a Democrat, says she understands that the four Republican Senators are trying to send a message to Washington, and that message has been received loud and clear.

"The people that they're really filibustering against are the people of Missouri, because those projects that are funded are creating jobs," McCaskill said. "Our economy is recovering and most importantly it's funding public education in Missouri."

Updated:  7:00 a.m. May 4:

A group of four Republican senators have ended their all-night filibuster of a capital improvements bill that contains more than $465 million in federal stimulus funds.

They began blocking the bill Tuesday afternoon after their attempt to shrink the bill by $41 million was rebuffed by the Senate.

(Missouri Senate Website)

The Missouri Senate has passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would alter term limits for state lawmakers.

Currently, House and Senate members can serve no more than eight years in their respective chambers, although they can switch chambers and serve another eight years across the Rotunda.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Early this morning, the Missouri Senate gave first-round approval to a major overhaul of the state's tax credit system.  

The wide-ranging bill would phase out numerous incentive programs while reducing others.  Among those being partially eliminated is a tax break enabling low-income senior citizens to offset either property taxes or monthly rent payments.  It's sponsored by GOP Senator Chuck Purgason of Howell County.

(Missouri Senate)

Nearly a week after failing to agree on a congressional redistricting map, House and Senate negotiators unveiled a compromise which both chambers passed Wednesday night.

The “grand compromise map” resolves sticking points over how to divvy up Jefferson County among three congressional districts and St. Charles County among two.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Legislation overhauling Missouri's domestic violence laws for the first time since the 1970s has won unanimous approval in the state Senate.

Thursday's vote was 33-0. The bill now goes to the House.

Among other things, the wide-ranging measure would require that state prosecutors rather than local authorities handle cases involving repeat domestic violence offenders.

It would also exempt victims from paying filing fees when they ask a court to enforce a protection order.

The Missouri Senate has passed the state budget for next year.

The Senate’s $23.2 billion spending plan cuts the state’s higher education budget by 4.8 percent, and provides an additional $20 million for school bus funding.  Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) sponsored the budget bills in the Senate.

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The Missouri Senate has passed a funding plan for public schools as it begins debate on a $23 billion proposed budget.

  • A Senate budget bill approved Wednesday would provide schools $3 billion in basic aid next year - the same amount as this year but an estimated $179 million less than called for under the school funding formula.

Legislators and Gov. Jay Nixon say the state cannot afford to pay schools the full amount they are due.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation restoring federally funded jobless benefits to thousands of Missourians, but cutting aid to people laid off in the future.

Nixon's signature Wednesday means retroactive payments will go out later this week or early next week to about 10,000 people whose eligibility for unemployment benefits ended April 2. It also means that people who lose their jobs on Sunday or later will be eligible for just 20 weeks of state-funded benefits instead of 26.

(via Flickr/CarbonNYC)

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation extending several health care taxes that help generate about $3 billion annually for state's Medicaid program.

The special taxes are levied on such things hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies. They are used to draw down federal Medicaid money, which is then distributed to health care providers through various programs.

Missouri's health care taxes are to expire Sept. 30.

Mo. House of Representatives

The congressional redistricting map passed by the Missouri House last week is now in the hands of the State Senate.

And the consensus so far is that both Democrats and Republicans don’t like it.

(via Flickr/xavi talleda)

Thousands of low-income parents would see their state child-care subsidies reduced under a budget plan passed by a Missouri Senate committee.

The plan approved Tuesday would reduce monthly child-care subsidies for about 6,600 children while extending benefits to an estimated 570 children whose parents currently earn too much to qualify.

Mo. House of Representatives

Another filibuster in the Missouri Senate may be brewing, this time over redistricting.   

Majority Floor Leader Tom Dempsey (R, St. Charles) says he expects fellow GOP Senator Bill Stouffer (R, Napton) to try and block the redistricting map passed this week by the House, and possibly the Senate version as well.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Four Missouri State Senators have ended their filibuster of legislation to draw down $105 million in extended federal unemployment benefits.

On Wednesday, the four senators, led by Jim Lembke (R, Lemay), had offered to end their filibuster if Governor Jay Nixon (D) would reject $300 million in federal stimulus funds.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation imposing more restrictions on late-term abortions.

The legislation would remove a general exception for a woman's health from a current state law banning abortions of viable fetuses. Instead, the legislation would allow such abortions only when the woman's life is endangered or when pregnancy risks permanent damage to a major bodily function.

Mo. Senate

A Missouri Senate committee today released and voted to approve its proposal to redraw the state’s congressional districts.   

The Senate map is similar to the House map, as both split up the district represented by Democrat Russ Carnahan among four other districts, three of which are currently represented by Republicans.

(via Flickr/ FiredUpMissouri)

Extended unemployment benefits will end this Saturday for thousands of Missourians after the state Senate failed to reauthorize participation in a federal program.

St. Louis County senator Jim Lembke led the effort to block the 20-week extension of federal unemployment benefits, filibustering the legislation along with three other Republican senators.

Lembke said he did so in order to send a message to Washington that the federal government needs to rein in its spending.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A Missouri Senate committee heard testimony today on the St. Louis police local control bill that easily passed the Missouri House last month

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay told the committee on governmental organization that an overwhelming majority of voters support local control, and that under state control, city residents have no input into how the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is run.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation that would prevent employees from suing co-workers for on-the-job injuries.

The measure also states that some occupational diseases, including those caused by asbestos exposure, would be covered by the state's workers' compensation system.

  • The St. Louis Blues are for sale. Team chairman Dave Checketts said Wednesday night that his group, Sports Capital Partners Worldwide, and Towerbrook Capital Partners have placed the NHL franchise and the Scottrade Center on the market. The two groups own roughly 90 percent of the franchise. Checketts, who placed at least a pair of deadlines on the table regarding purchasing majority ownership, cited a difference in terms with TowerBrook on the value of the franchise.
Mo. Senate

A group of fiscally conservative Missouri senators is continuing to block legislation to draw down $81 million in federal unemployment benefits, even though Senate Republican leaders support the bill.

State Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) has been leading the filibuster for weeks.  He says rejecting the money would send a message to Washington that it needs to reign in spending.

(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

The Missouri Senate has approved legislation changing the rules for lawsuits by people claiming they were fired because of discrimination.

Missouri law now requires such workers to prove that discrimination was a "contributing" factor in a firing.

The Senate bill would require a showing that discrimination was a "motivating" factor. It would also limit the amount of damages that could be awarded in such cases.

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