Missouri Senate

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would add cell phone numbers to the state’s Do-Not-Call list.

There was little to no debate on the bill Monday and it was easily approved by voice-vote.  The sponsor, State Senator Will Kraus (R, Lee's Summit), says the measure has failed in recent years because it was always paired with proposals to ban robo-calls.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation that would redefine what constitutes discrimination in the workplace.

The vote was a mere formality following last week’s battle to kill the measure.  Maria Chappelle-Nadal of University City and several other Senate Democrats had conducted a filibuster, but gave in after language guaranteeing jury trials in discrimination lawsuits was added to the bill.  But she still spoke out against it, in particular, the Missouri Chamber’s claim that the bill would help curb frivolous lawsuits.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would redefine workplace discrimination, after an agreement was reached between the bill’s sponsor and a group of Democrats that had been blocking it.

The agreement took the form of an amendment to the bill, which would guarantee the right to a jury trial in any workplace discrimination case.  State Senator Brad Lager (R, Savannah), the bill’s sponsor, agreed to support the amendment.

(Mo. Senate)

Stickers with rifle target crosshairs printed on them have been found in the office doorways of several Missouri lawmakers.

They were discovered Tuesday afternoon outside the offices of five Democratic State Senators and one Republican State Representative.  The stickers were twice found outside the Capitol office of Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal of University City.

Current and Jacks Fork rivers
National Parks Service

From barbecue to Branson, Missouri possesses plenty of noteworthy ventures. But a push is underway to showcase one of the state's most scenic features -- its rivers.

State Sen. John Lamping, R-Ladue, plans to introduce a resolution Tuesday in the Missouri Senate to spur the state's Department of Tourism to tout Missouri as the "Great Rivers State."

(via Flickr/david_shane)

Updated 5:21 p.m. with Gov. Nixon asking for nominees for new citizens commission

The Missouri Supreme Court has struck down new state Senate districts and ordered a further legal review of new U.S. House districts.

The rulings Tuesday add fresh uncertainty for the 2012 election year, just weeks before candidates are to begin filing for office.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Mo. Senators pushing legislation to make information available about grants and budget cuts

The legislation would require details about federal grants worth at least $1 million to be posted on the Missouri Accountability Portal, which is an online tool for tracking state expenses.  It also would require the governor to post a daily report on that website listing how much money he has withheld from state agencies and programs to help balance the budget.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The legal battle over Missouri’s new congressional map resumed today. 

The State Supreme Court heard arguments over whether the so-called “Grand Compromise Map” fails to meet the State Constitution’s compactness requirement.  Attorney Gerry Greiman argued for the plaintiffs in one of two lawsuits against the map.  He says like-minded people should be joined together in the same district.

(via Flickr/jennlynndesign)

Missouri lawmakers are again trying to change the rules for workplace discrimination cases after similar legislation was vetoed last year.

A Senate committee endorsed legislation Thursday that supporters say would align Missouri laws with federal protections. The measure would require discrimination to be a "motivating factor" - instead of the current lesser standard of a contributing factor - in wrongful termination cases. That bill now goes to the full Senate.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A State Senate committee heard testimony today on legislation designed to block Governor Jay Nixon (D) from creating a health insurance exchange.

The proposed exchange is part of the national health care law signed by President Obama nearly two years ago.  All states are required to have an online exchange where customers can buy health coverage, and any state that doesn’t have one by the year 2014 will have one created for them by Washington.  The bill sponsored by State Senator Rob Schaaf (R, St. Joseph) would block the Governor and any agency under his authority from creating an exchange by executive order.

(Tim Bommel/Mo. House of Representatives)

State Representative Jamilah Nasheed announced Tuesday she's running for the state Senate.

The St. Louis Democrat is running against fellow Democratic incumbent Senator Robin Wright-Jones.

Following redistricting Nasheed's district now includes two other current state representatives, but she says that's not why she's chosen to run for a Senate seat.

“I'm running simply because I truly believe the city of St. Louis truly needs leadership,” Nasheed said. “Right now in the Senate under Robin Wright-Jones, the city hasn't had an effective voice.”

(via Flickr/Senator Blunt)

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says the failure of two balanced-budget amendments today shows Senate Democrats aren’t serious about dealing with the deficit.

The defeat of both bills – one from Democrats, one from Republicans – ends the current push to force a yearly balanced budget from Congress.  Blunt, who voted for the Republican-backed bill, says the fact that neither party could pass their amendment speaks to the heart of the Senate’s disfunction. 

(Missouri Office of Administration website)

A six-judge panel that redrew Missouri’s State House and Senate districts has made a few changes to the Senate map.

The original map had raised constitutional concerns because it divided rural Johnson County in western Missouri among two separate Senate districts.  The county is represented in the Senate by Republican David Pearce of Warrensburg.

(via Flickr/Lauren Manning)

Missouri lawmakers will again push legislation aimed at preventing an exodus of Kansas City and St. Louis students from their failing schools and overwhelming neighboring districts.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled last year that students living in unaccredited districts are owed free transfers and that accredited schools must take the students. The courts continue to work out the details.

(Missouri State Redistricting Office)

Updated at 6:42 p.m. with comments from Mo. Sen. Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield).

New redistricting plans and maps for the Missouri General Assembly have been filed with the Missouri Secretary of State's office.

Redistricting occurs every 10 years, and is based on results from the census. Missouri's most recent census data, with shifts and increases in population, required significant changes to be made.

“We have worked collaboratively to draw maps that comply with the constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and other legal requirements,” Lisa White Hardwick, chair of the Missouri Appellate Apportionment Commission, said in a release.

The St. Louis area has lost a State Senate district.  The 7th District is represented by Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) and mainly consists of western St. Louis County.  Starting in 2013, it will consist of six counties to the north and west of the metro area and a small portion of St. Charles County.  Cunningham says she’ll now run for the 27th District Senate seat, which will include parts of St. Louis and Jefferson Counties.

“I had expected much of this area to be mine anyway, I’ve already been working in many of what would be new areas, and so they know me," Cunningham said.  "Our home is in another area, but this is my stomping grounds.”

Cunningham will have to move to a new home in order to live in the new 27th District, which she calls a minor inconvenience.  The new State Senate boundaries also have Cunningham’s current home in the same district as fellow Republican Senator John Lamping

Here are the newly submitted maps for the St. Louis region (click within each to expand and explore):

(via Flickr/Daniel Morrison)

An attempt to replace Missouri’s presidential primary with statewide caucuses has failed in the State Senate, meaning the February 7th Democratic and Republican primaries will go on as scheduled.

Before the vote, some amendments were offered, including one that would have moved the primary forward to January.  None of them passed, but they reflected efforts by several Republicans to preserve the state's primary.  State Senator Eric Schmitt (R, Glendale) said that caucuses result in fewer people having a say in who they want for president.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The full Missouri Senate is set to convene next week, October 17th, to make one last attempt at reaching an agreement on a wide-ranging economic development bill.

The biggest sticking point remains whether to place 7-year expiration dates, or sunsets, on low income and historic preservation tax credits.  The Missouri House removed the sunsets before passing the bill last week, a move opposed by the Senate.

President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) says he’ll ask the Senate to vote to appoint conferees, who would meet with House leaders and try to hammer out a final version of the bill.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Lawmakers have left Jefferson City and are not scheduled to return, even though the special session is still officially underway.  House and Senate leaders are still at odds over a wide-ranging tax credit bill.

The only legislative action so far this week was Monday’s technical session in the Missouri Senate, in which two Senators gaveled the chamber in, took no action, then gaveled out about a minute later.  The House is scheduled to hold a similarly brief session on Thursday.

(UPi/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 9:39 a.m. Sept. 14

A smaller version of the wide-ranging tax credit bill received first-round approval Tuesday in the Missouri Senate.  GOP Senate leaders realized there was not enough support within their own caucus for passing $360 million in air cargo incentives, not to mention a threatened filibuster. 

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri State Senator who sponsored the measure strictly limiting teacher-student contact via Facebook and other social media has filed legislation she says will clear up any confusion over the new law.

The issue was added Tuesday to the call of the special session by Governor Jay Nixon (D), but in his call the governor only stipulated that the language in question be removed, not replaced with new language.