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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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):
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.
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.
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.