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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.