The Missouri House has approved legislation allowing health care providers to refuse to participate in some tasks that violate their religious or ethical beliefs.
Wednesday's 117-37 vote sends the bill back to the Senate to consider changes made by the House.
The measure prohibits punishment of doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to participate in contraception, abortions, embryonic stem cell research and certain other procedures or research.
The Missouri Senate has passed a tax credit measure after hammering out an agreement between GOP leaders and fiscal conservatives who’ve been trying to reign in tax breaks for years.
The agreement would cap historic preservation tax credits at $75 million per year, give a one-year extension to food pantry and other charitable tax breaks, and create incentives to draw amateur sporting events to Missouri. State Senator Eric Schmitt (R, Glendale) urged the chamber to pass it before time runs out on the regular session.
The measure would bar employees from suing each other over workplace injuries and illnesses, but it leaves occupational disease claims within the court system and does not address the state’s ailing Second Injury Fund. State Rep. Dave Schatz (R, Sullivan) sponsored a different workers’ comp bill that addresses the fund and would move occupational disease claims to the workers’ comp system. He hopes it will pass, too.
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.
The Missouri House has approved language designed to bar the creation of a Kansas Jayhawks specialty license plate. The measure was added onto a larger higher education bill passed by the House Tuesday.
It would require legislative approval of specialty license plates that feature out-of-state colleges and universities. The sponsor, State Rep. Stephen Webber (D, Columbia), says it’s a direct result of Kansas dropping its football rivalry with Mizzou.
Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians today, in a ceremony that was kept under wraps until less than an hour before it happened.
Word of the ceremony leaked out after various media members spotted Limbaugh inside the Missouri Capitol. The ceremony was by invitation only, and the audience consisted of Republican lawmakers and family and friends. Limbaugh told the audience that other members of his family were more deserving of the honor, but he also thanked House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) for not rescinding it.
Reporting from Amanda Vinicky was used in this story.
Like its counterpart in Missouri, the Illinois General Assembly is heading into the home stretch.
Lawmakers there have a bit more time to get through their agenda - their session isn't scheduled to end until the end of May. But unlike lawmakers in Missouri, Illinois legislators have a monumental task in front of them - passing a state budget.
Most state agencies will have their budget cut by 9 percent.
Most of the big issues this legislative session were tied to the state budget, which has been passed and sent to Governor Jay Nixon. That has many political pundits wondering if the last week of the 2012 session will be anticlimactic. But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin tells us, there are still a few hot-button items left to fight over.
The $24 billion spending plan passed both chambers with little difficulty, but not without some complaints. State Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) was not happy with language restoring a health care program for blind Missourians. He says he’ll file a constitutional objection.