Politics & Issues

Missouri state budget
6:39 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Missouri budget stalemate continues

Mo. Capitol
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House and Senate are still at an impasse over next year’s state budget.

The Senate has made no progress on persuading Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) to stop blocking every bill in the Senate, including one to fund veterans’ homes.  He says he has no objections to transferring gaming revenues from early childhood programs to nursing homes for military vets, but he won’t allow it or any other bill to advance unless the House strips more than $2 million in extra funding from Southeast Missouri State University.  President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) says other Senators have sided with Crowell on the issue.

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Rush Limbaugh / Mo. Capitol
3:36 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Location of Limbaugh bust unclear

A screen capture of a post on sculptor E. Spencer Schubert's website saying he was transporting a bust of Dred Scott to Jefferson City. This post was a changed version - the original said he was also carting the bust of Rush Limbaugh.
(screen capture)

Rumors swept the Missouri Capitol that the bust of conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was being delivered today, along with the bust of former slave Dred Scott.

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Missouri House/Child Care
1:38 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Mo. House backs limits on child care rating system

(via Flickr/katerha)

The Missouri House has approved a measure intended to block rating systems from being used at child care centers and preschools.

The child care measure passed Tuesday is tied to legislation that also would create a dedicated funding stream for state veterans' homes. Both items have been at the center of a legislative logjam that so far has prevented the state's $24 billion budget from passing.

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Mo. State budget
12:01 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Crowell shuts down Missouri Senate

Mo. Senator Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau)
(Harrison Sweazea/Mo. Senate)

The Missouri Senate has been shut down by one Senator over which version of legislation for veterans’ homes will be adopted.

Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) and several allies tied up the Senate for nearly 12 hours Monday night and are provoking a showdown with Senate leaders.  In addition to using a filibuster to block the veterans’ homes bill, Crowell is using several motions to block all bills from being debated.

“We have some issues that need to be resolved in the Senate before we move forward, and they’re gonna be resolved one way or the other," Crowell said.  "I will continue to make this series of motions on anything else that we do.”

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Gateway Arch
11:42 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Arch sales tax legislation sent to Gov. Nixon

The Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis
(St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri lawmakers have approved legislation that would allow residents in the St. Louis area to vote on whether to raise a local sales tax to help fund improvements at the Gateway Arch.

The measure would allow a local election on a 3/16 percent sales tax. Part of the money would go to the Gateway Arch, and a portion would go to local parks. It also would allow voters in the Kansas City area to decide on a 1/10th percent sales tax for parks, trails and greenways in Jackson County.

Missouri Budget
12:38 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Mo. budget negotiators back 2 percent pay raise for state employees

House and Senate budget negotiators resumed talks today, but still have not resolved differences over how to fund veterans homes and health care for the blind.

They agreed on numerous budget items that have garnered little to no controversy.  The House won out on its proposed pay raise for state workers – those earning under $70,000 a year would get a 2 percent raise starting in July.  Kirk Schaefer (R, Columbia), the Senate’s chief negotiator, says he didn’t mind accepting the House’s position on pay raises.

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Missouri state budget
4:50 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Impasse over Mo. budget with one week left to pass it

House and Senate budget conferees meet briefly Thursday, 5-3-2012, at the Mo. Capitol.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

House and Senate budget negotiators remain at an impasse on what’s become the main barrier to reaching an agreement:  finding a way to fund veterans’ homes.

The House this week passed legislation that would fund veterans homes with gaming revenues currently designated for early childhood programs, and replace it with money from a tobacco settlement.  The Senate has so far refused to take up the measure.  House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) accuses Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) of playing games.

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Clay and Carnahan face off
4:53 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Clay and Carnahan disagree on impact of primary race

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-St. Louis) and William "Lacy" Clay (D-St. Louis) (R).
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri congressmen Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan have some differences of opinion when it comes to the potential political impact of their Democratic primary battle. 

Both are running for the Democratic nomination in the 1st congressional district, which Clay has represented since 2001. Carnahan decided to challenge Clay after Carnahan’s south St. Louis city and county district was split up following the 2010 census. Clay calls the situation “unfortunate".

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Transportation
2:54 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Mo. Senate opts for highway study over I-70 toll road debate

Interstate 70 near the exit to Providence Road in Columbia, Mo.
(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

It appears unlikely that Missouri lawmakers will pass any legislation this year that would turn Interstate Highway 70 into a toll road.

Senate Transportation Chairman Bill Stouffer (R, Napton) says the proposal has gotten a lot of negative feedback.

“We had excellent hearings this year, but it became very clear that until we raise the awareness of the public and the need in the public that we would be spinning our wheels to move any further," Stouffer said.

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Education
1:42 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Mo. House narrowly OKs changes to teacher layoffs

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The Missouri House has narrowly approved legislation that would prohibit seniority and salary from being considered when laying off teachers.

The bill would require school administrators to make teacher performance the most important factor in teacher layoffs, rather than starting layoffs with teachers who have not earned tenure.

Training and certification also could be considered.

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