Politics & Issues

death penalty
9:44 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Death penalty abolition bill before Mo. House committee

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

A House committee heard testimony Wednesday evening on legislation that would abolish the death penalty in Missouri.  The bill would also commute sentences of all current Death Row inmates to life without parole.

Several people testified in favor of the bill, including Kevin Green, a California man who spent 16 years in prison on charges that he raped his wife and killed their unborn baby.  He was eventually exonerated after DNA evidence showed another man had committed the crime.  Green says doing hard time in prison is a harsher punishment than being executed.

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Mo. State budget
3:59 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Crowell threatens to derail state budget approval over one-time monies

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

One day after the Missouri House gave first-round approval to the state budget, a state Senator is threatening to derail the entire budget process.

Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) is objecting to the use of one-time sources of money to plug holes in the FY2013 budget.  He singled out both Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and House GOP leaders for plans to divert $40 million from a federal mortgage settlement to the state’s Higher Education budget.

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Missouri Budget
7:17 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Mo. House endorses Budget

Missouri State Capitol dome
Flickr/david_shane

Missouri’s state budget for next year has received first-round approval by the State House. 

As promised, Republican leaders defunded a program that aids blind Missourians and used the money to erase Governor Jay Nixon’s proposed cuts to Higher Education. 

House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey told the chamber he’s no longer willing to cut money from Missouri’s universities and community colleges:

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Mo. State budget
3:50 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Mo. House debating FY2013 state budget

Mo. House chamber
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House is debating all 13 bills this afternoon that make up the state’s proposed budget for next year.

Lawmakers are offering up several amendments to the budget – one in particular would have shifted $150,000 from the state’s biodiesel fund to Alzheimer’s patients.  It was sponsored by State Rep. Tracy McCreery (I, Olivette).

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Security at Mo. Capitol
3:31 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Mo. Senate debates adding more cameras in Capitol

An inside look at the Missouri Capitol.
(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri Senate is considering legislation that would beef up security at the State Capitol.

The bill would increase the number of security cameras at the State Capitol and allow the Governor’s Office of Administration to hire private, armed security guards if needed.  It’s sponsored by Robin Wright-Jones (D, St. Louis).  She filed the bill shortly after someone placed rifle target stickers outside her office and the offices of several other Democratic Senators and one House Republican lawmaker.

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Tom Schweich
1:57 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Schweich will not run for U.S. Senate

Missouri state Auditor Tom Schweich.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich has decided not to enter the Republican race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Schweich said in a statement Tuesday that he determined his candidacy would have made the Republican Senate primary more contentious, and thus would not have helped Republican chances of defeating McCaskill in November.

The Senate race already includes three prominent Republicans - former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin and businessman John Brunner.

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Health Insurance Exchange
1:25 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Mo. Senate votes down health insurance exchange

(via Flickr/Jennifer_Boriss)

The Missouri Senate has rejected an attempt to set up a state-run health insurance exchange.

The exchanges are part of the federal health care law approved in 2009. States are required to create exchanges by 2014 so that individuals and small business can compare health insurance plans.

On Monday, Sen. Joe Keaveny tried to add an amendment setting up the exchanges to a life insurance bill being debated by the Senate.

The full Senate rejected the amendment in a voice vote.

firefighter pensions
9:30 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

STL firefighter pensions bill heard by Mo. House committee

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A Missouri House committee heard testimony Monday on legislation that would make cuts to the pension system for St. Louis firefighters.

The bill would not go as far as a proposal made by Mayor Francis Slay:  Among the differences, Slay’s plan would have all firefighters put 9 percent of their salaries into the system, and new hires would not get any of that money back upon retirement.  The bill in the State House would have new firefighters put in 8 percent, and upon retirement would get back 25 percent of what they paid in.  F.I.R.E. Chairman and St. Louis firefighter Abram Pruitt, Junior, traveled to Jefferson City to support the bill.

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Ethics
2:10 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Mo. House Democrats propose new ethics measure

The chambers of the Missouri House of Representatives.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

House Democrats are backing legislation they say would toughen Missouri’s ethics standards.

The bill would restore many provisions recently struck down by the State Supreme Court:  They include banning committee-to-committee money transfers and giving the Missouri Ethics Commission the authority to launch its own investigations.  The High Court struck them down because they were tacked onto another bill that had nothing to do with ethics.  State Rep. Tishaura Jones (D, St. Louis) says she’s filing a new bill because GOP leaders have so far done nothing following the Supreme Court ruling.

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Nixon vetoes bills
5:45 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Nixon vetoes workplace discrimination and workers' comp bills

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon (D)
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has vetoed two workplace-related bills passed by Missouri lawmakers this year.  They are the first vetoes issued this year.

First, he vetoed the House version of the workplace discrimination bill, which would have redefined discrimination as a “motivating factor” instead of a “contributing factor” in any action taken by an employer against a worker.  The Senate version of the bill is still alive, however.  It was sponsored by State Senator Brad Lager (R, Savannah).

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