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Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The speaker of the Missouri House is pushing lawmakers to restore caps on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

A 2005 Missouri law created a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.  But that cap was tossed out in 2012 by the Missouri Supreme Court. House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, surrounded by a group of medical professionals and lawmakers Thursday in Jefferson City, said restoring the caps will be one of his top priorities this year.

(Via Flickr/Mandalit)

St. Louis is one of seven cities that the Obama administration chose in the second wave of its Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative.

As a result the city will get a full-time federal employee who will work out of Mayor Francis Slay’s office for at least a year.

A team of federal employees and fellows also will provide technical assistance and inter-agency support.

The goal is to push economic development forward in struggling cities.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, has been tapped to deliver the Republican response to next Tuesday’s State of the State address by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat.

Jones had been on the short list for the response, usually delivered within minutes of the governor's annual speech. Others believed to be in the running had been Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who has delivered the response several times since Nixon took office, and state Auditor Tom Schweich, who’s running for re-election this fall.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The first full week of the Missouri’s General Assembly is officially underway, and already the focus has shifted away from the expected topics – tax cuts and Medicaid expansion – and landed smack dab in the midst of a potentially bruising battle over labor rights.

The fight offers the potential of overshadowing other legislative issues for weeks, if not months.

Robin Hood statue in Nottingham, England
Wikipedia

In America, we celebrate our thugs. They’re entrenched in the popular culture as familiar threads in the social fabric —collectively speaking, an integral part of who we are. After all, who didn’t like Tony Soprano?

Because they exist in the shared imagination as mythical figures, it really doesn’t matter that much whether the thugs are real or fictional. Al Capone and Don Corleone are equally well remembered.

kevindooley via Flickr

The state of Missouri recovered more than $47 million in fraudulent claims made by Medicaid providers in 2013.

That's about an average year for Attorney General Chris Koster's Medicaid Fraud Unit. The office has recovered as much as $100 million, and as little as $20 million, in a year.

Koster, a Democrat, says those wide variations are triggered by how much money Missouri receives from national settlements. But even though more national settlements means more money for the state's coffers, he says the fraud that concerns him the most is conducted by the smaller providers.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Time is running out for Normandy schools in north St. Louis County to win extra funding from Missouri lawmakers this school year.

Normandy and Riverview Gardens have experienced an exodus this school year due to the student transfer law.  Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro told the House Budget Committee Wednesday that she expects the Normandy School District will be bankrupt by the end of the year.

Show-Me Cannabis hopes to collect enough signatures to put a measure to legalize marijuana on the 2016 Missouri statewide ballot.
(via Flickr/peter.a photography)

Updated 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15

Advocates for partly legalizing the growing and use of marijuana in Missouri have gotten the go-ahead to circulate 13 different initiative petitions in the state.

But that doesn’t mean any of the proposals will be on this fall’s ballot.

On Wednesday, the Missouri secretary of state's office said it had approved all 13 initiatives for circulation. Nearly 158,000 signatures from registered voters will be needed to put any of the proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Updated 11:50 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15

The latest campaign-donation numbers are adding more intrigue to St. Louis area’s marquee contest this year between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and County Councilman Steve Stenger.

Stenger outraised fellow Democrat Dooley during the last quarter of 2013 -- $245,032 to $115,414. Their latest campaign reports, filed Wednesday, also show Stenger with more in the bank: $638,158 to $458,154.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander unveiled on Tuesday a wide-ranging ethics proposal he wants lawmakers to take up and pass this year.  It includes:

  • restoring campaign contribution limits,
  • banning gifts from lobbyists to all state elected officials,
  • requiring a three-year waiting period before ex-lawmakers can work as lobbyists. 

Kander, a Democrat, says if adopted, Missouri can go from having the worst ethics system in the country to the best.

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