Politics & Issues

Political news

(via Flickr/JD Hancock)

Missouri House members have endorsed legislation to offer amnesty to delinquent taxpayers.

The measure would waive interest and penalties for those who pay their tax bills between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31. Supporters estimate the measure could bring in as much as $74 million to the state. Plus, they say it would give individuals and companies an opportunity to wipe their slate clean.

The legislation gained first-round approval Wednesday and needs another vote before moving to the Senate.

Some Missouri lawmakers say the state should do away with its tenure system for teachers and make students' academic performance a big part of their evaluations.

A House panel heard testimony Wednesday on legislation that would require 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation to be based on students' scores on state tests. Teachers would not be guaranteed salary increases based on their classroom experience. The changes would take effect in July 2012.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri's Republican State Committee is taking aim at Governor Jay Nixon already.

There's no Republican candidate yet in the 2012 race for Missouri governor.

But the GOP committee is already running a radio spot that lambasts the Democratic governor's air travel expenses, referring to him as "Air Jay".

Nixon has come under fire for billing state agencies $400,000 over two years for his air travel around the state.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to legislation that would prohibit the state's minimum wage from exceeding the federal rate.

In 2006, Missouri voters approved a ballot initiative that set the state's minimum wage at $6.50 an hour, and allowed future minimums to rise based on the rate of inflation.  It now matches the federal level of $7.25 an hour.

Mo. State Auditor's Office

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) says he supports legislation that would require details about the governor's flights around the state to be posted to a state website.

The bill in question has been approved by the Missouri House and is now before the Senate.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

South County Republican state Senator Jim Lembke says the opinion issued last week by attorney general Chris Koster still doesn't convince him that some municipal ordinances authorizing red light cameras are legal.

Lembke, who's introduced legislation again this year that would ban the use of the cameras, says he agrees that local governments are allowed to put up the cameras.

AP photo/Andy Manis

Missouri legislative leaders don't expect walkouts by Democrats in Wisconsin and other Midwestern states over labor union issues to happen here.

Democrats and union leaders in the Show-Me State are opposing legislation in the State Senate that would make Missouri a right-to-work state.

Updated 5:40 p.m. Feb. 25, 2011.

A State Senator from rural western Missouri has announced he'll seek the Republican nomination for Secretary of State next year.

Bill Stouffer (R, Napton) was first elected to the Missouri Senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2008.

He made an unsuccessful bid for Congress last year, losing the GOP nod to Vicky Hartzler in Missouri's 4th District.  Hartzler later unseated incumbent Democrat Ike Skelton.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate has passed a resolution that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls.

The proposed constitutional amendment was passed without debate along party lines, with all seven Democrats voting "no" and all Republicans present voting "yes."

The Missouri House has voted to change the state's laws about workplace discrimination.

In a 95-59 vote Thursday, the House passed legislation that would change the legal standard people must meet when alleging in a lawsuit that they were fired for discriminatory reasons. The bill now goes to the Senate.

A Missouri Senate committee has approved legislation that would restore local control to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, but not before adding a provision that could also kill it.

The amendment would reduce the number of city aldermen in St. Louis to 14, and the number of wards from 28 to seven.

The move comes one day after a related bill easily passed the Missouri House.

Mo. State Auditor's office

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich has announced a proposal to review how several state agencies spend money.

The one-time review would compare spending habits of five to 10 of Missouri's largest state agencies.  Schweich says it could save the state millions of dollars.

(via Flickr/ **Maurice**)

Missouri lawmakers have endorsed legislation intended to limit lawsuits against large-scale animal farms.

Bills given initial approval Wednesday in the House and Senate would affect nuisance lawsuits against the owners of land used for agricultural purposes such as animal or crop production.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed in Missouri in recent years alleging that odors from large barns of hogs are a nuisance to neighbors.

Missouri House members have voted without dissent to require information about the governor's travel to be posted on a state website.

(Flickr Creative Commons User JD Hancock)

A House committee has voted along partisan lines to advance a proposal eliminating Missouri's income taxes and replacing them with a higher sales tax.

The vote Wednesday by the House Tax Reform Committee marked the first step toward moving the so-called "Fair Tax" proposal to the 2012 statewide ballot. All the Republicans on the committee voted for the measure and all the Democrats opposed it.

For the first time ever, the Missouri House has passed legislation to give the city of St. Louis control over its police department, which has been under state control since the Civil War.

The vote was 109 to 46 in favor, and the bill now goes to the Missouri Senate.

A Missouri lawmaker wants organizers of initiative petitions to collect signatures from all of the state's congressional districts before their measures go on ballots.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri lawmakers are considering moving back the state's 2012 presidential primaries.

A bill by Republican Sen. Kevin Engler, of Farmington, would change next year's primaries from early February to early March.

Missouri has held presidential primaries in February under a state law.

Mo. Dept. of Conservation

The Missouri Department of Conservation would have to reimburse landowners for any damage caused by the reintroduction of elk, under a bill filed this week in the State Senate.

If passed, the state would be liable for damage to crops, pastures, livestock, buildings and other property, as well as injuries in traffic crashes caused by elk.

The Federal Election Commission says Missouri Democrat Robin Carnahan can set up a legal defense fund to help cover $85,000 of costs from a copyright lawsuit brought by the Fox News Network.

A proposal seeking a constitutional convention to allow states to repeal federal laws has divided some conservatives in the Missouri House.

The resolution by Jefferson City Republican Jay Barnes urges Congress to call a convention to draft a constitutional amendment allowing states to repeal federal laws, if two-thirds vote to do so.

But debate stalled on the measure this past week without reaching a vote.

Jamilah Nasheed
Tim Bommel | Mo. House of Representatives

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to legislation that would return control of the Metropolitan Police Department to the city of St. Louis.

The department has been under state control since the Civil War.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House committee has passed a bill that would bar abortions of fetuses deemed capable of living outside the womb.

The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks unless two doctors verify that a fetus is either not viable or is a medical threat to the mother.

A state House member wants to amend the Missouri Constitution to let parents receive public funding to send children to religious schools.

The proposal by Jefferson City Republican Jay Barnes would repeal a prohibition on public money going to religious schools. If approved by the full House and Senate, it would go on a statewide ballot.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation that would require Missouri voters to show photo identification at the polls is advancing in both chambers of the General Assembly.

First, a Missouri House committee this morning passed a resolution that would put the photo ID question before voters as a constitutional amendment, along with a bill that would implement the amendment into state law if passed.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Two bills making their way through the Missouri House would target bullying in public schools across the state.

State Representative Sue Allen (R, Town and Country) is sponsoring one of them.  It would require all K-12 schools to issue a statement prohibiting bullying and to install procedures for reporting and investigating incidents of bullying.

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich is looking into the local offices that issue Missouri vehicle and driver's licenses.

Schweich said Monday his audit will examine the Department of Revenue's process for awarding contracts to run the offices. He also plans to review the operating procedures of some of the 183 license offices.

Mike Jones, Senior policy advisor to St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley, has been nominated to the Missouri state Board of Education.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced his nomination via press release today.

 

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says proposals to replace the state's income tax with an expanded sales tax is the wrong way to go.

Nixon spoke Wednesday to members of The Associated Press and the Missouri Press Association at their annual Capitol media event.

Nixon says the tax proposals would require raising the sales tax and levying it on purchases that currently are not subject to that tax. He says that is not smart.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has passed a bill that would place diseases contracted on the job under the state's workers' compensation system.

Currently, workers who've contracted illnesses such as Black Lung disease and Mesothelioma are ineligible to receive workers' comp benefits, but they can can sue their employers in circuit court.

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