Politics & Issues

Judicial selection
3:52 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Mo. Senate endorses changes to judge selection

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

Updated 4: 14 p.m.

Missouri senators have endorsed changes in the procedure for nominating candidates for the state Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.

A seven-member commission screens applicants for vacancies on the state's high court and the three districts of the Court of Appeals. The panel recommends three finalists, from which the governor makes the appointment.

The commission is currently made up of a judge, three lawyers and three people selected by the governor.

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MO Statehouse
12:02 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Mo. House passes new rules for workplace whistleblowers

An interior view of the dome at the Missouri Capitol.
(via Flickr/jennlynndesign)

The Missouri House has approved legislation that could make it harder for employees to be shielded from retaliation by their employer for reporting wrongdoing in the workplace.

In an 86-66 vote Thursday, the House approved a measure that limits "whistleblower" status to employees who report or refuse to carry out illegal acts. The bill also caps the amount of punitive damages a person can recover if a company retaliates against the whistleblower.

Mo. budget/blind pensions
6:19 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Silvey calls restoration of blind pensions by Mo. Senate puzzling & hypocritical

Mo. Rep. Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City)
(Tim Bommel/Mo. House communications)

The budget chairman for the Missouri House is not happy with the Senate’s decision early Wednesday morning to restore $28 million for blind pensions.

An amendment by State Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) reversed the cut that the House wanted to use for Higher Education.  State Rep. Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) authored the original cut, stating that the pension program is for blind residents who have too much money to be on Medicaid.  He calls the Senate’s actions puzzling.

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Auto parts tax break
5:28 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Auto parts tax break endorsed by Mo. House

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

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to legislation that would expand tax breaks for auto parts manufacturers.

Ford and General Motors already have access to the incentives.  State Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R, Lake St. Louis), the bill’s sponsor, says it would expand the benefit to smaller auto parts builders.

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Mo. Senate passes budget
3:08 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Missouri Senate passes state budget, restores blind pensions

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

The Missouri Senate passed a $24 billion state budget early this morning, following several hours of debate and closed-door negotiations.

The Senate spending plan for FY2013 directly challenges the Missouri House's position on blind pensions.  By a narrow margin, Senators restored $28 million in state funding cut by the House last month, while leaving in $18 million in federal Medicaid dollars.  Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) says they now have more room to maneuver when negotiations with the House begin on the final version of the budget.

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Missouri House/Tanning
4:24 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Mo. House endorses restrictions on teen tanning bed use

(via Flickr/theogeo)

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to legislation that would require most teenagers to get their parents’ permission to use tanning beds.  Those younger than 17 would have to have a parent or guardian show up in person at the tanning salon and sign a document giving their consent. 

The bill’s sponsor, GOP House Member Gary Cross of Lee’s Summit, says his daughter suffered cell damage from regular tanning bed use.

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Radioactive shipping
10:05 am
Tue April 24, 2012

Bill would ease rules on radioactive shipments through Mo.

An interior view of the dome at the Missouri Capitol.
(via Flickr/jennlynndesign)

Legislation before the Missouri House would make it easier and cheaper for a Canadian company to ship radioactive material through the state.

If the bill becomes law, Ontario-based Nordion Inc. would not have to pay fees or have shipments of colbat-60 undergo mandatory inspections in Missouri. The company sells colbat-60 for use sterilizing medical devices.

The Kansas City Star reports the amendment was written by a trade group for Nordion.

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State budget blocked
6:52 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Mo. budget being blocked by group of fiscally conservative Senators

iPad photo of Mo. Senate chamber while the body was officially at-ease Monday night, 4-23-2012. A group of fiscally conservative Republicans began blocking the state's supplemental budget bill late Monday afternoon.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate convened Monday afternoon preparing to debate next year's state budget, and almost immediately Senator Jason Crowell launched a filibuster.

The Republican from Cape Girardeau had promised weeks ago that he would block the budget over its use of one-time funds to fill holes in next year’s spending plan.  Gradually throughout the evening, other fiscally conservative Senators joined in, including Jim Lembke (R, Lemay), Rob Schaaf (R, St. Joseph), and Luann Ridgeway (R, Smithville).

Early on, Crowell spent part of the filibuster lampooning the Missouri House for cutting pensions for the blind.

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workplace deaths
5:21 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Missouri honors workers who died on the job in 2011

A wreath memorializing workers who died on the job in Missouri last year was displayed at a ceremony on 4-23-2012 in the State Capitol.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri workers who lost their lives on the job were remembered today at a Workers' Memorial Day ceremony at the State Capitol.

More than 130 family members of workers who lost their lives attended the ceremony, including Steffenie Quinlan from Bolivar.  Her husband, John, was a laborer who was electrocuted while on the job.

“I am very pleased that they honor(ed) them," Quinlan said.  "Everyone that’s worked on the job and died on the job should be honored.”

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Missouri Auditor
2:00 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Mo. auditor halts fiscal estimates for initiatives

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

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich has instructed his staff to stop doing financial estimates for ballot initiatives because of several recent court decisions.

Schweich says the court rulings have made it impossible to conduct financial estimates that can withstand legal challenges.

The memo telling staff to temporarily stop providing financial analyses for initiatives was obtained by The Associated Press under an open-records request.

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