Politics & Issues

MO Statehouse
2:34 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Mo. House OKs adding cellphones to No Call List

(via Flickr/denharsh)

Legislation allowing Missourians to place their cellphone numbers on the state's telemarketing No Call List is moving forward.

The House voted 147-0 Thursday for the bill allowing the addition of cellphones to the list, which would put them off-limits to most solicitations by phone call or text message. Sponsoring House member Todd Richardson, a Republican form Poplar Bluff, says expanding the registry would protect the privacy of Missourians.

The legislation moves to the Senate, which has already endorsed a similar bill.

Cocaine
1:41 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Mo. House OKs trimming disparity in cocaine sentences

A pile of crack cocaine ‘rocks.'
(via Wikimedia Commons/Drug Enforcement Administration)

Missouri House members have endorsed legislation that would reduce the disparity in prison sentences between people charged with crack and powder cocaine crimes.

Under current state laws, someone found with 2 grams of crack faces the same prison sentence as a person who has 150 grams of cocaine.

The proposed legislation would raise the minimum amount of crack to 28 grams.

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Missouri State Budget
12:30 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Mo. Senate panel endorses roughly $24B budget plan

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

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have passed that chamber’s version of the state budget for next year.

The Senate plan is about $86 million smaller than the version passed by the House last month.  Cuts include $13 million from child care provider grants, $7 million from other childcare services, and $1 million from meals at state prisons.  Budget Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) acknowledges that many of the cuts target Medicaid.

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worker's compensation/2nd injury fund
4:29 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Mo. House passes workers' comp, 2nd Injury Fund fix

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

The Missouri House has passed its version of a workers’ compensation bill that also proposes to fix the state’s ailing Second Injury Fund.

The vote again fell mostly along party lines, passing 92 to 56, with one lawmaker voting "present."  The measure would place occupational disease claims back within the workers’ comp system and would bar employees from suing each other over workplace injuries and illnesses.  Democrats, including Kevin McManus of Kansas City, objects to moving claims out of the courts and back to workers' comp.

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Education / Charter Schools
2:46 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Mo. Senate supports charter school expansion bill

(via Flickr/evmaiden)

The Missouri Senate has endorsed legislation that could allow charter schools to be formed outside of Kansas City and St. Louis.

In a voice vote Wednesday, the Senate backed a measure that would allow charter schools to be set up in districts that have been declared unaccredited. It would also allow charter schools in some districts that would have been provisionally accredited for three straight years, starting with next school year.

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Mo. State budget
12:03 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Mo. Sen. committee proposes fix for blind pensions

iPad photo of Mo. Sen. Appropriations Committee meeting on 4/10/2012.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have crafted a proposal designed to preserve funding for blind pensions.

The plan announced by Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) would use $18 million in federal Medicaid money to create a new blind pension health care fund.

“We’re gonna add language that everyone in that program has to go through Medicaid eligibility, so that we determine who is Medicaid eligible and who’s not…that’s the first threshold," Schaefer said.  "The second is we’re gonna put in language to establish a premium.”

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Workplace discrimination bill
9:07 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Stripped-down workplace discrimination before Mo. House committee

Mo. House Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee considers substitute version of workplace discrimination bill.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A State House committee began a hearing Tuesday into a stripped-down version of the workplace discrimination bill.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) vetoed the House version last month, so backers are now pushing a revised bill that will primarily focus on protecting whistleblowers.  State Rep. Kevin Elmer (R, Nixa) says language that would redefine workplace discrimination as a motivating factor instead of a contributing one has been removed.

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Budget deficit "bake sale"
4:46 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Groups hold 'bake sale' at Mo. Capitol

Andrea Routh of the Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance takes part in a "bake sale" to voice support for finding new sources of state revenue.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Several groups critical of the no new taxes stance of both Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and Republican legislative leaders held a bake sale today at the Missouri Capitol.

The event was held to highlight what the participants say is a lack of effort to explore new ways to raise revenue.  Sean Nicholson is with the group Progress Missouri.

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Teacher tenure
1:35 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Teachers would have to work longer to get tenure under legislation approved by Mo. Senate

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would double the amount of time required for public school teachers to earn tenure.

Currently, a teacher has to work in the same school district for five years to earn tenure.  The bill sponsored by State Senator Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) would expand that requirement to 10 years.

“As long as the teacher does not own their job, if you will, then they’re going to be really working to prove (themselves) and do a good job," Cunningham said.  "It gives us five more years of encouraging and giving motivation to teachers to really produce.”

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Base closure discussions
12:09 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Mo. Congressmembers discuss possibility of base closings

(l-r) Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R), Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R), and Congressman Todd Akin (R) attend a meeting at the Mo. Capitol to discuss the possibility of another round of military base closings.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Three members of Missouri’s congressional delegation met at the State Capitol Wednesday to voice opposition to another round of base closings.

Although there are no scheduled base closings anywhere in the U.S. right now, the Obama Administration is pushing for another round of discussions that could begin as early as next year.  Congressman Todd Akin (R) from the St. Louis area says now’s not the time to close military facilities, especially in Missouri.

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