Politics & Issues

Missouri Budget
10:59 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Mo. Senate budget plan spares education, but cuts state worker pay hikes

An interior view of the Missouri Capitol dome.
(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

Budget hearings have begun in the Missouri Senate, and already there are notable differences with the House in where that chamber wants to make cuts.

While the House budget would give state workers earning less than $70,000 per year a two percent raise, the Senate version would limit those raises to workers making less than $45,000 per year.  Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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Lake of the Ozarks
7:50 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Resolution supporting Lake homeowners passes Mo. House committee

Aerial view of the Lake of the Ozarks
(via Flickr/John Picken)

A resolution voicing support for embattled homeowners at the Lake of the Ozarks was passed unanimously Tuesday by a Missouri House committee.

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worker's compensation/2nd injury fund
4:40 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Bill dealing with workers' comp & 2nd Injury Fund approved by Mo. House

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to another workers’ compensation bill.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) vetoed a similar bill last month that originated in the Senate.  The House version contains most of the same provisions – it would bar employees from suing each other over workplace injuries and illnesses, and it would restore occupational disease claims within the workers’ comp system.  State Rep. Jacob Hummel (D, St. Louis) debated with the bill’s sponsor, Dave Schatz (R, Sullivan).

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Missouri State Reserve Fund
1:56 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Missouri uses $100M from budget reserve fund

Missouri is tapping a state budget reserve fund for cash flow purposes.

The state Office of Administration said Tuesday that $100 million was borrowed from the reserve fund in March.

It's the third time money has been used from the reserve in the budget year that began last July. The state used $75 million from the reserve in December and $150 million in February. All $325 million borrowed from the fund is to be repaid by May 15.

Voter ID Laws
11:26 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Mo. House panel backs do-over attempt on voter ID

(via Flickr/ Daniel Morrison)

A Missouri House committee has endorsed a second attempt to place a photo ID requirement for voters on the 2012 ballot.

The measure passed Tuesday by the House Elections Committee would write a new ballot summary for a proposed constitutional amendment. A Cole County judge struck down the original summary last week.

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Bank records dispute resolved
6:02 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Schweich announces agreement with Mo. Bankers Assoc. over records access

Mo. Auditor Tom Schweich (R) announces an agreement with the Mo. Bankers Association during a press conference on April 2 at his State Capitol office.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) has announced an agreement with the Missouri Bankers Association over access to bank records.

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Medical conscience bill
7:25 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Mo. House passes medical conscience bill

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

The Missouri House has passed legislation that would exempt doctors and other health care workers from being forced to perform medical procedures that violate their religious beliefs.

The bill re-ignited intense debate over women’s reproductive rights.  State Rep. Margo McNeil (D, Hazelwood) argued that allowing health professionals to opt out of performing certain procedures could result in a public health threat.

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Birth Control
2:37 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Mo. Senate passes birth control coverage measure

(via Flickr/brains the head)

Updated 3:34 p.m. with correction from The Associated Press - the legislation was approved on a 26-5 vote, not a voice vote.

The Missouri Senate has approved legislation letting employers refuse to provide health insurance coverage for birth control in some instances.

The legislation, passed Thursday on a 26-5 vote, would let employers deny coverage unless an employee has a medical need for birth control. The measure now goes to the Missouri House.

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Voter ID Laws
12:43 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Proposed Mo. constitutional amendment on voter ID thrown out

(via Flickr/ Daniel Morrison)

A Cole County judge has thrown out a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would allow lawmakers to require voters to show IDs at the polls. 

The ruling, which you can view the full text of here, was filed on Tuesday. In it, Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce calls the summary statement, which outlines to voters what the proposed amendment would do, "insufficient" and "unfair."

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Workers' Compensation
12:34 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Mo. Senate overrides veto on workers' comp, but the House likely won't

An interior view of the Missouri Capitol dome.
(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

The Missouri Senate today overrode a veto by Governor Jay Nixon (D) that would make changes to the state’s workers’ compensation system.

But the likelihood that the House will also override the Governor’s veto is virtually nonexistent, according to Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka).  He says they just don’t have the votes, even within their own party.

“We would have to first convince our caucus," Jones said.  "And even if we did, we’re still simply three votes short on a bill that no Democrat, I believe, has supported to this point…that’s a tough vote.”

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