Politics & Issues

Political news

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.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri House committee heard testimony today on a bill that would make it illegal to abort a fetus 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 constitutes a medical threat to the mother.

The Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court urged lawmakers to leave the state's non-partisan court plan alone during his State of the Judiciary Address today at the State Capitol.

Chief Justice William Ray Price, Jr., spent more than half of his address defending the Missouri Plan.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Critics lined up today at the Missouri Capitol to speak out against legislation that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls.

A similar law passed in 2006 was struck down by the State Supreme Court.

Missouri's college savings plan will now have lower administrative costs.

At a press conference at the University of Missouri St. Louis today, Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel announced a new five-year management agreement with Upromise Investments and Vanguard that will decrease the cost of the MOST 529 plan by 44 percent. The partnership is estimated to save Missourians $18.5 million.

Missouri House members have endorsed legislation designed to undo unexpected fallout from changes made six years ago to the state's workers' compensation system.

Lawmakers in 2005 approved changes to Missouri's workers' compensation system to establish tougher standards for an injured Missourian to qualify. Not all of the changes have gone as planned, and lawmakers this year are considering bills to tweak some of them.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

A resolution that would launch a new attempt to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution has passed a Missouri House committee.

The measure is sponsored by State Representative Dwight Scharnhorst (R, Valley Park).

KRCG-TV

Two state office buildings in Jefferson City were evacuated today, due to large amounts of snow on the roofs.

More than 550 people work in the two buildings, which house the Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services.

The state of Missouri will likely spend more than $8 million removing snow from highways that fell during this week's major winter storms.

As of Thursday, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) crews have spread more than 20,000 tons of salt and other materials on roads, and have put in more than 40,000 hours of overtime.

Former Missouri Senate candidate Robin Carnahan has settled a lawsuit with the Fox News Network alleging copyright infringement by one of her campaign ads.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has released an additional $10 million withheld from school bus funding for Missouri's public schools this year.

Nixon initially ordered $70 million withheld from K-12 transportation funding, citing dwindling revenues.

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would expand the texting-while-driving ban to all motorists, not just those ages 21 or younger.

Although the bill passed, some senators opposed to the ban attached two amendments that have nothing to do with texting-while-driving, in an effort to kill the bill.  But both were vehicle-related, so supporters changed the bill's title to include various topics related to motor vehicles. 

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

One day after deciding to remain in session despite the severe winter storm, Missouri legislative leaders have reversed course.

The House will conduct non-voting technical sessions that only require a handful of lawmakers to attend.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri General Assembly will remain in session this week, despite the approaching winter storm that's predicted to dump lots of snow and ice across the state.

A number of lawmakers, including House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka), say that since they're already in Jefferson City, they might as well get some work done.

Tim Bommel / House Communications Office

A state representative has announced plans to introduce a bill to increase penalties for human trafficking convictions in Missouri.

Democratic Rep. Jason Kander said the measure he plans to introduce this week would boost Missouri penalties for human trafficking to the same level as federal statutes. He said federal penalties for human trafficking range from fines to five years and up to life in prison. Most Missouri human trafficking penalties go up to 15 years in prison.

State Auditor's office

New Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich plans to rate the entities he audits on a scale of excellent to poor.

Schweich said Friday his grading scale is intended to provide an evaluation that's easy to understand both for the general public and the agency being audited. He hopes the new system will provide some context about the severity of problems that get pointed out in audits.

The best rating will be excellent, followed by good, fair and poor.

He plans to start using the rating scale for audits released in February.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Some Republican lawmakers in Missouri are suggesting the state reject a $189 million federal payment for K-12 public schools.

Others want to accept it, but also want to spend it differently than Governor Jay Nixon (D) has proposed.

A Missouri Senate panel has given its approval to a bill changing the state law for dog breeders.

The Senate agriculture committee endorsed legislation Thursday that would modify a ballot measure, known as "Prop. B," approved by voters in November.

The bill would delete the limit of 50 dogs per breeder and give licensed breeders up to 180 days to correct serious violations before they face criminal charges.

Flickr/curran.kelleher

Two bills have been filed in the Missouri House that would raise the state's tax on cigarettes, which is currently the lowest in the nation at 17 cents a pack.

The first bill would only raise the tax on cigarettes by 12 cents a pack, while the second would raise it by a dollar a pack.

Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Missouri lawmakers are considering two different options for enticing people to pay overdue taxes.

A tax amnesty proposal presented Thursday to a House committee by Republican Rep. Tom Flanigan, of Carthage, would waive all interest and penalties for delinquent taxpayers who pay up between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri Senate committee conducted a hearing today into legislation that would restore local control over the St. Louis Police Department.

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

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to legislation that would require drug testing for some welfare recipients.

The bill would require work-eligible recipients and applicants of the state's Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program to pass drug tests in order to receive assistance.

A Missouri Senate committee has approved legislation that bars all drivers from texting while driving.

Currently, only drivers 21 years old and younger are prohibited from sending cell phone text messages while driving.

But what's the problem with that system according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol?

It's hard to tell how old a driver is if an officer sees them texting.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

A series of public hearings began today for legislation that would repeal, amend, and place exemptions on Proposition B.

Missouri voters narrowly approved the measure in November.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is taking steps he hopes will improve water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks, one of Missouri’s most popular tourist destinations.

The recent move of Missouri House of Representatives members to vote in favor of continuing to allow smoking in their Capitol building offices has drawn some criticism - in the form of a formal complaint.

Rossie Judd of Fenton, Mo. has filed an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint against the policy, saying in her complaint that it denies her "meaningful access to the House of Representatives" as a result.

Mo. House of Representatives

The Missouri House is expected to debate legislation this week that would require drug testing for some welfare recipients in Missouri.

The bill would target applicants and recipients of the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) who are classified as work-eligible.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Republican and Democratic House members gathered today to unveil several proposals they say will improve K-12 education in Missouri.

The idea getting the most attention is school choice - allowing students from failing school districts to transfer to better-performing schools statewide.

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