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A Missouri House committee has voted in favor of legislation to give St. Louis control over its police department, which has been under state control since the Civil War.

Those arguing in favor of local control say it's past time for St. Louis to regain authority over its police force.

(Mo. Atty. General's Office)

Missouri lawmakers are urging Attorney General Chris Koster to challenge the federal health care law.

The Republican-led Senate passed a resolution Wednesday asking the Democratic attorney general to either file his own lawsuit, join a suit by other attorneys general or join a suit filed by Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House leaders from both political parties are targeting Governor Jay Nixon's practice of having various state agencies pay for his travel expenses.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri Senate committee is receiving budget requests this week from agencies and non-profit groups as lawmakers prepare to craft the state's spending plan for next year.

Several groups appeared today before the Senate Appropriations Committee, asking that funding for the Department of Social Services be raised, or at least not cut any further.

The state of Missouri paid tribute today to Martin Luther King, Jr., at a ceremony in Jefferson City.

About 150 people attended the event.  The diverse audience was encouraged to pay tribute to the slain Civil Rights leader by treating others with kindness and looking for ways to serve others.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Some Republican senators want to prohibit union-only work places, which they contend could deter some businesses from locating in Missouri.

Missouri businesses currently have the option of requiring union fees from employees.

Legislation filed Thursday by Republican Sen. Jason Crowell, of Cape Girardeau, would refer the union issue to voters next year.

school buses
Flickr

Governor Jay Nixon has released $7.5 million for public school busing that he had earlier withheld due to Missouri's budget troubles.

The amount is just a fraction of the $70 million budgeted for public school transportation, the rest of which remains frozen.

Flickr | jimbowen0306)

Though the recent trend in Missouri has been to go smoke free, the Missouri House voted today to continue to allow smoking in members' offices in the Capitol building.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri House committee has passed legislation that would require some welfare recipients to undergo drug testing in order to receive benefits.

Members of the House Committee on General Laws took testimony from supporters and opponents before casting their votes.

A uniform policy for the use of traffic enforcement cameras was approved unanimously today by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.

The new standards require that all tickets for red-light violations be issued by an actual police officer.

For the second year in a row, the Missouri Senate is seeking direct public input for ways to, in its words, "reboot government."

Senate members are holding seminars this week to discuss the ideas sent in via email.

The Missouri House has passed a resolution urging state officials to join a multistate lawsuit challenging the federal health care overhaul and calling on Congress to repeal the law.

The House approved the resolution Tuesday on a vote of 115-46.

The resolution also urges Missouri's attorney general to defend a voter-approved law that bars the government from requiring people to have health insurance or penalizing them for not having it. The federal law requires that most people have health insurance or face penalties starting in 2014.

Did your favorite Missouri candidate lose a close election?

Well, a southern Missouri lawmaker wants to make it harder for close-election losers to get an automatic recount.

Currently, candidates for public office in Missouri can request a recount if they lose by less than 1 percent point of the total vote.

Missouri has a new State Auditor.

Tom Schweich was sworn in today during a ceremony inside the State Capitol Rotunda. 

Legislation that would block pay raises for judges in Missouri has been introduced in the State Senate.

The raises were recommended by a special commission to bring salaries for state judges closer to their federal counterparts.

The Missouri state budget is already due for more cuts this year, and that's the reason Republican Sen. Jim Lembke, of St. Louis, cites for filing a resolution to block a recommended pay raise for judges.

The Associated Press reports that "Judges have argued for several years that higher salaries are needed to persuade qualified people to serve as judges instead of working as private-sector attorneys where they might earn more money."

Lawmakers weren't the only ones filing into the Missouri Capitol today.

Around 200 people attended a Tea Party rally inside the Capitol Rotunda.  Most of the speakers sounded off on national issues, primarily taxes and the Democratic agenda.

The Missouri General Assembly has begun its annual legislative session in Jefferson City.

New Republican leaders in both chambers emphasized job growth as their top priorities.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Business interests in Missouri have outlined what they want from lawmakers during the 2011 legislative session, which begins tomorrow.

Their requests include increased protection from lawsuits, changing worker compensation laws, and freezing corporate franchise taxes.

 

The family of Missouri death row inmate Richard Clay and an anti-death penalty group are asking Governor Jay Nixon to halt Clay's scheduled execution next week.

Clay was sentenced to die for the 1994 shooting death of Randy Martindale in New Madrid.  But his supporters say authorities arrested, tried and convicted the wrong person.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon plans to deliver his annual State of the State speech on Jan. 19.

The speech is given each year in the House chamber before a joint legislative session. Governors use the speech to outline their priorities, highlight past polices and present their proposed state budget.

Policymakers estimate that Missouri is facing a $500 million budget deficit.

Nixon's speech is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Read last year's state of the state address here for some perspective on where Missouri was on the issues a year ago.

Missouri lawmakers return to Jefferson City this week for the 2011 legislative session.  There’ll be many new faces, thanks to term limits, along with new leaders for both the State House and Senate.  And Republicans now hold a veto-proof majority in the Senate and fall only three votes short of one in the House.  St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin takes a closer look at the major issues they’ll be facing this year.

 

The Associated Press recently surveyed a group of Missouri print and broadcast news editors and named the top news story of 2010: The November defeat of longtime 4th District Congressman, Ike Skelton.  But since the end of December is nothing if not a time for thoughtful chin stroking and  list-making, we decided to gather a panel of experts and come up with a list of the year’s biggest news—St. Louis on the Air style.

Outgoing auditor Susan Montee has released two new reports that find problems in a couple of the executive branch offices in Missouri.

One report, on the office of Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, found some problems in manual timesheets and leave slithat Kinder's staff filled out. For example:

Missouri has its missing moon rock back. Yes, its missing moon rock.

This week, former Missouri Gov. and current U.S. senator Kit Bond's staff found the rock while sorting through memorabilia as he prepares to retire.

Governor Jay Nixon and the chairmen of the state House and Senate appropriations committee have come to an agreement on the amount of money available for the budget year that starts in June 2011 (FY 2012).

The projected revenue estimate is made every December, and is the figure the governor and lawmakers use to craft budget proposals.

A special Missouri Senate committee is recommending that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education be merged with the Department of Higher Education.

The proposal was one of several announced today that Senate leaders say will improve education in Missouri. Republican David Pearce of Warrensburg says combining the two will have benefits beyond cost savings.

(Bill Greenblatt, UPI)

UPDATED 5:51 p.m. Dec. 16, 2010:

Looks like Governor Nixon is comfortable in the top spot in Jefferson City - he's confirmed that he'll seek re-election in 2012.

Though Nixon confirmed his intentions with a "Yea" to the Associated Press today, his campaign says he's already raised about $1 million since the Nov. 2 elections, and Nixon said he's "committed" to running, he could still follow the precedent of former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

The incoming Speaker of the Missouri House is again voicing doubts about a report that recommends eliminating nearly half of the state’s tax credit programs.

St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis –

"There's nothing like being eulogized while you're still breathing," Sen. Kit Bond said Tuesday as he stepped to a podium in the U.S. Senate to say farewell to the chamber where he has served for 24 years.

On the best way to solve the nation's problems:

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