Politics & Issues

Political news

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.

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