Politics & Issues

Political news

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.

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