Politics & Issues

Lobbying
4:30 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Why Missouri's Lobbying System Isn't As Open As You'd Think

Credit (via Flickr/Tax Credits)

Nice restaurants in Jefferson City should be sad to see the Missouri Legislative session end. They’ve received tens of thousands of dollars worth of business from lobbyists courting Missouri’s legislators over dinners and drinks.

Who were the legislators taken out for expensive meals? Well, in many cases, we don’t really know.

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Politics / Fracking
2:36 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Fracking Regulation Measure Advances To Full Ill. House

The Illinois Capitol building in Springfield, Ill. (via Flickr/jglazer75)
(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Reporting from Chris Slaby.

A measure that would regulate hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” heads to the full Illinois House after Representatives approved it at a hearing Tuesday.

The plan, which passed unanimously, comes two months after a previous version appeared to have enough momentum to go before the House. It stalled over environmentalists’ raised concern there was not enough protection to keep water wells from becoming contaminated.

Unions were also divided over a labor dispute.

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2013 Mo. Legislative Session
10:46 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Mo. Lawmaker Who Threatened To Resign Over Bills' Failure To Pass Changes His Mind

State Rep. Jeff Grisamore (R, Lee's Summit)
Missouri House Communications

A Missouri lawmaker who threatened to resign unless one or both of his key bills survived the last day of the 2013 legislative session is staying put, even though both bills failed to make it out by Friday's deadline.

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St. Louis on the Air
5:03 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Discussion: What Happened During The 2013 Missouri Legislative Session?

MIssouri State Capitol
(St. Louis Public Radio/Marshall Griffin)

The 2013 Missouri legislative session is now in the books.

While legislators are no longer assembled in Jefferson City, the impacts of what did and did not get done will continue into the coming months.

The Republican controlled House and Senate put gun rights and taxes high on their agenda and perennial issues such as abortion and voter photo IDs came up.

Democratic Governor Jay Nixon has already vetoed some legislation and more vetoes are possible.

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Politics
3:47 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Nixon Criticizes Tax Cut Bill, But Stops Short Of Committing Veto

Nixon and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley take part in ceremonial groundbreaking at a new building.
Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Democratic Governor Jay Nixon took part in a groundbreaking ceremony in Chesterfield Monday, where Reinsurance Group of America announced it is bringing 300 new jobs the area.

Republicans in the Missouri General Assembly passed a bill this year that would cut income taxes – aimed at attracting more businesses and competing with nearby states like Kansas.

Nixon will now have to decide whether to sign or veto the bill. But he told reporters afterward that drastic changes like the tax cut are bad for business.

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Mo. Dept. of Social Services
1:45 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Mo. Social Services Director Freeman Resigns After 5 Months

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Alan Freeman is stepping down as Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services, after only five months on the job.

Last December, Freeman left his job as President and CEO of Grace Hill Health Centers in St. Louis to take over the state's Social Services department.  A press release from Governor Nixon's office states that Freeman is leaving to return to his former position at Grace Hill.  No reason was given for the decision.

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Illinois Budget
9:49 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Ill. Legislators Expected To Begin Unveiling Budget Proposals This Week

Credit (via Flickr/kevindooley)

Despite years of cuts to the Illinois state budget, even more are ahead.  Legislators are still deciding where else they can slash spending.

"Human services" is a legislative phrase that covers many departments and services, according to Representative Greg Harris.

"All the state departments  dealing with health care, senior services, children services, so the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Medicaid, human services, mental health, substance abuse, Department of Aging, DCFS, public health and veterans," said Harris.

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Gun Control
8:57 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Ill. Senate Panel Endorses Ammunition Limit

An Ill. Senate Committee is expected to vote on a gun control measure on Monday, May 20, 2013. A proposed bill would make magazines that hold more than 10 rounds illegal.
Credit Flickr/Jason Dunnivant

Updated 4:25 p.m. with vote results  

Parents of two Sandy Hook elementary students killed by a Connecticut gunman last fall testified in favor of limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines in Illinois.

The Illinois Senate's Executive Committee voted 12-3 Monday to advance legislation banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

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Tax credits
1:15 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Tax Credits Die Again In Missouri Senate

Mo. Capitol
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri senators have given up their attempt to pass an overhaul of some of the state's tax credit programs for businesses and developers.


Supporters of the bill set it aside Friday after Republican Sen. Brad Lager, of Savannah, spoke against it for an hour in a filibuster that could have otherwise continued until the session's mandatory end at 6 p.m.


The legislation would have created tax incentives for international air cargo exports, computer data centers and investors in startup technology companies.

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Final day
9:26 am
Fri May 17, 2013

In Final Hours Of Session, Big Issues Still Facing Missouri Lawmakers

It's the last day under the dome for Missouri lawmakers this session, and a lot of work remains.
(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

Leaders in the Missouri House and Senate have just one day left to reach agreement on a number of unresolved issues, including an ongoing dispute over how to control spending on state tax credits.

"There's four or five things I've promised senators that we'd get to," said Republican floor leader Ron Richard, including some form of an economic development bill.

The two chambers remain divided over the cap on historic preservation and low-income housing credits. The House has sent a proposal over to the Senate, but it's likely to fail.

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