It will include a bill requiring that voter-approved laws cannot be overturned by a simple majority vote by lawmakers.
Take, for example, the state minimum wage hike, which 76 percent of Missouri voters approved five years ago. Schoeller says under his bill, that law could only be overturned if more than 76 percent of House and Senate members voted to do so.
A former CIA agent is jailed after allegedly leaking classified information about Iran to a New York Times reporter. Jeffrey Sterling, 43, of O'Fallon, Mo. is charged in a ten count indictment. The federal indictment charges Sterling with unauthorized disclosure of national defense information. The indictment did not specify what he leaked, but The Associated Press reports the leaks were to Pulitizer Prize winning journalist James Risen for his 2008 book State of War. The book details information about the CIA's covert spy war in Iran.
Some Missouri legislators want to limit the growth of the state's minimum wage. A 2006 law approved by Missouri voters requires the state's minimum wage to be adjusted annually with inflation. But if the federal minimum wage is higher, then that is used instead. Republic House member Jerry Nolte, of Gladstone, has filed legislation prohibiting the Missouri minimum wage from rising above the federal one. The bill has the backing of several other Republicans, as well as a coalition of business groups. Nolte says it's important for Missouri businesses to keep wages comparable to those of most neighboring states. Missouri currently follows the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The state labor department says Missouri's wage this year would otherwise be $7.00 per hour.
People who want a state ballot initiative that could lead to early voting have a green light from the state to start gathering signatures. The Missouri secretary of state's office approved a summary of the initiative petition yesterday. Supporters must collect between 91,800 and 99,600 signatures, and the question would appear on the 2012 ballot. The proposal would change Missouri law to let voters cast ballots in person before federal general elections.
The Missouri Department of Transportation says the westbound lanes of the Daniel Boone bridge will close for maintenance from about 8 or 9 p.m. tonight until around 5 a.m. Monday. The bridge carries Interstate 64 traffic over the Missouri River. Drivers are encouraged to use one of three other bridges that cross the river in the St. Louis area - on Interstate 70, Route 364 or Highway 370. The work is preventative maintenance on the Boone bridge, which carries about 75,000 cars daily.
The 2010 U.S. Census figures are to be announced today. One of Missouri's nine congressional districts is on the chopping block as officials await word on whether the state's population is high enough to keep its current delegation. Missouri has been on the bubble between retaining its nine seats in the U.S. House or dropping down to eight. Losing a seat would mean one less vote for president in the Electoral College. And it could make it harder for Missourians to get help resolving issues with federal agencies. Don't forget the political ramifications, especially for Democrats. That's because the Republican-led state Legislature will be in charge of drawing new congressional boundaries based on the 2010 Census.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis county is studying how to link major north-south arterials between Interstate 64 and points south of I-44, just west of the River Des Peres. The South County Connector Study will also look at a new I-44 interchange. County officials say those living in the southernmost reaches of the county suffer poor access to the commercial and governmental core of the region. Garry Earls, the county's chief operating officer, envisions a possible extension of River Des Peres to connect with Big Bend and Laclede Station Road north of I-44. The study will look at multiple options. The Post-Dispatch reports that no funding has been set aside for the project, but once funding is found, construction could begin within five to ten years.
The St. Louis County Council has ordered a freeze on new demolition permits for commercial and industrial property until Jan. 31. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the move gives the council time to consider a bill that would require owners to restore such demolition sites to their pre-built state. The measure was introduced Monday into the council. County officials are upset about the demolition of the closed Chrysler South Plant. They said the demolition contractor tore down the structure leaving a slab and environmental problems behind. The Post-Dispatch reports the bill would add site restoration to requirements for demolition permits. Applicants would be forced to remove all elements of structures and slabs, cover the site with dirt, seed or sod the site and install appropriate landscaping.
"Gutted factory buildings offer precious little incentive for prospective future developers." -County Executive Charlie Dooley said in a letter to the council. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Supporters of a ballot question to amend the state constitution and ban personal property taxes may now begin collecting signatures to put the question on the 2012 statewide ballot. The secretary of state's office approved the ballot summary on Monday. Richard LaViolette of Fenton proposed the ballot question which seeks to ban personal property taxes on vehicles, farm machinery, and manufactured homes. LaViolette says they're a nuisance and people cannot really own their property if a tax is levied upon it. Officials estimate abolishing the tax could cost state and local governments more than $1 billion per year.