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Missouri General Assembly begins Spring Break

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The first half of the 2008 Missouri legislative session is over, and lawmakers have begun their Spring Break.

So far, the State House has passed bills aimed at keeping illegal immigrants out of college, tracking the sales of pseudoephedrine, and a supplemental budget for the current fiscal year, among others.

House Speaker Rod Jetton (R, Marble Hill) says he's looking forward to Senate President Pro-Tem Michael Gibbons (R, Kirkwood) returning, following last week's successful prostate cancer surgery.

"Obviously it's slowed down the process a little bit with him being gone, but we're very concerned about his health...he had a good operation and is making a good recovery, so that would be the thing that concerns me the most, is just getting him back and in good shape so we can keep rolling," Jetton said.

Senate bills passed so far this session include an anti-cyber stalking measure, property tax reform, and a $33-million tax break package.

House Minority Floor Leader Paul LeVota (D, Independence) says, though, some important issues are being ignored.

"We've worked 90 minutes in the mornings, usually, and nothing (has been) really substantial that really affect the people of Missouri, when it comes to health care, when it comes to education, when it comes to roads," LeVota said.

LeVota did praise, though, the passage of a bill he sponsored that would restore a tax deduction for Kansas residents who work in Missouri.

The deduction was removed last year. Kansas lawmakers have threatened to penalize Missouri residents who work in their state if the deduction is not restored.

This year's legislative Spring Break falls between St. Patrick's Day (Monday, March 17th) and Easter Sunday (March 23rd). Lawmakers are off March 14th as well, because they regularly take Fridays off.

The second half of the 2008 session begins Monday, March 24th.

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