JEFFERSON CITY _ With the clock speeding toward the end of the session, a bill that would give more money to school health programs hangs in the balance.
And many say that is where it will stay.
"I am not optimistic," said Rep. Scott Lakin, D-Kansas City, who sponsored the bill. "It is being held hostage by an anti-abortion amendment. It is a problem because you are asking pro-choice legislators to vote on an pro-life amendment."
The author of the amendment, which would prohibit any state program from referring clients to abortion clinics, agreed that the bill will probably hold its place until the end of the session Friday.
"People have said that my amendment kills the bill, but that is absolutely ridiculous," said Rep. Todd Akin, R-St. Louis County. "They won't even bring it up for discussion. The governor is trying to hide behind the fact that he would like to have state money being to sell abortion."
Akin said talks between him and the governor's office broke off when Gov. Mel Carnahan called him an extremist. Until Carnahan makes a gesture of good faith, Akin refuses to negotiate.
Carnahan sharply criticized the amendment last Thursday when he vetoed the abortion-counseling bill. He said fanatics are putting this bill, which brings nurses to schools, in jeopardy.
"They've been doing some strange things and there are some extreme forces at work," Carnahan said. "I think the extreme anti-choice groups have tried to make every issue into an abortion issue."
The school health program is currently being funded through a sales tax. But proponents of the bill say Medicaid is eating up the sales tax proceeds and that general revenue is needed to fund this program if it is to continue.
Several Senate bills were given final approval Wednesday by the House.
@ A bill sent to the governor's desk would make photographing people nude in a place where they expect privacy a crime. On the first offense, the photographer would be charged with a misdemeanor. On subsequent offenses, the offender would be charged with a felony.
"A woman testified that her and her daughter's felt raped when they were photographed nude at a tanning salon," said Rep. Jim Kreider, D-Ozark, who is the bill's sponsor. "A lot of people are shocked that it is not already a crime."
Kreider said the legislation would apply to bathrooms, tanning salons and dressing rooms.
Three other measures relating to crime were tacked onto the bill. The measures would make hazing a felony whether or not the person being hazed consented to the treatment, would make drive-by shooting a crime and make abandoning a corpse a felony. It also would require people to report dead children to the police.
@ A bill was approved by the Senate and House would force people soliciting for a charity tell how much of the donation will be spent on the charity.
An amendment put on the bill in the Senate would exempt life insurance companies from paying benefits to survivors of someone who buys insurance and then kills himself within a year.
@ A Senate bill that would change the mission statement of Southwest Missouri State University was accepted by the House. Representatives had expressed concern the university would use the mission change as justification to ask for more money. However, the president of the university assured lawmakers the measure would have no fiscal impact.
"I will be watching them like a hawk next year when the budgeting process comes around," said Rep. Dick Franklin, D-Independence.
@ The Missouri Mule and square dancing would be the state's animal and the it's official dance, respectively, if the governor signs a bill that has been passed by both chambers.