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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of February 9, 2004


. Tax break on vehicles could help Missouri manufacturers but hurt roads (02/13/04)

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's automobile industry supports exempting Missouri-made vehicles from state sales tax, but it could cost the state's roads -- while handing a new car purchaser as much as a $1,000 savings.

The House bill would exempt vehicles made in Missouri from state sales tax. Individual cities could decide to exempt Missouri-made vehicles from local sales tax as well. The bill's supporters said this would likely increase sales of Missouri-made vehicles and encourage other manufacturers to open plants in the state.

. Committee report reccomends new philosophy -- but not mechanism -- for school funding (02/12/04)

JEFFERSON CITY - The Joint Committee on Education Funding approved Wednesday night a report saying that future state aid distribution should be done on the basis of "student need."

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    . New bill would limit school administrative spending. (02/12/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Republican House Speaker Catherine Hanaway announced a proposal to limit administrative spending to ten percent of school's budget. But the St. Louis County Republican said she wanted to talk with educators before pushing the idea.

    . Billboards advertising porn shops and strip clubs would be prohibited under proposed bill (02/12/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - State lawmakers are hearing a bill that will prohibit porn shops and strip clubs from using billboards to advertise along Missouri highways. The bill would also prohibit anyone younger than 21 from setting up signs or billboards for these businesses.

    . Homestead act to regulate senior property taxes (02/12/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Senior citizens would see property tax credits under a Missouri Senate bill that received initial approval today. Lower income seniors would apply for an exemption after paying their property taxes.

    . New bill would regulate religious daycares (02/12/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The measure is supported in the Senate by Democrat from St. Louis County, Rita Days. She argues there is no reason to treat religious child centers any differently.

    Supporters of the bill are calling the exemption unfair while supporters of the exemption argue that the bill will violate the principle of the seperation of church and state.

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    . UM merger with Northwest Missouri has support in legislature (02/11/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Legislators in both the House and Senate have offered to sponsor bills authorizing a merger between the UM System and Northwest Missouri State University.

    Officials from both universities are meeting this Friday to try and hammer out a merger deal. But before a merger could go through, it would need legislative approval.

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    . House Judiciary Committee sends to full House a measure that would restrict liability lawsuits awards (02/11/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's House Judiciary Committee has sent to the full House a measure that would restrict liability lawsuit awards similar to the measure vetoed by the governor last year.

    In approving the measure Wednesday, the committee rejected a substitute offered by Columbia's Rep. Jeff Harris to restrict the bill to medical malpractice.

    The Harris substitute would have established a government-run medical malpractice insurance plan and imposed stronger regulations on private medical malpractice insurance companies.

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    . Missouri's House rejects changing the name of Southwest Missouri State University. (02/11/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - In a near party-line vote, the Missouri House rejected what had emerged as one of the key issues for the top Republican leaders of Missouri's legislature.

    More than two dozen Republicans, joined by the Republican's own floor leader, voted against the measure that had been pushed by House Speaker Catherine Hanaway and Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder.

    Democrats charged Hanaway and Kinder were pushing the bill in an effort to win campaign contributions from SMSU alums for their statewide campaigns.

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    . SMSU name change fight moves to House (02/10/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The SMSU name change bill moved to the House today, but not smoothly.

    Sen. Brian Yates, R-Jackson County, introduced an amendment to link the SMSU name change to a similar name change for Central Missouri State University. Opposition to the bill in the house is a bipartisan effort, while the opposition in the Senate was headed primarily by Sen. Ken Jacob, D-Columbia.

    . Amtrak request for extra funding denied by House Committee (02/10/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Amtrak's request for almost $900,000 died in a House Committee hearing.

    A spokesperson says the company is optimistic that an agreement will be reached. State Transportation officials say, however, that they may have to cut one of the two trains by the end of the month if they do not get the money.

    The route runs from Kansas City to St. Louis.

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    . Snow days could cause school districts to extend school year (02/10/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - School districts without built-in snow days may have a tough time meeting the state's minimum number of days in school, 174. John Weber, Director of the Missouri School Improvement Program, said excusing makeup days will come down to a case-by-case basis and extreme cases could be handled by the state legislature.

    . Senate appropriations chair says UM system bond could pass (02/09/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - In an interview Monday, Russell said that his reservations about the bond, which were tied to the Southwest Missouri State University name change, have been eased.

  • . Bankruptcy bill to save wedding rings awaits hearing (02/09/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate plans to hear a bill for the second time today that will allow people to keep more property when they declare bankruptcy. The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Charlie Shields, will exempt personal property like wedding rings that are worth less than $1,500.

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    . Mobile home residents push legislation at Capitol (02/09/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Dozens of mobile home residents came to the Capitol Monday to tell legislators that their homes aren't so mobile. Two bills before the Missouri legislature would give more rights to residents of mobile home parks, while home manufacturers and realtors say enough restrictions exist.

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    . Represenative Carl Bearden says increased collections could harm funding for education (02/09/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Representative Carl Bearden says increased state revenue collections could harm funding for education. If Governor Bob Holden releases money for public schools a number of levies to fund education could fail.

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