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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of February 16, 2004


. House debates bond issuance for unemployment fund. (02/19/04)

JEFFERSON CITY - The House is debating issuing bonds to bail out the bankrupt unemployment fund. Proponents say bonds are the first step in fixing a long-term problem.

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    . Redefining identification theft may exclude what some consider an identity crime. (02/19/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - A new bill to expand the crime of identification theft would exclude some situations including using someone else's identification to purchase alcohol.

    . St. Louis lawmaker has personal reasons for sponsoring bill. (02/19/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Sen. Maida Coleman, a democrat from St. Louis City, may have personal reasons for sponsoring a bill to expand the crime of identification theft. Coleman's son suffered damages of nearly $800.00 when information was lifted off of his credit card while traveling. He was running a tab at a California bar at the time.

    . Saint Louis would be home to a new state archive center under bills before the house and senate. (02/19/04)


    . House appropriations amendment cuts funding for MAP tests (02/18/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Rep. Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, and Rep. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, introduced an amendment to a House education appropriations bill that would move all state funding for the MAP tests to Missouri's state aid distribution formula. That would allow individual school districts the option of how -- or whether -- to finance the administratin of the exams.

    . Bill to provide parents custody of their mentally ill child as they receive state health services (02/18/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The legislative measures aim to correct the existing law which says that parents, in order to get state-funded mental health care for a child, have to relinquish their control over the child. All families, regardless of their income, would be eligible for the mental health services.

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    . U.S. winning war on terror according to Ashcroft (2/18/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Ashcroft spoke to state businessmen Wednesday while war protestors rallied outside. Ashcroft said the U.S. was winning the war on terror.

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    . Legislation would label Big Bluestem as Missouri's state grass (2/18/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri has a state flower, a state tree, and could soon have a state grass if legislation is passed.

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    . Committee hearing to be held on anti-abortion legislation (02/18/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - A House committee hearing will be held to discuss a bill that would prohibit state funding of any social services programs that subsidize abortions.

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    . House debates bill about state dinosaur (02/18/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The State House of Representatives is preparing to debate a bill that would make the Hadrosaurus the official state dinosaur. A Hadrosaurus skeleton was found in Marble Hill, Missouri, several years ago.

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    . Ashcroft makes first trip to state capital as U.S. attorney general (02/18/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft returned to the state capital Wednesday for the first time since he left state office. Ashcroft took his staff on a tour of the Capitol before speaking to the Missouri Chamber about government and corporate corruption.

    Ashcroft served as Missouri's auditor, attorney general, governor and U.S. senator.

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    . Mother of hearing-impaired children urges lawmakers to require health insurance cover hearing aids (02/18/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The House Financial Services Committee heard testimoney on a bill that would require health insurance cover hearing aids for children up to age 19.

    A representative from the insurance industry testified against the measure, warning that increasing coverage mandates drive up the cost of insurance.

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    . Legislators are urged to block fat lawsuits (02/18/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate General Laws Committee heard testimoney on a measure that would block lawsuits against food distributors for making someone fat.

    A lobbyist for the Missouri Restaurant Association testified for the bill. There was no testimoney in opposition.

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    . Missouri lawmakers are urged to ban sexy billboards near highways (02/18/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The House Tourism Committee heard testimoney on a measure that would ban billboards advertising sex-oriented businesses.

    The proposal was sparked by the increasing number of sex-business billboards showing up on Missouri's Interstates.

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    . School district funding would be frozen under a plan before a House committee. (02/17/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The House Education Appropriations Committee is working an education funding bill that would give public schools no more money than the current year's appropriation for public schools.

    Republican members of the committee argue that the state's economy has not been robust enough to allow a higher appropriation.

    The committee, however, has yet to take action on the staff proposal.

    The committee began work on the education budget one day after a couple of thousand education advocates rallied outside the Statehouse calling for higher education budgets.

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    . Proposed reform for the Missouri Division of Children and Families (02/17/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The Republican plan to toughen state oversight of foster care took its first legislative step Tuesday.

    The measure, sponsored by the House speaker, was presented to the House Children Committee.

    Last year, Gov. Bob Holden vetoed a similar measure voicing objections to provisions that would encourage privatizing some childern's services and giving accused abusers more rights.

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    . Several hundred abortion rights advocates hear from the governor (02/17/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Both Gov. Bob Holden and his wife addressed a rally of abortion-rights advocates in the Statehouse Tuesday.

    The group honored Senate Democratic Leader Ken Jacob for his efforts against abortion-restriction legislation. They also announced a "Wall of Shame" of anti-abortion rights legislators.

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    . Missouri's Senate votes to lower reporting standards on the state's standardized tests (02/17/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate gave first-round approval to a measure that would make it easier for students to pass the statewide achievement test.

    The bill, which requires one more Senate vote before going to the House, would set the test standards to no higher than required by the new federal "No Child Left Behind" law.

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    . Schools rally for more education spending. (02/16/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - More than 2,000 students, parents, and educators gathered on the lawn of the state Capitol to ask legeslators for more school money. Students learned about the legeslative process and lawmakers listened to their plea.

    The rally was sponsored by various school and teacher associations. Various speakers attacked the legislature for not providing budget increases for education. A few demonstrators also held signs criticizing the governor for withholding funds from education.

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    . Audit confirms state adoption tax credits meant for Missouri children being used for international adoptions instead (2/16/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - An audit released by Missouri State Auditor Claire McCaskill shows more than 90 percent of tax credits meant to help with the adoption of Missouri children, funded mostly international adoptions instead.

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    . Holden sticks to his education budget withholdings (02/16/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Bob Holden told state superintendents he still won't release withheld money for public education.

    Holden said he still was not sure the state's economic recovery would be strong enough to fund the legislature's full budget for education.

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    . Thousands rally for education funding (02/16/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Roughly 2,000 teachers, administrators, school board members, parents, and students gathered at the state capitol today to rally the governor and legislators to increase funding for education.

    Teachers and students told the crowd how cuts in funding have negatively affected Missouri's education system.

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