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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of January 31, 2005


. Wal-Mart employees some of the hardest hit by Medicaid cuts (02/04/05)

JEFFERSON CITY - Wal-Mart employees will be some of the hardest hit by Gov. Blunt's proposed Medicaid cuts.

That's because they can't afford the health care that Wal-Mart offers its employees.

. Special Missouri House committee is created to revise education spending (02/03/05)

JEFFERSON CITY - House Speaker Rod Jetton announced the creation of a special committee to research public school funding.

The committee is made up of lawmakers, former educators, and school superintendents. They plan to rewrite Missouri's formula that distributes money to school districts.

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    . New law would ban use of credit reports in deciding insurance rates. (02/03/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Saint Louis County Senator Rita Days proposed the law.

    She cited a Department of Insurance study stating the use of credit scores in determining insurance limits minority access to affordable insurance.

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    . House forms committee to address education foundation formula (02/03/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, announced the formation of the House Special Committee on Education Funding to address the formula used to distribute K-12 education money.

    Opponents of the formula have pointed to distribution inequities in rural and urban school districts and filed a lawsuit in a Cole County court, but the court has permitted the General Assembly an opportunity to address the issue before moving forward with the case.

    . Missouri counties could lose their power to regulate farmland. (02/02/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Mexico Senator John Cauthorn is sponsoring a bill that would change regulations for confined animal feed operations.

    Livingston County Commissioner Eva Danner says these changes would limit the counties ability to pass ordinances.

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    . The Confederate flag may fly again in Missouri (02/02/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - State Senator Kevin Engler says he wants the Missouri State Parks Parks Advisory Board to have a new power.

    Engler is sponsoring a bill that would let the board decide whether the Confederate flag can fly again in two state Civil War cemetaries.

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    . Senate committee hears bill to eliminate state health insurance for legislators (02/02/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - St. Louis County Senator Tim Green proposed a bill today to prohibit state health insurance for legislators.

    If the bill passes, it would take effect in 2006.

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    . Rahn Promises New Day With Safer, Smoother, Sooner Plan (02/02/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Department of Transportation director Pete Rahn has promised road improvements faster with the Smoother, Safer, Sooner plan. Rahn cited statistics to describe the dismal state of Missouri Roadways.

    Rahn discussed a multi-modal plan, which would focus on aviation, rail, waterways, and public transit in addition to roadways and expressed support for enforcement of the seat belt law saying it would save lives.

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    . NAACP Conveys a strong message (02/02/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - At the NAACP's Legislative Day, members urged even with the progress made, more work is still needed.

    Governor Matt Blunt, House Minority Leader Jeff Harris, President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons were among those speaking at the event. One of the messages Keynote Speaker Reverend Booker T. Rice Jr. made was creating the right of all MIssourians to health care.

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    . No web surfing for Senators (02/01/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - State Senators rejected a rule change allowing laptops into the chamber.

    Supporters of the change said laptops would have increased efficiency.

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    . Fast lane bill would keep trucks to the right (02/01/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - JEFFERSON CITY - A proposed bill would ban semis from driving in the left lane. The law would only apply on highways six lanes or wider.

    The Missouri Highway Patrol says it is in support of the bill. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Jon Dolan, R-St. Charles, says it would make Missouri roads safer and make travel more efficient.

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    . Senate aims to create scholarship program for children of deceased veterans (02/01/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate Committee on Pensions, Veterans' Affairs and General Laws met to hear proposals for a scholarship program for children of deceased veterans.

    Two different bills, though similar, were presented to the committee for consideration.

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    . In an usual move, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder is presiding over the senate daily (02/01/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The state constitution gives the Lt. Governor the authority to preside over the senate when it's in session.

    Historically, Lt. Governors in Missouri have not presided over the senate's day to day activities.

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    . Senate repeals rule restricting gifts from lobbyists (02/01/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - In adopting a new set of Senate rules, the body maintained the status quo for electronic equipment in the chamber while removing the $50 cap on lobbyist gifts.

    Sen. Matt- Bartle, Lee's Summit, proposed amendment to permit laptop computers in the chamber was defeated 18-14 and a subsequent amendment to ban all electronic equipment was also defeated 20-12.

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    . Cloning potentially to become illegal in Missouri (01/31/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - A proposed bill would make the act a Class B felony, defining reproduction acceptable only as a female egg fertilized by a male sperm.

    If made law, Missouri would join seven other states that have passed similar legislation.

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    . Republicans say they are excited about the new ownership of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (01/31/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Republican Rep. Carl Bearden says he hopes the new ownership focuses on fair and balanced coverage.

    Democratic Senator Pat Dougherty says he thinks the Post-Dispatch has a strong history of covering issues that are controversial.

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    . A new bill aims to ban spanking in Missouri schools. (01/31/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri allows its teachers to spank disobedient children.

    The state is one of 22 in the country to use spanking as a disciplinary tool.

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    . A state Senate committee will consider a ban on human cloning (01/31/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - State Senator Matt Bartle says he wants to ban human cloning.

    A Senate committee will discuss Bartle's bill for the first time.

    Some St. Louis business leaders and scientists say they are worried the ban would hinder stem cell research.

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    . Governor's office refuses comment on releasing public records. (01/31/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Chuck Graham sent a memo to Governor Blunt's office requesting the release of public records regarding cabinet committee appointments, committee members and all nominations.

    The governor's office, specifically Spence Jackson refused comment and cited a need for legal review and counsel. Senator Graham was not suprised by the lack of a clear comment and said that the governor's administration may be in violation of Sunshine Laws.

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    . Deeken wants vote on alcohol tax increase (01/31/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Rep. Bill Deeken has proposed a bill to put an alcohol tax increase in the hands of Missouri voters.

    Anheuser-Busch has voiced opposition. Organizations such as Missouri's Youth/Adult Alliance are in favor.

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    . Republicans seek to enshrine Reagan (01/31/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Two bills proposed by Sen. John Loudon (R-St. Louis County) seek to create a state holiday in honor of President Ronald Reagan and name the yet to be constructed St. Louis bridge over the Mississippi River after the former commander-in-chief.

    While Reagan won Missouri in both 1980 and 1984, he was defeated in the city of St. Louis by a two-to-one margin in each race.

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