NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of February 7, 2005
|.||Evolution is back in spotlight (02/10/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Kansas Board of Education wants textbooks to make it clear that evolution is a theory, not a fact.
In Missouri, a similar bill has been proposed.
|.||Missouri Senate passes bill to limit Sudafed to pharmacies (02/10/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Sudafed and other related drugs might soon be available only at pharmacies. The Missouri Senate unanimously passed a bill taking Sudafed off store shelves.
The bill now goes to the Missouri House.
|.||Senate passes worker's comp bill (02/10/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - With the exception of Sen. Victor Callahan, D-Jackson County, Democrats voted against the measure, citing concerns that the bill unfairly treats workers.
The proposal, which supporters said would cut the cost of doing business in Missouri by reducing employee fraud, was also introduced in the House.
|.||Workers' Comp bill wins first round approval (02/09/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - In their first night session of the year, the Senate approved a bill rewriting Missouri's workers' compensation laws.
Several amendments were made before the vote, including the removal of a passage that would have taken away a lawyer's incentive to represent poor clients in workers' comp cases.
|.||College tenure under fire (02/09/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Republican Representative Mark Wright believes professors at public universities have too much protection under the current tenure laws.
Wright says the law currently protects public professors like UMKC professor Harris Merkin from statements that would cost those in the private sector their jobs.
|.||Parents speak out against governor's proposal to cut First Steps (02/09/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - In a House committee hearing, well over 100 parents and their children gathered to protest Gov. Blunt's proposal to eliminate the more than $17 million First Steps program from state spending.
First Steps helps more than 8,000 children with such conditions as Down syndrome, spina bifida and cerebral palsy.
|.||Parents praise indispensibility of first steps (02/09/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Parents and children showed up en masse to show their support for First Steps. Governor Blunt is calling for drastic cuts to the program's funding. Families are concerned that there is nowhere else for them to turn.
Parents warn that the problems First Steps addresses will cost the state much more if left untreated.
|.||Confederate flag one step closer to its return, bill approved by Senate committee (02/09/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The march to return the confederate flag to two Missouri memorials moved one step closer to its goal Wednesday.
The Senate agriculture committee approved a bill that would give the power to raise the flags to a park board. The vote passed 8-0.
|.||Committee assigned to fix school foundation formula expects to be done in four weeks (02/08/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - In Tuesday's initial meeting of the Senate-House joint committee charged with providing the state with a recommendation on how to the fix the formula for distributing state aid to public education, Chairman Sen. Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, advocated a formula that leans toward student needs rather than the willingness of local residents to pass local tax increases.
Changes are necessary to the present formula in part because of a lawsuit filed by almost one-half of the state's school districts.
|.||Helmets could become voluntary for some motorcyclists (02/08/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate Transportation Committee passed a bill to make helmets voluntary for all riders over 21. Opponents of the bill say it would make Missouri roads more dangerous.
The new law could go into effect as early as this August if it passes.
|.||Blunt orders better management of homeland security funds (02/08/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Matt Blunt has ordered all state agencies to provide him by March 31 with detailed analyses regarding the federal homeland security funds they have received and how those funds are being spent.
In announcing the order Tuesday, Blunt complained that the prior administration of Gov. Bob Holden had not kept track of how the money was being used.
|.||I-70 toll bill introduced in Missouri Senate (02/08/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate Transportation Committee heard a bill that would allow I-70 to become a toll road. The bill's sponsor, Senator Matt Bartle, says there is not enough money for the road without the toll.
The bill would cost drivers about 20 dollars for a round trip between St. Louis and Kansas City. If the bill passes, the proposal would go to the Missouri voters.
|.||A new bill would make it illegal for people to own and breed lions, tigers, and bears. (02/08/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The state does not regulate who owns large cats and bears, that job is left for the federal government.
Proponents of the bill say the federal government does little to enforce the laws.
|.||Worker's compensation reduction almost set for Senate floor (02/08/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - A handful of Senate Republicans and Democrats are expected to advance far enough in their negotiations to send a bill to tighten worker's compensation requirements to the Senate floor.
Sen. Tim Green, D-St. Louis County, said the informal discussions should have been completed in committee.
|.||Tougher restrictions on cold medicine win Senate approval (02/08/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate gave first round approval to a measure that would that would impose restrictions on cold medicines like Sudafed that can be used to produce meth.
The Senate plan would prohibit sales to minors and require dry forms of the drug be sold by pharmacists, only after the purchaser displayed a photo ID.
The bill faces one more House vote before going to the Senate.
|.||A new bill would increase the money drunk and uninsured drivers involved in car accidents pay out of pocket (02/07/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Under the law, uninsured and drunk drivers would pay for their non-economic losses resulting from a car accident.
The drivers could still claim economic losses, which includes medical expenses and wages.
|.||Flu infections have jumped in the last few weeks. (02/07/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The first half of the flu season has been more moderate compared with last year.
Now, in the peak of the season, the number of cases has gone up.
|.||Committee hears testimony on proposed Medicaid cuts (02/07/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Health, Mental Health, and Social Services Appropriations Committee heard public testimony today on proposed Medicaid budget cuts and the impending closure of Bellefontaine Habilitation Center.
Disability advocates pleaded with legislators to restore funding saying that the loss of money would have disasterous effects.
|.||Bill could possibly eliminate tenure (02/07/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Republican Representative Mark Wright is proposing a bill that could possibly eliminate tenure for Professors of higher education.
Fellow Republican Representative Ed Robb dissagrees, saying Universities need to be held accountable, and teachers doing their jobs need to be protected.
|.||Re-modeling upsets House Minority Caucus (02/07/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Minority Leader Jeff Harris called on Blunt to lead not only with words but by example. Communications director Paul Woody claimed the construction is costing tax payers over $100,000.
Press Secretary Terry Durdaller said the spending is closer to $20,000 or $25,000.
|.||Questions about Medicaid cuts have yet to be answered. (02/07/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - There are questions about proposed Medicaid cuts that not even the Governor's office can answer. Those affected by the cuts are even more puzzled as to what the next step might be.
|.||Firms that helped Amendment 3 pass win the biggest contracts (02/07/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The big winners in the first round of Amendment 3 contracts: two contributors to the campaign pushing the amendment and another fresh off an acquittal on federal bid-rigging charges.
An Amendment 3 opponent says voters were deceived by a campaign which sold the measure as government reform.