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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of February 14, 2005

 


. Missouri House sends liabilty changes over to Senate (02/17/05)

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House has passed a bill changing civil liability laws. The bill caps punitive damage awards, changes venue rules, and makes the losing party responsible for fees related to the court proceeding.

The bill has moved to the Senate for debate.

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    . Republican senators propose amendment to limit school lawsuits (02/17/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Three Missouri senators are proposing a consitutional change that would prevent school districts from suing the state.

    Jackson County Senator Matt Bartle says this is an opportunity for Missouri voters to correct the constitution.

    Senate Majority Floor Leader Charlie Shields says lawmakers should determine education funding, not judges.

    Columbia Senator Chuck Graham says the amendment would legally allow lawmakers to unfairly distribute public school money.

    If the amendment passes the Missouri Senate and House, voters will decide the issue in November 2006.

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    . McCaskill says delayed information puts officers in danger (02/17/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - A report from State Auditor Claire McCaskill says there is a backlog of criminal records in the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

    This backlog prevents police officers from having the necessary information to do their job safely.

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    . Secretary of State Robin Carnahan unveils advance voting plan (02/17/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today unveiled "Advance Missouri," her plan for voting in Missouri. Carnahan says her plan would provide voters greater confidence, convenience and privacy protections as they cast their ballots.

    Under Advance Missouri, voters would have the option to vote in-person up to six weeks prior to the election at a central voting location. They would be able to choose at satellite voting sites up to two weeks before the election, depending on their county. They would be able to request an advance mail ballot, if they are unable to vote in-person, up to six weeks prior to the election. They would also be able to better protect their privacy, according to Carnahan, because political candidates and parties would no longer have access to "absentee voter lists" before election day.

    Thirty other states have some form of advance voting, and Carnahan says Missouri voters "deserve no less."


    . House hammers out first round approval of a bill to limit liability awards (02/16/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The bill that would limit liabilit awards in Missouri received first round approval in the House... meaning the House can no longer make changes.

    But oppenents like Columbia Representative Judy Baker say change is just what the bill needs to lower insurance rates for doctors.

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    . Bill aims to crack down on fraudulent travel clubs (02/16/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - A senate committee heard testimony on a bill aiming to stop travel clubs from ripping off consumers.

    Supporters of the bill came from as far as Branson to testify.

    The bill requires Missouri travel clubs to register with the Attorney General's office and also post bond after misbehaving.

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    . Blunt nominates a Public Safety Director and a Deputy to Oversee Homeland Security (02/16/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Blunt's nominee for Public Safety Director is Mark James, who is the current head of the Kansas Division of ATF.

    Michael Chapman will serve as Deputy Director, overseeing Homeland Security in Missouri.

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    . Protestors gather in protest of Medicaid budget cuts (02/16/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Protestors filled a trash bin with prosthetic limbs, walkers and prescription bottles in protest of Gov. Matt Blunt's budget cuts.

    Wes. Shoemyer (D-Clarence), Medicaid recipients and organization leaders spoke.

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    . Name Change Passes due to the end of Filibuster (02/16/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Chuck Graham ended his filibuster Tuesday morning after MU President Floyd requested the Senator to stand down.

    The name change from Southwest Missouri State University to Missouri State University passed 25-7; Senator Graham was one of the seven.

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    . Dozens flood Senate hearing to support tougher seat belt laws (02/15/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Suburban St. Louis Sen. Jon Dolan is sponsoring a bill to change Missouri's seat belt laws. The change would mean that police could ticket motorists solely for not wearing their seat belts. Right now, drivers can only be ticketed if stopped for another violation.

    If Missouri passes the law, it will be eligible for 17 million dollars in federal transportation safety money. Dozens of witnessess testified in support of the legislation.

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    . House debates changes to legal liability (02/15/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The House spent the morning discussing a series of changes to the structure of civil liability. Among the changes, includes a provision that caps most punitive damages at $250,000 and limits venue.

    House leadership and Gov. Matt Blunt have indicated their strong support for the measure, and the bulk of Tuesday afternoon has been set aside for debate.

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    . The Senate Judiciary committee voted in favor a bill that outlaws human cloning. (02/14/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Republican Senator Matt Bartle's bill would outlaw human cloning and SCNT, or somatic cell nuclear transfer.

    Democratic Senator Chuck Graham and Democratic Senator Charles Wheeler voted against the bill.

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    . State senators spend hours debating Southwest Missouri State name change (02/14/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - There was no love lost in the early hours of debate over a Senate bill that would change the name of Southwest Missouri State to Missouri State University.

    Columbia Senator Chuck Graham did not speak during the first hours of debate.

    Sentors from the Kansas City and St. Louis metro areas did speak.

    The debate will go well into the night.

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    . Twenty-one year olds may be able to run for state office (02/14/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - St. Louis Senator Maida Coleman has proposed a constitutional ammendment to lower age requirements to run for the state legislature.

    Coleman wants to lower the age for the House of Representatives from twenty-four to twenty-one and for the senate from thirty to twenty-five.

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    . Committee hears testimony on lowering age requirements for Missouri legislators (02/14/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The Financial, Govermental Organizations and Elections committee heard testimony today on a bill introduced by Sen. Maida Coleman (D-St. Louis City).

    The bill would lower the age requirements for senators and representatives in Missouri.

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    . Legislators look to criminalize video recording in movie theaters (02/14/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - It could soon be illegal to use audio-video recording devices inside of movie theaters if Missouri joins the 18 other states that have recently passed similar legislation.

    The bill, which has been proposed in both houses, would make such video recordings Class A misdemeanors for a first offense.

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