NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of April 3, 2006
|.||Missouri House passes "Stand Your Ground" bill (04/06/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The House debated and in a vote of 132-23 passed the "Stand Your Ground" bill Thursday.
The bill gives Missourians the right to use force to protect themselves when confronting an intruder on private property.
|.||Missouri House passes bill overturning helmet laws (04/06/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that would no longer require the use of helmets for motorcyclists over the age of 21.
Supporters say repealing the law would boost the state's economy.
|.||Delay and Abramoff scandals loom over legislative session (04/06/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Scandals in Washington, D.C. involving Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay are resonating in Missouri politics.
Several lawmakers say the events that lead to each man's downfall were crucial in pushing ethics reform legislation forward.
|.||Missouri's Senate votes down a proposal to restrict condemning private property. (04/06/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate rejected an amendment that would restrict the definition of blight that has been used been used by private developers to condemn land owned by others and to secure tax breaks for development.
The amendment was offered to a bill on the tax-break program, called Tax Increment Financing that has been used by developers throughout Missouri to acquire land and tax breaks for development projects like shopping malls.
The amendment was defeated by better than a two-to-one margin.
|.||Missouri's House votes to criminalize spyware (04/06/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The House gave first-round approval to a measure that would make it a mesdemeanor crime to inject spyware on a computer without the user's knowledge.
The proposal, authored by the Judiciary Committee chair of the House (Brian Pratt) also would make it a crime to, without the user's knowledge, modify a computer's settings.
|.||The House votes to let students pray in school. (04/05/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The House gave first-round approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that would give school students the right to pray, privately, in school.
If approved by the legislature, the proposal would require statewide voter approval to become part of Missouri's Constitution.
The measure also requires schools to post the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which establishes the rights of free speech and religion.
|.||Republicans retain Senate seat (04/05/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Republicans won the only state Senate seat up in Tuesday's election.
The close race in a traditional Republican district was widely viewed as a referendum on the Republican majority.
|.||Families fight to keep handicapped loved ones out of private group homes (04/05/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Missourians with family members in state habilitation centers say they're ready to fight state lawmakers to keep their loved ones out of private group homes.
The families urged the state to reveal records from private group homes.
So far the state's refused.
The families say the home harbor neglect and abuse.
|.||Debate over the amount of ethanol used in Missouri fuel ensues in the House of Representatives (04/05/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - A bill will increase ethanol in fuel to 10%.
Many lawmakers were skeptical of the impact the mixing could have on Missouri consumers.
|.||Audit shows Missouri graduation rates nine percent too high (04/05/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - State Auditor Claire McCaskill reports Missouri schools are inaccurately reporting high school graduation rates.
She says schools should be more responsible.
|.||The House votes to legalize shooting unwanted home intruders. (04/05/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The House gave first round approval to a bill that would give immunity to those who shoot home invaders.
Some Democrats argued the bill would give people permission to act before thinking
|.||Senators debate new plan for MOHELA loan sale profits (04/04/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Legislative wrangling over how to spend the $450 million expected from the sale of college loans continues to raise questions over whether the funds will even be available.
|.||The Missouri House passed a bill allowing contributions to pregnancy resource centers (04/04/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Rep. Allen Icet's bill allows contributions up to $50,000 per year to pregnancy resource centers that can later be claimed for a tax break.
Centers offering abortions are not eligible for donations.
|.||Senate to enlarge scope of "No-Call List" (04/04/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate voted to increase the types of phone numbers that can be listed on the "No-Call List".
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Engler of Farmington, includes FAXes, business phones and wireless phones to the list of telephone numbers elligable for the "No-Call List".
The measure also prohibits selling a person phone records. The House Tuesday also passed a similar ban on selling phone records.
|.||Missouri's House votes to repeal the motorcycle helmet law (04/04/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The measure would repeal the helmet requirement persons aged 21 years and older.
Before the voice-vote approval, the House stuck on an amendment that would prohibit any state money for the medical care for injuries to a a motocyclist who was not wearing a helmet.
For more than 20 years, Missouri's legislature has debated the motorcycle helmet law. In 1999, it cleared the legislature, but was vetoed by Gov. Mel Carnahan.
|.||A Senate filibuster kills AT&T's bill. (04/04/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - After a second day of filibustering, the Senate sponsor of AT&T's digital TV bill gave up and abandoned the measure for the year.
The proposal would have allowed AT&T to offer digital video services anywhere in the state without having to get franchise agreements from Missouri towns.
Opponents charged that it was unfair to allow a company to go around CATV franchise agreements that have been negotiated among towns and various CATV companies.
|.||Senate takes up TIF legislation (04/04/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate Tuesday took up a bill that would change the state's regulations concerning TIFs.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. John Griesheimer, R-Washington.
|.||Sen. Charlie Shields temporarily removes himslef from caucuses. (04/03/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate majority floor leader says he removed himself from caucuses to be consistent with a bill he sponsored.
He will rejoin his member caucuses if the bill passes the House.
|.||Certain bill face uphill battle at this point in session. (04/03/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - With only six weeks left in this year's legislative session, bills still sitting in committee or ones that haven't even been assigned face an uphill battle.
There are several dealing with illegal immigrants, and only two have made it out of committee.
|.||Blunt orders National Guard to assist with tornado recovery efforts. (04/03/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Fifty Guard Troops will arrive in Caruthersville Tuesday morning.
Storms destroyed much of the town on Sunday night.
|.||Missouri won't lose to tobacco giants' win in arbiter's ruling (04/03/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Although major tobacco companies last week won an arbiter's ruling that could allow them to withold some of the money they owe states under a 1998 health care settlement, a spokesman for Missouri's Attorney General says the state shouldn't lose any money.
Under the master settlement agreement, states are required to "go after" smaller tobacco companies that didn't participate in the health care settlement in addition to getting payments from tobacco giants such as Philip Morris USA and Reynolds American Inc, said Attorney General spokesman John Sougere.
The big tobacco companies thought that the non-participating manufacturers "would somehow slide by," he said, "so it's up to the states to make sure that they don't."
"If the states aren't diligent in going after these non-participating cigarette manufacturers, then the big tobacco companies could withold funds from the states," he said.
Because Missouri has aggressively enforced the statute, the state doesn't stand to lose money, Sougere said.
"We were the first state to file a lawsuit against a non-participating manufacturer," he said. "We have $17 million in escrows and more than $11 million in penalties against those non-participating manufacturers, that they're required to pay."