NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of April 24, 2006
|.||AP cites a former fee office agent saying she had been contacted by the FBI (04/29/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - A former Revenue Department fee office contractor told AP she has been contacted by FBI agents several times asking about transfer of her office after Matt Blunt became governor.
The contractor asked that her name not be used, AP reported.
Fee offices are managed private contractors, selected by the administration. They frequently are awarded to supporters of the governor or his party.
The offices provide a number of Revenue Department services for which a private contractor is allowed to charge an extra fee to customers.
|.||Higher education funding caps remain alive as the session nears end (04/27/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - A proposal to cap state funding for colleges and universities at 2002 levels remains alive as the legislature enters the last two weeks of the session.
The Senate passed a stripped-down version of the House bill on Thursday -- removing the appropriations cap for hgiher education, but keeping a section on scholarships.
Left in the bill is a provision that would combine existing state scholarships into one program.
|.||A root canal briefly replaced Columbia Rep. Ed Robb from a House-Senate conference committee (04/27/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - A partial root canal briefly replaced Rep. Ed Robb, R-Columbia, from a powerful House-Senate conference committee.
Robb was briefly replaced on Tuesday by Rep. Steve Hobbs, R-Mexico, while Robb visited his dentist in Columbia.
|.||Senate committee approves eminent domain bill (04/27/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - A Senate committee made several changes to an eminent domain bill on Wednesday, with several modifications.
Among other things, the Senate changed bill to bar the use of eminent domain for "predominantly economic purposes."
|.||Sen. Green defends his record with Vietnam veterans (04/26/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Sen. Green, from St. Louis, used the floor of the Senate wednesday to defend his legislative record with Vietnam veterans.
The senator spoke after a memo was released to constituents attacking Green for questioning a bill that would award medallions to veterans.
|.||A House bill would make english the lone language in official proceedings (04/26/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The bill was met with mixed reviews by the rest of the House.
The bill faces one more vote before going to the Senate.
With less than three weeks left in the legislative session, however, House bills still in the House usually have little chance for passage.
|.||Missouri's Senate Education Committee strips a House-passed cap on higher education funding. (04/26/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate Education Committee removed provisions in a measured passed earlier by the House that seeks to impose restrictions on funding increases that future legislatures would be allowed to provide to public colleges and universities.
The House leadership has warned that if the Senate does not approve those restrictions, the House would not approve appropriations for higher education building projects funded by sale of the state's college loan program assets as recommended by the governor.
Despite that threat, the House did give final approval to it's college-loan spending program.
|.||Senate passes bill requiring ethanol-blended fuels (04/25/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would require gasoline distributors to sell ethanol-blended fuels.
The bill would go into effect on January 1, 2008.
|.||DaimlerChrysler fighting to keep plant running (04/25/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - After a go-ahead from the governor, the city of Fenton will now be able to use a tax credit program to keep the auto assembly plant from closing.
Missouri's House gave final round approval to a bill that would entice the automaker to invest a billion dollars into its Fenton plants.
|.||A bill will bar Planned Parenthood and those involved with abortions from teaching sex education in schools (04/25/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The bill will bar those performing abortions from teaching sex education in schools.
Doctors and nurses will still be allowed to teach at the school boards discretion.
|.||The MO Dept. of Health stresses good personal hygiene as mumps cases increase in the Midwest (04/25/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Dept. of Health is trying to get the word out regarding the prevention practices required to stop the current spread of mumps in the state and the rest of the Midwest.
As of April 25, the department has reported 43 mumps cases statewide during the recent outbreak that started at the beginning of this year.
|.||Missouri Legislators Crack Down on Employers of Illegal Aliens (04/25/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Legislation in Missouri's Senate is aimed at cracking down on illegal immigrants.
A portion of that bill designates Missouri Highway Patrol to enforce federal immigration laws.
|.||Senate passes Bill to require state issued photo ID to vote. (04/24/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Republican Senator Delbert Scott sponsored the bill aimed at cracking down on election fraud.
The legislation passed 23-9 in the Senate and could go into effect in time for the midterm elections this fall.
|.||The Senate gave first-round approval to a bill dealing with illegal aliens (04/24/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Republican Senator Bill Alter is sponsoring a bill that would, among other things, train the Highway Patrol to enforce immigration laws.
Senator Joan Bray, a Democrat from St. Louis County, argued against the bill, saying it did not tackle the root problem of illegal immigration.
|.||Shoemyer, Icet disagree over MOHELA (04/24/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Democratic Representative Wes Shoemyer says MOHELA doesn't have the power to give their assets to the legislature to appropriate for other functions.
Republican Representative Allen Icet believes otherwise.
|.||Legislators question the legality of the college loan fund sale. (04/24/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Several legislators are raising questions whether the MOHELA board has the authority to sell part of its assets and turn them over to the state legislature to fund building projects.
They point to a section of the law that providees that MOHELA shall retain "exclusive control" over its proceeds and that its funds shall "not be subject to appropriation by the General Assembly."
But other legislators, and the governor's office, argue that MOHELA does have authority to transfer funds to the state for appropriation.
|.||A House-passed plan to cap higher education funding will be heard in Senate Committee next week. (04/21/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - A week after Missouri's House passed a bill that would limit University of Missouri appropriations increases and tuition is scheduled to be heard in the Missouri Senate Education Committee Tuesday.
The bill is sponsored by the speaker pro tem of the House -- Rep. Carl Bearden, R-St. Charles.
The measure seeks to restrict the legislature from granting a state funding increase for a public higher education institution higher than the level of state funding institution had during the 2001-2002 fiscal year.
Funding increases above that level would be restricted in size and require the institution to meet various performance measures developed by the Higher Education Department.
|.||The Senate Gave First Round Approval to Legislation that Requires Voters to Show Government Issued Ids (04/20/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Democrats filibustered into the evening but ended up allowing a Senate vote.
The Senate approved the bill with a 23 to 10 vote.
Approval came after days of off-and-of filibustering by Democrats and opposition voiced by the Democratic Secretary of State.
|.||UMKC organization misused the universities name (04/20/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - According to a UMKC spokesman, the Institute for Human Development misused the universities name in a brochure.
The university was recently penalized $285,000 by the Missouri Senate for the organizations alleged use of taxpayer money towards political events.
|.||Senate continues to filibuster over voter registration (04/20/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's senate filibustered into the afternoon over the issue of voter registration and photo ID.
Under a bill sponsored by Senator Scott of Lowry City, voters under the age of 65 would be required to produce a photo ID in order to vote.
|.||Bill moves forward to fund adult stem cell research (04/19/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House voted to perfect a bill to fund adult stem cell research.
But much of the debate was about the more controversial embryonic stem cell research.
|.||US government wants to "depopulate" poultry with bird flu (04/19/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - US government officials say if bird flu shows up in US chickens or turkeys, they will kill the whole flock.
But Missouri Department of Agriculture Veterinarian Taylor Woods says Missouri's hot summer might actually be a help to fending off the flu.
|.||The Institute of Human Development at UMKC lost their state money for supporting a protest (04/19/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Supporting a Medicaid cuts protest during last year's legislative session cost UMKC's Institute of Human Development $285,000 in state funds; their entire taxpayer supported budget.
Kansas City area Republican Sen. Luann Ridgeway supported the measure in order to punish the agency for an illegal activity, using taxpayer money for political purposes.
|.||Illegal immigrants will not have the opportunity to higher education in Missouri (04/19/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - A house bill will prohibit illegal aliens from being accepted to higher education universities.
The university registrar will be in charge of reporting to the House that the university is not knowingly accepting illegal aliens.
|.||Emergency fund is nearing a vote on the Senate floor (04/19/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate has taken on an emergency funding bill for situations, such as the Taum Sauk Dam breach, when the legislature is out of session and immediate funding is needed.
The fund was created in 1967 and the current cap on the fund is $150,000. SB 820 would increase the maximum amount to $850,000.
|.||Missouri's Senate votes to expand regulation of dams. (04/19/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Taum Sauk and other bodies of water regulated by the Federal Energy Agency would be brought under state regulation under the Senate proposal.
The measure was prompted by the Taum Sauk resevoir collapse earlier this year.
In addition, the bill brings smaller dams under state regulation that currently are exempt.
The measure faces one more Senate vote before going to the House.
|.||House Budget committee passes plan for MOHELA profits after taking out funds for a prison (04/18/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The House Budget committee dumped proposals to use the expected profits from a sale of student loans on initiatives unrelated to higher education before passing the billl that had initially put some of the money toward building a women's prison in Chillicothe.
The bill passed 19 to six.
|.||Missouri's House approves expanded lobbyist disclosure requirements (04/18/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - In a surprise move, the Missouri House brought up and perfected an ethics bill that would bar lobbyists from giving meals, entertainment and travel to most legislative caucuses.
But Democrats say they did not have enough time to bring up amendments they feel would have made the bill stronger.
Some democratic house leaders don't think the reform is tough enough.
They also say without a strong campaign finance bill, the skepticism of tax payers will continue to grow.
|.||Senate votes to hear further debate on auto emissions bill (04/18/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Tuesday, the Senate Transportation Committee heard testimony in favor of a House bill on auto emissions.
The bill calls for the decentralization of the current inspection program in the St. Louis area.
|.||Missouri Farm Bureau Unhapppy with Eminent Domain Reform (04/17/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The farm bureau says the bill passed by the House last week to limit eminent domain in the state is weak and does not do enough to protect home owners.
The bureau will now focus on the Senate to pass a more restrictive bill.
|.||Governor's office won't confirm FBI investigation (04/17/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - According to the Kansas City Star, the FBI's investigation centers on the Blunt administration awarding license fee offices to political supporters.
Neither the FBI nor the Governor's office would confirm nor deny an investigation is taking place