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NewsBook:  Missouri Government News for the Week of March 7, 2016

The Missouri Department of Conservation began requesting voluntary farmers to harvest deer from farms to be tested for chronic wasting disease in the winter post-hunting season.

Currently, the department has initiated 5 different sampling areas in Linn, Franklin, Adair, Macon, and Cole-Moniteau counties.

The Missouri Department of Conservation began testing deer in 2001.

It hopes testing the meat will help it find a pattern of the growth of the disease in local deer, and appropriate disease management techniques.

Some voluntary landowners have been requested to submit as many as five deer for testing. If the meat does not test positive for the disease, it will be returned back to the farmers or landowners. Road kill or sick deer can also be accepted for testing.

As of January 2016, Missouri Department of Conservation announced a record of 33 free-ranging and captive deer infected with Chronic Wasting Disease in counties across the state. Counties with infected deer included Macon, Adair, Cole, Franklin, and Linn.

The Department's website states Chronic Wasting Disease as a slow progressive disease in members of the deer family. The disease's symptoms include lack of coordination and paralysis, excessive salivation, trouble swallowing, unusual behavior, and emaciation. It is believed to be caused by an abnormally folded prion protein, and can spread directly between deer and indirectly by infected soil or other surfaces.

Chronic Wasting Disease can be spread easily and cause mass death in groups of deer and elk. If a deer tests positive for the disease, counties within a 25-mile radius are labeled as a Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone. Statewide surveillance includes counties outside of the disease management zones, but are still subject to testing.

The department’s Wildlife Health Specialist and Surveillance Coordinator Jasmine Batten has been investigating the affects of CWD on deer.

"There is no known care or treatment for it," Batten stated, "it is a fatal disease."

She said the best prevention methods include educating the severity of CWD hunters and farmers, and limiting transportation of carcasses.

"Yearling males are more likely to disperse and spread the disease," said Batten.

Out of season testing in the sampling areas is planned to conclude March 15.

Missouri's Senate passed and sent the House Thursday, March 10, a measure that would allow individuals and businesses to refuse to provide services or products for same-sex marriages.

This amendment will protect those individuals from being commandeered into a wedding ceremony in violation of their religious conscious," said the measure's sponsor, Sen. Bob Onder, R-St. Charles. "This is to protect religious freedom and free speech from the iron fist of government,"

The proposed constitutional amendment now goes to the House. If approved by the legislature, the measure would require statewide voter approval in either August or November.

Democrats charged the measure would discriminate against gays. In a breaking voice, Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis County, talked about his gay father and uncle.

"The most functional, long-standing relationship between two adults that I have ever known is that between my uncle and his partner," Sifton said.

"I think that if every Missourian would meet my father, would meet his partner, would meet his uncle, my uncle's partner, would spend a day or a weekend or a week with them, this resolution would fail, 32-0," Sifton said.

Passage came after Republicans voted to shut-off a Democratic filibuster that had extended for three days -- one of the longest filibusters in recent history. It was only the 16th time in the past century that an issue had been brought to a vote by voting to shut off a filibuster.

The debate began Monday afternoon and did not end until late Wednesday morning in a marathon session that lasted 39 hours. The following day, Thursday, the Senate took the final vote to send the measure to the House -- but only after Democrats retaliated by delaying routine approval of the previous day's journal for nearly six hours.

The Senate Democratic Leader, Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis, did not rule out that Democrats would continue their delaying tactics in retaliation for Republican actions Wednesday to shut off the Democratic filibuster.

In addition to approving "previous question" motions that forced an immediate vote on the issue, Democrats charged Republican leaders violated Senate rules by failing to recognize Democrats who sought to speak or make motions on Wednesday.

Missouri's House has voted to cut women's health funding for Planned Parenthood.

An amendment to the state's $27 billion budget would strip all state and federal funds from the non-profit organization. It provides services for reproductive health, and has 14 facilities in the state. The St. Louis center is the only one that provides abortions and that operation can only be done with federal funds in non-emergency situations.

"An overwhelming majority of Missourians have been crystal clear on this issue," said Rep. Robert Ross, R-Yukon, who introduced the proposal to the House floor. "They do not want their hard-earned tax dollars to be spent to snuff out a human life."

Opponents argued the state already does not fund abortions and punishing Planned Parenthood hurts women across the state.

"It is way more than abortion," said Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis County. "It is all types of family planning and all types of women's exams."

Democrats also said the measure could be struck down by the courts and impact Medicaid funding across the state.

The budget also reduced the governor's office's purse through a Democratic representative's proposal, sending that money to a state education program. The money was pulled from the governor's general expenses budget and moved to an education program to help parents teach their children before kindergarten.

Genise Montecillo, D-St. Louis County, said the Parents as Teachers program helps children be ready for school when they are old enough.

"We can get interventions for students who have special needs and we can help parents get their children on track so when those children enter our classrooms they are ready and able to learn." Montecillo said.

Gov. Jay Nixon has been under fire throughout his terms for using external departments' funds to finance his travel expenses, including a $1,300 float trip for the Democrat, his wife, and four state employees. Nixon said he took the trip to boost the state's tourism industry.

The measures passed with bipartisan support. The budget will move on to the Senate for approval.

The House voted to perfect a bill that would require both parents of a minor to be informed in order to get an abortion.

Currently law only requires the consent of one parent in order for a person to knowingly perform an abortion on a minor.

House Bill 1370, sponsored by Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Lake Ozark, would require the consenting parent to inform any other custodial parent or guardian prior securing consent for the abortion.

Miller said the real reason he sponsored this bill is because of the situation he found himself in with his daughter.

He told the House that his ex-wife had informed him when his teenage daughter was considering getting an abortion, and this gave him a chance to be a part of this decision.

In the end, Miller said his daughter did not get the abortion, and he and his wife raised the child as their own.

"I don't want to stop anything, I want to start something," Miller said. "I want to start a conversation among good actors, and that's what this bill is attempting to do and has done."

Opponents of the bill have said it does not take into account families that do not have good relationships with their children.

Rep. Sue Meredith, D-St. Louis County, said she recognizes this would have been a great thing in Miller's case, however, many people do not have that good of a relationship with their children.

"We cannot legislate certain actions of people. We cannot legislate caring about your family. We cannot legislate loving and talking to your children," Meredith said. "Some children are abused by one parent or another. Sometimes if that parent who has abused them finds out what their situation is, if they are a young woman, minor, pregnant, it could be risking their life."

Rep. Diane Franklin, R-Camdenton, argued that, regardless, making the decision to get an abortion is one that should be made among family.

"Bringing life, working through life, choosing life, is a healing process, it is a loving process, it is a valued process," Franklin said.

Opponent of the bill Rep. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City, said the bill is working in opposition to the small government that House Republicans preach.

"I find it funny that the party on small government is trying to regulate the most personal part of a person's body," Arthur said.

Arthur attempted to propose an amendment that would weaken the bill but it was denied on grounds that it was beyond the bill's scope.

The Senate Education Committee heard a bill that would allow non-UM system schools to create doctorate programs independently of the UM system universities.

The bill was created to make doctorates more accessible to Missourians and give flexibility to the other Missouri universities.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-St. Louis County, who said that his Alma Mater, Truman State university had drawn back on doctorate programs because of barriers.

Schmitt said, "This would lift some of the barriers for universities to determine what they want to be and the programs they do want to offer."

Missouri State University President, Cliff Smart said, "We think each university ought to be able to submit doctorate and professional programs for approval on their own merit."

Smart said the proposed bill would allow non-UM universities from having to work in collaboration with UM system and be able to give ownership to their higher ed programs.

However, representatives from UM system opposed, saying they were concerned with resources and funding.

Associate Vice President for MU system, Steve Graham said, "For the professional and doctoral programs they are very expensive to offer." Graham said, "We're concerned that we're going to spread resources too thin."

Those opposing the bill said they were concerned about the state funding and resources diminishing, and therefore diminishing the quality of the higher ed program.

Just hours after the conclusion of a roughly 37-hour Senate filibuster, members of the house called out the Senate for its inability to work constructively toward the passing of House bills.

Representative Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, "They owe us some bills," Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, said. "And I hope they can figure out how to get their act together on that end of the building."

Engler voiced his frustrations during floor debate over a bill that would make CPR training a mandatory requirement for Missouri's high school students.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ron Hick, R-St. Peters, would require at least one half-hour of training in CPR and Heimlich maneuver techniques.

In 2014, Hicks performed chest compressions on a woman that he noticed having a seizure while he was having lunch in the third-floor rotunda of the Capitol.

He also sponsored a bill that would make CPR a graduation requirement during last year's legislative session.

It passed in the House with near-unanimous support in late April, but fell victim to the Senate stalemate at the end of the session.

After eight hours of debate just days before the session ended in 2015, the Senate voted to pass right-to-work legislation.

Republican senators utilized a rarely-used method known as a "previous question," to shut down debate on the right-to-work bill and allow it to pass.

While right-to-work passed three days before the end of the session, after Republicans shut down debate, Senate Democrats vowed to effectively paralyze the Missouri Senate until the end of session.

Several bills, including the CPR training graduation requirement, were not voted on by the Senate before the session ended.

Senate Republicans once again used the "previous question" to cut off the longest continuous senate filibuster in recent Missouri history Wednesday morning.

This time, it was over a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow businesses to refuse services to gay marriages.

"We're getting on a verge of them having difficulties again," Engler said to Hicks in reference to last year's stalemate and Wednesday morning's previous question. "And I just want to remember with you why your bill died, why my bills died."

Rep. Jeremy LaFaver, D-Jackson County also said he was tired of the Senate blocking House bills.

"We're just setting ourselves up I think to allow the Senate to once again rule the day," LaFaver said. "I think that's unfortunate."

The House voted to perfect the bill, and it will be voted on one more time before it is sent to the Senate.

A historic roughly 37 hour Senate filibuster ended Wednesday, March 9, but Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis County, said the way the filibuster ended could slow progress.

Walsh said fellow St. Louis County Democrat Scott Sifton was ignored by Republican legislators when he tried to speak on the Senate floor.

Instead, the Republican leadership recognized a motion to shut off debate.

"I can say I think there will be," Walsh said when asked if the end of the filibuster could halt progress in the legislature. "I think it's evident by what happened when we went back into chamber after we stood at ease."

Republican Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said the debate had to end because it was no longer relevant to the legislation being discussed.

"We felt that the debate wasn't being substantive and that the debate was starting to meander," Richard told reporters in a press conference after the filibuster ended.

Walsh also criticized what she said was a lack of compromise on the legislation.

"We were run over like a train," Walsh said. "Once they use that PQ [the previous-question motion to stop debate] that ends it all. We were willing to negotiate. There was no negotiating on this bill."

Richard said the length of the debate allow all sides to voice their opinion.

"We've been going on, like I said, for 40 hours," he said. "I mean, the whole world was listening, one side or the other."


Shortly after 7:30 Wednesday morning, Senate Republicans voted to shut off a debate that had lasted 39 hours.

The filibuster started shortly after 4pm on Monday afternoon.

Democrats charged Republicans used an improper parliamentary trick to get to a vote.

But the issue is far from finished. The proposed constitutional amendment requires one more vote before going to the House. And Democrats could launch another filibuster on that vote.

The measure approved 23-9 would prohibit any state or government agency from taking action against a person for refusing to provide services or products sought for a gay marriage.

Supporters argued the measure would protect the religious and self-conscious rights of Missourians. Opponents argued it discriminated against gays.

If it clears the legislature, the proposal would require statewide voter approval to become part of the state Constitution.

Last year when Republicans shut off a Democratic filibuster over "right to work" in the last week of the session, it prompted a subsequent Democratic filibuster that prevented passage of any further bills.

On Wednesday morning, there was a sign of another partisan gridlock when Democrats demanded a rollcall on the simple procedural motion to finally end the three-day Senate session.

There will be a personal cost from the filibuster for Senate members -- more than $200 per member in per diem.

Because the three-day Senate session that began on Monday did not adjourn until Wednesday, there was no official session for either Tuesday or Wednesday for which members could collect their per diems that cover meals and lodging expenses.

Instead, for three days the Senate technically was still holding its Monday session.

The University of Missouri's flagship campus would lose $1 million to Lincoln University to double its agriculture program funds, under an amendment to the higher education budget approved by the House Tuesday, March 8.

The $1 million is on top of a $7.6 million cut recommended by the House Budget Committee.

The Missouri House of Representatives passed the cut by a vote of 83-75.

The opposition framed the issue of funding Lincoln as uncontroversial, but pulling money from the Columbia campus this specific year as peculiar.

"The Missouri General Assemby needs to do better than pitting students against students in a fight for a higher education," said Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia.

The amendment's sponsor Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said the state needs to invest more in agriculture. He also noted that the University of Missouri's lobbyists had promised cuts to a major agricultural research center if the amendment passed.

"Think about the implication of that argument," Barnes said. "If a lobbyist from Mizzou told you that, what they are saying is that ag research is their lowest priority."

Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, proposed moving over $4 million to the University of Missouri System from the state's transportation department. He said the university had met all of the requirements necessary to recieve the funding.

"There has never been a precedent by which the university or any university has hit their performance measures, and then has failed to recieve those dollars," Rowden said.

Opponents said the Missouri Department of Transportation is already poorly funded, and could not stand another cut.

"We're going to have an infrastructure crisis if we do not start putting more money into our roads and bridges," said Rep. Delus Johnson, R-Andrew County.

The measure failed by a resounding voice vote.

The University of Missouri is already facing a $7.6 million cut in its administration, and the Columbia campus is now facing a $1 million cut in its previous year's funding.

The University of Missouri's flagship campus would lose $1 million to Lincoln University to double its agriculture program funds, should the bill pass as amended.

The Missouri House of Representatives passed the measure by a vote of 83-75.

The opposition framed the issue of funding Lincoln as uncontroversial, but pulling money from the Columbia campus this specific year as peculiar.

"The Missouri General Assembly needs to do better than pitting students against students in a fight for a higher education," said Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia.

The amendment's sponsor Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said the state needs to invest more in agriculture. He also noted that the University of Missouri's lobbyists had promised cuts to a major agricultural research center if the amendment passed.

"Think about the implication of that argument," Barnes said. "If a lobbyist from Mizzou told you that, what they are saying is that ag research is their lowest priority."

Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, proposed moving over $4 million to the University of Missouri System from the state's transportation department. He said the university had met all of the requirements necessary to receive the funding.

"There has never been a precedent by which the university or any university has hit their performance measures, and then has failed to receive those dollars," Rowden said.

Opponents said the Missouri Department of Transportation is already poorly funded, and could not stand another cut.

"We're going to have an infrastructure crisis if we do not start putting more money into our roads and bridges," said Rep. Delus Johnson, R-Andrew County.

The measure failed by a resounding voice vote.

The University of Missouri is already facing a $7.6 million cut in its administration, and the Columbia campus is now facing a $1 million cut in its previous year's funding.

Citizens expressed their support of the religious liberty bill, one saying the bill is protecting basic first amendment rights.

The Missouri Senate Democrats have been filibustering for over a day, one of the citizens thinking that the filibuster is unnecessary.

"The precedent has been set that the people want it," Bailey Cordonnie said.

The proposed amendment has received support and backlash, as it continues to be debated in the Senate.

The filibuster has been the longest continuous filibuster in recent Missouri history.

As tension in the Senate heats up over a filibuster over a religious liberties bill, another gay rights bill may be losing steam.

Sen. Sen. Joseph Keaveny, D- St. Louis City has sponsored a bill on sexual orientation and gender orientation to the state's civil rights law, that has passed out of committee but has not yet reached the Senate floor.

Under Keaveny's bill, LGBTQ individuals could not be fired or discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender orientation.

The bill has not yet reached the Senate floor due to the republican super majority.

Following the filibuster on Monday, Keaveny fears that a republican controlled Senate will not put another LGBTQ rights bill on the floor for debate.

"I was hoping it would get to the floor sooner than now, with the current situation with the bill that we have here. I don't know if the president is going to give me any time on the bill or not. I was hoping he would, but things are not looking very optimistic right now," Keaveny said.

Keaveny and his committee are unable to do anything else with the bill until the president pro tempt requests the bill.

Democrats began this historic filibuster of the religious liberties bill at around 4 p.m. Monday night.

They said the bill, SJR 39, would write discrimination of LGBTQ groups into the Missouri Constitution.

Bill sponsor Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, aimed for the bill to prohibit the state from imposing penalties on those who act in accordance with a sincere religious belief concerning same-sex marriage.

Democrats in the Senate took issue with the bill specifically targeting the LGBTQ community.

Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, said this bill could potentially make members of the LGBTQ community second-class citizens forever.

"In my faith, we don't deal with the same obligation to separate individuals in our society who have chosen a different partner to be romantic with or to build a life with or to have a monogamous relationship with," Holsman said.

Republican senators had trouble seeing what made the bill so discriminatory.

Sen. Kiki Curls, D-Jackson County, said it was the entire foundation the bill was created on that made it descrimination.

"Senator, when you allow folks to refuse service to anyone based upon their sexual orientation or sexual preference, that would be discrimination," Curls said.

Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, said the bill is not meant to stop same-sex marriage from happening, it is about keeping the state from forcing it upon those who are religiously opposed to it.

"This bill does nothing to keep a gay couple from getting married,” Sater said.

Co-sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, said he believes there are two types of people in the world, those who believe God gave them their conscience, and those who don’t.

Emery said the bill would give those who hold the belief that same-sex marriage is wrong the freedom to refuse to take part in activities that pertain to those weddings.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis City, and Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis County, argued that gay couples do not intrude on the religious freedoms of others by expecting the same wedding goods and services they would provide to anyone else.

"How are you harmed by someone’s actions and different beliefs that say they want to marry someone they love?" Schupp asked of Emery.

The bill is a response to the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage.

Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis County, said this decision set a precedent that would override any hope of a person winning a case using the Missouri Constitution claim suggested by this bill.

"The notion that somehow voters are going to approve this amendment and now Missourians who have a sincerely held religious belief that requires them to discriminate against same-sex couples dont have to worry about it, is naive," Sifton said. "You're still gonna get sued, it's just gonna be the Federal Constitution claim."

Pro-LGBTQ rights groups have shown support for the Senate Democrats on social media throughout the 24-hour span of the filibuster.

Several businesses and organizations have also come out against the bill, saying it is not good for Missouri business or economy.

Changes to the bill have been offered by both Democrats and Republicans, however neither side has given in.

This filibuster is the longest continuous filibuster in the Missouri Senate in recent memory.

Senate Democrats had an all-night filibuster of a bill that aims to protect religious freedoms.

The proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution would keep the state from penalizing those who refuse service to same sex couples because of their religious beliefs.

Senator David Sater, R-Cassville, said the U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage forces it on people who oppose it for religious reasons.

"To me this is about freedom, freedom of religion, freedom to express your own beliefs, and freedom to act accordingly," Sater said.

Senate Democrats who oppose the bill argued the amendment pointedly targets and discriminates against the LGBT community.

Senator Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, said he subscribes to a similar religion as the one he assumed the bill is aiming to protect.

He said he has a hard time with the amendment because it would be allowing a religious community to persecute an entire group of people for something out of their control.

"In my faith, we don't deal with the same obligation to separate individuals in our society who have chosen a different partner to be romantic with or to build a life with or to have a monogamous relationship with," Holsman said.

Senator Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis County, was emotional in his opposition to the proposed amendment.

Sifton said the proposed amendment is not about protecting freedoms at all, but about marginalizing LGBT community, which is already dealing with discrimination every day.

"We're talking about people who, in Missouri, can be fired because of who they love. Today, they can be fired because of who they love," Sifton said. "They still live in that danger and I understand, and am sensitive to the concern, the sincerely held religious concern."

Sifton proposed amendments that would broaden the scope of the bill to include all religious beliefs, not just the one that same sex marriage is wrong.

Republican Senators opposed Sifton's amendment saying that it missed the point and weakened their original legislation.

Last Week

The Senator who flipped his deciding vote on a bill was berated on the floor Thursday for his seen preference to macrobreweries.

After Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, voted against a bill to allow portable coolers and self-service containers in supermarkets the day before, he placed the key vote for the measure to pass to the House.

"Senator, I just want to know- do you prefer Bud, Bud Light, or Bud Select?" Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, said immediately following the vote.

Schaaf opposed allowing coolers leased from beer companies because he sees them as a hindrance to local craft breweries' sales.

Pearce said he was contacted overnight by supermarket owners who wanted more shelf space and options for consumers.

Anheuser-Busch was not immediately available for comment.

Grocery store coolers would allow brand names of the companies that leased them to be shown, though the bill limits some advertising.

Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-St. Louis County and a candidate for state treasurer, said the bill helps shop owners sell all brands of beer to their customers.

"Beer is the #2 category in convenience store sales, #4 in grocery store sales, and one out of five folks that are looking for beer don't buy beer if it's not cold," Schmitt said.

Rolla Sen. Dan Brown, another candidate for Treasurer, said the products in the cooler are not likely to differ from the brand on it, hurting small and local producers.

The measure would also allow growlers, large containers of beer for home use, to be available in any store that sells alcohol.

The Missouri Senate voted Thursday, March 3, on imposing restrictions on how left-over campaign funds could be used if the candidate became a lobbyist.

The measure would require the funds be returned to the contributors, donated to non-profit organizations or given to political organizations.

The bill follows the 2012 actions for former House Speaker Steve Tilley who had amassed more than $1 million for a campaign for lieutenant governor. But Tilley dropped his campaign and  became a lobbyist. In the succeeding years, he's donated some of that money to political candidates who turned around and paid him as a consultant.

The original House-passed measure would require campaign funds be invested in accounts that allow immediate withdrawal or short-term investments.

The bill cleared the Senate 30-0 and now goes back to the House for review of the Senate changes.

"I'm not sure this is going to pass, but I want to have a discussion about it," said Sen. Rob Schaaf, R- St. Joseph.

One senator who openly supported the bill from the beginning was Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City. Holsman originally voted the bill out of committee.

"I supported this bill coming out of committee, and I will support it again today. I really think that when this is all said and done, a measure like this will have a positive effect on how we conduct our business," Holsman said. This is the first ethics bill the Senate has passed in the 2016 session.

A Senate debate Wednesday, March 2, likened the rates charged in civil lawsuits to predatory loans that have been a major issue for Missouri lawmakers for the last few years.

A bill sponsored by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, would establish a ceiling on the percentage of an award that a lawyer could collect collect from a civil lawsuit award.

Schaefer told the Senate the bill was designed to protect vulnerable members of the population who find themselves in these suits, which he said have become "a commodity."

Initially, Schaefer's bill had established a 21 percent cap on the amount that could be collected from these suits.

Opponents of the bill said the 21 percent cap was determined arbitrarily and was an example of needless government interference in business.

Both Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, and Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington, opposed the bill on the Senate floor.

Romine submitted an amendment to remove the 21 percent cap in order to allow, "the free market to determine what the cost of this civil litigation funding would be."

"It has allowed people access to funds that banks, credit unions will not lend to because there is no collateral," Romine said. "You don't understand what the process is, you're not going to $2 or $3,000 without knowing the business involved."

Schaefer countered Romine's amendment with an amendment of his own that upped the ceiling from 21 to 29 percent.

Despite his opponents' advocating for the free market, Schaefer said the bill ultimately protects the most vulnerable population.

"Nothing says justice like an unlimited amount of what can be charged on interest to people who are in a very vulnerable position," Schaefer said.

The bill was ultimately put on the Senate's informal calendar following a call for a point of order from Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City.

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said he would support whomever wins the Republican nominee for presidency, even if that nominee is Donald Trump.

Although Richard is the co-chair for Marco Rubio's campaign team in Missouri, he said the day after Trump's Super Tuesday's victories  that he would vote along party lines.

Early in the election cycle, the Republican candidates agreed to support whomever the party nominates.

"If all the candidates agree to that I'll follow their lead, too," Richard said. "But it's a little early to pick the winners."

Richard said he was surprised by Donald Trump's popularity.

"Usually the outsiders have a tougher time winning more of an insider game, so I am surprised," Richard said.

A Senate committee heard two bills designed to stop racial profiling by Missourian law enforcement Tuesday, March 1, 2016. The bill provides specific guidelines for police officer when performing a routine traffic stop and requires training for law enforcement on how to interact with citizens and while using appropriate force.

The sponsor of one of the two profiling bills heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee -- Senate Jamilah Nasheed said the relationship between Missouri's law enforcement and its citizens has become very negative, and this bill would help everyone in the community.

"This bill is not an attack to police officers," Nasheed said. "What we are trying to weed out the bad cops for the betterment of the community and law enforcement alike."

Ferguson Resident Tiffani Reliford told the committee how racial profiling affects her and her community.

"As a resident for eighteen years, I witnessed racial profiling and discriminatory practices," Reliford said.

Reliford expressed her fear of her community being destroyed due to the heightened racial tensions between law enforcement and citizens, before and after the Mike Brown trial and unrest in Ferguson.

"I knew once I walked out my house, I could be viewed as a subject simply for being black," Reliford said. "This was my relality, while living in Ferguson."

The bill would establish guidelines on the questions that a police office can ask during a traffic stop.

The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police President, Kevin Alhbrand said the point of traffic stops is to ask questions when something seems unusual.

"Really the most concerning section to me is the part that limits what an officer can ask during an investigatory stop," Alhbrand said.

Alhbrand said the bill would make it more difficult for police officers to their jobs and micromanages law enforcement.

No immediate action was taken on the bills.

An attorney for Mary Ann Smith, owner of Smith's Kennel, argued before the Missouri Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 2, that the United States Humane Society had defamed his client and invaded her privacy in a report they published in 2010.

The report listed her kennel as among Missouri's "Dirty Dozen"of the 12 worst puppy mills in Missouri with the stated purpose of encouraging the passing of Proposition B, a proposed constitutional amendment that would have made for stricter rules for puppy mill owners in Missouri.

Proposition B was  passed, but a year later the legislature eased several of the provisions to  But a year later, Senate passed a bill changing many of the provisions including a limit of 50 dogs in a breeding kennel.

The case pits claims of defamation and privacy invasion against the Humane Society's argument that their report was an opinion and therefore protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Stephen Gaunt, attorney for Smith, said Smith is a private citizen and that the report was an unmerited invasion into her privacy.

As a private citizen, Gaunt argued that Smith could claim defamation without proof of actual malice by the Humane Society under the First Amendment.

"In this case you've got a private citizen in rural Missouri, minding her own business, running a kennel and she finds herself in national news," Gaunt said.

But Bernard Rhodes, attorney for the United States Humane Society, said the report was an opinion and therefore "absolutely privileged" by the First Amendment.

Opinion is not subject to proof of actual malice.

"She is not a public figure but that's not relevant because the question before this court is not whether actual malice has been shown," Rhodes said. "The question before this court is whether or not the Humane Society is protected by the privilege for statements of opinion."

Gaunt said the report could be interpreted "by a reasonable person" as a statement of fact.

He also said his client was included in the "Dirty Dozen" report for strictly political reasons.

Smith is the mother of Republican Congressmen Jason Smith who was serving in the Missouri House when the Humane Society report was first issued.

A bill to allow breweries in Missouri to lease coolers to retailers passed first round approval in the Senate Wednesday, March 2.

This comes after action on the bill was delayed after two days of filibuster. 

Bill sponsor and state treasurer candidate Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-St. Louis County, brought the bill to the floor again for further debate.

Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla, who is also a candidate for state treasurer, was one of the senators who participated in the Monday filibuster.

He continued to express his opposition to the legislation in debate on Wednesday.

"We don't need to take this very lightly because this is, in my opinion, a huge policy change, and that's about all we effect in this building is policy and how it is operated in the state of Missouri," Brown said. "I think this is a huge change over how we've done business for the last hundred and however many years."

While those who participated in the filibuster continued to voice opposition, some lawmakers came to a compromise.

"There's concerns that it will limit their opportunities, I believe it should expand them and again if you got a good product and you can get it out there, people will buy it and they'll demand that of the convenience store operators. They'll get shelf space because that's what sells and their out there to sell," said Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Franklin County. "Again, I do have some concerns, but I think we've kinda addressed them. So I'm gonna proudly support this bill."

The Senate voted 17-15 to adopt a revised version of the bill and gave the revised version first round approval.

Missouri's House Select Budget Committee approved a $7.6 million cut to the budget of the University of Missouri.

The cut comes in response to the university's handling of the now-dismissed Associate Professor Melissa Click and other actions that led to the resignation of the university system's president.

The cuts, targeted at the university's administration, were included in the recommendations of the committee chair.

A motion by Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, to restore nearly $4 million of the cuts was defeated.

Rep. Genise Montecillo, D-St. Louis County, was one of two Democrats who voted against restoring the $7.6 million cut. She voiced concerns that the university "heed our concerns and concerns across the state."

Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, said the problems at the university existed beyond the campus events of last fall.

"They showcased Mizzou on this national news story back in 2014 or 2013," Burlison said. "They said, a University of Missouri admissions officer bragged to the TV show crew about the university's day spa, and said that, when it comes to recruiting students, 'more important than reading, writing, and arithmetic is giving our Tigers spring break anytime they step into the student recreation complex.'"

Rowden said he would prefer the new administrators not be crippled by the university's past.

"Much of the highest-level leadership isn't here anymore," he said. "What I'm asking today is for us to give the new leadership a chance to make the changes that we want to see."

A few representatives said the racial tension that led to Melissa Click's dismissal is still a major issue on campus.

"I am very much disturbed that our conversations, particularly in this building, have not dealt with the issues around racial problems on the university campus," said Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, D-Jackson County. "We keep pushing it aside as if it's simply just going to go away. This is not a situation that just started yesterday. It's been going on a long time."

The Senate passed a prohibition on unions subtracting dues from public employee's paychecks.

The bill was passed by a vote of 23-7 after six hours of a Democratic filibuster.

The vote went along party lines except for Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis County, who voted for the bill and Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Jefferson County, who voted against it.

The proposal would require annual written approval for an employer to withhold part of a worker's salary for union fees.

The bill's supporters argue that their money is being taken to support union endorsements of political views with which they do not agree.

Its detractors said unions work to improve working conditions and salaries for all workers in that business, and workers should pay for those favors.

Rep. Joshua Peters, D-St. Louis City, told the House unions' political power help poorer citizens have a voice.

"This legislation is designed to limit working families' participation in the political and legislative process by singling out unions," Peters said.

"You're Talking about dismantling the middle class." Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D- St. Louis City, said in the Senate meeting. 

Nasheed went on to further criticize the bill, "This [bill] is about weakening the union movement from within the republican party."

Sen. Gina Walsh, D- St. Louis County said that she "does not agree with this bill at all."

Senators got into a heated debate over the motives behind the bill, and only one senator spoke in favor.

Other filibuster conversations varied from the Royals' recent signing of Salvador Perez, embarrassing stories involving failing bras and sleepy stories of previous filibusters.

The House Emerging Issues Committee heard a bill that would repeal the crime of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, told the committee Monday, Feb. 29, that the bill would make current statute more logical in regards to conceal and carry, because it is supposed to restrict where gun owners can have guns, not how they are allowed to carry them.

"At the end of the day what this bill does is it addresses what I think is the most important thing," Burlison said. "Which is that we should not be placing a financial burden, a tax on someone, simply to want to have their Second Amendment rights."

Dr. Curt Frazier of the Missouri Firearms Coalition testified in favor of the bill.

He said the government should not be allowed to regulate how one can carry a gun where it is legal for them to carry it.

"While we strongly encourage our members to receive the highest quality training available, we do not believe this to be a replacement, or, rather, a requirement before someone can carry a firearm to defend themselves or their family," Frazier said.

Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis City, took issue with the bill, saying it would not be practical in places with high crime, like St. Louis.

Colona mocked the argument that changing this bill would help reduce crime.

"But maybe if we pass this, maybe if we [do away with all regulations] that way we don't have to come back here again year after year and engage in a slippery slope that doesn't exist," he said. "Maybe then our crime rates will go down, especially in the city of St. Louis."

Two Republican candidates for state treasurer have become major combatants in the Senate on a bill that would allow breweries in Missouri to lease coolers to retailers.

The bill sponsor, Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-St. Louis County, is running for state treasurer.

But another candidate for treasurer, Dan Brown, R-Rolla, has stalled action on the measure during two Senate sessions.

"One in five consumers will leave without buying beer if they can't find the cold beer of their choice," Schmitt said. "And it's the No. 2 and No. 4 category in C-stores and in grocery stores respectively, so there's a lot being sold. The more cold beer that is available, retailers are able to participate more in the free enterprise system and sell more beer."

Brown said he has only heard opposition to the bill.

"I don't know that I've ever had any more contact, both by telephone and by email, than I have on this one issue and I haven't had any of them that support the idea," Brown said.

Senate opponents said the bill would create at disadvantage the smaller, craft breweries that do not have the ability to provide refrigeration units to retailers.

But Schmitt said that many retailers were in favor of the bill and the idea of renting coolers.

"There are over 13 thousand retailers small and large across the state that want this bill," Schmitt said. "13 thousand whether it's the grocer's association, the petroleum marketer's association, all those folks that came and testified in support, they want more cooler space."

Brown later accused Schmitt and the bill of being in favor of larger breweries, like Anheuser-Busch, located in Schmitt's district.

"I think we have to proceed very carefully and not favor just the larger breweries over the smaller businesses that's actually created more jobs over the last few years," Brown said.

After two hours of the second debate on Monday, Feb. 29, Schmitt put his bill aside.