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Missouri Government News for Week of November 27


This week's news summary was prepared by Candyce L. Clifft from reports prepared during the week by staff of Missouri Digital News.

Higher Speed Limit Not Guaranteed in Missouri

The federal speed limit increase was set to take effect in January, unless the legislature decided against it. However, the Missouri legislature has until March to make up its mind.

Gov. Mel Carnahan wrote a letter to the federal Transportation Dept. secretary, asking for a 60-day delay beginning in January. This will give the legislature and the administration more time to debate the issue and make a decision.

Unless the legislature approves a new speed-limit law, the speed limit automatically will jump to 70 miles an hour on the interstate and 65 miles an hour on state highways after the 60-day period -- about mid-March.

Other related stories:


Higher Speed Limits Will Boost Auto Insurance Rates

If the speed limit is increased in Missouri, your car insurance will increase as well.

[137K WAV file - INSUR1.WAV]Randy McConnell, spokesperson for the Missouri Insurance Dept., says insurance rates could increase by 15 percent.

In Missouri, insurance companies can raise rates whenever they see fit.

Related story: Higher Speed Limits Could Mean Higher Insurance Rates


Gender is Main Issue in Race for Majority Floor Leader

For the second time in the last few months, women are trying to gain power in the Missouri legislature. After Rep. Sheila Lumpe, D-St. Louis County, lost the House Speaker race by one vote in October, Rep. Gracia Backer, D-Fulton, has announced she is seeking the House Majority Floor Leader post.

Assistant Floor Leader Wayne Crump, D-Potosi, said he will also run for the office. Crump said the main issue in the race is gender.

[39K WAV file -MAJFLOOR.WAV ]Crump says women in the House are more interested in having a woman in the position, regardless of who it is.

Crump said if he loses the race, he will not resign as assistant floor leader. The Democrats plan to elect the new leader before the opening of the legislative session in January.

Other related stories:


State Hopes to Cut Costs of Copying Legislation

December 1 is the first date to pre-file bills to be considered in Missouri's next legislative session. Once bills are filed, they are copied for all representatives, and the copying costs $60-$70 thousand each year. Chief House Clerk, Doug Burnett, said he hopes new technology will change that. Burnett said within a few years, all bills could be in digital form.

Related story: Mountain of paper begins building with legislative pre-filing period


Concealed Weapon Sponsor Leaving to the NRA

On the first day to pre-file bills for the January legislative session, the leading proponent of concealed weapons in Missouri said he doesn't have a bill to file.

Sen. Harold Caskey, D-Butler, killed his own concealed weapons bill at the end of the last session after heated debate and a threatened veto by the governor.

Caskey said he does not plan to pre-file his bill, and he refused to discuss his strategy for the future.