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Missouri Government News for Week of Apr. 12, 1999

Missouri's House votes to give tax breaks for health costs.

Missouri's House passed and sent to the Senate a broad health-care package that provides state support for health insurance coverage of small business workers and provides tax deductions for health-care costs of individuals.

The measure, two years in the making, passed the House without opposition.

See our newspaper story for details.

Missouri's tobacco settlement efforts hits another snag.

Missouri's attorney general's office has been advised that there will be appeals filed to a lower court decision that was supposed to clear the way for the state's participation in the national tobacco settlement.

To participate, Missouri must drop its separate lawsuit against the industry. But three metro area local governments and a group of hospitals have objected, complaining they too have incurred costs from smokers.

See our newspaper story for details.

Legislation filed to block the St. Louis planned lawsuit against gun makers.

Legislation has been filed in Missouri's House that would prevent any local government from suing firearms manufacutures for damages caused by firearms.

St. Louis city's mayor has announced he will file such a lawsuit to collect health care and other costs the city has incurred from unauthorized use of guns. Several cities in the U.S. have filed such suits, charging manufacturers can include devices that prevent unauthorized use of a firearm.

See our newspaper story for details.

The Senate approved off-track betting on horse races.

Without one vote to spare, Missouri's Senate approved a measure that would legalize betting parlors on horse races.

Supporters argue the meausre is needed to provide enough profit motivation for somebody to build a horse race track in Missouri. No track has been constructed since Missourians approved on-track betting in 1986.

For more details, see:

The House votes to exempt the mentally retarded from the death sentence.

The Missouri House adopted to a broad anti-crime bill an amendment that would exempt the mentally retarded from the death sentence.

In addition to exempting the mentally retarded from the death penalty, the crime bill would make identity theft a crime and extend the period of time a person can be held in jail before they are charged with a crime.

See our complete newspaper story on the bill and the death penalty amendment.

Missouri's House votes to lower the limit for drunken driving.

By a margin of better than two-to-one, Missouri's House voted to lower the blood-alcohol level for drunken driving.

The House attached an amendment to an auto-registration bill that would lower the defintion of DWI from 0.10% to 0.08%. But the idea still faces an uphill battle.

The House did not complete action on the bill itself. And some House members were heard saying they felt they had to vote for the amendment, despite disagreement, for fear of political fallout.

See the House roll call.

Missouri Senate considers ethnic intimidation bill.

The Missouri Senate moved one step closer Tuesday to passing a bill that would grant harsher penalties to criminals who choose their victims based on race, sexual orientation, or disability. St. Louis Senator William Clay sponsored the bill and says that hate cannot be tolerated as motivation for a crime.

See our radio story for details.

Term limits up for debate, again

Even though Missouri voters elected to impose term limits on lawmakers back in 1992, the legislature is considering putting the issue on the ballot again. St. Louis City democrat O.L. Shelton is sponsoring HJR 30, which would ask voters to repeal the term limit amendment to the state's constitution.

St. Louis County Republican Steve Ehlmann will speak out against that bill at a press conference Wednesday morning. He says term limits are a good way to purge the legislature of career politicians.

So far, term limits have forced only one lawmaker not to run again-- Senate President Pro Tem Bill McKenna.

See our radio story for details.

Senate passes bill that allows automobile owners to get car inspected every two years

Senator Wayne Goode's bill passed the Senate that would allow automobile owners to get their cars inspected and registered every two years.

For more details, see:

Gun rights forces win a key victory in Missouri's House.

Less than one week after voter rejection of concealed weapons, the House rejected a proposal pushed for several years by gun-control advocates.

The House rejected by a margin of nearly six-to-one an amendment to a crime bill that would have made it a crime to fail to store a firearm in a way that it could not be accessed by children.

See our newspaper story for details.

Also see the roll-call vote.

A parade of horses backs up traffic on the Missouri bridge

In honor of Tom Bass who was being inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians a calvary of horses traveled on the Missouri bridge to the state capitol stopping traffic for 45 minutes.

Bass a nothern Missourian who had been born a slave, became an internationally known horse trainer.

See our radio story and our newspaper story for details.