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Missouri Government News for Week of Apr. 26, 1999

Abortion rights supporters block a Senate vote on an abortion restriction bill.

Abortion rights supporters filibustered for more than 15 hours straight until early Friday morning to block a Senate vote on a bill to ban partial birth abortion.

At about 2am, the Senate leadership adjourned the Senate until Sunday afternoon when it became obvious that the Senate was in a gridlock over the issue.

Repeated roll calls showed bill supporters enjoyed an overwhelming margin of support for the bill that is similar to the one vetoed by the governor two years ago.

See our newspaper story from the evening fillibuster.

Also see the roll call on a key amendment to the bill.

Carnahan expresses regrets in the handling of a death penalty commutation.

Gov. Mel Carnahan expressed regrets that the family members of the victims had not been notified of his decision to commute the death sentence of Darrell Mease.

Carnahan made his statement at a cermoney honoring crime victims. However, he did not express any regrets for his decision to grant the commutation which was done at the request of Pope John Paul.

See our newspaper story for details.

The House votes to free adult motorcycle riders from helmets.

The House approved, in slightly altered form, a Senate-passed measure to let adults ride motorcycles without helmets. The proposal would limit the current helmet requirement to those under 21 years of age.

For more details, see:

Lawmakers vote to change the animal fighting ban passed by the voters just last fall.

Fishermen and women need not fear facing felony charges under a measure sent to the governor by the House.

The proposal clarifies that the anti-animal fighting proposal passed by Missouri voters in November does not cover fishing.

See our newspaper story for details.

The Senate begins its near-annual abortion debate.

Missouri's Senate has begun what is expected to be long and emotional debate on a bill to ban partial birth abortion. Two years ago, the Senate failed by just one vote to override the governor's veto of a similar bill.

Two hours were consumed by opponents Wednesday without the Senate reaching vote.

See our newspaper story for details.

The House votes to give elderly homeowners a tax break.

The homes of Missouri's elderly would be totally exempt from property taxes under a proposal adopted by the House Tuesday.

The homestead property tax exemption was tacked on to an unrelated bill that had been passed by the Senate earlier this year. The Senate now must consider the House-passed amendment.

See the House roll call.

DWI legislation gets a favorable committee assignment.

The effort to toughen the state's drunken driving laws was given a breath of life by the Senate President Pro Tem.

Rather than the committee whose chairman had killed a similar Senate bill earlier this year, the proposal to lower the alcohol limit for drivers was assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee whose chairman says he supports the bill.

See our newspaper story for details.

The governor appoints a task force to examine school safety.

Prompted by the Littleton, Colo. shootings, Gov. Mel Carnahan has appointed a task force to examine what can be done to improve safety in Missouri schools.

The eleven-member task force has both state and local officials. It is charged with delivering a report by the fall, in time for the 2000 legislative session.

See our newspaper story and our radio story with digital audio for details.

Off-brand tobacco tax gets go ahead from Senate

The Missouri Senate approved a measure today that adds about one cent to the price of every cigarette sold by off-brand tobacco companies in this state.

The bill is meant to protect the market share of the tobacco companies that participated in this past November's tobacco settlement. The measure now goes back to the House which had approved a similar version earlier this year.

For more details, see our newspaper story.

Also see the Senate roll-call.

Grant would help lower pre-school tuition costs for Missouri parents.

Eighty-four school districts will receive a grant that will help lower pre-school tuition costs for parents. Each district will get between seven and thirty thousand dollars toward expanding pre-school education programs.

See our radio story for details.

Graduated driver's license plan motors through Senate

The Senate gave third-round approval to a plan by Sen. Wayne Goode (D-St. Louis County) that would change the way Missouri teenagers get driver's licenses. Under the bill, 15-year-olds would be eligible for learner's permits, and their parents would have to provide 10 hours of on-the-road training before the student could get an intermediate license.

For more information, see:

Anti-methamphetamine task forces get new equipment

Anti-methamphetamine task forces gathered at the Jefferson City Police Department Monday to get new equipment for the cleanup of meth-lab sites.

Funds for the equipment came out of a bill package passed last year at the prompting of Gov. Mel Carnahan. Along with money for training programs on anti-meth enforcement, the funds total $1.3 million.

See our newspaper story for details.

Grant money to lower pre-school costs for parents.

Eighty-four school districts across the state will receive money to partially fund pre-school, day-care programs.

The program was authorized by the legislature last year at the urging of the governor to make schools available for day-care services.

See our newspaper story and our radio story for details.