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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for Week of February 24, 2003

 


. Columbia legislators distance themselves from Jacob's water amendment (02/27/03)
JEFFERSON CITY - Columbia's representatives had little to say in response to a report that Sen. Ken Jacob, D-Columbia, pushed legislation for personal reasons. Jacob's recent provision, added onto a Senate bill, would place restrictions on water service shutoffs. His amendment came after his own water service was shut off for nonpayment.

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. Holden authorizes withholding $158 million to fix shortfall (02/27/03)
JEFFERSON CITY - After publicly threatening education budget cuts if he did not get his way from the legislature, Gov. Bob Holden chose to make his final budget withholdings in private, at the end of the day, as state offices were being closed. The $158 million in withholdings cover education, higher education and a variety of other state programs.

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. State department employees threatened to be fired: House Speaker considers subpoenas (02/27/03)
JEFFERSON CITY - House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, R- St. Louis County, said Thursday she is considering subpoening state officials to investigate who threatened state department employees with their jobs if they discussed budget ideas with legislators.

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. House gives initial approval to bill that puts a cap on malpractice awards (02/26/2003)
JEFFERSON CITY - The House approved a bill for passage that limits personal injury lawsuit awards. Supporters of the bill say they hope doctors driven out of state by rising insurance costs will return. Opponents say the bill limits doctors' liability and hurts malpractice victims.

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    . House proposes elimination of children's health insurance program. (2/26/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - About 80,000 Missouri children would lose health insurance coverage under a cut approved by the House appropriations committee on social services today.

    The measure would eliminate the state's Children's Health Insurance Program, which offers coverage for children from families with incomes up to 300 percent of the poverty level. The move would reduce Missouri coverage for children to the federal minimums.

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    . The bond issue bill is signed without notice. (02/26/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Without notice and behind closed doors, Gov. Bob Holden signed the bond issue authorization that lets the state borrow $150 million to balance the remaining four months of this fiscal year's budget.

    The governor walked out of a later news conference when asked about the education budget cuts that would be necessary under the bill.

    His staff said the governor was waiting on an emergency appropriations bill to fund the bond issue sale before the governor would implement further budget withholdings.


    . House approves lifetime teaching certificates (02/25/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's House gave first-round approval to legislation that would eliminate the need for teachers to renew their certification to teach every ten years.

    Proponents argued it would help address a shortage of teachers in the state. But opponents voiced concerns it would remove an incentive for teachers to maintain their skills.

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    . Missouri's Senate may be stuck with old toilets. (02/25/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The leader of Missouri's Senate has flushed a plan to give the Senate new flushers.

    Sen. President Pro Tem Peter Kinder wrote the governor Tuesday asking the administration to cancel plans for a $1 million upgrade of restrooms on the Senate side of the Capitol.

    "Current facilities have provded adequate, although arguably less than posh," Kinder wrote.


    . Election officials announce plans to kill off paper ballots( 02/25/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Hand-counted, paper ballots that plagued Florida two years ago would become history in Missouri under a plan unvieled by state election officials today.

    Secretary of State Matt announced state plans to implement federal requirements adopted in the aftermath of the presidential election confusion of 2000 in Florida.

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    . The Senate approves bill prohibiting St. Louis from suing gun manufacturers (02/25/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - On a voice vote, Missouri's Senate gave first-round approval to legislation that would force St. Louis city to drop its lawsuit against hand gun manufacturers.

    The measure would prohibit such lawsuits by any local government in the state.

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    . A House sommitte hears legislation prohibiting discrimination against citizens with service animals (02/25/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Persons who use service animals urged lawmakers to pass a bill that would prohibit discrimination against them.

    The measure would give disabled persons the right to bring service animals into a variety of locations.

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    . Plan would hold nursing homes accountable (02/24/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY -The Senior Care Protection Act, sponsored by Senate Pres. Pro Tem Peter Kinder, would target nursing homes with a history of violations while loosening regulations on homes that have repeatedly demonstrated good conditions.

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    . Inaugural Disclosure Bill Wins Primary House Approval (02/24/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The house gave first-round approval to a bill that would make gubernatorial and legislative inaugural activities subject to campiagn disclosure laws.

    The bill would prevent the governor-elect and newly elected legislators from receiving public money until they create inaugural committees.

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    . Commission on Children's Justice begins search for solutions. (2/24/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The Commission on Children's Justice plans to focus on solutions to specific issues, after hearing testimony on problems faced by all parties involved with juvenile justice and foster care cases.

    The commission, established by Chief Justice Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr., has met once a week since Feb. 3 and will make recommendations to the judicial, legislative and executive branches. A preliminary report is due March 28.

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    . Ex-state budget director: Missouri approaching 'death spiral' (2/24/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - A recent report from Missouri's budget director under ex-governor John Ashcroft said Missouri's budget problems will accelerate in the years to come unless the legislature and the governor 'wield the machete' and rein in spending.

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