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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for Week of April 7, 2003


. Senator backs away from health-care bill opposed by UM (04/10/03)
JEFFERSON CITY - A state senator has shelved a bill opposed by the University of Missouri that would have put the university's health care plan under a new state agency. Bill sponsor Sen. Jim Mathewson, D-Sedalia, a longtime supporter of the university, admitted defeat Thursday.

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. Packed pistols wins Senate committee approval. (04/09/03)
JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate General Laws Committee has passed and sent to the full Senate a House-passed measure to allow private citizens to carry concealed weapons.

The measure does not require voter approval. Missourians narrowly rejected a similar concealed-weapons proposal in 1999.

Gov. Bob Holden has said he would veto the bill.

. The Senate rejects repealing the death penalty. (04/09/03)
JEFFERSON CITY - By a margin of greater than two-to-one, the Senate voted down a proposal to repeal the state's death penalty law.

The repeal was proposed as an amendment to a bill designed to shorten sentences for non-violent offenders.

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    . Senator Dougherty fights to protect children in religious reformatories (04/08/2003)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Senator Pat Dougherty (D-St. Louis) is sponsoring a bill that would require the state's license-exempt religious organizations to comply with safety standards. The bill is stalled in committee.

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    . House gives initial approval to foster care reform bill (04/09/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The House cleared a bill for passage that would change the state abuse hotline, background check procedures and criminal liability for case workers whose children die in foster care.

    The bill also would make it easier to fire Division of Family Services workers who don't follow department policy was given preliminary approval by the House.

    The bill would also implement a privatization pilot project in St. Louis City, Greene County and a rural Missouri county.

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    JEFFERSON CITY - The House cleared a bill for passage that would change the state abuse hotline, background check procedures and criminal liability for case workers whose children die in foster care.
    . Bill would limit non-discrimination policies of school districts (04/09/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - As students arount the country observed a Day of Silence in support of making schools safer for gay students, the attention at the Capitol turned to legislation that opponents say would move in the opposite direction.

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    . Senate approves sentencing bill aimed at cutting inmate numbers (04/09/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's Senate has approved a landmark sentencing bill aimed at curbing the explosive growth in the state's prison population. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Harold Caskey, D-Butler, said the measure would free up more than 1,500 beds in the prison system and save Missouri $30 million over the next two years.

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    . Tougher regulation of nursing homes wins Senate approval. (04/08/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate gave first-round approval to a measure that would impose stiffer fines against bad nursing homes and give the state stronger powers to investigate the industry.

    The measure faces one more Senate vote before going to the House.

    Sponsored by a Republican and passed by the Republican-controlled Senate, the plan won immediate endorsement from the state's Democratic governor and lieutenant governor.

    . Toll road debate continues despite lackluster attention in legislature (04/08/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Legislation to allow toll roads in Missouri has stalled in Missouri's legislature.

    However, after the overwhelming rejection by Missouri voters of tax increases for highways, transportation advocates argue toll roads might be the only realistic solution to meeting the state's highway needs.

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    . Senate committee hears bill allowing internet contracts (04/08/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - A federal mandate requires all states to adopt such a measure or be subject to federal contract laws which do not provide consumer protection said the bill's sponsor.
    . Senate hears concealed guns bill (04/08/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Stacey Newman lives near one of the worst crime areas of St. Louis, but she said she doesn't need guns to feel defended.

    Newman, a representative of the St. Louis Women's Coalition, testified before a Senate Committee Tuesday against a measure that would allow Missouri residents to carry concealed weapons.

    The bill would give a 21-year-old who goes through 12 hours of training and gets finger printed the right to conceal a gun.

    The committee is scheduled to vote on the bill Wednesday.

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    . The Senate Appropriations Committee votes to cut funds for the presidential primary. (04/08/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate Appropriations Committee voted Monday night to completely eliminate the entire $3.7 million appropriation for the February presidential primary.

    Supporters argued the state could not afford the non-binding primary during a year of a tight budget.

    But opponents to the appropriations cut argued the primary still would be held, since even without funds there is a law requiring a primary.

    The House has a bill that would eliminate that law.

    The Senate committee also voted to cut $2 million from the advertising budget of the the state's lotteries.

    . Supporters of House and Senate bills that make it a crime to secretly photograph animal faciltiies defend their stance (04/07/2003)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Kennel owners and livestock associations in support of the bill say they've got nothing to hide.

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    . Lawmakers react to NMSU possibly joining UM system (04/07/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Lawmakers from both parties offered tentative support Monday for incorporating Northwest Missouri State University (NMSU) into the University of Missouri system.

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    . Health Department prepares for West Nile (04/07/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - You can play a role in preventing the spread of West Nile Virus, according to the Missour Health Department. Last year, an unexpected number of Missourians were infected with the virus -- 168 people in 30 Missouri counties -- and the state needs to be better prepared for an outbreak this year, according to the Missouri Health Department.

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    . Child sales remain legal in Missouri (04/07/03)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Some 150 years after the abolishment of slavery, Missouri children can still be sold - based on a Ray County case. Currently, Missouri law prohibits child sales only in cases of adoption and services. A bill before the House Crime Committee would make selling a child illegal for any reason.

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