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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of September 22, 2003

 


. State auditors catch government employees exaggerating weigh station vehicle counts (09/25/03)

JEFFERSON CITY - State auditors catch government employees exaggerating vehicle counts to keep certain weigh stations open.

  • Get the package of radio stories
    . Audit says state lax with truck weigh stations (09/25/2003)

    JEFFERSON CITY - A new report from State Auditor Claire McCaskill's office says the Highway Patrol is lax in its pursuit of overweight trucks on Missouri roads.

    The audit says enforcement of the laws governing truck weights is spotty, with most weigh stations operating on predictable schedules and enforcement concentrated at a few locations while other areas were wide open for overweight trucks.

    The audit also reports that personnel at two weigh stations inflated the number of vehicles inspected because they were afraid the stations would close otherwise.

  • Get the radio story
    . Bartlett is at it again (09/24/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The man whose efforts led to the largest tax increase in Missouri history is once again preparing to challenge the constitutionality of Missouri's school funding system. Bartlett is representing over 200 school districts from across Missouri struggling to find resources in light of cutbacks to education.

    Get the newspaper story.


    . Proposed bill would help fund education (09/24/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Democratic Representative Harold Selby introduced a bill during the special session that would place a ten percent tax on campaign contributions. The revenue would be used to help fund public education.

    Get the radio story.


    . Missouri County Assessors Condemn Rulings of Tax Hearing Officer (09/24/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - County assessors throughout Missouri disagree with rulings made by W.B. "Bart" Tichenor, chief hearing officer for the state Tax Commission. Tichenor has repeatedly ruled in favor of businesses who appeal that appraisals overvalue their property and cause them to pay undue taxes. Assessors argue Tichenor is costing local governments needed tax revenue.

    Get the newspaper story.


    . Farmers Insurance Stops Offering Malpractice Liability Insurance (09/24/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Another insurance company has dropped out of the medical malpractice liability insurance business. Farmers Insurance will offer no new malpractice policies and plans to phase out existing ones beginning Jan. 1. The new policy applies to Missouri and the 17 other states where Farmers Insurance used to sell medical malpractice liability insurance.


    . Organizers of school lawsuits say they want adequate funding (09/23/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Organizers of a massive school funding lawsuit say they hope to change the rules for school funding, and also to force the state to fork over more money for education.

  • Get the package of radio stories
    . Telemarketers show no concern for no-call list (09/23/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Even though the national do-not-call list takes effect next month, some Missouri telemarketers are not concerned.

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    . Quality of healthcare at risk, doctors say (09/23/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Crushed by rising malpractice insurance premiums, a doctor from rural Missouri flees her hometown to Kansas City. She was the only one left delivering babies there. Doctors's groups say her experience foreshadows much worse for the state. Attorneys groups and the U.S. General Accounting office, however, beg to differ.

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    . Funding cuts hurt Missouri Arts Council (09/23/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Officals say the Missouri Art Council will have to close in two years if new funding isn't found. Officals say it has lost all general revenue funding from the state and is being funded this year from an internal trust.

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    . Missouri revenue increase does not end budget woes (09/23/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The 6.1 percent increase in Missouri revenue does not reflect the reality of collections according to Missouri Budget Director Linda Luebbering.

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    . Missouri educators say MAP tests are unfair (09/23/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri educators are saying that schools are failing not because of their students but because of testing qualifications and procedures. Tina McManus, director of research and assessment in the Springfield School District, says that modifications need to be made because school districts aren't passing.

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    . Conceal and Carry Not Such a New Trend (09/22/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri follows the trend Florida began 16 years ago by allowing citizens to conceal and carry weapons. Florida lawmakers cited high crime as a reason for gun law legislation.

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    . Republicans announce President Bush's Missouri campaign team (09/22/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The top elected Republicans announced that President Bush's uncle, William H.T. "Bucky" Bush, will be his Missouri campaign chairman.

    Party officials say Missouri will be a pivotal and critically important state to President Bush's re-election. Party spokesman John Hancock predicts Missourians will see a lot of the president throughout the next year.

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    . Negotiations over capping Missouri's rising medical malpractice insurance rates come to a halt (09/22/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - In two letters to the Govenor, medical groups called off further talks with the Association of Missouri Trial Attorneys saying "any further discussions are unlikely to produce any meaningful legislation." The two groups had been meeting for three weeks in an attempt to construct legislation that would cap rising medical malpractice insurance rates and limit doctor and hospital liability.


    . West Nile Virus Claims its Second Missouri Victim this Year (09/22/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - An 83-year-old female from St. Louis County became Missouri's second death of 2003 due to the West Nile Virus. The virus has infected residents in 28 verified cases as of Sept. 19.

    Dr. Howard Pue of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services warned that the WNV threat is still present. "Nearly 40% of our cases occurred last year between this time and the end of the season. We still have at least another month of West Nile Virus risk." The Centers for Disease Control reported seven deaths in Missouri due to WNV in 2002.


    . Officials Debate the Impact of General Revenue Increase (09/22/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Revenue has announced a 6.1 percent increase in general revenue for July and August over the same period last year. Officials have been cautious not to label this the answer to Missouri's budget woes.

    Get the newspaper story.


    . Holden Names Patient Safety Commission to Help Reduce Medical Errors in Missouri (09/22/03)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Holden created the 17-member Missouri Commission on Patient Safety. Holden's office says the intention is to improve the quality of health care and further reduce the number of medical malpractice claims in the state.

    "Despite the recent upsurge in attention to malpractice litigation in the state and how to reduce the cost for physicians, the best outcome for all concerned is the prevention of medical errors that have devastating effects on the physical, emotional, professional and financial well-being of patients and families," Holden said.

    Servings as chairman of the commission is Gregg R. Laiben, M.D., medical director since 1997 for the Missouri Division of Medical Services, which oversees the state Medicaid program, and medical director of MissouriPRO, which oversees quality of care for Missouri Medicaid recipients.