NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of November 10, 2003
|.||State parks may suffer (11/14/03)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Retirement Incentive law allowed state park employees to retire and avoid higher insurance rates. But the law also said that only twenty-five percent of vacated jobs could be filled. This may mean less maintenance, shorter hours, and the closing of some sites.
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|.||Autumn's main attraction leaves much to be desired (11/14/03)|
JEFFERSON CITY - It's just the trees' natural defense that's caused a boring Missouri fall, according to the state's Conservation Department.
Department officials say the lack of rain is what caused trees to drop their leaves before displaying the normal fall colors.
|.||Missouri gets $3 million in federal grants to help crack down on meth (11/13/03)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Sixty Missouri law enforcement agencies and task forces will get $3 million in funds to help stop Missouri's growing methamphetamine problem.
Officials with the Missouri Sheriffs Methamapetamine Relief Team, also known as MOSMART, say that the counties will use the funds for anything from training to equipment.
|.||Tobacco settlement money not being spent on prevention (11/13/2003)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Of the almost $700 million dollars the state has recieved so far from its lawsuit against the tobacco industry, Missouri has spent only $1 million on youth smoking prevention. That million was spent last year, and this year's budget includes no funds for tobacco prevention.
Missouri is one of five states that aren't spending any money on tobacco prevention, but every state has used at least part of its settlement money for other purposes, according to a new report released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
|.||Missouri students outperform students in 38 other states according to a recent test. (11/13/03)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The National Assessment of Education Progress, or the NAEP test, shows that Missouri students in grades 4 and 8 score slightly above national average in reading and math.
In the past, participation in the NAEP has been voluntary for states. But now, the federal government requires all states to administer this test as a baseline for measuring progress for the coming years.
Commission of Education D. Kent King is pleased with the results, but says he would like to see scores climb even higher.
|.||Attorney general's offices announce investigation of tax credit fraud (11/12/03)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The state attorney general's office announced Wednesday that it is investigating allegations of phantom businesses setup to abuse a state tax credit program. The announce came at a Joint Committee on Tax Policy hearing. The hearing marked the beginning of a process to evaluate state tax credit programs.
|.||Missouri Attorney General's Office launches investigation into tax credit fraud (11/12/03)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The state Attorney General's office announced Wednesday an investigation into tax credit fraud of a program run by the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The program provides tax credits for companies to purchase computer equipment. It is designed to attract high-tech companies to poor areas. "We were not asleep at the switch," director of economic development Joe Driskill said.
|.||The EPA says 11 cities in Missouri are in danger of sanitary sewer overflows (11/11/03)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Sanitary sewer overflows, or SSO's, occur when the same pipe system handles both rain and sewage. When there is too much rain, the system overflows and raw sewage is dumped into rivers and waterways.
SSO's are filled with concentrated levels of pollutants and this threatens the public's health. Direct exposure can cause various diseases such as diarrahea, vomiting and respiratory illnesses.
The price tag to fix the problem is very high because the system has not been adequately maintained. Missouri's Department of Natural Resources is waiting for a federal proposal before they can fix local problem.
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|.||Missourians gather around State Capitol to honor veterans (11/11/03)|
JEFFERSON CITY - After the rain cleared, over a hundred people gathered in front of the Capitol in Jefferson City to give thanks to the men and women who served.
Rev. John Kerr gave the invocation.
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|.||School Districts' efforts to get more money fail the first test (11/10/03)|
JEFFERSON CITY - A Cole County circuit judge upheld Gov. Bob Holden's power to withhold $190 million from state funding to local schools because of estimated revenue shortages.
Attorneys for the challenging school districts said that they would appeal the decision.
|.||As more Missourians die from tobacco use, less money allotted for prevention (11/10/03)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Though the state has received more than $600 million from big tobacco's Master Settlement Agreement, tobaccco prevention programs have received less than $1 million. This year, Missouri's Health Department will receive no funds for prevention, despite estimates that 10,300 residents will die of tobacco-related health problems.
With the funds it has received, the Health Department is trying to provide support for community based programs.
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