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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of January 5, 2004


. Missouri's child abuse list is struck down (01/09/04)

JEFFERSON CITY - A Cole Count circuit judge has ruled as unconstitutional a semi-secrete list of suspected child abusers kept by the state's welfare agency.

The list contains names of persons registered by state child-abuse investigators -- but never charged or found guilty. Although the list is confidential, various child-care agencies are allowed to check the list for the names of potential employees or volunteers.

Cole County Circuit Judge Rhciard Callahan held that process violated due process rights.

. Missouri's governor vows another fight to raise taxes. (01/09/04)

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Gov. Bob Holden went before the state Board of Education to announce his support of the lawsuit against the state's system for funding local education.

In a brief speech to the board, Holden said he again would propose a package of tax increases to the state legislature.

In a later session with reporters, however, Holden indicated he would not present a plan for changing the school funding distribution formula -- which is at the heart of the lawsuit filed by more than 240 school districts in the state.

. Legislative session begins with partisan warfare (01/07/04)

JEFFERSON CITY - Within an hour of the start of Missouri's 2004 legislative session, partisan squabbles replaced bipartisan cooperation.

Republican leaders began their opening remarks for the day with talk of cooperation, but speeches in both the House and Senate quickly criticized the governor and set out demands similar to those of last year.

Republican leaders vowed to push the same issues Gov. Bob Holden had vetoed last year. At the same time, the Senate's Democratic leader vowed to continue Democratic filibusters if necessary to block key GOP issues.

  • Get the newspaper story.
    . Sen. Dolan to return Jan. 20 for session (01/07/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Sen. Jon Dolan, R-St. Charles County, will return from active duty service with the Missouri Army National Guard in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to resume his Missouri Senate duties.

    Dolan was granted leave in September and returned to Missouri to vote during the Senate's veto session. This led to an investigation of the leave by the U.S. Southern Command. The investigation found that Dolan received his leave according to proper procedures and did not knowingly violate the rules. Dolan was reprimanded with a letter of admonition, the lowest form of punishment.

    Dolan will return to the Senate on Jan. 20, after spending time with his family.

    . Budget issues overshadow session (01/06/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - While there are issues on the legislative table to address, including finding funding for education and transportation, upcoming elections, partisianship and ever-present funding gaps are clouding the outlook for the Missouri General Assembly's 2004 session.

    During the session, which is set to begin Wednesday, the House and Senate will also look at the Missouri's need for job creation, and revisit tort reform legislation vetoed by Holden last year.

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    . Still no consensus revenue estimate but revenue is up through December (01/06/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - On the eve of Missouri's 2004 legislative session, House and Senate leaders and the governor's office are still in dispute over how much money the state will have available.

    Meanwhile, the Revenue Department released figures showing the state's revenue collections for the first half of the current budget year were 7.9 percent higher than last year. When $95.1 million of one-time federal aid is excluded, general revenue is up 4.8 percent as of December, 2003.

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    . School districts file lawsuit over funding formula (01/06/04)

    JEFFERSON CITY - More than 240 school districts from across the state filed suit Tuesday challenging the state's system for funding local schools.

    The lawsuit raises three charges:

    1. That the state does not provide enough money for schools.
    2. That the money it does provide is not equitably distributed among the school districts.
    3. That the state has violated the state constitution by no providing funds necessary to meet new requirements imposed on school districs.

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