NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of May 3, 2004
|.||Future looks dim for Republican priorities as legislature begins final week (05/07/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - As the legislative session enters its final week, the priorities presented by the Republican leadership, including liability lawsuit limits and Medicaid cuts, remain mostly unachieved.
Republicans say they accomplished the biggest challenge by passing an on-time budget that increases education spending with no tax increases. But some Democrats say few substantive bills have been passed so far this session.
|.||Holden disengaged from lawmakers (05/07/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - With less than a week left in the session, a majority of Gov. Bob Holden's legislative agenda has been left on the sideline. Only a fraction of the measures Holden proposed in January made it past their initial reading--even fewer are still being discusssed. Some Democrats cite Republican control as the cause for the governor's legislative shortcomings. But members of both parties also point to Holden's lack of interaction with the General Assembly this year.
|.||Lawmakers vote to ban sexy billboards (05/06/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's legislature sent the governor legislation that would ban billboards with sexual content within one mile of a state highway.
|.||Missouri's legislature finishes the budet, rejecting House welfare cuts. (05/06/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's House and Senate approved the FY 2005 fiscal year budget, restoring cuts the House had made in the Medicaid budget.
The House-passed plan would have dropped more than 30,000 recipients off the welfare program. The final version, now before the governor, would cut slightly more than 300 off Medicaid.
The total budget is slightly larger than the governor's originally recommendation. Gov. Bob Holden's budget had been based on tax increases exceeding $500 million. Since then, however, tax collections have grown far faster than projected -- allowing legislators to claim a balanced budget without tax increases.
|.||House passes bill to ban sexually-explicit billboards from Missouri's highways (05/06/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The bill passed in the House by a wide margin, but opponents say the bill infringes on the First Amendment right to free speech.
|.||Cinco de Mayo at the state Capitol (5/5/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Despite thousands of Americans celebrating the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo, there wasn't a tremendous amount of celebration in the Missouri legislature. Some like Rep. Larry Taylor say we should celebrate it like we celebrate other national holidays.
|.||Senate passes bill to close hole in kidnapping law (5/5/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - There is currently a loophole in Missouri state law allowing criminals to get away with kidnapping. The Missouri State Senate passed a bill to make it a felony to unlawfully remove or confine a child without the consent of the parents or guardians.
|.||Lawmakers adpot amendment to hold courts accountable in foster care cases (05/05/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Current state law requires parents who lose their children to foster care to appear in court within 72 hours. If they don't, there's no penalty and children may have to return to unsafe home situations. Rep. Mark Wright proposed the amendment that passed overwhelmingly.
|.||Department of Economic Development reports Missouri's economy is improving (05/05/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - A report released by the departments of Economic Development and Revenue shows that Missouri's economy is improving. The report looks at aspects of the economy including employment, personal income, taxable sales and new businesses.
|.||Key supporters of higher education bond say it could be dead (05/05/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Key supporters of a higher education bond said Wednesday that the legislation appears to be headed for a legislative death. The University of Missouri system would recieve about $195 million from the bond; MU would get about $90 million of that for construction of a health science center on campus.
|.||Surprise economic upswing enables lawmakers to fund budget without tax hike(05/05/2004)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Holden recommended tax increases in order to fund the state budget for fiscal year 2005, but legislators found that positive economic changes make the taxes unnecessary.
Nonetheless, a governor's spokeswoman said the governor still supports his tax plan because education needs more funding.
|.||Senate Ways and Means Committee hears testimony on a bill to impose a tire waste fee (05/04/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The bill would reinstate a tire waste surcharge that expired in January. The money would go towards making sure old and used tires get disposed or recycled in an environmentally friendly way.
Though the bill has bipartisan support, some senators say the funding might benifit private companies more than the enviornment.
|.||House Passes Higher Ed Budget (05/04/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Legislators Tuesday approved a higher education budget that calls for $20 million more in state aid to Missouri colleges and universities.
The budget also appropriates more than $860 million in state aid to higher education for the coming fiscal year. With both houses approving the budget, it now heads to the governor's desk.
|.||Missouri Senate abandons Medicaid bill that would cut spending (05/04/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Sen. Ken Jacob filibustered a Medicaid bill that would require annual eligibility checks for those receiving the health care subsidy. Republican leadership dropped the bill after realizing it wouldn't get enough votes.
|.||House Republicans pass education bill without the governer's recommended tax increase (05/04/05)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Some Democratic lawmakers still say the bill doesn't do enough for Missouri public schools, but the house budget chairman says they are just playing politics. The education budget is almost $5 billion, a 4.7 percent increase over last year's budget.
|.||Sources from DNR say St. Louis federal highway funding could be in danger (05/04/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House gave first-round approval to a bill to repeal emissions testing programs.
Rep. Jim Lembke, the bill's sponsor, says Missouri wouldn't face federal funding cuts due to pollutant levels until 2010, and therefore, is not a real threat. However, Department of Natural Resources officials disagree.
|.||Conference committee delays Medicaid decisions (05/03/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The House and Senate conference committee on the budget met in spurts for four hours Monday without any discussion of Medicaid.
The committee ended the day in the midst of a battle over whether to increase pay for highway troopers. The House plan recommends increases over the next five years while the Senate plan has no increase.
The constitutional deadline for submitting the budget to the governor is Friday. The conference committee has not yet taken up the issue of Medicaid -- a portion of the budget where the two sides stand far apart. The committee will meet again shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday.
|.||Anti-gay marriage rally held at state Capitol (05/03/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Hundreds rallied at the state Capitol Monday to support a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Both houses have passed similar legislation, however they have not come to an agreement on the bill's language.