NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of May 10, 2004
|.||Filibuster blocks Medicaid bill on the final day of legislative session (05/14/2003)|
JEFFERSON CITY - A mathematical misunderstanding became the center of one of the biggest political disputes in Missouri's 2004 legislative session.
"During the month of March, we added more than 1,000 recipients daily," wrote Rep. Larry Morris, R-Springfield, in repsonse to a newspaper editorial on cutting off low-income Missourians from the Medicaid program.
|.||Six million pages later, session ends (05/14/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Administrative officials in Missour's House and Senate estimated that the two branches of government combined used roughly six million sheets of paper during the session. That number, though, pales in comparison to the yearly totals.
|.||Foundation Formula left behind (05/14/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - When it comes to Missouri education policy, what the General Assembly didn't do this session may turn out to be more important than what it did.
Namely, the legislators failed to revise Missouri's $2.4 billion Foundation Formula, the key school aid funding mechanism.
|.||The state lieutenant governor, foster care and same-sex marriage highlighted the legislature's last day (05/14/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The legislature closed its session at 6 p.m. Friday after a day focused on the actions of the lieutenant governor, a bill on foster care and a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage.
As Senate Democratic Floor Leader Ken Jacob drew out discussion on a foster care bill in the Senate's last hours, Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell, a Democrat, refused to allow Republicans to cut off debate and force a vote. The foster care legislation passed the Senate and was sent to the governor in the last few minutes of the session.
Meanwhile, the House gave final passage to a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage. The measure now goes to a vote of the people.
|.||Missouri's House upholds the governor's lawsuit limits veto. (05/13/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - By a near party-line vote, Missouri's House upheld the governor's veto of the bill to limit liability lawsuits.
Bill supporters argued it would help hold down rising medical malpractice insurance for doctors.
Republicans won over about a dozen Democrats to override, but fell short of the two-thirds vote necessary.
|.||The debate about changes to Medicaid is over this legislative session, but the issue is far from dead. (05/13/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Changes to Medicaid was one of the biggest issues in the state legislature this session.
As lawmakers debated the issue, Medicaid enrollment continued to rise faster than most other areas in the budget.
|.||Stripped down version of Jobs Now Initiatve goes to governor (05/13/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Bob Holden received a stripped down version of his "Jobs Now" initiative Thursday afternoon after the measure was approved unanimously by the General Assembly. The approved version of the bill lacks the $150 million in bonds that Holden requested to fund infrastructure projects.
Other legislative action included required parity for mental health coverage in health insurance and revisions to the Sunshine Law.
|.||Missouri House passes the governor's jobs now program (05/13/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The governor's plan to increase jobs in Missouri was passed in the Missouri House Thursday. The plan was originally to be funded by a $150 million dollar bond, but the passed bill uses tax credits to fund the program.
JEFFERSON CITY - Last September, UM system president Elson Floyd added a new system-level position that Stephen Knorr was asked to fill. Previously, Knorr's focus was on lobbying the federal government in Washington, D.C. Now, in his current $95,900 per year job, he oversees all UM system lobbying efforts -- federal and state.
|.||The higher education bond issue is declared dead. (05/12/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Sen. President Pro Tem Peter Kinder official delared dead Wednesday the Republican leadership's plan for a statewide bond issue for higher education.
Kinder blaimed filibusters by the Senate's Democratic floor leader. It also ran into opposition as various new projects were added -- raising the total size to more than $370 million.
Wednesday was the last day for the Senate to get the measure sent to the House for it to remain alive in the closing days of the legislative session.
|.||Missouri's governor demands the president report how Missouri National Guard troops are being used (05/11/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Bob Holden sent the letter on Tuesday, complaining of a report that Missouri soliders were being used to drive private contractors working in Irag.
"If true," Holden wrote the president, "I most strenuously object to this wrongful use of U.S. Army personnel in this manner."
Holden's letter relates to the 1221 Transportation Company -- a mid-Missouri National Guard unit deployed to Iraq more than one year ago.
|.||A legislative-executive agreement is reached on foster care (05/11/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's Senate agreed to the draft a revised version late Tuesday night after agreement was reached with the governor on a key issue of contention -- privatization of child-care services.
Gov. Bob Holden had said the requiring the state to turn over some child care cases to private organizations was one of the reasons he vetoed the bill last year.
The revised version softens the requirement, removing any reference to a minimum percentage of cases that would have to be privatized.
|.||Legislature passes bill to require a DNA sample from all convicted felons and sex offenders (05/11/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Opponents say DNA profiling is wrong and every person deserves respect and protection, even criminals. Supporters say the bill could lead to additional convictions in unsolved crimes. The bill also has an amendment to provide monetary compensation for inmates who are later found to be innocent.
|.||House passes bill to extend the power of the state's Water Patrol (05/11/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Supporters of the bill say the state's Water Patrol is too limited by a jurisdiction that only extends 600 feet beyond waterway shorelines. The bill would allow it to make arrests anywhere in the state.
|.||Excessive amendments stall Jobs Now bill (5/10/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - State Senators offered amendments to a bill what would give funding to Jobs Now, a program aimed at creating jobs in Missouri. Amendments proposed by Senators like Sarah Steelman extended the scope of funding possibilities beyond direct workforce contributions to such areas like endowed research chairs for higher education. Steelman's proposal was crushed, and the bill was laid over for further consideration.
|.||Missouri's legislature enters its final week. (05/10/04)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's legislature enters its final week with key GOP issues held hostage by Senate filibusters.
Issues ranging from a crackdown on welfare, a higher education bond issue and unemployment compensation restrictions have been blocked by Senate Democratic filibusters.
And the Senate Democratic leader has indicated he has no intention of abandoning his tactics, despite private criticism from within his own party.
So far, Senate Republicans have voted only once this year to shut off a Democratic filibuster -- to pass the liability lawsuit limits bill the governor subsequently vetoed.
Meanwhile Gov. Bob Holden has been noticably absent from legislative hallways -- during a period when governors normally engage in the final, intense negotiations to forge compromises.