NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of February 20, 2006
|.||Missouri amps up preparations for possible bird flu pandemic (02/24/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Numerous public health officials, business and community leaders gathered on Thursday in St. Louis for a Missouri pandemic planning summit. There, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Alex Azar and Gov. Matt Blunt signed an agreement giving Missouri over $1.8 million for pandemic preparation and planning.
This summit accompanies much state planning regarding lessons learned from past vaccine shortages and vaccine distribution in the wake of a pandemic outbreak.
|.||Former Missouri inmate has the support of the Senate's top leader (02/23/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Former Missouri inmate Steve Toney, 59, will testify on behalf of a bill to change a state law that bars four former convicts from collecting from a fund set up to compensate the wrongfully convicted.
The bill is sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Mike Gibbons, R-St. Louis County.
|.||Missouri's Senate votes to abolish the state's auto safety inspection program (02/23/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate gave preliminary approval to the measure that would eliminate the requirement for auto safety inspections every two years.
Repeal of the program was attached to a bill originally intended to allow more business to conduct the St. Louis area's auto emission test program.
The measure faces one more Senate vote before going to the House where the speaker voiced support for the idea of eliminating the safety inspection program.
|.||Senate Committee Heard from Rick Williams on Medicaid fraud solutions (02/22/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate's Special Committee to Investigate Medicaid Fraud heard from the Missouri Director of the Attorney General's Fraud Control Unit on Wednesday.
Williams advocated for the adoption of the Qui Tam Provision, which would reward whistleblowers in Medicare Fraud cases.
The committee plans to form suggestions on how to fix fraud within the state's Medicaid system by the March 1st bill filing deadline.
|.||New bill might cut down on traffic tickets (02/22/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Republican Senator John Cauthorn wants to reduce the amount of revenue generated by traffic tickets in smaller towns from 45 percent to 35 percent.
He says police in towns like Eolia and Curryville are pulling people over just to increase the town's revenue.
|.||Proposed bill will increase funding for public schools (02/22/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Representative Joe Aull proposed a bill that will increase funding for public schools.
Schools are not receiving the amount of funding they need and some students are suffering because of it.
|.||Hammering out utility regulation proves to be a painful process (02/22/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The much-discussed senate bill passed last session allows utilities to pass along costs of rate increases, environmental compliance, and weather variation to consumers.
The Missouri Public Commission Chairman Jeff Davis says utility customers should not be asked to pay for pollution or environmental damages caused by a utility.
|.||State lawmaker proposes bill to criminalize stealing phone records (02/22/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - State Representative Shannon Cooper says if passed, his bill will help Missouri fight people who steal cell and landline phone records.
|.||Opponents of the closing of the Bellefontaine Center say closing the facility could result in death (02/21/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The habilitation center is one of six state facilities that serves residents with mental retardation and developmental disabilties.
Gov. Blunt called for the center to be closed last year citing repeated cases of abuse.
|.||Proposals to allow reporters to keep their sources secret questioned by senators (02/21/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Senators expressed concerns about bills that would protect reporters from disclosing their sources at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Sens. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, and Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau have filed shield law bills.
|.||Claire McCaskill talks about her campaign for the U.S. Senate (02/21/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - In her bid for U.S. Senate, Missouri State Auditor Claire McCaskill says she's enjoying herself.
She says Missouri voters are smart, and that they are fed up with corruption, which is why the want someone who will stand up for Missouri.
|.||A Senate committee is urged to allow the Bible to be taught in school. (02/21/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - The proposal would allow the Bible to be taught as an elective course in public schools.
Under the measure, the Bible dould be taught in history, literature, and comparitive religion courses.
The proposal was presented Tuesday to the Senate Education Committee.
|.||Missouri's auditor charges mismanagement with the state's solid waste program. (02/21/06)|
JEFFERSON CITY - Claire McCaskill's audit covered use of the fees charged for landfilling solid waste.
In her audit released Tuesday, McCaskill charged waste and mismanagement -- including a $6,000 expenditure for a government office mural. She also reported that one solid waste management district was spending more than $40,000 for a lobbyist.
She says the report shows abuse of tax payers' money.