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Missouri Government News for Week of Sept. 7, 1998

Missouri state legislators have mixed views on whether President Clinton should resign.

It's the talk of the town, all over the state: should Bill Clinton resign? St. Louis County Republican Senator Anita Yeckel says that he should. But on the House side, Democratic St. Louis Representative Paula Carter says that Clinton should stay on the job.

And Brian May, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says that although he's disappointed in Clinton's conduct, the country should withhold judgment on the President until after Ken Starr's report is made public.

Restrictions on bingo advertising are struck down.

A Kansas City federal judge has struck down restrictions on advertising bingo games that are contained in the state constitution.

The judge held that the restrictions violate the U.S. Constitutional right of free speech.

Unlike riverboat gambling, the bingo amendment to the state constitution approved by the voters is very restrictive -- severely limiting advertising, regulating who can work for bingo operations and limiting the games to non-profit organizations.

Supreme Court considers sexual predator law

Opening arguments began Tuesday in a case that challenges Missouri's sexual predator law. Chris Gilyard was convicted last year of raping a 16-year-old girl, and now he is protesting his life sentence.

In the first trial, a judge qualified Gilyard as a sexual predator, because the judge believed Gilyard had exhibited a pattern of sexual offenses.

The State Supreme Court will decide whether the imposition of the sexual predator law violated Gilyard's right to due process.

See our radio story for details.

A state teacher's organization sues to get more money for teachers.

The Missouri branch of the National Education Association filed suit against the state Education Department. The suit charges the department has allowed more than 100 school districts to violate a law which sets a minimum percentage of a school district's budget that must be spent on teachers.

A companion suit was filed against the Normandy School District in St. Louis County seeking back payment for teachers that would amount to an average $3,600 for each district teacher.

The commissioner of the Education Department said the law gives the Education Board authority to grant waivers to the requirement and that schools do have other financial obligations besides teacher pay including school safety.

Toll bridge project approved for Herman.

The Missouri Highways Commission has approved a proposal to build a toll road across the Missouri River at Herman.

Under the proposal, the bridge would be built by a private corporation. After cost of the bridge's construction was paid, the toll would be dropped and the bridge would be turned over to the state.

The current bridge, Route 19, is more than 70 years old.