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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of January 9, 2006

. Agreement is reached on a tobacco-tax ballot proposal. (01/17/06)

JEFFERSON CITY - Two competing groups have reached agreement on language for a tobacco tax increase to be submitted to Missouri voters later this year.

Both groups had been proposing a plan to earmark the extra tax revenue for health care -- one targeted the medical community, the other Medicaid welfare recipients. The compromise would split the money between both areas with a smaller portion of the funds also going to smoking-prevention programs.

. Welfare is a big winner in the governor's budget plan (01/11/06)

JEFFERSON CITY - The state's welfare agency would get the biggest budget increase of any department under the budget plan the governor presented to lawmakers Wednesday night.

The governor's budget was presented in his State of the State address, one year after Gov. Matt Blunt had called for deep welfare cuts in Medicaid.

Under this year's plan, the Social Services Department would get a 17% increase in General Revenue -- almost double what Blunt proposed for education and eight times the percentage increase for higher education.

  • Get the budget.
    . Senate Democrats propose repealing a natural gas automatic rate increase law (01/10/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Just months after approval by the legislature, with Democratic support, Senate Democrats proposed repealing a law that allows natural gas companies to seek a rate provision for automatic rate increases.

    The provision would allow gas companies to seek approval for periodic, automatic rate changes based on cost changes.

    Democrats charged that would penalize those who try to lower their bills by conservation.

    . Missouri's sex offender registry is challenged in the state's supreme court (01/10/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - State surpeme court justices were told that the current law is so broad that it punishes even those convicted of non-sex offenses.

    The court was told the law violates due process of law and is unfair because it imposes registration requirements on those convicted of offenses prior to the laws adoption by the legislature.

    . Missouri House Democrats propose a sex-crime package. (01/10/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The standards for a death or life-in-prison sentence would be eased for killers of children under the Democrat's package.

    Current law requires a set standards in order to win a first-degree murder conviction.

    The Democratic proposal would ease some of those standards if the victim was a child.