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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of November 13, 2006

. New Director for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (11/16/2006)

Governor Matt Blunt appointed Jane Drummond as the new director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Brain Hauswirth, a spokesman for the Governor, says Drummond was chosen based on her background in health law.

. Missouri's latest abortion law is heard by the state high court (11/15/2006)

The court's chief justice said during the hearing he did not think the law infringed on free-speech rights -- one of the main arguments by the law's opponents.

The measure, passed last year by the legislature, would allow lawsuits against persons assisting minors in getting abortions in other states without parental permission.

Missouri law requires parental consent, with some exceptions.  Illinois doees not.

. The governor's chief of staff calls for more open proceedures by the state's college loan board. (11/15/2006)

Gov. Blunt's chief of staff issued a letter to the board of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, calling for "greater openness and transparency." 

 Since the governor proposed the sale of MOHELA assets in January, the board's policies and procedures have been under strict scrutiny from state leaders, particularly Attorney General Jay Nixon.

Nixon called for more public discussion in the sale process in a letter that he wrote to the board in September.

. Plaintiffs say abortion law infringes on free speech (11/15/2006)

The Missouri Supreme Court heard testimony Wednesday on an abortion law that creates civil liability for adults who "cause, aid, or assist" a minor in having an abortion outside the state of Missouri without parental consent. 

Opponents of the law say that in addition to infringing on free speech, the law also places an undo burden on minors. 

A decision is not expected to be heard until the spring. 

. Abortion and welfare cause illegal immigration says MO House (11/14/2006)

The Special Committee on Immigration Reform released a report citing abortion and welfare as reasons for the rise in illegal immigration in Missouri.

The Democrats on the committee refused to sign the report saying that it was ridiculous and the work of Republican Committee Chairman Ed Emery.

Representative Emery says it's important to consider the effects of abortion on Missouri's working population.

. Missouri State Secretary's Office has no plan to quicken counties' unofficial vote counting process on election night (11/14/2006)

There's no uniformity as to when counties in Missouri should report their unofficial ballot counts on election night because counties decide when to turn in their unofficial vote results.

The Missouri State Secretary's spokeswoman Stacie Temple says no changes are planned and counties can still report unofficial vote results anytime they choose on election night.

Get the package of radio stories.