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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of December 4, 2006

. Missouri's governor calls for stalling on Ameren UE's rate increase. (12/07/2006)

The governor urged the state's utility-regulating commission, the Public Service Commission, to delay action on the utility's latest rate increase request until the company comes forward with plans for how to avoid future storm-related outages.

More than one-half million Ameren customers were cut off after last week's snow storm -- some without power for nearly a week.

Asked what the state could do to ease the problem, Gov. Matt Blunt said it was the utility company's task to present solutions to the state.

 Get the radio story on the PSC's reaction.

. State officials unveil a plan to reorganize Medicaid (12/07/2006)

Preventive health care and rewarding good behavior would be the areas of emphasis under a plan presented by officials of the state administration to reorganize the state's largest welfare program.

The report suggests that rewards like dental care, not now covered by Medicaid, could be a reward for good-health practices like stopping smoking.  Even health care providers, like doctors, would get higher payments for better results.

The governor did not say what, if any, of the recommendations from his administrative officials that he will bring forward to the legislature in January.

. New Health Care Program to be proposed to governor by end of December (12/06/2006)

The governor assembled a group of people to propose a new health care program for the Missouri.

The proposal is scheduled to be finalized by the end of December -- just days before lawmakers begin their session. The governor will review the proposal, and then propose it to the General Assembly.  

Medicaid is set to expire in June 2008.

. 2008 Missouri River navigation season threatened (12/06/2006)

Due to the ongoing drought that has plagued the western states, the 2008 navigation season on the Missouri River could be canceled, according to the Natural Resources Department.

If the reservoirs that release water to allow navigation during times of drought dip below 31 million acre feet, the U.S. Corps of Engineers will not provide support for barge and tow traffic.    

Get the newspaper story.

. Chamber of Commerce sets 2007 legislative agenda (12/06/2006)

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce recently released its 2007 legislative agenda. In it, the Chamber set forth 57 recommendations for legislative action for the upcoming year.

The recommendations include the implementation of several health care programs for businesses, as well as the elimination of the Corporate Franchise Tax, and the creation of a uniform first day of school for Missouri public schools.

. Missouri Health Department evacuates three buildings (12/05/2006)

The Missouri Health Department evacuated three of its buildings due to the heavy amount of snow on the buildings' roofs.

Employees say they heard creaking and goaning coming from the roofs and that sagging was visible in the ceilings.

?2 Get the Radio Story
. The Missouri National Guard are helping stranded residents recover from the storm (12/04/2006)

Over a quarter million residents in Missouri and Illinois are with out power. 

The Missouri National Guard is going door to door to help remove debris.

State offices will be open to those without heat.

. Legislators hear complaints about adoption and child support system (12/04/2006)

Legislators heard testimony from concerned foster parents about the Missouri adoption system.

Foster parents say they are denied benefits for their children as the state's policies change.