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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of October 1, 2007


. Nixon agrees to pay for political use of his state car. (10/05/2007)

Associated Press reported Friday that Attorney General Jay Nixon has agree to reimburse the state for the use of his car and staff for political events.

Nixon's announcement comes after a storm of Republican attacks focused on a YouTube video that claimed to show Nixon using his state car to attend a political fund raiser.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Republican governor, Matt Blunt, rejected a challenged from Nixon that Blunt also agree to reimburse the state for costs related to political activities by the governor.


. Missouri politicians are finding YouTube a tool and a threat. (10/05/2007)

The recent YouTube video claiming to show Missouri's attorney general using a state car to attend a political fund raiser has highlighted video sites are serving as both as a tool and a danger for Missouri politicians.

YouTube entered mainstream Missouri politics on Sept. 25, when a video allegedly showing Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon using his state vehicle to travel to fund raising events for his gubernatorial campaign sparked statewide news coverage.

But politicians also say that YouTube can be an inexpensive way to get their messages across.


. Missouri Ethics Commission Puts Off Voting on Campaign Contribution Returns (10/04/2007)

In an open door meeting, the Ethics Commission unanimously voted to take an in-depth investigation on the number of candidates its ruling will affect before any decision is made.

The Commission made a decision earlier this year but re-tracked it after the Republican Party accused the Commission of being in violation of the state's Sunshine law.

Both major political parties were represented at the meeting.


. Missouri County Associations are fighting against a law that undermines its authority (10/04/2007)

These associations are now supporting two lawmakers trying to overturn this new law.

They do not want to see their authority taken away.


. Investigation Underway in House Staff Leak. (10/03/2007)

House Chief Clerk Adam Crumbliss is conducting an investigation into a possible confidentiality breach.

The information related to the Speaker of the House Rod Jetton's involvement in a piece of special interest legislation that was slipped through the legislature.

Get the radio story.


. Fifth largest duck and geese population to fly over Missouri (10/03/2007)

One of the biggest duck and geese populations in recent history will be flying over Missouri this fall in what biologists are predicting will be the fifth largest flight of waterfowl in the last fifty years.

Researchers are expecting its peak in late October.


. Abortion opponents wants panel to investigate if Planned Parenthood is following new law (10/03/2007)

A group of abortion opponents is circulating a petition to ask for a grand jury to investigate if Planned Parenthood located in Overland Park is following the new state abortion laws.

The group wants the grand jury to investigate whether Planned Parenthood is performing late term abortions, reports suspected child abuse and whether it is involved in the illegal trafficking of fetal tissue.


. Attorney General calls to stop tax credits for housing project, project says action is political (10/03/2007)

Attorney General Jay Nixon plans to stop funding an O'Fallon housing development contract through tax credits. 

Nixon says that the Gundaker Commercial Group was using tax credits while employing undocumented workers.

President of the Gundaker Commercial Group, Mike Hajna, says that all workers on the project are legal, local, and union laborers.

Get the radio story here.


. Local school opposition remains to school-bus seat belts, despite a Jefferson County bus accident(10/02/2007)

A spokesman for one of Missouri's major school associations says the organization remains opposed to mandating seat belts in school buses.

The comments came on the day a school bus accident in Jefferson County injured six students.

Although the governor has proposed requiring seat belts on new school buses, the proposal has made no headway in Missouri's legislature.


. The PSC imposes tree-trimming rules on electrical corporations (10/02/2007)

The Public Service Commission passed a rule requiring electrical corporations in the state to follow guidelines restricting vegetation near electric lines.

This is the first time in the Commission's history it has ruled how utility corporations are to trim their trees.

St. Louis City has been affected by major power outages the past three consecutive years.


. UM System not contacted about student loan agreement (10/01/2007)

Month's after Missouri's attorney general announced a proposed code of conduct for student loan activities by Missouri's public and private universities, the University of Missouri system has not signed the agreement -- along with a majority of the state's other public universities.

Among the provisions, the code includes prohibits kickbacks to schools, requires information disclosures about preferred lenders and limits school employees participation on lender advisory boards.

The University of Missouri system has not been contacted about signing a state sponsored student loan code of conduct regarding their preferred lender list, UM-System spokesman Scott Charton said.


. Representative Wood responds to Jetton Amendment (10/01/2007)

Missouri lawmakers passed legislation that makes it virtually impossible for a county commission to turn down a petition to form a village as long as 15 percent of the people within the village to be incorporated sign it.

Republican Representative Dennis Wood will introduce legislation that reverts Missouri law back to the way it was before the legislation was passed.


. Montgomery City's dual-jurisdiction youth center is lone facility in Missouri (10/01/2007)

Two Joplin-area teens recently entered the Montgomery City Youth Center, and are the first to enter the dual-jurisdiction program from this region.

Dual-jurisdiction program members enjoin juvenile and adult sentences after a conviction or guilty plea in court.

The Montgomery City Youth Center offers educational training to ultimately allow program members to possibly re-enter the community.


. Governor Blunt Announces Faith-Based Missouri (09/27/2007)

The new program allows the state to hand out contracts to religious groups for charitable purposes.

A five person team has been put in place to study how the state can best work with faith-based communities.


. Democratic representative comments on the last minute additions to a Senate bill (09/27/2007)

Representative Paul LeVota calls the actions disheartening. 

He says this will show Missourians that there needs to be a change in how representatives do their work.


. Two Missouri lawmakers charged with misdemeanor for fake identification (09/26/2007)

Democratic Representative Joe Aull and Democratic Senator Jeff Smith along with a Kansas City lobbyist were charged with a misdemeanor after misusing a player's gambling card at the Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville.

The charges carry a maximum fine of $500 and up to six months in jail.  The incident also prompted Republican spokesman Paul Sloca to call for Smith's resignation from the Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence committee.


. Nixon Accused of Illegal Campaigning (09/26/2007)

The Missouri Republican Party has accused Attorney General and Democratic candidate for governor Jay Nixon in a press release of illegally using a state vehicle to attend political fundraisers in Ladue and Kirksville.

Other Missouri State Officials, including Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder and State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, have confirmed they do not use state vehicles for non-official purposes.


. Watchdog Position Created to Address Communication Challenges (09/25/2007)

Jim Lundsted will serve as the state's first ever Interoperable Communications Officer.

Governor Matt Blunt created the position under the Department of Public Safety to address the state's emergency communications challenges.


. Missouri's newest abortion law is put on hold by a federal court. (09/24/2007)

A federal court imposed a two-month ban on enforcing a law passed earlier this year which requires some abortion facilities to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers.

Planned Parenthood had argued that the provisions could force the organization to close its abortion facilities in Kansas City and Columbia.

District Judge Ortie Smith gave Planned Parenthood and the state 60 days to work out an agreement on providing waivers to licensing requirements.

In the meantime, an official with Planned Parenthood says another provision in the law -- designed to block the organization from providing materials for sex ed classes -- will not prevent the organization from providing educational services to students.


. Missouri Continues To Resist Joining Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board (09/24/2007)

After being absent for around three years from Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board meetings, Missouri attended the Board's meeting last week as a non-participant. 

Department of Revenue spokesman Lowell Pearson said Missouri will begin to become more actively involved in pushing forward the decision whether or not to take necessary steps to join the Board, which deals with standardizing Internet sales tax systems.

St. Louis County Democratic Senator Joan Bray, a longtime critic of Missouri's boycott of the Board, said she still does not foresee any movement by the state legislature on this issue soon.

Get the radio story here.