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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of October 22, 2007


. Governor's office attorney says he was fired over e-mails (10/28/2007)

A former lawyer in Gov. Matt Blunt's office says he was fired last month after he raised questions about how the governor's staff was handling office e-mails and public records requests, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports.

Scott Eckersley's dismissal came at a time when the governor and his staff were under fire for saying e-mails on state computers were not necessarily public records. They also acknowledged that office e-mails were being routinely deleted.


. Database for victims not statewide (10/24/2007)

MOVANS, the Missouri database that allows for victims of violent crimes to check the custody status of their attackers, has been updated.

Two Missouri counties, though, opted out of having the database - either version - at all. 

Hickory and Schuyler County don't have the MOVANS database in place.


. Jefferson City High School relies on coaches to educate players on health risks (10/24/2007)

After a Jefferson City High School athlete contracted a staph infection, the school says it will not make any changes to its current health education policies.

Coaches at the school are required to attend yearly training to help them identify potential health risks, and are then expected to educate their athletes.

However, the school does not check to see whether its coaches follow through.


. The Katy Trail bridge sale wins a federal court decision. (10/23/2007)

A federal appeals court has upheld the administration's effort to sell the Katy bridge in Boonville.

Attorney General Jay Nixon had sought to block the plans by the state administration to allow sale of the bridge.

The the appeals court held that the state has no ownership rights to the bridge.


. Presidential Hopefuls File for Super Tuesday Election (10/23/2007)

The race for the presidency is officially underway in Missouri as presidential hopefuls were allowed to register with the state.

All candidates must register with the Secretary of State's office in order to ensure their name is on the ballot February 5th.

Missouri will join 19 other states on that day in electing the presidential candidates.


. University of Missouri System adopts code of conduct agreement (10/22/2007)

University of Missouri employees who assist students getting loans have been officially barred from working for a lending company or accepting money or gifts from loan agencies under an executive order signed Monday by the University of Missouri System's interim president.

The order parallels the voluntary code of conduct that the state attorney general has been urging colleges and universities to agree to since March.

A UM-System news release states that Interim President Gordon Lamb issued an executive order which will be added to the University's Collected Rules and Regulations, but makes no direct mention of Attorney General Jay Nixon's code of conduct agreement.


. Chronic Care Improvement Plan aims at improving patient health while reducing state costs (10/22/2007)

The Chronic Care Improvement Program (CCIP) is being called the possible backbone for the state's new Mo HealthNet program. 

CCIP provides health care coaches to work with patients to create a plan of care for dealing with chronic illnesses,  the concept being that health and state costs can both benefit from a more coordinated approach that focuses on a person's overall lifestyles rather than specific medical symptoms.

140,000 of the roughly 825,000 Medicaid recipients are eligible for CCIP, 53,000 of which have been enrolled.


. National billboard regulations probably won't be utilized in Missouri (10/22/2007)

Despite the new legality of electronic billboards, Missouri probably won't utilize this type of advertising.

Missouri's outdoor advertising regulations are stringent, and most of the billboards in the state don't meet regulations.


. Columbia Senator arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving (10/22/2007)

Columbia Senator Chuck Graham was released from jail early Sunday morning after being arrested following an accident near his home.

Police said they smelled alcohol on Graham, noticed his eyes were blood-shot and he mumbled and slurred.

According to the probable cause statement, Graham told police he drank a "few beers" before driving. Graham refused a Breathalyzer or blood test.

He was released on $500 bond. Refusing a Breathalyzer or blood test can lead to a driver's license being immediately revoked for a year under state law.


. Governor Blunt Accused of Mansion Misuse (10/17/2007)

Blunt's campaign denied reports of using the Governor's mansion for fundraisers and campaign events even though their own finance report suggests otherwise.

The Democratic Party responded by demanding Blunt's campaign to reveal to the public complete lists of all that attended the events and what they gave to the campaign.


. Staph Infection Strain Causes Waves in Missouri (10/17/2007)

A new and deadly strain of staph infection has Missouri educating its medical community in the hopes of preventing a rising death toll.

The strain develops resistance to many antibiotics, making treatment difficult.


. Cole County Judge decides State funds schools to full 25% as constitutionally required. (10/17/2007)

Cole County Judge Richard Callahan decided in favor of the State in the last stage of the school funding lawsuit which has gone on since 2004.

The Committee for Educational Equality argued in the case that the state did not reach it's constitutionally mandated 25% of the state budget in funding public education.

It is still unclear if the Committee for Educational Equality will appeal the decision, but the Committee's Lawyer, Alex Bartlett, said the decision will be made soon.


. Nixon, Blunt tied in Rasmussen poll (10/17/2007)

The telephone survey shows Blunt with 44% of the Missouri vote and Nixon with 43%.

The survey, taken Oct. 10, shows Blunt leading with married voters and those who have children at home.

There is a +/- 4.5% margin of error according to the Rasmussen Report Web site.


. Blunt's campaign reports paying for Mansion expenses (10/17/2007)

Associated Press reported Tuesday that the campaign for the Republican Governor listed a payment of about $20,000 to the Mansion Preservation organization for "fundraiser expenses."

A spokesman for the governor denied that funds were solicited at the mansion.

Earlier, Blunt's campaign had attacked the Democratic gubernatorial candidate for using his official state car for campaign events.


. Missouri Prison Population on the Decline (10/16/2007)

The Department of Corrections says the launch of statewide sentencing guidelines has helped decrease the prison population.

The system was put into place in November 2005 after Missouri reached an all-time high prison population.

Department spokesman Brian Hauswirth says Missouri is a pioneer in decreasing prison population.


. Blunt sails past Nixon in campaign fund raising. (10/15/2007)

The latest campaign finance reports showed Republican Governor Matt Blunt raising $4 million for than Democratic Attorney General Nixon.

The latest reports Blunt with $6 million in then bank while Nixon has $2.7 million.

Monday's filing show Blunt had raised more than $1 million in the last three months -- compared to more than $600,000 by Nixon.

Blunt's fund advantage, however, could be reduced substantially by the Missouri Ethics Commission if it decides that candidates must return contributions that exceeded the contribution limits that the legislature had repealed, but which the state Supreme Court subsequently reinstated. 


. First disbursement of MoHELA sale money sent to state colleges and universities (10/15/2007)

The first installment of funds from the MoHELA asset sale were distributed today according to a Governor's office news release.

The $39,411,523 payment went to nine locations including; Harris Stowe State University, Missouri State University, Northwest Missouri State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Truman State University, University of Missouri-Rolla, St. Charles and East Central Community colleges and the Department of Economic Development Missouri Technology Corporation.