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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of November 26, 2007

. Republican Representative finds health care alternative (11/28/2007)

More than two months after Missouri's Republican govenor unveiled his proposal for expanding health care coverage, the Republican chair of a House committee on poverty is drafting an alternative.

The House Interim Committee on Poverty discussed having vouchers to buy private health care replace government funded initiatives.

. Michael Keathley Tells Nixon to Account for Political use of State Vehicle (11/28/2007)

Jay Nixon and his campaign manager received hand delivered letters from the Commissioner of the Office of Administration asking them to reply to letters sent in October.

The letters asked that Nixon's campaign send a detailed account of how they used state vehicels and employees for political purposes, and explain the $47,000 check from Nixon to reimburse the state.

Neither party responded to the letters sent in October, prompting Keathly to contact them again, asking for any response, even if only to tell him when they will have the necessary information ready.

. Attorney General reaches Taum Sauk settlement with AmerenUE (11/28/2007)

The State and utility company Ameren reached a $179,750,000 settlement resolving a civil suit filed by the Attorney General and all other state demands for compensation.

The state Department of Natural Resources  questioned whether the Attorney General can hold together the settlement.

The Taum Sauk Reservoir collapsed in December 2005, injuring a family of five and flooding Johnson's Shut-ins State Park.

. Missouri's gubernatorial candidates promise to return excess contributions (11/26/2007)

Both Democrat Jay Nixon and Republican Matt Blunt filed letters with the Missouri Ethics Commission indicating they will refund contributions that exceeded the limits reimposed by the Missouri Supreme Court earlier this year.

At stake is $4.5 million taken in by Blunt and $1.3 million by Nixon that exceeded the $1,275 limit on individual contributions.

The legislature had repealed the limits during the last session, but the state high court held the legislative action unconstitutional.

. Secretary of State Reveals Annual Blue Book (11/27/2007)

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan revealed the 2007-2008 Edition of the Missouri Blue Book in a ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda.

This is the 66th edition of the book which contains information from government salaries to the state's symbols to overviews of the state government and its branches.

This year the book is made from recycled paper and soy ink.

. Missouri Democratic Party creates game based on governor e-mail scandal (11/26/2007)

The Missouri Democratic Party released an online game based on accusations the governor's office failed to save e-mails as required by state law.

The game, released Nov. 20, is called Blunt Document Destroyer.

The video was paid for by the state Democratic Party.

. Governor proposes bill to prohibit driver's licenses for illegal immigrants (11/26/2007)

Gov. Blunt is going around the state proposing legislation barring illegal immigrants from getting driver's licenses.

Blunt admits there are currently measures in place to keep licenses out of the hands of illlegal immigrants, but says the state does not have any specific laws against it.

Blunt's proposal will also contain penalties for anyone who helps an illegal immigrant get a license.

. Governor's Chief of Staff removed from office (11/20/2007)

After a series of missteps by the governor's chief of staff, Ed Martin, Gov. Matt Blunt replaced him with the Department of Revenue Director.

Blunt dodged questions about if he asked Martin to resign and said Martin wants to pursue other things.

Martin has drawn criticism for how he has handled the e-mail scandal in the governor's office, the non-partisan court plan and other issues over the less than one year he has served as the governor's chief of Staff.