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Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:49

Missouri tax break could be on horizon

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has passed legislation that could lower the tax bill for many Missourians by linking the state's tax brackets to inflation.
 
A bill approved on a 146-4 vote would require Missouri's individual income tax brackets to be adjusted annually for inflation starting in 2015.  Legislative staff estimate that would reduce state tax revenues by $26 million when fully in effect.
 
Although state tax rates have changed over time, Missouri's top income tax bracket has been set at $9,000 since 1931. That means all income over that amount currently is taxed at the same 6 percent rate.
 
The tax-bracket legislation now goes to the Senate. It's one of several measures lawmakers are considering this year that would reduce state income taxes.
 
Published in Local News
   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri lawmaker with a seriously ill daughter is encouraging colleagues to pass legislation that could make it easier for patients to gain access to experimental medications.
   A House committee heard testimony Wednesday on legislation by Representative Jim Neely that would let drug manufacturers give or sell medicines still in the investigational stages to patients. Neely says many terminally ill patients are willing to try medicines that don't have approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration. But he says access is limited to those medications.
   Neely is a Cameron physician whose 40 year old daughter is dealing with colon cancer and liver failure. He says the legislation may be too late for his own family but could help others.
   Several parents whose children have had serious illnesses testified for the bill.
 
Published in Local News

   A Missouri House committee is considering a bill that would make last month's visit by a TV reporter to Kirkwood High School a felony.  The KSDK reporter's visit prompted a lockdown after he wandered off unescorted and school administrators were unable to reach the TV station to verify he was working on a story about school security.  

   The bill's sponsor Richmond Heights Democrat Stacey Newman tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that information about school security needs to be private to ensure that procedures are effective.  

   But not everyone on the Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee agrees.  Kansas City Democrat Brandon Ellington says it would be passing a bill to stop people from exposing the holes in a system that shouldn't have holes.  

   The station has apologized for the incident.

Published in Local News
Monday, 17 February 2014 08:23

Former Mo. State Rep. Ron Casey dies

   Funeral arrangements are set for a former Missouri state representative from Crystal City who died over the weekend.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Ron Casey died early Sunday morning at the age of 61.

   Casey had suffered a head wound the week before when he fell on a concrete floor at his brother's home.

   Casey represented part of Jefferson County for 12 years in the state House.  

   Visitation will be held at the Second Baptist Church in Festus on Tuesday from 2-to-8 p.m.  Funeral services will also be at the church at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Published in Local News
Thursday, 13 February 2014 09:07

Stricter voter identification is proposed

A Missouri House committee approved measures yesterday to create one of the strictest voter photo identification requirements in the country.

The change would require unexpired Missouri-issued or federal photographic identification.

According to the Post Dispatch, bill sponsor Rep. Tony Dugger says the opportunity for voter fraud needed to be stopped to maintain the integrity of elections in the state.

There are only nine states that require photo identification to vote.

The limited number of documents accepted under the Missouri proposal would make it stricter than all but two states, Indiana and Texas. Expired drivers licenses and school-issued photo IDs would not be accepted.  

Only nonexpired Missouri or federal photo ID would be accepted under the proposal.  Secretary of State Jason Kander opposes the measure.  Currently, about 220,000 registered voters would not have the required ID cards. 

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri House committee has endorsed a measure, known as "right to work," that would bar labor contracts from requiring that all employees pay union fees.
The House Workforce Development and Workforce Safety Committee also voted on Monday to advance legislation that would change how unions can collect fees.
It would require unions to get annual written authorization to collect fees that are automatically deducted from a worker's paycheck.
If they clear the Legislature, both measures would go on a statewide ballot. The Republican sponsors say sending the bills to voters would get around a likely veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.
"Right to work" is a top priority of Republican House Speaker Tim Jones, of Eureka.
 
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 03:41

Snow prompts MO House to cancel hearings

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The winter weather spreading across much of Missouri has caused the cancellation of a few afternoon House committee hearings.
   Hearings on budget proposals for education, mental health, public safety and social services were called off Tuesday after snow blanketed Jefferson City.
   The House Chief Clerk also officially closed House operations at 1:30 p.m. because of the weather. A House Insurance Policy Committee dinner scheduled for tonight at Jefferson City Country Club was also called off.
   The afternoon snow didn't halt all legislative activity. Two Senate committees met, and evening House hearings were still scheduled.
   Both the House and Senate are scheduled to resume work Wednesday morning.
 
Published in Local News
Monday, 27 January 2014 06:22

Debate begins in Missouri Legislature

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - After two weeks of committee hearings, Missouri lawmakers are poised to begin debating legislation on the House and Senate floor.
Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey says the chamber this week will take up a bill barring temporary leaders of state agencies from remaining in office for more than 120 days.
Dempsey says the Senate could also consider legislation that would implement performance-based funding for Missouri's four-year public universities. The funding scheme would only apply in years when higher education receives a budget increase from state government.
In the House, the first bill on the debate calendar would allow people with disabilities or on active military duty to appoint someone to represent them when they file for elective office.
   
Published in Local News
Monday, 13 January 2014 09:10

Missouri Democrats may float tax cut bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House Democrats are preparing to outline a tax cut proposal, despite their fierce opposition to a Republican tax plan last year.
Rep. Jon Carpenter, a Democrat from Kansas City, was expected to file legislation and release his plan to reduce state taxes on Monday.
Another Kansas City Democrat, Sen. Jolie Justus, has signaled that her party would be open to tax cuts under certain circumstance. She says it is a matter of who benefits from the cuts.
House Democrats voted last year against a Republican proposal to reduce individual and corporate income tax rates over 10 years. The GOP plan failed when the Legislature could not secure enough votes to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto.
 
Published in Local News
   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - It's opening day at the Missouri Capitol, where lawmakers are gathering for the start of their annual session.
   The session that begins at noon Wednesday will officially be known as the Second Regular Session of the 97th General Assembly. It will run through May 16.
   The agenda will be topped by an effort for the second straight year to cut income taxes, and proposals to revamp a Missouri law allowing students in unaccredited districts to transfer to other nearby schools.
   For the first time in a while, lawmakers also will be operating under different revenue projections than Gov. Jay Nixon. Those financial differences could be magnified when the Democratic governor outlines his budget proposals Jan. 21.
   Republicans outnumber Democrats 108-52 in the House and 24-9 in the Senate.
 
Published in Local News
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