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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - After declining to expand Medicaid coverage this year, the Missouri House has passed a bill that would create a committee to study the issue next year.
The House passed the measure 133-27 Monday. It would create a joint committee of House and Senate members to look at ways to "transform" the state's Medicaid program. The committee would begin at the end of the current session until the 2015 session's start in January.
Gov. Jay Nixon called for lawmakers to expand coverage for 260,000 adults starting in 2014. The Republican-led Legislature rejected that appeal numerous times and abandoned plans for an alternative proposal earlier this month.
The bill now heads to the Senate.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has passed a bill that would allow county sheriffs to issue concealed weapons permits instead of the Revenue Department.
Missouri sheriffs already have the responsibility of receiving concealed-carry applications, reviewing applicants' backgrounds and issuing paper permits. But under current law, recipients take the paper permits to a local licensing office overseen by the Department of Revenue to receive a photo ID card noting their concealed-carry status.
Republican lawmakers want to allow sheriffs to print the permits after learning the Revenue Department compiled a list of concealed weapons permit holders to share with a federal agent at the Social Security Administration.
The measure passed 123-34 Monday. It would also allow designated school personnel to carry concealed weapons in schools buildings. It now heads to the Senate.
Missouri Residents could soon be on Daylight Saving Time all the time.
On Monday, the Missouri House voted to join the "Daylight Saving as the New Standard Time Pact." The legislation they passed says that once 19 other states sign on, Missouri will stay on Daylight Saving Time all year, instead of returning to Standard Time in the fall.
The bill must still be approved by the Missouri Senate.
Daylight Saving Time year round would mean in December, the sun wouldn't rise in St. Louis until after 8 AM.
Should local communities have the power to ban indoor smoking in public places?
A group of St. Charles County lawmakers apparently don't think so. Republican State Representative Kathie Conway has introduced a bill that would levy fines against cities and counties with local smoking bans. Seven other lawmakers from St. Charles County have signed on as co-sponsors.
The measure would force the communities to give up any property or sales tax revenues from businesses affected by the ban. The money would go to local school districts instead. Conway told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she plans to narrow that to include only bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, casinos and other entertainment-related businesses, because they're the ones who lose money because of smoking bans.
The bills opponents call it an attempt to intimidate local governments.
Only two communities in St. Charles County have smoking bans in place: O'Fallon and Lake St. Louis. St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis also have smoking bans in place. They would be subject to the fines too, since it's a state-wide measure.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has preliminarily approved sweeping measures that would expand gun rights in the state and allow certain school officials to carry concealed weapons in school buildings.
The bill would allow appointed "protection officers" to carry concealed weapons as long as they have a valid permit and register with the state Department of Public Safety. The officers would also be required to complete a training course established by the peace officer training commission.
The proposals adopted Wednesday would also lower the age required to carry a concealed weapon and allow firearms less than 16 inches in length to be openly carried. One of the measures would also criminalize the enforcement of any federal gun control laws adopted after January.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Parents could give up newborn babies without legal consequences 45 days after birth under a bill given first-round approval by the Missouri Senate.
The measure endorsed Tuesday increases parents' "safe harbor" period from the current five-day window.
Parents of newborns can currently hand over a baby to medical professionals, firefighters, emergency medical technicians or law enforcement. The legislation would add pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes to that list.
Sponsoring Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Republican from Kansas City, says his measure would help protect children from being abused or neglected by parents unfit to care for their child.
His bill also includes a provision requiring students attending a public university to be vaccinated for meningitis if they live in on-campus housing and do not have religious objections.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House members have passed legislation that would require mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect to report suspicions directly to the state's Children's Division.
Currently, mandated reporters such as doctors, social workers and teachers must either report or "cause a report to be made" to the Children's Division when they suspect child abuse or neglect.
Supporters of the House legislation say that allows a mandated reporter to submit information to another person in his or her organization, who then decides whether to notify authorities.
The House legislation passed 150-0 and now will be considered by the Senate.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House wants to block the scanning and computer storage of personal documents needed to get a driver's license or state identification card.
Legislation given initial approval 141-14 on Wednesday would bar the Revenue Department from scanning documents needed for driver's licenses or concealed weapons permits. Documents that have been scanned would need to be destroyed.
The bill needs another vote before moving to the Senate, where members have criticized the driver's license procedure.
Previously, license clerks looked at applicants' documents, took a photo and printed the license. Under the new system, licenses are printed and mailed by a contractor several days after people apply. Revenue Department officials have said the new procedure makes licenses more secure and saves money.
Some Missouri senators are pressing the state's driver's license agency to stop collecting documents from people with concealed gun permits.
But the head of the agency said Wednesday he's reluctant to halt the practice.
Since December, clerks in Missouri's local license offices have been making electronic copies of concealed weapons permits for a state database of driver's license applicants. Concealed gun endorsements are noted on driver's licenses.
Some Republican lawmakers have expressed concern about the document database. During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Wednesday, Chairman Kurt Schaefer asked the Revenue Department to stop making and keeping copies of concealed gun permits.
Revenue Director Brian Long said he's unwilling to commit to that, because the scanned documents provide protection against fraud. But Long also said he will consider it further.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House Budget Committee has advanced legislation to abolish a tax credit of up to $750 a year for low-income seniors and disabled people who live in rental housing.
More than 104,000 renters were awarded the credit last year. The proposal would redirect $57 million saved by trimming the tax credit to state health, mental health and social services that may benefit seniors and the disabled.
The budget panel accepted public testimony and approved the legislation Tuesday. Generally, House Republicans were supportive and Democrats were critical.
The measure was factored into the proposed budget approved by the House, and it has been backed by Gov. Jay Nixon.
The Senate passed the bill last month.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri has approved legislation seeking to reinstate a cap on some damages in medical malpractice lawsuits after the state Supreme Court struck down the existing limit.
A 2005 law capped noneconomic damages in such cases at $350,000. It was part of a broader effort to curb liability lawsuits. The state high court ruled last summer that the cap is unconstitutional.
House members voted 93-62 on Thursday to pass legislation that attempts to impose the damages limit while avoiding the constitutional problem referenced by the court. It now goes to the Senate.
Supporters of limiting noneconomic damages contend it would reduce health care costs and help keep doctors in Missouri. Opponents say there is a fundamental constitutional right to a jury trial.