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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Amid the risk of losing millions of dollars in federal transportation funding, Missouri lawmakers are considering changes to rules for commercial driver's licenses.

State House members this week gave initial approval to legislation that seeks to comply with federal regulations dealing with learning permits for commercial driver's licenses and with restrictions on texting and using hand-held cellphones while driving a commercial vehicle.

The Missouri Transportation Department says the state could lose $30 million for one year and $60 million annually after that if it doesn't act quickly enough.

The legislation needs another round of approval in the House before it can move to the Senate. Lawmakers have until their mandatory adjournment on May 17 to approve new legislation.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri senator blocked a vote on a bill that would base some state funding for Missouri public universities on performance standards and career placement.

Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer, of Columbia, blocked the Senate vote Thursday. He says the Legislature should spend more time studying the effects of the proposed higher education funding formula before voting. Lawmakers have until fiscal year 2015 to put the formula in place.

Under the legislation, 10 percent of state funding to universities would be tied to whether a school meets performance and career placement goals.

Currently, the state allots money to higher education institutions based largely upon how much colleges and universities received in the past and how much Missouri has available for the future.

 

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Some favorite leisure time activities in Missouri could become high school sports.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association announced Thursday that member schools voted to allow schools to sponsor teams in bass fishing, chess, bowling and target shooting, beginning next year.

The association says it could eventually hold state championships in the events. First, at least 50 schools in at least three of the state's eight districts would have to have teams in the sports. Then member schools would decide whether to add the state championships

The Springfield News-Leader reports if the championships are approved, they would be added to the next two-year cycle.

Schools also voted to allow softball championships in the fall or spring. And track and field will add a fifth class next spring.

 

Published in Local News

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has endorsed a bill that would allow motorcyclists to forgo wearing helmets on the road.

    The measure given first-round approval Tuesday would allow riders over the age of 21 to not wear a helmet when travelling.

   Current law requires motorists to wear helmets or face a fine of up to $300 on the first offense. Future violations carried steeper fines and the possibility of prison sentences.

   The bill needs one more House vote before moving to the Senate. Lawmakers adjourn May 17.

Motorcycle Helmets is HB555    Online: Legislature: http://www.moga.mo.gov

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has given preliminary approval to the first overhaul of the state's criminal code since 1979.

The measure endorsed on Monday would create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors and give judges more flexibility in sentencing.

Sponsoring Republican Rep. Stanley Cox, of Sedalia, said the measure would provide more clarity in sentencing.

Democratic Rep. Rory Ellinger, of St. Louis, said the bill could have done more and reduced sentences for some crimes, But he said it was important to keep the measure non-controversial so it could pass.

The overhaul would also increase fines to reflect inflation. It needs one more vote before moving to the Senate.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri senator says a subpoena has been issued to a federal investigator who sought a list of Missouri concealed gun permit holders.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer said the Senate issued a subpoena Friday to Special Agent Keith Schilb of the Office of Inspector General in the federal Social Security Administration. Schaefer scheduled a committee meeting next Wednesday to hear from Schilb.

An official at the Social Security Administration did not immediately respond Friday to a question from The Association Press about whether Schilb had received the subpoena and planned to testify.

Republican lawmakers have raised concerns that a list of concealed gun permit holders was twice provided to Social Security fraud investigators. The agency says a computer disk never was read and was destroyed.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld a Missouri law banning protests within 300 feet of funerals but has struck down a broader law that could have kept protesters even further away.

   The decision Friday by a panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stems from a challenge to a pair of 2006 Missouri laws enacted after protests of military members' funerals by a Kansas-based church that denounces homosexuality.

   The appeals court said a Missouri law barring protests "in front of or about any location at which a funeral is held" violates First Amendment free speech rights because it creates a buffer zone of an undetermined size. It upheld a separate law setting the 300-foot buffer around funerals but said it cannot apply to funeral processions.

 
Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon says he remains opposed to a bill that would raise the state sales tax while cutting income taxes for individuals and businesses.

   Nixon released a statement Thursday saying that a sales tax increase would shift the tax burden to seniors and veterans on fixed incomes. He said it "is not the right approach to growing our economy or creating jobs."

   His reaction comes after the House passed a bill Wednesday that would gradually cut the individual income tax by two-thirds of a percentage point over five years while also reducing business taxes.

   To offset part of the lost revenue, the bill would gradually raise the sales tax by three-fifths of a cent.

   Nixon also had opposed an earlier version of the bill passed by the Senate

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have endorsed legislation creating a funding formula for public colleges and universities.

The bill would tie 10 percent of each school's state funding to meeting performance goals, and 10 percent to career placement.

The Coordinating Board for Higher Education would work with schools to develop their performance measures. The Department of Higher Education would develop rules for career placement rates of graduates.

The Senate gave the measure first-round approval Wednesday. It needs another affirmative vote to move to the House.

A state law requires development of a funding formula for higher education. Missouri's current approach allots money based largely on how much each school received previously and what is available for the future.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators are considering a nearly $25 billion budget plan that may be most notable for what it doesn't contain.

Senate debate on the budget began Monday with education funding among the first items up. The budget includes a $66 million increase on top of the current $3 billion in basic aid for public schools. But that still falls $620 million short of what's called for by a state formula.

Later Monday, senators were to discuss more contentious topics. The Senate budget plan wipes out funding for the motor vehicle and driver's license division. The intent is to register senators' disapproval of licensing procedures that include making electronic copies of applicants' personal documents.

Like the House, the Senate plan includes no money for Gov. Jay Nixon's proposed Medicaid expansion.

 

Published in Local News

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