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Tuesday, 25 March 2014 15:19

GOP lawmaker files for new office

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Another Republican state lawmaker from eastern Missouri is looking to extend his political career with a bid for a local office.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Republican state Senator Brian Nieves of Washington on Monday filed for election as the Franklin County recorder of deeds. Three other Republicans have also filed for the August GOP primary.
 
Nieves initially filed for re-election to the state Senate but dropped out of the race.
 
On Monday, state Rep. Rick Stream of Kirkwood filed as a candidate for St. Louis County executive. Stream is chairman of the House Budget Committee in Jefferson City.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri House member has renewed her call for state Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro to resign.
 
Democrat Genise Montecillo, of St. Louis, addressed Nicastro during a hearing of the House Budget Committee on Wednesday.
 
Nicastro has faced criticism over various issues in recent months, including the award of a contract to a consulting firm to draft a turnaround plan for unaccredited school districts.
 
Montecillo urged Nicastro to step down last year. On Wednesday, she said the commissioner's resignation would be the responsible thing to do for Missouri's children.
 
Nicastro responded that she has a history with urban schools and that her record speaks for herself. She said others can do her job as well but that she's not sure the state could find anyone more willing and committed.
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The chairman of a special Missouri House panel is outlining potential Medicaid changes that could expand coverage to lower-income adults while reducing it for children.

Jefferson City Republican Rep. Jay Barnes offered a detailed financial estimate Wednesday showing the potential changes could save about $42 million in revenues by the time the changes are fully implemented in 2021.

That figure assumes Missouri would spend more money to add adults living in poverty to its Medicaid rolls and subsidize private insurance policies through a federal online marketplace for adults earning slightly more than the poverty level.

It assumes savings to the state by eliminating Medicaid coverage for some children and blind adults. Barnes says they could get policies through the federally run health insurance exchange.

Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn slashed lawmakers' salaries because he wasn't happy with their inaction on Illinois' pension crisis. But these days the only elected official working without pay is Quinn himself.

A judge told the Chicago Democrat it's unconstitutional to hold back legislators' salaries. But Quinn also gave up his own paycheck and still vows not to collect it until the pension crisis is solved. So three checks totaling about $44,000 await Quinn at the state comptroller's office.

Some Republicans challenging Quinn's 2014 re-election bid call it a populist stunt. But his supporters say he's as frugal as he's always boasted and is probably faring just fine.

But things could get tight for him if the committee charged with proposing a solution to the pension crisis doesn't come through soon.

 
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri lawmaker arrested for possessing marijuana says he is resigning from a Democratic campaign position but not from office.

Rep. Jeremy LaFaver said Monday he is stepping down as chairman of the House Democratic Victory Committee, which raises money for House candidates.

But LaFaver told The Associated Press he is not resigning from the House, because he believes he can still be an effective lawmaker.

The Missouri Republican Party has said LaFaver should resign.

LaFaver was arrested Sunday after a traffic stop in Boone County for possessing a marijuana pipe and up to 1.2 ounces of marijuana. He has apologized for the incident.

LaFaver sponsored an unsuccessful bill this year that would have lowered penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri House member and his wife are going to court over what they say is a requirement that their group health insurance include coverage for contraception.

The Thomas More Society filed a federal lawsuit in St. Louis on Wednesday on behalf of Paul and Teresa Wieland. Paul Wieland is a Republican from Imperial.

According to court documents, the family previously opted out of coverage for contraceptives, sterilization or abortifacients. The lawsuit contends the Wielands have been told their coverage must now include contraception and sterilization because of the federal health care law.

The Wielands contend their religious, free speech and parental rights have been violated. The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment and an injunction.

 

Published in Local News

 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The longtime promoter of expanding Illinois gambling has taken his name from a bill over "perceived conflict of interest" with his law firm.

In a statement released Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Lou Lang says there've been no violations, but not only is his name off the gambling bill, he may not vote when it comes to the House floor.

Lang is counsel for Odelson and Sterk, an Evergreen Park firm hired by Rockford. The city is one of five that would get a casino if lawmakers approve pending legislation. Rockford officials have said there's no connection.

Lang says his actions have been respectful of laws and ethical rules. He declined to comment Tuesday beyond the statement.

Democrat Rep. Robert Rita is now the gambling bill's sponsor.

Published in Local News

WELDON SPRING, Mo. (AP) - A Republican state representative from St. Charles County has been fired from his teaching job, and he plans to sue the district over his dismissal.

 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that education board members of the Francis Howell School District in St. Charles County met in closed session Monday and voted to dismiss Bryan Spencer. The district had previously refused to grant him unpaid leave of absence while he serves in the Legislature.

 

Spencer's attorney says it is wrong to punish someone for successfully seeking public office. But school district attorney Cindy Ormsby says there is no constitutional right to hold two jobs at one time. She denied that the board action had anything to do with Spencer's political affiliation.

 

Spencer was elected in November.

 

Published in Local News

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