JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has passed a bill that would allow school districts to hire police resource officers.
Sponsoring Republican Rep. Sheila Solon, of Blue Springs, says the measure is part of efforts to keep schools safer after the Connecticut elementary school shooting that killed 20 children.
She says that school resource officers are considered county or municipal employees but her bill would allow school districts to hire them directly.
The bill would also strengthen the state's mandatory child abuse reporting laws by preventing supervisors from impeding a report.
The House voted 129-20 to the send the measure to the Senate Wednesday.
The vote Wednesday by the House puts the legislation just one final step from the governor's desk. The Senate previously passed the bill and must give it another vote.
The legislation would reinstate tax credits for food pantry donations that expired in 2011 and for donations to pregnancy resource centers and child advocacy centers that expired in 2012. All three of those tax credits would be extended to 2019.
The bill also renews tax credits for surviving spouses of deceased public safety officers and for people who improve their homes to be accessible to the disabled.
The House gave final approval Wednesday to legislation authorizing up to $3 million annually in subsidies for cities, counties and nonprofit groups that host amateur sports events such as college basketball tournaments.
The bill is the first one of the 2013 session to make it to Gov. Jay Nixon.
Missouri has a long history of hosting sports events. Kansas City, for example, is hosting the Big 12 basketball tournament this week and games for the NCAA men's basketball tournament next week.
But supporters of the legislation say Missouri has been losing bids for future events to states offering incentives.
Missouri's bill would provide tax breaks equal to $5 for every ticket sold to the events.
Instead of making the hard choices to fix Social Security's financial problems, policymakers "use it as a tool of political rhetoric," Astrue said.
Astrue, 56, has headed the federal government's largest program since 2006 — he was nominated by former President George W. Bush. By law, Social Security commissioners serve six-year terms, so President Barack Obama will now have the opportunity to choose his own nominee, who must be approved by the Senate. Astrue's last day on the job was Wednesday.
The trustees who oversee Social Security say the program's trust funds will run dry in 2033, leaving Social Security with only enough revenue to pay about 75 percent of benefits. Already the program is paying out more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes.
As commissioner, Astrue served as a trustee. He regularly urged Congress to address Social Security's long-term financial problems but refrained from publicly weighing in on various options to cut benefits or raise taxes — until now.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Astrue said benefit cuts and tax increases are inevitable — despite fierce opposition to both. Yet he questions whether Congress is up to the task.