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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

   A congressional staffer won't face any charges after leaving his loaded handgun in a mens' room at the Missouri Capitol. 

   Police say the gun belongs to 64 year old David Evans, legislative assistant to House Speaker Tim Jones. And Evans has a conceal-carry permit.  

   Capitol Police say the Kahr CM9 9mm pistol was in a holster and had a hollow point bullet in the chamber, along with six others in the magazine.  It was found Friday morning on top of a toilet paper dispenser in a restroom near a House hearing room.

   Police say no charges will be filed because Evans didn't break any laws.  State law allows Missouri lawmakers and their staff to carry concealed weapons in the Capitol, as long as they have a permit.

Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House Republicans have chosen Majority Leader John Diehl to be their speaker nominee for 2015.

   Republicans met privately during Wednesday's veto override session. Diehl and House member Caleb Jones, of California, Mo., had been seeking the nod to be speaker.

   The House speaker is the top position in the 163 member House and officially is elected by the chamber on the first day of each biennial session. Republicans currently hold 109 seats. Under a tradition begun several terms ago, Republicans have picked their next speaker nominee more than a year before the election to give the person time to prepare for the job.

   Current Speaker Tim Jones is barred by term limits from seeking re-election to the House in 2014.

 
Published in Local News

A former "America's Got Talent" winner is stepping back into the spotlight. Neal Boyd tells The Southeast Missourian that he is ready for another run at political office. The Sikeston, Missouri native announced Thursday that he is running as a Republican for a seat in the Missouri House.  Boyd won the 2008 version of  "America's Got Talent".  He ran for office last year in Missouri's 149th District, losing to Democratic incumbent Steve Hodges in the November general election.  Hodges cannot seek re-election in 2014 due to term limits. 

 

Published in Local News

   Call it the tale of two hearings.  

   Missouri Senate and House committees each held hearings Wednesday on the state's Medicaid program.  Each focused on different perspectives.  

   At the House hearing in St. Louis, most testified in favor of expanding Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act.  But at the Senate hearing in Jefferson City, the stress was on the need to overhaul the system first -- by finding ways to reduce costs and improve care.  

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Missouri's 8.5-billion dollar Medicaid program currently serves 875-thousand low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children.  Expansion would add about 260-thousand low-income, working people.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's education system will be the focus of a newly formed state House committee that will consider ways to improve outcomes and better prepare students for college and adulthood.

The House Interim Committee on Education has scheduled its first meeting for next Thursday at the state Capitol. The panel will examine education issues during the summer and fall before lawmakers return in January for their next legislative session. Republican House member Steve Cookson of Poplar Bluff will lead the interim committee.

House Speaker Tim Jones created the new education committee. He says he wants the committee to develop bipartisan solutions that "deemphasize the education bureaucracy" and focus on providing children the best education possible.

Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House is not planning to give Gov. Jay Nixon's administration data related to an attempted access of the list of gun permit holders.

   The Office of Administration requested computer logs last week after a House computer was used to access a secure website containing the gun data. The House computer used credentials the state had previously provided to a federal agent.

   House Speaker Tim Jones says the attempted access was part of an investigation into the Nixon administration. House Clerk Adam Crumbliss sent a letter to the Nixon administration Monday that says releasing the House computer data could compromise the ongoing investigation.

   Commissioner of Administration Doug Nelson says the access was unauthorized because the information on the website had been intended for use by law enforcement.

Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has rejected tough new evaluation standards for school principals and administrators.

   The House voted 82-76 to defeat the measure Wednesday, one of Republican House Speaker Tim Jones' top education priorities.

   This marks the second defeat of legislation to impose evaluations based largely on student achievement. Previous versions of the bill would have subjected teachers to the evaluation standards, but that provision was removed from this bill in an effort to pass the measure.

   The evaluations would have started in the 2014-15 academic year and would've included multiple measures and be conducted at least annually. School personnel would have been classified on a four-point scale ranging from highly effective to ineffective.

 
Published in Local News
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