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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is weighing whether to sign legislation that would allow children's non-related legal guardians to receive adoption subsidies.

Currently only grandparents, aunts, uncles, adult siblings or cousins can get state-sponsored subsidies when they become the legal guardians of a child.

But a bill passed by the Legislature would expand that list to include people who are not blood relatives if their lives and those of a child are "intermingled" in a manner similar to a family relationship.

The subsidies are payments given to guardians to help pay for the child's care.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Sen. John Lamping, of St. Louis.

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 13:47

Missouri's infrastructure gets a "C-"

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Civil engineers say Missouri's infrastructure gets only a C-minus.

The regional chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers released the letter grade Wednesday. It is part of a report card that evaluated the state's aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, inland waterways, levees, railroads, roads, schools and wastewater. Each sub-category also received a grade.

The engineers found the most faults with the state's dams and energy, giving them both D-minus grades. The report says Missouri regulates only a portion of the dams that could cause significant damage if they failed. The engineers also said more investment is needed to help shift from coal toward sustainable energy.

The state's roads earned a C.  Lawmakers ended their session without approving a 1 cent state sales tax for transportation projects.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Prison sentences for Missouri juveniles convicted of first-degree murder remain uncertain because lawmakers did not pass a new sentencing scheme before adjourning.

Under state law, people under 18 convicted of first-degree murder are automatically sentenced to life without parole. But a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision said such automatic sentences are unconstitutional.

The high court said states had to consider an offender's upbringing and role in the crime before sentencing a juvenile to life without parole.

Republican Sen. Bob Dixon, of Springfield, proposed legislation that would have left life without parole as a possibility but also would have allowed juveniles to be given a 50-year prison term. But it stalled in the closing days of the Legislature's session that ended last week

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's legislative session is over, but the work may continue for some lawmakers.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey says he is considering appointing at least three committees to study issues before the 2014 session.

A joint panel of Senate and House members could look into potential changes to the Medicaid health care program for the poor.

Another committee could study potential projects to be included in a bonding proposal that would be put before voters.

Dempsey said an interim committee also could look into changes to the state's regional solid waste management districts.

All of those committees would be continuing work on measures that failed to pass during the legislative session that ended Friday.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - With time running out on the legislative session, The Missouri Bar and state lawmakers are acknowledging that an overhaul of the state's criminal laws won't cross the finish line.

But that group pledged on Wednesday to push for the criminal code revision next year when lawmakers have more time.

The measure is the product of a Missouri Bar committee charged with updating the criminal code for the first time since 1979. It would create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors and give judges more flexibility in sentencing.

Democratic Sen. Jolie Justus, of Kansas City, is one of the overhaul's sponsors. She says time ran out to pass the 1,000-page bill this year.

Missouri lawmakers end their annual session at 6 p.m. Friday.

 
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to legislation replenishing an insolvent state fund for disabled workers and changing the way people get compensation for job-related illnesses.

The bill sent to the governor Thursday marks a compromise among some business groups and attorneys who represent injured workers.

The bill temporarily doubles the surcharge paid by businesses to finance a depleted state fund for disabled workers who suffer additional job-related injuries. Payments from the Second Injury Fund have been delayed to more than 1,000 people because of a shortfall.

The legislation also places occupational diseases under the umbrella of the workers' compensation system and provides enhanced payments for people suffering from asbestos-induced cancer. Recent court rulings had allowed claims for job-related illnesses to be pursed in the courts.

 
Published in Local News

Governor Jay Nixon says the latest unemployment figures show Missouri's economy continues to build positive momentum.

The state's jobless rate ticked down a tenth of a percent to 6.6 in April. The hospitality sector saw the largest gains with 4,800 new jobs, but construction and finance both lost 700 jobs.

The national rate sits at 7.5 percent.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have sent Gov. Jay Nixon a bill that would require public employee unions to get annual consent from their members to deduct fees automatically from paychecks.

The House passed the measure 85-69 on Monday. It passed the Senate earlier this year.

The legislation would also require public employee unions to get annual consent from members to spend a portion of their fees on political activities.

Organizations representing "first responders," such as police and firefighters, would be exempted from the measure.

Supporters say the measure gives public workers more control over how their union fees spent. Opponents argue it makes it harder for unions to participate in the political process.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have one week to sort out differences on top legislative priorities, including changes to tax incentives and limits on liability lawsuits for businesses.

House and Senate Republican leaders are attempting to negotiate legislation that would scale back existing tax breaks for historic buildings and low-income housing and create new incentives for certain businesses.

Lawmakers also are working to bridge a gap in on legislation that would replenish an insolvent fund for injured workers and prevent lawsuits over occupational diseases by covering them through the workers' compensation system.

Some priorities already have been sent to the governor, including an income tax cut for individuals and businesses and a $25 billion operating budget.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation that would expand the definition of eggs.

The measure approved on Friday defines eggs edible for human consumption as those produced by chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and guinea fowl. Current law only included chicken eggs in its definition.

Nixon says the expanded definition will allow the state Department of Agriculture to inspect the additional types of eggs and make sure they are kept clean and at proper temperatures.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Sen. Dan Brown, of Rolla.

Published in Local News

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