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.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Republican congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer wants federal officials to explain their agencies' roles in the transfer from Missouri of personal information including names of people with concealed weapons permits.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Thursday it twice provided a list of 163,000 Missourians with concealed-carry permits to a federal investigator checking into Social Security fraud. But patrol officials also said the names weren't read because of a technical glitch.
Luetkemeyer, whose U.S. House district includes Jefferson City, wrote Thursday to the Social Security Administration and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
He wants answers to 10 questions, including whether federal agencies requested a complete list of Missourians with concealed gun permits and whether they sought other information. Luetkemeyer also asked how information is to be used and whether data has been shared.
The plaintiff, identified in court documents as John Doe 1631, had sued Quest Diagnostics and their Central West End clinical lab after the results of a 2006 blood test were faxed to the Wayman AME Church where the man worked at that time.
Quest had argued that the man had given permission to fax the results because the church's fax number appeared at the top of the doctor's order form. The fax apparently sat in plain view in the church office for several days because the plaintiff was on vacation when it arrived.
He's seeking unspecified punitive damages and compensation for emotional distress.
Lawmakers on Friday sent the Republican governor two anti-abortion bills, one banning the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy and another prohibiting women from having the procedure because a fetus has a genetic defect, such as Down syndrome. They would be the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S
Abortion-rights activists have promised a legal battle over the measures if they become law. But supporters of the bills say their goal is to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until a fetus is considered viable, usually at 22 to 24 weeks
Unlike other states, North Dakota isn't looking at budget cuts. The state actually has a budget surplus nearing $2 billion, thanks to new-found oil wealth. Record oil production has made North Dakota the nation's No. 2 oil producer behind Texas.
But that oil wealth has come at a price: increased crime, shortages of housing, greater costs for road repairs and other infrastructure improvements. Democratic Sen. Mac Schneider, an attorney from Grand Forks, said the Legislature should focus on those needs instead of "expensive and potentially protracted abortion litigation."
"There hasn't been near enough attention given to the costs as we've debated these issues. We need to be honest with taxpayer funds and that is: We will be spending money on attorneys," Schneider said.
But Rep. Bette Grande, a Republican from Fargo who introduced the measures, said the budget surplus wasn't part of the equation for her.
"I don't look at it from the financial side of things," Grande told The Associated Press on Friday. "I look at it from the life side of things."
Grande told lawmakers earlier in the week that fears about a legal challenge shouldn't prevent them from strengthening North Dakota's already strict abortion laws.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple hasn't said anything to indicate he would veto the measures, and the bills have enough support in each chamber for the Republican-controlled Legislature to override him. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the bills Friday, and the House passed them last month. The votes were largely on party lines, with Republicans supporting the measures and Democrats opposing them.
The state's only abortion clinic is in Fargo, and abortion-rights advocates say the measures are meant to shut it down. They urged Dalrymple to veto the bills.
The American Civil Liberties Union called the measures "extreme" and noted that many women don't realize they are pregnant until after six weeks.
"In America, no woman, no matter where she lives, should be denied the ability to make this deeply personal decision," ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said in a statement.
Outside of Fargo, the nearest abortion clinics are four hours to the south in Sioux Falls, S.D., and four hours to the southeast in Minneapolis. North Dakota is one of several states with Republican-controlled Legislatures and GOP governors that is looking at abortion restrictions. Arkansas passed a 12-week ban earlier this month that prohibits most abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected using an abdominal ultrasound. That ban is scheduled to take effect 90 days after the Arkansas Legislature adjourns. A fetal heartbeat can generally be detected earlier in a pregnancy using a vaginal ultrasound, but Arkansas lawmakers balked at requiring women seeking abortions to have the more invasive imaging technique. North Dakota's measure doesn't specify how a fetal heartbeat would be detected. Doctors performing an abortion after a heartbeat is detected could face a felony charge punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Women having an abortion would not face charges. The genetic abnormalities bill also bans abortion based on gender selection. Pennsylvania, Arizona and Oklahoma already have such laws, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion restrictions across the U.S. North Dakota would be the first state to ban abortions based on a genetic defect, according to the institute. Sen. Margaret Sitte, a Republican from Bismarck, said the bill is meant to ban the destruction of life based on "an arbitrary society standard of being good enough." Some test results pointing to abnormalities are incorrect, she said, and doctors can perform surgeries even before a baby is born to correct some genetic conditions.
Attorney General Chris Koster said Tuesday that he had signed on to the $7 million settlement between Google and several dozen states.
The settlement ends an inquiry dating to 2010. Google revealed at the time that company cars taking street-level photos for its online mapping service also collected personal data transmitted over wireless networks that didn't require passwords.
Koster says Google agreed in the settlement to destroy all data collected from unsecured wireless networks and not to collect such information in the future.
Google didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement.