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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of April 9, 2007

. Senate Republicans Decline to Vote on MOHELA (04/12/2007)

Although they were expected to discuss MOHELA Thursday, Missouri Senators did not bring up the plan to sell off assets to make building improvements for Higher Education institutions.

Leading Republicans say that they expect to take up the bill next week.

. Intellectual diversity receives final House approval (04/12/2007)

The House on Thursday gave final passage to an intellectual diversity bill that would require public universities to report to the state what steps they are taking to ensure academic freedom.

The measure passed by a 97-50 vote following contentious debate.  Rep. Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, called the bill a "witch hunt."

. Intellectual diversity bill passes the House (04/11/2007)

Missouri college students are one step closer to being able to use the Bible as a historic reference in class, or report a professor to the university's governing board if they feel they are being discriminated against because of their religious or political views.

The Missouri House on Wednesday gave initial passage to Rep. Jane Cunningham's, R-St. Louis County, bill that would establish the Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act. The bill, House Bill 213, would require universities to annually report the ways in which they are promoting academic freedom and free exchange of ideas with bias toward religion or political affiliation.

. Missouri House votes to require sprinklers in long-term health care facilities (04/11/2007)

The bill is in response to the November 2006 Anderson fire that killed 11 people.

It would also require installation of a fire alarm system, smoke-stop barriers and that an staff member be awake 24 hours a day.

. MU's interim president visits with the legislature (04/11/2007)

The UM System's new interim president Gordon Lamb met with legislatures on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, and Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, said they met with Lamb and talked to him about MoHELA and the UM System budget, respectively.

. Committee passes bill to provide cervical cancer vaccine (04/11/2007)

Cervical cancer vaccinations may soon be provided by the state.

Representative Sam Page sponsors House Bill 802, which would provide cervical cancer vaccinations to all Missouri women at the expense of insurance companies and the state.

Get the radio story.

. Missouri Senate approves Medicaid reform bill. (04/11/2007)

After weeks of heated debate, the Missouri Senate voted for final approval of Senate Bill 577, a Medicaid reform bill sponsored by Majority leader Charlie Shields.

Despite a landslide victory, many legislators voiced their concern that the bill does not restore cuts made two years ago.  100,000 people were cut from the program along with 300,000 health services.

Get radio story
. Fundraising efforts heat up for attorney general race (04/11/2007)

House Minority Leader Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, has over $130,000 on hand for a potential Attorney General run in 2008.

Since forming a campaign committee a few weeks ago, Harris' committee has raised $37,755.

. Missouri Veteran's Commission celebrates seventy-five years with "Support Our Troops Rally" (04/10/2007)

Veteran's groups gathered in the Capitol rotunda Tuesday to honor the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Missouri Veteran's Commission.

The Governor, a Veteran, declared the day Missouri Veteran's Day.

The celebration was followed by a pro-troops rally.

. Cold snap damages Missouri's agricultural crops (04/10/2007)

The recent cold snap, when temperatures dipped as low as 18 degrees across the state, damaged -- if not destroyed --much of Missouri's early crops.

Farmers and agricultural officials said the freeze damaged wheat, grapes and corn, among other crops, leaving farmers to wait until temperatures increase before knowing the true extent of the loss.

The outlook for many crops, however, is grim.

. Manufacturing tax cut bill passes House (04/10/2007)

The House passed a bill Thursday that would exempt state and local sales taxes levied on utilities used by manufacturers for making their products.

The legislation is aimed at giving the manufacturing sector an incentive to keep a strong presence in Missouri as the economy becomes more service-oriented and factory jobs are cut.

. The Missouri Black Caucus reacts to Imus' statements (04/10/2007)

Tuesday, Senator Rita Days reacted to racial statements made by "shock jock" Don Imus.

In a recent broadcast, Imus called women on the Rutgers basketball team "nappy-headed hos".

. Natural Resources Department clean contaminated coal mine (04/10/2007)

The Missouri Natural Resources Department has embarked on a nearly $1 million project to prevent toxins from running off of a former Boone County coal mine.

The project, headed by Ashland's C.L. Richardson Construction Company and funded by the federal government, will turn a 27-acre mound of black, muddy coal waste at the Rocky Fork Lakes Conservation Area into a gently sloping grassy hill. It will also treat and neutralize two acidic ponds nearby.

. Missouri Lt. Governor supports Republican actor in presidential race (04/10/2007)

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder announced his support for the rumored presidential run of Law and Order actor Fred Thompson.

Kinder said the actor, who served one term as a U.S. Senator for Tennessee, is a staunch conservative and could plausibly make the change from actor to president.

Thompson has not formally announced a presidential bid.