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Missouri Government News for Week of Sept. 13, 1999

A lawsuit and abortion services termination follow the legislature's passage of the partial birth abortion ban.

As it had warned, St. Louis Planned Parenthood stopped providing abortions in wake of the legislature's overriding the governor's veto of a ban on partial-birth abortions.

But the service halt lasted only as long as it took to get a federal court order blocking enforcement of the new law.

See our radio feature for details.

Sen. Jet Banks pleads guilty to a felony crime.

As the Senate was preparing for its abortion debate, veteran lawmaker J.B. Jet Banks was appearing before a Cole County circuit court to plead guilty to a felony charge of filing a false tax return.

If and when a sentence is imposed, the felony conviction will force Banks out of his Senate.

He has represented St. Louis city in the legislature for 30 years. He served eight years as Senate majority leader, the highest position held by a black in Missouri history.

For more information, see our newspaper story.

Missouri Senate Overrides Governor's veto

Abortion-rights advocates vow they will file a lawsuit to fight a ban on partial-birth abortions, which the Missouri legislature voted into law after overriding Gov. Mel Carnahan's veto.

It is only the third time this century that a Missouri governor's veto has been overridden.

Abortion providers say the law will cause them to stop providing abortions in Missouri. But abortion-rights advocates vow they will file an immediate federal lawsuit to block implementation of the law.

For more information, see:

The House Votes to Override Carnahan's Veto

The House secured the votes needed to override Carnahan's veto of the controversial partial-birth abortion bill. The override was passed with a vote of 127 to 34, 18 more votes than needed to pass the override by a two-thirds majority vote.

Carnahan still has hopes to sustain his veto. The Senate will begin their debates on the bill when they reconvene on Thursday morning.

For more information, see:

Jefferson City is Jolted by School Bomb Threats

Jefferson City schools were evacuated today after a bomb threat was called in to the Superintendent's Office. The caller referred to Governor Carnahan's stance on the partial-birth abortion bill as a reason for his threats. The governor is not placing blame on anyone and students will return to school on Thursday as usual as no bombs were found.

House members anticipate override vote in the house today

Congressmen discuss hopes of voting to override Governor Carnahan's veto of the partial-birth abortion bill in the House as early as today. Representative Bill Luetkenhaus says he will bring a motion to end debate and vote on whether or not to override Carnahan's veto of the bill he introduced in May.

Term limits tip balance of power, expert says

An expert on term limits warned a panel of lawmakers that the limits tip the balance of power in state government toward the governor's office

Richard Jones of the National Conference of State Legislatures informed the Joint Committee on Term Limits that in states where term lmits have gone into effect, new legislators are more likely to defer to the governor than legislative leaders, giving prominence to the governor's bills.

See our radio story and our newspaper story for details.

Missouri students don't reach proficiency on MAP test

More than half on Missouri public school students scored below the proficiency level in all areas of the Missouri Assessment Program tests.

Misssouri students' scores improved in 14 of 18 categories of the MAP test, but they still failed to meet the proficiency area.

Commissioner of Education Robert E. Bartman says the test scores had modest gains and are moving in the right direction.

See our radio story for details.

Extra Security for Wednesday's Veto Session

A crowd of close to 5000 people is expected for tomorrow's state veto session. Because of the crowds, extra security measures are being taken.

Officers from the capital will be joined by forces from the Missouri Highway Patrol, the Jefferson City Police Department, the Cole County Sheriff's Office, and the state Fire Marshall Service.

Anti-abortion supporters are charging the governor with using the extra security meausres in order to draw attention away from the partial-birth abortion vote.

Carnahan Meeting Draws Criticism From Veto Opponents

Supporters of the abortion bill say Governor Carnahan's last-minute discussions on the Wednesday veto session are acts of desperation. Carnahan met with top lawmakers Monday to discuss his options regarding the veto session of the abortion bill. One option would delay floor discussions. The bill's supporters say this delay is un-democratic.

The governor and legislative leaders consider a special session on abortion

Missouri's governor and Democratic legislative leaders held a private session at a Jefferson City country club to discuss Wednesday's veto session when lawmakers will take up the governor's veto of a partial birth abortion ban.

The governor's office and House Speaker both confirm that they have discussed the possibility of a special session to consider a revised bill.

Supporters of the original bill argue the special session idea demonstrates the governor realizes he does not have the votes to sustain his veto.

See our newspaper story for complete details.