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Missouri Government News for Week of Oct. 4, 1999


Lawmakers Hear Charges from a Prison Death

Tears rolled down faces in the crowd as the sister of deceased inmate Stephanie Summers read to lawmakers a goodbye letter.

The sister testified before a legislative committee investigating the death of an inmate who had been denied a liver transplant while under state custody.

See our newspaper story for details.


Leading Rep. Considers Closer Look at College Spending Practices

Rep. Scott Lakin, D-Kansas City, is considering calling a special meeting of legislators in the coming months, in order to consider UM spending practices.

Members of the legislature do not normally review budgetary practices until after the Governor has made his state of the state address in January. However, a budget crunch within the UM system is prompting Lakin to call for clearer justifications of expenditures, especially in the wake of increased legislative appropriations.

See our newspaper story for details.


Carnahan accuses Ashcroft of dropping Judge for political reasons

Gov. Mel Carnahan accused Senator John Ashcroft of voting down Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ronnie White's bid for a federal judgeship in order to make a campaign issue out of the death penalty.

See our package of radio stories for details.


Governor unveils school safety plan

Governor Carnahan says a cornerstone of the next legislative session should be writing and clarifying laws that protect students in schools.

Among other things, the Governor is suggesting schools appoint more counselors to help troubled children; require gun manufacturers to install trigger locks on all new guns; and strengthen laws that hold parents criminally liable for their children's actions.

Some republican lawmakers say they are skeptical of the plan, arguing the state has already implemented many of Carnahan's suggestions.

See our newspaper story and our radio story for details.


Report says Southwestern Bell overcharges customers

The Allegheny Institute, a public-interest group promoting deregulation, says Southwestern Bell is charging Missouri customers an extra six dollars a year on phone service. In December, the FCC released a report claiming Southwestern Bell had misreported more than $1 billion in assets, including more than a hundred million dollars in Missouri.

The more assets a telephone company has, the higher its rates can be. According to the Allegheny Institute, Southwestern Bell has abused telephone regulations to charge consumers higher rates.

A spokesman for Southwestern Bell says the FCC report is fundamentally flawed, and that an independent review concluded Southwestern Bell has done nothing wrong.

See our radio story for details.


Democrats Say 2000 Redrawings of U.S. District 1 Won't Affect Their Power

After the 2000 Census, U.S. congressional districts in Missouri will be redrawn. Perhaps most affected by the redistricting will be District 1 in St. Louis city -- a traditional stronghold of the Democratic Party.

Nearly 30,000 people have left the city since 1990. But, Joe Carmichael, state Democratic leader, says redistricting will have little affect on his party's power in St. Louis city.

See our radio story for details.


Home heating bills will rise $150 this winter

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says the average consumer can expect a rise of about $30 per month in heating bills.

This increase is caused by the high price of crude oil and the expected cold winter.

See our radio story for details.