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Missouri Government News for Week of Jan. 3, 2000

Senate Democrats voice lukewarm thoughts about the governor's endorsement of a lower drunken driving limit.

On the same day Gov. Mel Carnahan endorsed the plan to lower the alcohol limits for drunken driving, his fellow Democrats in the Senate voiced reservations about the idea.

The Senate Democratic Caucus unveiled its legislative plan that did not include proposals to crack down on drunken driving. Two Democratic senators said the .08 BAC proposal was more symbolic that substantative.

For more details, see our newspaper story.

House Republicans are proposing the division of Kansas City's school district

Kansas City will lose its accreditation on May 1st and House Republicans are expressing worry.

They have proposed a bill to divide the current school district.

Democrats are waiting until a hearing in February to make any decisions.

See our radio story for details.

The appointment of a top legislator's nephew receives close examination

The ethics commission's hiring of Senate Majority Leader Ronnie DePasco's nephew, Brian Hess, has been met with wary reaction by the state Republican committee's spokesman.

Daryl Duwe says there is already a problem with relatives being hired by different agencies. But some officials say the hiring had more to do with credentials than family relations.

See our newspaper story and our radio story for details.

Legislator nicknames Columbia "Infanticide City."

Rep. Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis County, and a few anonymous Republican legislators are calling Columbia "infanticide city."

They decided to apply the monniker after last year's partial birth abortion override. During the fall veto session, Columbia's entire legislative delegation voted to sustain Gov. Mel Carnahan's veto.

Bill would give schools money for driver's ed

A bill sponsored by Senator John Russell would give schools $80 for each student that completed a driver's education course.

Russell says the bill wouldn't require schools to have driver's ed, but would encourage schools to offer it.

Lawmakers want vote on reducing requirement to pass school bond

Two joint resolutions sponsored by Missouri senators would ask the people to lower the requirement to a simple majority-- half the votes plus one.

That eases the requirement from four-sevenths or two-thirds depending on the time of the election.

The nephew of a top legislative leader gets a job with the state Ethics Commission.

Missouri's Ethics Commission has hired the nephew of the Senate Majority Leader to handle the digital filing system for campaign finance disclosure reports.

The position was filled after the agency announced it would be unable to meet the deadline to make campaign finance reports from the 2000 campaign available to Missourians on Internet.

The Senate majority leader, Ronnie DePasco, refused comment.

Bill would lower cost of dying

A bill introduced by Senator Harry Wiggins would eliminate the state sales tax on purchases of caskets and coffins.

Wiggins says people pay enough taxes throughout their life and says he wonders if a tax at death is necessary.

See our radio story for details.

Hanging up on Voice Mail?

A lawmaker has proposed a bill to refund people for long distance charges to state agencies when their calls are answered by voice mail.

Senator Staples says the state spends too much money for there not to be people available to answer phones and deal with citizens' problems.

See our radio story for details.