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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for Week of May 1, 2000


. The first non-budget major bills clear the legislature. (05/07/00)
JEFFERSON CITY - An income tax exemption and regulation of amusement rides became the first two major non-budget bills to clear Missouri's legislature.

The tax bill would exempt Holocaust restitution from the state income tax.

Both bills got their final legislative votes and were sent to the govenror during a rare Sunday evening session lawmakers held to get prepared for the final week of this year's legislative session.

  • Get the House roll call vote on amusement ride regulation.
    . Missouri's House rejects the Equal Rights Amendment (05/07/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - By a fairly decisive vote, Missouri's House has rejected the Equal Rights Amendment.

    With lawmakers anxious to get home for a short weekend prior to the ending week of the session, the House voted to table the proposal after only about an hour of debate.

    The proposal would sought to have Missouri ratify the U.S. constitutional amendment offered some 30 years. But critics said the Congressional deadline had passed making the Missouri proposal irrelevant.

    Earlier in the day, the House approved a plan to give the legislature more control over bond issues by the Highways Department.

    Although the Department would be empowered to issue $250 in bonds immediately on their own, other bond issues would require legislative approval of the project plan.

    Lawmakers completed the budget Friday afternoon. They return Sunday night for the final week of what many legislators and lobbyists have called the least productive and most boring session in recent memory.

  • Get the House ERA vote.
  • Get the House road bond vote.
    . The effort to alter legisltive term limits gets knocked off for the legislative session. (05/04/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The House Critical Issues Committee defeated decisively a Senate-passed plan to extend legislative term limits from eight years to 12.

    The committee chairman, Rep. Tim Harlan, conceded his committee's vote killed the idea for this year and left little chance for change before more than half of Missouri's legislature will be forced out of office by term limits in two years.

    Some lawmakers privately said they supported the effort to extend term limits, but did not want to take the political risk of voting for the change for fear the legislative leadership would not let the measure clear the House even if it got out of committee.

    . Government funding of political campaigns petition filed. (05/04/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Petitition signatures were filed Thursday to put on Missouri's ballot a plan to fund some state political campaigns with tax money.

    The proposal would establish a voluntary funding system for candidates who agree to the spending limits.

  • Get the package of radio stories.
    . Legislative retirement increase heads to conference. (05/03/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate gave overwhelming approval to the bill that includes a retirement increase for long-term legislators.

    The increase covers those continue to serve after their 15th session and age 60.

    The increase was attached to a House bill that, originally, covered retirement only for St. Louis city firefighters.

    The measure now heads to a House-Senate conference committee to work out the differences between the two chambers.

  • Get the Senate roll call.
    . Senators debate a death penalty exemption (05/03/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - A bill to prevent executions of the mentally retarded came before Missouri's Senate.

    However, extended debate blocked a Senate vote on the proposal that is supported by the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

  • Get the radio story.
    . No more easy landings for retiring Missouri post secondary officials (05/03/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - A Senate amendment to a House bill would put an end to golden parachute deals for officials, leaving Missouri schools.

    The proposal would government-financed retirement deals be equitable and not provide special benefits for a specific person.

    The proposal comes after the State Auditor criticized retirement packages from some of the state's higher education institutions including that of MU's former basketball coach Norm Steward.

    . Term limit supporters attack Senate-approved plan (05/03/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - A national organization called U.S. Term Limits began running TV ads aimed at gaining support for the current 8 year legislative term limits earlier this week.

    On Wednesday, a representative from the group came to the Capitol to voice opposition to a plan that would allow voters to extend the limits to twelve years.

    The group and several legislators say it is too early to take this issue back to the voters.

    In 1992, Missourians approved 8 year limits by a 3 to 1 margin.

    But, supporters of the 12 year limit say voters should be given the choice again.

    They say limits will cause a loss of the knowledge that is necessary for the legislature to function.

  • Get the radio story.
  • Check out SJR 31 and the resolution's sponsor, Sen. John Schneider.
    . Missouri's Senate votes a retirement increase for their long-term members. (05/023/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's Senate has voted to give long-term legislators a retirement increase.

    The proposal was tacked onto a measure originally covering retirement for St. Louis firefighters when it passed the House earlier this year.

    The amendment would add to the retirement base of a legislator who had served longer than 15 years, was 60 years or older and had not yet retired.

    The amendment was sponsored by Sen. John Schneider, D-St. Louis County, who also is sponsor of the Senate-passed plan to extend legislative term limits.

    The bill with the retirement increase still needs Senate approval.

  • Get the bill, SS HB 1808.
    . Senator calls House Speaker a "wimp" (05/02/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee called House Speaker Steve Gaw, D-Moberly, a "wimp" after it became clear that the House is unlikely to consider extending legislative term limits from eight to 12 years.

    The statement was made during debate on the Senate floor.

  • Get the newspaper story.
  • Get the radio story with digital audio.
    . Two organizations upset with DSS (05/02/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Imagine living in a foreign country and unable to speak the language. You rely on a check from the government each month to survive. In the mail comes a letter, in a language you can't even read.

    Unbeknownst to you, the memo says that unless you immediately report to a government organization, your case will be closed. That means the money you need to survive will cease.

  • Get the newspaper story.
  • Get Missouri welfare statistics.
    . St. Louis got some good news, but probably too late (05/02/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate Transportation Committee passed a bill to have the state fund maintance of St. Louis's arterial roads.

    But, with only one week left to go in the session, it may be too late.

  • Get the radio story.
    . Partisan strife blocks Senate action on tobacco funds. (05/01/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - After nearly six hours of useless debate, the Senate leadership gave up for the night on efforts to pass a constitutional amendment to allocate how tobacco settlement funds would be spent.

    One Republican suggested their large number of amendments was repayment for the Democratic leadership's actions in the House where Republicans were blocked from offering even a single amendment.

    The Senate's top Democratic leader said he would try again at some point in the remaining two weeks of this year's session.

  • Get the radio story with digital audio.
  • Get the House-passed bill, SCS HS HJR 61
    . A House panel approves a bill to legalize child abandonment. (05/01/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The House Children Committee has endorsed a Senate-passed plan that would make it legal for a mother to abandon her child at a hospital.

    Supporters say the purpose of the bill is to provide an alternative to a new mother to dumping a new born infant in conditions that threaten the child's live.

  • Get the Senate-passed bill, HCS SCS SB 597
    . Lawmakers grab more space in the statehouse. (05/01/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - One week after claiming the Capitol's most impressive elevator for their exclusive use, state lawmakers this week blocked off sections of public areas for extra committee hearing rooms.

    The rooms were constructed with temporary barriers in what had been public hallways just off the House and Senate chambers.

    Ironically, the action came at the same time that a growing number of legislators are complaining about the few number of bills that are being passed this year.

    Meanwhile, temporary signs House staff had installed telling the public they could not use the governor's public elevator have disappeared on all but the floor where the House chamber is located.

    . Public hospitals lobby to use an Open Meetings bill to add an exemption. (05/01/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Representatives of government-owned hospitals urged the House Speaker to include in a bill to toughen the open meetings law a section that would let the hospitals keep some records private.

    The request was made at an unusual meeting with the House Speaker, hospital lobbyists and lobbyists for Missouri newspapers.

  • Get the newspaper story.
    . A House committee approves a watered-down version of a bill designed to crack down on drunk driving. (05/01/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The House Criminal Law Committee has struck out several provisions designed to crack down on drunken driving.

    The version of the drunk driving legislation that gained committee approval doesn't outlaw open containers in autos.

    Also removed from the committee chairman's plan was a provision for tougher penalties for offenders and drivers who have an excessive blood alcohol content.

    It does lower the legal limit to .08, but provides lower penalties for the lower DWI levels.

  • Get the radio story.
  • Get the Senate-passed bill, SS SB 934
    . Two sides meet to discuss Sunshine Bill (05/01/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The state's General Assembly is on track to using the proposed tougher Sunshine legislation to close some records pertaining to public hospitals.

    Members from the North Kansas City Hospital, Missouri Hospital Association and Missouri Press Association met to discuss their differences with the proposed legislation awaiting action by the full House.