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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of January 30, 2006

. Nixon announces student loan hearings. (02/03/06)

JEFFERSON CITY - Associated Press reported Friday that Attorney General Jay Nixon had announced he would hold a series of hearings into the administration's plan to sell part of the state's college student loan assets.

According to AP, however, Nixon's spokesman said he did not have any details about when the hearings would be held or how they would work.

. Governor accused of propping up sagging poll numbers (02/02/06)

JEFFERSON CITY - Kansas City area Senator Victor Callahan accused Governor Blunt Thursday of trying to prop up sagging poll numbers by selling the state loan underwriter.

Most recent developements in the MOHELA debate include the selling of only half of the agency's assets.

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    . Senate Republicans quash roundtable breakfasts (02/02/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - After an outcry from Senate Democrats, Republicans decided to cancel breakfast roundtables where for $1,000 a pop, lobbyists can interact with state legislators.

    Lawmakers from both side of the aisle said the move was a good one.

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    . Question and Answer with MOHELA V.P. (02/02/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - For more than a week now MOHELA has dominated state debate.

    Reporter Hayley Salvo sat down with William Shaffner, vice president of client services, to better understand how the student loan agency works.

  • Get the radio story.
    . Senators spar over MOHELA (02/02/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - A resolution to honor Coretta Scott King descended into a fierce debate about Gov. Matt Blunt's plan to sell part of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Association.

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    . Harris to introduce legislation banning fundraising by office holders (02/01/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate Majority Committee invited lobbyists to meet in round-table discussions with committee leaders Wednesday.

    In light of the surrounding controversy, Jeff Harris highlights the need for legislation banning fundraising by office holders.

    . Democrats call for Senate Republican leaders to stop "breakfast club." (02/01/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Senate Republican committee chairs are offering access -- at a series of breakfast meetings -- for $1000 a pop.

    Senate Democrats called the fundraising effort unethical, and demanded an immediate end.

    Roy Temple, who disclosed the effort, calls it "unethical."

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    A long-time lobbyist speaks out about the scale of the fundraising.

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    Democrats say "breakfast club" doesn't pass smell test.

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    Republicans call "breakfast" business as usual.

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    . Missouri follows the path of other states in the sale of higher education loans (02/01/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The proposed sale of MOHELA to a private company follows the lead of other states, including Virginia and Arizona, who have previously initiated similar loan sales.

    Pennsylvania, on the other hand, refused an unsolicited offer from Sallie Mae to sell the company its student loans in 2005.

    . AmerenUE ordered to reveal plans for future projects (02/01/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Public Service Commissions want AmerenUE to reveal its long-term plans, which may include building another nuclear reactor at its Calloway County plant.

    The commission that regulates Missouri utilities had okayed AmerenUE's request for the plans to remain confidential, but environmental groups have challenged that request. Now the commission has ordered the company to edit the confidential information and refile its its Integrated Resource Plan by Feb. 10.

    . Senator Joan Bray Announces She Will Not Support Gov. Blunt's Nominee (01/31/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Sen. Joan Bray, D-St. Louis County, announced Tuesday that she will not support James Mauze to be confirmed by the Senate as a member of MOHELA's commisisn board.

    Without her support it is unlikely that Mauze will get confirmed by his February 4 deadline.

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    . New Toll Bridge Proposed on I-70 in St. Louis. (01/31/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - A new toll bridge in St. Louis, proposed on Tuesday, would be funded by private investors.

    Supporters say the bridge will help to alleviate traffic in the downtown area.

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    . Missouri's college loan program board votes to sell part of its assets. (01/31/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The vote came at a hastily scheduled meeting of the MOHELA board held in the governor's office.

    Last week the governor proposed selling the entire agency to a private company.

    MOHELA countered Tuesday with approval of a resolution to keep the board, but sell about one-half of the nearly 600,000 student loan obligations it holds.

    The governor endorsed the new approach, but it was attacked by Democratic legislator.

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    . Interstate 70 toll road discussed in Senate (01/31/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate Transportation committee discussed a plan for a possible public/private partnership in developing a toll road over the Mississippi River in conjunction with the Poplar Street bridge.

    The toll road would be run by a private entity.

    . MOHELA Nominee Confirmation Questioned (01/30/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The man who led the nomination to have the executive director of MOHELA fired last week has had his own confirmation to the board temporarily blokced.

    Jim Mauze was appointed to the board of directors in October.

    . Commissioner King Presents Education Budget to House Panel (01/30/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's education commissioner, Kent King, told a legislative panel Hurricane Katrina added about 2,000

    students to Missouri's classrooms this year.

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    . Former State Auditor Antonio supports Graham (01/30/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Republican Jim Antonio, a former state auditor for Missouri, travelled from Arkansas to lend his support to Democratic Senator Graham's bill.

    The bill would let the state auditor do performance audits and expand their access to government records.

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    . Missouri forces online businesses to stop selling cell phone records (01/30/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Attorney General Jay Nixon Monday secured a temporary restraining order to prevent a Web business from putting Missourians' cell phone records up for sale.

    The owners of online business have been sued for violating consumer protection laws. The court order probibits them from attempting to get, sell or offer for sale customer information or phone records from cellular or landline telephone providers.

    Nixon's office filed for the temporary order after an undercover investigator purchased the records of calls made from his own cell phone from

    . Eminent domain vote stalled again (01/30/06)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Lawmakers from the Senate Economic Development Committee were expected to vote on the hot-button issue, but the chairman of the committee, Republican Senator John Griesheimer, anounced it would be delayed for at least another week.

    Griesheimer added that he wants the eminent domain bill out of committee and onto to the Senate as soon as possible.

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