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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of October 16, 2006

. School Board Association says school safety is a community effort (10/19/2006)

Missouri's School Board Association and the Missouri Department of Public Safety discussed ways to make schools a safer place for students after the Joplin school shooting on Tuesday.

The panel discussed several aspects of school safety: how schools can prevent such attacks, how schools can plan their response to such incidents, and what such planning should involve.

A live webcast aired on the Education Solutions Global Network this morning. The public can view this meeting on ESGN's website.

. Missouri's Insurance Department official says health insurance is rising faster than wages (10/19/2006)

The Missouri Insurance Department confirms that health premiums are rising faster than earnings in Missouri. 

These findings are similar to those in a study conducted by Families USA.

Missouri's employers decide how much they want to contribute to an employee's health benefit.

. One couple dominates stem cell donations. (10/18/2006)

James and Virginia Stowers, both survivors of serperate bouts of cancer, have contributed nearly 97 percent of the funds backing the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures campaign in support of the stem cell ballot proposal.

The Coaltion has amassed $25.51 million for their campaign, 33 times the total amassed by opposing campaigns.  Opponents of Amendment 2, set to appear on the ballot Nov. 7, critisize what they view as a gross inequity in the representation of the debate over the ballot proposal. 

. The governor's spokesman is removed. (10/16/2006)

Gov. Matt Blunt has replaced his long-term spokesman, Spence Jackson.

Jackson's removal was announced in a news release that included other changes in the top staff for the governor.  It's the first major staff shakeup under Blunt's new chief of staff, Ed Martin, who took over in September.

Several Republicans privately have been complaining about the media strategy from the governor's office.

There was no statement from the governor, for whom Jackson had served as the chief spokesperson going back to when Blunt was Secretary of State. 

Jackson has been moved to a communications position with the Economic Development Department.  His position has been filled on an interim basis.

. As ethanol plants increase, more jobs are available to people in rural towns (10/16/2006)

Missouri currently has 4 ethanol plants in production, each with at least 900 hundred available jobs.

Most of the plants are small, producing about 50 million gallons of ethanol. 

. National energy assessment calls for proactive efforts by consumers and businesses (10/16/2006)

The North American Reliability Council identified twenty two necessary actions to ensure energy efficiency.

The governor's Energy Task Force chair promotes conservation to aid the efficiency effort.

AmerenUE spokesperson, Mike Cleary, says Missouri's energy supply is adequate but conservation is always a good idea.

. Supreme Court upholds lower court ruling in voter ID case (10/16/2006)

The Missouri Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision on declaring the voter ID law unconstitutional.

The law, sponsored by Sen. Delbert Scott, required voters to show a government issued ID at the polls.

. Small-business owners voice support for Prop B (10/16/2006)

Since Proposition B was put on this November's ballot, some of it's most vocal opponents have been small-business owners.

But on Monday, Give Missourians a Raise held three press conferences featuring small-business owners who support the measure. Conferences were held in Columbia, St. Louis and Kansas City.

Prop B opponent Brad Jones said that he can't believe any small-business owners would support Proposition B as it is written.

. Number of auto accidents involving deer may increase (10/16/2006)

An insurance spokesman warned that accidents caused by deer traditionally increase dramatically in the last three months of the year.

Mating season, crop harvesting, and hunting seasons have been cited as causes.