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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of October 23, 2006

. Minimum wage and what it means to you (10/30/2006)

A minimum wage raise is one proposal Missouri residents can vote on this November 7th. 

A pro-minimum wage raise group say a higher wage will help those low-wage workers cope with the higher cost of living.

The group against a wage raise say a wage that is always increasing will definitely hurt Missouri businesses.

. A war of the words as emerged over the ballot description for the stem-cell research proposal (10/27/2006)

The language of the 100-word summary that is set to appear on the Nov. 7 ballot is the point of contention for the opposition to the initiative.  Proponents say the amendment bans human cloning while opponents say the amendment does not. 

The truth lies in the definition of "human cloning."  The Amendment allows for cell cloning, not reproductive cloning. 

. Governor Blunt adds education representatives to Regional Homeland Security Teams (10/26/2006)

Governor Matt Blunt signed an executive order to add education representatives to each of Missouri's nine Regional Homeland Security Teams.

Jessica Robinson, the governor's spokeswoman, says this will actively engage schools in the security  planning process.

. Amendment 6 would give veterans' organizations a tax break (10/25/2006)

If passed in November, Amendment 6 would changed the Missouri Constitution and make veterans' organizations exempt from real and personal property tax.

The resolutions' sponsor says some veterans' organization would not be able to pay property taxes.

. MOHELA ex-director gets large severance deal (10/25/2006)

The fired executive director of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority will received over $800,000 by the agency until October 2007. Michael Cummins has been receiving a $13,461 check every two weeks.

Members of the board wanted Cummins fired over his opposition of the governor's plan to sell the state's student loan program.  

. Emotion stem cell ad features an actress (10/25/2006)

An emotional ad featuring a college aged student describing what she claims is her own experience donating eggs to a fertility clinic is an actress.

The ad, sponsored by the Vitae Caring Foundation, makes claims of adverse health effects resulting from the procedure, side effects that a fertility specialist said are extremely rare.


. State Capitol Chandelier Gets a Lift (10/24/2006)

The 9,000 pound chandelier that hangs in the state capitol rotunda is currently sitting at eye level.

Contractors are replacing the chandelier's main cable.

The chandelier should be back up by Monday.

. Missouri business lobbying group opposes Proposition B (10/24/2006)

The Associated Industries of Missouri says Proposition B is bad for the state of Missouri.

AIM says Proposition B would drive companies out of business and cause unemployment for Missouri workers.

. Candidates for state auditor differ in their approach to the role (10/24/2006)

The November election will determine Missouri's next state auditor.

Republican Sandra Thomas says she wants to put aside politics and focus on regularly auditing places that spend large amounts of the state's money.

Democrat Susan Montee says there is a misperception between politically driven and politically responsive audits. Her approach includes performance audits, which extend beyond the traditional audits by evaluating the efficiency of government spending.  

. Blunt unveils updated sex offender site (10/23/2006)

Governor Blunt showed off a more comprehensive sex offender registry.

The list can be viewed online and under a court decision only lists those offenders convicted since 1995.

. Amendment 7 would take pensions away from convicted officials, give more power to compensation commission. (10/23/2006)

The first part of the proposed Amendment 7 reads simply: should elected statewide officials, legislators and judges forfeit pensions if they are convicted of a felony that occurred while in office, or removed from office due to impeachment or misconduct?

It's the second part of the amendment--the part regarding the Citizens' Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials--that has some Missouri lawmakers' opposition.