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Latest Missouri Government News Headlines

Legislature on Spring Break

Missouri's legislature is taking a week off, for it's traditional spring break.

As is normal for the legislature, most of the major legislative issues for the year remain pending -- including a tax cut, HMO regulation and tougher penalties against violent students.

Lawmakers will return to the statehouse on March 18. Missouri Digital News, also, will be taking a break until then.

Feel free to browse through our archives and databases, but new stories will not be posted until the week of March 18.

Rev up Your Engines

The Missouri Highways Department says it is prepared to start posting the new speed limit signs on state highways one day after the governor signs the speed-limit proposal.

The governor's office says Carnahan will act on the measure early in the week.

The speed-limit bill would raise speeds on Interstates to 70 mph in rural areas and 60 mph in urban areas. Limits for many other highways also would rise.

But those limits are not set in stone. The bill gives the Highways Department to set higher or lower limits on highways it deems appropriate.

The department said it plans to move quickly on reviewing where, if anywhere, limits should be changed.

For more information, see our complete newspaper story.

Predatory Sex Offender Bill Appproved

The Missouri House unanimously approved legislation that would subject predatory sex offenders to life-time parole supervision.

The measure, included in the governor's legislative program, contains several provisions imposing tougher penalties for sexual-assault offenses.

Earlier, the Senate had approved a similar measure.

For more information, see our complete newspaper story.

Lobbist Gift Restrictions Delayed

Just a couple of days after the Senate approved restrictions on acceptance of lobbyists gifts, the chamber decided to delay implementation of the rule for another week.

The rule, as it originally was approved by the Senate, would have taken effect on March 18 - when the legislature returns from its week-long spring break.

But Thursday, the Senate agreed to delay implementation until March 25.

The purpose is to allow more time to figure out how to enforce the requirements and to clarify reporting requirements.

The rule will prohibit a Senator from accepting more than $100 in food, drink or gifts from any one lobbyist in a calendar year.

Speed-Limit Bill Goes to Governor

After days of delay and filibuster, the bill designed to keep down highway speed limits cleared the Senate and was sent to the governor.

Senate passage came after Sen. Harold Caskey, D-Butler, suddenly announced he would end his filibuster against the bill and allow a Senate vote.

The measure is designed to prevent Missouri highway speeds on many highways from jumping to the pre-1974 limits that had been in effect before the federal speed-limit law.

While limits on rural Interstates would return to 70 mph, the bill would impose lower limits on urban highways and many non-Interstate highways.

For more information, see:

Lobbist Gift Restrictions Approved

Senators will be limited in how much food, drink and gifts they can take under a rule approved by the chamber.

The new rule, which takes effect March 18, restricts a senator for accepting no more than $100 from any one lobbyist in a calendar year.

The restriction, however, does not apply to dinners in which the entire chamber or an entire committee is invited.

For more information, see:

State Auditor Voices Support for Governor's Tax Plan

State Auditor Margaret Kelly announced she will vote for the tax limitation plan the governor and Farm Bureau had pushed through the legislature last year.

But in a prepared statement, Kelly criticized the proposal as "a re-election gimmick devised by Carnahan."

The candidate for the GOP nomination to challenge Carnahan for re-election said she decided to support Amendment 4, despite her criticisms, because she supports giving taxpayers the right to vote on tax increases.

For the past year, the governor and other Democrats have attacked Kelly for refusing to voice a yes-or-no position on the tax-limitation proposal.