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Latest Missouri Government News as of April 26, 1996

House Approves Tax Cut

The House has given preliminary approval to a reduction in the state sales tax on food.

The measure would reduce the sales tax on food by two-cents per dollar.

The lower tax would be applied to restaurant purchases. Only grocery items - food purchased for off-site consumption - would be taxed at the lower rate.

The House bill came in response to the governor's recommendation for a reduction in sales tax on all purchases.

For more information, see our newspaper story.

Abortion Compromise Proposed

A possible resolution to the fight over restricting abortions emerged during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The committee chairman, sponsor of the anti-abortion bill the governor vetoed last year, suggested he might be willing to drop provisions which prompted the governor's veto.

The measure vetoed last year would have required a woman seeking an abortion to contact a private counselor before an abortion could be performed.

Sen. John Schneider, D-St. Louis County, suggested he would be willing to drop that provision if the administration spent more money on a program to advise women on abortion alternatives.

For more information, see:

Blue Cross & Blue Shield Profit Plan Stalls

Extended debate in the Senate blocked a vote by the Senate on a proposal to facilitate Kansas City's Blue Cross and Blue Shield to convert some of its properties to a profit-making operation.

Nationwide, consumer groups have attacked the efforts of the "Blues" to convert from tax-exempt non-profit organizations.

With just three weeks remaining in the legislative session, Senate inaction on the issue leaves little chance for approval this year.

For more information, see:

Environmental Groups Attack "Dirty Secrets" Bill

Environmental advocates converged on the Capitol to protest what's termed the "environmental audit" bill, but which they call the "dirty secrets bill.

The proposal would allow a business to keep secret some of its internal information it uncovers about the company's violation of environmental rules.

Proponents argue the proposal would encourage business to search out and fix environmental problems.

But opponents argue the measure would be a loophole businesses could use to hide environmental pollution from government and the public.

For more information, see our newspaper story.

Presidential Primary Approved by House

The House has approved a proposal to establish a presidential primary beginning in the year 2000.

That idea was one of a long list of amendments the House tacked on to a bill originally limited to simply reducing the number of election dates in the state.

The House gave the revised bill preliminary approval. It requires one more House vote before going to the Senate.

Also tacked onto the bill was an amendment requiring a two-year delay in resubmitting on the local ballot a defeated riverboat gambling proposal.

English-Only Bill Advances to Senate

Legislation to restrict government documents to English has cleared the same Senate committee which had rejected similar legislation earlier this session.

The House-passed version of the bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by an overwhelming margin.

For more information, see the newspaper story.