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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for Week of March 6, 2000


. Senate amendment significantly increases parent liability for child crime (03/02/00)
JEFFERSON CITY - The ammendment increases parental liability from two thousand dollars to twenty thousand dollars for both property damage and personal injury.
. Senate approves amendment creating DNA bank for genetic profiling of criminals (03/02/00)
JEFFERSON CITY - Amendment requires convicted sex offenders and violent felons within Missouri to provide a DNA sample to the state.
. Ashcroft speech at Bob Jones University draws ire of Democrats (03/02/00)
JEFFERSON CITY - Democrats are calling on Republican U.S. Sen. John Ashcroft to detail a speech he made in May 1999 when he received an honorary degree from Bob Jones University, the South Carolina school that banned interracial dating and called Catholicism "the religion of the Antichrist."

Ashcroft's office did not return a telephone call requesting comment and a copy of the speech delivered during the commencement ceremony. No one from Bob Jones University would comment. Texas Gov. George W. Bush, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has also been under attack for failing to repudiate the school's policies during a February campaign stop.

Get the newspaper story.

. Record turnout predicted for Super Tuesday presidential primary (03/02/00)
JEFFERSON CITY - State officials expect about one million Missouri voters to come out Super Tuesday for Missouri's first permanent presidential primary. Voters don't register by party and will be able to choose a ballot from any one of five established political parties.

Get the newspaper story.

. Carnahan approves legislative pay raise (03/02/00)
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan signed a bill Thursday that will raise the salary of legislators' an estimated $1,500. In addition to the retroactive pay raise, lawmakers per diem will be now be paid. That money, paid to cover expenses while the legislature is in session, had been held hostage by the executive branch after a court ruling that a previous raise was illegal.

Much like the legislation itself, which was quietly approved by the General Assembly, Carnahan's action was without fanfare.

. "Relocation Bill" passes House committee (03/01/00)
JEFFERSON CITY - A bill that will allow a parent to move without losing custody passed the House Civil and Administrative Law Committee on Wednesday.

However, an amendment was added to the bill limiting the move to within 30 miles of the child's current residence.

  • Get the radio story.
  • Check out HB 1421 and the bill's sponsor, Rep. Pat Dougherty.
    . Senators debate stricter Open Meetings Law (03/01/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Legislation to toughen the state's Open Meetings Law ran into a firestorm of criticism in Missouri's Senate from lawmakers who warned tougher penalties could drive people away from public office.

    Sen. Joe Maxwell, D-Mexico, has proposed a bill that would strengthen the current Sunshine Law. The fines would be increased and a court would decide how much to charge based upon the severity, whether the agency is a repeat offender and the size of the jurisdiction.

    "No one who gives people records pays a penalty," Maxwell said. "Only when they deny access are they penalized." His bill reached the Senate floor on Wednesday, but opponents came prepared to dampen his idea.

  • Get the newspaper story.
  • Check out SB 858 and the bill's sponsor, Sen. Joe Maxwell.
    . House Bill Brings Technology To Missouri's Disabled (02/29/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - A House hearing committee heard witnesses testifying in support of a bill bringing technology to the disabled.

    Representative Bill Boucher sponsored the legislation to make expanding technology more accessible to the disabled.

  • Get the radio story.
  • Check out HB 1281.
    . Private Prisons on the Spot in Front of House Committee (02/29/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The House Corrections Committee continues to hear testimony regarding state oversight of private prisons.

    Right now, the state has no controlling authority over such businesses who run the prison.

    That fact astonished many at the committee hearing who testified in favor of the bill.

  • Get the radio story.
  • Check out HB 1928 and the bill's sponsor, Rep. Jim Howerton.
    . Legislator says pay raise plan treats workers unequally (02/29/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Senator Joe Maxwell says a plan to increase pay for lawmakers gives his peers preferential treatment, as compared to other state employees.

    The increase was part of a supplemental appropriations bill to provide extra funds to various government programs for the remaining four months of this fiscal year. The Senate made not one change to the bill as it was approved earlier this month by the House.

    Under his line-item veto powers, the governor can reduce or eliminate the legislative pay boost while signing the rest of the bill. If approved by the governor, the bill would raise legislators' annual salary $1,500 to $30,580. The salary increase is retroactive through 1999 if the governor signs the bill. Per diem payments would also be reimbursed.

    The bill was approved by the Senate Monday and is awaiting approval by Governor Mel Carnahan.

  • Get the newspaper story.
  • Get the radio story.
  • Check out HB 1114, and the bill's sponsor Rep. Dick Franklin.
  • Check out the House roll-call vote and the Senate roll-call vote on HB 1114.
    . Racial profiling debate in Senate under the .08 bill (02/29/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The same day St. Louis Senator Lacy Clay announced his candidacy for U.S. Congress he sparked debate on racial profiling under the Senate's drunk driving legislation.

    The Senate has yet to vote on the proposal to lower the blood-alcohol content required to be considered legally drunk to .08.

  • Get the radio story.
    . No new specialized license plates to be created according to Senate committee chairman. (02/29/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Danny Staples says his committee will not allow any license plate bills to reach the Senate floor.

    The decision comes after he killed his own license plate bill to prevent the creation of a "Respect Life" license plate that sparked a heated abortion debate in the Senate.

  • Get the radio story.
    . Record Number of Candidates File for August Primary (02/29/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - More than 300 political candidates filed for the August party primaries Tuesday.

    Among the offices up for grabs is the governorship, a U.S. Senate seat and the entire Missouri House.

  • Get the newspaper story.
    . Lacy Clay Filed to run for the Seat in Congress his Father has Occupied for 32 Years (02/29/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - After sixteen terms representing the first Congressional district of Missouri, William Clay Sr. is retiring from Congress. Hoping to take his place is his name sake, William Lacy Clay Jr.

    The younger Clay has been serving in the Missouri government for the past 16 years.

  • Get the radio story.
    . Missouri's Senate nears debate on raising the fines for those who violate public records laws. (02/28/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - One Senator is trying to make the sun burn a little hotter on government officials who do not cooperate with the law. Sen. Joe Maxwell, D-Mexico, has proposed a bill that would strengthen the current Sunshine Law. His legislation would make it illegal to intentionally or unintentionally not provide information that is available for the public.

  • Get the newspaper story.
    . A Senate Bill would make the Conservation Department Responsible for Damages Caused by Wild Elk (02/28/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Rural Senator Morris Westfall has proposed a bill that would make the Conservation Department financially responsible for damages caused by wild elk. The animal doesn't live in the state just yet, but a study is being conducted by a private foundation to see if Missouri has a suitable habitat for them.

  • Get the radio story.
  • Check out HB982
    . Lawmakers want to require insurance companies to provide contraceptive coverage (02/28/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Many insurance companies in Missouri cover the costs of Viagra. Now, some legislators propose forcing insurance firms to cover contraceptives as well.

    Two bills proposed by Democratic lawmakers would require insurance plans to cover the costs of contraceptives at the same level as they cover other prescription drugs. The proposals were heard Monday night by the House Critical Issues Committee.

    "It's hypocritical that insurance plans don't cover this," said Rep. May Scheve, D-St.Louis County, sponsor of one of the bills. "It's treating your recipients unfairly."

  • Get the newspaper story.
    . Agencies reach compromise on mentally retarded, death penalty (02/28/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Various agencies reached an agreement late Monday afternoon on whether mentally retarded people should be excluded from receiving the death penalty. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, the Attorney General's office, and members of the Catholic Conference agreed upon several issues relating to the death penalty and mentally retarded defendants.

    The compromise centered around a bill by Rep. Mike Schilling, D-Springfield. His proposal would provide life in prison without the possibility of parole for mentally retarded people guilty of first-degree murder. The bill says whether a person is mentally retarded "shall be heard and determined by the trial court out of hearing of the jury prior to the commencement of the trial."

  • Get the newspaper story.
    . Dry Cleaners might be pressed to raise prices (02/28/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The cost of dry cleaning could be a bit higher under a plan to clean up abandoned dry cleaner sites.

    Sen. Joe Maxwell, D-Mexico, said he wants the legislature to establish a $2 million fund to clean up solvents at old drycleaning sites. Individual cleaners would be required to contribute between $500 and $1500 to the fund each year. Failure to pay would result in fines of up to $500.

    Maxwell said the drycleaning industry supports the bill and is willing to pay extra to restore abandoned property. However, he conceded that collecting more funds from the industry might press cleaners to raise their prices.

  • Get the newspaper story.