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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for Week of March 13, 2000


. Missouri's Senate gives final approval to a tougher DWI law (03/16/00)

Missouri's Senate gave final approval and sent to the House a measure to lower the blood-alcohol content for drunken driving from .10% to .08%.

The measure cleared the Senate by an overwhelming vote.

The bill is sponsored by the Senate Crime Committee chairman who last year successfully delayed action on a similar bill.

  • Get the Senate roll call.
    . Telemarketing restrictions clears the Missouri Senate. (03/16/00)

    Before leaving for their spring break, Missouri's Senate passed and sent to the House legislation to impose additional restrictions on telemarketers.

    In addition to tougher restrictions, the proposal would have the state manage a no-call list of Missourians who requested to be put on the list. Telemarketing companies would be prohibited from calling anyone on the list.

  • Get the Senate roll call.
    . Senate considers resolution condemning federal gas tax (03/16/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Before collapsing into a debate on rules and procedures, the state Senate considered a resolution condemning the $0.043 per gallon federal gas tax. Senator Peter Kinder (R-Cape Girardeau) proposed the Senate and House join in a resolution to request the federal government repeal its gas tax in response to rising fuel prices.

    Sen. Ken Jacob (D-Columbia) joined other lawmakers in a successful attempt to suspend debate on the motion until after the legislature's week-long spring break, which began today. Jacob says the Senate should not take any action on the federal gas tax until it can be thoroughly debated.

    Meanwhile, questions about Missouri's $0.17 per gallon gas tax surfaced during debate today. Sen. John Schneider (D-St. Louis County) reminded lawmakers that while the federal government imposes a gas tax, the state has a much higher one. Schneider and other lawmakers said while the legislature should consider a repeal or revision of the state gas tax, any immediate action on the subject would be irresponsible.

    . House gives final approval to budget (03/16/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Shortly after a session that lasted into the wee hours of the morning, members of the Missouri House approved the state budget Thursday. In it, the Department of Revenue lost five lobbyists and about $1 million was transferred from the UM system to Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in Columbia.
    The budget must now be approved by the Senate.
    . Federal government steps in to aid St. Louis fuel crisis (03/16/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - State and federal officials have developed a strategy to ensure that St. Louis-area residents don't run out of gas.

    A pipeline rupture in Texas will impact the amount of gasoline available in St. Louis. About 500,000 gallons of gas escaped from an Explorer pipeline that ruptured outside of Greenville, Texas. The pipeline supplies reformulated gasoline to stations in the St. Louis area.

    Missouri's Department of Natural Resources is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ensure a supply of non-reformulated gasoline is available until the reformulated supplies return to normal.

    . Senate gives preliminary approval to drunk-driving law (03/16/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate gave first-round approval Wednesday to a bill changing the state's drunk-driving laws. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Harold Caskey (D-Butler), would lower the legal blood-alcohol limit from 0.10 to 0.08.

    The Senate amended the bill to prohibit open alcohol containers in vehicles. Earlier versions allowed open containers when the driver had not been drinking. In addition, the Senate voted to prevent police from charging motorists with 0.08 violations unless the driver was charged with an additional moving violation. That would mean drivers with blood-alcohol levels between 0.08 and 0.10 could not be charged at checkpoints.

  • View the bill, SB 934.
    . Planned Parenthood funding restrictions left in the budget. (03/15/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House rejected an effort to lift a funding restriction that has blocked Planned Parenthood from getting family-planning funds.

    The restriction has been the subject of lawsuits for the past few years. In the last set of decisions, the courts have upheld the right of the legislature to block funding to organizations that perform abortions or advocate abortion rights.

    The family planning funds is in the Health Department's budget that was approved by the House.

  • Get the House roll call.
    . Equal Rights Amendment headed to a new Senate committee (03/15/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The sponsor of the Senate bill to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. constitution cancelled the last two Senate Judicial Committee hearings to discuss her bill. She said the bill wouldn't have been passed by the committee. The bill has been resubmitted under a new classification and is now in the Senate Rules Committee.

  • Get the radio story.
    . Two sides rally about gun legislation (03/15/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Children demonstrating for gun safety has triggered charges of illegal lobbying by a top GOP legislator.

    Taxpayers paid $500 for a chartered bus plus the salary of two teachers for St. Louis County school children to travel to the capitol to speak against gun violence.

    Earlier Wednesday morning gun rights advocates gathered in th Capitol rotunda.

  • Get the newspaper story.
  • Get the radio story.
  • Check out SB 1067.
    . Bill to distribute free needles faces Senate committee (03/15/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mary Bland, would allow the Missouri Health Department to provide free needles to IV drug users.

    The program faced opposition from a former drug addict who thinks the program is a bad idea.

  • Get the radio story.
  • Check out SB 1083.
    . Telemarketing restrictions approved by the Senate. (03/14/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate gave first round approval to a measure to restrict and regulate telemarketers.

    The measure would establish a no-call list in the Attorney General's office that would be filled by Missourians who asked to be placed on the list.

    Telemarketing firms would be prohibited from calling anyone on the list.

    The bill faces a final Senate vote before going to the House.

  • Get the radio story.
  • Get the Senate roll call.
    . Kraft subsidiary sued because of allegedly illegal dumping (03/14/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a Columbia-based subsidiary of Kraft Foods for illegally dumping hot dog casings in Boone County.

    The suit alleges the subsidiary, Columbia Foods, improperly dumped about 4,600 tons of hot dog casings at a private residence near the state conservation area Eagle Bluffs near the Missouri River south of Columbia.

    Nixon said the casings -- sheaths of cellulose used to mold hot dogs -- are biodegradable, but threaten the environment because they contain by-products harmful to nearby streams and countryside.

  • Get the newspaper story.
    . Proposal would try to make it tougher to steal pets. (03/14/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY - Rep. Barbara Fraser, D-Saint Louis County, thinks now is the time to make it more difficult to steal a pet in Missouri.

    Stronger fines and sentences of up to seven years in prison for people who steal pets or buy stolen pets could help.

  • Get the newspaper story.
  • Get the radio story.
  • Check out HB 1961.
    . Bill that requires trigger locks shot up to Senate floor (03/13/00)
    JEFFERSON CITY -A bill that would require trigger safety locks on newly manufactured weapons narrowly passed a Senate committee Monday night.

    The measure, which is sponsored by Sen. Mary Bland, D-Kansas City, encountered opposition from lawmakers of both political parties.

    However, trigger locks have garnered the support of Gov. Mel Carnahan and other leading officials, especially in the wake of recent school violence in Michigan and Littleton, Colorado.

  • Get the radio story.
  • Check out SB 1067.