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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of September 8, 2008

. Treasurer candidates debate in Columbia (09/12/2008)

In a debate focused on fiscal concerns, the two candidates for Missouri State Treasurer outlined their stances on issues ranging from tax credits and college savings programs to terror-free investment.

Rep. Clint Zweifel, D-St. Louis County, and Sen. Brad Lager, R-Maryville, answered questions posed by the moderator and the audience members at the debate hosted by the Missouri Press Association.

. Koster Primary Win Confirmed (09/11/2008)

Attorney General candidate, Senator Chris Koster's win in the Democratic primary over Representative Margaret Donnelly was confirmed Thursday by a recount performed by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.  The recount revealed Koster received even more votes than had initially been believed.

Representative Donnelly demanded the recount after her initial loss in the primary.  Two State Senate races were also recounted.  The recount confirmed the victory of Representative Robin Wright-Jones over Representative Rodney Hubbard and also win of James Trout over Steve Eagleton in the Senate District 15 race.

. Attorney General Nixon says he hopes to restore relationships within the capitol. (09/11/2008)

In a press conference after Thursday's gubernatorial debate, Democratic candidate Jay Nixon said if elected governor he would establish a better relationship with democrats and republicans alike.

As the longest running Missouri Attorney General, Nixon says he has experience and will use it when establishing these relationships.

. Gubernatorial Debate heats up in Columbia (09/11/2008)

Gubernatorial candidates said they would remain congenial during their first debate in Columbia today, but Attorney General Jay Nixon stirred up the debate when he brought up campaign contribution limits.

Nixon attacked Hulsholf's support of ending contribution limits.  

. Gibbons and Koster speak against political automated calls in first candidate debate (09/11/2008)

Senators Mike Gibbons and Chris Koster declared their opposition to the use of political automated calls, during the first attorney general candidate campaign after the August primaries.

Koster admitted to using automated calls before the primaries, but said he would cease if the legislature called for an end to them.

. Jetton gives emotional farewell speech (09/10/2008)

House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, became emotional as he gave his final speech from the dais.

Jetton has been speaker since 2005.

. Hulshof pledges to increase higher education funding (09/10/2008)

Republican candidate for governor Kenny Hulshof proposed to create a higher education funding formula that would increase along with the rate of inflation.

Democratic candidate for governor  Jay Nixon immediately responded to Hulshof's plan by stating Hulshof "failed to reject Gov. Matt Blunt's gutting of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority."

Hulshof also proposed to put $50 million into existing degree programs over the next five years. His plan is dependent on schools to attract 2-1 matching funds from businesses or charities. 

. Graham plans to run for Democratic Floor Leader (09/10/2008)

Sen. Chuck Graham, D- Columbia, said he plans to run for Democratic Floor Leader of the State Senate if he wins re-election in November.

Graham would be running against Sen. Victor Callahan, D- Independence. The outgoing floor leader said Callahan represents the diversity of views within the Democratic party.

. UM-System Student Curator Bill fails to get necessary votes in Senate for an over-ride (09/10/2008)

Despite efforts by Columbia Senator and Democrat Chuck Graham to change legislator's minds the Senate voted 16-17 not to over-ride the veto of a bill that would have created a voting position for the student curator on the UM-System Board of Curators.

It takes 109 votes in the House and 23 votes in the Senate to override a veto, which has not been done in Missouri since 2003.

. Senator Muschany resigns from seat (09/09/2008)

Senator Scott Muschany resigned from his seat today after being indicted for sexual assault of a minor.

Interviews with fellow Republicans as well as an impending court case put Muschany under pressure to give up his seat. 

. St. Louis funeral provider has accepted funeral costs from Missourians but cannot provide the services. (09/09/2008)

A Senate joint committee held a hearing Tuesday concerning the St. Louis-based funeral provider, National Prearranged Services Inc., which has insufficient funds to provide funeral services.

Witnesses addressed the committee with concerns and recommendations on how to check on companies in the future to avoid such problems.

. Senators debate Mo HealthNet rate equalization (09/09/2008)

The Missouri state capitol was the center of a debate on Mo HealthNet rates this Tuesday.

Director of Missouri Health and Senior Services, Jane Drummond said the committee should look at providers on an individual basis.

. Special Senate Committee Hearing to determine appropriation of funds to Missouri Health Net (09/09/2008)

The Senate committee on Mo HealthNet Provider Rate Equalization met with Missouri groups and providers to decide where government funds will be allocated.

Directors from Missouri Heath and Senior Services and Missouri Department of Mental health testified, along with Director of Missouri Health Net, Dr. Ian Caslin.

. Clean Energy Initiative slated for state November ballot (09/09/2008)

Less than a month after being filed for placement on the November ballot, the Missouri Clean Energy Initiative has been certified and will appear on the ballot.

The initiative would require investor-owned utilities to produce or buy 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2021, and retain a 1 percent limit on consumer rate increases.

Two of the state's largest utilities took a neutral stance on the issue.

. Unfair treatment of Governor Palin by the media goes to core of problem of sexism in coverage say some legislators (09/09/2008)

John McCain's statements at the Republican National Convention that Governor Palin is being treated unfairly by the media because of her gender prompt a bi-partisan investigation into the media's coverage of women in this presidential election. Democrats and Republican's alike believe that the media's focus on such things as aesthetics and her parenting skills are unfounded, and would never have been an issue had she been a man.

This piece uses statements from Missouri legislators which cross-reference questions asked of male and female candidates and of the suitability of the attention Palin has received.

. Missouri National Guard Troops aiding in Hurricane Relief Efforts (09/09/2008)

Three years after Hurricane Katrina, Missouri National Guard troops are back in Louisiana preparing the state for hurricane season.

Troops have been in the state since August 31, 2008 and are expected to return before Hurricane Gustav hits.

. Fellow Republican calls out Muschany (09/08/2008)

Republican State Senator Delbert Scott says it is to difficult for Representative Muschany to remain in office.

Senator Scott says that Muschany's resignation would be a good thing especially because he is not running for re-election.

. Candidates use social networking to attract supporters (09/08/2008)

Missouri state candidates are utilizing social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube to organize grassroots support.

What effect this will have on voters in November is still not known.

.  Dem Party Chairman says Muschany needs to go (09/08/2008)

Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Jack Cardetti wans Representative Scott Muschany out of office.

Cardetti is troubled by Muschany's alleged act and hopes that he does the best thing for himself and give up his seat.

The Democratic Party Head also said the situation with Muschany is far too serious to let him keep his job as a lawmaker.

. Local leaders call for explanation from Congressman Hulshof (09/08/2008)

Community leaders ask Congressman and current Republican Gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof to explanation his support for trade deals with China.

A spokesperson for Hulshof denies the accusation of the Missouri Democratic Party, and calls it an act of desperation from Attorney General Jay Nixon.

. Palin controversy sparks debate over media bias, sexism (09/08/2008)

Missouri public officials split along party lines on attitudes about media coverage of the GOP vice presidential nominee.

The split also arises among women lawmakers with one leading Democratic female legislator defending the media coverage while a GOP lawmaker criticizes the coverage.

. Millions pour into Missouri candidates with repeal of campaign contribution limits (09/04/2008)

One week after the limits on campaign contributions was lifted, candidates filed finance disclosure reports with the state's Ethics Commission.

One of the biggest contributions in the no-limits era was $600,000 from the Republican Governors Association contributed to GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Kenny Hulshof.

Opponents of the contribution limits spoke out about the effects of repeal of the limits.

. The Year of the Frog (09/04/2008)

The Missouri Department of Conservation is calling 2008, The Year of the Frog. This campaign is to raise awareness for Missouri amphibians which include the State Amphibian, the American Bullfrog.

Our beloved hopping friends are an indicator of our environment's health.  A healthy frog population reflects a low rate of pollution in an area and the stability of that area's environment.

. Former Edwards adviser heads Koster's campaign (09/04/2008)

After serving as the national campaign manager for Sen. John Edwards' 2004 campaign and the New Hampshire primary state director for Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, one man is bringing his experience to the state level.

Nick Baldick, president and founder of Hilltop Public Solutions, is heading up Sen. Chris Koster's campaign for Missouri Attorney General.

. Republicans Gather for Obama in State Capital (09/04/2008)

Former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach spoke on behalf of the Missouri Republicans for Obama on Thursday in the state Capital Rotunda. Leach along with Republican voter turned Obama supporter Matthew Ousley praised Obama on foreign policy and his plans for change.

Leach said the election is about change rather than party affiliation.

. A top Missouri Democrat calls the GOP VP selection "offisivee" (09/03/2008)

Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee denounced Governor Sarah Palin's appointment as the Republican vice presidential nominee as "offensive" while State Treasurer Sarah Steelman announced her endorsement of Palin almost immediately after Palin's selection.

Montee, a Democrat, said comparing Palin to Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton is "somewhat offensive."

. Missouri politicians weigh in on Attorney General's robo-call statement (09/02/2008)

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon continued his push against illegal political robo-calls by stating his office's intent to enforce federal law regarding the required identifying information of automated calls, especially in this election season.

Attorney General candidates Mike Gibbons and Chris Koster offered responses to Nixon's statement.