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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of November 3, 2008

. A top aid to Al Gore will run the transition team for Missouri's next governor. (11/07/2008)

Gov.-elect Jay Nixon announced Friday the selection of the chief of staff for former Vice President Al Gore to head Nixon's transition office.

Selected is Charles Burson who first met Nixon when Burson was Tennessee's attorney general.

The transition team will be responsible for selecting persons for a large number of government jobs which the new administration will fill.

. Missouri revenues take a dive (11/07/2008)

The state's Office of Administration reported a 1.1 percentage decline in state revenue collections for the last four months of the current fiscal year compared to the prior budget year.

The figures cover July through October.

The steepest drops were reported in sales tax collections (down 3.3%) and corporate taxes (down 12.6%).

Administration Commission Larry Schepker was quoted in an agency release as saying it is very unlikely the state will meet the revenue collection estimates upon which the state's budget is based.

. Carter County Sheriff Kills himself before his election. (11/07/2008)

Former Sheriff Greg Melton lost his election by two votes.

Unfortunately can cannot contest the results because he committed suicide a few weeks prior to November 4.

The deputy Sheriff Ted Reynolds has been sworn in until the elections winner, Tommy Adams takes over in January.

Melton's name was not taken off the ballot because it was too close to election day.

. Missouri's bellwether status is still to be determined (11/07/2008)

Election officials have yet to determine which presidential candidate has won Missouri. 

 In a tight race John McCain won the state over Barack Obama by a mere 6,000 votes,  but the state is still awaiting the results of 7,000 provisional ballots.

Missouri is a long time bellwether state, voting for the winner of every election since 1904, except the in the election of 1956 and now 2008.

. The Effects of Proposition A Go In To Effect Much Sooner Then Expected (11/07/2008)

The Secretary of State has decided Proposition A will take effect immediately -- thus eliminating the $500 loss limits without having to wait for formal certification of the election results. 

Actual certification of the results from Tuesday's election could take up to a month.

. Hulshof's loss attributed to name recognition, competition in primary (11/06/2008)

Missouri may have lost its bellwether status in U.S. presidential elections, but the results of state's gubernatorial race and of the presidential race are markedly similar.

One similarity is the considerable margin by which the Democratic victor defeated his Republican opponent. Pres.-elect Barack Obama won 53 percent of the vote to Sen. John McCain's 46 percent -- and Gov.-elect Jay Nixon won 58 percent of the vote to U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof's 39.5 percent.

. GOP makes decision on new majority leader (11/06/2008)

In a hearing today, Senator Kevin Engler was elected Senate Majority Leader.

Engler said the GOP chose him due to the fact that he will not be seeking a higher office, and will work well with both sides.

. Governor Elect Nixon holds first press conference. (11/06/2008)

Before making his first press conference as Governor-elect, Jay Nixon held a closed door meeting with party leaders.

Nixon said the meeting was not focused issues, but rather on how parties need to come together.

. Missouri's Democratic Senators choose a new minority leader Thursday. (11/06/2008)

The Senators met Thursday afternoon choosing Senator Victor Callahan as their new Minority Leader.

Senator Callahan says he will work to fully and accurately represent his party.

. Missouri Democratic House Leader pushes for change (11/06/2008)

Missouri's Democratic House Leader, Paul LeVota, says he wants to end partisan politics in the House.

LeVota expects full cooperation from the Republican House Leaders.

. Obama's election gives some Missouri black leaders hope (11/05/2008)

As Democrat Barack Obama assumes the position of president-elect in the U.S., many Missouri black leaders said this may open doors for a black politician to become a state-wide elected official.

Missouri has never had a black elected to a state-wide office.

. Voter turnout was 69 percent on Tuesday (11/05/2008)

Voter turnout reached record levels Tuesday with 2.9 million Missourians heading to the polls.

Boone County had almost 84 percent voter turnout.

. Gambling initiative garners voter support (11/05/2008)

Missouri's Proposition A met voter approval in Tuesday's general election.

 The measure will repeal Missouri's unique $500 loss limit in casinos in the state; cap the number of casinos to those built or being built; require individuals to present identification only when necessary to identify someone as over 21 years of age; and increase state gaming tax on casinos from 20 to 21 percent.

. All propositions and constitutional amendments pass (11/04/2008)

All of the Missouri ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments passed late Tuesday evening.

 Missourians have adopted an English-only amendment to the constitution, expanded options for storm water bonds, established a home-care attendant council, and increased required renewable energy sources for publicly owned utilities to 15 percent.


. Hulshof concedes governor's race (11/04/2008)

Democrat Jay Nixon gave his acceptance speech at the Pageant Club in St. Louis after U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof conceded the race at 9:30.

The Associated Press called the race for Nixon while votes were still being cast in St. Louis County because of voter problems.

. Republican Gibbons concedes the attorney general's race. (11/04/2008)

Republican attorney general candidate Mike Gibbons conceded the race to Democrat Chris Koster according to a spokesman for the Koster campaign.

Koster had 50.2 percent of the vote.

. St. Louis polling sites remain open late (11/04/2008)

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan said after the 7 p.m. scheduled closing time for Missouri election sites Tuesday that certain precincts in the St. Louis area would remain open until as late as 9 p.m.

 Carnahan said polling places were running behind schedule, and she reported the longest wait being in Velda City.

 According to a poll worker in Columbia, any voters inside a polling site by 7 p.m. would be eligible to cast a vote in the general election. 

. AP calls race for Nixon but neither side plans to formally end the race (11/04/2008)

Moments after the polls closed the Associated Press called the governor's race for Democrat Jay Nixon, but neither Nixon nor his opponent said they are prepared to concede or accept the nomination.

Democratic party spokesman Zac Wright said Nixon will probably not make a speech until 9 p.m.

Hulshof campaign manager John Hancock said the Hulshof campaign has no plans to concede the race yet.

. Republican nominee for vice president Sarah Palin comes to Jefferson City (11/03/2008)

Mid-Missourians stood for nearly an hour in line and waited longer on the grounds of Missouri's Capitol for a chance to hear Republican nominee for vice president and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speak.

The event had a clear rural-conservative theme. It started with live country music from Hank Williams, Jr. and was highlighted by Palin's appearance in blue jeans.

. Missouri U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill delivers Democratic response to the Palin campaign rally (11/03/2008)

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill said the McCain-Palin Campaign is painting a distorted picture of Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama.

McCaskill said the economy will be the determining factor for voters in rural Missouri swinging blue for the Democrats. The Missouri Senator also said she is "not interested" in any role in a potential Obama presidential administration.

. Republican candidates not able to campaign as one body in last days before election because of scheduling conflicts. (10/31/2008)

Senator Bond and Kenny Hulshof have been traveling the state representing a unified voice for the Missouri Republican ticket.

The five major Republican candidates have been unable to campaign as one group because of conflicts between schedules set before the election season.

. Gubernatorial candidates are staying busy in the final days of their campaigns. (10/30/2008)

Gubernatorial candidates Nixon and Hulshof will both be on the road until Tuesday.

They are traveling throughout the state and stressing their views on the economy, healthcare, and education.

. The future of and effect of charter schools in Missouri (10/30/2008)

Barack Obama and John McCain agree charter schools benefit students and families. Both presidential candidates have campaigned to expanded charter schools throughout the country.

Charter schools are currently available in St. Louis and Kansas City. Missouri's school systems and leaders look at the effects charter schools have on district schools, and what will happen with the next presidency.

. Missouri Representative Election Committee Member criticizes Secretary Carnahan's Early Voting proposal. (10/30/2008)

As of now, early voting does not occur in Missouri, but Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has proposed a bill to change the allotted voting period.

The Missouri House of Representatives Election Committee does not approve of Secretary Carnahan's proposal.

Jefferson City Republican Representative Bill Deeken says there are better ways to extend the voting period.

. Missouri Election Committee Legislators say Missouri is smart for not having early voting. (10/29/2008)

Missouri's Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is working on proposals that will allow Missourians to vote early in elections.

Spokesman for Carnahan said early voting will reduce long lines and voter fraud.

Missouri Elections Committee said early voting will increase voter fraud by creating extended time and locations.

. Missouri's rain have made autumn leaves to wet to burn (10/29/2008)

A lead expert says Missouri's unprecedented rainfall has made it difficult to burn leaves.

Other experts aren't complaining because they say burning leaves is bad for the environment.

. Governor considering special session (10/29/2008)

Gov. Matt Blunt is considering a special session recommended to him by Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, who is running for reelection.

Rep. Paul LeVota called the session a political stunt.

. Missouri political party organizers split on registration follow-up (10/28/2008)

Although both Republicans and Democrats helped register voters this election, party organizers are split on what constitutes adequate follow-up.

Democratic organizations such as the Obama campaign remind the voters to go out to the polls, but the Missouri Republican Party spokeswoman said follow-up phone calls are a violation of privacy. 

. Wild hogs are creating problems for farmers and the environment. (10/28/2008)

The increasing wild hog population is becoming a concern.

Wild hogs contaminate water and cause difficulties for other wild animals to find food.

They also wreak havoc with farmers fields, pastures, and fences.