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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of November 17, 2008

. Budget constraints may not allow Gov.-elect Nixon to fulfill campaign promises (11/21/2008)

Gov.-elect Jay Nixon has appointed experts to analyze the projected budget to see what can be done come his assumption of the office of the governor, especially concerning the economy.

"Clearly the budget situation will impact what they're able to get done in the immediate term," Oren Shur, spokesman for Gov.-elect Nixon's Transition Team. "But no, his priorities have not change. And as governor-elect and working with the legislature, his job is to do as much as they can with the dollars available to them. Missouri is a low-tax state, and we're going to keep it that way. The last thing the people of Missouri need is a tax increase. What they need is a government that is more efficient and effective and respects the taxpayers' dollars, and gives Missourians the most bang for their buck."

. Missouri sees improvement in unemployment rates (11/20/2008)

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Missouri has created 5,300 jobs in October

Columbia, Jefferson City and St. Louis were among six cities that saw employment increases.

. McCain wins Missouri (11/19/2008)

Sen. John McCain,R-Arizona, officially won the state of Missouri.

According to the Secretary of State's Office, McCain won the state over president-elect Barack Obama with .12 percent of the vote, which is 3,632 votes.

Missouri is the last state in the country to announce the state outcome.

. Governor Blunt met with Governor-elect Nixon to discuss a succession plan. (11/19/2008)

Blunt said he is committed to ensuring that there is an effective transition of power.

Blunt said he was honored to have served as Governor of Missouri.

Nixon said that the best days for Missouri will come in the future. He also thanked Blunt for his help with working so well with his transition team.

. The St. Louis School Board attacks the state's actions at the Missouri Supreme Court. (11/18/2008)

The St. Louis School Board says the State's appointed board of officials should not take over the city school district.

The Missouri Board of Education says they evaluated the district just as they evaluate every other one, and the St. Louis City School District is not up to State standards.

. Governor-elect Nixon makes first cabinet appointment(11/17/2008)

In his first cabinet appointment, Democrat Governor-elect Jay Nixon named a Kansas City businessman who lives in Columbia, to help coordinate the central management functions of state government.

As commissioner of administration, Kelvin Simmons will coordinate the Office of Administration, which oversees the office's seven divisions: accounting, budget and planning, facilities management, design and construction, general services, information technology services, and purchasing and materials management.

. FBI Launches Investigation Into Extortion Threats (11/13/2008)

The FBI has launched an investigation after a St. Louis-based company received extortion threats, threatening to expose personal medical information in the company's database which includes University of Missouri and State Government employees.

Express Scripts, a prescription processing company who works with the state government, among other clients, received a letter from an anonymous source threatening to expose millions of the company's clients medical information. The letter contained the personal information of 75 members, including names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and in some cases, information on prescriptions, a press release from the company stated.

. Do editorials matter when it comes to the outcome of an election? (11/13/2008)

Editorial boards at some of Missouri's largest newspapers were vocal about their selections for the state's top offices, all of which were contested this year.  But in 2008, do editorial endorsements still matter and to what extent do they influence what voters do when they go to the polls?

Some studies tend to suggest that's not the case, and that voters are more likely to rely on their own knowledge when they cast their votes.

. More details come in on the Missouri Ethics Commission's cease on the pursuit of the money-laundering accusation of new Attorney General Chris Koster. (11/13/2008)

An Ethics Commission spokesperson says 2 members removed themselves from the vote because of conflicts of interest.

One State Senator says the commission could have done a better job.

. Missouri Senators and Representatives hear testimony regarding VOIP (11/13/2008)

A special committee hearing was held to discuss Voice Over Internet Protocol.

The committee heard testimony from representatives from many telecommunication companies who highlighted access charge issues for rural communities.

. Governor-elect Jay Nixon is making preparations for his term as Missouri Governor. (11/13/2008)

Governor-Elect Jay Nixon is gathering his transition team around him and filling spots for his cabinet and advisors.

Three issues Nixon and his staff are focusing on are the struggling economy, college affordability, and health care.

. The Missouri Transportation Department says it is not worried about the national salt decrease. (11/12/2008)

A spokesperson for the Transportation Department says Missouri's roads will not be slippery this winter.

Leading weather predictors are bickering over just how much snow will cover Missouri, but the Transportation Department says no matter the amount, they have it covered.

. Fatal car accident spurs debate over Missouri Seat Belt law. (11/13/2008)

A car accident in Palmyra left ten people dead and nine were not wearing their seat belts.

MODOT Senior Specialist Vicky Williams supports changing Missouri's law so that police can pull people over just for not wearing their seat belt.

Missouri Representative Bryan Pratt agrees that changing the law could save lives and bring in federal grant money.

Missouri House Pro Tem Speaker Brian Yates opposes changing the law.  Yates said he wants to make punishments stricter for not wearing a seat belt but believes that police can abuse power if allowed to pull people over for just that reason.

. Missouri Ethics Commission takes no action against Koster(11/12/2008)

The Missouri Ethics Commission did not acquire the four votes necessary to take action on complaints regarding Attorney General-elect Chris Koster.

After the Missouri Supreme Court reinstated campaign contribution limits, Koster donated much of his funds to Chuck Hatfield's Economic Growth Council. Funds donated to the council were given to the Koster campaign through other organizations. 

No one from the Missouri Ethics Commission was available to comment on whether further meetings would be held on the subject.

Associated Press reports the vote to proceed on the case was three in favor to one against with two members abstaining.  One likely abstaining member could be the commission's chair who works in the same law firm as Koster.

. Nixon names a senior budget pro for his transition team. (11/11/2008)

Gov.-elect Jay Nixon's transition office announced the appointment of a former legislative budget chair to be his top budget adviser.

Named as a deputy transition director for budget review is Wayne Goode who has chaired both the House Budget Committee and later the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Goode spent 42 years in the legislature until forced out by term limits after the 2004 legislative session.

. Governor-elect Jay Nixon is putting together his cabinet with plans for diversity. (11/10/2008)

Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder is willing to work with new governor Jay Nixon to bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats while they are both in office.

Governor-elect Nixon is looking for people who best represent Missouri to be in his cabinet.

Get the radio story here.