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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of December 1, 2008

. Nixon picks citizen advisers to help fill state positions (12/05/2008)

Gov.-elect Jay Nixon has chosen 100 Missourians to help him identify people to fill positions at state departments.

One of the 100, MU student Rick Puig, called the 'citizen advisers' the "front line of the administration's recruitment effort."

. The Road Ahead for Matt Blunt (12/05/2008)

With little over a month left in his term as governor, Matt Blunt already has a job lined up for when he leaves the governor's mansion in January.

 Blunt has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Copart, Inc., a California-based company that helps vehicle suppliers process and sell salvaged vehicles through actions.

 There is no report on how much Blunt will be paid and of how his new salary will relate to his salary as governor, which totaled $133,800.

 The appointment is effective January 13th, the day after Governor-elect Jay Nixon's inauguration as the new governor of Missouri.

. Senators discuss pros and cons of telephone company deregulation (12/04/2008)

Phone companies across the state are no longer under the regulation of the Public Service Commission, due to the passage of HB 1779.

The head of the PSC is concerned citizens will have to pay much higher rates, but supporters of the bill say it is a reflection of staying up-to-date with new technology.

. Governor-Elect and the state's current Attorney General has revised a lawsuit against Governor Blunt. (12/04/2008)

Governor-Elect and the state's current Attorney General  Jay Nixon's investigation into potential violations of the Sunshine Law, has led to an updated lawsuit against Governor Blunt's administration.

The lawsuit claims Blunt and his staff knowingly or purposefully violated the Sunshine Law.

. Consumer protection issues are on the minds of Missourians during this economy recession. (12/04/2008)

Governor-Elect Jay Nixon said during his campaign that he will make consumer protection issues one of his top priorities.

The Attorney General's office said major consumer issue concerns include bad loans, identity theft, and political robo-calls.

The Missouri House and Senate recently filled bills that will extend the No Call List to include political robo-calls.

. Nixon announces plan to cut goverment spending(12/03/2008)

A hiring freeze and a review of construction projects were among the ideas announced by Governor-elect Jay Nixon in his proposal addressing a projected $342 million budget shortfall.

The proposal would require all government departments to submit a plan on reducing expenses, put a freeze on long term contracts for good and services and require state departments to administer performance reviews.

. AT&T of Missouri is deregulated (12/02/2008)

AT&T of Missouri is no longer governed by the Public Service Commission.

The company says it needs this to compete in the new market

The head of the Commission is afraid this will eventually lead to a monopoly.

. A top economic adviser to Governor-elect Jay Nixon gives a dark summary of the state of the U.S. economy (12/02/2008)

Former Senator Wayne Goode's comments came during a conference call with Missouri's statehouse reporters.

With many pauses and breaks while he spoke Goode said the economy is as bad as it was more than 70 years ago.

. The Missouri House Democrats say they will focus on re-instituting campaign contribution limits. (12/02/2008)

Minority House Leader Paul LeVota argues the reasons why the limits would increase transparency and prevent individuals from donating extreme amounts of money to campaigns.

Republican Senator Jason Crowell says they have some good ideas but need to abandon the idea of limiting contribution limits.

. Missouri farmers make sacrifices to get health care (12/02/2008)

Tom Brown doesn't usually make a big deal about his birthday. But this year is different. This time, he's turning 65 and he will be covered by the federal health care plan Medicare.

This will be the first time Brown will have health insurance since his wife lost her teaching job more than four years ago. Medicare will only cover Tom; his wife is not 65 yet.

As a full time farmer in La Grange, Brown faces the hardship that many self-employed Missourians face when it comes to buying insurance. In his case, he says he just can't afford it.  

. Missouri election results are now official (12/02/2008)

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan certified the 2008 election results Tuesday at the State Capitol.

Carnahan said nearly three million Missourians turned out to vote.

Carnahan said voting issues like long lines will be discussed in order to improve the next election.

. Transition team presents state budget review (12/02/2008)

Missouri's budget is facing a 340 million dollar budget shortfall for the current fiscal year, said the budget director for Missouri Governor elect Jay Nixon on Tuesday.

This shortfall is largely due to the national economic recession's impact on the state's revenue stream, he said.

. Top leaders argue over what Governor-elect Jay Nixon should do in office this coming January. (12/01/2008)

Former Governor Bob Holden says he regrets he did not have more money while in office and says raising taxes is a decision every Governor has to think about at their own peril.

Other top leaders disagree and say there are other ways for governor-elect Jay Nixon to move Missourians forward.

. Bill prefiling for the 2009 legislative session begins. (12/01/2008)

Several major issues from the 2008 legislative session were among the issue pre-filed for the 2009 legislative session on the opening day Monday.

Among the most controversial issues filed was a measure to make it a crime to coerce an abortion and require detailed information on the fetus be provided to a woman before an abortion. 

A similar measure stalled in the Senate where it faced the threat of a Democratic filibuster.  But in 2009, Republicans will hold three more seats in the Senate.

Also pre-filed Monday were bills to repeal the ethanol requirement for gasoline, restrict use of cell phones while driving and authorize advance voting.

. 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.