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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of December 15, 2008

. In a Democratic administration, sole Republican Peter Kinder has one foot in the GOP-controlled Legislature (12/19/2008)

When Jay Nixon, a Democrat, officially assumes Missouri's governorship Jan. 12, only one statewide Republican officeholder will remain, making Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, in effect, the titular head of the party in Jefferson City.

As the lone Republican in Missouri's executive branch and as Ex Officio president of the Missouri Senate, Kinder could play a vital role in bridging the gap between a Democratically controlled administration and a majoritative Republican State Legislature.

. How should Nixon run the government? (12/18/2008)

Former top leaders from both political parties have different ideas for Gov.-elect Jay Nixon.

Faced with a projected budget shortfall of $342 million and a Republican majority in the Missouri general assembly, Nixon is taking office in an economic and political climate similar to the one that former Democratic Gov. Bob Holden encountered eight years ago.

. Bill would create Business Premises Safety Act (12/17/2008)

A recently prefiled bill would remove the responsibility from a business to implement security measures to protect its customers.

It also would not allow a business to restrict the possession of a firearm in an automobile not owned or leased by the business.

. A recent study found people in Missouri have lower sperm counts than in polluted cities. (12/17/2008)

The people of Missouri have lower sperm counts that polluted states such as New York or California.

A state legislator pre-filed a bill that would make it mandatory for insurance companies to pay for the diagnosis of the infertile.

. Columbia delegation plans to play to their strengths (12/17/2008)

The four new Columbia legislators come from a variety of backgrounds and plan to play to their strengths during the legislative session.

They have not filed many bills for the upcoming session.

. Show Me Health Care to replace Insure Missouri in 2009 session (12/17/2008)

Larry Stephens found out he had lost his Medicaid when he went to go get his motorized wheelchair fixed.

It wasn't until his caseworker called that he realized it was no mistake.

Gov. Matt Blunt's 2005 Medicaid cuts took 94,850 people off of Missouri's Medicaid program. These cuts left another 300,000 with only partial coverage according to the Department of Social Services.

. If passed, several environment-friendly bills would bring about tax deductions.  (12/17/2008)

As Missouri state government looks at declining revenues, some state lawmakers are proposing a tax break -- for those who buy hybrid vehicles.

One bill for the 2009 session would grant a income tax deduction for all hybrid motor vehicles bought after Jan. 1, 2010. The deduction would be either 10 percent of the vehicle's purchase price or $2,000.

. MODOT officials say the future of Missouri highways is up to the people. (12/17/2008)

A decrease in funds has left MODOT unable to complete all of their projects.

MODOT asks Missourians which project they want done the most before they make any plans.

. A new version of a Senate health care bill is to be introduced in 2009 session (12/17/2008)

Senator Tom Dempsey shared his plans to sponsor a newly titled health care bill to help uninsured Missourians.

The new bill, Show Me Missouri Health Care, contains many of the same components of last year's Insure Missouri, which was never brought to the floor in the House.  

. A bill is introduced to legalize imitation butter (12/16/2008)

A law dating from the 1800s restricts the sale and manufacturing of imitation butter.

Rep. Sarah Lampe introduced a bill to take the law away.

. The Missouri Electoral College Cast its Votes (12/15/2008)

The Missouri electoral college officially voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin.

The signed ballots will be sent to Washington.

. Missouri coordinating board for higher education has approved a program to put occupational and physical therapy assistants in rural areas (12/15/2008)

The board is helping five community colleges teach about 30 students to be assistants.

The students live in rural Missouri and will fill a need for people in their profession.

. 600 state employees were told by Governor-elect Jay Nixon this week their jobs may be in jeopardy. (12/11/2008)

During the holiday season, the last thing any employee wants is to find out their jobs might be in jeopardy.

But 600 state employees ranging from assistants to division managers, received a letter asking them to justify their positions.

. Initiative petition in circulation for 2010 Ballot (12/11/2008)

A new ballot initiative petition related to banning affirmative action programs was approved by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

The ballot initiative calls for the ban of affirmative action programs and allow preferential treatment based on race, sex, and color in order to meet federal program fund eligibility requirements.

. Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to cut some 1,400 jobs from St. Louis alone and there will be little the state can do to help those laid-off. (12/10/2008)

Those laid-off by the brewery giant Anheuser-Busch InBev will find even more difficult times ahead because the Missouri government is at a stand-still until the new session begins January 7.

Anheuser-Busch would also have to take initiative and call before the people being laid-off can be offered help by the state.

. UM System President asks for suggestions to meet expected budget cuts (12/10/2008)

University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee sent an e-mail to students and faculty today asking for suggestion on how to meet a state projected 15 percent to 25 percent cut in appropriations due to an estimated $340 million state budget shortfall.

A cut of that size would range from $60 million to $100 million of the system's $400 million budget.

Forsee's e-mail also stated, "we need to do our part to help the state; however, our elected officials need to be aware of what our university means to the future success and well-being of Missourians."

The e-mail also states the University has until Dec. 18 to give a plan to the Missouri Department of Higher Education.

Send MU Chancellor Brady Deaton suggestions for how to save money here.

. Letter with white powder addressed to Governor Blunt turns out to be harmless (12/09/2008)

The letter was intercepted by a Jefferson City mail distribution center and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services conducted preliminary tests on the letter.

The white powder substance turned out to be nothing more than normal, unbleached flour.

. Seeking permanence in life and on paper (12/09/2008)

On her second birthday Jamila Gray received a quilt. But Jamila, now a teenager, was not turning two years old. \

She was celebrating her March 7 birthday, the birthday she now shares with her adoptive mother. It was also the day that she officially became a Gray. Her adoptive grandmother sewed Jamila with her first name and new last name.

Seeing her new last name on a quilt meant a lot to Jamila. A previous birthday was spent with her guardian ad litem. A lawyer appointed to serve as a kid's guardian, she explained, just another one of the many legal terms surrounding foster care that is a regular part of her vocabulary.

. Missouri's Chief Environmental Officer Announces he will Resign. (12/09/2008)

Doyle Childers announced he will resign his position as the state's chief environmental officer effective January 12th.

He said that he and Governor-Elect Nixon don't get along and wouldn't be able to work together in his cabinet.

Nixon had no comment.

Get the radio stories.

. Two Missouri State Agencies have different opinions on how to deal with the state unemployment problem. (12/08/2008)

The Missouri State Unemployment Council met to discuss its projection for a Missouri Unemployment Trust Fund.

The goal is to create a state trust fund that can pay off debts in bad economic times without raising state taxes.

. A new bill may be passed that limits the amount of alcohol on Missouri rivers. (12/08/2008)

Senator Delbert Scott sponsored a new bill banning consumption and use of some alcoholic containers on the river.

He said this bill is a safety issue that needed to be addressed.

Scott hopes this will promote a family atmosphere instead of a party atmosphere.

. In the midst of Missouri's budget crisis the state will not give higher education any funding this year. (12/08/2008)

Missouri tuition is already higher than the national average for a public Universities.

Now, higher education will not receive any funds from the government because of budget constraints.

Higher education took a big hit in 2003 when the senate was cut funds.

Students are still feeling the pressure five years later.

. Former Governor Bob Holden faced a financial crisis while in office and now many are comparing his term to Governor-elect Jay Nixon's. (12/08/2008)

Former Governor Bob Holden faced poor economic times and budgetary woes while in office and now it seems Jay Nixon must do the same.

Top leaders from Holden's term have different viewpoints on what the future 55th Governor should do when he takes office.

Get the radio story here.