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NewsBook:  Missouri Government News for the Week of September 27, 2010

The janitorial company that generated national news after a 2007 immigration raid in a state government building is working for the Missouri government once again.

Sam's Janitorial Services, owned by Kwabena Asamoah-Boadu, has been contracted to clean several of the state's government buildings in Jefferson City, said Wanda Seeney, spokeswoman at the state Department of Labor.

The renewed employment with the state comes three years after authorities detained roughly two dozen of the Sam's Janitorial employees in an immigration raid on the Truman Building in Jefferson City.

Kwabena Asamoah-Boadu's son, Kofi, registered another janitorial company with the secretary of state just two months after the raid.

Kofi Asamoah-Boadu said none of the employees or management are the same, although he refused to say if he had taken steps to ensure his company didn't hire illegal foreigners. 

The son's company, JC Cleaning, begins a contract to clean three Jefferson City state government buildings on Oct. 1.

The Missouri Ethics Commission monthly campaign finance report has been released for the month of September.

Two donations of over a million dollars were given to an organization that advocates the passage of Amendment 3.

One of those donations came from out-of-state.

Twenty-two donations were given to an organization advocating for Proposition B.

Seventeen of those donations were from out of state donors.

Communications director for the school of medicine said, the primary concern was work hours.

The school says the issue is take care of and the program will not lose accreditation.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education put the program on a one year probation.

The ACGME will be back in May to determine if the necessary changes have been made.

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Missouri-based political scientists say voter turnout for the 2010 mid-term elections will be larger than years past.

Both say turnout will hit just over 50 percent statewide.

Professor Brian Calfano from Missouri State University says he thinks turnout will range between 52 percent and 56 percent.

Election day is Nov. 2

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Campaigning in a different way brings attention to the underdog of the U.S. Senate race.

Jonathan Dine is the Libertarian Party candidate, but is winning support through Facebook and YouTube.

Dine says he can't outspend his major party opponents, so putting campaign ads on YouTube and creating Facebook groups to rally support are his main plan of action.

Dine's Facebook group, "Jonathan Dine for U.S. Senate 2010" has 2,252 likes on its page.

Missouri is one of nine states backed into a corner because of a shortage of sodium thiopental.

Sodium thiopental is the anesthetic Missouri uses to render an inmate unconscious before lethally injecting the inmate on death row.

Missouri has only one execution planned before the chemical expires in January.

Heavy rainfall hit some Missouri crops hard last year, causing the pumpkins to rot.

The verdict is the same for this year's Central Missouri crops, where most Missouri pumpkins are grown.

The Ag Department says this year's rotten crops are due to wet weather conditions.

Ag Professor, David Trinklein says pumpkins are pollinators and the wet conditions make it difficult for insects to transfer pollen efficiently.

While Central Missouri pumpkin crops have seen the brunt of the bad crops, some Northern and Southern Missouri pumpkin farmers say their crops look great this year.

President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act, making 30 billion dollars available for small banks to increase small business lending.

The law provides incentives for banks with less than 10 billion in total assets to promote the growth of small businesses across the country.

The heads of both the Bankers and Retailers Association are cautious, but optimistic about the provisions of the law.

Central Missouri will see lackluster foliage this autumn after experiencing a drought this summer.

The White Oak's golden leaves will be absent in Missouri fall foliage this year, after being plagued by diseases this summer.

One University of Missouri professor says the brightest colors won't be appearing until mid-October.

The Jefferson City Muslim Community held an open house that drew in some neighbors and support.

The rural conservative area has few neighbors saying that they are welcome to the religion and expansion of the mosque.

A Moreau neighbor, Barry Faulkner says they just built a cemetery and are possibly planning on building a school.

He says the from the time he has lived there, the people have been very gracious and welcoming.

Students in the University of Missouri system can expect tuition increases in 2011 for the first time in three years.

The University Board of Curators called the increase in tuition inevitable.

State law currently limits tuition increases to the annual inflation rate, but the Missouri Department of Higher Education can waive that limitation at the curators' request.

A month ago, Governor Nixon met with higher education leaders and recognized the need for colleges and universities to raise their tuition.

Last Week

The man who intended to stab Gov. Jay Nixon but instead slashed a college official in the throat will be represented by Missouri's public defender office, a spokeswoman for the office said.

Casey Brezik, 22, is charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action for the stabbing of a college dean at Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City on Sept. 14.

The Associated Press reports a judge has entered a not guilty plea on Brezik's behalf, which is "routine," said Cat Kelly, a spokeswoman for the state public defender's office.

Brezik and his family could not afford a private attorney, said Leon Munday, the assistant district defender in Kansas City.

Missourians aren't getting what they voted for, and the state's schools missed out on more than $20 million in funding this year during a budget crunch, state Auditor Susan Montee said.

State lawmakers have eliminated some of the requirements in Proposition A, which voters passed in 2008 and ended loss limits at Missouri's casinos. The changes include ridding of a provision that extra revenue from lifting the $500 loss limit be sent to schools as additional money, not to replace existing state funding.

Lawmakers ended that with 2009 legislation, shorting schools by $20.9 million, Montee said in an audit released Thursday.

But up to 140 of Missouri's 522 school districtsdistricts wouldn't be eligible for the extra money under the state's education funding formula, said Michelle Clark, a spokeswoman for the state's Elementary and Secondary Education Department.

Tom Schweich, the Republican opposing Montee in her re-election bid, declined comment on the audit.

Major insurance companies in the state and across the nation dropped their child-only policies to avoid penalties for denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, according to Travis Ford, communications director for the Missouri Insurance Department.

Anthem BlueCross BlueShield and Coventry are among the companies that have decided to no longer carry child-only plans.

The federal law mandates that a child with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied a health insurance policy, which means the insurance company must pick up the tab for any pre-existing medical conditions.

"Our department and others around the country are working with the major health insurers to encourage them to resume offering this product in a way that is financially feasible for them and for consumers," Ford said.

Clayton School District has received 40 requests from students trying to transfer to its schools from unaccredited ones, a district spokesman said.

Parents can take their kids out of unaccredited districts, such as St. Louis, and move them elsewhere, with the district footing the bill.

Whether other districts need to accept them is being worked out in court. Clayton is not accepting transfers until the decision comes down.

Missouri students have averaged a 21.6 on their ACT college-entrance exams for the past five years.

Even though the score is above the national average of 21.1, the state's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said it's looking to improve Missourians' scores.

But at a meeting Tuesday, the department could not come to a decision on how to do that.

Three new provisions affecting children's health care coverage in Missouri and across the country will hit insurance companies as a series of provisions of the federal health care law take effect this week.

The changes, stipulated by the federal law, take effect Sept. 23 for new and renewed policies. Among the list of this month's changes are three provisions that significantly impact child health care, said Travis Ford, communications director for the Missouri Insurance Department.

Missouri's insurance industry predicts few problems with the federal law expanding child health coverage.

Candidates vying for two of Missouri's statewide-elected offices are divided whether to use automated telephone calls as Election Day draws near.

U.S. Senate candidate Robin Carnahan and incumbent state Auditor Susan Montee, both Democrats, said their campaigns will not use the automated messages, also known as "robo" calls.

Tom Schweich, the Republican running against Montee, said he will use a "limited" number of robo calls. Spokespeople for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Blunt refused multiple requests to interview Blunt.

After Fox News Channel filed a lawsuit against Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Robin Carnahan for running a campaign advertisement the network said violated law, Carnahan's campaign continues to run the ad.

Carnahan has requested a federal Judge make a quick ruling on the case.

Brad Ketcher, a former top aide to Carnahan's father, late Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan, thinks the judge will grant her request.

Missouri judges now can see the cost of sentencing a criminal to either prison or parole.

The program's supporters say it aims to reduce repeat offenders and cut costs to Missouri taxpayers.

St. Louis defense attorney Travis Noble says the program may put elected Missouri judges at a disadvantage.

A Cole County judge ruled Monday that Proposition A, which would limit the ability of Missouri cities to levy earnings taxes, will remain on the ballot.

The judge ruled against an effort to have the measure removed from the ballot on technicalities.

Shawn Bell has dropped his effort to get an order of protection against state representative Brian Nieves, R-Washington, according to multiple sources.

Bell, a campaign worker for one of Nieves' rivals in the Republican primary for Missouri's 26th Senate district, had accused Nieves last month of assaulting him. Nieves had denied the allegations. Last week, the Franklin County prosecutor announced there was not enough evidence to charge Nieves with assault.

Nieves is favored to win the heavily Republican district against Democrat George Weber in November.

Bell's attorney was not immediately available for comment.