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NewsBook:  Missouri Government News for the Week of October 4, 2010

John Kimes of Kansas City runs a small dog breeding facility.

If Proposition B--which limits dog breeders across the state to more stringent breeding regulations--passes, Kimes says he would have to spend nearly $40,000 to meet its requirements.

"I'm having this external source telling me how to take care of my dogs, which I resent because they don't know how to take care of dogs," Kimes said.

Supporters of Prop B say it gives increased protection to dogs in commercial dog breeding facilities.

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The state is relying on the company that was the focus of a 2007 federal raid to ensure it's not hiring more illegal workers.

Sam's Janitorial Services, which federal agents raided to arrest about 25 workers they suspected were in the country illegally, is back working for the state.

Sam's owner, Kwabena Asamoah-Boadu, must sign an affidavit verifying that his employees have proper legal identification, said Wanda Seeney, a spokeswoman for the state Office of Administration.

Asamoah-Boadu sued the state after it banned Sam's from cleaning government offices. He got the ban lifted, and Sam's is back cleaning seven state buildings.

The state Transportation Department has cut more than 200 positions and reduced maintenance along highways in an effort to slash its costs.

The department aims to cut $200 million over the next five years, MoDOT said Thursday in a news release.

Maintenance, such as snow removal, signage replacements and road striping, will also see cuts. The money will go toward improving Missouri's roadways, especially on rural roads, where pavement conditions are getting worse, Interim Director Kevin Keith said.

Republican Roy Blunt leads Democrat Robin Carnahan by double digits in Missouri's U.S. Senate race, according to a CNN/Time poll released Wednesday.

The poll indicates Blunt leads Carnahan 53 to 40 percent, with a margin of error of 2.5 percent. Blunt is especially winning voters in the Kansas City area and in southern Missouri.

Other recent polls put Blunt's lead in the single digits, according to a Real Clear Politics average.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has sued a St. Charles County man for failing to maintain underground storage facilities at his marina.

Gerald Rohe, the owner of Liberty Marina in Portage Des Sioux, disconnected his phone line. When Missouri Digital News tried to call Rohe for comment, we got nothing.

Koster's office said it's asking a judge to order Rohe to bring his marina's storage tanks into compliance with state standards.

Missouri's U.S. Senate candidates, Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Robin Carnahan, are running for a public office, but they're not interested in answering unscripted interviews.

Even though the winner will earn $174,000 a year in taxpayer-funded salary, both campaigns are cautious about granting open-ended interviews or releasing their long-term schedules to journalists

Instead, candidates use TV attack ads where they can control the message instead of being caught off guard in an unscripted interview.

The job of reporters may conflict with the agenda of a politician, said University of Missouri journalism professor Charles Davis. 

For the second month in a row, Missouri reports an upswing in state tax collections.

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering announced Monday a 9.1 percent increase in total tax collections for September 2010 compared to September 2009.

More significantly, collections for the first three months of the fiscal year are above the first quarter of last fiscal and slightly above the administration's projections for the entire fiscal year.

The governor's cuts in what the budget passed this spring were based on a 2.3 percent increase in tax collections.

As of the end of September, the state has experienced a 2.6 percent increase in revenue collections for the past three months.

Last Week

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.