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NewsBook:  Missouri Government News for the Week of October 11, 2010

Friday's Lake of the Ozarks debate was the second day of live mudslinging in the Senate campaign.

Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Robin Carnahan attacked each other for accepting money from the government and lobbyists.

Third party candidates added their two cents, but were largely ignored by the frontrunners.

Get the radio story.

The two candidates vying for Missouri's U.S. senate seat took turns attacking the record--and character--of the other in this morning's debate in Kansas City. Republican Congressman Roy Blunt and Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan traded barbs on the economy, healthcare and ties to lobbyists.

Get the print story here.

Some Missouri schools are struggling after budget cuts and decreased funding.

he Jackson School District has cut it's D.A.R.E. program to survive.

Superintendent Dr. Ron Anderson says the decision was one they felt wouldn't have a drastic negative impact.

Democrat Robin Carnahan and Republican Roy Blunt debated in Kansas City Thursday in the first of two Senatorial debates.

Carnahan was on the offensive, attacking Blunt's 14 years in Washington and his lobbyist ties.

Blunt defended himself against Carnahan's attacks by criticizing Obama's "extremist" agenda.

The National Republican Congressional Committee sent a release Wednesday stating House Republican Leader John Boehner pledged his support in securing a seat on the Armed Services Committee for Congressional Candidate Vickey Hartzler.

Hartzler is the Republican Candidate for the fourth congressional district. She is running against Ike Skelton who has prided himself on being "the military candidate."

The district holds two military bases: Fort Leonard Wood in Pulaski County and Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster Missouri.

In the release, Boehner said it was Hartzler's compassion and understanding that led him to want to appoint her, if she is elected in November.

The city where Missourians come to advocate for certain issues may be unconstitutionally restricting its own residents from speaking out themselves.

Jefferson City's ban on religious and political yard signs outside of election season, Associate City Attorney Drew Hilpert said. He's asked code enforcement officers to stop punishing offenders except when a neighbor complains.

Jefferson City city councilman Mike Harvey said he doesn't think officials will change the rules because there's no way to keep everyone happy.

Last Week

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.

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.