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NewsBook:  Missouri Government News for the Week of October 18, 2010

The brother of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is facing drug charges after he was found unconscious outside of a Columbia, Mo. bar on Jan. 5, the AP reports.

46-year-old Will McCaskill was picked up by police having suffered cuts and bruises.

Columbia Police said they also found a paper bag filled with cocaine.

In August, McCaskill was charged with cocaine possession and was arrested in Holts Summit, Mo.

His bond is set at $4,500.

Sen. McCaskill, a former county prosecutor, has previously been the subject of a federal investigation into drug use.

After 12 years as a Missouri Supreme Court Justice, Judge Michael Wolff will step down next fall.

Wolff made the announcement Wednesday, saying he plans to take a position as a law professor at St. Louis University (SLU).

He previously taught at SLU until 1998, when he was appointed by former Gov. Mel Carnahan to Missouri's high court.

During his time as an attorney, Wolff served as a legal counsel to Carnahan.

Wolff says he will start the SLU position in the Fall 2011 semester.

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The Missouri Gaming Commission heard pitches from three company and community partnerships vying for the state's thirteenth and final remaining casino license Wednesday.

Representatives from Cape Girardeau, Sugar Creek, and St. Louis gathered in Jefferson City to present their plans for gaming establishments. A fourth proposal, from North St. Louis County, was pulled from the schedule after financing woes kept the group from moving forward.

Gaming Commission Chairman James Mathewson noted the group is not obligated to issue the license at all, and may not choose any of the presented sites.

Get the radio story.

A profile on Roy Blunt, candidate for Missouri Senate.

Leading the polls in the U.S. Senate race, Roy Blunt finds himself under attack for his some of his connections in Washington.

Missouri's Democratic Party took another jab at Republican candidate Roy Blunt, alleging that he used his position as Secretary of State to help a woman who illegally worked for his ex-wife twenty years ago.

The party released documents it claims prove that Blunt both hired and helped the woman, who was not authorized to work in the U.S.

However, it was unable to provide details about the work the woman may have done or whether any action followed from Blunt's letter to the immigration commissioner.

According to the Kansas City Star, Blunt's campaign said the woman never worked for the Blunts but had "simply helped out at a couple of church events."

Called "double taxation" by the amendment's proponents, Amendment 3 seeks to prevent the state from ever being able to instate a real estate transfer tax.

No such tax has yet been proposed in the legislature and no organized opposition to the amendment exists.

A profile on Tom Schweich, candidate for Missouri state auditor.

Schweich's experience, flaws and friends in his campaign to become the next auditor.

A profile on Missouri state auditor Susan Montee.  

A personal look at the incumbent, as well as a highlight of her past four years as Missouri's auditor.

The Missouri Children's Service Commission will make suggestions to the governor and state legislature to protect Missourians.

The Commission met earlier this week to come up with specific ways to develop a long term plan.

Over 100 children and adults in Western Missouri, alone, have been rescued from human trafficking.

Unemployment levels continued to hover below 9 percent in Missouri for the month of September, the Department of Economic Development announced Monday.

The rate of unemployment in the state was 9.3 percent in August and September. That number fell below the national unemployment rate of 9.6 percent.

During September, unemployment numbers fell in Kansas City and St. Louis, but rose in Springfield. Unemployment in rural areas of the state remained unchanged.

To its supporters, Proposition A is about giving local voters a say in how they're taxed. To its opponents, the measure is an effort to deny local voters that right.

This November, Missouri voters will have the chance to weigh in on the ballot measure, which seeks to limit the ability of cities to enact earnings taxes.

The tax exists in only two cities -- St. Louis and Kansas City. The cities levy a one percent tax on the incomes of businesses and individuals working or residing in the city.

If passed, Proposition A would ban any other city in the state from adopting an earnings tax.

For St. Louis and Kansas City, it would require a referendum on the tax every five years for it to continue. If voters in either city elected to repeal the tax, it would be phased out over a decade without the opportunity to resubmit the issue.

Proponents argue an earnings tax drives businesses out of cities were the tax is applied. Opponents argue it would deny cities revenue sources for critical city services.

Missouri's State Treasurer announced Monday (Oct. 18) that Missourian's can sign up for notifications about unclaimed property held by the state.

"This Missouri's Largest Lost & Found," as Treasurer Clint Zweifel described it on the state's Web site (http:///

Unclaimed property includes assets held by various financial institutes for which the actual owners cannot be found. It includes bank accounts, stocks, items in safe deposit boxes, insurance payments and government refunds.

Various financial institutions and other businesses are required to turn over to the state any such property for which there has been no contact with the owners for five or more years.

Constitutional Amendment 2 on the November ballot would provide a property tax exemption for a residence owned by a former prisoner of war who has a total service-connected disability.

The measure was approved by the legislature without a negative vote in either chamber last year.

The Veterans Administration estimates there are about 100 former prisoners of war living in Missouri who would qualify.

Last year, legislative staff estimated the cost for local government from lost property taxes would be less than $187,000. The figure was based an an estimate of 200 persons qualifying.

Supporters argue approval of the measure would indicate appreciation for the veterans' services. One opponent, however, questioned why others such as Medal of Honor recipients were not included.

Last Week

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.

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.

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.