Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 6:42 pm
A new audit released Tuesday finds that some welfare recipients in Missouri have used their benefits to buy things besides food and other daily necessities, while others may have moved away but continue to get in-state benefits.
Two Missouri House committees have passed the Senate version of the Boeing incentives bill, which now heads to the full House for floor debate.
Much of Thursday's discussion focused on a handful of amendments the Senate added to the bill, including one that requires Boeing to report each year on its efforts to hire women and minorities, and another that would require the 777-X project to be profitable in ten years.
House Member Anne Zerr, who’s handling the Senate bill, says she thinks the additional language makes it better.
Legislation that would provide tax breaks for Boeing to build its 777X passenger jet in Missouri was passed Tuesday night by two legislative committees.
First, the Missouri Senate Committee on Economic Development passed their version of the bill, followed a few hours later by the House Economic Development Committee passing its version. There are no major differences in the two – both would provide $150 million in incentives to Boeing to build the 777X at its campus near Lambert Airport.
Missouri's special legislative session kicked off late Monday afternoon, as lawmakers officially began work on Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's proposal to land Boeing's contract to build the 777X passenger jet.
The Missouri House briefly convened around 4:00 p.m. and adjourned for the day roughly 10 minutes later. Republican Speaker Tim Jones said afterwards that the Governor has been mum so far on the total projected cost of the Boeing project and the projected return on investment.
The Missouri Department of Revenue must now accept joint state income tax returns from same-sex married couples, following an executive order issued Thursday by Gov. Jay Nixon.
Gov. Nixon says the order is necessary for two reasons – because Missouri law requires married couples who file joint federal tax returns to also file joint state returns, and because of the U.S. Treasury Department’s recent decision to recognize same-sex marriages, even for couples living in states that don’t recognize gay marriage.
An interim committee of the Missouri Senate has adopted a draft report with recommendations on reforming the state’s Medicaid system, but the report specifically leaves out the possibility of Medicaid expansion.
The Republican chair of the committee, Gary Romine of Farmington, says Medicaid must be reformed before any expansion can be considered. Democrats balked at that position, but then said they’d back the committee’s report if they could add language reflecting that the majority of public testimony collected called for expanding Medicaid.
A state audit released Tuesday finds that local governments and school districts in Missouri have cost themselves $43 million by not allowing competition for underwriting public bonds.
Republican State Auditor Tom Schweich cites the practice of negotiated bond sales, in which an underwriter is hired in advance and sometimes acts as a financial advisor to the local government that issues the bond.
In partnership with NPR, St. Louis Public Radio has created a new website to keep track of all the gifts Missouri state lawmakers have been receiving from companies and organizations that have lobbyists at the capitol in Jefferson City. And, the information is searchable and downloadable.
An interim Missouri House committee has resumed examining the state’s Medicaid system this week. Lawmakers spent part of Tuesday taking a closer look at how some other states with GOP-led legislatures have expanded Medicaid
Committee member Chris Molendorp was the only House Republican to support Medicaid expansion during this year’s legislative session. He says Missouri should consider adopting Florida’s practice of using Medicaid to cover so-called wrap-around services, such as providing transportation for kidney dialysis patients.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, says next year he's going to propose a higher education budget that's "substantially" larger that it's been in recent years.
Nixon made that promise Monday to a group of higher education officials meeting in Jefferson City, Mo., though he won't say yet how high his proposed budget hike will be. He also says his higher budget proposal could be rendered moot if this year's failed income tax cut legislation is revived next year.
A series of hearings by state lawmakers into Missouri's Medicaid system has begun.
The interim House Committee on Medicaid Transformation spent much of the Thursday looking at proposed changes in Arkansas and Iowa, which would include expanding access to private health insurers and rewarding healthy behavior.
Sidney Watson is a law professor at St. Louis University who also advocates for improved access to Medicaid. She told the committee more about the waiver Iowa is seeking from the federal government.
Members of a Missouri House interim committee tasked with improving government efficiency complained Wednesday about not having access to the full budgets of any of the state's universities.
The committee was examining the Department of Higher Education. Republican committee member Kathie Conway of St. Charles says the department's annual budget requests to the Governor's office do not contain line-by-line expense requests she says the committee needs to do its job.
There could be an effort next year to change the law allowing Missouri lawmakers and others to carry guns at the State Capitol.
A loaded handgun was found by police in the basement of the Capitol last week. It had been left in a men's bathroom on top of a toilet paper dispenser. Police discovered that it belonged to a staff member of Republican House Speaker Tim Jones, and that the staffer does have a conceal-carry permit. Jacob Hummel, the top Democrat in the Missouri House, says only law enforcement officers should be allowed to carry arms at the State Capitol.
Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, a Republican, blasted President Obama's Affordable Care Act Monday, just over one week before Missouri's federally-run health insurance exchange is scheduled to open for business.
Kinder told reporters during a conference call that he hopes Missouri residents without health coverage will opt not to use the exchange.
Missouri U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer,a Republican, is blasting the Obama Administration for the way it's handled the crisis in Syria.
Luetkemeyer spoke Monday before a small group of business leaders in Jefferson City. He told them that Syrian officials used chemical weapons against their own people because they fear no repercussions from the U.S.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has released just over half of the $400 million he withheld earlier this year from Missouri's current state budget.
In a press release, he announced that $215 million will be divvied up among K-12 schools, higher education, mental health programs and specific programs for training health care professionals in southwest Missouri. Nixon released the money Thursday, one day after Republican lawmakers failed to override his veto of a controversial tax cut bill.
At a town hall meeting, most Kansas Citians urged Congressman Emanuel Cleaver to vote 'no' on a military intervention in Syria. Cleaver and much of the local Missouri Congressional delegation has not taken a position on Syria, but in Kansas most will be voting against authorizing military strikes.
Most tell Cleaver to vote 'no'
More than 200 people crowded into a room at Metropolitan Community College and nearly all stayed on topic about Syria.
Steven Platt was worried the United States cannot afford more military action.
Two bills that would create a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri received a hearing Thursday before a State Senate committee. But one version of the bill is structured in a way that’s designed to block the proposal.
Physician and GOP Senator Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph is an outspoken critic of prescription drug monitoring. He says it would violate citizens’ privacy rights.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will lay out his priorities Monday night when he delivers his annual State of the State Address before the General Assembly. Lawmakers are hoping that the governor will address areas specific to their constituents’ needs.
One of the most talked-about issues so far during Missouri’s regular legislative session is whether Governor Jay Nixon has the authority to appoint a new Lt. Governor if Peter Kinder becomes the new Congressman for the state’s 8th District.
When asked by reporters Thursday, Nixon said he believes he has the authority to do so, based on precedent – in 2000, Governor Roger Wilson appointed Joe Maxwell to begin serving immediately as Lt. Governor less than two months before his elected term was set to begin.