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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are backing down on a proposal to penalize public universities for failing to meet certain funding and academic goals.

Instead, legislation considered by the Senate Education Committee recently would only allow performance standards to be used for year-to-year higher education funding increases.

If passed, the plan would be familiar to the state's four-year public universities. Governor Jay Nixon used the model informally when he gave them a $25 million increase for the current fiscal year.

Committee chairman and sponsoring Senator David Pearce of Warrensburg says universities should be financially rewarded for achieving performance goals. Under his plan, the universities would work with the Department of Higher Education to develop their own performance criteria.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — An abortion facility in Missouri would need to be inspected at least four times each year under legislation proposed in the state House.

The proposal is a priority for Missouri Right to Life, which called it a "strong bipartisan and pro-life" measure. The bill was filed this past week by Republican Kathy Swan of Cape Girardeau (juh-RAHR'-doh). It has more than 100 co-sponsors.

Under the bill, inspections could be conducted as frequently as the Department of Health and Senior Services deems necessary but would need to happen at least four times per fiscal year. No advanced notice would be required.

Planned Parenthood said the state already has authority to inspect as frequently as it chooses. The organization says the legislation is about making it more difficult to get an abortion.

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri death-row inmate scheduled for execution this month says the state prison system is improperly storing expired doses of a new lethal injection drug provided by an Oklahoma pharmacy that's not licensed to do business in the neighboring state.

Attorneys for Herbert Smulls filed a complaint with the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy on Friday. They want the board to recall an "expired, unsafe" batch of the sedative pentobarbital provided to Missouri by an unidentified Oklahoma compounding pharmacy. The complaint says the pharmacy gave erroneous instructions to store the drug at room temperature.

Missouri switched to its one-drug execution method late last year and has since killed two inmates. The complaint includes Missouri state records showing the pentobarbital given to both inmates had expired eight to 10 days earlier.

Published in Local News
Thursday, 16 January 2014 12:21

Missouri House looking at revenge porn bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri House committee is considering legislation that would outlaw a phenomenon known as "revenge pornography."
 
"Revenge porn" is posting online sexually explicit photos or videos of ex-romantic partners as a way of humiliating them.
 
Sponsoring Rep. Kevin Engler told the House public safety committee Thursday that revenge porn can have a devastating effect on a person's life. The Farmington Republican's legislation would prohibit someone from observing and then disclosing images of intimate sexual acts without the other person's consent.
 
Disclosing the explicit images would be considered a felony and is punishable by up to four years in prison.
 
The panel did not vote on Engler's bill. Other states, including Pennsylvania and Virginia, are considering similar measures.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri House member has renewed her call for state Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro to resign.
 
Democrat Genise Montecillo, of St. Louis, addressed Nicastro during a hearing of the House Budget Committee on Wednesday.
 
Nicastro has faced criticism over various issues in recent months, including the award of a contract to a consulting firm to draft a turnaround plan for unaccredited school districts.
 
Montecillo urged Nicastro to step down last year. On Wednesday, she said the commissioner's resignation would be the responsible thing to do for Missouri's children.
 
Nicastro responded that she has a history with urban schools and that her record speaks for herself. She said others can do her job as well but that she's not sure the state could find anyone more willing and committed.
Published in Local News
Monday, 13 January 2014 15:22

Missouri Democrats outline tax cut proposal

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House Democrats are preparing to outline a tax cut proposal, despite their fierce opposition to a Republican tax plan last year.
 
Rep. Jon Carpenter, a Democrat from Kansas City, was expected to file legislation and release his plan to reduce state taxes on Monday.
 
Another Kansas City Democrat, Sen. Jolie Justus, has signaled that her party would be open to tax cuts under certain circumstance. She says it is a matter of who benefits from the cuts.
 
House Democrats voted last year against a Republican proposal to reduce individual and corporate income tax rates over 10 years. The GOP plan failed when the Legislature could not secure enough votes to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto.
 
Published in Local News
Monday, 13 January 2014 12:06

Missouri was in late running for Boeing

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Newly released documents show Missouri was in the running for a new Boeing assembly plant right up until the company decided to stay in Washington state.
 
Documents provided to The Associated Press on Monday under a Sunshine Law request show Boeing officials visited St. Louis on Dec. 28 to check out Missouri's proposal.
 
A follow-up visit was scheduled for Jan. 4. But that was cancelled after union members in Washington voted Jan. 3 to accept Boeing's contract proposal. The company then said it would build the 777X airplane there.
 
Boeing had not released a list of finalists for the project.
 
The documents show Missouri submitted three options to Boeing to assemble the wing or full plane at either of two locations near Lambert-St. Louis International Airpor
Published in Local News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A private education reform group is preparing to release its recommendations for turning around Missouri's unaccredited school systems, even as debate continues over whether the consultant was appropriately awarded the contract.

The Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust, or CEE-Trust, has been hired to come up with ideas that could be implemented in the Kansas City school district and potentially also in Normandy, Riverview Gardens or any other districts that become unaccredited. The Indianapolis firm will release its draft recommendations Monday to the State Board of Education.

Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro has been criticized by some teachers' unions and Democratic lawmakers for the way the consulting contract was awarded. One of the main complaints is that CEE-Trust's bid was nearly three times higher than the closest competitor.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Openings for the top job at Missouri state agencies no longer could mean an extended reign by a temporary leader under legislation proposed in the state Senate.

Missouri department directors chosen by the governor require Senate confirmation, but acting leaders do not. Two state agencies currently are led by acting chiefs, and Governor Jay Nixon this past week announced he was elevating two other acting directors to permanent positions.

Under the Senate legislation, state department directors would file a designation with the governor and the Legislature naming a deputy director who has the authority to exercise the director's powers during a vacancy. Acting directors could serve for 120 days.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Lottery has provided a larger-than-usual payment to public education because of stronger-than-usual sales.

The Lottery transferred $29.2 million to a state education fund Friday. That's the third largest monthly transfer in the Lottery's 28-year history.

Lottery officials cited strong Mega Millions sales in December for a $648 million jackpot. The Lottery also set a weekly record for distributed Scratchers tickets in December.

About one-quarter of every dollar of Lottery sales goes to public education programs. Slightly less than two-thirds of the proceeds go toward prizes.

The Missouri Lottery's largest monthly transfer to education was $30.4 million in April 2012, followed by $30.3 million in June 2013. In both instances, there were large jackpots in nationwide lottery games and strong sales for Missouri Scratchers tickets.

Published in Local News

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