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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Health care workers could refuse to participate in procedures or research that violates their religious, moral or ethical principles under a measure passed by the Missouri House.

The House sent the measure to the Senate Tuesday with a 116-41 vote.

Workers seeking to invoke the so-called conscience protection would have to provide reasonable notice.

The measure would also bar discrimination against all medical personnel for opting out of certain procedures or research. It would apply to abortions, sterilizations, embryonic stem-cell research, assisted reproduction and contraception. Hospitals, clinics and medical or nursing schools also could refuse to perform procedures that violate the institution's conscience.

Some Democrats who voted against the bill said it could negatively impact patient safety.

House members approved similar legislation last year.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Officials who oversee Missouri's driver's licenses are assuring that none of the personal documents supplied by applicants are shared with a private contractor.

Revenue Department officials told a House committee Monday they began requiring documents such as birth certificates and concealed weapons endorsements to be scanned into a state computer system as part of an effort to deter fraud.

Lawmakers raised questions about the process after a southeast Missouri man filed a lawsuit last week challenging the new procedures.

Revenue officials said the digital copies of documents are kept by the department, and only basic information about the applicant is forwarded to a contractor that makes the licenses.

Several dozen lawmakers are backing a bill that would bar Missouri from keeping copies of the documents.
Published in Local News
REPUBLIC, Mo. (AP) - A southwest Missouri high school teacher says the state should add bass fishing as a high school sport.

Jim Huson, a teacher at Republic High School, says a proposal to add the sport will be on the spring ballot for high school administrators. He says bass fishing would become a sport if it gets approval from 50 percent, plus one, of the administrators.

KY3-TV reports approval would allow students to fish for state and national championships.

If approved, schools could have up to two boats with two students fishing in each boat. Teams would have a five-fish limit, and the team with the five heaviest fish wins.
Published in Local News
Sunday, 10 March 2013 07:47

Snow geese showing up in Missouri

TROY, Mo. (AP) -- Snow geese have been turning up in eastern Missouri in record numbers recently.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the snow geese have apparently been driven southeast to the St. Louis area by heavy snow in northern and western Missouri where they usually stop over on the way back to their nesting grounds in the Arctic.

Local experts estimate that in some cases as many as 50,000 of them have converged on a single field.

Wildlife biologist Eric Merritt says however that the influx won't last much longer. Merritt says the geese will be heading north again soon.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has approved legislation aimed at increasing the transparency of initiative petitions that bypass the Legislature to put proposed laws or constitutional amendments on statewide ballots.

Sponsors of the petitions must gather signatures from registered voters for their proposal to qualify for the ballot.

Under the House legislation, the secretary of state's office would offer a public comment period after a proposal is submitted. For those proposals that actually qualify for the ballot, the Joint Committee on Legislative Research would hold a public hearing.

The bill would also make it a misdemeanor to intimidate or obstruct someone who is trying to sign an initiative petition.

The House approved the measure Thursday on a vote of 151-3. It now moves to the state Senate.
Published in Local News
Thursday, 07 March 2013 15:30

Missouri House approves term limits

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has passed a term limits bill that would let lawmakers serve longer in the House or Senate but not spend more total time in the Legislature.

Currently, lawmakers generally are limited to eight years in the House and eight years in the Senate. A proposed constitutional amendment would let officials serve 16 years in the Legislature. The time could be spent entirely in one chamber or split between the two.

House members passed the measure 121-31 on Thursday, sending it to the Senate. The proposal would appear on the ballot if it passes the Legislature.

Backers of the proposal say the change would allow the Legislature to operate better. The advocacy group U.S. Term Limits says the proposal is an effort to "cling to office."
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon is opposing a tax overhaul plan backed by the Missouri Senate because it contains a sales tax increase.

Nixon said Thursday that the proposed one-half cent sales tax hike would be especially harmful to seniors and veterans on fixed incomes and also could also hurt working-class parents trying to provide for their children.

The bill given initial approval Wednesday night by the Republican-led Senate also includes a three-quarters of a percentage point decrease in the state income tax for individuals and businesses. That income tax cut would more than offset the sales tax hike, resulting in an estimated $450 million loss in state revenues once both tax changes are fully phased in.

The legislation needs another Senate vote before it can move to the House.
Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A federal judge has ordered a small library in southern Missouri to stop blocking access to websites related to Wicca and other minority religions, calling it a violation of patrons' First Amendment rights.

U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber issued the ruling Tuesday in St. Louis in a case involving the Salem Public Library.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued last year on behalf of Salem resident Anaka Hunter. Salem is a largely Christian community of 5,000 residents in the Missouri Ozarks.

The suit said Hunter was trying to do research at the library but filtering software blocked access to sites about things such as Wicca, a pagan religion that worships nature and involves witchcraft.

The library director declined comment Wednesday.
Published in Local News
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Laurence Bowers had 24 points and 11 rebounds in his final home game, contributing to a rough evening for old coach Mike Anderson's first appearance as a visitor and helping Missouri finish unbeaten at home with a 93-63 rout over Arkansas on Tuesday night.

Fellow senior Jabari Brown helped finish off the Razorbacks early with 13 of his 23 points in a dominant first half with the Tigers (22-8-11-6 SEC) leading 48-22. The third senior, Alex Oriakhi, had 10 points and eight rebounds and topped 1,000 career rebounds.

BJ Young had 27 points for Arkansas (18-12, 9-8), which shot just 31 percent in the first half while going 1 for 15 from 3-point range. The Razorbacks surrendered a season high in points.

Missouri finished 17-0 at home for its second unbeaten slate in five years. The Tigers shot 58 percent in the first half and 57 percent the rest of the way.
Published in Sports
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 16:18

Missouri's unemployment rate drops again

Missouri's unemployment rate continues to drop, but slowly.

January's rate dropped one-tenth of a point to 6.6 percent--which is the lower level in over four years.

A spokesperson for the Department of Economic Development says that Missouri's rate has been below the national average for 41 months. The national rate sits at 7.9 percent now.
Published in Local News

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