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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Running afoul of Missouri's open government laws could carry a smaller financial penalty but no longer require proof the law was knowingly broken under legislation before a Senate committee.
Officials or agencies now can pay up to $5,000 for a purposeful violation and up to $1,000 for a "knowing" violation. The Senate legislation would reduce the amount of the lesser penalty to $100 and no longer require a violation be committed "knowingly" for there to be punishment.
Supporters say the changes would make enforcement of the Sunshine Law just like that of other statutes.
Organizations representing cities, counties and other local governments are critical. They question levying penalties against people who can be volunteers and who accidently violate an open meeting or public records requirement while serving their communities.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are considering an overhaul of the state's payday loan industry that would give borrowers more time to pay back a loan.
The legislation passed by the Missouri Senate last week also would stop borrowers from renewing a loan and would remove a cap on the amount of fees and interest lenders can charge.
Under current law, payday loans can be up to $500 and last from 14 to 31 days. Loans can also be renewed up to six times.
Sponsoring Representative Mike Cunningham of Rogersville says the cap is not necessary since loans can't be renewed, and that market forces would set the interest rates. The measure's opponents said the bill was a step in the right direction, but doesn't go far enough.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A potential Republican primary for governor is stirring anxieties among some party officials who want to patch over the divisions that have hurt Republicans in recent statewide elections.
At an annual Republican conference in Springfield this weekend, many party officials highlighted the need for unity.
That encouragement came as several Republicans already are positioning themselves for a potential 2016 gubernatorial campaign.
Catherine Hanaway already has announced her gubernatorial candidacy. Auditor Tom Schweich also is expected to run for governor, though he first faces re-election this year, and businessman John Brunner also is contemplating a gubernatorial run. All were networking among fellow Republicans at the convention.
Republicans have faced contentious primaries for U.S. Senate and governor in 2012 and 2008. Democrats ultimately have won those races.