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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are seeking to allow new charges on cellphones and wireless devices to help improve the state's 911 system.

Public safety officials say many counties cannot identify the location of someone who uses a cellphone to call 911.

Legislation advancing this year would establish a 3-percent charge on prepaid wireless devices. Proceeds would go for the poison control center and for counties to improve 911.

The proposals also would give counties a new 911 funding option by permitting a monthly fee on devices that can contact 911. The fee would be capped at $1.50 and require voter approval. Counties currently can assess a fee on landline phones or a sales tax. Counties would not be permitted to combine funding options.

Published in Local News
St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - The Missouri Senate has endorsed legislation that declares the paper ballot as the official ballot of Missouri elections.
 
It needs one more Senate vote before moving to the House. The bill would require local elections authorities to phase out the use of some electronic voting machines. Under the bill, voters could only use electronic machines that produce a paper trail of marked votes.
 
All other types of electronic voting machines currently in use for elections could still be used, but could not be replaced once they malfunction.
Published in Local News
Thursday, 27 February 2014 15:44

Missouri Senators pass "border war truce"

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have passed legislation proposing a truce with Kansas in the battle for businesses in the Kansas City area.
 
The bill approved 30-2 Thursday would end offers of special tax incentives for businesses to relocate from one side of the border to the other in the metropolitan region.
 
The measure now goes to the Missouri House. But the truce also would need approval from the Kansas Legislature or governor to take effect.
 
Over the past five years, Missouri and Kansas have collectively waived hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenues for businesses that moved across the state line.
 
The Missouri legislation would bar incentives for businesses moving between the Missouri counties of Jackson, Clay, Platte and Cass and the Kansas counties of Wyandotte, Johnson, Douglas and Miami.
 
Published in Local News

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.

Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois lawmaker wants tax soft drinks as part of an effort to promote healthy living.
 
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers reports the legislation is being sponsored by Sen. Mattie Hunter, a Chicago Democrat.
 
Her proposal would charge a penny-per-ounce surcharge on sugary drinks that are sold in sealed containers.
 
Money generated from the levy would be used to pay for a variety of health services and educational efforts.
 
But Hunter's plan is already drawing criticism from the Illinois Coalition Against Beverage Taxes. The group is an alliance of manufacturers, retailers and union workers. They say taxing sodas would hurt the economy and cost the state jobs.
 
Other states have a similar tax, but previous efforts haven't been approved in Illinois.
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers could clear up a legal thicket entangling communities' red light cameras while also applying the brakes to cameras designed to nab speeders.

State approval would be required for speed or red light cameras on state highways, and communities seeking to place them elsewhere would need to follow specific requirements. Speed cameras on local roads would be limited to school zones, work zones and areas where serious traffic accidents are excessive.

Legislation endorsed by a House committee also seeks to address recent court cases over red light cameras. Appeals courts have focused on how points are assessed for violations caught by red light cameras.

The bill would specify that traffic infractions captured by speed or red light cameras would not lead to points on a motorist's driving record.

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 16:37

Missouri Senate delays debate on tax cuts

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has delayed a debate on tax cuts while negotiations continue with Gov. Jay Nixon's office.
 
Senators had been expected to debate legislation Wednesday that would cut income taxes for individuals and many businesses.
 
But Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard said that debate will wait until next week to give more time for the Republican sponsor of the measure to try to work out a compromise with the Democratic governor's office.
 
Nixon vetoed an income tax-cut bill passed last year, citing technical problems and concerns that the measure could drain money available for public schools.
 
Richard said negotiations are focused on the dollar amount of the proposed tax cut and whether it should apply both to individual and businesses that report income on individual tax returns.
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri education officials are digging into proposals to help struggling school districts.

Three Missouri districts, including Kansas City, are currently unaccredited, and a 2013 law gave the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education more power to intervene in struggling school systems.

More than a half-dozen improvement plans have been submitted by school districts, education organizations and the Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust, a private school reform group under contract with the state.

The State Board of Education scheduled a work session on the proposals Monday. The education department plans to present its recommendations to the board on Feb. 18.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — More than 80 Missourians are serving sentences of life without parole that the U.S. Supreme Court says are unconstitutional because they were juveniles at the time of their crime.

A Missouri state senator has introduced legislation that would allow those 83 people convicted of first-degree murder to receive a new sentencing hearing.

The measure would allow those older than 16 to serve life without parole or a 50-year minimum sentence. Offenders younger than 16 could also spend their lives behind bars or be eligible for parole after 35 years.

In 2012, the high court said states can't automatically impose life without parole sentences for juveniles. It said states must account for differences between juveniles and adults when sentencing them for murder.

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri Senate committee is working through ideas for addressing struggling school districts and a law that forces unaccredited districts to pay for students to transfer.
 
   The Senate Education Committee examined legislation this week sponsored by its chairman, Republican David Pearce of Warrensburg. The panel focused last week on a proposal by several St. Louis-area senators, and Pearce says there will be hearings on other proposals in the next two weeks.
 
   Pearce says the committee needs to decide what is important to include in a bill. Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey said Thursday he would like the full chamber to start debate on a proposal in mid-February.
 
   Pearce's measure provides partly for creating a statewide "achievement district" to manage underperforming schools in unaccredited districts.
Published in Local News
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