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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - Missouri House members began hearings today on how the state deals with failing school districts.

 

A bill passed by the Senate in February calls for allowing students enrolled in struggling schools to transfer to a better one within their home district. Only if students could not get into a better school in their home district, would they be allowed to transfer to another district. In those cases the unaccredited district would pay for some of the tuition.

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri voters would be asked to approve a one-cent sales tax for transportation funding under legislation endorsed by the state House.
 
The proposed constitutional amendment approved on Tuesday would appear on the November ballot if passed by the Legislature. It needs another affirmative vote in the House before moving to the Senate.
 
State transportation officials estimate the tax to generate about $800 million annually. It would need to be reauthorized by voters after 10 years to remain in effect. Ten percent of the funds raised would go toward local transportation projects.
 
Supporters say the penny tax is necessary for the state to maintain roads and bridges, and to finance new infrastructure projects. Opponents say the sales tax hike would disproportionately hurt low-income Missourians who may not frequently use roads.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri drivers would not have points assessed against their license for tickets issued by automated traffic cameras under legislation endorsed by the state House.
 
The House gave initial approval to the bill Wednesday that would regulate red-light and speeding cameras.
 
Photo traffic enforcement systems for Missouri municipalities have been the subject of ongoing court cases and many cities have temporary halted enforcement. The measure would require cities to meet certain standards in order to operate speeding or red-light cameras.
 
Supporters say the measure would streamline traffic enforcement across different municipalities and give guidance to the courts. Opponents say it circumvents the point system and could keep dangerous drivers on the road.
 
The bill needs one more affirmative vote before moving to the Senate.
Published in Local News
Thursday, 27 February 2014 15:48

Missouri House passes voter ID bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has passed legislation that would require voters to show photo identification at polling places.
 
The Republican-led chamber voted 103-50 in favor of a constitutional amendment that would authorize the voting requirement. The Missouri Supreme Court struck down a previous photo ID law as unconstitutional.
 
The House also passed a separate bill with specific details of how the voting requirement would work if voters approve the constitutional change. Under that bill, only government-issued and military IDs could be used for voting.
 
Republicans supported the measures and say they protect the integrity of elections and prevent fraud. Democrats opposed the voting requirement and say it would disenfranchise voters who are unable to obtain a photo ID.
 
Both measures now head to the Senate.
Published in Local News
Thursday, 27 February 2014 12:48

Missouri House approves tax bracket change

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has passed legislation that could lower the tax bill for many Missourians by linking the state's tax brackets to inflation.
 
A bill approved on a 146-4 vote would require Missouri's individual income tax brackets to be adjusted annually for inflation starting in 2015.  Legislative staff estimate that would reduce state tax revenues by $26 million when fully in effect.
 
Although state tax rates have changed over time, Missouri's top income tax bracket has been set at $9,000 since 1931. That means all income over that amount currently is taxed at the same 6 percent rate.
 
The tax-bracket legislation now goes to the Senate. It's one of several measures lawmakers are considering this year that would reduce state income taxes.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have passed legislation that would send federal agents to jail for enforcing some federal gun laws.
 
The Senate voted 23-10 on Thursday to send the measure to the House. It would declare any federal law considered by the state to infringe on gun rights to be null and void in Missouri. Federal agents enforcing those laws could face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
 
Courts have consistently ruled that states cannot nullify federal laws. But supporters argue the measure is necessary to protect law-abiding gun owners from intrusive federal regulations. Opponents say it wouldn't survive a court challenge.
 
Earlier this week, the Senate stripped a provision from the legislation requiring gun thefts to be reported within 72 hours.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri House committee is considering legislation that would change the ability of certain public employee labor unions to collect fees.
 
The Workforce Development and Workforce Safety Committee heard public testimony Monday on the measure its supporters call "paycheck protection."
 
If passed, the measure would go to the voters for approval. Sponsoring Rep. Holly Rehder, of Sikeston, says that would get around a likely veto from Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who vetoed similar legislation last year.
 
Rehder's bill would require annual written authorization in order for union fees to be automatically deducted from a person's paycheck. Unions would also need authorization to spend a person's fees on political activities.
 
Unions representing "first responders," such as police and firefighters, would not be affected under the measure.
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Governor Jay Nixon has set an August 5th special election to fill three vacant Missouri House seats.

Nixon announced the House election dates Friday, but he did not call for a vote to replace Senator Ryan McKenna, who he appointed in December as the state labor director.

The 120th House District has been vacant since Republican Jason Smith of Salem resigned in June upon winning a special election to Congress.

The two other House seats opened up in December. Democratic Representative Steve Webb, of Florissant, resigned while facing criminal charges. Republican Representative Dennis Fowler of Advance resigned when Nixon appointed him to the state Board of Probation and Parole.

The special election announcements come as Nixon is facing a lawsuit seeking to compel him to call the elections.

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Two alternative plans are expected to emerge from a Missouri House committee that has been looking at potential income tax cuts.
 
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote Tuesday evening on the legislation.
 
One plan would gradually reduce Missouri's top individual income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.3 percent. It also would phase in a 50 percent deduction for business income reported on individual tax returns. And it would increase the current tax deduction for lower-income individuals.
 
The other plan targets only businesses. It includes a similar business income deduction, as well as a gradual 50 percent reduction in Missouri's corporate income tax rate.
 
Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed an income tax cut last year and has again emphasized concerns about the effect on education funding.
Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A bipartisan committee of lawmakers has approved a plan to deal with Illinois' $100 billion pension problem. The measure now moves to the House and Senate for consideration.

The Associated Press confirmed with six members of the 10-member panel that they had signed the measure Monday after arriving in Springfield for a special session.

Leaders announced the plan last week. It comes nearly five months after a special committee was formed to tackle the problem.

The proposal pushes back workers' retirement age on a sliding scale, has a funding guarantee, adds a 401k-style option and reduces the employee contribution.

It also would replace the current 3 percent annual cost-of-living increases. Retirees would continue to receive that rate up to a certain amount of annuity payments, based on years of employment.

Published in Local News
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