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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has confirmed a longtime employee of the Missouri Department of Social Services to be the agency's new director.
 
Brian Kinkade has served as the department's acting director since last May and also was acting director from 2011 to 2012. With his confirmation on Thursday, Kinkade becomes the agency's permanent director.
 
Kinkade's tenure at the Social Services Department spans the past five gubernatorial administrations. He previously was the agency's deputy director and head of its divisions of Budget and Finance and Child Support Enforcement.
 
The Social Services Department oversees the state's Medicaid and other welfare programs.
 
He also served as executive director of the Missouri Public Service Commission and was a budget analyst for the state Senate Appropriations Committee.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have passed legislation that could lead to a reduction in jobless benefits for people laid off in the future.
 
The bill would make Missouri one of only a few states to link the duration of unemployment benefits to the state's unemployment rate.
 
Missouri workers currently can receive unemployment benefits for 20 weeks.
 
Under the bill, the full 20 weeks of benefits would be available only if the state's unemployment rate is at least 9 percent. The maximum duration of jobless benefits would be cut by a week for each one-half percentage point reduction in the unemployment rate - bottoming out at 13 weeks of benefits when the unemployment rate is less than 6 percent.
 
The Senate's 24-8 vote Thursday sends the bill to the House.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A bill revamping the management of Missouri's Medicaid program has been set aside after debate turned tense between two Republican senators.
 
Sens. Ryan Silvey and John Lamping engaged in a sometimes pointed discussion Wednesday during which they questioned each other's conservative ideology and rhetoric.
 
Silvey wants to expand health care coverage to thousands of low-income adults by tapping into an influx of federal Medicaid dollars available under President Barack Obama's health care law. The Republican from Kansas City says it can be done without busting the budget.
 
Lamping remains opposed to taking the new federal Medicaid money for expanded coverage. The Republican from St. Louis County says lawmakers need to stand firm against anything stemming from Obama's health care law.
 
The Senate legislation does not currently include Medicaid expansion
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri schools would be barred from electronically tracking students if legislation passed by the state Senate ultimately becomes law.
 
The legislation approved Thursday would prohibit public school districts from using "radio frequency identification technology" to track to location of students or transmit information about them.
 
The technology already is used to identify livestock and pets, track inventory for businesses and allow cars to pass by electronic toll readers without stopping to pay.
 
Republican Sen. Ed Emery, of Lamar, is sponsoring the bill banning the devices to track students. Emery said he's not aware of any Missouri schools that have sought to use the technology.
 
The Senate voted 27-5 for the bill, which now goes to the House.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri Senate committee has advanced legislation on student transfers and unaccredited school districts, clearing the way for debate by the full chamber.
 
The Senate Education Committee endorsed the bill Thursday. Committee Chairman David Pearce, a Republican from Warrensburg, says the vote is a huge step.
 
Numerous bills have been filed this year to address struggling school districts and a state law requiring unaccredited districts to pay tuition and transportation costs for students who transfer to a nearby accredited school. The law has led to financial problems for unaccredited districts and concerns among accredited schools about the number of transfers they must accept.
 
Students have transferred during the current academic year out of St. Louis County's unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts. The Kansas City district is also unaccredited.
 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have given first-round approval to legislation that would reward the state's four-year institutions for good performance with more funding.
 
Under the measure endorsed Tuesday, public universities would establish performance criteria. The criteria would be used to determine how much extra money the institutions get during years the state can afford to increase college funding.
 
Universities would work with the Department of Higher Education to establish five performance goals. A university's goals must include graduation and retention rates, as well as job placement statistics. The formula would expire in 2016.
 
Missouri is currently using a similar mechanism to fund the universities but the measure would put the change into law.
 
The bill needs another vote before moving to the House.
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 16:38

Senate bill would allow US to resume Egypt aid

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Senate panel has approved a bill that would allow the U.S. to restore its full aid relationship with Egypt.
 
   Wider congressional support for the measure is unclear.
 
   The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's bill, passed Wednesday, softens the American ban on assistance to governments suffering coup d'etats. It allows the president to waive the restriction for up to a year on national security grounds.
 
   For Egypt specifically, President Barack Obama has a waiver option through September 2015.
 
   However, the bill requires the administration to make a coup determination within 30 days of a questionable government change. Obama's aides avoided such a decision after the Egyptian Army's July overthrow of the country's Islamist president, citing the risk to important military programs.
 
   The administration suspended much of the aid in October.
Published in National News
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:53

Missouri Senate passes tax incentives for Boeing

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have passed legislation offering up to $1.7 billion of incentives over two decades for Boeing to assemble a commercial airplane in St. Louis.

Senators passed the bill 23-8 Wednesday while meeting in a special session called by Gov. Jay Nixon. It now goes to the House.

Missouri is one of more than a dozen locations invited by Boeing to bid on assembling the new 777X airplane.

Most other states are crafting their proposals privately. But Nixon called a special session because he wanted to offer more incentives than currently allowed under state law.

Under Missouri's plan, the amount of incentives Boeing gets would depend on the number of jobs created.

Supporters say the Boeing project includes 2,000 to 8,000 company jobs, plus thousands of more at its suppliers.

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

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate adjourned its fall session today without voting on tax breaks for Archer Daniels Midland Company or the newly merged OfficeMax and Office Depot.

Sen. Tom Cullerton is sponsor of the bill to give up to $53 million in tax breaks to Office Depot Inc., which emerged from the merger of Naperville-based OfficeMax and Florida-based Office Depot.

He expects lawmakers will return to Springfield in December to deal with the state pension crisis. Cullerton says some legislators wanted to wait to give out tax breaks until after they'd passed pension reform.

Sen. Andy Manar is sponsor of the ADM bill. He says he feels progress has been made on the $30 million ADM bill.

The incentives are aimed at getting the companies to keep their headquarters in Illinois.

 

Published in Local News
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