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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri is adopting new wage requirements for construction projects on public roads and buildings.

Gov. Jay Nixon said Friday that he will allow a bill changing prevailing wage rates to take effect as law without his signature.

The prevailing wage essentially is a special minimum wage for public works projects. It's determined for each construction trade on a county-by-county basis according to voluntary surveys about wages.

But Republicans claim it leads to artificially high wages in rural areas when union rates get used.

The legislation divides the wage surveys by union and non-union contractors in rural counties, and bases the prevailing wage on whichever group reports more work hours. It also allows prior years' wages to be used when no surveys are returned.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation that seeks to set up scholarships to help special-needs children get services from private facilities or other public schools.

The measure requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to seek grants and donations to be used for the scholarships. The measure, called "Bryce's Law," is named after the 6-year-old autistic grandson of the legislation's sponsor, House member Dwight Scharnhorst. Bryce died of epilepsy in 2007.

Initially, the proposal was for a voucher-like initiative that would offer state tax credits for charitable contributions to provide scholarships for children to attend private centers. The revised version was added to a broader education measure this year.

Nixon signed the legislation Thursday.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation that included designating part of Interstate 70 as "Graham's Picnic Rock Highway."

Nixon said in his veto message Thursday that the name refers to the Dr. Robert Graham, who owned the farm where the large rock is located.

The rock can be seen in the median of Interstate 70 roughly halfway between Columbia and the St. Louis region.

The governor said a popular outing during the 1880s was to drive horses and buggies to the rock for a picnic. But the rock also has been called "slave rock," which Nixon says comes from a belief that slave auctions occurred at the site.

Nixon says the highway designation would have elevated one part of the site's history above the others.

Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed legislation that would have expanded an infrastructure surcharge for gas companies.

   Gas utilities have been allowed to seek approval from the Public Service Commission to levy a surcharge for infrastructure replacements. The charge is levied between formal rate cases, and the gas companies must file for a more involved rate case every three years.

   The legislation would have required full rate cases every five years and would have increased the cap on how much gas companies could collect through the surcharge.

   Nixon said the legislation also would have allowed companies to recover from customers much of the uncollectable debt from customers who do not pay.

 
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed seven bills dealing with the military and veterans.

Nixon was promoting four of the measures Wednesday during events in Springfield and Cape Girardeau.

One of the bills could help veterans qualify for lower in-state tuition rates at Missouri's public colleges and universities immediately after they leave the military.

Veterans with an honorable or general discharge will be required to "demonstrate presence and declare residency" to receive in-state tuition. Students currently must live in Missouri for 12 consecutive months, obtain a Missouri driver's license and earn at least $2,000 during a 12-month period.

Other newly signed measures are designed to help the state treasurer identify the owners of military medals that are unclaimed property and deal with voting by those overseas and in the military.

 

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation allowing parents more time to give up newborns, requiring screening for a heart defect and dealing with mandatory reporters of child abuse.

Nixon held a bill signing ceremony Tuesday at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

The legislation will permit parents up to 45 days instead of the current five days to give up their babies. And starting in 2014, screening for critical congenital heart disease will be required for infants.

Another newly signed bill seeks to close a loophole for child abuse reporting. Mandatory reporters suspecting child abuse or neglect currently must "immediately report" or "cause a report to be made." That means reporters can pass the information to another person in their organization. Information will now go directly to state officials.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation that prohibits welfare recipients from using such funds at liquor stores, casinos or strip clubs.

The legislation also bars recipients from using cash benefits to buy anything marketed for adults while increasing penalties for people who are convicted of spending benefits improperly. The newly signed law brings Missouri into compliance with federal restrictions on purchases using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families electronic cash benefit cards.

Nixon said Monday the legislation ensures assistance for those in need is provided in a proper manner.

Supporters said the measure would help to prevent fraud and abuse in the welfare system. Critics had said it would create unnecessary restrictions on where people can buy food.

Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Governor Jay Nixon is requesting a federal major disaster declaration for severe storms that struck Missouri from May 29th to June 10th.

   The storms included one that spawned a tornado in the St. Louis area and others that caused widespread flooding.

   Nixon's request Wednesday is for public assistance to 30 counties statewide from Barton County on the border with Kansas to St. Louis County. The governor also is requesting individual assistance for Callaway, Lincoln, Montgomery, Osage, Pike, St. Charles and St. Louis counties.

   Public assistance allows local officials to seek aid for response and recovery efforts. Individual assistance allows households to seek federal aid for uninsured losses.

 
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation aimed at keeping the names of people who committed offenses as juveniles off Missouri's public sex offender registry.

The governor said Wednesday the legislation is too broad and would apply to anyone regardless of the crime that was committed. Nixon says crime victims would have been deprived the chance to be heard before someone's name is removed from the public websites, which are aimed at protecting the public.

The vetoed legislation also ultimately would have allowed juveniles to petition the court for removal from the sex offender registry.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a pair of bills that he says would have imposed new mandates on governments to solve problems that don't exist.

   One of the bills vetoed Monday would have banned public entities from restricting celebrations or discussions of federal holidays. Though it could have protected religious-oriented holidays such as Christmas, Nixon said it also could have hampered efforts to enforce fireworks ordinances around Independence Day.

   The other vetoed bill would have forbidden governments from enacting policies traceable to Agenda 21 -a nonbinding resolution adopted in 1992 by the United Nations that encouraged sustainable development.

   The Democratic governor said both bills passed by the Republican-led Legislature attempt to fight imaginary problems but could have caused real headaches for officials in local communities.

 

Published in Local News

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