JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House members have passed legislation that would require mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect to report suspicions directly to the state's Children's Division.
Currently, mandated reporters such as doctors, social workers and teachers must either report or "cause a report to be made" to the Children's Division when they suspect child abuse or neglect.
Supporters of the House legislation say that allows a mandated reporter to submit information to another person in his or her organization, who then decides whether to notify authorities.
The House legislation passed 150-0 and now will be considered by the Senate.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House wants to block the scanning and computer storage of personal documents needed to get a driver's license or state identification card.
Legislation given initial approval 141-14 on Wednesday would bar the Revenue Department from scanning documents needed for driver's licenses or concealed weapons permits. Documents that have been scanned would need to be destroyed.
The bill needs another vote before moving to the Senate, where members have criticized the driver's license procedure.
Previously, license clerks looked at applicants' documents, took a photo and printed the license. Under the new system, licenses are printed and mailed by a contractor several days after people apply. Revenue Department officials have said the new procedure makes licenses more secure and saves money.
Some Missouri senators are pressing the state's driver's license agency to stop collecting documents from people with concealed gun permits.
But the head of the agency said Wednesday he's reluctant to halt the practice.
Since December, clerks in Missouri's local license offices have been making electronic copies of concealed weapons permits for a state database of driver's license applicants. Concealed gun endorsements are noted on driver's licenses.
Some Republican lawmakers have expressed concern about the document database. During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Wednesday, Chairman Kurt Schaefer asked the Revenue Department to stop making and keeping copies of concealed gun permits.
Revenue Director Brian Long said he's unwilling to commit to that, because the scanned documents provide protection against fraud. But Long also said he will consider it further.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House Budget Committee has advanced legislation to abolish a tax credit of up to $750 a year for low-income seniors and disabled people who live in rental housing.
More than 104,000 renters were awarded the credit last year. The proposal would redirect $57 million saved by trimming the tax credit to state health, mental health and social services that may benefit seniors and the disabled.
The budget panel accepted public testimony and approved the legislation Tuesday. Generally, House Republicans were supportive and Democrats were critical.
The measure was factored into the proposed budget approved by the House, and it has been backed by Gov. Jay Nixon.
The Senate passed the bill last month.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri has approved legislation seeking to reinstate a cap on some damages in medical malpractice lawsuits after the state Supreme Court struck down the existing limit.
A 2005 law capped noneconomic damages in such cases at $350,000. It was part of a broader effort to curb liability lawsuits. The state high court ruled last summer that the cap is unconstitutional.
House members voted 93-62 on Thursday to pass legislation that attempts to impose the damages limit while avoiding the constitutional problem referenced by the court. It now goes to the Senate.
Supporters of limiting noneconomic damages contend it would reduce health care costs and help keep doctors in Missouri. Opponents say there is a fundamental constitutional right to a jury trial.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House members have approved a trio of measures that could reduce taxes for some businesses.
Representatives on Wednesday passed bills that would create new incentives for the construction of computer data centers and investors in high-tech, startup businesses. Both of those measures now go to the Senate.
The House also gave initial approval Wednesday to a bill that would gradually reduce the state's corporate income tax rate from its current 6.25 percent to 4.25 percent by 2016. The bill also would make Missouri's individual income tax brackets subject to annual inflationary adjustments, potentially reducing future taxes for some people. Another provision seeks to increase Missouri's tax collections from Internet sales.
All told, the measures could reduce Missouri's revenues by tens of millions of dollars annually.
The House opened debate Tuesday on the state's 2014 budget by defeating an effort to send the budget back to a committee in hopes of adding more than $900 million of federal funds to expand Medicaid for low-income adults.
The defeat of Tuesday's motion was almost a foregone conclusion in the Republican-led House, because the House Budget Committee had previously rejected the Medicaid expansion.
Democratic Gov. Jay was traveling Tuesday to suburbs of Kansas City and St. Louis to build public support for the Medicaid expansion.
The 2010 health care law signed by President Barack Obama calls for a Medicaid expansion, but a Supreme Court ruling last year made it optional for states.
A 2007 Missouri Supreme Court ruling had banned prosecutors in child sex abuse cases from using "propensity evidence," which is often used to show a suspect has a proclivity to do the alleged crime. The ruling made Missouri the most restrictive state in the nation by banning such evidence as prior convictions.
Representative John McCaherty, a High Ridge Republican, filed a bill that would allow prosecutors to use prior convictions, along with findings by the state Children's Services Division indicating that sexual abuse of a child did occur, even if there were no charges filed.
The measure has already cleared the House and is now in the hands of the Senate.
A 2008 law approved by voters requires investor-owned utilities to use renewable energy sources for gradually increasing amounts of their electricity generation. That law restricted how hydroelectric power could count toward the requirement.
The House bill (HB44) would allow all hydroelectric power produced in Missouri or owned by a Missouri power company to count starting in 2018. Beginning in 2021, hydroelectric power generated elsewhere could count.
The bill cleared the House Thursday on a vote of 95-46 and now goes to the Senate.
Sponsors of the 2008 ballot measure criticized the bill, saying it would reverse possible economic development benefits from the law.
Right now, prosecutions must start within 30 years after the victim's 18th birthday. The statute of limitations already does not apply to instances of forcible rape or forcible sodomy, attempted forcible rape or attempted forcible sodomy and kidnapping. The measure would allow prosecutions for child abuse at any time.
The House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee approved the legislation Monday.
Earlier this year, a state child sex abuse task force released a report urging lawmakers to eliminate the statute of limitations for first-degree statutory rape and first-degree statutory sodomy.
The House and Senate usually meet from Monday until mid-day Thursday each week. But with a mixture of ice and snow expected on Thursday, the Senate has decided to quit for the week around noon Wednesday -- early enough to give lawmakers time to get home before the weather hits.
The State House will also give members a chance to leave early, planning only a technical session on Thursday, in which no bills will be debated.