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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) - People fired for missing work and not following company rules could have a harder time claiming unemployment benefits under a bill sent to Gov. Jay Nixon.

   The House voted 98-57 to pass the measure Wednesday. The Senate passed the same bill in February.

   Fired workers who engaged in "misconduct" at the workplace can be denied benefits under current law. But the legislation expands the definition of "misconduct" to include chronic absenteeism and "knowing" violations of an employer's rules. The current standard requires "willful disregard" of an employer's regulations.

   Supporters say many workers fired for reasons such as sleeping on the job are allowed to collect benefits under the current system. Opponents say the measure could deny benefits to people fired wrongly.

 
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Parents could give up newborn babies without legal consequences 45 days after birth under a bill given first-round approval by the Missouri Senate.

The measure endorsed Tuesday increases parents' "safe harbor" period from the current five-day window.

Parents of newborns can currently hand over a baby to medical professionals, firefighters, emergency medical technicians or law enforcement. The legislation would add pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes to that list.

Sponsoring Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Republican from Kansas City, says his measure would help protect children from being abused or neglected by parents unfit to care for their child.

His bill also includes a provision requiring students attending a public university to be vaccinated for meningitis if they live in on-campus housing and do not have religious objections.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation authorizing tax incentives for big-time sports events and some charitable donations.

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Nixon highlighted his support for the charitable tax breaks by traveling to a food bank in Cape Girardeau on Friday. He signed the sports incentives without comment.

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The sports legislation authorizes up to $3 million of tax credits annually for organizations that host amateur sporting events such as NCAA tournaments or Olympic trials. Lawmakers hope the cash will help Missouri compete with other states.

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The other bill reinstates tax credits for donations to food pantries, child advocacy centers and pregnancy resource centers that had expired in recent years. Nixon says the tax credits can leverage private donations to help "our most vulnerable citizens."

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Both bills were passed by the Legislature on March 13.

Published in Local News
Local governments may soon lose the power to ban smoking in casinos within their jurisdictions.

That's what State Rep. Bill Otto is proposing. The St. Charles Democrat is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit local smoking bans if smoking is still allowed at a competing casino within 75 miles.

If passed, the measure would prevent the St. Louis County Council from ending the casino exemption in the county's smoking ban -- a move that has been debated in the county council in recent weeks.
Published in Local News

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