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Thursday, 12 September 2013 14:17

Missouri loses arbitration with tobacco companies

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says the state has lost an arbitration case and will refund money it receives through a multi-state settlement with tobacco companies.

The attorney general's office says it is reviewing the order to determine how much Missouri will need to refund. The funds will be deducted from a payment the cigarette manufacturers make this upcoming April.

A three-judge arbitration panel sided with more than 30 cigarette manufacturers' claims that Missouri and several other states had failed to diligently enforce state tobacco laws in 2003 as was required in a 1998 legal settlement with 46 states. The tobacco settlement agreement was reached in 1998.

Missouri's share of the tobacco settlement was about $150 million in 2003.

 

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 16:24

Missouri Legislature override session roundup

Lawmakers in both the Missouri House and Senate continue to debate which of Governor Nixon's dozens of vetoes they will try to override. Here's what has happened so far:

AGENDA 21: Senate approves override

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have voted to override a veto of legislation barring state or local officials from adopting policies infringing upon private property rights and traceable to Agenda 21.

Agenda 21 is a nonbinding resolution adopted in 1992 by the United Nations that encouraged sustainable development. Its title is a reference to the 21st century, and it encourages changes in global consumption, management and conservation practices.

Senators supported the override 24-6 on Wednesday. It now moves to the House, where it originally passed 118-37.

Gov. Jay Nixon said the legislation would require a costly analysis by cities and governmental bodies to determine if a zoning ordinance can be traced to the resolution. Supporters say their concern is infringement of personal property rights without due process.

Foreign ownership of farm land: Senate approves override

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has voted to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of an agriculture measure.

The legislation includes changes to Missouri's animal abuse and neglect law and a longer maximum prison sentence for stealing livestock. It also would replace a prohibition on foreign ownership of farmland with a 1 percent cap.

Nixon had objected to the provisions on foreign ownership and animal abuse.

The Senate voted 23-10 Wednesday to override the veto, sending the measure to the House, where 109 votes are needed to override. The House passed the bill earlier 133-21.

Proponents of the bill contend changes to the animal abuse and neglect law are needed and that tougher punishment for stealing livestock could help combat cattle rustling.

Creation of an online database for worker's compensation claims: Senate approves override

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has voted to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of legislation calling for creation of an online database of workers' compensation claims.

Wednesday's 25-9 Senate vote sent the bill to the House, which passed it earlier this year with less than the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.

Under the measure, businesses could provide a potential employee's name and Social Security Number to identify the date of workers' compensation claims and whether the claim is open or closed.

Supporters say the bill would help businesses control workers' compensation costs. Nixon cited privacy concerns when he vetoed the legislation and called it "an affront to the privacy of our citizens."

Lawmakers override veto of funding for vocational school

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have voted to override a line-item budget veto of $1 million to help rebuild a vocational education school in northeast Missouri.

The House's 112-47 vote was the first taken Wednesday as lawmakers considered 33 vetoes by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. Senators then approved the override 28-5.

At issue is money targeted for the Pike-Lincoln Technical Center, which was damaged by a fire. Although the school had insurance, bill supporters said it was not enough to outfit the building with computers and make it accessible to people with disabilities.

Nixon said he vetoed the bill because of the source of the money. He said lawmakers want to pay for the repairs from a fund dedicated for the state school funding formula.

Shield law for volunteer health care providers: Senate approves override

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has voted to override a veto of legislation seeking to shield volunteer health care providers from lawsuits.

The measure would prevent civil damages against the volunteers unless there was a gross deviation from the ordinary standard of care or willful misconduct.

Supporters contend the bill would let doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others provide free health care for sponsoring organizations by protecting them against claims.

Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the legislation and said allowing coverage through the State Legal Expense Fund would encourage volunteerism and protect those who have been harmed.

Senators voted 25-9 on Wednesday to override the veto. The measure now goes to the House.

Bill would make it harder for fired workers to get jobless benefits: Senate approves override 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have voted to override a veto of legislation that could make it harder for workers to receive jobless benefits by expanding what counts as misconduct.

Jobless benefits can be denied to a worker who loses a position because of misbehavior. The unemployment legislation seeks to broaden it to include things like unapproved absences or the violation of a company rule.

The Senate voted 24-10 on Wednesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto. The legislation now goes to the House.

Nixon had said the legislation would broaden the definition of misconduct to cover activities occurring outside the workplace and work hours.

Lawmakers could vote through videoconferencing: Senate approves override

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has voted to override the veto of legislation allowing elected officials to cast votes remotely.

Currently, members of a governmental body comprised of elected officials must physically attend a meeting to vote. The vetoed legislation would allow them to vote through videoconferencing.

Senators voted 31-3 on Wednesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto. The legislation now moves to the House, where it encountered little opposition earlier this year.

Nixon said elected officials should be able to use technology to participate in meetings but should be expected to show up to cast a vote.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has voted to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of legislation calling for creation of an online database of workers' compensation claims.

Wednesday's 25-9 Senate vote sent the bill to the House, which passed it earlier this year with less than the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.

Under the measure, businesses could provide a potential employee's name and Social Security Number to identify the date of workers' compensation claims and whether the claim is open or closed.

Supporters say the bill would help businesses control workers' compensation costs. Nixon cited privacy concerns when he vetoed the legislation and called it "an affront to the privacy of our citizens."

Published in Local News

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed a major disaster declaration for 18 Missouri counties hit hard by last month's floods.

The floods that resulted from nearly two weeks of heavy rain caused widespread damage across the southern tier of the state and left at least three people dead.

The White House said in a news release that federal funding is available to help local governments and nonprofits recover. The counties that will benefit are Barry, Camden, Cedar, Dade, Dallas, Laclede, Maries, McDonald, Miller, Osage, Ozark, Phelps, Pulaski, Shannon, Taney, Texas, Webster and Wright.

Federal funding is also available for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Published in Local News

DEXTER, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri man who says he had sexual contact with as many 300 people since being diagnosed with HIV has pleaded not guilty to infecting another man with the virus.

David Mangum entered the plea Thursday. Stoddard County prosecutor Russell Oliver says more potential victims have come forward since Mangum was charged last week with recklessly infecting another with HIV, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Oliver says additional charges are expected. Mangum's attorney didn't return messages.

Court documents allege Mangum told detectives in Dexter, a small town in southeast Missouri, that he had unprotected sex with as many as 300 partners since he was diagnosed a decade ago. As many as 60 of those contacts allegedly occurred after he moved to Missouri from Dallas in 2011.

Published in Local News
Thursday, 05 September 2013 16:26

Missouri park to host Vulture Awareness Day

MINDENMINES, Mo. (AP) - A homely bird with a rather unappetizing diet will get its due when a southwest Missouri state park celebrates International Vulture Awareness Day.

The Carthage Press reports the staff at Prairie State Park in western Barton County has planned several activities for Saturday's observance, most of them aimed at children.

Vulture Awareness Day was started by bird conservation groups in England and South Africa. It's now observed by zoos, wildlife centers and other organizations around the world.

Prairie State Park specialist Dana Hoisington says vultures help keep the environment healthy by feasting on dead animals that other carnivores are unable to eat.

Along with vulture-related projects, park employees hope to attract a real vulture or two Saturday by placing a ripe carcass a careful distance from the visitors' center.

Published in Local News
Thursday, 05 September 2013 12:43

Lindbergh School District tops in the state

Some good news for one area school district.

For the fourth year in-a-row, the Lindbergh School District ranked tops in academic achievement in Missouri.

State education officials used data from the MAP test results to create the rankings. Students in the district in grades K-12 excelled in communication arts and math. Lindbergh High School had the highest score of any school in English-language arts. And three of Lindbergh's elementary schools ranked in the top 10 schools in the state.

The impressive performance led Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to label the district "Accredited with Distinction". 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has no plans to call a special legislative session to craft a new version of a bill cutting income taxes.

Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said Wednesday that trying to put together a new bill at the last moment would be an irresponsible approach to a complex issue.

Nixon vetoed a bill earlier this year that would cut income taxes. Lawmakers are to convene Sept. 11 to consider overriding that veto.

Republican House member T.J. Berry, of Kearney, was the sponsor of that bill. He had asked Nixon to call a special session to begin the same day as the veto session. Berry says lawmakers could correct problems Nixon noted in the legislation.

Holste says Nixon is willing to work on the issue during the 2014 session.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri teachers union says it is spending at least $100,000 on commercials urging state lawmakers to uphold the governor's veto of an income tax cut.

The Missouri chapter of the National Education Association says the TV and radio spots began running Tuesday and will continue for a week. The ads assert the tax cut would benefit "corporate special interests" while "stealing money from our schools."

Lawmakers are to convene Sept. 11 to decide whether to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto.

Supporters of the legislation have been running their own ads for weeks. They have been financed largely by nearly $2.4 million in contributions from retired investment firm executive Rex Sinquefield.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Parts of southern Missouri experienced flash flooding this past month. Now parts of northern Missouri are in a flash drought.

That's the phrase being used to describe the sudden onset of drought conditions due to a spike in hot, dry, sunny days with low humidity.

A U.S. Drought Monitor map released last week shows that about a dozen northern Missouri counties are in a severe drought, and moderate drought conditions cover almost the whole northern half of the state.

University of Missouri climatologist Pat Guinan says this may have been the driest August since 1984 in northern Missouri. But because of cooler conditions earlier this summer, he says most crops were in decent condition until the last 10 days of August.

Published in Local News

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