JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Republican state senator plans to hold hearings across Missouri to get public reaction to a new driver's license process that stores electronic copies of applicants' birth certificates and concealed gun permits in a state database.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer claims the procedures by the Department of Revenue are an invasion of privacy. During a hearing Wednesday, Schaefer aggressively quizzed department officials about whether they are trying to comply with the 2005 Real ID Act, which sets stringent proof-of-identity requirements.
Department officials insisted they are not. They noted that a 2009 state law prohibits compliance with Real ID.
Schaefer wants to hold public hearings across the state on the procedure. He says he won't give the driver's license administration any money until it can prove it's worthy.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - With less than six weeks left in the annual session, a gun-control bill has received its first hearing by a Missouri legislative committee.
The Senate General Laws heard testimony Tuesday on a bill requiring parents to notify their child's school if they own a firearm. It would also create crimes for improperly storing a firearm and for a parent failing to stop their child from possessing an illegal weapon.
The Republican-led committee did not take a vote and is unlikely to take action on the legislation in its current form.
Sponsoring Democratic Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, of University City, says it would help urban areas cope with juvenile gang violence. Opponents say the bill would infringe on gun rights and would not solve illegal firearm possession.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says he is making preparations to run for governor in 2016.
Koster, a Democrat, has served as attorney general since 2009 and previously was a state senator and local prosecutor. He has the potential to move up because Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon is prohibited by term limits from seeking re-election again.
Asked Tuesday by The Associated Press whether he will run for governor in 2016, Koster replied: "We are making the necessary preparations and building consensus around the state toward that end."
Koster's statement came a day after the campaign manager for Democratic State Treasurer Clint Zweifel said that Zweifel will not run for governor in 2016. He cited Zweifel's desire to spend time with his teenage daughters and avoid a contentious primary.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — More than 1,000 college students from across the country and abroad have descended on St. Louis this weekend in search of both inspiration and philanthropic generosity.
Former President Bill Clinton's philanthropic foundation is hosting the event at Washington University. Celebrities such as actors Matthew Perry and Jada Pinkett Smith and comedian Stephen Colbert (kohl-BEHR') joined Clinton at a series of workshops and panel discussions on topics ranging from world hunger and prescription drug abuse to the spiraling national debt.
Student participants say they feel both inspired and challenged by the business and civic leaders and human rights activists leading the discussions. Some are also using the opportunity to pitch service projects to potential donors gathered at the campus event.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - For the second time this week, residents in southeast Missouri felt the rumble of a small earthquake. But an expert says it's nothing to worry about - small quakes strike in the New Madrid seismic zone roughly 200 times a year.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the latest earthquake was centered near Caruthersville in the Missouri Bootheel, a magnitude 2.7 quake that struck at 7:27 p.m. Thursday. There were no reports of damage or injuries.
Two days earlier, another 2.7-magnitude quake was centered near Portageville, Mo.
Steve Horton of the Center for Earthquake Research and Information at the University of Memphis says the New Madrid seismic zone remains very active with small quakes. The New Madrid Fault Line was the location for massive quakes in 1811 and 1812.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Veterans moving to Missouri after leaving the military could immediately claim in-state tuition for public higher education under a bill passed by the state House.
The House voted 152-0 to send the measure to the Senate Thursday.
It would allow veterans to immediately claim the discounted tuition rate despite not having lived in the state previously. Typically, students seeking in-state tuition must reside in Missouri for 12 consecutive months before qualifying.
The measure is sponsored by Republican Rep. Charlie Davis, of Webb City. It also includes a provision that prevents university instructors from giving exams to National Guard members less than 24 hours after they return from training.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - People who fraudulently sign petitions for ballot initiatives could face stiffer penalties under legislation passed by the Missouri Senate.
Senators voted 30-3 Thursday for a bill that would make petition signature fraud a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of between $1,000 and $25,000.
Violators currently can face a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The legislation now goes to the House.
The proposed criminal charges also could cover petition circulators who use trickery to obtain signatures or who knowingly submit forms with false signatures.
Charges also could be filed against those who hire petition circulators and should have known that the circulators were committing fraud.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has passed a bill that would allow school districts to hire police resource officers.
Sponsoring Republican Rep. Sheila Solon, of Blue Springs, says the measure is part of efforts to keep schools safer after the Connecticut elementary school shooting that killed 20 children.
She says that school resource officers are considered county or municipal employees but her bill would allow school districts to hire them directly.
The bill would also strengthen the state's mandatory child abuse reporting laws by preventing supervisors from impeding a report.
The House voted 129-20 to the send the measure to the Senate Wednesday.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri has used a state budget reserve fund to improve its cash flow.
The Office of Administration reported that $175 million was borrowed from the Budget Reserve Fund in March. The state now has used $375 million during the current year. All the money will be repaid by May 15.
Budget Director Linda Luebbering said Tuesday the state regularly uses the reserve fund during March. She says those who receive tax refunds frequently file faster than those who owe additional taxes.
Officials also reported Tuesday that state revenues through the first three-quarters of the fiscal year have increased 8.3 percent compared with last year.
Individual tax collections are up about 5.3 percent and corporate income taxes are up 4.3 percent. Sales taxes are up less than 1 percent.
BENTON, Mo. (AP) - Two southeast Missouri teenagers missing since Saturday have been found in Mississippi.
The Southeast Missourian reports that 16-year-old Tyler Austin Crider and 15-year-old Hailey Nicole Haynes were found by police near Lexington, Miss., on Tuesday after the pickup truck they were in experienced trouble.
Scott County, Mo., Sheriff Rick Walter says the parents have been notified and were traveling to Mississippi to pick up the teens.
The teens left sometime after 10 p.m. Saturday. Tyler was staying at his grandparents' home near Sikeston at the time. His mother says he left a note on his pillow, then took a pickup truck registered to his grandparents and camping gear.
Hailey lives near Sikeston. Her mother says she left a note, too. Authorities believe Tyler picked her up.