JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has passed additional funding for Capitol repairs, design plans for a new facility at the state mental hospital and for the state parks system.
The measure was approved by a 29-4 vote on Wednesday. It would allow the state to spend $50 million on new Capitol windows and structural repairs, $38 million on a new state office building, $20 million for parks and $13 million to fund design plans at Fulton State Hospital.
Lawmakers moved forward with the additional funding last week after Gov. Jay Nixon's administration released an April financial report showing state revenue had increased by more than 11 percent from last year.
The spending plan now heads back to the House.
It looks like the last of the safeguards Missouri legislators had initially placed on casinos could soon be tossed out.
A bill now before the Senate would let the state’s 13 casinos issue short-term loans to gamblers, secured by the gamblers' bank accounts. The measure easily won approval in the state house last month.
Casino executives say they need to be able to provide credit in order to attract high-end gamers who don't want to carry large amounts of cash.
The measure would repeal the last of the safeguards that were in the original state law voters passed in 1992 when they legalized riverboat gambling. The rule requiring riverboat casinos to actually be on a boat on a river, and $500 loss limits have already been repealed.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has passed a bill that would allow designated school personnel to carry concealed weapons in school buildings.
The Senate voted 26-6 Thursday to pass the measure. It now heads back to the House for further consideration.
The bill would allow school employees to voluntary become "protection officers" if they have a valid concealed weapons permit and undergo training for the position.
The legislation would also lower the minimum age required to obtain a concealed weapons permit from 21 to 19. It would also allow firearms of less than 16 inches to be openly carried even in municipalities that have ordinances against it.
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.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - State employees could keep firearms in their vehicles on state property under a bill heard by a Missouri Senate committee.
The measure considered Tuesday by the Senate General Laws Committee would allow those employees to have a firearm in their car if it is locked and the gun is not visible.
The legislation would also increase penalties for convicted felons who use an illegal firearm while committing another crime. But the committee's chairman, Republican Sen. Brian Nieves, said he wants to take that provision out of the bill.
The House has already passed the measure, and Nieves said he wanted the Senate committee vote on it Wednesday.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Republican senators have made it clear that there will be no Medicaid expansion in Missouri this session.
The Republican-led Senate voted down a Democratic attempt Monday night to insert $890 million of federal funds into Missouri's budget to expand Medicaid eligibility to an estimated 260,000 lower-income adults.
The vote was just the latest in a series of similar defeats in the Missouri Legislature for the Medicaid expansion backed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and called for under President Barack Obama's health care law.
But this vote carried a bit more weight. That's because it ensured that neither the Senate nor the House version of the budget includes the Medicaid expansion. Under legislative rules, negotiators cannot insert money into the final budget that wasn't in either chamber's plan.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal firearms official says the agency never sought or received a list of Missouri concealed gun permit holders.
A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the agency was not involved in an effort by the Social Security Administration to obtain the information.
Missouri senators have publicized an email from a state crime analyst indicating that the Social Security Administration wanted a "comprehensive list" of concealed gun permit holders as part of a "joint venture" with the ATF.
But ATF spokesman Mike Campbell says there was no joint venture and his agency never asked for or received the Missouri information.
A Social Security official confirmed Wednesday that the agency had no plans to involve the ATF in its investigation.
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 Senate has passed legislation that would ensure that pharmacies could refuse to stock certain prescription drugs, such as emergency contraception.
The legislation passed the Senate by a 24-9 vote Thursday and now heads to the House.
Sponsoring Sen. David Sater is a Republican pharmacist from southwest Missouri who describes the legislation a business freedom issue. Sater says some states have mandated that birth control or emergency contraception be stocked by pharmacies. But he says a pharmacy - like a clothing store - should be free to sell what it chooses.
The bill was opposed by some Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, of Kansas City, cited concerns the bill could be used to limit access to birth control.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has passed a proposed change to the state's Constitution designed to strengthen gun rights.
The amendment would declare gun rights "unalienable" and compel elected officials in Missouri to defend against any infringement on the right to bear arms. It would also allow people to use firearms in defense of their families.
Senators voted 29-2 Thursday to send the measure to the House. It is sponsored by Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer, of Columbia. Missouri voters would need to sign off on the constitutional change if the measure passes the House.
The gun amendment is SJR14