Nixon Comsiders Day Care Regulation Expansion
May 27, 2014

(AP) – Legislation pending before Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon would require new oversight of some unlicensed child care centers.
The legislation would require state workers to visit unlicensed facilities that receive federal money. It also would require the development of quality indicators that parents could use to evaluate the safety and caliber of child care centers.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports ( ) the legislation was prompted by changes in federal regulations. Missouri could lose more than $100 million in federal funding if it doesn’t increase oversight. It says the monitoring visits would apply to all child care centers, including about 3,900 in homes, churches and schools that are not currently inspected by state child care regulators.
The Missouri provisions would take effect no sooner than October 2015.

Missouri Lawmakers End Session, GOP Claims Victory
May 17, 2014

(AP) — Missouri lawmakers gave the OK for teachers to carry guns in the classroom Friday as they closed out a historic session in which they cut income tax rates for the first time in nearly a century, approved one of the nation’s longest abortion waiting periods and overhauled the state’s criminal laws for the first time in decades.

The final day of the 2014 session was generally anticlimactic, because many of the priorities of the Republican majority already had passed and some of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s top goals – particularly a Medicaid expansion – had long been presumed dead.

Yet lawmakers passed several additional state sales tax breaks for particular industries that Nixon said could “blow up” the budget. He said the legislature had “abysmally failed” and pledged to veto bills or cut spending.

Republican lawmakers defended the budget, touted the business tax breaks as a means of boosting the economy.

“This was a significant, substantive year,” said Republican House Speaker Tim Jones.

The biggest intrigue on the closing day was whether lawmakers would pass an even more expansive gun rights measure than the one allowing specially trained teachers and administrators to carry concealed guns. Republicans made one final push on a separate measure attempting to nullify unspecified federal gun-control laws, but Senate Democrats waged a filibuster against it until the 6 p.m. deadline to pass legislation had expired.

“We are pro-gun,” said Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence. But “this goes too far.”

That loss aside, Republicans rejoiced in their success at cutting taxes and targeting abortions, two long-held party priorities.

Democrats joined Republicans in touting the first overhaul of the state’s criminal laws since the 1970s, which Nixon allowed to take effect without his signature. There was also bipartisan support – and opposition – to successful measures that will ask voters to raise the sales tax for transportation and rewrite a 20-year-old education law by allowing local tax dollars to be used for students in some unaccredited districts to transfer to nonreligious private schools.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey called it a noteworthy year because of “the overwhelmingly bipartisan support for many priority bills.”

Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, who helped pass the criminal code overhaul, described it as a “standout” year in which “some amazing things” were accomplished. But she expressed frustration with passage of the tax cut and abortion bills.

Missouri’s 24-hour abortion waiting period would be lengthened to 72 hours – matched only by Utah and South Dakota – under a bill pending before Nixon, which he has denounced as an “extreme proposal.”

In the final hour of their session Friday, lawmakers approved sales tax breaks for fitness centers and several specific industries, including electric utilities and computer data centers. Business groups had unsuccessfully pursued the data center tax breaks for years while arguing that Missouri was losing the battle for new high-tech businesses to neighbors such as Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.

“This is a big deal. This is a true business economic develop bill here,” said Rep. Myron Neth, R-Liberty.

Gun Nullification Bill Doesn’t Make It
May 17, 2014

(AP) — Missouri’s Legislature failed to advance highly publicized legislation that sought to nullify some federal gun laws as its session concluded Friday, but it did send the governor a measure that could allow specially trained teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom.

Despite being a top priority that majority GOP leaders pledged would be one of the first bills passed this year, a dispute among Republicans ultimately derailed the attempt to void any federal law that “infringed on people’s right to keep and bear arms.”

Supporters were divided until the closing hours of session over how aggressive the measure should be in punishing federal agents who enforced unspecified gun laws. House sponsor Rep. Doug Funderburk, R-St. Peters, said it was difficult to come to a compromise that protected gun rights while easing the concerns of law enforcement groups.

“The problem is how to deal with a very fine line of language that isn’t overprotection but still has elements to keep our community safe,” he said.

The House adopted the final compromise and sent it to the Senate with less than 30 minutes remaining in the session. Democratic senators were able to stall for a vote for the remaining time.

Missouri Lawmakers Reach Final Day, adjournment set for 6 Tonight
May 16, 2014

(AP) – Missouri lawmakers are beginning their final day of work with many of their top priorities already accomplished and with little chance of success on several other high-profile items.

The Missouri Constitution sets a 6 p.m. Friday deadline to pass legislation.

Still pending on the final day are bills authorizing a bond issuance for public buildings and attempting to nullify certain federal gun-control laws.

But lawmakers already have enacted an income tax cut and passed complex measures overhauling the state’s laws on criminal penalties and unaccredited school districts. The Republican-led Legislature also has already voted to place a transportation sales tax on the ballot and lengthen Missouri’s abortion waiting period.

Some Democratic priorities already have been written off, including a Medicaid expansion and the restoration of campaign contribution limits.

Missouri Passes 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period Measure
May 15, 2014

(AP) – Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to legislation that would require a woman to wait 72 hours after first seeing a doctor before having an abortion.

The House voted 111-39 in favor of the bill Wednesday. The Senate approved it previously.

The bill would triple the state’s current one-day waiting period and make Missouri the third state to require a three-day wait, joining Utah and South Dakota.

It now goes to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who said he would act as he has on other abortion legislation. Nixon previously allowed abortion restrictions to become law without his signature.

Supporters say the extended waiting period gives a woman more time to think about the possible consequences of an abortion. Opponents say delaying the procedure increases the risks.


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