Missouri House Members Work on Ethics Bill
February 2, 2015

(AP) – Members of a Missouri House committee say they support changes to the state’s ethics laws but further clarification is needed.
State representatives pointed out potential problems with some ethics bills at a committee hearing Monday.
Lawmakers say blanket limits on lobbyist gifts need to have a clear time frame or other parameters. They also say it may create problems for lobbyists married to lawmakers or staff members.
Government Oversight and Accountability Chairman Jay Barnes, of Jefferson City, says some of the bills may be amended to deal with issues pointed out by the committee.
Other bills discussed included a one-year cooling-off period before a lawmaker can start lobbying, faster disclosure requirements for campaign contributions larger than $500 and a ban on lawmakers serving as campaign consultants for others

Koster Defends Himself in Conflict Hearing
December 8, 2014

(AP) – A law enforcement interview with a key witness doesn’t appear to be included with thousands of pages of documents released after a grand jury decided not to indict a Ferguson police officer in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The Associated Press reviewed more than 5,700 pages of documents released by St. Louis County prosecutors. It doesn’t appear that the documents include a transcript or a recording of a two-hour FBI and county police interview with Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown when he was shot. The discrepancy was first reported by KSDK-TV.

The documents include seven video clips of Johnson’s media interviews, as well as a transcript of his testimony to the grand jury that investigated the shooting. The transcript notes that jurors listened to a recording of an Aug. 13 interview of Johnson by the federal and county investigators, but documents released to the public don’t appear to include a separate transcript of that August interview.

“If it’s not there, it’s not there,” Ed Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, said Monday. “I don’t know what was released.”

Medicaid Meeting Is Off After Nixon and Lawmakers Can’t Agree Where to Meet
November 20, 2013

Post Dispatch:

JEFFERSON CITY • A planned summit between Gov. Jay Nixon and legislators studying Medicaid has been canceled because of a disagreement over the meeting’s format.

In a letter released today, Nixon accused Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington, and Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, of politicizing the meeting, which was set for Nov. 26. Nixon said he would not participate in “a political game.”

Romine and Barnes said in a letter to the governor today that they planned to convene the meeting as a joint hearing of their interim committees on Medicaid reform. They said it would be held in the ornate House Lounge in the Capitol and would be open to the public.

The governor would have been the only witness, according to the legislators’ letter. After his “opening address,” committee members could have asked Nixon questions.

Legislators wanted to “make sure we have the opportunity to have that question-and-answer time,” Romine said in an interview. He said they wanted to avoid a situation where Nixon simply made a speech and left the room.

“We were very serious about having a good format and setting to have a good discussion on it,” Romine said.

More: http://www.stltoday.com/news/special-reports/mohealth/governor-cancels-medicaid-meeting-after-spat-over-format/article_d700eea0-b892-52b4-bf47-bb26184dea53.html

Missouri Lawmakers Looking at Alternative Medicaid Expansion Plan
November 7, 2013

(AP) – The chairman of a special Missouri House panel outlined potential Medicaid changes Wednesday that could expand coverage to lower-income adults while reducing it for children and eventually saving the state millions of dollars.

The detailed cost estimates presented by state Rep. Jay Barnes assume that Missouri would expand its Medicaid eligibility to a level sufficient enough to trigger a lucrative influx of federal money – something his fellow Republicans repeatedly rejected earlier this year.

The projections also assume Missouri would reap savings by ending Medicaid coverage for tens of thousands of children living in lower-to-middle income families – something that has faced resistance from both some Democrats and Republicans.

Barnes did not have an estimate of how many people could be removed from the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, but he said: “There would be a substantial reduction in eligibility.” Some lawmakers appeared uneasy about that possibility.

“I would just as soon take care of the kids,” said Rep. Sue Allen, R-Town and Country, a member of the interim committee and chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee for Health, Mental Health and Social Services.

Barnes, of Jefferson City, stressed that the potential changes weren’t a formal proposal but rather a starting point for discussions by the House Interim Committee on Medicaid Transformation that he leads. The panel is to meet again later this month as it tries to develop recommendations for the 2014 legislative session.

KC School Take Over Bill Still Alive
May 15, 2013

kids at school(AP)–The Missouri House approved legislation Tuesday that could allow state education officials to intervene more quickly in struggling districts, like the Kansas City Public Schools, while expanding the menu of actions to possibly take.
Currently, school districts that lose accreditation have two years before state education officials can step in. The legislation passed by the House would eliminate the waiting period and expand the options for governing the unaccredited district. The state Board of Education could prescribe conditions under which the existing local school board can continue to oversee the struggling district, establish a special administrative board, merge the district with neighboring ones, split the district into several new ones or design an alternative structure.
However, there would be a time limit for local school board members to demonstrate improvement. State education officials would need a different approach if an unaccredited school district has not regained accreditation after three school years or if the state Board of Education determines after two years that the school system is not on track toward earning accreditation.
Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said the measure “allows state Board of Education to have more flexibility in helping struggling school districts turn their situation around.”
House members approved the legislation 107-49, and it now returns to the state Senate where lawmakers have passed similar legislation this year. Lawmakers have until the end of the day Friday to pass the same version of the legislation before their mandatory adjournment. If approved by the Legislature and signed into law, the measure would take effect in late August.
Missouri has two unaccredited school districts. The loss of accreditation for the Normandy School District in St. Louis County became effective in January, and the Kansas City School District has not been accredited since Jan. 1, 2012. The Kansas City district is to lapse June 30, 2014.
Lawmakers considered similar legislation last year, but it bogged down amid political jockeying over an effort by some House members to push for broader changes to the state’s education system.
A similar effort this year stalled the education legislation last week after House members rejected an effort to include changes to educator evaluations. The education measure was approved after lawmakers removed the evaluation portion.
In addition to school accreditation, the legislation also would allow teachers in St. Louis who have tenure to be fired for “incompetency.” Supporters say the change would align the standards in St. Louis with those elsewhere in Missouri.