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Lawmakers Approve Ethanol Mandate, Tougher Sex Offender Penalties and Changes to Campaign Finance La

Today is the final day of the regular legislative session in Missouri. As KSMU's Missy Shelton reports, lawmakers already have dealt with most of the major issues that were before them.

An ethanol mandate, limits on the use of eminent domain, tougher penalties for sex offenders who abuse children...Bills dealing with each of these issues are on their way to the governor's desk.

On Thursday, one of the big issues lawmakers addressed was a 10 percent ethanol mandate for gasoline.

Republican Representative Bob Behnen of northern Missouri sponsored the ethanol bill.

He says ethanol production, which requires corn will increase because of his bill.

Other supporters of the legislation say it will lower gas prices.

Democratic Representative Joe Aull of eastern Missouri.

Only four House members voted against ethanol...On the senate side, opponents of the bill were more outspoken during debate.

Republican Senator Chuck Purgason of south central Missouri says lawmakers are wrong if they believe ethanol will drive down the price of gas and improve the economy.

The senate voted 29 to 4 to send the ethanol mandate to the governor.

Another issue on its way to the governor after debate on Thursday is tougher minimum penalties for sex offenders whose victims are younger than 12.

The bill sponsor is Republican Senator Matt Bartle of the Kansas City area.

He says even with the harsher penalties, it's still a parent's responsibility to keep their children safe.

The sex offender bill passed the House and Senate unanimously.

The other issue on its way to the governor's desk would change campaign finance laws.

Lawmakers in the House were split on the issue down party lines.

One of the major sticking points was a provision offered by a senate democrat that allows people to contribute unlimited amounts to candidates.

House Democrats like Representative Margaret Donnelly say removing campaign contribution limits doesn't help make contributions transparent.

But bill supporters say it goes a long toward improving the public's ability to see who is contributing how much to candidates.

Republican Representative Allen Icet of St Louis County.

All these bills, the ethanol mandate, tougher sex offender penalties and changes to campaign finance laws are on their way to the governor's desk.

The bills dealing with ethanol and sex offenders are two of the governor's priorities for the legislative session.