Missouri Legislature

Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon believes there’s still hope for expanding Medicaid in the state, and feels that voters will strike down “right-to-work” legislation if the issue makes it onto the ballot. KSMU’s Scott Harvey has more on the Governor’s keynote address as part of the annual Jackson Day Celebration.

Landlords would not be required to disclose if a property was contaminated through the manufacture of controlled substances, given the site is properly cleaned. That’s according to a bill filed by a Springfield lawmaker in the Missouri House. KSMU’s Scott Harvey has details.

Conservative activists and elected officials from across the state will gather in Springfield this weekend for the Missouri GOP’s Lincoln Days festivities. KSMU's Theresa Bettmann has more.

The three day event takes place at the University Plaza Hotel and Convention center beginning Friday night with a reception dinner.  Matt Wills is the direction of communications for the Missouri Republican party.  He says this is a chance to celebrate accomplishments and highlight party goals. 

Around the turn of the 20th Century, the nickname Show-Me state was bestowed upon Missouri. And through the years, like so many other states, Missouri has compiled a rather interesting list of state designations. KSMU’s Scott Harvey tells us about the latest proposal that is turning heads.

A new link on the KSMU homepage called “Bill Tracker” hopes to easily inform Missouri citizens on the legislative session.  KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann spoke with its creators to find out more about this statewide resource.  

It’s been just over a week since the launch of the online tool, created by St. Louis Public Radio and modeled after a similar project created by MinnPost in Minnesota.  Brent Jones, the data and visualization specialist with St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon, says the hope with this user-friendly site is to further engage Missourians.

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In just over a decade, cell phone calls to 9-1-1 have nearly doubled in Greene County, rising from 40 percent to 77 percent.  That's above the national average.  While the volume of calls is increasing, state-wide funding for 9-1-1 is on the decline. Missouri is one of the only two states currently without wireless surcharge laws in place to fund the vital service. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has more.

As state lawmakers convened in Jefferson City Wednesday for the first day of the 2014 session, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called for the reauthorization of the Missouri Rx program during a stop in Springfield. KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports.

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Factoring in inflation, Missouri State University is $17 million behind in its operating budget since 2002, according to President Clif Smart.

Outlining the school’s priorities for the upcoming Missouri legislative session, Smart says that after years of declines in appropriations, MSU hopes to get a boost from the state for the second straight year.

Republican State Rep. Eric Burlison is again seeking to restore caps on damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits. KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports.

The Springfield lawmaker has pre-filed a bill that would restore the $350,000 cap. A similar bill was passed by the Missouri House during the 2013 regular session but died in the Senate.

“Without these reasonable limits, patients in Missouri are gonna continue to pay higher medical bills just to cover the costs of these frivolous lawsuits,” Burlison said.

Senator Dixon's office

A Republican state senator from Springfield is urging Gov. Nixon to release funds for Missouri’s public defender system. As KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports, Sen. Bob Dixon feels a failure to do so would undermine the legislature’s work to protect public safety.

The system provides representation for defendants who can’t afford lawyers.

Gov. Jay Nixon says his office will immediately release $215.2 million in funding for education, mental health and other priorities. But as KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports, just because some of the funding is being returned doesn’t mean lawmakers are satisfied.