With 48 hours to go,here's where things stand in the Mo

By Esther Warren,2014-06-23 14:03
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With 48 hours to go,here's where things stand in the Mo



    Collected/Archived for Thursday, May 12, 2011 -- Page 1 of 50

With 48 hours to go, here's where things

    stand in the Mo. legislature


    JEFFERSON CITY | As Missouri’s 2011 legislative session slouches toward adjournment on Friday, most of the action is taking place off the chamber floors.

    The one big topic remaining: economic development and tax-credit reform.

    The House and Senate apparently are miles apart on what new development incentives they want, and what cuts to existing programs they’re willing to stomach.

    The short version: The House wants a more new incentives, less cuts and opposes Gov. Jay Nixon’s plan to consolidate several programs into one. The Senate wants basically the opposite.

    They’re in agreement on some key provisions, though. Both sides favor the ―Aerotropolis‖ package of incentives

    for the St. Louis airport and MoSIRA, the program that will set aside taxes collected from high-tech businesses to encourage growth in that sector.

    The discussion has been happening behind closed doors for a couple weeks now, but negotiations have ramped up since the day began.

    As evidence of progress, the House agreed this afternoon to go to conference on the Senate’s version of the package. That’ll allow the two sides to formally strike a compromise and, if they actually do compromise, to cast

    final votes on the package.

    The House also loaded up another bill with their preferred version of the package. That one will continue cruising through the process, although time is working against it at this point.

    Here’s the long version, with more detail on the package and the points of contention:

    Historic preservation tax credits, awarded for the rehabilitation of old buildings, drain more than a hundred million dollars a year from state revenues. The Senate position would cap the program at $75 million a year, while the House would prefer a $115 million cap.

    Low-income housing tax credits are in a similar situation. The Senate package caps them at $80 million, but the House wants them limited to $110 million.

    Nixon’s Compete Missouri program, which consolidates several existing credits and gives the state’s Department of Economic Development more flexibility in awarding the credits, is favored by the Senate but seen as a nonstarter in the House.

    On the Aerotropolis package, meanwhile, the House and Senate are in agreement on tax credits that would offer a total of $60 million in tax credits for air-freight companies and $300 million in credits for warehousing at the St. Louis airport over 15 years. The objective is to turn the airport into a hub for international shipping that could link this country’s agricultural heartland with markets in Asia and South America.

    Both sides also like MoSIRA, which would pull a percentage of taxes collected on high-tech businesses and set it aside for reinvestment in scientific industries. A key concession in the Senate was that the state funds used in the program would be ―subject to appropriation‖ — that is, at the discretion of lawmakers.

    The packages also contain measures meant to benefit the Kansas City area.

    Business leaders in the city are pushing hard for a set of incentives to keep firms from taking their operations across the state line to Kansas.



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A separate measure would create tax incentives to attract data centers the vast warehouses where tech firms

    keep the servers and other hardware that make the internet work. Several areas across the state are seen as ideal sites for the centers, including some in the Kansas City area.

    If the bill is to pass, lawmakers must reconcile their differences soon. The session adjourns for the year at 6 p.m. Friday.



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Missouri pushes tougher abortion law

    Measure would stop doctors if fetuses found viable after 20 weeks.

    11:00 PM, May. 11, 2011

    Written by Roseann Moring News-Leader

    JEFFERSON CITY -- The General Assembly is poised to further tighten Missouri's abortion laws to some of the strictest in the country.

    A bill almost through the legislative process would place hurdles in the way of doctors who perform abortions after 20 weeks, based on the belief that some fetuses are viable after that point.

    But opponents say that's not based on science or facts.

    A handful of states have passed similar bills this year and about 15 more are considering it. Republican leaders in both Missouri chambers pushed for the bill as a way to decrease abortions. "We can talk about protecting life, or we can talk about slaughtering life," said House Floor Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka.

    The bill would require that doctors determine whether a fetus is viable before performing an abortion of a fetus after 20 weeks. If the fetus would be found to be viable, the doctor would not be allowed to perform the abortion, except in a medical emergency.

    If the fetus would be found not to be viable, the doctor would have to get a second opinion before performing an abortion and file the decision with the state.

    Very similar versions of the bill have passed both chambers, and both sides say they intend to pass a final bill before the end of the legislative session at 6 p.m. Friday.

    Anti-abortion groups say increasing restrictions will decrease the frequency of abortion.

    Samuel Lee, a lobbyist for Campaign Life Missouri, said the key is the additional verification. He said it's simply "adding more layers of oversight." Lee also said he likes the stricter definition of the exemption for the health of the woman.

    "This tightens that up," he said.

    Thomas Long, R-Battlefield, lauded the bill during floor debate.

    "What the bill does ... is protect the most precious and innocent of life," Long said.

    But abortion rights groups said this erodes the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion, and they are looking at whether further restrictions could hold up in court.

    Paula Gianino, CEO of the southwest Missouri Planned Parenthood affiliate, said this bill applies to very few abortions that are currently performed in the state. She said it would put hurdles in the path of low-income women and could potentially delay a life-saving procedure.

    She also said she believes similar but not identical moves in other states by anti-abortion groups are a way to get the issue to the courts.

    "This is a concerted, a very strategic effort by anti-abortion groups to try to confuse the public," she said. She cited medical research that says fetuses are not viable at 20 weeks.

    If the General Assembly passes the bill, it goes to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. He has not indicated whether he'll sign it.



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House OKs agriculture bills

    With 2 days left, Senate will tackle issues

    Jimmy Myers St. Joseph News-Press

    POSTED: 10:43 pm CDT May 11, 2011UPDATED: 11:04 pm CDT May 11, 2011

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. Two nearly identical omnibus agriculture bills that aim to protect farmers have passed through the Missouri House, with only two days remaining in the legislative session. Rep. Casey Guernsey, R-Bethany, said the passage of the House and Senate versions of the agriculture-related bills complete his top objectives this session. The Senate will have to sign off on one or both before the issues advance to the governor.

    At the top of his list were provisions to deter another situation like what happened in Gallatin, Mo., where farmers weren’t paid for grain stored in a large elevator. The bill would require operators to have and maintain current assets at 100 percent of current liabilities. Among other requirements, the grain sale and storage bill, which is included in the omnibus bill, increases the minimum surety bond requirement for licensed dealers from $20,000 to $50,000 and the maximum from $300,000 to $600,000.

    ―Right to farm‖ language, though mostly symbolic, also made it in the omnibus bill, but Mr. Guernsey said it

    addresses attacks on agriculture from animal and environmental rights activists and trial lawyers. ―We’re in a defining point for nearly every facet of the agricultural industry,‖ he said. ―There are certainly opponents that are going to exploit every opportunity ... they’re picking away at Missouri’s No. 1 industry.‖

    The bill also included language from Rep. Delus Johnson, R-St. Joseph, allowing vendors at farmers markets and roadside stands to sell their produce without charging sales tax. This would allow sellers to bypass a ―bonding‖ requirement that can be difficult for some small producers to acquire.

    An amendment involving the introduction of elk to Missouri also made it on the omnibus bill Wednesday. The Missouri Department of Conservation recently acquired 34 elk that will be released in a public conservation park in southeast Missouri. Opponents worry that the elk will spread disease to livestock, tear through fences, cause damage to crops and cause vehicle accidents.

    Legislation was drawn up assigning ownership of the elk to the conservation department, making it financially responsible for damage caused by elk. However, the bill, which was voted out of committee in March, never made it to the House floor.

    An amendment passed Wednesday on a Senate agriculture bill would allow landowners or lessors to destroy elk that cause damage to farm property.

    One amendment that passed on the Senate version of the omnibus bill would require landowners to first gain clearance from the Department of Conservation before killing the elk. Mr. Guernsey said that provision will not make it on the final version in the Senate, which has until 6 p.m. Friday to take up the omnibus bill. Related to Mr. Guernsey’s comments regarding trial lawyers, Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday signed what has been termed the ―CAFO bill.‖

    Mr. Guernsey and Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, sponsored bills that would limit lawsuits against corporate farming. Mr. Guernsey’s bill was vetoed last week by Mr. Nixon for being ―too broad,‖ and because it ―precluded the neighbors of nuisances relating to crop or animal production from obtaining punitive damages.‖ Those items were fixed in the Senate version of the bill, which Mr. Nixon signed.

    ―Punitive damages are an important legal tool. They send a strong message to bad actors to clean up their act,‖ Mr. Nixon said. ―Senate Bill 187 addresses both these concerns and as a result, has earned my signature.‖

    The bill sponsors said previously that their language never intended to prohibit punitive damage suits.



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Nixon signs farm nuisance lawsuit bill

    BY JASON HANCOCK • | Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 6:13 pm

    Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday signed a revised version of legislation that restricts nuisance lawsuits against large industrial farm operations.

    The governor vetoed another version of the bill last week, saying he had two main objections: That it was too broad and that it would have precluded plaintiffs from obtaining punitive damages.

    ―Punitive damages are an important legal tool,‖ he said. ―They send a strong message to bad actors to clean up their act.‖

    The new legislation addresses both of his concerns, Nixon said, and thus earned his signature. The bill prohibits neighbors of large agricultural operations from filing repeated nuisance lawsuits against the same farm for the same issue, usually odor or other environmental nuisances. Plaintiffs in these cases would be able recover damages for a medical condition, if there is evidence that the condition was caused by the nuisance. The legislation was inspired by hog-producer Premium Standard, which said last year that it might have to leave the state if it continued to be targeted by nuisance lawsuits. The company claimed it costs $7 more to raise a hog in Missouri than in neighboring states because of litigation.

    Supporters say by reducing the number of lawsuits, the bill would save as many as 3,000 jobs and $75 million in payroll and an industry that means millions to the state.

    Critics say by limiting lawsuits the bill takes away the only tool property owners have to force offending neighbors to correct problems.

    The facilities in question are known as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. They have come under attack largely because of the way they handle hog waste, which is typically stored in large lagoons and then spread on fields.



    Collected/Archived for Thursday, May 12, 2011 -- Page 6 of 50

Cape, Jackson lawmakers wrap up

    freshman session

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    By Scott Moyers ~ Southeast Missourian

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- For Rep. Wayne Wallingford, the last few days of his first session in the state legislature have been like playing in the Super Bowl.

    "But it's the last two minutes and you're out of time-outs," said the 64-year-old Republican who represents Cape Girardeau. "That's how fast things are happening."

    Wallingford and Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson, are wrapping up their freshman sessions in the state legislature and both said the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of last-minute amendments, debate and controversy.

    The Missouri House this week gave final approval to several pieces of legislation, including bills that would require drug testing for welfare recipients and place a ban on so-called "bath salts."

    Last week, the House and Senate gave final approval to the 13 appropriations bills that make up the $23.2 billion fiscal 2012 state operating budget that will go into effect July 1. Earlier that week, House members voted to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of legislation that would redraw Missouri's congressional map. That doesn't include the flurry of activity going on in the next 48 hours as the House and Senate work to reach final agreements with the state Senate on bills before Friday's 6 p.m. deadline.

    Elected in November, Wallingford replaced Clint Tracy in the 158th District, and Lichtenegger claimed the 157th District seat vacated by Scott Lipke.

    Wallingford, a Cape Girardeau businessman, and Lichtenegger, a retired dental hygienist, acknowledged a bit of a learning curve. But they said they found their new posts rewarding and each relished the opportunity to enact change at the state level.

    "I was really excited to get up here and it's what I thought it would be -- a lot of hard work," said Lichtenegger, 60. "I intend to keep going. If you really work hard and really listen to what's going on and what people are telling you, there's a lot you can do."

    Wallingford seems to have made quite an impression, catching the eye of House Speaker Steve Tilley. Earlier this week, Tilley, R-Perryville, named Wallingford one of several freshman legislators of the year for his work on higher education initiatives.

    Through Wallingford's role as vice chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education he sponsored a bill that established the Nursing Education Incentive Program. The House also passed legislation that Wallingford sponsored that will give grants of up to $500 to students who score well on Advanced Placement tests. Wallingford said the grants will give more students an incentive to study math and science, which he said will benefit the state's economy.

    Lichtenegger pointed to the one piece of legislation she sponsored that passed, a dental teaching bill that allows Missouri's dental schools to hire instructors from outside the U.S. Lichtenegger said that will address a teacher shortage, but it will still require the teachers to meet all the same standards as American teachers. She also noted that she worked hard on the Land Reclamation Act, though it was ultimately defeated. That bill would have given the Land Reclamation Commission, a division of the state's Department of Natural Resources, the ability to deny a mining permit if the quarry would be within one mile of a school, child care facility, church,



    Collected/Archived for Thursday, May 12, 2011 -- Page 7 of 50

    nursing home, public building or cemetery. But she said state Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, introduced a bill that passed that restricts such quarries within 1,000 feet of a school.

    She said when working on the budget, she helped save $1.4 million for Meals on Wheels that Nixon wanted scrapped.

    Both Lichtenegger and Wallingford said they already have their eyes trained on the next legislative session. Wallingford wants to introduce a bill that would prohibit criminal youth offenders from being housed with adult offenders. Lichtenegger wants to work on bills that would require defibrillators to be placed in gyms and for Missouri to produce and use incandescent light bulbs solely for the state, an act that would defy federal regulations that call for the bulbs to be phased out over the next three years.



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Missouri Senate passes bill to drop

    minimum age for concealed carry permit

    BY JASON HANCOCK • | Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2011 12:25 am

    JEFFERSON CITY • The age requirement to obtain a conceal-and-carry firearm permit would change from 23 to

    21 under a bill passed Wednesday by the Missouri Senate.

    The measure passed 27-6, with all "no" votes coming from Democrats.

    The House passed a similar version of the legislation in March and can now either pass the Senate's bill or ask for a conference committee to iron out the differences before the session's mandatory closing at 6 p.m. Friday. In addition to lowering the conceal-and-carry age requirement, the bill would also allow more people to carry a concealed firearm inside the Missouri Capitol building. Currently, only legislators are allowed to carry guns, but the bill would expand that privilege to include legislative staff members and statewide elected officials as well. The training to obtain a conceal-and-carry permit would include time at a firing range with both a revolver and a semiautomatic pistol.

    In order to pass, the applicant would have to hit targets with both types of handguns.

    The Senate version, which was sponsored by state Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, originally would have lowered the conceal-and-carry age to 18. Democrats, especially those from urban districts, expressed concerns that lowering the minimum age that much would put guns in untrained and unsafe hands, and ultimately, increase gun violence in the state.

    "In urban areas, guns are a serious safety issue," said state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis. As a compromise, Republicans agreed to move the age back to 21. State Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, said he would have preferred the age requirement move to 18 years old but was fine with the compromise. "Where I live, if you don't have a gun it's like you don't have a car," he said before inviting Chappelle-Nadal to join him at a gun range in order to alleviate any fears she may have of firearms.

    In 2003, Missouri became one of the last states to allow residents to obtain a permit for carrying a concealed weapon, a change that required overriding a gubernatorial veto.



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    Mo. Senate backs bill lowering concealed carry age

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    The Associated Press

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A bill lowering the age to get a concealed gun permit in Missouri is now just one step from the governor's desk.

    The Senate voted 27-6 Wednesday to pass a bill lowering the concealed gun age to 21 -- the same age at which people can legally drink alcohol. The bill needs only a final House vote to go to Gov. Jay Nixon. Missouri's current minimum age of 23 was set when lawmakers overrode a veto by then-Gov. Bob Holden to enact a concealed-carry law in 2003. The National Rifle Association says Missouri's age restriction is the highest among states that allow concealed gun permits.

    This year's bill also would allow state officials and their staff to carry concealed guns in the Capitol if they have permits.


    Guns bill is HB294.





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May 11, 3:47 PM EDT

    Mo. lawmakers approve delay in sprinkler mandate

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri lawmakers have voted to delay a sprinkler system mandate for residential care centers that was adopted in response to a deadly fire.

    Eleven people were killed in a November 2006 fire at the Anderson Guest House for the mentally ill and disabled in southwest Missouri. The home lacked sprinklers.

    The next year, the Legislature passed a bill requiring nursing homes, assisted living centers and residential care facilities with at least 20 beds to install sprinklers by the end of 2012.

    A bill given final approval Wednesday by lawmakers pushes back that deadline to Dec. 31, 2014. The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon.


    Sprinkler bill is SB118.



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