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Missouri Senate

Missouri State Senate Democrats Shuffle Leadership

Mar 4, 2020

The top Democrat in the Missouri state Senate is resigning from leadership to give her successor time to transition. 

Suburban St. Louis Sen. Gina Walsh on Tuesday announced she's giving up her position as the Senate's Democratic minority leader.

This is Walsh's last session as a lawmaker. She's barred by term limits from seeking re-election.

Independence Sen. John Rizzo will now serve as the Democratic Senate leader. He had been serving as the assistant Democratic leader. 

Missouri Senate Backs Tax Break for Long-Term Care Savings

Feb 21, 2020
Doctor's office supplies
Raw Pixel / Unsplash

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation that would provide a tax incentive to save money for long-term care expenses. 

The bill approved Thursday would create a state income tax deduction for money invested in savings accounts to pay for the care of the chronically ill.

Individuals could claim deductions of up to $4,000 annually and married couples up to $8,000. The savings could be used for their own future care, or for someone else.

The concept is similar to state tax breaks granted for investing money in college savings accounts.

Missouri Senate Backs Limits on Tax Breaks in Floodplains

Jan 31, 2020
Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

Missouri senators have passed legislation that could limit tax breaks for developments in flood plains and allow school districts to block their tax revenues from being diverted to developers. 

The Senate approved the bill revamping the state's “tax increment finance” laws on Thursday without any dissent.

The bill now goes to the House. Senators passed a similar bill last year but it failed to clear the House.

The Missouri Senate has passed a bill to block local officials from regulating industrial farms more strictly than the state does.

Senators voted 23-11 Thursday to send the bill to the House.

The Missouri Senate is backing an effort that would make it harder to impeach and remove top officials, less than a year after the governor resigned while facing potential impeachment.

The proposed constitutional amendment would abolish the grounds for which House members had been weighing whether to impeach former Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.

Senators Take Another Shot at Toughening SNAP Requirements

Jan 31, 2019

Food stamp recipients in Missouri would have to work at least 30 hours per week or risk losing their benefits under a proposed Senate bill in the Missouri legislature.

“The ticket out of poverty is work. And that’s what this bill is all about,” said the Senate Bill 4’s sponsor, state Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville.

Able-bodied adults would be required to spend the 30 hours each week working, in job training or doing community service. Under the proposed bill, the first time a person fails to meet the standards they will lose benefits for three months. The second time, six months, and if they fail to comply a third time, they will be permanently disqualified from the food stamp program. 

Leaders of the Missouri Senate say early indications are that an unknown green substance sent to a lawmaker at the Statehouse poses no danger, but investigators are taking extreme caution.

The Missouri Senate has approved one of Gov. Eric Greitens' nominees for the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Former Democratic state representative Wayne Henke was confirmed Thursday in a voice vote, giving the short-staffed ethics commission a quorum before its next meeting on April 25. Without a quorum the commission can't act on complaints, including one pending against the governor.

 A legislative assistant in the Missouri House has been arrested at the capitol on a charge of soliciting sex from a minor

Missouri Considers Unprecedented Addiction Help for Moms

Apr 16, 2018

The Missouri Senate is considering a bill that would extend Medicaid for new mothers struggling with addiction, a notable expansion for a state that did not expand Medicaid after the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.

The Missouri Senate has given initial approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow members of the Legislature to serve up to 16 years in one chamber.

Voters would have the final say if the Senate approves the proposal once more and it also passes the House.

 Missouri senators have approved changes to the governor's role in picking State Board of Education members after a fight with Gov. Eric Greitens.

Senators this past week voted 22-10 to send a bill to the House to require at least five members of the eight-member board to have Senate confirmation before the board could act.

A bipartisan group of senators spent over 20 hours filibustering a bill that rewrites Missouri’s utility laws.

The hours-long discussion ranged from Amazon’s future headquarters, to Gov. Eric Greitens’ proposed tax plan, to Eminem.

The Missouri Senate is again considering capping the state’s two biggest tax credit programs, despite their popularity with local leaders in urban and suburban areas.

Two separate bills, SB 590 and SB 591, would place limits of $50 million a year on incentives for both historic preservation and low income housing, which are both currently capped at $140 million. 

Senate floor at the Missouri Capitol
File / KBIA

Missouri senators have voted to give residents a choice to get a driver's license that would allow them to board planes and enter military sites.

Senators voted 28-5 Wednesday to allow residents to decide whether to get a license that complies with federal ID requirements.

Without a change, Missouri residents won't be able to use their driver's licenses to board airplanes or enter some federal facilities starting in 2018.

Missouri appears to be one of the handful of states that haven't fully enacted key provisions of the 2005 Real ID Act.

KBIA/file photo

Missouri senators have done little work for the second day in a row with less than two weeks before lawmakers' deadline to pass bills.

Senators adjourned within minutes Tuesday after doing essentially nothing Monday. Assistant Majority Floor Leader Bob Onder said the Senate adjourned to work on the budget, which is due Friday.

The standstill on other bills follows threats from Sen. Rob Schaaf to block legislation until there's debate on strengthening state ethics laws, although he said he'd allow the budget to move forward.

j.stephenconn / flickr

Missouri public K-12 schools appear set to get roughly $48 million more in basic aid next fiscal year.

Senators voted 19-14 on Tuesday in favor of bumping up funding to meet targets called for under state law.

Because House members also passed a proposed budget that would meet funding goals, the money for schools likely will be locked into the final budget due May 5.

Senators were split on whether to give the extra money to K-12 schools while state revenues are lagging.

Senate floor at the Missouri Capitol
File / KBIA

JEFFERSON CITY -- Missouri Senate budgeters have approved a plan to make cuts to in-home and nursing care for disabled residents while slightly increasing money for public K-12 schools.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday passed its version of a budget for the next fiscal year beginning in July.

The budget proposal would cut in-home and nursing care by requiring people to show more severe disabilities to qualify, although the cuts are not as deep as what Gov. Eric Greitens initially recommended.

REAL ID Sits in Missouri Senate

Feb 28, 2017
KBIA/file photo

In 2018, Missourians may have a harder time boarding flights and entering federal buildings using their driver’s license.

Missouri is one of five states that does not comply with REAL ID, the 2005 federal law that requires states to administer stricter standards for distributing state identification like driver’s licenses.

File / KBIA

The Missouri Senate has given initial approval for legislation establishing a prescription drug monitoring program.

Senators on Wednesday voted 20-13 to create a database that tracks when prescriptions for controlled substances are written and filed. The goal of such programs is to prevent people from going to multiple doctors to get prescriptions for drugs such as painkillers — sometimes known as "doctor shopping."

Missouri is the only state that doesn't have such a system.

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri Democratic lawmaker is proposing a bill to make donations for gubernatorial inaugurations public records.

Liberty Rep. Mark Ellebracht in a Thursday statement criticized Republican Gov. Eric Greitens' decision to keep secret the cost of his privately funded January celebration.

Greitens did release a list of "benefactors," including Anheuser-Busch, Boeing, Express Scripts, General Motors, Monsanto and Wal-Mart.

Greitens spokesman Parker Briden declined to comment.

j.stephenconn / flickr


Missouri senators have taken the final step to deny pay raises for themselves and other elected officials.

Senators voted 25-2 against the raises late Monday. They had until Wednesday to act.

The vote came after Republican Gov. Eric Greitens put pressure on lawmakers to oppose the raise, which prompted a prickly response from some senators.

Republican Sen. Paul Wieland described Greitens' tactic as intimidation and said he felt insulted.

KBIA/file photo

  Prosecutors are moving forward with a case against 23 clergy members involved in a 2014 protest of the Missouri Senate.

Authorities charged the clergy with obstructing government operations and first-degree trespassing after they and a few hundred others protested lawmakers’ refusal to expand Obamacare two years ago. 

Protesters had filled the Senate’s public galleries, chanted and sang before the police arrested 23 of the 100 protestors and clergy members.

David Shane / Flickr

A former GOP gubernatorial candidate and a conservative talk radio host are among those who will review the University of Missouri following turmoil last fall.

The University of Missouri fell under scrutiny after student protests in Columbia over what some saw as administrators' indifference to racial issues.

Lawmakers frustrated over how the protests were handled created the UM System Review Commission to review system policies and administrative structure. The eight-member commission will recommend changes.

Senate floor at the Missouri Capitol
File / KBIA

A Missouri Senate staffer has begun reviewing Planned Parenthood's internal records, including procedures for fetal tissue disposal.

Jason Rojas / Flickr

A bill moving through the Missouri Legislature would limit public access to police body camera footage.

missouri capitol
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Restaurants wouldn't have to pay sales and use taxes on electricity and other utilities used to prepare food under a measure headed to the Missouri Senate.

j.stephenconn / flickr

The state Senate has approved a proposal designed to lure large conventions to Missouri.