Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Interim Committee to Hold Field Hearing

Interim Committee to Hold Field Hearing

The Missouri Senate Interim Committee on the Cost of a College Education will hold a hearing next month in Joplin. The five-member committee is studying the role of state funding in higher education, considering alternative methods of funding a college education, and looking at the debt load college students are carrying. The panel will meet October 18 at the Billingsly Student Center, Room 310, Missouri Southern State University, 3950 E. Newman Road, Joplin, Missouri. The public hearing will begin at 1 p.m.. The charge of the interim committee and a list of members is posted below:

Missouri State Senate
Senate Interim Committee on the Cost of a College Education

MEMBERS:
Senators:

Gary Nodler, 32nd, Chairman
Scott Rupp, 2nd
Charlie Shields, 34th
Frank Barnitz, 16th
Chuck Graham, 19th

Established pursuant to the Missouri Constitution.

The committee shall consist of five members, three Republicans and two Democrats, and will be responsible for reviewing the affordability of a college education in this state. The duties of the committee shall be:

1) To consider the role of the state in funding a college education for Missouri students.
2) To examine how higher education is funded in this state and consider alternative funding structures.
3) To examine the mechanism by which tuition rates are set at Missouri institutions of higher learning.
4) To study the utilization of college savings plans by Missouri families.
5) To examine the Gallagher and Guarantee public grant programs and study options for making the state-need-based scholarship programs more efficient and effective.
6) To study student indebtedness resulting from funding a college education.
The committee shall be staffed by counsel from Senate Research and may hold public hearings at locations to be determined by the chairman. Reasonable, actual and necessary expenses of the committee shall be reimbursed by the Missouri Senate.

The committee shall issue a report and make recommendations, as deemed appropriate by a majority of the members of the committee, to the general assembly for legislative action no later than January 26, 2007.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Democrats Fail to Convince Colleagues to Hold Special Session

Democratic leaders in the Missouri House and Senate attempted to bring motions to the floors of their respective chambers during the annual Veto Session calling for a special session to partially reinstate the Medical Assistance for the Working Disabled or MAWD program.
In the Senate, Minority Floor Leader Maida Coleman (link), D-St. Louis, rose to speak on a point of personal privilege and tried to introduce a motion allowing lawmakers to call themselves into special session. Senate Majority Floor Leader Charlie Shields (link), R-St. Joseph, cited Article III, Sect. 32 of the Missouri Constitution (link) in arguing that lawmakers convened during the Veto Session could only consider bills vetoed by the governor. Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons (link), R-Kirkwood, then ruled the motion out of order.
In the House, Minority Leader Jeff Harris (link), D-Columbia, tried to introduce a similar motion but was ruled out of order by House Speaker Rod Jetton (link), R-Marble Hill.
Special sessions typically run concurrently with the annual Veto Session, and Gov. Matt Blunt (link) had said he would call a special session to partially restore the MAWD program only if lawmakers also agreed to pass legislation targeting Medicaid fraud by providers. The Senate approved a Medicaid provider fraud bill during the 2006 session, but the House refused to accept key provisions of the legislation. Those same objections were raised when a special House committee was formed this summer to try to find a compromise between the House and Senate versions. Since lawmakers could not agree on a Medicaid provider fraud bill, the governor refused to call a special session.
Lawmakers can call themselves into special session (link) if 75 percent of the members of both chambers sign a petition calling for a special session, but they have never managed to muster the necessary signatures to accomplish that.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Missouri Senate to Honor Retiring Members

The Missouri Senate will convene at noon September 13th for the annual Veto Session. Governor Matt Blunt has vetoed line items in four appropriations bills (veto messages), but lawmakers are not expected to muster the two-thirds majority necessary to override the governor’s vetoes. The Veto Session will mark the final chapter in the Senate careers of four retiring members.
Sen. Patrick Dougherty, D-St. Louis, was elected to the Senate in a special election in 2001 and re-elected to a full term in the Senate in 2002. Dougherty is serving his last term in the legislature due to term limits (link, bio).
Sen. Charles Wheeler, D-Kansas City, the only physician serving in the upper chamber, was elected to the Senate in 2002 (link, bio). He retired from the Senate to pursue other elected office.
Sen. David Klindt, R-Bethany, was elected to the Senate in 2001 (link, bio). A farmer and rancher for over 30 years, Sen. Klindt has been named Vice President of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
Sen. John Cauthorn, R-Mexico, was elected to the Senate in a special election in 2001 and re-elected to the 18th District seat in 2002 (link, bio). He is retiring due to term limits.
A retirement ceremony will be held in the Senate chamber at 3 p.m. Wednesday for the four retiring members.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Senate Hearings Scheduled for Week of Veto Session

Senate Hearings Scheduled for Week of Veto Session:

A number of Senate committees and Joint committees have scheduled hearings next week, when lawmakers will return to the Capitol for the annual Veto Session. If the governor vetoes a bill, it is returned to the house of origin with his objections. A two-thirds vote by members of both houses is required to override a governor's veto. To date, Governor Blunt has vetoed four line items in four appropriations bills, all of which originated in the House. To view the Veto Messages from the governor, click the following link:

Veto Messages

During the week of Sept. 11, the following committees will hold public hearings at the Capitol:

Committee: Senate Interim Committee on the Cost of a College Education
Date: Tuesday, September 12 Time: 10:00 AM Room: Senate Lounge

Committee: Joint Committee on Legislative Research
Date: Tuesday, September 12 Time: 2:00 PM Room: House Hearing Room 6
Quarterly business meeting. Some portions of the meeting may be closed pursuant to Section 610.021.

Committee: Joint Committee on Tax Policy
Date: Wednesday, September 13 Time: 9:00 AM Room: House Hearing Room 1
Sales Tax Cases Presentation - DOR
Clayton Property Tax Issue - Paul Fedchack, CFO of Clayton School District
Personal & Corporate Income Tax

Committee: Senate Interim Commiittee on 21st Century Choice in Technology
Date: Wednesday, September 13 Time: 9:00 AM Room: SCR 2
Topic: The financial, legal, social, taxation, environmental, and technological issues of 21st century telecommunications, cable television, and all Internet services.

Committee: Senate Interim Committee on Pandemic Preparedness
Date: Wednesday, September 13 Time: UPON ADJOURNMENT Room: SCR 1
Organization meeting

Committee: Joint Committee on Corrections
Date: Thursday, September 14 Time: 8:00 AM Room: SCR 2
The Committee will hear presentations from the Department of Corrections



Committee: Administration, Gibbons, Chair
Date: Thursday, September 14 Time: 9:00 AM Room: Room 326
Pursuant to Section 610.022.2 relating to closed meetings and Section 610.021(3) relating to personnel matters, a vote may be taken to hold a closed meeting to discuss personnel issues.

Committee: Senate Interim Committee on the Missouri State Public Defender System
Date: Thursday, September 14 Time: 1:00 PM Room: Senate Lounge
Discussion

For a complete listing of committee members and the duties of each committee, visit the Senate website:

http://www.senate.mo.gov/

Click on the “Committees” button on the left side of the page.