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Showing posts from September, 2007

Joint Committee on Tax Policy Meets in Kansas City

Senators Join Fellow Lawmakers to Discuss Missouri’s Tax Policies

JEFFERSON CITY — Members of the Joint Committee on Tax Policy met this week to discuss updates, review recommendations, and listen to testimony on Missouri’s current tax policies. The meeting, which took place in Kansas City, focused on a variety of tax credits and property tax practices throughout the state.
The Joint Committee on Tax Policy was established in 2004 to conduct a continuous study and analysis of current and proposed tax policy in Missouri with a special focus on fairness, economic impact, effectiveness, and burden on taxpayers. Since its inception, the committee has issued reports on property taxation and assessment, sales tax on services, income tax, sales and use tax, and tax credits. The committee continues to study these and other issues relating to taxes in the state.
This week, the committee reviewed tax credits for the use of wood energy, the production of charcoal, the recycling of flexible ce…

Blue Ribbon Autism Panel to Hold Final Public Hearing

JEFFERSON CITY — The Blue Ribbon Panel on Autism, chaired by Sen. Scott T. Rupp, R-Wentzville, will hold its final public hearing Friday, September 28 in Kansas City. The hearing will be held in the Plaza Room of the Administrative Center on the UMKC campus from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The panel will hear expert testimony from insurance representatives, as well as specialists in reimbursement and executives from the Department of Mental Health. The public is invited to testify at the hearing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The 16-member Blue Ribbon Panel on Autism is comprised of lawmakers, parents, doctors, and health officials and is charged with determining the state of autism in Missouri. Panel members have been looking at services, teaching, training and research and will make recommendations for improving the quality of life for those with autism and their families.
After completing the meetings, the panel will issue a report to Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons, R-Kirkwood, by Octobe…

Senators Appointed to Chronic Kidney Disease Task Force

JEFFERSON CITY — Two Missouri Senators were appointed to the Chronic Kidney Disease Taskforce this week, which was created through Senate Bill 577, an omnibus healthcare package that went into effect on August 28. Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons (R-Kirkwood) has appointed Sen. Jack Goodman (R-Mt. Vernon) and Sen. Harry Kennedy (D-St. Louis) to fulfill the Senate’s role on the committee.
The taskforce will consist of at least 17 members including lawmakers from both legislative bodies, physicians, healthcare providers, and patients. Additional members of the group can be selected by the chair, who will be chosen by the members of the taskforce.
The group will meet throughout the upcoming months in order to develop an educational plan for highlighting the advantages and methods of early screening for chronic kidney disease. The taskforce will also make recommendations on the implementation of a plan for early screening, diagnosis, and treatment for people in Missouri. A repor…

Senate Committees Meet During Week of Veto Session

Discussions of Consumer Protections, Judicial Selection Process, and Sheriffs’ Compensation among Committee Topics

The Senate convened for a veto session this week, although most work on House Bill 327, the only bill vetoed by the governor, was completed during a special session in August. Since the constitution required the General Assembly to meet, lawmakers seized the opportunity to hold several interim, Senate, and joint committee meetings.
A veto session is constitutionally required to be held on the first Wednesday following the second Monday of September to discuss any bills returned by the governor. A two-thirds majority is required to overturn the governor’s veto. Last month, the General Assembly met in a special session in order to discuss an omnibus economic development package (HB 327) vetoed by the governor due to concerns over cost. The Legislature passed House Bill 1, a less expensive re-work of the vetoed bill, which has since been signed by the governor.
Lawmakers …

Senate Convenes for Ceremonial Veto Session

JEFFERSON CITY — The Senate convened for a constitutionally required veto session today (9/12), although much of the work on House Bill 327, the only vetoed bill, was already completed during a special session last month. The governor vetoed the economic development package, and then called the Legislature into an extraordinary session to craft House Bill 1, a less expensive version of the measure.
The constitution requires the General Assembly to convene on the first Wednesday following the second Monday in September to discuss any bills that have been returned (vetoed). The governor has 45 days from the final day of session to veto, sign, or not sign a bill. During a veto session, both legislative bodies must have a two-thirds majority in order to overturn the governor’s veto.
In August, the General Assembly met for a special session to discuss the omnibus economic development package that included a cap increase for the Quality Jobs Act. The Legislature completed work on the bi…

Senate Committee Discusses State Judicial Commission

JEFFERSON CITY — The Senate Committee on Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics met yesterday (9/11) to discuss the Judicial Appellate Commission. After the retirement of Supreme Court Judge Ronnie White, questions of openness and accountability arose as the commission went about selecting a state of replacements.
The committee meeting included testimony by Chief Justice Laura Denvir Stiff, a member of the commission, who gave a brief history of the Missouri Plan—the system used in the state to select Supreme Court and Appellate Court judges. In 1940, the plan was decided on by the voters, who found fault in the previous purely electoral system, as a non-partisan plan to select and appoint judges. The selection process includes the Judicial Appellate Commission, which is made up of lawyers from each of the state’s three regions, three citizens from those same regions, and the chief justice. The lawyers on the commission are selected by the Missouri Bar Association, and the citi…

Special Session Bills Signed into Law

JEFFERSON CITY — The governor has signed into law the two bills that were the subjects of the recently-completed special legislative session. The legislature came back into special session on August 20th, 2007, to consider a new economic development bill and a measure to move forward the Missouri Department of Transportation’s plan to fix more than 800 of the worst bridges in the state. Lawmakers wrapped up their work on the bills last week.
House Bill 1 is an all-encompassing economic development measure brought about by the veto of HB 327, an economic development bill passed during the regular session. The governor had criticized HB 327 as having grown too large with an anticipated price tag of more than $200 million a year when it reached maturity in a few years and vetoed the bill. House and Senate members worked throughout the summer to craft this new HB 1 with a price tag closer to about $70 million a year. The new economic development measure will increase money to the Qual…

Rep. Tom Dempsey to Fill Senate Seat Vacated By Chuck Gross

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Representative Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, won a special election Tuesday to fill the 23rd District senate seat vacated by Chuck Gross. Gross resigned from the Missouri Senate at the end of the legislative session to take a position in St. Charles County government.
Dempsey prevailed by a 56-44 percent margin over Democrat Ed Applebaum of St. Peters in the Sept. 4th special election called by the governor to fill the 23rd District seat.
Dempsey most recently served the House as majority floor leader, as chairman of the House Ethics Committee and as vice chairman of the House Rules Committee.
The 23rd Senate District covers the eastern part of St. Charles County. Dempsey will serve the remainder of Gross’s Senate term, which expires in January of 2009. State law allows Dempsey to subsequently serve up to two full four-year Senate terms.
Dempsey’s election victory produces a vacancy in his 18th District House seat. The governor will set the date for a special el…