The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 16, 2013

Lawmakers’ attention likely to turn to budget after break

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lawmakers left Jefferson City on Thursday for their annual spring break week having sent two bills to Gov. Jay Nixon. When they return, however, the stacks of bills on their desks will continue to rise.

In the final week of the first half of the session, legislation that would renew a series of so-called benevolent tax credits cleared both chambers of the General Assembly. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, would restore expired tax credits aimed at aiding food pantries, pregnancy crisis centers and the families of slain law enforcement officers.

Legislation was also sent to the governor that would provide up to $3 million a year to help cities and local organizations lure sporting events to the state. The program would be administered through tax credits of up to $5 per ticket based on the number of tickets sold.

“Promises made and promises kept,” boasted House Speaker Tim Jones to reporters on Thursday. “We’re taking on tough challenges and moving forward.”

Jones, R-Eureka, said the House was proud of passing legislation that would change the Missouri Human Rights Act regarding discrimination claims in the workplace, making it harder for employees to sue. Republicans say the proposal is in line with federal law, but Nixon nonetheless vetoed the bill last year.

When lawmakers return to Jefferson City later this month, the bulk of their attention will move to passing the state’s $24 billion operating budget. Gov. Jay Nixon has toured the state over the past five months touting his plan to accept more than $1 billion in federal funds to expand the state’s Medicaid rolls to some 300,000 Missourians, but the funding was not included in the budget passed by House Budget Committee last week.  

“The Medicaid system is already broken. Medicaid is a mess,” Jones said. Therefore, he said, such a wide expansion would be “malpractice on the taxpayers.”

Republicans are instead working on their own Medicaid plan that they say is an effort to “transform” the program, not necessarily expand it. Jones tasked Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, with working out the issue. His proposal would allow individuals making 100 percent of the poverty level to use the program, clashing with the federal requirement of 138 percent.

On Thursday, the Senate Republican leadership, including Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, penned a letter to Nixon calling on him to propose a “common-sense, Missouri solution” to the problem.

“The state already spends nearly half of all state general revenue on the Medicaid program,” the letter signed by Richard, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, and five others read. “An expansion of such a large program with a partner as unreliable as the federal government would likely mean future tax increases or serious cuts to vital priorities, like K-12 education.”

Nixon said in a statement Friday that he was encouraged by lawmakers reaching out to him and pledged to continue to pursue the nearly $5.6 billion in federal funds the state would receive from the program.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly to make our health system as efficient and effective as possible by bringing the tax dollars Missourians send to Washington back to work here in Missouri,” he said.

The House Budget Committee did move language forward that would provide tuition assistance to some 1,400 members of the Missouri National Guard. Their legislation was in response to the federal government’s decision to move forward on more than $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts over the next decade. Last year, the federal government provided nearly $3.7 million in tuition assistance, but those dollars were cut by the sequester.

House Veterans Committee Chairman Charlie Davis, R-Joplin, joined House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream, R-St. Louis, to announce an initial appropriation of $1.5 million in state funds to offset the loss of federal dollars.

“The federal government decided that they were not going to live up to their commitment to our soldiers,” Davis said at a news conference on Thursday. “Today, as our federal government turns their backs on our service members, we want our soldiers to know the Missouri Legislature stands behind them 100 percent.”

Stream’s legislation will be heard in the House when they return from break, before heading to the state Senate.

Spring break

Legislative spring break began on Friday. Lawmakers are schedule to return to Jefferson City on Monday, March 28.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • State audit of Joplin School District begins

    Staff members from the state auditor’s office have begun their audit of the Joplin School District, Superintendent C.J. Huff said Monday. They are expected to be in the district four days per week for the next five to six months, or perhaps longer, until the audit is complete, Huff said.

    July 21, 2014

  • Burglary conviction draws shock prison time

    A Joplin man who received 120 days of shock incarceration time Friday in a drunken-driving case in Jasper County Circuit Court was assessed a concurrent sentence Monday in a burglary case.

    July 21, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Family gatherings mirror circle of life

    The annual family gathering is getting bigger. There tends to be an ebb and a flow to most family gatherings. When you’re a kid, and especially if you’re a kid from a large Catholic family, the gatherings seem to be huge.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • 071714 Jasper Cty Dispatch1_72.jpg Area communities, Jasper County work to improve communications

    The first law enforcement officer to respond to a fatal shooting last November at Northpark Mall was from the Duquesne Police Department — not Joplin. Joplin police Chief Jason Burns said he wasn’t bothered by that. “We dispatch for them, and they had an officer close who could get there faster,” he said. “And getting help to people as quickly as possible is more important than jurisdictions.”

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • New and old TIF districts on agenda for Joplin council

    Another tax increment financing district is being proposed for Joplin, this one along South Main Street. The area is close to the new Mercy Hospital Joplin that is set to open next year. RKS Development is seeking authorization from the Joplin City Council when it meets Monday night to prepare a request to establish a TIF district.

    July 20, 2014

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Family grows by one — a black Lab named Raven

    If you haven’t experienced the feeling of a tiny puppy in your lap at the end of a perfect July Saturday — hammock time, s’mores, leisurely walks, you know the kind — I highly recommend it. It is pure joy.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042017 Jo Ellis_c.jpg Jo Ellis: Car show, sidewalk sale and more scheduled for weekend in Carthage

    All roads leading to Carthage should be packed this weekend as numerous events geared toward entertainment, cultural pursuits and bargain hunting are expected to pull in large crowds.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Hobby Lobby lawyer to speak at watermelon feed

    Josh Hawley, who helped represent Hobby Lobby in arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on contraception requirements in the Affordable Care Act, has been added to the list of speakers for Thursday’s annual watermelon feed sponsored by Newton County Republicans.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Do you think Missouri should pass legislation that would allow a prescription drug database to be kept?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter