The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 14, 2013

House advances bill for vote on sales tax for road work

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — State lawmakers this week have advanced a call for voters to approve a one-cent sales tax to fund transportation projects.

The bill, which passed the House on Tuesday morning, came as lawmakers moved forward on the dozens of bills remaining on their calendars in the final week of the General Assembly session.

Sen. Mike Kehoe’s measure would impose the tax to fund new road and infrastructure projects across the state. The legislation appeared dead in the House for more than a month, but was brought up on Tuesday and passed with support of 100 members.

If approved, a commission would spend a decade approving projects to be completed.

The Senate is also expected to review legislation sponsored by Sen. Scott Rupp, R-St. Charles, that would make changes to the crippled Second Injury Fund for workers’ compensation. For years, the fund has been insolvent, to the extent that a $24 million backlog has built up, forcing Attorney General Chris Koster to no longer make payments to victims of occupational disease.

Rupp’s bill calls on businesses to contribute more to the fund to help balance it. State Rep. Bill Lant, R-Neosho, said if lawmakers don’t move on the issue, he fears the courts will.

Lant said he is OK with smaller businesses being called on to contribute to the fund, in part pointing to the diseases contracted from a small popcorn plant in Jasper, Mo., a company that was bought out by a larger company before employees began filing suit for assistance.

“Nobody knows where the next toxic industry comes from,” he said.

The legislation is now in the Senate. Rupp said he sat down with Koster, as well as members of the business community, before presenting the bill to lawmakers earlier this year. The bill passed the Senate earlier this year, but passed the House with new amendments.

Last week, the body moved forward on its nearly $25 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2014. The bill included $14 million in funding for Joplin tornado recovery projects. On Monday, legislation to statutorily establish the fund passed the House and was placed on Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk.

As the week has passed, it has become more clear which priorities are still alive. As the controversy regarding the Department of Revenue’s procedures of scanning documents when Missourians apply for licenses has grown, the governor’s push for Medicaid expansion has clearly lessened. Speaker Tim Jones’ proposal to issue bonds to fund state building projects is not going to emerge in the Senate. And legislation backed by Senate leadership that would allow investor-owned utility companies to seek permission from the Public Service Commission to place an infrastructure system replacement surcharge on consumers is likely stalled in the body.

There is a hope for tax credit reform, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey said on Monday. The two chambers are split in tax credit caps for low-income seniors and historic buildings, but may be close to an agreement on instituting the New Market tax credit as well as ones to encourage data centers to locate in the state.

Dempsey said his body is ready to move on “secondary” priorities of its members. On Monday night, for example, the body spent more than three hours debating a prevailing wage bill, despite the fact that the body already passed one earlier in the year.

Clock ticking

The clock is ticking down as lawmakers approach the session’s end. The final day of the General Assembly is Friday. The body is required to shut down at 6 p.m.


Text Only
Local News
  • Ruling modifies gas rates; MGE says bills to remain the about same

    An agreement to settle a Missouri Gas Energy rate change will modify the company’s various rates, but the net bill to consumers will remain largely the same, according to statements released Thursday by the gas company and the state’s utility regulatory agency.

    April 24, 2014

  • Railroad conducts training session; law enforcement officers work on crossing enforcement

    Joplin police and Missouri State Highway Patrol officers trained Thursday and will continue today on railroad crossing safety with Kansas City Southern Railway Co. The annual event, called “Officer on a Train,” puts law enforcement officers in the locomotive cab to give them a real-time view of how motorists and pedestrians approach train crossings through the city. The event began Thursday morning on tracks crossing Fourth Street near Murphy Boulevard.

    April 24, 2014

  • East Newton High student designated semifinalist in Presidential Scholars Program

    An East Newton High School student is among eight Missouri students who have been named semifinalists in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program for their outstanding academic achievement. George Bennion, a senior from Stark City, said he was “super excited” when he was notified of his selection as a semifinalist.

    April 24, 2014

  • 042314 Rec funding Build a Lion_72.jpg Missouri Southern students to vote on new fee, going smoke-free

    Students at Missouri Southern State University will vote next week on whether they support creating a fee that would fund athletic and recreation projects. During the annual student senate-sponsored spring election, students also will be asked whether they support a completely tobacco-free campus.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • New Kansas gun law draws support, some reservations

    At John’s Sports Center in Pittsburg on Thursday, firearms manager Adam Gariglietti said he supported Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to sign a bill that will ensure it is legal across the state to openly carry firearms. But, he offered some words of caution. “It’s great that he signed the bill,” Gariglietti said. “But at the same time, common sense goes a long way.”

    April 24, 2014

  • Baxter Springs chili feed to raise money for family of girl facing surgery

    On a Sunday morning in February, 9-year-old Izzy Morris woke up her mother complaining of a headache. Teresa Morris gave her daughter medicine. But an hour later, the headache had worsened. “She was in a lot of pain and started screaming and yelling uncontrollably,” Morris said.

    April 24, 2014

  • Carthage budget committee hears proposal for water, sewer rate increases

    The proposed budget for the Carthage Water & Electric Plant, including increases in water and wastewater rates, dominated discussions Thursday night as the Carthage Budget Ways and Means Committee continued its review of proposed city budgets for the fiscal year starting July 1.

    April 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Self-driving cars mean not having to teach teens to drive

    I may be wasting my time trying to teach my 16-year-old daughter, Emma, how to drive.
    According to The Washington Post, self-driving cars are on the way. What used to be a dream of bored engineers has now become something that certain car companies are taking seriously.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • World Tai Chi Day to be celebrated on Saturday

    At least two communities in the area will be celebrating World Tai Chi Day Saturday with outdoor events at area parks.

    April 24, 2014

  • Groundbreaking set for MSSU residence hall complex

    A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, April 28, for the new residence hall complex at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 24, 2014

Must Read


What’s your favorite tree?

A. Maple
B. Oak
C. Dogwood
D. Redbud
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter