(Jefferson City) – Missouri Senators continue to work on Bill 174, which would create the “Missouri Achieving a Better Life Experience Program”. Bill sponsor Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale) discusses the bill, which he says would create a tax-deductible savings account to help families with medical expenses:
Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City) sponsors Senate Bill 82, which would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to strongly encourage all long-term care facilities to institute policies that will facilitate familial involvement in the well-being and support of its residents:
Both bills received first-round approval last week.
(West Plains) – If you’re planning a trip to a Spanish-speaking country soon and want to learn how to speak to the residents in their native language, you may want to consider enrolling in the Spanish for Travel class being offered at Missouri State University-West Plains by the Missouri State University Foreign Language Institute.
The class will meet from 6 to 8 PM every Thursday from March 19 through May 7 in Looney Hall Room 102, according to instructor Victoria Howerton. It is designed to teach those enrolled common words and phrases they can use to be understood while visiting the country, she explained.
The cost of the course is $150. To enroll, visit fli.missouristate.edu or call Howerton at 417-255-7943 for more information.
(West Plains) – Drury University is now accepting applications for the 3rd offering of their Professional Wellness Certificate.
The program will start on March 7, and will include a seated mini-session with online coursework to follow. This mini-session will be conducted by instructors Christy Hoover and Ann Leonard, and will include practical information on stress management and key wellness concepts. On a later date, esteemed chef Bryan Hathcock will give a healthy cooking demonstration, in which attendees will be able to sample his culinary creations.
The cost to register for the program is $25 per person with a discounted rate of $15 for students. However, if 2 of your employees join, the cost would be $40, 3 employees for $50, and 4 or more employees for just $65.
To sign up, call 417-257-5700.
(West Plains) – The 6th Annual Zizzer Throwdown Dodgeball Tournament will be held on Friday, April 24 at the West Plains High School Gymnasium.
The tournament starts at 6 PM. Currently, teams of up to 10 people are being sought for the event, at a cost of $5 per player. Admission to the event is $2, or $1 and a canned food item, with proceeds benefiting West Plains veterans at American Legion and the West Plains High School BETA Club
To find out more visit www.zizzers.org/dodgeball
(Washington) (AP) – The Supreme Court will decide whether a bank discriminated against the wives of two Missouri real estate developers by requiring them to guarantee their husbands’ business loans.
The justices said Monday they will hear an appeal of Valerie Hawkins and Janice Patterson, who claim the bank discriminated against them based on their marital status in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
A federal judge ruled that the law protects only those who apply for credit and not those who guarantee to secure debt. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.
The women argue that the court ruling conflicts with Federal Reserve Board regulations that say the law covers credit guarantees.
The court will hear arguments in the case when it begins its new term in the fall.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol says 25-year-old Kayla M. Nguyen of O’Fallon was attempting to merge Sunday morning when her vehicle began to slide. The patrol says her vehicle went off the left side of the interstate before returning to the roadway and colliding with a tractor-trailer.
Emergency workers pronounced her dead at the scene.
(Lebanon) (AP) – Two people are dead after a driver lost control on a snow-covered highway in southern Missouri.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said the out-of-control car skidded into a tractor-trailer that was stopped Saturday afternoon because of an earlier crash on Interstate 44.
The 20-year-old Fort Leonard Wood man who was driving the car survived with minor injuries, but both passengers were ejected and killed. The patrol identified the victims as 24-year-old Eduardo Contreras of Wichita, Kansas, and Cesar Hernandez of Los Angeles.
The Missouri Department of Transportation says it has been working to clear wreckage from another I-44 pileup that happened Saturday when a Greyhound bus crashed into the rear of a tractor-trailer.
The department says it could take most of Sunday before both westbound lanes can be reopened.
by Marie French, AP
(Jefferson City) (AP) – Republican lawmakers in Missouri’s Capitol often bristle at rules and requirements handed down from the federal government, saying they favor local authority in most matters.
However, several GOP-supported proposals this year aim to hand down similar mandates to cities and counties across the state.
Republican legislators say proposals that would block local authorities from pursuing business policies or banning plastic bags are essential to protect conservative values and boost the economy, even as critics line up to call such legislation disingenuous.
“It’s hypocritical of the state to say they don’t want the federal government to interfere and pass unfunded mandates, and then go interfering with our ability to make laws to govern our own municipalities,” Columbia City Councilman Michael Trapp said.
Trapp is pushing back against proposals from Rep. Caleb Rowden, a Republican from Columbia, that would prevent cities from requiring employers to offer workers more benefits and dictate reporting requirements for felons applying for jobs. The plans, Trapp said, are among “a plethora of initiatives proposed at the state level that interfere with local control.”
For his part, Rowden said the state is in a better position to regulate business policy. “If every municipality is going to be on an island for these very significant business practices, it just doesn’t work,” he said.
Echoing that point was Rep. Dan Shaul, a Republican from Imperial, sponsor of the bill to block Columbia’s proposed plastic bag ban, a measure aimed at protecting the environment.
Much of the local pushback has come from urban areas, such as Columbia, where city leaders have supported the “ban the box” plan, the bag ban and an effort to decriminalize marijuana possession.
Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Columbia Republican, noted that he supports local control on issues such as education, but “when a municipality wants to enter into a business simply because they can charge people and make money, that’s not an appropriate use of local control.”
His comments referred to a state vs. local battle over ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft. The services allow users to call for a ride using a smartphone app. Cities have sought to regulate the firms as they would cab or limo services, but many Republican lawmakers have sided with industry officials who say they’re tech firms and should be regulated as such.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James, a Democrat, said that since those services are used in cities, they should be regulated by cities.
James said he understands why some state control is necessary to provide uniform standards, but he said that authority is being abused. “Don’t tell us we can’t have any impact on trying to help make the lives of the people in our city better,” he said.
Rowden said state voters have favored conservative policy, and Republican lawmakers have a duty to uphold that. “What you’ve seen is local folks, liberal folks, who know that they’re not going to be able to get their policies through at the state level are moving down to the local level,” he said.
Still, Rep. Stephen Webber, a Columbia Democrat, said it was ideologically inconsistent for Republicans to push back against mandates, only to turn around and issue them.
“Republicans are in complete control of the state Capitol,” he said, “and I think they’re trying to consolidate power.”
(Jonesboro) (AP) – Arkansas State University has banned the use of e-cigarettes on its campus.
The Jonesboro Sun reports that the battery-operated device was banned by the university after receiving feedback from its constituency groups. The ban, which already includes cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, was announced to students Wednesday.
The groups debated the issue, and the majority decision was that it would be better for the campus environment to issue the ban, according to school spokesman Bill Smith.
Some students approve of the ban, while others think e-cigarettes should only be banned from use indoors.
E-cigarettes, which are designed to deliver nicotine, flavor and/or other chemicals in an aerosol form that is inhaled by the user, are sometimes used by people who are trying to quit smoking.
by Allen Reed, AP
(Little Rock) (AP) – Arkansas lawmakers have two capital punishment proposals to consider nearly a decade after the state’s most recent execution.
While the state Supreme Court looks at whether an existing death penalty law is constitutional, two legislators are calling for changes. Neither of the ideas has picked up the endorsements they would need to make a change, however.
A Senate committee last week advanced a bill to eliminate the death penalty as a sentencing option in capital murder cases. That motivated a House member to file a bill Thursday that she hopes will restart executions via firing squads.
Arkansas currently has 32 men on death row. The state hasn’t had an execution since 2005, when Eric Nance was executed for the murder and attempted rape of a Malvern teenager.