A look at key bills from Missouri's 2015 legislative session

3 years 1 week 22 hours ago Friday, May 15 2015 May 15, 2015 Friday, May 15, 2015 8:19:00 PM CDT May 15, 2015 in News
By: The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Missouri lawmakers ended their annual session Friday. Here's a look at some of the major issues that passed and failed:

PASSED:

BUDGET

Authorizes $26 billion of spending for the 2016 fiscal year, including an $84 million increase in basic aid for public schools that is still well short of full funding under a state formula. Holds social services spending relatively flat. Signed by Nixon. HBs 1-13.

BUILDING BONDS

Details $300 million in bonding projects at the Capitol, higher education institutions and other state facilities. HBs 17-19.

DAIRY INCENTIVES

Creates a scholarship program for dairy students and a state subsidy for federal dairy insurance. Signed by Nixon. HB259.

DATA CENTERS

Authorizes sales tax exemptions for data storage centers that invest minimum amounts and create jobs with higher than average county wages. Signed by Nixon. HB149.

IMMIGRANT STUDENTS

Bans state financial aid or some scholarships for immigrant students living in the U.S. illegally who are attending Missouri colleges or universities. SB224.

PLASTIC BAGS

Limits cities' ability to ban plastic bags, impose a higher minimum wage or require employers to offer paid sick leave and other benefits. HB722.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Reinstates caps on non-economic damages in malpractice lawsuits against health care providers, which had been struck down by the state Supreme Court in 2012. Signed by Nixon. SB239.

MUNICIPAL COURTS

Reduces the amount of revenue that cities can keep from traffic fines and fees, an issue raised by some Ferguson protesters who complained of being frequently stopped by police. Also caps fines for minor traffic violations, prohibits detainment to coerce payment and requires alternative sentencing options in municipal courts. SB5.

STUDENT TRANSFERS

Overhauls a Missouri law that requires unaccredited school districts to pay tuition for students who opt to transfer to nearby schools. The bill would require students to first transfer to better-performing buildings within their districts and, if that's not an option, students could go to charter or online schools. HB42.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Cuts the maximum number of weeks of unemployment benefits that people can receive from 20 to as low as 13, depending on the unemployment rate in the state. Vetoed by Nixon. HB150.

UNION FEES

Bars workplace contracts that require union fees to be collected from all employees, including those who aren't union members. Nixon has said he will veto the right-to-work bill. HB116.

WELFARE BENEFITS

Reduces the time that low-income people can receive cash benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program from five years to three years and nine months. Passed by overriding Nixon's veto. SB24.

FAILED:

ABORTION

Required annual inspections of abortion clinics.

ETHICS

Increased public reporting on gifts to legislators and banned lawmakers from becoming lobbyists for a certain time after leaving office.

FERGUSON FOLLOW-UP

Revised Missouri's law governing police use of deadly force and addressed the public's access to videos from police body cameras.

MEDICAID

Expanded Medicaid eligibility for low-income adults under the terms of President Barack Obama's health care law.

MURDER SENTENCES

Rewrote laws on the maximum prison sentences for minors convicted in adult court of murder, in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against mandatory sentence of life without parole for youths.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Authorized the creation of a state database to track prescriptions for certain medicines, an effort to spot people who may be abusing the drugs.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING

Increased the gas tax 1.5 cents for most types of fuel and 3.5 for diesel.

VOTER IDENTIFICATION

Asked voters to authorize requirements that people show government-issued photo identification at the ballot booth.

 

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