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Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has signed into law statewide regulations for ride-hailing companies including Uber and Lyft.

The governor signed the bill Monday at St. Charles Community College. It requires app-based companies to conduct driver background checks and pay a licensing fee.

The law will also exempt such companies from local and municipal taxes, require drivers to submit to background checks and to buy vehicle liability insurance.

Uber and Lyft say the law will allow them to expand throughout the state.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is signaling that it'll rule for a Missouri church that wants state money to put a soft surface on its preschool playground.

The case is being argued before the justices Wednesday — and it's being closely watched by proponents of school vouchers.

Liberal and conservative justices alike seem troubled by Missouri's decision to exclude the church from a grant program that pays for playground surfaces made of recycled tires.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — In a year when congressional town hall meetings have often turned angry, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is wading into predominantly Republican areas of Missouri to host a series of them this week.

McCaskill's first town hall is scheduled for Wednesday at Jefferson College in the eastern Missouri town of Hillsboro. She has plans for seven subsequent meetings this week in potentially hostile counties where Donald Trump won easily in the presidential election, carrying Missouri with more than 65 percent of the vote.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Economic conditions in nine Midwest and Plains states remains healthy, despite a slight slip in a monthly survey of business supply managers, an economist said in a report released Monday.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index report said the overall economic index for the region dropped to 60.1 in March from 60.5 in February. It's the first index decline in five months.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Results from a monthly survey of business supply managers suggest manufacturing is boosting economic conditions in nine Midwest and Plains states.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index report released Wednesday says the overall economic index for the region rose to 60.5 in February from 54.7 in January. It's the highest figure since April 2014 and the fourth monthly increase in a row.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says the increases point to the improving regional manufacturing economy.

Talk Business & Politics

Doniphan Vitality, a non-profit organization, has received a $100,000 grant from the Delta Regional Authority, DRA, to conduct an innovation hub feasibility study in four southern Missouri counties and Sharp and Randolph counties in Arkansas.

The University of Missouri Extension Office has also pledged a $20,000 match, DV Arkansas leadership point person Graycen Bigger told Talk Business & Politics.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is shunning the state plane and instead relying on private donors and campaign funds to pay for his flights.

Since taking office in January, the Republican governor has not flown on a state airplane. That's a significant departure from his Democratic predecessor, Jay Nixon, who frequently used state airplanes.

Greitens' Chief of Staff Michael Roche says the governor is committed to spending as little of the taxpayers' money as possible on travel.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence plans to talk about job growth while visiting an equipment and engine dealer in Missouri.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens will join Pence on Wednesday at the Fabick Cat headquarters in Fenton, Missouri, outside of St. Louis. Pence will meet with workers, get a tour of the facility, and give a speech at 1:30 p.m.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Lawmakers are questioning a newly revised policy allowing visitors to bring firearms into the Missouri Capitol.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2k83UVx) reports that Gov. Eric Greitens' administration lifted a month-old prohibition Monday on allowing people with concealed-weapon permits to carry their guns into the statehouse.

Members of a Senate panel recommended Wednesday to look at potentially changing the rules that govern what happens with firearms inside the Capitol.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has appointed two new heads of the state's emergency management and fire safety divisions.

Greitens appointed Ernie Rhodes to be the director of the State Emergency Management Agency and Tim Bean as the state Fire Marshal in an announcement Wednesday at the St. Louis Fire Academy.

Rhodes currently serves as the fire chief for the West County EMS and Fire Protection District. He previously served as the director of Emergency Management in St. Charles, Missouri.

Wikipedia

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Wisconsin senator has accused the Department of Veterans of Affairs of firing a doctor for speaking out about alleged shortcomings at a Missouri VA hospital and then thwarting his efforts to get hired at another VA site.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who heads the Senate's Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, wrote in a recent letter to the VA's acting secretary that the department should "cease all retaliatory actions" against Dr. Dale Klein.

Wikipedia

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Three months after losing his bid for the U.S. Senate, former Democratic Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander is launching an organization that's taking a new approach to fight what he calls voter suppression efforts.

Kander on Tuesday announced an organization called Let America Vote. A 27-member advisory board includes elected officials from across the country, communications leaders, and activists that include Martin Luther King III, the son of the slain civil rights leader.

Eric Greitens Official Facebook Page

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Republican Gov. Eric Greitens is signing a bill to make Missouri the 28th right-to-work state on Monday, delivering a big win for primarily GOP supporters who have worked for years to pass the measure banning mandatory union fees and dues.

The bill signing in Missouri comes amid a national push to implement the policy. Republicans in Congress have introduced a version of right-to-work legislation that would, for the first time, allow millions of workers to opt out of union membership.

Eric Greitens Official Facebook Page

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' budget proposal released Thursday for the 2018 fiscal year (all times local):

11:10 a.m.

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Results from a monthly survey of business supply managers suggest economic conditions continue to improve in nine Midwest and Plains states.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index report released Wednesday says the overall economic index for the region rose to 54.7 in January from 53.1 in December. It's the highest figure since February 2015 and the third monthly increase in a row.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says the increases point to an improving regional manufacturing economy.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A partner at a global management consulting firm who was hired as Missouri's first chief operating officer is set to begin his job of increasing state government efficiency next month.

The Springfield News-Leader (http://sgfnow.co/2jc9WZL) reports that the start date for Drew Erdmann is Feb. 13.

Press secretary Parker Briden wouldn't say how much Erdmann will be paid. Salary figures for employees of the governor's office are a public record, but not so for Erdmann as he has not yet officially started work.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that Ameren Missouri's coal-fired power plant near St. Louis violates the Clean Air Act and has created "significantly more pollution" since modifications were made.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel's ruling Monday could require St. Louis-based Ameren to install additional pollution control equipment at the Rush Island power plant in Jefferson County. Ameren Missouri called the ruling disappointing and said an appeal is planned.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge is calling for a review of the way courts hold people in jail before trial.

In her final State of the Judiciary address Tuesday, Breckenridge told lawmakers that costly pretrial incarcerations affect poor people and have negative consequences for the individual and society. She says a Supreme Court task force will recommend changes to current practices.

Breckenridge also called for higher pay for state employees who work in courts.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Airport, trucking and business officials all are urging Missouri lawmakers to change state driver's license laws to comply with federal identification requirements.

A Senate committee heard testimony Thursday on legislation that would allow two options for driver's licenses — one that complies with the federal Real ID act and another that doesn't.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A bill prohibiting mandatory union fees in workplaces is moving to the Missouri Senate after winning House approval.

The 100-59 vote Thursday by the House comes after Republican supermajorities made the so-called right-to-work law a priority for this year.

If the law passes, employees won't be required to pay union fees, even though the union may still be required to represent all employees.

Wikipedia

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' State of the State address Tuesday (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

Republican legislative leaders are planning to get to work quickly on some of the priorities outlined by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens in his first State of the State address.

In a nearly 40-minute speech Tuesday night, the new Republican governor said Missouri could grow its economy by limiting union powers and liability lawsuits against businesses, cutting state regulations and revamping its tax laws.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A contentious right-to-work bill to ban mandatory union fees is set to be debated by the Missouri House.

On Wednesday, the Republican-led House is expected to take up the measure for an initial vote of approval. A final vote to send the legislation to the Senate could come as early as Thursday.

GOP legislative leaders strongly support right to work. It's on the fast-track to passage now backers have support from the state's new Republican governor, Eric Greitens.

Pixabay

Ameren Missouri is seeking public comment today (Tuesday) from Southeast Missouri residents on a proposed rate increase.

Media outlets in Missouri report a hearing will be held in Charleston at the high school auditorium tonight at 6 p.m.  The state Public Service Commission along with representatives from Ameren are expected to be there to answer questions.

Two hearings were scheduled for today.  The first is in Cape Girardeau at the Osage Center at noon.

 COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Ameren Missouri electric customers will now have to pay about $3 more on their monthly bill to support energy efficiency efforts by the utility company. The Missouri Public Service Commission says the charge will apply to the bills of 4,118 customers in Boone County and 1.26 million customers statewide.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Some Republican lawmakers in Missouri are proposing to overhaul the state's Medicaid system without waiting for President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress to act first.

A Senate committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would direct the state Department of Social Services to seek a "global waiver" from federal Medicaid requirements to remake the state's program.

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