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From the Bench

Circuit Judge R. Brent Elliott’s “From the Bench” is a series of articles designed to provide the public with a better understanding of the judicial system. The 43rd Judicial Circuit consists of five counties; Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, and Livingston.

Last month Judge Daren Adkins (Daviess County) discussed how and why the 43rd Circuit created the Drug Treatment and Employment Court (DTEC). In this article he will focus on

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Capitol Report: Tears in committee

by State Rep. J. Eggleston

Nothing was more serious this week past than the discussion on SJR39, the bill that addressed religious freedoms versus gay rights in the debate over whether the government can compel clergy and small business owners to participate in gay weddings. As you have probably heard by now, SJR39 failed to make it out of the Emerging Issues committee in the House. That 12-person committee had

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General Assembly passes 2017 budget

by State Sen. Dan Hegeman

The Missouri Legislature gave final approval to the Fiscal Year 2017 budget on Thursday. The state operating plan totals $27.2 billion. This figure is 1% less than what the governor put forth and reflects the General Assembly’s diligence to ensure a sensible and balanced budget.

The passage of a balanced budget is the only constitutional duty the legislature is obligated to fulfill each session and

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EPA continues to go too far

by Congressman Sam Graves

There is a feeling around Washington that Americans can’t make decisions for themselves. There are some people here who really do believe more government is the answer to every problem. The attitude isn’t new by any stretch, but under President Obama it’s only gotten worse.

We’ve seen it come to life in the form of health care mandates, strict regulations on family farms, and even limits

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Capitol Perspectives: Effective Governors 

by Phill Brooks

During the New Year’s break, a state official asked me whom I considered to be Missouri’s “best” governor I had covered. I paused. The term “best” is a value judgment that government reporters avoid. So, I decided to take the tactic politicians often use to answer difficult questions.

I chose to answer a question I was not asked: “Who were the most effective governors I’d covered?”

Of

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Capitol Perspectives: Election atics nothing new for Missouri

by Mark Hughes

During the April 5 elections, voters in some St. Louis County precincts couldn’t cast votes because of a shortage of ballots. A judge quickly issued an order keeping the polls open an extra two hours, but there was no delay in angry calls from both political parties for investigations.

Political opportunists will waste no time to use the ballot snafu as a truncheon to pound their opponents,

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Capitol Report: Focus on these 3 ‘meaty’ proposals

by State Rep. J. Eggleston

Legislature often deals with numerous bills that are so mundane that they are rarely reported on by the media. You should know about three bills with movement in Jeff City of a meatier nature.

The first is SJR39, the religious freedom bill. This bill addresses religious freedoms versus gay rights in the debate over whether the government can compel clergy and small business owners to

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Religious freedoms vs gay rights may go to ballot

by State Rep. J. Eggleston

Previously, I outlined how after bills are filed they go through a two-layer committee process before it is possible they may be heard and debated on the House floor. In the early weeks of session, most of our work is in committee passing the good bills, rejecting the bad bills, and amending and improving the bills that are so-so to make them better.

But now

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Senate returns for second half of session

by State Sen. Dan Hegeman

Legislators has returned to Jefferson City after the end of the annual spring break. The break certainly appeared to help ease the tension that had slowed things down in the Senate over the last few weeks. Accordingly, the Senate is again working at its normal, deliberative pace.

The Senate took up several bills on the floor this week, including Senate Bill 698, legislation I’ve

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