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Spring Break Over at Capitol

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri lawmakers return to the Capitol with a to-do list that includes the budget and various legislative priorities such as taxes, economic incentives and a fund for injured workers.The Legislature recessed this past week for its midsession break. Lawmakers are scheduled to resume debate Monday.House Speaker Tim Jones said his chamber likely will tackle the roughly $24 billion budget this week. The House also plans action on limiting noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases, addressing an insolvent fund for disabled workers and focusing on taxes and economic incentives.Senators have approved nine of their priorities, including changes to the Second Injury Fund and a measure that would reduce the state income tax while increasing the sales tax.The Associated Press offered this priority breakdown:BENEVOLENT TAX CREDITSLawmakers gave final approval to legislation that would reinstate expiring or expired tax credits for certain charitable donations. It also would eliminate the state tax incentive on foreign adoptions and was sent to the governor.BONDSMissouri would issue bonds to pay for construction on college campuses, state facilities and other projects. Separate proposals have been endorsed by committees in the House and Senate.EDUCATIONThe House has passed legislation calling for schools to receive letter grades based upon their performance on individual state standards. The Senate approved another measure that would let the state act immediately when a district loses accreditation, instead of waiting for more than two years as currently required.GUNSA House committee has adopted a proposal that would criminalize enforcement of past, present and future federal gun control laws.MEDICAIDGov. Jay Nixon wants the state to expand Medicaid coverage for an estimated 260,000 Missouri adults as called for under the federal health care law. Republican-led committees in the House and Senate voted down proposals, and a House committee has scheduled a hearing Monday for a Republican-sponsored alternative.PREVAILING WAGEThe House passed legislation that would change how workers are paid for public construction projects in most counties. Currently, the wage for a given trade is based upon voluntary surveys collected and submitted by contractors on a project. The House proposal would replace the figures with an average weekly statewide wage compiled by the state labor department. A Senate committee held hearings on another version.SPORTING EVENTSLawmakers gave final approval to a new tax credit aimed at attracting major amateur sporting events. The proposal was sent to the governor this month.SUNSHINE LAWThe House and Senate each passed proposals to reinstate expired exemptions to Missouri’s open meetings law that shielded security-related records. The Senate measure includes a requirement for greater advanced notice before most government meetings and the removal of a requirement that violations be committed knowingly.TAX CREDITSSenators approved a proposal to create new incentives for air cargo exports, so-called angel investors in startup technology businesses and computer data centers while scaling back programs used by developers to build low-income housing and restore historic buildings. House members gave first-round approval to separate proposals creating new tax credit programs.TAXESSenators approved legislation that would reduce the income tax for individuals and corporations by three-quarters of a percentage point over five years while raising the state sales tax by one-half cent over the same period.TRANSPORTATIONThe measure would increase the sales tax by 1-cent and is estimated to raise nearly $8 billion over a decade for transportation needs. Senators passed the measure, and a House committee has embraced a similar proposal.UNION PAYCHECKSSenators approved legislation that would require some public employee unions to seek annual consent to automatically deduct fees from members’ paychecks and use them for political contributions. The House passed a separate measure that would require all unions to get annual consent to spend member fees on political contributions.UTILITY SURCHARGEIt would allow power companies to ask to levy a surcharge for infrastructure costs between rate cases. House and Senate committees endorsed separate measures.VOTER IDENTIFICATIONThe House approved a state constitutional amendment allowing for a requirement that voters show a government-issued photo ID at the polls and separate legislation to implement it.WORKERS’ COMPENSATIONThe Senate approved a bill that would replenish the insolvent Second Injury Fund for disabled workers by temporarily doubling the fee businesses could be charged and limiting the types of injuries the fund covers. It also would clarify occupational diseases are

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