Statehouse News: Sept. 28 to Oct. 2

The following headlines are compiled each week by Sarah D. Wire, a senior in the Missouri School of Journalism. The weekly newsletter — drawn from stories by student-reporters with Missouri Digital News — is dispatched to members of the Missouri Press Association.

Nixon suspends DNR director over Lake of the Ozarks E. coli levels — Just days after reports surfaced that a top aide of the governor’s office knew about pollution levels at the Lake of the Ozarks, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon suspended the head of the state Department of Natural Resources.

Nixon accepts resignation from lawmaker who pleaded guilty to bribery charges — State Rep. T.D. El-Amin, D-St. Louis City, officially resigned from the Missouri House of Representatives on Sept. 30.

El-Amin pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges for accepting $2,100 from a St. Louis area gas station owner.

A special election will be held Feb. 2 to fill El-Amin’s vacant seat.

Missouri tax collection suffers near double digit loss — Missouri’s Office of Administration reported Oct. 2 that the state suffered a 9.97 percent drop in tax collections for the first quarter of the fiscal year.

Administration officials expected a decline, but not the nearly $190 million drop compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2009.

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering said she could not recall the last time the state had suffered a similar revenue decline in a budget quarter.

State to award stimulus funds for Internet service in rural areas — Sho-Me Technologies has applied for $25 million in state matching funds to lay 2,500 miles of new fiber-optic cable for broadband Internet service in Missouri. Sho-Me Technologies is a subsidiary of Sho-Me Power, a company based out of Marshfield that provides power to nine rural electric cooperatives.

Red-light ticket case dismissed in Columbia, issue moves to the state level — The red light camera debate has been brought to the state level.

State Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, said companies like Gatso USA, who installed red light camera detectors in Columbia, are “making profits off of the criminal justice system.”

Budget problems impact injured worker fund — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced Oct. 1 that he was suspending any new settlement agreements under the state’s Second Injury Fund.

The program pays the health coverage claims for disabled and injured workers who become reinjured on the job.

Koster reported that the solvency of the fund, which is financed through business assessments, was in jeopardy.

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