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Missouri Government News for Week of Oct. 28, 1996

Griffin to plead not guilty.

Former House Speaker Bob Griffin says he will plead not-guilty to the charges of political corruption that were issued by a federal grand jury Thursday.

The indictment alleges Griffin took money to influence legislative fate of some the dominate issues before the legislature in recent years -- including the state's last gas-tax increase and expanding health-care insurance coverage.

We have a number of stories and infoboxes for you on the indictment itself and reaction in the statehouse:

Former House speaker indicted.

Former House Speaker Bob Griffin was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on numerous counts of bribery and mail fraud.

In addition, three other associates of Griffin also were indicted.

The indictments were issued after a two-year federal investigation into Griffin.

The U.S. Attorney in Kansas City had scheduled a news conference at 3pm Thursday.

For the past week, there have been growing rumors within the statehouse that several other House members also would be indicted.

There have been published reports that the grand jury was investigating Griffin's legal work for a riverboat gambling interest, health care legislation he had sponsored and his one-vote victory for re-election as House Speaker in January 1995.

Griffin resigned as speaker early in the 1996 session and later resigned as a member of the House.

HMO representatives defend gag orders on doctors

Representatives of the managed care industry argued before a legislative committee against a proposal to ban HMOs from imposing restrictions on what doctors can tell patients.

The HMO representatives testified before a joint legislative committee that has been holding months of hearings into problems and complaints about managed care.

A ban on gag orders was one of 20 tentative recommendations from the committee.

But the HMO witnesses told the committee restricting doctors' speech was not as widespread a problem as the committee had been led to believe.

See our newspaper story for further details.

Carnahan extends his campaign finance lead.

Gov. Mel Carnahan has better than a four-to-one lead over his GOP opponent in campaign finances, according to financial disclosure reports filed Tuesday.

Carnahan reported spending nearly $2.5 million on the campaign so far, while Magaret Kelly reports spending $421,000.

The deadline for filing the last set of disclosure reports before the elections was 5pm Tuesday.

Staff of the Missouri Ethics Commission allowed access only to the summary reports Tuesday night. The staff refused to allow reporters to examine the detailed list of contributions and expenditures for the candidates.

For more information, see the radio story.

HMO regulation proposed by a legislative committee

State regulation of HMO plans and a ban on doctor gag orders were among the tentative recommendations presented to a joint committee reviewing managed care.

Approval by the Insurance Department would be required before an HMO plan could be marketed, under the committee proposals. In addition, HMOs would be required to provide coverage for emergency care without prior approval by the HMO.

For more details, see our radio story.