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NewsBook: Missouri Government News for the Week of August 22, 2005

. Proposed fuel tax holiday would affect Missouri road and bridge improvements. (08/25/05)

JEFFERSON CITY - Department of Transportation spokesperson Jeff Briggs says the fuel tax holiday proposed by Democratic leaders will affect Missouri highway improvements.

The transportation department would lose 16.3 million dollars in the course of the two week holiday.

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    . The Missouri House Democratic leader calls for a fuel tax holiday (08/25/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Rep. Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, urged the governor to include in the legislature's special session a two-week suspension of the state's 10-cent-per-gallon fuel tax.

    The governor's chief spokesman, however, immediately rejected the idea -- saying it would endanger on-going road repair projects.

    The governor has called lawmakers into a special session in early September to deal with a number of issues including abortion restrictions.

    . Governments web-site gag law is suspended. (08/25/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - A Cole County circuit judge has blocked enforcement of a state law that prohibits web sites from disclosing the home phone numbers, addresses or Social Security numbers of elected or appointed government officials.

    The provision was one of several provisions added to a bill on court summons, CCS SB 420, that was passed by the legislature's last session earlier this year.

    The governor has included repeal of the prohibition in the legislature's special session that will begin in early Septembe

    . A charity tracking web site is launched (08/24/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Attorney General's office launched Wednesday a new webiste that provides financial information about charities operating in Missouri.

    The site is

    It's a database of information that charities have voluntarily reported financial information to the Attorney General that includes total contributions and the percentage of an organization's budget that is used for administrative costs.

    . The House sponsor of the Medicaid-cut bill joins the Blunt administration (08/23/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Matt Blunt has appointed Rep. Jodi Stefanick, R-St. Louis County, to be his healthcare policy advisor.

    During the last legislative session, Stefanick had been the House handler for the the bill, signed by the governor, that makes cuts in Medicaid heatlh-care coverage for the lower and middle income.

    The measure also terminates Medicaid in July 2008.

    A commission has been created to come up with recommendations Stefanick had been a House member of that comission as well as chair of the

    . Missouri's environmental protection agency reorganized. (08/22/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Matt Blunt announced Monday a major reorganization of the state's Natural Resources Department that will put the agency's chief lawyer overseeing environmental protection efforts.

    The plan will consolidate regional offices as well as separate agencies that dealt with environmental protection.

    The department's director, Doyle Childers, said one objective was to assure faster and more consistent processing of applications for various environmental permits.

    . The State Auditor finds millions of dollars in undistributed child support payments. (08/22/05)

    JEFFERSON CITY - The audit report that has much as $16 million has been held by the state in delayed distributions of child-support payments.

    The audit covered the years 2001 to 2004.

    Under state and federal law, the state collects court-ordered child-support payments and then distributes them to the custodial parents.

    The audit found a number of causes for the delayed distribution, topped by a missing or expired address for the custodial address.

    In response, Gov. Matt Blunt questioned the authority of the State Auditor to conduct "performance" audits that extend beyond a simple financial audit.