- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Missouri Legislature is to return to work Monday from its weeklong spring break, which marks the traditional midway point of its annual session. Here’s a look at where some issues stand:

ABORTION

The House passed legislation tripling the amount of time women have to wait to get an abortion after seeing a doctor. The bill would require women to wait three days before terminating their pregnancy. The Senate is considering similar legislation.

BUDGET

A House committee endorsed a 2015 budget that creates a two-tiered funding plan for education, providing public schools at least a $122 million increase and potentially a $278 million increase if state revenues meet Gov. Jay Nixon’s more optimistic projections. Separately, House budget leaders are backing a bonding plan to replace a state mental health facility in Fulton.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

House and Senate panels have held hearings on bills that would place caps on campaign contributions. Committees have also considered legislation to limit the amount of gifts lobbyists can provide to lawmakers.

CHEMOTHERAPY COVERAGE

Nixon signed legislation to prevent insurance companies from charging significantly higher amounts for oral chemotherapy drugs than they currently do for intravenous treatments. Companies can only charge $75 for a 30-day supply of chemotherapy pills, starting next year.

CRIMINAL CODE

Legislation to rewrite the state’s criminal laws for the first time since 1979 is pending in both the House and Senate. The bills would create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors, as well as reduce the penalties for some drug crimes.

GUNS

The Senate passed a measure that could jail federal agents who enforce federal laws that the state deems to be infringements on gun rights. A House committee endorsed the Senate bill, and it is awaiting action on the House floor.

MEDICAID

A Senate panel advanced legislation to expand the use of managed care policies in Missouri’s Medicaid program. A House panel is hearing testimony on a bill that would include more sweeping Medicaid changes, including an expansion of eligibility to thousands of lower-income adults.

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