- 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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


The House passed legislation attempting to get around a state Supreme Court ruling that struck down Missouri’s limit on the amount of money victims can receive in medical malpractice lawsuits for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. The bill seeks to reinstate a cap of $350,000.


A Senate panel advanced a bill to raise Missouri’s current minimum wage of $7.50 an hour to $10 an hour starting in 2015. It hasn’t been debated by the full Senate.


The Senate passed legislation revising a state law that currently allows students in unaccredited districts to transfer elsewhere at their former district’s expense. The Senate bill would first steer students wanting to leave unaccredited schools to other accredited buildings in the same district. A House committee also is considering a bill dealing with unaccredited schools.


The House and Senate each passed similar bills offering a truce with Kansas in a tax-credit battle for businesses in the Kansas City area. The House also passed a bill that would reduce the amount of tax credits that could be approved annually for developers of low-income housing and historic buildings while creating new tax breaks for various other businesses.


The House passed two tax-cut measures - one reducing income taxes only for businesses, the other for both individuals and some businesses. The Senate has gotten bogged down on its own tax-cut legislation, with majority-party Republicans in disagreement about whether to try to compromise with Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who vetoed an income tax cut last year.


A House committee endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that would ask voters to impose a 1-cent sales tax for Missouri roads, bridges and other modes of transportation.


A House committee endorsed legislation prohibiting labor contracts from requiring that all employees pay union fees, but the so-called right-to-work bill has not been debated by the full House.


The House approved a state constitutional amendment and an accompanying bill that could authorize a requirement for voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls. Both measures are pending in the Senate, but the chamber’s leader said he only wants to focus on the constitutional amendment.

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