- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Latest on Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens‘ State of the State address Tuesday (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

Republican legislative leaders are planning to get to work quickly on some of the priorities outlined by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens in his first State of the State address.

In a nearly 40-minute speech Tuesday night, the new Republican governor said Missouri could grow its economy by limiting union powers and liability lawsuits against businesses, cutting state regulations and revamping its tax laws.

House Speaker Todd Richardson praised the focus on the economy, particularly on growing jobs and wages.

The House plans to begin debate Wednesday on a right-to-work measure barring mandatory union fees.

Most Democrats oppose right-to-work. But some Democrats did applaud Greitens‘ comments about improving wages and educational opportunities.

Greitens succeeded term-limited Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon last week.


9:15 p.m.

Gov. Eric Greitens is citing the so-called “Ferguson effect” while pledging that Missouri will do more to support law enforcement officers.

Greitens‘ remarks Tuesday during his State of the State address indirectly referenced the reaction to the August 2014 fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson. Brown’s death prompted widespread protests that sometimes turned violent.

A Pew Research Center survey of at least 8,000 law officers nationwide affirmed a Ferguson effect - finding that many officers are now more hesitant to use force or stop and question people.

Greitens pledged support for law officers while also noting that Missouri is “in a tough place” and people need “to come together.”


8:40 p.m.

One of the top Democrats in the Missouri Legislature is taking issue with one of the top priorities outlined by Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.

During his first State of the State address Tuesday, Greitens called on lawmakers to pass a right-to-work law barring mandatory union fees. He said it could help improve the business climate in the state.

Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh denounced right-to-work during a Democratic rebuttal speech. She said it could mean less money, less health coverage and less opportunity for workers.

The Republican-led House is expected to begin debate Wednesday on a right-to-work measure.


8:20 p.m.

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens is getting bipartisan support for some of his comments about Missouri’s education and judicial systems.

During his State of the State address Tuesday, Greitens called for the creation of “education savings accounts” for children with special needs. He said the proposal would give parents greater control by allowing state education money to be used to send their children to the best possible schools.

Some Democrats joined Republicans in applauding that proposal.

Democrats also rose with Republicans to applaud as Greitens said Missouri needs a justice system “that does justice by all our people.” He emphasized his support for fair trials and adequate legal representation for all.

Greitens also called for reforms to the state prison system to reduce criminal recidivism.


8:05 p.m.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is promising that his administration will do a comprehensive review of the state’s tax credit system.

Greitens said during his State of the State address Tuesday that “insiders and lobbyists” have “rigged the system to get special interest tax credits” in Missouri.

He promised an “end-to-end audit” of the tax credit system with a goal of creating a tax code that is “fair to all.”

Missouri’s many tax credit programs currently waive income taxes to promote a variety of causes, including business expansions, the development of low-income housing and the renovation of historic buildings.

Some Missouri lawmakers have tried for years to curtail the state’s tax credits, but lawmakers have been unable to agree on changes.


7:55 p.m.

Missouri Gov. Eric Grietens is outlining plans to reduce government regulations and boost pay for some state employees.

Greitens said during his State of the State speech Tuesday that “burdensome regulations” are holding back job-creation in Missouri. And he said Missouri has a “big bloated bureaucracy.”

He said that over the past 17 years, Missouri has issued over 40,000 pages of new regulations. He touted an executive order he issued last week to put a hold on new rules.

Greitens also said permits needed for businesses currently take too long to get.

The governor said he is committed to “civil service reform” for state employees. He said that could include a smaller workforce with better pay for the “star performers” in state government.


7:45 p.m.

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens is proposing new limits on unions and trial attorneys as a way to improve Missouri’s economy.

During his State of the State address Tuesday, Greitens urged lawmakers to adopt a right-to-work law barring mandatory union fees. It was a welcome call to majority Republicans lawmakers, who already have declared it a priority, but not to Democrats.

Greitens also proposed to do away with pre-bid union labor agreements on public works projects that he said drive up costs.

The governor asserted that Missouri has become an attractive place to sue businesses. He called for new limits on liability lawsuits, including tighter rules on where lawsuits can be filed and who can qualify as an expert witness.


7:35 p.m.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is calling upon lawmakers to adopt a trio of ethics proposals intended to improve the public perception of state government.

The Republican governor delivered his first State of the State speech Tuesday night to a joint session of the Republican-led House and Senate. As he did during his campaign, Greitens declared himself a political “outsider” and began his speech by urging lawmakers to clean up state government.

Greitens called upon them to ban gifts from lobbyists, as he already has done for executive employees.

He called for a law requiring legislators wanting to become lobbyists to wait one year for every year they served in office.

And Greitens backed a proposed ballot measure to impose term limits on all statewide elected officials.


12:15 a.m.

New Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens will outline his policies on jobs, ethics, public safety and education during his first State of the State address.

The Republican will speak Tuesday evening at the Capitol.

Spokesman Parker Briden says more higher-paying jobs are a priority for Greitens. He also will touch on so-called labor reform, which likely means a right-to-work law banning mandatory union dues.

Briden says other topics Greitens will discuss include restrictions on liability lawsuits to help businesses, changing tax credit policies, paring down state regulations and “civil service reform.”

Greitens is breaking from tradition and won’t present his budget proposal Tuesday.

Greitens took office earlier this month. This is his first time serving in elected office.

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