Senator Bond wants the General Accounting Office to look into pharmacy compounding. Compounded drugs are customized medications that pharmacists mix from scratch, often without following safety procedures used by big drugmakers. Bond’s request comes after the Robert Courtney cancer drug dilution case that rocked the Kansas City area. Courtney pleaded guilty to diluting cancer drugs for nearly 10 years to increase his profit margin. Authorities believe more than four thousand patients were affected. He’s now serving a 30-year sentence. Bond has also received the green light from the Senate to form an advisory committee to look into compounded drugs.
Archives for June 2003
Governor Holden has set a November special election date to replace a Kansas City-area State Senator who died last month. The election is scheduled for November 4th to replace Ronnie DePasco, a Democrat, who died of cancer last month. Depasco had served in the legislature since 1977, first serving in the Missouri House, then the Missouri Senate.
Health officials in Southwest Missouri say a horse in McDonald County is the first case of equine West Nile Virus of the year. At least one crow in the St.Louis area was confirmed to have the disease and another has been reported in Southeast Missouri. The 18-year-old horse has been destroyed. Last year, 662 horses in the state picked up the virus. Mosquitoes transfer the virus to humans and horses after getting it from infected birds. People cannot spread the disease to other people, and it won’t spread from birds to people.
An effort to create a new way for the state to distribute money to public school districts will be investigated in the next few months. Several legislators say it’s obvious the present school Foundation Formula no longer fairly distributes state school aid funds. It’s been ten years since the present Foundation Formula was written, and those who were involved in that say they knew even in 1993 that the formula was only going to be good for about a decade.Some school districts are threatening to sue the state because they say the present system is unfair. House and Senate leaders are about to appoint members of a special committee that will rewrite the Foundation Formula. Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder (R-Cape Girardeau) will appoint some of the committee members. House Speaker Catherine Hanaway (R-Warson Woods) will appoint some House members to the committee, which could have suggestions ready for the 2004 legisaltive session if things go smoothly. The system now being sued took two years to write.
One special legislative session has ended. Another one is already planned. Governor Holden has announced he will sign the education budget bills, ending a contentious, month-long special legislative session. Holden, a Democrat, has also announced he will call legislators back into session in September during the annual veto session to reconsider his revenue package. House Speaker Catherine Hanaway (R-Warson Woods) won’t say whether she will consider revenue enhancements once lawmakers return for another special session. The House didn’t hear any during the June session. While Hanaway assigned revenue bills to the Tax Policy Committee during the special legislative session, the chairman of the committee refused to even hold a hearing on them. And even though a Senate committee heard some of the governor’s proposals, no revenue increase proposal made it to either the House or Senate floor for debate. Hanaway argues raising revenue could prove counter productive for state government, if it costs the state jobs, which, in turn, would cost the state tax revenue. She says the best way for state government to get more money is for more Missourians to go back to work. She says that needs to be the focus of the state government right now.
The way Missouri provides money for local school districts seems almost certain to become a matter for a lawsuit. It’s been ten years since the state adopted a new system of distributing state funds to school districts. It was done under a court ruling that held that the old formula was unfair. Now the critics of the system are back. And some say the present formula has gotten so far out of whack that it’s worse than the system it replaced a decade ago.State Senator Harold Caskey (D-Butler), a leader in writing the present formula, says the lawyers have been hired; plaintiffs are being rounded up; and lawsuits are being written. Caskey says the education budget just adopted by the legislature aggravates the inequities that have been growing in the state education financing formula, known as the Foundation Formula. Legislative leaders are forming a special committee to re-write the foundation formula. But they know formation of the committee probably won’t persuade critics to forget about filing a suit.
House Speaker Catherine Hanaway is pleased Governor Holden has decided to sign the education bills. She calls it a victory for Missouri taxpayers and for those who have called on state government to live within its means. Hanaway says she is glad the issue was resolved before the beginning of the fiscal year, when numerous legal issues would have arisen should the state have entered the new year without an education budget. As for the rancorous nature of the special legislative session, Hanaway says the budget battle between Republican legislative leaders and Governor Holden, a Democrat, were more philosophical than political. She says the special session simply brought to the forefront the differences between how the two political parties think about government. Hanaway says now the legislature must turn its attention toward the next fiscal year.
Albert Pujols’ run at the Triple Crown continued yesterday. Pujols put together an offensive display going 4-6 with two homers and three RBI’s. Pujols raised his batting average to .391, as the Cardinals topped the Royals 13-6 at Kauffman Stadium. Pujols leads the National League in batting and RBI’s with 72 and trails Mike Lowell of the Marlins by two in the home run race with 23. St. Louis did all their scoring in three innings, going for five in the second, two in the fourth and six in the sixth. Eduardo Perez and Edgar Renteria were 2-4 with two runs batted in apiece. Chris George gave up ten of the Cardinals’ 13 runs to drop to 9-5 on the season. Brett Tomko was the winner, upping his record to 4-5. Both teams lost a player after a nasty collision in the second inning. J.D. Drew and Ken Harvey ran into each other as Drew ran to first base. Drew left with a hip flexor and Harvey had to exit with a bruised shoulder. Both teams entered the series in first place in their respective divisions and both left he series the same way, with a few minor changes. After taking two of three, the Cardinals broke their tie in the N.L. Central and now own a one-game lead over the Cubs. The Royals had a one-game lead over the Twins in the A.L. Central on Friday and are now tied.
Ben Godwin of Poplar Bluff and Parker LaBarge of St. Louis played 34 holes of match play at the Missouri Amateur Golf Championship at Hickory Hills Country Club in Springfield. Godwin came away with the 3-and-2 win to capture his first Missouri Amateur title. But it’s not the first for his family. His dad, Buddy, won the Missouri Amateur in 1973. Godwin’s brother, Bobby won the state stroke play title in 1996. Godwin took control of yesterday’s match on the 26th hole when he chipped in for an eagle to put the match at all-square. LaBarge, who’s 10 years old, will be a sophomore at Rice University in the fall.
Governor Holden stated during a speech at the Lake of the Ozarks late this morning that he will relent and sign the two education budget bills the legislature has refused to change. Holden made the announcement as he addressed the Missouri School Boards’ Association’s annual leadership summit. Holden told educators gathered for the meeting that Republican legislative leaders had run out the clock during the special session, leaving him no alternative but to sign bills unchanged from those he vetoed last week. The new fiscal year begins Tuesday, July 1st. The Attorney General’s office had warned Holden that entering a new fiscal year without an education budget would spawn a host of lawsuits from all directions. News reporters attending the meeting observed a visibly upset Holden as he made the announcement about three-quarters of the way through his speech. The announcement brings to an end a contentious special legislative session that began June 2nd when Holden recalled the legislature to the Capitol to reconsider budget bills funding health, mental health, social services, schools and colleges. Holden rejected revisions to the bills funding public schools and colleges, but accepted the other two bills. He requested a 90-day emergency appropriation to keep money flowing to schools until the legislature could reconvene in September to wrap up the special session. Legislative leaders ignored the request and approved bills identical to those vetoed last week. Holden did say he would recall the legislature in September during the annual veto session to reconsider raising revenues to offset cuts the legislature approved to the education budget.