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MO Sen. Votes For N. Home Fines; Against '04 Primary


Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate gave initial approval Tuesday to raise fines for violations at nursing homes.

Currently, homes face a maximum penalty of $10,000 for violations. The measure in Jefferson City would change that to range from $1,000 - $25,000 a day, depending on the seriousness of the violation.

Those fines would apply to crimes exploiting the elderly. The measure also requires more detailed state reporting for nursing homes, and more thorough background checks of some of their workers.

After more than five hours of debate over two days, the Senate advanced the bill to a final vote. One more vote in the Senate would send it to the House.

The current maximum fine of $10,000 hasn't changed since 1979.

Also in the Senate Tuesday, a committee voted to delete funding for Missouri's 2004 presidential primary from the proposed state budget.

The Appropriations Committee stripped the budget of the roughly $3.5 million needed to hold the election next February.

A House sub-committee made the same cut earlier. But the full House didn't consider the issue. Instead, the House-passed budget lacks specific spending directions for state agencies.

The Senate committee is working this week to re-insert line-by-line appropriations. Members are also trying to cover a $700 million gap between proposed spending and revenues for the fiscal year starting July first.