Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers have approved legislation on sales tax increases for the St. Louis Zoo. On Thursday Senators voted to send the bill to Governor Eric Greitens.

If signed, the bill would allow ballot initiatives to be brought in St. Louis City and St. Louis County to raise taxes by up to one-eighth of a percent to fund the zoo.

The measure would also allow the zoo to charge admission for new facilities for people who live in counties that don't adopt a zoo tax.,-92.1967427,372m/data=!3m1!1e3
Google / Google Maps

MoDOT will begin work on Highway 63 next week thanks to a $1.14 million project approved by the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission.  The project will replace the deck on and widen the southbound bridge crossing the Katy Trail.  MoDOT spokesperson Sally Oxenhandler said that preliminary night work will begin on the bridge next week to prepare for one lane of traffic each direction during construction.

Summer is prime for traveling and Oxenhandler says MoDOT will work hard to not disrupt traffic. 

Today Paul Pepper visits with retired letter carrier, LAURIE MATTHEWS, about this Saturday's annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive. Donate non-perishable foods by placing them on your curb in a paper sack by 9 a.m. for pickup. Nothing in glass containers! Watch for details. At [3:58] AMY JAMMEH and MILLA COSTA tell us about the Rotary Youth Exchange. If you're not familiar with the exchange, Amy tells us that it's a program of the better-known Rotary Club organization, and that local district 6080 is currently host to 11 exchange students from all over the world. Milla is from Brazil. She shares with us her perspective from her nine months in the United States. May 11, 2017

Disaster specialists are assessing flood and storm damage across Missouri in the wake of storms and severe flooding.

Gov. Eric Greitens said Wednesday that local, state and federal disaster specialists are working to determine the size and scope of the damage as part of the state's application seeking a federal disaster declaration.

UM Campuses Release 2018 Budget Plans With Few Specifics

May 10, 2017
Jay Buffington / Wikimedia Commons

This post was updated at 11:10pm, 5/10/17

MU is cutting 12 percent of its budget from all schools, colleges and divisions on campus in fiscal year 2018, according to an afternoon email from Interim Chancellor Garnett Stokes.

"Good people and good programs will be affected," Stokes said in the email.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Another major pharmacy chain in Missouri now offers naloxone, the potentially lifesaving drug that prevents opioid overdose deaths, to Missourians without a prescription.

HyVee announced Wednesday it will now sell the drug to customers in Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and South Dakota.

HyVee is the latest major pharmacy chain to carry naloxone without a prescription in Missouri, after Walgreens and CVS made similar announcements last year. The drug is administered in a nasal spray or injection, and can save the life of someone experiencing an opioid overdose.

File / KBIA

Missouri's top prosecutor says a sheriff participated in a jail altercation in which an inmate died and that he should be fired.

Attorney General Josh Hawley says in a news release that he filed a request in court yesterday to remove Cory Hutcheson from his position as sheriff of Mississippi County.

Hawley says his office is investigating the inmate's death Friday. Details haven't been released.

Kansas City Chiefs

A grand jury indicted former NFL linebacker Khaseem Greene for weapon possession for a December shooting in Elizabeth, New Jersey where Greene is from.

The Kansas City Chiefs released the linebacker on Tuesday. Greene signed with the team in January. His lawyer wasn't immediately available for comment. reports a criminal complaint says Greene was seen on camera handing a gun to another man who fired into a crowd. His co-defendant was charged with aggravated assault, but the extent of the victim's injuries wasn't immediately known.

Missouri Public Service Commission website

State regulators have approved a $32.5 million rate increase for Kansas City Power and Light to offset the utility's costs of providing service.

The Missouri Public Service Commission announced yesterday the rate increase would cost the average residential customer about $4 a month.

The decision also continues a fuel adjustment clause that allows Kansas City Power and Light to adjust customer bills up to twice a year to reflect any change in its fuel and purchased power costs. The utility also will continue a low-income residential customer assistance program.

Jason Rojas / Flickr

Twenty-seven-year-old Chrystal Bernstein of Osage Beach has pleaded guilty to single counts of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Prosecutors say Bernstein obtained stolen mail and used stolen identities to cash and deposit the checks at banks in Boone and Camden counties from December 2016 to mid-February of this year.

Senate floor at the Missouri Capitol
File / KBIA

Missouri senators have voted to give residents a choice to get a driver's license that would allow them to board planes and enter military sites.

Senators voted 28-5 Wednesday to allow residents to decide whether to get a license that complies with federal ID requirements.

Without a change, Missouri residents won't be able to use their driver's licenses to board airplanes or enter some federal facilities starting in 2018.

Missouri appears to be one of the handful of states that haven't fully enacted key provisions of the 2005 Real ID Act.

President Trump’s decision to fire now-former FBI Director James Comey came as a surprise to almost everyone Tuesday afternoon. How did reporters react in the moments and hours following the announcement? Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest television station ownership group in the U.S., is about to get even bigger with the purchase of Tribune Media. And, why Wisconsin’s governor wants to cut a popular outdoors magazine, the FCC’s investigation into complaints about Stephen Colbert and Richard Simmons’ lawsuit against the National Enquirer. From the Missouri School of Journalism professors Amy Simons, Earnest Perry and Mike McKean: Views of the News.

Today Paul Pepper visits with MARIE ROBERTSON, Director and Co-Owner of Dancearts of Columbia, about their annual, end-of-the-year dance spectacular showcase happening May 26th and 27th at Jesse Auditorium on the MU campus. With 300 people involved, you're bound to know someone (who knows someone) on stage! Watch for details. At [3:45] JOE GEIST, Curator of the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art, invites everyone to "The Art of Collecting," a new show featuring 35 works of art - including an etching by Rembrandt - from Bill and Martha Holman's personal collection! Check it out now through July 20 on the Central Methodist campus in Fayette! May 10, 2017

Missouri Capitol
j.stephenconn / Flickr

Missouri lawmakers have voted to make it tougher to prove workplace discrimination in court.

The legislation passed by the House 98-30 on Monday night raises the standard for proving discrimination. It will soon move to the governor's desk where it seems likely to get a signature.

Current law states that an employee must prove their protected class such as race, gender, age or ability contributed to discrimination in the workplace or housing. The new standards would require employees to prove their protected class was "the motivating factor" for their firing or discipline.

File Photo / KBIA

Missouri's attorney general is asking for a Mississippi County sheriff to be removed from office following the death of a county jail inmate.

Attorney General Josh Hawley on Tuesday announced his office is investigating the inmate's death and has requested that a judge remove Sheriff Cory Hutcheson from office. The inmate died Friday night at the county jail after an altercation with law enforcement officers. Hawley says Hutcheson participated.

Hutcheson did not immediately respond to an Associated Press request for comment Tuesday.

Commentary: GOP Prospects

May 9, 2017

In the wake of the House passage of Obamacare repeal and replace legislation and all the premature triumphalist rhetoric coming from some Republicans I want to explore where the Republican Party is heading.

FBI Photo

President Trump’s decision to fire now-former FBI Director James Comey came as a surprise to almost everyone Tuesday afternoon. How did reporters react in the moments and hours following the announcement?

Michael D. Shear & Matt Apuzzo, New York Times: “F.B.I. Director James Comey is fired by Trump

Missouri Department of Conservation

This week in Missouri’s woods, a native, thorny, locust tree displays clusters of fragrant white flowers.

The black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) grows in dry or rocky upland woods, along streams, and in pastures, and thickets.

Today Paul Pepper welcomes back Missouri's first poet laureate and accomplished author, WALTER BARGEN! In honor of this Saturday's national migratory bird count, Walter reads two of his poems that are dedicated to our feathered friends: "To Keep Going" at [3:45] and "Flying on Instruments" at [5:54]. May 9, 2017

Missouri Capitol
j.stephenconn / Flickr

Missouri lawmakers have passed legislation to ban people convicted of sex offenses against children from coming within 500 feet of children's museums.

Senators voted 31-1 on Monday to send the bill to Republican Gov. Eric Greitens. The measure passed the House 136-2 earlier this month.

Those convicted of sex offenses against children already are banned from coming within 500 feet of public playgrounds and swimming pools. If signed by Greitens, the legislation would extend the ban to include museums aimed at kids.

Residents Ask Columbia School Board for Rigorous Protection of Undocumented Students

May 9, 2017

A group of about 70 people took over the Columbia School Board meeting Monday night to comment on the board's recent discussion on immigrant and undocumented students.

Extra chairs had to be brought in for the crowd of students, teachers and parents that showed up to voice their opinions. Multiple people asked the board to consider drafting a firm resolution to protect the students and their families in the district.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Roads are gradually reopening across the state as floodwaters recede in many areas.

The Missouri Department of Transportation says 126 roads are closed Monday, down from a high of 384 at the peak of the flooding. Most of the closures are concentrated in the southern half of the state and along the Mississippi River.

Six deaths are now blamed on flooding in Missouri, while four occurred in Arkansas. Floodwaters also inundated homes and businesses, forcing hundreds to evacuate.

Motorcycle with custom Boondocks paint
File Photo / KBIA

Motorcyclists in Missouri will have to keep wearing their helmets for another year.

Lawmakers removed a provision today from a bill that would've allowed people older than 21 who have had their motorcycle license for more than two years to leave the helmet at home.

Riders also would've needed to meet certain insurance requirements to ride without protective headgear.

The measure was removed from a bill in committee after passing the House last month.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

The Providence Road Improvement Project is set to add more safety features for pedestrians beginning May 15.

Safety improvements include new traffic signals, a traffic signal removal, a new sidewalk, two signalized crosswalks, a southbound right turn lane and intersection access conversions.

“The estimated investment is approximately $3.9 million and that will be paid for through the 2005 capital improvement sales tax and Surface Transportation Program funds,” Columbia Public Works Spokesperson Barry Dalton said.

KBIA file photo

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has temporarily waived some of its solid waste disposal and air pollution regulations in the wake of heavy flooding.

The one-month waiver gives Missouri residents and communities affected by recent flooding greater flexibility in their clean-up efforts.