Associated Press

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A new Missouri law will change the standard for vetting expert witnesses in jury trials.

Republican. Gov. Eric Greitens signed the legislation Tuesday at a Jefferson City trucking company. He's touting it as a way to boost the economy by improving the legal climate for businesses.

Missouri Capitol
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  Gov. Eric Greitens says he's still against expanding eligibility for Medicaid in Missouri following failed efforts in Congress to overhaul health care.

Greitens told reporters Tuesday in Jefferson City that he doesn't support broadening eligibility under former President Barack Obama's federal health care law.

Greitens was among Republican governors who wrote to congressional leaders in support of a House plan to overhaul health care. Efforts to pass the bill collapsed last week, but Greitens says he still supports repealing and replacing the federal law.

Missouri Capitol
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The Republican-led Missouri Legislature will get back to a business-friendly agenda when it returns from a mid-session recess next week.

Lawmakers are hoping to continue to pass laws backed by business leaders now that, for the first time in almost 10 years, GOP majorities in both houses have the backing of a Republican in the governor's office. Gov. Eric Greitens has promised to work with legislative leaders to pass bills regarding labor, lawsuits and education.

Greitens already has signed a new "right-to-work" law banning mandatory union fees.

Eric Greitens
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JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is backing a contested health care overhaul proposed in the U.S. House.

Greitens joined seven other Republican governors in a Thursday letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan voicing support of the bill.

The letter comes as President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers are scrambling to get enough votes in the U.S. House to pass the proposed replacement for the federal health care law enacted under former President Barack Obama.

North Carolina Central University

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Central Missouri's Lincoln University is searching for a new president after the campus' top administrator resigned for a similar position at another historically black college.

Kevin Rome resigned from the Jefferson City university to become the president of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Rome's resignation takes effect June 30.

Rome had been Lincoln University's president since mid-2013. The university's curators say that a search committee and transition team meant to find Rome's successor will be seated as soon as possible.

  The University of Missouri System's new president says he wants to leverage private-public partnerships to bring revenue and investments to campus.

The Columbia Missourian reports President Mun Choi joined about 100 members and guests of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday as part of its "Lunch with a Leader" series. At the gathering, Choi emphasized the mutual economic benefit of such partnerships.

St. Louis Arch
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Private attorneys in the St. Louis area have committed to take over some cases from the state's overburdened public defender system on a volunteer basis.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a new nonprofit group, called the Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel, is behind the plan. It calls for younger private sector attorneys to handle certain jury cases for indigent defendants in the circuit courts of St. Louis and St. Louis County. Besides reducing public defender caseloads, the young attorneys can gain trial experience.

Missouri Capitol
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Unemployment in Missouri has dropped again.

Data released Tuesday by the Missouri Department of Economic Development show the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down to 4.1 percent in February compared to 4.2 percent in January.

The unemployment rate has fallen slightly in Missouri each of the past six months.

The state also gained more than 6,700 jobs from January to February. Some of the largest gains were in the leisure and hospitality field and the accommodation and food services industry.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A renewable energy company is again facing opposition as it seeks one of the final pieces of regulatory approval needed to carry wind power from the nation's heartland to the east.

Missouri utility regulators began hearing testimony Monday on a request from Clean Line Energy to build a high-voltage transmission line from western Kansas across Missouri and Illinois to an Indiana power grid that connects with eastern states.

A new report shows that withheld funding and lack of follow-through effectively killed a program aimed at allowing Missouri residents receiving child support to accept wage hikes without losing state assistance.

With state Sen. Daniel Biss' announcement Monday, four Democrats are now lined up to challenge Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in the 2018 election, and more may be on the way.

Missouri Capitol
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JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A bill advancing in the Missouri Legislature would change whom patients could sue for medical malpractice.

The bill passed the House 101-50 Thursday and now goes to the Senate.

If made law, patients could only sue hospitals if the physician accused of wrongdoing is an employee. Hospitals couldn't be sued because of doctors who only have admitting privileges.

Republican Rep. Kevin Austin says it's unfair to sue hospitals for malpractice by a doctor who only performs some work there.

A measure to repeal tax breaks for low-income Missouri seniors and disabled residents who live in rental housing is advancing in the Legislature.

House members voted 89-65 to give the bill initial approval Wednesday. At least 82 lawmakers must vote in favor of it again for it to advance to the Senate.

The measure would set aside additional revenue from the roughly $55 million-a-year tax break for other services for low-income seniors and those with disabilities.

Missouri Capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

  Missouri's House budget leader is proposing fully funding state K-12 schools next fiscal year.

Republican Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick's budget proposal released Wednesday includes roughly $45 million more than what GOP Gov. Eric Greitens had recommended in basic aid for schools. About $7.8 million of that relies on lottery proceeds.

Fitzpatrick's plan also includes $36 million more than Greitens' proposal for school transportation.

A federal lawsuit claims that a St. Louis suburb is violating federal housing laws by disproportionately revoking occupancy permits of blacks, women and disabled residents.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council's lawsuit filed Monday accuses Maplewood of violating the Fair Housing Act.

The lawsuit claims that at least two police calls can put someone on the list of "chronic nuisances." That's without a conviction or even when that person is the victim of the crime that triggered the police call.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri will pay $80,000 to a search firm helping the university find a new men's basketball coach.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports the university released details of its contract with the Parker Executive Search firm on Monday.

The fee doesn't include direct expenses, which are capped at $9,600. The contract also doesn't include costs for such things as committee travel and background investigations, which will be billed separately.

Missouri Capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is giving paid parental leave to state executive branch workers.

The Republican announced an executive order Monday to grant up to six weeks paid leave for primary caregivers and three weeks for secondary caregivers to spend time with newborn or adopted children.

The change doesn't apply to employees who work for the Legislature, judiciary or other statewide elected officials.

State policy allows for up to 12 weeks unpaid leave. That could be split if both parents work for the state.

Missouri Capitol
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Missouri's House budget leader says lawmakers might not have changed corporate tax law if they'd known what it would actually cost.

Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick told The Associated Press that lawmakers had poor information when the 2015 bill came up for a vote.

The measure was estimated to cost about $15 million annually. Corporate tax revenues dropped more than $155 million the first fiscal year it was implemented, though it's not clear whether that was all from the tax change.

Missouri Capitol
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Missouri First Lady Sheena Greitens has found a treasure trove in the governor's mansion storage locker.

Greitens says she heard that there might be some children's books left over from past events at the mansion. She hoped to find enough to hand out at an Easter egg event next month.

But when she arrived in the storage locker, Greitens says she was "blown away" to find a mountain of about 20 boxes full of hundreds of children's books from Scholastic.

The first lady said she plans to donate the books, mostly to foster care facilities in Missouri.

missouri house floor
File photo / KBIA

Missouri's House budget leader says lawmakers might not have changed corporate tax law if they'd known what it would actually cost.

Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick told The Associated Press that lawmakers had poor information when the 2015 bill came up for a vote.

The measure was estimated to cost about $15 million annually. Corporate tax revenues dropped more than $155 million the first fiscal year it was implemented, though it's not clear whether that was all from the tax change.

Missouri Capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Missouri's House budget leader says lawmakers might not have changed corporate tax law if they'd known what it would actually cost.

Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick told The Associated Press that lawmakers had poor information when the 2015 bill came up for a vote.

The measure was estimated to cost about $15 million annually. Corporate tax revenues dropped more than $155 million the first fiscal year it was implemented, though it's not clear whether that was all from the tax change.

ACLU / Wikimedia Commons

KANSAS CITY (AP) — A class-action lawsuit says the lack of funding and staff for Missouri's public defender system has left overwhelmed public defenders unable to provide adequate defense for indigent clients.

The ACLU of Missouri and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at St. Louis filed the lawsuit Thursday against Gov. Eric Greitens and several other officials.

File Photo / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers are considering repealing a tax break for low-income seniors and disabled residents who live in rental housing.

The bill debated in a Wednesday House hearing would set aside savings for other services for low-income seniors and those with disabilities.

St. Louis Arch
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Missouri's biggest cities and counties have banded together to track the prescription and sale of opioids.

St. Louis County, the city of St. Louis and several other counties have their own prescription drug monitoring program set to go online next month.

Missouri is the only state without such a system, thanks largely to the efforts of a Republican state senator who has concerns about patient privacy and the potential for health records to be hacked.

St. Louis Arch
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St. Louis Alderwoman Lyda Krewson could be on the verge of becoming the city's first female mayor after winning the Democratic primary election Tuesday.

Unofficial results show Krewson won 32 percent of the vote, narrowly defeating city Treasurer Tishaura Jones, who received 30 percent. Five other candidates, including Aldermanic President Lewis Reed and two other aldermen, were far behind.

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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has declared a state of emergency after storms carrying tornadoes, hail and strong winds caused damage across the state.

The governor's declaration makes state emergency operations available to areas hit by Monday night's storms.

Greitens also toured Oak Grove on Tuesday to view damage in the city, which was Missouri's hardest-hit.

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Crews plan to assess the damage Tuesday after the National Weather Service says at least two tornadoes touched down in Missouri.

Several homes were damaged or destroyed in the Kansas City area Monday night as a line of severe storms moved across the state.

Oak Grove Emergency Management Director Mark Sherwood says a tornado damaged about 20 homes in the town and 10 to 15 people suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Missouri Capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has launched an effort to educate voters about Missouri's new voter identification law.

The law, approved by nearly two-thirds of voters in November, doesn't take effect until June. Voters in municipal elections on Tuesday and on April 4 are not subject to the new law.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

St. Louis University is planning to cut about 120 employees in response to a $16 million budget deficit.

An email sent Friday from President Fred Pestello said staff and administrators — but not faculty— will find out Tuesday who will be laid off.

Another 130 vacant positions are being eliminated.

University leaders blame the school's deficit on declining enrollment and increased expenses.

Pestello and other administrators hope to avoid further layoffs by finding between $40 million and $80 million through budget cuts or new income opportunities.

Missouri Supreme Court
Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A panel has selected three choices for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to fill a state Supreme Court vacancy.

The Appellate Judicial Commission's nominees are state Western District Court of Appeals Judge Lisa Hardwick, attorney Benjamin Lipman and Jackson County Circuit Judge W. Brent Powell.

In Missouri, the Appellate Judicial Commission screens applicants and recommends three nominees to the governor, who makes an appointment.

Greitens said at a press conference Thursday that he'll interview all three candidates.

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