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Missouri lawmakers say Gov. Eric Greitens' admission that he had an extramarital affair is distracting from legislative efforts to change tax laws in the state.

Republican Sen. Bill Eigel said Tuesday that it's up to the Legislature to take the lead on taxes now.

Last week Greitens promised the "boldest state tax reform in America" during his State of the State address. But within hours of the speech ending, St. Louis television station KMOV reported the Republican governor had an affair in 2015 with his hairdresser.

States including Missouri are banding together to promote civil rights tourism across the region.

Fourteen states including all of the Deep South are joining to promote the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. It's a tourism website and campaign that will highlight about 130 sites linked to the modern civil rights movement.

The joint effort is being unveiled as part of the MLK holiday weekend.

Jacob Fenston / KBIA

A lawsuit alleging that a Republican Missouri senator was violating the state's open records law has been dismissed.

The Kansas City Star reports that a Cole County judge dismissed the lawsuit against Sen. Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph on Wednesday. The judge ruled that the judicial branch doesn't have jurisdiction over the case.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens appears to be bracing for a fight to preserve his political life after admitting to an extramarital affair but denying anything more.

Greitens met Thursday with Cabinet members and placed calls to rally support while his attorney issued firm denials to a smattering of allegations related to the affair. Among other things, Greitens' attorney is denying any violence, revealing photos or attempted blackmail.

Hair braiders in Missouri have lost an appeal over a state requirement that they must be licensed like barbers and cosmetologists.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday affirmed a lower court ruling in St. Louis that upheld the Missouri law.

A former middle-school football coach convicted of abducting and killing a 10-year-old Missouri girl has been sentenced to death.

Circuit Judge Thomas Mountjoy sentenced 49-year-old Craig Wood on Thursday for the February 2014 death of Hailey Owens. Woods was convicted of first-degree murder in November but the jury couldn't decide whether to sentence him to death or life in prison without parole.

Court records say a security guard felt threatened before fatally shooting one person around 2 a.m. on New Year's Day at a Columbia restaurant.

 Southeast Missouri State University will cut 35 to 40 jobs over the next five months, a move that the school's president says is necessary to balance the budget.

Missouri Capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

  Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and state legislative budget leaders are projecting that the state will bring in roughly $200 million less in revenue than expected this year.

The revised estimate released Tuesday would represent 1.9 percent growth compared to last fiscal year. That's half of what lawmakers were banking on when they passed this year's budget.

Torie Ross / KBIA

A state audit shows Missouri is paying out income tax refunds later and later because the state is short on cash.

Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway released an audit Monday that said the state paid roughly $423,000 in interest on late refunds to nearly 155,000 taxpayers last fiscal year.

That's up from fiscal year 2016, when the state paid about $306,000 in interest for about 83,000 late refunds.

vote here sign
KBIA file photo

A lawsuit alleging that Missouri's new voter identification law was intended to make it harder for poor and minority residents to cast their ballots has been dismissed.

This week a Cole County Circuit Judge dismissed the suit filed in June by the ACLU and the Advancement Project on behalf of the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters.

senate.mo.gov

Gov. Eric Greitens has appointed fellow Republican Sen. Ryan Silvey to the state's utility regulation board.

Greitens announced Silvey's appointment to the Public Service Commission Tuesday, the day before the start of the 2018 legislative session.

The commission regulates and establishes rates for electric, natural gas and other public utility companies including Ameren.

An organization that advocates for open government is asking a judge to bar Gov. Eric Greitens and his staff from using an app that deletes messages after they're read.

In a lawsuit filed last month by an attorney for the Missouri Sunshine Project, attorney Ben Sansone claims the use of the Confide app by Greitens and his staff violates the state's public records laws. The app deletes messages and prevents recipients from saving, forwarding, printing or taking screenshots of messages.

Pumping gas
File Photo / KBIA

 A Missouri panel is recommending increasing the state's 17-cent fuel tax by 10 cents for gas and 12 cents for diesel to pay for road and bridge work.

Transportation taskforce leader Rep. Kevin Corlew on Tuesday said the fuel tax increase would bring in an estimated $430 million annually. That would fill a little more than half of the $825 million annual shortfall facing Missouri transportation.

The Missouri Department of Corrections will ban smoking in prisons this year.

The News Tribune reports that all of the department's facilities will be tobacco-free starting April 1. Staff, offenders, visitors and contractors won't be allowed to possess or use tobacco products inside the facilities. Staff and visitors will be able to smoke in a designated area outside the prisons.

bloomsberries / flickr

 

  A Missouri man acquitted of murder after eight years behind bars has filed a wrongful conviction lawsuit.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Michael Amick and his wife, Sara, a teacher, filed the federal lawsuit Dec. 8 in the Western District of Missouri, one year after winning his freedom. It accused southern Missouri officials of making false reports, fabricating evidence and failing to interview witnesses.

Brett Levin / flickr

  These were not grandma's Christmas cookies.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says it arrested two men from Florida with more than 20 pounds of cookies in their vehicle. The problem was the cookies contained THC, the chemical found in marijuana.

The patrol says they pulled over a U-Haul truck Tuesday on Interstate 70 in Layfette County. They found 23.2 pounds of THC-infused cookies, along with more than 4 pounds of marijuana and a gun.

Between Dec. 10 and 15, over 110,000 Missourians enrolled for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, putting the final number over last year’s.

Previous Missourian reporting found that the state was falling behind last year’s numbers, with initial numbers suggesting that enrollment had decreased by almost half.

Crime scene
Null_Value / Flickr

  A state representative and the family of a man shot by St. Louis police are calling for a new investigation into the shooting.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. and the family of 25-year-old Cary Ball called on St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner Wednesday to lead a new investigation into the shooting.

University of Missouri

A longtime Missouri professor will be the new interim provost at the University of Missouri.

Chancellor Alexander Cartwright announced Thursday that Jim Spain will take over the job Feb. 1.

Spain has taught at the Columbia university since 1990 in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

One of the suspects in the slaying of a transgender teenager in southwest Missouri has pleaded guilty.

The Springfield News-Leader reports 18-year-old Isis Schauer pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld. She was was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison.

Missouri's attorney general says he'll review fellow Republican Gov. Eric Greitens and his staff's use of a secretive app that deletes messages after they're read.

The Kansas City Star previously reported that Greitens and some of his staff have accounts with Confide, an app that deletes messages and prevents users from taking screenshots.

The Confide accounts sparked concern among some open-government advocates that they could be used to undermine open records laws. A Democratic lawmaker asked Attorney General Josh Hawley for an investigation.

Missouri's unemployment rate has dropped slightly.

Department of Economic Development data released Tuesday show the state's unemployment rate went down from 3.5 percent in October to 3.4 percent in November. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has dropped 1.1 percent since the same time last year.

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The St. Louis Cardinals have received federal certification giving the organization legal protections in the event of a terrorist attack at Busch Stadium.

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded the Cardinals certification under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act, known as the Safety Act. Certification was approved Dec. 11.

Money
401K / Flickr

Missouri's revenue director says a federal tax overhaul should have a relatively minor effect on the state's bottom line.

Department of Revenue Director Joel Walters said Tuesday that budget officials are still working on projections, but he thinks that the federal tax changes could result in "a relatively narrow plus or minus" of around $100 million to the state's tax revenues.

There's a new date for an ethics hearing on a Republican lawmaker who called for the vandal of a Confederate monument to be hanged. 

Missouri's Department of Corrections continues to struggle with a staffing shortage across the state's more than 20 prisons. 

A Missouri state trooper convicted of a misdemeanor for the drowning death of a handcuffed Iowa man has been fired.

The Kansas City Star reports that that a Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman confirmed Anthony Piercy was fired Friday, more than 3 1/2 years after 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson, of Clive, Iowa, drowned in the Lake of the Ozarks.

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is facing criticism for his role in a leadership shake-up at the state's education agency, but he's not the first governor to use appointments to enact change.

At issue are Greitens' recent appointments to the State Board of Education, who in turn voted to fire former Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven.

Some HIV-positive patients in nearly half the counties in Missouri will lose health insurance coverage next year.

The Department of Health and Senior Services announced that nearly 100 HIV patients in Missouri will no longer have access to a comprehensive health insurance plan effective Jan. 1 as a result of high costs.

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