Associated Press

Columns at University of Missouri
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Interim Chancellor Hank Foley at the University of Missouri campus in Columbia says two students have been arrested for allegedly harassing another student with anti-Semitic comments.

Chancellor Foley didn't publicly identify the students in his statement on Tuesday. He says the matter is in the hands of the Boone County prosecutor.

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U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill says that President Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall along the Mexican border might not be the most effective solution for keeping out immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally.

The Missouri Democrat said in a conference call Tuesday that she toured the border by air, land and water in Texas last week and went to briefings with U.S. border security officials. She says border patrol officials expressed a need for better technology and updated facilities.

Missouri Capitol
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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is holding off on two land purchases, marking a shift in policy after eight years of park expansion under former Gov. Jay Nixon.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the projects on hold include the purchase of land and property for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the purchase of a building in Ste. Genevieve that is a remnant of the last colonial French town in the U.S.

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Missouri NAACP President Rod Chapel says a proposal to make it harder to sue for discrimination is "hyped-up Jim Crow."

Chapel and other advocates on Tuesday slammed the bill now up for the debate in the Senate.

The measure would require plaintiffs bringing discrimination lawsuits to prove that race, religion, sex or other protected status was the sole reason for discrimination or being fired, rather than just a contributing factor. It also would prevent employees from suing other employees and cap damages in discrimination lawsuits.

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United Airlines plans to add daily flights from Columbia Regional Airport in mid-Missouri to both Denver and Chicago beginning this summer.

Columbia officials said at a news conference Monday that starting Aug. 1, one flight daily to Denver International Airport and two daily to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport will fly from Columbia.

Andrew Bell, United's sales manager for Missouri, says the airline will use 50-seat CRJ200 regional jets. He says starting flights in August will allow University of Missouri students to fly directly to Columbia for the fall semester.

Kansas City residents will vote in August on whether to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The Kansas City Council agreed Thursday to comply with a Missouri Supreme Court order and put the petition initiative on the Aug. 8 ballot.

The Kansas City Star reports the proposal would increase the current $7.70 minimum wage to $10 per hour by Sept. 1 and gradually to $15 per hour by 2022.

The initiative is backed by civil rights activists, urban core ministers and other social justice advocates.

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JEFFERSON CITY (AP) -- Missouri House members have passed a bill to reduce the duration of state jobless benefits to one of the shortest periods nationally.

House members voted 100-56 Thursday to send the measure to the Senate.

The bill is a revival of a failed 2015 plan to cut the maximum benefits to 13 weeks if the state's jobless rate is below 6 percent. That's seven weeks fewer than what's now allowed.

Missouri's unemployment rate in December was 4.4 percent.

Eric Greitens
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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is largely reversing his proposed cut to in-home care services for low-income disabled residents.

Greitiens said Thursday he wants to use a $52 million settlement payment with tobacco companies to undo $41 million of a proposed $52 million reduction in Medicaid funding for in-home care services next fiscal year.

missouri capitol
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Missouri's GOP legislative leaders say it should be up to schools to decide how to handle transgender student bathroom access.

Comments from Republicans Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard and House Speaker Todd Richardson to reporters Thursday came days after a Senate committee hearing on a bill to restrict restroom access in public K-12 schools.

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Missouri's unemployed would again face losing several weeks of jobless benefits under a bill advancing in the state House.

House members in a Wednesday voice vote gave the measure initial approval.

Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick's bill is a revival of a failed 2015 plan to cut the maximum benefits to 13 weeks if the state's jobless rate is below 6 percent. That's seven weeks fewer than what's now allowed.

Missouri's unemployment rate in December was 4.4 percent. More current data are not available.

St. Louis Arch
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Vice President Mike Pence is visiting a suburban St. Louis Jewish cemetery where more than 150 headstones were damaged earlier in the week. He says there is "no place in America for hatred or acts of prejudice or violence or anti-Semitism."

Pence says at the cemetery in University City that the people of Missouri are inspiring the nation with their "love and care for this place." He is thanking them for "showing the world what America's really all about."

Pence was joined by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

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The Missouri Senate has given initial approval for legislation establishing a prescription drug monitoring program.

Senators on Wednesday voted 20-13 to create a database that tracks when prescriptions for controlled substances are written and filed. The goal of such programs is to prevent people from going to multiple doctors to get prescriptions for drugs such as painkillers — sometimes known as "doctor shopping."

Missouri is the only state that doesn't have such a system.

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Parents of transgender children are slamming a Missouri measure that would require public school students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificates.

Republican Sen. Ed Emery said that the measure is needed to protect students' safety and privacy.

Parents and transgender children argued at a hearing yesterday that the proposal is discriminatory and would put transgender students at risk.

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Vice President Mike Pence talked about job growth while visiting an equipment and engine dealership in Missouri today.

Missouri Govenor Eric Greitens joined Pence on at the Fabick Cat headquarters in Fenton, Missouri, outside of St. Louis at 1:30 p.m. Pence met with workers, received a tour of the facility, and gave a speech.

The vice president's remarks aligned with a push for labor reforms in the Republican-led Missouri legislature. Bills include proposed changes to the way minimum-wage requirements are calculated for public works projects.

Vice President Mike Pence plans to talk about job growth while visiting an equipment and engine dealer in Missouri.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens will join Pence on Wednesday at the Fabick Cat headquarters in Fenton, Missouri, outside of St. Louis. Pence will meet with workers, get a tour of the facility, and give a speech at 1:30 p.m.

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Missouri will get $10 million as a result of a nationwide settlement with Moody's over inflated credit ratings leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

A statement Tuesday from Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said the money could help mitigate a revenue shortfall for the current fiscal year.

The payment is part of an $864 million agreement to settle federal and state claims that Moody's Corp. gave inflated ratings to risky mortgage investments in the years leading up to the financial crisis.

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Information from the attorney general's office shows that Missouri has paid more than $52 million over the last five years to settle lawsuits against various state agencies.

The Kansas City Star reports the House budget committee received the list of settlements just before a public hearing on a bill that would require the attorney general to submit a monthly report to the Legislature detailing all activity regarding the state legal expense fund.

The fund is used to settle lawsuits against the state.

Kit Bond Speaking
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Former U.S. Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri is selling the home that was his primary base during his long political career.

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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has started complaining about the coverage his administration receives, but the Republican has granted few interviews during his first six weeks in office.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Greitens' approach of using social media sites to appeal directly to voters isn't that unusual, but he hasn't given reporters many chances to ask him questions.

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Applications for concealed carry permits in Missouri are dropping after passage last year of a law making them unnecessary in many places.

Highway Patrol data on fingerprints processed for concealed carry permits show submissions hit a low of fewer than 1,600 in December.

That's the fewest processed in the three years of available data. Patrol records only date back to January 2014.

Lawmakers and law enforcement officials say the drop was expected because of the new law.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The national "Day Without Immigrants" includes actions in both of Missouri's metropolitan areas.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cherokee Street, the hub of traditional Mexican cuisine in St. Louis, was mostly quiet at lunch hour Thursday after several restaurants closed in solidarity.

Meanwhile, the Kansas City Star reports that 400 to 500 protesters gathered near City Hall, many holding banners and signs such as "Somos America," which translates to "We're America."

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri Democratic lawmaker is proposing a bill to make donations for gubernatorial inaugurations public records.

Liberty Rep. Mark Ellebracht in a Thursday statement criticized Republican Gov. Eric Greitens' decision to keep secret the cost of his privately funded January celebration.

Greitens did release a list of "benefactors," including Anheuser-Busch, Boeing, Express Scripts, General Motors, Monsanto and Wal-Mart.

Greitens spokesman Parker Briden declined to comment.

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  JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Lawmakers are questioning checks and balances in Missouri prisons following reports of employee harassment and costly settlements.

Potosi Republican Rep. Paul Fitzwater said the Corrections Department has been policing itself.  

The agency fell under scrutiny after the Kansas City alternative weekly The Pitch reported on harassment and discrimination claims by prison employees. Some say they were retaliated against.

The paper reported the state's paid more than $7.5 million in related settlements and judgments from 2012 to 2016.

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Missouri Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley says he's appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court a ruling over a California law that prohibits the sale of eggs from chickens that are not raised in accordance with strict space requirements.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November said Missouri and five other states failed to show how the law would affect them and not just individual egg farmers.

MU Board of Curators
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Republican Gov. Eric Greitens is appointing three people to the University of Missouri System governing board.

Greitens announced today that he picked former University of Missouri linebacker Darryl Chatman, a Democrat from Foristell. He's an attorney and the former deputy director of the Missouri's Agriculture Department.

The governor also appointed his former campaign finance chairman, Jeffrey Layman. Layman is a Springfield Republican and senior vice president with Morgan Stanley. He donated about $10,000 to Greitens' campaign for governor.

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  Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has appointed a Tennessee official to lead the state agency that monitors financial industries and businesses to protect consumers and encourage job growth.

The governor announced Tuesday that Chlora Lindley-Myers is his choice to run the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration.

Lindley-Myers currently is deputy commissioner at the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

IBM says it will hire 100 new employees in Columbia in an effort to qualify for state tax breaks that were suspended last summer.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports when IBM arrived in Columbia in 2010, it promised to bring 800 jobs, which would have meant up to $28 million in state incentives. It had 453 employees at its innovation center in 2015 but reported only 287 employees last year, prompting the state to suspend job training tax credits until IBM met the minimum goal of 300 employees.

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A Missouri Senate committee is considering a bill aimed at protecting minors in prostitution cases.

The Columbia Missourian reports the bill discussed Monday would prevent minors from being charged or prosecuted for prostitution. It also would increase jail time for engaging in prostitution with minors.

The bill's sponsor is Democratic Sen. Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis.

missouri capitol
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In-home care providers say that proposed cuts to a Missouri Medicaid program providing in-home care to the elderly and people with disabilities will end up shifting costs to hospital visits.

Gov. Eric Greitens last week proposed cutting $52 million from state revenue to a home and community based services program. The service provides an in-home care provider to help people with cooking, cleaning, bathing and organizing medicine.

The cuts would require people to show a greater level of need to qualify for in-home and nursing home care.

Eric Greitens
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' pick for health department director has been embroiled in controversy over well water safety in his home state.

Greitens announced Thursday he's tapped North Carolina's former public health director Dr. Randall Williams for the job in Missouri.

Veteran North Carolina toxicologist Ken Rudo has accused Williams of acting unethically by saying well water near Duke Energy's coal ash pits is safe.

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