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Crime
7:16 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Execution law similar to Missouri's ruled unconstitutional

Credit California Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons

An Oklahoma judge on Wednesday ruled that the state's execution law is unconstitutional because it prevents inmates from finding out the source of the drugs used in executions.

The Missouri attorney general's office isn't commenting on any potential implications from a court ruling about Oklahoma's execution policies.

Missouri's execution law remains in place, but the state has a similar privacy provision that state officials have cited while declining to release the identity of the business that supplies its execution drugs.

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Politics
5:06 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Lawsuit challenging Mo. acceptance of tax returns from gay couples

Credit Flickr / steakpinball

A state judge has been asked to put an immediate halt to Missouri's acceptance of joint tax returns from gay couples who got married legally in other states.

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Politics
3:10 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Bill would shorten time to collect unemployment when state's rate is low

Credit forwardstl / flickr

Missouri senators have given preliminary approval to legislation that would tie the amount of weeks a person can receive unemployment insurance to the state's jobless rate.

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Weather
3:06 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Chance for severe weather in SW Mo. Thursday

The storm could produce large hail and possibly tornadoes. (File photo)
Credit Alexandra Olgin / KBIA

The Storm Prediction Center says there is a slight risk of severe weather in parts of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma on Thursday. The greatest risk will be in western Arkansas, southwestern Missouri and eastern Oklahoma.

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Crime
7:58 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Former Mainstreet Bank chairman sentenced

Mainstreet Bank headquarters in Ashland, Mo.
Credit Mainstreet Bank

The former chairman of a mid-Missouri bank was sentenced to two years of probation for using federal bailout money to buy a luxury condominium in Florida.

Darryl Layne Woods, former chairman of the Mainstreet Bank, based in Ashland, was sentenced Tuesday for a misdemeanor of making a false writing.

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Politics
7:53 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Schweich faces no Republican, Democratic opposition in re-election bid

Credit KBIA file photo

Federal and state elections in Missouri this fall will feature the lowest number of candidates in at least a couple of decades. A total of 429 candidates filed for federal and state offices before yesterday's deadline.

The highest profile state office to be elected this fall is that of the state auditor. Incumbent auditor Tom Schweich is seeking his second four-year term, but will not face any Democratic or Republican opposition.

Schweich's only challengers are Libertarian Sean O'Toole and Constitution Party candidate Rodney Farthing.

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Business
7:50 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Complaint alleges Ameren earned more money than allowed

Ameren's nuclear plant in Callaway County.
Credit File photo / KBIA

State utility regulators have publicly released a confidential report detailing how much money has been earned by Ameren Missouri.

The Missouri Public Service Commission decided Tuesday to unseal a November report that has been at the heart of a complaint. The complaint alleges the St. Louis-based electric company was earning more than it was allowed to.

The newly released documents also include testimony from utility regulation consultants hired by Noranda Aluminum, which is leading the challenge of Ameren's electricity rates.

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Politics
7:28 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Mo. Senate endorses food stamp, car sales bills

Credit Jacob Fenston / KBIA

The Missouri Senate has endorsed legislation to give food stamp users an incentive to buy healthy foods at farmers markets.

Under the bill advanced Tuesday, the state would create a test program for participating markets where food stamp users could be reimbursed up to $10 per week for buying meat, fruit and vegetables.

The provision was attached to a broader bill that would give a state and local sales tax exemption for goods purchased at farmers markets.

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Politics
4:00 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Missouri Senate panel endorses tobacco settlement fix

Credit Sudipto_Sarkar / flickr

A Missouri Senate panel has endorsed legislation that seeks to recoup money from a settlement with tobacco companies.

Under the settlement, Missouri expected to get $130 million this year. But it will likely get less than half because of an arbitrator's ruling that state officials failed to diligently enforce the settlement a decade ago.

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Health
3:54 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Pastors, workers, business leaders plead for Medicaid expansion

Credit Tax Credits / Flickr

Missouri lawmakers are hearing pleas from low-income workers, business leaders and pastors to expand Medicaid coverage.

Witness testifying Tuesday before a House committee want lawmakers to expand Medicaid eligibility to adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — nearly $33,000 for a family of four. States that do so can receive billions of additional federal dollars under President Barack Obama's health care law.

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Politics
7:23 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Voting machines, tax credits on legislative agendas

Credit Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

The Missouri Senate has endorsed legislation that would require local elections authorities to phase out the use of some electronic voting machines. Under the bill, voters could only use electronic machines that produce a paper trail of marked votes. All other types of electronic voting machines currently in use for elections could still be used, but could not be replaced once they malfunction.

The legislation given first-round approval Monday also declares the paper ballot as the official ballot of Missouri elections. It needs one more Senate vote before moving to the House.

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Politics
7:21 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Mo. candidates face filing deadline

Credit KBIA file photo

If you want to run for statewide office, your time to file is running out. Candidates must file paperwork by 5 p.m. Tuesday to appear on Missouri's August primary ballot.

The top office on this year's ballot will be state auditor. So far, Republican incumbent Tom Schweich doesn't face much opposition. No Republican or Democrat has filed against him. His only challenger at the start of Tuesday was Constitution Party candidate Rodney Farthing.

Missouri's ballot will include races for half the state Senate and all of Missouri's U.S. and state House seats.

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Business
7:18 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Legislature considers sales of motorcycles on Sundays

Credit File photo / KBIA

The Missouri House has advanced legislation allowing Sunday sales of motorcycles at dealerships.

Missouri law now prohibits the sale of cars, trucks and motorcycles on Sunday. The House legislation would be limited to motorcycles.

Proponents said the measure would make Missouri more competitive with states that allow dealerships to sell motorcycles on Sunday. Some dealers in western Missouri told lawmakers they were losing sales to competitors in Kansas.

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Politics
7:16 am
Tue March 25, 2014

GOP state senators reject Medicaid expansion

Credit Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Several Republican state senators are making it clear that there will be no expansion of Medicaid eligibility this year in Missouri.

Five GOP senators took to the Senate floor Monday as the Legislature returned from spring break to say they will block any attempt to expand Medicaid eligibility during the session that ends in mid-May.

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Politics
4:44 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Advocates say Missouri sets food stamp barriers

Credit USDA

Advocates for the poor say Missouri is making it harder for the state's neediest residents to receive food stamps.

Officials with the Missouri Association for Social Welfare tell the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Missouri is the only state where fewer people have received food stamps through the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance in recent years amid the recession and a subsequent slow recovery.

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Politics
4:41 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Missouri auditor questions child care spending

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich.
Credit State of Missouri

Missouri's auditor is raising concerns about state payments to subsidize child care costs for lower-income families.

Auditor Tom Schweich criticized the state Social Services Department for not having enough quality control over the payments. The findings were included in an audit issued Monday of nearly $12 million in federal funds received by Missouri.

Schweich found that one-third of the payments reviewed by his office were not supported by proper documentation or were not in compliance with department guidelines.

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Education
8:07 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Lawmakers consider new education funding formula

Credit Jacob Fenston / KBIA

State lawmakers return from their spring break today, and the Missouri House is preparing to consider a proposed state budget that partly ties education funding to the strength of the economy.

House Majority Leader John Diehl says debate will begin this week on the budget for the next fiscal year. The plan endorsed by the House Budget Committee would add $122 million to the state's $3 billion in basic school funding. But if state revenues meet more optimistic projections, then it would provide a $278 million increase for schools.

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Arts and Culture
8:04 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Missouri State Penitentiary to re-open

Credit KBIA

The Jefferson City News-Tribune reports that tours in limited areas of the Missouri State Penitentiary are scheduled to resume April 21.

Public tours were stopped last fall after high levels of mold were discovered. The Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau announced that full walkthroughs of the facility would begin July 1.

Last year, the city agreed to split with the state the estimated $2 million in repair costs and mold remediation at the former prison.

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Crime
7:59 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Missouri prepares for execution

Credit California Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons

Missouri continues to prepare for its third execution of the year.

Jeffrey Ferguson is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for the 1989 death of a 17-year-old St. Charles County girl. His attorneys have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a stay.

Missouri executed Herbert Smulls in January and Michael Taylor in February. The state has also set an April 23 execution date for William Rousan, convicted of killing an elderly St. Francois  County couple in 1993.

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Politics
7:57 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Federal flood insurance premiums to increase

Credit KBIA

For thousands of Missouri residents, flood insurance premiums are about to go up.

People living in flood plains around the nation will soon see a jump in premiums through the National Flood Insurance Program, though a new law softens the blow a bit.

Under a 2012 statute, premiums could have risen from $2,000 annually to $13,000 each year, but residential rate hikes are now limited to an increase of 18 percent a year.

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Arts and Culture
7:56 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Winning Powerball ticket sold in Missouri

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Missouri Lottery officials say one Powerball ticket sold in Missouri matched all six numbers to win the $96.5 million jackpot.

The lottery said in a release Sunday that another ticket also matched five white-ball numbers to win $1 million in Saturday's drawing. The winning numbers were: 13, 28, 31, 55, 58, and the Powerball number was 15.

The Lottery says the Missouri winners have 180 days to claim their prizes.

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Politics
7:54 am
Mon March 24, 2014

MU law professor involved with Supreme Court case

Credit WallyG / FLICKR

An associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Law is involved in a case that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court this week.

Josh Hawley is on a team of about 15 lawyers working on Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Inc. The case addresses whether businesses can use religious objections to avoid a requirement to provide insurance coverage for birth control for employees.

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Agriculture
7:50 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Mo. government agencies encourage statewide clean-up

Credit Andres Rueda / Flickr

Two Missouri agencies are encouraging residents to spend April cleaning up the state's roadsides, parks, rivers and trails as part of the sixth annual "trash bash."

Missouri's Conservation and Transportation departments are sponsoring the event, which also includes educational efforts in schools, community events, and Earth Day celebrations.

Organizers say programs like the trash bash help offset the cost of cleaning up litter and let the two agencies devote resources to other priorities.

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Crime
7:48 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Arson suspected in Truman Reservoir fires

Credit E Gregory / Flickr

State conservation officials suspect arson in about 20 wildfires near the Truman Reservoir in west-central Missouri in the past week.

The Department of Conservation says the fires burned more than 1,000 acres of public and private land. No injuries or structural losses have been reported, but officials say wildfires can cause significant harm and that fighting them costs money and puts people at risk.

The conservation agency says crews have fought about 50 fires this year in Henry and St. Clair counties that have burned about 3,000 acres.

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Crime
5:01 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Missouri prepares for execution; another date set

Credit Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

As Missouri prepares for its fifth execution in five months, the Missouri Supreme Court on Friday set the date for another, continuing what could be a record year.

Jeffrey Ferguson is scheduled to die Wednesday for abducting and killing a teenager in St. Charles County in 1989. His attorneys on Thursday filed appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking that the execution be delayed until lower courts can decide if a stay should be granted. Ferguson's attorneys also claim that his conviction was based, in part, on false testimony from an FBI agent.

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Education
9:00 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Campus sexual assaults are focus of McCaskill survey

Credit Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Sen. Claire McCaskill says her staff is surveying college campuses to see what protections against sexual attacks are in place and how the institutions support assault victims.

McCaskill, a Democrat, told The Kansas City Star Thursday that she's determined to make college campuses safer for women. She says that could entail tying federal funding for colleges and universities to how well those institutions report rapes and deliver certain services to female students.

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Education
8:51 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Student claims Missouri college denied readmission because he is gay

Credit Sean MacEntee / Flickr

An honors-caliber college student says he was denied readmission to a Baptist school in Hannibal, Mo., because he's gay.

Twenty-year-old Chase Martinson of suburban St. Louis spent his first two years at Hannibal-LaGrange University. He temporarily withdrew in October due to illness but hoped to return in the fall.

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Politics
3:56 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Gov. Nixon signs cellphone tower measures

The four measures signed Thursday would limit the ways local governments impose regulations on cellphone towers.
kalleboo Flickr

Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation limiting the authority of Missouri cities and counties to restrict cellphone towers.

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Education
2:29 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

MU may change rules for reporting sexual violence

As an independent legal agency reviews MU's response to the alleged rape of a former swimmer, the university considers altering its employee policy regarding how to reprot sexual violence.
File Photo KBIA

The University of Missouri is considering changes to its employee policy for reporting suspected sexual violence amid a flurry of attention to the issue prompted by a former school swimmer's suicide.

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Business
2:20 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Hobby Lobby attorney starts Missouri group

MU law professor Joshua Hawley represents Hobby Lobby in a case brought to the U.S. Supreme Court contesting mandatory health insurance programs with birth control.
Nicholas Eckhart Flickr

An attorney representing an Oklahoma business challenging a federal contraception coverage mandate is starting a nonprofit group in Missouri.

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