Associated Press

A Missouri judge is weighing whether a secretive nonprofit group that supports Gov. Eric Greitens' agenda should have to comply with a subpoena from lawmakers.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem heard arguments Wednesday as a special Missouri House committee continued its investigation into the Republican governor.

Attorney Catherine Hanaway argued that the subpoena for information about the group called A New Missouri is outside the scope of the House investigation because it is a separate entity from Greitens.

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CALIFORNIA, Mo. (AP) — A former central Missouri police chief has been charged with purchasing weapons with city money and then pocketing the cash he got from selling them.

Forty-seven-year-old Michael Ward was charged Wednesday with two counts of stealing and one count of forgery.

He is the former police chief of the 4,200-person town of California. No attorney is listed for him in online court records.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' campaign is launching a television ad to bolster support as lawmakers consider whether to try to impeach him.

The ad cites a criminal charge against the Republican governor that was dropped and calls on people to "stand with Navy SEAL Eric Greitens."

Federal Communications Commission records show Greitens' campaign is spending more than $72,000 in the St. Louis market. The ad buy comes as a Missouri House panel is investigating Greitens and working to recommend whether lawmakers should try to impeach him.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

A Missouri environmental group is suing to overturn a law that lengthens the process the Department of Natural Resources must use to buy land.

The case was filed Thursday by the Missouri Coalition for the Environment and a Phelps County resident named Thomas Sager. It argues that a law passed last year that requires the department to notify local officials, post newspaper notices and hold public hearings before it can purchase large tracts is unconstitutional because it doesn't apply to other departments.

Like actors rehearsing a script, Missouri lawmakers on Tuesday publicly read aloud the previously secret criminal case transcripts of a woman who accused Gov. Eric Greitens of sexual misconduct and asserted that his attorney suggested she should deny it.

The unusual scene played out in a Capitol committee room, livestreamed for the public, as a special Missouri House investigatory panel gathers evidence for an eventual decision on whether to try to impeach the Republican governor in an attempt to remove him from office.

A St. Louis judge on Monday appointed the prosecutor in Jackson County as the special prosecutor who will decide whether to refile an invasion-of-privacy case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison recused the St. Louis circuit attorney's office from the felony case and appointed Jean Peters Baker, the prosecutor for Jackson County, where Kansas City is located. The ruling gives Baker discretion to consider not only the invasion-of-privacy charge but "other incidents involving the same victim" that occurred from March 21, 2015, to Sept. 1, 2015.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — It will be up to a special prosecutor if the invasion-of-privacy case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens will move forward.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison on Monday agreed with a request from the city circuit attorney's office to recuse itself from the case.

Susan Ryan, a spokeswoman for the circuit attorney's office, says that means that a special prosecutor will decide if the charge would be refiled.

ROLLA, Mo. (AP) — A former Missouri University of Science and Technology student has been sentenced to seven years in prison in the shooting death of her fiancé who was just a week away from graduating from the Rolla school with an engineering degree.

Meghan Werner was sentenced Friday for a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter in the December 2015 killing of 22-year-old Curt Marzolf in the home they shared in Rolla. She originally was charged with second-degree murder.

Advocacy groups suing Missouri for allegedly not following federal voter registration laws are asking a judge to intervene before upcoming elections.

The groups asked U.S. Western District Court Judge Brian Wimes Friday to direct the state to change its practices before the November general election.

At issue is a federal lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters of Missouri and local chapters of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, an AFL-CIO constituency.

KBIA/file photo

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A House investigatory committee has expanded its membership for a special session to determine whether to impeach Gov. Eric Greitens.

House Speaker Todd Richardson has added three members to what had been a seven-person panel consisting mostly of attorneys and former law enforcement officers.

Sara Shahriari / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers have voted to give state colleges and universities more leeway to raise tuition.

The bill passed the Senate 24-8 and the House 109-31 on Friday. It would allow public universities to raise tuition by as much as 5 percent on top of hikes to keep up with inflation.

The additional 5 percent increase, however, would only be allowed if state funding had been cut the year before. Increases could also not be larger than the amount of the previous year's cut.

Currently, state colleges can only use inflation rates to increase tuition.

Missouri Lawmakers have voted to help new mothers struggling with addiction pay for treatment programs.

The bill, approved by the House Friday in a 133-6 vote, would allow women to receive Medicaid coverage for more than a year after giving birth to pay for substance abuse and mental health programs.

Currently, Medicaid coverage ends about two months after a woman gives birth.

The Republican-led Missouri Legislature has passed a bill to cut the corporate income tax rate from 6.25 percent to 4 percent.

House lawmakers gave the bill final approval in a 96-42 vote Friday, just hours before the 6 p.m. deadline to pass bills.

The 2.25 percent tax cut for businesses would take effect in January 2020 if made law. This revenue loss would be offset in the proposal by changing how multistate corporations can calculate their taxable income.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri prosecutor said Friday that he won't be filing any charges against Gov. Eric Greitens for the way his campaign reported the receipt of a charity donor list used for political fundraising.

The decision by Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson marked a victory for Greitens on the same day that the Republican-controlled Missouri Legislature was to open a monthlong special session to decide whether to try to impeach the Republican governor for various allegations of misconduct.

The Missouri Legislature has passed a measure that could allow the biggest electric companies in the state to recover more of their costs for infrastructure improvements from customers.

Missouri senators have passed a bill to require public unions to hold recertification elections every three years and get permission annually to withdraw dues from employees' paychecks.

Under the legislation passed 21-11 Wednesday, public labor unions would need more than 50 percent of workers to vote in their favor in order to be recertified.

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway's office is seeking information about the use of taxpayer funds to hire private attorneys for Gov. Eric Greitens' office.

Attorneys Ross Garber and Eddie Greim say they've been hired to represent the governor's office in potential House impeachment proceedings against Greitens.

Galloway released a letter Tuesday that she had sent to Greitens' office seeking copies of bids and contracts for the attorneys, itemized billings and the budget line item from which they are being paid.

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway's office is seeking information about the use of taxpayer funds to hire private attorneys for Gov. Eric Greitens' office.

Attorneys Ross Garber and Eddie Greim say they've been hired to represent the governor's office in potential House impeachment proceedings against Greitens.

Garber says he's charging $320 an hour, which is half his normal rate. Greim says he and colleague Dane Martin are charging $340 an hour.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis police have launched an investigation into the way the city prosecutor's office handled the felony invasion-of-privacy case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Police say the decision to investigate was made after meeting with two of Greitens' attorneys, who announced earlier Tuesday they would ask for an investigation. The defense attorneys allege that William Tisaby, an investigator hired by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, lied to the court and withheld evidence.

Nearly 90 people have been arrested in Missouri's capital as part of a nonviolent protest against poverty, racism and other issues.

Several dozen demonstrators sat in a downtown Jefferson City street and refused to leave Monday as part of Poor People's Campaign protests across the country, including in neighboring Kansas.

missouri capitol
File Photo / KBIA

A Missouri senator is trying to stop Gov. Eric Greitens' State Board of Education appointees from withdrawing in an attempt to bar them from being reappointed later.

 

If gubernatorial appointees are withdrawn before Friday, they could potentially be appointed later to the same position. So Sen. Gary Romine in a procedural move Monday attempted to reject their withdrawal. 

Greitens for Missouri

Prosecutors have dropped an invasion-of-privacy charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, but say they plan to re-file the case with a special prosecutor.

Assistant St. Louis Circuit Attorney Ronald Sullivan made the surprise announcement Monday in court after the third day of jury selection in Greitens' trial.

Sullivan cited the fact that Greitens' defense attorneys planned to call the St. Louis circuit attorney, whose handling of the case has been under constant criticism by Greitens attorneys.

Meiying Wu / KBIA

Authorities say a Columbia Public Schools teacher has been arrested after a student reported having a sexual relationship with him.

Police said in a news release that 30-year-old Sean Thomas Diestel was arrested Thursday on suspicion of felony sexual contact with a student.

No charges have been filed, and it's not immediately known whether he has an attorney. Police say the investigation began May 4 after a student reported having the sexual relationship with Diestel from September to December of last year when she was 17.

Senate floor at the Missouri Capitol
File / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers have passed a bill to expand an address confidentiality program to cover all crime victims who fear for their safety. Senators voted 32-0 Friday to give the bill final approval.

The state program now allows victims of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking and rape to route mail through a state-run post office box. Participants also can use a substitute address in court proceedings or for other public records.

KBIA/file photo

The Missouri House has approved a resolution to amend the state constitution to ban mandatory union fees.If the Senate also approves the measure, voters would decide the issue Nov. 6. Right-to-work was signed into law by Gov. Eric Greitens but never took effect because union supporters gathered enough signatures to put a separate question on the November ballot that would let voters overrule that measure.

St. Louis Public Radio

A special examiner extracted thousands of images from the cellphone of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens "and none were found" of a woman whom the governor is charged with photographing while she was at least partially naked, the governor's attorney said Friday.

missouri capitol
File Photo / KBIA

The Missouri House has moved to expand who can carry concealed weapons into schools.

The bill, approved Tuesday in an 85-59 vote, would allow school districts to designate any employee as a school protection officer, which would make them eligible to carry concealed firearms into schools. Currently, only teachers and administrators can be designated as school protection officers.

A forensic examiner was analyzing the cellphone of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Tuesday, days before the governor goes to trial in St. Louis on a felony invasion of privacy charge.

Multiple local media outlets reported that the examiner was working in a locked courtroom.

Greitens' attorneys declined to comment when leaving the courthouse Tuesday afternoon.

A St. Louis County attorney who sued Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is seeking records from Attorney General Josh Hawley connected to his investigation into Greitens' use of a message-deleting app.

Mark Pedroli, who is representing Ben Sansone of the Sunshine Project, sued Greitens over his use of the Confide app. The lawsuit contends Greitens and his top staff violated the state's open records laws by using the app, which automatically deletes texts after they are read and does not allow the user to retrieve the texts.

Missouri House and Senate budget leaders on Monday said they've reached an agreement that would mean K-12 public schools receive a close to $99 million funding increase next fiscal year.

While House lawmakers included the hike in their earlier proposal, senators later passed a budget plan with only a roughly $48 million increase. Restoring the $99 million would mean lawmakers meet core K-12 funding goals outlined in state law.

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