Associated Press

Missouri Capitol
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Missouri lawmakers have passed legislation to ban people convicted of sex offenses against children from coming within 500 feet of children's museums.

Senators voted 31-1 on Monday to send the bill to Republican Gov. Eric Greitens. The measure passed the House 136-2 earlier this month.

Those convicted of sex offenses against children already are banned from coming within 500 feet of public playgrounds and swimming pools. If signed by Greitens, the legislation would extend the ban to include museums aimed at kids.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Roads are gradually reopening across the state as floodwaters recede in many areas.

The Missouri Department of Transportation says 126 roads are closed Monday, down from a high of 384 at the peak of the flooding. Most of the closures are concentrated in the southern half of the state and along the Mississippi River.

Six deaths are now blamed on flooding in Missouri, while four occurred in Arkansas. Floodwaters also inundated homes and businesses, forcing hundreds to evacuate.

Motorcycle with custom Boondocks paint
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Motorcyclists in Missouri will have to keep wearing their helmets for another year.

Lawmakers removed a provision today from a bill that would've allowed people older than 21 who have had their motorcycle license for more than two years to leave the helmet at home.

Riders also would've needed to meet certain insurance requirements to ride without protective headgear.

The measure was removed from a bill in committee after passing the House last month.

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Residents of areas hit hard by flooding in eastern Missouri are getting some good news: River levels are subsiding, some evacuated residents will be allowed to go home and a closed interstate is reopening.

Dropping water levels along the Meramec River on Thursday prompted the mayor of Valley Park to lift evacuation orders for levee-protected areas effective at 8 a.m. Friday.

The lower part of the town was evacuated Monday amid worries a nearby levee wouldn't hold.

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Some Missouri lawmakers say they are so concerned with federal driver's license requirements that they've been willing to defy federal standards and risk hassles for residents trying to fly or enter military installations.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

River levels are falling after record and near-record flooding in parts of the Midwest, but the crisis is far from over.

The troublesome Black River that runs from southeast Missouri into northeast Arkansas was down after cresting earlier this week in places like Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and Pocahontas, Arkansas. But the mess left behind is substantial after the river reached record levels in both places.

Missouri Capitol
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Supporters of right to work in Missouri are coming together to raise money to fend off attacks on the new law. Liberty Alliance attorney Edward Greim says the political action committee's goal is to support the law banning mandatory union fees, which is set to take effect in August.

Opponents are trying to derail the law by putting it to voters and attempting to undo it by changing the Missouri Constitution. Greim said Liberty Alliance opposes both of those efforts.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Residents are being asked to evacuate a small Missouri town because the rain-swollen Missouri River is threatening to topple a nearby levee.

City officials are urging West Alton's roughly 500 residents to leave as heavy rain continues to hit the area about 20 miles north of St. Louis.

Another levee breached earlier Wednesday in Franklin County, southwest of the city, though the flooding affected mostly farmland.

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Missouri tax revenues grew about 3.1 percent since last fiscal year, which is not enough to fund this year's budget. State Budget Director Dan Haug announced that net general revenues increased from 7.4 billion dollars last year to 7.6 billion dollars this year. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and his predecessor, Jay Nixon, have made a combined 350 million dollars of spending cuts to offset lower-than-expected revenues. Haug also says the state has repaid 500 million dollars borrowed from a state reserve fund before the May 15th deadline.

Missouri Capitol
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Missouri senators have done little work for the second day in a row with less than two weeks before lawmakers' deadline to pass bills.

Senators adjourned within minutes Tuesday after doing essentially nothing Monday. Assistant Majority Floor Leader Bob Onder said the Senate adjourned to work on the budget, which is due Friday.

The standstill on other bills follows threats from Sen. Rob Schaaf to block legislation until there's debate on strengthening state ethics laws, although he said he'd allow the budget to move forward.

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Flooded areas of the Midwest are bracing for another round of heavy rain, the last thing they need with rivers in several places at or near record levels.

Heavy rain last weekend resulted in a sudden rise in rivers in Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas. After a couple of days of calm weather, forecasters expect 2 inches of rain or more in parts of the same hard-hit areas Wednesday through Thursday.

The new president of the four-campus University of Missouri System says faculty will be added despite reduced budgets.

President Mun Choi said Friday that the university is not "retrenching" in the face of budget shortfalls. He says the Missouri University of Science and Technology will add 18 faculty members. Faculty also will be added at engineering, business and medical schools on the Columbia campus.

Choi also pledged to elevate research and teaching at the university.

Results from a monthly survey of business supply managers suggest a slight improvement in the economic conditions in nine Midwest and Plains states.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index report released Monday says the overall economic index for the region rose to 61.4 in April from 60.1 in March.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says the figures suggest strong growth for both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing through the third quarter of this year.

Missouri Capitol
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Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens has agreed to pay a penalty to the state Ethics Commission for failing to report that his gubernatorial campaign got a donor list from a charity he founded.

Greitens' campaign adviser Austin Chambers said Saturday that the violation was a "simple campaign finance matter — not a major ethics matter."

The Ethics Commission imposed a $1,000 fee, most of which would be waived if Greitens pays $100 and commits no other violations in the next two years.

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Roughly 240,000 more Missouri Medicaid recipients are being switched to a system under which private companies oversee patient care.

The system, called managed care, will be expanded statewide Monday. About 500,000 Missourians in 54 counties along I-70 already had health care under that model.

The rest received care under a fee-for-service model. Under that system, physicians are reimbursed as patients are treated.

Missouri seniors, the blind and people with disabilities on Medicaid will not be impacted by the change.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says two people have died in the weekend flooding across his state.

Greitens said Sunday that additional flooding is expected in the days ahead as rivers crest at historic levels.

So Greitens says he has activated the National Guard, so troops can help cities fill sandbags and prepare for the flooding.

First responders performed 111 evacuations and 135 rescues across Missouri over the weekend.

Flood warnings remain in place for much of Missouri with the heaviest flooding expected in the southern third of the state.

Senate floor at the Missouri Capitol
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Senate has passed a school choice bill that would create education savings accounts for students with disabilities, foster children and children with parents in the military.

The bill passed Thursday by a 20-12 vote. It now moves to the House.

The legislation would create a tax credit program that parents of children with special needs could use to pay for educational expenses such as private school tuition, online classes and home schooling.

Columns at University of Missouri
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri's Columbia campus has announced revised policies related to protests, with the changes coming nearly two years after the campus was hit by a wave of demonstrations over racial concerns.

The new policies announced Thursday include a commitment to "protecting the rights of expression, assembly, protest, and dissent." Outdoor areas will be made available whenever possible, even for unscheduled gatherings.

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Missouri representatives have approved that the state pay an extra $241 million in unexpected expenses for this fiscal year.

House members voted 143-7 in favor of the supplemental budget Wednesday. It soon will go to the governor's desk.

Most of the money comes from federal funds, and most of it will go toward unexpected Medicaid expenses. About $44 million comes from state general revenue.

The state has allocated about $10 million to the Department of Transportation for vehicle replacements and equipment improvements.

St. Louis Arch
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St. Louis' city minimum wage could rise to $10 an hour starting next week now that the state's highest court won't reconsider its ruling upholding it.

The Missouri Supreme Court in February rejected claims by business groups that setting a wage higher than the state's $7.65 one would spawn regulatory confusion. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to revisit that, ending the issue.

The ordinance sets a $10-an-hour minimum wage in the city this year, climbing to $11 in 2018.

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A former Jefferson City business owner has admitted to his role in a burglary scheme in which primarily electronic equipment and college housing in Columbia was targeted and the loot was sold on eBay.

The U.S. attorney's office says 27-year-old Yevhen Drobovych pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of mail fraud. Drobovych was the owner of Jefferson City Computer Services.

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Missouri public K-12 schools appear set to get roughly $48 million more in basic aid next fiscal year.

Senators voted 19-14 on Tuesday in favor of bumping up funding to meet targets called for under state law.

Because House members also passed a proposed budget that would meet funding goals, the money for schools likely will be locked into the final budget due May 5.

Senators were split on whether to give the extra money to K-12 schools while state revenues are lagging.

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A Missouri senator says he's moving out of a room he rents from a lobbyist following questions from a co-worker.

St. Joseph Republican Sen. Rob Schaaf said he's staying at a hotel Monday as he searches for a new place to stay.

Columbia Republican Sen. Caleb Rowden questioned him days earlier about renting from a lobbyist and sponsoring a bill the lobbyist is pushing.

Schaaf says that contributed to the appearance of a culture of corruption in Jefferson City, then called to strengthen ethics laws and ripped into Republican Gov. Eric Greitens' ethics.

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The Missouri House has passed stricter requirements for tracking fetal tissue after abortions.

The bill passed Monday with a 117-40 vote. It now moves to the Senate.

The proposal prohibits anyone from donating fetal tissue from an abortion to scientific research and sets stricter standards for pathologists to record and track fetal tissue after an abortion procedure.

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St. Louis County's largest city is swearing in its first African-American councilman.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 46-year-old Robert Parson Jr. officially becomes a member of the Florissant City Council on Monday.

Parson's election earlier this month comes less than a year after the city changed boundary lines of its nine wards so each would have roughly the same number of people.

The adjustments were urged in a 2015 letter by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a New York-based civil rights law firm.

Columns at University of Missouri
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A dormitory association at the University of Missouri is pushing that a new residence hall on campus be named after a prominent late black journalist once denied admission there.

The Columbia Missourian reports the campus Residence Halls Association has included Lucile Bluford's name among a list of potential ones for the 279-student dorm.

Bluford was denied admission to the university's journalism school 11 times because of her race. In 1989, five decades after Bluford's first application, the university granted her an honorary doctorate degree in humanities.

Missouri Capitol
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Missouri is launching a new program for tax-free savings accounts to help families financially support people with disabilities.

Treasurer Eric Schmitt will announce the program's start Monday in St. Louis. It will allow people with disabilities or their families to open tax-exempt savings accounts to pay for related expenses.

The savings wouldn't count toward total assets when determining a person's eligibility for Medicaid or other benefits.

ALEX HEUER / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has signed into law statewide regulations for ride-hailing companies including Uber and Lyft.

The governor signed the bill Monday at St. Charles Community College. It requires app-based companies to conduct driver background checks and pay a licensing fee.

The law will also exempt such companies from local and municipal taxes, require drivers to submit to background checks and to buy vehicle liability insurance.

Uber and Lyft say the law will allow them to expand throughout the state.

ALEX HEUER / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens during his first 100 days in office made good on a top campaign promise to sign right to work legislation.

Greitens passed the 100-day mark on Wednesday. He achieved a major campaign promise months before, when he signed a law in February banning mandatory union fees.

But Greitens has had less success in strengthening state ethics laws, another top pledge.

About 1,500 people are being asked to reapply for a Missouri program that shields the addresses of abuse victims after a St. Louis County judge ordered a woman to reveal her home address because of a flaw in the application process.

The Safe at Home program lets victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking keep their addresses confidential by routing mail through a post office box run by the secretary of state's office

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