A pair of bears remains at the center of Missouri's state flag, even though hunting and human encroachment nearly wiped out the state's bear population by the 1940s.
Now, the bears are back in good numbers. The state Conservation Department estimates Missouri has about 225 black bears.
Conservation officials arrived at that preliminary figure based on a research project that began in 2010. The department has trapped and tagged 61 adult bears with radio collars and has collected fur samples from 141 bears that crossed wire "hair snares" to get to bait.
Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, of Missouri, is threatening to block President Barack Obama's choice for Environmental Protection Agency administrator until plans are resolved for a long-stalled levee project in southeast Missouri.
Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich has given an "excellent" rating to the office of former Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.
Carnahan's term ended in January, and the state auditor routinely reviews offices when executives leave.
Schweich's report found no problems with the office's oversight of significant financial functions, no legal violations and nothing lacking in its management procedures. The "excellent" rating is the highest available on Schweich's four-level assessment chart.
The Missouri Senate has passed an unusually large number of tax cuts, credits, deductions and increases at the midway mark of the legislative session.
The bottom line could be a net gain in state revenues, if all the proposed changes become law.
A calculation prepared for The Associated Press by former legislative tax analyst Brian Schmitt shows that Missouri may reap $355 million in 2016, with that gradually decreasing to $118 million by 2019.