The Associated Press

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JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Jay Nixon says a proposed constitutional amendment granting religious exemptions to some business owners opposed to gay marriage could be "harmful to our economy."

The Democratic governor also said Wednesday that the measure would "condone discrimination" and urged the House to oppose it.

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is heading to Panama for a trade mission.

Nixon arrived in Panama City today in an effort to boost exports and attract investments in Missouri.

Nixon's entourage includes First Lady Georganne Nixon and the state's economic development and agriculture department directors. Nixon will meet with the Panamanian president and the country's trade and investment agency.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS.com / KBIA

COLUMBIA - Father Tolton Catholic high school in Columbia will no longer purchase its school uniforms from Lands' End after the company featured feminist and political activist Gloria Steinem in its spring catalog.

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JEFFERSON CITY - A state senator running for attorney general wants Missouri to expand its "stand your ground" laws to make it easier for people to use deadly force in self-defense.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer told a senate panel Wednesday that people should be able to do whatever it takes to defend themselves without worrying about a lawsuit afterward.

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SPRINGFIELD - A Missouri man has been charged with advertising on Craigslist for the identities of children he could claim as dependents on his taxes.

The U.S. attorney's office says 37-year-old Raheem McClain, of Ozark, was charged in a three-count indictment that was unsealed Tuesday. The indictment alleges that he was behind a January 2015 Craigslist posting that said: "If you have some kids you aren't claiming, I will pay you $750 each to claim them on my income tax."

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri lawmakers have passed a spending plan that includes about $69 million more for K-12 schools and nearly $10 million more in performance funding for higher education.

The House Budget Committee on Wednesday passed a package of bills outlining state spending. The measures cover the fiscal year that begins July 1.

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Advocates are lobbying in Jefferson City for Missouri Medicaid to expand access for young adults suffering with mental illness.

David Shane / Flickr

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Supreme Court is considering a claim that state senators violated the Sunshine Law by barring some people from taking videos at committee meetings.

The court heard arguments Wednesday in a case brought by Progress Missouri. The liberal group was denied permission to record videos in four Senate committee hearings last February and March.

Its lawsuit claims the Senate violated the open-meeting requirements of the state Sunshine Law.

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri lawmakers are considering whether to allow concealed weapons on public transit.

Republican Sen. Bob Onder told a Senate panel Wednesday that his proposal is about safety. He said public transit can be dangerous, and allowing people to carry concealed guns on buses and trains would deter crime.

Karen Blaha / Flickr

  

KANSAS CITY - The committee that'll help search for a new president of the University of Missouri system will include representatives from each of the system's four campuses.

The system's governing board of curators signed off on Wednesday in Kansas City, Missouri, on the panel that will assist them in finding the successor to Tim Wolfe.

Wolfe and the Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin of the Columbia campus resigned November 9 in the midst of protests over what some saw as university leadership's indifference to racial issues.

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate has given initial approval to a bill changing how medical expenses are handled in court cases.

The Senate's endorsement Wednesday came after Democrats staged an all-night filibuster that dragged out a debate that began Tuesday.

The bill would require the actual costs — not the value of medical treatment for plaintiffs — to be considered as evidence in civil lawsuits.

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SPRINGFIELD - An informal inquiry triggered by a complaint against the highest-ranking Hispanic official at Missouri State University is over.

The Springfield News-Leader reports the student who complained about Juan Meraz decided this week not to seek a formal investigation.

Missouri DIFP / Flickr

JEFFERSON CITY - A lawmaker from the St. Louis area has abruptly resigned from the Missouri House, citing rumors about "some personal issues" as he became the third state lawmaker to quit under pressure within the past year.

Republican Rep. Don Gosen of Chesterfield submitted his resignation Wednesday. Gosen told The Associated Press there were rumors he needed to address.

House Speaker Todd Richardson released a statement saying he'd asked Gosen to resign Tuesday night after he was "made aware of the situation." Richardson's statement didn't elaborate.

Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

JEFFERSON CITY - Michael Brown's family is urging Missouri lawmakers to overcome politics and pass a law requiring police to wear body cameras.

Brown's mother told a Senate panel Wednesday that body cameras are only one piece of police reform, but would help restore trust. A body cameras proposal failed last year.

The bill would require police in Missouri's largest cities to record all official interactions. Departments would store the footage for two years, and the public would have access to it as they do incident reports.

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The Justice Department has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, one day after the city council voted to revise an agreement aimed at improving how police and courts treat poor people and minorities in the St. Louis suburb.

Victoria - Ozarks Crescent Mural / Flickr

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri lawmakers are taking action to block a health department rule that would increase wages for home care attendants.

The House voted Wednesday on a measure blocking the wage hike after a similar vote by the Senate. The measure now heads to Gov. Jay Nixon.

Lawmakers want to stop a proposed Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services rule that would raise the pay for home care attendants from the $7.65 an hour to a range between $8.50 and $10.15.

The workers care for aging Missourians and others who can't care for themselves.

Danielle Kellog / Flickr

JEFFERSON CITY - A Senate panel is considering four bills that would change Missouri's laws on texting while driving, seatbelts and motorcycle helmets.

One bill reviewed in a hearing Wednesday would require everyone in a car to wear a seatbelt, including adults in the backseat who are currently exempt from seatbelt requirements.

Two other proposals would ban texting while driving, which currently is forbidden for commercial drivers and people younger than 22.

Scott Davidson / Flickr

A 34-year-old eastern Missouri man is jailed for allegedly attacking three deputies.

Shaun White of Lincoln County is charged with three counts of assault on law enforcement, along with a drug count and other charges. He is jailed on $25,000 cash-only bond.

Authorities were called to a home at 1 a.m. Wednesday. The resident said White tried to kick in his door and attack him with a knife.

Karen Blaha/Flickr

A national association is calling for the reinstatement of suspended University of Missouri assistant professor Melissa Click, who was involved in a run-in with a student journalist during campus protests in November.

Holley St. Germain/Flickr

  

An advocacy group is pushing the Missouri Legislature to reconsider how it awards scholarships for a 30-year-old program designed to keep the brightest college students in the state.

Loavesofbread / Wikimedia Commons

Charges have been dropped against six activists who were arrested during a protest in Ferguson.

The case was dropped just as their trial was about to begin. It was expected to include allegations of police brutality, claims of missing evidence and discussions about the shortcomings of body cameras.

The charges had included property damage, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and third-degree assault. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Ferguson prosecutor Stephanie Karr dismissed the charges Thursday without explanation.

Flickr - Pat Dye

Four Anheuser-Busch heirs say they worry that their brother, Billy Busch, will turn Grant's Farm into a subdivision.

Trudy Busch Valentine and Andy Busch say they have seen housing plat maps already drafted for the animal park.

The animal park is owned by six Busch siblings, and earlier this month, four of the siblings sued to force the sale of most of the farm to the St. Louis Zoo for $30 million.

Ford workers narrowly approved a new four-year contract, wrapping up five months of negotiations between the United Auto Workers union and Detroit automakers.

The UAW said late Friday that Ford's contract passed with a 51.4-percent vote. The agreement covers 53,000 U.S. hourly workers at 22 plants.

President Barack Obama's plan to protect from deportation an estimated 5 million people living in the United States illegally suffered another setback Monday in a ruling from a New Orleans-based federal appeals court.

In a 2-1 decision, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Texas-based federal judge's injunction blocking the administration's immigration initiative.

Republicans had criticized the plan as an illegal executive overreach when Obama announced it last November. Twenty-six states challenged the plan in court.

St. Louis Arch
paparutzi / Flickr

The towering, shimmering Gateway Arch that's St. Louis' famously defining feature is about to celebrate a monumental anniversary.

A half-century ago on Wednesday, crews in 1965 installed the final stainless steel section at the apex of the 630-foot-tall tribute to President Thomas Jefferson and the pioneers for whom St. Louis served as a gateway to the West.

KOMU-TV reports that traffic was backed up Monday morning on westbound I-70 after thousands of nails spilled along the highway in Columbia, creating a possible hazard.

Columbia police estimated that about 200 boxes of nails spilled, and each box contained about 2,000 nails. Police were still looking for the truck that spilled the nails.

Officials said the line of backed up traffic extended several miles, but the area was cleared and traffic was moving by mid-morning.

Via the PlanetReuse website

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says a weekend brush fire near a suburban St. Louis landfill makes a pressing case for a federal remedy to the area where a slow-burning underground fire could threaten a cache of Cold War-era nuclear waste.

Koster says he's relieved that the Environmental Protection Agency's studies show no immediate public danger from the West Lake Landfill near Bridgeton.

Dave Schumaker / Flickr

A pair of earthquakes hit southeast Missouri, but there were no reports of damage or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey said a 3.4-magnitude earthquake, followed 24 minutes later by a 3.2-magnitude aftershock, hit southeast Missouri on Friday afternoon.

The Daily American Republic reports residents in Butler, Ripley and Carter counties reported feeling the quakes.

File Photo / KBIA

Farmers Insurance has agreed to pay Missouri $575,000 to settle a lawsuit claiming its agents violated state telemarketing laws.

Attorney General Chris Koster says it's the largest amount ever paid to the state by a telemarketer for violations of the no-call list.

The company sells home, life and auto insurance.

Koster says his office received more than 275 complaints about Farmers agents in a four-year period. Some complained that they were contacted by agents even after consumers requested that they stop calling.

Armed Forces Pest Management Board / Flickr

A doctor says a virus found in Missouri in 2009 appears to be showing up in other states.

Dr. Scott Folk, director of adult infectious diseases at Heartland Clinic in St. Joseph, says the Heartland virus discovered 2009 was initially thought to be confined to the region.

But he told The St. Joseph News-Press that new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates the Heartland Virus may extend through more of the nation than initially thought.

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