KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Sen. Claire McCaskill says she'll introduce legislation requiring U.S. defense officials to address mismanagement in a military-led unit responsible for finding service members missing in action.
McCaskill's remarks come several months after an Associated Press story revealed an internal Pentagon report harshly critical of the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command, which searches for missing soldiers' remains. The Pentagon report included accusations of misconduct among those responsible for overseas missions to investigate prospects for recovering remains.
McCaskill, a Democrat, said Friday at a news conference in Kansas City that she's preparing an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill. The amendment would give the Defense Department one year to submit a plan for reorganizing the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command and improving its accountability.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Wisconsin lawmaker is introducing a bill, no pun intended, that would legalize duck races.
Well, not real ducks but the plastic ones with numbers on the bottom. Nonprofit organizations commonly race the little plastic ducks as fundraisers. Participants usually buy a raffle ticket corresponding with a duck's number.
The first to float across the finish line wins.
State Rep. Andre Jacque circulated a proposal Thursday to legalize the races. He says the village of Mishicot was warned by the Wisconsin Department of Justice that its annual rubber duck race amounts to illegal gambling.
Jacque's bill creates an exemption for duck races, similar to laws in Minnesota and Michigan.
Rubber duck races in Wisconsin include the "Ducktona 500" in Sheboygan Falls and the "Lucky Ducky Derby" in Menomonee Falls.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is raising concerns about legislation attempting to nullify some federal gun-control laws.
Koster sent a letter Tuesday to lawmakers warning that the bill contains "flawed public policy."
The Republican-led Legislature is to meet Sept. 11 to consider overriding Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of the legislation.
Koster, a Democrat, says a federal judge likely would strike down provisions attempting to nullify some federal gun laws and making it a crime for federal agents to enforce them. But Koster says other parts of the measure that could be upheld are troubling.
He says the bill could restrict local police from working cooperatively with federal agents and could allow criminals to sue police who refer gun violations to federal prosecutors.
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois gun owners who fail to report the theft or loss of a weapon will face tougher restrictions under a new law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn.
The law beefs up background checks and requires firearm thefts or losses to be reported within 72 hours.
Quinn signed the bill Sunday at a South Side Chicago park where police officer was fatally shot in 2010. The Chicago Democrat says the restrictions are common sense and will help crack down on crime.
Democrats State Sen. Kwame Raoul and state Rep. Mike Zalewski sponsored the bill. It's also supported by Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy.
The requirement to report thefts goes into effect immediately. The background check changes start next year.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones is rallying support for an effort to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of tax-cutting legislation.
Jones, a Republican from Eureka, says reducing taxes would grow the economy, create additional economic opportunities and allow more funding for education. On Wednesday, Nixon was renewing his objections to the tax legislation in southern Missouri. The Democratic governor has traveled throughout the state to defend the veto.
Nixon's asserts the tax cut would jeopardize funding for government services and boost taxes on prescription drugs.
Jones told supporters in Fulton on Tuesday that he sees "the momentum on our side." He says it is a commonsense measure.
House Republicans are meeting this week to discuss possible veto overrides. Missouri lawmakers return to the state Capitol on Sept. 11.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed legislation that would have expanded an infrastructure surcharge for gas companies.
Gas utilities have been allowed to seek approval from the Public Service Commission to levy a surcharge for infrastructure replacements. The charge is levied between formal rate cases, and the gas companies must file for a more involved rate case every three years.
The legislation would have required full rate cases every five years and would have increased the cap on how much gas companies could collect through the surcharge.
Nixon said the legislation also would have allowed companies to recover from customers much of the uncollectable debt from customers who do not pay.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation allowing parents more time to give up newborns, requiring screening for a heart defect and dealing with mandatory reporters of child abuse.
Nixon held a bill signing ceremony Tuesday at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
The legislation will permit parents up to 45 days instead of the current five days to give up their babies. And starting in 2014, screening for critical congenital heart disease will be required for infants.
Another newly signed bill seeks to close a loophole for child abuse reporting. Mandatory reporters suspecting child abuse or neglect currently must "immediately report" or "cause a report to be made." That means reporters can pass the information to another person in their organization. Information will now go directly to state officials.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation that prohibits welfare recipients from using such funds at liquor stores, casinos or strip clubs.
The legislation also bars recipients from using cash benefits to buy anything marketed for adults while increasing penalties for people who are convicted of spending benefits improperly. The newly signed law brings Missouri into compliance with federal restrictions on purchases using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families electronic cash benefit cards.
Nixon said Monday the legislation ensures assistance for those in need is provided in a proper manner.
Supporters said the measure would help to prevent fraud and abuse in the welfare system. Critics had said it would create unnecessary restrictions on where people can buy food.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he's ready for a "showdown" in Springfield over concealed carry legislation.
The Chicago Democrat has spent days making appearances talking up his sweeping changes to a bill that'd make Illinois the last state to allow concealed weapons.
But lawmakers are expected to override Quinn's changes when they meet Tuesday in Springfield. The bill's sponsor, among others, says the original measure came out of months of negotiations.
Quinn wouldn't say if he has the votes, but says he's working on it. He says the bill was influenced heavily by the National Rifle Association.
He spoke to reporters Monday in Chicago after signing legislation dealing with gang crimes.
Illinois has until Tuesday to legalize concealed carry after a federal appeals court ruled the state's ban unconstitutional.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's Republican-led Legislature put a priority on cutting taxes this year. But the same lawmakers who passed a $700 million income tax cut also approved numerous little-known fee increases.
One of those measures could increase fees on driver's licenses and vehicle registrations, costing Missourians almost $22 million annually.
Another bill would impose fees on mailed-in speeding traffic tickets, affecting an estimated 170,000 cases annually.
Missourians could pay more to get copies of their own medical records or court transcripts. Businesses could get charged more for certain Agriculture Department services. And court fees could rise in some places.
Although fees and taxes both take money from people, many Republican lawmakers have drawn a philosophical distinction. They say taxes are applied generally, and fees are charged only for specific services.