ST. LOUIS (AP) — A budding rift over the use of protected rivers and streams in south-central Missouri for baptisms is over before it really got started.
Republican U.S. Representative Jason Smith raised concerns in a letter this week to Ozark National Scenic Riverways superintendent William Black about permits required for baptisms. The riverways is part of the National Park Service, providing oversight for sections of the Jacks Fork and Current rivers, along with creeks and streams near those rivers.
Smith questioned why a government agency would get in the way of river baptisms, a tradition of rural Missouri life.
Black responded in a letter to Smith Thursday saying the permit issue was a misunderstanding, and that he was clarifying policy to ensure that no permit is required.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The ACLU of Illinois says the state's abortion notification law will go into effect in 35 days.
The Illinois Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday that ended a lengthy and emotionally charged legal battle of a 1995 law that's never been enforced. It requires doctors to notify a girl's parents of her abortion 48 hours before the procedure. It applies to girls 17 and younger.
The ACLU represented the southeastern Illinois clinic and the director of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Reproductive Health in the case.
The group says the measure "jeopardizes the health and safety of young women."
The ACLU says it will spend the next weeks working with health care providers and lawyers to counsel girls.
House Speaker Michael Madigan has scheduled a hearing for Thursday. Lawmakers are expected to vote on pension changes he is proposing.
A provision among the changes calls for penalizing retirement before age 67 with reduced benefits.
Another measure requires employees hired after January 2011 to pay an additional 5 percent toward their pensions on top of other contributions.
Riverside Democratic state Rep. Michael Zalewski says the expected votes are intended to gauge lawmakers' support for some potential reforms.
Zalewski says there's been enough talk about the changes and now is the time for legislators to actually show where they stand.