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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers are down to their final day to pass legislation before their annual session ends.

   Legislators face a mandatory quitting time of 6 p.m. Friday. Several significant issues remain unresolved with fading prospects, including an overhaul of the state's tax credit programs and a proposed transportation sales tax that would go on the 2014 ballot.

   The Republican-led Legislature already has passed several other priority measures. Those include an income tax cut projected to eventually reduce state revenues by about $700 million; several pro-gun measures; and changes to state labor laws and workers' compensation claims.

   The Legislature defeated a Medicaid expansion for lower-income adults that had been a priority of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

 
Published in Local News

   CHICAGO (AP) - There are published reports Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady is planning to step down for personal reasons.

   The reports have Brady announcing his resignation on Tuesday.

   Republican State Rep. Jim Durkin told the Chicago Sun-Times Brady is "leaving on terms that he's imposed on himself." Durkin says Brady, who he calls a dear friend, wants to spend more time with his family.

   Social conservatives have called for Brady's removal, in part because he took a stand in favor of gay marriage earlier this year. They also cite Republicans' poor showing in the 2012 election.

   Brady in March survived an attempt by GOP committeemen to vote him out. That effort failed amid concerns that getting rid of him would reflect poorly on a party that's trying to expand its appeal.

 
Published in Local News
There's a fight brewing in Jefferson City over new education standards in math and English, called the Common Core.

The national standards define the skills and knowledge students should have. And proponents say Missouri students need Common Core in order to stay competitive with students from 45 other states that have adopted them.

But some state lawmakers are balking, claiming that the move to Common Core will give federal education officials too much control over local schools. Senator John Lamping co-sponsored a bill to repeal Common Core in Missouri. The Ladue Republican has accused federal education officials of coercion. He and other opponents have also questioned the cost of implementation, since the standards call for computerized testing.

The State's Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro says the new standards only outline what students should know, not how schools and teachers should go about teaching, because Common Core doesn't dictate curriculum.

Both Missouri and Illinois adopted the standards in 2010. Illinois will achieve full implementation in the 2013-14 school year, a full year ahead of the Show-me state.
Published in Local News

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