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 JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers could have to cut about $370 million from Gov. Jay Nixon's budget if they don't want to go along with his financial assumptions.
   Republican legislative leaders were still fuming Wednesday about Nixon's budget proposal, a day after he outlined it as part of his State of the State address.
   During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Chairman Kurt Schaefer (SHAY'-fer) told the Democratic governor's budget director that Nixon's plan "is an absolute political fiction."
 
   Nixon's budget assumes stronger revenue growth than Republican lawmakers believe will occur. It also assumes lawmakers will generate new revenues or cost-savings by expanding Medicaid eligibility, offering amnesty to overdue taxpayers and tweaking various revenue-collection laws.
   If lawmakers reject those things, they would have to trim about $370 million of spending from Nixon's budget.
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 16:32
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JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Southern State University in Joplin was locked down briefly after students reported seeing a suspicious person, possibly with a gun.
 
After about two hours of searching Tuesday, campus police determined the campus was safe. No arrests were reported.
 
The Joplin Globe reports a campus alert was issued about 2:45 p.m. after students outside the university's public safety center reported seeing someone, possibly with a gun, in an adjacent field.
 
University spokeswoman Cassie Mathes says students reported the person headed toward two residence halls.
 
Campus police locked down the dormitories while searching for the person. The lockdown ended about 4:40 p.m
 
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 13:48
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FULTON, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton has two interim leaders while a search continues for a permanent superintendent.
 
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on Tuesday announced that assistant superintendent Margilee LaBoarde and business manager Harold Siebert will be interim superintendents.
 
The education department is looking for a replacement for the recently-retired Barbara Garrison.
 
The Fulton Sun reports LaBoarde has been at the school for 31 years, serving in several positions before being named assistant superintendent. Siebert has been business manager at the school for 13 years.
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 13:47
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is asking the state's Republican-led Legislature to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.
 
But the measure's chances of passing are unclear. Some Republicans expressed caution Wednesday and criticized Nixon for championing the proposal while ignoring other policy initiatives.
 
Current state law prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex and disability.
 
Many Democrats applauded Nixon for including the proposal among his priorities outlined in the State of the State address Tuesday night.
 
Legislation to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation passed the Senate on the last day of session last year, but never received a House vote.
 
At least one House member - Anne Zerr, of St. Charles - said she was glad Nixon pushed for the measure in his speech.
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 13:45
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing $198 million in bonds for a new maximum and intermediate security facility at the Fulton State Hospital.
The hospital has Missouri's only maximum security psychiatric facility, and patients include those committed by the courts for treatment. It also is the statewide treatment facility for people who have been found guilty or unable to stand trial because of mental disease.
Nixon is proposing a $14 million supplement to the current year's budget for the hospital and another $14 million in his recommendations for the 2015 budget that takes effect July 1.
The governor's budget director says bonds would be issued if lawmakers approve the supplemental budget request. One option would be issuing the bonds through the Missouri Development Finance Board.
   
 
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 11:20
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Senate panel has halted one of Gov. Jay Nixon's appointments to the Missouri Human Rights Commission.
The Democratic governor appointed former Democratic state House member Sara Lampe, of Springfield, to the board. The Republican-led committee stopped the nomination Wednesday because of concerns that there would be too many Democrats on the commission.
Republican senators said they would not proceed with Lampe's confirmation until Nixon fills more commission slots with Republican nominees.
The Human Rights Commission investigates complaints of discrimination in employment, housing and places that accommodate the public. It currently has two Republicans, three Democrats, and five vacancies. Nixon has one other Democratic nomination to the commission pending before the Senate.
Lampe served in the Legislature from 2005 to 2013 and is a former teacher and school administrator.
 
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 11:16
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 JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's chief justice is encouraging lawmakers to overhaul state laws detailing various crimes and punishments.
Chief Justice Mary Russell highlighted the need to revise Missouri's criminal code in her annual State of the Judiciary speech Wednesday to a joint session of the House and Senate.
Lawmakers have been working for the past couple of years on a potential criminal code revision. Russell said the last comprehensive overhaul occurred about 35 years ago. Since then, lawmakers have continued to add new crimes and penalties, some of which aren't enforced often.
Russell said there were 232 offenses that were charged only once in the entire state last year and an additional 130 offenses that were charged just twice. She also questioned the fairness of some penalties.
 
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 11:11
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A New Mexico archeologist, considered an accomplished fundraiser and longtime museum director, is the new president of the Missouri History Museum. 
Dr. Frances Levine was officially hired on Tuesday, ending the museum's search for a new leader since the 2012 departure of former embattled president Robert Archibald. Archibald's tenure was tainted with executive pay controversies and a suspect real estate deal. 
The 63 year old Levine, meanwhile, is the first female president of one of St. Louis’s five, tax-supported cultural institutions.
She has a doctorate in anthropology from Southern Methodist University and turned Santa Fe’s Palace of the Governors into the award-winning, 96-thousand square foot, New Mexico History Museum.
Levine will make $260,000 a year in total compensation, compared with the $515,000 made by Archibald. She reports for her new post in St. Louis on April 15.  
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 09:25
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A Burlington Northern train that derailed in southwest St. Louis city this morning is causing road closures in the area as officials and railroad accident crews figure out what happened and how to clean it up.  Fox2 News reports at least a dozen cars are involved in the accident which is at I-44 and Wellington near Arsenal and McCausland.  No injuries are reported, but St. Louis policehave closed the road at Ellendale and Wellington and at Wabash and Tholozon in both directions. The closures could last until 6 o'clock this evening.  Equipment has been moved into the area to help get the train cars back on the tracks. 
 
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 09:21
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