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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois is creating a statewide system to regulate access to firearms by people who have mental health problems.
 
The Department of Human Services unveiled an online database Monday that will be used to compile information about people a professional deems a "clear and present danger" to themselves or others.
 
Human Services Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler says Illinois' new concealed-carry law broadened the requirements of who must report information and kind of details must be shared.
 
Mental health professionals must report people in Illinois who've been declared in court to be mentally disabled, developmentally disabled, or meet qualifications for posing a "clear and present danger."
 
That information is checked against a list of those qualified to own a gun. The Illinois State Police then investigate the matter.
 
Monday, 13 January 2014 15:18
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O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) - Ameren Missouri plans to build a solar energy facility in O'Fallon, Mo.
 
The St. Louis-based utility announced plans for the multimillion-dollar facility on Monday. Ameren says the plant will provide 5.7 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 650 homes.
 
The project is expected to create up to 70 construction jobs. Work should begin in April and Ameren hopes to have the project operating by December.
 
Monday, 13 January 2014 15:17
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois residents have just begun applying for licenses to carry concealed weapons. But lawmakers have already begun tinkering with the new law.
 
The Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports Monday that legislators have introduced bills to increase penalties for carrying guns where they're not allowed; punish instructors who don't carry out training; and lower the legal age for carrying.
 
Illinois became the last state in the nation to allow concealed carry last July. It allows anyone with 16 hours of training to pay a $150 fee to get a license.
 
Villa Park Democratic Rep. Deborah Conroy wants to increase criminal penalties for taking a gun into a school. Republican State Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein (MUN'-dih-lyne) wants instructors who commit fraud to go to jail.
 
Monday, 13 January 2014 12:20
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Newly released documents show Missouri was in the running for a new Boeing assembly plant right up until the company decided to stay in Washington state.
 
Documents provided to The Associated Press on Monday under a Sunshine Law request show Boeing officials visited St. Louis on Dec. 28 to check out Missouri's proposal.
 
A follow-up visit was scheduled for Jan. 4. But that was cancelled after union members in Washington voted Jan. 3 to accept Boeing's contract proposal. The company then said it would build the 777X airplane there.
 
Boeing had not released a list of finalists for the project.
 
The documents show Missouri submitted three options to Boeing to assemble the wing or full plane at either of two locations near Lambert-St. Louis International Airpor
Monday, 13 January 2014 12:06
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The first bill being considered by a Missouri House committee this year would prohibit the payment of union fees from being a condition of employment.
The legislation, known as "right to work," is scheduled for a Monday hearing in the House Workplace Development and Workplace Safety Committee.
It is a top priority for Republican House Speaker Tim Jones, of Eureka. He led a rally of about 100 activists in support of the bill before the legislative session opened last week.
While the proposal is at the top of the House agenda, Senate leaders haven't been as optimistic about it passing this year.
The measure is sponsored by Republican Rep. Eric Burlison, of Springfield.
Monday, 13 January 2014 09:36
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House Democrats are preparing to outline a tax cut proposal, despite their fierce opposition to a Republican tax plan last year.
Rep. Jon Carpenter, a Democrat from Kansas City, was expected to file legislation and release his plan to reduce state taxes on Monday.
Another Kansas City Democrat, Sen. Jolie Justus, has signaled that her party would be open to tax cuts under certain circumstance. She says it is a matter of who benefits from the cuts.
House Democrats voted last year against a Republican proposal to reduce individual and corporate income tax rates over 10 years. The GOP plan failed when the Legislature could not secure enough votes to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto.
 
Monday, 13 January 2014 09:10
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DE SOTO, Mo. (AP) - An eastern Missouri man is recovering after falling from a kayak into a frigid river and clinging to a branch to stay afloat.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 50-year-old Joe Sullivan of rural De Soto was kayaking in the Big River in Jefferson County Sunday afternoon when he fell into the river. Sullivan grabbed a branch to stay afloat in the river swollen by rain and snow melt.
Sullivan picked his cellphone out of a plastic bag and called 911. He floated about two miles before he was able to climb out of the river. Rescuers from the De Soto Rural Fire District found Sullivan on a riverbank, cold but OK.
 
Monday, 13 January 2014 09:08
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A bill filed in the Missouri Senate could well strike another blow against the federal Affordable Care Act. The bill, sponsored by Ladue Republican John Lamping, would suspend insurance companies’ state licenses if they accepted subsidies offered by the federal government to help pay health insurance premiums for low- and middle-income Missourians.  Lamping tells the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the subsidies are illegal and eventually will be thrown out by a federal court. By rejecting them, he says, Missouri could remove the trigger in the federal law that, beginning in 2015, will assess penalties against large employers that don’t provide health insurance.  Critics of Lamping’s plan say that the Affordable Care Act is helping people obtain health insurance and that it’s time to stop fighting it. 
It wouldn’t be the first time Missouri had tried to halt Obamacare.
In 2010, about 71 percent of Missourians voted to oppose the mandate to purchase insurance and in 2012, nearly 62 percent voted to prevent the governor from setting up a state-based insurance exchange.
As a result, Missouri is one of 34 states where the federal government is operating the exchange, an online marketplace that allows consumers to compare health plans and sign up for coverage.
That website, HealthCare.gov, gained notoriety because of a problem-plagued rollout last fall. As of Nov. 30, only 4,124 Missourians had selected a marketplace plan.
Monday, 13 January 2014 08:34
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A break in the weather allowed St. Louis city street crews to patch the pavement yesterday in an attempt to manage the growing number of potholes.  Officials hoped to have most of the major holes on the arterial roads fixed with a temporary patch on Monday. The storm of a week ago, coupled with frigid temperatures and then fast melting, has created craters on streets throughout the area. The pothole patching is a temporary fix which will hopefully last until getting more attention in the Spring. City officials are asking residents to report potholes to the Citizens' Service Bureau by calling 314.622.4800, tweeting to @stlcsb, or filling out a request for service online.  The Streets Department has also set a goal of patching potholes reported to the CSB within 48 hours of getting a request. 
 
Monday, 13 January 2014 06:59
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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - For the first time in a decade, Missouri's top officials can't agree on how much money will be available for the state budget.
   Governor Jay Nixon plans to use a larger revenue projection than lawmakers when he proposes a budget as part of his annual State of the State address January 21st.
   Nixon says he is "optimistic" about Missouri's economy.
   Republican legislative leaders say they are being "realistic."
   Nixon's revenue projections could be about $140 million higher than lawmakers'.
   Legislators already are planning to make cuts to Nixon's budget plan because of the different revenue assumptions.
   The disagreement marks a reversal of recent circumstances in which Nixon has repeatedly cut the budgets passed by lawmakers while asserting that he's being realistic about the state's finances.
 
Monday, 13 January 2014 03:50
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