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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers are convening in Springfield for the final three days of their annual fall session.

   The action kicks off with Tuesday hearings on corporate tax incentives and stricter gun penalties in the Illinois House.

   Same-sex marriage legislation could also come up for a vote in the coming days. The measure was approved by the state Senate in February but stalled in the House in the spring. Advocates have since launched a more collaborative push and several undecided lawmakers announced their support for the measure. Opponents say they're prepared to mount primary challenges against members who vote for the legislation.

   Lawmakers are not confident there will be a vote on a deal to solve the state's $97 billion pension crisis, but they say they are making progress on a deal.

 
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 02:59
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   WASHINGTON (AP) - Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk took to the U.S. Senate floor for the first time since suffering a stroke to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

   The bill would prohibit workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

   Seated at a desk, Kirk said it was especially important for an Illinois Republican to speak out for the legislation in the tradition of Everett Dirksen and Abraham Lincoln. Kirk hadn't taken the Senate floor since suffering a stroke in January 2012.

   Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race and national origin. But it doesn't stop an employer from firing or refusing to hire workers because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

   All of the Senate Democratic majority and at least five Republicans are expected to vote for the bill.

 
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 02:48
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   A clinic that serves mostly the uninsured and under-insured in St. Louis is closing its doors.  St. Louis ConnectCare has announced it will close the Smiley Urgent Care Center November 15th.  

   The non-profit had announced in August it would shut down its specialty services, but now says it must also close the clinic at the old Regional Hospital on Delmar.  

   St. Louis Regional Health Commission Chief Robert Fruend believes other health care providers will follow suit because of state budget cuts.  Fruend told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that 1,000 healthcare jobs have been lost in the region in the last six months. 

   The paper reports a Missouri Hospital Association estimate that the state will lose $4 billion in health care funding over the next six years, mainly from budget cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.  They say the decision by Missouri lawmakers not to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act will further limit the amount of health care funds coming into the state.

 

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 02:32
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   An endangered persons advisory has been cancelled after three children were found safe.  

   Authorities in St. Francois County say  7 year old Jesus Mendoza, 5 year old Juliana Mendoza, and 3 year old Jaysnia Mendoza were found last night.  

   Police say the children's mother, 28 year old Julie Mendoza doesn't have custody and she failed to return the children after a weekend visit.  

   The children were located with their mother and her boyfriend in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It's believed they were en route to California.

   Charges are likely.

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 01:46
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St. Louis Police again reminding gun owners to Park Smart. A sales representative for Rhino Arms, a gun company, had her car broken into this weekend.

She parked her car in a lot around 1:30 Saturday morning in the 1400 block of Lucas Avenue. The next afternoon, she noticed the car's rear window had been broken. Thieves had opened her trunk and stolen, three handguns, 160 rounds of ammunition, and an AR-15 rifle.

Police continue to investigate the crime.

Monday, 04 November 2013 15:48
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   A federal appeals court has temporarily halted plans to resume domestic horse slaughter.  The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver Monday issued a temporary injunction barring the Department of Agriculture from inspecting the plants.  

   Slaughterhouses in Missouri and New Mexico had hoped to start up as soon as this week after a federal judge in Albuquerque on Friday threw out a lawsuit by The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection groups.  

   The groups filed an immediate appeal and won the emergency injunction.

   The order continues the on-again, off-again plans to resume domestic horse slaughter six years after  Congress cut funding for inspectors, forcing the last big slaughterhouses to close.

Monday, 04 November 2013 15:30
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ST. LOUIS -- AP -- A St. Louis man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for a murder that happened more than 14 years ago.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 38-year-old Willie McNeil was sentenced Monday after a plea agreement with prosecutors.

The crime happened May 24, 1999, when 47-year-old Mark Raiffie was beaten and shot at the family business he ran, Raiffie Vending Co. 

The case went cold until a tipster called police with information and McNeil was charged with first-degree murder in 2011. As part of the plea deal, the charge was reduced to second-degree murder.

 

Monday, 04 November 2013 15:29
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St. Louis County police are turning to the public for help to find a suspect in a triple shooting this weekend.

Investigators say the victims and the suspect got into a confrontation Saturday afternoon. Then at 10:30 PM Saturday night, the groups met outside the Dellwood Market. Police say the suspect started shooting, and his three people. All the victims are expected to survive.

Anyone with information is asked to call the CrimeStoppers at 866.371.TIPS.

Monday, 04 November 2013 14:57
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A babysitter is on trial today for her role in the dead of a 13-month-old child who was under her care.

Jennifer Winkler is charged with second-degree murder for the death of Lily Rieger. Prosecutors say Winkler called 911 after allegedly shaking Lily.

The child was taken the hospital where she died with a fractured skull and brain injuries.

Monday, 04 November 2013 12:24
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri budget officials say the state's tax revenues have increased 2.5 percent through the first four months of the current fiscal year.

The state Office of Administration on Monday reported net general revenues through October. The state's current budget took effect July 1 and runs through next June.

For the current budget year so far, state corporate income and franchise taxes are up more than 26 percent. Individual income taxes are up 3.8 percent and sales taxes have increased 4.4 percent.

 

Monday, 04 November 2013 12:21
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