The Ku Klux Klan is challenging a new Desloge, Missouri ordinance that bans them from distributing flyers in city streets.
A judge has already struck down a city wide ban on distributing leaflets that the Klan had fought with the help of the ACLU. Tony Rothert, legal director for the ACLU's Eastern District of Missouri says the Supreme Court has long held that handing out leaflets is protected by the First Amendment.
Rothert says that neither he, nor the ACLU agrees with the KKK`s message, just their right to share it. "We think it’s important for all Americans that they be able to distribute literature to get their ideas out in peaceful ways and let the market place of ideas debate who’s right,” he said.
Rother has suggested the that the city's new ordinance is an attempt to get around the earlier judges ruling.
Desloge city administrator Greg Camp says that's not true. Camp says, it's never been a question of First Amendment rights. "Regardless of the message, we have to respect the fact that everyone has the right to free speech," he said. "The concern is for people being in the road."
Camp says the city consulted with an attorney before crafting the new measure, and they believe it will hold up in court.
The city has until Monday (May 6th) to respond to the ACLU's new complaint.
Desloge is about 60 miles south of St. Louis.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Republican lawmakers are raising new questions about whether Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's administration has tried to comply with the federal Real ID Act.
Senators on Wednesday released a copy of a form letter sent in March 2010 by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to Nixon thanking him for his efforts to comply with Real ID.
Nixon signed a 2009 state law prohibiting Missouri from taking steps intended to comply with the goals of the 2005 federal identity law, which sets stringent requirements for photo identification cards.
Nixon has previously denied that Missouri is trying to implement Real ID. His administration reasserted Wednesday that it's not complying with Real ID and said the letter is meaningless. It distributed similar form letters sent to governors in several other states.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - People fired for missing work and not following company rules could have a harder time claiming unemployment benefits under a bill sent to Gov. Jay Nixon.
The House voted 98-57 to pass the measure Wednesday. The Senate passed the same bill in February.
Fired workers who engaged in "misconduct" at the workplace can be denied benefits under current law. But the legislation expands the definition of "misconduct" to include chronic absenteeism and "knowing" violations of an employer's rules. The current standard requires "willful disregard" of an employer's regulations.
Supporters say many workers fired for reasons such as sleeping on the job are allowed to collect benefits under the current system. Opponents say the measure could deny benefits to people fired wrongly.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri education officials are having statewide meetings to talk to the public about a new uniform set of benchmarks for math, reading and writing.
The gatherings will get started at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Florissant, St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Marceline, Camdenton, Warrensburg and Kansas City.
The new Common Core standards replace a hodgepodge of educational goals that varied wildly from state to state. The federal government was not involved in the state-led effort to develop them but has encouraged the project.
The only states not to adopt the standards are Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia. Minnesota adopted the reading but not the math standards.
Backers say they will better prepare students for college and careers. But critics worry they'll be costly to implement and nationalize public schools.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says the Illinois House should act quickly to approve a pension-reform package because the state's economy depends on it.
House Speaker Michael Madigan's plan to increase employee contributions and trim benefits is scheduled for a House vote Thursday.
Years of state underfunding of pension accounts has left Illinois $97 billion short of covering future obligations.
The Democratic governor says the liability grows by $17 million a day. He says Illinois' economy won't fully recover until reform is approved.
But union representatives told a House committee Wednesday the opposite is true. Illinois Education Association President Cinda Klickna says cutting pension benefits takes away money retirees spend in local communities and especially hits teachers who don't have Social Security benefits.
The St. Louis Zoo is once again asking for feedback on plans for their new expansion.
After zoo officials bought the old Forest Park Hospital in October 2012, they said no work would start without input from the public. This evening, there is an open house in the zoo where you can make your voice heard.
The event runs from 4-7PM in The Living World near the north entrance to the zoo.
You can see the expansion plans here.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A new state report that Illinois coal once shunned for its high sulfur content is enjoying record demand overseas.
The Illinois Office of Coal Development said Wednesday that the report it had done by Energy Ventures Analysis Inc. showed that 13 million tons of Illinois coal was exported last year. That's a five-fold increase from the 2.5 million tons shipped out of the U.S. in 2010.
Officials attribute the increase to the state's wealth of coal, competitive pricing and Illinois' proximity to shipping routes including the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
Total Illinois coal output rose 25 percent to 47.2 million tons in 2012, up from 37.8 million tons in 2011.
The Office of Coal Development is a division of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
The St. Louis area unemployment rate still sits above seven percent--at 7.5 %--but there is good news in the latest set of job numbers.
The number of jobs in the area has increased over last year. Some of the sectors that showed the largest gains were trade, education, and health services. While the area with the greatest number of losses was the government.
In total, there are 2,300 more jobs in March 2013 compared to March 2012.
POTOSI, Mo. (AP) - A mistrial has been declared in the first-degree murder case of an eastern Missouri man accused of killing his son-in-law.
The Park Hills Daily Journal reports jurors deliberated for several hours Tuesday before telling the judge they wouldn't be able to reach a unanimous verdict in the case of 47-year-old Martin Gorse of Cadet. The judge declared a mistrial and the case will be retried.
Gorse is accused of killing 31-year-old Ronald Coleman Jr. last year at Gorse's home. Gorse testified that he and Coleman argued. He claimed he shot the younger man in self-defense.
Prosecutors say a St. Louis County man recruited three teenagers to become prostitutes.
Anton Morris faces multiple charges, including sexual trafficing of a child. Morris allegedly convinced three girls, aged 16, 17, and 19, to start working for him as a prostitutes. Authorities say he set the first girl with a hotel room and started offering her services as a prostitute on April 15.
Morris now sits in jail on a $100,000 bond.