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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House is preparing to consider a proposed state budget that partly ties education funding to the strength of the economy.
 
House Majority Leader John Diehl says debate will begin this week on the budget for the next fiscal year. The plan endorsed by the House Budget Committee would add $122 million to the state's $3 billion in basic school funding. But if state revenues meet more optimistic projections, then it would provide a $278 million increase for schools.
 
The House plan would also bar universities from offering resident tuition rates to students living in the U.S. illegally.
 
The Republican-led committee rejected Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's proposal to expand Medicaid eligibility to more lower-income adults. But its plan would restore adult dental coverage that was previously cut from Medicaid.
   
 
Monday, 24 March 2014 08:17
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CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago Transit Authority officials say they'll use torches to cut a commuter train apart as they remove wreckage from an underground station after a derailment.
 
Christopher Bushell is the transit agency's chief infrastructure officer. He says Monday's derailment means the O'Hare International Airport station will remain closed for at least "12 to 24 hours."
 
Bushell says crews are inspecting the station's stairs and escalator, which was received "significant damage" when the train plowed across a platform and scaled the escalator around 3 a.m. More than 30 people were hurt, but all of their injuries are considered non-life threatening.
 
Workers will disassemble the train and remove it on a flatbed.
Bushell says CTA inspectors are reviewing the train's video footage as well as information from the agency's signal systems.
   
 
Monday, 24 March 2014 08:07
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - An associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Law is involved in a case that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court this week.
Josh Hawley is on a team of about 15 lawyers working on Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Inc., which addresses whether businesses can use religious objections to avoid a requirement to provide insurance coverage for birth control for employees.
 The Columbia Daily Tribune reports the case goes before the court Tuesday. Hobby Lobby objects to covering certain contraceptives in its health plans required by the federal health law.
 Paul Clement, former U.S. solicitor general, will argue the case for Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby. Hawley has worked on briefs and oral arguments in the case for the Hobby Lobby legal team.
Monday, 24 March 2014 08:03
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   CHICAGO (AP) - A reform group wants to put the issue of how Illinois draws political boundaries on November's ballot.
   The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that the Yes! for Independent Maps campaign has proposed creating a bipartisan commission to draw districts, which would take the power away from lawmakers. The campaign needs to collect roughly 300,000 signatures before May 4, but organizers say they hope to get more.
   The remapping process has been under heavy scrutiny.
   Every decade, Illinois redraws political maps based on population. However, questions have been raised about lawmaker involvement, including criticism that the process is used to protect incumbents.
   Democrats led the remap in 2011 because they control both chambers and the governor's office. But Republicans sued and federal judges characterized the remap as a "blatant political move."
 
Monday, 24 March 2014 02:56
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   After months of requesting that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers take the lead in resolving the issues surrounding two landfills in Bridgeton, it looks as though local residents will get at least part of what they've been demanding.  EPA officials announced Friday that the Corps of Engineers will help construct an isolation barrier between an underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill and radioactive materials in the adjacent West Lake Landfill.

   Last week, Attorney General Chris Koster had urged the EPA to move quickly on the barrier.  

   The radioactive waste was dumped illegally in North County about 40 years ago.  Environmental groups and residents have been calling for the Army Corps to take over the cleanup.  Those calls became more urgent in recent months as the risk of the fire spreading became known. 

Monday, 24 March 2014 02:50
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   The Hazelwood School District will pay tuition for an expelled middle school student to receive an education through a contract with an alternative learning center.  That after a settlement was reached between the district and Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.  

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the 13 year old had been expelled last year for selling pills to another student.  The paper reports the student couldn't afford private school, or even a computer.  He also couldn't access alternative education programs through the juvenile courts, because he hadn't been charged with a crime.  So he sued claiming his right to a free, public education was being infringed.

   Legal Services executive director Dan Glazier tells the paper the case is one of the first of its kind filed in Missouri. Glazier says the problem is fairly rare, since so few students are actually expelled in the state, fewer than 60 all of last year. 

   The Hazelwood settlement stops short of obligating school district to always serve students who are expelled.  But as part of the settlement, Hazelwood has agreed to consider similar arrangements on a case-by-case basis.

Monday, 24 March 2014 02:45
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   The Show-Me State has a couple more millionaires after Saturday's Powerball drawing.  

   Missouri Lottery officials say one ticket sold in Missouri matched all six numbers to win Saturday's $96.5 million jackpot.  

   Lottery officials said Sunday that another ticket also matched five white-ball numbers to win $1 million.

   The winning numbers Saturday were: 13, 28, 31, 55, 58, with a Powerball of 15.  

   Missouri winners have 180 days to claim their prizes. 

Monday, 24 March 2014 02:40
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   CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn is questioning his Republican gubernatorial rival's ethics, wealth and stance on minimum wage during his re-election bid.
   The Chicago Democrat raised the issues in a story published in Sunday's Chicago Sun-Times.
   Quinn has already tried to differentiate himself from businessman Bruce Rauner by playing up the venture capitalist's wealth and views on minimum wage. Quinn wants to raise Illinois' rate. Rauner initially said he wanted to cut the rate, later saying he'd raise it under certain circumstances.
   Now Quinn is raising questions about Rauner's business dealings and possible links to Stuart Levine, who was convicted in former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's corruption scandal.
   Rauner's campaign says Quinn is playing "political games" and blasts his signing of a pension overhaul cutting benefits for state employees and retirees.
 
Monday, 24 March 2014 02:28
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   The search is continuing for a missing St. Peters teen who disappeared last week.  The St. Charles County Sheriff's Department say 18 year old nursing student Bahia Bisharat was last seen Wednesday morning as she went to class at the St. Charles Community College satellite campus near I-64 and Technology Drive in Dardenne Prairie.
   Investigators found the student's car on campus Wednesday evening. It's believed that she arrived for her class in the morning, and may have entered the building. But she never made it to her 8:00 a.m. class.
   Lt. Dave Tieffenbrun says there are three detectives investigating Bisharat's disappearance.  "We don't have any signs of foul play at this point in time, however we're still following up leads," Lt/ Tieffenbrun said.  "This is out of character for this individual, so it is unusual."
   The family has also brought in their own private investigator. 
   Anyone with information is urged to call 911 or (314) 326-6393.
 
 
Monday, 24 March 2014 02:12
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A group of Missouri law enforcement officials are asking state lawmakers to create special armed-offender dockets for courts in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas.

A task force led by Attorney General Chris Koster issued the recommendations Friday as part of a report on curbing urban violence. The report asks the Legislature to consider special dockets that would prioritize violent offenses committed with firearms.

The group also asked law enforcement to boost cooperation and make better use of surveillance technology. It also recommended salary increases for county sheriffs.

Koster says Missouri's two largest cities each had more than 100 homicides last year. City officials and police department representatives from St. Louis City, Kansas City and St. Louis County joined Koster on the task force.

Saturday, 22 March 2014 15:00
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