BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Although the future of Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois won't be in question for two more years, state and local officials are preparing a plan to keep the facility open.
Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon was at Southwestern Illinois College on Friday to meet with area governmental leaders, residents and base representatives to discuss quality-of-life issues. The resulting information on the quality of local schools and the business climate will be compiled in a report on Metro East's strengths and weaknesses.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports Simon indicated similar meetings will be held for communities near Great Lakes Naval Training Station north of Chicago and the Rock Island Arsenal. She says a combined report will be written to help formulate a strategy to protect Illinois' three major military bases.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Governor Jay Nixon began the year with ambitious priorities to start of his second term but ran into a wall of opposition from the Republican Legislature.
Nixon pushed for Medicaid expansion, campaign contribution limits and a longer school year. But those proposals were either soundly defeated or never given a chance during the legislative session that ended Friday.
Instead, lawmakers launched an investigation into Nixon's administration for allegedly infringing on people's privacy rights through new drivers' license procedures.
The Democratic governor fared better when it came to his budget priorities, including increases to education funding. He also was successful in securing additional funding for mental health, domestic violence shelters and export initiatives.
Nixon and Republican leaders also found common ground on replenishing an insolvent fund for injured workers.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon is giving a mixed review to Missouri's 2013 legislative session.
The Democratic governor praised lawmakers for boosting funding for education and mental health in the session that ended Friday evening. And he complimented them for passing a bill that would replenish an insolvent state fund for disabled workers.
But Nixon criticized the Republican-led Legislature for failing to expand Medicaid health coverage to an estimated 260,000 lower-income adults, and for failing to pass a comprehensive overhaul of the state's tax credit programs.
Nixon implied that he likely will veto a projected $700 million income tax cut. He also cited potential legal issues with a bill seeking to nullify federal gun control regulations.
Nixon reserved judgment on whether he believes the Legislature's proposed $25 billion operating budget is balanced.
An investigation is underway in the Metro East after a 4-month-old baby was found dead in his home.
Cahokia police say it appears the child died from suffocation. Officers say the baby was sleeping in bed with two adults and the suffocation appears accidental.
More information on safe sleep for babies can be found by calling 800.421.3511.
Employees at a St. Charles Chuck E. Cheese are being praised for how they dealt with a child being left behind yesterday.
The St. Charles police say a two-year-old boy was left behind at the restaurant by his daycare. He was one of 14 kids taken to the Chuck E Cheese by two women who work for Rich & Little Daycare in Moline Acres. Fox 2 reports that witnesses say there were just too many kids for only two employees.
Chuck E. Cheese employees noticed the boy wandering around and called police. The officers said the employees handled the situation perfectly. The boy has been reunited with his mother. An investigation into the situation is ongoing.
Members of a national organization are protesting a proposed change to the Boy Scouts.
OnMyHonor.net organized a rally today in the Central West End. The protestors were arguing against changing the organization's long standing policy banning gay members. Delegates with the Boy Scouts plan to vote next week on lifting that ban.
The changes would not apply to adult members.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to legislation that would require scrap metal dealers to collect more information from the people who sell them metal.
A 2008 state law required scrap dealers to keep records for transactions involving aluminum and copper. The new legislation would require dealers to also record sales involving catalytic converters. Dealers also would have to keep track of the license plate numbers of sellers.
Scrap metal dealers would be prohibited from buying metal that is identified as belonging to telecommunications or cable providers.
The legislation gained final approval Friday, and it now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Medical marijuana use in Illinois is now in Gov. Pat Quinn's hands after the state Senate approved legislation.
Lawmakers voted 35-21 Friday to send the measure to Quinn for final approval. Quinn hasn't signaled whether he will sign it into law.
The proposal allows physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients with specific terminal illnesses or debilitating medical conditions. Cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV are among the 33 illnesses listed in the bill.
The measure gives a framework for a four-year pilot program that includes requiring patients and caregivers to undergo background checks.
Supporters say marijuana can relieve continual pain without triggering the detrimental side effects of other prescription drugs. Opponents say the program could encourage the recreational use of marijuana especially among teenagers.
Police have identified the man who died during a bizarre road rage incident.
The incident started on westbound I-70 at the Union exit when an SUV, driven by Darvin Wallace, started follow a box truck. While following the truck, Wallace started ramming the other vehicle. Wallace eventually got out of his SUV and started beating on the truck with a hammer. That is when Wallace climbed onto the side of the truck. The driver tried to shake him off the truck and Wallace fell on the street where the truck driver accidentally ran him over.
Wallace was taken to the hospital and died later on Thursday.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Powerball officials say the jackpot has climbed to an estimated $600 million, making it the largest prize in the game's history and the world's second largest lottery prize.
Lottery officials say the prize is growing quickly Friday because so many people have been purchasing the $2 tickets. The jackpot has grown by an estimated $236 million since the last drawing on Wednesday.
The last jackpot was won on March 30, so it's been growing for about six weeks. The next drawing is Saturday night.
The largest jackpot ever was a $656 million Mega Millions prize won in March 2012. The prize was split three ways with winners in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.
Odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are about 1 in 175 million.