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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton says he will keep working to pass a pension reform bill he believes can survive a court challenge.

   Rikeesha Phelon says Cullerton and fellow Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan have "the same goal but different approaches" to solving Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

   Madigan filed his pension plan on Tuesday. It caps the salary on which a pension can be based at $110,000 and limits annual cost-of-living increases.

   Madigan's legislation also removes language from a plan backed by Cullerton that got Senate approval last month. Cullerton's plan offers affected state-government employees and teachers a choice of benefits instead of unilaterally cutting them.

   Cullerton believes the state must give retirees a choice in benefits in order for the legislation to be considered constitutional.

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 02:16
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The largest Illinois government employees' union will take a second ratification vote on its tentative three-year contract because of a continuing lawsuit over back wages.

   Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees OK'd the contract agreement with Gov. Pat Quinn's administration on March 20.

   But AFSCME announced Tuesday it would schedule a new vote because Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office hasn't dropped a lawsuit Quinn had pressed over raises due in 2011 and 2012.

   The first vote was based on the Quinn administration's promise to drop the lawsuit.

   Quinn agreed in the contract deal to pay the back wages. But he needs a $140 million appropriation from the Legislature to pay them.

   Madigan says she won't drop the lawsuit until the money is approved.

 
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 01:48
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St. Louis Public School officials have placed a high school teacher on leave after he allegedly had sex with a student.

Court documents say David Marler had sex with a male student at Soldan High School. Marler also allegedly gave the same student an inhalant that made him dizzy and lightheaded. Marler faces eleven charges, including sodomy, sexual contact with a student, and endangering the welfare of a child.

The school placed Marler on leave on Monday.

St. Louis Police are asking any parents who believe their kids may have been victimized by Marler to call the Child Abuse unit at 314.444.5385.

 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 16:26
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has given preliminary approval to the first overhaul of the state's criminal code since 1979.

The measure endorsed on Monday would create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors and give judges more flexibility in sentencing.

Sponsoring Republican Rep. Stanley Cox, of Sedalia, said the measure would provide more clarity in sentencing.

Democratic Rep. Rory Ellinger, of St. Louis, said the bill could have done more and reduced sentences for some crimes, But he said it was important to keep the measure non-controversial so it could pass.

The overhaul would also increase fines to reflect inflation. It needs one more vote before moving to the Senate.

 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 16:17
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WENTZVILLE, Mo. -- AP -- Police say a St. Louis-area teenager had a simple answer for leading police on a lengthy, dangerous chase: He didn’t want to miss prom.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the chase happened Friday in Wentzville. The suspect, 19-year-old Daniel Buck of O’Fallon, is charged with felony resisting arrest and several traffic citations.

An officer sought to pull over an SUV for numerous active warrants. Police say Buck saw police and sped away. Stop sticks eventually disabled the SUV.

Buck allegedly told police he fled because he was driving with a revoked license and had nine warrants for failure to appear on various charges. He reportedly said he didn’t want to go to jail because he was supposed to take his girlfriend to prom the next night.

 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 16:12
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton says he will keep working to pass a pension reform bill he believes can survive a court challenge.

Rikeesha Phelon says Cullerton and fellow Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan have "the same goal but different approaches" to solving Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

Madigan filed his pension plan on Tuesday. It caps the salary on which a pension can be based at $110,000 and limits annual cost-of-living increases.

Madigan's legislation also removes language from a plan backed by Cullerton that got Senate approval last month. Cullerton's plan offers affected state-government employees and teachers a choice of benefits instead of unilaterally cutting them.

Cullerton believes the state must give retirees a choice in benefits in order for the legislation to be considered constitutional.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 16:07
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Another Missouri Lottery jackpot winner from the St. Louis area.

The newest winner bought the ticket for the Saturday drawing at a St. Peters Dierbergs. Just a week before the newest winner, another person bought a ticket in St. Louis County that is worth $2.7 million.

This past weekend's jackpot was $1.1 million.

 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 15:46
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DIXON, Ill. (AP) - The Lee County state's attorney says she decided to drop state charges against former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell because a second trial after her conviction in federal court would not result in additional jail time or restitution.

Crundwell admitted in the federal case that she stole nearly $54 million in public money from the northern Illinois city over some two decades that she served as its bookkeeper.

The Lee County prosecutor, Anna Sacco-Miller, said Tuesday that any sentence in the state proceedings would be served concurrently with the nearly 20 years that Crundwell received in February in the federal case. As a result, she says, the expense to taxpayers of a second trial cannot be justified.

The charges can be refiled if Crundwell's appeal of her federal sentence is successful.

 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 13:40
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The Clayton School District started a large solar project Tuesday. Eight solar panels were installed on six separate buildings.

Officials say the project will produce over $650,000 in utility savings over the next 20 years. In addition to a few administrative buildings, panels are also being placed on Wydown Middle School, Captain Elementary, and Clayton High School.

Students will be able to monitor the activity of the panels through touch screen monitors installed in the schools.

 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 13:27
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - After declining to expand Medicaid coverage this year, the Missouri House has passed a bill that would create a committee to study the issue next year.

The House passed the measure 133-27 Monday. It would create a joint committee of House and Senate members to look at ways to "transform" the state's Medicaid program. The committee would begin at the end of the current session until the 2015 session's start in January.

Gov. Jay Nixon called for lawmakers to expand coverage for 260,000 adults starting in 2014. The Republican-led Legislature rejected that appeal numerous times and abandoned plans for an alternative proposal earlier this month.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 12:36
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