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JEFFERSON CITY, MO (AP) – A Missouri Senate panel has scaled back the amount of state money that could go to an unaccredited school district in the St. Louis area.
 
The Normandy School District had sought $5 million to make sure it can finish the academic year without becoming insolvent. The House approved that amount.
 
But the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday reduced the supplemental state aid to $1.5 million. Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer says that still should provide a financial cushion for the district.
Normandy’s financial problems stem in part from a Missouri law requiring unaccredited districts to pay transportation and tuition for students to transfer to accredited schools nearby.
 
The state education department has projected Normandy could finish the year with about $63,000, which wouldn’t leave much room for unexpected costs.
 
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 15:16
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WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. employers advertised slightly more jobs in January than in December, a sign that hiring should remain steady in coming months.
 
The Labor Department says employers posted 3.9 million job openings, up 1.5 percent from December. That is still below November's nearly six-year high of 4.1 million, the first month that openings topped 4 million since March 2008.
 
The job market may be emerging from a winter slump. Employers added 175,000 jobs in February, the government said last week. That was much higher than in December and January, when cold weather lowered job growth.
 
Total hiring slipped 0.9 percent to 4.5 million in January. That hiring total might sound like a lot, but in a healthy job market, roughly 5 million people are hired each month.
 
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 13:38
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri appeals court panel has upheld the financial estimate for a potential ballot initiative seeking to reinstate campaign contribution limits.
 
The ruling Tuesday by the Western District appellate court overturns a decision made last year by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem.
 
The proposed initiative would limit contributions to $2,600 per election for candidates for governor, judgeships, the Legislature and other offices. It would ban contributions by corporations and labor unions to candidates or political parties.
 
The financial summary prepared by the auditor's office says the impact on state and local revenues is unknown. The appeals court said that's sufficient.
 
Beetem had ordered that to be revised to incorporate an opponent's estimate that the contribution limits could reduce tax revenues by millions of dollars.
 
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 12:33
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A woman who was the victim of an infamous kidnapping in Utah will visit Columbia on Friday to speak at the University of Missouri.
 
Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped at age 14 by a homeless street preacher and spent nine months in captivity before being discovered with her two captors in Utah. She released her memoir in October 2013.
 
Smart is now an advocate for abducted and missing children. She will appear at a Friday afternoon book signing at the campus bookstore before her evening lecture at Jesse Auditorium.
 
Admission to the lecture is free for students with a university ID and $10 for members of the public.
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 09:44
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri retailers could start selling beer by the bottle under legislation given initial approval in the state Senate.
State law currently prohibits stores from selling beer in packages that contain fewer than three bottles.
The bill by Republican Sen. Eric Schmitt, of Glendale, would allow the sale of a single bottles, cans or pouches of beer.
Senators gave the bill preliminary approval Monday. A second vote is needed to send it to the House.
If the measure is passed by both chambers and signed by the governor, single-serving beer sales could start in stores in 2015.
Schmitt described the legislation as promoting freedom and liberty. Democratic Sen. Jolie Justus, of Kansas City, said it's a neat way to help a lot of small businesses.
 
--- Beer sales bill is SB689.
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 09:37
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 ST. LOUIS (AP) - The president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is trying to keep about 800 Veterans Administration jobs downtown.  
The VA announced last week that it planned to consolidate jobs at an office in Overland.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that aldermanic president Lewis Reed is circulating a petition through the White House website to keep the jobs in the city.
He needs 100,000 signatures by April 9. Reed says the loss of the jobs would be a big blow to downtown.
The plan calls for VA workers to move from rented space in St. Louis to a government-owned building in Overland.
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 09:30
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   EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - Two more former inmates of a southern Illinois jail are suing over strip searches they claim were unconstitutional.
   The Belleville News-Democrat reports Teresa Hale and Leticia Jackson of Belleville filed the federal lawsuit against St. Clair County and jail officials. Seeking more than $350,000 in damages, the lawsuit alleges the women were strip searched while jailed in 2012 for suspected drunken driving.
   In December, 29 inmates filed a similar lawsuit, seeking $10 million in damages.
   Sheriff Rick Watson told The Associated Press the cases have no merit, and that his department follows state and federal statutes.
   A lawsuit echoing similar allegations against the jail was dismissed in December after a federal judge ruled strip searching prisoners as a group isn't unconstitutional if the searches weren't intended to humiliate.
 
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 03:34
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   Lawmakers in one West County community are against a merging of the City of St. Louis with St. Louis County.

   The Ballwin Board of Aldermen voted 7-1 Monday night to draft a resolution opposing a city-county merger.

   Alderman Frank Fleming was the lone no-vote.  Fleming says he couldn't approve the proposal because it wasn't on the agenda for Monday and had been introduced as an emergency measure. Fleming saysd he's in favor the resolution otherwise.

   The resolution will be on the agenda of the March 24 board meeting.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 03:13
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   Missouri lawmakers continue to mull legalizing marijuana.  
   Democratic Rep. Chris Kelly, of Columbia is sponsoring legislation that would allow most Missouri adults to buy and use recreational marijuana.
   The House public safety committee held a hearing on the measure Monday, but did not take a vote.
   If the bill passes, it would allow the state to impose an excise  tax on sales up to 25%.
   Washington State and Colorado have already legalized recreational marijuana use.
   The Democratic proposal faces an uphill battle in Missouri's Republican-dominated Legislature.
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 03:08
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CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's re-election campaign is getting an out-of-state boost.
   The Chicago Democrat flew to Los Angeles on Friday for a fundraiser attended by actors and others in the movie industry.
   Quinn campaign spokeswoman Leslie Wertheimer confirmed Monday that Quinn was in Los Angeles for the fundraiser. She said a similar one was thrown in his honor in 2013.
   The Chicago Sun-Times reported those in attendance included actor Joe Mantegna of CBS' "Criminal Minds."
   Quinn has kept a low-profile on the campaign trail so far. He faces one lesser-known Democratic challenger on March 18. Activist Tio Hardiman of suburban Hillside is running.
   Four Republicans are running for Illinois governor. They are state Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady, business man Bruce Rauner and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford.
 
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 02:36
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