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CHICAGO (AP) - Some county clerks say they won't rush to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples just because Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told them they can.
 
The state's new gay marriage law takes effect June 1. But Madigan said this week that licenses can be issued now.
 
About a dozen clerks tell The Associated Press they are waiting. They say they don't want to open themselves up to lawsuits and want to protect the couples from legal challenges.
 
Macon County Clerk Stephen Bean says he hopes to start issuing licenses as early as Friday. But he says he will tell the couples they could face legal challenges to their marriages.
 
Clerks in Cook and Champaign counties have decided to go ahead after a court ruled Cook County could do so.
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 14:22
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A new budget plan in the Missouri House would make millions of dollars for public schools and universities contingent upon a strong economy.
 
A proposal outlined Wednesday by House Budget Chairman Rick Stream would provide a $122 million increase in basic aid for public school districts. That's based on revenue projections agreed to by Republican House and Senate leaders.
 
Stream's budget would provide an additional $156 million funding increase for schools only if the state meets more optimistic revenue projections cited by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.
 
Stream's budget also provides a smaller increase than Nixon had proposed for the operating budgets of public colleges and universities. He instead proposes tens of millions of dollars for university construction projects, some of which again would be contingent on meeting Nixon's revenue projections.
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 14:09
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Few people are being fined or facing jail time for marijuana violations since St. Louis changed its law last summer.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 127 people have been charged under a new city ordinance that reduced penalties for those caught with small amounts of marijuana. Just one person who pleaded guilty to a possession charge has been fined under the new ordinance.
 
Of cases that reached disposition, many resulted in suspended sentences.
 
The biggest proponent of the change, Alderman Shane Cohn, says the intent was to free up police and prosecutors to focus on more serious crimes while also lessening penalties and helping offenders avoid costs associated with cases that go to state court.
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 14:08
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - UPDATE at 1:58 PM: Chesterfield Police say missing Brendon Jette was found in the area of Clarkson and Highway 40

 

EARLIER:Police in West St. Louis County are hoping the public has information on a missing teen.

 

Brendon Jette was last seen on Tuesday evening at 6. Brendon is 14 years old, he is 5-feet 8-inches tall and weighs 180 pounds. Brendon has brown eyes and brown hair and authorities say he has Asperber's syndrome. Police do not believe there is anything criminal involved.

 

Anyone with information should call the Chesterfield Police at 636-537-3000.

Wednesday, 05 March 2014 13:42
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 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate has advanced legislation making it a crime for 911 dispatchers to tip off criminals when law enforcement is nearby. The measure now goes to the Illinois House.
 
State Sen. Dave Koehler is the bill's sponsor. He says the legislation is necessary because in 2010 the Illinois Supreme Court ruled nothing in Illinois law made it illegal for a dispatcher to alert a drug dealer that police were in the area.
 
Koehler is a Peoria Democrat who says the people of Illinois "need to be able to trust the entire law enforcement system."
 In 1998 a dispatcher in the Chicago suburbs was convicted of official misconduct after she tipped off a local drug dealer that police were near his house. The dispatcher appealed.
 
The bill is SB2695.
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 11:28
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A proposal that would make it illegal for motorists to smoke in cars with children is advancing in the Illinois legislature
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports the measure was approved by a Senate panel on Tuesday.
The Senate Public Health Committee approved the bill by a 5-2 vote. It now heads to the full Senate.
The legislation was drafted by state Sen. Ira Silverstein, a Chicago Democrat who says secondhand smoke in confined areas is dangerous for children.
Motorcycles and convertibles would be exempt. And police wouldn't be able to pull over drivers solely for committing the offense.
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 11:24
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Wednesday, 05 March 2014 09:16
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - Tuesday is National Pancake Day and there is still time to snag a free short stack of flapjacks.
 
For the ninth consecutive year, IHOP is giving out the free pancakes. You can visit the restaurant until 10 tonight. IHOP is asking for a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Shriners Hospitals for Children, in exchange for the pancakes.
 
Since beginning the giveaway in 2006, IHOP has raised $13 million for charities.
 
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 16:25
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri payrolls grew in January while the state's unemployment remained unchanged at 6 percent.
 
The state Department of Economic Development said Tuesday that Missouri employers added a net of 1,100 jobs in the first month of 2014.
 
The largest gain was in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 5,100 jobs in January. The manufacturing sector grew by 2,500 positions, while the professional and business services industry grew by 2,200 jobs.
 
The largest losses were 6,100 in the trade, transportation and utilities sector and 3,300 in construction.
 
Missouri's civilian labor force was just over 3 million in January, an increase of about 1,800 from December. The labor force includes people with jobs and those who are on unemployment but looking for work.
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 16:23
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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Animal protection advocates are applauding President Barack Obama for proposing a continued federal ban on commercial horse slaughter in the U.S.
 
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals senior vice president Nancy Perry on Tuesday urged Congress to adopt the proposal.
 
A measure approved earlier this year withholds money through September for Agriculture Department inspections necessary for slaughterhouses to process horse meat for human consumption.
 
The ban derailed a New Mexico company's plan to slaughter horses to export the meat to overseas consumers.
 
The president's budget proposed continuing the inspection funding prohibition through September 2015.
 
The last U.S. horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007 because Congress eliminated inspection funding. Plants in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa sought to resume horse slaughtering when federal money was restored in 2011.
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 15:40
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