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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers gave final approval to the first comprehensive rewrite of the state's criminal laws in decades.
 
The House and Senate voted Thursday to send the legislation to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk. The measure would create new classes of felonies and misdemeanors, and reorganize crimes to fit the new penalty structure.
 
It also reduces the punishment for people convicted of possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana on their first offense and lengthens prison sentences for criminals who sexually abuse children.
 
Nixon has previously expressed reservations that the bill would do too much at one time. The overhaul passed with enough votes in both chambers to override a potential veto. Because of the vote's timing, Nixon would have to act before lawmakers adjourn in mid-May.
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 14:14

Missouri lawmakers mull change to helmet law

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has endorsed a bill that would allow motorcyclists over the age of 21 to forgo wearing helmets while travelling on the road.
 
Current law requires motorists to wear helmets or face a fine of up to $25 for each offense.
 
Supporters say adults should have the freedom to decide whether to wear a helmet and argue Missouri misses out on tourism because of the current law. Opponents say the helmet law protects riders during accidents and that the measure would cost the state in higher medical bills.
 
The measure given first-round approval Wednesday needs one more vote before moving to the Senate. Lawmakers adjourn May 16.
 
Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Appeals that seek to spare the life of a Missouri man facing execution this week focus on concerns about the lethal injection drug.
 
William Rousan is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. He was sentenced to death for killing 62-year-old Grace Lewis in 1993. He was sentenced to life in prison for killing her 67-year-old husband.
 
The killings were part of a plot by Rousan, his son and his brother, to steal cattle from the Lewis farm near Bonne Terre.
 
Rousan's son, Brent, was 16 at the time of the killings. He is serving life without parole. Rousan's brother, Robert, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and served 15 years in prison.
 
An appeal in federal court questions Missouri's secretive process of purchasing execution drugs from an unnamed compounding pharmacy.
 
Published in Local News

 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Republicans have outlined a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing gun control laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights.

Under the bill endorsed by a Senate committee, federal agents who enforce those laws would be banned from future service in any state or local law enforcement agency.

The change comes as House and Senate backers try to reach a compromise on the legislation that has been passed separately by each chamber. The current version is pending in the Senate.

Supporters say the measure would make federal agents think twice before enforcing a gun control law. But the new approach is unlikely to sway opponents of the measure, who still say it is unconstitutional because states cannot nullify federal laws.

Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A Missouri man who avoided prison because of a clerical error and led a law-abiding life for 13 years said he is overwhelmed by the support he's received since the story of his incarceration became public.
 
Meanwhile, the Missouri attorney general signaled that he would look for a way to take Cornealious "Mike" Anderson's many years of clean living into account in attempting to resolve the "difficult situation."
 
Anderson was convicted in 2000 of armed robbery for holding up a restaurant manager in suburban St. Louis. But he was never formally ordered to report for his 13-year sentence. So he never went and instead got married, learned a trade and raised several children.
 
When prison authorities realized their mistake last July, they took him into custody.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House and Senate have each passed bills that would prevent people younger than 18 from purchasing electronic cigarettes.
   But the legislation passed on Thursday would also exempt those products from the state's tobacco taxes, which opponents say would allow the nicotine products to be sold with fewer restrictions.
   Supporters say taxing the products would prevent the measure from passing the Republican-led Legislature. They argued that failing to pass a bill would mean children could continue buying the e-cigarettes.
   E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices used to heat a liquid nicotine solution and create vapor that is inhaled.
   The House voted 129-19 to send its bill to the Senate, where senators voted 27-4 in favor of their version. Both chambers must pass identical legislation by mid-May.
 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has confirmed a longtime employee of the Missouri Department of Social Services to be the agency's new director.
 
Brian Kinkade has served as the department's acting director since last May and also was acting director from 2011 to 2012. With his confirmation on Thursday, Kinkade becomes the agency's permanent director.
 
Kinkade's tenure at the Social Services Department spans the past five gubernatorial administrations. He previously was the agency's deputy director and head of its divisions of Budget and Finance and Child Support Enforcement.
 
The Social Services Department oversees the state's Medicaid and other welfare programs.
 
He also served as executive director of the Missouri Public Service Commission and was a budget analyst for the state Senate Appropriations Committee.
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 07:41

Missouri Unemployment Rate Rises

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's unemployment rate increased in March, though the size of payrolls also grew.
 
   The Department of Economic Development reported Tuesday that the jobless rate grew to 6.7 percent from 6.4 percent last month. Employers added a net of 3,500 jobs in March.
 
   Top gainers were the construction and education and health services. Construction jobs grew by 2,000 and education and health services grew by 1,600. On the other hand, the leisure and hospitality sector declined by 1,900 jobs.
   Missouri's civilian labor force of about 3 million people grew by 8,450 during March. The labor force counts people with jobs and those who are on unemployment but looking for work.
Published in Local News

   An independent report says the University of Missouri failed to follow parts of the federal law that governs sexual harassment when handling the case of a former swimmer's suicide.

   The report released Friday says the Columbia campus should have investigated 20 year old Sasha Menu Courey's 2011 death after her parents raised questions about the events leading to her suicide.   Menu Courey alleged she had been sexually assaulted by as many as three football players 16 months before she died.

   School officials have previously said they didn't act sooner because neither Menu Courey nor her parents sought a police investigation and didn't respond to a later request for information.

   The case has been referred to Columbia police.

Published in Local News
   Suspended Mizzou wide receiver Dorial Green Beckham has been dismissed from the Missouri Tigers' football team.  The university released a statement Friday afternoon saying the decision was made by Head Coach Gary Pinkel in conjunction with Athletics Director Mike Alden.
   In a statement, Coach Pinkel said, "This decision was made with the best interests of all involved in mind."  He went on to say, "Dorial's priority going forward needs to be focusing on getting the help he needs."  He added, "As we have all along, we will continue to do everything we can to assist Dorial and his family.  We care deeply about Dorial and his well-being, but hopefully he can benefit from a fresh start."
   Director Alden also commented, saying in a statement, "We have a high standard of conduct for our student-athletes."  He added that the athletics department is "responsible to the community at large and to the ideals and values of the University of Missouri."  He called Green Beckham's dismissal, "a necessary step" for the team, the department, the school and the community."
   Earlier in the day Green Beckham had released a statement.  His father, John Beckham shared the statement by phone with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Friday.  Beckham told the paper his son wrote the statement himself.
   It reads:
"First and more importantly, I take responsibility for my conduct and my mistakes.  Don't blame my girlfriend or her friends for anything.  I am not looking for sympathy.  I thank those who have given me concern.  I have been young and dumb.  I want to be better.  During my suspension I'm entering counseling.  With help, I know I can be stronger emotionally and spiritually.  My relationship with God, my family, friends, teammates and coaches are most important in my life, not football.  It may not be possible to fix everything, but it won't be for not trying. - Dorial Green Beckham"
 
   Green Beckham had been the subject of a burglary investigation after allegedly forcing his way into an apartment Sunday morning in a dispute with his girlfriend.  The investigation was closed after the victims declined to press charges saying they feared community backlash.  On Monday, Coach Gary Pinkel had announced Green Beckham's indefinite suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules.
 
Published in Local News
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