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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - State Sen. Bill Brady says he's ready for round two with Gov. Pat Quinn come November.
 
Brady is one of four Republicans seeking their party's nod in Tuesday's election. Brady, of Bloomington, lost the governor's race to Quinn in 2010. But he said Monday that he's learned the lessons and can beat the Chicago Democrat this time.
 
Quinn has one lesser-known Democratic challenger, but is widely expected to win the nomination.
 
Brady is participating in a final statewide tour to reach voters.
 
He's got scheduled stops in Springfield, a St. Patrick's Day Parade in Peoria, Urbana, Marion and a Chicago train station.
 
The other Republicans are Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford, businessman Bruce Rauner, and state Sen. Kirk Dillard.
 
Rauner and Dillard are also traveling statewide on Monday.
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Running afoul of Missouri's open government laws could carry a smaller financial penalty but no longer require proof the law was knowingly broken under legislation before a Senate committee.

Officials or agencies now can pay up to $5,000 for a purposeful violation and up to $1,000 for a "knowing" violation. The Senate legislation would reduce the amount of the lesser penalty to $100 and no longer require a violation be committed "knowingly" for there to be punishment.

Supporters say the changes would make enforcement of the Sunshine Law just like that of other statutes.

Organizations representing cities, counties and other local governments are critical. They question levying penalties against people who can be volunteers and who accidently violate an open meeting or public records requirement while serving their communities.

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri schools would be barred from electronically tracking students if legislation passed by the state Senate ultimately becomes law.
 
The legislation approved Thursday would prohibit public school districts from using "radio frequency identification technology" to track to location of students or transmit information about them.
 
The technology already is used to identify livestock and pets, track inventory for businesses and allow cars to pass by electronic toll readers without stopping to pay.
 
Republican Sen. Ed Emery, of Lamar, is sponsoring the bill banning the devices to track students. Emery said he's not aware of any Missouri schools that have sought to use the technology.
 
The Senate voted 27-5 for the bill, which now goes to the House.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri drivers would not have points assessed against their license for tickets issued by automated traffic cameras under legislation endorsed by the state House.
 
The House gave initial approval to the bill Wednesday that would regulate red-light and speeding cameras.
 
Photo traffic enforcement systems for Missouri municipalities have been the subject of ongoing court cases and many cities have temporary halted enforcement. The measure would require cities to meet certain standards in order to operate speeding or red-light cameras.
 
Supporters say the measure would streamline traffic enforcement across different municipalities and give guidance to the courts. Opponents say it circumvents the point system and could keep dangerous drivers on the road.
 
The bill needs one more affirmative vote before moving to the Senate.
Published in Local News
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.
 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers gave final approval to legislation that could lower treatment cost for some cancer patients.
 
The bill would prohibit insurance companies from charging patients more than $75 for oral cancer drugs rather than traditional intravenous treatments. Sponsoring Rep. Sheila Solon, of Blue Springs, says oral drugs often carry fewer side effects for cancer patients.
 
The House voted 147-6 on Thursday to send the bill to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk. The Senate passed the measure last month.
 
Patients are often charged much more for oral chemotherapy because it is handled as a pharmacy benefit. Traditional intravenous treatments often cost only the standard co-payment for an office visit.
 
House Speaker Tim Jones says the bill would be among the most significant pieces of legislation passed by the Legislature this year.
Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - Parts of Illinois reported a slow start to early voting, but Cook County's suburbs saw an uptick.
 
Cook County Clerk David Orr's office said Tuesday that 2,354 people cast ballots Monday, the start of early voting for March 18's primary. In 2010's primary, nearly 1,300 suburbanites cast first day ballots. In 2012, it was roughly 2,100.
 
Orr's office covers over 120 municipalities excluding Chicago. The region has previously reported a higher turnout than Illinois' average.
 
About 8 percent of Illinois voters cast early ballots in 2010 and 2012 primaries. In suburban Cook, 9.5 percent voted early in 2010. More than 11 percent did in 2012.
 
Orr's office says availability of suburban early voting sites might explain the turnout. There are 43. Chicago has 51.
 
Early voting ends March 15.
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are considering an overhaul of the state's payday loan industry that would give borrowers more time to pay back a loan.

The legislation passed by the Missouri Senate last week also would stop borrowers from renewing a loan and would remove a cap on the amount of fees and interest lenders can charge.

Under current law, payday loans can be up to $500 and last from 14 to 31 days. Loans can also be renewed up to six times.

Sponsoring Representative Mike Cunningham of Rogersville says the cap is not necessary since loans can't be renewed, and that market forces would set the interest rates. The measure's opponents said the bill was a step in the right direction, but doesn't go far enough.

Published in Local News
Sunday, 23 February 2014 08:56

Missouri Republicans stress need for unity

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A potential Republican primary for governor is stirring anxieties among some party officials who want to patch over the divisions that have hurt Republicans in recent statewide elections.

At an annual Republican conference in Springfield this weekend, many party officials highlighted the need for unity.

That encouragement came as several Republicans already are positioning themselves for a potential 2016 gubernatorial campaign.

Catherine Hanaway already has announced her gubernatorial candidacy. Auditor Tom Schweich also is expected to run for governor, though he first faces re-election this year, and businessman John Brunner also is contemplating a gubernatorial run. All were networking among fellow Republicans at the convention.

Republicans have faced contentious primaries for U.S. Senate and governor in 2012 and 2008. Democrats ultimately have won those races.

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House Republicans are sticking together this year in their quest to enact an income tax cut.
 
The House passed a pair of tax cut plans Thursday on party-line votes, with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition.
 
That's a stark contrast from last September, when 15 House Republicans splintered from the majority to prevent an override of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of an income tax cut.
 
House Speaker Tim Jones says Thursday's solid Republican vote should be a signal for Nixon to work with lawmakers on tax cuts.
 
Nixon denounced the bills as "fiscally irresponsible experiments" that would funnel money away from schools.
 
Nixon has said he will sign an income tax cut only if it protects school funding and also reins in state tax credits.
 
Published in Local News
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