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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Some Republicans in the Missouri House say a veto override appears likely for a high-profile gun bill, but the odds remain uncertain for a tax-cutting measure after a meeting of GOP lawmakers.

   House Republicans who attended a private weekend caucus said Monday that there was a lot of discussion about the income tax cut vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

   The bill's sponsor, Rep. T.J. Berry of Kearney, says he feels more optimistic about the prospects of an override. But the meeting may not have changed too many minds. Rep. Don Phillips, of Kimberling City, says he still plans to vote "no."

   Rep. Doug Funderburk, of St. Peters, says his bill attempting to nullify some federal gun-control laws received little Republican opposition and appears poised for a veto override.

 
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 03:32
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   EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - The chief federal judge in southern Illinois is warning citizens not to fall for a telephone scam involving jury duty and possible identity theft.

   U.S. District Judge David Herndon says the caller poses as a court official and threatens prosecution for shirking jury duty. The caller then tries to extract confidential data from the call's recipient.

   Herndon warns the calls don't involve actual court officials, are bogus and could be used for identity theft and fraud if the person called divulges such things as his or her Social Security or credit card numbers.

   The judge adds federal courts don't require anyone to provide sensitive information by telephone, with most legitimate contact taking place by mail.

   Herndon urges anyone who gets such a call to notify the local federal court clerk.

 
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 03:08
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   Even as some metro-east school districts continue to wrestle with budget shortfalls, Belleville District 201 teachers will be getting a pay raise.  

   The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the school board Monday night unanimously approved a partial salary step increase this year and next.  Superintendent Jeff Dosier told the paper that instead of a full step increase, teachers will get 75 percent of a step increase.  

   The cost of the pay raises will be covered by retirements and vacant teaching positions not being filled.  

   The teachers' new contract goes into effect September 1st.

   The school board also approved new contracts with the district's custodians, engineers and teacher aids.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013 02:52
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   HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Negotiations between Penn State and young men who claim they were abused by Jerry Sandusky have begun to bear fruit, with lawyers involved saying there will be more announcements of settlements in the coming days.

   The school's trustees have set aside some $60 million to pay claims, and on Monday a lawyer working for Penn State said the one settlement so far should be followed by 24 more this week. Thirty-one young men have come forward to Penn State.

   Attorney Michael Rozen said the pending agreements include most of the eight young men who testified last year against Sandusky, the school's former assistant football coach now serving a prison sentence for child molestation.

   Penn State said little over the weekend in response to an announcement by the lawyer for one of the eight, "Victim 5," that his case was fully settled and he expected payment within a month. The school is paying out the claims through its insurance coverage and from interest revenues on loans made by the school to its own self-supporting entities.

   Rozen said all of the deals are expected to include provisions that give the university the right to pursue claims against the university's insurer, The Second Mile charity founded by Sandusky and The Second Mile's insurer.

   Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence in state prison after being convicted last summer of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. Witnesses testified that he met victims through The Second Mile, an organization established to help at-risk children that ran camps and offered other services.

   Rozen said the "value" of the claims depended in part on whether they happened after 2001, when top-ranking school officials were told by a graduate assistant about Sandusky with a child in a team shower, or before 1998, the earliest documented example of a Sandusky complaint.

   "It's what did Penn State know and what duty did they have?" Rozen said. "What did they know, when did they know it, and what duty — if any — did they have to act, and to what extent?"

   He said claims for abuse before 1998 also may fall outside the statute of limitations that put time limits on how long victims have to sue.

   Although some lawyers have said they were interested in settlements that require Penn State to make changes that might prevent such abuse from re-occurring, Rozen said those matters have been eclipsed by the widespread reforms the university has adopted or begun since a series of recommendations were made last summer in an internal report.

   "I don't think anybody could reasonably or rationally question the university's commitment to doing things differently in the future," Rozen said. "This was about trying to redress harm caused to young men by this really bad person, Sandusky."

   He declined to say how much the 25 cases are settling for, or provide a range of the settlements.

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