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   SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) - Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says she's looking into whether Gov. Pat Quinn can legally cut lawmakers' pay.

   Quinn cut $13.8 million for legislators' paychecks from a budget bill Wednesday. He says it's the consequence for lawmakers failing to address the state's $97 billion pension shortfall.

   Topinka says questions have been raised about whether Quinn's actions are constitutional.

   A provision of the Illinois Constitution says changes in lawmaker salary should not take effect during the term in which they were elected.

   Topinka says she has requested a legal review. It should be complete before Aug. 1, when lawmakers are scheduled to receive their next paychecks.

   Quinn says a prior court ruling gives him the authority. He also says he's not changing their salary, just withholding the money to pay it.

 
Thursday, 11 July 2013 04:20
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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed legislation that would have expanded an infrastructure surcharge for gas companies.

   Gas utilities have been allowed to seek approval from the Public Service Commission to levy a surcharge for infrastructure replacements. The charge is levied between formal rate cases, and the gas companies must file for a more involved rate case every three years.

   The legislation would have required full rate cases every five years and would have increased the cap on how much gas companies could collect through the surcharge.

   Nixon said the legislation also would have allowed companies to recover from customers much of the uncollectable debt from customers who do not pay.

 
Thursday, 11 July 2013 04:16
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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri is naming its side of a new Mississippi River span the "Stan Musial Memorial Bridge" for the late St. Louis Cardinals great.

   But the state might not have the exclusive naming rights. Federal legislation approved by Congress and awaiting action by President Barack Obama names it the "Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge." That name represents a compromise between Missouri lawmakers who wanted to honor Musial and Illinois lawmakers who wanted to honor military veterans.

   Governor Jay Nixon signed Missouri's legislation Wednesday. It also names part of a highway for construction worker Andy Gammon, who died while building the new Mississippi River bridge.

   Missouri's legislation also names an existing St. Louis bridge for former Congressman William Clay, who won the first of 16 U.S. House terms in 1968.

 
Thursday, 11 July 2013 04:05
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matt Carpenter hit a two-run home run and Matt Holliday drove in two with a two-out hit to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Houston Astros 5-4 on Wednesday night.

Carpenter's ninth homer of the season in the seventh gave the win to Seth Maness (5-1). Tony Cruz got hit by starter Jordan Lyles' first pitch of the inning and one out later Carpenter put a 2-1 pitch into the right field stands off reliever Wesley Wright (0-3).

Maness gave up two hits and a run in two innings of relief. He struck out three.

Edward Mujica earned his 25th save in 26 tries. He has appeared in six consecutive games, going 1-1 with four saves.

Lyles gave up four runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out two and walked two. Lyles hasn't won a game since beating Milwaukee on June 18.

Shelby Miller used 94 pitches to labor through five innings. He gave up three earned runs, walked five and struck out five. He had a total of six full counts, coming back to strike out Jason Castro and getting Brett Wallace to ground out.

Wallace, who had four hits and scored a run, drove in Jose Altuve in the seventh to give Houston a 4-3 lead. His only out was a grounder in the fifth that led to Houston's third run.

Holliday's single in the fifth tied the score at 3-3. His slap to right field drove in Cruz and Shane Robinson, who had a pinch hit single in place of Miller.

Allen Craig walked to open the second and scored on Matt Adams' single. Adams has five RBIs in in his past six games.

After going in order to start the game, the Astros put their leadoff batter on and had a runner reach scoring position in three of the next four innings against Miller.

Chris Carter hit his 18th home run just over the right field fence to open the second. Houston then used a Wallace single, two walks and an error for a 2-0 lead. It took a 3-1 lead after Jason Castro hit a ground rule double and J.D. Martinez drove him in with a single in the fifth.

NOTES: Cardinals C Cruz got his third start in the past four games in place of All-Star catcher and league-leading batter Yadier Molina who is nursing a sore right knee. He's gone 3 of 9 in that span. ... Molina struck out as a pinch hitter in the seventh. ... Wallace, former first-round pick of the Cardinals, is 7 for 18 with five RBIs and four runs in four games this season against St. Louis. ... Jake Westbrook will start the Cardinals' first game after the All-Star break, July 19 against the visiting Padres, manager Mike Matheny said. Westbrook will be followed by Lance Lynn and Adam Wainwright. Following an off day on July 22, Miller will start against the Phillies in St. Louis. Because of the off day, the Cardinals do not plan to use Joe Kelly until July 27. ... Astros manager Bo Porter said before the game he had not yet finalized his team's rotation plans for its series at Tampa Bay this weekend. ... The Astros have lost 13 of their past 15 games against their former NL Central division rivals.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013 22:58
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