Nixon, GOP clash over Medicaid, drivers' licenses
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Governor Jay Nixon began the year with ambitious priorities to start of his second term but ran into a wall of opposition from the Republican Legislature.
Nixon pushed for Medicaid expansion, campaign contribution limits and a longer school year. But those proposals were either soundly defeated or never given a chance during the legislative session that ended Friday.
Instead, lawmakers launched an investigation into Nixon's administration for allegedly infringing on people's privacy rights through new drivers' license procedures.
The Democratic governor fared better when it came to his budget priorities, including increases to education funding. He also was successful in securing additional funding for mental health, domestic violence shelters and export initiatives.
Nixon and Republican leaders also found common ground on replenishing an insolvent fund for injured workers.
Mo. infrastructure proposals fail at state Capitol
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have wrapped up their annual legislative session without approving proposals that would have boosted funding for transportation or paid for construction projects at colleges and state facilities.
Lawmakers considered a $1.2 billion bonding package and a 1-cent state sales tax for transportation. Both would have required voter approval and neither passed before the Legislature's mandatory adjournment Friday.
Leeriness about asking voters to approve a sales tax increase doomed the transportation proposal. Opponents prevented a final vote in the Senate.
Legislative leaders said they viewed the bonding proposal as a 2-year process and pledged to return to the concept when lawmakers convene in January 2014.
PROTECTING SCOTT AFB
Ill. Lt. Gov., others in effort to protect Scott AFB
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Although the future of Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois won't be in question for two more years, state and local officials are preparing a plan to keep the facility open.
Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon was at Southwestern Illinois College on Friday to meet with area governmental leaders, residents and base representatives to discuss quality-of-life issues. The resulting information on the quality of local schools and the business climate will be compiled in a report on Metro East's strengths and weaknesses.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports Simon indicated similar meetings will be held for communities near Great Lakes Naval Training Station north of Chicago and the Rock Island Arsenal. She says a combined report will be written to help formulate a strategy to protect Illinois' three major military bases.
AUXILIARY OFFICER ACQUITTED
Auxiliary officer acquitted in fatal chase
UPLANDS PARK, Mo. (AP) - A judge acquitted an auxiliary police officer in a St. Louis County village of charges that he was not licensed to act as a police officer when he chased a speeding car that caused a fatal accident.
The judge ruled Friday that Lamont Aikens of Uplands Park was doing what he was told to do when he chased the car into St. Louis in December 2009. That car hit another vehicle, killing 34-year-old Lashanna Snipes.
Aikens testified that he believed he had full police powers when following orders from a licensed officer.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that in June 2010, a St. Louis jury returned a $3.1 million verdict against Uplands Park for Snipes' death.
Another officer facing the same charges accepted a plea deal in the case.
SISTER OF LIBERTY RESTORED
Marshall's Liberty statue back where it belongs
MARSHALL, Mo. (AP) - The city of Marshall has its Sister of Liberty statue back where it belongs.
The statue, which had been missing from its pedestal at Indian Foothills Park for more than a year, was returned to the park Friday.
The statue was stolen in August 2012 and was found two months later in Blackwater River. It was damaged, and metalsmith Beno Messer of Slater had been working to restore it since then.
The Marshall Democrat-News reports the statue was first given to the city on July 4th, 1951. It was refurbished in 2011, after the community raised the necessary money.
Messer said he built the base so it would be nearly impossible to remove the statue again. And security equipment will be installed to prevent any future problems.
Missouri Southern approves $76.4 million budget
(Information in the following story is from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com)
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Southern State University has approved a budget for the next fiscal year that will require it to dip into reserves.
The budget approved by the Joplin school's Board of Governors on Thursday includes expenses of $76.4 million, with expected revenues of $74 million.
Rob Yust, vice president for business affairs, says the university has a reserve fund of between $12.5 million and $13 million, which will easily cover the extra expenses.
The Joplin Globe reports the budget includes a 2% pay increase for employees, a 2% increase in in-state tuition and about $2 million for capital improvement projects.
The budget also includes funding for initiatives aimed at increasing enrollment, such as increasing admissions staff, a stronger recruiting campaign and outreach efforts for transfer students.
Mo. mom sentenced to prison after fatal car crash
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A central Missouri woman whose son died in a car accident while she was talking on a cellphone has been sentenced to one year in a county jail.
Thirty-1-year-old Stephanie Wiebold of Meta was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to careless and imprudent driving.
Her 2-year-old son, Dallen Rackers, died when Wiebold's car went off the road and hit a rock embankment.
The Jefferson City News Tribune reports police said Meta was on the phone when the accident occurred.
Police also said her son was unrestrained while riding in the back seat and was thrown forward by the impact. Dallen died a few weeks after the accident.
PIGGY BANK RAIDED
Man pleads guilty to raiding nephew's piggy bank
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - A north St. Louis County man admits that he stole money from his 4-year-old nephew's piggy bank to use for drugs and prostitutes.
KSDK reports 31-year-old Baron Calmese pleaded guilty Friday to a felony stealing charge. He will be sentenced next month.
Calmese was arrested last July after he took more than $500 for his nephew's piggy bank.
Investigators say Calmese took the money after first asking the boy's mother - his sister - if he could borrow some change. The woman told Calmese he could take $2 but he took all the money he could shake out of the bank.
FLIGHT OF THE CONNIE
Kansas City museum raising cash to fly 'Connie'
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - "Connie" may take to the skies once again.
The National Airline History Museum in Kansas City is trying to raise $3.2 million to restore its Lockheed Constellation propeller-driven aircraft. It wants to recreate multimillionaire aviator Howard Hughes' record-setting cross-country flight in the plane that transformed commercial air travel.
The aircraft is 1 of only a handful of 856 Constellations still considered airworthy. The museum is planning to fly it April 17th, 2014 - the 70th anniversary of the 1944 inaugural flight piloted by Hughes and TWA president and co-founder Jack Frye.
The nonstop flight took 6 hours and 58 minutes, cutting the time of previous coast-to-coast flights in half. The flight will begin in Burbank, California and end in Washington, D.C.
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