Jefferson City, Mo. – A wide-ranging motor vehicle bill passed the Missouri Senate this week.
It includes a proposal to expand the ban on texting while driving to all motorists. Current law only prohibits those age 21 and younger from writing, sending and reading text messages while driving a vehicle.
The bill was sponsored by State Senator Ryan McKenna (D, Crystal City).
St. Louis – A former St. Louis police officer has been sentenced to two years probation, and must pay about $1,500 in restitution, for stealing and selling electronic merchandise seized in a traffic stop.
Jefferson City, Mo. – The House Budget Committee has passed the 13 bills that make up Missouri's state budget for next year. But the cuts made this week don't cover a projected funding shortfall.
Governor Jay Nixon says about half a billion dollars needs to be sliced from his original budget proposal made in January. The House Budget Committee, however, cut no more than $90 million before adjourning for the week.
St. Louis – The last ACORN branch in the state of Missouri will close at the end of the month.
Organizers with the St. Louis office of Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now say they do not have the money to pay staffers or rent. The branch here usually averaged about $500,000 a year, mostly from dues and local foundation grants.
Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri House Budget Committee spent nearly four hours late Wednesday amending and voting on bills that make up the state budget.
Committee members only made it through about a third of the budget bills before calling it a night. Republican House Budget Chair Allen Icet said so far they've identified $65 million dollars that can be trimmed from various departments. Lawmakers and Gov. Jay Nixon are trying to close a $500 million gap in the 2011 budget.
St. Louis – The Mississippi River is cresting at St. Louis, and the Missouri River already has begun to fall. That has eased concerns about early spring flooding. But forecasters say the risk of flooding into the spring remains high.
Cool, damp weather has kept soil saturated. Whether that translates into significant flooding depends on how much it rains, where it rains, and how fast it falls.
National Weather Service meteorologist Ben Miller said it's impossible to predict rain accurately beyond 10 days.