St. Louis Public Radio News
1:29 pm
Thu February 19, 2004

Blagojevich Budget Offers New Way to Fund Schools

Gov. Blagojevich presenting his budget to lawmakers on Wed. (state of IL photo)

Springfield, Ill. –

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich yesterday presented his budget to lawmakers on Wednesday.

Aside from wanting to close tax loopholes and consolidate state offices as a way to balance that budget, the governor wants to increase school funding by $400 million. Overall, he's proposing the state spend more than $700 million more than it is this year.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
12:54 pm
Thu February 19, 2004

Budget Committee Eliminates Standardized Test Funding

Jefferson City, MO – Education officials are trying to figure out what the cuts mean for schools.

The Missouri House Appropriations Education Committee voted Wednesday to do away with state funding for districts to administer standardized exams for the next fiscal year. The committee put that money instead into the state school funding formula.

Under the formula, money is distributed to districts based on
several factors, and is supposed to give more state money to poorer ones.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
12:43 pm
Thu February 19, 2004

MO Proposal Could Mean Extra Pay for More Teachers

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Senate passed on Wednesday legislation that would allow the state to put more money into the so-called Career Ladder program. That's the program that allows teachers to up to an additional $5,000 for the extra time they spend tutoring students or working with parents.

About 17,000 Missouri teachers take part in the program. School districts pay part of the tab for the extra pay; the state pays the rest but is limited in just how much it can spend. The measure would remove that restriction.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
12:29 pm
Thu February 19, 2004

Proposal Could Jeopardize Medicaid Recipients

Jefferson City, MO – House Budget Chairman Carl Bearden says the changes are needed to rein in the growth of Medicaid and free up money for education.

He says the cuts would save the state an estimated $36 million each year. About 950,000 Missourians are covered by Medicaid.

The largest cuts would end benefits to adults who earn more than 50% of the federal poverty level - or roughly $7,600 for a family of three.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
9:42 am
Thu February 19, 2004

Pujols Reportedly Agrees to $100 Million Contract

Reuters file photo of Albert Pujols

St. Louis, MO – The Associated Press has learned that Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols has agreed to a seven-year, $100 million contract that will keep him in St. Louis.

That means he apparently won't be going to arbitration on Friday. The deal also includes an eighth-year, $11 million option.

Pujols led the majors last year with a .359 average. He hit 43 homers and drove in 124 runs. He also led the majors with 51 doubles.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
3:10 pm
Wed February 18, 2004

Blagojevich Presents Budget Proposal

Springfield, IL – Blagojevich said his plan would close a $1.7 billion deficit without raising income or sales taxes.

His proposals include a series of steps to close corporate tax loopholes. Blagojevich says one such tax break spares companies based in other states.

"They can do business here; they can make money here," Blagojevich said. "But because they're not specifically headquartered in Illinois, in many cases they can avoid paying taxes here. Closing this loophole would save $20 to $35 million."

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St. Louis Public Radio News
2:07 pm
Wed February 18, 2004

MO Sen. Gives Initial Okay to Road Money Con. Amendment

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Senate on Wednesday gave initial approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that would keep state road funds from going to other state agencies. Eventually, the change would mean $179 million more each year for roads and bridges. Voters would have final say over the plan. Meanwhile a similar effort by labor and business groups is underway in Illinois.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
12:37 pm
Wed February 18, 2004

Dog Breeders Want Photographing Facilities a Felony

Humane Society of Missouri employees Brandy Turnbough (L) and Sue Alkire draw blood from a wirehaired terrier for Heartworm testing purposes. (Humane Society photo by Mike Bizelli, 2002)

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri is a leading state for dog breeding, and some breeders want legislation passed in Jefferson City that would make it a felony to sneak into a dog breeding facility and take photos.

Several animal welfare groups oppose the bill because they say it would hamper investigations into substandard animal facilities, sometimes called "puppy mills."

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St. Louis Public Radio News
10:33 am
Wed February 18, 2004

Finally! Recognition for the Hypsibema Missouriensis

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri may soon have a state dinosaur. Legislation in Jefferson City would bestow the honor on the Hypsibema Missouriensis, a name that loosely translates to "high stride from Missouri."

Fossil records put the beast in Bollinger County in southeast Missouri about 67 million years ago. It was 35 feet long and had a thousand teeth. It was a hadrosaur, and a duck-billed one at that.

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St. Louis Public Radio News
9:32 am
Wed February 18, 2004

Spoonhour Resigning as UNLV Coach

Former SLU coach Charlie Spoonhour (UNLV photo)

Las Vegas, NV – Former Saint Louis University men's basketball coach Charlie Spoonhour has resigned as UNLV coach, citing health reasons.

Spoonhour, 64, issued a statement Tuesday saying the decision has nothing to do with basketball or the UNLV program.

Spoonhour coached at high schools and colleges in Missouri before coming out of retirement to take the UNLV job in March 2001. He leaves the Runnin' Rebels with a 54-31 record. The team is currently 12-9 but has lost three in a row.

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