10:45 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Mo. lawmakers face contraception issue on last day

(via Flickr/brains the head)

Missouri senators have passed legislation specifically allowing employers to refuse, on religious ground, to provide health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization or abortion.

The Senate's 28-6 vote Friday moved the bill to the Missouri House, where it was passed during mid-afternoon.

Around the Nation / Joplin
9:57 am
Fri May 18, 2012

After devastating tornado, Joplin High bounces back

The main entrance of Joplin High School was severely damaged in a May 2011 tornado.
Mark Schiefelbein AP

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 3:33 pm

Nearly one year ago, a devastating tornado ripped through the city of Joplin, Mo. The tornado was the deadliest in the U.S in almost 60 years, killing 161 people and injuring more than 900. But life for Joplin's residents is finally starting to return to normal.

That includes life for students at Joplin High School. The school was destroyed by the tornado just hours after last year's commencement ceremony. Although the school's old location is still in ruins, the city has found a temporary solution to keep classes going.

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Morning round-up
7:58 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Morning headlines - Friday, May 18, 2012

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Federal court sides with Quinn in pay dispute

A federal appeals court has sided with Illinois governor Pat Quinn over canceled pay raises due to thousands of union workers.

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MO Statehouse - Final Day
6:33 am
Fri May 18, 2012

End of session will lack drama, but not fireworks

Mo. lawmakers celebrate the end of the 2011 regular session with the traditional paper toss. The 2012 regular session ends today.
(Tim Bommell/Mo. House Communications)

It's the final day of the regular legislative session for the Missouri General Assembly.

Lawmakers have spent the past week clearing a backlog of bills that accumulated during a showdown over the state budget.

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Tour de Grove
6:17 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Life cycle of a bike race: Tour de Grove evolves into top cycling event

Riders mass for the start of the Category 2/3 race at the Tour de Grove. This was a top amateur race of the weekend.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Some of the top athletes in their sport were in St. Louis last weekend.

They weren’t wearing the birds and bats of the Cardinals, and they didn’t draw the crowds of a weekend series at Busch Stadium. But the contest known as the Tour de Grove is slowly but surely becoming a big draw in the world of professional cycling.

The atmosphere on a warm spring Saturday afternoon in the Grove has the feel of a gigantic street party. People line Manchester Avenue sipping beer, snacking on the wares of street vendors, and listening to music.

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Out-of-state vehicle purchases
8:27 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Nixon may veto out-of-state vehicle sales tax bill

A used car dealership in central Missouri.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) is threatening to veto legislation passed Wednesday that would require Missouri residents to pay sales taxes on autos, boats and other vehicles purchased in other states.

Nixon called the measure a tax increase that flies in the face of a State Supreme Court ruling issued earlier this year that limited sales tax collections to purchases made in Missouri.  State Senator Mike Kehoe (R, Jefferson City) says, though, vetoing the bill would threaten jobs.

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6:28 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

AG Koster to Mo. Supreme Court: set dates for 19 death sentences

Mo. Atty. General Chris Koster.
(St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is urging the State Supreme Court to set execution dates for 19 death sentences. Koster says no legal barrier is barring the high court from moving forward with the executions. 

Koster says 10 cases of capital punishment have already been awaiting execution dates for over 3 years. He gave the court an additional 9 names today and says there is no legal ground for delaying punishment.

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Developing: Small Explosion Downtown
4:57 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Power flashes, manhole cover blows off after underground explosion downtown

A manhole cover was blown off its place, and into pieces, following a small explosion in St. Louis near Lucas Ave. and 17th St.
(via Twitter/courtesy @JosephHainline)

Will be updated.

A manhole cover was blown apart following a small underground explosion downtown St. Louis in an area near Lucas Ave. and 17th St. No one was hurt. 

Heath Borders says he was working at his desk when he heard the explosion about 50 feet away from his office at 17th St. and Washington Ave.

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Tax credit/Mamtek legislation
4:07 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Tax credit/Mamtek bill likely dead

Mo. House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville)
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Speaker of the Missouri House has thrown cold water on a scaled-back tax credit reform measure passed Wednesday by the Senate.

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Illinois Senate
3:49 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Ill. Senate rejects Muslim member of rights panel

The Ill. State Capitol in Springfield, Ill.
(via Flickr/jglazer75)

A longtime member of the Illinois Human Rights Commission has been denied another term because of material on his website about the Nation of Islam.

Munir Muhammad is an official in the Coalition for the Remembrance of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who led the Nation of Islam for decades. The coalition's website includes a statement saying "race mixing" and interracial marriage should be prohibited.

It's not clear from the website whether the coalition endorses that view or is presenting it to show what Elijah Muhammad believed.