Mo. 2012 legislative session
4:25 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Missouri legislative session heads into homestretch

Mo. Capitol
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri lawmakers continue debating bills in the closing minutes of the 2012 regular session.

Among the bills passed so far today is one that would require legislative approval before a health care exchange can be created in Missouri.  State Rep. Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) accused Governor Jay Nixon (D) of trying last year to create an exchange via executive order.

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Quincy Public Radio
3:55 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Introducing Quincy Public Radio: part of the St. Louis Public Radio network

The coverage area map of WQUB in Quincy, Ill., which will become Quincy Public Radio, part of the St. Louis Public Radio Network.
(Courtesy WQUB)

We have some news of our own to share with you today.

St. Louis Public Radio announced today that it is in the process of buying the public radio station in Quincy, Ill.

WQUB 90.3 FM is currently owned by Quincy University, but St. Louis Public Radio General Manager Tim Eby says the school indicated last year that it could no longer handle the operations of the station, and wanted to focus, instead, on educational priorities.

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Illinois State Budget
2:47 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Democrats in Illinois Senate offer budget proposal

The interior of the dome at the Illinois State Capitol.
(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Will be updated. Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

Democrats in the Illinois Senate are proposing a budget that would hold education spending flat and pay a chunk of the state's pile of overdue bills.

But doing that would require cuts to public safety and most other areas of government, as well as dipping into money set aside for special purposes.

Democratic Senator Dan Kotowski from Park Ridge says the budget proposal addresses citizens' wants.

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Illinois Exports
2:41 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Ill. exports rose in first quarter to highest level in over a decade

Illinois exports rose more than 17 percent in the first quarter to their highest level in more than a decade.

The increase was driven by sales of industrial machinery, petroleum and coal products, automobiles and chemicals. The export of products to build roads and factories in China and Brazil also helped boost the numbers.

An announcement from Gov. Pat Quinn's office says exports for January through March reached $17.2 billion. That's compared with $14.7 billion from the same period last year.

The governor has set a goal of doubling the state's exports by 2014.

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Cocaine
1:40 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Mo. lawmakers trim disparity in cocaine sentences

A pile of crack cocaine ‘rocks.'
(via Wikimedia Commons/Drug Enforcement Administration)

Missouri lawmakers have endorsed a proposal to reduce the disparity in prison sentences between people convicted of crimes involving crack and powder cocaine.

Under current state law, people convicted of manufacturing more than 2 grams of crack face the same prison sentence as someone distributing more than 150 grams of cocaine.

The new law would make more than 8 grams of crack comparable to more than 150 grams of cocaine.

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Contraception
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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