Illinois State Budget / Tamms Prison
4:40 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Quinn defends plan to close super-max prison in southern Ill.

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Reporting from WBEZ's Alex Keefe used in this report.

Governor Pat Quinn is defending his plan to close a super-maximum security prison in southern Illinois.

The governor's office says closing Tamms prison would save the state nearly $22 million next year. Quinn says it costs more than 64,000 per year to lock up a prisoner there - about three times the statewide average.

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Tyler Dasher
2:52 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Attorney seeks end to murder charge in Dasher case

Shelby Dasher, the Affton woman accused of killing her 13-month-old son, Tyler Dasher.
(via St. Louis County Police Department)

The attorney for the Affton woman accused of killing her 13-month-old son is seeking dismissal of the murder charge.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that public defender Tara Crane filed a motion Monday seeking dismissal of the second-degree murder charge against 20-year-old Shelby Dasher. Crane also asked for bail reduction if the murder charge is not dropped. Dasher has been jailed on $500,000 bond since Nov. 16.

Carnahan/Clay
1:45 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Carnahan will challenge Clay for Congress

U.S. Reps. Russ Carnahan and William Lacy Clay will face each other in the Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District, where Clay is the incumbent.
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Originally posted at 9 a.m. Updated at 1:45 p.m. with comments from Carnahan, Clay and analysts.

A potentially nasty Democratic primary is brewing in the St. Louis area.

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veterans homes / state lottery
1:13 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Mo. House backs increase in veterans homes funding with cut to state lottery prizes

War veterans salute as an American flag passes by during Memorial Day services at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis on May 30, 2011.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to a plan that would cut the amount of money available for state lottery prizes to increase funding for state-run veterans homes.

The legislation would reduce lottery prize funds by about 3.5 percent and put the money toward early childhood education programs that currently get funds from the Missouri Gaming Commission. Gaming Commission money now used for early childhood education would instead go to veterans' homes.

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Education
12:31 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Mo. teachers rally at Capitol on tenure measure

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

About 300 teachers are at the Missouri Capitol lobbying lawmakers over a measure that includes phasing out the state's teacher tenure system.

The teachers held a brief rally Tuesday the Capitol rotunda Tuesday. Among other things, the bill would not allow the state's tenure law to apply to teachers hired after June 2013.

Ralf Trusty, president of the Missouri State Teachers Association, says that teachers are an important part of a child's development. He says teachers need to know that their jobs are secure so that they can do those jobs well.

Missouri Unemployment Rate
11:22 am
Tue February 28, 2012

Missouri unemployment rate falls in January

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Missouri's unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent while the state's overall payroll increased by thousands of jobs.

The state Department of Economic Development reported Tuesday that Missouri's net nonfarm payroll increased by 21,100 jobs in January. Officials reported that Missouri had a net of loss of 11,800 jobs in December and a loss of 3,300 jobs in November.

Besides expanding payrolls for the first time in three months, Missouri's unemployment rate in January dropped by half a point to 7.5 percent. That is Missouri's lowest jobless rate since November 2008.

Morning round-up
9:31 am
Tue February 28, 2012

Morning headlines: Tuesday, February 28, 2012

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Mo. lawmakers seek requirements for officials involved in economic development projects

A House panel heard testimony Monday on eight measures aimed at increasing scrutiny of businesses that ask for government money. The legislation would require local governments to get insurance for municipal bonds for economic development projects and to hold public hearings before issuing bonds.

State and local officials would also have to share information they have about companies seeking development incentives.

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Buck O'Neil
9:17 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Buck O'Neil inducted into Hall of Famous Missourians

(l-r) Mo. House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville), former KC Royals player Frank White, and Negro Leagues Museum President Bob Kendrick, unveil a bust of KC Monarchs legend Buck O'Neil.
(Tim Bommel/Mo. House Communications)

Major League Baseball's first black coach has been inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians.

The late Buck O'Neil, who played first base for the Kansas City Monarchs and went on to become a leading ambassador for Negro Leagues Baseball, was praised by former Kansas City Royals player Frank White and others during a ceremony Monday.

A bronze bust of O'Neil will now be included in a display at the Capitol.

Mo. House redistricting
8:29 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Mo. Supreme Court hears State House redistricting map lawsuit

Mo. Supreme Court
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a lawsuit challenging the new State House redistricting map.

The map’s opponents raised similar objections as those who’ve challenged the congressional and State Senate district maps drawn up last year:  Like the Senate map, plaintiffs claimed, in written statements, that the six-judge panel that drew up the House map did so behind closed doors and thus violated the state’s Sunshine law.  Robert Hess, one of the attorneys defending the map, said the panel was not subject to the Sunshine law.

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MEM Co. audit
5:31 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Missouri audit criticizes state-created insurance company

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A report by the Missouri auditor finds that a state-created insurance company has built a competitive advantage by claiming to be a public corporation but operating as a private entity.

State Auditor Tom Schweich says Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Co.’s federal tax-exempt status has saved it about $50 million since it was created in 1993. At the same time, it pays large amounts of money for salaries and executive perks. Schweich says lawmakers need to clarify if it's appropriate for the company to continue as a public corporation.

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