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The Associated Press

Associated Press

This content is either partially or entirely curated from St. Louis Public Radio's subscription to the Associated Press news wire.

(From the Lt. Governor, State of Illinois, website)

Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon officially announced Wednesday that she's running for Illinois comptroller, ending five months of uncertainty about which statewide office she'll seek in 2014.

The Carbondale Democrat made her announcement Wednesday morning in downtown Chicago. Simon announced in February that she wouldn't seek another term with Gov. Pat Quinn.

(Illinois General Assembly website)

A longtime Illinois state lawmaker says he's running for a southern Illinois congressional seat.

State Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro won't seek re-election in the state's 115th District and instead will pursue the 12th Congressional District seat. 

The Republican has been a state lawmaker for 18 years.

The U.S. House seat Bost will pursue is held by Democrat Bill Enyart, who was elected last November and announced in May he'll be seeking another two-year term.

The 12th District stretches from the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis to the state's southernmost tip.

(via Flickr/kcdsTM)

A federal judge is rejecting a legal bid by gun-rights advocates who wanted people to be able to immediately carry firearms in Illinois under the state's new concealed carry law.

East St. Louis U.S. District Judge William Stiehl threw out the lawsuit filed by Mary Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association, siding with the state and saying the legal action is moot.

Shepard and the rifle group had argued it was unconstitutional to make people wait for the permit process to be outlined under the new concealed carry law that lawmakers passed July 9.

(via Flickr/Hakan Dahlstrom)

Gaming regulators in Missouri have approved Pinnacle Entertainment's $2.8 billion purchase of Ameristar Casinos, clearing one of the final hurdles in the acquisition.

The Missouri Gaming Commission voted 4-0 in favor of the deal Wednesday. Missouri was the last state to approve. The Federal Trade Commission must still give the go-ahead. Pinnacle spokeswoman Kerry Andersen says the company hopes to complete the transaction in August.

(via Wikimedia Commons/United States Senate)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)  says he will hold a hearing on so-called "stand your ground" laws. 

About 30 states have some form of the law, which gives a person the right to use deadly force to protect themselves if they feel their life is in danger. 

A Florida version of "stand your ground" played a role in the trial of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin.  

 

Durbin is an Illinois Democrat and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A bipartisan group of senators is pressing forward with a reporter shield bill that includes new Justice Department guidelines for investigations that involve the media.

The guidelines announced Friday would make it harder for prosecutors to obtain journalists’ phone records without advance notice. Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says the new bill will make it much more difficult for political appointees to stop reporters from doing their job.

Fergus Randall | Flickr

The Missouri Public Service Commission has given the go-ahead for St. Louis-based Laclede Gas to purchase Missouri Gas Energy.

Commission members placed a major condition on the purchase – Laclede Gas is barred from seeking a rate increase in its current service area until October of 2015.  Laclede spokeswoman Jessica Willingham says, though, they would be allowed to seek an increase in the areas currently served by Missouri Gas once the purchase becomes official.

(via Flickr/SenRockefeller)

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says she'll seek another term instead of running for Illinois governor next year.

In a Monday statement the Chicago Democrat says she's been considering the decision for months but that she enjoys her current job.  She says she considered the gubernatorial run because of the "need for effective management" and frustration from others about a lack of movement on major issues.

Madigan hadn't given any hints about her decision, telling reporters earlier Monday that she was still thinking it over.

(via Enyart's campaign)

A freshman Democratic congressman for southwestern Illinois' 12th Congressional District says he'll be running for a second term.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that Rep. Bill Enyart's office made the announcement Monday, just six months into his first term.

Enyart is a Belleville attorney who last November won the seat long held by Democrat Jerry Costello, who retired after more than two decades in office.

The 12th Distict stretches from the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis to the state's southernmost tip.

(via Illinois Senate website)

Republican state Sen. Kirk Dillard has launched his 2014 campaign for governor outside his childhood home in Chicago.

Dillard lost the 2010 GOP primary to state Sen. Bill Brady. Dillard says he's learned lessons since then.

He's billing himself as a good candidate because he's a suburban Chicago politician with downstate votes.

Dillard trails other Republican candidates in fundraising, including venture capitalist Bruce Rauner.

But Dillard says he'll be able to raise what he needs and is announcing his bid this time with more money than 2010.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt) (Image has been cropped)

President Barack Obama has signed legislation designating the new Interstate 70 bridge connecting St. Louis and southwestern Illinois over the Mississippi River as the "Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge."

The name is a compromise between Missouri lawmakers who wanted to honor the late St. Louis Cardinals great and Illinois lawmakers who wanted to name the bridge in honor of military veterans.

Marshall Griffin, KWMU

With just a couple days left before the deadline, Democratic Governor Jay Nixon announced his decision on the few bills he had left. We've compiled those decisions below.

Without his signature, Nixon has allowed legislation that will require doctors to be in the room for the initial dose of a drug used in medication abortions.

Nixon announced Friday he would not sign the bill that effectively prohibits the use of telemedicine to provide medication abortions in Missouri. Without the signature, the bill becomes law.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation that included designating part of Interstate 70 as "Graham's Picnic Rock Highway."

Nixon said in his veto message Thursday that the name refers to the Dr. Robert Graham, who owned the farm where the large rock is located.

The rock can be seen in the median of Interstate 70 roughly halfway between Columbia and the St. Louis region.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

Updated 11:08 a.m., 12:42 p.m., 3:19 p.m. (with reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey)

A lengthy legal battle over an abortion notification law appears to be ending, clearing the way for Illinois to begin enforcing a 1995 measure requiring doctors to notify a girl's parents before she undergoes the procedure.

Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court ruling says the case shouldn't be reconsidered and has to be enforced - unless there's an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt) (Image has been cropped)

Missouri is naming its side of a new Mississippi River span the "Stan Musial Memorial Bridge" for the late St. Louis Cardinals great.

But the state might not have the exclusive naming rights. Federal legislation approved by Congress and awaiting action by President Barack Obama names it the "Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge." That name represents a compromise between Missouri lawmakers who wanted to honor Musial and Illinois lawmakers who wanted to honor military veterans.

via Flickr/BluEyedA73

Twenty five same-sex couples want to see a quick verdict in their lawsuits regarding the Illinois gay marriage ban.

Attorneys representing the couples suing over the ban asked a judge Wednesday to rule through summary judgment. 

Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois filed a motion Wednesday for a judge to rule quickly in the couples’ favor.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation allowing parents more time to give up newborns, requiring screening for a heart defect and dealing with mandatory reporters of child abuse.

Nixon held a bill signing ceremony Tuesday at St. Louis Children's Hospital. In front of dozens of doctors and child advocates, the Democratic governor signed a bill that he said will close a loophole for child abuse reporting.

(via Flickr/kcdsTM)

Updated 2:26 p.m. via Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky. Will be updated further.

Illinois is now a state where concealed carry of weapons is legal. The Illinois Senate voted to override the veto of Gov. Quinn 41-17.

Earlier story:

The Illinois House has rejected Gov. Pat Quinn's changes to legislation allowing the carrying of concealed guns on the deadline for action set by a federal court.

If the Senate approves it later today, Illinois would join the rest of the nation in allowing firearms to be carried in public.

s_falkow |Flickr

A fourth person associated with a suburban St. Louis prearranged funeral company has admitted to fraud in a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

Randall Sutton on Tuesday pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to bank fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and misappropriation of an insurance premium. Sutton and three former colleagues all face sentencing on Nov. 7.

Tim Bommel, Mo. House Communications

Missouri's top House official has dropped an attempt to subpoena members of Gov. Jay Nixon's administration to testify before a committee he created.

House Speaker Tim Jones had subpoenaed five current Nixon staffers and his former Revenue Department director to testify about changes that were made in Missouri's procedures for issuing driver's licenses.

The six people all declined to appear as directed by the subpoenas last month, and a Cole County judge temporarily blocked the subpoenas from being enforced.

Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation that prohibits welfare recipients from using such funds at liquor stores, casinos or strip clubs.

The legislation also bars recipients from using cash benefits to buy anything marketed for adults while increasing penalties for people who are convicted of spending benefits improperly. The newly signed law brings Missouri into compliance with federal restrictions on purchases using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families electronic cash benefit cards.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn says he won't testify before a bipartisan pension panel Monday in Springfield.

The Chicago Democrat told reporters Sunday that staff from his budget office would attend. 

The committee tasked with finding a solution to the nearly $100 billion problem had invited Quinn to testify. 

The group was formed last month since lawmakers remained at odds over two reform plans. The committee held two public hearings in Chicago.  

knittymarie | Flickr

Missouri's education system will be the focus of a newly formed state House committee that will consider ways to improve outcomes and better prepare students for college and adulthood.

The House Interim Committee on Education has scheduled its first meeting for next Thursday at the state Capitol. The panel will examine education issues during the summer and fall before lawmakers return in January for their next legislative session. Republican House member Steve Cookson, of Poplar Bluff, will lead the interim committee.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Attorney General Chris Koster says Missouri may have to resort to using the gas chamber to carry out death sentences as an "unintended consequence" of the state Supreme Court's refusal to set execution dates.

Executions have been on hold in Missouri since the state Supreme Court has declined to set execution dates. The court says execution dates would be "premature" until a federal legal challenge is resolved regarding the use of the drug propofol as Missouri's new execution method.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated 4:38 p.m.

A Missouri House committee formed to investigate the Department of Revenue’s scanning of driver’s license applicants’ documents has begun two days of hearings into the controversy.

(Brady for Illinois via Wikimedia Commons)

Will be updated.

State Sen. Bill Brady is making a third bid to be Illinois governor.

The Bloomington Republican writes on his campaign website Tuesday that he isn't giving up on Illinois despite the state's serious fiscal challenges. He plans to formally announce the move Wednesday at appearances across the state. He'll start in Chicago and end the day at a Bloomington restaurant.

(via Flickr/bigburpsx3)

Updated at 9:08 p.m. with comments from State Rep. Eric Burlison (R, Springfield), SB29's House handler.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has announced his veto of SB29, the so-called "paycheck protection" bill.

The bill would have required unions to get annual permission to withhold fees and dues from public employee paychecks. 

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

  Missouri is facing a shortage of primary care doctors, and the strain could grow as more people soon gain health insurance under the federal health care law.

The state had a little less than 74 active patient care primary care doctors per 100,000 residents according to 2010 figures from the Association of American Medical Colleges. That ranked Missouri 35th and put it behind the national per capita average of more than 79 active primary care doctors.

The challenge of access to primary care doctors could grow as the federal health care law is fully implemented Jan. 1.

Flickr/Jason Dunnivant

Illinois lawmakers are going to take a pay cut starting next month.

Gov. Pat Quinn on Saturday signed a bill requiring every member of the General Assembly to take one unpaid furlough day per month in fiscal year 2014, which starts July 1.

The new law also prohibits cost-of-living increases next year for lawmakers and state officials.

The legislation was introduced by state Rep. Michelle Mussman and passed both houses with broad bipartisan support.

The Schaumburg Democrat says lawmakers must share the burden of the state's financial woes.

(via Flickr/Christian Haugen)

Police in O'Fallon say a toddler has died after one of his parents left the boy in a hot car.

St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone says the boy had a temperature of 104.6 degrees when first responders arrived. Stone says the boy was less than a month from his second birthday.

The boy was found in the car about 5 p.m. on Thursday. O'Fallon Captain Jeff Wild says the boy's father took the boy to the car about 2:30 p.m. and planned to take a trip. But Wild says the man went back in the house and became distracted.

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