Morning headlines: April 4, 2011
Missouri Senate Committee to Release Redistricting Map Today
A Missouri Senate committee is preparing to consider a plan for developing new congressional districts. Missouri is losing one of its nine seats in the U.S. House, and the state Legislature is responsible for drawing the boundaries of the eight resulting districts. The Senate committee on redistricting is scheduled to release its proposed map today.
Chairman Scott Rupp, a Republican from Wentzville, says his proposal will probably look a little different from a map already released by a House committee. The House panel's version consolidates the two congressional districts in the city of St. Louis - both held by Democrats – into a single district. It would also divide up mid-Missouri, putting Jefferson City and Cole County into a new district extending all the way east to the outskirts of St. Louis.
Missouri House Committee to Hold Public Hearing on Emergency Contact Database
Some Missouri lawmakers want to create a state database listing emergency contact information for licensed drivers. The proposal is backed by several dozen Democratic House members. It would require the state driver license bureau to create a database by August 2012 that could list the names, addresses and telephone numbers of people to be contacted in case a person is killed or seriously injured in an automobile accident.
Information in the database would be accessible only to police, emergency responders and driver license bureau personnel. It would not be considered an open record under the state Sunshine Law.
The legislation is to receive a public hearing today by the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee.
Anheuser-Busch Shuts Down 154-Year-Old Railroad
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Anheuser-Busch informed federal railroad regulators that it is shutting down Manufacturers Railway Company, which had been part of the brewery since 1887. It was a shortline railroad operating less than 14 miles of track and providing service between the brewery and other railroads just across the river into Illinois.
The brewery shut down the railroad because it had become unprofitable, losing $700,000 last year.
Pre-Trial Hearing in Coleman Case Today
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a final pre-trial hearing is expected this morning in the Christopher Coleman murder case. A Circuit Judge is expected to decide if Robert A. Leonard, a forensic linguist can testify at trial. Leonard has compared a series of threat letters and sprayed messages with a database of some 200 emails known to be written by Coleman, a former bodyguard for televangelist Joyce Meyer. Leonard concluded that the language patterns are consistent, and the threatening letters appeared to come from a single person.
Coleman is accused in the strangulation deaths of his wife Sheri, and two sons, who were found dead in the family’s Southern Illinois home in May 2009. Police allege Coleman was having an affair with a woman in Florida and may have killed his family to escape his marriage without sacrificing job with Joyce Meyer Ministries. Jury selection will begin this week.