Morning round-up
9:27 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Morning headlines: Friday, December 2, 2011

STL area democrat files local control legislation

The legislation, sponsored by Joe Keaveny, would return the St. Louis Police Department back to local control for the first time since the 1850s. Thursday was the first day lawmakers could file bills for next year's session, which starts January 4th.  Local control bills failed during both this year's regular and special sessions as they became bargaining chips in the tax credit battle between the House and Senate. 

Another bill pre-filed Thursday would allow homeowners to deduct up to $5,000 from their state income taxes for building storm shelters.  There's a proposed constitutional amendment that would shorten the legislative session from 18 to 12 weeks - and there's a measure that would require candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor to run on the same ticket.

St. Louis animal shelter getting $250,000

The city's Public Health Committee voted unanimously Thursday to provide the money to Stray Rescue as the organization completes construction of a new shelter downtown. The decision ends an often contentious debate. 

The money was generated by city utility customers agreeing to round up their bills to the nearest dollar.

Lawsuit filed challenging MOSIRA

A lawsuit has been filed that challenges the creation of a new fund to offer state incentives to science or technology companies. The Missouri Roundtable for Life and Missouri Right to Life said Thursday the new fund should be void. Legislators created the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act this year during a special legislative session. However, it contained a clause that the law would not take effect without the passage of a separate measure, which was not approved.

Democratic Governor Jay Nixon has said his administration would take steps to implement the law anyway.

Judge declares East St. Louis woman unfit to stand trial 

A southwestern Ill. woman accused in the shotgun deaths of two of her children has, for now, been deemed by a judge to be mentally unfit for trial.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Milton Wharton ruled Thursday he accepts a report by a clinical psychologist who evaluated 25-year-old Yokeia Smith that the woman is unfit to face charges of first-degree murder. But Wharton's written ruling notes the psychologist finds a "substantial probability" that Smith can be found fit within a year with proper mental-health treatment and medication.

Smith remains jailed on the charges that accuse her of gunning down her 5-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter on August 31st in their East St. Louis apartment.