Morning round-up
6:35 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Morning headlines - Friday, June 22, 2012

Nixon will announce budget cuts today

Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to announce today if he’ll make any reductions to the state budget – ending weeks of speculation for university and social service program administrators.

Nixon this week signed legislation funding public schools and the state departments of health and mental health without making any cuts.

But questions still remain about the state's $24 billion operating budget, including whether lawmakers appropriated enough to cover expenses. It’s also unclear whether the Missouri Lottery will generate as much revenue as state officials have projected.

Missouri Athletic Club may get smoking ban exemption

The first establishment to be cited under St. Louis’ smoking ban may wriggle free of it.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that city health director Pamela Rice Walker unveiled a compromise proposal yesterday that would allow smoking  to take place at the Missouri Athletic Club in certain locations and at certain times.

The MAC was cited and fined twice for flaunting the ban. Those both ended up in court – that’s when discussions of a deal began.

Both opponents and supporters of the ban were angered by the compromise, with some questioning whether it was legal. Walker says she’s not happy either, but feared the club would sue and challenge the law itself.

A city health panel took no action on the proposed compromise on Thursday, and will meet again to discuss the issue.

Ill. Supreme Court: photos of consensual sex with minor still child pornography

Brian Mackey contributed reporting from Springfield, Ill.

The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that even though 17-year-olds can consent to sexual activity, it’s still illegal to take pictures of that consensual behavior.

The case involved a relationship between two community college classmates – a 32-year-old man and a 17-year-old woman. The man, Marshall Hollins, took photos of one of their trysts, and emailed it to the woman, whose mother found the pictures. Hollins was convicted of making child pornography and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Hollins argued that photos of a legal activity could not be illegal. But in a 5-2 decision the court disagreed, saying that the consequences of pornography are different than the consequences of consensual sex.

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