Morning headlines: Injunction prevents St. Charles county from enforcing restrictions on funeral protests, Mo. House committee takes up Prop B repeal, Peabody Energy doubles profits
- According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction yesterday that prevents St. Charles county from enforcing a law passed last month putting tight restrictions on protests near funerals. The Westboro Church of Topeka, Kan., sought an injunction on the grounds that the law violates the First Amendment. The order halts enforcement of the law while the constitutionality of the ordinance is thoroughly reviewed. The law was set to take effect Feb. 7.
- A Missouri House committee is taking up a proposal to overturn a new dog-breeding law approved by state voters last year. A bill by House Republican, Tony Dugger, of Hartville, calls for the repeal of Prop B, which was endorsed by 52 percent of Missouri voters in November 2010. A House committee plans to debate the bill today. The voter-backed law limits dog breeders to 50 animals and requires daily feeding, annual veterinary care and greater access to outdoor exercise. It's scheduled to take effect later this year. The ballot initiative was backed by national animal rights groups critical of the state's reputation as the "puppy mill capital." Agricultural groups and other opponents say the changes will punish law-abiding breeders and could lead to further efforts to restrict livestock production in Missouri.
Peabody Energy Corp. says its profit more than doubled in the last three months of 2010 as higher global prices and demand for coal offset production disruptions blamed on devastating rains in Australia. The world's biggest private-sector coal company says its net income attributable to common shareholders was $210 million, or 78 cents per share, in the October-December period. That's up from $92.2 million, or 34 cents, a year earlier. St. Louis-based Peabody says fourth-quarter revenue rose 17 percent to $1.82 billion from $1.55 billion the previous year. On average, analysts polled by FactSet expected Peabody to earn 77 cents per share on revenue of $1.79 billion. Its shares rose 2.3 percent to $60.63 in pre-market trading.