Morning headlines: Monday, February 6, 2012 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Monday, February 6, 2012

Missouri's presidential primary tomorrow

Turnout is expected to be low for Tuesday's presidential primary. That's partly because the votes for the GOP candidates won't count.

Missouri has gotten little attention from Republican candidates this election year. Newt Gingrich isn't even on the ballot.

The Missouri Republican Party made the decision after the national GOP threatened to cut delegates from states that held their elections before March. Yet the head of Missouri's GOP, Lloyd Smith, is still encouraging voting in the primary.

"I would urge people to participate in the process," said Smith. "Voting is not just a right and a privilege; it's a responsibility."

Smith says the primary may influence those who go to the caucuses March 17. And he says some counties do have issues other than the presidential election on the ballot.

The Missouri's Secretary of State's office estimates it will cost between $6 million and $7 million to hold the election.

McCaskill to discuss U.S. Post Office proposal today

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill seeks to avoid closing rural post offices under her proposal to maintain six-day mail delivery. The Missouri Democrat will be in Kansas City today to discuss the proposals she wants incorporated into the 21st Century Postal Service Act.

The U.S. Postal Service is expected to lose a record $14.1 billion this year as increased Internet use reduces mail volume. A plan to close mail centers and post offices has been put on hold until mid-May.

McCaskill is proposing cutting costs by reducing agency payments that fund future retiree health benefits. She's also asking for a new business model that would return the agency to financial health within a year.

Joplin Board of Education to vote on bond recommendation today

The $62 million bond recommendation is to rebuild schools destroyed in the May 22nd tornado, renovate elementary schools and build community safe rooms.

The Joplin Globe reports that the board takes up the issue today.

The district estimates the total cost of all the projects at $185 million. Depending on the school board's decision, the issue could go to voters on April 3rd.  

The district's bonding capacity is about $63 million. A $62 million bond would increase the levy by 35 cents, from $3.31 to $3.65 per $100 of assessed valuation. District officials say they're pursuing other sources of money too, including insurance, state and federal aid, bonds and grants.