Morning round-up
9:26 am
Mon May 23, 2011

Morning Headlines: Monday, May 23, 2011

Devastation in Joplin Following Tornado

Rescue workers are searching for survivors following a massive tornado that blasted a four-mile path across southwestern Missouri slamming into the city of Joplin with cataclysmic force. The tornado last night ripped into a hospital, destroyed neighborhoods and upended cars.

Eighty-nine people have been confirmed dead.

Gov. Jay Nixon has activated the National Guard following the deadly storms and tornadoes . The governor also declared a state of emergency last night. His office says that state and local law enforcement agencies are coordinating search and rescue and recovery operations in the stricken areas. 

The deadly tornado flattened a large area of the city of Joplin and heavily damaged St. John's Regional Medical Center. Nixon says the National Guard will help local law enforcement with emergency coordination and recovery. He says Missouri's Disaster Medical Assistance Team is also heading to the area.

About 2,000 homes and businesses have been damaged.

In a statement issued last night, President Barack Obama says the Federal Emergency Management Agency is working with state and local agencies in response to the tornado .

Obama also conveyed condolences to families of those who died in the storms in Joplin and across the Midwest. He commended the "heroic" efforts of those who are responding to the disaster.

The president says the federal government is prepared to provide help as needed.

Illinois Senators Backtrack on Murderer Registry Legislation

The Senate approved the bill 40-0 Sunday, then realized there had been an oversight. Amendments that were supposed to be included in the bill had never been adopted.

The sponsor used a parliamentary maneuver to reverse the bill's approval. The amendments will be added later this week and then the correct version of the bill will get another vote.

The goal is to let people know if a murderer lives near them, just like people can look up the locations of people on a state registry of sex offenders.

Some Want More Time to Review Illinois Proposed Legislative Districts

The Illinois House held a public hearing yesterday in Chicago on its proposed redistricting map and some attendees said there should be more time to review what lawmakers did before it's approved.

The Illinois Senate had a hearing on its proposed new districts Saturday.

Lawmakers are rushing to approve the maps before the scheduled end of the legislative session on May 31. They're going through the once-a-decade ritual of redrawing the state's legislative districts based on new U.S. Census numbers.

Democrats are in charge because they control the Legislature and the governor's office. A map of new congressional districts has not yet been released.