Morning Round-Up
9:20 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Morning headlines- Thursday, August 2, 2012

Jobless rate drops below 8 percent in St. Louis

The jobless rate in metropolitan St. Louis is going down, and has dipped below 8 percent for the first time in more than three years.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that figures released Wednesday show the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the region in June was 7.7 percent. However, an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows that the region lost about 5,200 jobs since March.

Nationally, seasonally-adjusted unemployment was at 8.2 percent.

Employees have social media privacy protection under new Ill. law

Mike Moen contributed reporting from DeKalb. Brian Mackey contributed reporting from Springfield.

Illinois is making it illegal for employers to ask job-seekers to hand over passwords to their social networking accounts. 

Governor Pat Quinn signed the measure into law yesterday during an event at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

In their efforts to vet job applicants, some companies and government agencies have been asking to log in to prospective employee's accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter. 

Critics like Quinn say that amounts to a serious invasion of privacy. 

"Even though we live in an information world -- a very fast-paced world, where we can get information in split seconds -- there's some information, if they belong to the person, that belongs just to the person, it's their choice. If they want to share it, that's their choice. But privacy is a fundamental right,” Quinn said.

The Illinois law does allow bosses to view public information not restricted by privacy settings on a site.

Several other states are considering similar bans, including Washington, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey, and two U.S. senators have asked the federal Justice Department to review whether such requests are legal.

Cyber security Senate vote expected today                                                                       

The United States Senate is expected to vote on a cyber security bill today. The bill is considered a watered-down version of previous cyber security bills that have sparked intense public debate.

Republican Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says the proposed legislation allows the Department of Homeland Security to beef up security before a large scale cyber attack.

"If we pass the right kind of law we may dramatically postpone or minimize the impact that a cyber attack on our communication network or utility network or healthcare network or financial network might have,” Blunt said.

He points to Missouri's 111 power plants that could be disabled during a cyber attack. Blunt says that even if the senate passes the legislation, the bill will not progress further until after the election.

Nixon appoints ex-lawmaker to Mo. veterans panel

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has appointed a former Republican state lawmaker to the Missouri Veterans' Commission.

Chuck Wooten is a World War II veteran from Nixa who served five terms in the Missouri House.

The commission provides information to veterans and their families about their rights and helps them obtain state and federal benefits. It also oversees skilled nursing facilities for veterans and veteran cemeteries.

Nixon announced Wooten's appointment yesterday. If confirmed by the state Senate, he would serve until November 2015.

Follow St. Louis Public Radio on Twitter: @stlpublicradio