Morning headlines- Thursday, July 12, 2012 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines- Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jul 12, 2012

Heat wave death toll rises

The death toll from the recent heat wave in St. Louis is up to 14.

The city announced yesterday that four more individuals- three men and a woman- had succumbed to the triple-digit temperatures. The exact circumstances of their deaths were not provided.

The rising death toll has prompted Mayor Francis Slay to create a coordinated severe weather response program that will include the city's health, human services, public safety and building departments.

The health department may recommend an ordinance that would require landlords to provide and properly maintain some form of air conditioning.

Gov. Nixon to decide fate of insurance coverage bill

Governor Jay Nixon will announce today his decision on a measure that would allow employers to drop insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization or abortion if that runs contrary to their religious or moral beliefs.

The governor's office says he's received more than 10,000 messages urging either a signature or a veto. He has until Saturday to act on measures before they become law without his signature.

In addition to allowing employers and insurers to drop some coverage, the measure would allow the attorney general to sue government officials who infringe on rights granted in the measure.

Rep. Akin's veterans bill clears congressional committee

A measure that would create a federal registry for veterans who may have been exposed to toxic smoke in Iraq and Afghanistan has cleared a Congressional committee.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Representative Todd Akin, is part of a larger veteran's bill. Some veterans believe they have suffered health programs from smoke they inhaled while burning tons of trash and human waste while serving in the war on terror. The registry would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to track the problems these veterans report.

Drought relief may come easier to farmers

New rules announced yesterday by the Department of Agriculture will make it easier for some farmers to access drought relief.

Under certain circumstances, counties will qualify as disaster areas without a formal designation. They include severe drought conditions for eight or more consecutive weeks.

That makes farmers in 26 counties in southern Illinois eligible for emergency loans.

The state's drought response task force met yesterday to discuss how Illinois will deal with the persistent hot, dry weather.

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