Morning headlines: Thursday, July 14, 2011 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jul 14, 2011

Tilley officially launches campaign

Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley has formally launched his campaign for lieutenant governor. Tilley says he is starting off with more than $1 million in his campaign account.

Tilley, a Republican from Perryville, officially announced his candidacy Thursday for Missouri's second-ranking executive post. It comes as no surprise, because Tilley had changed his fundraising committee to reflect his bid for lieutenant governor last December.

The lieutenant governor's office likely will be open in the 2012 elections because Republican incumbent Peter Kinder is expected to challenge Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. Tilley said he raised $347,000 for his campaign in roughly the past six weeks.

The only other declared candidate is Democrat Becky Plattner, of Marshall.

Nixon faces deadline today on late-term abortion legislation

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon is facing a deadline to decide whether to sign or veto new restrictions on late-term abortions, or let them take effect without his signature.

The abortion legislation is one of several bills that Nixon has not yet acted upon. Under the Missouri Constitution, Nixon must sign or veto bills by the end Thursday or else they will take effect as law without his signature.

Missouri already bans abortions of viable fetuses except to preserve the life or health of the woman. A bill passed this year by the Legislature would remove that general health exception. Instead, it would allow such abortions only to save the woman's life or when pregnancy poses a serious risk of substantial physical impairment to a major bodily function.

ICE seizes ton of marijuana in Pacific, Mo.

Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have seized more than one ton of marijuana from aparked tractor-trailer.

ICE officials say agents found a tractor-trailer pulled over on the side of Interstate 44 near Pacific on Tuesday. A search found 2,300 pounds of marijuana in burlap bags in a hidden compartment.

ICE says the marijuana had a street value of more than $2 million.

The tractor trailer and marijuana were seized. ICE did not release information about whether the truck driver was arrested, citing an ongoing investigation.