Morning round-up
6:47 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Morning headlines - Thursday, May 17, 2012

Larry Rice arrested at new homeless camp

The Rev. Larry Rice was among four people arrested last night at the site of a new homeless encampment in south St. Louis.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the arrests took place around 6:30 p.m.,  – about two hours after the city issued an emergency condemnation order for the plot of land on Vandeventer north of Interstate 44. Some of the encampment residents departed before the arrests began - four others went to an emergency shelter overnight. Two others, along with Rice and a supporter, opted to be arrested.

Public safety director Eddie Roth told the paper that the city condemned the plot for occupancy because it lacked proper permits and sanitation facilities. Rice has said in previous interviews he will return to the site, which he's named Integrity Village.

Jayhawk license plate ban goes to governor

The fate of specialty license plates supporting the University of Kansas is now in the hands of Mizzou-fan-in-chief Gov. Jay Nixon.

The state Senate last night approved a larger higher education bill that contained the amendment.

"We have followed this since it was put on in the house," said Republican Senator Bob Dixon of Springfield, who sponsored the higher education bill and supported the amendment. "It actually became more popular than anything else on the bill. People really want to get this done."

The amendment would require legislative approval for specialty license plates that feature out-of-state colleges and universities. Its author, Democratic state Rep. Stephen Webber of Columbia, says he'll reverse that requirement if the Jayhawks agree to resume their athletic rivalry with Mizzou.

Legislative flurry begins as 2011-2012 session winds down

The higher education bill was one of several jockeying for final passage as the end of session approaches.

The state House approved a measure that allows health care providers to refuse to participate in tasks that violate their religious or ethical beliefs, and prevents pharmacies from being required to supply particular medications of devices. Employers and health care plans could not be required to cover abortions, contraceptives, or sterilization. Supporters say the measure protects religious freedom – opponents say it restricts health care. It’ll need another round of approval from the Senate.

And lawmakers have sent Gov. Nixon a bill that would allow municipalities to continue to charge local sales taxes on vehicle purchases.

The state Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that local sales tax could not be levied on purchases made out of state, but could charge a local use tax. The legislation approved by the state House yesterday reinstates the local sales tax.

Supporters say the loss of sales tax revenue could cost local governments millions of dollars.

Also on its way to the governor is legislation designed to make it easier for students to transfer among Missouri's public colleges and universities, and a measure that requires interstate truck drivers to provide the state proof from a medical professional that they are healthy enough to drive, bringing Missouri in line with federal requirements.