Morning headlines: Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Election Day in St. Louis
It's election day in Missouri and voters in St. Louis and Kansas City will head to the polls to decide whether to retain each community's 1 percent earnings tax. In St. Louis, the $140 million from the tax is about a third of the city's revenue. If the proposition fails, the tax will be phased out over the next ten years.
St. Louis-area election officials are expecting a relatively low turnout typical of municipal elections.
Televangelist to Testify at Coleman Trial
Televangelist Joyce Meyer will testify at the murder trial of her former bodyguard, Christopher Coleman. Citing court documents filed Monday, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Meyer will testify via a recorded deposition to be taken this week. It will be the first time Meyer has appeared in a public setting connected to the case since May 5, 2009, when she visited Coleman’s home in Columbia, Illinois to show support the morning Coleman’s wife and two sons were found dead.
Thirty-four-year-old Coleman is being held without bail on first-degree murder charges in the strangulation deaths of his wife, Sheri, and their two sons. Officials said that Coleman, who was having an affair with a woman in Florida, may have killed his family to escape his marriage without losing his job with Meyer to a no-divorce policy.
Jury selection is scheduled to start next week, with opening statements scheduled for April 25.
Missouri Senate Leaders to Attempt to Extend Unemployment
Missouri Senate leaders plan to take another try at passing legislation to extend unemployment benefits to people who have been out of work for a year and a half. Eligibility for the federally funded benefits expired last Saturday in Missouri, because four Republican senators have been filibustering state legislation to reauthorize the program. As a result, about 10,000 people in Missouri are losing benefits, and about 24,000 others could miss out on the additional 20 weeks of benefits offered under the program.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey - a Republican - said Monday he plans to bring the bill up again, perhaps Thursday, with the hope of re-enacting the benefits retroactively. Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer says he hopes the bill eventually will come to a vote.
Kinder to Stay in Condo During St. Louis Visits
Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder says he will use a condominium in Richmond Heights paid for by his campaign when he visits St. Louis. Kinder’s announcements come in the wake of a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story reporting that taxpayers paid his tab for at least 329 nights at a St. Louis hotel over the past five years.
Kinder is a Republican from Cape Girardeau who is widely expected to run for governor next year. The Post-Dispatch reported Sunday that Kinder's St. Louis hotel stays cost taxpayers $35,050 since 2006. Kinder told The Associated Press he was audited in 2007 and 2010 by Democratic auditors and that the hotel stays were never an issue.