Morning round-up
9:33 am
Tue May 10, 2011

Morning headlines: Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Missouri Senate Stops Short of Approving Local Control of St. Louis Police Dept.

Missouri senators have embraced a proposal that would allow St. Louis to control the city police force, ending the state's Civil War-era oversight of the department.

The issue of control over the St. Louis police department has percolated for several years. Currently, the St. Louis mayor and four others appointed by the governor serve on a state board overseeing the department. The board was established in 1861. Senators signed off on legislation Monday that would allow for local control starting in 2012. However, senators stopped short of approving the legislation Monday. Several others steps are necessary to complete a deal over the local control measure.

Lawmakers have until Friday to give the legislation final approval.

Missouri Lawmakers Give Final Approval to Photo ID  Measure

Missouri voters will get to decide a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that could change the requirements for voting in future elections.

Lawmakers gave final approval Monday to a measure that would authorize a law requiring registered voters to show a government-issued photo identification before casting ballots. It would also allow for an advance voting period before Election Day. The two-prong measure will appear on the 2012 ballot.

Legislators approved a voter ID requirement in 2006, but the Missouri Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional. This year's measure is intended to address that issue.

Missouri House Votes to Require Prescription for Pseudoephedrine

Missouri House members have passed legislation that aims to crack down on methamphetamine by requiring prescriptions for some cold and allergy remedies containing pseudoephedrine .The decongestant is a key ingredient in meth.

The prescription requirement would apply to solid tablets that contain the substance. Liquids and gel-caps could still be purchased without a prescription.

Missouri already requires pharmacies to keep pseudoephedrine remedies behind their counters and limits the amount customers can buy at one time. The state recently implemented an industry-funded electronic database to track purchases in real time.

The bill cleared the House on a vote of 86-64 Monday and went to the Senate. The legislative sessions ends Friday evening.

Cairo Residents View Damage, Evacuation Order Remains in Place

Mississippi River levels are falling outside of Cairo's flood walls, but sand boils and sinkholes continue to plague the community's streets. The small southern Ill. town is still under a mandatory evacuation.

Residents can return to Cairo to check homes and property between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., but they cannot stay overnight.

Lifelong resident Kenny Simelton left Cairo two weeks ago. As he looked over a series of sinkholes, he wondered if the city's foundation is structurally sound.

"Is the city safe at all? I mean, if they fix this hole, will it collapse again," Simelton questioned. "Will there be an area that collapses? Who knows? I don't know."

Cairo has been under a mandatory evacuation since May 1 due to massive flooding on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. In a written statement, Cairo Mayor Tyrone Coleman urged residents to respect that evacuation order, saying that the city is still unsafe.

Zweifel to Approve Loans in 24 Hours for Businesses Recovering from Floods and Tornadoes

Missouri is offering to speed up the approval of low-interest loans for farms and businesses recovering from recent floods and tornadoes.

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel says his office will review applications within 24 hours from people in disaster-affected areas seeking to participate in the state's linked-deposit program. He says it typically takes about 10 days to consider applications.

The linked-deposit program puts state money into banks at low interest rates so that those banks can make low-interest loans. It's open to farms, businesses with fewer than 100 employees, public entities and individuals who install alternative energy systems in their homes or buildings.