Morning round-up
9:25 am
Tue November 8, 2011

Morning headlines: Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Number of E. coli cases in St. Louis grows

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says there are now 30 confirmed cases of E. coli in the St. Louis area, and officials continue looking for the source. Health officials have tested 55 food samples connected to the St. Louis outbreak, but zero have been confirmed to have E. coli.

The first cases were reported late last month in St. Louis city and St. Louis, Jefferson and St. Charles counties in Missouri and St. Clair County, Illinois.

Ill. general assembly back for second half of veto session

Supporters of expanding gambling in Illinois are ready to again throw the dice on a casino package. The General Assembly is back in Springfield this week for the second half of the veto session, and lawmakers may vote on a new plan.  

The measure approved in the Spring allowed for five new casinos and slot machines at race tracks. But it was too much for Governor Pat Quinn, who not only called it top heavy, but panned it for having regulatory gaps.

House Sponsor Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, says he and the Senate sponsor took the governor's comments into consideration for their latest plan. Like the first one, Illinois would get five more casinos, something Quinn is okay with.  But despite the governor's opposition it keeps the slots at race tracks. 

Lang says he hopes it's enough to satisfy the governor.

"I'll show him that we gave the gaming board more authority, I'll show him that we provided for more transparency, more ethics, and I'll show him that we did our best to reduce the amount of gaming in the bill and urge him to sign it," Lang said.

The new version creates an inspector general over gaming, gives the state gaming board more money to oversee the expansion.

Two Mo. initiative petitions to legalize marijuana approved for circulation

Advocates can begin collecting signatures for two proposed Missouri ballot measures that would legalize marijuana. The secretary of state's office said Monday the initiative petitions have been approved for circulation to get them on the 2012 ballot.

One proposal would amend the Missouri Constitution to legalize cannabis for people 21 and older, allow doctors to recommend use of medicinal marijuana and release prison inmates convicted of nonviolent offenses related to cannabis. It would also allow the Legislature to enact a marijuana tax of up to $100 per pound.

The second proposal is similar but would enact a state law instead of amending the Missouri Constitution.