Morning round-up
9:21 am
Tue September 27, 2011

Morning headlines: Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Judge rules Illinois can cancel contracts with Catholic Charities

A Sangamon County judge has ruled the Illinois Department of Children and Family Service can begin canceling its adoption and foster care contracts with Catholic Charities.

Judge John Schmidt Monday denied Catholic Charities' request to stay his earlier ruling that the group has no right to state contracts to provide adoption and foster care services. Illinois ended $30 million in contracts with Catholic Charities in four dioceses in July because the organizations' practice of referring unmarried couples to other agencies was discriminatory, a violation of the state's civil union law.

Catholic Charities has argued it developed a "property interest" in the work after 40 years of annually renewed contracts with the state.

Attorneys for Catholic Charities say they will ask the 4th District Appellate Court to stay Schmidt's ruling.

Mo. special session fading to failure

Republican legislative leaders rushed to upstage Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon this summer by announcing that they had struck an agreement on a sweeping package to curtail many of Missouri's existing tax credits and create new incentives for businesses. In hindsight, it's clear that there was no agreement - at least not among rank-and-file lawmakers.

Now in its fourth week, the special session has essentially been suspended. Lawmakers have left the Capitol. There are no more votes scheduled on the economic development legislation. And there weren't any negotiations over the weekend between House and Senate leaders. 

If no action is taken, the session will automatically end by early November.

Mo. state senators to investigate central Mo. project

The unfulfilled central Missouri project used public incentives and was to employ several hundred people to manufacture artificial sweetener.

The project by Mamtek U.S. Inc. was backed by $39 million in industrial development bonds issued by Moberly, and the state offered more than $17 million worth of incentives. But the plant remains under construction, Mamtek has laid off its employees and the company missed its first bond payment.

Missouri senators said Monday the committee would examine the role of the Department of Economic Development in the project. The attorney general's office said last week that it was assisting the Randolph County prosecutor to determine whether any civil or criminal laws were violated.