Morning headlines: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Mo. Senate considers legislation to beef up security at the Capitol
The bill would increase the number of security cameras at the State Capitol and allow the Governor's Office of Administration to hire private, armed security guards if needed.
It's sponsored by Democrat Robin Wright-Jones of St. Louis. She filed the bill shortly after someone placed rifle target stickers outside her office and the offices of several other Democratic Senators and one House Republican:
"I'm asking for cameras in the hallways, where the citizens of this state and other parts of the country come to visit us, and I think that's a prudent way to begin," Wright-Jones said. "I'm not asking for turrets with cops, with guns, I'm not asking for a perimeter fence."
There are currently 20 cameras at the State Capitol, mainly covering the entrances. Wright-Jones' bill would add 48 more cameras with an estimated cost of more than 100-thousand dollars.
Some Republican senators balked at the proposal, calling it an expensive overreaction to the January incident.
The bill was debated for about two hours Tuesday before being tabled.
Plummer and Harriman win party nominations for Ill. congressional seat
The November race for Illinois's only open congressional seat will feature Republican lumber businessman Jason Plummer and Democratic former regional schools superintendent Brad Harriman.
Longtime Democratic Congressman Jerry Costello announced last October that he won't seek another term in the southern Illinois district after more than two decades. Costello's tenure is the longest of any Democrat in Illinois' congressional delegation.
Democrats have held the seat since World War II. Republicans see it as an opportunity to flip the seat into the GOP column. The district runs from St. Louis' Illinois suburbs to the state's southernmost tip.
Three Democrats and three Republicans were on the ballot.
Meanwhile, turnout in Tuesday's primary could be the lowest in at least 50 years. Several spots in Illinois say turnout hovered near 20 percent. Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential race, snagging 47 percent of the vote. Rick Santorum received 35 percent.
Despite displeasure, Lembke files for second term
A Republican state senator from the St. Louis area has filed for re-election despite his displeasure with his district's new boundaries.
A bipartisan commission last week approved a new map of Missouri's 34 Senate districts to reflect population changes since 2000.
Some St. Louis County Republicans have expressed opposition to the new districts. Among them is Sen. Jim Lembke, who has filed for a second term from the 1st District. The district covers southern St. Louis County, and Lembke says the new map gives Democrats an advantage in the area.
Data from state and federal races from 2002 to 2010 were released with the new Senate map. They show Democratic candidates getting more support in the redrawn 1st Senate District.