Morning headlines: Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Missouri officials say freight has started moving again on the Missouri River – even before the official start of the shipping season. The Missouri Department of Transportation says that cement, fertilizer and other freight was being transported on the river this week. The U.S. Coast Guard is to place navigational buoys on the waterway April 1. State transportation officials say their goal is to boost the amount of products moved by barge on the Missouri River. About 334,000 tons of freight was transported on the river last year, up about 24 percent from 2009.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says the federal health care law's legal fate is still uncertain. Koster's statement comes in response to three Republican officials who asked him whether he thought the law could be enforced in Missouri. Two federal judges upheld the health care overhaul. A third struck down the insurance requirement, and a fourth ruled the entire law is unconstitutional. Appeals courts will consider those rulings. Koster says Missouri risks possible sanctions by not complying with the law while waiting for a definitive ruling. Koster says lawmakers and the governor will have to weigh the risks of possible sanctions against costs for complying with the law. The GOP officials who requested the legal analysis criticized Koster's response for not being sufficiently specific.
Trustees at the University of Illinois are scheduled to vote on a plan to increase tuition by 6.9 percent for students who start this fall. That means new students at the university's Urbana-Champaign campus would pay $11,104 a year in tuition. Students at the Chicago campus would pay $9,764, while students in Springfield would pay $8,670. Those figures don't include fees, room and board. Last year, trustees raised tuition by 9.5 percent. University spokesman Thomas Hardy calls the increase trustees are scheduled to consider today "a conservative proposal." Hardy says it keeps in mind the concerns of families and the financial needs of the university.