Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer says he is looking for around $500 million of savings in the state budget over the next several years. Missouri's Legislature is not in session this week because of its annual spring break. But Mayer says he nonetheless will be meeting with Senate budget-writing staff to try to identify changes that can save the state money. Mayer is a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He gave little indication of what he is looking to cut. But Mayer did note that a gubernatorial commission has identified potential savings by restructuring and paring back the state's tax credits. Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey says the chamber is expected to take up a package of tax credit changes when lawmakers return from their break.
University of Missouri curators head to Rolla to determine the qualifications for the system's next president. The two-day meeting beginning Monday at Missouri University of Science and Technology follows several statewide public forums by a 20-member advisory panel that will help curators choose the new president. Curators are looking to replace Gary Forsee, who retired in January to care for his ill wife. Former general counsel Steve Owens is the interim president but is not interested in the permanent job. Campus leaders expect the presidential search to last most of this year. Curators will craft a statement on the desired qualifications of the four-campus system's next leader based in part on public comments from the statewide meetings.
The state of Illinois' decision to eliminate the death penalty means about three dozen state employees will soon be out of work. The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports that State Appellate Defender Michael Pelletier began notifying about 37 employees in his office on Friday that their jobs are being eliminated. That's because Gov. Pat Quinn abolished the death penalty earlier this month and commuted the sentences of the 15 men on death row. Most of the employees being cut are lawyers who handled death penalty cases. The reduction will save about $4.7 million.
A deputy U.S. marshal shot in the head while trying to arrest a fugitive early Tuesday morning has died. The U.S. Marshals Service in Washington, D.C. says 48-year-old John Perry died at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Saint Louis University Hospital. He had been with the U.S. Marshals for almost 10 years. Authorities say the suspect, Carlos Boles, shot Perry and a second U.S. marshal and a St. Louis police officer as they were trying to arrest Boles on charges of assaulting a law enforcement officer and drug possession. Boles was killed in the exchange. U.S. deputy marshal Theodore Abegg was shot in the ankle and as of last night was listed in fair condition at SLU. The St. Louis police officer was hit in his protective vest and received a grazing wound to the face. He was treated at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and released.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn reportedly plans to sign a bill to abolish the death penalty in the state. The two sponsors of the bill say Quinn's staff told them he intends to sign it at a ceremony today. State Rep. Karen Yarbrough and state Sen. Kwame Raoul told The Associated Press on Tuesday that they have been invited to the bill signing in Quinn's Springfield office. Quinn's office declined to comment about his intentions. The new law would take effect July 1. Former Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium on executions in Illinois in 2000 after the death sentences of 13 men were overturned. Ryan cleared death row before leaving office in 2003.
A former St. Louis alderman who was recalled from office in 2005 over his support for controversial development projects in his south city ward seems poised to take his old seat back in April. Tom Bauer defeated the current 24th Ward incumbent, Bill Waterhouse. Bauer will face an independent candidate in April. The three other incumbents facing primary challenges all won. In the south side’s 20th ward, Alderman Craig Schmid beat Shannon McGinn. Sixth Ward Alderman Kacie Starr Triplett beat out criminal defense attorney Brad Kessler to continue representing Lafayette Square and Downtown West. And in the St. Louis Hills’ Ward 15, incumbent Donna Baringer beat out former Circuit Clerk Mariano Favazza. As expected, voter turnout was low with less than 7 percent of the city’s registered voters casting a ballot.
The ban on executions goes to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who must sign the legislation for it to become law. During last fall's campaign, Quinn said he supports "capital punishment when applied carefully and fairly," but also backs the 10-year-old moratorium on executions.
The Senate voted 32-25 to approve the ban, with two members voting present.