Two Illinois lawmakers say they're within "striking distance" of getting legislative approval for gay marriage and hope to send a bill to Gov. Pat Quinn shortly after the new year.
Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Heather Steans say they'll call for a vote on a gay marriage bill when the Legislature reconvenes in January. The Chicago Democrats say public opinion favoring equal rights for same-sex partners is moving rapidly. The fact that four states voted in favor of the issue or opposed a ban on it in November helps.
Nixon seeks permission to ease land restrictions during drought
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has asked the federal government to allow farmers to graze cattle on land that's been taken out of crop production as part of a federal conservation effort.
Farmers in the state have about 1.4 million acres of land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, which pays them to plant other vegetation instead of cash crops like corn or soybeans. Livestock grazing is allowed on the land when there's a 40 percent shortage of hay and precipitation.