It appears that first basemen Albert Pujols will enter spring training on Wednesday with no deal in place with the St. Louis Cardinals.The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a source familiar with negotiations confirmed Pujols recently rejected the team's contract extension offer. If so, talks presumably would halt Feb. 15 because of a deadline put in place by Pujols' agent. And the likelihood of the three-time National League Most Valuable Player reaching free agency after the upcoming season would increase. There was no comment from the Cardinals on Sunday night. According to reports, Pujols wants a 10-year deal.
Missouri lawmakers are calling for efforts to combat school bullying. Legislators are expected to hold a new conference today in the state Capitol building to discuss legislation. One proposal would develop definitions for "cyber-bullying" and instruct schools to develop policies to combat online bullying. The efforts are backed by the Safe Schools Coalition, which represents 40 organizations across Missouri.
Illinois Republicans are criticizing Governor Pat Quinn ahead of his budget address. Quinn is scheduled to lay out his proposed state spending plan for the next year on Wednesday. Last month, Quinn signed a bill raising income and corporate taxes to help balance the state's multi-billion dollar deficit. Republican State Senator Matt Murphy says he wants Quinn to repeal the tax increases and make more spending cuts. Murphy says given the state's budget problems, he would be open to cutting education funding. Meantime, Quinn says he's made $3 billion in budget cuts since taking office.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a judge has postponed the trial of Christopher Coleman, who's accused of killing his wife and sons. His defense lawyers asserted they needed more time to examine DNA evidence. Jury selection in the trial was to begin Tuesday. On Thursday, the judge also denied a defense effort to exclude Coleman's taped six-hour interview with Columbia police on May 5, 2009, the day the bodies were found in the family's home.
According to an Illinois Supreme court stay issued today (which you can read below), the state can continue collecting higher taxes on liquor, coffee and grooming products. But that may be only temporary.
The tax bumps have been in place since 2009.
Lawmakers intended for them, as well as proceeds from the legalization of video poker, to pay for a $31 billion infrastructure plan.
Snow plows stand at the ready for the Missouri Department of Transportation. A major winter storm is expected to hit the St. Louis area, beginning with freezing rain, later today. (Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)
Good morning! Here are some headlines to start your week:
Missouri is bracing for a winter storm that could dump as much as a foot of snow on the ground before it's over. Doug Tilly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service says the brunt of the storm is going to be Tuesday into Tuesday night and much of Missouri and Illinois are going to get some part of the storm.
We would strongly suggest not planning to get out of your home for a couple days after this storm." - Doug Tilly, National Weather Service meteorologist
The weather service says roads will become snow covered and travel will be difficult to extremely dangerous on Tuesday. Forecasters say the storm has the potential to bring travel to a halt over much of Kansas and Missouri on Tuesday and Wednesday. Winds are expected to pick up on Tuesday and cause near blizzard conditions on all major highways.
Governor Pat Quinn today will make civil unions legal in Illinois. He will sign the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act at a a ceremony in Chicago. Couples who enter into a civil union will be able to make health care decisions for their partners, be allowed hospital visitation rights and will have inheritance protections. But Bob Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, says allowing civil unions is a step in the direction of legalizing same-sex marriages:
Our concern is the nature of marriage really isn't debatable because it is by definition a union between one man and one woman and when the state passes such a law of civil unions it creates a concern because it goes against the natural law." - Bob Gilligan, executive director, Catholic Conference of Illinois
Civil unions will be legal starting June 1. Illinois becomes the sixth state to take the step.
Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn, pictured here at his inauguration ceremonies earlier this month. Today, an Illinois appellate court has thrown out legislation that was supposed to fund Quinn's $31 billion state construction plan. (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo) in St. Louis on July 13, 2010. Blunt shared his remarks on the failed bid for Mo. Republican Ann Wagner to take the top job in their party, Chair of the Republican National Committee, last week. (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)