Rod Jetton

Tim Bommel, House Communications

Rod Jetton was once the most powerful lawmaker in Missouri.

As speaker of the Missouri House, he had the power to exalt or kill any bill that flowed through the General Assembly. From all appearances, he had a bright political future.

Behind the scenes, however, Jetton was on a course for self-destruction. 

By the time he left office, the FBI was investigating him for bribery. He was facing serious jail time after being accused of felony assault. Just months after being one of the most powerful men in Missouri politics, Jetton was broke and without a job.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: More than two years after former state Sen. Jeff Smith finished his prison sentence for a campaign-finance violation that went very wrong, the episode continues to define his approach to life and work.

MoDOT

A panel created by the Missouri House to review the state's transportation needs met Monday in Columbia.

Most of the testimony heard by the Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee on Missouri's Transportation Needs centered on improving the state's highways, and whether those improvements should include a toll road -- be it I-70 or another major highway.  Bob Gilbert with the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce told the panel that the state should also upgrade U.S. Highway 50.

UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock

Joplin Tornado Death Toll at 126

The death toll from Sunday's devastating tornado in Joplin is now up to 126. Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr announced the updated figure to reporters Thursday after meeting with residents and government officials about plans to offer assistance to victimized residents. More than 900 people suffered injuries in Sunday's tornado, now considered the nation's single-deadliest in six decades.