Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:
Missouri Legislative leaders and Gov. Jay Nixon expect to receive population an demographic figures from the U.S. Census Bureau today. The data is important for state lawmakers to start developing new congressional districts. Missouri officials already know the state will drop from nine to eight congressional districts based upon statewide population figures released in December by the Census Bureau. State lawmakers will develop and approve the new boundaries for Missouri just like any other legislation. The Legislature plans hearing on redistricting in the state Capitol and across the state.
Missouri lawmakers are poised to make another run at outlawing some synthetic drugs. Missouri was among more than a dozen states last year that banned a synthetic form of marijuana known as K2, which is a concoction of dried herbs sprayed with chemicals. But before the law even took effect, alternatives were hitting the market that had made slight changes to the synthetic formula and thus got around the new law. Republican Rep. Ward Franz of West Plains is sponsoring legislation this year that would add more synthetic cannabinoids to the outlawed list. The bill also would outlaw a synthetic form of cocaine that is being sold as bath salts in some Missouri stores.
Attorneys for Rod Blagojevich are asking a judge to throw out secret wiretap recordings made of the former Illinois governor in 2008, claiming there are gaps in the tapes. Defense attorneys say the gaps may contain context needed to understand the conversations. In their motion filed early today, they asked a judge to prevent jurors from hearing any wiretaps. Blagojevich faces an April 20 retrial on 23 charges, including that the impeached governor tried to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.
First basemen Albert Pujols is entering his eleventh season as a St. Louis Cardinal, and now, it's looking like it might be his last.
Albert Pujols' spring training deadline for a new contract with the St. Louis Cardinals came and went today without a deal.
The Cardinals say they tried to reach agreement with Pujols for several months and they are "greatly disappointed" they were unsuccessful. General Manager John Mozeliak says at Pujols' request, no more talks will be held until the end of the season.
St. Louis Cardinal's manager Tony La Russa says first baseman Albert Pujols and his representatives are being pressured by the players' union during contract negotiations. Pujols is eligible to become a free agent after the World Series and has set a deadline for 11 a.m. CST today to reach an agreement on a new deal. Pujols has vowed to cut off negotiations once he arrives at spring training. La Russa said Tuesday he thinks the three-time National League MVP is being pushed to set a new standard with his contract.