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Morning headlines: Friday, February 24, 2012

(St. Louis Public Radio)
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill hopes to transfer funding from construction projects in Afghanistan to road and bridge work in the U.S.

Mo. Senator seeks to transfer funding to U.S. road repair

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says she will try to amend a transportation bill to strip funding for large construction projects in Afghanistan. The money would instead be used for roads and bridges in the U.S.

McCaskill hopes to attach her proposal to legislation re-authorizing the federal highway funding program.

The Democratic senator's amendment would prohibit financing of Afghanistan infrastructure projects of more than $50,000 under the Commander's Emergency Response Program and the Afghanistan Infrastructure fund. The amendment would also redirect the remaining money in the programs to road and bridge projects in the U.S. 

McCaskill proposed to add the provision to defense legislation late last year, but she was unsuccessful.

Mo. Senate passes legislation to forbid "robocalls"

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation Thursday that would forbid automated phone calls known as "robocalls" from going to numbers on the state's no-call list. The Senate passed the legislation with a 32-0 vote. It will now go to the House.

Political phone calls would be exempt from the new rule, but the calls would have to include a statement saying which candidate or campaign paid for it. People or groups who violate the rules could face a fine up to $5,000 for each violation.

Republican Senator Scott Rupp is sponsoring the bill. He says political calls can't be banned because that could interfere with a candidate's First Amendment right to free speech. But he says people should know which campaign is responsible for the call.

Horse meat processing plant proposed in Ozarks

A Wyoming-based company is considering building a horse meat processing plant in southwest Missouri.

Unified Equine is conducting a feasibility study on a plan to build a plant just east of Mountain Grove near the Wright-Texas county line. 

The company was created by Wyoming state legislator Sue Wallis last November after Congress approved a bill allowing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to begin inspections for horse meat and plants.

Supporters say the plant would bring jobs and put suffering and neglected horses out of their miseries. Critics say they can't stomach the idea of horses being processed for meat.





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