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Morning headlines: March 22, 2012

(New Orleans Saints Press Kit)
Gregg Williams, newly named defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams. Formerly with the New Orleans Saints, Williams has been suspended indefinitely from the NFL due to his involvement in a "bounty system" with that team.

Gregg Williams apologizes

Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is apologizing to the NFL, to St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher, the Rams organization and football fans in general for running a bounty pool while he was in New Orleans.

Williams was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday by the NFL, and the Rams say he'll be eligible for reinstatement after the season.

In a new statement, Williams does not argue with the terms of the suspension and says, "I accept full responsibility for my actions." Williams says he will cooperate with the league and its ongoing investigation, and said he'll serve as an advocate for player safety and sportsmanship.

St. Louis suburb expands discrimination ordinance

Richmond Heights has expanded its discrimination ordinance to prohibit bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Richmond Heights City Council voted 5-4 this week to approve the measure.

Councilwoman Gina Mitten says discrimination is wrong regardless of the reason. Opponent Councilman Mike Jones says the added protection could hurt owners of rental property who believe homosexuality is a sin.

FEMA denies Illinois's appeal for storm assistance

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied the state's appeal for assistance after a deadly tornado and severe storms.

Quinn said in a news release Wednesday he is disappointed with the decision and doesn't believe "it reflects the reality and devastation on the ground." Hundreds of homes in five southern Illinois counties were damaged or destroyed by the Feb. 29 storms that killed seven people in Harrisburg.

Quinn says the state is submitting a request to the U.S. Small Business Administration for low-interest loans. He says the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will meet with a FEMA recovery specialist today to pursue other kinds of assistance.

Quinn appealed to the Department of Homeland Security days after FEMA turned down the aid request.

Missouri House committee hears testimony on measure to abolish the death penalty

Legislation that would abolish the death penalty in Missouri was heard Wednesday night by a State House committee. 

Several witnesses testified in favor of the bill, saying it would prevent the falsely convicted from being executed and that life in prison for the guilty is harsh enough. 

No one testified against the bill, but GOP committee member Paul Fitzwater from Washington County voiced his opposition after the hearing saying that the state should have some type of measure to deter crime.


Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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