Morning headlines: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Jul 13, 2011

Nixon signs human trafficking bill

People convicted of human trafficking in Missouri will face longer maximum sentences under a bill signed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The legislation addresses convictions for trafficking for slavery, forced labor or sexual exploitation and abuse through forced labor. Those crimes now carry maximum sentences of 15 years in prison.

Under the bill, possible sentences would range from five to 20 years. The measure also allows fines of up to $250,000. The bill also authorizes the state Department of Public Safety to develop procedures for identifying trafficking victims and for educating officials about existing state and federal laws on the crime.

Nixon signed the measure Tuesday.

Nixon signs legislation requiring drug testing for some welfare recipients

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation requiring drug screens for some individuals receiving or applying for certain welfare benefits.

The legislation, signed Tuesday, applies to the program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Officials will administer drug tests when they have reasonable cause to believe an applicant or recipient is using illegal drugs. Those who refuse to be checked or who test positive and don't complete a substance abuse program will be ineligible for benefits for three years.

Critics say the testing law unfairly targets one group of people. But supporters contend that people who use illegal drugs should not get public assistance.

Three-year-old girl dead after accidental shooting

According to St. Louis Police, a 3-year-old girl is dead after accidentally shooting herself.

It happened last night in the 3800 block of Flad in south St. Louis.

Police say the toddler was left unattended in a bedroom when she came in contact with a loaded weapon and accidentally shot herself in the head. She was transported to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead.