Call it the tale of two hearings.
Missouri Senate and House committees each held hearings Wednesday on the state's Medicaid program. Each focused on different perspectives.
At the House hearing in St. Louis, most testified in favor of expanding Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. But at the Senate hearing in Jefferson City, the stress was on the need to overhaul the system first -- by finding ways to reduce costs and improve care.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Missouri's 8.5-billion dollar Medicaid program currently serves 875-thousand low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children. Expansion would add about 260-thousand low-income, working people.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri House member and his wife are going to court over what they say is a requirement that their group health insurance include coverage for contraception.
The Thomas More Society filed a federal lawsuit in St. Louis on Wednesday on behalf of Paul and Teresa Wieland. Paul Wieland is a Republican from Imperial.
According to court documents, the family previously opted out of coverage for contraceptives, sterilization or abortifacients. The lawsuit contends the Wielands have been told their coverage must now include contraception and sterilization because of the federal health care law.
The Wielands contend their religious, free speech and parental rights have been violated. The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment and an injunction.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to a law that raised the state's licensing fees on animal shelters.
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the lawsuit by the Humane Society of the United States and two animal shelters was moot. The court noted that the suit challenged the procedure by which a 2010 licensing law was passed, but that lawmakers had changed the law again in 2011.
The 2010 law made animal shelters subject to the licensing fees already charged to dog breeders. The 2011 law raised Missouri's maximum licensing fee from $500 to $2,500 for commercial breeders, kennels and animal shelters.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Casinos across Missouri are reporting decreased revenue this summer, continuing a trend seen at most of the state's 13 riverboat gambling sites last year.
Overall revenues for July were more than $9.5 million less than in July 2012, a 6.3 decline. That means nearly $2 million less for state education spending derived from a gambling tax compared with this time last year. The local governments where the casinos are located will also receive less money from casino admission fees.
The Lumiere Place in downtown St. Louis reported the steepest drop, at 18 percent. Kansas City's Ameristar recorded a 10 percent revenue drop.
Pinnacle Entertainment wants to sell the Lumiere property in response to federal antitrust issues related to its planned purchase of Ameristar Casinos.
Some thought he had been an angel, others a ghost, but a mysterious priest who seemed to just appear at a horrific accident scene on Highway 19 near Center, Missouri last week is real. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City issued a statement Monday identifying him as Fr. Patrick Dowling of Columbia.
Fr. Dowling has been the subject of speculation since arriving with anointing oils and praying with rescuers and 19-year-old Katie Lentz, of Quincy, Illinois, who was trapped in her mangled car. Then he had seemed to disappear.
The diocese says Fr. Dowling came across the scene while driving between morning Mass assignments.
Fr. Dowling wrote about the August 4 accident in the comments section of story about the crash on the National Catholic Register website. Here is what he wrote:
“I had Mass in Ewing MO as the regular priest was sick. As I was returning, I arrived at the scene. The authorities were redirecting traffic. I waited till it was possible to drive up closer. I parked behind a large vehicle about 150 yards from the scene. I asked the Sheriff’s permission and approached the scene of the accident. I absolved and anointed Katie, and, at her request, prayed that her leg would not hurt. Then I stepped aside to where some rescue personnel and the pilot were waiting, and prayed the rosary silently. I left when the helicopter was about to take off, and before I got to my car it was on its way to Quincy. I was amazed at the calmness of the two Highway patrol men. The sergeant was completely in control, amazingly calm. Everybody worked as harmoniously as a Swiss watch despite the critical nature of the scene. I gave my name to one of the authorities, perhaps to the sergeant of Highway Patrol, explaining that I was returning having celebrated Mass at Ewing. It was the sergeant who, at the Sheriff’s request, gave me Katie’s name as I was leaving, so I could visit her in hospital—I assumed she would be taken to Columbia. I think there may have been angels there too and, in this context, I congratulate the fire team from New London and Hannibal, the Sheriff/deputies of Ralls County, the Highway Patrol personnel, the helicopter team, the nurses and all who worked so professionally. God has blessed your work. I hope the credit goes where it is due.”
A relief fund is now accepting donations to benefit families affected by flooding in one part of southern Missouri.
The fund was established by the Meramec Regional Community Foundation. All donations will be directed toward relief efforts in Pulaski County. The hardest hit area was Waynesville--with a population of around 5,000. The initial donation was made by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.
You can donate by clicking here and then typing "Pulaski County Flood Relief Fund" in the field for the fund or program you're donating to.
You can donate by check as well: Mail checks to
Pulaski County Flood Relief fund to Meramec Regional Community Foundation,
4 Industrial Dr.
St. James, Mo. 65559.
A Missouri company tested a bullet-proof shelter in a school for the first time Wednesday.
A Christian School in western Missouri served as the testing grounds for the shelter. Teachers were excited to see the shelter was shot several times with armor piercing rounds and the bullets showed no signs of penetrating the steel.
The same shelter could also be used for protection during a tornado.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A southwest Missouri woman is dead after another round of torrential downpours caused flash flooding.
McDonald County emergency management director Greg Sweeten says the woman died early Thursday when her car was swept off Missouri Route 90 near the town of Jane, Mo. Sweeten says normally-dry Brush Creek came up suddenly.
The National Weather Service says parts of southwest Missouri got 10 inches of rain overnight. The town of Hollister was especially hard hit, with about 100 buildings damaged. More than two dozen people had to be rescued from homes, mostly mobile homes, in Hollister, which is near Branson in Taney County.
The weather service says more heavy rain is likely for southern Missouri in the coming days.
HOLLISTER, Mo. (AP) - Flash flooding is prompting water rescues and damage to buildings in southwest Missouri.
Flash flooding was reported in southern Barry and Stone counties, including Roaring River State Park, after an estimated 6 inches of rain fell early Thursday.
Western Taney County Fire Chief Chris Berndt told KYTV rescue workers have evacuated three areas along Turkey Creek, where waters washed one or two mobile homes downstream. Berndt says several businesses and homes in Hollister have water damage.
The Southern Stone County Fire Protection District reports it has evacuated 22 people from a campground near Blue Eye. Campgrounds in Roaring River State Park in Barry County also are being evacuated. No injuries have been reported.
Interstate 44 near Jerome reopened Thursday. More than 40 roads, mostly in central Missouri, are closed.
A study by a North Carolina think tank concludes that a state-wide smoking ban would not harm Missouri bars and restaurants.
While several local governments bar indoor smoking in public, there's no state-wide ban. Opponents to a ban often argue that it would reduce revenue and employment at bars and restaurants.
Researchers with RTI used sales and tobacco tax data from 216 cities and counties in 8 states over 11 years. They projected that seven of the states, including Missouri, would have no economic impact, and West Virginia would actually see an employment boost.
The study was funded by the CDC.
Illinois already bars smoking in bars and restaurants.