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Thursday, 27 February 2014 15:44

Missouri Senators pass "border war truce"

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have passed legislation proposing a truce with Kansas in the battle for businesses in the Kansas City area.
 
The bill approved 30-2 Thursday would end offers of special tax incentives for businesses to relocate from one side of the border to the other in the metropolitan region.
 
The measure now goes to the Missouri House. But the truce also would need approval from the Kansas Legislature or governor to take effect.
 
Over the past five years, Missouri and Kansas have collectively waived hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenues for businesses that moved across the state line.
 
The Missouri legislation would bar incentives for businesses moving between the Missouri counties of Jackson, Clay, Platte and Cass and the Kansas counties of Wyandotte, Johnson, Douglas and Miami.
 
Published in Local News
Thursday, 27 February 2014 12:48

Missouri House approves tax bracket change

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has passed legislation that could lower the tax bill for many Missourians by linking the state's tax brackets to inflation.
 
A bill approved on a 146-4 vote would require Missouri's individual income tax brackets to be adjusted annually for inflation starting in 2015.  Legislative staff estimate that would reduce state tax revenues by $26 million when fully in effect.
 
Although state tax rates have changed over time, Missouri's top income tax bracket has been set at $9,000 since 1931. That means all income over that amount currently is taxed at the same 6 percent rate.
 
The tax-bracket legislation now goes to the Senate. It's one of several measures lawmakers are considering this year that would reduce state income taxes.
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 12:57

SW Missouri hopes for boost from golf tournament

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) - Organizers of a professional golf tournament that will bring some of the sport's biggest legends to southwest Missouri this summer say the event will be a huge economic boost for the Branson area.
 
The Legends of Golf tournament - often credited as the driving force behind creation of what is now the Champions Tour - has committed to at least five years at Buffalo Ridge, owned by the founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops.
 
The Springfield News-Leader reports Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Lee Trevino have committed to the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf presented by Bass Pro Shops tournament the week of June 2-8.
 
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday said the tournament is a significant long-term opportunity to improve the area's economy.
Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missouri corrections officials say they will use a lethal drug provided by a new supplier in the state's fourth execution in four months.
 
Convicted killer Michael Taylor is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. Several court appeals have been filed seeking to spare his life, and Gov. Jay Nixon is weighing a clemency request.
 
Taylor's attorneys are questioning Missouri's use of the new, unnamed compounding pharmacy to provide the pentobarbital for his execution. They also allege that the state executes men before appeals are complete, and say Taylor's trial attorney was ineffective.
 
Taylor and Roderick Nunley were convicted of abducting 15-year-old Ann Harrison as she waited for a Kansas City school bus in 1989, then raping and killing her. Nunley is also on death row.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - U.S. attorneys have filed a lawsuit against the Missouri National Guard alleging it shortchanges civilian employees when they are called to active duty.
   The lawsuit announced Monday says the Missouri National Guard has been requiring civilian employees to resign before allowing them to go on active duty.
   The lawsuit says that effectively denies the employees 15 days of annual paid military leave that they are entitled to under federal law. The civilian employees could receive the benefits if they were allowed to take a leave of absence or go on furlough for active duty.
   U.S. attorneys are asking a judge to retroactively order benefits for the employees.
   A Missouri National Guard spokeswoman referred questions to the state attorney general's office, which had no immediate comment.
Published in Local News
Sunday, 23 February 2014 08:56

Missouri Republicans stress need for unity

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A potential Republican primary for governor is stirring anxieties among some party officials who want to patch over the divisions that have hurt Republicans in recent statewide elections.

At an annual Republican conference in Springfield this weekend, many party officials highlighted the need for unity.

That encouragement came as several Republicans already are positioning themselves for a potential 2016 gubernatorial campaign.

Catherine Hanaway already has announced her gubernatorial candidacy. Auditor Tom Schweich also is expected to run for governor, though he first faces re-election this year, and businessman John Brunner also is contemplating a gubernatorial run. All were networking among fellow Republicans at the convention.

Republicans have faced contentious primaries for U.S. Senate and governor in 2012 and 2008. Democrats ultimately have won those races.

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Ameren Missouri says it has restored power to nearly all of the roughly 67,000 customers who lost electricity during strong storms and high winds.

The unsettled weather on Thursday brought wind gusts of over 60 miles per hour. Most of the outages to Ameren customers occurred in the St. Louis area.

The St. Louis-based utility said about 1,500 customers were still without electricity late Friday afternoon. Crews expected to have all power restored by late last night.

Ameren brought workers from other parts of Missouri to the St. Louis area to help with the recovery.

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - State officials are projecting that 24,000 new jobs would be created if Missouri chooses to expand its Medicaid program.
 
The Department of Economic Development said Friday that raising the program's eligibility to levels called for by the federal health care law would bring $9.9 billion in new wages to the state.
 
Gov. Jay Nixon has asked lawmakers to expand the program to include adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level - a little less than $33,000 annually for a family of four. Nixon's administration estimates that 300,000 Missourians could join the program under those levels.
 
The Republican-led Legislature has repeatedly rejected expanding the program and argued the state couldn't afford it. But a Republican House member introduced legislation this week that would partially expand the program.
 
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - The lawyer for a middle-school football coach who's accused of kidnapping and killing a 10-year-old girl in Missouri says Craig Wood is planning to plead not guilty. The public defender's announcement came during a brief hearing today.
 
Wood is accused of snatching Hailey Owens as she walked home from a friend's house Tuesday evening in Springfield. Court records indicate her body was found in Wood's basement. Prosecutors say she was shot in the back of the head and that she had ligature marks on her wrists, suggesting she was tied up.
 
Public defender Chris Hatley said Wood plans to contest the charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and armed criminal action.
 
Wood appeared by video from a jail where he is being held without bond. He spoke only briefly to answer several questions from the judge. Hailey's parents, older brother and five other family members attended the hearing.
 
A prosecutor challenged Wood's use of a public defender, saying police found evidence of a $1 million trust in Wood's name. He said, "I think he can afford his own attorney." The defense attorney replied that "it's frankly none of his business." The judge said he would consider the matter.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have passed legislation that would send federal agents to jail for enforcing some federal gun laws.
 
The Senate voted 23-10 on Thursday to send the measure to the House. It would declare any federal law considered by the state to infringe on gun rights to be null and void in Missouri. Federal agents enforcing those laws could face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
 
Courts have consistently ruled that states cannot nullify federal laws. But supporters argue the measure is necessary to protect law-abiding gun owners from intrusive federal regulations. Opponents say it wouldn't survive a court challenge.
 
Earlier this week, the Senate stripped a provision from the legislation requiring gun thefts to be reported within 72 hours.
Published in Local News

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