ST. LOUIS (AP) - Federal watchdogs say they're launching an effort to bolster labor-law compliance involving hand-harvested crops in Illinois and Missouri.
The U.S. Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division announced the initiative Tuesday. The intent is to safeguard agricultural workers against violations of fair labor, visa, migrant and seasonal agriculture worker, and sanitation laws.
The government says the effort focusing on growers, farm labor contractors, agricultural brokers and processors comes after earlier initiatives uncovered numerous compliance issues.
Ninety-eight investigations between the 2010 and 2012 fiscal years by the division's St. Louis district resulted in more than $100,000 in back wages for 228 employees. It also resulted in more than $80,000 in assessed civil penalties.
Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich says his audit of Brentwood city government revealed sloppy accounting and a lack of documentation at city hall. Schweich says those factors were behind his rating the St. louis County suburb as "poor."
The audit came about because of a citizen petition drive that began in 2011. Residents became concerned about the city's finances after former city administrator Chris Seemayer pleaded guilty to stealing $30,000 but continued to collect city benefits.
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The former chief circuit judge in Madison County, Illinois says she's running for Congress.
Forty-eight year old Democrat Ann Callis announced her candidacy Tuesday for the state's 13th Congressional District seat now held by Rodney Davis. Davis is a Taylorville Republican who was narrowly elected to the House last November.
Callis has been a judge since 1995 and resigned last Friday from her 7 year role as the county's chief circuit judge.
The congressional district stretches across parts of central and southwestern Illinois.
A Davis campaign spokesman says that in the partisan-divided district, "it's no surprise that the Washington Democrats have been attempting to recruit candidates from the moment Congressman Davis was elected last fall." Andrew Flach adds that Davis looks forward to debating the issues against any eventual opponent.