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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House Democrats are preparing to outline a tax cut proposal, despite their fierce opposition to a Republican tax plan last year.
Rep. Jon Carpenter, a Democrat from Kansas City, was expected to file legislation and release his plan to reduce state taxes on Monday.
Another Kansas City Democrat, Sen. Jolie Justus, has signaled that her party would be open to tax cuts under certain circumstance. She says it is a matter of who benefits from the cuts.
House Democrats voted last year against a Republican proposal to reduce individual and corporate income tax rates over 10 years. The GOP plan failed when the Legislature could not secure enough votes to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto.
 
Monday, 13 January 2014 09:10
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DE SOTO, Mo. (AP) - An eastern Missouri man is recovering after falling from a kayak into a frigid river and clinging to a branch to stay afloat.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 50-year-old Joe Sullivan of rural De Soto was kayaking in the Big River in Jefferson County Sunday afternoon when he fell into the river. Sullivan grabbed a branch to stay afloat in the river swollen by rain and snow melt.
Sullivan picked his cellphone out of a plastic bag and called 911. He floated about two miles before he was able to climb out of the river. Rescuers from the De Soto Rural Fire District found Sullivan on a riverbank, cold but OK.
 
Monday, 13 January 2014 09:08
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A bill filed in the Missouri Senate could well strike another blow against the federal Affordable Care Act. The bill, sponsored by Ladue Republican John Lamping, would suspend insurance companies’ state licenses if they accepted subsidies offered by the federal government to help pay health insurance premiums for low- and middle-income Missourians.  Lamping tells the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the subsidies are illegal and eventually will be thrown out by a federal court. By rejecting them, he says, Missouri could remove the trigger in the federal law that, beginning in 2015, will assess penalties against large employers that don’t provide health insurance.  Critics of Lamping’s plan say that the Affordable Care Act is helping people obtain health insurance and that it’s time to stop fighting it. 
It wouldn’t be the first time Missouri had tried to halt Obamacare.
In 2010, about 71 percent of Missourians voted to oppose the mandate to purchase insurance and in 2012, nearly 62 percent voted to prevent the governor from setting up a state-based insurance exchange.
As a result, Missouri is one of 34 states where the federal government is operating the exchange, an online marketplace that allows consumers to compare health plans and sign up for coverage.
That website, HealthCare.gov, gained notoriety because of a problem-plagued rollout last fall. As of Nov. 30, only 4,124 Missourians had selected a marketplace plan.
Monday, 13 January 2014 08:34
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A break in the weather allowed St. Louis city street crews to patch the pavement yesterday in an attempt to manage the growing number of potholes.  Officials hoped to have most of the major holes on the arterial roads fixed with a temporary patch on Monday. The storm of a week ago, coupled with frigid temperatures and then fast melting, has created craters on streets throughout the area. The pothole patching is a temporary fix which will hopefully last until getting more attention in the Spring. City officials are asking residents to report potholes to the Citizens' Service Bureau by calling 314.622.4800, tweeting to @stlcsb, or filling out a request for service online.  The Streets Department has also set a goal of patching potholes reported to the CSB within 48 hours of getting a request. 
 
Monday, 13 January 2014 06:59
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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - For the first time in a decade, Missouri's top officials can't agree on how much money will be available for the state budget.
   Governor Jay Nixon plans to use a larger revenue projection than lawmakers when he proposes a budget as part of his annual State of the State address January 21st.
   Nixon says he is "optimistic" about Missouri's economy.
   Republican legislative leaders say they are being "realistic."
   Nixon's revenue projections could be about $140 million higher than lawmakers'.
   Legislators already are planning to make cuts to Nixon's budget plan because of the different revenue assumptions.
   The disagreement marks a reversal of recent circumstances in which Nixon has repeatedly cut the budgets passed by lawmakers while asserting that he's being realistic about the state's finances.
 
Monday, 13 January 2014 03:50
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   A second new mid-size pickup truck will begin rolling off the assembly line at General Motors' Wentzville plant later this year.  In November, GM had announced plans to build the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck at its Wentzville plant.  Sunday, GM unveiled the 2015 GMC Canyon at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  It too will built in Wentzville.
   Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione says the city is already seeing some benefits from the new truck lines. "They started hiring some people and they brought back some people who were laid off or moved out of the state," he said.  
   Guccione says all the 1,400 to 1,800 new jobs at the GM plant is good for the entire community because those employees patronize other local businesses.  "They go out to eat in our local restaurants. They buy homes in here," he said. "They go to the local vendors to buy products and services. So it's helped us tremendously."
   Guccione says the city's tax incentives and it's educated workforce were key factors in GM investing in its Wentzville plant.  
   The current product, full-size vans, and the new mid-size trucks will be built concurrently on the same assembly line.
 
Monday, 13 January 2014 03:25
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ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — A St. Charles woman accused of blackmailing her boyfriend over child sex abuse allegations has been sentenced to five years' probation.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 34-year-old Jennifer Callaway was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to concealing a felony. She was also ordered to undergo psychological and alcohol abuse evaluations and must have no unsupervised contact with minors.

Callaway was accused of coercing 45-year-old Raymond David Avett into giving her his home, SUV, boat and life insurance in exchange for not reporting the alleged abuse of a 6-year-old.

Avett's also charged with concealing a felony. St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar says Avett hasn't been charged with a sex crime because Callaway's failure to report the crime took away his office's ability to properly investigate the case.

Sunday, 12 January 2014 09:33
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A private education reform group is preparing to release its recommendations for turning around Missouri's unaccredited school systems, even as debate continues over whether the consultant was appropriately awarded the contract.

The Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust, or CEE-Trust, has been hired to come up with ideas that could be implemented in the Kansas City school district and potentially also in Normandy, Riverview Gardens or any other districts that become unaccredited. The Indianapolis firm will release its draft recommendations Monday to the State Board of Education.

Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro has been criticized by some teachers' unions and Democratic lawmakers for the way the consulting contract was awarded. One of the main complaints is that CEE-Trust's bid was nearly three times higher than the closest competitor.

Sunday, 12 January 2014 09:29
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Openings for the top job at Missouri state agencies no longer could mean an extended reign by a temporary leader under legislation proposed in the state Senate.

Missouri department directors chosen by the governor require Senate confirmation, but acting leaders do not. Two state agencies currently are led by acting chiefs, and Governor Jay Nixon this past week announced he was elevating two other acting directors to permanent positions.

Under the Senate legislation, state department directors would file a designation with the governor and the Legislature naming a deputy director who has the authority to exercise the director's powers during a vacancy. Acting directors could serve for 120 days.

Sunday, 12 January 2014 09:28
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Lottery has provided a larger-than-usual payment to public education because of stronger-than-usual sales.

The Lottery transferred $29.2 million to a state education fund Friday. That's the third largest monthly transfer in the Lottery's 28-year history.

Lottery officials cited strong Mega Millions sales in December for a $648 million jackpot. The Lottery also set a weekly record for distributed Scratchers tickets in December.

About one-quarter of every dollar of Lottery sales goes to public education programs. Slightly less than two-thirds of the proceeds go toward prizes.

The Missouri Lottery's largest monthly transfer to education was $30.4 million in April 2012, followed by $30.3 million in June 2013. In both instances, there were large jackpots in nationwide lottery games and strong sales for Missouri Scratchers tickets.

Saturday, 11 January 2014 09:42
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