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CHICAGO (AP) - State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says Illinois residents will get a breakdown of state spending in income tax returns received in 2014.
 
Topinka announced the initiative on Monday. She says her office will also make the information available online.
 
In a statement, Topinka says there shouldn't be a mystery when it comes to public dollars in the state.
 
The tax return inserts will show what state agencies spend each year. It also gives a picture of the state's unpaid bills over time.
 
Topinka says that Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas started a similar insert in the previous tax season.
 
Monday, 30 December 2013 13:33
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PLATTE WOODS, Mo. (AP) - A Kansas City couple is having a very happy holiday season after winning a $71.5 million Powerball jackpot in the Christmas night drawing.
 
   The Missouri Lottery said Monday in a news release that 49-year-old Kevin Carlson and his wife claimed the prize Thursday. Carlson celebrated his birthday the next day and already has quit his job as a mechanic. His wife, whose name was not released, plans to keep working.
 
   Carlson says he "went nuts" when he realized the ticket was a winner. He had bought it at the Autobahn BP store in Platte Woods where he regularly stops for coffee.
 
   The couple plan to use the money to pay bills, help their grown children and take a trip for their upcoming 30th wedding anniversary. Carlson also wants a 1968 Camaro.
Monday, 30 December 2013 13:32
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois will end the year with overdue bills totaling $7.6 billion.
 
Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's office says the amount is about 16 percent less than the $9 billion owed at the end of 2012. That's according to a Monday story in the Rockford Register-Star.
 
Topinka spokesman Brad Hahn says it's unclear how the landmark pension-reform package adopted this month will affect the backlog.
 
For one thing, retired teachers and other educators have filed a lawsuit over the plan to save $160 million over 30 years by cutting benefits. They say it's unconstitutional.
 
Hahn says the backlog benefited this year from $1.3 billion in tax revenues that officials didn't expect.
 
Topinka's office had predicted as late as a month ago that the year-end backlog would be closer to $9 billion.
 
Monday, 30 December 2013 12:32
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A Missouri state senator is proposing legislation that would require  women to wait even longer for an abortion in the state. Missouri currently has a 24-hour informed consent law. 
Now Republican David Sater of Cassville says extending that period to 72-hours would provide additional time for reflection that he hopes will reduce the number of abortions.  The legislation has been proposed for the 2014 legislative session starting January 8th.  Opponents contend a longer waiting period would not decrease the number of abortions, but simply cause them to happen later in pregnancy, which can increase risk.  Only South Dakota and Utah already impose a 72-hour waiting period. 
Monday, 30 December 2013 11:18
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  ST. LOUIS (AP) - Fire officials in St. Louis are investigating a blaze that destroyed a building housing a meat market on the city's north side.
The fire broke out about 5:30 a.m. Monday in the building that houses Obama Meat Market. The business was destroyed, but no one was hurt. The shop was closed at the time of the fire and no one was inside the building.
More than four dozen firefighters battled the blaze in frigid conditions - the morning temperature in St. Louis was 11 degrees.
The market and the building are owned by Obama Shalabi. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he will rebuild.
Monday, 30 December 2013 11:03
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 COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri-Columbia has raised half of the $3 million it needs to build a teaching winery.
The Columbia Missourian reports that the university now is seeking matching money from the state for the facility. Plans call for a research building and wine and food education facility to be added in later phases.
Wine and Grape Research Committee chairman Tony Kooyumjian says the proposed teaching winery would be a commercial winery. It would replace a much smaller, experimental winery. The goal is for students to make and bottle more than 2,000 cases of wine yearly; the current facility produces 100 cases at most a year.
Kooyumjian says he hopes to break ground in spring 2015 with completion that fall.
 
Monday, 30 December 2013 10:31
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CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois State Police will have more details for the public on what's expected as Illinois implements the concealed carry of firearms.
 Authorities have planned a news conference for Monday in Chicago. They're expected to outline the application process for a concealed carry license. The application will be available on January 5.
ISP spokeswoman Monique Bond says officials will address questions the public has had about the process.
Earlier this year, Illinois became the last state nationwide to approve a law allowing the public possession of a concealed weapon.
Governor Pat Quinn last week named a panel that'll review applications for permits to carry concealed firearms. It's called the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board. Members will consider any objections of an applicant's eligibility for a permit filed by authorities.
Monday, 30 December 2013 10:26
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A Republican lawmaker says he's ready to push legislation expediting the process to terminate state-funded pensions for public official convicted of corruption.
State Rep. Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon tells the Belleville News-Democrat he was moved to co-sponsor legislation in part because of a former county treasurer who was convicted of rigging tax liens.
The newspaper reported in October that ex-Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon was still collecting a $90,000 pension. It was halted this month.
The law says public officials found guilty of corruption can collect pensions until sentencing. Kay's bill would allow termination at a guilty plea or conviction. Lawmakers return to Springfield in late January.
 
Monday, 30 December 2013 10:20
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   Two people are dead and five others injured after a series of shootings in North St. Louis Sunday afternoon.
   St. Louis Police say 32 year old Robert Parker and two other people had been sitting in car in the 4000 block of Peck Avenue around 1:45 p.m., when someone in a dark sedan pulled alongside and began shooting.  Parker was killed.  A 24 year old man is in critical and unstable condition with a gunshot wounds to the head and back.  A 24 year old woman was grazed by a bullet.  
   Police say a stray bullet struck 51 year old Clara Walker inside her apartment.  She was also killed.   
   About 15 minutes later, one person was wounded in second shooting at Interstate 70 and Kingshighway.
   Moments later, a third shooting injured two in the 5300 block of North Euclid.  
   Police say they don't believe the incidents are related, but are still investigating all three.
Monday, 30 December 2013 03:57
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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers plan to make another attempt at cutting income taxes during their 2014 session.
   Democratic Governor Jay Nixon vetoed an income tax cut bill passed earlier this year, and majority party Republicans were unable to override it.
   House and Senate leaders say an income tax cut will be an early priority when lawmakers convene January 8th.
   Representative T.J. Berry, who sponsored the vetoed bill, says next year's version will leave out some of the provisions to which Nixon objected. One of those dropped sections would have automatically cut state income tax rates even further if Congress enacted a law making it easier for states to collect taxes on sales made over the Internet.
   Bill sponsor Senator Will Kraus says lawmakers want to simplify the legislation and lower its cost.
 
Monday, 30 December 2013 03:36
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