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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are advocating for more restrictions on welfare recipients after a state audit raised questions over whether benefits are being used properly.

The report identified more than 300 cases in which Missouri welfare recipients spent their benefits exclusively outside the state during a three-month period.

Under legislation passed by the House, recipients would be kicked off the program if they don't spend their benefits within Missouri once every 90 days.

Lawmakers are also debating whether to loosen restrictions on where welfare money can be spent and who qualifies for assistance.

The House measure would allow people to use welfare dollars to buy food at liquor stores. A Senate bill would open the federal food stamps program to some drug felons.

Sunday, 06 April 2014 08:09
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MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) — The Air Force says roughly 100 jobs are being phased out in a unit that provides technical services at an Illinois air base in suburban St. Louis.

The Air Force Network Integration Center cuts at Scott Air Force Base involve 99 positions. Fifty-three of them are civilian jobs.

Air Force spokesman Andy Roake says the eliminations expected to take place through 2015 are due to budget constraints.

The jobs include middle-level management, staff and policy consultation positions.

The Air Force recently announced plans to cut 22,500 positions this year.

The Scott base is about 25 miles east of St. Louis.

Sunday, 06 April 2014 08:07
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — The vast majority of the country's 32 death penalty states refuse to disclose the source of their execution drugs.

A review by The Associated Press has found that the states cloaked in secrecy include some with the most active death chambers. Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and Missouri are among them.

The secrecy comes as most states now rely on loosely regulated "compounding pharmacies" for execution drugs but refuse to name them. They cite concerns about backlash that could endanger the supplier's safety.

Defense attorneys question how an inmate's constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment can be guaranteed if nothing is known about the drug being used to kill him.

Proponents say forcing states to reveal their drug source can amount to obstruction of justice by delaying executions.

Sunday, 06 April 2014 08:05
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Often criticized as advocating for the coal industry, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is launching reforms meant to help repair the agency's image and make it more responsive to the public.
 
The changes range from closer inspection of coal-ash ponds to stronger ethics rules and better communication with the public during the coal mine permit process.
 
The moves also come as the agency deals with other embarrassing missteps. Those include a department administrator's departure after reports that he attended professional fishing tournaments while on sick leave. And there were recent revelations that two mine-safety regulators accepted political contributions from a coal-mine operator.
 
Neither environmentalists nor the industry believe the reforms are tied to Gov. Pat Quinn's re-election bid.
 
But the sides disagree over whether the permit-process changes are necessary.
Friday, 04 April 2014 15:40
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A teenage serial bank robber the FBI dubbed the "I-55 Bandit" for a series of crimes in five states has been ordered to spend five years in federal prison.
 
Nineteen-year-old Andrew Maberry of O'Fallon, Ill., was sentenced Friday in St. Louis.
 
Maberry pleaded guilty in December to one of the robberies - a heist in July of last year involving a bank in Arnold, Mo., just south of St. Louis.
 
Federal prosecutors say Maberry robbed 10 banks in Missouri, Illinois, West Virginia, Tennessee and Maryland from May of last year to the end of August.
 
Some of the early robberies in Missouri and Illinois were near Interstate 55, prompting the nickname.
 
The FBI says that in each holdup, Maberry didn't show a weapon, and no one was harmed.
 
Friday, 04 April 2014 15:39
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Missouri basketball player Zach Price is suspended from the team after being arrested twice for allegedly assaulting his roommate and a woman.
 
Columbia Police Sgt. Joe Bernhard says the victims reported that Price rammed their car Wednesday afternoon. That investigation was ongoing when Price was arrested on another alleged encounter with the same victims Thursday morning. Police say he hit his male roommate in the face then pushed the woman to the ground.
 
Missouri Coach Frank Haith said after the first arrest that he was "very disappointed" with Price and will discipline him accordingly.
 
Price sat out last season after transferring from Louisville.
 
Online records did not include a phone number for Price or indicate if he had an attorney.
Friday, 04 April 2014 13:27
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed the city of Columbia from a lawsuit filed by a man who spent more than 10 years in prison for murder before his convictions were vacated.
 
U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey issued an order last week dismissing the city from a lawsuit filed by Ryan Ferguson. The city was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it could be added to the lawsuit again in the future.
 
The city was one of 13 defendants in the lawsuit filed by Ferguson, who was convicted in the 2001 killing Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. He was released in November after his convictions were vacated.
 
The Tribune reports the dismissal is contingent upon it having no effect on Ferguson's remaining claims against the other defendants.
Friday, 04 April 2014 10:52
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Missouri basketball player Zach Price is suspended from the team after being arrested twice for allegedly assaulting his roommate and a woman.
 
Columbia Police Sgt. Joe Bernhard says the victims reported that Price rammed their car Wednesday afternoon.
That investigation was ongoing when Price was arrested on another alleged encounter with the same victims Thursday morning. Police say he hit his male roommate in the face then pushed the woman to the ground.
 
Missouri Coach Frank Haith said after the first arrest that he was "very disappointed" with Price and will discipline him accordingly. Price sat out last season after transferring from Louisville.
 
Friday, 04 April 2014 10:29
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