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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says his administration is withdrawing a proposal for rolling back an expansion of the food stamps program.

Since 2009, the state has qualified for a waiver allowing able-bodied adults without children to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program despite failing to meet federal work requirements. Officials had proposed changing eligibility rules to waive the work requirements only in counties where the unemployment rate is higher than 10 percent.

Nixon said Thursday he is directing the Social Services Department to withdraw the proposal. The governor says there now is greater certainty about federal funding for food stamps after last week's budget agreement.

Missouri had about 915,000 people receiving food stamps in August. That's down from a peak of nearly 962,000 in December 2011.

 

Thursday, 24 October 2013 12:26
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Lawmakers are working to change a small mistake in Illinois' new pet "lemon" law.

Democratic state Sen. Dan Kotowski, the legislation's sponsor, told a Senate committee that there was an error in the legislation that was passed by both houses last spring.

The amendment to the law allows owners to return a pet or be reimbursed for veterinary costs if it is discovered an illness was not disclosed by the seller. The original legislation said pet stores would have to pay owners up to twice the cost of the pet to offset treatment costs. Kotowski told a Senate committee that number should be changed to require reimbursement to match the cost of the pet.

The measure passed the Senate and now heads to the House.

 

Thursday, 24 October 2013 12:24
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   Normandy Schools Superintendent Ty McNichols will outline proposed budget cuts at Thursday night's school board meeting.  But Wednesday, district officials briefed employees about the plan as the struggling district tries to cover transfer costs for hundreds of students.  

   Teachers learned yesterday that 103 of the district's 650 employees will lose their jobs by the end of December.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that layoff notices will go out next month.  

   District officials say class sizes could go as high as 29 students and Bel-Nor Elementary School is expected to close.

   The district is projecting a $6.8 million shortfall this school year because of the added cost of the state mandated school transfer program.

Thursday, 24 October 2013 04:43
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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says he plans a "significant down payment" toward his goal of fully funding the state's school funding formula.

   The Democratic governor told a gathering of public school leaders Wednesday he's working to fund the K-12 school formula by the time he leaves office in January 2017.

   The current year's budget provides almost $3.1 billion in basic aid to elementary and secondary schools. State officials project the current funding level would be $556 million short of the target for next year's budget.

   Nixon also said he wants to expand access to early childhood education and will continue implementing accountability measures such as the Common Core education standards.

 
Thursday, 24 October 2013 03:32
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Department of Transportation is announcing two webinars for the public to weigh in on the agency's next five-year transit plan.

   Secretary of Transportation Ann Schneider said Wednesday the online meetings will take place on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29. Each is from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

   They will address plans for building or repairing highways, bridges, airports and train routes for 2015 to 2020.

   IDOT engineers will host the webinars designed to give residents and businesses a chance to better understand and discuss project priorities.

   The webinars are in addition to 16 informational meetings and feedback sessions IDOT hosted earlier this year throughout the state.

   Participating in the webinars requires reserving space online.

   ---

   Online: Multiyear transportation planning: http://tinyurl.com/pwthj5p

 
Thursday, 24 October 2013 02:59
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Opponents of gay marriage have rallied outside the Illinois Capitol a day after thousands of supporters rallied for the legislation.

   The "Defend Marriage Lobby Day" began Wednesday with a morning prayer service outside the Capitol. Attendees clustered around a large wooden cross that had been placed at the Lincoln statue. Some participants carried pictures of the Holy Family - Jesus, Mary and Joseph - and posters emphasizing their belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

   The event included pastors who hope to influence moderate Republicans and socially conservative members of the House Black Caucus.

   Same-sex marriage legislation passed the Illinois Senate in February, but gay activists say they're a few votes short in the House.

 
Thursday, 24 October 2013 02:44
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   A settlement may be near in the class action lawsuit against Schnucks supermarkets stemming from a security breach that compromised more than 2 million customer credit and debit cards.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the judge will decide in the coming weeks if the deal Schnucks has agreed to is satisfactory.  

   But an attorney pursuing a federal lawsuit over the matter is asking the court to throw out the settlement, claiming it's unfair because proper discover hasn't been done and the full scope of the damages to Schnucks customers isn't known.  Attorney's involved in the local case deny that.

   Hackers breached the grocery chain's security between December 2012 and March 2013.

Thursday, 24 October 2013 02:38
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   Next summer's Fair St. Louis will be held at Forest Park.  The Fair Saint Louis Foundation and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay made the official announcement Wednesday evening at the Art Museum.  

   The 34th annual festival will be centered on Art Hill on July 3, 4 and 5.  The 137th Veiled Prophet Parade will march through Forest Park instead of downtown St. Louis.  

   That's because the $380 million renovation of the Arch grounds won't be finished in time. It could be done in time for the 2015 fair, but that decision won't be made until late next year. 

   The 2014 event will include the traditional air show, concerts, fireworks and a Kids Zone, with the main stage at the foot of Art Hill near the Grand Basin.  And Fair officials are promising several new elements that will be unveiled early next year.  

Thursday, 24 October 2013 02:31
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have re-opened talks on a bill to expand gambling, but many of the concerns that doomed earlier proposals remain.

   The House Executive Committee held a hearing Wednesday on a measure to add five casinos and allow slot machines at Chicago's major airports. The bill passed the Senate in the spring but didn't get a House vote.

   Bill sponsor Rep. Robert Rita is a Blue Island Democrat. He says he'll work to address concerns. They include whether there's sufficient oversight of a Chicago casino and how new revenue would be shared.

   Both the House and Senate have adjourned for the week. Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Springfield for the second week of the fall session in early November.

 
Thursday, 24 October 2013 02:26
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - State Sen. Jim Oberweis says he's gathering petition signatures to make a bid for the U.S. Senate.

   The Republican from Sugar Grove made the comments Wednesday at a Springfield rally for opponents of same-sex marriage. He says he wants to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. Oberweis is a dairy magnate who has made numerous bids for office before.

   He made previous unsuccessful attempts for U.S. Senate in 2002 and 2004. He also ran and lost in the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary, and a congressional bid in 2008. He won a seat to the state Senate last November.

   Downers Grove businessman Doug Truax and Kane County Regional School board member Chad Koppie are also making primary bids.

 
Thursday, 24 October 2013 02:11
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