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CHICAGO (AP) - Nearly 250 physicians are calling on Illinois lawmakers to legalize the use of marijuana for patients with serious illnesses.
Three physicians spoke during a news conference Tuesday. They say marijuana can be a safer and more effective treatment than narcotics for patients with diseases such as cancer and HIV.
The Illinois House is expected to vote Wednesday on a bill that would create a medical marijuana pilot program. It would allow physicians who have an existing relationship with a patient to prescribe marijuana for certain conditions. Patients would be limited to buying 2.5 ounces at a time from dispensaries regulated by the state.
Julie Falco of Chicago uses marijuana to treat multiple sclerosis symptoms. Falco says she and other patients shouldn't be considered criminals for trying to ease their suffering.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) - Candidates to replace U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson in Missouri's 8th Congressional District will debate next month at Southeast Missouri State University.
The university announced Tuesday that the 90-minute live debate will air at 6:30 p.m. May 28 on KFVS-TV. It also will be webcast on the Southeast Missourian's website.
All four candidates running in the June 4 special election will participate. They are Jason Smith, a Republican; Steve Hodges, a Democrat; Bill Slantz, a Libertarian; and Doug Enyart, the Constitution Party. Because seating is limited, tickets will be distributed by each candidate's campaign headquarters.
Missouri's 8th District stretches from the outer suburbs of St. Louis south to the Missouri Bootheel and west to the Ozark hills.
Emerson resigned in January to lead a national association of rural electric cooperatives.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says his administration will stop making electronic copies of people's concealed gun permits.
Nixon announced the policy reversal Tuesday after several weeks of criticism from Republicans who said the new document copying policy of the Department of Revenue was an invasion of privacy.
The Democratic governor said his administration had "determined that the scanning and retention of concealed carry certificates are not essential to the integrity of the license issuance process."
The Department of Revenue handles concealed carry permits because it is responsible for issuing photo identification cards or placing a concealed weapons endorsement on people's driver's licenses.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House members have passed legislation that would require mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect to report suspicions directly to the state's Children's Division.
Currently, mandated reporters such as doctors, social workers and teachers must either report or "cause a report to be made" to the Children's Division when they suspect child abuse or neglect.
Supporters of the House legislation say that allows a mandated reporter to submit information to another person in his or her organization, who then decides whether to notify authorities.
The House legislation passed 150-0 and now will be considered by the Senate.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan raised more than $800,000 in political funds compared to $565,000 for Gov. Pat Quinn in the first three months of the year.
Madigan is a potential Democratic primary challenger to Quinn. Madigan says she has not yet decided whether to take on the governor next spring.
Campaign finance reports filed with the state Elections Board show Madigan spent $77,000 during the first quarter and had $4.4 million in the bank on April 1. Quinn spent $119,000 and had $1.5 million on hand.
Among possible Republican candidates, businessman Bruce Rauner's (ROW'-nerz) exploratory committee raised more than $1 million and already has taken in $91,000 in large donations since April 1.
GOP Treasurer Dan Rutherford (ROO'-ther-ferd) raised $300,000 and had $740,000 in the bank.
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - A registered sex offender in St. Charles County has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to more sex crimes.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 54-year-old Dennis Lee Noack of St. Charles was sentenced Monday to three life terms for statutory sodomy and child molestation. The sentences will run concurrently.
The three victims ranged in age from 7 to 16.
Noack was previously convicted of sexual conduct with a 12-year-old girl in a 2000 case, and sentenced to 179 days in jail.
A bad turn in their Smart car plunges two men into the Mississippi River this morning.
They were able to escape on their own but but were helped up the riverbank near Mullanphy Street north of downtown by rescue workers just after 10 a.m.
Both were treated at the scene by paramedics, but their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. One had his arm put in a sling by rescue workers.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports officials say it appeared the men were trying to turn the vehicle around when they backed over the embankment and into the water.
ALTON, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois motorist is accused of being impaired when he allegedly hit and killed a bicyclist in the Mississippi River city of Alton.
Prosecutors in Madison County on Monday charged 51-year-old Allen Cordes of Alton with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence causing death.
Authorities allege that Cordes was drunk and high on marijuana last Saturday night when the van he was driving hit 50-year-old Alton cyclist James Stewart. Stewart died at the scene.
Online court records don't show whether Cordes has an attorney. He does not have a listed home telephone number.
Cordes was jailed Tuesday on $75,000 bond.
Lighting up a joint may not land a pot smoker in the joint anymore in St. Louis city.
The Board of Aldermen voted 22-3 Monday to reduce penalties for possessing small amounts of the drug. Alderman Shane Cohn introduced the ordinance that would reduce the penalty for carrying pot to a municipal offense. That means police officers would not be required to arrests offenders, but could just issue a summons to municipal court.
The bill, which was introduced earlier this year by Alderman Shane Cohn, also enables police to recognize patients with “valid legal prescriptions for medicinal marijuana.” State law does not recognize so-called medicinal marijuana.
Violators would typically be given a summons to appear in municipal court instead of handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. Police currently charge marijuana offenders under more harsh state laws because no local law is on the books.
Currently under state law, first offenders who are caught with a small amount of marijuana — from a gram to 35 grams— are given a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A second offense for possession of more than 35 grams is considered a felony.
The penalty for a violation of the proposed city ordinance would be a $100-$500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
Officials at the Illinois Marathon in Champaign and Urbana say they will meet to talk about security ahead of their April 27 event after explosions at the Boston Marathon.
Jan Seeley is the race director at the Illinois Marathon. She said Monday that some runners and their relatives are already calling with concerns. She said one woman was angry with her Monday for not immediately calling off the race. Race officials plan to meet on Wednesday.
Seeley says it is unlikely the Illinois Marathon will be called off. But race emergency services coordinator Scott Friedlein says security measures such as bomb-sniffing dogs will be discussed.
The event draws as many as 20,000 runners to a series of races at different lengths. That includes about 3,000 registered for the marathon itself.