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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois House committee has approved a measure that would allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The House Human Services Committee voted 11-4 Wednesday to move the proposal to the full House for consideration.

The measure would allow patients over the age of 18 who have been diagnosed with specific terminal illnesses or debilitating medical conditions to obtain marijuana.

Cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV are among the illnesses.

Supporters say marijuana can relieve continual pain without triggering the harmful effects that other prescription drugs may commonly cause.

The measure gives a framework for a four-year pilot program that includes requiring patients and caregivers to submit background checks.

But opponents say the program would encourage the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 12:28
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Police tactics are being questioned by the family of an 8-year-old Alton girl, who was handcuffed by police and thrown in the back of a squad car. Jmyha Rickman was held for two hours after she threw a temper-tantrum at Love Joy Elementary School late yesterday morning. School officials called police to help handle the situation. Alton schools assistant superintendent Kristie Baumgartner says that when a situation with a student becomes unmanageable, first the parents are called, then the school contacts law enforcement. When police arrived, they say the girl was tearing apart two classrooms and they believe they took appropriate action.
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 11:32
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A federal judge has ordered a small library in southern Missouri to stop blocking access to websites related to Wicca and other minority religions, calling it a violation of patrons' First Amendment rights.

U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber issued the ruling Tuesday in St. Louis in a case involving the Salem Public Library.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued last year on behalf of Salem resident Anaka Hunter. Salem is a largely Christian community of 5,000 residents in the Missouri Ozarks.

The suit said Hunter was trying to do research at the library but filtering software blocked access to sites about things such as Wicca, a pagan religion that worships nature and involves witchcraft.

The library director declined comment Wednesday.
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 10:38
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MEXICO, Mo. (AP) - A St. Louis-based health system says it will acquire the Audrain Medical Center in Mexico, Mo.

The agreement between SSM Health Care and the hospital will be effective April 1.

Under the agreement, SSM Health Care will own and operate the 88-bed acute care hospital and its nine MedChoice rural clinics. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

SSM Health Care owns 17 hospitals in four states. The Columbia Daily Tribune reported Tuesday that SSM will form a Mid-Missouri region to encompass its hospitals and clinics in the region.
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 07:37
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A meat smoker may be to blame for a two-alarm fire that's destroyed the Bandana's Barbecue restaurant in Crystal City this morning. Fire investigators are on the scene to make a final determination. There are no reports of any injuries.

Fire crews were called around 3:30 a.m. to a report of a dumpster fire next to the building. But it turned out to be an eight foot meat smoker that was attached to the restaurant and was on fire. Intense wind made it tough for firefighters to get a handle on the fire.

Crystal City police shut down Bailey Road at South Truman for traffic control. .
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 06:26
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Snow cover in western Missouri is pushing an unusually large number of snow geese into eastern Missouri near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

The Department of Conservation says a conservation area in Lincoln County north of St. Louis recorded 7,000 snow geese, with an estimated 15,000 birds in the surrounding area.

Snow geese spend the winter in Missouri and other southern areas of their range. They return north to the Arctic to nest.

The birds are common in marshes, rivers, lakes and crop fields. They move constantly to seek a place to feed.
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 04:18
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri Senate panel is trying to prevent the enforcement in the state of President Barak Obama's executive orders on gun control.

The committee voted Tuesday to adopt the measure sponsored by Sen. Brian Munzlinger, of Williamstown.

Obama signed 23 executive actions in January, including orders to make more federal data available for background checks and end a freeze on government research on gun violence.

Munzlinger's bill initially would have criminalized the enforcement of all federal gun laws, even those enacted by Congress, passed after Jan. 1, 2013. But those provisions were revised to include only the enforcement of executive orders.

A House committee endorsed similar legislation last week, but that measure seeks to criminalize enforcement of all federal gun laws.
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 04:16
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Associated Press has learned the Illinois women's prison in Dwight will close by March 31 after a complicated move of hundreds of inmates, including the temporary placement of 500 prisoners in gymnasiums.

Gov. Pat Quinn ordered Dwight penitentiary closed to save money. But state officials have not revealed how and when the women's facility would be shuttered.

A draft Department of Corrections memo obtained yesterday by the AP indicates the closure process began Feb. 28, with the transfer of male inmates at Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln to prisons in Canton, Centralia, Danville, Hillsboro, and Vienna.

Those medium-security inmates would move into cells vacated by minimum-security inmates who will move into temporary housing in gymnasiums.

The women from Dwight will then move into the vacated cells at Logan.
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 03:23
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House has approved a series of measures that would ban semi-automatic assault weapons in Illinois.

One amendment approved yesterday would make it a felony for anyone to possess a military-style assault weapon or to have large-capacity ammunition magazines.

Chicago Democratic Rep. Edward Acevedo says civilians shouldn't have these guns because they're made for "mass destruction."

The debate was part of a procedure House Speaker Michael Madigan set up to allow open discussion of contentious issues. The first was last week and he followed that one with another on pensions.

The amendments were approved with Democratic votes only.

Republicans refused to cast votes. GOP Rep. Dennis Reboletti of Elmhurst says Madigan's procedure puts politics before public safety.
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 02:51
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to call today for additional cuts and more scrutiny of money that's automatically sent to local governments, public transportation and other programs as he presents his proposed budget.

The Chicago Democrat will propose slashing $400 million from education in the fiscal year that starts July 1. It also will pin the blame for the cuts on lawmakers' failure to fix the state's worst-in-the-nation pension problem.

The automatic fund transfers include more than $2 billion in spending that Quinn's aides describe as "on autopilot." The amount those programs receive is set in state statute. Trying to cut it is likely to cause a contentious debate.

Quinn's proposed budget also attempts to pay down $2 billion in unpaid bills.
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 02:47
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