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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois' public universities are warning of serious perils if the state's temporary income tax increase is allowed to expire as scheduled in January.
 
Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard says institutions of higher education are anticipating a 30 percent decrease in funding next year because of an expected $1.5 billion reduction in state revenues.
 
Poshard told a Senate appropriations committee Thursday that budget cuts would mean larger class sizes, having more classes taught by adjunct professors instead of tenured faculty and an increase in tuition.
 
Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas says the state's backlog of bills has already created budget headaches for his institution.
 
Both presidents say increasing the state's minimum wage as Gov. Pat Quinn wants could heighten budget problems, requiring millions more to pay their student workforces.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 15:23
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - More information about the body of an infant that was found in Warrensburg by a pair of biology students.
 
Investigators say the baby was found in a cave, was near full-term, and had been delivered by C-section. Police are looking for the person who may have dumped the baby. Investigators are asking for help--they want to hear from anyone who knows a pregnant woman with suspicious circumstances around the birth of her baby in the past few weeks.
 
The students found the baby about a mile south of campus on Tuesday.
 
Thursday, 06 March 2014 15:19
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - Several businesses are being honored for helping veterans get back to work.  
 
Ten companies were given the Flag of Freedom award at St. Louis City Hall today for taking part in the “Show Me Heroes Initiative”.  The program has the goal of encouraging companies to pledge to train and hire veterans returning to the workforce.  More than three-thousand companies have made the pledge and more than six-thousand Missouri veterans have gotten work because of it, including more than 500 in the St. Louis area.  
 
Mayor Francis Slay says the city will be putting a charter amendment on this year’s November ballot that will allow preferential treatment when it comes to hiring veterans within the city government.  
 
"We have veterans that have sacrificed personally and their families have sacrificed so that they can protect our freedom, we can continue our way of life", says Slay. "So this is an opportunity for us to give back but our arcane city charter does not allow for us to give preferences to veterans.  This charter amendment will allow that."  
 
The Amendment will take a vote of 60-percent or more to order to pass.  
Thursday, 06 March 2014 15:16
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Five other states are joining Missouri's fight against a California egg law regulating the living conditions of chickens.
 
   Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster last month filed a lawsuit against the measure set to take effect next year. It bars the sale of eggs produced by hens kept in cages that don't meet California's size and space requirements.
 
   The state attorneys general contend the California law violates the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution by effectively imposing new requirements on out-of-state farmers.
 
   The five other states joining Thursday are Nebraska, Alabama, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Iowa. Those states and Missouri produce 20 billion eggs per year, and 10 percent of that production is sold in California.
 
   The Humane Society of the United States criticized the lawsuit, saying it wastes taxpayer dollars.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 14:41
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers gave final approval to legislation that could lower treatment cost for some cancer patients.
 
The bill would prohibit insurance companies from charging patients more than $75 for oral cancer drugs rather than traditional intravenous treatments. Sponsoring Rep. Sheila Solon, of Blue Springs, says oral drugs often carry fewer side effects for cancer patients.
 
The House voted 147-6 on Thursday to send the bill to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk. The Senate passed the measure last month.
 
Patients are often charged much more for oral chemotherapy because it is handled as a pharmacy benefit. Traditional intravenous treatments often cost only the standard co-payment for an office visit.
 
House Speaker Tim Jones says the bill would be among the most significant pieces of legislation passed by the Legislature this year.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 13:09
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - St. Louis officials say the Missouri River is to blame for a foul smell in drinking water.
 
Water commissioner Curt Skouby told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the odor and taste should be gone within days. Meanwhile, he says the water is safe to drink.
 
Officials say upriver snowmelt and changing temperatures, along with naturally occurring material in the river, is causing the odor.
 
Kansas City, Mo., has also had complaints about its water in recent days.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 13:07
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A new report shows fewer Illinois children are without health insurance, but the number of cases of child abuse is climbing.
 
The annual report released Thursday comes from a non-partisan organization advocating for policies concerning children called Voices For Illinois Children.
 
The report shows the percentage of children without health insurance fell from 6 percent to 3 percent since 2008.  It also found Illinois has "significantly narrowed" racial and ethnic disparities in children's health insurance coverage.
 
But cases of child abuse and neglect have risen 13 percent since 2006. Some of the largest increases were in DuPage, Kane, Macon, Vermillion and Will counties.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 12:55
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - In just under 30 minutes, tornado sirens will sound across Missouri.

 

Don't worry, it's part of a state-wide tornado drill. The sirens will sound at 1:30.

 

The drill was postponed from earlier in the week after the weekend's winter weather. 

Thursday, 06 March 2014 12:45
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A national environmental group is suing a St. Louis-based utility, claiming thousands of violations of federal clean air laws.
 
The Sierra Club filed a federal lawsuit against the Ameren Corporation Wednesday in St. Louis. The complaint seeks to compel Ameren to reduce pollution at three Missouri power plants and asks the court to levy financial penalties for past violations.
 
The lawsuit says Ameren's own testing shows nearly 10,000 violations since 2009 at the utility's Meramec power plant in St. Louis County, the Rush Island plant in Jefferson County, and the Labadie (LA-buh-dee) plant in Franklin County.
 
Ameren's vice president of environmental services, Mike Menne, says the suit has no merit. He says a federal court in Texas recently rejected a similar case filed by the Sierra Club.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 11:10
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