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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois doctor will be sentenced in April after he admitted defrauding the state's Medicaid program and illegally dispensing prescription medications.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 68-year-old Viwathna Bhuthimethee of Alton pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis to one count of health care fraud and 14 counts of illegal distribution of a controlled substance.
Authorities say Bhuthimethee ran an Alton walk-in clinic with his wife. He was indicted in 2012.
Investigators accused him of operating a "pill mill" in which he prescribed more than 2,000 painkiller or anti-anxiety pills to four women from 2008 through 2010 outside the course of his professional practice.
He's set to be sentenced April 3.
Missouri lawmakers are considering a measure that would tie jobless benefits to the state's unemployment rate.
Senate Bill 673 would allow unemployed Missourians to collect the current 20-weeks of benefits only if the unemployment rate is at nine-percent or higher.
If the rate dips below 6.5-percent, jobless claims would be limited to just 13 weeks or about three months. That's half of the 26-weeks of benefits that the state allowed before 2011.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce reports that prior to recession, the average number of benefit weeks was 15 -- two more than the current 5.9-percent rate would allow under the proposal.
A Missouri House committee approved measures yesterday to create one of the strictest voter photo identification requirements in the country.
The change would require unexpired Missouri-issued or federal photographic identification.
According to the Post Dispatch, bill sponsor Rep. Tony Dugger says the opportunity for voter fraud needed to be stopped to maintain the integrity of elections in the state.
There are only nine states that require photo identification to vote.
The limited number of documents accepted under the Missouri proposal would make it stricter than all but two states, Indiana and Texas. Expired drivers licenses and school-issued photo IDs would not be accepted.
Only nonexpired Missouri or federal photo ID would be accepted under the proposal. Secretary of State Jason Kander opposes the measure. Currently, about 220,000 registered voters would not have the required ID cards.