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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The winter weather spreading across much of Missouri has caused the cancellation of a few afternoon House committee hearings.
   Hearings on budget proposals for education, mental health, public safety and social services were called off Tuesday after snow blanketed Jefferson City.
   The House Chief Clerk also officially closed House operations at 1:30 p.m. because of the weather. A House Insurance Policy Committee dinner scheduled for tonight at Jefferson City Country Club was also called off.
   The afternoon snow didn't halt all legislative activity. Two Senate committees met, and evening House hearings were still scheduled.
   Both the House and Senate are scheduled to resume work Wednesday morning.
 
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 03:41
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   An East St. Louis man is suing the city and a police detective, claiming he was beaten until he falsely confessed to a rape.

   Marlon Miller's federal lawsuit alleges former East St. Louis Detective Orlando Ward struck him several times out of the view of police recording devices. During the alleged beating, Miller confessed to attacking the woman as she left a MetroLink train.

   DNA tests later absolved Miller of the crime and led to the arrest of another suspect.  

   Several cases involving Ward have been under review since the former detective was indicted in a federal cocaine investigation.

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 03:19
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   WASHINGTON, DC (AP) - Illinois' attorney general is planning to testify in Washington on data breaches.
   Lisa Madigan's office notes the Chicago Democrat is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning before a House committee.
   The attorney general plans to speak about a growing number of data breaches that she says have affected consumers nationwide and prompted multiple investigations in her offices about how businesses are protecting consumers. A data breach is the sharing of information that is supposed to be secure and confidential.
   Madigan says she plans to detail the role Illinois and other states have in responding to data breaches and the steps the private sector and government can take to prevent them.
 
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 03:09
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   The extreme cold this winter is bringing some unwanted news to utility customers in the Midwest and Northeast -- higher heating bills.

   As many in Missouri and Illinois have already seen, propane rates have skyrocketed in the past few weeks.  Gas and electric rates aren't changing, but utility company's say customers should still expect to see higher bills starting this month.  

  A jump in demand because of the brutal winter weather is to blame, according to utility providers.  Demand for natural gas reportedly hit an all-time high during the first week in January.  

   The situation isn't expected to improve any time soon, as forecasters are calling for more cold weather over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 02:37
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - An attorney for a Missouri death row inmate is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn his conviction because prosecutors failed to disclose evidence that he was beaten by police before confessing.
   The attorney for Reginald Clemons on Tuesday urged the high court to use the findings of a specially appointed judge to set aside Clemons' conviction for the 1991 deaths of sisters Julie and Robin Kerry.  Prosecutors say the sisters were shoved off the Chain of Rocks Bridge into the Mississippi River in St. Louis after being raped.
   Clemons was one of four people who were convicted or pleaded guilty in the case.
 
   Special Judge Michael Manners concluded last year that prosecutors suppressed evidence that police may have beaten Clemons while questioning him.
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 15:27
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri House committee is considering a one-cent sales tax increase to fund state transportation projects.
 
Transportation officials said Tuesday the penny tax could generate $8 billion over the next decade. They say the tax increase is necessary for the state to maintain roads and bridges, and to fund new infrastructure projects.
 
If approved by the Legislature, the tax would go on the statewide ballot in November. The tax would need to be re-approved by voters after 10 years to remain in effect. Ten percent of funds raised by the sales tax would go toward local transportation projects.
 
The measure cleared both the House and Senate but failed to win final passage in the waning days of last year's legislative session.
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 15:26
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Improved emergency medical treatment and faster service for southwestern Illinois residents and workers are the goals of a $2.3 million emergency room expansion project now underway at Touchette Regional Hospital.
 
Touchette’s 24-hour emergency services will remain open during construction which is to be completed by mid-2014. The project will add seven, private ER treatment rooms, plus a larger triage area for quicker patient evaluation. There will also be a new decontamination unit equipped to manage medical issues related to industrial accidents or natural disasters.
 
 Project funding is through the Hospital Capital Investment Program of the Illinois Department of Public Health. 
 
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 15:23
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The day's winter storm is forcing the cancellation of a meeting on unaccredited districts.

 

The hearing has been rescheduled for Wednesday from 6:30 - 8 PM at the UMSL JcPenny Conference Center. The meeting is being held so that state education officails can gather data as they look to craft a plan to aid and support failing school districts.

 

The public is invited to attend the hearing, and make comments. Comments will be limited to three minutes, and you must sign-up to make any comments. You can register here.

Tuesday, 04 February 2014 15:13
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Fewer students in two unaccredited suburban St. Louis school districts are transferring to better-performing districts for the 2014-15 school year.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a combined 2,200 students transferred for the current school year from the Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts. The transfers came quickly after the Missouri Supreme Court ruled last summer that students from unaccredited districts can transfer at their home district's expense.
 
The deadline for parents to apply to transfer for the next school year was Monday. Normandy had 123 applications, and Riverview Gardens has had 73, though Riverview Gardens extended its deadline until Friday.
 
The amount of room available for new students to transfer has not been determined. Receiving districts are not planning to release the number of vacancies until June.
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 13:14
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Improved emergency medical treatment and faster service for southwestern Illinois residents and workers are the goals of a $2.3 million emergency room expansion project now underway at Touchette Regional Hospital.

Touchette’s 24-hour emergency services will remain open during construction which is to be completed by mid-2014.

The project will add seven, private ER treatment rooms, plus a larger triage area for quicker patient evaluation. There will also be a new decontamination unit equipped to manage medical issues related to industrial accidents or natural disasters.  

Project funding is through the Hospital Capital Investment Program of the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

Tuesday, 04 February 2014 11:28
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