ST. LOUIS (AP) - The Missouri statewide tornado drill scheduled for Tuesday is being pushed back two days because of the recent winter weather and other factors.
The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency says the drill will now be at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. The drill is part of Missouri 2014 Severe Weather Awareness Week, which runs through Friday.
March typically is the start of the tornado season and the drill will include the sounding of warning sirens. Residents are encouraged to seek shelter during the drill just as they would if an actual tornado was imminent.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Supreme Court has ordered that four lawsuits challenging Illinois' new pension reform law be consolidated.
The March 3 order transfers the case filed by a group of retired teachers in Cook County Circuit Court to Sangamon County Circuit Court, where the three other cases were filed. The court says all of the cases will be heard together in Springfield.
Each of the groups' lawsuits share the common claim that the new pension reform plan violates the state constitution, which says benefits may not be diminished or impaired.
Illinois' five public-retirement systems had a $100 billion unfunded liability when the Legislature passed the pension reform measure in December.
The bill saves an estimated $145 billion, largely by cutting benefits for employees and retirees.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A Chicago man has been convicted of several federal charges for forcing two teenage girls into prostitution.
Reginald Williams was convicted Monday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis following a four-day trial.
Police in Collinsville, Ill., learned in September 2012 that photos of a missing 16-year-old were included on the website backpage.com, implying she was available for sex. The website said the girl was 20 but police confirmed she was 16 at the time.
Authorities learned another minor female was believed to be with the 16-year-old at a St. Louis County hotel. Williams was arrested at the hotel, where police found both girls. Sentencing for Williams is May 30.
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - A 21-year-old Raytown man is dead after he was reportedly shot by a St. Charles County deputy while threatening suicide and displaying a gun.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Anthony Kovac died Saturday night. He was in the St. Louis area visiting his grandparents.
Sheriff Lt. Dave Tiefenbrunn says four deputies found Kovac in a rear bedroom and asked him to leave the room. The lieutenant says Kovac was shot when he raised a gun and pointed it toward one of the deputies.
Authorities say the victim was intoxicated and had threatened to kill himself. The unnamed deputy is on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - After a one-day weather delay, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is heading to Canada on a business trip.
Nixon was leaving Missouri on Monday to travel to Canada. He originally had been scheduled to depart Sunday but postponed that because of a winter storm that brought snow, sleet and ice to parts of the state.
The governor plans to travel to Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto to meet with Canadian government and business leaders. He is scheduled to return to Missouri on Thursday.
Nixon's travel costs are being paid for by the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit organization that frequently finances gubernatorial trade missions.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is supporting the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, joining other Midwestern governors who are urging President Barack Obama to approve its construction.
In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday, Nixon cited energy independence and economic growth as reasons to support the pipeline's construction. The State Department is taking comments on the project before making a recommendation to Obama on whether to approve it.
The Democratic governor says the project would promote energy independence in an "environmentally responsible way."
The pipeline would travel through the heart of the United States, carrying oil derived from tar sands in western Canada to a hub in Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines.
WASHINGTON, Mo. (AP) - An eastern Missouri sheriff's department is targeting drivers who ignore school bus laws.
The Washington Missourian reports that starting this week, Franklin County deputies are riding along on school buses and watching for aggressive drivers who drive around stopped buses in violation of the law.
Authorities say the sheriff's office receives many reports of violators who are either unaware of the law or intentionally violate it. They say it puts children getting on and off the bus at risk.
Motorists are being reminded that those going both directions must stop if the red flashing lights of a school bus are activated.
CHICAGO (AP) - A new report says electricity deregulation has saved Illinois customers up to $37 billion over the past 16 years.
The report being released Monday by four business groups says the average household has paid $3,600 less overall than if the average annual electricity rates had stayed the same.
Deregulation kicked in in 1998, allowing Illinois utilities to compete for business on the open market rather than being regulated monopolies whose rates were set. The utilities before deregulation both supplied and delivered electricity to customers, who had no other choices.
The legislature also restructured the natural gas market.
The report was issued by the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Business Roundtable.
Electric rates have risen recently as utilities make "smart grid" improvements.