JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are backing down on a proposal to penalize public universities for failing to meet certain funding and academic goals.
Instead, legislation considered by the Senate Education Committee recently would only allow performance standards to be used for year-to-year higher education funding increases.
If passed, the plan would be familiar to the state's four-year public universities. Governor Jay Nixon used the model informally when he gave them a $25 million increase for the current fiscal year.
Committee chairman and sponsoring Senator David Pearce of Warrensburg says universities should be financially rewarded for achieving performance goals. Under his plan, the universities would work with the Department of Higher Education to develop their own performance criteria.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A group of eight Missouri lawmakers are calling upon Missouri's governor and attorney general to investigate concerns raised about Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro.
The lawmakers made the request Wednesday after The Kansas City Star reported that newly disclosed emails raised questions about the selection of CEE-Trust as a consultant. The Indianapolis-based firm's bid for developing an improvement plan for the Kansas City district and other struggling schools was nearly three times higher than the closest competitor.
The emails also highlighted some of Nicastro's behind-the-scenes work to create a special district that would operate some of the state's lowest-performing schools.
The lawmakers say the emails raise concerns about Nicastro's "fitness to lead."
Nicastro says the focus should be on ensuring that children "have the quality schools they deserve."
Missouri's proposed incentive package, designed to lure more Boeing jobs to St. Louis, will get its final touch Tuesday.
Governor Nixon will sign the bill at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium at 10:30 AM. Joining the governor for the signing: local lawmakers, labor leaders, and representatives of the Missouri Aerospace Training Consortium. The bill, passed by the General Assembly last week, authorizes up to $1.7 billion in incentives over 20 years.
The legislation was the product of a special session that Nixon called.
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois has taken a giant step toward fixing its biggest financial problem by approving a major pension overhaul this week. But lawmakers' inaction on tax incentives aimed at keeping companies in Illinois has triggered new concerns about the state's business climate.
The Senate and a House committee considered legislation giving tax breaks to Archer Daniels Midland Company, chemical distributor Univar and newly-merged OfficeMax and Office Depot. But the House adjourned after the pension vote, essentially pushing the issue into 2014.
The slow action, at least in the business world, could mean other states with interest in taking Illinois jobs have more of a chance to swoop in.
Still, lawmakers say they had no other choice. Their first priority was approving a plan aimed at fixing Illinois' $100 billion pension crisis.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois lawmaker is engaged to his partner just hours after the state Legislature approved same-sex marriage legislation.
State Rep. Sam Yingling of Round Lake Beach proposed to his partner during a celebration Tuesday at the Governor's Mansion. The couple has been together three years and has three children.
Yingling tells The Associated Press they'll get a marriage license as soon as the law goes into effect in June.
The Democrat says he's been carrying a ring back and forth to Springfield for about a year, waiting for the chance to propose.
He says the two grew up in Illinois and wanted to get married in their home state.
Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll the bill this month. Illinois will become the 15th state to allow gay marriage.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House has approved legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry in the state.
The vote 61-54 vote sends the measure back to the Senate for minor changes to a version it approved on Valentine's Day. Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll sign it.
Fourteen states plus Washington D.C., allow same-sex marriage. Most recently, New Jersey, Minnesota and Rhode Island have allowed it.
The historic vote in Illinois came after months of arduous lobbying by gay-rights advocates, but the bill was never called for a House vote earlier this year because the sponsor said there weren't enough votes. Proponents say momentum had been building, especially as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Opponents say marriage should remain between a man and woman.