TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Christmastime manger scenes in public spaces have often been the subject of legal fights in the U.S.
But the American Civil Liberties Union says the creche scene installed by the Florida Nativity Scene Committee at the Capitol in Tallahassee is legal - because it is privately funded, not government sponsored.
Still, the ACLU says that by allowing the exhibit, which depicts the birth of Jesus, the state will now have to allow anyone to use the premises of the Capitol to express messages.
Later this week, the Freedom From Religion Foundation will put up a banner at the Capitol stating opposition to religion in government.
Mizzou's Football coach, Gary Pinkel, has been named a finalist of the Maxwell Coach of the year award.
Pinkel is credited with turning the team around in their second season in the SEC. Last year, the team managed only a 5-7 record. This year they stand at 11-1 and will play in the SEC Championship game this weekend.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Officials say Gov. Pat Quinn's constituent office in Springfield was evacuated after an envelope with a "suspicious substance" was found.
The Governor's Office of Constituent Affairs is located near the state Capitol where lawmakers and others were gathered ahead of an expected pension vote.
Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson says the envelope was received Tuesday, the office was evacuated and necessary precautions were taken.
The Springfield Fire Department, Secretary of State Police and Illinois State Police are investigating the incident.
The agencies did not immediately return calls for comment Tuesday.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois' House Speaker told a bipartisan legislative committee that the state's pension systems are "just too rich" to be afforded in the future.
Madigan is a Chicago Democrat and the state's longest-serving House Speaker. He says Tuesday that a $160 billion reform proposal was designed to keep long-term low-income workers in mind.
He called the plan a balanced approach, "not just a reduction in benefits."
Leaders announced the compromise last week. A vote is expected Tuesday afternoon.
The proposal pushes back workers' retirement age on a sliding scale, has a funding guarantee, adds a 401(k)-style option and reduces employee contributions.
It'd also replace the current 3 percent annual cost-of-living increases. Retirees would continue to receive that rate up to a certain amount of annuity payments, based on years of employment.