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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The chairman of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus is stepping down.
Democratic Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, of St. Louis, said Friday that she decided to resign because some members of the 16-member group were upset about her appearance with Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder at a news conference in December.
Nasheed and Kinder were criticizing the decision of a state commission to delay low-income housing tax credits, as part of an informal deal to pass new tax incentives for Boeing.
She became the chairwoman in 2013, after her election to the state Senate. She previously served six years in the House.
Nasheed says the group's vice-chairman - Democratic Rep. Brandon Ellington, of Kansas City - will take over her duties until the caucus elects a successor.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Influenza cases are rising sharply in Missouri, with nine deaths reported so far this season at one St. Louis hospital alone.
All nine deaths at Barnes-Jewish Hospital involved people in their mid-20s to mid-60s, hospital officials said Friday. That's unusual because flu deaths are more typical among the very young and the very old. Another 35 patients were sick enough to be treated in the Barnes-Jewish intensive care unit.
Officially, Missouri has reported more than 6,700 confirmed flu cases this season. Most cases in Missouri involve the H1N1, or swine flu, strain. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services lumps flu and pneumonia deaths together so the number of statewide flu deaths wasn't known.
CHICAGO (AP) - Three more health insurance carriers are giving Illinois customers who signed up in December more time to make their first payments.
Land of Lincoln Health has extended its payment deadline to Jan. 31 for people signed up for plans with coverage effective Jan. 1.
Aetna customers now have until Jan. 14 to pay their first premium for January coverage. Coventry customers have until Jan. 17.
Earlier this week, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois extended its deadline to Jan. 30 and Humana pushed its cutoff to Jan. 31.
It's the latest in a string of deadline extensions for people buying insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law. An original New Year's Eve payment deadline fell by the wayside after the technical problems of the federal insurance shopping website HealthCare.gov.
PLATTE CITY, Mo. (AP) - A California man has been sentenced to 19 years in prison after about 13.3 pounds of cocaine were found in his vehicle in northwest Missouri.
Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd announced Friday that 37-year-old Marcos Gonzalez, of Stockton, Calif., was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty in October to first-degree drug trafficking. Zahnd says the cocaine was valued at $600,000.
In April 2013, a Platte County deputy stopped Gonzalez's U-Haul van for a routine traffic violation. While searching the van, the deputy found heat sealer and rubber bands, which Zahnd says are commonly used to package narcotics and bulk cash. The deputy found the cocaine inside the bottom lining of three black suitcases.