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CHICAGO (AP) - Members of a bipartisan panel tasked with coming up with a plan to address Illinois' pension crisis don't all agree with Gov. Pat Quinn's July 9 deadline to report back with a solution.

Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul says it could take longer than that. He spoke to reporters Thursday before the panel's first public hearing. He says another hearing will take place next week.

The 10-member panel was formed after a special session this month. Both chambers remain divided and the group has been charged with finding compromise.

Republican Sen. Mat Murphy says July 9 is a reasonable target.

Six Democrats and four Republicans are on the committee.

Illinois has the worst state pension shortfall nationwide, largely due to lawmakers skipping or shorting payments to public-employee retirement funds.

 
Thursday, 27 June 2013 15:48
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - St. Louis lags behind many other metropolitan areas in attracting immigrants. A new effort is underway to change that.

The St. Louis Mosaic Project was formally launched Thursday. The ambitious goal is to make the St. Louis region the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the U.S. for immigration growth by 2020.

St. Louis is the nation's 19th largest metropolitan area but immigrants make up just 4.5 percent of the region's population, which ranks 43rd.

The St. Louis Mosaic Project hopes to draw more immigrants through several outreach efforts, including a website that will offer 10 links for people of different nationalities

 

Thursday, 27 June 2013 15:30
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A judge has spared members of Gov. Jay Nixon's administration from testifying before a Missouri House panel investigating state driver's license procedures.

Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green issued a preliminary order Thursday blocking the committee from proceeding with the subpoenas. The order did not elaborate on why.

An attorney representing the Nixon administration employees had argued the subpoenas imposed an unreasonable burden by providing too little notice and taking the employees away from important work. He also asserted there was no legal authority for the subpoenas.

The committee is looking into whether state officials tried to implement provisions of the Real ID Act, despite a state law forbidding compliance with the federal proof-of-identity law.

House Speaker Tim Jones issued the subpoenas. He suggested Nixon is trying to hide something.

Thursday, 27 June 2013 14:25
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PERRYVILLE, Mo. (AP) - Two men face sentencing in September after pleading guilty to a counterfeit credit card scheme in southeast Missouri.

The Southeast Missourian reports that 33-year-old Faisal Elmi of Alexandria, Va., and 26-year-old Mamadou Sall of Cheverly, Md., pleaded guilty Monday.

Police say they discovered in November that the two men and a third suspect used fraudulent cards to buy cigarettes, fuel and more than $1,000 worth of other merchandise at several Perryville businesses.

Police say a search of the suspects' motel room found a laptop computer connected to a stripe-card reader and writer and more than 100 counterfeit credit cards using numbers of legitimate customers.

The third suspect, 43-year-old Lisa Paige of Alexandria, goes to trial in August.

 

Thursday, 27 June 2013 13:18
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