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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Senate Democrats are crafting concealed carry legislation that doesn't also curb local firearms laws and toughens alcohol-related prohibitions.

Senate President John Cullerton's office says the measure will leave local firearms regulations in place. A plan the House adopted last week allowing the carrying of concealed guns would invalidate city ordinances like Chicago's assault-weapons ban.

The Senate Executive Committee will hear the plan Tuesday morning.

The proposal sponsored by Chicago Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul would also prohibit firearms in businesses that serve alcohol. The House plan would nix toting guns only if liquor sales are more than half of the establishment's gross revenue.

The Raoul plan would make penalties for carrying under the influence of alcohol tougher too.

 

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 12:28
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A total of six deaths on Missouri roads and waterways this holiday weekend.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says five people died in the more than 270 accidents from Friday night through Monday. There were also 129 arrests for drunken driving.

On the waterways, one man died at Upper Big Lake, just east of Sikeston. Troopers say 64-year-old Oscar Shannon fell overboard and drowned while tying his boat to a tree--he was not wearing a life jacket.

The six deaths represent a decrease from the nine fatalities investigated on roadways over the holiday weekend in 2012.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 12:18
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The Cardinals have announced that rookie right-hander Michael Wacha will get the start on Thursday against the Royals. He'll be promoted from AAA Memphis. The 21-year-old was the Cardinals #1 draft selection out of Texas A&M. Wacha is currently 4-0 and leading the Pacific Coast League with a 2.05 ERA. The Cardinals will announce a corresponding player move prior to Wacha's start Thursday night. 

 
Tuesday, 28 May 2013 10:31
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Home prices in cities around the country surged 10 percent in the past year to highs last seen at the end of the housing bubble.

Prices around the country rose the most since April 2006, though in most places they are still well below their peak in 2006, according to the Case-Shiller house price index, which includes data through March 2013.

Phoenix, San Francisco and Las Vegas had the biggest jump in home prices, with increases of more than 20 percent compared with a year ago.

The housing market, while apparently on the road to recovery, is not yet fully healed.  A large number of homes are still in some stage of foreclosure and investors rather than first-time home buyers make up an outsized chunk of the housing market.

Many economists though are still confident that we are on the way to a healthy market.  “This is not a bubble,” says economist Diane Swonk.  ”We are regaining lost ground which is a game-changer for most households since their home is what they rely on for wealth.”

Stan Humphries at Zillow.com warns that homes will not seem as cheap once mortgages rates start moving up.

Still the rise in home prices could be among the factors contributing to resilience in consumer spending despite a tax hike at the beginning of the year.  As home prices rise consumers feel confident to spend on other items like a new car.

The housing market in cities including Seattle and Charlotte is pushing back into positive territory after a couple of months in decline.  Prices were up 3 percent in Seattle compared with a month ago, and 2.4 percent in Charlotte.

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