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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - State senators are expected to consider two possible paths toward addressing the nation's worst pension crisis.

One option is legislation approved in the Illinois House last week. That bill is sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan. It would require public employees to pay 2 percent more toward their retirement benefits. It would also reduce annual cost-of-living increases for retirees and raise the retirement age for workers under 45.

Labor unions also are expected to pitch a plan. The details of that proposal have not been disclosed. But a spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton says it would offer employees a choice between health insurance or cost-of-living increases.

Lawmakers are expected to discuss the two options in a closed-door meeting on Monday before convening on the Senate floor.

 

Monday, 06 May 2013 14:18
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri officials are celebrating the 100th anniversary of groundbreaking for the state Capitol.

Dirt first was turned in 1913 at a ceremony held in Jefferson City for the start of construction. The current building replaced one that burned in February 1911 after lightning struck its dome.

The cornerstone was laid in 1915, the first government offices moved into the structure in 1917 and the building was dedicated in 1924

Gov. Jay Nixon, Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard and House Speaker Tim Jones attended Monday's ceremony, praising the Capitol's design and appearance.

Monday, 06 May 2013 13:47
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A bankrupt St. Louis-based coal company's push to significantly cut thousands of retirees' health care and pension benefits is in the hands of a judge.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kathy Surratt-States has until May 29 to decide the matter that last week was argued before her by attorneys for Patriot Coal Corp. and the United Mine Workers of America union. It's not clear how soon any ruling may come.

Patriot's proposed benefits cuts have been the most contentious aspect of its bankruptcy case since the Peabody Energy Corp. spinoff filed for Chapter 11 protection last summer. The company says it would have to spend $1.6 billion to cover retirees' health care costs, and that if that didn't change it might risk liquidation.

The union considers the cuts immoral, drastic and unfair.

 

Monday, 06 May 2013 13:17
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The leader of the Missouri House says an attempt to access a secure website listing Missouri's concealed gun permit holders was part of an investigation into whether the state had appropriately shielded the information.

In an interview with The Associated Press, House Speaker Tim Jones declined Monday to identify the person who tried to access the information last Thursday. But Jones said it was an appropriate action.

Gov. Jay Nixon's administration revealed last week that someone using a House computer address repeatedly tried to access the site. It said those attempts were unauthorized because information on concealed gun permit holders can only be shared with law enforcement.

The information was posted online for a federal fraud investigator, who testified last week that he opted not to download the information.

Monday, 06 May 2013 12:28
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