JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri Senate committee is working through ideas for addressing struggling school districts and a law that forces unaccredited districts to pay for students to transfer.
The Senate Education Committee examined legislation this week sponsored by its chairman, Republican David Pearce of Warrensburg. The panel focused last week on a proposal by several St. Louis-area senators, and Pearce says there will be hearings on other proposals in the next two weeks.
Pearce says the committee needs to decide what is important to include in a bill. Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey said Thursday he would like the full chamber to start debate on a proposal in mid-February.
Pearce's measure provides partly for creating a statewide "achievement district" to manage underperforming schools in unaccredited districts.
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - A St. Charles County doctor has pleaded guilty to fraudulently billing Medicare for office visits when he was actually traveling outside the country.
Federal prosecutors say Dr. Khaled Hassan told Medicare he treated patients face-to-face on three occasions between March 2009 and December 2011 when he was actually overseas. The office visits involved prescription drug refills, with Hassan's nurses instead seeing the patients and providing previously signed prescription forms.
That led to a federal Drug Enforcement Administration investigation. Hassan faces up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for each of the three felony counts. Sentencing is scheduled for April.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Philomena Lee wistfully described her search for her son 50 years after his adoption, a quest captured in an Oscar-nominated film.
Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said Lee's experience was an argument for adoption rights and an incentive for Ireland to open its records.
The two women met Thursday and spoke to reporters about the Philomena Project and efforts to reconcile families. They were joined by Lee's daughter, Jane Libberton, who helped in the search.
The movie starring Judi Dench has drawn attention to Lee's story and what transpired in Ireland for decades. Children were adopted by Americans, and their birth mothers were unable to find out what happened to them.
Lee said weeks ago she was a housewife, now she's on daytime television and will be attending the Oscars.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri woman who as a teenager wrote that killing a young neighbor girl was an "ahmazing" thrill is now asking a judge to overturn her guilty plea.
Alyssa Bustamante testified in court Thursday that she wouldn't have pleaded guilty to the 2009 slaying of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten if she'd known about a pending U.S. Supreme Court case involving juvenile murder defendants.
Bustamante had been facing a first-degree murder charge punishable by life without parole. She pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in January 2012 and was sentenced to life with the chance of parole.
The Supreme Court later ruled that mandatory life prison sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional.
Bustamante's new attorney is citing that case as a reason to undo the plea agreement.