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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld a Missouri law banning protests within 300 feet of funerals but has struck down a broader law that could have kept protesters even further away.

   The decision Friday by a panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stems from a challenge to a pair of 2006 Missouri laws enacted after protests of military members' funerals by a Kansas-based church that denounces homosexuality.

   The appeals court said a Missouri law barring protests "in front of or about any location at which a funeral is held" violates First Amendment free speech rights because it creates a buffer zone of an undetermined size. It upheld a separate law setting the 300-foot buffer around funerals but said it cannot apply to funeral processions.

 
Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon says he remains opposed to a bill that would raise the state sales tax while cutting income taxes for individuals and businesses.

   Nixon released a statement Thursday saying that a sales tax increase would shift the tax burden to seniors and veterans on fixed incomes. He said it "is not the right approach to growing our economy or creating jobs."

   His reaction comes after the House passed a bill Wednesday that would gradually cut the individual income tax by two-thirds of a percentage point over five years while also reducing business taxes.

   To offset part of the lost revenue, the bill would gradually raise the sales tax by three-fifths of a cent.

   Nixon also had opposed an earlier version of the bill passed by the Senate

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have endorsed legislation creating a funding formula for public colleges and universities.

The bill would tie 10 percent of each school's state funding to meeting performance goals, and 10 percent to career placement.

The Coordinating Board for Higher Education would work with schools to develop their performance measures. The Department of Higher Education would develop rules for career placement rates of graduates.

The Senate gave the measure first-round approval Wednesday. It needs another affirmative vote to move to the House.

A state law requires development of a funding formula for higher education. Missouri's current approach allots money based largely on how much each school received previously and what is available for the future.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators are considering a nearly $25 billion budget plan that may be most notable for what it doesn't contain.

Senate debate on the budget began Monday with education funding among the first items up. The budget includes a $66 million increase on top of the current $3 billion in basic aid for public schools. But that still falls $620 million short of what's called for by a state formula.

Later Monday, senators were to discuss more contentious topics. The Senate budget plan wipes out funding for the motor vehicle and driver's license division. The intent is to register senators' disapproval of licensing procedures that include making electronic copies of applicants' personal documents.

Like the House, the Senate plan includes no money for Gov. Jay Nixon's proposed Medicaid expansion.

 

Published in Local News

FLORISSSANT, Mo. (AP) - Someone is holding a $2.7 million winning Missouri Lotto ticket, but lottery officials don't yet know who the lucky person is.

The Lotto ticket purchased at a QuikTrip in the St. Louis County town of Florissant matched all six numbers in the drawing from Saturday. The winning numbers are 14, 20, 21, 24, 25 and 35.

There were other winners over the weekend, too. Lottery officials say someone in Hannibal won $250,000 playing Mega Millions on Friday, and a $232,000 Show Me Cash ticket was sold Saturday in St. Louis.

Anyone with a winning ticket should sign the back and has 180 days from the drawing to claim the prize at Missouri Lottery offices in St. Louis, Jefferson City, Springfield and Kansas City.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Several hundred gun-rights advocates rallied at the state Capitol as the Missouri House voted to allow certain school personnel to carry concealed weapons in school buildings.

The House voted 115-41 to send the measure to the Senate Thursday.

The Missouri Sports Shooter Association held a previously scheduled rally in the Capitol rotunda while the House was debating the bill. Many lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, spoke at the event and promised to continue to push for more gun rights.

The House bill would also lower the minimum age required to carry concealed weapons and allow firearms less than 16 inches to be openly carried by people with valid permits.

Published in Local News

Flooding is the major concern after more than two inches of rain has fallen in the St. Louis area in just the past day.

Jefferson County officials have issued an emergency evacuation advisory. They are encouraging anyone near a body of water to immediately seek higher ground. 

Residents of De Soto, Missouri reporting that several city buildings, including the fire department, are flooded and roads are impassable. Emergency crews continue their work to rescue people trapped in their cars.

A section of I-70 flooded near Highland, Illinois, and forced authorities to close an the exit ramp onto Route 143.

In the more immediate metro area, there are reports of flooding on low-lying roads, including Wild Horse Creek Road in West County. 

KTRS News spoke to MoDOT about some tips to keep you safe on the roads. If it seems like a water-covered roadway is shallow enough to drive across--don't do it! Do not drive through flooded areas. And the best way to avoid hydroplaning is to slow down.

MoDOT also has up-to-date road information here.

Published in Local News

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has ruled that police must usually try to obtain a search warrant from a judge before ordering blood tests for drunken-driving suspects.

The justices on Wednesday sided with a Missouri man who was subjected to a blood test without a warrant and found to have nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said for the court that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the blood is generally not sufficient reason to jettison the requirement that police get a judge's approval before drawing a blood sample.

Missouri and the Obama administration were asking the court to endorse a blanket rule that would have allowed the tests without a warrant.

Published in Local News

CRYSTAL CITY, Mo. (AP) - An eastern Missouri sheriff is raising safety concerns about gatherings at an old sand mine now used as a recreation complex.

The 200-acre site near Crystal City once provided sand to a glass factory. It is now known as Crystal City Underground.

The site is also rented out to parties. A gathering on April 6 drew hundreds of people. Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that deputies issued eight summonses, including three for underage drinking and two for drugs.

Boyer is concerned about whether emergency vehicles could get to the site, and if a bridge meets safety standards.

Owner Tom Kerr says an emergency plan is in place and plans are in the works for a new road and bridge to the site.

Published in Local News

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) - Candidates to replace U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson in Missouri's 8th Congressional District will debate next month at Southeast Missouri State University.

The university announced Tuesday that the 90-minute live debate will air at 6:30 p.m. May 28 on KFVS-TV. It also will be webcast on the Southeast Missourian's website.

All four candidates running in the June 4 special election will participate. They are Jason Smith, a Republican; Steve Hodges, a Democrat; Bill Slantz, a Libertarian; and Doug Enyart, the Constitution Party. Because seating is limited, tickets will be distributed by each candidate's campaign headquarters.

Missouri's 8th District stretches from the outer suburbs of St. Louis south to the Missouri Bootheel and west to the Ozark hills.

Emerson resigned in January to lead a national association of rural electric cooperatives.

Published in Local News

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