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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn is making a series of stops in central Illinois.

Monday's visits mark the second round of trips the governor's made to the region following criticism that his frequent Chicago focus might draw a downstate challenger in the 2014 Democratic primary.

Quinn started the day welcoming the Stanley Cup to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum before heading to Bradley University in Peoria, where he announced a construction grant. Quinn is also scheduled to spend time talking about the construction grant Augustana College in Rock Island before going to Rockford, where he's expected to talk about a clean water initiative.

Quinn is facing a primary challenge from fellow Chicagoan Bill Daley.

Quinn's spokeswoman has said the governor was previously tied up in Springfield because of pension reform.

 
Published in Local News

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A steady stream of speakers at a Columbia Medicaid reform hearing urged a panel of citizens and Missouri lawmakers Saturday to not only reform but also expand the government-funded health care program.

The dozens of speakers included doctors, disability advocates, hospital executives and citizens who would become eligible for Medicaid under expansion envisioned by the federal Affordable Care Act.

The House Interim Committee on Citizens and Legislators Working Group on Medicaid Eligibility and Reform is one of three special committees created by state lawmakers after the Republican-led Legislature repeatedly rejected Medicaid expansion proposals in the 2013 session.

Committee chairman Noel Torpey of Independence and several other legislators on the 52-person panel emphasized that repairing what he called a "broken" Medicaid system is equally if not more important than broadening access.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — With the help of some Democrats, Missouri's Republican-led Legislature appears prepared to override Governor Jay Nixon's veto of a high-profile bill that seeks to nullify federal gun-control laws in Missouri and make criminals out of federal agents who try to enforce them.

The Democratic governor contends the bill violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Several of his fellow Democrats told The Associated Press that they don't disagree, but they say a "no" vote on gun-control legislation in some parts of Missouri could be career ending.

The Republican-led Legislature is to meet in September to consider a veto override.

The gun bill originally passed with comfortable margins in the House and Senate.

Published in Local News

   NEW YORK (AP) - Anthony Weiner is pressing ahead with his bid for mayor despite growing calls for him to drop out of the race over a new sexting scandal.

   Weiner has been a favorite in the polls since he launched his political comeback attempt in late May. But he was greeted with boos as he took the stage at a public housing meeting Wednesday evening. By the end of his remarks, however, the crowd was cheering loudly.

   Afterward, Weiner said he had expected that revelations would emerge by the end of the campaign, adding "some of them have." But he says his campaign is too important to abandon over "embarrassing personal things" becoming public.

   The latest scandal erupted Tuesday after the gossip website The Dirty posted X-rated messages and a crotch shot it said Weiner exchanged with a woman last year while using the online alias "Carlos Danger."

   The first poll since the latest scandal broke is scheduled to be released Thursday afternoon.

 

Published in National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Three years after campaigning on a vow to "repeal and replace" President Barack Obama's health care law, House Republicans have yet to advance an alternative for the system they have voted more than three dozen times to abolish in whole or in part.

Officially, the effort is "in progress" — and has been since Jan. 19, 2011. That's according to GOP.gov, a leadership-run website.

But internal divisions, disagreement about political tactics and Obama's 2012 re-election add up to uncertainty over whether Republicans will vote on a plan of their own before the 2014 elections.

Or, if not by then, perhaps before the president leaves office, more than six years after the original promise.

Sixteen months before the midterm elections, some Republicans cite no need to offer an alternative.

Published in National News

CHICAGO (AP) - The decision by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to seek re-election and not run for governor has created a ripple effect among Illinois Democrats weighing 2014 bids.

State Sen. Kwame Raoul had been considering running for attorney general if Madigan didn't seek re-election. He says now that he's not sure if he'll seek another office instead or run for re-election.

The Chicago lawmaker says he first has to deal with Illinois' biggest financial problem. Raoul chairs a panel charged with addressing the state's nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon had also been considering a run for attorney general, along with other statewide offices.

Campaign manager Dave Mellet says Simon will make a decision soon. He says state comptroller is among the offices she's eyeing.

 

Published in Local News
Saturday, 13 July 2013 08:28

2 sides, 2 stories on Senate showdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — The immediate and the institutional are on a collision course in the Senate, where majority Democrats want to erode the right of minority Republicans to block confirmation of President Barack Obama's picks for key administration posts.

On one side is the fate of Obama's choices to head the Labor Department and the Environmental Protection Agency and for seats on the National Labor Relations Board, which settles collective bargaining disputes.

On the other side is the near certainty that once weakened, the rights of the Senate minority would be reduced even further the next time either party wants to jam through a four-year appointment to the Cabinet or lifetime seat for a justice whose confirmation might tilt the balance of power on the Supreme Court for a decade or more.

Published in National News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Political activist Rex Sinquefield has contributed $1.3 million to a business coalition that supports an income tax cut.

The contribution reported Thursday on the state Ethics Commission website provides the financial foundation for a newly formed committee called Grow Missouri.

The group is launching a campaign to persuade legislators to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a bill that would phase in various income tax reductions. The bill would cut tax rates for individuals and corporations and create a new deduction for business income reported on individual tax returns.

Two of the members of the new coalition are the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Associated Industries of Missouri. Both plan to begin airing TV ads next Monday supporting a veto override.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a pair of bills that he says would have imposed new mandates on governments to solve problems that don't exist.

   One of the bills vetoed Monday would have banned public entities from restricting celebrations or discussions of federal holidays. Though it could have protected religious-oriented holidays such as Christmas, Nixon said it also could have hampered efforts to enforce fireworks ordinances around Independence Day.

   The other vetoed bill would have forbidden governments from enacting policies traceable to Agenda 21 -a nonbinding resolution adopted in 1992 by the United Nations that encouraged sustainable development.

   The Democratic governor said both bills passed by the Republican-led Legislature attempt to fight imaginary problems but could have caused real headaches for officials in local communities.

 

Published in Local News

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Senate has passed a historic immigration bill. The vote on the bipartisan measure -- crafted by a group of lawmakers known as the Gang of Eight, was 68-32. It now goes to the House.

The legislation offers the hope of American citizenship to millions, while promising a military-style surge to secure the border.

The vote was far more than the majority needed to send the measure to the House. Prospects there are not nearly as good and many conservatives are opposed.

Vice President Joe Biden presided, and senators cast their votes from their desks, both steps reserved for momentous votes. The bill, a priority for President Barack Obama, would amount to the most sweeping changes in decades to the nation's immigration laws.

Published in National News

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