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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

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The chairman of the Republican Party in Montgomery County has resigned after writing what's been called a racist and sexist email about U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis' primary challenger.

Illinois Republican Party chairman Jack Dorgan says he accepted Jim Allen's resignation on Thursday afternoon. Allen wrote an email Tuesday suggesting Erika Harold could fill a "minority quota" if she lost the Republican primary. The biracial Harvard law school graduate was crowned Miss America in 2003 and launched her bid to challenge Davis this month.

During a conference call Thursday, Davis said Allen should step down from the county post. That call was echoed by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who said Allen should apologize to Harold and resign.

Allen's name already was removed from a list of Davis supporters.

 

Published in Local News

   WASHINGTON (AP) — Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann says she will not run for another term in the U.S. House.

   The tea party favorite, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination last year, announced her decision on her website this morning.

   Bachmann says her decision not to run again in 2014 was "not influenced by any concerns about ... being re-elected."

   She also says recent inquiries into her 2012 presidential campaign did not affect her decision.

   Bachmann promises to "continue to work overtime for the next 18 months in Congress defending ... Constitutional Conservative values."

Published in National News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Some adoption advocates say Gov. Jay Nixon should veto new Missouri legislation dealing with international law because it could complicate overseas adoptions.

The legislation would make court rulings unenforceable if they use rulings or decisions based upon foreign laws that are inconsistent with the state and U.S. constitutions.

The Jefferson City News Tribune reports adoption advocates are concerned about the measure. Lutheran Family and Children's Services said it could mean Missouri would not recognize an adoption decree that is completed in the child's birth country.

Sen. Brian Nieves says people opposed to the legislation are using "dishonest tactics." Nieves, a Republican from Washington, Mo., says many critics have ignored that the legislation targets foreign laws inconsistent with the constitution.

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate has approved a plan that would ban the use of cell phones while driving.

Senators voted 34-20 Thursday, sending the bill to Gov. Pat Quinn. His spokeswoman didn't immediately return a message seeking comment. The House approved it in March.

The proposal says drivers have to use hands-free devices or use speakerphone features for calls.

Police would be able to ticket drivers holding a cell phone except during emergency situations. Roughly 75 Illinois communities, including Chicago, already ban talking on cell phones while driving.

Bill sponsor Sen. John Mulroe says the bill makes roads safer.

Opponents say the bill is unfair to individual rights and for those who can't afford high-tech phones.

Texting while driving is already illegal in Illinois.

 
Published in Local News

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