JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is giving state employees an extra day off around Thanksgiving.
State offices are closed by law on Thanksgiving. Nixon has issued an executive order also closing state offices the Friday after Thanksgiving.
For many years, a four-day holiday weekend was the norm in Missouri government.
But Nixon kept state offices open on the Friday after Thanksgiving in 2010 and 2011, citing budget concerns.
Holidays have cost the state money because some employees who must work - such as prison guards - have been able to choose whether to claim extra time off or accept holiday bonus pay.
Nixon says the budget has improved enough to give employees the extra day off. He also extended the Thanksgiving break last year.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The former director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture is denying allegations that he created a hostile workplace.
Jon Hagler was replaced as agriculture chief Oct. 11 by Gov. Jay Nixon and until now has remained silent about the reasons. His departure came a day after a former employee distributed a letter alleging Hagler created a workplace of "hostility, disrespect, intimidation and fear."
Hagler sat down for an extended interview this weekend with The Associated Press. He described himself as a tough manager who expected a lot from employees - but wasn't hostile.
Hagler says he told Nixon's staff he was ready to leave and planned to interview for a university job. He says the timing of the employee's allegations and his departure was mere coincidence.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The outcome of a Texas abortion dispute could have an impact on Missouri.
A federal appeals court is considering a challenge to a new Texas law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.
Missouri has a similar law that has been in place since 2005.
A federal judge originally issued a temporary restraining order against the Missouri law after it was challenged by a Springfield abortion clinic. But that clinic later dropped its lawsuit and closed, and the law has remained in effect since then.
The Missouri law is cited by both abortion providers and opponents as one of the reasons why the state has few abortion clinics.