Missouri lawmakers pass tax cut; veto possible
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to an income tax cut for individuals and many business owners.
The vote Wednesday by the Republican-led House could set up a veto showdown with Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.
Nixon rejected a tax cut last year and has voiced concerns that this year's measure could jeopardize funding for public schools and services.
The legislation would gradually cut Missouri's top individual income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent and phase in a new 25 percent deduction for business income reported on personal tax returns. The tax cuts would begin in 2017, but only if state revenues rise by at least $150 million.
The bill also would increase a tax deduction for low-income residents and adjust Missouri's tax brackets based on inflation.
Mo. Gov. Nixon denounces passage of tax cut
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is describing a tax-cut bill passed by the Legislature as a "reckless fiscal experiment."
The Democratic governor indicated Wednesday that he likely will veto the income tax cut, just as he did a similar bill passed last year by the Republican-led Legislature.
Nixon convened a news conference to denounce the legislation a mere hour after the House gave it final approval on a 104-48 vote.
The legislation would gradually cut Missouri's top individual income tax rate and phase in a new deduction for people who report business income on personal tax returns. The tax cuts would begin in 2017, but only if state revenues keep rising.
Nixon says the tax cuts would "drastically slash the income of our state" and harm education funding.
Missouri House endorses early voting measures
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has endorsed a pair of early voting measures, though some Democrats contend they could create confusion for a proposed initiative petition that seeks to go further in allowing advanced voting.
House members gave first-round approval Wednesday to a constitutional amendment and companion bill. It would allow early voting for nine days, ending the week before state and federal elections. Polls would be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week and four hours on Saturday. There will not be early voting on Sunday.
The initiative petition would allow early voting for six weeks, including weekends for the final 21 days.
Democratic critics say the House proposal is a "sham" and that politics are at play.
The early voting bills are HJR90 and HB2271.
ST LOUIS COUNTY-POLICE SHOOTING
Robbery suspect shot by St. Louis County cop dies
FENTON, Mo. (AP) - A robbery suspect shot by a St. Louis County police officer at a Fenton check-cashing store has died.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that an unidentified officer shot a 23-year-old suspect who pulled a gun during an attempted robbery Wednesday morning at Check 'n Go in the Gravois Bluffs Shopping Center.
Police say two suspects were leaving the store when officers arrived. The injured suspect was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died. His name has not yet been released.
ICE arrests 24 in Missouri, Illinois
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Immigration and Customs Enforcement has arrested 24 men in Missouri and Illinois for what officials call "egregious" immigration violations, including individuals who entered the country illegally and committed crimes.
The arrests, made in a five-day roundup last week, were announced Tuesday. Arrests occurred in the Missouri counties of St. Charles and New Madrid, and in the Illinois counties of Champaign, McLean, Effingham and Jackson.
ICE says 15 of those arrested were criminals with convictions that include sexual misconduct, felonious restraint and other charges. Others arrested were fugitives with outstanding deportation orders.
ICE says 14 of the suspects are from Mexico, nine from Guatemala and one from India. An immigration judge will determine whether the suspects should be deported.
SW ILLINOIS TROOPER-STRIP SEARCH CHARGE
SW Il. state trooper faces charge over alleged strip search
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois state trooper is facing a felony aggravated battery charge after authorities say he strip-searched a man along the side of a road during a traffic stop.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports 32-year-old Cory Alberson was released on $20,000 bail on Monday after he pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors say Alberson pulled down a man's pants during a traffic stop in January in East St. Louis without the driver's consent. He was never charged.
In a statement Wednesday, ISP Director Hiram Grau says the agency is taking "this matter seriously and will not tolerate misconduct on any level."
An ISP spokeswoman says Alberson has been relieved of duty.
Alberson's lawyer says the Swansea man denies any wrongdoing and plans to fight the charge in court.
Farm Bureau opposing multi-state transmission line
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Farm Bureau has voted to act as an intervener in a case before the state's utility commission involving the Grain Belt Express electric transmission line.
The St. Joseph News-Press reports the organization opposes granting eminent domain to Clean Line Energy Partners for its project, which would carry electricity generated by windmill turbines through about 200 miles of the state.
The Missouri section is part of a $2.2 billion project to build a 750-mile-long high-voltage overhead transmission line from Kansas, through Missouri and Illinois and to a substation in Indiana.
Clear Line has filed with the Missouri Public Service Commission for utility status and approval of a route for the line.
Opponents say the transmission lines would reduce property values and potentially create a health risk.
Robber who lived productive life seeks release
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A Missouri man who waited years to be sent to prison after being convicted of armed robbery is fighting for his release.
Cornealious Anderson was sentenced in 2000 to 13 years and was told to await instructions on when and where to report to prison. But those instructions never came.
So Anderson didn't report and spent the 13 years turning his life around - getting married, raising three kids, learning a trade. He made no effort to conceal his identity or whereabouts.
When authorities discovered the mistake last year, they arrested him. Now he's fighting for release, saying the government missed its chance to incarcerate him.
Anderson's attorney, Patrick Megaro, says the last time anything similar happened in Missouri was 1912. In that case, the convicted man was set free.
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