State republican legislative leaders are looking to appeal a court ruling requiring officials to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. Senate president pro tem Tom Dempsey and house speaker Tim Jones have filed a motion asking to intervene in a Jackson County court case so they can appeal it to the state supreme court. In October, a judge ruled that Missouri must recognize same sex couples who got married elsewhere even though Missouri has a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage. Attorney General Chris Koster decided not to appeal the case, however he is appealing separate federal and state rulings striking down the gay marriage ban.
A man involved in a triple homicide in Laclede County has learned his fate. Jacky Wong of Springfield pled guilty to three counts of second degree murder in September for participating in the 2009 killing of Jeffrey and Glenda Smith along with Zachary Porter. Wong was sentenced this week to 15 years in prison on each of the 3 counts, to run concurrently and is expected to testify against another suspect in the case, 21 year old Benjamin Stidham. Two other accomplices have already been sentenced and are serving three consecutive life sentences.
Two people were seriously injured following a high speed chase in Maries County. The Sheriff’s department reports the chase, which exceeded speeds of 100 mph began after the driver of the vehicle provided false information to an officer during a traffic stop on highway 28. Several local law enforcement agencies assisted with the pursuit along with the state highway patrol. The suspects’ vehicle eventually crashed on highway 17 near Crocker high school. The driver, who police suspect was intoxicated, is reported to be in stable condition while the passenger suffered serious, possibly life threatening injuries. Police are not releasing the suspects’ names at this time.
The Tri-County lodging association will hold its regular monthly meeting Thursday at the Quails Nest Inn and suites on Osage Beach Parkway. Four specific items are on the agenda including two funding requests. One is for 5 to 15 thousand dollars for next year’s Lake of the Ozarks open water festival while the other is for $500 for production of public service announcements for the bridge and dam half marathon and 10k scheduled for March 28th. An update on the legislative reception scheduled for January 8th at Tan-Tar-A will be given and the increase in visitor inquiry information will also be discussed. Thursday’s meeting begins at 1pm.
Missouri U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt along with a bi-partisan group of senate colleagues are demanding a delay in the planned consolidation of up to 82 postal service mail processing facilities. Senator blunt says the demand comes after the USPS Inspector General found the postal service failed to fulfill its obligations to adequately study the impact of the consolidations and failed to inform the public of those impacts.
Blunt says there is no reason why the USPS cannot delay its consolidations to provide time for the public to see and comment on the feasibility studies that expected to be published on January 5th.
Missouri’s revenues are up more than 3 percent so far this fiscal year but the State Budget Director Linda Leubbering says it’s not enough to pay for all of the state’s expenses. According to numbers released Tuesday, individual income tax collections are up 5.5 percent and sales tax collections increased 2.6 percent from July thru November. However, Leubbering says the state needs about 11 percent general revenue growth this year in order to pay for current budgeted expenses. She believes it’s unlikely that number will be realized by the end of the year, but says 5 percent might be achievable.
The fourth and final public meeting in the ongoing discussion regarding the water patrol’s merger with the highway patrol is set to take place Thursday in St. Joseph. A special committee consisting of a bi-partisan group of state representatives was formed to investigate the merger and will make an official recommendation to the Missouri house by the end of the year. The four public hearings were scheduled following the death of 20 year old Brandon Ellingson who drowned at the Lake of the Ozarks while in the custody of the highway patrol’s water division back in may. Tomorrow’s meeting begins at 10am.