Mo. motorcycle riders had good legislative year
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri motorcycle riders had several favorable bills sent to Governor Jay Nixon during this year's legislative session, but a big priority could not cross the finish line.
Lawmakers passed bills that would declare May motorcycle awareness month and would prevent police from setting up "motorcycle-only" checkpoints. Officials with the motorcycle advocacy group Freedom of Road Riders say this session was a big success for riders.
But a push to allow motorcycle riders age 21 and older to forgo helmets stalled before lawmakers adjourned last week. Supporters say adults should be able to choose whether to wear a helmet. Opponents argue waiving the helmet requirement would reduce safety and increase medical costs.
Concealed carry bill almost ready in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Governor Pat Quinn opposes the compromise gun-carry legislation that the Illinois House is readying for a floor vote on Friday.
Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson says the legislation is "a massive overreach" because it would overturn all existing local gun laws on the books. Those include a Chicago ban on assault-style weapons. Anderson says that would endanger the public.
The legislation allowing people to carry concealed weapons got House committee approval Thursday. The plan was brokered by House Speaker Michael Madigan, who like Quinn is a Chicago Democrat. Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says the speaker thought it was best to have "one law for one state" to minimize confusion.
A federal appeals court ruled that the Illinois ban on concealed carry was unconstitutional.
The bill is SB2193.
MILITARY JET-POWER LINES
Military jet from Mo. clips power lines
WARRENSBURG, Mo. (AP) - A low-flying military jet from a western Missouri Air Force base clipped several power lines, but officials said no injuries were reported.
The Springfield News-Leader reports that the A-10 Thunderbolt military jet from Whiteman Air Force base hit several power lines crossing Stockton Lake on Wednesday afternoon. A-10 Thunderbolts are single-seat, twin-engine attack jets.
Danielle Johnston, spokeswoman for the Air Force Reserve's 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman, said the plane hit the power lines near the unincorporated town of Bona, which is about 30 miles northwest of Springfield. The jet clipped the lines where they cross the southeast arm of Stockton Lake.
Crews have been working to mark the area with buoys to keep boaters away from submerged power lines.
Vandals hit Joplin park ahead of ceremony
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Police in Joplin are looking for the vandals who damaged a city park on the eve of a ceremony for the second anniversary of the May 2011 tornado.
KOLR-TV reports that crews were able to repair the damage in time for Wednesday's observance, which drew U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and other dignitaries.
Police say the vandalism at Cunningham Park occurred sometime Tuesday night. Someone broke a lock on a fence around a swimming pool and opened a valve, allowing more than 200,000 gallons of water to drain out.
Large landscaping rocks around a reflecting pond were also thrown into the water. Total damage is estimated at roughly $4,000.
About 2,500 people attended Wednesday's observance at the park, where 161 trees have been planted to honor the 161 people killed in the tornado.
Mo. woman indicted on civil rights charges
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A western Missouri woman has been charged with violating the civil rights of a black family by their home on fire.
The U.S. Attorney's office says a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment Thursday against 33-year-old Victoria Cheek-Herrera of Independence.
Prosecutors allege that Cheek-Herrera conspired with others, who were not named, to threaten and intimidate a black couple and their two children who were renting an Independence home in June 2008.
Investigators said Cheek-Herrera and another person wrote the words "White Power" on the family's driveway, and then set fire to their home with a Molotov cocktail.
A phone number for Cheek-Herrera could not be found Thursday, and it wasn't clear if she had a lawyer.
SW ILLINOIS JUDGE-INVESTIGATION
SW Ill. judge under federal investigation
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois judge's docket of hundreds of cases has been reassigned after the county's top prosecutor revealed that the judge is under federal investigation.
St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelley didn't detail the reason for the investigation. But he said he filed a complaint Thursday against Circuit Judge Michael Cook with state judicial discipline regulators.
Kelly and the county's chief judge, John Baricevic, says they've been cooperating with federal authorities.
Kelly says he has "actively assisted in and advanced a federal investigation" of the judge. He says that aid resulted in law-enforcement searches of Cook's Belleville home and his hunting cabin in western Illinois' Pike County.
Calls on Thursday to Cook's judge's chambers and his home were not answered.
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