MU football coach Gary Pinkel pled guilty to driving while intoxicated Friday.
He was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation.
Pinkel had been arrested Wednesday night on suspected DWI. The next afternoon, the university suspended him without pay for one week. Other penalties imposed on Pinkel include a one-week salary contribution to a University of Missouri wellness program.
The various penalties could cost Pinkel more than $300,000.
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder announced Friday he would not seek the GOP nomination for governor.
Instead, Kinder plans for re-election for a third term as lieutenant governor.
Kinder had been the presumptive GOP candidate, but ran into controversy concerning use official funds for lodging in St. Louis and later from allegations that he attended bars with scantily clad women.
Until his surprise announcement, Kinder and his staff had given every indication he intended to make the race.
Four years ago, Kinder had dropped a possible race for governor after former U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof had announced his campaign.
Earlier this week, a St. Louis businessman, Dave Spence, announced his candidacy for governor. Kinder said he would support Spence.
Kinder may not have a free shot for the Republican nomination to keep his job as lieutenant governor. Sen. Brad Lager, R-Maryville, announced earlier in the week his candidacy.
Chris McKee, son of a prominent St. Louis developer, also had announced his candidacy, although the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported he intended to drop out.
Earlier, House Speaker Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, dropped his campaign for lieutenant governor.
The redistricting judicial panel secretly convened to decide who Missourians get to vote for in the next election.
The six judges on the redistricting panel refuse to disclose any information on the meeting or plans.
Western District Court of Appeals Judge Lisa Hardwick who's chairing the panel refused to comment.
Chief Judge Don E. Burrell Jr. on the commission kept walking when asked about the meeting.
The other four judges serving on the panel are Robert G. Dowd Jr., Nancy Steffen Rahmeyer, Roy L. Richter and James E. Welsh.
The House Democratic leader voiced criticism of the secrecy when told about it.
"On public policy matters that are important that only happen every ten years like this does, that are of that importance, I think they should be done in a full and transparent process in front of the world to see," said Rep. Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City.
Gov. Jay Nixon just said he will offer state help in managing some St. Louis County parks to keep them open on Wednesday.
However, Sen. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis County, said it is not the governor's business to offer that help.
According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch's article, Nixon said a state-county operation would same money.
However, Lembke said he questioned where the money will be from. He said it is unconstitutional to use money dedicated to state parks to fund parks outside the system.
"He can't unilaterally go around the appropriations process and promise funds that he does not have ability to appropriate," said Lembke.
Lembke also said they have serious challenges to set the priorities of people in spending their money in the budget process and there is no extra money for Nixon to make his promise.
Lembke said what the governor can do is to encourage county executive to rearrange the county's priority. He said the county can find money elsewhere and make cut other places in the budget to fund the parks.
Lembke said he has heard from many constituents saying they want the parks to remain open and he is communicating with the county executive office on the behalf of the constituents.
Governor Jay Nixon joined broadband stakeholders and industry leaders at the second annual Missouri Broadband Summit to promote Internet accessibility.
The summit is a part of the state's MoBroadbandNow initiative, which was founded by Nixon in 2009 to expand and enhance Internet accessibility in Missouri.
Nixon said access to broadband is not a luxury for the future, but a necessity to keep the economy moving forward.
By the end of 2014, Nixon's goal is to let 95 percent of Missourians have broadband accessibility.
University of Missouri head football coach, Gary Pinkel, will not coach Saturday's game against Texas Tech.
This comes after the Boone County Sheriff's Department arrested Pinkel Wednesday night on driving while intoxicated charges.
The Boone County Sheriff's Deputy arrested Pinkel Wednesday night around 10:15 pm in Columbia. Officers pulled Pinkel over for lane and signal violations. After pulling Pinkel over, deputies believed Pinkel had been drinking. Officers transported Pinkel to the Boone County Jail where he later posted $500 bond.
Major Tom Reddin would not comment on specifics, but this is Pinkel's first offense.
Last year Mizzou football players Beau Brinkley and Will Ebner were arrested for DWI and subsequently suspended. Also, assistant coach Bruce Walker was arrested for DWI. Both players were suspended for two games as a result of their arrests.
In a statement released Thursday morning Pinkel apologized for his actions. "My staff and I constantly reinforce with each of our players the importance of not putting yourself into a position such as this. I did not follow that here and for that, I sincerely apologize to the University of Missouri, to our administration, to the Board of Curators and to our fans. I have already met with our staff and communicated with our players and have apologized to them," said Pinkel.
Athletic Director, Mike Alden, also released a statement saying he is disappointed in Pinkel's actions. "He is known as a man of great character and integrity. However, this absolutely goes against everything we stand for, and everything that he teaches his players in regards to our social responsibilities. We hold ourselves to very high standards, and this is a very serious breach of those responsibilities," said Alden.
Pinkel said he will face whatever form of punishment the athletic department finds necessary. "I accept full responsibility for my actions and will abide by whatever course of action our leadership deems appropriate," said Pinkel.
MU Chancellor Brady Deaton released a statement saying he is disappointed to hear about Pinkel's arrest. "Coaches must hold themselves to the very highest of standards. His lack of judgment is especially concerning since he serves as a role model for our students, said Deaton.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon Alden announced Pinkel will not coach Saturday's game against Texas Tech. In addition to his week-long suspension, Pinkel's punishments include donating a week's salary to the MU Wellness Resource Center. This salary totals to over $40,000.
Other financial punishments include a one year pay freeze, no social and academic incentives, and no bowl bonuses.
The financial impact of this DWI arrest total to more than $300,000. Aside from the financial impacts, Pinkel has to write an apology letter to fans, will have a letter of reprimand placed on his file, and must complete 50 hours of community service by next summer.
President Obama filed to run in the Missouri's primary this week.
The primary is scheduled for February 7th.
Eight Republican candidates already filed for the primary.
Obama joins Republican candidates: Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Gary Johnson, Michael Meehan, Keith Drummond, and Jon Huntsman.
Obama is the only Democratic candidate on the ballot right now.
Several Missouri state lawmakers agreed there should be discussion next year on using tolls to fund reconstruction for Interstate 70.
At a meeting of the Joint Legislative Committee on Transportation Oversight, Missouri Department of Transportation Director Kevin Keith urged lawmakers to support his department's plan to make Interstate 70 a toll road to recover the costs of major improvements to the interstate. The worn-down interstate's overcapacitated lanes and old bridges are among the reasons Keith said the interstate is in desperate need of a repair.
Under the plan, MoDOT would partner with private contractors to improve I-70 from the U.S. Highway 40-61 junction in Wentzville to the I-470 junction near Kansas City. Such improvements could include the expansion of new lanes, bridges and dedicated truck lanes on the interstate.
Keith said he estimates the project would cost anywhere from $1.5 billion to $4 billion, but he said a newly renovated interstate would keep MoDOT from spending $75 million to $95 million per year on maintenance.
"[We] have got to have some way to pay for it. And right now it's the only option I know of," Keith said.
Other lawmakers, including House Transportation Committee Chairman Charlie Denison, R-Springfield, suggested a sales tax increase as another source of funding.
In 2007, Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, supported a statewide sales tax increase to deal with overcrowded interstates.
Stouffer also expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of a new toll.
"I have a concern -- I don't know how real it is -- that if you toll 70, you will push traffic onto other roads that aren't built for the heavy traffic," Stouffer said.
Keith said it was a "valid concern" and that a toll would undoubtedly cause some traffic to leave.
He estimates the project could be completed in the next five years.
Thirty-five years ago, Kenny Rothman co-sponsored Missouri's child abuse law, which requires anyone who works with children to immediately report suspected child abuse.
But like Pennsylvania, that law requires that some professionals such as teachers only have to report the suspected abuse to their supervisors.
Rothman, now a St. Louis County attorney, said if he could do it over, he would not have included that exemption.
"The administration could cover it up like it was done here in Pennsylvania, or it could take too long because administrations have a tendency to be bulky and cumbersome," Rothman said.
A staff attorney from the Missouri State Teachers Association said he does not think a change is necessary and that the system works well with teachers reporting abuse to principals.
Senate Democratic Leader Victor Callahan, D-Independence, said he has not heard of any plans to change the child abuse law during the upcoming legislative session.
The embattled director of Missouri's Economic Development director David Kerr will leave his position at the end of the year.
Kerr's department has come under attack after the failure of an economic development project promoted by his agency has left the city of Moberly with nearly $40 million in bonds for a project that has been abandoned.
Earlier this year, the company Mamtek failed to make payments on bonds for development of factory it was developing in Moberly under an economic development project approved by Kerr's department.
Subsequent legislative investigations identified a southeast Missouri economic development project the state abandoned after it was discovered that the developer had been convicted of check fraud.
Also spotlighted by the legislative investigation was the failure of an economic development project in Kirksville by a company called Wi-Fi Sensors.
A statement issued by the governor's office reported that Kerr would continue to work for Jay Nixon as an unpaid consultant.
In the statement, Kerr was quoted as saying he wanted to spend more time with his children.
The Department of Economic Development released a report showing unemployment dropped to 8.5 percent in October.
That's down 0.2 percent from September.
According to this report, Missouri's unemployment rate is 1 percent lower than the U.S. unemployment rate.
The industries that saw the largest job increase were private education, leisure and hospitality, and administrative support services.
Despite this news, top officials from the Department of Economic Development were unable to comment.
Spokesman for the governor's office Scott Holste was also unavailable.
Chairman of the House Transportation Committee Charlie Denison said the head of the Missouri Department of Transportation has contacted him for the proposal of making I-70 a toll road.
Denison said he supports highway funding, but toll roads are not the best option.
"All good coming in and out of the state of Missouri will go up if we use toll roads. So it is a good source of funding? Not necessarily," said Denison.
Denison said another possible option for funding might be a sales tax increase.
"Not gasoline tax, because we need to probably bring that down a little bit, but turn around and do a sales tax," said Denison.
But Denison said it might take several years to make that happen.
Meanwhile, Denison also said I-70 is not the only highway that needs to rebuild.
"We have a dire need on 70, but we get just as great a need on 44 in my opinion. And we get just as great a need for some of our farm-to-market roads that are not getting anything at this particular time," said Denison.
Denison said they need to find a new source of revenue to build new highways.
The average value of farmland in several states throughout the Midwest and West is up 25% more than last year, despite droughts and flooding.
According to a survey released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, that's the biggest annual increase in land value since it began keeping survey records in 1994.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City covers western Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado and northern New Mexico.
The Federal Reserve said bumper crops and strong farm income from northern Plain states is the biggest reason for the increase.
Kelly Smith with the Missouri Farm Bureau said Missouri's farmland has also seen steady gains in value the past few years.
"This would be across the state - whether it's cropland, pasture land, forest, timberland - we have seen values rise," said Smith.
Smith attributes the rise mostly to rising commodity prices.
Joplin City officials say almost half of the 7,500 homes that were destroyed in the May 22 tornado are now under repair.
Joplin has issued almost 3,700 building permits for repairs, rebuilding, and new construction projects.
Joplin Public Information Officer, Lynn Onstot, says more than half of the building permits call for repairs of over $100,000.
Onstot credits much of the progress to the thousands of volunteers that came to Joplin following the May tornado.
Missouri strip clubs attempted to take off restrictions that Missouri state law placed on them in 2010, and failed, according to the Associated Press.
The Missouri Supreme Court unanimously voted against lifting restrictions such as full nudity, alcohol permission and staying open past midnight.
The restrictions not only apply to strip clubs, but any sex oriented business. The lobbyists for strip clubs say it was an infringement on free expression, and the court disagreed.
As pedestrian deaths so far this year threaten to surpass last year's total, the Missouri Department of Transportation launched a pedestrian awareness campaign called "Be Smart. Be Seen."
Transportation department spokeswoman DeAnne Rickabaugh said there have already been 54 pedestrian deaths for the first nine months of 2011. There were 57 pedestrian deaths in 2010, which puts 2011 on track to surpass this statistic.
Rickabaugh said drivers and pedestrians should be more attentive to one other, especially in highway situations. Drivers should pay attention to pedestrians, and pedestrians should take measures to ensure their own safety, she said.
Rickabaugh suggested pedestrians walk on the shoulder against traffic flow and look drivers in the eyes. She said pedestrians who do not know how to address their car troubles should stay in their cars if possible and call police or assistance to deal with the issue.
MoDOT plans to hold events to spread awareness about pedestrian safety.
St. Louis businessman Dave Spence announced his intention to run for Missouri governor in an interview with the Associated Press Tuesday.
Spence, a Republican, will most likely enter into an August primary election against embattled Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, although he has yet to formally declare his candidacy.
The winner of this primary would face current Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon in a November 2012 gubernatorial election.
Spence, 53, is a current head of the firms Alpha Packaging and Legacy Packaging, which make products for pharmaceutical companies. He has never run for public office.
St. Louis businessman Chris McKee and state Senator Brad Lager both announced they will run for Lieutenant Governor.
This comes after Speaker of the House Steve Tilley dropped out of the race last week.
Lt. Governor Peter Kinder will not run again and is expected to run for governor, but he has not yet announced his plans for the 2012 election.
The Economic Development Department, the Division of Workforce Development and the Missouri National Guard are confident their programs will help returning troops find employment.
Communication Director John Fougere of Economic Development said one program makes businesses take a pledge to give first priority to veterans when hiring.
Since the Show Me Heroes program began in 2010, 1,400 businesses have taken the pledge and 300 veterans have been hired.
Lieutenant Colonel Alan Rohlfing works with the Division of Workforce Development to also help veterans with the Show Me Heroes program.
Rohlfing is confident the program will give job seekers the attention and help they need to guarantee employment.
Economic Development also has 43 career centers that Rohlfing and Workforce Development closely work with.
The centers assist troops by matching them with jobs where they can apply their specific skills, supplying regular seminars and workshops and maintaining a veteran staff that eases the connection between job seeker and available jobs.
Speaker of the House Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, will no longer seek to be the next Lieutenant Governor of Missouri.
Citing family reasons, he suddenly dropped out of the race Thursday.
"It was a personal decision that I just didn't have the fire in the belly that I wanted to. It's been a decision I've been struggling with for about five months," said Tilley.
The 40-year-old Tilley says he has no plans to run for public office again, but will finish out his term as speaker of the house, which ends next session.
"I'm going to be just a normal private citizen. And I look forward to it," said Tilley.
Tilley also said he wants to spend more time with his two daughters who are 15 and 17.
One member of his caucus, Republican Anne Zerr, supports his decision.
"He thinks it's the right thing for him. It's kind of a life decision. He does want to spend time with his kids and I have to respect that. I didn't run for this office until my kids were grown. And I did that by design," said Zerr.
House President Pro Tem Republican Shane Schoeller echoes that sentiment.
"I think for Speaker Tilley and his family that he's made the right decision. Certainly, I'm going to miss having him being on the ticket. We were looking forward to his leadership in that candidacy for Lieutenant Governor, but you always have to put family first. He's done that today and I admire him for doing it," said Schoeller.
Tilley said he looks forward to returning to his optometry practice.
It still isn't known what he will do with the nearly $600,000 he's collected for his campaign.
Missouri's Health Department director dodged legislator's questions Thursday on what her department is doing to assure home health care for the state's elderly.
Health Department Director Margaret Donnelly acknowledged to a House Committee that more than 1,000 Missouri critical needs patients are still awaiting their Medicare services since the state's split with Syncare.
Yet, the state is considering contracting another third party assessor to get rid of the backlog.
Lobbyist for the Missouri Council for In-Home Services Scott Penman disagrees with the proposal.
"The concept is not workable. I don't think we need another trial balloon affecting our senior citizens and disabled population who are trying to stay at home to maybe see if another company just doesn't screw it up as badly," Penman said.
House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan Silvey stormed out of the hearing in frustration after Donnelly dodged 11 of his repeated questions on what penalty was imposed on the state's former third party assessor.
"SynCare didn't perform as promised," Donnelly said.
Following the hearing, Donnelly refused to answer Missouri Digital News' questions.
The Missouri Department of Transportation is proposing to put tolls on I70 to improve the highways.
Chief engineer, David Nichols said it's more than maintenance of the highways but to fund additional projects, like an additional lane dedicated for trucks or even an additional lane for all cars.
The Transportation Department has been planning this proposal for a couple of years, but plans to present it in January for the regular legislative session.
House Representative, Timothy Jones, R-St. Louis County said this issue will be brought to the table because it is a major issue.
The major issue according to MoDot is highway congestion.
Nichols said the current budget covers road maintenance on the existing roads.
Missouri cities and counties have borrowed more than 10 billion dollars to support new businesses in last 7 years, yet risks of Municipal bonds were not considered as a serious issue until Mamtek failed to pay back.
Moberly borrowed $39 million municipal bonds for Mamtek. Now that the project failed, the Moberly City Council voted not to pay the $ 3.2 million missed payment for Mamtek.
Stuart Haynes, Missouri Municipal League Member Services Associate, said Mamtek is the first failure to his knowledge.
"That's a pretty unusual situation to where the bonds were not get paid back," Haynes said.
Although the debt is not the city's legal obligation, default on the municipal bonds could lower the city's credit rating and increase future borrowing costs. Mamtek's situation has degraded Moberly's credit rating from A minus to double C, which could increase future borrowing costs.
Key Missouri lawmakers question whether the salary for Gov. Jay Nixon's personal travel aide violated state budget restrictions, the Associated Press reports.
State records show Nixon's aide Jeff Gettys as an employee in the governor's office beginning last month. But state flight records obtained by The Associated Press show he regularly traveled with the governor as early as last July. During this time, Gettys was still on the Department of Economic Development's payroll.
Some lawmakers say this arrangement violates Missouri budget restrictions that prohibit state agencies from paying the governor's travel or staffing costs.
But Scott Holste, a spokesman for the Nixon administration, said Wednesday that he didn't believe that Gettys employment violated state budget law.
"That period before he came on the payroll when he was traveling with the governor, I would best describe that as a period of transition -- of moving him into the governor's office and doing some of the logistical and operational support," Holste told the Associated Press.
Last year, lawmakers imposed restrictions on the governor's budget after it was revealed Nixon had billed other agencies for his state airplane flights and the salaries of some aids.
House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, told the Associated Press this is "another instance of the governor trying to hide staff."
Gettys traveled with Nixon on 34 of 40 flights from July 6 to Oct. 12, according to state flight records. These records make no mention of the Department of Economic Development for many of the flights.
Department of Economic Development spokesman John Fougere said that Gettys traveled with Nixon because his work "related to inter-departmental efforts on a variety of issues."
A U.S. congresswoman heard pleas from homeowners to stop the federal government from destroying their homes and vacation resorts.
Pleas came at a hearing at the Lake of the Ozarks where a federal map has identified 1,200 homes and docks as being built on federal land.
Residents of Lake Valley Condominiums and nearby landowners shared stories with Hartzler of friends and neighbors losing their homes to this battle with the feds.
Although the federal government has not taken the land back, residents of an area effected by this map said that buyers are already being warned not to purchase these condos.
Betty Beal, resident of Lake Valley Condominiums, says the banks will start taking the land before the government does because no one is willing to move there.
If the government does take over this land, current landowners would not be compensated for the property .
The congresswoman pointed out that Missouri is not the only state having this issue.
Hartzler vowed to continue working alongside residents to protect their rights.
Hartzler urged residents to send her pictures of their homes so she can show Congress that real people are being effected.
Two initiative petitions have been approved by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan to gather signatures to put them on the 2012 ballot.
One of the advocates gathering the required 150,000 signatures will be Dan Viets. He's the lead man for Columbia-based Show-Me-Cannabis.
"People are very happy to know that this effort is underway. We've gotten calls from people all over the state - people we've never heard from before. So there's a great deal of enthusiasm," said Viets.
Not sharing the enthusiasm is House Crime Committee Member, Brent Lasater (R-Independence). He said Viets' initiatives can not pass.
"Well when it comes to drugs, I don't think we need to be playing with fire. And that's exactly what we'd be doing. No matter how innocent it looks," said Lasater.
Viets fired back and said they didn't need the legislature's approval and they're going straight to the voters.
"Well we don't need the legislature. We're going around the legislature... They have a conservative legislative body. We're tired of dealing with those guys. They have been absolutely worthless in making any progressive changes," said Viets.
Lasater said going around a law-making body isn't the best way to make a law.
"It's wrong. You need to go through the process that was put there for a reason," said Lasater.
The initiatives aim to legalize pot for all individuals 21 or older and would make medicinal marijuana available to those under 21.
The public testimony will be held at 11 a.m. at Lindenwood University in St. Charles Thursday.
St. Louis City Senator Joe Keaveny said the role of the public testimony is to determine whether the state wants to set up its own exchange or lets the federal government do it.
Keaveny said it is a good way to let the committee members know what people want.
"The other senators on that committee need to know that there are some people in the St. Louis area that feel very strongly that we need to set up a state-run health insurance exchange," Keaveny said.
He also said although some committee members don't want to see the state move forward, he advocates for a state exchange.
Keaveny said he thinks the exchange would benefit people in the state by making it easier and more affordable for people to afford health insurance.
There will be another public testimony in Springfield later.
After the testimony, the committee will recommend whether the state should create a health insurance exchange or allow the federal government to do it.
Now that Mizzou is leaving the Big 12, someone has to pay the exit fees which the Associated Press previously reported could reach $26 million.
During an event on Monday, Gov. Jay Nixon refused to comment on the issue, and directed all questions to his spokesman, Scott Holste, who also refused to answer questions.
Rep. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, said he hopes the university will pay for the exit fees through alumni donations and sources of revenue other than taxpayer dollars.
"I've sent some questions to the university folks and have been looking into whether or not alumni could be made to cover the costs," Silvey said.
Silvey also said he would be disappointed if the burden of paying the exit fees falls on the students.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that UMB Bank filed a federal lawsuit against the Mamtek Corporation on Friday alleging "probable" fraud involved with the Moberly factory deal.
The lawsuit requested that the federal courts appoint an emergency receiver to manage any assets that remain.
The Tribune also reported that Columbia-based Septagon Construction Co. Inc. filed a separate case in Randolph county on Friday to enforce its $1.4 million construction lien against the factory. Septagon filed its lawsuit against the city of Moberly, the Moberly Industrial Development Authority, Mamtek and UMB bank.
The planned artificial sweetener factory in Moberly collapsed after Mamtek missed an August 1 bond payment.
The author of Missouri's constitutional amendment restricting the growth of state taxes died Sunday.
In 1980, the late Mel Hancock organized and led a statewide campaign to add to the state's constitution a restriction on the financial growth of state government.
Mr. Hancock's amendment was approved by state voters in November of 1980. It imposes a limit on the growth of state revenues and prohibits the state from imposing new financial obligations on local government without compensation.
In 1988, he was elected to Congress for the first of four terms -- he vowed not to serve more than four terms.
In the late 1990s, Missouri returned millions of dollars to taxpayers as a result of his "Hancock lid."
While factors in the Hancock amendment setting that lid have made it unlikely it will trigger special refunds anytime in the future, his restriction on imposing additional financial obligations on local government continues to be a constraint on the state.
In honor of Veteran's Day, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon awarded four veterans from Jefferson City the Silver Star certificate and banner in honor of their service.
The four recipients are:
Wilburn Rowden, who served as a radio operator aboard a B-17 flying fortress during WWII. His plane was shot down over Germany and Rowden was held as a prisoner of war for more than a year.
Don Hentges, a rifleman in the Army 101st airborne division during the Vietnam War. He was wounded when a booby trap exploded and killed another soldier.
David Mauldin served in the Army as a driver during Vietnam, where he injured his knee requiring several months of hospitalization.
Roger Stottlemyre was wounded by a grenade when serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during Vietnam.
"From the flak-filled skies above Nazi Germany, to the steaming jungles of Vietnam," Nixon said. "The veterans we honor today have made that sacrifice over a period of more than 65 years on behalf of our country and to protect our freedom."