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Morning headlines: February 7, 2012

The payday loan industry has come under scrutiny from government officials in St. Louis, Jefferson City and Washington, D.C.
Missourians who take out payday loans could get more time to pay them off under legislation proposed by a state senator.

More time to pay off payday loans under proposed

Payday loans are unsecured loans of $500 or less that must be paid off within 31 days.  Sen. John Lamping, a St. Louis County Republican, told a Senate committee Monday that people should get at least 90 days to pay off those loans. The bill would also make it illegal for payday lenders to roll over or extend loans beyond 90 days.

Lamping's bill does not put any cap on the amount of interest lenders can charge. A ballot measure that could go before voters in November aims to limit certain loan interest rates to 36 percent. Lamping says a 36 percent cap would drive lenders out of business.

New Ill. law allows people to report certain drug overdoses without fear of prosecution

Under a law Gov. Pat Quinn signed Monday, people who seek emergency medical assistance for an overdose cannot be prosecuted for drug possession.

Representative Kelly Cassidy faced criticism that her legislation did nothing to encourage addicts to seek treatment. But the Chicago Democrat says the law had just one purpose, saving lives.

"The reality is you cannot put a dead teenager into a treatment program," said Cassidy. "You cannot get a dead teenager out of harm's way. This will keep those kids alive for one more chance at recovery."

The measure sets strict limits on how much someone can possess and still qualify for immunity. Cassidy says it's based on how much a casual user might have, not a dealer.

The law goes into effect June first.

Graduates of St. Louis County prep school allege sexual abuse by two teachers decades ago

Several students say they suffered verbal and sexual abuse in the 1970s at Chaminade College Preparatory School, which is sponsored by the Marianists.

The Rev. Martin Solma, provincial for the U.S. Marianists, said Monday that a male graduate made the first allegations several months ago against the Revs. Louis Meinhardt and John Woulfe. Both men died years ago.

At the man's request, the school sent letters to 1,600 former students who graduated while the two teachers were at the school. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports thatSolma says of 75 responses, 15 included allegations of verbal or sexual abuse. The allegations will be forwarded to an independent review board.