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Morning headlines: Friday, February 17, 2012

The Missouri Senate has voted to add cell phones to the state's no-call list for telemarketers.
papalars | flickr
The Missouri Senate has voted to add cell phones to the state's no-call list for telemarketers.

Missouri Senate votes to allow cell phones on no-call list

The Missouri Senate has passed a measure that would let people put cell phone numbers on the state's no-call list for telemarketers. The Senate voted 34-0 Thursday, to expand the list which is currently limited to land lines.

The measure would also forbid telemarketers from sending unwanted images or text messages to cell phones on the no-call list. 

The Missouri Attorney General's office says it receives close to 200 complaints each week about unwanted cell phone calls. The measure will now go the the  House.

Monsanto Company fights utilities in disclosure fight

The Monsanto Company is taking on Idaho's utilities in a fight for more disclosure. The St. Louis based Roundup herbicide maker is saying the utilities should have to give more information about costs of future power plants or transmission lines so customers can be better armed to oppose unnecessary rate hikes.

The company, which uses large amounts of electricity at its Soda Springs, Idaho, phosphate plant, convinced lawmakers Thursday to schedule a hearing. The hearing will be over a bill requiring utilities to reveal their best guess on how potential large expenditures, up to 20 years from now, will impact rates.

The Public Utilities Commission isn't taking sides, but it does say that requiring utilities to forecast the impact of future expenditures on consumer rates can pose challenges. The commission says predicting 20 years into the future is difficult because it is hard to tell how accurate the predictions will be. 

Governor Nixon calls for Missouri lawmakers to pass new ethics legislation

Governor Jay Nixon is calling for Missouri lawmakers to pass new ethics legislation after the state Supreme Court threw out the most recent law on the topic. The high court invalidated a 2010 ethics law this week because of the way legislators approved it.

Nixon plans to outline what he believes should be in a new law during a news conference today (11 a.m.) 

The court's action means that for now, candidates and officeholders will not have to publicly report contributions of more than $500 within 48 hours when the Legislature is in session. Other provisions of the old law banned certain committee-to-committee transfers and allowed the state Ethics Commission to begin investigations without first receiving complaints.