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Morning headlines: February 29, 2012

Nixon declares state of emergency for severe storms, possible tornadoes hit southwestern Mo., southern Ill.; at least four confirmed dead

At least one person is dead after possible tornadoes hit southwestern Missouri. Dallas County Sheriff's Lieutenant Dana Eagan says more than a dozen other people were injured when a potential twister struck a mobile home park near the town of Buffalo. National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Griffin says an apparent tornado damaged some of Branson's famous theaters. A hospital in Branson also treated 32 people in the hours after the tornado hit.

Meanwhile, Hospital officials in Harrisburg, Ill. say at least 3 people are confirmed dead in storms that hit southern Illinois this morning.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency.

Protests at Illinois capitol over possible Medicaid spending cuts

Over one hundred people gathered at the capitol Tuesday protesting Governor Quinn's proposal to cut nearly $3 billion dollars in Medicaid spending. The crowd consisted of home care workers belonging to Service Employees International Union and the people they care for. Barbara Green is a personal assistant for her daughter, who has multiple sclerosis.

"She cannot dress herself so she definitely needs someone to care for her," Green said. "So I would appreciate it if they could look at not cutting the budget in regards to the personal assistants."

Green says her daughter and her grandson live with her and she needs an increase in pay, not a decrease. Quinn recently assembled a working group of lawmakers to come up with a plan to reduce Medicaid costs.  The Governor says the program that covers health care costs for the poor and lower income residents must be restructured so that it will "always be there for those who need it."