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Morning headlines: Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rotunda, Missouri State Capital
Flickr Creative Commons/Glamour Schatz
Rotunda, Missouri State Capital

Mo. Senate preparing to send workplace discrimination bill to Nixon today

The Missouri Senate is preparing today to pass the House version of the workplace discrimination bill and send it to Governor Jay Nixon. 

Senate Democrats, however, voiced their opposition Wednesday by blocking the bill for nearly five hours. 

The filibuster was led by Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal of St. Louis County. 

When the filibuster ended, a committee was assigned to review the measure in order to clear the way for today's final vote.  Under the bill, discrimination would have to be a motivating factor, not a contributing factor, in any action taken by an employer against an employee. 

Democrats say it would weaken Missouri's workplace discrimination standards while supporters say it would bring the state in line with the federal standard.  Governor Nixon is expected to veto the bill - he vetoed a similar bill last year.

Ill. lawmakers agree on how much money available for next year's budget

The Illinois Senate on Wednesday joined the House in approving a revenue estimate of $33.7 billion, or about $200 million less than Gov. Pat Quinn's estimate.

It was approved 52-1.

The figure amounts to an upper limit for the fiscal year starting July 1. But much of the money will go to paying pensions and old bills, leaving less for day-to-day government services.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno says deciding how much to spend will be the most difficult challenge for legislators.

Schweich to look into way Mo. Highway patrol conducts school bus inspections

Mo. Auditor Tom Schweich says the review of bus inspection procedures was prompted partly by a federal investigation of a fatal traffic crash in Missouri.

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended in December that states ban texting and talking on cellphones while driving. That suggestion stemmed from its review of a fatal August 2010 traffic accident caused when a young Missouri driver who had been texting rammed into the back of a truck and then was hit by a school bus.

Schweich said the NTSB report also indicated that the school bus company had neglected mechanical problems.

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.