Proposal targets lenient pot laws

JEFFERSON CITY — Columbia will pay a price for easing restrictions on marijuana prosecutions under a bill proposed by a St. Charles legislator.

Republican State Sen. Chuck Gross proposed legislation Wednesday that would prohibit public schools from holding athletic tournaments in Columbia.

Early votes may come to Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY — Legislation that would remove barriers to absentee voting in Missouri won the endorsement of Gov. Matt Blunt Wednesday.

Blunt, a former secretary of state, declared at a news conference his support for the legislation, which would extend the option of voting before Election Day to all Missouri voters. In the past, absentee ballots were reserved for those unable to make the trip to their polling place. Several states allowed unrestricted early voting in the November 2004 general election.

Progressives plan inaugural fest

Progressives don’t die easy. In fact, in a response to the Republican festivities in D.C., local progressives are holding a party of their own tonight.

The “People’s Inaugural Ball,” organized by the Columbia Peace Coalition, will feature live music and speakers. The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled from 7 to 10:30 p.m. at Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S. Ninth St.

President eager for Part II

WASHINGTON — In a city brimming with pageantry under fortress-like security, President Bush looked ahead Wednesday to his second inauguration, pledging to forge unity in a nation divided by political differences.

In his inaugural address today, Bush will tell the country that events and common sense have led him to one conclusion: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.”

Tech-nical Difficulties

No doctor was needed.

After some self-examination, the Missouri men’s basketball team had no trouble finding the diagnosis for its 78-62 loss to Texas Tech on Wednesday at Mizzou Arena in front 11,691 fans.

Calm Knight at Mizzou Arena

Fans who went to Wednesday’s game to see Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight throw one of his infamous temper tantrums were sorely disappointed.

Not a single player was choked. Not a single chair was thrown. No punted basketballs went sailing through the air at Mizzou Arena.

Cougars to face tough challenge from McKendree

The Columbia College men’s basketball team can take an important step toward repeating as American Midwest Conference champions at 7 tonight when the Cougars play host to a good McKendree Bearcats team.

“That’s going to be a big game and that’s going to tell us how we are,” senior forward Craig Bryan said. “If we can play like we can then we can beat McKendree.”

Mizzou Arena greets Pujols

The loudest ovation at Mizzou Arena on Wednesday night didn’t come after a fancy dunk or a big block. It didn’t come from anything related to basketball.

At the first timeout, St. Louis Cardinals’ first baseman Albert Pujols was introduced and he was shown on the jumbotron. The crowd burst into applause and a loud standing ovation ensued.

Candidate eyes school conditions

Gayle Troutwine has filed for the Fifth Ward seat on the Columbia City Council that will be vacated by incumbent John John when his term expires in April.

Troutwine, a lawyer and mother who has lived in Columbia for about two years, said she decided to file because nobody else had.

Benefits reduction discussed

JEFFERSON CITY — A Senate committee considering reducing benefits in Missouri’s workers’ compensation program heard emotional testimony Wednesday from workers who said they felt abandoned by a system one Republican senator called “broken.”

The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Loudon, R-St. Louis County, would redefine when workers’ compensation fees are awarded. The proposed legislation would narrow the definition of injury so that a worker could collect benefits only if his or her job is the “prevailing” cause of an accident. It would reduce benefits when an injury worsens a pre-existing condition and eliminate benefits for injuries that happen en route to work and ailments whose cause cannot be determined.

Grad students open art show on campus

Graduate students in MU’s fine arts program have unveiled their recent work at a group show called “In Transit,” now at the Bingham Gallery on campus. The exhibition features sculpture, painting, ceramics, fibers, photography and mixed media.

Curt Erlinger, one of 14 artists in the show, said the exhibition gives him the chance to get his work out of the studio.

Faculty Council looks at revising promotion policy

MU’s Faculty Council will begin talking today about regulating the procedures for promoting part-time and temporary faculty members.

The council will discuss a resolution that would require each college and school at the university to establish review and promotion guidelines for “non-regular faculty” by the beginning of the 2005-2006 academic year.