JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation that would have banned mandatory insurance coverage of contraception, sterilization and abortion. Nixon called the legislation unnecessary today, noting that a 2001 Missouri law already allows insurers to offer policies without contraception coverage to people or employers who say it violates their moral or religious beliefs. The Democratic governor added that the new bill could have let insurance companies deny contraception coverage to people who desired it.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A recent review of Missouri’s death penalty system by the American Bar Association relied on responses from law enforcement agencies, medical examiners, crime labs and others involved in handing down the ultimate punishment. One group was largely absent from the discussion — the prosecutors who decide whether to seek the death penalty in the first place. Clay County prosecutor Daniel White was the only prosecutor to write back, but declined to participate in order to not “embolden enemies of justice.”

(St. Louis, MO)   —  St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s firefighter pension overhaul bill comes up for final passage tomorrow before the Board of Aldermen.  Firefighters are letting their feelings about the measure known.  The International Association of Fire Fighters has put up billboards over Highway 55, put together a website, paid for a TV ad on local stations and even sent flyers door to door.  This morning, Fire Captain Ken Mitchell took his pickup truck to City Hall, towing a giant billboard behind it which read “After a Career Saving Lives, Mayor Slay Wants to Take Our Life Savings.”

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Black smoke billowed over the Missouri Capitol after a vehicle caught fire in a nearby parking garage. The blaze occurred shortly before 8 a.m. today as state employees were arriving to work. Two Jefferson City fire trucks responded to the fire, and police diverted traffic around the Capitol.

(St. Louis, MO)  —  With little rain in sight, the St. Louis area is now under severe drought conditions.  The U.S. Drought Monitor this morning upgraded conditions across the region from moderate to severe.  This means the chance of losing crops are increasing along with the threat of wildfires.   The National Weather Service says there is only a slight chance for rain over the next week – a time frame in which temperatures are expected to reach the mid to high 90s.

CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Two teenage girls are in custody in southeast Missouri after allegedly beating up a disabled man and posting the video on Facebook. The incident happened about two weeks ago in Caruthersville in the Boot heel region. The video shows the girls punching Louis Crocker. His family says he is mentally handicapped and drinks heavily. The girls are in juvenile custody. Charges are also being considered against an adult who was with them in the video.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation allowing Missouri communities to resume levying sales taxes on vehicle purchases despite a lobbying effort from local officials and vehicle dealers. Nixon announced the decision Thursday, saying the bill would improperly impose a tax without a public vote. Many Missourians have long paid state and local taxes when buying a vehicle. Shortly after the bill passed in May, Nixon expressed similar reservations about the tax legislation.