BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — The National Weather Service has confirmed that the heavy damage in the southwestern Missouri town of Branson was caused by a 22-mile-long tornado. The agency’s office in Springfield says an EF2 tornado with maximum speeds of up to 130 miles per hour began at 1:13 a.m. yesterday near the Stone County town of Kimberling City. The twister then sped east-northeast to finish its path of destruction near Kissee Mills (kih-SEE’) Mills in Taney County.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Kansas City police are looking for two teenagers who a 13-year-old boy says followed him home from school and started a gasoline fire that burned his face and hair.  Detective Stacey Taylor says the boy suffered first-degree burns but no permanent damage in the incident Tuesday afternoon.  Taylor says one of the assailants picked up a gasoline can on the porch of the boy’s home while the other kept the boy from going inside. Some of the gasoline spilled during a struggle, and the boy says one of the attackers said “this is what you get” before lighting the spilled fuel.  Taylor says the case is not being treated as a hate crime.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri House has endorsed a tax amnesty period for delinquent taxpayers. State government would waive interest and penalties for those who pay overdue income, sales, use and corporate franchise taxes between August 1st and October 31st of this year. House members voted 145-4 to give the measure first-round approval yesterday.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – The Missouri Senate has endorsed a plan that could shorten the sentences of some criminals who are on probation or parole.  In a voice vote Wednesday, senators gave first-round approval to legislation that would give 30 days of additional credit to non-violent parolees or probationers for each month they go without a violation.  The bill would also allow for 120-day “shock” jail sentences for some felons who violate their probation or parole for the first time.  Sponsoring Senator Jack Goodman, a Republican from Mount Vernon, says the changes will help the state save money while reducing the number of people who commit crimes after they’re released.  The bill must be approved once more before it goes to the House, which is working on similar legislation.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Governor Jay Nixon has activated the National Guard to assist with coordination and recovery in storm-damaged southern Missouri.  National Guard officials say about 50 members will also help provide additional security in the Branson area, where high winds damaged numerous buildings.  Nixon issued a disaster declaration yestersday and says state agencies are working with local officials to coordinate recovery operations and meet the needs of residents affected by the storms.  Nixon toured some storm-damaged areas yesterday and planned visits today to Buffalo in the southwest and Puxico and Oak Ridge in the southeast.

ELDON, Mo. (AP) — The driver of a passenger vehicle has been flown from the scene of a mid-Missouri crash involving a School of the Osage bus. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported that the accident happened around 4:20 p.m. yesterday along U.S. Highway 54. No students were on the bus at the time and the driver wasn’t hurt.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The top budget writer in the Missouri House is proposing to reverse Governor Jay Nixon’s cuts to public colleges and universities.  The new plan by House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan Silvey would eliminate smaller sums of money Nixon had proposed for K-12 schools, the judiciary and an incentive program for science-and-technology based businesses. And it would modify Nixon’s proposed pay raise for state employees — providing the money sooner, but only to people earning less than $70,000.  Silvey, a Republican from Kansas City, outlined his budget plan yesterday in advance of distributing copies to fellow lawmakers, who are likely to see it on their desks today. Silvey also sent a letter to college and university presidents yestersday, informing them of his plan and urging them to support it.