JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Both of Missouri’s U.S. Senators are claiming victory in passage of a defense bill that Claire McCaskill says is free of earmarks. The Democrat from Missouri had complained that a version previously considered by a House committee included 115 spending earmarks for projects. Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri is also praising the bill.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The state insurance department says the Missouri Farm Bureau will take over the operation of three small insurance companies that became insolvent after paying claims from the deadly Joplin tornado. Barton Mutual Insurance, Gateway Mutual Insurance and Cape Mutual Insurance had combined premium sales of $29 million in 2010 but reported claims of $48 million from the tornado that struck Joplin in May.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s housing agency will meet in Columbia today to debate whether to allow the state to bypass new federal wage standards for tornado recovery projects. Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder says the new rate requirements will limit the state’s ability to accelerate Joplin’s rebuilding.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Officials at the St. Louis Zoo say it cost them about 50 percent more to feed their animals this year, because of rising commodities and food costs. The unusual nature of the grocery list contributes to the higher food prices. Each year, the zoo buys more than 1.5 million mealworms, 22,000 mice, 15 tons of mackerel, 22 tons of carrots, 104,000 bananas and 2,800 pounds of hay.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it is trying to find more room in its reservoirs to avoid a repeat of this summer’s flooding along the Missouri River. Corps Brigadier General John McMahon said yesterday that his agency has so far tallied $630 million worth of flood damage to the levees, dams and other river infrastructure.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Students in the soon-to-be unaccredited Kansas City School District will be able to transfer to accredited schools starting in January. Yesterday the district announced how the process will work. The district is responding to a state law that requires unaccredited districts to pay tuition and transportation to send students living within their boundaries to accredited schools in the same or an adjoining county. The law is still being challenged in court.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A former bank loan officer has been sentenced to three years and four months in federal prison for fraud that cost the bank where he worked more than $450,000. A U.S. Attorney said yesterday that 42-year-old Troy Posten of Crocker was sentenced for defrauding the Bank of Crocker.