This week's news summary was prepared by Candyce L. Clifft from reports prepared during the week by staff of Missouri Digital News.
Former state attorney general, Bill Webster, was released from a halfway house Nov. 14 after serving a two-year sentence on federal charges of public corruption while in office. Webster signed an agreement in June 1993 in which he pleaded guilty of conspiracy and embezzlement charges.
In the federal indictment, Webster was accused of conspiring to obtain political contributions by rewarding contributors with better settlements from state funds his office administered. He was also accused of using state equipment and staff for political purposes.
Webster has been in a halfway house in Kansas City for the last six months of his sentence, and his plans for the future are uncertain. He lost his law license because of his conviction.
House Majority Leader Bob Ward, D-Bonne Terre, is being challenged by the state Republican party for a trip he and his staff recently took to San Diego. The trip cost taxpayers about $6,000.
Ward, his staff attorney, Curtis Hanrahan, and his secretary, Carol Wilson, stayed in a seaside resort away from the meeting site and charged taxpayers for meals, though most meals were provided by the conference. Hanrahan took a side trip to San Fransisco.
Missouri Republican Party chairman, Woody Cozad, said,"The junket...is a glaring example of the way Democrats have been living it up while the taxpayers pick up the tab."
Ward said he doesn't know if he'll seek re-election, considering his health after suffering a stroke last year. One Republican, Paul Hittson of Park Hills, has already announced his candidacy for Ward's seat.
The federal shutdown is not affecting the operations of most Missouri state agencies. However, the state Labor Department is feeling the effects.
The Labor Department gets most of its money from the federal government. The department continued to process unemployment checks this week, but director Sandra Moore said that may change if the shutdown continues into December.
As a result of the shutdown, the state agency had to lay off ten workers and close its St. Louis office.
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