Archive for June, 2014
(Washington) (AP) – The Supreme Court ruled Monday that some corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.
The justices’ 5-4 decision is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans.
Contraception is among a range of preventive services that must be provided at no extra charge under the health care law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010 and the Supreme Court upheld two years later.
Two years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts cast the pivotal vote that saved the health care law in the midst of Obama’s campaign for re-election.
On Monday, dealing with a small sliver of the law, Roberts sided with the four justices who would have struck down the law in its entirety.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion. The court’s four liberal justices dissented.
The court stressed that its ruling applies only to corporations that are under the control of just a few people in which there is no essential difference between the business and its owners.
Alito also said the decision is limited to contraceptives under the health care law. “Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs,” Alito said.
He suggested two ways the administration could ensure women get the contraception they want. It could simply pay for pregnancy prevention, he said.
Or it could provide the same kind of accommodation it has made available to religious-oriented, not-for-profit corporations. Those groups can tell the government that providing the coverage violates their religious beliefs. At that point, the groups’ insurers or a third-party administrator takes on the responsibility of paying for the birth control.
The accommodation is the subject of separate legal challenges, but the court said Monday that the profit-seeking companies could not assert religious claims in such a situation.
The administration said a victory for the companies would prevent women who work for them from making decisions about birth control based on what’s best for their health, not whether they can afford it. The government’s supporters pointed to research showing that nearly one-third of women would change their contraceptive if cost were not an issue; a very effective means of birth control, the intrauterine device, can cost up to $1,000.
The contraceptives at issue before the court were the emergency contraceptives Plan B and ella, and two IUDs.
Nearly 50 businesses have sued over covering contraceptives. Some, like those involved in the Supreme Court case, are willing to cover most methods of contraception, as long as they can exclude drugs or devices that the government says may work after an egg has been fertilized. Other companies object to paying for any form of birth control.
There are separate lawsuits challenging the contraception provision from religiously affiliated hospitals, colleges and charities.
A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 85 percent of large American employers already had offered such coverage before the health care law required it.
It is unclear how many women potentially are affected by the high court ruling. The Hobby Lobby chain of arts-and-crafts stores is by far the largest employer of any company that has gone to court to fight the birth control provision.
Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby has more than 15,000 full-time employees in more than 600 crafts stores in 41 states. The Greens are evangelical Christians who also own Mardel, a Christian bookstore chain.
The other company is Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. of East Earl, Pa., owned by a Mennonite family and employing 950 people in making wood cabinets.
(Mountain Grove) – A warehouse off of S. Main Street in Mountain Grove was damaged by fire early Monday morning.
The warehouse, across the street from the MFA building, is an isolated building. Several offices were damaged and destroyed by the fire, which started around 4:30 AM. It was put out a few hours later.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, and the Missouri Fire Marshal is on the scene, according to officials with the Mountain Grove Fire Department.
(Houston) – A Houston resident was killed early Saturday morning after falling off the roof of a moving vehicle.
A report from Troop G of the Highway Patrol states the accident happened at 2:30 AM on Route AF at the junction of Route N, about six miles west of Licking. 24-year-old Marvin Hayes of Houston was pronounced dead at the scene just after 4 AM.
The death marks the 16th fatality for Troop G, compared to 8 at this time last year.
(Bull Shoals) – The city of Bull Shoals owes the Internal Revenue Service money, but how much depends on who you talk to.
A report from the Associated Press states that money was withheld from employee paychecks but that money was never sent to the IRS. Now, the city is awaiting a report from the IRS.
An accountant hired to straighten out the city’s books reported an estimated figure to the council and mayor this past Thursday night. Council member Phil Friese says the amount is more than $95,000, not including penalties and fees.
Mayor Bruce Powell says that no employees will be affected, as their money was taken out correctly, just not sent on by the city. He adds that officials should wait until they hear from the IRS about what the figure is.
(Shannon County) – Severe flash flooding caused some problems in the Shannon County area, after a number of cars were swept away.
The National Park Service says that the flooding, which took place near the Shannon/Carter County line Sunday afternoon, swept away several vehicles in the Fremont area. Some homes had to be evacuated from the region.
According to a National Weather Service report at 2:30 PM, 3 inches of rain had fallen within an hour in the Fremont area. Showers continued throughout the day.
National Weather Service officials are urging caution if you plan on traveling in the region, and reminds people to never cross flooded roadways.
(West Plains) – The Meet Up and Eat Up program, put on by the Boys and Girls Club of the Greater West Plains Area and the City of West Plains, will have a special guest handing out lunches on Thursday.
Congressman Jason Smith (MO-8) will be handing out lunches along with representatives of the Boys and Girls Club on Thursday, July 3, from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the large pavilion in People’s Park, off of Broadway Street in West Plains.
The Meet Up and Eat Up program, funded by a government grant, is held Monday through Saturday from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM and offers a healthy, free lunch to area children up to 18-years-old during the summer months when school is not in session.
(Willow Springs) -The annual 4th of July Parade in Willow Springs will be held at 10 AM on Friday, July 4, and Wendell Bailey says that the city will be honoring those who have served their country, with a focus on D-Day:
He also says that there will be a new component with the parade this year:
If you want more information on the parade, call Willow Springs City Hall at 417-469-2107.
(West Plains) – The Greater West Plains Area Chamber of Commerce has introduced its newest “Buy Local” program: Save Local Now.
Savelocalnow.com is a website, and an iPhone and Android app, that gives people access to exclusive offers from their favorite businesses. Locals and tourists alike can use Save Local Now to access deals, events and savings where they shop, eat and play from any browser on any device.
Chamber members can use Save Local Now to create, manage and analyze their digital marketing campaigns. Save Local Now includes live business listings, deal and event publishing, email marketing, iPhone and Android apps, social media management, SEO and analytics, bundled together on a single integrated platform.
The Save Local Now platform is available at savelocalnow.com, the App Store and Google Play. Members of the West Plains Chamber are eligible to create unlimited digital marketing campaigns using the Save Local Now platform.
For more information, contact the West Plains Chamber of Commerce at 417-256-4433, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Jefferson City) – Last week in the Missouri Senate, senators reviewed Governor Jay Nixon’s announcement that he has vetoed 10 different measures, all of which relate to taxes.
Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville, says that he is disappointed in the Governor’s decision. His Senate Bill 860, which featured a sales tax exemption for used manufactured home was among those vetoed:
The claim from the Executive Branch is these ten measures were passed without much or little debate:
Sen. Cunningham plans to ask for a veto override on Bill 860:
He also sees the legislature to keep authoring bills that are similar to those already vetoed:
The Missouri General Assembly’s annual veto session is slated for mid-September.
(West Plains) – Northern Howell County Commissioner Bill Lovelace reminds Howell County residents that Plat Books are still available for purchase:
If you want more information call 417-256-3872 or 417-256-2591.