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Major Flooding Inundates Communities in Midwest
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, July 8, 2014 - Along portions of the Mississippi River in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, water levels have reached or are forecast to reach major flood stage.

A crest near 31 feet is projected at St. Louis by National Weather Service hydrologists this weekend. While water levels at this height pose only minor problems, more rainfall than officially forecast on the region may result in higher water levels and a delay when the river will return to within its banks.

Flooding begins along unprotected areas of rivers when water levels reach flood stage. Major flood stage, the most severe flood level, begins when extensive inundation of structures and roads takes place.

In many cases, water levels are just a few feet short of record levels, spilling into unprotected waterfront locations, towns and farmland.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, the Mississippi River spilled into portions of town at Davenport, Iowa. The river crested at 20.94 feet, or major flood stage. On the Mississippi, the crest will continue to work downstream through the middle of July. The river is not projected to return to within its banks until late in the month.

According to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "The weather pattern through at least the middle of the month will feature additional rounds of storms over portions of the northern Plains and Midwest that could aggravate the flooding situation."

State of Missouri Responds to Rising Mississippi River Flooding
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, July 6, 2014 - The Department of Public Safety is coordinating the state's ongoing response to Mississippi River flooding, which is expected to crest in the city of Clarksville next week.

As part of the response effort, approximately 50 Missouri Department of Corrections offenders arrived in Clarksville on Saturday morning, July 5, to assist with sandbagging efforts in the historic downtown area. They joined the ongoing efforts of members of the Missouri Governor's Faith-Based and Community Service Partnership for Disaster Recovery, which have been conducting sandbagging operations in the Mississippi River community this past week. AmeriCorps St. Louis has been playing a key role in the response effort.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is also supplying additional law enforcement patrol and other assistance in the affected area.

The state has also been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has supplied sandbags and additional resources to assist in the response effort.

Governor Jay Nixon Signs New Legislation Benefiting Veterans, Active Military and Missouri National Guard members
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, July 6, 2014 - Gov. Jay Nixon has signed into law three bills containing provisions that benefit military veterans, active military and Missouri National Guard members, and that honor several Missouri soldiers who died while serving their country.

Senate Bill 600 waives various business fees paid to the Secretary of State for Missouri residents who are members of the Missouri National Guard or active military; this provision was supported by Secretary of State Jason Kander.

In addition, the bill will establish a specialty license plate for women veterans; eliminate the $15 fee for Gold Star license plates; create medallion programs for veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Desert Shield and Desert Storm; and authorize the expansion of the medallion programs for World War II, Korea and Vietnam to include Missouri National Guard veterans who are not Missouri residents.

House Bill 1724 expands the help given to the families of deployed reservists and Guardsmen under the Military Family Relief Fund. The bill also eliminates the requirement that reservists must have been called to active duty as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in order to receive assistance.

House Bill 1866 names several bridges and highways in honor of various Missourians, including three for Missouri soldiers who died in the line of duty: the Spc. Justin Blake Carter Memorial Highway for Life on U.S. Hwy. 60 in Wright County; the James R. Ledbetter Memorial Bridge on Mo. Hwy. 5 in Laclede County; and the SGM Patrick R. Hurley Memorial Highway on Mo. Hwy. U in Washington County.

Governor Nixon Promotes Value of Diversity, Tolerance and Equal Opportunity
JEFFERSON CITY, MO, (, July 6, 2014 - Saying that the values of Missourians include diversity, tolerance and equal opportunity, Gov. Jay Nixon marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 by signing an executive order to promote greater inclusivity in state government contracts.

Executive Order 14-07 establishes the Missouri Disparity Oversight Review Committee to engage in a thorough review and analysis of the Missouri Disparity Study, and then make recommendations based on that review and analysis. The disparity study, currently underway by the Missouri Office of Administration, is designed to determine whether the State of Missouri is fully utilizing minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE) in government contracts.

"One of the strengths of Missouri is the great diversity of our citizens, and that is reflected in our shared values of inclusivity, tolerance and equal opportunity," Gov. Nixon said. "Our efforts to promote greater involvement in state government by minority- and women-owned businesses must be focused, well-planned and ongoing. On the 50th anniversary of one of the milestones of civil rights in this country, I am tasking this committee with examining our ongoing efforts and determining how we can increase participation and inclusivity."

The 15-member committee, appointed by the Governor, will be led by Commissioner of Administration Doug Nelson. Beginning in August, the committee will meet to develop a report that will analyze the Missouri Disparity Study and recommend ways to increase minority and women-owned business participation, directly or indirectly, in state contracts. The report and recommendations are due by Dec. 31, 2014.

"I want to ensure we are doing everything we can to provide equal opportunities for all Missourians," Gov. Nixon said. "We must keep our focus on moving our state forward by removing the barriers of discrimination wherever they exist."

During fiscal year 2014, funding was appropriated by the General Assembly to support a disparity study. The State of Missouri last commissioned a disparity study in 1994, which was completed in 1996.

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