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A positive result?

Family law attorneys say paternity bill doesn’t go far enough A bill allowing fathers to use DNA testing to challenge child-support orders has left some family law attorneys wondering what kind of help the measure really offers. At the insistence of prosecutors, the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Jeff Smith, D-St. Louis, scaled back or cut portions that would have given fathers wider leeway in challenging paternity. LaVerne Hale, second from right, leads fathers in prayer Tuesday at the Fathers' Support Center in North St. Louis. Hale recently testified before the state Legislature about his struggles to pay support for a child who, DNA evidence eventually showed, wasn't his.

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Panera to pay $500,000 to settle suit

St. Louis-based Panera Bread Co. agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a wage-and-hour class action lawsuit filed on behalf of general managers who work in the company's California cafes. The lawsuit began as a nationwide class action suit alleging violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act and California law. It was originally filed in federal court in San Francisco, but Panera had it moved to the St. Louis federal court last summer. The suit alleged that Panera misclassified its general managers as exempt from overtime requirements but that they performed the duties of nonexempt employees.

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Koster seeks raises for new AGs

As the state prepares to complete next year's budget, Attorney General Chris Koster's thoughts have also turned to money - both for his lawyers and for the state as a whole. Koster on Thursday said he intends to increase pay for entry-level lawyers in the attorney general's office to $42,500, a 23 percent increase from the current $32,900. Koster said current pay levels are less than those of public defenders and many prosecutor's offices. "Bringing this office into something akin to basic economic parity is my No. 1 priority," Koster said Thursday.

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President Obama says he is ‘remaking America’

President Barack Obama marked his 100th day in office by telling Americans that "we've begun the work of remaking America." The president, speaking at a town hall meeting in Arnold, said that while the U.S. still faces challenges in recovering from a recession, the country is making progress. Click here to view a slideshow of photographer Karen Elshout's photos from Obama's visit.

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Plan bill gets its day

Sen. Jim Lembke (pictured) championed reform of the Nonpartisan Court Plan on the floor of the Missouri Senate on Wednesday. It was the first time the controversial proposal had been debated by the full Senate. Lembke, a Republican from Lemay, took charge in shepherding a proposed constitutional amendment altering the plan used to choose judges in various parts of the state. And the longtime opponent of the current plan could point out opponents of his resolution, many of whom possessed a notebook about an inch and a half thick that featured talking points in support of the current plan.

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Specter to seek re-election as a Democrat

Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, saying his party "has moved far to the right," announced Tuesday he will seek re-election next year as a Democrat. Specter, a moderate Republican, was one of three senators in his party to support President Barack Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus measure. He announced his decision to switch parties in a statement posted on a Pennsylvania politics Web site and confirmed by his office.

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Ozzie’s: Westport erred with Pujols 5

The restaurant management company of Ozzie Smith's restaurant is slugging it out with the owners of Westport Plaza over the opening of a restaurant owned by another Cardinal great, Albert Pujols. Smith's restaurant is managed by G&H Management Inc., whose owner alleges they were misled during lease extension negotiations over the nature of the first baseman's venture. According to the filing, Golub & Co. said they would not allow a competing sports bar in the complex but acknowledged that a "high-end, baseball personality themed restaurant" would open in August 2006.

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ABA’s Wells: Courts face threats on many fronts

The president of the American Bar Association says that courts across the nation are facing potential threats to their independence. H. Thomas Wells Jr. (pictured with recently exonerated prisoner Josh Kezer, center, and Bryan Cave attorney Charlie Weiss, right, whose pro bono representation freed Kezer) said the threats ranged from ballot initiatives to partisan elections to rating systems from special interest groups. Wells was at Saint Louis University School of Law on Monday as a panelist for a roundtable discussion on the independent judiciary.

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