Judge upholds University of Missouri’s ban on guns on campus

COLUMBIA, Mo. | A federal judge upheld the University of Missouri’s ban on carrying concealed guns on campus.

Circuit Judge Jeff Harris on Monday rejected the Missouri attorney general’s arguments that the ban violates the state constitution. He also said the ban supports the university’s interest in promoting safety on its campuses.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reported the case began in 2015 when Royce Barondes, a professor of law on the Columbia campus, sued because he wanted to keep a firearm in his locked vehicle.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office declined to comment on the ruling and has not decided whether to appeal.

The university said in a statement that the ruling serves the best interest of students, staff, faculty and others on campus.

Olathe councilwoman says she won’t resign over LGBTQ flap

OLATHE, Kan. | A Kansas city councilwoman said she will not resign after an LGBTQ advocate accused her of complaining to his employer about his public support for a nondiscrimination ordinance.

Olathe Councilwoman Karin Brownlee made the announcement Tuesday during a council meeting that drew a standing-room-only crowd.

The Kansas City Star reported Brett Hoedl, chairman of the Equality Kansas Metro Kansas City chapter, and others asked for Brownlee’s resignation. Hoedl said Brownlee’s actions would have a chilling effect on citizens speaking out on issues.

Brownlee said she was at a social event when she had a casual conversation with a co-worker of Hoedl’s about his previous appearances before the council. She said she meant no harm.

Olathe is considering passing a nondiscrimination ordinance that would include LGBTQ residents.

Omaha City Council subjecting vaping products to tobacco tax

OMAHA, Neb. | The Omaha City Council has decided to subject vaping products to the city’s tobacco tax.

The council voted for the measure Tuesday and decided to make permanent the city’s 3% tax on tobacco products. It was approved in 2012 to support construction of a cancer center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

The vaping product addition could spur an estimated $1 million increase in the tobacco tax, which now raises about $3.5 million annually.

Public health advocates and others have said a vaping tax could help some young people choose not to start. Local vaping retailers warned that the tax would drive more vaping purchases online and beyond the city limits.

Burlington

to become cruise ship stop for European company

BURLINGTON, Iowa | Burlington is set to become a stop for a major river cruise line in the next few years.

City officials signed a two-year agreement Monday with Viking Cruises, which is based in Basel, Switzerland.

The agreement says the city will lease docking facilities to Viking for two years, and Viking will pay $1 per passenger that comes onto the docks.

Viking has ordered the ships that will cruise the Mississippi River, but they won’t be ready until 2022.

The Viking ships are set to dock at Burlington 30 times between July 2022 and October 2023. Eventually its ships may be stopping daily at Burlington.

The agreement allows the city to offer its docks to other cruise ships.

— From AP reports