February 10, 2016

Judge blocks St. Louis minimum wage increase

A minimum wage increase in St. Louis was set to take effect today, but a circuit judge on Wednesday struck down the city’s minimum wage law. Judge Steven Ohmer issued the ruling and said raising the wage was “unenforceable and in conflict” with current state law that sets the minimum wage at $7.65.

Judge Steven Ohmer, Photo courtesy of 22nd Circuit Court

Judge Steven Ohmer, Photo courtesy of 22nd Circuit Court

A consortium of groups sued last month to block implementation of the increase, arguing action on the proposal conflicted with existing state law, exceeded the city’s authority under its charter and was improperly enacted.

The city’s minimum wage was set to rise today to $8.25 an-hour and increase to $11 an-hour by 2018.

During the Legislature’s veto session last month, lawmakers voted to overturn Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that tells cities they can’t set a greater minimum wage than the state.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay supported the city law and the city plans to appeal the ruling.

Powerball officials say changes will create better odds and bigger prizes

The Powerball game is being changed to, according to the Missouri Lottery, increase prize amounts and give players better odds of winning. The average jackpot will jump from $174 million to $310 million. The third-level prize, which was $10,000, is now $50,000. The overall odds of winning a prize will drop from roughly 1 in 32 to 1 in 25.

missouri lottery

Photo courtesy of the Missouri Lottery

There will also be a higher multiplier for those who use Power Play. When the jackpot is between $40 and $150 million, the multiplier will go as high as 10 times for all prizes, not including the jackpot and $1 million match five prizes. The million-dollar prize will bump up to $2 million when the multiplier is matched.

Missouri Lottery Communications Manager Susan Goedde said the more winners there are in Missouri, the more likely people will play.

“Missouri has the second most jackpot winners of all the Powerball members. We’ve had 31 people hit the jackpot. Lightening has struck a lot here in Missouri,” said Goedde. “Missouri tends to be a pretty loyal Powerball state.”

Goedde says 38 cents out of every dollar from Powerball sales go to elementary, secondary and higher education in Missouri.

“Obviously the whole reason we are in business is to raise money for public education in Missouri. These changes should increase the jackpot amounts, which will also in turn increase sales,” said Goedde.

The ticket price is the same, $2 per play.

Boonville official touts security measures for sensitive data, in light of Missouri audits

Boonville is one of five Missouri school districts being audited to learn how they defend students’ personal information.  Superintendent Mark Ficken said he doesn’t have any reason to believe the district’s data is at risk.

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway

“We have a full-time IT person and we pay obviously money for our anti-virus software and software to protect our servers,” said Ficken. “Cyber security was not anything I really felt like was a deficiency in our district.”

Ficken thinks State Auditor Nicole Galloway chose his district for the audit because it is near the middle of the state in both enrollment and location.

‘There are no cases of improprieties or fraud. They didn’t come here because of concern. It’s more of an initiative,” said Ficken.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and Auditor Galloway announced last week the cyber security audit initiative of schools. The other schools being audited include the Cape Girardeau, Orchard Farm, Park Hill and Waynesville school districts.

According to the nonprofit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, in the past 10 years, more than 250 K through 12 schools nationwide experienced a data breach. Three of those were in Missouri within the past year or so. A network was compromised at a Fulton school. Belton Middle School had unauthorized access to an iPad that led to cyber bullying. More than 10,000 students and employees had their personal information compromised at Park Hill school district.

Galloway’s office will conduct the audits and hopes to wrap up its work next year. She’ll announce in 2016 additional Missouri schools that will also be audited.

J.B. Connoley, KWIX, contributed to this story

Auditor reviews how Missouri schools protect students’ personal information

Five Missouri school districts are being audited to see how they protect their students’ personal information. State Auditor Nicole Galloway’s office will conduct the audits and expect to wrap up its work next year. Boonville, Cape Girardeau, Orchard Farm, Park Hill and Waynesville school districts will be audited.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway

State Auditor Nicole Galloway

Galloway said she wanted to review districts with different population sizes and locations and that’s what led her to choose these districts. She will announce in 2016 additional Missouri schools that will also be audited.

“They (schools) have a responsibility to proactively protect that student information from hackers and from those that might seek to exploit or profit from it,” said Galloway. “Schools have a lot of information on students. If you think about it, health records, social security numbers, addresses, birth dates, maybe even debit card information so children can charge lunch.”

She said there are serious consequences when a data breach occurs.

“There is an IBM and Ponemon Institute study that was just released this year. The average cost of a cyber breach incident is $6.5 million to that entity,” said Galloway.

Galloway said she’ll work with the Department of Education and educational associations. She plans to give suggestions and hold them accountable to make sure personal data is safe.

According to the nonprofit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, in the past 10 years, more than 250 K through12 schools nationwide experienced a data breach. Three of those were in Missouri within the past year or so.

A network was compromised at a Fulton school. Belton Middle School had an unauthorized access to an iPad that led to cyber bullying. More than 10,000 students and employees had their personal information compromised at Park Hill school district.

 

 

Security feature added to debit and credit cards to curb fraud

Credit and debit cards are changing soon to include a data chip instead of a magnetic strip. Patrick Dix with Shazam, a non-profit electronic funds transfer provider, says the switch will dramatically reduce point of sale fraud.

Credit card with data chip

Credit card with data chip

“You’re holding a little computer in your hand when you have one of those cards in your hand. Every time you stick it into the machine, in order to purchase something, that is going to be a unique transaction. You can not counterfeit that card,” said Dix. “We believe that it’s a great tool to help stop fraud, but it’s only one tool. The other thing that we know, because we watched it happen in Europe, is that much of the fraud is going to migrate online.”

Starting October 1, if the retailer doesn’t have the appropriate terminal for the new card, then the liability shifts to the retailer. Dix said retailers should assess the business’s fraud risk first.

“We believe that merchants need to make sure that it makes sense for them to switch over right now because it is going to be an investment for them in security,” said Dix.

He said the cost of such a terminal varies from about $250-$500 each.

The U.S. is the last major market that has not implemented the security standard, but Dix says the U.S. has many more banks and retailers.