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30 December 2010

Stouffer: The Missouri General Assembly Prepares for the Next Session

Missouri lawmakers have a simple mission for 2011: put people back to work.

When the First Regular Session of the 96th General Assembly begins in January, a lot of folks will be watching to see what moves the Legislature will make in terms of job creation. We have to improve employers’ ability to hire and retain employees, and secure certainty in take-home pay of every working family in Missouri.

We have to help rural Missouri families survive by helping employers keep and create better paying jobs with benefits. How do we do this? We need to cap the corporate franchise tax, restore balance to Missouri’s Human Rights Act, and ensure employee choice when leaving or joining a union.

The corporate franchise tax is double taxation and hurts businesses. Business owners should not have to pay a tax just to be in business. Currently, the largest franchise taxpayer in Missouri has to pay approximately $1.9 million a year. This stifles investment, both in expansion and hiring. Kansas is phasing out its corporate franchise tax. Starting in 2011, it will be gone altogether.

Despite the tremendous efforts the General Assembly has made, in regard to tort reform, more needs to be done. The state’s “Human Rights Act” needs to be brought in line with what federal law states. Jury trials versus trials heard by judges, company versus individual liability, and damage caps need to be taken into consideration when rewriting this act. This will cut back on money spent for lawsuits and attorney fees.

Another priority this year will be to get a handle on the budget. We will not have federal stimulus money shoved down our throat this coming year. This is a good thing, because it will mean the Legislature will have to take charge and cut the budget the right way. At the top of this list: DO NOT raise taxes. The General Assembly has not raised taxes in a number of years, and it has helped us to stay above water when other states are scrambling to make ends meet.

We have to do more with less in government. Hard-working families throughout rural Missouri are doing this, so why not state government? We started this last year and will continue the trend until we start to see a real recovery, not just in Missouri, but throughout the country.

The Legislature also needs to continue its commitment to education. We have to maintain K-12 school funding at its current level, continue to make college more affordable, remove government red tape and ensure every student continues to get a world-class education.

The work will be hard, but the rewards for Missourians will be great. I pray that the Missouri General Assembly will work FOR the people and continue to keep rural Missouri growing and prosperous in the coming year.

Davis: Farewell Address

Next week I will be ending over 16 years of elected public service to move into another arena of public service. We all are called to public service whether we are elected or not. Every time you pick up a piece of litter, put away a shopping cart, raise your children to be good citizens or keep your marriage vows, you are providing a public service. The future of our civilization and our civility depends on this.

A highly respected and brave congressman once said, “"Special interests have replaced the concern that the founders had for general welfare. Vote-trading is seen as good politics. The errand-boy mentality is ordinary; the defender of liberty is seen as bizarre. It's difficult for one who loves true liberty and utterly detests the power of the state to come to Washington for a period of time and not leave a true cynic.”

Likewise, I frequently fight the feelings of cynicism when I observe the number of legislators who start off well and then become absorbed into the bureaucratic cesspool by giving up their principles within a few years.

It reminds me of the song, “The Rhinestone Cowboy”---“I’ve been walking these streets so long, singing the same old song, I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway. Where profit’s the name of the game and nice guys get washed away like the snow in the rain. There’s been a load of compromising on the road to my horizon…” Thankfully, I have a clean conscience when it comes to standing up for our principles. As I walk out of the Capitol for the last time I know that my priorities have never changed---honoring God and honoring my constituents.

This came at a tremendous personal cost, but it was worth what I paid for it many times over. I value my integrity, and I have the satisfaction of knowing I get to take my integrity with me when I leave. Not everybody can say that.

The price tag? It meant national attention -far more than most of my colleagues- even those in leadership positions. Those who live in my district may not realize that people in Kansas City, Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, New York, California and those who watch MSNBC and Steven Colbert may know more about me than you do. I became the target of several left wing blogs and frequently segments of my Capitol Reports would be quoted within hours of being e-mailed. People in other states would write me who read about what I am saying and accomplishing in Missouri.

The goal of the left wing bloggers is to shame and humiliate those who speak up for common sense America. It is possible that they are so surrounded by socialists that it shocks them to hear someone explain free-market ideology. More likely, they think making a martyr out of an honest mother of seven, grass-roots supported American will intimidate others from daring to state the obvious out of fear of the backlash. It may have worked were it not for the fact that I am defined by my Maker, not what the left-wing blogs say.

I must admit that seeing people try to tarnish my reputation was not pleasant, but it didn’t snuff out my freedom of speech or my efforts to help educate and possibly embolden others. The trailblazers who spoke the truth before me helped to develop my backbone as well. Courage and bravery are honored virtues in America.

I know that Missouri is in better shape because I was in the Capitol for eight years. My Capitol Reports chronicled my battles to stand up for our 10th amendment rights, remove abortion providers from the sex education classes in the public schools, free the midwives, fight against bigger government and promote legislation to strengthen families. The rest of my life I will have the satisfaction of knowing I made a difference by being there these last eight years.

Yet, there is nothing I did that cannot be undone by others who come behind me. Therefore, I urge you to be vigilant to support only those who side with the principles of liberty. Talk is cheap and during election seasons, you will hear whatever is on the menu of political correctness.

Did you ever play Red Rover? The hard chargers who break through the line get to take another player back to their side. They slowly build their team until there is no one left on the other side. That game provides philosophical lessons for us as well. We need to win people over to our side or we will lose them to the other side. The side who holds together wins. For those who are hiding in the shadows behind the bushes, I urge you to come out and see how good it feels to stand up tall and enjoy the sunlight. We need more brave hearts if we are going to see the real change necessary to get our country back on track. We owe it to our philosophical, moral and spiritual heritage to continue standing up for the truth.

In my last Capitol Report to you as your Representative, I urge you to join me in serving as a conscience for our homes, churches, communities and for our state. Don’t ever be afraid to speak up for what is right. I did, and I am still standing as an example that tenacity and perseverance win in the end. There is a God who sees everything and will judge us at the end of our lives for every thought, word, deed and vote.

Several of my constituents have told me how sorry they are I am not moving to the senate. I am satisfied because I know I am needed elsewhere. I plan on serving in the senate in the future. For now, I am not really going away -I’m just reloading!

It always means so much to me to receive an e-mail from you, however my state account is about to be removed as a working address. It has been a pleasure serving you and hope you will feel free to contact me anytime at my new e-mail address: GOPChief{at}gmail{dot}com. God bless you all!

A Little Bit of Humor

28 December 2010

Rupp: Have a Safe and Happy New Year

The year 2010 is about to come to a close and we can all start with a fresh slate for 2011. New Year’s is a time for family and friends to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. Traveling on New Year’s, however, can be dangerous when drivers are not being responsible. By simply following these tips, Missourians across the state will be able to bring in 2011 safely.

Being a parent myself, a top concern is always the safety of our children while traveling on our roadways. The best precaution drivers can take is to wear their seat belts. In the past three years, 600 drivers (under 21 years old) died in traffic accidents in Missouri, and of those drivers, 78 percent were not buckled up. It is also easy for young people to become distracted while on the road. Please refrain from texting and talking on the phone, rummaging through CDs, and other preoccupying tasks.

Another concern regarding travel during the holiday season is winter weather. Driving in snow and ice can be scary and unsafe, and it is important to take the proper precautions before battling Jack Frost. During your trip:
  • Obey the posted speed limits and don’t try to speed.
  • Adjust your speed to accommodate driving conditions.
  • Give the snowplows plenty of room and don't try to pass them.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Watch for other vehicles having problems with road conditions.
  • Keep your mirrors, windows, and lights clean for improved visibility.
  • Don't pass other vehicles on or near bridges — bridges tend to get very icy.
  • Keep your fuel tank at least half full.
  • If you don't feel comfortable driving, park at the first safe place.
Finally, do not drink and drive under any circumstances. Tragically, a person is killed or seriously injured in an alcohol-related accident every 1.9 hours in Missouri. This shocking statistic resulted in 280 deaths and 1,140 seriously injured people in 2009. To avoid being in an alcohol-related crash, remember to choose a designated driver that has not consumed any alcohol, consider calling a cab or a friend to come and pick you up, or stay where you are and spend the night at a friend’s house if possible.

Please remember to travel safe, and I hope you and your family have a Happy New Year and a very blessed 2011. For more information about safe traveling, please visit

If you have any questions regarding this matter or any other issues within state government, please visit my website at You can also e-mail me or call my office toll-free at (866) 271-2844.

27 December 2010

Tim Jones: Reflections and Preparations, Belated Christmas Wishes

Whether you receive this on, around or after Christmas and the holiday 2010 season, I do hope you enjoy!

Christmas 2010

“Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.” –Samuel Adams

“That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.” –Linus Van Pelt

Reflection & Preparation

In reviewing my Capitol Report I prepared on Christmas Eve of 2009, I was bemused to find that although 2010 was a tumultuous, historical year with more highs and lows and peaks and valleys than I can recount here (or that you want to spend time reading!), many of the issues and topics of a year ago remain the same.

For instance, even though our Nation continues to be challenged by one of the most difficult economic periods in our history, the 111th U.S. Congress, now in full “lame duck” mode, continues to wreak its havoc upon our country as it limps towards its eventual end. A great many of these folks will simply return home and will not be making the round trip to Washington, D.C. in January because the American people told them so in November. Those same American people made a historic change at the ballot box and ordered that an entire new field of true public servants take the reins of what will be the 112th Congress. Records were set from coast to coast and from state to state as we witnessed the largest Republican comeback since the 1930s. And this theme was true not only on the federal level but also in our State Legislatures and Governor’s Mansions. The people spoke loudly and clearly, rejecting the destructive policies of Washington, D.C. and choosing the common sense, limited government driven principles of freedom and liberty such as we have chosen to follow here in our Missouri State government over the past eight plus years.

Instead of focusing on the serious issues of jobs and the economy, the lame duck 111th instead chose to waste time trying to pass yet another pork laden stimulus bill (was that Porkulus III or IV, I have lost count) courtesy of Senator Reid (which failed), debating a destructive illegal immigration policy bill (which failed), and reversing course on a military policy that President Clinton himself championed not two decades prior (without debating the substance of DADT, are there not more pressing, more important issues that Congress should be focused on right now with unemployment remaining near 10%, with two wars in foreign lands and should we not have had a much longer debate on a major new treaty with Mother Russia?). Although this Congress did wisely provide at least some security to our nation’s families and small businesses by extending the tax policy we have been ruled under for the past nearly eight years, they also decided, in typical DC fashion, to load up a wise bill with a great deal of unwise spending increases, earmarks and yet another extension of unemployment benefits so we can further encourage people to stay at home and not search for jobs. Finally, our Senate decided to, for the very first time in our nation’s history; pass a monumental new major treaty with Russia over the objections of many learned brilliant political, military and historical minds during a lame duck session. Being an English & Russian Studies double major back in my university days (my choice I guess was to either become an editor at Rossetta Stone or go to law school…the rest is history!), I like to think I know a thing or two about the Big Bear in the East and as I continue to study this massive and impressive former superpower who continues to be a powerful and potentially dangerous force in our world. To quote Dick Morris, “having suppressed democracy, wiped out free speech, taken over the media, nationalized their oil and energy industry, invaded Georgia, enabled the Iranian nuclear program, and tried to establish a natural gas monopoly in Europe, what else does Putin need to do before [Congress] realizes that appeasement will not work?”

Russia remains a force to be reckoned with and Russian leaders continue to be very ambitious, nationalistic, dictatorial and unilateral in their approach with the West. The 111th Congress has bowed before the Bear and placed our national security at grave risk.

But enough of that! As we prepare for a New Year, I want to propose that there is a coming sunrise over the next hill as the 112th Congress begins to make its charge upon Washington and as our largest Republican majority ever returns to your State House and Senate in Jefferson City. Over the past many years here in Missouri, we have made wise use of your tax dollars and passed common sense legislation that has given Missouri small businesses the help and tools they need to grow and hire, that has improved our healthcare industry on the state level (the opposite of ObamaCare), that has balanced our State’s budget for eight years without any tax increases, that has protected life and your Second Amendment freedoms and that has sought to shield our State’s sovereignty from an out of control, out of touch, nearly bankrupt federal government.

My promise to you, as your incoming Missouri House Majority Leader, is to continue to promote and advance solid, common sense, principled public policy that promotes a limited government that remains accountable to the people, that carefully guards and wisely spends every single tax dollar that you pay, that continues to stand guard before the sovereignty of our State, that seeks to protect all of your freedoms and liberties and the lives of all citizens, the elderly and the unborn, and that once and for all is dedicated to reforming our troubled education system so that every child, no matter where they live, has the opportunity to a proper public education, which has become the civil rights battle of our generation.

I leave you with words of encouragement borne out of a vision for a greater tomorrow. We are a nation of industrious, hard working individuals and strong families who know how to confront crisis and conquer challenges. Through all our wars, economic strife and social unrest, we have endured and been made the stronger for it. And our Nation will continue not only to survive but to prosper. So during this very special time, as we celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, the New Year and the other high holy days and holidays that these months bring, enjoy them and celebrate them with your family and loved ones like never before. Hug your children, rejoice with your parents and grandparents like never before, worship in your Churches, Synagogues and other holy places with renewed spirit and prepare your body, heart, mind and soul for what is assuredly to be a very interesting and exciting 2011. In the meantime, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a safe, prosperous and Happy New Year!

Personal News & Notes

Daughter Katie continues to impress and make her Mom and Dad extremely proud. This week, while at the local craft store, Katie saw a little kit with which she could make her own wooden ornaments. Katie asked Suzanne if she could buy the little kit and make ornaments for some of her little friends. After crafting these little treasures, Katie wanted to personally deliver them, which she did, walking determinedly up to each door, ringing the bell and with a huge smile on her face and merry glint in her eyes, presenting her gifts to each of her friends in turn. If a five year old can learn and then live the “reason for the season” then surely all of us can! I cannot tell you how proud Suzanne and I are of our charitable little girl. How tremendous, how wondrous! We expect that Abby will follow suit and these two little girls have truly made the world a better place…

Two Simple Stories that Remind Us of the Reason for the Season

Many of you are very familiar with two of my favorite Christmas Season literary pieces so without further ado, I share them with you as my gift and present to you and yours!

From Linus to Charlie Brown

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.” (Luke 2: 8-14)

"......That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

And from the Editor of the New York Sun (1897) to Virginia

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Until our next update, I am, and remain, in your service,

26 December 2010

Holsman Selected To Chair Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture

At right: Holsman tours Growing Power in Milwaukee

Jefferson City, MO - The Missouri General Assembly's newly established Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture held its first organizational meeting on Thursday afternoon. On the agenda for the committee's inaugural meeting was election of a chairperson and vice-chair, as well as the approval of a slate of nominees to serve on a technical advisory subcommittee. When it came time to select a committee chair, Representative Tom Loehner (R-Koeltztown) nominated Representative Jason Holsman (D-Kansas City).

In making his nomination speech, Loehner stated that Holsman's initiative in getting the committee formed made him a good candidate for the position. Representative Loehner also believed that the committee chair should come from an urban area.

Loehner's motion was seconded by Representative Billy Pat Wright (R-Dexter). The motion passed unanimously.

"I appreciate the responsibility vested in me through this committee chairmanship," said Holsman after the meeting, "A sustainable local food system will be an important aspect of our growing society as we change both what and how we eat. The average family in Kansas City will sit down for dinner and consume food that was grown with heavy pesticides, preserved, pre-packaged and shipped thousands of miles from both domestic and international souirces."

Holsman went on to say that every year the United States imports almost 800 million dollars in processed fruits and vegetables from China. That money can be redirected to help create agriculture jobs in areas of the urban core suffering from high unemployment.

"Locally grown food not only decreases transportation costs and related greenhouse emissions, but also provides access to healthier foods for children and seniors who live in the food deserts of the inner city." Holsman said. "Urban Agriculture has the potential to supply a reliably sustainable source of nutrition in the event of an interruption in supply due to drought, disease or disaster."

In other committee business, State Senator Jim Lembke (R-St. Louis) was selected as the Vice-Chairman. The committee approved a slate of nominees recommended by Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Dr. Jon Hagler to serve on a technical advisory subcommittee to the Joint Committee.

"I'm incredibly optimistic about the results of this committee and look forward to playing a positive role in shaping the future of agriculture in Missouri and across the nation," said Holsman.

The Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture, House Bill 1848, was designed to create a report to serve as a blueprint for state government activities relating to agriculture in metropolitan areas.

24 December 2010

Holsman: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Dear Friends and Family,

We have been very blessed this year, my wife and kids are healthy and happy and for that I am truly grateful. I deeply appreciate the support and words of encouragement you have provided through out the year. I have enjoyed writing this newsletter and representing you in Jefferson City is a humbling occupation.

Everyone knows the economic challenges we have faced the past two years and the looming budget cuts this coming session. The housing market is still soft and unemployment remains high, but we do have reason to be optimistic. Sales are up across the country and Missouri has had 9 straight months of job growth. I ask you to join me in using the power of positive thinking to help build confidence for the new year.

The year ends with welcomed new responsibilities and many opportunities for hard work. Tonight, on Christmas Eve, none of that matters much. My thoughts are with our armed service men and women stationed halfway across the globe in foreign lands most assuredly missing their loved ones. Here at home there are many families living in Kansas City who are struggling to make ends meet and tomorrow morning will serve as a reminder that love is still more powerful than material possessions. The true meaning of Christmas resides in the heart of mankind and no amount of distance or poverty can extinguish its spirit.

On a personal note, I would like to sincerely thank my legislative assistant Chase Waggoner for his three years of loyal service to the 45th district. Chase will be moving to another Representative closer to his home at the start of the next session. Please help me welcome my new assistant Ryan Burke who has some big shoes to fill and all the talent to do it.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Below you will find the cartoon that I attach every year in hopes to remind each of us the simple beauty for the celebration.

Have a safe and happy holiday! Peace and prosperity for the new year!


Meaning of Christmas

Charlie Brown: Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?

Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.

Lights, please.

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward man.'"

Peace on Earth Good Will Toward Man
Merry Christmas!!

23 December 2010

Rupp: Wishing You and Your Family a Happy Holiday Season

Everyone has their own traditions during the holiday season. Some send Christmas cards to their loved ones, decorate the Christmas tree with ornaments from years past, hang lights outside their house to proudly display their holiday cheer, share their wish lists with Santa in hopes of getting what they want this year, sit down with family and friends for a holiday feast, and buy gifts for those who bring out the Christmas spirit in them.

This time of year also provides citizens with a wonderful opportunity to help those who are less fortunate. Many of us have already shared the joy of Christmas by donating a toy for a needy child, giving items to a food drive or shelter, or sharing their time with an organization that needs a helping hand. There are numerous organizations located in the 2nd Senatorial District that still need your help this holiday season, and as we focus on 2011, the need for volunteers will continue as we ring in the new year.

In my community services directory located on my Senate website, I list several community and human services in Lincoln and St. Charles counties that help citizens throughout the year, including Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County, the Salvation Army locations in O’Fallon and St. Charles, and the United Way of Greater St. Louis. These and other organizations provide our community with much-needed services. Without their hard work, many citizens would not be given the blessings the rest of us have received this year.

Christmas is celebrated in many ways. However you decide to celebrate this holiday season, I hope you do so with the love and kindness shared through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This joy comes from our everlasting faith — faith in humanity and in Christ. As I share this special time with my family and watch the holiday spirit through my children’s eyes, I am reminded of how blessed I am to have such a loving family, a job that allows me to serve our state’s citizens, and a district filled with constituents who help me strive to make our state a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

If you have questions regarding any issues within state government, please visit my website at You can also e-mail me or call my office toll-free at (866) 271-2844

Davis: Merry Christmas

This is a photo of the largest social welfare agency and crisis nursery ever created.  It's called a family, and these are springing up all over the place.  They perform a wide gamut of medical, educational, judicial and social services at no cost to the taxpayers!  Most of their services are either donated free of charge or on a reciprocal trade agreement.  They provide these services with the love, discernment, advice and efficiency for which government has no match.

Left: Our second son, Ben, is holding their 18 month old daughter with our daughter-in-law, Candice, holding their 5 day-old son. Our first son, John behind our daughter-in-law, Emily with their three month old baby girl.
Middle: My dad, Gordon, holding the hand of my mom, Marylin.  Behind them, my brother, sister and brother-in-law with their two youngest children.  In front of them, Ben and Candice's oldest daughter, our seventh child, Philip, and sixth child, Susanna.
Right: Our fourth child, Matthew, me and husband, Bernie.  In front of us are our third child, Cathryn, and our fifth child, Amanda.

It's not easy getting seven children to come back home for a holiday, especially after they're married and have families of their own, but we have made it a shared family value and the fact that they want to come home for special events adds to everyone's joy.

When my son called and asked for backup support while his wife was in the hospital after their third child was born, I wanted to help in any way I could. There are other crisis nurseries in the St. Louis area that are available for parents to drop their children off when they need a break.  This is an important safety valve, yet I wonder, "Where is the village?  I.E. where are the grandparents, aunts, neighbors, church members?"

Every Father's Day we sell a plaque that says: "The greatest gift I ever had, came from God, I call him Dad."  There is no greater gift we can give each other than the gift of a family.  If you have one, include a single person into your tribe this year.  If you are single, don't go it alone.  There is a family who wants you to join them.  Friends are the family we pick for ourselves.  The human spirit was meant for companionship.

I love to hear what you think, so please let me know what you are doing to include others in your Christmas celebration. You can click here: Cynthia Davis

Packing up the Office

If you responded last week, you can ignore this.  However, those of you who may not have seen this have two more opportunities.  Due to term limits, I am getting ready to shut down our office at the Missouri Capitol.  In keeping with the tradition of sending these out every Thursday, I have one more Capitol Reports left to send.  I plan on continuing to communicate with all of you who have enjoyed my reports.

If you want to continue receiving news, analysis and humor, please click here:

If you want to stop receiving this information after December 31 please click here: 

A Little Bit of Christmas Humor

For those of you who like the newest technology, here is the link to "The Digital Nativity": Virtual Nativity

Don't miss this choir performance of the Hallelujah Chorus at a mall in the food court.  They dressed up like regular shoppers and created a remarkable sensation.  Here is the video: Food Court Chorus

I wish you a most blessed Christ-centered Christmas!

Ridgeway: Christmas Greetings & Elk Update

Christmas Greetings & Elk Update

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a plan the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has for introducing elk into a three county area of our state. I appreciate the responses I have received on this issue, most of which were not in favor of the MDC moving forward with elk restoration in our state. It is continuing to garner attention and debate.

In my recent meeting with a representative from the Department of Conservation, I questioned the liability following vehicle collisions with elk. Would the MDC be held responsible for damage caused? The answer is no. It is my position that if the Department of Conservation is so determined to bring elk to Missouri in spite of intense opposition from many of the stakeholders, (not to mention taxpayers), they should be held responsible for the damage which will be caused.

This idea is not new but has never been enacted. A former colleague of mine when I served in the House of Representatives, Representative Dale Whiteside (R-Chillicothe) introduced legislation which would have made the Department of Conservation liable for up to $500 of the deductible in collisions between vehicles and deer.

During this time in Missouri political history, Republicans were in the minority and their legislation was rarely debated in the House. This issue drew the attention of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and considerable time was spent on the bill. Although it did not pass, attention was focused on the potential for damage and danger. Imagine how much more damage can be caused by elk which are four times larger than white tail deer.

Although a bill has been drafted, it has not yet been introduced for the coming Session which will begin January 5th. Since it is still in the proposal stage, the Department of Conservation has not taken an official position, but Deputy Director Tim Ripperger has been quoted as saying the department typically opposes any attempts to hold them responsible for wildlife damage.

As I mentioned in my previous column, the budget of the Department of Conservation is subject to little, if any, oversight. Their dedicated source of funding has been ongoing since 1976 and is not subject to a sunset clause of any kind. Any changes in funding or accountability would have to be accomplished by a statewide vote of the citizenry. Decisions to spend tax dollars on projects such as elk restoration may hasten such a vote.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

As the season hovers near the shortest day of the year, Richard and I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. While I have to admit to getting caught up in the glitz and trappings of the season, it is my sincere hope we can all take time to remember the real reason we celebrate this occasion.

It is all about a baby boy, born of a virgin in a humble stable, who came to save mankind. There were no catalogs, no tinsel, and no brightly colored bows. While we spend days and even weeks agonizing over purchasing the perfect gift and how much to spend on said gift, the perfect gift was given to all of us over two thousand years ago. No receipt and no return needed. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

21 December 2010

Nance: Christmas Wishes

“Christmas reminds us we are not alone…
As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December's bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same…” –Donald E. Westlake

“Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first. The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world of the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years... Underneath all the bulging bundles is this beating Christmas heart.” –George Mathew Adams

My family wishes you and yours a Merry Christmas and a New Year that is filled with happiness and prosperity. As we come to the end of another year, I am grateful for all my blessings, my family, friends, and the opportunity you have given me to serve.

To our troops and their families, thank you for your service to our country. Stay safe and hurry back home to us.

Kraus: Merry Christmas!

Season of Giving

This season, we hear more and more stories of children going hungry and families needing help.  Even the Salvation Army, a hallmark of Christmas generosity, has reported that its red kettle collections are way down.  With so many people in trouble, they have less to give to others, which means that those of us who are blessed with enough must step up in this season dedicated to giving.

Many organizations in our community do step up on a daily basis – always ready to exemplify the Christmas spirit of helping out those less fortunate.  Throughout the year, my office hears from people who need help and don't know where to turn.  I consider it a privilege to use the resources of my office to locate assistance for residents of Eastern Jackson County.

One of these resources is Hope Network, sponsored by the First Baptist Church in Raytown.  Ever ready to help, the people at Hope Network will assist those in our community who need help with food, clothing, shelter, medical care, transportation and emergency assistance.

Another source of assistance is ReDiscover.  Its mission is to deliver mental health and substance abuse services to help individuals and families achieve healthier and more productive lives.  If you know someone whose holidays are marred with the hopelessness of substance abuse or mental problems, ReDiscover is located in Lee's Summit and Kansas City.

Another helpful resource for those who are hungry and who can't afford to purchase groceries is Harvesters: the Community Food Network.  If you or someone you know is having trouble putting food on the table, this website, at Food Resources, offers you the ability to search a specific area – say, five miles from a specific zip code in Lee's Summit – to locate nearby food pantries.  If you and your family have enough, please consider donating to a nearby food pantry to help replenish depleted supplies.

(You can click on the highlighted links above to find more information.)

Travel Safe!

Although the current weather forecast is not so good, we can still hope that this Christmas will be free from the ice pellets, snow and cold weather that marked both last week and our 2009 Christmas.  Please be reminded that, in case of bad weather, you can always check the Missouri Department of Transportation's Traveler Information Map for current road conditions.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Will Kraus

17 December 2010

Stouffer: Taking a Real Look At Tax Credits

Missouri lawmakers have been talking about tax credits for several years now. Unfortunately, no real action has been taken towards reform.

While some conservatives believe tax credits are a way to stimulate economic growth with tax dollars that already belong to the people, others feel it is a big government approach to picking winners and losers in what should be a free market.

I received quite a bit of criticism for not supporting an expansion of tax credits for Ford Motor Company earlier this year. Ford did not even ask for the governor to seek the incentive, but Ford did support the idea. It passed in a special legislative session.

However, a new report issued by the governor’s Tax Credit Review Commission, may provide a framework for reform. The panel recommended cutting 28 tax credit programs, which would save the state approximately $220 million. The commission also recommended making improvements to another 32 programs. This may be a good start.

This new panel found tax credits have grown by 408 percent since 1998, from $107 million to $522 million. The amount is predicted to jump to $698 million during the current fiscal year, which will continue until July 1, 2011. Today, many folks are predicting a $700 million shortfall in our next fiscal year.

Unfortunately, these incentives are dispersed without any scrutiny, because tax credits are not generally part of the budgeting process. Over the last two years, any attempts that have been made to scale back spending on certain tax credit programs, or even cap the amount that can be spent for some, has been held up by lawmakers who do not want to see them taken away.

Tax credits were first used in the 1990s as a way to get around refunding tax overpayments through the Hancock Amendment. Many believe tax credits have become entitlements for special interests. These are folks who do not necessarily need your tax dollars handed to them; in addition, these handouts may cause folks to make investments the free market would not sustain.

We have new leadership coming into both Missouri’s Senate and House. Maybe 2011 will be the year that we take a serious look at tax credits. When the General Assembly starts to work on the fiscal year 2012 budget, maybe some of the money that goes toward tax credits will no longer be there and will, instead, be a part of the trimming that the Legislature needs to do to the entire state budget.

16 December 2010

Davis: America is Special

Cynthia Davis Goes to Washington

We are so fortunate to have U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer representing a portion of our district.  He is an honorable man, and it was my pleasure to overlap two years with him in the Missouri House of Representatives.  I went to Washington DC recently for a conference and was treated very cordially by his office staff who took our photo.

I also found Congressman Dr. Ron Paul.   He shares the same D.C. building with our own Congressman Todd Akin. His office staff treated me as if I were from Texas!  This week a New York Times article wrote this about him: After years of blocking him from a leadership position, Paul's fellow Republicans have named him chairman of the House subcommittee on domestic monetary policy, which oversees the Federal Reserve as well as the currency and the valuation of the dollar.

America is Special

It's not just that we have generated the most prosperity, have the most enduring constitution and serve as a model to which other civilizations wish to aspire.  These benchmarks are merely the fruit of our common belief system.  You may ask, "How can we have a common belief system when there is such diversity among millions of people?"  The answer lies in our common creeds -the principles set forth in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.

As a result, people here have enjoyed greater freedom and autonomy than any other country.  This is not sheer luck.  It is a result of our foundational principles.  We believe that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.  These God-given rights are what distinguish us from all other nations who believe rights are granted by the government.

Our remarkable success has created American Exceptionalism.  This is far more than pride in our homeland; it is an acknowledgement that our country has surpassed all other civilizations in a remarkable way. Never to be duplicated before or since!  While other countries struggle under iron-fisted rulers, our country believes that "We the people" are the government.  We govern ourselves to a great degree, but this is only possible so long as we retain a common ethic of right and wrong.  It is remarkable how many of our founders said that our morality is a prerequisite of the blessings of liberty. Although there are individual aberrations, our country has a national conscience and a national personality that loves liberty, is friendly and is the most generous nation on earth.  We have nothing for which to apologize to other nations.

My son is required to take a class on political correctness as a requirement to be a public school teacher.  In the class the teacher told the students they should not use the word "America" anymore because it makes us sound like we are the center of the universe.  It's true that other places are called "America"; however, when we say it in the context or our nation, people know it is in reference to the exceptional nation, distinctive among all others. Loyalty to our country is a virtue.  George Washington said it best:
"Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations." –George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

America is the most exceptional model of fair, just and free government ever known to mankind and the clear thinking citizens aren't afraid to say so!

Our Planet Earth is Special

The planet Earth is also exceptional because we are the only place in the known universe that can sustain life. Scientists have spent exhaustive amounts of time and money to see if they can find life anywhere else and after searching billions of light years and almost every known galaxy, they have come up with nothing.  For them, if the Earth is the only place they can find life, it also shows there must be a creator because this couldn't just happen.  If evolution had merit, it would be duplicated somewhere else.  If it can't be duplicated then the Earth is exceptional.

Missouri is Also Special

Our Missouri constitution has some parts that are better than our US Constitution.  For example, Missouri's Bill of Rights states:
  1. "Missouri is a free and independent state...all proposed amendments…affecting the individual liberties of the people or which in any wise may impair the right of local self-government belonging to the people of this state, should be submitted to the conventions of the people." (Section 4).
  2. "All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; that no human authority can control or interfere with the rights of conscience;" (Section 5).
  3. "No law shall be passed impairing the freedom of speech, no matter by what means communication; that every person shall be free to say, write or publish, or otherwise communicate whatever he will on any subject, being responsible for all abuses of that liberty;"  (Section 8)
  4. "…The court shall excuse any woman who requests exemption there-from before being sworn as a juror."  Section 22 (b)
  5. "Private property shall not be taken for private use …except for private ways of necessity, and except for drains and ditches across the lands of others for agricultural and sanitary purposes…" (Section 28)
  6. "To be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman.  (Section 33)

Packing up the Office

Due to term limits, I am getting ready to shut down our office at the Missouri Capitol.  In keeping with the tradition of emailing Capitol Reports every Thursday, I have two more Capitol Reports left to send.  I plan on continuing to communicate with all of you who have enjoyed my reports.

If you want to continue receiving news, analysis and humor, please click here:
If you want to stop receiving this information after December 31 please click here:  

If you would like to have your own copy of the Missouri Constitution, I still have some available and would be happy to give you one.  Your thoughts are important to me, so please let me know what you think about American exceptionalism. You can send me your opinion by clicking here: Cynthia Davis

A Little Bit of Humor

Sixteen ways to prep for ski season

16. Visit your local butcher and pay $30 to sit in the walk-in freezer for a half an hour. Afterwards, burn two $50 dollar bills to warm up.

15. Soak your gloves and store them in the freezer after every use.

14. Fasten a small, wide rubber band around the top half of your head before you go to bed each night.

13. If you wear glasses, begin wearing them with glue smeared on the lenses.

12. Throw away a hundred dollar bill-now.

11. Find the nearest ice rink and walk across the ice 20 times in your ski boots carrying two pairs of skis, accessory bag and poles. Pretend you are looking for your car. Sporadically drop things.

10. Place a small but angular pebble in your shoes, line them with crushed ice, and then tighten a C-clamp around your toes.

9. Buy a new pair of gloves and immediately throw one away.

8. Secure one of your ankles to a bed post and ask a friend to run into you at high speed.

7. Go to McDonald's and insist on paying $8.50 for a hamburger. Be sure you are in the longest line.

6. Clip a lift ticket to the zipper of your jacket and ride a motorcycle fast enough to make the ticket lacerate your face.

5. Drive slowly for five hours - anywhere - as long as it's in a snowstorm and you're following an 18 wheeler.

4. Fill a blender with ice, hit the pulse button and let the spray blast your face. Leave the ice on your face until it melts. Let it drip into your clothes.

3. Dress up in as many clothes as you can and then proceed to take them off because you have to go to the bathroom.

2. Slam your thumb in a car door. Don't go see a doctor.

1. Repeat all of the above every Saturday and Sunday until it's time for the real thing!

10 December 2010

Stouffer: Redistricting Reality


Audio: Sen. Stouffer’s pre-filed legislation.
Stouffer Report: A “Plan B” for “Prop B.”
Stouffer Report: Nuclear Debate Continues
Stouffer Report: Right to Work

Another Year Before Redistricting Becomes Reality

Next year, the Missouri General Assembly will start the process of redistricting political boundaries in the state. The information starts with census data.

Redistricting is required every 10 years, based on new population data. The last time we went through this was 2001. There are two separate redistricting processes: for those representing you in both Washington, D.C. and in Jefferson City.

Congressional Districts:

As I wrote previously, the Legislature is responsible for redrawing Congressional districts, which takes place in the form of legislation. Like other bills, it must be completed during the 2011 regular legislative session, which ends in May. Otherwise, the Legislature will have to come back for a special session. Coincidentally, the governor will also name two bipartisan commissions that will create new congressional district boundaries.

Ten years ago, Missouri lawmakers spent about two weeks dealing with Congressional districts, and had a new map ready in plenty of time before the end of the legislative session. This is worth noting because there is speculation that Missouri has lost enough population to justify the loss of a Congressional district this time around. This will complicate the process greatly.

Missouri House and Senate Districts:

In 2001, bipartisan panels were assigned in April and had until August 28 to submit their proposals to the governor for Missouri’s House and Senate districts. Both of these groups held hearings around the state during May and June.

But neither the House Apportionment nor the Senate Reapportionment Commission could reach a conclusion and missed their August 28 deadline. Then, the Missouri Supreme Court appointed six appellate judges to draw new Missouri House district boundaries and six appellate judges to redraw state Senate lines. They began taking public testimony in October of that year and finished work on December 28, 2001.

Not surprisingly, politics played a huge role in redistricting. Neither redistricting panel was able to reach agreement the entire time they met. There were folks from all over the state involved, many of whom said they never got a chance to voice their opinions or concerns about what the panels were working on.

What happened in 2001 was not out of the ordinary. In 1972, a federal lawsuit was filed because somebody did not like the way a boundary was drawn in part of St. Louis. Three years later, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the boundary as it had been created.

I do not know how smoothly this process will go next year. We will have the same situation in Jefferson City that we had a decade ago: a governor of one political party and another party leading both the Missouri Senate and House. Whether a veto would come into play is unknown.

I would not be surprised if either of the commissions the governor will appoint will run into the same challenges that previous panels have had, which means an entire year could be spent trying to determine what the boundaries will be for Missouri’s 34 Senatorial districts and 163 House districts.

09 December 2010

Rupp: Trees for Troops Brings Military Families Holiday Cheer

While our honorable soldiers are defending our freedoms away from home, they sometimes are absent when they want to be with their loved ones the most, which is during the holiday season. Recognizing that our military families are missing their loved ones, the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, a branch of the National Christmas Tree Association, created Trees For Troops, which has provided trees to more than 66,000 families at more than 50 U.S. military bases across the world.

Trees for Troops, a public charity recognized by the IRS, was organized in 2005 and has touched the hearts of many. Nearly 800 Christmas tree farms participate in the program in almost 30 states. FedEx, which carries the trees to grateful military families, has traveled more than 221,000 miles since Trees for Troops’ founding. Other companies and organizations that support Trees for Troops include Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the Sundt Foundation, the American Freedom Foundation, and Cost Plus World Market.

The organization receives letters of thanks from military families all over the world, some who have spent several holidays away from their loved ones. One thankful recipient of a Tree for Troops Christmas tree wrote, “I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone at Trees for Troops; the tree farmers, the volunteers, and everyone who provides donations to make this possible and to keep it going. I just picked up a tree today and I greatly appreciate the fact that people like you take the time to remember the military and our families during the holidays.”

Trees for Troops is part of a much larger picture. The National Christmas Tree Association, based in Missouri and founded in 1955, focuses on bringing Christmas spirit to citizens across the country. Their charitable branch, the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, centers their attention on providing assistance to children, families, and the environment. For children and families, the foundation has provided children’s books to young readers; helped create online curriculum for teachers; provided food, clothing, and shelter to those in need; assisted those affected by hurricane disasters; and has built a playground for St. Louis children who are less fortunate. For the environment, the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation has adapted a recycling program, EARTH 911, which promotes the recycling of used Christmas trees.

I appreciate all the kindness shown by the generous workers and volunteers at Trees for Troops and at the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation. Their dedication to making the holidays merrier truly shows in the smiles of our troops and their families. I would also like to show my gratitude to our military. Thanks to the sacrifices these men and women make, our country is able to celebrate the holidays in freedom. For your service, we are eternally thankful. To learn more about the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation and Trees for Troops, visit

If you have any questions regarding this matter or any other issues within state government, please visit my website at You can also e-mail me or call my office toll-free at (866) 271-2844.

Holsman Wins AIA Award

Kansas City, MO - The American Institute of Architects - Kansas City, presented Representative Jason R. Holman (D-Kansas City) with the 2010 Architectural Advocate of the Year Award at their annual Holiday Party & Installation of Officers on December 7th. Holsman was selected to receive the award by the 2010 AIA-KC Board of Directors based on the Representative's body of work in support of the architectural industry throughout 2010.

Holsman, who represents portions of South Kansas City and Grandview in the Missouri House, has been a champion of energy efficiency and renewable resources since his election in 2006. In 2010, he was a cosponsor on H.B. 1667, a green-buildings initiative. He was also the sponsor of H.B. 1848, the Urban Farming Task Force Bill, which was signed into law over the summer.

Past recipients of the honor include Former Mayor Kay Barnes, the Nelson-Atkins Board of Trustees, the 2007 Johnson County Commissioners, the Charlotte Street Foundation, and Steve Paul of the Kansas City Star.

Davis: TSA

Like so many travelers, I was asked to step out of the airport boarding line for "the deluxe treatment".  My crime was that I was wearing a skirt.  The TSA wanted to make sure I would not be able to explode the airplane; come on!  Are they really afraid that a member of the Missouri State Legislature is going to perform an act of terrorism and suicide?  I think not.  This is a clear example of the absurdity of the system.

Three reasons why this should not be acceptable:
  1. The Fourth Amendment of our US Constitution states:  "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    There you have it.  Nobody has the right to search our bodies without first obtaining a search warrant signed by someone who has sworn under oath that a reasonable suspicion exists that I am trying to perform an act of terrorism.  Furthermore, seizing our shampoo, beverages and hair gel is clearly not allowed by the constitution, since these are legal substances.

    How can we allow the national government to violate the constitution?  Which amendment are they going to ignore next?

    Video telling of one man's experience when he refused the pat down: Video-cam of Airport Security

    Cartoon illustrating the point: (Warning: there is some bad language at the end.) Do Not Touch Me!
  2. What would happen if delivering passengers to their destinations was the responsibility of the airlines?  After all, isn't that what the airlines are already hired to accomplish?  Each airline should administrate its own security procedures.  If you don't like the way the airline personnel examines your body with one company, you can switch to another airline.  That's how free markets work!

    Some airlines could develop programs where frequent flyers and their employees are pre-certified so that a simple fingerprint or iris scan upon boarding is all that is necessary to prove your identity. The government should not administrate this type of program, but there is nothing wrong with a company collecting information on its customers and retaining that information in its private records.  If the private company were doing this, it is merely customer information that will assist them to serve everybody better.  If the terrorists don't like being asked questions, they can fly on a more "terrorist friendly" airline.  Hopefully, there will be none available to serve their purposes.
  3. Instead of trying to play "cat and mouse" games to keep ahead of the last terrorist method, why don't we do more to actually get the people off the airplanes who are about to blow it up?  The old expression is "Guns don't kill people; people kill people."  This method of examining the personal anatomy of the travelers is not getting at the origin of the problem.  Terrorism is caused by what is in the heart of the terrorist.  It is ridiculous to presume that a bottle of water is really an attempt by innocent citizens to smuggle explosive liquids onto the airplane.  In America, we used to be considered innocent until proven guilty.  When we are forced to trash any legitimate liquid or gel, it is because of a governmentally enacted presumption that we are all guilty without any reasonable evidence to the contrary.
My personal body search was not based upon a concern that elected officials and middle aged mothers are now trying to destroy our nation through acts of terrorism and killing others.  It was a symptom of being reactive rather than proactive.  We have a broken system based upon a prejudicial assumption that everyone is trying to harm our country and commit suicide in the process.  Some think that bringing shame and humiliation upon all of us will make us feel safer.  The fact that our citizens are now being violated by body searches when they want to fly, and the fact that we are violating our own constitution to accomplish this, is a form of victory for the terrorists already. (The word "violated" refers to a total stranger touching parts of our bodies in places that would be considered sexual harassment were an employer to demand to do the same thing.)

When I was first elected to the Missouri House, we had metal detectors at the front entrance and all the other doors were locked.  Shortly thereafter a security expert informed us that this really did nothing to keep "bad guys" out of the Capitol.  We were told it was far safer to simply have more police officers roaming the hallways and being available to deal with the unique circumstances as they emerge.  We traded away metal detecting machines for human intelligence and vigilance -something that machines can't duplicate.  This is a good model for the airline industry to emulate.

Greater scrutiny of those who buy one way tickets, pay with cash and originate from nations that are hostile toward us would make a lot more sense than our own government violating our citizens in the name of enhanced pseudo-safety.  There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that the acts of terrorism were executed by Muslim men trying to kill Americans because of their religion.  The Muslim religion teaches world domination and there is a historical record of them brutally killing their opponents, so this is nothing unusual.  The men who blew up our buildings on September 11th, acted out of sincere dedication to their religion.  Our law enforcement officers cannot protect us if they are required to deny reality and overlook the obvious.  Good detective techniques rely on observing patterns.

After all the wasted money and angst inflicted upon hundreds of millions of innocent travelers, why have we not heard about how many terrorists have been caught through their "embarrass the customer" methodology?  Our national government has provided us with another example of how iron-fisted governmental solutions fit into the socialist model, wastes money and harms all of us by suppressing free market solutions.

I feel sorry for the airlines because they are suffering lost business over these strange new invasive practices and have no say in the matter.  I try to imagine how I would feel if the national government tried to search people before they could shop at my bookstore.  Doubtless, my business would decline through no fault of my own.  These searches are suppressing support for the airline industry.  The bigger government grows, the more our free market businesses shrink.

One interesting side note: If these searches were so important, we wouldn't see such wide inconsistencies between airports.  Even though St. Louis does not have an international airport, they always give me the hand patting because I wear skirts.  In Washington D.C., I wore the exact same skirt and even used my concealed weapon permit for my identification and they didn't feel it necessary to pull me out of the line, X-ray or naked-body scan me or physically touch me.

It's time for our government to stop violating our citizens and begin serving them.

Your thoughts are important to me, so please let me know what you think about airport security strategies. You can send me your opinion by clicking here: Cynthia Davis.

A Little Bit of Humor

06 December 2010

Ridgeway: Taking a Close Look at Elk Restoration in Missouri

How many times have you been driving and seen a dead dear beside the road, killed by an auto collision?  If you travel on Missouri's roads often, like I do, you realize that deer-car collisions happen frequently.  Now, what if that 150 pound deer was replaced with a 700 pound elk?  If this concerns you, continue reading.

Last month, the Missouri Conservation Commission made a decision to enact the Elk Restoration Plan, with elk being released in a three-county (Shannon, Reynolds and Carter Counties) radius in early 2011.

I am deeply concerned about the Conservation Department's plan to release 150 elk in southeast Missouri next year. Because the counties initially affected are so far away, you may not have heard very much about this project yet. However, I feel there may be some unintended consequences all Missourians need to consider.

When I was raised in Missouri, one rarely saw a deer.  Today, deer are plentiful all across Missouri.  Because all Missouri has such fertile feeding grounds, it is only reasonable to assume that, as the original 150 elk reproduce, they will forage for new food plots.  An expanding wild elk population cannot be expected to remain in a 3 county area anymore than wild deer are currently contained.  Missouri already has more road miles than any other state of comparable size.  Many roads plus an expanding wild elk population may spell disaster for Missouri travelers.

A similar plan was considered in 2000, but the public opinion against restoring elk to Missouri was extremely negative. This year, the Missouri Conservation Department (MDC) solicited opinion in a much faster process than ten years ago and in meetings, did not allow public discussion as before. Because of this, and after review of public comments received from the Department, I question the assertion that the public truly supports this plan.

The concerns of landowners, farmers and local residents echo my own:
  • The devastation to crops as elk herds move through an area. These large animals are grazers, just like cows and unlike our current deer population that simply browse;
  • Infectious diseases that can be spread to cattle populations and would be very expensive and difficult to ever eradicate;
  • And most disturbing, the potential for severe injury and vehicle destruction if an elk is on a highway, just as white tailed deer often are. Should our tax dollars be used to introduce a public safety hazard that is potentially lethal?
The MDC has responded to these concerns by saying: "…The 2000 Missouri Elk Reintroduction Feasibility Study showed that the two key elements of suitable elk restoration sites were adequate habitat and minimal potential for conflicts with human activities. The wild area of our restoration zone in southeast Missouri is mostly public land, has suitable habitat, limited roads and limited agricultural activity." (

Let's examine these statements. Missouri's largest industry is agriculture, valued at $7.5 billion in 2007. Cattle and calves made up $1.6 billion of that amount. Looking at the eight counties surrounding the initially affected area, livestock are valued at approximately $152 million. In Shannon, Carter and Reynolds counties alone, livestock value was more than $13 million. These figures are no small amounts. An infectious disease in elk is easily transferred to cattle. Poor livestock health would be disastrous and extremely expensive for Missouri cattle farmers to combat.

Now let's compare the size of deer versus the size of elk. A male white tailed deer weighs 150 pounds and stands at around 3.5 feet tall at the shoulder. A male elk weighs 700 pounds and stands at around 6.5 feet tall at the shoulder. I've included a drawing to scale at right – I was astonished at the incredible difference in size. Vehicle collisions with deer are already costly and dangerous for Missourians.

According to a recent study by State Farm Insurance, deer-vehicle collisions cost $3,000 on average and 9,000 to 11,000 Missourians will hit a deer this year alone according to MDC statistics ( A simple calculation of those numbers tells me that the total annual cost of deer-vehicle accidents is $33,000,000!

A well-recognized voice for Missouri agriculture, The Missouri Farm Bureau, is very much opposed to reintroducing wild elk to Missouri.  You can find their official position on elk restoration at:

The Missouri Conservation Department (MDC) operates in a more independent manner than most state departments. While others may be funded by legislative appropriation and gubernatorial approval, the MDC is funded directly through a 1/8 cent sales tax, in addition to revenue generated through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, as well as other miscellaneous fees and sales.  This money goes straight to MDC with virtually no oversight by your elected officials.

I need to know your thoughts on this issue.  This is your opportunity to let me, and the Missouri Department of Conservation, know your support, opposition, questions or concerns.

This is an issue that may impact your family's safety and our state's economy.

I may be contacted either by e-mail or by mail at my Capitol office address [State Capitol Building, Room 221, Jefferson City, MO 65101].

Let your voice be heard!

02 December 2010

Rupp: Bringing Confidence To Riders: Therapeutic Horsemanship

As a founder of the Missouri Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders, one of my top priorities is making sure children with disabilities receive the learning opportunities they deserve. That being said, I am proud to acknowledge Therapeutic Horsemanship of Wentzville for their dedication to helping people of all ages find confidence through horseback riding. With a mission to "provide equine-assisted therapy programs for individuals with disabilities in order to develop their maximum physical and psychological potential," this dutiful group of therapists and volunteers are making a positive impact on their community.

Founded in 1975 with a borrowed barn and horses, Therapeutic Horsemanship has brought happiness and self confidence to more than 3,000 people in St. Louis and in five neighboring counties. Therapeutic Horsemanship clients, whose ages span from toddlers to adults in their nineties, have experienced many benefits that can come from working and bonding with horses.

For clients needing physical therapy, horseback riding is therapeutic because the horse's rhythmical pace transfers to the client the pelvic movements of a human walking. These continuous motions help clients improve their balance, coordination, strength, and muscle tone. One of the best physical therapy programs Therapeutic Horsemanship offers is hippotherapy, which can be translated to "treatment with the help of the horse." Taught by occupational, physical, and speech therapists, hippotherapy is not intended to teach a client to ride a horse, but is based on neuromotor function and sensory processing.

Although many of Therapeutic Horsemanship programs provide physical treatment, they also give clients a great deal of personal satisfaction. By participating, clients gain a sense of accomplishment and control as they handle a horse. Clients' social and communicative skills often improve as well, because they need to vocalize their thoughts to their therapists and to their horse during sessions.

Another very beneficial program that has been offered in recent years has been Horses for Heroes, which was created in 2007 by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). With thousands of soldiers returning from combat with injuries such as amputations and spinal chord damage, as well as traumatic stress, this program gives these honorable men and women a chance to receive physical and emotional therapy.

Clients with disabilities require a New Rider Evaluation and a physicians notice granting approval to participate in Therapeutic Horsemanship programs. The non-profit program relies on volunteers for help and support. I applaud Therapeutic Horsemanship for their outstanding efforts to assist those with disabilities, allowing them to feel proud of their accomplishments. To find out more about Therapeutic Horsemanship, please visit and for NARHA information, visit

If you have any questions regarding this matter or any other issues within state government, please visit my website at You can also e-mail me or call my office toll-free at (866) 271-2844.

Davis: What is Life Worth?

Last week one of my faithful subscribers invited me to join him and others outside an abortion clinic in Columbia.  We were there to pray and to serve as a visual statement that some people care.  We may not be able to gauge the value of our time and efforts this side of eternity, but I know it was important for us to be there.

I was told that this clinic was shut down for 13 weeks because they could not find an abortionist interested in administering this practice.  Regardless of the reasons, wouldn't it be great if they shut down because there was no demand for their services?

Instead of waiting for a legislative remedy, these people are doing something right now to make a statement that we care about life and death situations.  I applaud all of them for taking the time to show human compassion and alternative solutions beyond destroying our dignity.

I especially applaud the four priests who attended.  There is something very refreshing about seeing spiritual leaders who are willing to stand with their parishioners for a just cause.  I have been told that members of the clergy were largely responsible for our victory in the War for Independence.  You can read such stories using the following links: Clergymen Who Preached Independence and Clergy and Our Constitutional Foundation

Without a vision the people perish, but without leaders, the vision perishes.  Many pastors today are unengaged and even dismissive of political involvement.  It's no wonder our country is going down the tubes.  As we try to analyze what is wrong with our legislators, it is apparent that the legislators are a fairly accurate reflection of the voters.  Many voters make bad decisions because most churches fail to teach principles of good government to their congregations.  We desperately need men of God to stand up and model Biblical principles to their people.  This happened last week.

Your Thoughts are important to me, so let me know what your pastor is doing to lead your church to find solutions to the moral decay that is bankrupting our governments. You can send me your opinion by clicking here: Cynthia Davis

The Y.O.U.N.G. Conservatives of America Video

Last week's Capitol Report was about the award conferred upon the most constitutional legislator.  Hint to my fellow legislators:  If you vote in accordance with constitutional principles, you may win this award next year and our state's financial problems will be solved!  If you want to see the video of part of the event, you can click here:  Most Constitutional Legislator Award

A Little Bit of Humor: The Ten Commandments

The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse: You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery," and "Thou Shalt Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians! It creates a hostile work environment!

01 December 2010

Keaveny: Fraud Prevention Taskforce, Focus on St. Louis' Children's Hospital, Libraries, and Language Immerson Schools

The Fraud Prevention Taskforce

In an era when technology runs much of our lives, Missourians have to worry about issues that were not a problem before. A prime example is when a person's identity is stolen. Last year, nearly 10 million Americans had their identities stolen, and up to $40 billion was lost due to fraudulent telemarketing.

These statistics are staggering, and it's a priority to protect Missouri citizens from these deceitful crimes. The Fraud Prevention Taskforce, a branch of the Circuit Attorney of St. Louis, offers some tips on how to stay safe and keep your identity protected:
  • Join the Fraud E-Mail Alerts: When there is suspicious activity or a possible business scam occurring in St. Louis, a warning e-mail will be sent out to all registered members. Please e-mail Dan Rechtien to register for e-mail alerts.
  • Call the Fraud Assistance Line with questions: This 24-hour line, at (314) 612-1412, is provided to citizens of St. Louis who have questions or concerns regarding any wary behavior they have noticed.
  • Attend Fraud Prevention Seminars: These seminars are free to anyone living or working in St. Louis. All who attend will receive a booklet of information, and can learn about a variety of topics, including prevention of senior fraud, identity theft, mail and Internet fraud, home-improvement fraud, employment fraud, and investment fraud.
Knowledge is the best way to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud, so please use these services to become as prepared and informed as possible.

Visit a Local Library

Books provide us with more than just information to learn or a story to read — literature shapes who we are and opens our minds to new ideas. That being said, I encourage all St. Louis citizens to visit one of the outstanding branches of our St. Louis Public Library.

These libraries offer a variety of services, from book and DVD rentals, to providing Internet access. In the 4th Senatorial District, there are nine branches of the St. Louis Public Library:
  • Buder - 4401 Hampton Avenue
  • Cabanne - 1106 Union Boulevard
  • Carpenter - 3309 South Grand Boulevard
  • Charing Cross - 356 North Skinker Boulevard
  • Julia Davis - 4415 Natural Bridge Avenue
  • Kingshighway - 2260 South Vandeventer Avenue
  • Machacek - 6424 Scanlan Avenue
  • Marketplace - 6548 Manchester Avenue
  • Walnut Park - 5760 West Florissant Avenue
These libraries have events year-round that pertain to a wide range of age groups, including ladies' events, story time for children, and online classes for adults wanting to earn a GED.

In this digital age, many turn to electronics to get their information or entertainment, but reading provides many benefits that electronics may not. Studies show that it takes more energy for the brain to read a book than to watch a movie, which gives your mind a healthy workout. It's also proven that reading helps people improve their memorization, concentration, and vocabulary skills.

I encourage all people to use the services that public libraries offer. Visiting a library and owning a library card is a great way to explore new ventures and ideas. Please visit the branches of the St. Louis Public Library at, or call
(314) 241-2288. Click on the following links to find out how to apply for library cards and to view employment opportunities.

St. Louis Children's Hospital

At right: During my tour of St. Louis Children's Hospital, Karlene Bessler, RN, let me have a glimpse of the newborn intensive care unit.

Serving as senator, I have the privilege of touring facilities that serve the district. St. Louis Children's Hospital has been serving the needs of children — from newborns all the way up to adolescents — since 1879.

It is remarkable to have such a prestigious health care facility in our district that also serves as the pediatric teaching hospital for Washington University School of Medicine and offers nationally recognized programs for physician training and research.

The hospital has also been ranked the fifth Best Children's Hospital in the country by Parents magazine (2009), named on the U.S. News & World Report's Honor Roll of America's Best Children's Hospitals (2010), and recognized as a Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Magnet Recognition Program (2010) — only two percent of hospitals nationally have achieved this recognition.

The hard working and dedicated staff of St. Louis Children's Hospital continues to make this health care facility a shining example of the wonderful organizations found within the 4th Senatorial District.

To learn more about the St. Louis Children's Hospital, visit or call (314) 454-6000.

Online Tool to Prevent Foreclosure

A major issue in this difficult recession has been the real estate collapse. According to an article published by Time magazine, the nation's home-ownership rate is the lowest it's been in more than a decade, at 66.9 percent. Stress on Missouri homeowners has only intensified in realizing that the banks that provide home loans may have falsified the documents needed to start foreclosure proceedings.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster received more than 100 complaints from foreclosed homeowners in October and has added a page to his website that will help homeowners understand their rights regarding foreclosure. The website has answers to questions most often asked, a list of documents that are needed to receive loan services, and explains the definitions of real estate terms.

The information on the website is not intended to provide legal counsel, but is a handy tool for homeowners facing difficult times and decisions. To view this website, visit or call (314) 340-7544.

Pierre Laclede Elementary School

I had the recent privilege to visit Pierre Laclede Elementary School located in the St. Louis Public School district. It makes me very happy to see our St. Louis Public Schools succeed in giving our students a proper education, and I would like to share some of that success with you.

Pierre Laclede Elementary School has achieved the following:
  • A high attendance rate, with an average of 94 percent
  • A 2002 "Gold Star School Award"
  • A 2003 "Blue Ribbon School Award"
  • Home to the 2002-2003 Missouri State Teacher of the Year
  • The 2004 "Salute to Excellence Stella Award"
  • Was recognized as a model "School of Excellence" by former President Bush
For more information about Pierre Laclede Elementary School, call (314) 385-0546.

Learning New Languages and Cultures at St. Louis Language Immersion Schools

For our children, learning a second language can be a valuable tool to succeed in the workplace and in life. St. Louis Language Immersion Schools, or SLLIS, provides K-12 students with an education in English, and either Spanish or French. By the time the student is finished with his or her studies, that student will have the capability to be fluent in two languages.

The school has a strong belief that learning a new language early in life has many beneficial factors for students, including increased brain function, improved memory skills, clearer pronunciation, and a better appreciation for culture.

Students at SLLIS learn a broad curriculum by studying literature, math and science, and participating in writing workshops. Throughout the curriculum, both English and a second language of the student's choice are instructed:
  • K-2: English is only spoken during before- and after-school programs, and lessons are taught entirely in French or Spanish.
  • Grades 3-5: French or Spanish are spoken and taught throughout 80 percent of the day, with formal English classes incorporated throughout the day. Latin studies are also offered.
  • Grades 6-8: French or Spanish are taught and spoken 50 percent of the day, with both English, and Spanish or French literature classes taught.
  • Grades 9-12: English is taught 80 percent of the day, with the option of taking French or Spanish electives. French or Spanish literature classes are still offered.
To learn more about SLLIS, please visit or call (314) 533-0975.

Operation Brightside

Not long ago, I had the pleasure of attending a ground-breaking ceremony at Hilltop Child Development Center for Operation Brightside, a non-profit organization that works dutifully to keep St. Louis clean and "green."

The oldest cleaning program in St. Louis, Operation Brightside engages in many projects to keep neighborhoods spotless and sparkling:
  • Project Bliss, which takes place April and May, supports volunteers to remove litter and clean downtown neighborhoods.
  • Graffiti Eradication, where volunteers remove graffiti from vandalized St. Louis buildings. In the past 18 years, volunteers have removed graffiti from more than 115,000 defaced buildings.
  • Litter Bugs Me! Stop it! Don't Drop It!, a program that promotes the reduction of litter.
  • Lend Me a Hand Tool, which lends tools and trash bags to aid volunteers' cleanup endeavors.
Operation Brightside, with the help of more than 20,000 annual volunteers, has helped improve more than 600 neighborhoods in St. Louis, and partners with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Botanical Garden, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, the City of St. Louis, and St. Louis Master Gardeners.

To learn more about Operation Brightside, visit or call (314) 772-4646.

Holiday Season with the St. Louis Symphony

One of the most comforting sounds of the season is the classical music provided by the St. Louis Symphony. During the holidays, thousands of people arrive at Powell Symphony Hall bundled in coats, and once inside, they enter a warm world of crystal chandeliers and luxurious marble floors. When guests walk in to the concert hall, they are awed by the ornate architecture that surrounds the stage.

For 120 years, the St. Louis Symphony has provided the gift of music to the public, enchanting listeners with traditional and contemporary music. The symphony has traveled as far as Europe to perform, and has received six Grammy Awards for recordings they have produced.

This holiday season, I encourage you to attend a St. Louis Symphony concert and witness the talent and artistry demonstrated by Missouri's fine musicians and conductors. Some concerts that will be performed this December:
  • Brahms 1 - Dec. 3 and 4
  • Gospel Christmas - Dec. 16
  • Holiday Celebration - Dec. 17-19
  • Bach Society - Dec. 21
  • City Lights - Dec. 29 and 30
For more information about the St. Louis Symphony, please visit or call (314) 533-2500.

Volunteer this Holiday Season

This holiday season, please volunteer some of your time to a local organization. Just a few hours of your time can make a difference in someone's life.

Here are two great organizations in St. Louis to visit and volunteer:

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Metro St. Louis

Many families with seriously ill and injured children cannot afford a place to stay while their children are receiving treatment in the hospital. Ronald McDonald House provides a "home-away-from-home" atmosphere for families with a child in the hospital. There is little or no charge for the visiting families, and they are able to find encouragement and support from other families and volunteers.

As a volunteer, you can provide a variety of services, including:
  • Transporting families to the hospital
  • Preparing meals
  • Providing maintenance repairs to facilities
  • Completing service projects
The Ronald McDonald House provides holiday opportunities for volunteers as well, including the Sponsor-A-Family program. Please visit or call (314) 773-1100 for more information about volunteer opportunities.

The St. Louis Area Foodbank

For the past 35 years, the St. Louis Area Foodbank has been serving thousands of hungry St. Louis citizens. Many people suffer from hunger and lack nutritious foods in their diets. The St. Louis Area Foodbank is the largest non-profit food distributor in the bi-state region, and in 2009, provided more than 22 million pounds of food throughout the year to thousands of people — an estimated 57,100 people every week.

There are many volunteer opportunities at the St. Louis Area Foodbank, including spending time at the Packaging Center and hosting your own food drive (1.6 million pounds of food were collected last year in food drives alone). Please call
(314) 292-5760 or visit www.stlfoodbank.orgto inquire about volunteering in the Packaging Center, or call (314) 292-5761 for more information about hosting food drives.

Be Thankful this Holiday Season

Remember this holiday season: It's not about the gifts you may receive or how much money you spend — it's about the joy and memories you make with loved ones.

Think about how much of a difference you can make to someone by sending a simple holiday card, making a kind phone call, or simply smiling. Volunteer some of your time this season to help others — just a few hours can make a huge difference in our community.

I wish you and your family a very merry holiday season!