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19 March 2010

Schupp: Visit to Washington, Committee Updates, MoDOT projects in Creve Coeur

At right: Rep. Schupp with Lois Detrick (left) President of League of Women Voters of Missouri, and Dr. Caroline Davies of UMKC, an expert in Environmental Sciences, on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. during the legislative Spring Break.

It is a delight to see our students as they visit the Capitol!  Last week, during the legislative spring break, about 90 fourth grade Mason Ridge Elementary School students and their teachers and parents came up to visit and tour.  It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for lunch on the steps of the capitol.  I was proud to see that the students came well-versed and well-prepared to make the most of their scheduled tours!  We are fortunate to have such dedicated teachers and parents who were able to make the trip. 

In addition to this one day in Jeff City, I was also fortunate to be able to spend time in Washington D.C. learning about how climate change disproportionately affects women throughout the world, particularly those in poverty.  Among the attendees at the Oxfam conference was former Secretary of State Bekki Cook.  As you often do when you visit your state or federal capitol, we met with many staff members who assist representatives that serve Missouri.  It is always encouraging to see that, just as they are here, assistants working in the D.C. capitol are knowledgeable and helpful, and have the ear of the elected official. At the same time, it was a treat that Senator Claire McCaskill set aside time to meet with us personally.    

This week, the focus has been on budget.  I have spent virtually all of my time outside of my scheduled meetings and hearings sitting in the Budget Committee meetings being tutored by ranking member Representative Sara Lampe.  Creating a balanced budget through a thoughtful process is one of the most important things we do as your representatives.  Having this opportunity to sit in a review the process and ask questions continues to be an invaluable experience.

In the Capitol, we have a volunteer "Physician of the Day."  This week, we welcomed Dr. Tim Jones, whose practice is at Genesis Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Center in Creve Coeur!

Please read on for more about the week.  If you are a constituent, you might have received a survey in the mail from me.  I hope you will send it in, or answer the questions on line.  It is always helpful to hear your priorities.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve.



Committee News

The Budget

While not my committee, I have made it my business to sit through as much of these meetings as my schedule will allow.  The committee finished its work today and will send its revised budget to the House floor.

The overarching questions:
  • How much, $200,000,000 or $500,000,000 have to be cut?
  • Do we save $300,000,000 to help shore up the next fiscal years' budget which won't include stimulus and stabilization dollars and won't be growing from revenue increases?
  • What is the appropriate level at which we should fund education?
  • How do we use our money to encourage economic growth and development and get people back to work?
  • Is Parents As Teachers, a Missouri program now copied throughout the country, a program we can save?
  • Will the Alzheimer's Association receive any funding as they attempt to help victims and their families deal with this debilitating disease?
  • Will we support the elderly with enough money for Meals on Wheels?
  • Are we able to help the disabled and poor through Mo Health Net dollars?
  • In our very own district, will our NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities) program that helps seniors who qualify age in their own homes continue to be funded at some level?
  • How many additional dollars will be taken from our departments before efficiency becomes ineffectiveness?

After these budget meetings, you might expect that I would have the answers.  However, this is just a step in the process.  The House will review the budget  recommendations from the committee next week, and amendments will continue to shape and re-work our budget.

Whatever information we present today may be changed on the floor next week...and we will still not be done.   The only guarantee I can provide now is that this is a budget year that is all about cuts. Dollars are so tight and the state is so stretched, that there will most likely  be a program or service you care about that will be cut.  Keep letting us know what matters to you. 

Higher Education

The Higher Education committee met in executive session to vote on HB 1812, legislation which equalizes the amount of grant money that can be awarded to Missouri students whether they attend in-state public or private higher education institutions.  Currently, students attending private four-year institutions receive double the amount those attending public four-year institutions receive.   This will cap the amount for those who qualify for this needs-based award at $2,850 regardless of whether the attendance is to a public or private college or university.

When I learned through questioning that this legislation would not be enacted until after the program had sunset (ended, or was suspended pending legislation to re-enact it,) I saw no sense in supporting it without either changing the start date or moving or eliminating the sunset provision.  It is legislation that has no impact as it stands! Neither of these options was approved.  The legislation did pass, and I am hopeful we can turn it into meaningful legislation when it comes up for debate on the house floor.

HCR 24 was also passed out of committee during executive session.  This is a non-binding resolution that encourages Missouri institutions of higher education to engage students in international education to help promote participation in our global society.  Sounds great, right?  Well, we already do this.  Even the resolution sponsor will tell you that as he told me in our public committee meeting. In general, I do not support these resolutions since they have no legislative impact, and are generally used to make a political statement or provide a boost to a vulnerable member. They take up the valuable time of the membership and staff.

Children and Families Blocking an unconstitutional Bait and Switch

My minority colleagues on Children and Families Committee and I succeeded  in temporarily blocking an unconstitutional attempt by Chairwoman Cynthia Davis to hold a vote on an anti-abortion bill that she had replaced with another bill that was never announced as required by law, or heard by the committee.
The committee was scheduled to vote on HB 1238, which would change state laws relating to abortion consent requirements. Committee Chairwoman Cynthia Davis, St. Charles, instead offered a different bill that deleted all nine pages of HB 1238 except for a single sentence and replaced it with language from HB 1236, which would establish medical screening requirements. The bill she used has not even been referred to any committee.

Representative Davis' attempt to switch bills violates Article III, Section 21 of the Missouri Constitution, which prohibits bills from being changed from their original purpose. The action also could violate Missouri's Sunshine Law, which requires advance public notice of what legislation will be considered at government meetings.

Chair Davis has engaged in a pattern of deception and abuse of authority to prevent an open discussion on HB 1238/HB 1236. During the original public hearing on HB 1238 on March 3, it quickly became apparent that her witnesses in support instead were testifying on a different bill, not before us, and about which neither the public nor the minority committee members had been notified.  Minority members sent Davis a letter admonishing her for her deceptive and unprofessional conduct at that hearing.
In a news article, I was quoted as stating, "My constituents would have been appalled to see the violation of the spirit, and perhaps the letter, of the Sunshine Law that occurred in our committee on March 3 and that was attempted today. Clearly one bill was announced, but another was the topic of testimony in a 'bait and switch' maneuver that does not pass my sniff test for transparency in government."
Chair Davis allotted nearly all of the March 3 hearing to supporters and prohibited the standard practice of allowing committee members to question witnesses. After all supporters had testified, she allowed a mere five minutes of questioning by legislators who were then supposed to be able to make informed and thoughtful decisions. Challenges and questions to appeal the ruling of the chair were not entertained as we tried to sort through what was and was not being heard. It was not a good model for the democratic process.

Information from MODOT

Two spring projects planned for Creve Coeur

MoDOT has announced that they are doing two construction projects in the City of Creve Coeur this Spring with the L. Krupp Construction Company. The details of these two projects are listed below:

Old Olive Street Road Project
This project will resurface and restripe all lanes of Old Olive Street Road both east and west of Lindbergh Blvd.
  • Project begins March 22 and ends May 17; hours of construction will be 8 pm - 5 am.
  • Please be aware of workers within the work zone and be alert for detours, lanes closures, and traffic control devices. Reduce your speed in construction zones, additional fines will apply for traffic violations.
  • Start planning alternate routes now.
Ladue Road Project
This project will resurface and restripe all lanes of Ladue Road from Emerson Road west to Woods Mill Road/Rte 141 to include the northbound and southbound ramps of I-270.
  • Project begins March 11 and ends May 10; hours of construction will be 10 pm- 5 am
  • From April 1 - April 30, there will be periodic lane closures of the construction zone. When lane closures are implemented, there will be construction workers present for traffic control as well as a "pilot car".
  • The pilot car is a well-marked construction vehicle that ensures proper traffic flow. Before pulling onto Ladue Road with lane closures, wait for the pilot car to ensure that the traffic flow is in the correct direction. By following the pilot car, you will ensure both your safety and that of the construction workers.
  • Please be aware of workers within the work zone and be alert for detours, lanes closures, and traffic control devices. Reduce your speed in construction zones, and be alert for workers.
All construction projects will depend on the weather. To stay up to date with the latest construction news, visit MoDot's website at or sign up for the Creve Coeur Police Crime Prevention E-Newsletter at

If you have any questions, please contact the Creve Coeur Police Traffic Office at 314-872-2540.

Freshmen Dems' Caucus Sessions


This week the Freshmen Democratic Caucus held its final officially-planned and scheduled learning session meeting on Wednesday, March 17,  hearing more about nursing home regulations and the private long-term care industry from The Honorable Jon Dolan and Nikki Strong representing the Missouri Health Care Association.

We are grateful to all of the speakers and participants in this session's speaker series for the time and preparation put into providing our Freshman Caucus with in depth and timely information about some of the most important legislative issues being addressed in Missouri.  Thank you!

Student Spotlight

Parkway North students participate in Lexus Eco Challenge

Congratulations to Jenny Koshner and Team Neon for making it to the final level of the Lexus Eco Challenge.  Team Neon is one of 16 teams chosen nationwide to compete in the finals.  The prize for this final challenge is $15,000.

The Lexus Eco Challenge was created to educate students about the environment and to encourage them to change the world for the better.

Team Neon created a free easy-to-grow Rain Garden seed kit. They sent these kits to educators throughout Missouri.  With these kits, the team provided an educational curriculum about Rain Gardens and other valuable material about various plant species.  For more information about Rain Gardens, please go to Team Neon's website.

The final challenge of the Lexus Eco Challenge involves reaching out beyond the local community.  This impact is measured by the number of views on the team's website and the origin of those views.  To help Team Neon win the final challenge, log on to Team Neon's website and look around their fabulous informational website.

Once again, congratulations and good luck in the final challenge of the Lexus Eco Challenge, Team Neon!

Westminster Academy Visit

Westminster Christian Academy students and sponsor, Sherry Blough, met with Rep. Schupp on Wednesday to discuss youth tobacco abuse prevention and awareness.  The students shared stories with Rep. Schupp about their own experiences with tobacco and shared their ideas for what the state needs to do to focus more resources on prevention moving forward.  Rep. Schupp was glad to meet with such a bright group of young activists.

Green Tip of the Week

by Julie Scroggs

How to save energy and money with your computer.
Do you leave your computer on at night because it takes too long to boot up in the morning?  Do you use your screen saver because you think it saves more energy?  Do you think that your computer is not using energy when you are not using it?  If you answered yes to all of these questions, there is energy that you can be saving.  A computer that is left on for 24 hours costs up to $160 in electricity costs a year.

Research done by a renowned research lab, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has found that frequently turning off your computer does not damage hard drives and that some equipment may last longer because the heat stress is reduced.  The best thing you can do for your computer is to turn it off.

Screen savers do not actually save more energy when in use.  Instead of using a screen saver, switch your computer into sleep mode or hibernate mode.  If you still want a screen saver, set the "wait time" to less than 20 minutes after the screen saver is turned on.  After 20 minutes, your computer will turn off.

Leaving your computer running while you are away from your computer can waste a lot of energy.  If you aren't using your computer for more than 15 minutes, you should turn off your monitor.  You can set your computer to go into stand by or sleep after a certain amount of unused time to save the most energy.  According to research done by Energy Star, setting your computer to standby saves $25 - $75 per PC annually.

It takes less than 30 seconds to switch your computer to standby or turn it off.  Next time you are leaving your computer for an extended period of time, please consider these tips to ensure energy conservation.

Events at Tappmeyer

Miniature Show
Sat, April 10th
Sun. April 11th

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
$2 per person

Tappmeyer House is located in Millenium Park behind Barnes West in Creve Coeur.

Save the Date: CAP Volunteer Fair

Sunday April 18, 2010 3:00 to 5:00 PM
Washington University, Mallinckrodt Center, Lower Level (The Gargoyle)
6445 Forsyth Blvd. St. Louis, MO  63130

3:00 to 3:30 PM-Hear Keynote Speaker, Rev. E.G. Shields, Sr., President, St. Louis Clergy Coalition
3:30 to 5:00 PM-Visit with agencies in need of volunteers, including (partial list):
  • Beyond Housing
  • Bi-Lingual International Assistance Services
  • Bread for the World
  • Catch A Falling Star
  • Center for Women in Transition
  • Gateway Greening
  • Gateway to Hope
  • Immigrant & Refugee Women's Program
  • International Institute
  • Jewish Family & Children's Service
  • Kids Place
  • Lead Prevention Coalition
  • Legal Services of Eastern Missouri
  • Lydia's House
  • Meals on Wheels
  • National Council of Jewish Women, St. Louis Section
  • Operation Food Search
  • Ready Readers-
  • South Side Day Nursery
  • Voices for Children
Please bring a donation of food to benefit area food pantries

For more information, contact Gail Wechsler at 314-442-3894 or visit

CAP is a coalition of faith-based and civic organizations convened by the JCRC and dedicated to the goal of reducing poverty.   Co-sponsors include (partial list):
  • Alliance of Students Against Poverty at Washington University
  • Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri
  • Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls
  • International Institute
  • Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis
  • Jewish Family & Children's Service
  • Lutheran Family & Children's Services
  • Missouri Association for Social Welfare
  • National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section
  • St. Louis Clergy Coalition
  • St. Louis Hillel at Washington University
  • Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice

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