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20 April 2010

Schaefer: Preserving Education Funds, Update on Bills to Ban K2

With only four weeks remaining in the legislative session, the Missouri Senate is hard at work debating budget issues and bills before the May 14 adjournment.

During the budget debate this week, I worked hard to preserve money for Missouri education programs. The Senate restored cuts made to higher education, and provided enough money to preserve the freeze on undergraduate, in-state tuition. We also restored $37.4 million in cuts to fully fund the Career Ladder program, which compensates teachers for taking on afterschool activities.

I also introduced funding for a new program into the FY2011 Missouri budget (beginning on July 1, 2010) that gained Senate approval. This funding would provide for a smoking cessation pilot program, costing approximately $8 million, available for Missouri residents currently on Medicaid. This program would help save the state money in Medicaid costs, and would promote healthy lifestyles in Missouri.

Legislative Action

On Tuesday, Senate Bill 1040 was heard in Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee. This bill deals with environmental remediation statutes for dry-cleaning facilities. Under current law, payments into the Dry-Cleaning Environmental Response Trust Fund expire on August 12, 2012.  My bill would extend the expiration date to August 28, 2022.

Senate Bill 884, which would ban spice cannabinoids, also known as "K2", has also been placed on the Senate Formal Calendar for final consideration. Additionally, House Bill 1472, which I am handling in the Senate for Representative Ward Franz, has been placed on the Senate informal calendar to be third read and finally passed. This bill is also similar to Senate Bill 884.

Capitol Visitors

Because April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, representatives from the University of Missouri-Columbia visited Jefferson City to advocate ParentLink. ParentLink provides parenting information, materials, and other resources to strengthen Missouri's families. I appreciate their work tremendously, and thank them for supporting Missouri's children and families.

Left: Richard and Mrs. Ewing with Senator Schaefer; Right: Byron Hill with Senator Schaefer

On Wednesday, I had the privilege of presenting two outstanding individuals for gubernatorial appointments:  Richard Ewing as a member of the Missouri Family Trust Board of Trustees, and Byron Hill as a member of the Missouri Workforce Investment Board.

In addition, I met with LeAnn Lowery and occupational therapy students from Columbia. I hope they enjoyed their day at the Capitol.

Senator Schaefer with occupational therapy students from Columbia.

Thank you for your continued interest in the issues that affect the citizens of Boone and Randolph counties. If you have any questions or concerns involving state government, please contact my office.

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