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11 March 2010

Rupp: Consumers Gain More Protection From Identity Theft Legislation

My legislation that requires credit reporting agencies to further protect consumers from identity theft was passed last week by the Senate and now heads to the House of Representatives.

The Missouri Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 801 on March 4. The legislation requires consumer reporting agencies, or businesses that assemble and evaluate consumer credit information, to block certain information that the consumer identifies as a result of an identity theft situation. The legislation requires the consumer to furnish proof of identity and a copy of the identity theft report, as well as provide a statement that says the blocked information is not a transaction by the consumer. The consumer reporting agency must respond within four days.

What we're finding is that, not only can a person be devastated by identity theft, but they can continue to be devastated when their personal information is compromised and fraudulent purchases continue to show up on their credit reports.  It's a big process to clean up this kind of mess. This legislation makes it easier for those who suffer from identity theft to get their finances in order, and it encourages the credit reporting agencies to be prompt in blocking that fraudulent information from the identity theft victims' reports.

Now that the bill has passed the Senate, the measure is scheduled for debate in the House


I recently added a new audio link to my multimedia page located on my Missouri Senate website. This page features audio and video links (both streaming and broadcast quality — when available) for visitors to listen to and watch as I address issues that are important to me and the citizens of the 2nd Senatorial District.

The new audio clips on my multimedia page feature me discussing a new feature on my Missouri Senate website: the Constituent Question of the Week. The last question, which was posted for two weeks, asked about my proposal to require drug testing for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Senate Bill 725, the drug screening and testing bill, has been combined with Senate Bill 607, the Senate's encompassing measure that would require drug testing for work-eligible TANF applicants and recipients based upon reasonable suspicion.

The result:
95% responded yes
5%  responded no

A new question this week is posted on my website which ask:

The current economic situation will bring about severe reductions in our state's budget in order for the legislature to pass the balanced budget that the Missouri Constitution requires.

In your opinion, which of these actions seems the most reasonable to begin with?
  1. Reduce K-12 Education Spending
  2. Reduce Higher Education Spending
  3. Reduce Medicaid/Welfare Expenditures
  4. Reduce tax credits for economic development & job creation
  5. Provide for an earlier release of non-violent prison offenders in order to reduce corrections/prison expenditures

And which of these would you NOT want to see happen?
  1. Reduce K-12 Education Spending
  2. Reduce Higher Education Spending
  3. Reduce Medicaid/Welfare Expenditures
  4. Reduce tax credits for economic development & job creation
  5. Provide for an earlier release of non-violent prison offenders in order to reduce corrections/prison expenditures
Please go to my web page at: and click on "Question of the Week" in the upper right hand corner to respond to the survey.

I will continue to add audio and video clips during the 2010 legislative session with up dates on legislative action for the week plus the responses to my survey question. To view my multimedia page, visit

As the 2010 legislative session unfolds, I will continue to keep you, my constituents, apprised of all major developments, and I look forward to continuing to serve your needs and priorities in Jefferson City. As always, if you have any questions about this week's column or any other matter involving state government, please do not hesitate to contact me. You can reach my office by phone at (866) 271-2844.

Nodler: Employee-Invested Companies Are Helping the Economy

In this troubled economy, more people are asking what can be done to make things better for everybody. I have found that the more you do to better your own situation, the better things are for everybody around you. Taking action is as simple as taking more than just pride in your work—it also means investing in the company you work for.

Employee-owned businesses are doing better than others in these tough economic times. The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) is a private, not for profit organization that offers information on employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), stock options and ownership culture. Employee stock ownership plans are a way for an employee to buy into the business for which they work and offer tax advantages to the employee shareholder and to the company. Companies of all sizes are seeing the benefits of this unique opportunity.

The ESOP Association also provides information about the advantages of employee ownership. What people are discovering is the need to feel invested in what they do. Far too many people see their job as just someplace they go to every day, and they lack a feeling that what they do matters. When people literally invest in their careers, they feel a sense of accomplishment and see how even the smallest of details make a difference in the overall quality delivered to their clients.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners all over the world know the meaning of investing in one’s self. They have taken the initial steps to start a business. Employee investing takes this a step further. In this case, the owner and the people who work for them have a vested interest in the company. When you take pride in your job, you do it better and can stop thinking about it as just work—it is something you want to do. It is a win-win situation for everybody.

Employee stock ownership plans give the employee an opportunity not only to help guide where the company goes and how well it does, it also gives the employee the chance to invest in his or her own retirement. In an era where the 401k and other retirement plans are coming up short or no longer being matched by employers, ESOPs are fairing quite well. The reason is they are being driven by the employee and not an outside entity. They are in privately-held companies, not those that trade on the stock market.

Whether you work for someone or own your own business, the advantages of ESOPs are phenomenal. The individuals who take part are seeing success at a time where too many companies are struggling or even failing. Employee ownership is proving itself to be good for business.

10 March 2010

Nance: Legislative Priorities, By The Numbers, In The District

The House will be on Spring Break until March 15th.  When we return to session, we will be working on the State Budget for 2011.  Due to revenue shortfalls, this will be an extreme challenge.  Governor Nixon's proposed budget includes $300 million in federal money that is not guaranteed.  In addition, predicting state revenue for the upcoming year is not going to be an easy task for the budget committee.  Our next priority is job creation.  Several jobs bills are being considered by both the House and the Senate and I will keep you updated.

For the first two months of the session, two major accomplishments were passing an autism bill [HB1311] and stopping the state from drastically increasing taxes on our farmers [SCR35]. According to House Communications; Director, Trevor Fox, following is where we stand with bills filed:

By the numbers:

# House Bills Filed1,095
# of HBs Referred to Committee393
# HBs Reported Do Pass57
# HBs Reported Do Pass Consent31
# HBs Perfected13
# HBs Third Read10
# HBs Reported Do Pass in the Senate2

In the District

At right: Rep. Nance participates in Read Across America

Last Monday, I was a guest reader for "Read Across America" at Dear Elementary. Both classes were told of our founding fathers Ben, John, George, Paul and Tom. They enjoyed the quips of Ben Franklin the most.

On Friday, I attended the Chamber before Hours in Richmond before visiting the Ray County Commissioners.

On Saturday, Lawson Masonic Lodge hosted MoCHIP and signed up many local kids to the ID program.

Ideal Industries held their annual chili luncheon at noon and I was honored to be a server with over 20 other volunteers.

The Excelsior Optimist Club, of which I am President this year, held their annual benefit auction at Gary Ryther's North Country Community Center in Lawson. Special guests included Larry Moore (Channel 9) as an auctioneer and Don Harmon (Channel 4) as the emcee.

On Sunday, South Point Cemetery Association raised funds for the care of the cemetery at the Lion's Club in Orrick.

The Optimist Oratorical contest was held Sunday under the leadership of Norma Geiss. Winners were:
First Place - Gabriella Hernandez
Second Place - Hadley Creed
Third Place - Hope Mohr
Runner up - Ashley Harness

I also attended the Country Music Show at the Farris Theatre. David and Bonnie Allen planned the event to raise funds for the Henrietta Baptist Church missionary trip to Mexico this year. David certainly brought in some great entertainment.

Coming Friday will be the season opener for the "Second Friday Art Crawl" in downtown Excelsior Springs.

Richmond's Education Foundation is having a benefit auction Friday at the high school.

On Monday Tom Waters and I attended a Sam Graves event to discuss farming issues at the state and federal level.

Personal Note:

By the time you read this, I hopefully will be recuperating from a minor surgery. I will, however, be available for any questions or concerns you may have during the break.

09 March 2010

Holsman: Town Hall Meeting Set For April 1

KANSAS CITY, MO - State Rep. Jason Holsman (D-Kansas City) announced today that he will be hosting a town hall meeting on Thursday, April 1st to discuss Missouri's 2010-2011 budget.

The meeting, which will be held at 7:00 PM at Center Middle School (326 East 103rd), will be open to anyone interested in Missouri's budget.

Along with Holsman, who represents portions of South Kansas City and Grandview in the General Assembly, guests will include State Representative Jason Kander - who serves on the House Budget Committee, Dr. Robert Bartman - Center School District Superintendent, Dr. Ralph Teran - Grandview School District Superintendent, Dr. Marge Williams - Hickman Mills School District Superintendent, and Patrick Lynn - Governmental Policy Director for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

(From Right to Left) Rep. S. Webber, Rep. J. Kander, & Rep. J. Holsman(from left to right) Rep. Stephen Webber, Rep. Jason Kander, and Rep. Jason Holsman

While the discussion will focus on the budget, other topics of interest will include education, energy & the environment, and issues impacting seniors. Citizens will be given a chance to ask questions and dialogue with members of the panel.

“I receive questions on a daily basis from concerned citizens regarding how much funding will be available to various programs and services in the coming year.  I want to answer the questions and hear their concerns,” said Holsman, “Many indications show the economy is growing stronger, but the past year has left us facing tough budget cuts in order to balance the budget. The town hall throughout history has provided the necessary opportunity to conduct a public discourse on community priorities.”

On Monday, March 1, Governor Jay Nixon issued a release stating that, based on year-to-date figures, Missouri's revenue forecast may have been overly optimistic. According to Nixon, “we will need to downsize the scope of state government, while protecting necessary services to the citizens of Missouri.” Revising revenue estimates will place further strain on an already tight 2010-2011 state budget.

Roorda: The "Fair Tax" Fraud, Control of St. Louis PD, Energize Misssouri

Just like halftime in a good ballgame, the halfway mark of the legislative session gives members of the General Assembly a chance to catch their collective breath and look back at what's been accomplished. However, the critical issues facing this great state still await.

As February came to a close it seemed an appropriate time to take stock of what has been done in session so far this year. As of March 1st there have been 1,095 House Bills filled this year. Of those bills, 393 have been referred to committee. Fifty-Seven (57) House Bills have been reported "Do Pass" out of committee.  A mere, 10 bills have been approved by House and sent to the Senate for consideration.

By far the largest issue looming in the final weeks of the session will be the state budget.  What was already expected to be a difficult budget worsened earlier this week with the news that the revenue estimate agreed upon by the Republican budget chairmen of the House and Senate and the Governor for the coming fiscal year was too optimistic.

As a result, difficult decisions will need to be made as lawmakers set spending priorities within the tighter financial parameters.  After putting the budget process on hold for a week, the House Budget Committee chairman on Wednesday submitted a substitute spending plan that includes $300 million he had previously maintained won't be available.

"The constitutional duty to write the budget rest with the General Assembly, and right now it is unclear exactly how much money is available", said Assistant House Minority Leader, JC Kuessner.  "Until the revenue picture becomes clearer, the state must be extremely cautious about making promises that it may not be able to keep."

In addition to crafting a responsible budget, during the second half of the session House Democrats will focus on two issues that both parties indentified as priorities at the beginning of the year but that have not yet been debated on the House floor - job creation and meaningful ethics reform, including restoring the state's campaign contribution limits.

"The economic health of this state depends on putting Missourians back to work," LeVota said.  "The health of state government depends on making it more accountable by holding elected officials to higher ethical standards and reducing the influence of special interest money in elections and in government."

To view the video of the Democrat Press Conference click below:
Democrat Press Conference ~ Part 1
Democrat Press Conference ~ Part 2


Jeff Roorda
Minority Whip
State Representatives

The "Fair Tax" Fraud

As a Democratic Representative, my number one priority has always been protecting working families. In evaluating SJR-29 and HJR-56, policymakers should have a clear understanding of how broad the tax base could actually be under such a plan, what the tax rate would actually have to be in order to make the plan revenue-neutral overall, and how the plan overall would affect Missourians at different income levels.  The main findings are that the revenue-neutral tax state sales tax rate under SJR 29 would likely have to be over 11 percent, more than twice as high as the bill's language specifies, and that this plan would result in a tax increase for most low- and middle-income Missourians while cutting Missouri taxes for the very best-off taxpayers.  But more importantly, it will expand the sales tax beyond the retail goods that we currently pay sales tax on to the services that we do not.  That would include private school tuition, accounting services, medical treatment, attorney services and even haircuts.  If any of those services were to be exempted out, it would increase the proposed sales tax rate even higher.

The crushing burden that this would place on Missouri consumers would cripple our economy.  The proponents call this the "Fair Tax."  There is nothing at all fair about this tax.  It is a "flat tax" and it is flat wrong.

This legislation was proposed by Republican State Representative Ed Emery and Republican State Senator Chuck Purgason.  This legislation is a Republican priority and only two Democrats in the entire legislature have put their support behind the proposal.  You can find a list of the sponsors and co-sponsors of the Resolutions by visiting these links:  NO "Fair Tax" HJR-56 Legislation and NO "Fair Tax" SJR-26 Legislation

I suggest that you write those lawmakers and express your dissatisfaction over these proposals.  As your representative and as the House Democratic Whip, you can count on me to fight with all my might against this awful, awful proposal.  This is war on the middle class and I am ready for battle.

The Battle for Control

On Monday March 1, the Urban Issues committee voted to move a bill regarding control of the St. Louis City police force out of committee with a vote of 5-3. The bill, however, was hotly contested by Republicans and Democrats alike. The legislation would change who the St. Louis chief of police reports to. Currently, the chief of police reports to a board made up of the mayor of St. Louis and four gubernatorial appointees. However, if enacted the legislation would shift control of the St. Louis police force to a public safety director appointed by the mayor. Representative Roorda opposed the bill saying, "the bill leaves too many unknowns for the police officers and leaves them at the mercy of city hall." Giving control of the police force to St. Louis city's government could create a situation where the police have to act according to the whims of the local government, instead of carrying out their jobs effectively.

To read the entire story click here.

Jamie McMurray Day

Thursday, February 25th NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray was at the Capital to speak with Legislators and receive congratulations for his recent Daytona 500 victory. McMurray was born in Joplin Missouri, and came back to his native Missouri to celebrate his February 14th Dayton triumph. I had the pleasure of visiting with the decorated driver and received some valuable tips from the decorated driver. McMurray led the race for only two laps, the least ever in Dayton history and beat out Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the win.

Energize Missouri

I wanted to make you aware of the Energize Missouri Housing Initiative, a program offered by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The purpose of the program is to boost energy savings and cutting utility costs for Missouri low-income families. The Department of Natural Resources has allocated 25.6 million dollars of funding for the program. To receive funding an application must be submitted to the Department by March 31, 2010. Eligible applicants include community action agencies as well as other public or not for profit groups. A pre-bid informational meeting will be held at 9 a.m. on March 9 at the Lewis & Clark State Office Building, 1101 Riverside Drive, Jefferson City. A primary component of every proposal must be the delivery of energy-efficiency improvements and services to clients. Application forms and full program details may be found on the department website at: DNR - Energize Missouri

Ruestman: Mid-Session Report

This week is spring break for the Missouri legislature!

We are midway through session and a lot has happened as we deal with the economy and work to further Southwest Missouri conservative values.  This is a brief summary of some of the more important bills we've been working on.

Continuing budget problems rank #1 and remain our highest priority this session.  After we reconvened, we went immediately to the work of boosting job growth.  A few weeks ago we passed House Bill 1675 which allows companies who create new jobs in the manufacturing fields to keep 50% of their withholding taxes for up to 10 years.  This is a strong incentive to expand our state's economy.

In December, the governor's tax commission decided to raise taxes on farmers by nearly 29 percent.  Obviously, in a rough economy, tax increases do not create or sustain jobs.  This absurd tax increase landed on farmers following one of the worst agriculture income years since the '40s.  This follows our promise to NOT raise taxes.  Again, I reiterate that in bad economic times we should cut taxes, not raise them.  We were able to block this proposed tax increase.

With state revenue dramatically lower than previous years and worse projections, we are making the necessary cuts to maintain a balanced budget.  This is never easy because everyone feels the cutbacks in some manner.  Beyond balancing the budget, the General Assembly has a further responsibility to wisely spending the money you've entrusted to us.  With House Bill 1377, we made an effort to do just that.  This bill requires drug testing for those applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).  The Missouri House passed this 115-39.  It is an injustice to allow illegal drugs to be purchased with taxpayers' hard-earned money.

Federal issues have been on everyone's mind this session.  Just this week, the House gave preliminary approval to House Joint Resolution 48 which proposes a state constitutional amendment to protect health care rights.  It prohibits any person, employer or health care provider from being compelled to participate in a health care system.

Session has picked up pace and we should see two of my bills in committee the week of March 15th.  I will not be writing a report this week because my office is closed.  This is an annual break we take so that we may spend much-needed time with our families.  If you have issues or concerns, we will return on March 15th and would be happy to assist you at that time.

Kraus: Spring Break

Open Forum Tonight

As noted in last week's report, I will be hosting an Open Forum tonight, Tuesday, March 9, at John Knox Village.  I'll start the forum with an update on legislative activity at the State Capitol, after which the floor will be open for questions and comments from the audience.  This marks the sixth year that I've held an open forum during the legislature's spring break.

The forum will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Places Manhattan Room, John Knox Village, on 1001 NW Chipman Road in Lee's Summit.  If you have any questions about this event, please contact my office at (573) 751-1459 or by e-mail at will{dot}kraus{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Legislative News

The legislature is on spring break this week – that gives me the opportunity to talk with people from home, spend time with my family, and gear up for the second half of the legislative session.  Here is a run-down on some legislation that has been considered in the first half of the session.

I was happy to see that two of my bills have moved forward.  A House Committee Substitute of HB 1227 was voted out of the Tax Reform Committee, which increases the dependency exemption from state income taxes for each qualified child.  This bill would allow families to keep more of their hard-earned money to spend on groceries, school supplies, and children's needs.

Another bill, HB 1691, was passed out of Rules Committee.  This legislation requires the governor to issue annual proclamations for a Walk and Bike to School month and day in October and Bike to Work month, day, and week in May.  Walk and Bike to School days are an opportunity for schools to organize safe passage for kids to walk to school and to help build healthy exercise habits in our young people.

Education Funding

Judging from calls and e-mails to my office, concerns about cuts to educational programs have been high on people's minds.  I have voiced my support of full funding for the school foundation formula and for keeping funding for many valuable school programs.  I have been a long-time advocate for our schools and the value of an education to our children's future.  The most recent proposed state budget from the House called for full funding of the foundation formula.  It includes the full $106 million increase due to elementary and secondary schools next year, whereas Gov. Nixon proposed giving schools just an $18 million bump.

Budget News

When we return from spring break next week, we in the legislature will have our work cut out for us in crafting the state budget. Typically, by the time we have our legislative break, our budget picture has solidified and the budget bills are ready to be debated and approved on the House floor.  This year is drastically different as our budget picture continues to worsen with each passing month.  Revenue figures released for February showed a year-to-date decline of 12.7 percent compared with this time last year, and a 14.6 percent drop in revenues for February.

The governor presented a budget in January totaling $23.8 billion.  About $7.2 billion of that comes from the state's general revenue fund, largely made up of tax revenues. The shortfall we're talking about now could represent 10 percent — or more — of the $7.2 billion that we in the General Assembly control.  Recently, Governor Nixon said he thinks another $500 million will have to be cut from the budget.

Adding to the budget woes, hundreds of millions in anticipated federal assistance have not materialized. The governor's office built $300 million into the budget in additional federal "budget stabilization" funds.  However, these funds are not included in various recession-relief bills poised for passage in Congress.   As a result, when we return from spring break, we will focus on the difficult task of putting together a balanced budget.

Concealed Carry Bills

I have recently signed up to obtain a concealed carry permit, and I am very excited to be able to take the classes necessary to carry a concealed weapon.  As a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, the safe use of weapons has been an integral part of my life, and I am solidly behind a citizen's right to bear arms.

On this subject, the House Agri-Business Committee has discussed several bills dealing with laws regulating concealed weapons. Five bills would extend the lifetime of a permit to carry a concealed weapon from the current length of three years to a potential five, which would remove some of the cost of renewing a concealed carry permit.

Three bills proposed to lower the minimum age requirement for obtaining a concealed carry endorsement from 23 to 21, while another proposed lowering the age to 18.  Next, the committee will combine these bills into a substitute that can be brought to the House floor for debate.

Health Care Concerns

Health care is another subject on everyone's mind.  In the last weeks of session, the House Health Care Policy Committee, on which I serve, heard testimony on legislation aimed at encouraging doctors and medical staff to provide pro bono health care by offering liability protection through the state's Legal Expense Fund. This legislation would protect medical staff that provides their services for free at neighborhood clinics.  These services benefit people who do not have health care insurance and who use free clinics to see a doctor or nurse.

While we in the House have passed measures to improve the health care system in Missouri, I continue to hear opposition to the massive and expensive federal legislation that seeks a major overhaul of our health care system.  In response to federal health care legislation currently being considered by Congress, the Missouri House gave initial approval last week to a proposed constitutional amendment that would protect Missourians from being compelled to participate in any health care system, HJR 48, 50 & 57.  If put to a vote of Missourians and passed, the amendment would protect Missourians from government mandates to purchase health insurance.

Law Enforcement Will Crack Down on Seat Belt Violations March 15-31

Under Missouri's Graduated Drivers License Law, seat belt use is required for young drivers.  It is a primary offense. Unfortunately 40 percent of Missouri teens don't buckle up. Law enforcement will be out in full force March 15-31 to crack down on unbelted drivers and save lives. Officers will ticket teens who aren't buckled up.

Many young drivers believe that fatal crashes will never happen to them.  However, one in four Missouri traffic crashes involves a young driver. Between 2007 and 2009, 304 teens, aged 15 to19, were killed in traffic crashes. Of those killed, 72 percent were unbuckled.

The Missouri Coalition for roadway Safety is also sponsoring an educational campaign to influence teens.  The Get Your Buckle On campaign begins March 8 and runs through March 28. It will include TV, radio and Internet advertising.  Information about the campaign can be found at

08 March 2010

Goodman: Protecting Missourians from an Overreaching Federal Government

As the health care debate in Washington once again reaches fevered pitch, it looks increasingly likely that Congressional leaders will ram their bill through, despite the opposition of the American people.  The potential implications for Missouri mean we must get serious about taking the necessary action to protect Missourians and ensure the federal government cannot overstep its bounds.

The Founding Fathers had the foresight and understanding of mankind's inherent desire for freedom to pen a Constitution that, if upheld, would protect an individual's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, the final in the Bill of Rights, reserved to the states all powers not specifically delegated to the federal government. The rationale behind this important protection is that most of the decisions of government should be made closest to the voters affected by them, where the voters can better monitor the workings of their government and speak out.  Now, almost 220 years later, this governing principle is in genuine peril.

While the federal government was designed to perform a few specific functions, the Founding Fathers appropriately limited its scope of power. Unfortunately, in the time since the adoption of the Bill of Rights, the federal government has slowly and methodically pushed beyond the bounds of the 10th Amendment and taken on areas of appropriation, legislation and regulation that should be handled closer to the voters.  In 1791, Thomas Jefferson wrote that he considered the 10th Amendment the basis of our nation's founding document, and warned of the consequences of violating this principle, saying, "To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition."

The federal health care proposal on the verge of being rammed through Congress via a procedure called "reconciliation" (a process traditionally reserved for matters relating to the budget and deficit) is such a step toward that boundless field of power.  This federal monstrosity would impose hundreds of millions of dollars in additional spending on Missouri's already strapped budget, while also forcing Missourians to enter private contracts with other private parties or face tax penalties backed up by the threat of imprisonment. Even without the budget busting costs of this  bill (in the face of outlandish claims that it will actually reduce the deficit), its invasion into the private lives of citizens is utterly unamerican. It all boils down to more federal government control, less personal freedom and spending mandates that most states will not be able to afford, particularly in light of their own budget troubles.

Perhaps in the end we will find that this health care fiasco has done us a favor. People are waking up to the realization that the federal government is overstepping its bounds and something must be done to stop it. That is why I have sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 34, which will give the Governor, the General Assembly and the people (acting by initiative petition) the authority to compel the Missouri Attorney General to file suit challenging federal laws that violate the 10th Amendment.  Additionally, I co-sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 25, along with several of my colleagues, which, if approved by Missouri voters, would change our state's constitution to prohibit any laws mandating that private citizens enter into private contracts for health care or participate in government run health programs. This legislation was recently passed out of committee and is now ready to be taken up for debate on the Senate floor. We must preserve our ability to make decisions when it comes to the health care of Missouri residents.

In the not-so-distant past, our federal government operated under the assumption that the less it intruded into the lives of Americans, the better off we all would be. In fact, our entire democracy was founded on the principles of limited government, respecting the rights of the individual and promoting self-responsibility. We must return to our nation's roots of self-sufficiency and personal freedom, and we must begin by limiting the federal government to its Constitutionally defined powers.

As always, I welcome your ideas, questions and concerns about Missouri government. You may contact me at the State Capitol as follows: (573) 751-2234, jack{dot}goodman{at}senate{dot}mo{dot}gov or by writing to Senator Jack Goodman, Missouri State Capitol, Room 331-A, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

Keaveny: Invitation to Participate in a Free Health Fair

I'd like to help you learn more about your health, and that's why I'm sponsoring a free health fair for our community on July 10, 2010, at Forest Park Community College. We're still finalizing the details, but it promises to be a great way for people in the community to learn about health care issues in a fun and supportive environment.

When it comes to our health, I think that knowledge is one of the most important factors, right along with proper diet and exercise. We need to know the vital information that constitutes our health, such as cholesterol, glucose, or body mass index, to name a few. Learning what these numbers are and what they mean for your health is just as important as knowing the genetic factors of your family history.

For those of you who may want to operate a booth, conduct a seminar or demonstration, or have your health-related company featured at the health fair, please contact my assistant at Wilma{dot}Rowden{at}senate{dot}mo{dot}gov or 573-751-3599.

If you plan on attending the free health fair, mark your calendars from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 10 and be on the lookout for more information.

This week marks the end of the first half of the legislative session, and while there is much work left to be done, I am pleased at where we stand. You can always contact my office for more information about the health fair or any of the issues I am working in Jefferson City.

Community Health Fair

When:July 10, 2010  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where:Forest Park Community College
5600 Oakland Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
Contact:(573) 751-3599

Additional information to follow.

Schaefer: Bills Passed out of Committee

While the legislature is winding down in anticipation of spring recess, we have had a very busy week in my office.

Three of my bills were passed out of committee this week.  On Monday, Senate Bill 887, which would place spice cannabinoids on the Schedule I controlled substances list, was voted do pass by the Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. The bill is now in the Senate to be taken up for debate.

Senate Bill 880, which would create DWI dockets and a court surcharge of $100 on intoxication-related traffic offenses to support DWI courts, was also voted do pass by the Judiciary Committee.

On Tuesday, Senate Bill 855 was voted do pass by the Health, Mental Health, Seniors and Families Committee. This bill would allow the state registrar to create and sell heritage birth or marriage certificates for a $50 fee.

I also had the pleasure of presenting a resolution to the [at right] All-Star Little League Team from Boone County.  The Daniel Boone Little League Team represented Missouri all the way to the National Regional Championship game in Indianapolis, Indiana. I congratulate them on their hard work and effort!

Also on Tuesday, I filed Senate Bill 1040, which 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.

Additionally, students from West Boulevard Elementary School in Columbia visited on Wednesday.  I had the opportunity to introduce them in the Senate, and I hope they enjoyed learning about Missouri government!

This week I also sponsored one gubernatorial appointment. Craig Van Matre, who was appointed to serve as a member of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

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 please contact my office.

Burlison: Health Care Reform Updates

House Bill 2205 Sponsored by Rep. Burlison Heard in Committee

This week I presented House Bill 2205 to the Health Care Policy Committee which will reduce the enormously wasteful process insurance companies are mandated by the state to perform. Each year insurance companies are required to print millions of documents they could simply make available on the internet requiring them to spend unnecessary monies. Changing this policy will allow them to become more efficient so they can pass the cost savings on to their customers which should lower the price of insurance.

Several insurance companies testified in favor of the bill stating it would save millions of dollars in printing and postage. While many in Washington D.C. are debating who is going to pay for healthcare, we in Missouri are more focused on how we can reduce costs. Insurance companies and health care providers are the most regulated industries and if we can do anything to address the costs of care we must begin to remove the red-tape that binds these institutions to the stone-age.

House Takes Action Towards Health Care Reform HB 1498

Health care reform is one of the most talked about issues in the country. There are several differing views on what steps need to be taken to improve health care and make it more affordable, more accessible, and more transparent.

Because of the controversy surrounding the issue, very little has been done on a national level to improve the system. However, in the Missouri House of Representatives we are accomplishing the common-sense steps necessary to advance health care reform.

Many health care providers in Missouri, such as hospitals and physicians, have experienced financial difficulties which have been caused by the health insurance companies' failure to make payments for health care services in a reasonable time frame. The House took a direct look at this problem.

This week House members passed House Bill 1498 with overwhelming bi-partisan support. The bill sponsored by Representative Tim Jones, R—Eureka, requires health insurance companies to pay provider claims in a timely manner.

Through this legislation, a health insurance company would no longer have the ability to delay payments to providers by suspending a claim through loopholes and special exceptions. Instead, they would be allowed 45 days to process and pay, or deny the provider's claim.

If the health insurance company needs additional information or has any questions regarding the claim, they must do so inside the 45-day window. Days in which the health insurance company is waiting for a response from the provider for information would not count towards their 45-days.

  • If the health insurance company does not pay the provider within the specific timeframe, that company would incur a penalty.
  • If the provider's claim is denied, health insurance companies will be required to provide a specific reason for the denial.

Through HB 1498, we are giving health care providers an opportunity to remain financially stable in their practice and give them the ability to rely on the prompt payment of their claims. This legislation has gained wide-spread support throughout the state and on both sides of the isle.

Springfield City Utilities Customers can Swap Refrigerators for Rebates

Utility recycling program offers $35 credit on your electric bill for each old, energy-wasting refrigerator unit you have in your home or business. Plus, customers can get their aging refrigerators and freezers hauled away for free. Pleas contact Springfield Utilities to find out more: 417-874-8200.

Also: On a side note I would like to include this picture from a visit from the Home Builder's Association and say thank you for stopping by the office!