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02 April 2010

Goodman: Taking Practical Steps to Increase Healthcare Access

Everyone knows someone who has battled cancer. It is one of the most common afflictions of our time, and you would be hard-pressed to find a family that has not been affected by it. In 2009, roughly 30,000 Missourians were diagnosed with cancer. It knows no race, ethnicity or socio-economic class. This universal problem affects real people, which is why it is especially important that those suffering from cancer are able to access new and effective treatment options through their health insurance.

Advances in treatment have made oral medication treatment plans a preferable alternative for many types of cancer. In fact, oral chemotherapies are now the most common cancer treatment for breast cancer and other women’s cancers, and can have fewer side effects. For fifteen to twenty percent of new cancer patients, oral chemotherapy will be the only effective form of treatment, often because there is simply no intravenous equivalent. Perhaps most importantly, oral chemotherapy improves the quality of life for cancer patients by lessening the side effects of treatment and avoiding the need for transportation between appointments – an especially important consideration in rural areas where patients often travel long distances to receive IV chemotherapy. Unfortunately, some insurance plans do not cover oral drugs as they do intravenous drugs, eliminating the choice of treatment for people fighting the disease. This has led to legislative action on the part of some states and the federal government to establish insurance parity for cancer treatment.

This week the Missouri Senate is advancing Senate Bill 786, a common-sense, cost-saving bill that requires health benefit plans to cover orally administered anti-cancer medications, just as they would provide intravenously administered anti-cancer medications. This bill establishes a much-needed consumer protection that allows cancer patients to have more choices for effective treatment.

In terms of pure cost-effectiveness, oral medication treatment plans are the obvious choice. They are typically less expensive, because dispensing an oral medication requires less professional training than dispensing an intravenous medication. Also, because the product itself is not as costly and outcomes are often the same, it only makes sense to establish insurance parity for oral and intravenous anti-cancer drugs. Insurance companies should not be able to use a loophole to continue avoiding covering oral medication treatment plans.

This week, I spoke to a large crowd at an American Cancer Society event in the capitol. It was encouraging to see so many people united for such an important purpose. While we work for a cure, we should continue taking practical steps like making multiple treatment options as accessible as possible. Senate Bill 786—which needs one more “yes” vote from the Senate before moving to the House—is another step in the right direction.

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.

01 April 2010

Rupp: Senate Work Session Brings Conservatism to State Spending

A historic downturn in the economy has exposed many of our government programs as bloated and inefficient in many ways, and we will not right this ship by continuing with the status quo. It is well past time that we think differently about the function we want government to take in our lives.

The Senate took an extraordinary step toward your concerns and desires during a special “Rebooting Government” event on March 24. We solicited citizen ideas on how government can cut back, and then we took an entire day to split into committees and determine which suggestions were viable and how we might begin to implement them.

I played a key role as I was put in charge of social services, the division that makes up the state’s largest user of state tax dollars. With the assistance of other senators from across the state, in just a few hours, we were able to identify between $79 to $117 million in potential taxpayer savings. We reviewed all of your e-mails and debated the merits and possibilities of each idea. I think it may have been one of the most productive days I’ve had at the Capitol. It was certainly a step in the right direction.

My committee’s recommendations included reforming state habilitation centers; making each department assess the percentage of employees who can work from home; and consolidating departments and divisions of government, making it more responsive, efficient and easier to use for consumers. You can view the full report, or continue to submit your suggestions, by clicking on the “Rebooting Government” icon located on the Missouri Senate homepage or on my website.

As we begin the process of debating the budget and our state’s priorities as we move into the future, I will continue to advocate the reduction of government and taxes and the protection of taxpayer dollars. By reigning in spending and being smart with your money, we can bring about the economic recovery we need, and establish a better government for tomorrow.

Children’s Legislative Update

Please join Senator Rupp for a legislative coffee hosted by Citizens for Missouri’s Children on Friday, April 16, 2010. The coffee will be held at Lake St. Louis City Hall, Board Room, 200 Civic Center Drive, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. A legislative update and a discussion of pending children’s legislation will be provided followed by a brief question and answer period. The event is free and open to the public. To make a reservation to attend, please contact Julie Leicht at jleicht{at}mokids{dot}org.

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.

Gatschenberger: Town Hall Invitation, House Recap on 2011 Budget, Ten Minutes to Real Understanding

Please be my guest!

What:  Town Hall Meeting
When:  Thursday, April 29th – 7:00 pm
Where:  Lake St. Louis City Hall – 200 Civic Center Drive
Attendees of my last Town Hall Meeting requested a Speaker on Cap and Trade Legislation. (Cap and trade is a form of emissions trading used to control alleged pollution by offering economic penalties in order to achieve reductions in alleged emissions pollutants. Cap and trade would put limits on emissions from motor vehicles, coal-fired plants, and factories.)

A representative from Ameren UE will address this issue.  Also attending will be a representatives for the Department of Conservation to discuss current programs.

For questions on the content of this meeting you may contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-3572 or e-mail me at Chuck{dot}Gatschenberger{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov

Hope to see you there!

Please note that my Capitol office will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday… April 2nd and 5th.

Missouri House of Representatives FY 2011 Budget

The Missouri House passed its budget last week granting approval to a $23.6 billion budget.  This budget reflects the continuing commitment of the House Majority to pass a budget that's not only balanced, but continues to reflect the top priorities of the Missouri House of Representatives.

States across this country are faced with budget shortfalls on an unprecedented scale.  Tough decisions made in the past, and tougher decisions made during this budget process, have led to a budget that House Majority members can point to as a roadmap for fiscal recovery.  The House trimmed over $224M from a massively out of balance Governor's budget while currently being able to hold K-12 education harmless to the 2010 funding levels, while currently being able to hold the line on tuition in our public colleges and universities, while currently protecting low income health care and while currently maintaining funding for other vital state services such as correctional facilities and public safety.

Further State restructuring and programmatic changes will be needed to move Missouri through this current financial crisis.  Legislation making government smaller will be introduced, and debated, as we continue to move Missouri forward to a better, sustainable future.


Currently we have:
  • Reduced the Governor's budget by over $224 million, a balanced budget that continues to meet the needs of all Missourians.
  • Held funding for the Foundation Formula harmless.  In light of historical declines in state revenues, the House Majority was able to again make education the #1 priority.
  • Instituted a higher education budget that will hold the line on tuition for working students and families.
  • Continued funding for Missouri's commitment to the production of alternative fuels. This aims to move Missouri towards an economy less dependent on foreign oil.
  • A budget of over $7.9 billion for the MO Healthnet program. This money will continue to fund access to healthcare for the neediest Missourians. (33.47% of our budget… I tried to trim this more without any success).
  • Combined funding of over $40 million for jobs programs within the Department of Economic Development.
  • Over $1 million in cuts to the Missouri House of Representatives budget, further proof the House is taking the lead during this financial crisis.
  • Reduced funding for Department Directors and Deputy Directors to their respective statutory minimums saving state taxpayers over $1.1 million.
  • Made significant reductions to agency spending plans by reducing travel and food purchases.


The House of Representatives continues their strong commitment to public education and this budget is a clear reflection of how the Missouri House is prepared to deal with the nation's economic downturn.  Included in this is the House Majority's continued commitment to make K-12 education their highest priority.  Currently, we have held the Foundation Formula harmless during these challenging economic times further proves this commitment.  Total funding will exceed $5.3 billion. (22.46% of our budget… we spend more on welfare in our State than we do on K-12 education).

Also included is the House's continued commitment to the state's higher education system.  The House met the Governor's funding levels that ensures no new tuition increases on students or families.

  • Over $3 billion for the School Foundation Formula.
  • $167.8 million for the school transportation program.  Funding for school bus transportation was once again held harmless by the House.
  • $200k for a pilot St. Louis Transportation project.  This will enable kids to stay in their home school district.
  • $29.3M for the High Need Fund. This reimburses school districts for the cost of educating children with disabilities.
  • Provides an increase in the Early Childhood Special Education line of $11.6 million.  The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that these services shall come at no cost to school districts, and we continue to meet this commitment.

Funding for education also currently includes:
  • Full funding of the Career Ladder program. This funding ensures prior year commitments to teachers.
  • Over $27M for the Parents As Teachers program.
  • A modest 5.2% reduction to higher education institutions.  This funding level will protect students and working families from increases in tuition during these challenging financial times.
  • An increase of $7.5M for the Bright Flight program.  This will fully fund the statutory changes to the program ensuring that our State's best and brightest stay in Missouri's higher education institutions.
  • Continued funding of over $80M for the Access Missouri Scholarship program.  These successful scholarship programs will continue to allow Missouri students the ability to attend Missouri public and private institutions.


Missouri's primary industry is agriculture, and our state cannot meet the challenges of the competitive global economy without a healthy, vibrant agricultural system.

America uses foreign oil at an alarming rate.  We must look to agriculture as a solution to this dependence.  The Missouri House of Representatives is seeking innovative solutions to our energy issues through the promotion of biofuels.  Research institutions statewide continue to develop new, innovative means to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

This budget, as it affects agriculture, is forward-looking, as we continue our service to Missouri farmers, while realizing the potential of Missouri agribusiness in the new, global economy.

  • Continued funding of the biodiesel incentive fund totaling over $19M.
  • $24 million in aid to private land owners for local soil and water conservation efforts.
  • House added two veterinarians for the purpose of animal disease control throughout the state.
  • Provides for $5 million in funding for plant and animal research aimed at making Missouri the leader of this type of research in the nation.  Missouri has a unique opportunity to become a world leader in this field, and this funding will help reach this potential.


The Missouri economy—fueled by key budgetary and policy decisions passed by this General Assembly—is continuing to move in the right direction despite challenging economic times nationwide. Combined with the Quality Jobs Act, continued funding for job creation and incentives for innovation will be vital as we strive to climb out of this global financial recession.

  • House funded over $2.6 million for innovation centers, the State MOFAST program and the Missouri Manufacturing Program.  These programs will continue to assist businesses in job training/job retention programs throughout the State.
  • Continued full funding for the Community College Jobs Retention Training ($10M), Community College New Jobs Training ($16M) and Jobs Development ($15M) programs.  Combined, these programs will continue to aid in statewide workforce development.

The House of Representatives Downsizes Their Budget, in Light of Economic Conditions

State revenues are way down, 17% over the last two years and things do not look good for the rest of the year.  Countless Missourians have lost their jobs and many of our citizens are having difficulty providing for their families.  As we CONTINUE to find ways to decrease spending in the state budget, we have made significant decreases in our own House budget as well.

Along with the Accounts Committee Chairman, Representative Kenny Jones, we have taken a step to reduce state travel by House members.  Most travel expense reimbursements are denied – which will save a good portion of House budget funds.

Cellular phone reimbursements have also been eliminated, saving the House $55,000.

Unlike the Governor's Office of Administration, we fulfilled our constitutional redistricting responsibilities without using additional fiscal resources.  This was a savings of $100,000 – 200,000 of the House budget fund.

In addition, we worked with the Joint Committee on Legislative Research to eliminate the Legislative Budget Office which was a $242,000 savings.

In the past, the House has been a member of several key programs including the NCSL, the ALEC, the Counsel of State Governments and so forth.  This year, we opted out of our memberships in effort to reduce spending.  This provided us a total of $345,000 in savings.

Finally, we replaced our paper system in the Chamber with laptop computers in effort to reduce paper consumption and costs.  Although the laptops were expensive, over time we expect to see significant decreases in paper costs.

Ten Minutes to Real Understanding




Follow this link to the video… you may have to hit your ctrl key and click at the same time   If that does not work… paste it in your browser.


As always, please let me know your thoughts about these or other matters of concern by calling my office at: (573) 751-3572 or by emailing me at chuck{dot}gatschenberger{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov


Socialism… the main problem with it… is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money!


Carp are spawning.

Look for Luna Moths around your porch light.

Robins and other backyard birds are building nests.

We've been waiting for this weather all winter… get out there and plant something!

Nance: Bills Third Read and Passed, Visitors to the Capitol

“You cannot establish security on borrowed money.” –Rev. William J. H. Boetcker

The House has third read and passed the following bills:
  • HB 2198, which would change the laws regarding the Motor Vehicle Franchise Practices Act.
  • HJR 87, which proposes a constitutional amendment prohibiting appropriations in any fiscal year from exceeding certain limits.
  • HB 1692, 1209, 1405, 1499, 1535 & 1811, which would change the laws regarding courts and judges, adoptions, reports of child abuse and neglect, child support, and judicial proceedings.
  • HB 1842, which specifies that the fractional requirement for passage of a tax measure must be deemed satisfied only if the popular vote percentage is equal or greater than a four decimal percentage equivalent of the fraction.
  • HB 1446, which would change the laws regarding financial transactions.
  • HB 1207, which would classify certain sawmills and planning mills as agricultural and horticultural property instead of commercial property for property taxation purposes
Our Committee on Healthcare Transformation passed a bill [HB1495] that affects some co-payments and requires all insurance companies to use a standard form that is interchangeable for all.

Agriculture policy is working on an omnibus bill and that would increase pesticide registration fees to corporate pesticide producers and funds would go to the Agriculture Protection Fund.

HB 2297 authorized the establishment of the Kansas City Zoological District which may be composed of the counties of Cass, Clay, Jackson, and Platte at the option of the voters of each county. Each member county may impose, upon voter approval, a sales tax of up to one-quarter of 1% for the financial support of zoological activities within the district.

To date, the House has filed 1,233 bills and 84 have been perfected. In comparison, the Senate has filed 527 bills and 69 have been perfected.

A consent bill [HB2219] honoring “Buck O’Neil Day” on November 13, 2010 was also passed.

Major League Baseball opening day is Sunday April 4. Jack Buck, former announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals, joined the Hall of Famous Missourians in April 2006.


J.D. Edwards from Excelsior Springs was at the Capitol on Tuesday. Lawson residents Ed and Thelma Duncan came by on Wednesday to share their concern on House Bills affecting teacher retirement.

I wish everyone a Happy Easter.

Tim Jones: Protecting Life, Second Amendment Rights, Repealing Expired Statutes

The Midwest breathed in deeply and shook off the shackles of winter this week as temperatures slowly rose, grass greened, flowers mightily pushed through the thawed ground and signs of Spring appeared throughout Missouri bringing a touch of wanted  and welcome color, washing away the browns and grays of a long, long winter season.  Here in the Capitol we entered the last seven weeks of Session, taking a deep breath and a momentary pause before the final marathon sprint to the finish.  As the Senate took up the mantle of examining and making further necessary budget cuts, the House kept a solid, strong legislative pace this week, working through Perfection, Consent and Third Read Calendars as we continue to pass legislation that promotes good public policy for all Missourians…

"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

Protecting Life

Since joining the Missouri House of Representatives, I have been dedicated to protecting life. That is why, this week, a week that I recognize as Holy Week, I was proud to stand on the House Floor and support House Bill 2000, a common-sense bill with two major provisions relating to abortion: informed consent and coercion protection.  Deciding whether or not to have an abortion is difficult and when considering their options, women should have the resources necessary to make an informed decision.  Unfortunately, studies have shown that as few as twenty-five percent of women feel they have received adequate counseling before deciding to have an abortion.  To ensure that women have the resources they need, this bill requires that medical professionals provide women with information about the abortion procedure, alternatives to abortion, and also provide these women with the opportunity to view an ultrasound.

We also believe that women should be able to make this important decision without, among other things, threats, harassment, and violence.  Unfortunately, sixty-four percent of women who had an abortion felt pressured by others to have the procedure.  House Bill 2000 makes the act of coercing a pregnant woman to obtain an abortion a crime. We believe that women should be protected from violent behavior when making this decision and House Bill 2000 will ensure that women are safe.

Unplanned pregnancy is an extremely difficult situation.  With the passage of House Bill 2000, we are one step closer to ensuring that, when considering whether or not to have an abortion, women are protected from the fear of threats, stalking and harassment and will have the information they deserve to make an informed decision.

2nd Amendment Rights

House Bill 1787 was also passed by the House this week.  This legislation expands and defends our Second Amendment rights.   If this bill becomes law, the age to obtain a concealed carry permit will be reduced from 23 years old to 21 (which is law in most states).  The Castle Doctrine is also expanded to include property that you lease, so if you are renting your residence and someone breaks in you are legally able to use deadly force to defend yourself and your loved ones.  During floor debate, an important amendment was added to the bill to protect gun owners.  Currently, if you are drinking in your home and have a gun in a safe upstairs you could be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm if you are intoxicated, in your own home! This amendment fixes this loophole and allows you to keep firearms in your home and not be committing a crime if you have a glass of wine or beer.  I am proud to continue to support our Second Amendment rights.

Consent Bills

This week the Missouri House took up and passed several consent bills.  Consent bills are legislation that is non-controversial in nature, and does not have a penalty provision or a fee increase.  Much of the time these bills are legislation that names highways or allows land transfers.  Consent legislation can also be used to define different words or phrases in statute to make the interpretation of our laws easier.   We passed over fifty of these bills this week during two long sessions that ran late into the night.

Repealing Expired Statutes: a GREAT Good Government Bill!

The Missouri House passed HB 1516 this week, which repeals expired statutes.  This is no April Fool's Day joke!  The point of this legislation is to clean up the statutes of the state of Missouri relating to the expiration of many laws that are no longer relevant.  This bill is an act of good government that seeks to clean up our statutes and reduce the size of our statute books.  Instead of constantly adding more laws and regulations, this bill allowed us to eliminate expired laws so there is no longer any confusion of their validity to the people.


As many of you know, I am the chief sponsor of HJR 57, the "Health Care Freedom Act". As I have discussed, if it is passed and approved by the voters, it will secure the current rights and freedoms that Missouri citizens have to choose to participate in whatever health care system or health care that they want.  As we have seen, the disastrous aftermath of the passage of ObamaCare continues to dominate our headlines and continues to show us how truly flawed the federal legislation is.  HJR 57 was "third read and passed" out of the House several weeks ago by a vote of 109-46.  The bill is now pending in the State Senate and the Senate is also debating their version of the Health Care Freedom Act (SJR 25).  You may view the legislation at this link: Thank you all very much for your continued support of this very important proposed constitutional amendment, and I will continue to keep you posted on its progress!

Missouri Tax Freedom Day:  April 4!

Tax Freedom Day – the date on which Americans will have worked long enough to have earned enough money to pay this year's tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels – will fall on Sunday, April 4, 2010 for residents of Missouri. The date for all Americans will be Friday, April 9, 2010.  I submit that the reason Missouri Tax Freedom Day comes sooner than the national average is because Missouri's Republican General Assembly has been extremely and wisely frugal with our State's budget for the past eight years while still ensuring that Missourians receive all essential services that Government should provide.  Unlike our Federal Government which continues to print money and mortgage our future to China and India, Missouri continues to have an efficient balanced budget each and every year.

Tax Freedom Day answers the basic question, "What price is the nation paying for government?" An official government figure for total tax collections is divided by the nation's total income. The answer this year is that taxes will amount to 26.89 percent of our income, and the stretch of 99 days from January 1 to April 9 is 26.89 percent of the year. Overall, Americans will pay more taxes in 2010 than they will spend on food, clothing and shelter combined.  I submit the authors of the Constitution would find this unconscionable!


I am very excited to report that Six Flags St. Louis, which is located in the heart of the 89th District, is hiring more than 3,000 employees to fill positions for the 2010 season which begins THIS WEEKEND on April 2nd.  Six Flags will be hosting job fairs to fill these positions on April 3, 10 and 17.  For more information, please visit:

Tim's Legislative Platform for 2010

So far this year I have sponsored and filed fifteen individual pieces of legislation.  I have co-sponsored numerous other bills.  To review all of the bills that I have sponsored or co-sponsored, please follow this link:

Personal News & Notes

At left: Rep. Jones at the Sacred Heart Fish Fry with his dad, brother in law Marc and good friend Mark Fischer.

As I mentioned above and as many of you are fully aware, Christians around the world are celebrating Holy Week this week.  Many of my Jewish friends are also celebrating the great feast of Passover during this time as well.  This week encompasses the "high holy days" for the Christian and Jewish faith and I am looking forward to heading home today, Maundy Thursday, and celebrating Holy Thursday mass tonight, Good Friday services tomorrow (along with the last Sacred Heart Fish Fry of Lent!) and the Saturday Easter Vigil with my family, friends and neighbors.  Sunday will bring the glorious feast of Easter where Suzanne and I will dress the girls up in their Easter finest and head to Church followed by Easter Brunch with the entire clan!  For those of you who celebrated Passover, I hope you had a sacred and wonderful celebration and for those of you who will celebrate Easter, I want to wish you and your family a very happy and glorious Easter Sunday!

Visitors at the Capitol

I had many visitors at the Capitol this week including my Mom, JoAnn Jones, and good friends Eileen Tyrell, Katie and Julie Bauer, John Ryan, Tom Merriman and many other fellow parishioners from Sacred Heart (55 made the bus trip!) who made the trip to the House this week for Pro Life Day [pictured at right].  I also had the pleasure of welcoming good friend Sgt. Chad Green and Sgt. Robert Catlett of the City of Glendale Police Department.  If you are ever in or around Jeff City, please stop by!

Feel Free to Contact Us!

If my extremely dedicated (and very busy!) Legislator Assistant, Jody Williams, or I can be of any assistance throughout the year, please do not hesitate to contact us at 573.751.0562 or by email at jody{dot}williams{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov or at tim{dot}jones{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov.  We have had many visitors to the Capitol so far this year; if your travels find you anywhere in or around Jefferson City, please do not hesitate to stop by and visit us in Room 114!  Until our next report, I remain, in your service.

Purgason: Hope Is Not A Plan

"The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." –Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, May 28, 1816

The Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee is now working on our version of what will be the budget for the State of Missouri in Fiscal Year 2011. The House passed their version of the state budget for the next fiscal year beginning June 1, 2010, last week.

Unfortunately, the House passed a budget that contains $300,000,000 of Federal FMAP money that has not come to the state (and it is questionable that it will come this year or at all). This puts the Senate Appropriations Committee in the position of having to reduce our state budget around $500,000,000 in order for us to reach a balanced budget. The challenges for the next budget year and the year beyond continue to pile on.

While the talk of large numbers and lots of zeroes can be somewhat arcane and "inside baseball," this does affect each of us - after all it is our money. So bear with me in this update.

I am sure readers of this column know that most of my writings are on the budget issues. Although sometimes boring, it is the most important thing that the state legislature does and it’s a very tough thing to do when we are in partnership with a federal government that has no concept of the laws of economics and passing balance budgets.

This year Governor Nixon proposed a budget totaling $23,857,795,551. Included in that budget is $900,000,000 of one-time, federal dependency money that is being used to pay for ongoing operating expenses of state government. Also included in his budget proposal is $300,000,000 of federal dependency money that is "promised" by the federal government, but has not yet been approved by Congress - we may or may not receive these funds.

Dependence on both of these revenue sources is problematic at best and, at worst, disastrous in future years. The General Assembly needs to reduce the Governor's recommended budget by at least $650,000,000 to $750,000,000 to begin fixing the structural imbalance of dependence on one-time revenues from the federal government that end this year.

Since the agreement on the consensus revenue estimate in January, we have learned that revenue collections are continuing to decline with year-to-date revenue collections as of February being down 12.7%. This is about $610,000,000 less than what was expected in order to meet the budget.

Governor Nixon has responded to these declining revenues by withholding more money from the existing budget. He is asking the legislature to revise downward his recommended budget for the next fiscal year by removing the $300,000,000 that has not been approved by Congress and reducing the general revenue estimate by $200,000,000 to correct an overly-optimistic consensus revenue estimate - both prudent recommendations. These suggested reductions to the Governor's recommended budget total $500,000,000.

Unfortunately, the House only reduced the budget by about $225,000,000 and included the $300,000,000 of “maybe” money.

These recommended steps, and more, are necessary to resolve the structural imbalance that currently exists in the state budget. The over reliance on one-time, federal dependency money has put our state budget at risk in the coming years.

This $1,200,000,000 of one-time, federal dependency money will not be available in the next budget year, meaning that the fiscal year 2012 budget will start with a $1,200,000,000 hole. The necessary cuts that will have to be made next year will be unlike anything we have seen in recent years, even topping the cuts that were made in fiscal years 2003, 2004, and 2005.

The significance of the shortfall in revenue that we face this year and next cannot be underestimated. This is the time when the Governor, the House, and the Senate must work together to fix the structural problems in our state budget. This will require very difficult decisions, courage, and realism - it is not a time for gamesmanship and politicizing.

The recently released unemployment numbers continue to suggest a national unemployment rate of 9.7% with Missouri's unemployment rate holding at 9.4%. These rates are not expected to change in the near term. Without more people becoming employed, we cannot reasonably expect income tax and sales tax collections to turn upward to fill the hole created by the one-time revenue sources.

The Missouri Senate must now contend with an unbalanced budget. We can no longer hope that better times will come. State government must live within its means just like the rest of us.

Unlike Congress, we must have a balanced budget. The state of Missouri can't print money to satisfy unrestrained and politically-motivated spending habits - even in an election year. We can either jump off of a ten-foot cliff today or choose to jump off of a hundred-foot cliff tomorrow.

This is the time to make difficult decisions. Having hope in a greater, more prosperous future is great motivator - I have that hope myself, but hope is not a plan.

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. I can be reached in Jefferson City at (573)751-1882, e-mail to chuck{dot}purgason{at}senate{dot}mo{dot}gov or by regular mail at 201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 420, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

Keaveny: Urgent Update: Assistance for Displaced Hospital Workers

At one time, health care was touted as one of the career fields that could withstand economic turmoil. The fallout from the historic recession changed all that, as another St. Louis hospital is putting people out of work.

One of our area’s major employers, Forest Park Hospital, has announced a major layoff that will affect about 300 workers by early April. This devastating job loss is a part of the hospital’s merger with St. Alexius Hospital. Yet that doesn’t make it any less distressing for all of the workers and families whose lives have been turned upside down. As a result, Forest Park Hospital will only contain a small emergency department and psychiatry unit moving into the future, which is a far cry from the medical need the community deserves.

This kind of economic damage requires a swift and thorough response to minimize the impact on those who are now out of work. A program called the Missouri Rapid Response Program, coordinated by the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Division of Workforce Development, is the key tool in this response.

The Rapid Response Program provides information and assistance in order to alleviate issues caused from losing a job. When the layoff announcement was made, the Rapid Response team was put in touch with the employer to develop a series of meetings to talk to employees and make the transition as smooth as possible. This team includes a small group of the affected employees to serve as peer counselors for fellow workers.

Representatives from many state agencies, such as the Dislocated Worker Program and the Division of Employment Security, stay on-site to provide face-to-face information on specific questions the workers may have.

This human touch approach is often a welcomed comfort. Many people have trouble navigating the maze of offices and filings one needs to complete when a job is lost, and for many, there are usually other concerns to worry about, like updating a resume, or maybe even finding out how they pay the next month’s bills. The Rapid Response Program is an excellent way to make that transition easier, getting people back to work and helping them start a new chapter in their lives.

For more information, visit, or contact the Missouri Department of Economic Development at 1-800-877-8698.

Nodler: Federal Regulations Harm Small Business Job Growth

Small business growth is a key aspect of economic prosperity. Economists estimate that over the past 25 years, two-thirds of new jobs originated among small businesses. There is a lot of talk on federal and state levels about ways to better the economic climate and support our small businesses, but there is one big problem that has not yet been addressed: the unavailability of credit. Federal regulations put in place are forcing banks into a situation where regulations not only make it close to impossible to make loans, but actually create an environment that discourages issuing credit.

Small business owners throughout the country are facing the same situation. They go to their community bank for a line of credit. They are good customers, who have never been late with a payment, and have an established small business. These customers are being turned down because federal regulators are discouraging banks from making loans. It puts our small business owners in a bind because they are unable to expand or hire new employees without having cash on hand.

Community banks’ hands are tied because they face tighter regulations from the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Reserve, and Missouri Division of Finance. Examiners are downgrading the ratings of performing loans because the value of the collateral (often commercial real estate) has dipped or because the banks happen to be located in an “economically distressed” area. Regardless of how well a bank in the community might know their customers, they are unable to loan to creditworthy borrowers because federal regulations are actually impeding their ability to do business.

Federal examiners should be more careful in light of the financial crisis, but creating an environment where small businesses can’t get access to credit is not the way to stimulate recovery. An overly restrictive credit environment actually provides banks with an incentive not to issue loans. Banks are able to maintain a better rating if they have less risk in their portfolio, and the result is that they don’t make loans they would otherwise approve.

The Senate recently approved my Senate Concurrent Resolution 33 to discourage the federal government from continuing to harshly regulate our community banks and to instead give community banks the right tools to start lending again. With House approval, the legislation could be adopted and Missouri’s support for better access to credit would be clear to Congress. Expanding job growth in this state is my top priority, and SCR 33 would do just that by supporting our community banks and small businesses.

(Windows Media Video from Sen. Nodler's office)

(Video also appears below by clicking play.)

Engler: Fiscal Responsibility in Economically Tough Times

Last week, the House finished their work on the budget and sent the bills to the Senate. This now means that the Senate Appropriations Committee will go through each of the 13 budget bills and craft their own version of the state spending plan. The bills will then move to the Senate floor for the full Senate to debate. Once the full Senate approves the budget, Senate and House budget leaders will meet to iron out any differences between the two versions. The full House and Senate must agree to a balanced budget (this year’s Constitutional deadline is May 7) before it is sent to the governor.

The process of passing the budget is the same every year, but the work ahead of us this year is particularly tough. Based on revenue collections, the current fiscal year’s budget is going to experience an historic shortfall, and it is estimated that the FY 2011 budget originally submitted by the governor will be at least $500 million out of balance. There are many programs and services that Missourians depend on in their day-to-day lives, but we also have to make sure we come up with a balanced budget that is sustainable for our state’s future.

Missouri’s Constitution requires that we must have a balanced budget. This means that, unlike Congress, we can’t just borrow our way out of fiscal problems. We will keep our promise to not increase taxes on the people of Missouri. This leaves us with only one option: closely consider every spending obligation in our budget and find ways to cut costs.

This week, we also continued an ongoing discussion on economic development. We are working to strike a balance between making sure tax credits are used in a responsible way and providing incentives to businesses looking to expand in or move to Missouri. There are several views in the Senate on how we can best go about this process and, with the state’s finances as tight as they are, it is important that we address these issues.

Senate Bill 895 is the comprehensive economic development bill in the Senate this year. The bill contains several programs designed to create jobs, attract businesses to our state, and encourage the ones that are already here to grow. This includes offering increased incentives to established Missouri businesses looking to expand and a program to attract high-tech companies to our state. Ultimately, we have to make sure that your tax dollars are receiving the best return on its investment as possible.

I want to wish everyone in the 3rd District a happy Easter with family and friends this weekend.

31 March 2010

Holsman's Survey Results & Town Hall Reminder

Hello friends!

I wanted to remind everyone about my town hall meeting on Thursday, April 1st at 7:00 PM at Center Middle School (326 East 103rd Street). Guests will include Representative Jason Kander, Mr. Patrick Lynn, Dr. Robert Bartman, Dr. Ralph Teran, and Dr. Marjorie Williams. Discussion topics will include education, issues impacting senior citizens, and Missouri's budget. Everyone is invited to attend.

Earlier this year, our office conducted a random suvery of voters of the 45th District.  We had a tremendous response!  Out of 1,550 surveys sent, here are the results:

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Representative Holsman is doing?
Approve - 66.4%
Disapprove - 8.7%
No Opinion - 24.8%

What should Missouri do regarding implementation of a statewide smoking ban?
Implement a statewide ban that prohibits smoking in all public places including restaurants or stand-alone bars - 48.6%
Adopt a statewide ban with exemptions for certain businesses such as stand-alone bars - 14.7%
Take no action and allow businesses To set their own smoking policies - 35.4%
No Opinion - 1.3%

Should Missouri allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes?
Yes - 56.6%
No - 35.0%
No Opinion - 8.4%

Should Missouri reduce the penalties for marijuana possession?
Yes - 49.3%
No - 43.5%
No Opinion - 7.2%

Do you support government sponsored health insurance?
Yes - 47.5%
No - 48.1%
No Opinion - 4.4%

Would you support government sponsored health care for children?
Yes - 61.3%
No - 34.1%
No Opinion - 4.7%

Should the "Fair Tax" system replace the current tax system?
Yes - 32.9%
No - 58.1%
No Opinion - 9.0%

Would you support making public funds available to match campaign donations received by candidates for state elected office, if those candidates were subject to strict campaign fundraising limits and were unable to accept money from special interest groups, lobbyists, and PACs (political action committees)?
Yes - 53.6%
No - 40.1%
No Opinion - 6.3%

How should teacher pay be determined?
Merit-based system - 48.3%
Step-based system - 11.7%
Regardless of the method, teacher Pay should be increased - 34.4%
Teacher pay should not be increased - 1.6%
No Opinion - 4.1%

Should the state construct truck-only lanes on I-70?
Yes - 44.7%
No - 21.3%
Only if possible without a tax increase - 30.6%
No Opinion - 3.4%

Should Missouri invest additional dollars to study building hydroelectric plants along Missouri rivers even if it may require a tax increase to do so?
Yes - 43.6$
No - 48.9%
No Opinion - 7.5%

Would you be willing to pay a surcharge on your electric bill in order to fund research at the Center for Sustainable Energy at Mizzou for clean, renewable, and sustainable energy technologies?
Yes - 37.1%
No - 55.7%
No Opinion - 7.2%

Should Missouri do away with term limits for legislators?
Yes - 23.7%
No - 71.2%
No Opinion - 5.1%

Should Missouri amend term limits so that legislators can serve up to twelve years (instead of eight) in either the House or the Senate but no more than sixteen total years can be served?
Yes - 30.7%
No - 60.4%
No Opinion - 8.9%

Ridgeway: Coping with a Historic Budget Crisis and the MO Healthcare Freedom Act

Coping with a Historic Budget Crisis

The budget proposed by the governor in January would spend $8.3 billion in general revenue, which exceeds any reasonable estimate of tax receipts for the upcoming fiscal year by more than $1 billion. This means that our budget is structurally out of balance and cannot be sustained with the current spending plan.

Fortunately, the disciplined decisions of the past few years have put Missouri in a better financial position to weather the economic storm than most states. But we are not immune to having to make difficult budget decisions that will keep us financially sound.

Based on revenue collections, the current fiscal year's budget is going to experience a historic shortfall.

To this end, the governor recently reduced another $126 million from the fiscal year 2010 budget. This brings the total cuts and withholdings for this year to $850 million. The current fiscal year ends June 30, 2010, at which point FY 2011 will take effect. The Legislature is currently working on the budget for the upcoming year, which will run July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011.

Unlike Congress, our Missouri Constitution requires that we must have a balanced budget. The state of Missouri cannot borrow our way to prosperity or print money to satisfy unrestrained and politically motivated spending habits.

Some politicians are content to rely on one-time monies from the federal government, but as you may recall, the extreme budget deficit we faced earlier this decade was a result of uncontrolled spending. When that money runs out, the programs are still there and the financial burden is then entirely on the backs of our Missouri families.

How out of touch with our existing economic condition can we be to accept a budget that will require nearly 15 percent more of your income tax dollars when the one-time money runs out next year? This is a time for restraint, a time to truly prioritize spending and a time to make our state bureaucracy more efficient.

Seeking YOUR Ideas!

To help facilitate the conversation on how to cost costs, the Senate recently launched an initiative called "Rebooting Government," which invites Missourians to provide their ideas for how to restructure and streamline our state government.

Already, the Senate has received more than 1,500 ideas from the public. To put the best ideas into action, the Senate dedicated a day this week to reviewing all proposed ideas in eight small groups, made up of four senators each. Each group then presented at least five ideas they agreed upon to the full Senate at the conclusion of the work day. The ideas may eventually be introduced in legislation or through the budget process, or even implemented through executive order. The goal is to implement the best ideas in the hope of finding additional savings.

We will continue to accept your ideas throughout the legislative session, which ends on May 14, 2010. I encourage you to submit your ideas online by visiting and clicking on the Rebooting Government icon. Submissions may be anonymous. This is a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity to make significant changes to the way our state government operates.

Missouri's Health Care Freedom Act

In light of the federal government's unfortunate passage of the health care takeover bill this week, the Missouri Senate began debate on legislation that works to ensure Missourians retain their health care freedom. Senate Joint Resolution 25 is a proposed constitutional amendment known as the "Health Care Freedom Act." If passed by the Legislature, and approved by voters, this legislation would amend the Missouri Constitution to prohibit any federal law from forcing a patient, employer, or health care provider to participate in any government or privately run health care system. I hope we can give you, The People, the opportunity to make your voice heard on health care even when Washington D.C. doesn't want to listen.

Your Questions Answered

Do you have questions about state government? As you know, times are tough and government as we know it is changing quickly and dramatically. My door is always open to your questions and your suggestions on solutions. Each week I will feature some of the most frequent questions that come to my office—I hope to hear from you!

Engler: Let's Pick It Up

As most of you know litter is my pet peeve.

I had many comments from constituents last year regarding litter and how to get involved in our district.  I received this press release in my Capitol office this week and wanted to pass it along.

Hope everyone is enjoying the weather today.

Let's Pick It Up

April is No MOre Trash! Bash

JEFFERSON CITY – All winter long we drive Missouri's roads and see it. It's in the grass, on the river banks, in the ditches, it's everywhere, and it's disgusting . . . litter. Luckily, April brings warmer weather and the annual No MOre Trash! Bash in Missouri. The Missouri departments of Conservation and Transportation are urging everyone to pick it up!

"We have to start somewhere," said Stacy Armstrong, MoDOT roadside management supervisor and state Adopt-A-Highway coordinator. "If we can all get out and get the trash cleaned up, then we can focus more on prevention and make an even bigger impact."

Last year's Bash had more than 838 groups participating with more than 10,068 volunteers. Hundreds of educational efforts were held in schools, at rest areas, at community events, during Earth Day celebrations, on radio talk shows, through Take Your Child to Work Day, news conferences, trash can painting events, television promotions and more. Altogether, 111,134 bags of trash were collected throughout Missouri, 26,659 bags more than the previous year.

"We were lucky and thankful to have so much enthusiasm and hard work last year, but I think we can pick it up a notch," Armstrong said. "We just need everyone who participated last year to get one or two more people to confront the litter problem. It will make such a difference."

Schedule a cleanup or educational activity during the month of April to help spruce up Missouri, report your activity and you will receive a 2010 No MOre Trash! Bash lapel pin. The departments will also be happy to provide you with bags to stash the litter you clean up.  

Participants are asked to report their Trash Bash activities by May 15 through an After-Activity Report Card. The report card is included in the "Clean Up Missouri" Trash Bash brochure available at MoDOT and MDC offices and other locations throughout the state. The brochure, report card and other Trash Bash information are available online at

"Littering isn't just ugly, it hurts wildlife, it costs Missourians millions of tax dollars each year, and it's illegal," added MDC No MOre Trash! Coordinator Joe Jerek. "Birds, fish, turtles and other animals get tangled in litter, such as plastic six-pack holders and fishing line, and it can kill them. Litter poisons fish, birds and other wildlife and can cost a litterer up to $1,000 in fines and one year in jail."

MoDOT spends more than $5 million each year cleaning litter from Missouri's roadsides, while MDC spends almost $1 million a year to clean litter from conservation areas and other department locations.

For more information on the April Trash Bash or to get trash bags, call 888-ASK MODOT (275-6636), or visit

30 March 2010

Carter: St. Louis Members Encouraged to Complete and Mail-Back 2010 Census Form

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau distributed the 2010 Census to more than 130 million addresses across the nation. Mandated by the U.S. Constitution and conducted every 10 years, the census counts every man, woman and child. Mailing back the census form is the easiest way to participate in the 2010 Census, and every household should complete and mail back the form upon receipt.

“The 2010 Census is important to our community’s future. The data gathered will determine funding for vital local services as well as representation at all levels of government,” said Representative Chris Carter. “To ensure an accurate count, join me in taking 10 minutes to fill out the form and mail it back.”

Households served by the United States Postal Service will receive their forms in March 2010. Census workers will hand-deliver forms through April 2010 in all other areas. One of the shortest census forms in U.S. Census history, the 2010 Census form asks 10 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete.

Every person living in the residence, both relatives and nonrelatives, should be included on the form. People should be counted in the residence where they live and sleep most of the time.

“The 2010 Census is an historical event that will help shape the future of our country,” said Dr. Robert M. Groves, Director, U.S. Census Bureau. “It is vital that everyone is counted once and only once and in the right place.”

Census data are used to reapportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and for the subsequent redistricting of state and local governments. Census data also help to determine how more than $400 billion per year in federal funding is distributed to tribal, state and local governments for services that affect local communities. Specifically, census data are critical in determining locations for new hospitals, improving schools, building new roads, expanding public transportation options and creating new maps for emergency responders.

Census form answers are safe and confidential. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities. All Census Bureau employees take an oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data. The penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

Mailing back a form ensures an accurate count and lowers the cost of the 2010 Census by reducing the number of census workers who must go door-to-door to collect census data. About $85 million is saved for every one percent increase in mail participation. Additionally, the Census Bureau saves $60-$70 per census form returned by mail.

Questionnaire Assistance Centers (QAC) will be available to assist those unable to read or understand the census form. For those with visual impairments, the Language Assistance Guide will be available in large print and Braille. Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons who do not have access to Video Relay Service (VRS) can call the TDD number, 1-866-783-2010. In addition to these options, Language Assistance Guides will be available in 59 languages at all QAC locations.

For more information, visit

Kraus: House of Representatives Completes Its Work On Fiscal Year 2011 Budget

After two days of discussion, the Missouri House gave final approval last Thursday to the 13 appropriations bills that make up the fiscal year 2011 state government operating budget. Through committee work and amendments adopted on the House floor, members cut more than $224 million in general revenue from the proposed budget to trim the spending plan to about $23.6 billion. Coming into the budget process, House members were faced with a budget deficit of at least $200 million.

A remaining question is whether additional cuts will be necessary because $300 million in federal stimulus money is included in the spending plan. Missouri will receive this additional federal aid only if Congress extends a provision of the stimulus package. Furthermore, there are additional concerns that another 900 million dollars of proposed expenditures already are financed with federal stimulus funds.

We all know that we are facing a difficult budget year, and the lengthy budget debate therefore became a heated exchange. Some tough choices had to be made. The bulk of the cuts made on the House floor took place when members approved an amendment to eliminate a $105.7 million increase in funding to the state's 523 public school districts. By approving the amendment, the House froze funding for the school foundation formula at the same level as that of the current year.

As a long time and active supporter of education, and believing as I do that we must have a good educational system to build tomorrow’s leaders, I found this amendment difficult to swallow and voted against it. Other members felt it best to leave the full funding for schools in the budget, knowing that cuts may be necessary further along in the process of crafting the budget. Despite opposition, the amendment passed.

I also voted to reduce funding for next year’s operational budget of the House of Representatives by $500,000. In my view, this was a time for leadership from our own members, and I made this case in the debate on the House floor. When we’re asking for reductions from so many other groups and organizations, we need to take a hit ourselves and show that we’re willing to reduce our budget here in the Missouri House. Along those lines, we also approved an amendment to save more than $390,000 by reducing our own monthly expense accounts.

Additional budget cuts came from a set of amendments to reduce the salaries of state department directors and assistants to statewide office holders and to reduce funding to state agencies for food, meetings, and membership dues for national organizations.

The 13 appropriations bills now move to the Senate for consideration. The General Assembly must approve the fiscal year 2011 budget by May 7.

Meetings and Events

Governmental Relations Committee

Last weekend, I was honored to attend the Governmental Relations Committee Meeting of the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, where I updated attendees on the budget recently passed in the House. I was also glad to see all of my friends and neighbors at this event.

Raytown Schools Legislative Forum

I was also pleased to be able to attend the Legislative Forum hosted by the City of Raytown, Raytown Quality Schools, the PTA Council, and the Raytown Area Chamber of Commerce last Friday. I value this time to discuss issues important to our schools.

Eagle Egg Run and Walk

Last Saturday, I ran a five-kilometer run in the first annual LSCCS Eagle Egg 5K Run and Walk. Drawing about 400 runners and walkers, this was a fun family event for all ages and fitness levels. I finished 36th with a time of 25 minutes and 40 seconds. As a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, I am appreciative of the impetus that the Army gives me to keep in shape. The sore muscles that I felt afterward were well worth the sense of accomplishment of finishing a long race and being part of a worthwhile community event. Congratulations to Senator Matt Bartle, who ran a very good race and finished several minutes ahead of me. Sen. Bartle does a good job of keeping in shape by running.

Second Annual Jackson County Trash Bash

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is joining with the Jackson County Cleanup Coalition to gear up for the 2nd Annual Jackson County Trash Bash. This event raises awareness and commitment to fight litter on Missouri's roadways. The year-long campaign will kick off from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, April 2 at the Independence Events Center on 19100 East Valley View Parkway.

All residents in Jackson County communities are invited to stop by and learn about how to become involved in the cleanup effort. The Jackson County Cleanup Coalition is a collaborative effort of Jackson County communities working together to prevent and clean up litter within our county.

During this event, representatives from cities, law enforcement agencies, and landfills across the Jackson County area will join forces to fight litter along our Missouri roadways. In addition, this year, a litter collection event is planned in the area following the main event. Bags, gloves, and caution vests will be provided for anyone interested in participating in that event.

MoDOT spends $5.8 million annually to clean litter from Missouri highways, money that would be better spent improving Missouri roads. Trash poses health and environmental risks, is associated with increased crime, and makes our communities unattractive. Here’s an opportunity to help clean it up.

For further information about this project, please visit MoDOT's Facebook page at, Twitter site at, or web site at You can also contact MoDOT 24 hours-a-day at 888-ASK-MODOT to find out information or report road concerns

Ruestman: Missouri is Pro-Life

In the past two weeks, some troubling events have unfolded in Washington. The current majority, through its unwanted takeover of healthcare, overturned a 30-year law preventing federal funds from being spent on elective abortions. They’ve tried to patch this up with an executive order that does not carry the full force of law. I believe they should and will be held accountable in the November elections.

In the mean time, here in Missouri we are fighting to pass even stricter pro-life legislation to protect expecting women and the unborn. Last Monday we perfected House Bill 1327 which creates the crime of coercing a pregnant mother to abort. Many times, women are being forced or pressured to seek an abortion by their husband, boyfriend or parents. If someone is found guilty of this horrible act, he or she will face a class A felony with a maximum prison term of ten years. Anyone who knowingly performs an abortion on a coerced woman is guilty of a class C felony.

Additionally, mothers must be able to make informed decisions when seeking an abortion. Under this bill, the physician must provide the following information both orally and in writing:
  • The physician’s name;
  • The gestational age of the unborn child;
  • The anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child;
  • Medically accurate information regarding the procedure, the risks involved, alternatives to abortion and follow-up care; and
  • The state law regarding coercion.

One of the keys to reducing abortions is accurate and timely information. House Bill 1327 will make a difference. This legislation is vital to saving lives of the unborn and improving the lives of expectant mothers. This legislation could not get passed without the continuing support of voters who have sent a Republican majority to Jefferson City. As the recent politics in Washington, D.C., have shown us, we must be ever vigilant to protect the lives of our unborn and the health of mothers-to-be.

If you have problems, questions or wish to express concern over an issue, please do not hesitate to contact me or my Legislator Assistant, Jonathan, at my Capitol office either by phone 573-751-9801 or by e-mail at Marilyn{dot}Ruestman{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov.

29 March 2010

Tishaura Jones: Facts on Local Control of St. Louis PD, MoDOT Roadwork, Green Sales Tax Holiday


My first bill, HB 1826 was gutted in committee by the usual suspects and a handful of Democrats. The Chairman of the committee used parliamentary procedure to end the executive session once an amendment was added that would grant the authority to close casinos for financial reasons and give them 90-day notice to do so. Unfortunately, the rogue nature of the Missouri Gaming Commission forced Pinnacle to surrender their license earlier this month. If their license was revoked, the rippling effect would have had a horrible rippling effect. However, Pinnacle has assured me that they will do everything they can to help displaced employees.

In other news, HB 1601, that would provide local control of the St. Louis Police Department made a giant step. The bill is currently on it's way to the House floor!!. Senator Joe Keaveny (D-4), is filing companion legislation in the Senate and was granted a hearing on Tuesday, March 2nd. The local news reported that two bus loads of police were in Jefferson City to show support. Which begs the question, who was watching our streets while the police were up here playing politics? For more information about what Local Control is and what it is not, read the article below.

In addition, the St. Louis Police Officers Association (POA) has stooped to an all time low in their attempt to mislead and mischaracterize by accusing me of trying to make you believe that Local Control is a racial issue. I have never mentioned race in my attempts to convince anyone to support Local Control. The only time race has been mentioned in the debate about local control was in a letter by sent to the Missouri House from Joe Steiger, Vice President of the POA. Local Control is not about pensions; it is not about the size of the Board of Aldermen; it’s not about the St. Louis Fire Department; and it is not about race. Local Control is about taxation without representation, it is about the sovereignty of the taxpayers of the City of St. Louis to have the same rights that all of the counties in the State of Missouri currently have. A lot Americans believe that the recently passed federal health care legislation is an intrusion on Missouri’s sovereignty, then state control of the St. Louis Police Department is a violation of St. Louis City’s sovereignty on STERIODS. The POA’s assertion that I inserted race in this issue is a blatant and outright lie.

Keeping up the good fight,


Information About Death Penalty

From Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Over 125 people, including 3 Missourians, that have been executed have been found innocent. Missouri ranks fourth in the country for executions. There are some notable racial differences; for example, the fact that even though African Americans make up half of the murder victims, 79% of death row inmates have been executed for killing white victims. In death penalty states only 1% of chief district attorneys are black. Socioeconomic situations also appear to make a difference; over 80% of people sentenced in Missouri were unable to afford their own attorney. The death penalty seems to be an inefficient and costly method of dealing with violent crime. The south has the highest murder rate and 80% of all executions, while the northeast has the lowest murder rate and accounts for less than 1% of all executions. It also raises concerns about Constitutional and Human Rights; the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Furman v. Georgia abolished the death penalty citing it as cruel and unusual punishment. Over two-thirds of countries in the world have abolished the death penalty, in fact, in 2008 93% of all executions took place in only five countries (China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the U.S.).

Facts on Local Control of the St. Louis Police Department

  • Local control would not change police pensions in any way, shape or form. Police officers deserve their pension. No one is trying to take it away from them.
  • If the State of Missouri returns the police department to the people of St. Louis, the City will recognize the St. Louis Police Officers Association as the bargaining unit, and will negotiate a contract with the officers. They have never had that.
  • The State of Missouri took the St. Louis Police Department away from the people of St. Louis during the Civil War. The Pro-Confederacy State of Missouri feared the Pro-Union City of St. Louis would use its police department against the State.
  • Every other city, county and state in America has its own police department if it wants one, except St. Louis and Kansas City. Opponents say the people of St. Louis cannot be trusted with their own police department. That is an insult.
  • The governor appoints four of the five board members. If the commissioners do something wrong, there is little recourse for the people of St. Louis. If the mayor or aldermen do something wrong, the people of St. Louis can do something about it---vote them out of office. That is accountability.
  • There already is political influence in the St. Louis Police Department, but there is little accountability to the taxpayers.
  • Including fringe benefits, the taxpayers spend $165 million funding the St. Louis Police Department, but they have almost no say over its operations.
  • The state auditor is auditing city government. The audit of the police department is by far the worst of any city agency.
  • The city’s current budget shortfall is created by shrinking revenue because of the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression and rising employee benefit costs.
  • The city has supported the police department. Funding for the police department has risen by 39% over the last decade. It went up by $13 million last year.
  • The City of St. Louis does not control the Police Retirement System. Active and retired police officers do. If the pension fund is mismanaged, they are the ones managing it. The City of St. Louis has made every single payment required under the law to the Police Retirement System.

2010 Census Jobs

The US Census Bureau needs your assistance, as community leaders, to help us fill crucial positions in order to carry out a fair and accurate count in the 2010 Census. This will help in providing our community with its just share of federal resources. Please help recruit people to fill these jobs in our area. We urgently need local people to apply. Please pass on the information listed below by forwarding it to friends and family.

2010 Census JOBS
Call 1-866-861-2010 to apply for 2010 Census Jobs
or a local office near you – listed below!
Jobs range between $10.00 - $17.00/hr, paid training, paid for mileage ($.50 per mile) Flexible Hours

Work up to 40 hours per week in Field Positions.
Applications Sessions are being scheduled in your area.
1-866-861-2010 or 314-802-9410
Leave a message if calling after business hours
(7:30 am – 4:30 pm M-F) *hourly rate varies by area.

St. Louis City
Goodfellow Boulevard
Saint Louis, MO 63120
Phone: 314-802-9410
Census takers start at: $17.00/hour

MoDOT Performs Various Lane Closures for Rehabilitation Work on Russell Bridge

Missouri Department of Transportation will temporarily close the on-ramp from Lafayette to southbound Interstate 55 starting at 7 p.m., on Tuesday, March 23. Motorists can detour to Tucker, and then Russell, to get back on southbound Interstate 55. There will also be various lane closures on Interstate 55 while crews perform rehabilitation work on the Russell Bridge. The on-ramp and lane closures on Interstate 55 will take place between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., on weekdays until Wednesday, March 31.

The westbound Interstate 44 Gravois off-ramp will remain closed until mid-April 2010. This ramp closure is necessary while crews perform rehabilitation work on the Gravois Bridge. Motorists can continue to detour to Jefferson Avenue, and then Lafayette, to get back on Gravois.

This work is part of a rehabilitation project on seven bridges along Interstate 55 near Soulard. The project is expected to be fully complete by August 2010.

Motorists should reduce their speed, use caution and pay attention in this work zone. Plan ahead for ways to avoid work zones, call 1-888-ASK-MODOT or visit our website at

Missouri's Show-Me Green Sales Tax Holiday

The second annual Show-Me Green Sales Tax Holiday will run from April 19-25. People who buy specific energy efficient appliances from ENERGY STAR during this time will not only save 4.225 percent on their purchase (representing the elimination of Missouri sales tax) but will also reap the benefits of lower utility costs in the future. Several local government entities have also decided to participate in the holiday, which means that some purchases will also be exempt from city, county and special district sales tax.

ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The program allows manufacturers to label certain appliances if they meet certain criteria. The goal is to promote appliances that perform as well or better than similar appliances while using less energy. The sales tax exemption will apply to ENERGY STA R-labeled clothes washers, refrigerators, freezers, dish washers, water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps. The tax exemption will only apply to the first $1500 of each appliance; any amount exceeding $1500 will be taxed.

Frequently asked questions about the Show-Me Green Sales Tax Holiday are answered at

Schaefer: Senate Meets to Reboot MO, Legislation in Committee, Congratulating State Champions

This week, my colleagues and I held an all-day work session in the Senate to consider ways to "reboot" state government. In addition, several measures I sponsored are making their way through the legislative process, including a bill that addresses premarital agreements and legislation that strengthens the penalties for putting a child in danger.

Rebooting Missouri Government

Missourians have overwhelmingly responded to our request to submit their ideas for a more efficient state government by visiting the Senate's Rebooting Government website ( Ideas will continue to be accepted throughout the legislative session and may be made anonymously, if desired.

On Tuesday of this week, the Senate suspended normal debate and committee hearings to focus on ways make Missouri government more cost-efficient. Lawmakers were divided into eight groups of four senators to consider public opinion and agency recommendations on ways to streamline government in the current economic condition.

I chaired the group charged with discussing the area of Agriculture/Outdoors/Department of Natural Resources. Representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Conservation, and Department of Natural Resources met with our group to discuss ways to cut costs without crippling the agencies. We also read through e-mails submitted by Missourians from across the state regarding ideas to bring down the cost of government. By the end of the meeting, we agreed on five measures that would help alleviate costs and streamline agency functions without cutting jobs:
  1. One or two week rotated unpaid furloughs for every state employee, in lieu of lay-offs.
  2. Consolidation of laboratories.
  3. Combining certain boards and commissions.
  4. Comprehensive review of agency program fees to identify ways to make the program fully fee-funded instead of relying on General Revenue to subsidize the programs.
  5. Comprehensive review of federally required programs to determine if the administration of any programs can be returned to the federal government.

Committees Hearing Legislation

We continued work on many of my bills in committee this week. On Monday, two of my bills were heard in Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Senate Bill 998 enacts the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which closes any loopholes with regard to premarital agreements. Senate Bill 1004, also known as “Karra’s and Jocelyn’s Law,” increases the penalties for shaking a young child. More specifically, the bill makes endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree to be an unclassified felony with a prison term of 20 years or less when the person creates a substantial risk to the life of a child under the age of five.

On Wednesday, Senate Bill 886, which deals with plumbing codes, was heard in the Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee. Senate Bill 999 was voted do pass in the same committee. This bill introduces a job creation measure to developing 21st century manufacturing jobs. As data centers and other technology-focused jobs are created in the United States, Missouri (especially central Missouri) is in a position to lead the way in new and developing economic fields. These data centers could employ up to 200 full-time jobs and create thousands of construction positions for the 19th district.

Capitol Visitors

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of hosting lunch for the fourth grade class from Fairview Elementary School in Columbia. I certainly hope they enjoyed their visit to Jefferson City!

Senator Schaefer (center) with fourth graders from Fairview Elementary School in Columbia.

In addition, I want to extend my congratulations to the Sturgeon High School Boys Basketball team for winning the MSHSAA 2A State Basketball Championship last weekend. Well done on a great season!

Sturgeon High School Boys Basketball team, the 2010 MSHSAA 2A State Basketball Champions. (submitted photo)

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.

Keaveny: “Proposition A” in St. Louis County Will Affect the City of St. Louis

Voters in St. Louis County will have the opportunity to vote for much-needed new funding for the region’s public transit agency on April 6. The one-half cent sales tax, on the ballot as Proposition A, will provide Metro with funds to restore recent reductions to bus and other modes of transportation and to expand transit services that are essential to the economic development of our region.

When new businesses consider locating to the St. Louis area, and when tourists and conventions consider visiting the area to spend their money, one of the very first things they ask about is the availability of public transit. Without comprehensive transit alternatives, the St. Louis area cannot be competitive with other regions seeking new jobs, economic development and tourism events.

Transit provides access to jobs, education, health care and independence for seniors and the disabled community. The commuters who ride transit in St. Louis earn $2.2 billion annually. That’s equivalent to 50,000 jobs at $40,000 per year.

If voters in St. Louis County approve the sales tax, it also will trigger a one-fourth cent sales tax in the City of St. Louis. Voters approved a similar sales tax in 1997. Metro can’t collect the funds in the City unless voters in the county also pass the sales tax.

Proposition A deserves your serious consideration. It will cost the average St. Louis County resident approximately $1 per week – dollars that will support expanded transit that already takes more than 45,000 cars off the roads every day. Those dollars will also help the St. Louis region attract and retain growing businesses. A healthy transit system is important for a healthy local economy.

Every vote in St. Louis County will affect the City, so I hope you encourage your friends and family to vote.

For more info please visit or

Burlison: Heavy Lifting to Balance the Budget, Opposition to Federal Health Care Mandate

At right: Rep. Burlison discussed legislation with Rep. Scott Largent.

In this Capitol Report I would like to share with you the concerns I and the House have with the recently passed federal health care bill.


Projected state revenues are down nearly 14% over the past fiscal year. We are facing a $500 M to $800 M revenue short fall in FY 2011. Raising taxes will severely cripple businesses big and small and cause more long term unemployment. We have been flooded with emails, phone calls, and visits from various parties asking to not make reductions to their program. We all know we need to reduce spending but we have had a hard time reaching an agreement about which programs should stay, go, or be reduced. Unfortunately the work of securing individual legislator agreement to reductions is a hard task.

The Missouri House successfully passed a $23 Billion 2011 budget on Thursday. This budget draft contained spending reductions of over $220 Million. This may be short of the total reductions actually needed for the next fiscal year. The House was unable to agree on making any additional spending reductions at this time, but we will revisit each line item when necessary. The Senate has agreed to make up differences with additional spending reductions when they receive the budget as passed by the House.

Governor Nixon has also proposed $500 Million of reductions including reductions to K-12 education. This means the State Senate members have agreed they will find a way to reduce spending even more than what the House has done. Under the Missouri Constitution the Missouri General Assembly must pass a balanced budget and the budget must be delivered to the Governor for signature by May 7th. It is imperative we not only balance the budget but also deliver the budget on time under the law. Therefore, the Missouri House voted and passed the Budget and moved it into the Senate for its final phase of spending reduction analysis so we can reach a final balanced budget on time.

Sadly, House Democratic Leadership played politics with our budget and refused to join in the effort to balance the budget. They voted against all significant spending reductions and even rejected Governor Nixon’s proposed reductions in spending. We in the House made the first major rounds of spending reductions for this Budget process. We will now continue with our negotiations with the Senate for further reductions so we can balance our budget, keep our state debt low, and set a climate where we can help our economy recover.


This week I have received several phone calls, letters, and emails from Missouri citizens expressing their outrage and concern with the health care legislation President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have pushed through Congress. I want my constituents to know I’m on your side and in the House we are working hard to protect our citizens from these harmful federal mandates.

On Sunday evening, when the United States House of Representatives passed their health care bill, yielding over a thousand pages, they immediately took away our basic rights. Congress and the President have ignored the cry of the American people and they pushed their own agenda – leaving our citizens to pick up the expensive tab.

We are now required to purchase health insurance whether we want to or not. If we don’t, there will be an annual fine close to $700. Businesses are also affected by the bill. They are forced to provide insurance to all employees if their business employs over 50 people. It doesn’t stop there. The bill also provides tax payer dollars for abortions.

There is a fine line when it comes to mandates, and the federal government has crossed that line. It was difficult to watch the votes roll in the United States House of Representatives on Sunday evening. Even though no Republican voted for the bill, the Democrat majority found the votes they needed to pass it.

The federal health care bill costs approximately $940 billion, which is concerning as we face such a serious economic depression, not to mention our national debt which has shot up into the trillions. Someone has to pick up the tab, and that someone is you and me. We will be taxed through penalties if we refuse to buy health care and adhere to federal guidelines.

Among many of the taxes set forth, a couple stand out:
  1. 3.8% tax on investment income for families making over $250,000 and individuals making over $200,000 starting in 2012
  2. 40% excise tax on so-called “Cadillac” insurance plans, which are essentially high-end insurance plans

I have no direct influence over the actions of our President and Congress, but I do have a say when it comes to what we do in the Missouri House of Representatives to protect citizens from federal health care mandates. Why should the government dictate what you must and must not do – especially when it comes to your own health care insurance?

On the first day of this year’s session, we introduced the Health Care Freedom Act [HJR57] on the floor of the House and approved it for final passage in early March. Sponsored by Tim Jones, R – Eureka, it seeks to protect Missourians from health care mandates sent to us from the federal government.

The Health Care Freedom Act is a proposed constitutional amendment which gives individuals and employers the opportunity to pay directly for lawful health care services without being subject to federal penalties. It also states the purchase or sale of health care insurance in private health care systems cannot be prohibited by law or rule.

This Health Care Freedom Act is vital to the prosperity of the state of Missouri and our citizens. If it passes the Senate, it will go to a vote of the people. This means YOU will have the power to voice your support or opposition for this resolution.

Thirty-eight states have filed or intend on filing legislation to oppose the federal health care legislation, and we are hopeful you will join us in this fight. States should retain the power to regulate health care and allow their citizens the freedom to choose between health care options in the open market.

28 March 2010

Schupp: Remember to vote on April 6, Budget Focus on Education, Classes visit the Capitol

While the news of Health Care legislation reform was coming out of Washington, the Missouri House began its discussion and debate of the state budget on the House floor.   With revenues coming in far below those of last year, and projections needing to be revised, priorities are painstakingly examined and revised through the budget process.   Timed debate...with speeches and amendments from those interested and earnest about carving with care to those who wax philosophical or pander shamelessly... moves the process forward. 

Headlines that capture extreme behavior don't reflect the seriousness with which most legislators attend to the budget process.  Stakes are high.  Each of us has constituencies who care about different, often competing interests.  Each one of us votes to make the state better based on our district's values and standards.

The question of whether $500,000,000 needed to be cut from the budget was never fully agreed to or resolved.  By the end of the week, the House had cut about $225,000,000 from the budget which will be sent to the Senate for its changes.  From the Senate, the bills that make up the budget will go back through conference and eventually make their ways to the Governor's desk.  

The "middle" portion of the budget process is behind us, and few areas were left untouched.   I am certain it must be exciting to be part of the legislature when revenue is strong and debate centers on what revenue to save and what programs are introduced or expanded.  And yet, it is critical to be part of the process when times demand difficult decisions.  It is my hope that my service is making a positive difference.   

Thank you for the opportunity.



Attention:  Registered Voters!

Don't forget to get out and vote on Tuesday, April 6! The ballot will include school board and city council elections, local issues and the proposed Metro sales tax.  For more information, visit the St. Louis County Election Board's Website.

Budget News

The Budget...Focus on Education

Large individual bills fund separate areas of the budget. Because, over time and for reasons ranging from funding sources outside of general revenue and division or deletion of dollars, some line items and programs fall under budget categories other than the one that might seem logical.  One of the reasons I sat through the budget committee meetings was to become more familiar with the location of various programs throughout the whole budget,  how they are funded and how they relate to each other.  

Bills are characterized generally as follows and are assigned bill numbers. HB means House Bill. Editor's note: Some HB numbers have been corrected from the original missive.

Public Debt HB 2001
Elementary and Secondary Education HB 2002
Higher Education HB 2003
Revenue HB 2004
Transportation HB 2005
Office of Administration HB 2005
Agriculture, Natural Resources HB 2006
Economic Development HB2007
Public Safety HB2008
Corrections HB2009
Health and Mental Health HB2010
Social Services HB2011
Judiciary HB 2012
Statewide Leasing HB 2013

As you have likely read, this week about $105,000,000 was taken from funding for K-12 education.  This is an ongoing critical story worth following.  Are our schools being used as the political football when the state is operating in critical budget mode? 

Remember that the Governor's budget was sent to the House with a total of $18,000,000 additional dollars for K-12 education than was appropriated for the current budget cycle.  While this amount fell short $87,000,000 from fully funding the school foundation formula, it seemed a reasonable and cautious move as we continue to proceed in uncertain times. 

After committee appropriations hearings, the Budget Chair then took it upon himself to insert an additional $85,000,000 into K-12, fully funding the formula...good for our schools but likely unrealistic as we look toward balance.  Rumors were rampant that this was politically motivated to force democrats, who have made public schools a priority, and likewise the Governor to make the cuts in school funding to balance the budget. 

The majority ended up having to take the money back out of the budget, because the minority stood firm that all areas of the budget would need scrutiny before we went back in to cut education. 

In taking the dollars out, the majority took out the amount put in by the budget chair as well as that put in by the Governor, leaving our schools  funded at the same level as last year. 

The Senate may intervene and increase school funding for next year, but that remains to be seen. 

In the end the message is that the budget process gets used as a political tool and things are not always as they seem from one day to the next.  It is important for our schools to know where they stand for planning purposes, including the hiring and firing of staff, by far the largest portion of a district's budget.  The process is not over, and we will see how the areas of importance to you fare.

Creve Coeur Transportation Projects

Information from MODOT...Plan accordingly

Old Olive Street Road Project

Please be aware of workers within the work zones, and be alert for detours, lane closures and traffic control devices.  Reduce speed in construction zones; additional fines apply for traffic violations.

Resurfacing and re-striping 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.


Resurfacing and re-striping 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.


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.

Students Visit the Capitol

Rep. Schupp welcomed Solomon Schechter, St. Monica's and Bellerive Schools

Solomon Schechter Day School's all female 7th grade class met with Reps. Schupp (center) and Newman (right) on Tuesday on the side gallery of the House Floor.

Rep. Schupp (left) visited Tuesday with students from St. Monica's 8th Grade Class outside the House Chamber near the Rotunda.

65 Fourth graders from Bellerive Elementary took a break and posed with with Rep. Schupp (center rear) on the Capitol steps Wednesday.

Resources for a Cure

Gateway to Hope; Cleaning for a Reason serve women with cancer

Gateway to Hope arranges comprehensive treatment for uninsured and underinsured individuals in Missouri diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as those genetically at high risk for the disease, who are not eligible for state or federally funded care. Services and equipment are donated, as is care by experienced breast care specialists, to treat patients in critical need of assistance.

For more information, contact (314) 569-1113, email GTH at info{at}gthstl{dot}org or visit

Cleaning for a Reason is an organization committed to helping women with cancer clean their homes for FREE.  Cleaning for a Reason partners with certain cleaning services in your area and offers to clean your home once a month for four months.  If you or someone you know is being treated for cancer, you can visit the Cleaning for a Reason Website for more information about the application process.