Yet unfinished this session are efforts to address DWI issues, the needs of families with a child diagnosed with autism, true ethics reform and longer term balanced budget opportunities.
Your emails, letters and calls all make a difference as I carefully consider each vote on the floor. As you might imagine, bills are not always what they seem. I continue to work to unravel the meaning: the short and long term consequences of legislation, as I cast my vote on our behalf.
Thank you for your valued input and the opportunity to serve.
Call it what you will, but so called "Ethics Legislation" [SB844] was rushed through two committees all on Thursday morning where rules were suspended so this sham legislation could be brought to the House floor that very day. This was NOT the ethics legislation that had been reviewed and crafted through a bi-partisan committee that was working toward good government policy.
Under the guise of "debate," majority party members "inquired" of minority members to provide the appearance of debate. However, the process was designed to mock and block the minority from having opportunity to even attempt to salvage ethics reform. Those of us allowed to speak only by being inquired of, could not offer any amendments or motions.
This legislation was also filled with non-ethics-related provisions designed to keep every democrat from being able to vote for it.
Within this legislation, the power of the Governor to fill a statewide vacancy for the remainder of an official's term is removed. Instead, a special election would have to be held prior to the next scheduled election. There are many who believe this legislation has been added in to force an early and additional election motivated by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's bid for the U.S. Senate.
This bill requires voters to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls.
It mandates drug-testing for statewide officials and members of the General Assembly every two years, which has already been ruled unconstitutional in other states.
It allows the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House and President Pro Tem of the Senate to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the state when they believe citizens constitutional rights are being violated. Should this pass through the process, it would give Lt. Governor Peter Kinder the state's backing (through your tax dollars) to sue the Federal Government to keep Missouri from being mandated to participate in Federal Healthcare Legislation.
And, the most egregious piece of all is that the legislation proposes a donor campaign contribution limit of $20,000 per candidate...and the way it is written, does not apply to State Representatives or Senators...not exactly Ethics Reform!
I believe the Speaker Pro Tem's characterization of the legislation as "the most comprehensive and sweeping ethics bill in the universe", gives you a sense of what a sham and inappropriate use of the people's time and resources this has been. It would be a genuine surprise if this moved forward in the Senate.
Medicare Part DFrom the Medicare Rights Center
Forwarded by Richard and Betty Roderick, in-district volunteer Representative Assistants
CMS Outlines Doughnut Hole Discount Program
People with Medicare who hit the coverage gap or "doughnut hole" in the Medicare drug benefit next year will receive a 50 percent discount at the pharmacy-without having to send in receipts or request a refund-according to draft guidance implementing the recently passed health reform law.
The guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also state that the insurance companies offering Part D plans will inform pharmacies through their electronic claims systems when consumers are eligible for the discount, although the discounts will come from drug manufacturers.
State pharmaceutical assistance programs (SPAP) that provide coverage through the doughnut hole will also benefit from the discounts, while consumers enrolled in these programs will continue to pay the copays charged by their SPAP. Consumers enrolled in Part D plans offered by their employers, which often provide coverage through the doughnut hole, will not be eligible for the discount, according to CMS's proposed guidance.
Green Tip of the WeekBy Jenna Scavuzzo
Don't Forget the Cord
In this day and age we are attached to our cell phones. We take them everywhere and are always talking or texting someone. So what about the home phones that only get used once in a blue moon? Did you know that those cordless phones that are sitting around your house are using up energy? Since they are sitting in a charger all day, everyday, they are using energy 24/7. In order to save energy and overcome this problem is to plug in those old fashion corded phones again.
By switching out a cordless phone for a old fashion conventional phone you are going to be saving over half the energy that a cordless phone would lose. A cordless phone uses between 2 and 3 watts when in standby and when in use.
More than 60% of the energy used by cordless phones is used when they are sitting in their chargers not being used. This number is also probably constantly rising because we are relying on our cell phones more and more.
So recycle that cordless phone and if you need a house phone use the old fashion corded phones. Energy-star rated ones will help you save the most. Doing this will help you save energy throughout your house. Meantime, but don't forget to unplug your charger for the cell phone when you are not using it!
For Veterans: Thank You Opportunities
Last week, World War II Veterans honored our State Legislators by visiting us at the Capitol. We stood proudly to welcome them and, in an unprecedented move, were allowed to offer them our seats on the House Floor temporarily as we took time to remember their service.
The program that brought this diverse array of our State's service men and women is the Central Missouri Honor Flight program.
Its mission is to honor Veterans by transporting them to Washington D.C. to visit the WWII memorial that commemorates their service.
Central Missouri Honor Flight also sponsors and organizes special events to provide others the chance to express their gratitude to the men and women who serve our country.
If you are a Veteran or know someone who is a Veteran interested in visiting the memorials in our nation's capitol, there is an opportunity to apply. Click Veteran Application to apply for this special opportunity.
I would like to express my gratitude to the men and women who serve this country. I know that you will take the time to thank the Veterans in your area.