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18 June 2010

Joe Smith: MoDOT has multiple night-time closures on I-70 in St. Charles County

ST. LOUIS – The Missouri Department of Transportation will have a number of night closures on Interstate 70 in St. Charles County the week of June 20-27 for road and bridge work.
Additionally, the westbound I-70 exit ramp to Fifth Street will be restricted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. All work is weather dependent. Night work includes:
  • Westbound I-70 at Mid Rivers Mall Drive, Sunday and Monday. Crews will close one lane at 8 p.m. and a second lane at 10 p.m.
  • Eastbound I-70 at Belleau Creek, Monday and Tuesday. Crews will close one lane at 8 p.m. and a second lane at 10 p.m.
  • The exit and entrance ramps from westbound I-70 to Cave Springs will be closed Monday at 10 p.m.
  • Eastbound I-70 at Mid Rivers Mall Drive, Tuesday and Wednesday. Crews will close one lane at 8 p.m. and a second lane at 10 p.m.
  • The exit and entrance ramps from Eastbound I-70 at Cave Springs will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 p.m.
  • Westbound I-70 at Belleau Creek, Wednesday and Thursday. Crews will close one lane at 8 p.m. and a second lane at 10 p.m.
All lanes and ramps will be open by 5 a.m. the morning following the closure.

Rupp: The Declining Budget and Missouri’s Future

The end of June and the beginning of July signals the transition between fiscal years for our state. I have no doubt that this particular budget transition also signals a change in the role Missouri has for its government.

We saw this change begin during the last legislative session. When the dust settled, the Senate cut almost half a billion dollars from the budget the governor submitted. Many of you may remember that the governor’s version of the budget wasn’t very nimble, because a large portion of it counted on federal funds that did not materialize, and the governor’s monetary position did not change until the budget process was well underway. Nevertheless, the Legislature found the savings and balanced the budget a full week ahead of schedule, while meeting the priorities of no new taxes, supporting education, and minimizing the impact on our citizens.

The dire revenue situation continues, despite some optimistic signs. The governor is stating that he will need to cut an additional $350 million before the next fiscal year starts on July 1. Some of this difference comes from laws that were not enacted in time to realize the savings, and there is no doubt that the Legislature will revisit these efforts the next time they convene. This brings us to the bottom line: Missouri must rethink the role our state government plays in our daily lives and reduce and eliminate government waste.

I have great experience in examining our budget issues and advocating for smaller government. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I made sure we faced budget challenges head-on, rather than burying our heads in the sand and pretending that tough decisions didn’t need to be made. As the chairman of the Social Programs group during the special “Rebooting Government” work day, I submitted several ideas for consolidating costs in the state’s largest spending division of your tax dollars, ranging from department and division consolidation reform to changing the way those employees report to work. I believe we can leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding financial savings. You can still submit your ideas to streamline government at

The Legislature will surely revisit these ideas in the months leading up to the next legislative session, as I believe the revenue situation for our state will only get worse. Even if revenue situations were to get better, we need to make state government as lean and efficient as it can be, because that’s the kind of government that ensures economic prosperity.

I will continue to advocate for a right-sized government that is fiscally responsible for you and your family.

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.

17 June 2010

Ruestman: Protecting Your Identity

One of the biggest issues facing individuals today is identity theft. A few years ago, my office produced a booklet entitled “A Privacy Survival Guide”. This week I’d like to highlight some of the key information highlighted in that booklet.

How Secure is Your Credit Report?

You should check your credit report at least once a year for inaccuracies and fraud. Federal law allows you to get a free credit report once a year by going to or by calling 877-322-8228.

If you do find an error or fraudulent activity on your report and you believe you’ve been the victim of identity theft, please take note of the following steps:
  1. Contact the three credit reporting companies at:
    • Equifax 800-685-1111
    • Experian 888-397-3742
    • TransUnion 800-888-4213
    Ask that your file be flagged with a fraud alert. Add a victim’s statement to your report and request that they contact you to verify all applications.
  2. Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently, by phone and in writing.
  3. Report the crime to your local police or sheriff’s department.
  4. If your Social Security Number has been misused, call the Social Security Administration offices to report the fraud at 800-772-1213.
Prevention is very important. One of the many ways you can prevent identity theft is by opting out of pre-approved credit card offers. With one phone call to 888-5OPTOUT you can notify all three credit bureaus that you do not want to receive pre-approved offers.

If you would like more on how to protect your identity, please contact my office. My information is provided below.

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.

Keaveny: 2010 Legislative Report On The Way

I have just put the finishing touches on my 2010 Legislative Report, and looking back on my first full legislative session, I am proud to say that we certainly made progress.

The state budget was the biggest issue this session, and despite some historic shortfalls and difficult decisions, I believe we did the best we could with what we had to work with. Next year will be an even bigger challenge, because even with some bright spots and optimism, the revenue picture still appears grim. This year’s experience will be beneficial to me as we continue to deal with the budget crisis in the future. My newsletter breaks down the state and federal budget in detail and explains how your tax dollars are spent.

This year’s session saw some of my priorities advance, including: local control of the city’s police force; modification of child support provisions; changing the laws regarding delinquent property taxes; establishing an annual veteran’s audit; new measures on campaign contributions and transparency, and autism insurance coverage. My newsletter discusses these and the other priorities I’ll be revisiting in the future, like increased seat belt fines, school attendance modifications, and payday loan reform.

My newsletter also discusses some of the many achievements of our schools, as well as the results of our mid-session survey. There is also vital information for seniors, and information on the following community events:

July 10 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Free Health Fair! Screenings & more!
Where: St. Louis Community College at Forest Park,
5600 Oakland Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110

July 21 - 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Payday loan forum.
Where: Julia Davis Branch Library,
4415 Natural Bridge, St. Louis, MO 63115-2626

Please mark your calendars for these events, and be on the lookout for my 2010 Legislative Report. It should be arriving soon in your mailboxes, or you can also look at an electronic copy at my Senate website:

Thank you for your support this session, and as always, feel free to contact me about any matter in state government at (573) 751-3599 or (866) 783-1534.

Cunningham: KMOX Interview on Health Care Freedom Act

Dear Friends - The interview with Mark Reardon on KMOX today will give you a verbal update on the progress and challenges ahead for the Health Care Freedom Act. You can hear and see the interview at If you want you can go to KMOX’s home page and access the interview under Mark Reardon’s banner two thirds of the way down on the right side of the home page -

Our statute, HB1764, that passed the legislature is headed to a vote of the people to be ratified, if you will, on August 3rd. This was a very rare move to send a statute to a vote of the people but I have learned that Missourians are angry about not having their voices heard in Washington, D.C. and this would give them/you an official opportunity to express their/your wishes. Additionally, we did an end run around the Governor because we expected him to veto the bill.

The election of the Health Care Freedom Act on August 3 will be the first referendum in the nation on Obamacare and so a lot of eyes around the country will be on Missouri. It will be Proposition C on your ballot.

Thank you for your interest in my work. The web site for the referendum is

Nodler: The Heroes of Past and Present : A Celebration of Flag Day and Father's Day

This week, we celebrate two important holidays. The 14th was the day to take time to celebrate the birthday of “Old Glory.” Then on the 20th, families will come together to honor the father figures in their lives.

Father’s Day is specifically set aside to appreciate the dads, stepdads, uncles, grandfathers, and brothers in our lives. Our fathers have set an example of what it means to truly be there, willing to offer their support and wisdom. Our fathers and father figures are the ones who show us what it is to be a good leader and a good person — our own personal heroes.

The fact that Father’s Day falls so close to Flag Day gives us the opportunity to reflect on the importance of our founding fathers—the political leaders who worked towards our country’s independence. The 55 delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention were a distinguished body of men who represented a cross section of 18th-century American leadership. Virtually every one of them had taken part in the Revolutionary War and they ranged in age from Jonathan Dayton, 26, to Benjamin Franklin, 81. These men laid the foundation for our country, and they also passed the resolution that adopted our country’s flag.

Our flag is a symbol that we respect and admire because it provides a constant reminder of the proud history of our country. The stars and stripes have inspired works of art, musical compositions, literary works, and acts of bravery. From the creation of our nations’ anthem to the raising of the flag at the battle of Iwo Jima, our flag has served as a stirring reminder of the values our country continues to represent.

This week, we have much to reflect on: the men who serve as our personal role models, the contributions of the fathers of our country, and the importance of the stars and stripes. I wish you all many happy celebrations as we mark these two important holidays.

Davis: Father's Day

Congratulations to all the graduates! This was the final kindergarten graduation for our last child. Parents know that every year in the life of a child is something to celebrate, but somehow the last one seems extra special.

Father's Day is this Sunday. Despite efforts to minimize the damage created by our embarrassing divorce rate, the overwhelming evidence still shows that children do best when raised by both a mother and a father. The older my children get, the more I appreciate the importance of honoring parents for all they do to help our children mature to adulthood. As the mother of seven children and grandmother of four by November, I can testify to the effort it takes to launch successful children. Moms can only do so much and then it takes a dad.

An article by Dr. Gerard Nadal sites statistics –given by the Pew Research Center- demonstrating the impact of growing up Fatherless. Additional sources cited in the article indicate 85% of all incarcerated youths grew up in a fatherless home and lists additional statistics that offer clear and convincing evidence that the taxpayers are picking up the tab when the dads are gone.

Many children raised successfully without a dad still had a father figure step in to make up for the missing dad. If you know a child being raised without a father, I encourage you to consider ways you can fill some of the void. If your father is still around, think of something memorable you can do to make it extra special this year.

Your thoughts are important to me, so please let me know what you think about Fathers. You can send me your opinion by clicking here: Cynthia Davis

A Little Bit of Humor… Advice From Men

Rule #1 Anything we said six or eight months ago is inadmissible in an argument. All comments become null and void after seven days.

Rule #2 If we say something that can be interpreted in two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other way.

Rule #3 It is in neither your best interest nor ours to make us take those stupid Cosmo quizzes together.

Rule #4 You can either ask us to do something OR tell us how you want it done - not both.

Rule #5 Whenever possible please say whatever you have to say during commercials or time-outs.

Rule #6 Christopher Columbus didn't need directions and neither do we.

Rule #7 When we're turning the wheel and the car is nosing onto the ramp, you saying "This is our exit" is not necessary.

16 June 2010

Nance: Pushing for Special Session on Claycomo, Autism Bill Signed, District Happenings

“I will continue to work with our manufacturers and fellow legislators to hopefully have a Special Session called so we can act to guarantee a vibrant Ford Motor Company stays and expands at the Claycomo facility.”

The Governor signed HB 1311 into law at Children’s Mercy Hospital last week. House Bill 1311 would require insurance companies to provide a maximum benefit of $40,000 for families with autistic children until age 18.

Summer is upon us and along with many activities. I presented an end of session report to the Excelsior Rotary Club and will speak to the Excelsior Springs Optimist Club on the 16th.

On June 8th, I attended the Ideal Industries board meeting. It is good to see volunteers working to make their community better.

My grandson and I are still delivering District Directories door to door.

On Tuesday the 15th, I visited the FCE meeting in Richmond to share dolls that had been passed to me during session. These dolls are then given to different agencies that work with children under stressful circumstances.

Sally and I also went to the Missouri Hospital Association meetings at the lake on Thursday and Friday.

Just a reminder, you may have unclaimed property with the State of Missouri. Go to this web site for information.

Brandom: End of Session Legislation Review and Opportunities for Missourians

As discussed in earlier columns, state revenue continues to dominate all discussions throughout Missouri. Revenue is currently 9% below the expected projection and it is anticipated it will remain at that level until the fiscal year ends on June 30th. In the mean time, we in the House remain vigilant in safeguarding Missouri’s future.

The focus of this Capitol Report will be to continue informing you of additional pieces of legislation that passed the General Assembly this past session.

Sunshine Law

The Sunshine Law requires legislative meetings to be open to the public and ensure they take place at a reasonable time, and in an accessible building that is large enough to accommodate the public.

This session the General Assembly expanded the Sunshine Law. The bill [SB851] passed requires governing bodies to provide four business days notice prior to voting on issues relating to a tax increase, eminent domain for economic development purposes, the creation of a transportation development or community improvement district, as well as the approval of a redevelopment plan that is financed with public funds. If the proper notice is not given, then a vote cannot be taken. The legislation also necessitates that the public meeting allow comments from the people.

Controlled Substance

The chemically altered drug K2 – also known as “legal pot” – was added to the list of Missouri controlled substances this legislative session. The side effects of K2 are very similar to that of marijuana making the drug a public safety concern.

K2 is advertised and sold as incense and plant food. Most buyers, many of whom are teenagers, are purchasing the substances to smoke. Inhaling K2 is dangerous and may produce a mind-altering high stronger than the effects of marijuana.

The drug is known to cause rapid heart rates, paranoia, and a loss of consciousness, along with a number of other side effects. Individuals experience different reactions to K2; some users have even reported dangerous psychotic experience after inhaling. The agreed to legislation [HB1472] would ban K2 and punish individuals who are in possession of the drug with strict penalties. If signed by Governor Nixon, Missouri will join Kansas as the first states to ban this hazardous substance.

Relaxing Bingo Restrictions

Another issue the General Assembly addressed this legislative session was relaxing bingo restrictions. Abbreviated bingo license holders are currently allowed to conduct only four games annually, but under the agreed to legislation [SB940] the number would be increased to fifteen.

Other modifications were made affecting religious, charitable, fraternal, veteran, and service organization licensees. The regularity of bingo games was increased from one day per week to two days per week. Additionally, advertising limits, presently at 2% of the total amount expected from bingo receipts, would be increased to 10% providing a greater opportunity to promote events.

Presently, bingo games cannot be operated between midnight and 10:00 a.m. This act changes that restriction so that bingo games are not to be operated between 1:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. Under these new regulations Bingo halls will have the opportunity to be open longer and more often.

Energize Missouri Appliance Rebate Program

Missouri Consumers receiving rebates under the Energize Missouri Appliance Rebate Program will collect an additional $50 for each individual appliance. The rebate program is designed to encourage Missourians to recycle old inefficient appliances and purchase new, more efficient, Energy Star qualified machines in their place. Beginning Ju1y 1, any remaining rebates will be available only through participating retailers and installation contractors. Additional information about the Energize Missouri Appliance Rebate Program is available online at and through a toll-free consumer information line at 877-541-4848 or you can contact Gregg at 573-751-5471.

Energize Missouri Homes Grant

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is currently offering 7.75 million in funding under Energize Missouri Homes to provide Missouri residents with an opportunity to improve the overall energy efficiency and quality of their homes. Eligible projects include lighting, occupancy sensors, insulation, boilers, furnaces and central air.

Under the Multi-Unit Residential Retrofits Program, the department will award $4 million in grant funds for energy efficiency projects in residential buildings with 10 or more units. Eligible projects include lighting, occupancy sensors, insulation, boilers, furnaces and central air. Projects will occur in residential units and shared spaces to benefit both the residents and the building users. Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to, building cooperatives, condominium associations, university housing associations, nonprofit organizations and limited liability corporations or companies.

Applications must be submitted to the department by July 9, 2010. Application documents are available on the department’s web site at: For more information on the programs, call 1-877-610-0834 or Gregg at 573-751-5471.

14 June 2010

Ruestman: Newton County Avoids Costly State Mandates

State Representative Marilyn Ruestman (R-Newton) is pleased to announce that Newton
County will remain a county of the second classification.

Her office has received official word from the State Auditor that due to House Bill 1806, passed this year, Newton County will no longer be required to move to the first classification status. Moving into the mandated higher classification offers little to no benefit for Newton County, but would force many unfunded and unneeded obligations on the county.

Representative Ruestman offers the following statement: “In this period of economic
downturn, this allows the county to continue to prosper and align itself for upward
movement in the future.”