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01 July 2010

MO Expat: New Twitter Feed

After a couple hours of re-tooling Twitterfeed, I'm pleased to announce that I have established a new Twitter feed devoted to alerting followers when the latest missives are posted.

Twitter users like yours truly can now follow MissivesFromMO to get the latest weekly reports & news releases from your elected representatives. And whenever I post something on The Missouri Expatriate, you'll find out this way too.

Thank you for visiting Missives from Missouri, whether you're a Jeff City junkie or concerned citizen Googling legislation pertinent to your everyday life.

Rupp: The Community Celebrates Our Country’s Independence

We are fortunate to live in the greatest country on the planet. Every year, Americans get together to celebrate the fact that we are a nation founded upon freedom and liberty. We are blessed to be a part of the United States of America – the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The 2nd Senatorial District of Missouri is right in the middle of this great country, and our district knows how to throw a great party in celebration of our independence. While there are many options this Fourth of July weekend, here are the details about some of the free celebrations in our area:

St. Charles – Riverfest: July 3 - July 4, Frontier Park, 500 S. Riverside Dr.
This Independence Day celebration includes fireworks, live music, a parade, and much more. For more information call 1-800-366-2427 or visit

O’Fallon – Heritage & Freedom Fest: July 3: Noon -11 p.m., July 4: Noon - 10 p.m., 900 TR Hughes Blvd.
Activities include a parade, fireworks, booths, music, a midway and carnival, entertainers, kids' activities and much more. The parade is on Saturday, July 3 at 9:30 a.m. For more information call 636-379-5614 or visit

Winfield – Old Tyme July Fourth Celebration: July 2, 6 p.m. - 11 p.m.; July 3 and July 4, Noon - 11 p.m. at the Winfield Fairgrounds. Carnival rides, a magician, karaoke and more. Visit for more information.

Elsberry – Old Glory Jubilee/Picnic in the Park: July 3, at the City Park. The parade begins at 9:00 a.m. at Elsberry High School. Visit the events section of for more information.

Lake St. Louis – Fireworks display: The Chamber Ambassadors will have a fireworks display on the spillway around dusk on July 4. Contact the Chamber at (636) 699-0045 for more information.

Wentzville – Parks and Recreation Fourth of July Celebration: Noon to 9:30 p.m. at Progress Park, 968 Meyer Rd. Visit for more information.

I look forward to seeing you out in the community, and I look forward to seeing the spectacular fireworks displays that make these events so popular. I also look forward to the food!

If you have any questions or comments about this week’s column or any other matter involving state government, please do not hesitate to contact me. You can reach my office by phone at (866) 271-2844.

Nodler: Returning for a Special Session

The Legislature returned to the Capitol this week for a special session called by the governor. While not entirely uncommon, there have been only seven extraordinary sessions called over the past 15 years. Historically, these are occasions when the General Assembly did not address a timely issue during the regular session, ran out of time to debate a particular issue, or needed to correct language in a bill. A special session can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, and there have been times when the Legislature has been called back for additional special sessions after not completing the work the governor has asked them to do.

One aspect of a special session that is very different from the regular session is that the Legislature is restricted by the “call” issued by the governor. Constitutionally, the General Assembly is only able to address issues specifically referenced in the proclamation issued by the governor. In fact, in 1922, legislation passed by the Legislature was ruled unconstitutional after it was decided the bill went outside of the scope of the governor’s call.

On June 18th, Gov. Nixon issued the call for a special session and asked us to address two issues. The first is an incentive package designed to give tax breaks to certain automotive manufacturers in the state. Specifically, the bill [HB2] addresses the Ford plant in Claycomo that employs nearly 4,000 workers. Ford is finalizing decisions about restructuring operations and locating production lines, and many are hoping that the company will chose Missouri if these tax breaks are available. However, Ford announced plans to stop making the Ford Escape in Missouri by the end of next year, and has given no indication that tax breaks would change their course. In fact, Ford did not even testify in favor of the bill when it was in committee. The incentive package does not come without a cost, so the governor has also asked us to consider a cost-saving plan that would reform the state’s pension system for new employees. The legislation [SB1] would change retirement eligibility for future state employees and require them to contribute 4 percent of their salary to the state retirement plan.

Both of these bills were first considered during the regular legislative session, and I voted “no” on both pieces of legislation. My opinion on these proposals has not changed, and I will not support either measure during the special session. Initially, many hoped the special session would move quickly, but more recent events have stalled the progress of the legislation. I will continue to keep you up-to-date on our continuing work in Jefferson City.

Schaefer: New Audio Clip Discussing Stronger DWI Laws

Jefferson City – State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, recently added a new audio clip to his multimedia page located on his Missouri Senate website. This page features broadcast-quality audio and video links for visitors to watch and listen to Sen. Schaefer address issues that are important to him and the citizens of the 19th Senatorial District.

The new audio clip on his page features Sen. Schaefer discussing House Bill 1695, the DWI bill the senator handled in the Missouri Senate. The measure was signed into law on June 2 and will take effect on August 28, 2010.

Senator Schaefer will continue to add audio and video clips periodically throughout the remainder of the year. To view Sen. Schaefer’s multimedia page, visit

Davis: Independence Day

Last week Missouri's U.S. Congressman, Todd Akin, hosted his 13th Independence Day Celebration at his home.  Some of the more notable guests were dressed in old fashioned costumes reminiscent of yesteryear.  This is likely the last time he will host this annual event because he is moving and will have a much smaller yard!

Some one seemed to think I resemble Dolly Madison. OK, so not quite, but I do love my country as she did.

Many attendees dressed in period costumes. There was plenty of fun, food and good company.

Here I am with Doug Edelman, political blog commentator and owner of Edelman Computer Services.

Chris Brown is president of the Missouri Republican Assembly.

John White, the 7th District Councilman from the St. Charles County Council, looked so authentic in his "Blue Coat" costume!

Let me introduce you to U.S. Representative Todd Akin's mother.

You can find me this weekend at the O'Fallon parade on Saturday and the Wentzville parade on Sunday. For information regarding the O'Fallon parade, click here: Heritage and Freedom Fest, and if you want information for the July 4, Wentzville parade link here:  Wentzville Calendar Event

FYI: The MO House is in the middle of its special session. I will have more to discuss after we know what bills have passed. 

A Little Bit of Humor . . .

72 WHAT?

When Osama bin Laden died, George Washington met him at the Pearly Gates, slapped him across the face and yelled, "How dare you try to destroy the nation I helped conceive?"

Patrick Henry approached, punched him in the nose and shouted, "You wanted to end our liberties but you failed."

James Madison followed, kicked him in the groin and said, "This is why I allowed our government to provide for the common defense!"

Thomas Jefferson was next, he beat Osama with a long cane and snarled, "It was evil men like you who inspired me to write the Declaration of Independence."

The beatings and thrashings continued as George Mason, James Monroe and 66 other early Americans unleashed their anger on the terrorist leader. As Osama lay bleeding and in pain, an angel appeared. Bin Laden wept and said, "This is not what you promised me."

The angel replied, "I told you there would be 72 Virginians, not virgins, waiting for you in Heaven!"

30 June 2010

Stouffer: Governor Calls Special Session: Pension Reforms & Tax Credits for Ford

Every few years, Missouri lawmakers get the call from the governor to come back to Jefferson City to resolve unfinished business. This is one of those years.

Members of the General Assembly made the trip back to the Capitol on June 24 to debate two items: tax incentives for certain automotive manufacturers and state employee pensions. The original bills, considered during the regular session, are not the same measures we will consider this special legislative session. Basically, we start over on these measures during the extraordinary, or special, session.

The tax incentives measure specifically targets the Ford Motor Company plant in Claycomo. Proponents say creating tax incentives for Ford to keep its Claycomo plant going is bigger than preserving the 3,700 jobs there. It is about building the next generation of vehicles, which Ford can do with some renovations to their Claycomo plant. It is also about all the folks throughout Missouri who work for parts places and other businesses that depend on Ford keeping its operations alive in this state. This includes several businesses and employees in my Senate district. Many believe these are the kinds of public-private partnerships that will lead Missouri into new prosperity that is much-needed right now. Others worry this is Missouri's version of an auto bailout and more government intrusion into the private sector.

Paying for the incentives for Ford would come from making changes to the state employee retirement and pension systems. Missouri is one of only a few entities in the country with a "defined benefit" plan. Most companies and states have "defined contribution" plans. Existing state employees would not be affected. A new plan would start on January 1, 2011, making changes to state employee pensions and saving the state millions of dollars for years to come. But, I want to stress, the pension bill does not include teachers or current state employees. It did not during the regular session and it will not during our special session.

Some folks have concerns about the cost of a special session. It costs approximately $100,000 a day to hold session in Jefferson City. We recognize this, which is why this special session is so short. Plus, all lawmakers are not scheduled to be at the Capitol for the duration. Essentially, the House will meet for a couple of days and the Senate will meet for a couple of days. Part of the special session is reserved for a technical session, which does not mandate everyone be in attendance. This cuts back on the number of staffers who have to be in the office and also keeps lawmakers' per diem (the amount of money they receive each day during session) as low as possible.

The scope of the special session is restricted to just these two items, which means nobody can introduce legislation or debate items that are not related to state pensions or tax incentives for automobile manufacturers.

A special session is a rare occurrence, and is only done when pressing issues have to be addressed after the General Assembly adjourns in May. My hope is we do the work of the people and, no matter what we decide, make the best use of the taxpayers' money for folks throughout the state.

Nance: Update on Special Session

The Missouri House gave approval Wednesday to a revised version of the Manufacturing Jobs Act as well as legislation that overhauls the state employee pension system.

The Manufacturing Jobs Act, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nolte, R-Gladstone, would provide incentives for automotive and transportation manufacturing companies and suppliers who create and retain Missouri jobs. The bill would provide up to $15 million per year in incentives for manufacturers who invest in a new product line and is designed to help retain 3,700 jobs provided by the Ford Motor Company plant located in Claycomo.

An amendment added to the bill by Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, would extend the Homestead Preservation tax credit, which is set to expire this year.

Another provision of the bill added in committee would provide incentives aimed at luring data centers to locate in Missouri.

The version of the bill adopted by the House would pay for the incentives by taking unused funds from the Quality Jobs tax credit program. Proponents say the change severs the link between the Manufacturing Jobs Act and the pension overhaul that was intended to offset the costs of the incentives.

The House also approved the pension overhaul bill after adding several amendments. Sponsored by Rep. Jim Viebrock, R-Republic, HB 1 would require new state employees to contribute 4 percent of their pay toward their pension plans and increase the minimum retirement age.

The bill also contained a provision that required new state employees to be employed with the state for 10 years before qualifying for their pension. House members adopted an amendment offered Rep. Jeanne Kirkton, D-Webster Groves, to reject the change and keep the current five year requirement.

The House passed the Manufacturing Jobs Act (HB 2) by a vote of 125-19. The pension overhaul (HB 1) passed by a vote of 92-54. Both bills now move to the Senate for consideration.

Above summary provided by House Media Center.

Brandom: The Fourth of July

Traditionally on the Fourth of July we celebrate the birth of our nation out of the American Revolution. Parades, fireworks, bonfires, and games all help remind us of
how this day is extraordinarily special. As the fourth nears, it is important for us set aside time to reflect on the origin of our country and the many sacrifices made to make America great.

The American Revolution began on April 19, 1775, with the battles of Lexington and Concord. It was at Lexington that the “shot heard around the world” was fired as less than 100 minutemen, under the command of Captain John Parker, defiantly challenged approximately 700 British troops.

Over a year later, on June 7, 1776, a delegate from Virginia, Richard Henry Lee, offered a resolution announcing, “These United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent States.” The Continental Congress then appointed members to a committee of five so a declaration reflecting Lee’s resolution, while stating the colonists’ justification for independence, could be drafted.

On July 2, 1776, Lee’s resolution calling for independence was adopted. Over the course of the next two days, Congress modified the declaration draft that came out of the committee of five. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress gave approval to the final draft of the Declaration of Independence.

In a letter home to his wife, John Adams wrote that the day congress declared independence would be remembered as an important time in American history. He noted the day should be, “…celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival,” and that, “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to
the other, from this time forward forever more.”

Just as John Adams predicted, we observe America’s independence from England each year with ample celebration and calm reflection. We remember the courage and fortitude displayed by our founders as they forged a new nation on principles and natural law, the sacrifices made by the members of our armed forces from the American Revolution to our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the God
who has mercifully blessed our nation from its inception.

The Fourth of July has always served as a special opportunity to reflect on the beginning of our nation and the many sacrifices made over the years which make
America great. I would like to thank each of you for preserving the American spirit and continuing our great tradition.

May God bless you, your family and the United States of America.

29 June 2010

Tim Jones: Special Session Underway, Fourth of July Remarks, Stepping Up To Help The Gulf

Heat and heavy humidity have finally exhaled and given way to slightly cooler breezes this week as we find ourselves moving gently through the summer months and towards an always patriotic July 4th weekend.  It is hard to believe that the 2nd Regular Session of the 95th General Assembly ended over six weeks ago and yet we now find ourselves right back at the Capitol this week pursuant to the Governor's call for an Extraordinary Special Session to address two legislative items:  economic development/job creation and public employee pension reform.  Until this week I was busily attempting to keep up with the excitement and mayhem of the two little daughters who grace our home, practicing full time at my law firm, DosterUllom, and attending events in the District and across the State.  Even without a "Special Session" I typically make a trip once a month or so to Jefferson City to attend to business during the "Interim Session".  In between visits, my hard working assistant, Jody, continues to staff our office and is always available if you need our assistance.  I also continue to "remotely" monitor e-mail and voice mail so if you do need any assistance, please know I remain available and ready to serve!  In the meantime, I wish you and your families a very safe and fun Independence Day weekend and please do say "hello" if you see me "around town"…

"The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time." --Thomas Jefferson

"Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time; that in our time we did everything that could be done.  We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith." –Ronald Reagan

Extraordinary "Special" Session

As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, we are in the midst of an extraordinary or "special" session.  The Governor issued the official call for the session a few weeks ago and the House and Senate convened last week and began conducting the necessary "technical" and procedural days to bring the two legislative items to the Floors of their respective Chambers.  Today, Tuesday, June 29, 2010 we held debate on the House Floor relating to a bill [HB2] for economic development and job creation and a separate bill [HB1] relating to public employee pension reform.  Because we are in the middle of this Special Session and the outcome is not yet clear, I will wait until the bills move further along in the process before discussing them in fuller detail.  Stay tuned!

We Stand Together, From Sea to Shining Sea

Most importantly this coming week is the fact that on the 4th of July we will once again celebrate the birth of our great nation.  It is a celebration of liberty and independence.  It is a vital reminder of the red white and blue and of the thousands upon thousands who have died in the name of the freedoms we all enjoy every day.

The birth of our nation has an unforgettable history and has sparked traditional celebrations that have continued for hundreds of years.

It all started in 1776, on July 2nd, when the United States of America "officially" separated from Great Britain.  Congress then focused on the Declaration of Independence, primarily authored by Thomas Jefferson, which was fully agreed upon on July 4th of that year.  Around this time, John Adams had written to his wife, Abigail, that it would be the most memorable epoch in the history of America.  He thought that it should be, "…celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival," and that, "It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

John Adams' instructions match our 4th of July traditions almost exactly.  As you know, many of our cities in and around St. Louis observe the 4th of July holiday by holding parades, barbecues, various fairs and festivals and of course, culminating the evening in grand fireworks displays.

From the annual and glorious Boston Pops performance, to the fireworks illuminating the St. Louis sky over the Arch and the burly waters of the muddy Mississippi, to the red, white and blue celebration at Mount Rushmore, we honor our country in many dignified and fantastic ways. As millions of us gather from sea to shining sea, we stand together – not as Republicans, not as Democrats – but as Americans.  It is my hope that we continue these traditions, from generation to generation, just as John Adams instructed in his letter.  May we always stand together in the name of our great country.

May God bless you, bless your family and may God bless the United States of America.

Stand Up & Be Counted!

Currently, Missouri is represented by nine members in Congress.  The U.S. Constitution requires the federal government to conduct a census every ten years for the purpose of apportioning the 435 delegates nationwide to the body.  This is a process that has occurred every ten years since 1790.  So far, only 78% of Pettis County households have returned their census forms.  The percentage in Saline County and Lafayette County are 70% and 74% respectively.

There is a realistic concern that Missouri might lose a seat in Congress.  Of the five states that are closest to the next lower number of members in Congress based upon predictions made by POLIDATA Demographic & Political Guides, Missouri has the smallest number that would result in the loss of a seat.  Said in another way, if Missouri's final count is off by as little as 10,000 people, our Congressional delegation will shrink from 9 to 8 members.  This information may be viewed on the web at If Missouri loses a seat in Congress, we will collectively lose influence in our nation's Capitol and also lose some of our influence in the presidential selection process.  States like California and Texas are expected to be the big winners.

There are other ramifications to an undercount of people in our community.  Other political subdivisions including the Missouri General Assembly use this same data for reapportionment.  The numerous public service announcements over the last several months have informed us that the census data is used for a variety of purposes by the federal government as well as state and local governments.  In fact, over $400 billion in federal assistance funds for our state and local governments – used to support our roads, schools and hospitals – are allocated according to census data. There is an indication that the rural areas in our state are underperforming as compared to the metropolitan areas.  If outstate Missouri is not fully counted, we in rural Missouri can lose representation in the Missouri legislature to our big city brothers and sisters.

Over the next few weeks, census workers will be placing phone calls and going to the residences of citizens who have not yet returned their forms; please do your best to provide them with the required information.  Under Title 13 of the United States Code, all of the information you provide is strictly confidential and the Census Bureau may not sell or give away your address to people who may want to send you mail.  However, if you are concerned about the credentials of anyone claiming to be a census worker, you may call (800) 923-8282 or your local census office in Kansas City at (816) 977-2100, Odessa at (816) 565-4031, Columbia at (573) 818-3310 or Springfield at (417) 520-2510.

If you have not received your Census form, you should call 1-866-872-6868 or the Odessa Census Office at (816) 565-4054.  I urge you to do this today.  An undercount of less than two-tenths of our population will result in a loss of a member of Congress in our state.  An accurate count includes your household.

As Tragedy Strikes in the Gulf, We Must Step Up to Help

This summer, we have not been able to turn on the television or radio without seeing and hearing more devastating reports about the oil spill in the Gulf.  Innocent lives have been lost, wildlife is suffering and the economic livelihood of the Gulf states is in deep jeopardy.

Even though many of us feel like there is nothing we can do to stop the damage, WE can help those in need.  While the federal government continues to bumble and stumble its way clumsily through this crisis, great leaders like Governor Jindal and Governor Barbour continue to rally the spirits of the citizens of their States and take specific actions to solve the challenges presented by this crisis.  We have seen the ineptitude of the federal government on full display and it has once again been confirmed that it is we, the people, who can best help our fellow Americans.  I encourage all of you to step up and do what you can to help those who need us the most.  Several websites are accepting donations to aid the people and wildlife of the affected region such as the following:If you are not able to give financially, please do continue to keep the families of the Gulf region in your daily prayers.

Visiting the Capitol

If you ever find yourself in or around Jefferson City at any time during the year, please feel free to visit us.  Stop by Room 114A and, even during the interim session, Jody will be happy to meet and greet you!

Personal News & Notes

Being "out of Session" has definitely not resulted in life slowing down much at all.  Working almost daily at the law firm, keeping up with constituent services and attending different events in and around the District have kept me more than occupied during the Interim Session.  I continue to owe a huge debt of gratitude to my wife, Suzanne, whose daily sacrifices enable me to continue to serve my constituents and to continue to work towards my vision and goal of making Missouri a better place to live, work and raise a family.  My two daughters, Katie and Abby are a constant reminder of why I have chosen public service as part of my career and that there are future generations and a "greater good" that we are all striving for when we "set to the task" each year in Jefferson City.  Please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can ever be of any assistance and have a wonderful July 4th weekend!

Until our next update, I am, and remain, in your service.

Nance Receives Child Advocacy Award

Representative Bob Nance has received the Child Advocacy Award for 2010 from “Citizens for Missouri’s Children”. Citizens for Missouri’s Children (CMC), a nonprofit, non-partisan, public interest organization that advocates for the rights and well-being of all Missouri’s children, Scott Gee Executive Director, presented the award for Nance’s sponsorship of SB 583 which requires Social Services to provide to all children on the “Free Lunch Program’ in schools and daycares with information about the MoHEALTHNET (S-CHIP) program. These uninsured children may qualify for health insurance coverage under SCHIP.

“I am honored to receive this award. There are 80,000 kids that qualify for this coverage and this bill will help them get the healthcare they need” said Nance.

Joe Smith: Don't Lose Your Independence This July 4th

You Drink and Drive. You Lose.

JEFFERSON CITY - Independence Day is fun for everyone to celebrate, but if you take it too far and drive impaired, you'll be risking your own independence, reminds the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. Besides the real possibility of ending up in jail, impaired drivers risk injuring or killing themselves and anyone else on the road.

"The July Fourth holiday is an opportunity to celebrate this country and the freedom we Americans have," said Colonel Ronald K. Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "But, remember to include safety in your plans. If your celebration includes travel, please be a courteous driver and obey all traffic laws. If your celebration includes alcohol, don't drive."

Last year's traffic-related statistics during the Independence holiday underscore the importance of driving safely. In 2009 in Missouri during the July 4th  holiday period (6 p.m. July 2nd through Midnight July 5th) there were a total of 11 traffic-related fatalities, 82 serious injuries and 402 minor injuries. Impaired driving was involved in 3 fatalities, 15 disabling injuries and 36 minor injuries.

"Too many people still fail to understand that alcohol and driving don't mix. Impaired driving is no accident—nor is it a victimless crime," said Leanna Depue, chair of the coalition's executive committee. "It's vitally important that we bring this tragic situation to an end."

Over the 4th of July, Missouri will try to avoid many of these fatalities and injuries with a statewide sobriety checkpoint (July 2-5). And during the rest of the summer, Missouri law enforcement is doing its best to crack down on repeat alcohol offenders, speeders, texters and those driving without their seat belts during "The HEAT is On" Campaign, which began June 21 and runs through Sept. 21. The campaign includes educational public service announcements, as well as increased highway patrolling from High Enforcement Action Teams.

Much of the tragedy from drunk driving can be prevented with a few simple precautions before going out to celebrate:
  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
  • Before drinking, please designate a sober driver and give that person your keys;
  • If you're impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely;
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement;
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
"Driving impaired is simply not worth the risk," Depue says. "The consequences are serious and real. Not only do motorists risk killing themselves or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be significant."

Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver's license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses.

"It's obvious to recognize someone who's had way too much to drink to drive safely, but even one drink can make you a threat to yourself and others on the road," Depue says. "Remember to follow all signs, drive sober and buckle up."

Don't let this Fourth of July blow up in your face. Remember, You Drink and Drive. You Lose. Arrive Alive. For more information, please visit

Ruestman: Summary of Special Session

Many of you may have heard that the governor has called a special session.  According to our state constitution, the governor has the power to call the legislature back into session when there is an immediate or pressing need to be handled.  This year, our governor has decided that there are two issues of just such importance.

House Bill 1 of the extraordinary session makes several changes to the Missouri State Employees' Retirement System (MOSERS).  The changes include:
  • Allowing the state auditor to audit any retirement system established by the state or other political subdivision;
  • For new state employees after January 1, 2011, retirement eligibility will be age 67 with 10 years of service; or, at least 55 years of age with the sum of their age and service equaling 90 (it is currently "80 and out"); and,
  • New state employees must contribute at least 4% of their pay into the system.
The second bill, House Bill 2, known as the "Manufacturing Jobs Act" provides incentives for qualified manufacturing companies.  To be eligible for the tax credit a business must manufacture goods at a facility in Missouri.  Additionally, the following stipulations must be met:
  • The company must, "make a capital investment of at least $75,000 per retained job at the facility for the manufacture of a new product within two years…";
  • The company must manufacture a new product or currently be making capital improvements to a facility to manufacture a new product;
  • The company must continue to make these goods for the period in which it receives the benefits of the program.
I am currently deciding the merits of these bills and listening to concerns brought forth from both sides of these issues.  I always appreciate the input I receive from my constituents.

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.

28 June 2010

Joe Smith: First Drunk Driving Victim Memorial Sign Installed on I-270

Drunk Driving Memorial Signs Now Available under David's Law

JEFFERSON CITY – Twenty-six years after David's Poenicke's death due to an impaired driver, a sign was installed today on Interstate 270 in Florissant in his honor. The drunk-driving victim memorial sign is the first to be installed under the new "David's Law," legislation named after Poenicke that allows families of drunk-driving victims to request memorial signs.

"Impaired driving continues to be a problem among motorists, many of whom don't realize how little of a substance it actually takes to affect driving skills and put themselves and others at risk," says Leanna Depue, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation's Highway Safety Division. "Hopefully these new signs will help to bring extra attention to this issue and get people to think twice before driving impaired."

Poenicke's sister, Gail Rehme, was a leading force in getting legislation passed in the hopes that memorializing drunk driving victims like her brother will also help save lives. Representative Bill Deeken of Jefferson City sponsored the bill.

The blue memorial signs read "Drunk Driving Victim" and include the person's initials and the month and year they were killed. At the bottom it reads "Think About It." The signs can be requested and paid for by the family of a drunk-driving victim.

Poenicke was 19 when he was killed on his way home from a Cardinals baseball game. He pulled his motorcycle over to the shoulder of I-270 when a passing car struck him and his motorcycle. The driver had a blood alcohol level of 0.14 and was charged with manslaughter and vehicular injury.

Applications for the memorial signs are available on MoDOT's website at

In 2009, 280 people were killed, 1,140 seriously injured and 3,719 received minor injuries in crashes involving an impaired driver. Besides the heartbreak to a victim's family and friends, there are some legal consequences of impaired driving to consider:
  • If you cause a fatal crash while intoxicated, you can be charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony resulting in up to seven years of jail time, a $5,000 fine or both.
  • Your license can be suspended for 90 days on your first conviction. You could be fined up to $500 and spend up to 6 months in jail.
  • A second conviction results in a yearlong revocation of your license. You could be fined up to $1,000 and spend up to one year in jail.
  • Any person guilty of a second or subsequent intoxication-related traffic offense will be required to install an ignition interlock device on their car before reinstating driving privileges.
  • Insurance coverage will be difficult to find and your rates will be significantly higher.

Keaveny: New Senior Citizen Assistance Flier

When I was young, one of the most important lessons I was taught was to respect my elders. I believe our state does a great job providing respect and assistance to our senior citizens, and I have recently released a flyer that provides helpful information on where senior citizens can find assistance.

The Senior Citizen Assistance flier contains many of the phone numbers for contacts that would be helpful for our area seniors on one convenient document. These programs range from efforts that help seniors continue to live as independently as possible, to how to get meals delivered, transportation options, and information regarding nursing home placement and rights for nursing home residents.

I've highlighted some of the bills from the past session that the Legislature worked on that could affect seniors, should the governor sign them into law. I also include information about the 2010 Medicare budget, because it's important for our seniors to know that despite the historic budget shortfall, there were no cuts made to the Medicaid Program pertaining to income eligibility and services. In fact, a critical component, the MoRX Plan, remains fully funded at $19.5 million.

MoRX helps seniors by paying 50 percent of out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions covered by Medicare Part D. This means that seniors can save half of their deductible and co-pays just by enrolling in the program. I encourage any senior who might benefit from the MoRX program to contact the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging at (800) 243-6060 to find out more.

My new Senior Citizen Assistance flier will be in select mailboxes soon, and can also be found on my website at Please feel free to print it out or email it to a senior that would benefit from this helpful information.

Senator Gary Nodler Supports Upholding of Second Amendment Rights in Supreme Court Case

McDonald v. Chicago Verdict Supports Right to Bear Arms Throughout the Nation

Jefferson City — Senator Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, today voiced his support for the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court affecting gun rights throughout the nation.  The Supreme Court ruling, announced today, extends the federally protected right to keep and bear arms to all 50 states. Senator Nodler signed on to the amicus curiae, (friend of the court) brief filed in McDonald v. Chicagoas a supporter of gun rights in all levels of government.

The case addressed the City of Chicago's gun laws, which are some of the most restrictive in the country.  The city was sued on the grounds that these local regulations violate the Second Amendment.  Senator Nodler said this verdict by the court overturning Chicago's ban on handguns upholds gun rights throughout the country.

"I am pleased that the court ruled in favor of Second Amendment rights, solidifying that no state or municipality can take away a citizen's right to bear arms," said Sen. Nodler. "This is a fundamental right that should not be infringed upon by any governing body."

Two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.'s ban on handguns, but the ruling did not apply to cases outside of Washington D.C.  McDonald v. Chicago sets precedent for laws throughout the nation.

In 2003, Sen. Nodler supported the Missouri Legislature's passage of a concealed and carry law, giving Missourians the ability to obtain a right-to-carry license and carry concealed handguns.

"In Missouri, I am proud of the work we have accomplished to protect Missourians' Second Amendment rights and ensure that citizens are able to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their homes," said Sen. Nodler. "When I signed on to support this brief in 2009, my intentions were to uphold this legacy of protecting and supporting the rights of gun owners throughout the country."

To hear audio of Sen. Nodler discussing the Supreme Court's ruling, click here: