Weather-Related Disclaimer: missives from legislators concerning road conditions, although timely and important, should be considered snapspots in time. For the most recent travel information, please consult MoDOT's Web site at

except when the post starts "MO Expat", all content published on Missives from Missouri is written and supplied by the noted legislator. Said missives will not necessarily reflect the views of Kyle Hill, the operator of Missives from Missouri, and as such the operator does not assume responsibility for its content. More information
Share this missive:

09 July 2010

Rupp: Pro-Life Legislation Languishes on Governor’s Desk

This past legislative session, we didn't waste a second when it came to blocking the federal government's plan to use your taxpayer dollars to fund abortions.

The day after Congress passed their health care bill, I was testifying before a Missouri Senate Committee on my legislation, Senate Bill 747, which would prohibit any health insurance exchanges in Missouri, including federally mandated insurance exchanges, from allowing abortions using taxpayer dollars.

Language from SB 747 was eventually added into Senate Bill 793, a bill I co-sponsored that modifies several provisions relating to abortion. If enacted, SB 793 requires a woman seeking an abortion to review printed material detailing the risks of the procedure to the mother and child, including photos that detail the child's life at two-week intervals. It also would give the mother the opportunity to hear the unborn child's heartbeat and view an ultrasound, all within 24 hours of the procedure.

In addition to written, informed consent, SB 793 would require the physician to explain alternative options and provide access to numerous counseling resources. Plus, it makes sure that the mother is reminded of the father's financial responsibility to take care of the child.

Despite our swift reaction to the federal attempts to circumvent our state's long-standing desire to reject using taxpayer dollars to fund abortions, the governor is now dragging his feet when it comes to the will of the people. Senate Bill 793 sits on his desk waiting to be signed into law, and waiting to be the saving factor in many young lives.

I want to urge the governor to stop the delay and sign SB 793 so that it can become law as intended on August 28. If you would like to also persuade him to sign this critical legislation, I recommend you call his office at (573) 751-3222.

Like any discussion involving abortion, the debate in both chambers of the Legislature was heated and intense. Nevertheless, an overwhelming majority of elected officials supported this measure to get the expecting mother all the information we can give her and make sure that our hard-earned money isn't going to end defenseless lives.

We acted when it was time to act, because a real leader doesn't waste time when it comes to doing what is right. Now we hope that the governor will do the same.

Signing of Several Measures

New bills contain Stimulus Funding Oversight Committee and an extension of bond requirements

The Governor recently signed into law  Senate Bill 758 and House Bill 1965.

Senate Bill 758, signed by the governor on July 7, requires bonds issued by the Bi-State Development Agency to mature in 40 years, rather than 30, as originally written. The agency, which is a partnership formed with the state of Illinois, facilitates development between the two states in a manner that is beneficial for both parties.

I'm pleased the governor has signed SB 758 because our state's future prosperity will be determined by smart investment in our state's waterways.  The additional 10 years will free up more investment funding so that we can keep that boat floating in a positive direction.

Also signed into law was House Bill 1965, which contains language from his SB 757, and establishes the Joint Committee on Recovery Accountability and Transparency. This new committee will oversee the funding of projects within the federal economic stimulus act to prevent waste, fraud and abuse.

Specifically, the bill creates a committee of four members of the Senate and four members of the House of Representatives whose duties include the review of contracts, grant management, job creation, and state agency and departmental spending practices.

This committee will be critical to stopping the waste and fraud we normally associate with federal government spending.  It's also going to make sure that the projects and companies that use these funds are accountable and good stewards of the taxpayer dollar.

Both measures take effect on Aug. 28.

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.

08 July 2010

Nodler: Work Stalls as the Price Tag of Special Session Increases

Technically, this week marked the second week of a special session called by the governor to address pension reform and economic incentives for manufacturers. However, in actuality, very little legislating actually took place, as a stalemate between the House and Senate continues to bog down the legislative process.

As I stated last week, I am against the legislation we are discussing during this special session. We were called to the Capitol to try and pass a bill [SB2] that is meant to lure Ford into staying in Claycomo, near Kansas City—a bill that may or may not result in the desired effect. In an effort to lessen the effect of the bill on the state’s finances, the governor has also asked us to consider legislation [SB1] that would make reductions to the state’s pension system. I voted no on both of these bills during the regular session, and I will vote the same way during this special session.

Many had hoped that the special session would move quickly, but with the second week drawing to a close with only one day of floor action, it could easily last three or four weeks. With this in mind, the cost of this special session is a serious concern. One quote from the governor’s office estimated that the special session costs $125,000 per week. This price tag is paid with taxpayer dollars in a tough budget year when we are stretching every dollar tightly.

In the past, it has been a common practice to call the Legislature back to the Capitol for a special session in September to coincide with the annual veto session. This saves the state the expense of having to have an unplanned session and instead rolls the cost into the planned veto session. This is a practice that would have been more fiscally responsible, and I believe it is the way that the governor should have proceeded. Many have said that quick action was necessary to ensure that incentives are made available to Ford, but with there being no guarantee from the company on the effect these incentives will have on the company’s decision, I again have to question the rush.

We will return to the Capitol next week to continue debate on both of these issues. With the incentive package stalled in a Senate committee, it is hard to say when the session will conclude and brings more light to the cost of this special session. I will keep you posted on how the session continues.

Gatschenberger: Wentzville Fire Protection District sponsoring Child Identification Program

I’m forwarding an important invitation from the Wentzville Fire Protection District. Please consider taking your children or grandchildren. I hope to see you there!

Representative Chuck Gatschenberger

The Wentzville Fire Protection District in conjunction with the Wentzville Masonic Lodge 46 will be hosting a child identification program on July 10th from 10:00am to 3:00pm at fire station 1 on Pearce Blvd in Wentzville. I have attached some forms for the program that can be filled out prior to the event to save time. Also attached [below] is a press release on the program.

This is a very in depth identification program for our children. All of the information gathered will remain the sole possession of the parent or guardian of the child. No information is kept or stored by the event sponsors. If you have children or know someone who does, this is a must, and it’s FREE

Keaveny: Supporting St. Louis Public Schools

There are multiple ways for citizens to show their support for our schools, and the current one may be the most urgent.

This past session, despite a historic shortfall in the state budget, the Missouri Senate made a conscious effort to continue to make education our state’s top priority. We maintained full funding of the foundation formula that provides the essential operations of schools throughout the state, and given the extent of the revenue shortfall, that was no easy task.

Education was a priority in my own legislation this past session as well, as I introduced bills that would have modified school attendance requirements to provide school districts the opportunity to stagger kindergarten start dates and lower the minimum age requirements for school attendance. I introduced legislation that would allow foreign language immersion charter schools the opportunity to enroll children as young as age four in order to take advantage of that prime language learning time. I’ve been a member of the Joint Committee on Education, and I have supported bills that increase early childhood education options.

This next election, a bond issue will appear on the ballot that would provide $155 million in improvements without raising the current tax levy. This funding, combined with the low-cost bonds available through the federal stimulus program, would allow the district to get more “bang for the buck.”

If you are familiar with St. Louis Public Schools, you know that a majority of the buildings are more than 75 years old. The maintenance and improvements of buildings this old will continue to be a critical issue facing the current and future generations of our children.

Please take the time to learn more about the Proposition S ballot initiative at by clicking the FACTS (Facility Advisory Committee for Tomorrow’s Schools) button on the left hand side of the page. The proposition will be on the ballot on August 3.

Davis: Vitae Caring Foundation

The Star Spangled Banner

Not every family celebrates July 4th by building a float, but this was the 17th year we have been in the O’Fallon parade, so we have an obligation to outdo ourselves every year. Some of my children never remember having a Fourth of July where we weren’t in a parade. The best part is joining together with the thousands of people who came out to experience a moment of connectedness with each other as well as with our treasured history.

An Evening with the Vitae Caring Foundation

Last week the Vitae Caring Foundation (VCF) held their annual banquet in St. Louis. In attendance were Dave and Jenni Leefe, the founders of the Unborn Protection League. You can visit their website: Pro-life News to find out more about this ministry.

Vitae Caring Foundation’s Annual Banquet attracts many pro-life, like-minded persons –which makes for engaging discussions among attendees at the dinner. What I love most about this organization is that they focus on changing the abortion statistics by changing hearts and minds. Women don’t categorically want abortions. Many times they just don’t know where else to turn. This group puts the women who need help in touch with those who want to help. Helping women get the help they need is always better than a legislative remedy.

Others in attendance are (l to r) Leah and Dave Hite. Dave is Pastor of Christian Family Fellowship in Wentzville, founder and chairman of Love In The Name of Christ: LINC -St. Charles County. LINC is a faith-based, non-profit assisting the economically disadvantaged in the community. He also is the new president of FreeWay Foundation (formerly Christian Civic Foundation). To my left are VCF founder and president Carl Landwehr, John Kelly and lastly my beloved daughter Cathryn.

The Vitae Caring Foundation “is an advertising campaign for life.” You can view some of their commercials by visiting Vitae’s website: View VCF Commercials or link here for: The History of Vitae and its Research.

Another Event of Interest . . .

I met author and speaker, Joyce Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries, at the recently held Christian Booksellers International Convention in St. Louis. Some of her tape series were one of the greatest bargains I ever found at the St. Charles County Library sale. Fortunately, my car still takes cassette tapes. On some of my long trips to and from Jefferson City I have found her tapes to be a treasure chest. Someday when I get to heaven, I hope to find the person who donated those tapes to the library sale and thank her. For more information: Joyce Meyer Ministries

Your thoughts are important to me, so please let me know what you think about our float or Vitae Caring Foundation. You can send me your opinion by clicking here: Cynthia Davis

A Little Bit of Humor . . . When Love Fades

Last night I was watching TV when I heard my wife's' sweet voice from the kitchen.

"What would you like for dinner my love? Chicken, beef or shrimp?"

I said, "I'll have chicken."

She replied "You're having soup. I was talking to the cat."

07 July 2010

Gatschenberger: Health Care Ballot Language, St. Charles County First Choice for New Missourians, Governor's Withholdings

August 3, 2010 Ballot Measure

The following ballot measure has been certified for the August 3, 2010 election. I want you to have an advanced copy of the Fair Ballot Language so that you can be sure how you want to vote. This language was taken directly from the Secretary of States Website…

Official Ballot Title: Proposition C

Shall the Missouri Statutes be amended to:
  • Deny the government authority to penalize citizens for refusing to purchase private health insurance or infringe upon the right to offer or accept direct payment for lawful healthcare services?
  • Modify laws regarding the liquidation of certain domestic insurance companies?
It is estimated this proposal will have no immediate costs or savings to state or local governmental entities. However, because of the uncertain interaction of the proposal with implementation of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, future costs to state governmental entities are unknown.

Fair Ballot Language:

A “yes” vote will amend Missouri law to deny the government authority to penalize citizens for refusing to purchase private health insurance or infringe upon the right to offer or accept direct payment for lawful healthcare services. The amendment will also modify laws regarding the liquidation of certain domestic insurance companies.

A “no” vote will not change the current Missouri law regarding private health insurance, lawful healthcare services, and the liquidation of certain domestic insurance companies.

If passed, this measure will have no (immediate direct) impact on taxes. (But projections say it will cost our state at least $490,000,000 the first year it is enacted). (My comments are in brackets here).

[Full text] [Proposed by the 95th General Assembly (Second Regular Session) SS SCS HCS HB 1764

Missouri GOP leaders endorse Proposition C, aimed at blocking federal health care changes

By Jo Mannies, Beacon Political Reporter
[Link to original article]

The Missouri Republican State Committee announced that it had "unanimously approved a resolution to support the Health Care Freedom Act and urge the adoption of Proposition C on the August ballot."

Myself and several prominent area Republicans -- including state Senators Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, and Jim Lembke, R-Lemay -- are key figures behind the Health Care Freedom Act, (Proposition C) which is aimed at allowing Missouri to reject parts of the federal health care changes that Congress and President Barack Obama recently approved.

Proposition C provides that "no federal law shall compel a patient, employer, or health care provider to participate in any government or privately run health care system, nor prohibit a patient or employer from paying directly for legal health care services."

A suit has been filed to knock Proposition C off the Aug. 3 ballot.

"Missouri’s Republican elected officials have been working hard to protect our state from the worst parts of the Democrats’ overbearing health care bill," said David Cole, chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, in a statement after Saturday's meeting, held in Jefferson City.

"The Republican Party believes that Missourians should be able to make their own health insurance decisions—not have them made by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama in the smoke-filled rooms of Washington, DC. Now, Missourians will be able to make their voices heard—and we strongly encourage them to send national Democrats a message."

He noted that that 25 Democrats in the House and Senate sided with 109 Republicans to approve putting Proposition C on the ballot. Support of a majority of voters would be needed.

The vote would be the first in the country pertaining to the federal health care charges. Several other states have approved the Freedom Act, which was signed into law by their governors.

Several states also have sued the federal government over parts of the new health care law. Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, has assembled a legal team and says he expects to fill suit shortly.

St. Charles County is No. 1 choice for new residents in Missouri

More new residents moved into St. Charles County last year than anywhere else in Missouri, according to annual estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

From July 1, 2008 to July 1, 2009, St. Charles County welcomed 5,772 new residents, the most of any Missouri County. The next largest in‐flux of new residents during the same period was experienced by Jackson County (+5,009) and Clay County (+4,988).

“There is an endless list of amenities and benefits that make living and working in St. Charles County extremely attractive to current and new residents and businesses,” said Greg Prestemon, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Center of St. Charles County. “From the national rankings our communities are regularly receiving, to the area’s competitive costs and dynamic business clusters, St. Charles County is the location of choice in Missouri.”

For more state-wide data, visit:


The Governor’s office has announced the actions he is taking for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1st, 2010. They have decided to only line-item veto one item which are the Admin Law Judges appointed by Gov. Blunt. As with the last time, I’m quite sure this will lead to another lawsuit.

As far as withholds go he did the following:
  • An additional 250 state employees
  • $10M from Missouri Consolidated Health Care-these changes will lead to additional copays and premiums
  • $70M from school transportation categorical-this will have a substantial impact on school bus travel
  • $54M from Access MO and Bright Flight1
  • MORENet is eliminated
  • KCATA withheld in its entirety
  • Local transit through MODOT will incur a $3M withhold
  • Biodiesel $1.5M
  • 15% withhold to AAA’s and Core Public Health
  • 10% withhold to Alternatives to Abortion
  • 15% withhold to the following – MO Mentoring, MARCH, Home visitation, voluntary placement, domestic violence
  • 10% withhold to FQHC’s
  • Provider Rates in DHSS/DMH cut 2%
  • Judiciary $5M withhold
These are the high level withholdings. A specific list is available on the Governor’s website at Keep in mind that these are withholds and not veto’s which means two things, 1) if revenue in the state picks up the Governor can release money for these programs but, 2) the legislature does not have the ability to override any of these decisions.

The total will be approx $300M, not the $350 he has been talking because as they now admit the budget the legislature passed is a lot more balanced then they have led on. The fact that these are withholds and not straight veto’s further proves this point.

GOD Is Busy

If you don't know GOD, don't make stupid remarks!!!!!!

A United States Marine was attending some college
Courses between assignments. He had completed missions
In Iraq and Afghanistan . One of the courses had a professor
Who was an avowed atheist, and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in.
He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, GOD if you are real
Then I want you to knock me off this platform.. I'll give you exactly
15 min.' The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop.
Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, 'Here I am
GOD, I'm still waiting.'

It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got
Out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him;
Knocking him off the platform.. The professor was out cold.
The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently.

The other students were shocked and stunned, and sat there
Looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to,
Noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, 'What
In the world is the matter with you? 'Why did you do that?'
The Marine calmly replied, 'GOD was too busy today protecting
American soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid
Stuff and act like an idiot. So He sent me.'

The classroom erupted in cheers!



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


Never wrestle with a pig... you both get dirty and the pig likes it.

Yehaw! The Blackberries are ripe… the blackberries are ripe… and you know what that means… CHIGGER BITES! Oh… but blackberry cobbler is soooo gooood!!

Three-toed box turtles mostly lay their eggs from mid May to early July and some will hatch in about three months, but eggs laid late in the summer will not hatch until the following spring. Talk about your long term storage facility… Female box turtles have the ability produce fertilized eggs up to four years after mating.

Joe Smith: Special Session Overview

This week, the House fulfilled the Governor's call and convened for a Special Session. He ordered the General Assembly back to the Capitol to pass two bills which were debated during the regular Session; one being a piece of legislation that would provide tax incentives for automotive manufacturers and suppliers - the other seeking to revamp the state employee retirement system.

The Governor's call was surprising for several reasons:
  • The Governor didn't express interest in these issues during the regular session. He did not list them as priorities.
  • The House and Senate didn't have a consensus on these issues during the regular Session, nor did the Governor work with us to gain the consensus needed.
  • Missouri tax dollars pay for Special Session, and in a time when fiscal responsibility is a top priority, it seems that the wisest decision would have been for the Governor to lobby the bills during the regular Session and work with members to reach a consensus.
Even though I believe there was a better way to go about the passage of this legislation, the Governor made the call to Special Session and we answered that call.  House Republicans acted swiftly, utilizing as few Missouri tax-payer dollars as possible. In fact, we only held debate for one day. We worked ahead of time to gain the consensus needed to pass both bills.

Growing Missouri Jobs

Under the leadership of Speaker Ron Richard, Republicans in the House of Representatives have been champions for economic development in our state.

HCS House Bill 2, sponsored by Representative Jerry Nolte, R-Gladstone, was passed in the House several times but stalled in the Senate.  The bill provides tax incentives for automotive manufacturers and suppliers in Missouri.

By reducing the amount of tax dollars these companies would owe the State of Missouri, they are able to create more jobs and retain the employees already in place.

As you know, the down economy has left thousands of Missourians unemployed.  With the number of jobless citizens on the rise, job creation and retention is imperative. We are hopeful the Senate will adopt this bill quickly so it can be sent to the Governor for final approval.

Re-organization of State Employee Retirement Benefits

The State of Missouri has an extensive and quite generous set of retirement benefits for employees. However, given economic conditions and declining revenue numbers, the current system is unsustainable.  Because of fiscal restrictions, a change needs to be made.

HCS House Bill 1, sponsored by Representative Viebrock R—Republic, makes the necessary changes needed to allow the state retirement system to thrive in years to come.

Attracting responsible, hard-working employees is something the State of Missouri takes very seriously, so we must be careful to continue to have an attractive retirement package, just not one that could bankrupt the state.

In addition, we want to ensure fairness to current state employees.  Through this legislation, existing employees would retain the retirement benefits they receive in the current system.

A fiscally responsible retirement package that our state can afford, while continuing to attract good employees to Missouri government jobs is important -- and we accomplished that through this bill.

Schaefer: Governor Signs Legislation to Regulate Spice Cannabinoids/K2

JEFFERSON CITY – Senator Kurt Schaefer is pleased to announce the signing of legislation to criminalize the possession of spice cannabinoids – also known as K2. The drugs are smoked for their euphoric effects similar to marijuana, and are sold over the counter in many locations, sometimes being marketed as incense.

House Bill 1472, handled in the Senate by Sen. Schaefer, contains language similar to Senate Bill 887, which he also introduced in the Senate.

"The drugs targeted in this legislation are widely available and contain noxious chemicals and other substances that are quite dangerous. They are widely known by the medical community to cause severe side effects and were never intended for human consumption," Sen. Schaefer said. "I am glad to see this bill signed into law to protect our citizens, and especially our younger and most impressionable population."

To see available summaries and the full text for HB 1472, please visit Sen. Schaefer's website at and click on his sponsored bill link. Should you have a question or concern about this or any other facet of the Missouri Legislature, feel free to contact Sen. Schaefer's office.

06 July 2010

Ruestman: 2011 Fiscal Year State Budget

The primary function of the Missouri General Assembly is to pass a budget each year. This year was the toughest year to balance a budget due to the nearly $900 million shortfall. The Republican Majority of the last eight years has been committed to not raising taxes. In years of revenue declines the only way to balance the budget is to either raise taxes or increase cuts. I am proud to say, we (once again) passed a balanced budget with NO TAX INCREASE.

It is difficult to cut any program, knowing that each program is important to some of our constituency. However, as a conservative, I am committed to smaller government, lower taxes and a balanced budget. I am happy to say that at the end of my eight years in the Missouri House of Representatives we have delivered on all of those commitments.

Even during this recession, you can be proud to be a Missourian. With your help, we have become one of the most fiscally sound states. Additionally, Missouri is winning awards for being one of the most transparent governments in the world. It is important for you to have access to and be aware of budget information. Missouri’s fiscal year began July 1. Here is a synopsis of where your money goes:

Where it goes…(out of each dollar)
Social Services32.9¢
Elementary and Secondary23.0¢
Higher Education5.3¢
Administration and Employee Benefits5.1¢
Mental Health5.1¢
Corrections and Public Safety5.1¢
Health and Senior Services4.0¢
Agriculture, Natural Resources and Conservation2.1¢
Elected Officials, Judiciary, Legislature and Public Defender1.9¢
Economic Development1.1¢
State-wide Leasing0.6¢
Labor and Industrial Relations0.5¢
Public Debt0.2¢
Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration0.2¢

The total budget for this year is $23,274,922,486.

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.

Nance: State announces new insurance program for Missourians with pre-existing health conditions

$81 million in federal money will fund new pool

Jefferson City, Mo. – Insurance Director John M. Huff announced today that a new type of health coverage will soon be available for Missourians who have trouble buying insurance because of their medical conditions. The federal government has approved a proposal from the Missouri Health Insurance Pool (MHIP) to run a new high risk pool subsidized by $81 million in federal funding. The program is part of the national health care reform law.

“Because of this federal funding, Missourians with pre-existing conditions will now be able to buy health insurance at competitive rates,” said Huff. Under state law, the director of insurance serves on the MHIP Board of Directors and appoints the members.

MHIP has contracted with RightChoice, a subsidiary of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, to administer the program and Catalyst Rx to provide prescription drug coverage.

To be eligible for the new high risk pool, consumers must be Missouri residents, have a pre-existing medical condition and be uninsured for at least six months. In addition to the $81 million in federal money, the program will be funded by premiums paid by policyholders. The high risk pool will be available until 2014, when the new federal law requires health insurance companies to offer coverage to all applicants, regardless of health status, at standard market rates.

This new pool will be the second operated by MHIP in Missouri. Since 1991, MHIP has run a high risk pool for Missourians, established by state law. The pool has more than 4,000 members. That pool is funded by premiums paid by policyholders and by fees assessed on health insurance companies operating in Missouri.

Consumers can apply online for insurance coverage in mid-July at or by calling 1-800-821-2231.

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department's seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

Goodman: Family Matters Newsletter

Senate Bill 617 Senate Bill 586 House Bill 2081 Senate Bill 793 House Bill 1692 House Bill 1692 House Bill 1802 Senate Joint Resolution 31 House Joint Resolution 62 Sen. Goodman's Newsletter
Sen. Goodman's Newsletter

Keaveny: Free Health Fair This Saturday

I have organized a Free Health Fair for anyone in the community.

It is this Saturday, July 10 from 10:00AM - 2:00PM

at Forest Park Community College
5600 Oakland Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110

Come by, bring your family for free check ups and helpful advice.

Kraus: Standing on Principle

You may have seen my name in the news recently when the Speaker of the House removed me from the Job Creation and Economic Development Committee.  I wanted to take this opportunity to explain.

Standing on principle, I refused to guarantee House leadership my vote on a bill to be brought before the committee before the bill was even heard or discussed.  My firm stand caused me to be removed from the committee ten minutes before it began. The vote in question was the committee vote on the Manufacturing Jobs Act, which proposes to allow companies up to $10 million per year in tax incentives.

Work in committee is to hash out the specifics of a bill, hear both sides, and decide if a bill is good for the taxpayers or not.  I was in Jefferson City, ready to listen, but I was told to vote 'yes' regardless of testimony and discussion and without knowing the final language of the bill. That is too much like business-as-usual in Washington, D.C.  I simply couldn't guarantee to vote yes or no.

On June 30, the newspaper in Jefferson City, the News-Tribune, reported on the story and had this to say about my removal on its editorial page, "A lawmaker elected to represent constituents doesn't deserve to be benched for pledging to listen to reasoned debate and cast an informed vote on an issue.  Those are the types of abuses that give politics a bad name."

In good conscience, I can't just be a 'yes' man for House leadership and forego thinking about what is best for my constituents.

According to the Speaker's office, other members were removed from a committee because they were not present at the Capitol to vote.  For more information, you can click on this link to an article by the Associated Press:  Kraus Removed from Special Session Committee.

I-470/US50 Half-Diamond Interchange Ready for Public Use

Traffic operations at Interstate-470 and US 50 in Lee's Summit will soon flow easier and smoother now that the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) completed the Split-Diamond Interchange in this busy area of Lee's Summit. The Half-Diamond Interchanges at Pryor Road and Blue Parkway were finished last year, and now traffic will be able to access each end with the use of the new connector roads that opened Monday, June 28.

The connectors officially complete this $45 million project that was designed to improve traffic operations for the more than 130,000 vehicles that use the junction of I-470 and Routes US 50/MO350. Spanning U.S. 50 and MO 350, these roads join the two half-diamond interchanges, creating what is commonly referred to as a Split-Diamond Interchange.  Motorists traveling on I-470 will now have access to each area of the completed interchange, allowing for more efficient travel and traffic congestion relief throughout the area.

Gov. Nixon Signs Bills into Law

Governor Nixon has signed the following bills into law.  For more detailed information about each bill, please click on the bill number and you will be taken to the state website where the bill and other pertinent information is posted.  In my next newsletter, I'll have information on other bill signings.

HB 1965 - Repeals various expired provisions of law, changes the laws regarding certain state publications, and establishes a joint committee on Missouri's future and a committee on accountability

HB 1643 - Changes the laws regarding certain documents recorded with the county recorder of deeds

HB 2070 - Changes the laws regarding joint central fire and emergency dispatching services taxes

HB 1868 - Changes the laws regarding keys to the Capitol dome, state agencies, and MO HealthNet claims and establishes the Joint Committee on the Reduction and Reorganization of Programs within State Government

SB 649 -Requires the Governor to issue an annual proclamation designating March 12th as "Girl Scout Day"

HB 1662 - Authorizes the State Veterinarian to restrict the movement of animals or birds under investigation for the presence or suspected presence of a toxin

SB 808 - Modifies compensation and continuing education requirements for public administrators

SB 1007 - Amends various requirements for public assistance programs administered by the state

SB 842 - Modifies provisions relating to public assistance programs administered by the state

SB 739 - Modifies the provisions governing fire department employee residency requirements

HB 2081 - Specifies that a pregnant woman may use deadly force if she reasonably believes that deadly force is necessary to protect her unborn child against death, serious physical injury, or any forcible felony

HB 1898 -Establishes the Women's Heart Health Program to provide heart disease risk screenings to certain uninsured and underinsured women

SB 586 - Regulates sexually oriented businesses

Roorda: Praise For New Autism Insurance Law, State Employee Travel Restrictions, MOSERS Base Pay Increases

Representative Roorda praises signing of Autism Insurance Bill

At left: Representative Roorda shows his support at the June 8 Autism Bill signing

State regulated insurance companies will be required to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of children with autism spectrum disorders under legislation, CO-Sponsored and supported by Rep. Roorda, that Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law Thursday.

House Bill 1311&1341 will require insurers to provide coverage for up to $40,000 a year in treatment for autistic children age 18 and younger. The legislation has been a priority for Roorda and other House Democrats in recent years.

"House Bill 1311&1341 was by far the best bill to pass this year," said Roorda. "For years, Missouri has been one of the only states in the country that has allowed insurance companies to arbitrarily deny benefits and cancel coverage for Autism and Spectrum Disorders, this bill will make a huge difference in the lives of many Missouri families."

Similar legislation was blocked in the House of Representatives in 2009. This year's bill, however, enjoyed strong bipartisan support, passing 144-16 in the House and 27-6 in the Senate. As with most bills passed during the 2010 legislative session, HB 1311&1341 will take effect on Jan. 1, 2011.

Read the St. Louis Post Dispatch Article: Missouri Legislature Approves Autism Insurance Bill

Travel Restrictions on State Employees

Missouri Governor. Jay Nixon's administration is placing tight restrictions on out-of-state travel by state employees to reduce expenses, The Associated Press reported on June 8 citing an administration memo to state department directors.

The new policy generally prohibits state workers from traveling out of state however, there are exceptions. Transporting prisoners, emergency responses, and travel that is legally required, privately paid, or essential to conduct an audit, collect taxes or fees due to the state.

Increase in MOSERS base pay

After it was revealed that employees of the Missouri State Employees Retirement System received substantal bonuses in 2008, despite the fact that the system lost $1.8 billion that year from its investments, MOSERS agreed to eliminate bonuses for all but the system's top managers starting later this year. But the MOSERS Board of Trustees this month will consider a proposal to offset the loss of bonuses by increasing their employees' base pay.

Although MOSERS' investment staff received the bulk the bonuses, support staff, such as secretaries, also were given more modest bonuses. Under the proposed pay plan, the approximately 70 employees who are no longer eligible for bonuses would receive pay increases equal to 90 percent of what they oringinally received bonus wise. MOSERS oversees the pension system for most state employees.

Read the St. Louis Post Dispatch Article: Mosers considers pay increase

Respected Children's Advocacy Group Closes Doors

After 25 years, Citizens for Missouri's Children, a respected child advocacy group that produces the annual Kids Count report, has ceased operations. In June 4 letter to supporters, CMC Director Scott Gee cited a lack of sufficient funding as the reason for the group's demise.

CMC was best known for its Kids Count report, which annually compiled comprehensive data on child poverty rates, health issues, and other matters affecting Missouri children. Gee told the Missouri net that he hopes another group will take over the report.

Read the Kansas City Star article: Advocacy group Citizens for Missouri's Children closes its doors

Jefferson City Voters Consider Smoking Ban

The Jefferson City Council on June 7 voted to place a proposed ban on smoking in public areas, including bars and restaurants, on the Nov. 2 ballot. The council acted after anti-smoking activists submitted a petition for a smoke-free ordinance containing more than 1,200 signatures. According to the Jefferson City News Tribune, Missouri's state capital is one of only six in the country that doesn't have a broad smoking ban.

Read more about the proposed smoking ban at the St. Louis Post Dispatch article: Jefferson City will vote on smoking ban

If there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact my office. I enjoy serving my constituents as "their" voice in the Missouri State Capitol.

04 July 2010

Holsman: End of Session Report

Dear Friends,

I want to start by wishing you all a Happy Independence Day! I hope that you and your family have a fun, safe, and relaxing Fourth of July. Let us not forget the sacrifices that have been made throughout the years to protect the liberties and freedoms that we, as Americans, hold dear. From our founding fathers to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen currently serving in our armed forces, we all owe a debt of gratitude to those men and women who have helped make this country great.

This End-of-Session newsletter is prepared especially to keep you connected and informed. The budget shortfalls dominated a majority of our legislative efforts. Issues we all care deeply about - education, healthcare, energy and the environment, law enforcement, taxes - were carefully deliberated.

In this newsletter are brief summaries of some successful bills. Detailed summaries and full pdf copies of all the bills that passed can be found at: All bills are sent to the Governor for his approval before becoming law.

Now that the legislative session has come to a close, I look forward to spending more time at home, talking with constituents and learning about the issues most important to south Kansas City and Grandview. Whether here or in Jefferson City, I am humbled by this opportunity to serve.

Warmest regards,


Property Assessed Clean Energy

The Property Assessed Clean Energy Act, originally sponsored by Rep. Jason Holsman as House Bill 2178, passed as an amendment on House Bill 1692. Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, grants municipalities the authority to issue bonds to provide homeowners with funding to install energy efficiency improvements or energy-generation systems on their properties. These improvements would be paid for over time by the homeowner through a higher assessment of their property. Therefore the bonds will be paid off only by the citizens who take advantage of the program. The PACE program will allow homeowners and residents to save money on their utility bills by reducing their net energy consumption and will create 'green-collar' jobs by putting people to work building and installing energy efficient improvements.

Urban Farming

House Bill 1848, sponsored by Rep. Jason R. Holsman, creates a Joint Committee on Urban Farming to explore ways to provide inner city residents with improved access to healthy food. The 10-member committee is charged with studying and making recommendations regarding the impact of urban farm cooperatives, vertical farming, and sustainable living communities. The committee will also examine various trends in urban farming; existing resources and capacity; the impact on affected communities; and any needed legislation, policies, or regulations.

Stronger DWI Penalties

House Bill 1695, 1742 & 1674 creates stronger penalties for DWI offenders. The bill requires drivers with blood-alcohol levels of at least 0.15 percent to spend 48 hours in jail, and those with at least 0.2 percent to spend at least five days in jail, unless they complete the requirements of a DWI court or docket or other court-ordered treatment. In addition, the bill allows any circuit court to set up a DWI docket or court for repeat offenders or those whose blood-alcohol content exceeds 0.15 percent. Several Missouri courts already offer DWI Courts, which allow repeat DWI offenders to avoid jail time while receiving treatment for alcohol abuse.

The bill also requires state courts to handle any DWI case involving a defendant with two or more alcohol-related contacts with authorities or intoxication-related traffic offenses, requires police and prosecutors to adopt policies for reporting information on DWI offenses to a central databank, increases the minimum jail time for previous DWI offenders from five to 10 days, and increases the minimum jail time for a persistent offender to 30 days.

Ethics Reform

Senate Bill 844 is an ethics reform package designed to increase transparency and accountability in the political process. One provision of the bill addresses the issue of political money laundering by restricting committee-to committee transfers of campaign donations. The bill limits the number of political committees and makes it a crime to transfer committee funds with the intent to conceal the source of the original funds.

The bill also gives additional authority to the Missouri Ethics Commission to launch investigations. Under current law, the commission can act only after receiving a complaint. Senate Bill 844 allows the commission to launch an investigation after a unanimous vote of all six commission members. The bill also creates the crime of obstructing an ethics investigation.

In addition, the bill requires that campaign contributions made during a legislative session in excess of $500 be reported within 48 hours. The bill also makes it a crime for an elected official to offer a job to a lawmaker in exchange for votes. Senate Bill 844 also creates new crimes for lobbyists who do not properly report how much they spend on meals and gifts for state officials.

Autism Insurance Reform

At left: Representatives Grill & Holsman with Governor Nixon at the signing ceremony of Missouri's Autism Insurance bill.

House Bill 1311 & 1341 requires state-regulated group insurance policies to provide coverage for children with autism spectrum disorders. The legislation requires group insurance policies to provide coverage for applied behavioral analysis services (ABA) for autistic children age 18 and younger. The coverage will have an annual cap of $40,000 and will be adjusted at least once every three years for inflation.

The bill also establishes a state Behavior Analyst Advisory Board under the State Committee of Psychologists within the Division of Professional Registration. The new board will be charged with establishing and overseeing licensure and registration requirements for behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts who provide therapies for children with autism spectrum disorders.

In addition, House Bill 1311 & 1341 provides an exemption to businesses with 50 or fewer employees that show the mandate increased their premiums by at least 2.5 percent compared to the previous year.

College Scholarships

Senate Bill 733 addresses the discrepancy between scholarship money available to private and public school students through the Access Missouri program. Under current law, students who attend private and public schools are eligible for disparate award amounts. Senate Bill 733 raises the maximum scholarship to $1,300 for community college students and sets it at $2,850 for students at either public universities or private institutions, starting in 2014.

Senate Bill 733 also modifies the Bright Flight scholarship program. Most significantly, the bill ensures that students who score in the top 3 percent with their ACT or SAT scores receive Bright Flight merit scholarship awards before those who score in the top fourth or fifth percent. Bright Flight eligibility will expand to the top 5 percent next year under a new state law.

In addition, the bill addresses students who elect to join the armed forces. These students who qualify for a Bright Flight scholarship may defer their award and receive it at a later date, as long as they return to full-time student status within six months of the end of their military service.

Veterans Omnibus Bill

At right: Representative Jason R. Holsman meeting with a World War II veteran in the Missouri State Capitol.

House Bill 1524 & 2260 will make it easier for military members serving overseas to vote. The bill requires the Secretary of State to establish procedures for overseas voters to request voter registration applications and absentee ballot applications. The legislation also requires that at least one form of electronic communication for use by absent uniformed services and overseas voters must be designated for requesting voter registration applications and absentee ballots.

The bill also authorizes the governor to present a Legion of Merit Medal to individuals who have exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding military service and achievement reflecting honorably and creditably upon the state. In addition, the governor can present a campaign ribbon to individuals who have served in direct support of several military campaigns. The ribbons will include a Missouri Iraq Campaign Ribbon, a Missouri Afghanistan Campaign Ribbon, a Missouri Kosovo Campaign Ribbon, and a Missouri Vietnam Campaign Ribbon.

Other provisions of the bill specify that the State of Missouri recognizes the designations of Prisoner of War (POW) and Missing in Action (MIA) as valid descriptions of casualty status and category classification for military personnel; require the Adjutant General to establish the Missouri Youth Challenge Academy for at-risk high school age youth; and require all state agencies and political subdivisions to give a three-point bonus preference to a service-disabled veteran business operating as a Missouri business when letting a contract for the performance of any job or service.

Downsizing Government

House Bill 1868 reduces the size of state government and authorizes the formation of a committee to study the potential for additional downsizing in the future. The bill will save the state millions of dollars by transferring the powers and duties of the State Water Patrol to the newly established Division of Water Patrol within the State Highway Patrol. The bill also establishes the Joint Committee on the Reduction and Reorganization of Programs within State Government. The 14-member committee must publish a report by December 31, 2010, with recommendations for reducing, eliminating, or combining state programs and departments.

School Safety

At left: Rep. Holsman with a group of students from Boone Elementary

House Bill 1543 contains a number of provisions focused on school safety and improving the working environment for school staff . The bill gives school boards more authority to establish discipline codes. It also expands immunity for school employees who follow established discipline policies. Another provision of the bill defines cyber-bullying to include the use of computers, the Internet, and phones to bully a student.

The legislation also provides school districts with additional budget flexibility during times when funding is limited. For the next three fiscal years, the bill suspends the requirement that school districts spend one percent of state funding on professional development. The legislation allows a school district to spend the money at its discretion. The change will free up approximately $30 million in education funding for schools across the state.

Extraordinary Session

In June, Governor Jay Nixon called the Missouri General Assembly back to Jefferson City for a special "Extraordinary Session" to consider a tax incentive bill to potentially save thousands of jobs at a Ford Motor Company manufacturing plant in the Clay County. The bill has been subject to The Missouri State Capitolsome controversy, as the suggested funding mechanism for these job-saving tax incentives is a reduction in the pensions of Missouri State employees, who are already among the lowest paid state employees in the nation. The House of Representatives was in session June 24th through June 29th discussing this bill. After the bill has worked its way through the Senate, it will return to the House for further consideration on July 7th and 8th. I will keep you updated about the progress of this bill as it moves through the legislative process.