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27 August 2010

Rupp: Recent Court Ruling Strikes Down Missouri's Funeral Protest Law

In response to the outrageous protests held at military funeral sites across our state, my colleagues and I took the lead on this issue in 2006 by passing legislation prohibiting funeral protests during certain times in Missouri.

More specifically, Senate Bill 578, also known as the "Specialist Edward Lee Myers' Law," prohibited funeral protests within one hour prior to and one hour after the completion of funerals in Missouri.  The legislation was passed largely in response to the protests held at military funerals by the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, whose members say military deaths are due to God's dissatisfaction with U.S. tolerance of homosexuals, abortion, divorce, and other issues.  The bill contained an emergency clause, so it went into effect immediately upon the governor's signature on Feb. 27, 2006.

A secondary law, House Bill 1026, went into effect July 6, 2006, and required protesters to stay back at least 300 feet from ceremonies and processions.  Violations of both measures were punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense (a class B misdemeanor) and up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for repeat offenders (a class A misdemeanor).

Sadly, a recent federal court ruling deemed our state's laws restricting protests near funerals unconstitutional, stating that the law violated First Amendment free-speech rights.  However, the Missouri Attorney General has appealed this decision and we are waiting further action by a higher court.

The men and women who give the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country's freedom deserve to be laid to rest in peace. Their families, who have to deal with many heavy burdens on top of overwhelming grief, do not need to be victims of the members of Westboro Baptist Church.  Everyone deserves to give their loved ones a proper farewell, and a group of thoughtless, hate-baring individuals should not be near this place of final goodbye.  What about the rights of these family members — is this group not infringing upon their rights, too?

I hope through the appeals process officials will side with respecting the death of a citizen and family and friends' right to honor their loved one in peace during one of the most difficult times they will ever face.  If you have any questions or comments about this or any other topic regarding state government, please visit my website, e-mail me, or call my office at (866) 271-2844.

26 August 2010

Rep. Tim Jones Honored by St. Louis RCGA for His Economic Development Efforts

St. Louis, Missouri – The St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA), one of Missouri’s top organizations devoted to economic and commercial progress, has named Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka, as a recipient of the Lewis and Clark Statesman Award.

“I am honored to have received this award. One of my priorities is to create an environment that will allow Missouri’s economy to thrive,” said Rep. Jones. “With the economy in the state it is today, it is important that my colleagues and I do all that we can to retain and create more jobs for Missourians.”

The RCGA bestows the Lewis and Clark Statesman Award annually to lawmakers who have demonstrated leadership and continued to promote economic development for their district by working to improve business environments, create new trade and industry development tools and expand proven programs.

Rep. Jones, along with a select group of Legislators from both Illinois and Missouri, received the Lewis and Clark Statesman Award on August 23rd during the RCGA’s annual reception in downtown St. Louis.

Joe Smith: MoDOT to close left turn lane from westbound 94 to Pitman Hill

ST. LOUIS – The Missouri Department of Transportation and its contractor, Fred Weber Inc., will temporarily close the left turn lane from westbound Route 94 to Pitman Hill at 7 a.m. Tuesday, August 31.

Pitman Hill is across Route 94 from Mid Rivers Mall Drive in St. Charles County.

The turn lane will be closed for about a month to allow crews to construct a portion of the new Mid Rivers Mall Drive interchange for the Route 364 project. Drivers on westbound Route 94 need to use Kisker Road to access Pitman Hill. Drivers on eastbound 94 can still turn right onto Pitman Hill, and drivers on Mid Rivers Mall Drive can still cross Route 94 to get to Pitman Hill.

Joe Smith: MoDOT schedules weekend closure of EB I-70 lane at Route 370

ST. LOUIS – The Missouri Department of Transportation will close the right lane of eastbound Interstate 70 over Route 370 in St. Charles County starting at 9 a.m. Friday, August 27 for bridge maintenance work.

The lane will reopen by 5 a.m. Monday, August 30.

Plan ahead to avoid work zones by calling 1-888-ASK-MODOT or visiting our website at

Travelers can get up-to-the-minute traffic information on interstates or major state routes by dialing 5-1-1 from most cell phones; if 5-1-1 isn’t available from your telephone, please dial 877-478-5511 (877-4STL-511).

Davis: State Fair

The Missouri State Fair

Last week I went to the State Fair in Sedelia.  You never know who you are going to meet there.  The state fair is a wonderful mix of education and family fun.  In a world where we have to protect our children from so many negative influences, it is nice to know there is still a place you can take your kids to find wholesome entertainment.  The Missouri State Fair is one of those places that reminded me of what the world used to be like.

Children who live in urban areas often have no idea from where their food comes.  The cows made such an impact on my son; he remembered them from last year.  This year we got to see a demonstration of calf herding.  The State Fair is truly one of the gems of our State.

Cynthia In the News

Cynthia Davis Plans To Continue Newsletter as New St. Charles County GOP Chief

[link to original article]

By Mark Schlinkmann
St. Louis Today / St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Tuesday, August 24, 2010; 11:43 am

State Rep. Cynthia Davis, who was elected last week to chair the St. Charles County Republican Committee, says in her new role she'll continue the periodic newsletters that at times have stirred controversy.

"I'll begin a newsletter similar to my Capitol Report in which I exposed and explained government to my constituents," said Davis, who will leave the House in January because of term limits.

She said the revamped newsletter will be part of her efforts to spark "an elevated presence" for the party leadership in the county.

"There is a groundswell for change that's bubbling up right now," she said. "We will be reminding people what we stand for.  We're going to engage the public.  This is not going to be some kind of backroom quiet geriatric club."

In the Aug. 3 GOP primary, Davis, of O'Fallon, lost her bid to unseat state Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville.  The race was bitter and Davis repeatedly accused Rupp and others in the GOP Senate majority of sometimes straying from conservative principles. Rupp had disputed that.

Rupp was diplomatic about Davis' new party role and said he expects to be able to work with her although he typically doesn't have a lot of interaction with the "party chair apparatus."

He said the two had cooperated previously in the Legislature before she decided to run against him.

"Hopefully now that she's not opposing me on the ballot, she can get back to working together," Rupp said Tuesday.

Davis spoke similarly. "We're both professionals and I have no problem working with every Republican nominee," she said.

Davis was the only one nominated for the committee chairmanship and was chosen unanimously.  She succeeds Tom Kuypers, who didn't run in the primary for another term on the committee.

Meanwhile, the St. Charles County Democratic Committee re-elected St. Peters Alderman Tommy Roberts as chairman for another two years.

A Little Bit of Humor

"I'm fine, really!"

Farmer Brown decided his injuries from the accident were serious enough to take the trucking company (responsible for the accident) to court. In court, the trucking company's fancy lawyer was questioning Farmer Brown. "Didn't you say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine'?" asked the lawyer.

Farmer Brown responded, "Well I'll tell you what happened. I had just loaded my favorite mule Bessie into the..."

"I didn't ask for any details," the lawyer interrupted, "just answer the question. Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine'?"

Farmer Brown said, "Well I had just gotten Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road..."

The lawyer interrupted again and said, "Judge, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to simply answer the question."

By this time the Judge was fairly interested in Farmer Brown's answer and said to the lawyer, "I'd like to hear what he has to say about his favorite mule Bessie."

Brown thanked the Judge and proceeded, "Well as I was saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite mule, into the trailer and was driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the stop sign and smacked my truck right in the side."

He continued, "I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other. I was hurting real bad and didn't want to move. However, I could hear ole Bessie moaning and groaning. I knew she was in terrible shape just by her groans."

"Shortly after the accident a highway patrolman came on the scene. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning so he went over to her. After he looked at her, he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes. Then the patrolman came across the road with his gun in his hand and looked at me."

Finally, farmer Brown came to the end of the story. "The patrolman looked at me and said, 'Your mule was in such bad shape I had to shoot her. How are YOU feeling'?"

Nodler: Bills Go into Effect on August 28

August 28—90 days after the constitutional end of the legislative session—is the day when most bills passed by the Legislature go into effect. For these bills, this is the final step of the legislative process—putting the bills that the General Assembly passed officially into Missouri statute. This session, we passed several major initiatives that affect daily life in Missouri, and I would like to discuss a couple of these measures that will go into effect this Saturday.

House Bill 1695 works to strengthen Missouri’s DWI laws and crack down on repeat offenders. One provision of the bill focuses on the problem of alcohol addiction by allowing any circuit courts to establish a special DWI court to handle certain cases of repeat offenders. It also cracks down on drunk drivers by prohibiting any person who operates a motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .15 or more from being granted a suspended sentence. The bill also increases the minimum shock time in jail from five days to 10 days for a prior offender and from 10 days to 30 days in order for a persistent offender to be eligible for parole or probation (unless the person performs a certain amount of community service or undergoes a treatment program).

House Bill 1695 also makes reporting DWI cases more uniform. The bill requires the State Highway Patrol, beginning Jan. 1, 2011, to maintain regular accountability reports of alcohol-related arrests, charges, and depositions based on the data submitted by law enforcement and prosecutors. To address the problem of repeat offenders not being held accountable on a local level, the bill also specifies that offenders facing their third DWI offense will be handled by state courts, rather than municipal courts.

Another important bill that was passed by the Legislature and will go into law is Senate Bill 793. The bill expands Missouri’s informed consent requirements, better informing women in the state that are considering an abortion about their options. The bill requires, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion being performed, that a woman be presented with various printed materials detailing the risks of an abortion and the physiological characteristics of an unborn baby; given an opportunity to view an active ultrasound and hear the baby's heartbeat; and provided information regarding the possibility of the abortion causing pain to the unborn baby past 22 weeks. The bill also requires the physician to discuss the medical assistance and counseling resources available, advise the woman of the father's liability for child support, and provide information about the Alternatives to Abortion Program.

For a full list of bills that have been approved by the Legislature during the 2010 regular legislative session click here. All bills not vetoed by the governor without emergency clauses or that note an alternative effective date will become Missouri law on August 28.

24 August 2010

Nance: Information Regarding Route 13 Construction

The following information from Representative Nance is to update the construction on Route 13:

Route 13 Construction to Close Highway

The Lexington Gap Project is Moving Right Along

LEXINGTON, Mo. - The Route 13 "Gap Project" to relocate the highway south of Route 24 near Lexington is moving along on schedule. MoDOT will need to close Route 13 traffic between Route E and Burns School Road beginning Thursday, August 26 through the end of September, weather permitting.

Crews will tie the existing pavement into the new lanes of Route 13 just south of Lexington requiring the road closure. A signed detour will be in place for the more than 4000 vehicles driving through the area daily. Traffic will be detoured onto Route E south to Route FF into Higginsville to reconnect with Route 13.

The "Gap Project" is a 3.1 mile extension of new lanes on Route 13 to provide a direct connection from the interchange with Route 24 to existing Route 13 southeast of Lexington. Current conditions require traffic on Route 13 from Richmond to Lexington to exit at Route 24, go west into Lexington, and connect to the old highway. The new lanes of Route 13 being constructed will allow traffic to continue south along Route 13 at the Route 24 intersection, bridging the gap between the two sections currently in place.

Once the work on this section is complete, the road will reopen and allow traffic to use the new lanes on Route 13. The community and motorists will begin to see the benefits of the new road as it will improve safety, increase mobility, decrease travel time, provide for efficient movement of traffic, and offer a convenient and economical north/south route.

For more information about this and other projects, please visit MoDOT's Website at For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter or send questions and comments to kccommunityrelations{at}modot{dot}mo{dot}gov.

23 August 2010

Joe Smith: Proposition C: The Health Care Freedom Act

Sending a message to Washington

For more than a year, Americans have taken to the streets to protest the federal government's irresponsible agenda.  Washington liberals didn't listen when they rammed through Congress their reckless health care bill—but they can't help but hear us now.

Missourians were the first voters in the nation to go to the ballot box and reject the reckless federal health care takeover.

The results were as stunning as they were clear: more than 71% of Missouri voters, including Republicans, Democrats, and independents, supported Proposition C and the effort to protect an individual's right to make his or her own health insurance choices.  Missourians sent Washington a clear message: stay out of our health care decisions.

Republicans have been right all along—it is time to repeal the existing health care law and replace it with a conservative alternative that does not burden Americans with unnecessary mandates and outrageous costs.  The Missouri Republican Party stood strongly in favor of Proposition C, unanimously endorsing the Health Care Freedom Act and contacting Missourians to encourage a YES vote.

Overwhelming bipartisan support

Proposition C passed in 114 of 116 election jurisdictions—including every county in the state—garnering more than 668,000 votes in Missouri.  This was a bipartisan declaration to Washington.  At least tens of thousands of Democrats voted YES on Proposition C.

Washington's tone-deaf reaction

The White House dismissed the Prop C vote, claiming that the results meant "nothing." Source: The Hill Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's response was even more offensive.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Reid dismissed the results of the election, claiming that Missourians aren't educated enough to understand the federal health care law.

Reid: "It's very obvious that people have a lack of understanding of our health care reform bill," Reid said. "The more people learn about this bill, the more they like it."

This tone-deaf and arrogant reaction is exactly the reason why so many Americans across the country are fed-up with Democrats in Washington.  More than 71% of voters sent a clear message rejecting the liberal agenda, yet Democrats continue to dismiss the will of the people and insist that we're simply not capable of making our own decisions.