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30 December 2010

Stouffer: The Missouri General Assembly Prepares for the Next Session

Missouri lawmakers have a simple mission for 2011: put people back to work.

When the First Regular Session of the 96th General Assembly begins in January, a lot of folks will be watching to see what moves the Legislature will make in terms of job creation. We have to improve employers’ ability to hire and retain employees, and secure certainty in take-home pay of every working family in Missouri.

We have to help rural Missouri families survive by helping employers keep and create better paying jobs with benefits. How do we do this? We need to cap the corporate franchise tax, restore balance to Missouri’s Human Rights Act, and ensure employee choice when leaving or joining a union.

The corporate franchise tax is double taxation and hurts businesses. Business owners should not have to pay a tax just to be in business. Currently, the largest franchise taxpayer in Missouri has to pay approximately $1.9 million a year. This stifles investment, both in expansion and hiring. Kansas is phasing out its corporate franchise tax. Starting in 2011, it will be gone altogether.

Despite the tremendous efforts the General Assembly has made, in regard to tort reform, more needs to be done. The state’s “Human Rights Act” needs to be brought in line with what federal law states. Jury trials versus trials heard by judges, company versus individual liability, and damage caps need to be taken into consideration when rewriting this act. This will cut back on money spent for lawsuits and attorney fees.

Another priority this year will be to get a handle on the budget. We will not have federal stimulus money shoved down our throat this coming year. This is a good thing, because it will mean the Legislature will have to take charge and cut the budget the right way. At the top of this list: DO NOT raise taxes. The General Assembly has not raised taxes in a number of years, and it has helped us to stay above water when other states are scrambling to make ends meet.

We have to do more with less in government. Hard-working families throughout rural Missouri are doing this, so why not state government? We started this last year and will continue the trend until we start to see a real recovery, not just in Missouri, but throughout the country.

The Legislature also needs to continue its commitment to education. We have to maintain K-12 school funding at its current level, continue to make college more affordable, remove government red tape and ensure every student continues to get a world-class education.

The work will be hard, but the rewards for Missourians will be great. I pray that the Missouri General Assembly will work FOR the people and continue to keep rural Missouri growing and prosperous in the coming year.

Davis: Farewell Address

Next week I will be ending over 16 years of elected public service to move into another arena of public service. We all are called to public service whether we are elected or not. Every time you pick up a piece of litter, put away a shopping cart, raise your children to be good citizens or keep your marriage vows, you are providing a public service. The future of our civilization and our civility depends on this.

A highly respected and brave congressman once said, “"Special interests have replaced the concern that the founders had for general welfare. Vote-trading is seen as good politics. The errand-boy mentality is ordinary; the defender of liberty is seen as bizarre. It's difficult for one who loves true liberty and utterly detests the power of the state to come to Washington for a period of time and not leave a true cynic.”

Likewise, I frequently fight the feelings of cynicism when I observe the number of legislators who start off well and then become absorbed into the bureaucratic cesspool by giving up their principles within a few years.

It reminds me of the song, “The Rhinestone Cowboy”---“I’ve been walking these streets so long, singing the same old song, I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway. Where profit’s the name of the game and nice guys get washed away like the snow in the rain. There’s been a load of compromising on the road to my horizon…” Thankfully, I have a clean conscience when it comes to standing up for our principles. As I walk out of the Capitol for the last time I know that my priorities have never changed---honoring God and honoring my constituents.

This came at a tremendous personal cost, but it was worth what I paid for it many times over. I value my integrity, and I have the satisfaction of knowing I get to take my integrity with me when I leave. Not everybody can say that.

The price tag? It meant national attention -far more than most of my colleagues- even those in leadership positions. Those who live in my district may not realize that people in Kansas City, Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, New York, California and those who watch MSNBC and Steven Colbert may know more about me than you do. I became the target of several left wing blogs and frequently segments of my Capitol Reports would be quoted within hours of being e-mailed. People in other states would write me who read about what I am saying and accomplishing in Missouri.

The goal of the left wing bloggers is to shame and humiliate those who speak up for common sense America. It is possible that they are so surrounded by socialists that it shocks them to hear someone explain free-market ideology. More likely, they think making a martyr out of an honest mother of seven, grass-roots supported American will intimidate others from daring to state the obvious out of fear of the backlash. It may have worked were it not for the fact that I am defined by my Maker, not what the left-wing blogs say.

I must admit that seeing people try to tarnish my reputation was not pleasant, but it didn’t snuff out my freedom of speech or my efforts to help educate and possibly embolden others. The trailblazers who spoke the truth before me helped to develop my backbone as well. Courage and bravery are honored virtues in America.

I know that Missouri is in better shape because I was in the Capitol for eight years. My Capitol Reports chronicled my battles to stand up for our 10th amendment rights, remove abortion providers from the sex education classes in the public schools, free the midwives, fight against bigger government and promote legislation to strengthen families. The rest of my life I will have the satisfaction of knowing I made a difference by being there these last eight years.

Yet, there is nothing I did that cannot be undone by others who come behind me. Therefore, I urge you to be vigilant to support only those who side with the principles of liberty. Talk is cheap and during election seasons, you will hear whatever is on the menu of political correctness.

Did you ever play Red Rover? The hard chargers who break through the line get to take another player back to their side. They slowly build their team until there is no one left on the other side. That game provides philosophical lessons for us as well. We need to win people over to our side or we will lose them to the other side. The side who holds together wins. For those who are hiding in the shadows behind the bushes, I urge you to come out and see how good it feels to stand up tall and enjoy the sunlight. We need more brave hearts if we are going to see the real change necessary to get our country back on track. We owe it to our philosophical, moral and spiritual heritage to continue standing up for the truth.

In my last Capitol Report to you as your Representative, I urge you to join me in serving as a conscience for our homes, churches, communities and for our state. Don’t ever be afraid to speak up for what is right. I did, and I am still standing as an example that tenacity and perseverance win in the end. There is a God who sees everything and will judge us at the end of our lives for every thought, word, deed and vote.

Several of my constituents have told me how sorry they are I am not moving to the senate. I am satisfied because I know I am needed elsewhere. I plan on serving in the senate in the future. For now, I am not really going away -I’m just reloading!

It always means so much to me to receive an e-mail from you, however my state account is about to be removed as a working address. It has been a pleasure serving you and hope you will feel free to contact me anytime at my new e-mail address: GOPChief{at}gmail{dot}com. God bless you all!

A Little Bit of Humor

28 December 2010

Rupp: Have a Safe and Happy New Year

The year 2010 is about to come to a close and we can all start with a fresh slate for 2011. New Year’s is a time for family and friends to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. Traveling on New Year’s, however, can be dangerous when drivers are not being responsible. By simply following these tips, Missourians across the state will be able to bring in 2011 safely.

Being a parent myself, a top concern is always the safety of our children while traveling on our roadways. The best precaution drivers can take is to wear their seat belts. In the past three years, 600 drivers (under 21 years old) died in traffic accidents in Missouri, and of those drivers, 78 percent were not buckled up. It is also easy for young people to become distracted while on the road. Please refrain from texting and talking on the phone, rummaging through CDs, and other preoccupying tasks.

Another concern regarding travel during the holiday season is winter weather. Driving in snow and ice can be scary and unsafe, and it is important to take the proper precautions before battling Jack Frost. During your trip:
  • Obey the posted speed limits and don’t try to speed.
  • Adjust your speed to accommodate driving conditions.
  • Give the snowplows plenty of room and don't try to pass them.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Watch for other vehicles having problems with road conditions.
  • Keep your mirrors, windows, and lights clean for improved visibility.
  • Don't pass other vehicles on or near bridges — bridges tend to get very icy.
  • Keep your fuel tank at least half full.
  • If you don't feel comfortable driving, park at the first safe place.
Finally, do not drink and drive under any circumstances. Tragically, a person is killed or seriously injured in an alcohol-related accident every 1.9 hours in Missouri. This shocking statistic resulted in 280 deaths and 1,140 seriously injured people in 2009. To avoid being in an alcohol-related crash, remember to choose a designated driver that has not consumed any alcohol, consider calling a cab or a friend to come and pick you up, or stay where you are and spend the night at a friend’s house if possible.

Please remember to travel safe, and I hope you and your family have a Happy New Year and a very blessed 2011. For more information about safe traveling, please visit

If you have any questions regarding this matter or any other issues within state government, please visit my website at You can also e-mail me or call my office toll-free at (866) 271-2844.

27 December 2010

Tim Jones: Reflections and Preparations, Belated Christmas Wishes

Whether you receive this on, around or after Christmas and the holiday 2010 season, I do hope you enjoy!

Christmas 2010

“Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.” –Samuel Adams

“That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.” –Linus Van Pelt

Reflection & Preparation

In reviewing my Capitol Report I prepared on Christmas Eve of 2009, I was bemused to find that although 2010 was a tumultuous, historical year with more highs and lows and peaks and valleys than I can recount here (or that you want to spend time reading!), many of the issues and topics of a year ago remain the same.

For instance, even though our Nation continues to be challenged by one of the most difficult economic periods in our history, the 111th U.S. Congress, now in full “lame duck” mode, continues to wreak its havoc upon our country as it limps towards its eventual end. A great many of these folks will simply return home and will not be making the round trip to Washington, D.C. in January because the American people told them so in November. Those same American people made a historic change at the ballot box and ordered that an entire new field of true public servants take the reins of what will be the 112th Congress. Records were set from coast to coast and from state to state as we witnessed the largest Republican comeback since the 1930s. And this theme was true not only on the federal level but also in our State Legislatures and Governor’s Mansions. The people spoke loudly and clearly, rejecting the destructive policies of Washington, D.C. and choosing the common sense, limited government driven principles of freedom and liberty such as we have chosen to follow here in our Missouri State government over the past eight plus years.

Instead of focusing on the serious issues of jobs and the economy, the lame duck 111th instead chose to waste time trying to pass yet another pork laden stimulus bill (was that Porkulus III or IV, I have lost count) courtesy of Senator Reid (which failed), debating a destructive illegal immigration policy bill (which failed), and reversing course on a military policy that President Clinton himself championed not two decades prior (without debating the substance of DADT, are there not more pressing, more important issues that Congress should be focused on right now with unemployment remaining near 10%, with two wars in foreign lands and should we not have had a much longer debate on a major new treaty with Mother Russia?). Although this Congress did wisely provide at least some security to our nation’s families and small businesses by extending the tax policy we have been ruled under for the past nearly eight years, they also decided, in typical DC fashion, to load up a wise bill with a great deal of unwise spending increases, earmarks and yet another extension of unemployment benefits so we can further encourage people to stay at home and not search for jobs. Finally, our Senate decided to, for the very first time in our nation’s history; pass a monumental new major treaty with Russia over the objections of many learned brilliant political, military and historical minds during a lame duck session. Being an English & Russian Studies double major back in my university days (my choice I guess was to either become an editor at Rossetta Stone or go to law school…the rest is history!), I like to think I know a thing or two about the Big Bear in the East and as I continue to study this massive and impressive former superpower who continues to be a powerful and potentially dangerous force in our world. To quote Dick Morris, “having suppressed democracy, wiped out free speech, taken over the media, nationalized their oil and energy industry, invaded Georgia, enabled the Iranian nuclear program, and tried to establish a natural gas monopoly in Europe, what else does Putin need to do before [Congress] realizes that appeasement will not work?”

Russia remains a force to be reckoned with and Russian leaders continue to be very ambitious, nationalistic, dictatorial and unilateral in their approach with the West. The 111th Congress has bowed before the Bear and placed our national security at grave risk.

But enough of that! As we prepare for a New Year, I want to propose that there is a coming sunrise over the next hill as the 112th Congress begins to make its charge upon Washington and as our largest Republican majority ever returns to your State House and Senate in Jefferson City. Over the past many years here in Missouri, we have made wise use of your tax dollars and passed common sense legislation that has given Missouri small businesses the help and tools they need to grow and hire, that has improved our healthcare industry on the state level (the opposite of ObamaCare), that has balanced our State’s budget for eight years without any tax increases, that has protected life and your Second Amendment freedoms and that has sought to shield our State’s sovereignty from an out of control, out of touch, nearly bankrupt federal government.

My promise to you, as your incoming Missouri House Majority Leader, is to continue to promote and advance solid, common sense, principled public policy that promotes a limited government that remains accountable to the people, that carefully guards and wisely spends every single tax dollar that you pay, that continues to stand guard before the sovereignty of our State, that seeks to protect all of your freedoms and liberties and the lives of all citizens, the elderly and the unborn, and that once and for all is dedicated to reforming our troubled education system so that every child, no matter where they live, has the opportunity to a proper public education, which has become the civil rights battle of our generation.

I leave you with words of encouragement borne out of a vision for a greater tomorrow. We are a nation of industrious, hard working individuals and strong families who know how to confront crisis and conquer challenges. Through all our wars, economic strife and social unrest, we have endured and been made the stronger for it. And our Nation will continue not only to survive but to prosper. So during this very special time, as we celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, the New Year and the other high holy days and holidays that these months bring, enjoy them and celebrate them with your family and loved ones like never before. Hug your children, rejoice with your parents and grandparents like never before, worship in your Churches, Synagogues and other holy places with renewed spirit and prepare your body, heart, mind and soul for what is assuredly to be a very interesting and exciting 2011. In the meantime, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a safe, prosperous and Happy New Year!

Personal News & Notes

Daughter Katie continues to impress and make her Mom and Dad extremely proud. This week, while at the local craft store, Katie saw a little kit with which she could make her own wooden ornaments. Katie asked Suzanne if she could buy the little kit and make ornaments for some of her little friends. After crafting these little treasures, Katie wanted to personally deliver them, which she did, walking determinedly up to each door, ringing the bell and with a huge smile on her face and merry glint in her eyes, presenting her gifts to each of her friends in turn. If a five year old can learn and then live the “reason for the season” then surely all of us can! I cannot tell you how proud Suzanne and I are of our charitable little girl. How tremendous, how wondrous! We expect that Abby will follow suit and these two little girls have truly made the world a better place…

Two Simple Stories that Remind Us of the Reason for the Season

Many of you are very familiar with two of my favorite Christmas Season literary pieces so without further ado, I share them with you as my gift and present to you and yours!

From Linus to Charlie Brown

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.” (Luke 2: 8-14)

"......That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

And from the Editor of the New York Sun (1897) to Virginia

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

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

26 December 2010

Holsman Selected To Chair Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture

At right: Holsman tours Growing Power in Milwaukee

Jefferson City, MO - The Missouri General Assembly's newly established Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture held its first organizational meeting on Thursday afternoon. On the agenda for the committee's inaugural meeting was election of a chairperson and vice-chair, as well as the approval of a slate of nominees to serve on a technical advisory subcommittee. When it came time to select a committee chair, Representative Tom Loehner (R-Koeltztown) nominated Representative Jason Holsman (D-Kansas City).

In making his nomination speech, Loehner stated that Holsman's initiative in getting the committee formed made him a good candidate for the position. Representative Loehner also believed that the committee chair should come from an urban area.

Loehner's motion was seconded by Representative Billy Pat Wright (R-Dexter). The motion passed unanimously.

"I appreciate the responsibility vested in me through this committee chairmanship," said Holsman after the meeting, "A sustainable local food system will be an important aspect of our growing society as we change both what and how we eat. The average family in Kansas City will sit down for dinner and consume food that was grown with heavy pesticides, preserved, pre-packaged and shipped thousands of miles from both domestic and international souirces."

Holsman went on to say that every year the United States imports almost 800 million dollars in processed fruits and vegetables from China. That money can be redirected to help create agriculture jobs in areas of the urban core suffering from high unemployment.

"Locally grown food not only decreases transportation costs and related greenhouse emissions, but also provides access to healthier foods for children and seniors who live in the food deserts of the inner city." Holsman said. "Urban Agriculture has the potential to supply a reliably sustainable source of nutrition in the event of an interruption in supply due to drought, disease or disaster."

In other committee business, State Senator Jim Lembke (R-St. Louis) was selected as the Vice-Chairman. The committee approved a slate of nominees recommended by Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Dr. Jon Hagler to serve on a technical advisory subcommittee to the Joint Committee.

"I'm incredibly optimistic about the results of this committee and look forward to playing a positive role in shaping the future of agriculture in Missouri and across the nation," said Holsman.

The Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture, House Bill 1848, was designed to create a report to serve as a blueprint for state government activities relating to agriculture in metropolitan areas.