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02 June 2011

Hoskins: Storms Show State's Resilience, End Of Session Report

So far in 2011, Mother Nature has clearly been in charge in Missouri. Flooding on the Mississippi River, tornadoes in Joplin and Sedalia, and now more flooding along the Missouri River. The devastating blizzards of the winter seem so long ago.

Missouri is a state filled with resilient people. We have been there to help other people and now those people are helping us while we still work to help ourselves. I am without words in being able to express how proud I am of how our neighbors are helping neighbors.

There are many organizations and web sites available for you to help. We immediately think of the good work done by the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the committed network of churches. A web site you may not be familiar with is This is a well organized clearinghouse to help you determine how you can best assist those in the Joplin community. It goes without saying that our prayers for Joplin and all the others experiencing these tragedies continue to be important.

The Legislative Session Wrap-up

After all that has happened since the middle of May, the legislative session seems a long time ago. There is definitely a time and a season for everything and this past legislative session definitely seemed like a new season. I am proud of the progress and changes we were able to make on behalf of Missouri families and the citizens of this state.

When we began this session in that exceptionally cold January, we started with our pledge to live within our means, keep taxes low, and balance our state budget. Now that summer is here, we can look back on the work we did during the session and know that we accomplished good work. We also changed the culture in Jefferson City. We started hearing bills sooner than ever before, gave the minority party more power which enhanced cooperation, and ushered in a new era of greater responsibility among elected officials.

Throughout this session our top priority was creating jobs for Missouri. We successfully passed measures that would reduce regulations and cut down on frivolous lawsuits for small businesses and family farms. Through HB 45, The Big Government Get Off My Back Act, we cut taxes for small businesses that hire additional employees. I sponsored HB 45 and am looking forward to the governor’s signature to make that bill law. HB 45 is directed toward businesses with fewer than 50 employees, the size business that is the heart and soul of our state. I am optimistic it will provide another tool that will help create jobs in Missouri and keep our local Main Street businesses prosperous.

We also continued to fight for Missouri taxpayers by requiring drug tests for welfare recipients (HB 73 & 47). This reinforces that our tax dollars are used to provide a hand up and not a hand out. In addition, we went after the worst of the worst and toughened penalties on those who attempt to use human trafficking as a profiteering venture (HB 214). We increased transparency in our healthcare costs to consumers (SB 62). I am also proud we were able to champion a number of responsibility measures by ensuring that Missourians must use a photo ID when they vote, so our elections will be free of fraud (SJR 2). This issue will now come before the voters.

A few other things I am glad we were able to achieve include removal of the potential for impropriety through gubernatorial appointments by requiring statewide elections to fill vacancies instead of repeating a Blagojevich situation like we saw happen in Illinois (SB 282). We passed a reasonable fix to Proposition B that will improve the safety of animals and enforceability for bad actors through SB 113. Prop B was NOT repealed but this bill corrects some of the serious errors that made it unable to be administered as it was. We also approved a fair redistricting map for the Congressional district boundaries for the next ten years (HB 193).

Although I’ve mentioned this in previous Capitol Reports, I am again sharing news about HB 203 simplifying the renewal process for driver’s licenses for our military. I am very pleased that this is ready for the governor’s signature. Anything we can do to make things smoother for our military is a good thing and I am delighted to have been able to sponsor this bill. The governor has until July 14 to sign the bills on his desk. For any bills he vetoes, we will hold a veto session on September 14.

District Directory

Later this summer, please be watching your mail for your updated District Directory. This is really an easy reference for phone numbers and addresses for a variety of government contacts including federal, state, county and city officials. Government phone numbers are sometimes hard to find in the phone book. I really like that handy little book and hope you find it as useful as I do. Also included in the directory is a list of all the bills that were Finally Agreed and Truly Passed. You may find that an interesting list to review. If you have any questions about any of those bills, you can go on-line at to read the text or you could call my Jefferson City office.

Ways to Keep in Contact

I consider communication with my constituents a high priority. I look forward to seeing you at different events while I’m back in Johnson County now that this year’s session is over. During the interim, I will be continuing my weekly Monday morning chat at 8:45 a.m. with Woody at KOKO Radio on AM 1450. That is truly one of the best ways I’ve found for you to literally “hear” from me. Tune in every Monday morning at 8:45 to hear the latest concerning District 121.

Please share this report with anyone you feel would be interested in this information. It is genuinely a privilege to serve as your state representative.

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