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21 August 2011

Holsman: Special Session Rumors, Urban Ag Hearings, Transportation Corridor Funding

Dear Friends,

I hope that you have had a satisfying summer here in the mid-west despite the temperature gauge hitting 113 degrees on the dashboard.

The school year has started and the past few nights I could feel fall on the horizon. The NFL is back and the Missouri Tigers kick off their football season on Sept 3rd.

The political scene in our country continues to be divided. On the national level we have been witness to a bitter wrestling match between Democrats and Republicans over the status of our nation's debt and deficit.

Despite our ideological differences, partisanship should never be allowed to be an excuse for ineffective government.

Here at home, Missouri state officials have tried to come to a consensus over issues to call the general assembly back into special session in September. I support a return to Jefferson City to work on an economic development bill in order to create jobs for Missourians.

Over these summer months I have spent a good deal of energy focused on the Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture. The committee is poised to conduct its second informational hearing this Tuesday 8-23-2011 in Springfield Missouri. Thank you Missouri State University for hosting the committee.

In addition to my legislative duties, I have received an invitation from the Truman National Security Project to participate in their organization as a Partner. My involvement begins later this month with leadership training seminar in Chicago.

I want to thank my Legislative Assistant Dan Bryar who has done a tremendous job since joining my office in June. He assembled many of the articles in this newsletter and too often politicians don't recognize the fact that providing effective leadership on any issue is a team sport. Thank you Dan.

If we do go into a special session, I'll have another update when their is something to actually report. Otherwise I'll not burden your inbox.

It is my honor to serve you in our state capitol. Thank you for reading.


Special Session: To be or not to be...

In a dizzy of rumors and speculation, Missouri state lawmakers are still uncertain over being called back to Jefferson City.

The close of the 2011 legislative session left some lawmakers, Governor Nixon, and many special interests wanting more time on the the clock for the general assembly.

The Missouri Constitution allows for calling lawmakers back to Jefferson City for a "special session." The call for special session can be initiated by either the Governor or members of the general assembly.

Among the most hot-button issues vying for consideration in a potential special session, is an omnibus tax credit and economic incentive package including the creation of the the St. Louis Lambert airport "aerotropolis".

Other issues that may come up in specials session include: a bill to delay Missouri's 2012 presidential primary to comply with new rules imposed by the national Democratic and Republican parties, establishing local control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, as well as accessing the state's "rainy day fund" for disaster relief.

The special session, if called, is said to run more or less concurrently with veto session, which is scheduled for September 14th.

Holsman Invited to become a Partner in the Truman National Security Project

The Truman National Security Project is a highly competitive leadership development program for individuals who show promise to become our country's future progressive leaders and are committed to advancing Truman internationalist policy over the course of their careers.

The mission of the Truman National Security Partnership Program is to create a community of change agents who share the same values and have the desire, ability, and network to propel Truman internationalist policies to the forefront of U.S. foreign policy.

The Partnership program trains and positions future policymakers to help advance their principles while not letting their values fall by the wayside in the face of everyday pressures, politics, and career advancement.

The program facilitates strong community ties among Truman Partners in order to implement security policies by connecting policymakers of common conviction. Beyond leadership development, the Partnership serves to catalyze effective, strong, progressive policy.

Holsman's role in the Truman National Security Project will begin in Chicago with seminars in leadership training.

More information on the Truman Security Project can be found at this link.

Urban Agriculture Hearing Missouri State University 8/23

The next hearing site for the Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture will be Springfield, Missouri. Missouri State University will host the committee's second informational hearing.

When: Tuesday August 23, 5:30 PM
Where: 300 South Jefferson Street, Springfield, MO 65806 (Kenneth E. Meyer Alumni Center)

The committee will conduct additional public informational hearings to be announced.

In accordance with state statutes the committee will condense the information that has been presented in theses hearings into a report, with legislative reccomendations, to be delivered to the Governor, Speaker of the House, and President Pro Tem of the Senate by December of this year.

Congressional Delegation Announces Federal Funding for Jackson County

Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, joined by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, announced on Thursday August 19th that the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have awarded Jackson County a $652,200 competitive federal grant to study a transportation corridor in south Kansas City.

"I want to thank Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the Federal Highway Administration for their continued support of regional transportation in the Kansas City Metropolitan area," said Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. "The momentum to study and ultimately build a competitive and efficient transportation system in our region continues to get stronger. This would not be possible without the support of our local elected leadership in Washington D.C. including Senator McCaskill, Senator Blunt and Congressman Cleaver. Their vision on this issue has helped secure critical funding for our community."

The grant funds will be used to conduct a transportation alternatives analysis in the U.S. 71 Highway commuter corridor including Kansas City and Grandview in Jackson County and Raymore and Belton in Cass County.

"We're moving in the right direction and this funding will put us one step closer to bringing commuter rail to the Kansas City region," said U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. "This project has the potential to attract new jobs to our state and to grow our economy."

Jackson County, in partnership with the Mid-America Regional Council, Kansas City, Missouri and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is currently conducting a similar study on two other corridors including I-70 between downtown Kansas City and Odessa and the Rock Island Railroad between downtown Kansas City and Pleasant Hill. Funds for this study were received last December.

"I'm pleased that the DOT has decided to grant this important funding, which will help us better understand the transit options for the region, encourage economic growth and improve access to private sector jobs," said U.S. Senator Roy Blunt.

The FHWA received more than 1800 applications for funding from 14 different grant programs. Requests for these funds came from every state as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.

"This project reflects a coordinated regional approach to assess the costs and benefits associated with rapid rail transit, leverage prior local, state and federal investments, and advance the livability outcomes for communities within the Fifth District," said Congressman Emanuel Cleaver. "I am happy to see the funds being awarded to Jackson County and I know the grant will yield dividends for all my constituents."

The "Alternatives Analysis" is a necessary step in the process of applying for and receiving federal transportation dollars which lead to the construction of new transit systems.

Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association Forever Families Gala

On Aug 20th over 300 individuals gathered at the Intercontinental hotel for the Forever Families Gala to raise money for the Midwest Foster Care Adoption Association.

Representative Jason Holsman served as Master of Ceremonies with speeches from Kansas City Mayor Sly James and child abuse survivor Nathan Ross.

Proceeds of the event will benefit Foster Families across the Mid-west.

Urban Agriculture Hearing: University of Missouri - Columbia, 9/13

The Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture will have its third public informational hearing in Tiger country on September 13th, on the University campus at a site to be announced.

Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture Review: UMKC Hearing

At right: Gov. Jay Nixon talks about agriculture before signing Senate Bill 356 reauthorizing the Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture on July 11th

Following the Governor's signing of Senate Bill 356 the Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture held its first of four public informational hearings on July 11th at UMKC's Pierson Auditorium.

The meeting was well received, attended by over 80 audience members. The joint committee, comprised of both representatives and senators, took nearly three hours of testimony from 17 different presenters. Presenters discussed concepts relating to changes in Kansas City zoning ordinances, cottage food laws, and economic growth of the urban agriculture industry.

At left: View of the informational hearing July 11th UMKC

Prior to the hearing members of the committee were led on a tour, by faculty from UMKC's Architecture, Urban Planning, and Design discipline of Katz Hall, showcasing related academic work being conducted at the university.

At right: Professor Jacob Wagner gives committee members a tour of UMKC's Katz Hall before the July 11th hearing

UMKC's course UPD 499B: Planning for Urban Agriculture, taught by Daniel Dermitzel of the KC Center for Urban Agriculture, and Jacob Wagner examines urban agriculture, including the ways in which food production, distribution, consumption and disposal shape cities. Topics include planning and design of urban food systems, soil and civilization, food policy and cities, and urban material flows that impact food production, distribution and consumption. Assignments will include readings, site visits to the local food system, guest speakers, and in-class exercises on site design, policy analysis, and urban ecology.

For more information on:
UMKC's Architecture Urban Planning and Design Programs visit this link

Members of the Joint Committee

Rep. Jason Holsman, D - Kansas City
Rep. Zachary Wyatt, R - Green Castle
Rep. Tom Loehner, R - Koeltztown
Rep. Lincoln Hough, R - Springfield
Rep. Stacey Newman, D - St. Louis
Sen. Will Kraus, R - Lee's Summit
Sen. Jim Lembke, R - St. Louis
Sen. Kevin Engler, R - Farmington
Sen. Jolie Justus , D - Kansas City
Sen. Maria Chappelle, D - University City


On August 13th, I was fortunate to attend "Farm Aid," a dynamic concert festival celebrating and supporting the modern family farm.

Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001.

Farm Aid has raised more than $39 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. This year the Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas played host to the celebration. Farm Aid is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep family farmers on their land

For more information please, visit the following site.

Budget Director Reports No Word on Disaster Expenses

At left: Holsman in Joplin

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering on Aug. 16 told a Senate budget subcommittee that total costs to the state for a devastating tornado that hit Joplin in May and recent flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers are still unknown. Gov. Jay Nixon has already set aside $150 million for disaster relief, but additional money is expected to be needed.

Family Vacation and Wilderness Exploration

Having some time away from Jefferson City I was able to explore the natural wonders that our beautiful country has to offer on our family vacation.

We headed up I-35 to the US Canadian border next to Lake Superior in the Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

My father-in-law accompanied me on a four lake back country overnight. We paddled and portaged our canoe and gear over 15 miles of inclined rough terrain into the wilderness.

Holsman paricipates in Missouri Biotechnology Tour

At left: The MO Bio tour vists the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Greenhouses in St. Louis on July 13th

The Missouri Biotechnology Benchmark tour ran from July 10th through July 14th, and toured industry facilities all across the state, beginning in St. Joseph and concluding in St. Louis. All members of the general assembly were invited to participate in the program, and was attended by 17 current members. Fellow Kansas City area lawmakers to participate in the tour included representatives: T.J. Berry (R-Kearney), Mike Cierpiot (R-Lee's Summit), Mike McGhee (R-Odessa), Kevin McManus (D-Kansas City), Sheila Solon (R-Blue Springs), and Noel Torpey (R-Independence).

This program, hosted by the Missouri Biotechnology Association, is a four-month, four-phase nonpartisan legislative leadership education initiative and fact-finding tour.

The program's objectives are to:
  • Promote engagement between Missouri's policymakers and the state's biotechnology leaders;
  • Broaden awareness of biotechnology's economic impact across Missouri;
  • Share experiences from other states engaged in the biotechnology sector; and, ultimately,
  • Sustain informed, open dialogue to facilitate bi-partisan development for long-term and sound public policy.
At right: Rep. Jason Holsman and Rep. Glen Klippenstein speak with a St. Louis Community College Biotech student

The 2011 Bio Benchmarking Tour featured leadership briefings and tours of the following facilities:
  • Boehringer-Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc
  • Missouri Western State University's Institute for Industrial & Applied Life Sciences
  • Kit Bond Science and Technology Incubator
  • BioTechnology Mobile Laboratory - "Bio Bus"
  • Kansas City Life Sciences Leadership Dinner
  • MRIGlobal
  • University of Missouri - Kansas City
  • UMKC Vision Research Center
  • Global Prairie
  • Polsinelli Shughart PC
  • Kansas City's Partnership for Regional Educational Prepartion (PREP-KC)
  • Human Health - Regional Economic Impact
  • Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute
  • Children's Mercy Hospital
  • St. Luke's Brain and Stroke Institute
  • Kansas City Area Development Council
  • Stowers Institute for Medical Research
  • Civic Council of Greater Kansas City
  • American Royal Association
  • University of Central Missouri
  • Center for Alternative Fuels and Environmental Systems
  • Alternative Fuels / Automotive Research Laboratory
  • University of Missouri-Columbia
  • MU Life Science Incubator at Monsanto Place
  • MU Research Reactor (MURR)
  • Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center
  • Missouri Orthopedic Institute
  • Soy Labs, LLC
  • ABC Laboratories
  • Immunophotonics
  • Pfizer Global Research & Development
  • Monsanto Company
  • Business Impact Panel
  • Daniel & Henry Life Sciences Insurance Group
  • RubinBrown
  • St. Louis County Economic Council
  • Clayco, Inc.
  • BJC Institute of Health at Washington University School of Medicine
  • Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
  • Bio Research & Development Research Park
  • Venture Capital Forum
  • Advantage Capital Partners
  • St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association
  • Stifel Nicolaus & Company
  • Plant & Life Science Network
  • Washington University School of Engineering
  • University of Missouri - St. Louis
  • Genomics & Cancer Research
  • Consortium for Translational Research in Advanced
  • Imaging & Nanotechnology (C-Train)
  • Galera Therapeutics
  • Nidus Investment Partners
  • Gallus BioPharmaceuticals

For more information on the Missouri Biotechnology Association: please visit the following link.


Nearly a year after he ruled in the first part of a lawsuit challenging a statewide ballot measure that forces Kansas City and St. Louis voters to reauthorize their 1 percent local earnings taxes every five years, Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem completed the case by upholding the constitutionality of the measure, which has since become law.

Kansas City officials filed the case last year in an effort to keep the measure, Proposition A, from appearing on the November 2010 ballot. Beetem on Sept. 20 rejected the city's claim that Proposition A was improperly before voters because it violated constitutional prohibitions against ballot measures containing multiple subjects. The city also challenged Proposition A as unconstitutional on its merits for imposing unfunded costs on it, but Beetem said that part of the case wouldn't be ripe for litigation unless Missouri voters approved it and deferred consideration of that point until after the election.

Proposition A passed with 68.4 percent support, triggering the first round of local reauthorization votes in April. In Kansas City, 78 percent of voters favored keeping the tax, while it passed with 90 percent in Saint Louis. Proposition A will require another vote on the issue in 2016.

In his recent ruling resolving the case, Beetem said Proposition A imposes no unconstitutional costs on Kansas City because officials aren't required to hold renewal elections since they have the option of simply letting the tax expire.

Background information on that case can be can be found at this link.

Missouri Celebrates 190th Anniversary of Statehood

Missouri recently marked the 190 anniversary of its admission into the Union. President James Monroe signed the proclamation making Missouri the nation's 24th state on Aug. 10, 1821.

Missouri had expected to join the union in 1820 - the year that still appears on the state seal - but its admission was delayed because the state constitution submitted to Congress prior to statehood included a provision that attempted to prevent free blacks from entering the state. Since the U.S. Constitution requires states to grant citizens of other states the same privileges and immunities under the law that they grant their own citizens, that provision of the Missouri Constitution was deemed in conflict.

As part of the Missouri Compromise, in which Maine broke off from Massachusetts and became its own state, adding another free state to offset Missouri's admission as slave state, the Missouri General Assembly on June 26, 1821, passed "a solemn public act" agreeing to not enforce the offending section of the state constitution in exchange for its admittance to the Union.

MoDOT Completes 500th Bridge

The Missouri Department of Transportation on Aug. 10 completed its 500th bridge under a years-long effort to repair or replace 802 of the state's worst bridge.

The milestone 500th bridge is located on U.S. 61 over Apple Creek in Perry County. The $685 million bridge repair program is running a year ahead of schedule and is now expected to be completed by the end of 2012.


Separate commissions respectively charged with redrawing new districts for the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives have both ended their work in partisan deadlock. The job of drawing 34 new Senate districts and 163 new House districts will now pass to a commission of six judges from the Missouri Court of Appeals.

The House redistricting commission declared it was at an impasse on Aug. 12, while the Senate redistricting commission followed suit on Aug. 16. Both commissions, which consist of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, faced an Aug. 18 deadline for filing preliminary redistricting plans and a Sept. 18 deadline for finalizing their proposals.

With the passage of the first deadline without action, the work of the Senate and House commissions essentially is over. Under the Missouri Constitution, however, the appellate commission won't get jurisdiction to take over redistricting until the second deadline passes and the original commissions are officially discharged. The appellate commission has until Dec. 17 to complete its work. The new legislative districts will be used for the next decade, beginning with the 2012 elections.

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