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29 September 2011

Denison: Facebook Fix Approved

“The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.” – William James

In The Capitol

Special Session Continues

The House convened for debate on two pieces of legislation Friday. In what has been a very interesting special session where much of the time has been spent in negotiations with the Senate, the House took swift action to send two bills to the governor’s desk for his approval. The two bills represent the first real progress made during the special session as the Senate continues to hold up the many bills passed by the House. The major economic development package continues to be in question as well with the Senate refusing to uphold the deal made prior to the beginning of the special session. The coming weeks will be used to continue negotiations on these important issues.

“Facebook Fix” Legislation Approved

The House gave overwhelming approval to legislation that has commonly been referred to as the “Facebook Fix”. The fix is necessary because of an unintended consequence that resulted from a bill passed during the regular session to protect students from inappropriate conduct by unscrupulous teachers. Our goal was to make certain that communications through social media such as Facebook and Twitter are viewable by parents at all times. Instead, the language in the bill caused concerns that it would limit the ability of our many good teachers to use these tools to communicate school-related matters with their students.

Senate Bill 1 requires each school district to put in place a written policy concerning employee-student communication. The policy will have to be in place by March 1, 2012 and must pertain to the use of electronic media and other mechanisms to prevent improper communications between school district staff members and students. In addition, the bill repeals a provision that would have prohibited teachers from creating and using a work-related Internet site unless it is also available to school administrators and the child’s parent or guardian. Senate Bill 1 allows teachers to establish and maintain a work- and non-work related Internet site to have exclusive access with a current or former student.

The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.

In The District

Following is the work being accomplished this week on two of the road construction projects in Springfield. The information is from MoDOT:

Route 60/65 Interchange Reconstruction, Springfield

  • Removing deck of southbound Route 65 bridge over Route 60
  • Repairing deck of eastbound Route 60 bridge over Lake Springfield
  • Building columns and bridge ends for new eastbound and westbound Route 60 bridges over railroad tracks west of Route 65

Route 65 Soundwall Project, Springfield

  • Building soundwall footings, building shoulders and installing guardrail along Ingram Mill Road north of Sunshine Street

Interim Office Hours

Interim office hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Normal schedule will resume December 1, 2011. If you need to call me at home, my number is 417-887-3353.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Best wishes.

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