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08 December 2011

Denison: Observing Pearl Harbor, Tax Credits for Storm Shelters, ALEC Summit Recap

“The very best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature.” – Andy Rooney

Observing Pearl Harbor Day

This week our nation once again paused to observe Pearl Harbor Day and to honor and remember those brave Americans who endured that tragic event. For those who survived, and those who did not, it is our solemn duty to never forget the sacrifices they made for our nation. And while we have holidays like Veterans Day, Memorial Day and this one, it is also our responsibility to recognize the contributions of the men and women of our armed forces on each and every day of the year, rather than just a few.

We are a great nation and a great people and that greatness stems from our devotion to the ideals that have made this nation what it is today. That devotion leads to selfless men and women sacrificing their lives to keep our freedoms intact. That devotion also means those who do not serve should support and honor those who do. Whether it is on Pearl Harbor Day or any day of the year, I ask you to support our troops and our veterans in any way that you can.

Storm Shelter Tax Credit Legislation

The many natural disasters that devastated areas across the state this year brought more attention to the fact that Missouri families could greatly benefit from a safe place to go when dangerous weather strikes. One bill already filed for the 2012 legislative session (HB 1035) would establish a tax break to help Missouri families construct storm shelters. Specifically, it would grant income tax deductions to Missourians who construct storm shelters at their residences. The legislation would authorize an individual deduction of $5,000 or the cost of the construction, whichever is higher. We know that storm shelters help save lives and the tornadoes that hit Missouri this year emphasized the fact that we need more of these safe structures where families can go in times of need. The idea is to make it an affordable option for a Missouri family to build a shelter. This is a bill that has been passed by the House in past years but has failed to make it through the Senate.

Legislative Conference

On November 30th through December 2nd, I attended the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual States & Nation Policy Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. There were several legislators from Missouri in attendance as well as legislators from 49 states and the District of Columbia. ALEC is a resource for state legislators to learn from each other and to discuss policy that will lead to more individual freedom and economic growth. Keynote speakers at ALEC’s summit included Arizona Governor Jan Brewer; Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III; Dr. Tony Bennett, Superintendent of Public Instruction in Indiana; David Walker, Founder and CEO of Comeback America Initiative; and, Premier Brad Wall, Saskatchewan, Canada.

In the District

As I am sure many of you experienced our first taste of winter, our friends at MoDOT put out a press release reminding us of the on-line and toll free road condition information that is available from the Department. Below is the information from MoDOT:

MoDOT Traveler Information Map Reports Winter Road Conditions

Toll-free Customer Service Line Also Available

JEFFERSON CITY – With the first snow of the season hitting several parts of the state, the Missouri Department of Transportation reminds travelers that road condition information is easy to access by using the MoDOT Traveler Information Map online or by calling its toll-free, 24-hour customer service center.

Located at, MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map gives drivers an up-to-the-minute view of road conditions for state highways and interstates. Conditions for these routes are color-coded to give visitors the information they need at a glance.

“It’s as easy as looking out the window,” said Beth Wright, State Maintenance Engineer. “One click on the map and you can see what’s happening on the roads and determine your plan of action.” By using the zoom function, users can learn the condition of local city and county arteries that receive continuous attention from MoDOT crews. More specific information is available by viewing state highway conditions by city, county or route. As users narrow the view to specific areas, interstate exit numbers and lower-volume highways appear.

A text report and links to road condition maps for surrounding states are also featured on the site. In addition, users can access traffic cameras, view message boards or see if any highway sections are closed by incidents.

Motorists can also contact MoDOT’s customer service representatives 24-hours a day by calling 1-888 ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636), toll-free. In addition, MoDOT uses Facebook and Twitter to provide weather-related information and tips. Visit and click on the Facebook and Twitter icons.

Although the Traveler Information Map and the reports used by MoDOT customer service are updated around the clock during winter events, road conditions can go from bad to worse in an instant. Drivers are strongly urged to consult other sources before heading out in questionable weather. Tune in to television and radio stations for additional local information.

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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