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29 January 2011

Davis: Accountability!!

It has been a long but productive week in the Missouri House. We continue to strive to create jobs and pass legislation to make Missouri more fiscally responsible. This week HB73 was ordered printed and perfected, and was placed on the House calendar for third reading. This bi-partisan effort was overwhelmingly passed by the General Assembly.

The Missouri House of Representatives gave initial approval to legislation that would implement a system of drug testing for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients suspected of using illegal controlled substances. The House perfected HB 73, sponsored by Rep. Ellen Brandom, R-Sikeston, by a vote of 121-37.

HB 73 would require the Department of Social Services to develop a drug testing program for applicants and recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program benefits. Tests would be given to individuals who the department has reasonable suspicion to believe engage in the illegal use of controlled substances. An applicant or recipient who tests positive would be ineligible for benefits for one year. Household members of an individual who tests positive could continue to receive benefits as protective or vendor payments to a third-party payee.

As the appropriations and budget process continues, the Missouri House has decided to put the cuts to education on the back burner. As we all know, education is very important to the State of Missouri and the people of the 128th district. The Missouri House and I want to protect education as much as possible. We will continue to fight for our children in Missouri.

As vice chairman of the Veterans committee, we, as a committee, voted do-pass on two bills this week. HB204 deals with the renewal of driver’s licenses for military personnel, and HB149 which deals with the Missouri military family relief fund. As a veteran, I believe this committee and the work we have, and will do, is very important.

I had a wonderful meeting with R-7 superintendant Tony Rossetti and DESE’s deputy commissioner for fiscal and administrative services Ron Lankford this week. After discussing the education formula, the way schools receive their funding, I realize how complicated education funding is. I want to thank them both for taking time to come to Jefferson City and do what they do best….EDUICATE. This time it was educating their 45 yr old representative.

I pray you all have a great week. Please come to the capitol and visit, the history of our great state and our capitol is so wonderful. Until next week, May God richly bless you all.

28 January 2011

Denison: Summary of Recent Transportation Conference

As Transportation Chair, I was invited to participate at the Annual Missouri Transportation Conference that was held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City on Thursday, January 27th. The Conference was hosted by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation, the Missouri Department of Transportation, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. A panel of Transportation Committee Chairs; Senator Stouffer, Senate Transportation Committee; Representative Sally Faith, Transportation Funding & Public Institutions; and myself, discussed the importance of transportation issues. I was very honored to be a part of this panel.

I have the opportunity to work with wonderful people, and this week I would like to mention Lisa LeMaster. Lisa is a Senior Governmental Relations Specialist, with the Missouri Department of Transportation. Lisa confers with my office each day to keep us abreast of legislation, and we appreciate her.

We were fortunate to have so many visitors at the Capitol this week:

On Tuesday, January 25th, Gary Wilson, Springfield, with A.R. Wilson Realtors, and President of the Missouri Apartment Association visited the Capitol. I appreciate Gary’s visit.

At right: Rayanna Anderson, Rep. Denison, Darrell Hampsten, Tara Horton

Also on Tuesday, January 25th, visitors with the Missouri State University Small Business & Technology Development Centers, Rayanna Anderson, Director, Springfield; Tara Horton, Training Coordinator, Springfield; and Darrell Hampsten, Coordinator of Small Business Programs, West Plains, visited the Capitol.

On Wednesday, January 26th, we were fortunate to have Mayor Jack Cole, Rogersville, and Board members of Rogersville, Jon Hill, Leon Roderick, and Dale Reaves. We discussed road improvements in their area.

The 2011 Salute to Missouri Legislators Reception was held this week on Wednesday, January 26th. There were several people in Jefferson City with the Springfield delegation. Those from Springfield among others that were in our office, but not limited to: Jim Viebrock, Presiding Commissioner, Greene County; Jeff Reinold, Budget Officer, Greene County; Sandy Jones, Legislative Liaison, Ozarks Technical College.

If you will be in or around Jefferson City at any time, please stop by my office for a visit.

Rupp: Providing Scholarships for Early High School Graduates

Education is and always has been at the top of my priority list. I believe with an educated population, our state will have a bright future for generations to come. However, the rising costs of higher education is deterring students from enrolling in college, while educating K-12 students is become an increasingly expensive venture. To help address these issues, I have proposed Senate Bill 130, which if passed, would create the “Early High School Graduation Scholarship Program.”

This bill would create a scholarship program for high school students who graduate early. If a high school student can graduate in three years, then the amount of dollars taxpayers would have spent on their fourth year of high school will be provided to the student as a scholarship for their first year of college. This benefits both the students and the state by making college more affordable for talented, young people in Missouri, and encourages students to reach their highest potential at institutions that best serve their needs.

With the scholarship offered through this legislation, I believe more high school students will be able to attend college, which would make these young adults more competitive in an increasingly educated workforce. As parents, we want our children to have the best education and future possible, and we dream of the day when we can watch them accept their diploma. We live in a great country where our children can grow up to be whatever they would like to be, and with a good education, this American Dream can be achieved for our students in Missouri.

I also introduced this legislation to provide opportunities of higher learning to students in Missouri, and to encourage students from dropping out of school. I believe the answer to a better economy and better quality of life for citizens of Missouri is education. Through the opportunities that this legislation provides, we will see our state’s economic viability increase and greater social prosperity for us all.

It is my pleasure to carry out these responsibilities for the citizens of Missouri. My job is to serve you, and as our session progresses, I will keep you up to date with all my legislative matters and happenings.

As always, if you have any questions regarding this issue or any other matter within state government, please visit my website at Here, you can also subscribe to my RSS feed on the main page of my website; it will keep you up to date on all my columns, press releases, and multimedia postings. Please feel free to e-mail me or call my office toll-free at (866) 271-2844.

Munzlinger: Listening to the Voters

When those in my district elected me to office, it was with the understanding that I would work to protect their way of life. This means their right to practice agriculture in many different venues.

It is with this goal in mind that I, along with Senator Parson and Senator Stouffer, have sponsored legislation to protect Missouri’s dog breeders and owners. Their profession is a respected segment of our state’s agricultural industry. Majority of my voters, as well as many other counties with rural population bases, voted “No” on Proposition B. The counties with large cities within their bounds carried this issue into law.

We want to be clear that the will of these voters is being respected in the proposed legislation. Our concern is that their good intentions were preyed upon by groups based outside our state lines. The majority of the funding for the proposition, as well as its wording, came from organizations whose agenda appears larger than protecting dogs. While Proposition B is portrayed as only applying to dog breeders, we want to ensure the protection of other sectors of agriculture.

We have combined my bill, Senate Bill 95 to the bill sponsored by Senator Parson, Senate Bill 113. These revisions would remove the fifty dog limit, as we believe that this is an unfair limitation on the amount of business a respectable breeder could do. Our new legislation would also give licensed breeders a grace period of 30 and 180 days to correct serious violations before they are charged with a crime. This is a change from the charge of a Class C misdemeanor for a first time offense. Our combined bill would also require the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) to conduct two follow-up inspections of any licensed breeder who is found to have committed a serious violation of the act. The MDA would also have the power to revoke a breeder’s license if they do not correct a serious violation after a second inspection. We still have abuse and neglect crimes which are serious offenses.

Agriculture is Missouri’s largest industry. It is vital that we protect this portion of our state’s industry. Senate Bill 95 and 113 are designed to uphold the will of the people by taking the idea of Proposition B and turning it into a usable and enforceable policy while keeping burdensome regulations from hampering the dog breeders of our state. This bill will save us money and promote economic development by allowing a respectable industry to continue, but most of all, this will help us protect the dogs and dog breeders of our state.

I understand that some of you may be concerned about my vote this past week that referred to Prop C from the 2008 election. Prop C did not include geographic sourcing which allowed the Public Service Commission (PSC) to inappropriately legislate and this is not within their authority. This task should be left to the legislature and the citizens of Missouri. So I voted no, along with the citizens of Missouri who passed Prop C in 2008.

My Missouri Senate webpage now offers an RSS feed. You can get the latest updates from our office anytime. We are putting out a weekly column, press releases and audio features. Please visit me at and click on the orange icon at the top of the page to sign up for these updates.

Mayer: Sponsorship of 25th District Reappointment to Governor’s Board

JEFFERSON CITY – Senate Leader Robert N. Mayer, R-Dexter, recently sponsored the reappointment of Dorothy Rowland to the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board. Rowland, a licensed practical nurse from Dexter, was first appointed to serve on the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board in October 2010. As a member of this nine-member board, Rowland will serve a term of three years in length with the full consent of the General Assembly, which she received on Thursday, Jan. 27.

“It was my honor to sit before the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee and sponsor Ms. Rowland’s reappointment to this important board,” said Sen. Mayer. “As a mother of four, grandmother of eight, Sunday School teacher, and nurse, Ms. Rowland brings a vast understanding of children’s issues to the board along with her years of experience as a licensed nurse.”

Members of this board are responsible for providing an independent review of child abuse and neglect determinations in instances in which the alleged perpetrator is not satisfied with the decision by the Children’s Division, located within the Department of Social Services.

“Ms. Rowland will use her nursing degree to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse,” said Sen. Mayer. “In addition, her experience as a nurse can show others on the board what abuse can do both physically and mentally to a child — a child who deserves to grow up in a safe and nurturing environment free from neglect and abuse.”

There are more than 200 governor boards and commissions, and each one provides Missourians the opportunity to serve the state in specific areas in need of their experience and expertise. To learn more about these panels or to apply to serve on a board or commission, visit

Lichtenegger: An Introduction, Congratulations to Constituents

Rep. Donna Lichtenegger took office in the Missouri House of Representatives after the January 5 swear-in ceremony at the State Capitol. She replaces former Representative Scott Lipke who served Dist 157 constituents from 2002 to 2010.

Her many years of public service include: 20 years as a member of the Republican Central Committee -ten of which she served as the Vice-chair; the Republican State Committeewoman from 1998 to 2010 for the 25th Senatorial District; Chair of the 32nd Judicial District for six years; ten years Chair for the Eighth Congressional District.

Highlights of her life include meeting President and First Lady George W. Bush during the 2000 National Convention; attending the White House 2004 Christmas Party; and in 2007 she received the Bill Emerson Public Service Award for Leadership.

Rep. Lichtenegger has 37 years of experience as a dental hygienist. Her dental career includes membership with the Missouri Dental Hygiene Association; a 30-year membership with the American Dental Hygienist Association; four years Vice-Chair of the Southeast Missouri Dental Hygienist Association.

For more biographical information link here: House Member Biography


  • Roy & Iverne Glass of Jackson will celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary.

  • Maria Bleckler, 6, of Jackson donated her hair to the Locks of Love organization which provides hairpieces to those in need. Link here for more information on this worthy cause: Locks of Love

Nieves: Recommendations for Improving our State’s Budget and Education

On Jan. 19, Gov. Jay Nixon delivered his State of the State speech and presented his budget recommendations to the General Assembly. Based on the governor’s speech and his submitted budget, it looks like the House and Senate will need to be the ones who will need to look more closely at this year’s budget, as the governor continues to rely on one-time federal funds and phantom savings to balance his budget.

Many families in the 26th District have had to tighten their belts over the last few years. We need to make our state government do the same. Many of the difficult decisions were made in the last few years; however, there are many more tough choices that must be made within our government. Using federal funds as “overdraft protection” is not the way to get there. It wouldn’t work in your house, and it won’t work in Jefferson City.

I do agree with the governor on one point: we cannot ask taxpayers to shoulder any more of the burden! Any tax increase would fall heavily on those who can least afford to pay, and would negatively impact the small businesses that we need to help drive us out of these tough economic times.

The governor also talked about job creation in his address. Missouri’s unemployment rate has not significantly improved over the last year. More than 280,000 Missourians have been out of work for a year and a half. While the governor hops around the state taking credit for new jobs, Missouri has actually lost more than 103,940 jobs since June of 2008. It is time we focus on getting government out of the way so our great Missouri entrepreneurs can do what they do best — tackle opportunities and create jobs!

Of course, while we protect taxpayers today, we must also focus on our future. As vice-chair of the Senate Education Committee and father of three public school kids, I look at the education of our children as a top priority. Using education funds as a political hammer is unacceptable — our children matter too much. Our public education system must be adequately funded, but perhaps even more important is HOW we educate our kids! I will be working closely with educators who teach in public school classrooms, as well as those who educate their children at home so, together, we can figure out the difficult question, “How do we best educate our children?”

With the governor’s State of the State speech behind us and the Legislature moving in to full swing, it’s about to get exciting at our State Capitol! I hope many of you will come visit us, and if and when you do, please come by my office in Room 433 on the third floor of the Capitol. I would be pleased to speak with you, and as always, my legislative staff and I are happy to assist you.

Tilley: Common Sense Legislation

This week, our work in the House continued to move quickly as we advanced common-sense legislation to help Missouri’s economy and families. House Bill 73 seeks to reform the way Missouri pays out welfare benefits to children and families in need.

Sadly, around 60,000 children each month are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (or TANF) welfare payments.1 While this program means well, these benefits are distributed to whoever is registered as the child’s parent, and far too often these “parents” spend money meant to feed their child on themselves.

One ugly example of how these welfare payments are spent is on drugs and alcohol. In bad cases parents are abusing taxpayer good will on a bad habit that is otherwise meant for hungry children, but in the worst instances pregnant “mothers” who receive the benefits are choosing a bad habit over their child.

In the data we have from 2010, there averaged around 85,000 individuals on TANF every month.2 None of these individuals were tested for illegal drugs as a condition of receiving their money. However, most people can’t get a job today without taking a drug test, yet those who would live off of the work of others are not made to take this same test – it is simply ridiculous.

In addition, numbers from (FY 2008) indicates that only 14.9% of Missouri families receiving TANF welfare payments are participating in some form of work.3 While there’s no way to know if drug-testing is part of this “work” – it probably isn’t. Even if all of these individuals are drug-tested as part of their work, it is still a very small minority that are tested.

Simply put, we can do better and we should do better. If we are going to decide to give assistance to needy children and families there must be some accountability to the taxpayers. Democrat members on the other side of the aisle criticized this proposal because they said it lacked compassion and was irresponsible. I feel like one of our greatest responsibilities is to taxpayers and not addressing this issue is abusing the compassion of all those Missourians whose hard earned dollars are helping these families get by.

It is time we took a stand and in the Missouri House of Representatives we have taken the first step. Please join me in supporting HB 73 as it moves to the Senate and hopefully lands on the Governor’s desk for approval.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve here in the House of Representatives. As always, I welcome your comments. You may reach me at 573-751-1488, send your e-mails to steven{dot}tilley{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov or write to me at the Missouri House of Representatives, State Capitol, Room 308, Jefferson City, MO 65101.


Nolte: Legislation to Restore Co-Employee Liability Protection Receives Committee Approval

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A House committee gave approval Thursday to legislation sponsored by state Rep. Jerry Nolte, R-Gladstone, that would protect Missouri workers and businesses by restoring liability protection taken away by the courts last summer. The House Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee approved HB 91 by a unanimous vote of 12-0.

House Bill 91 would restore co-employee liability protection in the Missouri’s Workers Compensation. The bill specifically addresses an issue raised last year when a court ruling allowed an injured worker to sue a co-worker after already settling a workers' compensation claim against his employer. Nolte’s legislation would reinstate liability protection to employees in cases where a workers compensation claim is settled. However, employees would still be liable in situations where injury is caused by the employee’s unprovoked violence or assault against another employee.

“The workers’ compensation reforms of 2005 and the court ruling made last year have had the unintended consequence of creating a negative environment for workers and employers in Missouri. The court ruling stripped away co-employee liability protection and opened up a floodgate of potential lawsuits by injured employees against co-workers,” said Nolte. “The end result is that it makes it more difficult for employers to hire and retain employees especially in supervisory roles when there is an increased chance the employee may be subjected to a lawsuit. Restoring co-employee liability protection will allow us to reverse these dangerous court decisions and get back to the original intent of the reforms made in 2005.”

HB 91 now awaits approval by the House Rules Committee before moving to the House floor for discussion.

Torpey: Significant Citizen Reaction To Prop B Revisions, Deputy Whip Appointment

Ed. Notes: Senate Bill 4 is incorrectly identified in this missive as Senate Bill 50. SB50 would allow electric companies to recover costs for developing new plants with consumer rate increases. Also, Stanley Cox is sponsor of HB131, not Chuck Gatschenberger.

A Special Note

This week, we have received many phone calls and emails in relation to legislation wanting to change or repeal Proposition B. Several members of the Missouri General Assembly have crafted legislation with varying language, from Senator Stouffer’s Senate Bill (50) which plans to repeal the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act in its entirety, to Representative Gatschenberger’s House Bill (131) which would simply modify some of the language of the Act. There is a lot of information on our House website, so I urge all of you to consider all sides of the issue. I look forward to receiving more letters, emails, and phone calls with your opinions. At the end of the day, the Missouri voters have spoken on this issue, and I believe that the General Assembly needs to remember that.

2011 Legislative Session continues

This week, members heard many bills for the first time. However, a bulk of our time in session was spent on House Bills 73 and 47, relating to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives heard the legislation once again, along with many amendments to edit the two bills. These two pieces of legislation, which after amendments, were finally read and passed, require certain recipients of TANF money to be tested for the illegal use of controlled substances. These bills not will not only help ensure that state TANF money is being used efficiently with recipients, but will also be another safeguard for children in homes where controlled substances are being used. In the end, I believe that all Missouri children deserve to grow up in a safe and comfortable home and House Bills 73 and 47 will aide that these children are taken care of.


House Speaker Steven Tilley announced the creation of two new special committees Tuesday. Tilley formed the committees to address the issues of services to the disabled and renewable energy. He appointed Representative Jeff Grisamore to serve as the chairman of the House Special Committee on Disability Services. Tilley appointed Rep. Jason Holsman chair the House Special Committee on Renewable Energy.

A bulk of my meetings this week were for my committee on Fiscal Review and my committee on Appropriations of Public Safety and Corrections. Fiscal Review committee read the fiscal note/review for the TANF bills and discussed the impact on the General Revenue fund. The Small Business committee met, as usual, to discuss current legislation affecting small businesses of Missouri. In Downsizing State Government, we heard House Bill 44, sponsored by Rep. Sara Lampe regarding the Paper Reduction Act and House Bill 139, sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith regarding the Missouri Accountability Portal.


Early this week, Representative Jason Smith, Majority Whip, graciously appointed me as a Deputy Whip. This new position will help me play a key role in helping our caucus achieve its legislative priorities for the 2011 legislative session. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve in this position; I will be able to better represent the interests of the 52nd District and I definitely look forward to working to help ensure the passage of legislation that will be of great benefit to the people in our area as well as the entire state of Missouri.

If you have any questions or concerns, call or email my office and we will get back to you as soon as possible. I hope you all enjoy the warmer weather we are blessed with this week!

27 January 2011

Schupp: TANF Amendments Ruled Out Of Order, Robo Calls From Ameren

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

In the State of the Union address this week, President Obama's message underscored the importance of creating and expanding jobs that will help our nation "win the future."

Policies that call for investment in the creativity and imagination of our people, supporting entrepreneurial efforts, are among those I will work toward in the House.

Job creation, education and development of clean energy technologies are issues that remain top priorities for our state during this session. I remain hopeful that we can move forward positively and develop solutions that serve us well into the future.

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to serve.



This Week in the House

*Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The House voted 121-37 in favor of authorizing drug testing of heads of household receiving federal dollars through a program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

None of us wants to use taxpayer dollars to help support a drug habit. However, this bill is based on an assumption that has not proven to be true.

Contrary to what some believe, members of the TANF recipient population, often single parents with a couple of children, are no more likely to be drug abusers than members of the general population.

Families on TANF receive these benefits only temporarily, with a lifetime limit of five years. For a family of 3, benefits can range up to $292 per month (less than what I pay for monthly rent of an apartment in Jefferson City) to help them pay for rent, clothing, utilities and other basic needs.

Several amendments offered were ruled out of order on what could be considered technicalities; unfortunately, some of those would have improved the legislation.

The amendment I offered stipulated that only those who were not in compliance with the program designed to help them in their work search could be subjected to drug testing in order to continue receiving benefits. My goal was to encourage TANF recipients who are complying with the program to find employment and support themselves and their families.

Under the bill as passed, those testing positive for illegal drug use will lose their portion of benefits for 12 months, plunging the family further into poverty without helping them access solutions to unemployment or to a drug problem. While it will be recommended that they seek out treatment for drug abuse, on a typical day in Missouri, there 3700 unserved people waiting to get into drug rehab treatment.

This legislation will cost the State just under $2 million to implement in the first year alone. The number grows each additional year for the next several years. I would rather see this large amount of money go to test fewer people (see amendment) and help expand treatment options for those testing positive for drugs.

I voted "no" on this version of the bill, and am hopeful the Senate will either modify or defeat it.

A Look Inside the House

Jill Schupp in General Laws Committee
A hearing on HB 47 and 73, the legislation mentioned above, was held in the General Laws committee before the legislation could go to the Floor for debate. Here I inquire of Rep. Ellen Brandom, the sponsor of the bill.

Good News/Bad News... Which do you want first?

From Marc Powers, Democratic Caucus Communications Director


Missouri's community colleges have agreed to limit tuition increases to $5 per credit hour for the 2011-2012 school year. The Jan. 25 announcement came nearly week after Gov. Jay Nixon proposed cutting state appropriations for public colleges and universities by 7 percent for the upcoming school year, which is less than higher education officials


Employment in Missouri declined by 0.6 percent during 2010 for the third-worst job-loss percentage in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The only states to fare worse last year were Nevada, where employment dipped by 1.5 percent, and New Jersey, which suffered a 0.8 percent decline. Missouri's unemployment rate in December stood at 9.5 percent.

Robo Calls

Thank you to "Mr. S" (I am keeping your identity secret!) who just called my office after receiving a "robo call" about nuclear power and Ameren's proposed site permitting process legislation.

You may receive a call like this, giving you a sentence or two about an issue and in some cases allowing you to press a button to be connected to my office. Please know that these "robo calls" are generated by special interest groups, not by my office. When you reach my office through a robo call, I haven't been given notice of who you are or the subject of your call. Please update me with your name, reason for calling, and a number at which I can reach you.

Most importantly, you never have to wait for a robo call to reach me! Your input, ideas and questions are always welcome. Call my office or the (314) phone number to share your thoughts.

Stouffer: Keeping School Funding Stable

In another tight budget year, the Missouri General Assembly plans to provide predictable and stable funding for Missouri’s classrooms.

Funding local schools is a critical part of our state budget. This decade, Missouri’s schools have received at least as much or more in funding every year, despite economic challenges.

Currently, schools are funded on a per-pupil basis. High-performing districts are identified and consideration is given to the local costs to educate students. This becomes the standard statewide. Put simply, the state helps local districts meet the per-pupil spending benchmark established by high-performing schools.

In addition, when the latest school funding formula was crafted, schools were promised that they would not receive less funding from the state. These are known as “hold harmless” districts. For rural Missouri, another key component of funding is the small schools grant program. This provides districts with fewer than 350 students a grant of $500 per pupil.

To give some real-world perspective, I have provided information on school enrollment, spending and performance in the last five years for schools in our area. Please note, the data only compares two years (five years apart) and does not translate into trends.

In the 21st Senatorial District, of the 44 school districts, only seven have increased enrollment. Six of these school districts are serviced by four-lane highways: Macon County R-1 – Macon (+9.01 percent), Sweet Springs (+6.70 percent), Callao (+5.45 percent), Atlanta (+5.45 percent), Kearney (+3.79 percent), and Boonville (+2.13 percent). Obviously, the four-lane highway has played a role in the increased enrollment in these districts. This may be another argument for improved transportation infrastructure in rural areas.

School districts that have seen a drastic drop in enrollment are Miami (-47.18 percent), Cooper Co. R-IV – Bunceton (-31.76 percent), Stet (-27.10 percent), Malta Bend (-24.20 percent), Macon Co. – New Cambria (-22.72 percent), Bosworth (-22.61 percent), and Keytesville (-22.01 percent).

Even though an overwhelming amount of schools in our area have decreased enrollment, every single district has increased per-pupil spending. This is most evident in the same schools that have decreased enrollment: Miami (+54.92 percent), Stet (+52.53 percent), Norborne (+49.37 percent), Keytesville (+49.11 percent), La Plata (+45.63 percent), Macon Co. R-IV – New Cambria (+45.41 percent), and Cooper Co. R-IV – Bunceton (+44.96 percent).

If average ACT scores are an indicator of performance, there seems to be little to no correlation with funding. Several districts of varying sizes, located in different counties and reporting different spending levels, placed above the state average for the ACT.

The information I provided in this column simply compares two different years and, considering the small class sizes in many rural districts, may not clearly show trends. However, this five-year sample shows the increase in funding per student throughout the state. All of us should expect this type of stable, predictable funding in the future.

For more information or a copy of the table referenced above, visit

Schaefer: Bills Filed Concerning Gifted Education, Reimbursement For Physical Therapists

This week was a busy one at the Capitol. Bills are being heard in their assigned committees, the Appropriations Committee is looking into Gov. Nixon’s budget recommendations, and legislators from across the state are growing accustomed to the daily hustle and bustle of the Capitol.

On Monday night (1/24), I was privileged to receive the University of Missouri’s Geyer Award. The award recognizes the work of public officials and citizens for their positive impact on higher education at Mizzou. Award recipients from previous years include Govs. Roger Wilson, Mel Carnahan and Christopher “Kit” Bond. It was truly an honor to be one of the recipients of this award.

I introduced two bills last Thursday (1/20) in the Missouri Senate. Senate Bill 147 would require school districts to include in their annual school accountability report card whether the school district currently has a state-approved gifted education program and the percentage and number of students being served by the program.

I also introduced Senate Bill 148, which would require that physical therapists receive the same reimbursements for procedures similar to those any other health care provider would offer.

Another one of my sponsored bills, Senate Bill 119, which would create the Private Landowner Protection Act and allow for the creation of conservation easements, was referred to the Agriculture, Food Protection, and Outdoor Resources Committee last Thursday.

Also on Monday (1/24), I had the pleasure of meeting with Gary Heimericks, a long-time employee of the Department of Natural Resources. Mr. Heimericks was recently honored by the Senate with a resolution for his work of over 30 years with the state of Missouri.

I also had the chance to meet with the Missouri Association of Realtors on their Legislative Day at the Capitol on Wednesday of last week (1/19). At our meeting, they presented me with a certificate of appreciation for my legislative service.

I sponsored one gubernatorial appointment this week. Russ Unger from Columbia was appointed to the Missouri Community Service Commission. Russ was accompanied at the hearing by his wife and family.

Thank you for your continued interest in the issues that affect the citizens of Boone and Randolph counties. If you have any questions or concerns please contact my office.

Click on the photos below for a larger version:
Gary Heimericks and Senator Schaefer shake hands on the senate floor.Senator Schaefer and the Missouri Association of Realtors pose on the Capitol's grand staircase. Senator Schaefer with Russ Unger and his family during his Senate Gubernatorial appointment hearing.

Kelley: Two Bills Discussed Before Crowded Committees

This week the Missouri House of Representatives heard several controversial bills in committees. I have been pleased with our leadership team’s willingness to move forward with legislation which will spark some intense discussion.

One is a bill [HB73] to drug test certain welfare recipients. Personally, I have a difficult time understanding why anyone would be opposed to such a concept. In the real world, employees are often required to submit to background checks, including drug testing, as a condition of employment. Why should anyone receiving taxpayers’ dollars be given favored status over a gainfully employed citizen?

The hearing was crowded to the point of overflowing. Most were there to testify against the requirement. Issues such as privacy and costs were raised during the discussion. I would submit if a person is living off the generosity of taxpayers, certain behaviors should be avoided, especially if those behaviors happen to be illegal. As to the cost, any upfront expense of the drug testing itself would be more than offset by reductions in payments as well as limiting costs to society by deterring illegal behavior. Following a committee vote, the entire House will further debate the issue.

Also considered this week by a House committee was a bill [HB131] to make changes to some of the provisions of Proposition B. We are attempting to find a way to honor the integrity of a statewide vote while still keeping our legitimate dog breeders from having to go out of business as a result of the new law. There have been several similar bills filed in both the House and Senate to accomplish this. At the hearing, many people showed up to testify on both sides of the issue. We heard many heart wrenching stories about abused animals, but this only justified what we are attempting to accomplish. Most of the bad operators are not licensed and would be unaffected by Proposition B. The most harm would be done to breeders who have been following the law and abiding by current regulations.

I expect the committee will look favorably on sending a bill of some kind to the full House for debate. Since several bills have been introduced, there is a good chance the final version will include ideas from each. We must act quickly on this issue to save an important segment of our agriculture industry.

Hoskins: Bill Would Grant Grace Period For Returning Military Personnel To Renew Drivers License

The Capitol continues to be busy. I’m delighted to report several things as we continue to make progress in advancing legislation headed to the Senate.


I presented HB 204 to my fellow members of the House Veterans Committee this week. HB 204 would allow any person discharged from the military to renew a driver’s license without examination six months from the date of discharge or within 90 days of reestablishing residency in Missouri. The bill also expands that privilege to the spouse or a dependent, age 21 or older.

Last fall I received a call from a constituent who had returned from active duty in Afghanistan with an expired driver’s license. He wants to remain a Missouri resident even while his duty station has temporarily changed to Fort Riley, Kansas. As it is now, active duty personnel can renew a driver’s license by mail but that may not be terribly convenient. In addition to the members of the military stationed outside Missouri, their spouses and families can also be impacted. Serving in the military affects the entire family. I believe we need to do what we can to simplify life, even in this small way, to recognize the sacrifices our military families make for us.

HB 204 was unanimously approved by the House Veterans Committee by a vote of 13-0 and received consent status. The next step will be for the bill to go to the full House for consideration.

My duties have expanded a bit. Speaker of the House Steve Tilley has appointed me to serve on the Special Standing Committee on Renewable Energy. Show Me Energy at Centerview has provided me with a good education on how to convert switchgrass and other renewable sources into energy. I also learned about wind turbines and solar energy from Ronald Barrett from Holden. He and his wife have established a new business, Emerald Wind Energy International, at Holden. Why look to oil and coal for our energy supplies when there are available alternatives right here? This committee will look to incorporating renewable alternatives into all phases of our lives.

In Other News

To share some scholarship news, I learned of an opportunity for students to win one of four $1000 college scholarships during FAFSA Frenzy at special events in February and March. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA is the first step all students must take to obtain financial assistance to attend college. State and federal governments and all colleges and universities consider the FAFSA when awarding need-based student financial aid. FAFSA Frenzy events help students and their parents complete the form and submit accurate financial information to determine student eligibility for need-based student aid.
Besides access to professional assistance in completing the FAFSA, there will also be information regarding federal student aid programs and Missouri state aid programs at these Frenzy events. Check the web site at for more information or to find a location near you.

I welcome Leslee Moon, a student at the University of Missouri, as an intern for the semester in my office. Leslee is a senior majoring in Parks, Recreation and Tourism. Originally from Oregon, Leslee served in the US Army as an MP. Currently a member of the Reserves, she is a career counselor. Her last active duty assignment was at Fort Leonard Wood, which is how she found her way to MU. While in my office, Leslee will be helping with committee work and hosting groups visiting the Capitol.

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. In the meantime, keep warm and be safe during this true January weather.

Nance: In Committees, Accounting For Excessive Revenue From Traffic Fines

“Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.” –Albert Einstein

In Committees

I attended my first meeting of the Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. The room seats about 80 people and we had at least 140 to hear bills [HB131] to amend Proposition B (Puppy Mills). After two hours of testimony the hearing ended, but we are having a committee meeting today.

I presented HB 105 in Crime Prevention and Public Safety on Wednesday.

HB 105

Currently, if a city, town, or village receives more than 35% of its total annual revenue from fines and court costs for traffic violations, all revenue from these violations in excess of 35% must be sent to the Director of the Department of Revenue.

This bill requires the governing body of a city, town, or village to prepare and send to the department an annual report of the fines and court costs collected and the entity’s general revenue for the year.

If fines and court costs exceed the 35% limit, the entity must include with the report the payment of any excess revenues. The department director is required to disburse the excess to the schools of that county within 30 days of the receipt of the payment.

Failure to send the annual report or excess revenue to the department director will result in the city, town, or village being subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000.

I offered the italicized words in a bill that passed two years ago because certain cities were collecting up to 45% of their general revenue on highways (“Speed Traps”).

In September of 2010, a Missouri state auditor found that the City of Randolph had violated state law by collecting more than 35% of its revenue from traffic tickets. They collected around $150,000 in 2009 from highway tickets and were only allowed by law to keep about $95,000. As of today they have not forwarded those excess funds to the state for distribution to our Clay County schools. This bill would put some teeth in the law.

On the House Floor

On Wednesday HB 73 & 47 were debated.

They require the Department of Social Services to develop a program to screen and test each work-eligible applicant or work-eligible recipient for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program benefits that the department has reasonable cause to believe, based on the screening, engages in the illegal use of controlled substances. An applicant or recipient who tested positive for the illegal use of a controlled substance which has not been prescribed by a licensed health care provider must, after an administrative hearing by the department, be declared ineligible for TANF benefits for one year from the date of the administrative hearing decision and must be referred to an appropriate substance abuse treatment program approved by the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse within the Department of Mental Health.

Any member of a household which includes a person, who has been declared ineligible for TANF benefits, if otherwise eligible, will continue to receive benefits as protective or vendor payments to a third-party payee.

Supporters say that the bill will prevent people who are receiving government assistance through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Program from using these moneys to buy drugs instead of groceries without cutting the benefits going to the children.

Most employers require an applicant to undergo a drug test before he or she is hired, and this program will help people seeking employment. They also said that children of those addicted to drugs are being neglected; therefore, the current system needs to be changed.

Those who oppose the bills say that the real problem is providing proper drug treatment to these individuals. The bill will not address this problem sufficiently because there are not adequate resources available for treatment, especially for this newly identified group of people. The bill passed out of the House with a vote of 121-37.


Visiting this past week with the realtors were Marcha Tietjen, Yvonne Parker, Mike Ebenroth and Rue and Cecil Lovett.

Superintendent Jim Horton and I attended a presentation on the school formula at the Missouri Association of Schools Administrators.

I met Dr. Blaine Henningsen, the 1971 quarterback of the State Champion Richmond Spartans. Blaine is the Superintendent of Carthage schools.

Tim Jones: Addressing the Addresses, Parent Power and Choice Act, Floor Action

At right: Rep. Jones with Speaker Tilley and constituent, Tom Voss, at the RCGA Legislative Briefing.

Winter relented and cast forth a glimmer of Spring this week as we finally enjoyed a quiet return journey to the State Capitol, free from the frosty elements of snow or ice. Beneath the Capitol Dome, hundreds of citizens gathered from the four corners of the State to attend various hearings on many issues with the coming challenges of the Budget looming over all discussions. On the House Floor, we had our first spirited debate where the philosophical differences were presented as we debated and gave overwhelming first round passage to require drug testing of adult welfare recipients…

Addressing the Address

Last week Gov. Nixon delivered the State of the State Address. Contrary to the Governor’s statements, his proposed total budget reductions throughout state programs amount to around $300M, not $700M. He has proposed 863 job cuts, yet, none involve his personal staff. This is not good leadership given that the Senate and House have already cut internal staff and salaries. Climbing out of this hole will require us all to sacrifice, not using the Governor’s plan to require only others to sacrifice. Part of the Governor’s budget calls for $67.4M in Medicaid reductions. However, more than half are provider rate cuts. Just because the Medicaid formula says, “Here is what you get paid for your service,” does not mean the cost for providing the service is suddenly what Medicaid stated. The cost is still the same and the inability to collect the proper payment for their services causes doctors and hospitals to inflate the costs elsewhere to make up the difference or refuse to offer services at all. This amounts to higher costs for everyone and the result is income redistribution. Missourians are demanding fundamental changes with real solutions, grounded in the values of freedom, liberty, responsibility, and charity, not cradle to grave, income redistribution. The Governor also proposed that funding for K-12 schools remain static, yet when you review the actual numbers, the $112M currently available to the 522 struggling school districts must be held over until the next fiscal year for the numbers to match. This, on top of the $62M in school transportation funds being withheld by the Governor, spells trouble for maintaining the current funding rates.

Parent Power and Choice Act

Next week, I will file the “Parent Power and Choice Act” that provides options for parents whose children are required to attend a school that is failing to meet their child’s educational needs. If parents believe their children are being underserved, and over fifty percent of those parents sign a petition requesting the local education agency to make education alternatives available, a triggering event occurs that requires the local agency to make those options available. Once the trigger is initiated, parents will have three options for providing the best educational scenario for their children. The first option is a restart model in which the local educational agency converts or reopens the existing school under a charter school operator, a charter management organization, or an education management organization that has been selected through a review process. The second option is to close the school and move the students to another school within the local educational agency. Option Three would allow a local educational agency to implement a school voucher program. The voucher would cover the cost of attendance necessary for the student to attend any private or public school for which the student is eligible to be enrolled. This is a dramatic proposal that places parents in control of the free public education that we claim our State offers. It is time that all proposals be on the table to rectify our failing schools across the State.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On Tuesday evening, many of us in Jefferson City and across Missouri turned our attentions toward the larger state of our nation and listened to the State of the Union address. I found it interesting that every time the President discussed spending (which often requires increasing your taxes), he used to word “investing”. The people spoke last November and apparently the President and the leaders of the US Senate did not hear the message. It is time to reign in the spending and make the necessary cuts to begin paying down our massive national debt. Merely “freezing” spending at current levels for the next 5 years is bad news for America, and bad news for Missourians. What it means is continued deficit spending and increased debt.

FLOOR ACTION: Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spirited debate erupted on the House Floor as we debated HB 73. As you know by now, HB 73 allows for the drug testing of welfare (TANF) recipients suspected of using a controlled substance. Despite attempts from some House Democrats to continue subsidizing the illegal drug use of some TANF benefit recipients, HB 73 overwhelmingly received first round passage, was ordered printed and perfected, and was placed on the House calendar for third reading. It is unconscionable to think the right decision is to continue to provide taxpayer funding for anyone’s drug use.

FLOOR ACTION: Thursday, January 27, 2011

Today, I brought to the Floor the House Resolution [HR274] that governs the Rules of Procedure for the House Ethics Committee of which I am the Chairman. I am pleased to report that the Ethics Committee Rules received unanimous support both in Committee and on the House Floor. Every single Democrat and Republican who voted today supported this very important procedural resolution.

Public Service Announcement

The Family Enrichment and Resource Program (FERP), a local nonprofit organization which I very much support, is hosting a Children’s Art Auction at the Wyman Center on Saturday, February 5th from 6:30pm-9:00pm. The cocktail reception is $12 per person which includes admission, beverages, hors d’oeuvres and childcare, if needed. The purpose of this inaugural program is to bring families together and provide resources and activities that will guide parents in their child rearing and child development skills. For additional information or to RSVP, please call Pam at 314-603-5787 or email your reply to stregthenfamilies{at}yahoo{dot}com.

Visiting the Capitol

If you ever find yourself in or around Jefferson City at any time during the year, please feel free to visit us! Stop by our new office location in Room 302 and we will be happy to meet and greet you!

Personal News & Notes

I am finding that my duties as Floor Leader truly run the gamut. I am sought out by members, of both sides of the aisle, for my advice and counsel on a number of issues, from legislation to human resources to office administration. I am very humbled by the fact that I can be of service to not only my own constituents, but to constituents and their Representatives all across the State. And because this makes for very long days and sometimes longer nights, I continue to owe a debt of gratitude and thanks to my excellent staff, my colleagues at my law firm, DosterUllom, LLC, and especially to Suzanne, Katie and Abby, who are a sight for sore eyes every Thursday evening when I return home! If we can ever be of any assistance, do not hesitate to contact us at: 573.751.0562 or you can reach my primary assistant, Jody at: jody{dot}williams{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov.

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

Engler: Fighting Fraud with Voter I.D.

In the Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee this week, we worked on voter ID legislation that would require anyone voting in the state to show photo identification. This is not the first time the legislation has come up—we passed a similar law in 2006, but a court ruled the measure unconstitutional. However, in a court case in 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled an Indiana law was "amply justified by the valid interest and protecting the integrity and reliability of the election process." Because of this ruling, our efforts to fight voter fraud and institute an identification requirement are renewed.

My legislation addressing voter ID is Senate Joint Resolution 9, a constitutional amendment that would require voters to show valid, government-issued photo identification. The legislation, if approved by voters, would make sure that each ballot cast in this state is an honest one.

Complimenting legislation has been introduced that would ensure that no one who has the legal right to vote is excluded. Exceptions for citizens born before 1941 and for those unable to obtain a photo ID because of a physical or mental disability are included. There are also provisions for those who cannot afford the cost of identification.

We tackled several other big topics in Senate committees this week as well. One is a bill [SB23] that would put the St. Louis Police Department under local control. Since the Civil War, a state-appointed board has controlled the department. This is not the first time a bill has been proposed to change management of the St. Louis Police Department, and as we debate the details of the legislation, I believe there’s more to the story than meets the eye. In committee, those testifying against the bill (including the St. Louis Police Officers Association) brought up concerns over residency requirements, pensions and the corruption in the city. These issues need to be addressed to make sure the control of the police department is in the best hands possible.

A crowd also gathered to testify on changes to the puppy mill act, which was passed by the voters by a narrow margin this past November. There are concerns that the law, as it is currently written, puts unnecessary limits on business owners, and so legislation has been filed to make sure we’re not turning honest breeders into criminals while still protecting the safety of animals in Missouri. (Winston was asked to be an expert witness, but the meeting was during naptime, so he did not testify.)

Click on the photo below to view a larger image.

My intern this year from Missouri State University, Keaton Ashlock, is an impressive photographer, and I wanted to feature some of his shots of the Capitol in my weekly column. Keaton took this one right after a big snow in Jefferson City.

Kraus: Mission Statement

I was inspired by a sermon in church a week or two ago. Our pastor spoke about making sure that our time is focused on what is important while eliminating time wasters. It occurred to me that it would be useful to come up with a mission statement for Senate District 8 – one that would help me and my staff focus on what is important to Eastern Jackson County. Below is what we’ve come up with. The mission statement and our objectives will be posted on Senate website at

District 8 Mission Statement

State Sen. Will Kraus will focus on representing the constituents in Eastern Jackson County by making them a priority and focusing his and the office staff’s time on what is important to the district. We will serve the people to the best of our abilities. In order to achieve this mission, the office will identify three main objectives each year. For 2011, they are:
  1. Focus on the People

    Provide excellent constituent service by representing the values of District 8, listening to the people, responding to phone calls, letters, e-mails, attending in-district meetings and events, as well as serving as your voice in Jefferson City.

  2. Fiscal Responsibility

    Be mindful that the money we are appropriating is the taxpayers’ money. We need to watch spending to ensure we are allocating funds wisely and not wastefully.

  3. Economic Climate and Jobs

    Foster an economic climate that grows jobs by making it a priority to work on legislation that benefits Missouri’s economy. Putting people back to work is the best way to help the people of Eastern Jackson County. It is also the best way to help our budget woes by ensuring that working people who pay taxes on their income and contribute to the economy are able to purchase goods and services.

I have already started to use the mission statement and objectives to make decisions on what legislation to file and to follow. I believe this will help me and our office be more mindful of why we are in Jefferson City. I find that all too often people come to Jefferson City for the right reason, but over time, lose focus and start to put their own political future ahead of the people they were elected to represent. I am committed to staying focused on the people.

Testing for Drug Use

This session, I am sponsoring SB 74, which requires the Department of Social Services to screen applicants or recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits for signs of drug use, and to test for the use of drugs if reasonable cause is found by the department. This week, the Senate Health, Mental Health, Seniors and Families Committee held a hearing on the bill.

Taxpayers do not want their dollars to be used to buy drugs. This bill, if passed, would lead to our dollars being spent more wisely.

If drug use is confirmed, the recipient would be removed from their benefits for one year and be referred to a drug treatment program. Any children in the home would continue to receive benefits, but through a third-party payee designated by the department. Several versions of the bill have been introduced, and I’m working with other sponsors to agree on the best language. Expect SB 74 to be back in front of the committee in a few weeks. A passing vote out of committee would send my measure to the full Senate for debate.

Upcoming Elections

The following elections are scheduled in Eastern Jackson County. I encourage you to remember the dates for your area and get out and vote!
Feb. 8Lee’s Summit Reorganized School Dist. No. 7 (89¢ increase in tax levy)
Feb. 8Grain Valley R-V School District (Borrow $3 million for site development)
Feb. 22Kansas City Mayor/City Council Primary Election
Mar. 22Kansas City Mayor/City Council General Election
Apr. 5Municipal Elections for the following:
Kansas City (Earnings Tax Question)
Blue Springs
Grain Valley
Lake Lotawana
Lake Tapawingo
Lone Jack
Oak Grove

Sater: Bills Concerning Proposition B, Nuclear Energy Draw Attention

Ed. Note: The bill described in the second paragraph is House Bill 124, not SB124. SB124 concerns the mandatory schooling age for children in St. Louis City.

Things are starting to roll a little faster now at the Capitol. Most committees have met and bills are being presented. The Agriculture Policy Committee had the most people in the audience which is unusual, but a bill [HB131] being presented by Rep. Stanley Cox makes adjustments to Proposition B. This bill may be the hottest issue of the year. This bill adjusts, but does not repeal of Prop B. Adjustments such as the number of dogs a breeder could have, the temperature regulations, and space areas were some of the items in the bill. I do believe that this or a similar bill will make it through rather than a complete repeal.

Another bill with some controversy is SB 124. This legislation deals with a proposed nuclear power plant and a 40 million dollar state permit that is required. This permit gives the electric company, Ameren UE, the right to do the groundwork necessary for the construction of the plant. The electric company would like to increase electric rates by around 2 dollars per year per customer to pay for the 40 million dollar permit. However, Ameren needs legislative authority to charge the extra 2 dollars per year. With the feds increasing requirements of coal powered electric plants and the continuing raise of electric costs, nuclear power can be a benefit for our state in keeping electric rates affordable.

One of the items of interest to legislators this year is what redistricting will do to each legislative district. Every 10 years when the census is taken, a bipartisan commission is set up to determine representative and senate district boundaries. I would suspect that District 68 boundaries will shrink because of increased population, but where the boundary lines will be in the future is unknown. This also applies to our Senate district which includes, McDonald, Lawrence, Barry, Stone, Taney and Ozark counties. I am sure there will be some changes to the Senatorial district also. We should know more in a month or so.

The Health Care Policy Committee meets every Wednesday at 12 noon for at least 2 hours. This week we heard two bills and we went into executive session on one of them. During executive session amendments can be offered, or a bill can be voted upon. A roll call vote is taken and the bill either passes out or “dies in committee.” HB 196 which extends the Missouri Rx Program was heard yesterday. This program for those over 65 has been in existence for the last 5 years, and helps low income seniors pay part of the co-pays that occur under the Medicare - Part D Program. It also pays half of the cost when in the donut hole. This program had a sunset of 5 years and this was a reauthorization of the program for another 5 years. It passed without dissent and the bill will be sent to the House Clerk’s office to be placed on the House Calendar for the entire House to consider.

This session will be my next to last because of term limits. I will continue to represent you to the best of my ability. Thank you for your confidence.

25 January 2011

Holsman Selected To Chair Renewable Energy Committee

At left: Holsman outlines priorities for new committee

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - State Rep. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, has been named chairman of the newly created House Special Committee on Renewable Energy. House Speaker Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, established the committee and selected Holsman to lead it.

"Establishing energy independence from fossil fuels through the development of renewable energy is an important and long road to travel," Holsman said. "Missouri takes another step on that journey with the creation of a legislative committee dedicated to exploring all alternatives for making the state a leader in renewable energy production."

Holsman has established three priorities for the committee:
  • Conducting an energy audit of the Missouri Capitol and pursuing options for making it the first truly "green" state capitol building in the country.
  • Pursuing better implementation of Proposition C, which Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved in 2008 to establish renewable energy standards for Missouri power utilities.
  • Crafting legislation to assist residential, commercial and industrial users of electricity in investing in on-site energy generation.
Holsman is one of just four Democrats holding committee chairmanships this year in the Republican-controlled House.

Tim Jones: Majority Minute: Tomorrow's Debate On Welfare Drug Testing Bill

As we enter the third full week of Session, we can already point to accomplishments that will strengthen the small business community in Missouri and put Missourians back to work. Passage of HB 45 expanded the definition of small businesses from those with 25 employees to those with 50 employees. The bill allows businesses to use a tax deduction for new, full-time, employees and doubles the deduction if the business pays at least 50% of the employee’s healthcare benefit premiums. As an insulator against an out of control federal government, HB 45 also requires that any new federal rules, regulations, or fees be approved by the general assembly. HB 45 is more evidence of progress under the House Republicans Show Me Solutions Initiative.

House Bill 73

Tomorrow, HB 73 will be brought up for debate and perfection in the Missouri House. HB 73 is an important step towards fiscal responsibility. It simply does not make sense to continue using your tax dollars to provide financial assistance to adults who then use those same funds to purchase drugs and other illegal substances. This bill is a long time coming and it makes solid fiscal sense.

As we move forward in the legislative session I continue to be energized excited about our plan, the Show Me Solutions Initiative, and how it will help our great state. The plan is grounded in common sense Missouri values and is meant to improve our state now for the success we all want in the future.

Throughout Session, I will continue to send The Majority Minute to you, my constituents, colleagues and friends across the State. If you ever have any questions, please contact us at 573-751-0562.

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

Ridgeway: “Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act” Keeps Jobs in Clay County

JEFFERSON CITY — Ford Motor Company announced that the company will retain nearly 3,750 jobs at its Claycomo plant.

Last year, Sen. Ridgeway fought to help pass HB 2, also known as the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act. This legislation provides tax incentives for qualified manufacturing facilities and/or suppliers to create or retain Missouri jobs. The measure was created to bring new product manufacturing in to the state. This measure was aimed at enticing Ford to bring a new production line to its plant in Claycomo after the company announced that the production of its Escape SUV was moving to Louisville, Kentucky.

“This announcement is a victory over our current economy,” Sen. Ridgeway said. “The question of whether or not citizens were going to continue to be able to provide for their families has been answered. And it was the answer we needed.”

Currently, the factory still produces the F-Series truck, and no announcement has been made by Ford as to which new product will be coming into production at the Claycomo plant. However, officials did say they plan on investing over $400 million into the site to prepare for the introduction of a new product.

Under the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, any company that wishes to utilize the tax incentives offered in the measure must make significant capital investments before any benefits will be given. In addition, the jobs must remain in the state if the company wishes to retain those incentives or face having to repay the money.

The jobs, and the resulting pay, affect nearly all businesses in the greater Kansas City area. Those dollars flow into our restaurants, repair shops and many other small businesses. The loss of jobs at the Claycomo plant would have proven devastating to our local economy.

“We have solidified our economic base in Clay County,” Sen. Ridgeway said. “It has been my pleasure, as well as my duty, to work toward this end result, and I am happy to be able to celebrate it.”

Mayer: Audio On Progress Of "Rebooting Missouri"

Jefferson City — Senate Leader Robert N. Mayer, R-Dexter, recently added a new audio link to his multimedia page, which is located on his Missouri Senate website. This page features audio and video links (both streaming and broadcast quality — when available) for visitors to listen to and watch Sen. Mayer address issues that are important to him and the citizens of the 25th Senatorial District.

The new audio link includes Sen. Mayer discussing his plans for the Missouri Senate for this week (the week of Jan. 24, 2011).

Senator Mayer will continue to add audio and video clips throughout the year. You can download his podcast and listen to it by going to Sen. Mayer’s multimedia page:

Brandom: Progress on Show Me Solutions, Senior Service Awards

SIKESTON - This week at the state capital we expedited a bill [HB45] aimed at reducing regulations on small businesses. This measure places a moratorium on new federal small business regulations to include companies with up to 50 employees.

In fact, through the committee process and on the floor we heard that there are over 100,000 small businesses in the Show Me state and employees in those businesses account for 60% of employment. Those numbers just go to show how important entrepreneurs and everyday Missourians are to our economy.

The primary function of this bill was to offer incentives to small businesses to hire new people and grow their businesses. This bill gives a tax deduction for small businesses if they hire new employees at the average annual county wage, and doubled it if they also offer to pay for 50% of the new employee’s healthcare benefits. In total the value of the deduction is $10,000 per new employee hired or
$20,000 per new employee if they offer the benefits.

I believe this overall philosophy in creating a stronger business climate is key to turning our state around and getting back on our feet economically.

We understand there are a lot of difficult decisions to make in state government and the Governor is at the forefront. We were happy to hear that he joined our call in the Show Me Initiatives to live within our means by keeping spending and taxes under control for Missouri families.

My colleagues and I in the House are willing to make bold decisions and lead by example; that’s why we were elected. This week we started off with a great bill to encourage entrepreneurs to hire new employees and create a more stable and fair business climate for the state. These are the kind of decisions we will continue to make through the rest of the legislative session.

In other news, our Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has asked for nominations for his Senior Service Awards. Individuals should be 60 years of age and older, who have demonstrated exceptional volunteerism in our district. These people volunteer at any number of venues, contributing at least 40 hours per year of their time.

I would like to invite each of you to nominate someone you believe is worthy of this recognition. For more information regarding the Lieutenant Governor’s Senior Service Awards, please contact Elizabeth Peters at 751-5400. The next deadline is March 15.

On a personal note, I wanted to thank everyone who visited my office during this past session. It is always a pleasure to have friends, neighbors, and constituents visit.

Pictured is Kathy L. Duncan presenting the Missouri Association of Realtors Certificate of Appreciation to Representative Ellen Brandom on January 19th.

Oxford: Citizen Has Filed ADA Complaint About Smoking In The Capitol Building

I have received the message below and these attachments indicating that Rossie Judd of Fenton, MO has filed an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint about tobacco smoke in the Capitol Building. In speaking with Billy Williams, I learned that, if the complaint is either not processed or denied, it will then be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice.

I do continue to believe that the Missouri Capitol Building should be 100% smokefree. The inconvenience of having to go outside this building to smoke is minimal if it can prevent an asthma attack or heart attack and possibly even save a life. It is also very important that we set a good example, as well as protect the health, of the thousands of school children who tour this building annually.

In the debate on House Rules [HR38] on January 13, House members voted to end smoking in the members' lounge area behind the chamber. The Rules do not affirmatively state that we may smoke in our offices, but some members have long asserted their right to do so. The amendment I offered sought to establish the House as 100% smokefree, and, if passed, I had hoped House leadership would then advocate the same policy in the Senate.

It was unfortunate that Majority Floor Leader Jones signaled that all GOP members were to vote no instead of allowing each member to vote his or her own conscience on this matter. I had received enough support from GOP members for the motion to have carried if it had not turned into a partisan vote. Perhaps that would not have happened if Rep. Jones had been in when Rep. Ellinger, Rep. May and I went to his office on Jan. 11. I believe Rep. Jones may have simply seen my amendment as part of the wrangling that the majority and minority do about the Rules when it was really a bi-partisan public health matter. I should have followed up with Rep. Jones to make sure he understood that distinction, but we juggle a lot of competing priorities as legislators, and I simply ran out of time to do so.

A previous ADA complaint resulted in guidance about where smoking may occur and where it may not, but much has been learned about the dangers of secondhand smoke that was not known when that agreement was reached(in 1999 I believe). When you add what we are also now learning about "thirdhand smoke" (chemical residue in carpeting, drapes, clothing, etc.), it is hard to justify allowing smoking in any workplace that is not truly private and used only by the smoker him/herself.

[Attached: Letter from U.S. Department of Justice

Attached: Judd's complaint to the Missouri House

24 January 2011

Dugger: Small Business Relief, State of the State Address

This week at the state capitol we passed our first full piece of legislation, HB 45. This legislation was aimed directly at small businesses in Missouri. In fact, through the committee process and on the floor we heard that there are over 100,000 small businesses in the Show Me state and employees in those businesses account for 60% of employment. Those numbers just go to show how important entrepreneurs and everyday Missourians are to our economy.

The primary function of HB 45 was to incentivize small businesses to hire new people and grow their businesses. For instance, we extended the definition of a small business by taking it from 25 employees to 50 employees. We also extended a tax deduction for these new small businesses if they hire new employees at the average annual county wage and doubled it if they also offer to pay for 50% of the new employee’s healthcare benefits. In total the value of the deduction is $10,000 per new employee hired or $20,000 per new employee if they offer the benefits.

However, perhaps the most important provision in the bill stated that any new rules, fees, or mandates passed by the federal government must first be approved by our general assembly.

“Wherever you go, no matter the weather; always bring you own sunshine” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

Governor’s State of the State Address

This week Gov. Jay Nixon gave his annual State of the State address. There were a few key things that stood out in my mind as I listened to our chief executive.

First, and foremost I was glad that he joined the House Republicans call in the Show Me Solutions Initiative to make state government live within its means by keeping spending and taxes under control.

I was also glad to hear the Governor talk about extending the A+ program to more high schools so Missouri children have a better opportunity to receive a college education.

However, the Governor spent a great deal of himself talking about personal accomplishments relating to job creation over the past year. While we may have some things to celebrate our unemployment rate is still at 9.5% and many of our surrounding states are faring better than we are in that category.

In fact, a number of the accomplishments the Governor touted were actually initiated before he was even elected and the actual impacts of some of his claims have yet to be seen. What it really boils down to is that I don’t believe Missourians were interested in hearing the Governor pat himself on the back. Missourians know we are facing real problems and need real solutions and those solutions are for the future of Missouri not championing the past.

For instance, one of the key fundamental differences that became apparent in the Governor’s speech was his stance on economic development. He spent a great deal of time talking about programs he has championed and how he wants to use those programs to improve things in the future. Well, as I said unemployment is still at 9.5%, so I don’t know that I believe tweaking, consolidating, or adding programs is the best economic development policy. Instead, House Republicans have proposed bills aimed at changing the overall business climate in Missouri like reducing regulations, fees, and taxes; cutting down on lawsuits, and providing a more stable environment for small businesses – not just big business to grow.

Governor Nixon suggested that K-12 schools will see level funding. With everything, the devil's in the details. The Governor's statement is incumbent upon schools to sit on over $112M in new dollars until next fiscal year, a decision that will be made across 522 school districts statewide. Obviously, as school districts continue to struggle, it will be hard for them to sit on a cash balance as they continue to cope with lower local contributions and a withhold by the Governor of over $62M in school transportation funds. Regardless, under the current plan by the Governor, there will most certainly be less appropriated to schools next year, which will change the way funds are distributed through the formula setting the stage for 'who loses the most'.

Mayer: The State of Our State and Continuing Economic Development in Missouri

It was an address heard throughout the state, but the reality of Missouri’s dire budget situation for me, hits close to home. In the governor’s annual state of the state address last week, he laid out his priorities for the Fiscal Year 2012 state budget. With a $300-$500 deficit, many difficult decisions have to be made this year, and I do not take the task of balancing our state’s budget lightly.

For the third year in a row, our state is going into the budget process with a shortfall. With more than 280,000 Missourians out of work, it’s time our state was presented a balanced and accountable budget – not one that relies on special legislation to pass in order for it to be balanced nor one that is dependent on hundreds of millions of dollars in federal budget stabilization extensions. Put simply, our state’s constitution requires us not to spend more than we take in.

In my opening day address, I presented my colleagues with several solutions to our state’s budget problems: put Missourians back to work, invest in educating our future workforce, and shrink the size and scope of state government. We need to look to long-term solutions, NOT propping up our state’s budget with one-time federal bailout dollars that come to an end this year.

As Senate leader, I’m dedicated to protecting taxpayers while focusing on K-12 education, higher education and health care. Spurring job creation in our state is another main focus, and in the Senate we have a comprehensive plan that will make it easier to do business in our state — allowing current companies to expand and attracting new businesses to the Show-Me State. We can do this by capping the corporate franchise tax, restoring balance to employment law in regard to the Missouri Human Rights Act, addressing our state’s “whistleblower” provisions, fixing a judicial decision in Missouri that had a negative effect on our workers’ compensation system, and making Missouri a “Right to Work” state.

I’ve made it my top priority to help get Missourians back to work. With much legislative effort during the 2010 regular session, and again during the 2010 special session, lawmakers passed House Bill 2 — better known as the Manufacturing Jobs Act. The legislation provides tax incentives for qualified auto suppliers or manufacturing facilities that create or retain Missouri jobs. Though it can apply to several companies in our state, this act was aimed at enticing the Ford Motor Company to manufacture a new product line at its existing automotive assembly plant in Claycomo, a suburb of Kansas City.

On Jan. 18, the Ford Motor Company signed a memorandum of understanding with our state, committing to invest at least $400 million to bring a next-generation production line to the Kansas City facility. This action will retain 3,750 jobs — jobs that will remain in our state, help boost our economy, and invest in Missourians who can now compete with other states regarding production jobs for the future.

However, this is far from where we need to be in our state in terms of promoting job growth and offering incentives to expand and attract new businesses to our state. We need to do more. Since June 2008, our state has lost nearly 104,000 jobs, one out of every six Missourians are currently receiving food stamps, and the number of citizens settling for part-time jobs has doubled in the past two years to approximately 150,000 Missourians – hard-working Missourians who need full-time jobs.

As the Senate and House work through their respective budget plans for 2012, I will keep you informed on how my colleagues and I allocate your hard-earned taxpayer dollars for vital functions of our state government. It’s crucial to get your input on how Missouri can best utilize these dollars and reduce the scope of state government, so keep your ideas coming through the Senate’s “Rebooting Government” website ( On this site, you can also listen to various members of the Senate present their recommendations for their respective work groups. You can also view a PowerPoint listing many of the work groups’ suggestions.

In other news, I had the distinct pleasure of sponsoring two citizens from the 25th District before the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee on Jan. 19. Casey Cash Gill was appointed to serve on the Missouri Real Estate Appraisers Commission, which licenses and regulates individuals who engage in the real estate appraisal business as set out in our state’s statutes. His extensive military experience specializing in work for conventional lenders, Department of Housing and Urban Development, United States Department of Agriculture/Rural Development, and lenders and developers through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit programs make him a valuable member to the commission.

I also sponsored Brandy Mouser, who was appointed to serve on the governor’s Board of Therapeutic Massage. Among other responsibilities, members serving on this board review licensure applications to ensure a massage therapist is qualified through proper education and examination in order to provide massage therapy to Missouri consumers. Mouser has 17 years of experience in the massage therapy field and will bring her passion for the continued advancement as well as her professionalism and ethics in the industry to her work for the board.

Senator Mayer (right) with Casey Cash Gill from Dexter. Gill was appointed to serve on the Missouri Real Estate Appraisers Commission.

Senator Mayer with Brandy Mouser, who was appointed to serve on the governor’s Board of Therapeutic Massage. Mouser is also a resident from Dexter.

Schaefer: Bills Filed Concerning Victim Protections, Family Trust Reform, Conservation Easements

At left: Senator Schaefer with his wife, Stacia, and their three children, Wolf, Max, and Lena.

The First Regular Session of the 96th General Assembly kicked off Jan. 5 and is now in full swing. Committees were selected, meetings have started, and legislators from all over the state are ready to make changes in Missouri’s government.

Committee appointments were announced last Wednesday (1-12). I will serve as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, chairman of the Joint Committee on Capitol Improvements and Leases Oversight, and as a member on both the Education Committee and the Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy, and Environment Committee.

On Wednesday night (1-19), Governor Jay Nixon gave his State of the State address, letting the Appropriations Committee know his budget plans for fiscal year 2012. As you all know, Missouri is in the middle of a budgeting pinch, but I have confidence that my committee will find a way to allocate funds in the best interest of the citizens of Missouri.

I am currently sponsoring three bills, Senate Bill 69, Senate Bill 70, and Senate Bill 119. I submitted Senate Bill 69 in order to support victims of child pornography by allowing them to file civil suits against their abusers. In addition, the bill sets protocols to ensure victims of child pornography are properly cared for.

Senate Bill 70 urges Congress to revise some of the current provisions establishing the Missouri Family Trust and its Board of Trustees. Some of the changes I am proposing involve allowing the board to establish and collect fees for administering trust accounts and breaking up various types of accounts under the Missouri Family Trust into trust accounts.

Finally, Senate Bill 119 would create the Private Landowner Protection Act. This act would allow for the creation of conservation easements, which mandate the protection of natural, scenic, or open-space properties.

My family and I also had the pleasure of taking part in the annual inauguration festivities. Seventeen senators were sworn in, twelve of those being freshman senators. I hope those who stopped by my office on the night of inauguration enjoyed their time at the Capitol.

Thank you for your continued interest in the issues that affect the citizens of Boone and Randolph counties. If you have any questions or concerns involving state government, please contact my office.

Lant: House Already Asserting Session's Objectives

[Editor's note: HB48 is incorrectly referenced in this missive. HB48 pertains to exemption of motor fuel taxes for school buses. The bill described in the fourth paragraph is also HB45.]

This has been a most interesting week at the Capitol. We passed our first full piece of legislation which was HB 45. This legislation was aimed at the over 100,000 small businesses where over 60% of Missouri workers are employed. The primary function of this bill was to provide incentives for people to grow their businesses. Employers can earn a tax deduction by hiring nee employees at the average county wage and get twice the incentive if they offer to pay 50% of a new workers healthcare benefits.

The overall philosophy here is to create a stronger business climate and turn our state around and get us back on our feet economically. Perhaps, the most important provision in this bill was stating that any new rules, fees, or mandates passed by the the federal government must first be approved by our general assembly.

Some great news broke on Tuesday when Ford announced they will invest 400 million in the Claycomo plant. As an incentive for the investment in Missouri, Ford will qualify for up to 100 million in tax incentives over a 10 year periood. This incentive is tied to a commitment of maintaining at least 3750 employees and adding new ones.

The House overwhelmingly gave bi-partisan support to HB 48, known as the Big Government Get Off My Back Act. This bill also is targeting small businesses by increasing income tax deductions from 10,000 to 20,000 for each new employee. Both of these bills were legislative priorities in the Show Me Business Solutions Incentive.

The Governor gave his State of the State address on Wednesday evening. He mentioned reductions of only 300 million, which is far less than the 700 million that he and his staff said we have to cut. He is also proposing to cut 863 jobs statewide but none from his staff. In contrast Speaker Tilley has cut 15% from his staff and office and over 10% from the remainder of the House Staff. We need to remember that although the Governor proposes cuts and program changes, all the actual budget creation is the duty of the House and Senate and by State Law, we must balance income and expenses. If we propose a bill that increases cost it must be accompanied by a bill that reduces the same amount of money from an existing program.

Next week promises to be an interesting one with several Bills, including the Drug Tests For Welfare Recipients [HB73] coming up for debate. I did file my first bill last week, it proposes to create a 300 foot buffer zone between protesters and funeral processions [HB233]. Feel free to contact me at any time with your thoughts or comments. I can be reached at bill{dot}lant{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov or at (573) 751-9801.

I encourage you to keep in touch with the legislative process through the Internet. You can both read about and view video clips of the latest Legislative happenings at: