Weather-Related Disclaimer: missives from legislators concerning road conditions, although timely and important, should be considered snapspots in time. For the most recent travel information, please consult MoDOT's Web site at

except when the post starts "MO Expat", all content published on Missives from Missouri is written and supplied by the noted legislator. Said missives will not necessarily reflect the views of Kyle Hill, the operator of Missives from Missouri, and as such the operator does not assume responsibility for its content. More information
Share this missive:

05 March 2011

Davis: Proud Of Failing Grade From NARAL, Committee Updates

"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!" –Dr. Seuss

I received this email mail this week:

“Missouri receives big "F" from NARAL”
Helping moms and unborn babies earns failing grade.

According to National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), a well-known group promoting abortion on demand, the state of Missouri gets an "F" because we're just too good at helping women and preventing abortions.

I am proud of Missouri

This was the busiest week so far for the 96th general assembly. My committees voted do pass on nine bills, and in session we perfected eight pieces of legislation.


I am pleased that the veterans committee voted do pass on my bill this week, HCR33.


Designates the Honor and Remember Flag as the State of Missouri's emblem of service and sacrifice of service men and women who have given their lives in the line of duty.

Other bills we voted out of committee were:


Proposes a constitutional amendment requiring the State Lottery Commission to develop and sell a Veterans Lottery Ticket to support the Veterans Commission Capital Improvement Trust Fund.


Requests the Adjutant General of the Missouri National Guard to establish a voluntary reporting program for Missouri National Guard members and veterans who have been exposed to depleted uranium.



repeals the provisions requiring the Missouri Energy Task Force to reconvene at least one time a year and issue an annual status report to the Governor and General Assembly.


Changes the laws regarding infrastructure replacement surcharges for water corporations.


Changes the laws regarding rates charged by natural gas corporations and assistance for eligible households through the Utilicare Program.

Small Business


Prohibits a political subdivision from imposing a fine or penalty on the owner of a pay telephone on the owner's property for calls to an emergency telephone service from the pay telephone.


Authorizes corporations or unincorporated associations to be represented in small claims court by their president or vice-president for any claim of $500 or less for certain actions to remove a tenant.


Prohibits the Department of Health and Senior Services from enforcing or enacting a rule or regulation relating to lead abatement that is stricter than those required by federal law.

The bills we debated on the floor include


Changes the laws regarding unlawful picketing or protesting of a funeral. Picketers must remain 500 feet from the funeral from 2 hours before to 2 hours after the funeral.


Prohibits the state minimum wage from exceeding the federal minimum wage and specifies that every employer must pay each employee receiving gratuities as compensation a wage of $3.63 per hour. This would prevent the minimum wage from falling in Missouri which could happen now.


Changes the laws regarding the collection of money owed to the state and authorizes an amnesty from the assessment or payment of the penalties, taxes, and interest on certain unpaid tax delinquencies. This should net the state 75 million dollars.


Allows the spouse of certain active military members to be eligible for unemployment benefits and to receive a temporary courtesy license to practice his or her occupation or profession in this state.


Changes the laws regarding human trafficking.


Submits to Congress a proposed federal balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution.


Changes the laws regarding the corporate franchise tax. This will eliminate the tax over a 5 year period.

Next week will be even busier, but I am looking forward to working hard for you and will do what is right for Missouri.

Oxford: March Madness Edition

Friends, Allies, and Constitutents,

It's hard to believe that the Legislative Session is already about half over. (It began on January 5, and our last day to be in Jefferson City, barring the governor calling an Extraordinary Session, is May 13.) So far much of this Session has been occupied with fighting anti-worker legislation and attempts to lower corporate tax rates (which would of course increase taxes for the rest of us).

Here are some of the most important recent actions by Missouri legislators ----

Cost of Living Increases Overturned

The House of Representatives on Thursday voted 92-60 to overturn a state minimum wage law approved by 76 percent of Missouri voters in 2006. Democrats unanimously opposed reversing the will of voters, while all but nine Republicans supported doing so. Under the voter-approved law, the state’s minimum wage is adjusted annually to adjust for inflation. For the first couple years after the law’s passage, this meant that the state minimum was higher than the federal minimum. Because the federal minimum trumps the state wage if it is higher, Missouri again began following the federal wage in July 2009 when it increased to $7.25 an hour, where it remains today. HB 61 would prohibit the state minimum wage from ever exceeding the federal minimum. The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

During the debate on this issue, I offered a "family-supporting wage" amendment to try to help my House colleagues understand that 1) 59% of minimum wage workers are heads of households, and 2) you can't support a family on the minimum wage and that this has rippled effects throughout our community. My amendment failed, but it was a lively discussion at least.

Senate Fillibuster Threatens Unemployment Benefits

About 13,000 Missourians could lose their extended unemployment benefits as of April 2 due to a few Republican senators who are blocking legislation to allow the state to accept $81 million in federal funding for the program. The initial deadline for passing the bill passed on March 3 without Senate action, but Missouri lawmakers still have through the end of the month to avoid the extended benefits from being eliminated. Although the bill, HB 163, passed easily in the House of Representatives last month, the conservative senate Republicans blocking it from coming to a final vote said the state should refuse the funds to send the message that the federal government should reduce spending. HB 163 supporters noted that taxpayers won’t save a dime if Missouri refuses the money since its share would be distributed among other states.

House Passes Tax Amnesty Bill

On March 3 the House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill that would offer amnesty to delinquent taxpayers in hopes of convincing them to pay their back taxes. Under the bill, HB 116, interest and penalties would be waived for those who pay taxes that were due prior to Dec. 31, 2010. The state expects the amnesty program, which was proposed by Gov. Jay Nixon, will generate about $74 million in revenue – the same amount that a previous amnesty in 2002 raised, according to The Associated Press.

House Approves Huge Tax Cut for Business (Which May Mean Higher Local Taxes)

The Missouri House on March 3 voted 106-52 in favor of phasing out the state’s franchise tax on large corporations. Under HB 76, the state would lose about $87.5 million a year in lost revenue once the tax was fully eliminated in 2016. The franchise tax is levied on companies with more than $10 million in assets. Smaller businesses are already exempt from the tax. Supporters of the bill said it would encourage business growth in Missouri, while opponents called it just another gift to the business lobby that will shift the tax burden to average Missourians and further reduce state revenues. For example, when the state is unable to adequately fund schools, local school districts are forced to put school bond issues on the ballot. The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

Issues You've Been Writing Me About

Many of you have written to ask me to defend the Prop B legislation against puppy mills in MO. I promise to vote no and do all I can to fight repeal or damaging reforms. I know almost 80% of my district voted for Prop B. I endorsed Prop B and worked for its passage. However, I am only one vote out of 163 House members, so I ask all of you who care about this issue to keep organizing about it and taking the message to the media and the public. Only widespread opposition will prevent the General Assembly from seriously weakening the Prop B language.

I also have had many e-mails about bills that favor concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO's) over neighbors who are concered about health, safety, and quality of life issues. I promise to support local control and regulation of CAFO's based on scientific evidence.

Two Hearings Secured on Nine Bills Sponsored Thusfar This Session

I am pleased that all nine bills or resolutions that I have filed thusfar this year have already been assigned to committee. In most previous years, many of my bills did not receive a committee assignment until the final day of Session, a way that the Speaker of the House has been apt (under both Democratic and Republican leadership) to kill minority party bills. See the full list of what I am sponsoring and co-sponsoring at:

My House Concurrent Resolution 35 was heard in the Veterans Committee on March 1 and was voted Do Pass 14-0. This resolution calls for the creation of a voluntary reporting system for Missouri National Guard members who experience health problems or birth defects due to exposure to depleted uranium while deployed. My thanks to Leon "Bud" Deraps of Veterans for Peace for bringing this issue to my attention and being my star witness before the committee. I will continue working toward getting this debated on the House floor.

I filed House Bill 637 on Feb. 22 with 23 co-sponsors. This is the Tax Justice for a Healthy Missouri plan which would create a more modern, fair, and adequate income tax system. It would reduce taxes on average for 60% of Missourians, and if approved by the voters would raise $1.3 billion of revenue. (Missouri is currently running $4 billion under the Hancock revenue caps that passed in 1980, so the money is obviously sorely needed.) If you are interested in this bill, write me at jeanette{dot}oxford{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov to request a summary and fact sheets. A vigorous public discussion of this issue is needed, so help me out if you can - letters to the editor on the bill are especially useful.

On March 9 HB 636, the Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act (CARE Act) will be heard in the Children and Families Committee. I recruited a record high of 35 co-sponsors for this bill in 2011, and this is the first ever hearing for the bill which had been filed several times before. The bill simply tries to guarantee that rape victims will receive emergency contraception if they request it. I hope you will contact the Children and Families Committee with messages of support. Find their names and contact information at:


Citizens for a Stronger St. Louis, the campaign to Save the St. Louis City Earnings Tax, asks everyone to Vote YES on Prop E on Tuesday, April 5. In addition, the Yes on Prop E campaign is looking for energetic and outgoing people to join a door-to-door canvassing team. They are paying $9 per hour. If you know anyone that might be interested in joining the team, have them go to or call 314-737-3990.

The Second Annual SAGE Movie Benefit is at Metropolitan Community Church, 1919 S. Broadway, on Saturday, March 12, 2011, 7:15 p.m. (with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.). The movie is Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement, and here is a brief description:

After 42 years, feisty and delightful lesbian couple Edie and Thea are finally getting married. From the early '60s to the present day, the tireless community activists persevere through many battles, both personal and political. These two compassionate and brave women are a model of courage and strength that speaks to everyone, of any age. Through this film audiences will recognize that dancing, like loving, can continue at any age, and rediscover the timeless message "Don't postpone joy". Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdottir (The Brandon Teena Story) return with a love story of two remarkable women whose commitment to each other is an inspiration to us all.

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door or at View a video clip at:

Charlie King and Karen Brandow, social justice musicians extraordinaire, appear to benefit the Peace Economy Project on Saturday, March 19, at 7 p.m. at Tegeler Hall, St. Louis University. For more information, see:

Stonewall Democrats of Eastern Missouri will meet on Sunday, March 20, at 3 p.m., location to be announced shortly (probably St. Charles County this month, and car pools will be available). We'll discuss the recent decision of the Obama Administration to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). For more information, call 314-771-8882.


Holsman: Amtrak To The Rescue, NFL Blackout Bill Returns, Year-Round Schooling

Dear Friends,

It has been another busy month in the legislature. Every representative has their individual slate of bills in which they put their time and energy. This newsletter contains part one of a two part series to present the ideas I have sponsored.

Legislation moves through the process based on a variety of factors such as immediate need, cost of the fiscal note and political considerations. There are bills I file knowing in advance that the state is not in a position to adopt the measure. But each piece of legislation I sponsor has a reason and an intended outcome to benefit Missourians.

If you have any questions about any of these bills please do not hesitate to ask. It is an honor to serve you in our state capitol.

Jason Holsman

Rep. Holsman Appears on Capital Dialogue Television Show

State Representative Jason Holsman (D-KC) joins Rep. Jerry Nolte (R-KC), State Senator Eric Schmidt (R-STL County) and State Senator Tim Green (D-Spanish Lake) with moderator Bob Priddy on the February edition of Capital Dialogue.

The television program is a monthly round table that brings legislators from both sides of the isle together to discuss their positions on pending legislation and issues affecting all Missourians.

To read Holsman's comments and find video timings over specific topics, refer to article located at the bottom of the newsletter.

To watch video:

Amtrak to the Rescue

On January 31st, 2011 much of Missouri was ravaged by one of the worst winter storms in years. Across the state, Missourians found themselves barraged with anywhere between 15 and 23 inches of snow, making travel seemingly impossible.

Representative Holsman rode the Amtrak River-Runner to the Capitol demonstrating the value of passenger rail.

NFL Blackout Bill

With a NFL lock-out looming HB 619 will provide a "clawback" of tax-payer investment in the sports franchises in the event of an interuption in play.

This legislation is similar to House Bill 1986 which prohibits professional sports teams with a home stadium in Missouri from receiving state public funds in the next fiscal year if a broadcast of a home game is blacked out for any reason. If the season is canceled, I will sponsor an amendment to the legislation removing the grandfather protection clause.

For more information and to read the Bill:
House Bill 619

Renewable Energy Committee Hears Prop C Fix

The House Special Committee on Renewable Energy on Tuesday held a hearing on legislation sponsored by State Rep. Jason Holsman that would fix flaws in a voter-approved law to expand and promote renewable energy in Missouri.

Proposition C, which 66 percent of Missouri voters approved in November 2008, requires that minimum percentages of electricity sold in Missouri by investor-owned utilities be derived from renewable sources such as solar, wind, biomass and hydropower. Differences over how certain provisions of the law should be interpreted, however, have kept the measure from being implemented.Renewable Energy

House Bill 613 sponsored by Holsman, D-Kansas City, would clarify that utility companies would only get credit for renewable energy generated and delivered to Missouri customers. Some companies have claimed the existing law allows energy created and sold in other states to count toward its Missouri obligations under Proposition C.

"If this fix doesn't pass, utility companies could have Missouri consumers pick up the tab for renewable energy generated and delivered to California customers," said Holsman, who chairs the House Renewable Energy Committee. "The intent of Missouri voters was to promote renewable energy in Missouri, not other states, and it is my goal to ensure that intent is followed."

The bill also would establish a hard 1 percent annual cap on costs that utilities can pass on to consumers. The change is expected to save ratepayers $1.8 billion from what the Missouri Public Service Commission estimates the existing wording of Proposition C would allow companies to pass on to their Missouri customers.

Industrial Renewable Tax Credit

House Bill 616 will allow an industrial company that installs a renewable energy generator producing between 25,000 and 100,000 kilowatts to be eligible for a one dollar per watt tax credit.

It is necessary to provide our manufacturing base an incentive to develop onsite energy generation which will be an important step to stay competitive in a global market.

For more information and to read the Bill:
House Bill 616

State of the Judiciary Address

During a joint session of the General Assembly in Jefferson City, Mo on Wednesday afternoon, February 9, 2011, Justice of the Supreme Court William Ray Price Jr., of Missouri delivered the State of the Judiciary Address. He focused on two main issues.

The first he discussed was reducing over-incarceration of nonviolent offenders and expanding drug courts and other diversionary and reentry programs to capacity. Over-incarceration costs Missourian taxpayers more and more each year. "Missouri had 5,953 individuals in state prison in 1982; by 2009 the number had grown fivefold to 30,432. In that same time period, from 1982 until 2009, our Department of Corrections budget rose from $55 million to $665 million."

The second issue discussed was the preservation and improvement of Missouri's fair and impartial judiciary system. Price spoke out against suggested changes to the Missouri Plan; changes that pose dangerous threats to the integrity of Missouri's judiciary system.

"Any proposed change to the Missouri Plan should be considered only with the greatest care and caution. I am afraid that it is more likely that any change will bring more harm than good."

Rep. Holsman Appointed to Joint Committee on Gaming and Wagering

On February 16, 2011, State Representative Jason Holsman was appointed by Speaker of the House Steven Tilley to serve on the Joint Committee on Gaming and Wagering.

The committee shall be responsible for, but not limited to, legislative review of all state authorized gaming and wagering activities including proposed constitutional and statutory changes or other pertinent information that may affect the integrity of these activities.

Civil Disaster Response Corps

HB 615 establishes the Civil Disaster Response Corps, Missouri's emergency response group, to be available for call-up by the Government or General Assembly in the event of a state emergency.

Our National Guard Units do a great job of disaster response, but over the past decade they have been stationed in other parts of the world.

The CDRC would train and prepare civilians for disaster response that would not be eligible for federal call up.

For More information and to read the Bill:
House Bill 615

College Tuition Lock

Tuition Lock Legislation provides budget stability for parents paying for college.

HB 614 requires public universities in Missouri to lock in the tuition rate for in-state students who remain on full time status.

The benefit will be cost predictability for student loans while encouraging the completion of degree work. If a student leaves full time status they must relock their tuition at the new rate. The universities may still raise tuition on an annual basis.

For more information and to read the Bill:
House Bill 614

Home School Tax Deductions -House Bill 618

HB 618 would authorize a state income tax deduction of up to $500 to a taxpayer for the cost of school supplies and books he or she purchased to home school a child.

Families who chose to home school their children contribute tax dollars to the public schools while saving the district capacity. A deduction for books and supplies is a reasonable return of support.

For more information and to read the Bill:
House Bill 618

Year Round Schooling

As a former teacher for the Kansas City Missouri School District it was evident how much knowledge is lost over a 15 week break.

The schools spend the first two weeks distributing books and class schedules while trying to reacclimatize the students to class room discipline. The last two weeks are lost to summer fever.

During the summer many inner-city students go without nutrition and boredom leads to an increase in property damage and vandalism. Nations around the world are better preparing their students for global job competition because their students simply spend more time in school.

For schools deemed un-accredited and provisionally accredited HB 617 requires their respective school boards to set a schedule that reduces the time off between school years to six weeks but allows the flexibility of local control to set the start and end dates.

For more information and to read the Bill:
House Bill 617

Holsman's Capital Dialogue Answers

Topic: Franchise Tax

Question: How do you feel about the Franchise Tax?

Answer: I'm open to looking to all taxes and seeing what the benefit to the state and the burden on the state for our companies to create jobs would be, but we need to be careful. We have a $500-700 shortfall right now, and if we are going to reduce the state's ability to create revenue, then we need to make sure that we replace it so we don't lose vital services.

6:21:00 -
Question: Is the franchise tax the right tax to cut?

Answer: I think there is room to grow in the state of Missouri for our companies. I don't know that there is academic evidence to support that if we reduce this particular tax that we are going to see the revenue being made up with new job creation. The state of Kansas as an example has increased their sales tax to 6.5 % and ours is 4.225, so over this last year if that 1% they increased determined the market share and the consumers buying goods across state lines, then we have not seen an enormous increase to our bottom lines figures with sales just because they raised that percentage. 70% of our people live on the state line, so I would be really cautious to suggest this particular tax will be the one that we remove that help our companies grow. Again, I am not opposed to it because it is a tax cut, but I want to see the other side of the job numbers and how companies are going to add, how is that revenue going to be made up, and what is our plan if we don't make up that revenue to make sure the citizens still get the services they require.

Topic: Worker's Compensation - Helps people who are injured on the job

Question: Is Workers Comp an issue divided along party lines?

Answer: No, I think the partisanship in the house has been much better in this session since I have been elected. I think Speaker Tilley has done a good job of reaching across the line and bringing everybody into the conversation, so we start from the position of being involved. On these issues I always looked at what Senator Schmitt had said, capital and labor are a marriage and its really important that we keep them in balance. If we can provide a safety net to where the worker shows up and he's given his all for the employer, if he gets injured, he has remedy and that remedy is something they can count on for their family. That's something I know I am personally and strongly in support of because we need to take care of our labor.

Topic: Jobs and Economic Development - Tie Minimum wage to Federal Level

18:17:20 -
Question: Is this something Democrats can support?

Answer: No. With all of these issues, this issue, right to work, we all want to see job creation, but in our effort to make the state business friendly, we don't have to make it more anti worker. I think that's an important distinction as we go forward. There's no academic evidence I have seen that suggests minimum wage affects job creation in any way, shape, or form. It's one of those things where if you are at that wage when you come in, all of the discretionary goods that you purchase, all of your commodities, such as your toilet paper, paper towels, those prices continue to rise. The voters voted an overwhelmingly 76%. We can't get 76% of Missourians to agree on anything. 76% said "we want to have this minimum wage increase, we want it tied to our cost off living adjustment," and that's their will. And now here we are with issues that are going to try to override their will and tie it to a federal rate. I believe the people of Missouri spoke loud and clear. They want to have a minimum wage increase, and they want to it tied to the cost of living.

22:48:58 -
Question: Should the Legislature override the will of the people?

Answer: First, I would suggest that when dealing with the minimum wage, the robustness and the growth of the middle class is going to grow us out of this. The minimum wage is the floor; it is the bottom of what a wage earner can earn in this state. I think that as they grow, the middle class will grow with it. As the legislature, we are all elected. Each one of us represents roughly in the House 35,000 voters that sent us here. There is a place for the legislature to fix referendums when they are written poorly. For example, we are working on Proposition C and trying to fix the renewable energy in the state. I understand that, but when you have something as clear as an increase in minimum wage and a cola cost of living adjustment with that, those are two fundamental principles of the change. Representative Nolte brought up something that was intricate that had offset unintended consequences, and we addressed that. But this is the guts of the purpose and intent of the bill: increase minimum wage, and tie it to living adjustment. That was not an unintended consequence the voters voted for. I think we have to be very careful and deliberate when we overturn their will, and make sure that when in those instances it's for a reason that was unintended and I don't believe that the cost of living increase was unintended.

Stay Informed

I encourage everyone who reads this publication to also visit the following sites.

For corporate media's take on Missouri Politics

Newsletters from the General Assembly

04 March 2011

Kander: Reminder: Saturday Town Hall

Just a quick reminder. I’ll see you tomorrow morning (Saturday, March 5th) from 10:30 to 11:30AM at Broadway United Methodist Church (406 W. 74th St. KCMO). Bring your thoughts and questions!

Seeya in the morning.


MO Expat: Weekend Delays

Owing to a weekend project, some missives may not be uploaded until Monday at the latest. Apologies for the delays.

Edit @ 1652, 6 March 2011: Caught up.

Oxford: smoking in Capitol keeps citizens from attending American Cancer Society Lobby Day

I think many of you are aware that three more ADA complaints have been filed about smoking at the Capitol Building. (GASP's release attached.) It is very sad to me that Don and Kay Young cannot attend the upcoming American Cancer Society Lobby Day because we still allow smoking in legislators' offices. Don and Kay copied me on their e-mail (below) to Tim Freeman from ACS, letting him know that they cannot attend. How can we continue to deny access to the Capitol to many in order to protect a practice that is dangerous to the health of everyone that shares the Capitol as a workplace or visits?


Neth: Legislation Concerning Elections, Education, Growing Business

After having several weeks of hectic days and issues, this week has slowed down considerably. I have been able to get caught up on some things and start to focus on others. We passed four pieces of legislation on the floor, but the majority of the issues have been less controversial. We discussed the hot issue of teacher tenure in my education committee, but other than that, the majority of meetings went relatively smooth. While less busy, I appreciated the reprieve of this week. Things will undoubtedly get busy again in the near future.

There are all kinds of interesting things about the House and how we do things. One thing is how noisy the Chamber can get. It took me a while to get use to the fact that very few are actually listening intently. Some of the people that get up and say things (normally the same people), are rather predictable and quite frankly you tend to tune them out. Admittedly, it gets too noisy at times and the Speaker has to gavel us back to order, but conversations on the floor and in the side galleries never cease. I took some time to visit the Senate this week and was allowed to sit on the Senate floor on the side. The Senator I was sitting with was talking to me and the two other House members with me rather excessively. Now, in the Senate, things are silent, there is very little noise or talking. Given our excess conversation, the Senate President, gaveled the chamber to order, asking for conversations to cease and stated that "we aren't rambunctious like they are in the House". All the while he was smiling and looking at us. Later that day at another function I saw the Senate President (a former House member) and told him I was honored that I got gaveled in the Senate. He said he couldn't resist the opportunity.

Just like any other workplace, we do have some fun while we are here and everyone enjoys the opportunities to joke around a little bit among all the serious things we do.

Have a great weekend!

Visitors to the Capitol

My insurance agent, fraternity brother, and good friend, Shane Davolt (at right), stopped by and we got to catch up. I also met with Chris Rupp. Both these gentlemen are with Insurance Group.

Liberty Teachers - Bess Hayles, Kristen Shaw and Emily Hollembaek met with me to discuss current education issues.

Floor Action

HB 61 - This bill would eliminate the escalator clause on the Missouri minimum wage. The immediate effects of this legislation would be to help the business climate here in Missouri. With Illinois drowning in debt, we should take this opportunity to lure new businesses to our state. This legislation would improve how we do business and provide jobs here in Missouri.

HB 76 - This bill is also an attempt to increase the attractiveness of our state to new business. HB 76 would phase out the corporate franchise tax over the course of the next five years making Missouri a better state in which to start a business.

HB 136 - We want to show Missouri veterans and veterans from around the country that they are respected and wanted here in Missouri. HB 136 modifies provisions relating to military benefits for spouses of veterans. We want to show those who fought so hard for our country that we respect them and want them to stay with us.

HB 214 - This legislation would crack down on human trafficking in our state. Although less common than in some other countries, human trafficking undoubtedly leads to negative affects on individuals and society. We need to do all we can to protect the lives of innocent children and others who are in the middle of this terrible industry. I have discussed HB 214 with some of my colleagues and we may have some issues with the actual language of the bill. However, I am going to work to fix these issues to protect the innocent victims of human trafficking.

Committee Action


HB 503 - Would specify a March date for the presidential primary. This is necessary because of the Republican national party rules regarding primaries.

HB 283 - Would require a political party to provide the Secretary of State with proof of citizenship for all presidential candidates. Admittedly, this is a politically charged issue due to some people's concern with our current president. However, one bit of testimony from a college political science professor was fascinating. As he stated, the president is not the president of individual citizens, he is constitutionally the President of the States. Thus the responsibility lies in the states to confirm a candidate's. The Constitution does not specify any type of verification, but leaves this up to the states. An intriguing issue, and one that no matter your opinion on this specific bill, offers a lot to talk about.

Voted Do Pass and subsequently referred to the House Rules Committee. (hopefully to be heard on the Floor)

HB 54 & 187 - This bill removes political party emblems from ballots. We voted this legislation out of committee as a consent bill. This means there was no opposition by any member of the committee and the legislation has no fiscal impact on the state.

HB 240 - Changes the requirements for the number of signatures needed for an initiative petition or referendum on the ballot. This legislation would require a minimum number of signatures from each of the congressional districts in the state. Currently, signatures must be collected from only 2/3 of the districts in our state. I firmly agree with this bill.

HB 95 - Allows any municipality with less than 35,000 inhabitants to forego an election, should all the offices on the ballot be uncontested. At first glance this is great because it keeps these cities from having to spend the money on an election. However, a downside is that it prohibits the potential for a write-in-candidate. I see both sides of this issue and both are valid. I voted for the bill, but I have my doubts as to whether it will make through the entire legislative process.

Emerging Issues in Animal Agriculture

This is my slowest committee. We have heard only one bill so far and we passed it out of committee this week. HB 458 authorizes the Department of Agriculture to accept donated agricultural land and lease it out to beginning farmers. I voted to pass this out of our committee with the hopes that some of the kinks can be worked out before any final passage in both the House and Senate.


HB 639 - This is the bill better known as the Student Progression Bill. In short, it hopes to end the practice of social promotion in our schools. It is based upon a Florida model that has shown great promise. We heard testimony from an individual in Florida who showed us some great results from the implementation of this language in their state. The main idea behind HB 639 is that up to third grade we should learn to read, but after that, students need to read to learn.

HB 628 - This is the big one. HB 628 would reform teacher tenure and put into place a form of merit pay. I could say a lot about this but will keep my initial thoughts brief. This is a very ambitious bill and will unlikely maintain its original form throughout the legislative process. However, the concept of the bill is solid. We need to reform our teacher tenure system to ensure poor performing teachers can be removed from the classroom easier and hold teachers, administrators and districts accountable for student performance. This is something with which even the NEA lobbyist agrees.

With regard to merit pay, the school boards have forced our hand. Our local school boards currently have the option to put some form of merit pay into place in their own districts, however, they have not made the tough decisions to do so. I am a firm believer that we need some form of merit or performance pay as part of a teacher's salary. For those that say that teachers don't want this, my wife is a high performing teacher and is very supportive of some type of tenure reform and also supports the idea of merit pay. If she wasn't I could not support this type of legislation. Others in our school system want this as well. Unfortunately, they don't have as big of a voice because of the large groups in opposition.

I am getting a large number of questions and comments on this bill. I am listening. We are working hard to forge some compromise in the next few weeks towards the best solution.

Community Calendar

Mar 7 - Jazz on the Square

Mar 10 - Girls Night Out

Mar 23 - Sleeping Beauty - Liberty Performing Arts Center

Click here for a list of events in the area.

It is an honor and privilege to serve the people of the 34th District and the State of Missouri. Let me know how I can better represent you.

Lichtenegger: Recent Visitors

I have enjoyed the company of so many constituents who have visited the State Capitol as part of an Association. I thought it would be nice to share some of those moments with you in pictures.

These constituents are members of the Silver Haired / Agency on Aging: (left to right) Doug Austin, Rep Ellen Brandom, me, Ruth Dockins, June Majors and Rep Wallingford.

Members of Missouri Farm Bureau (left to right) Sandy Haertling, Jim Buchheit, Speaker Tilley, Brian Koenig, me and Leo Buchheit.

two high school students Rebecca Walka (far left) a Junior from Meadow Heights R-II and Haleigh Sternickle a Senior at Jackson High participated in The Legislator Shadow Project to learn what it means to be a State Representative.

Southern Missouri State University President Ken Dobbins with student officers and state representatives met on the Chamber floor.

MU Basketball Coach Mike Anderson

Denison: Fixing The Six, Targeting Human Traffickets and Funeral Protestors

“No matter where we are, we need those friends who trudge across from their neighborhoods to ours.” –Stephen Peters

Franchise Tax Elimination (HB 76)

One piece of legislation approved by the House this week would address one of the “Fix the Six” issues brought forward by our state’s most prominent business organizations. Our business organizations say our current tax structure is not conducive to attracting new businesses or allowing existing ones to grow. That’s in part due to the fact that Missouri is one of the few states to have both a corporate income tax and a corporate franchise tax, which results in double taxation for corporations doing business within our borders. The franchise tax, which is a tax on a corporation’s assets such as inventory and buildings, has been in existence since 1917. While the legislature has reduced the tax over the years, our leading business organizations have proposed doing away with the tax entirely. The legislation we passed this week would phase the franchise tax out over the next five years until it is repealed entirely in 2016. We believe this change will be a boost to our economic development efforts as our lower tax burden makes Missouri a more attractive location to do business.

Minimum Wage (HB 61)

Another “Fix the Six” bill approved this week is also meant to put our state on an even playing field with other states competing with us for jobs. The bill would remove the minimum wage escalator that increases pay based on inflation. The escalator was approved by voters along with a minimum wage increase in 2006. Since that time, the minimum wage has increased three times for a total increase of 41 percent. During that same period of time, businesses across our state have struggled to make ends meet. While we want our workers to be paid a decent wage, we have to balance that with the fact that when businesses can’t make payroll, they are forced to lay off workers. For that reason, the legislation we approved would cap our minimum wage at the federal rate. That’s where it happens to be at the moment, which also happens to be the same minimum wage in place in most of the states around us. The change was necessary because our state cannot sustain unchecked, unlimited growth in the minimum wage and still create and protect jobs. The minimum wage fix will allow Missouri to be competitive with other states and to protect jobs and small businesses.

Tax Amnesty (HB 116 & 316)

Another bill approved this week would create a period of tax amnesty for those who have yet to pay their tax bills. Our state has done this twice in the last decade to help the Department of Revenue collect overdue taxes from individuals and businesses. For the 2002 fiscal year, an amnesty program brought in $74 million in tax revenues. The next year it generated another $42 million. The measure under consideration this year would waive interest and penalties for those who pay their tax bills between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31. Estimates for this amnesty program show the measure could bring in as much as $70 million. At a time when our state faces a budget hole in the hundreds of millions, every dollar is precious. Bringing in an additional $70 million in revenue would make the task of balancing our state budget that much easier and allow us to sustain funding to vital programs that might otherwise suffer cuts.

Funeral Protests (HB 276)

This week we also approved legislation meant to protect families and friends mourning the loss of a loved one from suffering emotional distress as a result of protestors. The bill is a direct response to the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church, which protests funerals across the country. The bill we approved this week would make it a misdemeanor to protest within 500 feet of a cemetery, mortuary, church or other house of worship from two hours before a funeral to two hours after the ceremony. Violators would face up to six months in jail. In addition, the bill would make it easier for people to file lawsuits for the infliction of emotional distress against protesters who violate the new restrictions. While the courts have ruled similar measures unconstitutional, we believe it is important to do all we can to protect Missourians from the despicable acts of groups like the Westboro Baptist Church. We will continue to fight this fight until we find language that will stand up in court and put an end to these intolerable acts once and for all.

Human Trafficking (HB 214)

We also worked this week to put a stop to horrific crimes that many Missourians believe happen only in other parts of the world. Unfortunately, the crime of human trafficking is something that goes on within our own borders all too frequently. We’ve seen terrifying stories of enslavement and sexual exploitation in places like Lebanon, Missouri and Kansas City. Women and children have had their lives destroyed by individuals who exploited them for profit. These are actions we simply cannot tolerate within our state. Sadly, our laws have lagged behind in effectively addressing these awful crimes. To correct that, we passed legislation that would strengthen the penalties for human trafficking. The measure also would create longer maximum prison terms for offenses such as trafficking for forced labor and sexual exploitation. In addition, the bill would provide additional protections for victims of trafficking and require offenders to pay restitution to their victims. We believe this legislation will give our law enforcement officials the tools necessary to crack down on the immoral individuals who perpetrate these crimes.


At left: Pictured left to right: Rep. Eric Burlson, Dr. Paul Isles, Pat Clark, Brookfield, Rep. Charlie Denison

On March 1st, several clinical psychologists from Springfield were at the Capitol visiting legislators. The visitors in my office were: Dr. David Black, Dr. Chuck Hollister, Dr. Mark Bradford, Dr. Joseph Pulleyking, Dr. Amy Meriweather, and Dr. Paul Isles.

Pat Clark, Brookfield, a thirty-plus year friend was in Jefferson City with the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Also, March 1st was the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents and Missouri Association of Health Underwriters Legislative Day. Visitors from Springfield were: John C. Osborn, Sam Drysdale, and Byron Robison.

On March 2nd, Donna Petiford, President-Elect of the Missouri PTA testified at the public hearing for House Bill 565. This bill specifies that any person who makes a report of suspected child abuse to the proper authorities of a medical institution, school facility, or public or private agency will be immune from civil and criminal liability, including any civil or criminal liability for a third party that otherwise may result for any action taken by an institution, facility, or agency as a result of the notification of suspected abuse by the third party.

Representatives from the Missouri Beer Wholesalers Association were also at the Capitol on March 2nd visiting legislators, and the Association members from Springfield were: Mark A Gelner, and Dr. Jeff Gower.

Members of the 7th District Missouri Republican Assembly were also at the Capitol on March 2nd. Those with the Assembly were: Ellen Baumgartner, Springfield, Patsy Wilcox, Ozark, and Shirley Kendell, Springfield.

I look forward to hearing from you, and if you will be in Jefferson City, please stop by my office. If you ever questions
have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Best wishes.

Rupp: Resolution to Provide Flood Control for Northeast Missouri Passed in Committee

Last week, on Tuesday, Feb. 22, Senate Concurrent Resolution 8 had a hearing in the Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee, and has now passed in committee. With this passing vote, committee members recommend that SCR 8 moves to the full Senate for debate. This resolution, if passed, would urge U.S. Congress to support a proposal for the Upper Mississippi River Basin to provide flood control and prevention without causing unfavorable impacts on existing levees and communities. I’m glad this measure is moving through the legislative process, because I strongly oppose Plan H, which directly relates to flood control of the Upper Mississippi River Basin.

Plan H would allow all but 20 of the 140 levees along the upper part of the Mississippi River to be raised to the 500-year flood levels last seen in 1993. These 20 levees are located in Pike, Lincoln, and St. Charles counties. This is especially concerning to me, to have our area as the flood region for all of the upper Mississippi.

It makes absolutely no sense that these 20 levees are not included in Plan H. These three counties border the Mississippi River, and many communities received tremendous damage during the great flood of 1993. This type of flood is certainly capable of happening again, and those counties would be hit hard if their levees aren’t raised and improved. Families would be divided, jobs would be lost, and our whole region would suffer.

Many Missourians have protested Plan H, including the Missouri governor and our U.S. Congressman Todd Akin, and I am very thankful for their support.

Plan H, if implemented, could be responsible for devastating losses in Pike, Lincoln, and St. Charles counties when another severe flood happens. None of us want to see another “Flood of ’93,” and for the well-being of our area, I am anxious to see SCR 8 passed by the Legislature and sent to Congress.

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. Always feel free to e-mail me or call my office toll-free at (866) 271-2844.

Engler: Progress in the Senate Slowing

March 1 marked the final day to file bills in the Senate. More than 400 bills were filed in the Senate, but history shows that few will make it through the legislative process. We spent quite a bit of time on the floor this week discussing legislation, but progress moved at a snails pace, and I have few results to report.

We stayed late on Wednesday night debating Senate Bill 8. The bill, at its core, would make a change to workers’ compensation law. Currently when a worker gets hurt on the job they receive workers comp and also can sue the worker beside them for negligence. This bill will eliminate the personal liability to the coworker when it is truly an accident.

I have held up this bill on the floor to try and correct what I see as a flaw because of an instance from my district where a worker suffered a terrible illness after being exposed to toxic substances. She has since passed away from the illness, but now the company has gone after her estate (because of current state law) to recover any workers’ comp benefits she received before the settlement was reached.

Also, legislation containing an unemployment compensation extension was filibustered by senators who wanted to turn down an $81 million extension from the federal government. Their principled stand on House Bill 163 affects about 23,000 people who will stop receiving their extended unemployment benefits on April 2. I do not understand some of my colleagues’ thought process.

Senate Bill 188, legislation to change Missouri’s Human Rights Act to mirror the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, did receive first-round approval this week. The bill changes Missouri law to specifically state that discrimination must be “a motivating factor” rather than “a contributing factor” in wrongful termination lawsuits. We spent quite a bit of time on the floor working on it, and I still don’t think it’s a great piece of legislation.

Next week we will be debating what to do with education money from the federal government. Some senators want to use the money this year and some want to hold it over till next. More on this in next weeks Capitol Report.

I was happy to welcome students and teachers from Mineral Area Community College who visited the Capitol this week. I introduced advisors Debbie Lee and Keith Mitchell and students Jason Underwood, Hannah Craft, Aimee Gigax, Christina Wood, Melissa DeSerio, Lee Wilson and Chelsea Wiles on the floor of the Senate.

Winston is awaiting word from the Governor on his parole. (Photo by Keaton Ashlock)

Korman: Funeral Protest Buffers Approved

This week we said goodbye to February and hello to March and tackled some issues that although I’ve known about them are requiring me to dig deeper into the issues.

The Missouri House perfected HB 214 sponsored by Anne Zerr (R-18) this week, a measure that increases the penalties to individuals found guilty of human trafficking in the state.

HCS HBs 276, 233 and 274, was ordered perfected and rinted. Sponsored by Ward Franz (R-151), this bill would recognize the rights of families to privately mourn the loss of a family member and picketing or protesting funerals is a violation of these rights. Allowing families to privately grieve the loss of a family member is the right thing to do. I fully supported this bill.

I attended the Special Standing Committee on Redistricting in Mexico this week. Public hearings are going on throughout the state and are open to the public. Public Testimony on establishing new Congressional district boundaries is accepted. House Bill 193 establishes the basic format for dividing Missouri into eight Congressional districts based on the 2010 census estimates.

The Public Service Commission held meetings all over the State on the Ameren Missouri electrical rate case seeking to increase annual electric operating revenues by approximately $9.30 per average residential customer. I attended the hearing in Mexico; even with the rate increase Missouri nationally has one of the lowest electrical rates.

I’ll be joining Senator Brian Nieves on Sunday, March 13 at 3 p.m. at the Belle Star Theatre in Warrenton to give an update on legislation and answering your questions and concerns. Please consider attending.

We had many visitors this week; a very special visitor was Eric Czerniewski from Montgomery City whom we recognized before the House of Representatives for his achievement as the first quarterback to win the Harlon Hill Trophy since 2005. Eric attends University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg so Representative Hoskins from Warrensburg and I presented Eric with a House Resolution.

We strive to give each visit and call the deserved time so please feel free to stop by or contact your 99th District office at:

201 W Capitol Ave., Office 114C
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Working for You,
Bart Korman

Hoskins: Funeral Protest Buffer Zones Passed, Appointment to Film Commission, Weekly Chats on KOKO

The General Assembly continues working at full speed ahead. It may feel like spring outside, but I assure you we’re busy representing your interests here at the Capitol.



I am pleased to report that HB 276 passed with a huge majority through the House. This bill changes the laws regarding unlawful picketing or protesting of a funeral. My heart goes out to the families who have had to endure the horrific treatment by protesters from the Kansas church that pickets funerals of soldiers. I am hopeful this bill will help reinforce the importance of respect and common courtesy in the name of freedom of speech. I understand this bill will be not affected by the recent Supreme Court decision allowing these picketers. The intention of HB 276 is to significantly expand the zone between their exercise of free speech and the mourners at the funeral.

Although not before the full House yet, there has been quite a bit of discussion about HB 628. This bill involves teacher contracts and salaries. As this bill is currently written, I will be voting against it. I appreciate hearing from teachers concerned about how this could impact their ability to teach. In Johnson County, we have incredible teachers who are challenging and motivating students in the learning process. Some of my colleagues in the House are not near as fortunate as I am. I consider it important to maintain the appropriate amount of involvement in the educational process at the state level without being any more intrusive than absolutely necessary. I believe it is paramount for local school boards to maintain responsibility for their districts keeping the authority to decide issues (such as salary structure) for their own teachers.

This week, Speaker Steve Tilley appointed me to the Missouri Film Commission. Missouri needs to continue to work hard to attract production companies to come to Missouri to film movies. This has brought millions of dollars of out-of-state money into Missouri in the last two years, including the films Up in the Air and Winter’s Bone. Recently, Governor Nixon withheld an important economic development tool that caused Paramount Pictures to withdraw their plans to produce another major film in St. Louis and go to another state. All states but one have film commissions or offices which work to keep their state in the forefront of consideration so you can see the competition is stiff. Governor Nixon’s budget recommendation is to eliminate the Missouri Film Commission. With no film commission, there is no one to advocate for Missouri, which means we aren’t seriously considered. I have already made my position clear on the importance of this investment in this economic development effort and will continue to do so in the Budget Committee and on the House floor if necessary.

Capitol Visitors

Monday started the week off with county Farm Bureau representation in Jefferson City from all over the state. I enjoyed having dinner with Violet Corbett and Kevin & Darlene Buckstead.

MSTA (Missouri State Teachers Association) was also in Jefferson City this week. I had a good visit with Heidi Ruhnke, Helen Schmidt, Gwenette Grady, and Kim Wright from Warrensburg and other teachers from Knob Noster. In previous Capitol Reports, I’ve made note of the importance of hearing from constituents. I offer this as a prime example. As HB 628 was not referred to a House committee that I am a member of, talking with these educators was when I first learned about HB 628. After visiting with them, I promptly investigated the bill to see what it proposed and will be voting “no” on the bill should it come to the House floor for debate.

It was my pleasure Wednesday to join with Rep. Bart Korman (Montgomery City) to present Eric Czerniewski a House Resolution and introduce him to my colleagues in the House. Eric has provided effective leadership for the last four years as the UCM Mule’s quarterback. In December, our favorite #13 was named the Harlon Hill Award winner for the nation’s top Division II Player. Eric, originally from Montgomery City, is the first Missouri native ever to win this award. Eric has now graduated from UCM and is putting his bachelor’s degree to good use in management for Sherwin-Williams Paints. I understand Eric and his wife will be buying their first house this month and regrettably moving from Warrensburg. Although saddened they will be leaving Johnson County, I certainly wish them much happiness. I enjoyed watching Eric throw that football.

Today the third floor Rotunda was filled with research posters from undergraduate students from around the state. Calvin Lewis of Warrensburg, a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, shared his project with me. His project is titled "Molecular Descriptors of Polyhedral Boranes and Carboranes: Crucial Parameters for Building Better Drugs.” There were so many projects that to thoroughly study all of those posters would have taken all day!

Ways to Keep in Contact

I like seeing all the surveys coming back from my constituents. A significant number of them include handwritten comments and I personally read every one of those. If you have not yet returned your survey, please take a minute to do so. For the first time this year, constituents can respond to the survey on-line and save postage by accessing my State Representative page on the House website at I appreciate the input of my constituents. In a few weeks, I’ll report the results of my survey.

On March 24, I will be continuing my ongoing custom to hold public meetings at each of the three Johnson County branches of the Trails Regional Libraries. The libraries make a convenient location to provide a Legislative Update and meet with constituents. I find these events a great opportunity to share what’s happening in Jefferson City as well as hear about things important to you. The Legislature will be on spring break that week so I am taking the opportunity to give you a personal report of the status for the first half of this year’s session. I will begin at Knob Noster at 9:30 a.m., continue with Warrensburg at 12:30 p.m., and host the final one of the day at 2:30 p.m. at Holden. There will be more specific information as the event nears. In the meantime, help spread the word. Besides talking about legislation, I’m open to hear opinions on issues important to you, too.


I consider communication with my constituents a high priority. My weekly Monday morning chat at 8:45 a.m. with Woody at KOKO Radio on AM 1450 is one of the best ways I’ve found for you to literally “hear” from me. Tune in every Monday morning at 8:45 to hear the latest concerning District 121.

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

Dempsey: Citizens Advocate at their State Capitol

Every week, hundreds of Missourians travel to their State Capitol to watch the proceedings and to talk to their elected representatives about issues that are important to them. Over the last few days, I have had the privilege of meeting with groups and individuals with a wide range of concerns and interests.

For example, earlier this week I was visited by a group from the American Red Cross. These fine folks are pushing for a change in Missouri’s law to protect “Good Samaritans.” A “Good Samaritan” typically describes someone who voluntarily stops to help victims at an accident scene. The Red Cross proposes to expand the law to protect medical personnel (such as doctors or nurses) who use their skills to help others in the event of a natural disaster.

Another such group that visited my Capitol Office this week was the Alzheimer’s Association. This group represents many families who have been touched by this terrible illness. They were in Jefferson City for their annual Memory Day event, designed to raise awareness about the needs of those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and to advocate for services such as respite care.

I also had the opportunity to visit a display in the Capitol Rotunda put on by college students as part of the University of Missouri’s Undergraduate Research Day. This event showcased some of the amazing research these talented students are doing, including a display by a young lady from St. Charles focusing on the detection of cancer cells in the bloodstream.

During the course of a legislative session, I have the opportunity to meet with many individuals and groups. Every meeting is a bit different, but they are connected by a common theme. All of these individuals come to tell their story and to advocate for a cause they believe in. Under our form of government, every person has the opportunity to voice his or her views to those they have elected to represent them. My hat is off to these citizens who take time out of their busy lives to try to make a difference.

If you would like to learn more about the groups highlighted above, their contact information is provided below:

American Red Cross – St. Louis Area Chapter: - (314) 516-2800
Alzheimer’s Association – - (314) 432-3422

I always appreciate hearing from you. If you have any questions about issues or any legislation pending before the Missouri Senate, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Berry: Franchise Tax Targeted


This week was a great week in Jefferson City. We really worked hard on several issues focusing primarily on creating jobs in our state. We started the session with a plan to turn the state economy around by fundamentally changing the business environment and HB 76 is part of it. Many of you know that I am a small business owner and have started 3 small businesses. None of which were franchises but if they had been I sure would have been upset to be taxed twice.

The number one issue people talked about when I knocked on doors was how we can create more jobs. HB 76 helps to create this atmosphere for business, and if people create more business, jobs will follow.

Missouri’s additional tax on corporations is called the franchise tax. While Missouri has both corporate franchise and income taxes, many states simply have one or the other. As a result, when national corporations or smaller franchises are choosing where to locate, Missouri’s double taxation often scares them away.

HB 76 phases out the state’s franchise tax over a period of five years. Without the franchise tax, our state will become more attractive to businesses looking to move here and create jobs. In addition, Missouri entrepreneur’s operate on a shoestring budget, and a little bit of tax here or there is the difference between hiring someone new or closing down.

This week the Missouri House took important action to end one form of double-taxation. HB 76 now moves to the State Senate for Consideration.



If you would like to track legislation you may log on to and select “Bill Information” and then select “Bill Tracking”. You may search by topic or bill number. If you want to track the bills that I have either sponsored or co-sponsored, just enter my last name and you will be able to look at each of those also.


Through IRS Free File, all taxpayers who made less than $58,000 in 2010 can visit and use the industry’s top tax preparation software for free. Users get the step-by-step help they need to prepare, complete and file federal tax returns online – at no cost.

Missouri Taxes can be filed free to taxpayers at

State Parks Youth Corps

The State Parks Youth Corps is a program helping 17-21 year old Missourians gain work skills. It is a great opportunity to experience Missouri’s beautiful state parks and historic sites while earning money. Jobs are available April 1 through Nov. 30. Youth will earn $7.25 an hour and work throughout the state, enhancing and improving Missouri state parks and historic sites. Some of the responsibilities could include: excavating historical sites, designing marketing campaigns, leading tours, and building trails; to name a few. The positions are limited and do have income eligibility requirements. If you are interested, or know someone who might be, you/they can receive more information and apply on-line by visiting

Visitors this week

This week we had visitors from Kearney and Smithville. We also had students that competed on Robotic teams. The Robotics Capitol Interval was held on Thursday. It was great seeing so many of you from the district.

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

03 March 2011

Stouffer: Population Changes Mean New Congressional Districts

The 2010 Census figures are officially in. Results from the census show where folks in the state are moving.

For state lawmakers, it is time to start redrawing congressional districts. As you may know, because of the population shift over the past 10 years, Missouri will lose a congressional district for the first time in 30 years. In 1981, we went from 10 to nine districts. Now, we will cut that to eight. The Missouri General Assembly is responsible for coming up with this plan, while the governor will put together two of his own panels that will draw a new map for Missouri Senate and House districts.

These slow-growth population trends are evident in rural Missouri, including the 21st Senatorial District, which includes these counties:
  • Carroll, which had a population of 10,275 in 2000, and now has a population of 9,535. This equals a 7 percent decrease;
  • Chariton, which had a population of 8,409 in 2000, and now has a population of 7,594. This also equals a 10 percent decrease;
  • Clay, which had a population of 184,820 in 2000, and now has a population of 228,358. This represents a 24 percent increase;
  • Cooper, which had a population of 16,702 in 2000, and now has a population of 17,298. This is a 3.8 percent increase;
  • Howard, which had a population of 10,180 in 2000, and now has a population of 9,857. This equals a 3.5 percent decrease;
  • Lafayette, which had a population of 33,019 in 2000, and now has a population of 32,572. This is a 1.2 percent decrease;
  • Macon, which had a population of 15,738 in 2000, and now has a population of 15,359. This is a 2.6 percent decrease;
  • Ray, which had a population of 23,374 in 2000, and now has a population of 23,358. There is no percentage change here; and
  • Saline, which had a population of 23,742 in 2000, and now has a population of 22,821. This equals a 3.9 percent decrease.
Redrawing the congressional and the state’s Senate and House districts will not happen overnight. The plan is to have new district maps in place by the November 2012 election. Sometimes, there are legal challenges to redistricting, which only delays the process and can make knowing who you will ultimately vote for unknown until the last minute. I pray this does not happen this time.

Public hearings are going on throughout the state, and the Missouri General Assembly has until the end of the session to have something passed. If we do not, we will have to come back some time later this year for a special session. My hope is we will have something everyone can agree on before May 13.

Tilley: Targeting Human Traffickers

Like many Missourians family is of the utmost importance and we would go to great lengths to protect them. This week we debated and passed a bill that would protect others who have been lost by their families. House Bill 214 expanded and strengthened the laws and penalties related to human trafficking.

Human trafficking often conjures up all sorts of horrible images; human beings packed into confined areas and shipped like cargo, individuals being forced to work dangerous jobs for no pay, women and children being sold in the sex-trade, and forced servitude at a despicable level.

These things are happening in Missouri; in fact we have cases in Blue Springs, Lebanon, Kansas City, and Branson. The criminals are primarily targeting and exploiting immigrant communities and immigrants wishing to come to our country.

One of the most difficult problems with human trafficking is that it is hard to recognize things out of the ordinary, but it could be an individual’s housekeeper, or the maids at a hotel, or activities done outside the light the day.

Many ask how could this happen, but the answer is that the American Dream is very powerful. Many people throughout the world believe if they can just make it here, they will get a good job, have their own home, and be able to provide for their families.

Unfortunately, the criminal element also knows how powerful the American Dream really is. Sometimes they promise a young mother they will pay her way to the United States and even have a job waiting for her and her child when she gets here. Unfortunately, what actually awaits them is living nightmare. In addition, sometimes these criminals will outright kidnap people and some parents or individuals will separate their families purposely to try and achieve success.

Surprisingly we have seen an increase in these “human trafficking” cases in Missouri - this is unacceptable. This is exactly why this week we passed HB 214 because we need to do everything we can to keep this terrible crime from becoming more common.

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.

Carter: Will of the Voters Ignored By House, Local Control, ID Laws Create Paradox

This is my first official legislative report for this legislative session. We are trying a different format this year. I will only be addressing legislation and information which I think directly affects the people of my district. On the right, I have a provided a link to the Missouri House of Representatives web-site if you would like to get more information.

As always, plase feel free to let me know your thoughts.

House Actions of of 2/25/11

# House Bills Filed
# of HBs Referred to Committee
# HBs Reported Do Pass
# HBs Reported Do Pass Consent
# HBs Perfected
# HBs Third Read
# HBs Reported Do Pass in the Senate


House passess HB61 which would lock-in the state minimum wage at the federal level and prevent future inflationary increases. See article below for more information.

House passes HB71, which would allow the City of St. Louis to establish and maintain a municipal police force completely under the city's authority. It passed by a vote of 123-34. See article below for more information.

House Adopts HR39, which calls for Attorney General to file an independent lawsuit or join 20 state attorneys general in their lawsuit challening the constitutionality of the federal health care reform legislation. The resolution passed by a vote of 115-46.

House passes HB73 & 47, which would require certain applicants for and recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program benefits to be tested for the illegal use of controlled substances. It passed by a vote of 116-27. See article below for more information.

House passes HB163, which would change the laws regarding unemployment compensation in order to receive federal funds and removes the 10-year time limit on obligation under a financial agreement for compensation funds can continue. It passed by a vote of 123-14.


In November, 2006, Missouri voters approved the state's present minimum wage law with the passage of Proposition B. Under the law, the state minimum wage is adjusted each year based on changes in the Consumer Price Index. Because the federal minimum wage supersedes the state wage if it is higher, Missouri again began following the federal wage in July 2009 when it increased to $7.25 an hour, where it remains today.

The Missouri House has voted, 96-61 to overturn the state minimum wage law which had been approved by 76% of Missouri voters. House Bill 61 locks in the state minimum wage at the federal level and prevents future inflationary increases. House Democrats unanimously opposed overturning the will of Missouri voters, while all but eight House Republicans voted for the bill.

Eighteen states, including neighboring Illinois where the wage floor is $8.25 an hour, have minimum wages that exceed the federal minimum. Washinton state has the nationa's highest minimum wage at $8.67 an hour.


The House of Representative voted 123-34 on Feb. 17 to grant first-round approval to legislation that would end 150 years of state control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and restore authority over it to the City of St. Louis. The bill, HB 71, requires a second House vote to advance to the Senate.

The state took over the St. Louis police department during the Civil War in effort by Missouri's pro-Confederacy General Assembly to prevent the department from being used against secessionist sympathizers. Although Missouri's elected state government was ousted in what essentially was a coup shortly thereafter and the war itself ended a few years later, the state has maintained authority over the department ever since.

Opponents of local control, including many St. Louis officers, say the existing system protects the department from political interference by city officials. Supporters, including St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, say the department has been insulated too well, leaving it entirely unaccountable to the people of St. Louis, whose taxes fund the police force. The St. Louis and Kansas City departments receive no operating funds from the state and are the only ones in the state not run by their local municipal governments.

The vote on HB 71 marks the first time in recent memory that a St. Louis police local control bill has been approved by either legislative chamber. But in 1913 a local control bill not only passed both chambers of the General Assembly but was signed by the governor. The bill didn't take effect, however, because opponents successfully circulated a referendum petition to force the measure on to the November 1914 statewide ballot, where it was soundly defeated with just 30 percent of voters favoring local control.


The Missouri House of Representatives on Jan. 26 voted 121-37 in favor authorizing drug testing of welfare recipients. Under the bill, those who test positive for illegal drug use would lose their benefits under the federally funded but state administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program for one year. The bill, HB 73, requires a second House vote to advance to the Senate.

Bill supporters say testing would ensure that taxpayers aren't supporting the illegal drug habits of welfare recipients. Opponents say the premise of the bill is based on the unfair and factually unsubstantiated stereotype that a large percentage of welfare recipients use illegal drugs. They also questioned the cost of testing as excessive and said the bill's standards for determining who should be tested are arbitrary.


The House Agriculture Policy Committee on Feb. 15 unanimously passed legislation that would repeal key provisions of a new, voter-approved state law enacting strict regulations on dog breeders. The law, which appeared on the November ballot as Proposition B, passed with 51.6 percent voter support.

HB 131 would eliminate requirements that dogs be given clean water, shelter from the elements and adequate rest time between breeding cycles. It would also remove the 50-dog cap on the number of breeding females that a breeder can own. The full House of Representatives must still approve HB 131 before it can advance to the Senate, which is also considering legislation to undo or modify portions of Proposition B.


Many Missouri voters soon could find themselves trapped in a paradox in which they need a copy of their birth certificate to obtain a government-issued photo identification card in order to vote but must have a government-issued photo ID to get a copy of their birth certificate.

Legislation moving through both chambers of the General Assembly would require voters to produce a photo ID at their polling place in order to cast a ballot. Majority Republicans enacted a voter ID bill in 2006, but the Missouri Supreme Court found it violated voting rights provisions of the state constitution. The measures being pushed this year include a proposed constitutional amendment that would specifically authorize the General Assembly to require voter photo ID, essentially overriding the court's objections.

One problem with such a requirement, however, is that many Missourians for a variety of reasons beyond their control are unable to obtain the supporting documentation, such as a birth certificate, that in recent years has become necessary to get a driver's license or state-issued non-driver ID. And new Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services regulations that take effect March 1 could add another hurdle by requiring those seeking a copy of their birth certificate to produce a photo ID. For those who don't have a photo ID, the department will allow them to show two forms of ID from other sources, though the department's Web site doesn't state what type of alternative identification is acceptable.


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.


As of March 1, Missourians will be able to purchase and print hunting, fishing and trapping permits via their home computers. Sportsmen have been able to purchase permits via the Missouri Department of Conservation's Web site since 2002, but the permits were sent by mail up to two weeks later. The department expects the print-your-own system will reduce the agency's permitting costs by about $500,000 a year.


Nearly 20 inches of snow fell in Jefferson City on February 1. Interstate 70 was closed statewide for several hours to due to whiteout conditions and heavy snowfall. And the Missouri Capitol was the site of a mass sleepover on Feb. 1 when the blizzard that slammed the state left many lawmakers stranded in the building. According to Chris, there were about 80 people left stranded in the building.

The day before the snow rolled into Missouri, Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and House and Senate leaders considered canceling legislative proceedings for the week but decided to forge ahead. The next morning when the storm that ultimately would dumped about 18 inches of snow on mid-Missouri finally arrived, legislative leaders reversed course and called off all substantive business until Feb. 7.

By that time, however, many lawmakers found that they not only couldn't get back to their home districts but also were unable to even make it to their apartments in Jefferson City. The State Emergency Management Agency provided blankets and pillows to those stuck in the Capitol.

The House held a regular session on January 31 and February 1, but held only technical sessions on February 2 and 3. Despite the inclement weather, ten House committees held public hearings that week.

It is estimated that roughly 100 million people were affected by the storm system in the U.S., which stretched from Canada to Mexico, leaving the midwest United States under a heavy blanket of snow and ice.


Dozens of fire trucks circled the Missouri Capitol on Feb. 5 with sirens blaring to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the fire that destroyed the previous Capitol building. The fire began when the Capitol's copper-clad pine dome was struck by lightning on the night of Feb. 5, 1911, igniting a blaze could be seen 20 miles away.

The previous Capitol was built in 1840 to replace the first Capitol located in Jefferson City, which in 1837 was also destroyed by fire. Six months after the 1911 fire, Missouri voters approved a $3.5 million bond issue to finance construction of the present Capitol. That building was completed enough to be occupied in 1917 and the first legislative session there was held in 1919. The building was formally dedicated in 1924.

Since that time, the Capitol has seen 96 General Assemblies. Other interesting facts are:

38 people have been inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was the first person to be inducted in the Hall on September 8, 1982. Governor Warren Hearnes is the most recent indctee to the Hall. Governor Hearnes was added September 15, 2010. 2006 saw the highest number of inductees including Jack Buck, John Ashcroft, Dale Carnegie and Rose Phillippine Duchesne.

Missouri adopted their official flag on March 22, 1913, almost 100 years after achieving statehood.

The Great Seal was designed by Judge Robert William Wells and adopted in 1822.


Giving a pint of blood takes relatively little time - usually no more than an hour at an American Red Cross blood donation center or mobile blood drive. Most healthy individuals can donate whole blood up to six times a year or every 56 days. Each whole blood donation can help up to three individuals meaning a single blood donor has the potential to be a hero to 18 individuals per year just by making a habit of donating blood when eligible.

Platelets are a consistent need and can be donated up to 24 times a year. With shelf life of just five days, the Red Cross reminds donors to also consider giving platelets. Call 1-800-RED CROSS to schedule an appointment at one or our following blood donation centers: Lindell- Midtown (Regional Headquarters), 4050 Lindell Blvd. , St. Louis, MO., South County, 9230 Watson Rd., Crestwood, MO, West County, 13369 Olive Street Blvd., Chesterfield, MO. , North County, 3533 Dunn Road, Sugar Pines Plaza, Florissant, MO, St. Charles County, 252 Mid Rivers Ctr, St. Peters, MO 62276 to donate platelets or whole blood.

Who needs blood? As the primary provider of blood and blood products, the Red Cross helps accident victims of course; trauma and disaster victims, anywhere across the U.S. But also leukemia and other cancer patients, newborn babies or their mothers, sickle cell anemia patients, burn victims and many others.

An estimated 38 percent of the population can give blood and only about eight percent do. The Red Cross salutes all those individuals who donate their blood at least once a year to help someone in need. We challenge others to see if they are eligible to give and to join the lifesaving team.

Call 1-800-RED CROSS to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets or go to for more information.

Torpey: Standing Behind Voice Of Voters

A Special Note

Last week, I had the privilege of being job-shadowed by Kayla Henderson, a Junior Family and Consumer Sciences student at Northwest Missouri State University, who hails from Independence, Missouri. Kayla, along with other students across the state, were in Jefferson City to take part in FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America) Legislative Day. Although Kayla does not share my passion for government, she is an intelligent young woman who has a bright future ahead; upon graduation, she plans to attend Culinary School to become a pastry chef. Kayla spent the morning with me while the House was in session, and much of the afternoon with Amanda, my Legislative Aide, and our intern Stephanie, who were working up in the office. We truly enjoyed our time with Kayla and look forward to tasting some of her baked goods once her culinary career begins!

2011 Legislative Session continues

For the past few weeks, my office has been receiving many phone calls in regard to House Bill 131, due to a robo-call that was sent to voters district wide. HB 131, sponsored by Rep. Stanley Cox intends to modify certain provisions of Proposition B, which was voted into law by an overwhelming amount back in November. Many of the phone calls are asking me to vote in favor of the bill, while a few others are asking me to oppose the changes. At this point in time, I intend to uphold the voters' voice on this issue, and vote against House Bill 131. To read up on House Bill 131, visit the House Home Page's Bill List by clicking HERE.

This week, the House third-read and passed many bills, but there are three that I find of the utmost importance. First, House Bill 136, sponsored by Rep. David Day, allows the spouse of certain active military members to be eligible for unemployment benefits and to receive a temporary courtesy license to practice his or her occupation or profession in this state. To learn more, click HERE. Second, House Bill 214, sponsored by Rep. Ann Zerr, changes the laws regarding human trafficking. To read this bill in its entirety or in summary, click HERE. Lastly, House Bill 276, sponsored by Rep. Ward Franz, changes the laws regarding unlawful picketing or protesting of a funeral. For more information, click HERE.


Small Business met on Wednesday of this week to discuss four bills that were assigned to our committee. We discussed House Bill 386, sponsored by Rep. Bob Nance on Small Claims Court Actions. If passed into law, this legislation increases the amount in controversy from less than $3,000 to less than $5,000 for a case where the judge of a small claims court will have original jurisdiction.

The remaining three bills were voted out of committee and will hopefully be placed on the calendar to be debated on the House floor. First, House Bill 211, sponsored by Rep. Andrew Koenig, prohibits the Department of Health and Senior Services from enforcing or enacting a rule or regulation relating to lead abatement that is stricter than those required by federal law. This passed out of committee with a 16 to 4 vote. Secondly, House Bill 68, sponsored by Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst, prohibits a political subdivision from imposing a fine or penalty on the owner of a pay telephone on the owner's property for calls to an emergency telephone service from the pay telephone. This bill passed out of committee with consent, with a 16-0 vote. Finally, House bill 86, sponsored by Rep. Mike McGhee, authorizes corporations or unincorporated associations to be represented in small claims court by their president or vice-president for any claim of $500 or less for certain actions to remove a tenant. This bill passed out of committee with a 15 to 3 vote.

Fiscal Review also met on Wednesday to discuss the Fiscal Note for House Bill 76, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nolte. If passed into law, this bill would phase out the corporate franchise tax over five years and limit a corporation's franchise tax to the prior year's amount. This bill passed out of committee with a 16-1 vote.

Word of the Week

Sometimes in the General Assembly, we use words that do not exactly come up in every day conversation. In this section of my Capitol Report, I hope to explain some terms to you that were explained to me when I took my seat as your State Representative.

This week's word: CONSENT, as in "We passed a consent bill this week." I realize that everyone understands what consent generally means: to respond favorably to, agree with, etc. However, in the General Assembly consent is a bit more complex.

Consent bills are passed every year in both chambers, and are considered to be bills of a non-controversial nature. Most of the time, a consent bill seeks to make an adjustment or correction to an existing law that most people would generally agree with. A bill is not considered "consent" until its sponsor requests it be considered as such, and then the bill must remain on the Consent Calendar for at least 5 days. During this time, any representative is free to make a written objection to the bill's consent status, requesting the bill be returned to the committee that approved it as "consent." Also, a rules committee may remove a bill from the Consent Calendar with a simple majority. A consent bill cannot be amended, which makes its pass much faster. Normally, bills have to go through a preliminary vote also known as a "perfection" vote and then a second "third read" vote. However, consent bills must be passed "as is" or not passed at all.

In Other News

On Thursday, March 24th, Senator Will Kraus and I will be holding an open Legislative Forum for our constituents of the 52nd House District and the 8th Senatorial District. The event will be held at the Midwest Genealogy Center (3440 S. Lee's Summit Road, Independence, MO 64055) from 7 to 9 pm. We very much look forward to speaking with you and answering your questions. Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions about this event. If you would like to learn more about the Genealogy Center, visit the website by clicking HERE.

Also, do not forget to RSVP for the first annual 52nd District Day, on April 19th, by calling or emailing our office. I look forward to hosting my constituents here in the Missouri House of Representatives.

Serving you as always,

Noel Torpey
State Representative
District 52