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19 March 2011

Davis: Firearms Legislation Advance, Busy Week For Committees

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go." –Dr. Seuss

This was a very busy week and it will only get busier. Now we have a few days off for spring break and I am excited to be able to spend a few days with my family and some friends and constituents Jeff and Michelle Bruner in Branson. I want to thank my wife and family for allowing me to serve in the Missouri House. They sacrifice so much and I am a blessed man to have such a wonderful wife and great children.

Here are some statistics about what has been done thus far:
# House Bills Filed 926
# HBs Reported Do Pass 127
# HBs Reported Do Pass Consent 100
# HBs Perfected 75
# HBs Third Read 35
# HBs Reported Do Pass in the Senate 3

This week in my committees

Veterans Committee voted do pass on three bills

Fisher (125)
Authorizes the issuance of a military medallion, medal, and certificate to certain veterans who served in specified conflicts regardless of whether they are or ever were legal Missouri residents.

Authorizes the presentation of a Missouri National Guard Overseas Training Ribbon, a Missouri National Guard State Partnership Program Ribbon, and the Order of Minuteman Award.

Lampe (138)
Requires any state agency or board that regulates an occupation or profession to establish rules for the issuance of a courtesy license to a nonresident spouse of certain active duty military members.

Fisher (125)
Establishes the Veteran Workforce Act which requires the Office of Administration to develop rules and regulations ensuring a uniform hiring preference for veterans, disabled veterans, and their spouses.

Utilities voted do pass on one bill

Removes the certified mail requirement on the notice to a customer to terminate water service for the nonpayment of sewer bills.

Tax Reform voted do pass on three bills

Sater (068)
Specifies that farm machinery and equipment as it relates to exemptions for sales tax will include certain all-terrain vehicles.

Dieckhaus (109)
Authorizes an income tax dependency exemption deduction for a stillborn child for the taxable year in which the child was born.

Nolte (033)
Clarifies the current exemptions from sales and use tax by defining "manufacturing, processing, compounding, mining, or producing" to include testing, installing, calibrating, maintaining, and repairing.

Small Business voted do pass on one bill

Kirkton (091)
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.

Floor Actions

The Missouri House of Representatives were busy this week. With double sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, the house perfected several bills, many of which were passed with consent. Other bills stirred passionate debate.

We must protect those who cannot protect themselves. The Missouri House made a step in the right direction this week by passing HB213.

Specifies that no abortion of a viable unborn child can be performed or induced except in certain specified situations.

Also protecting the rights of the voters, the House passed HJR6

Conway (014)
Proposes a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right of individuals to vote by secret ballot.

HB731 helps protect our liberty and our borders.

Adds citizenship information to the sexual offender registration form and requires the State Highway Patrol to report to the federal government any non-U.S. citizen on the sexual offender registry.

We also fought hard for your second amendment rights.

Changes the laws regarding firearms, ammunition, and concealed carry endorsements.

Wyatt (002)
Prohibits the sales tax on firearms or ammunition from being levied at a higher rate than for any sales tax or other excise tax charged on any sporting goods or equipment or any hunting equipment.

Wyatt (002)
Allows a resident of Missouri to purchase a firearm in any state and a resident of any state to purchase a firearm in Missouri if he or she conforms to certain laws.

Wright (159)
Lowers the age at which a person can obtain a concealed carry endorsement from 23 to 21 years of age if the person is a member of the armed forces.

Guernsey (003)
Lowers the age at which a person can obtain a concealed carry endorsement from 23 to 21 years of age.

Fisher (125)
Allows a resident of Missouri to purchase a firearm in any state, increases to five years the period that a concealed carry endorsement is valid, and lowers the age to obtain an endorsement to 21years.

The days are getting longer and the work of the General Assembly is getting more intense. Getting to the capitol at 7AM and getting home after 10PM on most nights makes for long days but I am so blessed to be able to be here. I hope everyone has a great spring break and I pray God’s blessings on you all.

18 March 2011

Engler: Spring Recess Marks Mid-Way Point of the Session

It was a hit and miss week up here at the Capitol right before spring break.

It was a hit when my amendment on the workers compensation bill [SB8] passed. This would ensure that if a worker is harmed with chemicals used on the job that the employer can not go back after workers compensation that has been paid out after the court settlement has been reached.

One of the misses is that last year we reduced the amount of boards and commissions to keep government smaller and this week we formed ANOTHER board. The Senate approved Senate Bill 162, The Farm to Table Advisory Board. Some things we just can’t get away from.

Another hit was Senate Bill 55 that was approved by the Senate this week. This measure would classify sawmills as agricultural property rather than commercial property which will allow them to be taxed at a lower rate. Our local saw mills are struggling to stay open and this bill will help them to survive.

The biggest debate this week is whether we should take the federal money on extending unemployment benefits and money to help supplement education for this year. No one hates the federal government more than I do. (I just completed my taxes this week.) But if the feds are going to send money to other states for these benefits, then I think Missourians should also be entitled to access this money.

We will return to the Capitol on March 28. Congressional redistricting and the budget are some of the top issues that we will be discussing in the coming weeks, and I will continue to keep you updated on the work we accomplish in the 2011 legislative session. I am looking forward to being out and about in the district over spring break and hope to see some of you.

I am giving up cussing for lent (and hopefully longer). I am donating $1.00 for every one I say…and the pot is really starting to add up. I need suggestions on worthy charities to donate the money. Any suggestions? I will pick randomly out of a hat after Easter.

Dempsey: Missouri Senate Finishes Top Priorities as Session Reaches Midpoint

In December, the Senate Republican caucus met to talk about priorities for the upcoming legislative session in Jefferson City. During the course of these meetings we developed a list of priorities to guide our caucus over the next few months.

Instead of handouts, we agreed to advance policies that would offer a “hand up.” It was clear to us that we must create an environment where businesses, both big and small, could flourish. This, in turn, would allow businesses to expand and to invest in talented people. I am pleased to say that at the halfway mark in the 2011 legislative session we have passed that agenda and have sent it on to the Missouri House for their consideration.

To briefly recap, since January we have passed legislation (Senate Bill 19) that removes the punitive double-taxation known as the franchise tax on businesses that want to expand in Missouri. We have also moved to restore balance in the arena of lawsuits brought against employers for alleged discrimination. Over the past several years Missouri courts had opened the doors to litigation and had created an unreasonable set of rules which went well beyond even what was allowed under federal law. With the passage of SB 188 we seek to reign in the abuses and to chart a new course.

Finally, this week we passed legislation in the form of Senate Bill 8 which protects employees from being personally sued by coworkers for ordinary mistakes made in the normal course of their duties. This bill also gives businesses more financial certainty as they try to make a profit and pay their employees by making sure that normal workplace accidents and illnesses stay within the workers’ compensation system. A special carve-out was created to make sure that any business that intentionally harms an employee would not be allowed to recoup what they paid out in workers’ comp benefits from any judgment that particular employee received in court.

Looking forward to the last half of the legislative session we have many more things we hope to accomplish. The Senate plans to tackle the 2012 state budget and to enact some reforms that will produce savings and efficiencies down the road. We also are working to finish crafting Missouri’s eight Congressional districts now that the final census numbers have been released.

In the next few weeks we also plan to take up issues that are important from a social perspective with the goal of protecting the weakest and most vulnerable among us. This includes passing legislation to reduce the number of abortions in Missouri. We also plan to update our laws to protect women and children from the scourge of human trafficking that, while often unnoticed, is far too prevalent in our society.

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

Denison: Preserving Firearms Freedom, Preventing Late-Term Abortions, Veterans Funding

“People will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Bonnie Jean Wasmund

Preserving Firearms Freedom (HB 294)

One piece of legislation approved by the House this week would strengthen the Second Amendment rights of Missouri citizens. One provision of the bill would lower the age requirement on concealed-carry permits from 23 to 21. Currently, Missouri is the only state to have an age requirement of 23. Making the change to 21 would put Missouri in line with the majority of other states. The bill also would keep sales taxes on firearms and ammunition from rising above the rate of other sporting good items. While there is not currently a higher sales tax rate on ammunition, the bill would prevent such a situation from happening in the future. Another provision in the bill would allow Missourians to purchase firearms, with the exception of handguns, from any state in the nation. Currently, Missouri has a tedious and unnecessary process that allows Missourians to only purchase rifles and shotguns in Missouri, or in our neighboring states. The change would remove this antiquated law and allow Missourians greater freedom when purchasing their firearms.

Preventing Late-Term Abortions (HB 213)

A bill I mentioned in a previous Capitol Report made its way to the House floor this week. I joined my colleagues in supporting a bill that would put a stop to late-term abortions. The legislation would make it illegal to abort a fetus deemed capable of living outside the womb. Specifically, it would ban abortions after 20 weeks unless two doctors verify that a fetus is either not viable or constitutes a medical threat to the mother. Doctors would use tests of the fetus' gestational age, weight and lung function. For a fetus found to be unviable, a doctor would be required to report to the state why the child was unviable after performing the abortion. Doctors who violate the proposed law could spend up to a year in prison and be fined between $10,000 and $50,000. With these provisions we can ensure an abortion is an option pursued only when it is absolutely medically necessary. We know there are few abortions performed after 20 weeks but it is in the best interest of all Missourians who value life to make it clear that these abortions cannot be performed unless they represent the only way to save the life of the mother.

Veterans Funding (HJR 29)

This week we also approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a new lottery game to benefit veterans. The legislation is meant to provide funding to the Missouri Veterans Commission, which runs seven nursing homes in the state. The homes provide 1,350 beds to veterans and currently have a waiting list of 1,600 veterans. However, because of funding cuts over the last three years, the commission’s capital improvement fund may be bankrupt by 2013. That would result in the homes being closed. Our hope is that the legislation passed this week can help create a new funding source for our veterans’ homes that will prevent them from being closed. If approved by voters, it would create new lottery ticket, with the proceeds from ticket sales going to the Veterans Commission capital improvement fund.

Immigration Legislation (HB 731)

Another bill passed this week would help keep illegal immigrants who have committed sexual offenses out of Missouri. The bill would expand our state sex offender registry to include citizenship status. In addition, it would require our State Highway Patrol to check the citizenship and immigration status of individuals on the sex offender list. Right now, our law requires only that law enforcement officials check the status of everyone they incarcerate. For anyone on the list found to be here illegally, the Highway Patrol would be required to report that information to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement or other appropriate federal agency. With this, we can ensure these dangerous criminals are deported from our state as soon as possible.

Secret Ballot (HJR 6)

Another proposed amendment to the state Constitution passed by the House this week would ensure the right to a secret ballot for anyone voting to form or join a union. The legislation is a response to the Employee Free Choice Act that was considered by Congress in 2009. The act would have changed federal law to require an employer to recognize a union when a simple majority of workers sign cards authorizing union representation. Current federal law allows an employer to recognize a union or require an election when 30 percent of the employer’s workforce signs authorization cards. We passed HJR 6 because we believe existing law has worked well to allow employees to vote to unionize in private where they are free from intimidation or coercion. We want to protect the rights of Missourians to continue to vote in private even if federal law changes.

Missouri Linked Deposit Program (HB 109)

Another bill approved this week would extend a highly successful low-interest loan program for farmers and small businesses. Under current law, the Missouri Linked Deposit Program is set to expire in December 2015. The bill we passed would remove that expiration date. The program works by depositing money in banks so they can provide low-interest loans to farmers and qualifying businesses. By making the program permanent we hope to give banks more certainty that they can continue to offer these low rates. Already the program has approved more than $550 million in loans and has positively impacted approximately 9,000 jobs and farmers in the past two years.


Pictured left to right: Greg Wheelen, Chris Welsh, Jimmy Andela, Rep. Denison, Darrell Rader

On March 15, 2011, members of the Springfield Police Department and of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police were visiting legislators at the Capitol. Greg Wheelen, Chris Welsh, Jimmy Andela and Darrell Rader stopped by my office. I appreciate their visit, and I am grateful for the service they provide to the citizens of 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.

Korman: One Last Mention About Snow, Bills That Passed Third Reading

Yes, I’m going to start my report out about the snow (one last time) on Monday morning as it took everyone by surprise then the rest of the week was beautiful.

The Missouri General Assembly is at the middle of the 2011 session.

The Missouri House of Representatives has had several achievements toward making state government more efficient and accountable by drug testing welfare recipients, making counties and school districts disclose their debt, and that state departments should be looking to contain costs. There have been fifty-four House Bills, House Concurrent Resolutions and House Joint Resolutions approved by the Missouri House of Representatives thus far.

This week was busy for Third Reading and Passing.

HCS HBs 294,123, 125, 113, 271 and 215, was Third Read and Passed the MO House of Representative. This substitute bill changes the laws regarding firearms, ammunition and concealed carry endorsements. I fully support this bill. Here is a link to the bill:

House Bill 213 was also Third Read and passed the MO House of Representatives. This bill specifies that no abortion of a viable unborn child as determined by a physician can be performed or induced except in certain specified situations. I voted in favor of this bill and here is a link:

House Bill 797 was referred to the House Agricultural Policy on March 16. This bill relates to the state land survey program. It transfers land survey duties from the Department of Natural Resources to the Department of Agriculture. A link to that bill is provided here:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those citizens that came out to the Mid-Session Town Hall on Sunday, March 13 at 3 p.m. at the Belle Star Theatre in Warrenton. We had a nice crowd.

Next week is Spring Break and I will be back in the district. I’m looking forward to visiting many of the schools and delivering a very handy teaching tool on Missouri called the Showing You The Show-Me State.

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

Berry: Stronger Firearms Rights Advance Through House

At right: March 10th at the Capiton, flipping for tourism.


HB 294 - This week, the Missouri House passed a measure to strengthen penalties for those possessing illegal substances and firearms at the same time. This bill would create separate crimes of illegal substance possession and illegal firearm possession. The crux of the problem was discovered when illegal firearm possession charges were often dropped from illegal substance charges during conviction pleas. At the same time the House also added measures to increase the rights of law abiding citizens with respect to firearms. HB 294 would also remove the restriction on Missourians who wish to purchase firearms that the purchases can only take place in Missouri or neighboring states. It also moved to mimic other states in the nation and lower the concealed carry permit application age from 23 to 21. HB 294 now moves to the State Senate for consideration.

HB731- The House this week advanced a bill that would increase the amount of information that registered sex offenders must submit to law enforcement. Currently, the Highway Patrol has no authority to check sex offenders’ citizenship. Under this proposal, offenders would be required to submit citizenship information, and if it did not check out, the Highway Patrol could request that the federal government deport the individual at issue. HB 731’s next step in the process is to move to the Senate, where it will require approval before it reaches the Governor’s desk.

Bill Information

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.

Cosponsored Bills

HB73; HB146; HB199; HB200; HB209; HB247; HB280; HB284; HB340; HB352; HB364; HB423; HB437; HB467; HB468; HB470; HB511; HB528; HB580; HB629; HB639; HB648; HB658; HB736; HB748; HB749; HB755; HB760; HB772; HB774; HB778; HB786; HB789; HB795; HB799; HCR9; HCR30; HCR33; HCR46; HJR26; HJR27; HJR31; HJR33


The last two weeks have been busy with visitors from Kearney and Smithville. The Sowell family (Steve, Lisa, Norman, Kay, Gabriel, Joshua, Miriam, Naomi, Joseph and Benjamin) came for a Capitol Tour. T.J.’s family also visited, his daughter Sami enjoyed the debates on the floor. Our State Capitol is one of the most beautiful and majestic of any in the country. Don’t pass by any opportunity to visit.

The weather is getting nice… if you want to get out-side with the family try this link – Missouri State Parks

17 March 2011

Newman: Time Flies When You're Doing House Business…

We've completed 41 days - and have more to go before final adjournment on May 13th. I'm not proud of the legislation to date that we have sent over to the Senate for their consideration.

Where are the "jobs" bills that we were promised by the Speaker of the House? Where are the bills which will truly benefit people in Missouri?

Our energy so far on the House floor has been spent on:
  • Decreasing the minimum wage - ignoring the vote of the people in 2006 [HB61]
  • Requiring drug testing for poor single mothers [HB73]
  • Telling the MO Highway Patrol that they must give drivers license tests in English only [HB167]
  • Make it harder for workers to prove discrimination on the job [HB205]
  • Telling the federal government that they must balance their budget [HCR3]
  • A voter approved constitutional amendment to reaffirm the right to pray in public [HJR2]
  • Government intrusion in private tragic pregnancy situations [HB213]
  • An omnibus firearm bill - making it easier to carry secret guns in the capitol [HB294]
But wait - there's more on the way:
  • Ignoring the 2010 vote of the people again - gutting puppy mill protections. [HB131]
  • Ignoring the 2006 MO Supreme Court ruling - disenfranchising people from voting [HJR14]
  • Union busting bills - including attacks on teacher pay and tenure [SB1, HB628]
  • Eliminating the non-partisan court plan - making judges part of the political process
I am standing up and speaking LOUD on the House floor as the Progressive Caucus chair.

Because of my commitment to justice and equality, I have taken the lead in the House to fight voter photo ID bills – which would make it difficult and/or impossible for seniors, disabled and students to vote. Our democracy depends on free and fair elections and I have vowed to protect our basic voting rights, not just for those who can afford it, but for everyone.

The Legislature is adjourned for Spring Break until March 28. Please stay tuned.



This past Tuesday during afternoon session, my friend, Rep. Sylvester Taylor (D - St. Louis) was stricken suddenly with heart pains. House members who happen to also be medically trained reacted quickly and he was taken to St. Mary's Hospital near the Capitol. After a rigorous series of tests, Rep. Taylor was diagnosed with diabetes. He spoke to us on the floor briefly Thursday morning with his wife nearby and made an eloquent plea for us to take care of our health the men especially. We hope he gets well soon and look forward to his return after the spring break.


At left: G.I. Joe with Angela Peacock, Matt & Sean LaRochelle with Cady, myself and Sandra Chambers, with Shyannie in the Capitol.

Last week my bill, HB513 - Sean's Bill, had a hearing in the newly created Special Standing Committee on Disability Services. The best part - three service dogs, along with their owners, made the long journey to Jefferson City to testify. Sean's Bill, named for my constituent Sean Larochelle, of Brentwood, adds mental disabilities - also referred to as "invisible" disabilities - to the current state statute. The bill also expands the definition of a service dog team to include a child and an adult handler.

Sean's father, Matt Larochelle, contacted me last year to help add protections for children with autism, particularly those who are non-verbal as is Sean, and need constant access to their service dogs for their personal safety. We discovered amazingly that Sean wasn't the only one who would benefit.

Angela Peacock, an Army veteran from St. Charles, also came to the Capitol to testify with her service dog, G.I. Joe. Peacock was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia and major depression and . relies on her dog for support in managing her disabilities.

Sean and friends had excellent media coverage.

It's rewarding to be helpful with a simple, no cost tweak of the current law. Sean's Bill is ready to hit the House floor at any time - please keep your fingers crossed that it will pass and land on the Governor's desk for signing.


Wednesday morning I was invited to be the keynote speaker of the annual Women's History Month celebration in Jefferson City for employees of the Missouri Department of Transportation. Sponsored by the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Division, I was thrilled to join with hardworking MODot women from throughout the state including a few interested men.

I applaud Rudy Nickens, MODot Director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, for his fabulous work in creating programs to teach, encourage and inspire state employees. I was inspired by them!


Sometimes we are asked to do unusual non-legislative activities. Last week we legislators were invited to flip pancakes in the third floor rotunda on behalf of the Missouri Tourism Commission. Of course, this photo doesn't reflect the pancakes that I dropped. The best part was eating a hearty pancake breakfast before we headed back to the House floor.

Tim Jones: Measure Protecting Unborn Heads To Senate

At right: With Bishop Edward Rice of St. Louis, Bishop James Johnston, Jr. of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Bishop John Gaydos of Jefferson City and Monsignor Kurwicki, our House Chaplain, from Jefferson City.

A tale of two weeks in one over the past few days carried us to the Capitol in a nearly blinding snowstorm on Monday and then saw us home in brilliant sunshine and warming temperatures by weeks’ end. Old Man Winter still blows across the northern States with all sound and fury while in the lower Heartland thoughts are turning to gentle spring days and blossoming flora. Beneath the Capitol Dome, activity has reached a steady, drum like pace as we await the coming behemoth of the State’s Budget…

“Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.” —Samuel Adams

FLOOR ACTION: Monday, March 14th

HCS HB 213, of which I am the Chief Sponsor, continued debate on the House Floor today. This bill is referred to as the late term abortion ban. The bottom line: It is a constitutionally defensible position that the State should protect those who are most needy. With respect to the neediest, who could be more in need of protection than the unborn child? In the State of Missouri, if you are an unborn child who has reached the level of viability, you are currently not afforded any legal protection. We must take the steps necessary to correct this injustice and HB 213 does exactly that by making it a class-C felony to perform an abortion after 20 weeks without determining viability and assessing penalties to the facility used to perform the late-term abortion. When debate ended, HCS HB 213 was ordered perfected and printed by an overwhelming vote of 120 to 37.

At right: Discussing legislation with Rep. Anne Zerr.

HJR 6, sponsored by Rep. Mike Cierpiot (R-56), proposes amending the Missouri Constitution to include a 35th section in Article I which would guarantee the right to vote by secret ballot. This is a key concept in maintaining the integrity of the voting system. HJR 6 passed and was ordered perfected and printed.

HCS HB 29, sponsored by Rep. David Sater (R-68), was ordered perfected and printed. This bill establishes the Volunteer Health Services Act which allows a licensed health care provider to render volunteer professional health care services for a sponsoring organization.

HCS HB 89, sponsored by Rep. Darrell Pollock (R-146), was ordered perfected and printed. This bill changes the laws regarding deposits into the State Park Earnings Fund, notice requirements of the Clean Water Commission, and certain water pollution control fees; eliminating the ability of the state legislature to sweep the funds into the general revenue. The funds are meant for the parks, not for general revenue. The fear of having funds swept and budgets reduced for the following year creates incentive for hasty, irresponsible, and wasteful spending in order to secure funding levels. This bill removes this incentive by solidifying the funds for use by the State Parks.

FLOOR ACTION: Tuesday, March 15th

HCS HB 431, as amended, sponsored by Rep. Ward Franz (R-151), was ordered perfected and printed. HCS HB 431 changes the laws regarding foster care and adoption, establishes the Missouri State Foster Care and Adoption Board, and creates the Foster Care and Adoptive Parents Recruitment and Retention Fund. This would generate additional funding for recruitment of foster care providers and promote foster care activities in Missouri.

HJR 29, as amended, sponsored by Rep. Solon (R-55), was ordered perfected and printed. HJR 29 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. Neighboring states have indicated such a ticket does not reduce the amount of revenue generated for education, but rather, creates an increase in overall sales and revenue generated by lottery ticket sales. During tough economic times when across board budget cuts impact areas like the Veterans Commission Capital Improvement Trust Fund, this is an innovative way to generate additional funding.

HCS HB 131, sponsored by Rep. Cox (R-118), began debate today. HCS HB 131 and SCS for SB 113 have received a lot of press due to what some might call the intrusion of the state legislature into a proposition passed by the people; specifically Prop B. This legislation is actually receiving bipartisan support in the House. If you support Prop B, and have read what HCS HB 131 and SCS for SB 113 actually do, then you understand the bill actually strengthens the laws protecting animals while allowing lawful dog breeders to stay in business. The intent of Prop B was not to put dog breeders out of business, but to protect animals. Proposition B, as written, has several serious statutory flaws that must be corrected to make it effective. Proposition B is a statutory change, but because it was an initiative petition, it was a statutory change that did not go through the normal vetting process that every legislative vehicle does in the General Assembly. As Proposition B is currently written, it has the following serious issues: 1. It only applies to licensed breeders. 2. It is an unfunded mandate and has NO funding mechanism. 3. Pet is defined as “any domesticated animal,” which would improperly include livestock. 4. It is based on arbitrary regulations and not factual guidelines. 5. It requires feeding animals only once a day, when in fact, many animals require more feedings. 6. It establishes NO enforcement mechanism and does not even specify who is responsible to regulate the proposition or to whom to report violations. 7. It requires only one annual vet inspection. 8. It only requires the relevant facility to be determined to be sanitary once per day. 9. And it allows for waste/feces from upper cages to drop on dogs below without criminal offense. Every single one of these issues are dealt with and CORRECTED in the HCS for HB 13 and in the SCS for SB 113. It remains to be seen how this issue will be ultimately resolved. It is clear, however, that for the legislature to sit on its hands and do nothing, we would be committing what I submit is legislative malpractice and would potentially end the business of lawful bog breeding in Missouri. Is this what the people really intended? Personally, I am against any measures which would allow for the abuse of animals to continue unabated in the State of Missouri and I am opposed to any repeal of Proposition B but I am equally resistant to any measures which make the business environment so hostile to pet breeding that good, quality, lawful breeding facilities will be put out of business.

FLOOR ACTION: Wednesday, March 16th

HCS HB 294, et. al., sponsored by Rep. Jeanie Riddle (R-20), changes the laws regarding firearms, ammunition, and concealed carry endorsements. This will further protect the rights of law abiding gun owners in Missouri while strengthening the penalties against criminals. According to a report released Tuesday in the Huffington Post, the Obama administration is currently researching all the ways in which “executive order” can be used to place restrictions on your 2nd Amendment rights. We need to pass legislation to strengthen and protect your rights, not restrict and destroy them. Here in the Missouri House of Representatives, we plan to do just that with the passage of this legislation.

HB 252, sponsored by Rep. Stanley Cox (R-118), was ordered perfected and printed. HB 252 is the Business Premises Safety Act. This bill keeps business owners from being held responsible for providing safety for customers against the criminal acts of a third party. It also solidifies the right of a person to possess a firearm in their own personal vehicle. It only makes sense that a business owner is not capable of predicting the actions of a criminal and therefore should not be held responsible for any harm done in their committing of a criminal act.

HB 731, sponsored by Rep. Mark Parkinson (R-16), was ordered perfected and printed. This bill will add citizenship information to the sexual offender registration form and requires the State Highway Patrol to report to the federal government any non-U.S. citizen on the sexual offender registry.

As well as the aforementioned bills, many consent bills passed the house this week. Consent bills are not debated on the House Floor for a variety of reasons: 1. They are non-controversial (no opposition). 2. They have no fiscal impact. 3. They create no penalty provisions.

Third Read Thursday, March 17th

Today, the House gave final overwhelming and bipartisan passage to the following bills described above: HCS HB 213, HCS HB 29, HCS HB 89, HCS HB 431, HCS HB 294 et. al., HB 252, HB 731, HJR 6, and HJR 29.

Public Service Announcement!

The Eureka Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Swap Meet/Garage Sale in the Six Flags Parking Lot on March 26, 2011. This is a huge event and a great advertising opportunity for your business in the event map. There are only a limited number of spots available, so, if you are interested, please contact Joy Sauter, the Membership and Marketing Director for the Eureka Chamber of Commerce, at joysauter{at}eurekachamber{dot}us.

Important Tax Information

Taxpayers making $58,000 or less can visit to prepare and E-File federal tax returns, for FREE, through a landmark partnership between the IRS and tax software providers.

Michelle Moore Needs Your Help!

Michelle Moore is a great friend and colleague back in the St. Louis region. This week we found out that she is projected to be on the kidney donor wait list for 3 years. Do you know someone who can help? Please visit and/or for more information. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BEING TESTED FOR DONATING YOUR KIDNEY TO MICHELLE, PLEASE CALL 314-362-5365 OR 800-633-9906 - OPTION 2 - BEFORE APRIL 25TH.

Visiting the Capitol

I always enjoy it when constituents visit the Capitol and want to thank all who make the journey. If you ever find yourself in or around Jefferson City at any time during the year, please feel free to visit us! Stop by the Majority Leader’s Office in Room 302 and we will be happy to meet and greet you!

Personal News & Notes

If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving the Capitol Report, they can click the “Capitol Report Signup” button on my member home page at and enter the appropriate information to receive the Capitol Report. As the days grow longer under the Capitol Dome, we want to encourage you to keep up with the flurry of legislative activity. Now that another long Session Week has concluded and we will be on a one week Legislative Spring Break, I am very excited to be able to spend an entire week at home, spending good quality time with Suzanne, Katie and Abby and billing some good, quality hours at my law firm of Doster Ullom! I know my family and law partners eagerly await my return! Finally, have a very happy and safe ST. PATRICK’S DAY (!) and if we can ever be of any assistance to you at your State Capitol, 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.

Stouffer: Recognizing the Work of Our Best Teachers

Most of us receive regular reviews at our places of work. Usually, it comes in the form of a performance review by a superior. Sometimes, people are judged by the general public or the clients they serve.

Our teachers are among our most critical members of society. There are few positions more sacred than those held by teachers. We entrust our children and our future to those leading our classrooms. Fortunately, we have great teachers in rural Missouri who get up each day eager to instill more knowledge and skills into the minds of our students. I could not be more proud to know many of these folks working in schools throughout the area.

There is a lot of discussion about education reforms in the United States. One topic is teacher tenure. I believe our teachers do a good job and should be protected from being fired for not passing certain students or having high standards in the classroom. I do not know of a perfect way to encourage our teachers to continue to do good work, but those who do great work should not be afraid to be paid more for their efforts.

There is a bill in the Missouri House that tries to address these concerns. House Bill 628 would start the “Teacher Continuing Contract Act.” This measure would take effect on July 1, 2012 and do several things:
  • Base 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation on teaching standards, as established by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education;
  • Require an annual evaluation of each school administrator and base 50 percent of his or her score on the policies established for administrators developed by the state board;
  • Specify that a contract between a school district and a teacher will be known as a continuing contract and will continue in effect for up to two or more years, while probationary contracts last one year;
  • Establish a salary schedule effective July 1, 2013 based on performance;
  • Require teachers to be evaluated at least annually and twice in the final year of a continuing contract, place equal weight on individual student performance growth and achievement of teaching standards and limit teaching standard scores in the top 33 percent to no more than 40 percent of a building's teachers.
Opponents to this type of plan say it is not always possible to base a teacher’s performance on how well a group of students do academically; some students will do better than others. Sometimes, standardized tests can produce different results than a locally-produced exam. Local control is of utmost importance — in fact, I support dissolving the federal Department of Education. These are all factors to take into consideration.

The bottom line is we have to ensure our children continue to get a world-class education. While I am opposed to some of the concepts in this bill, I am open to hearing ideas from our best teachers on how to meet these goals. I look forward to hearing and debating all ideas as we move forward in this legislative session.

Tilley: Create New Jobs By Deporting Illegals Who Molest Minors

Along with continuing to advance our legislative package to create new jobs in Missouri, this week the Missouri House took up a provision to protect Missouri families. Some of the worst crimes we deal with in Missouri are sex offenses like rape, especially when they involve small children.

Currently, sex offenders are required to register with their local communities when they are released from jail. This is because the crimes they commit are so harmful to young children, and children are often impressionable and unable to protect themselves, or even realize which adults are trying to help, or harm them.

Additionally, around 1 in 5 sex offenders will repeat their crime after they are released [Source:]. Since sex offenders are likely to re-commit their crimes, and their victims are often the weakest and most impressionable in our society, we require them to register with their communities – so people can avoid them if they so choose.

The bill we passed through this week [HB731] adds the requirement that those convicted of sex crimes which require registration also provide information about their immigration status. Also, the Highway Patrol would be required to cross-check this registration, and if the offender was not a citizen, report them for deportation.

Strangely, the Highway patrol does not currently have the authority to look directly into sex offenders’ citizenship or immigration status. Our bill would give them that authority.

Fortunately, this bill would cost no extra money, and would provide for an easy solution to a tough problem. It’s hard enough to deal with sex offenders in communities who are United States citizens. If they are illegal immigrants, the solution is easy, deport them.

It’s bad enough that illegal immigrants are here taking jobs from hard-working Missourians, especially with unemployment hovering around 10 percent.

When they are convicted of horrible crimes, the State should connect the dots surrounding their citizenship and suggest that the federal government deport them.

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.

Kraus: Town Hall Meetings

Town halls are an excellent way for me to connect with the people of District 8. Next week, I will be hosting three town hall meetings in Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, and Independence. I’ll open the discussion with news from the Senate, followed by a state representative, who will provide news from the House of Representatives. The floor will then be opened for questions and comments from the audience.

On Tuesday, March 22, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., the town hall will be held at Moreland Ridge Middle School at 900 SW Bishop Drive in Blue Springs. State Representative Sheila Solon, District 55, will also be at this town hall to answer questions from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

On Thursday, March 24, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., the town hall will be held at Places Manhattan Room, John Knox Village at 1001 NW Chipman Road, Lee’s Summit. State Representative Gary Cross, District 48, will also be in attendance to answer questions.

Also on Thursday, March 24, from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the town hall will be held at Mid-Continent Genealogy Center at 3440 S. Lee’s Summit Road, in Independence. State Representative Noel Torpey, District 52, will also be on hand to answer questions from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Listening to the people is my priority. The District 8 Mission Statement, which was the subject of an earlier Capitol Report, emphasizes the importance of listening and focusing on the people back home in the district.

District 8 Day

I would like you to be my guest for District 8 Day at the Capitol on either March 30 or April 5. District Day in Jefferson City is another way that I like to communicate with constituents. Each day will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end around 3:15 p.m. During the course of the day, you will be able to tour the Capitol Building, the Governor’s Mansion and the Supreme Court. You will also have the chance to visit the floor of the Missouri Senate, and I will be available at that time for a question and answer session.

Spots are limited, so please RSVP by Monday, March 21. You can simply e-mail with your name, physical address, and number attending. You will be responsible for your own transportation to Jefferson City and lunch. Please consider coming – it is a great opportunity to learn more about your Missouri state government.

Protecting Our Children From Sexual Predators

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on SB 400. Senate Bill 400 is a perfect example of a resident of District 8 stepping up to discuss a problem and working with us on a solution that I was able to introduce as legislation.

Current language in Missouri statute makes it a Class D Felony for certain persons to have sexual contact with a student on school property. Because of a specific situation, I learned that school board members were not covered by the statute and that any sexual contact off school property was also not covered. If passed, SB 400 would change the statute to cover both those situations.

I want to thank the constituent, a local school board member, who brought this issue to my attention. The 8th Senatorial District is a collection of your ideas and your views.

Welcome Visitors

Again this week, constituents from District 8 took the time to come to the Capitol, which I always appreciate. Some of the visitors were Chuck and Jan Bradbury, Bridget Wagner, Todd Gerstner, Joseph Kaugh, Shawn Brown, Roger Lake, Christy Garnett, Jessica Troester, Randall Scarborough and family, and Rick and Yvonne Foreman. I also had the chance to talk with Connie Cierpiot, who has served in both chambers of the General Assembly, and Theresa Garza Ruiz of the Jackson County government.

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!

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
Apr. 5School Board Elections for the following:
Lee’s Summit R-VII School District
Blue Springs R-IV School District
Grain Valley R-V School District
Oak Grove R-VI School District
Lone Jack C-6 School District
Raytown C-2 School District

Torpey: Midterm Break Begins

A Special Note

This coming week (March 18-27) the General Assembly will be on legislative Spring Break. I will happily be back in district to spend more time with my family, and visit constituents in the 52nd District. I encourage you to attend my legislative forum, held with Senator Will Kraus, on Thursday, March 24th at 7 pm, at the Genealogy Center on Lee's Summit Road (see below for more information).

If you need anything from me during this week, please continue to call my office and you will be patched in to me, or my legislative aide Amanda. Also, I will be checking my email on a constant basis, so I will be able to get back with you as soon as possible. Have a great weekend, and make sure to enjoy this beautiful weather!

2011 Legislative Session continues

The House heard many bills this week, but we focused a lot of time and energy on a few bills.

First, House Bill 213, sponsored by Rep. Tim Jones, specifies that no late-term abortion of a viable unborn child can be performed or induced except in certain specified situations, such as the mother's life being in danger. I am very passionate about this issue and was proud to vote in favor of this bill. I will always work to protect the life of an unborn child. This bill was third read and passed. To find more information on this legislation, and to follow as it goes to the Senate, visit the bill's web page here.

Second, HJR 29, sponsored by Rep. Sheila Solon, 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. I was very happy to see this resolution third read and passed with over-whelming numbers, and proud that I chose to co-sponsor this legislation. This will definitely assist in keeping veterans homes open long term. To find more information on this legislation, and to follow as it goes to the Senate, visit the bill's web page here.

For more information on this week's legislation, voting break-downs, and more, please consult the House Journals.


Small Business met on Wednesday of this week to discuss three bills, and vote on one bill. HB 403, sponsored by Rep. Ellen Brandom, will allow a landlord to file a claim in a small claims court for the ejectment of a tenant in order to obtain possession of the premises. HB 322, sponsored by Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray, will allow certain organizations who sell intoxicating liquor by the drink on the premises to obtain a special permit to remain open until 3:00 a.m. each day and to open on Sundays at 9:00 a.m. HB 644, sponsored by Rep. Ed Schieffer, will prohibit a person or business from misrepresenting its geographic location by using a fictitious or assumed business name in a telephone directory or advertisement. The committee voted on HB 386, sponsored by Rep. Bob Nance, will increase 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. This bill passed committee with a 16-1 vote.

Downsizing State Government also met on Wednesday to hear two bills. HB 657, sponsored by Rep. Sue Allen, would require the State Auditor to conduct a one-time comparative audit of at least five but no more than 10 of the largest state agencies to review fiscal practices and to identify cost-saving measures. HB 697, sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith, specifies that any administrative rule proposed, adopted, or amended by a state agency after August 28, 2011, must automatically terminate six years after its effective date.

Fiscal Review met on Wednesday as well, and heard four fiscal notes for four bills. HCS HB 89, sponsored by Rep. Darrell Pollock, changes the laws regarding deposits into the State Park Earnings Fund, notice requirements of the Clean Water Commission, and certain water pollution control fees. This bill passed committee with an 11-0 vote. HB 431, sponsored by Rep. Ward Franz, changes the laws regarding foster care and adoption, establishes the Missouri State Foster Care and Adoption Board, and creates the Foster Care and Adoptive Parents Recruitment and Retention Fund. This bill also passed committee with an 11-0 vote. HJR 29, sponsored by Rep. Sheila Solon, 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. I co-sponsored this bill, and was happy to see it pass committee with an 11-0 vote. Finally, HJR 6, sponsored by Rep. Mike Cierpiot, proposes a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right of individuals to vote by secret ballot. This passed committee with a 7-4 vote, of which I voted yes.

For more information on these bills, or any that have been filed in the Missouri House of Representatives, please visit the House Bill information page by clicking here.

Word of the Week

Often in the General Assembly, we amend and change original bills in order to make them more fitting to become law. Most bills get amendments added in the committee process, or on the floor, and are simply added into the bill (or something is removed from the bill). However, some bills are amended in their entirety while in committee, and this is what we call a House Committee Substitute for a House Bill (i.e. HCS HB 000).Defined more clearly, a House Committee Substitute is a bill offered by a committee in lieu of another bill that was originally referred to the committee for consideration; technically, the committee substitute is an amendment to the original bill.

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 by March 30th in order to secure your spot. I look forward to hosting you here in the Missouri House of Representatives!

Hoskins: Upcoming Public Meetings At Trails Regional Libraries

From another school snow day to 70+ degrees all in the same week – what a week. It may be windy, but today is truly a beautiful way to begin the Legislature’s mid-session break. I look forward to spending the next week in the 121st District in Johnson County.

Legislative Update

I am hosting my next set of public meetings to report back to you directly while I’m home for the legislative break. In continuing my ongoing custom to hold public meetings locally, I will be at each of the three Johnson County branches of the Trails Regional Libraries on March 24. 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’s mid-session break creates the perfect 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 9:30-10:30 a.m., continue with Warrensburg 12:30-1:30 p.m., and host the final one of the day from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at Holden. Help spread the word as everybody is welcome. Besides talking about legislation, I’ll be available to hear opinions on issues important to you, too. Please join me at one of the three sessions.

This Week’s Legislation

This has been a productive week here at the Capitol. In the House alone, there were over 40 votes taken. The bell rang so many time calling us to vote that I lost count.

I’m proud to report that HB 204 was one of those bills that passed the House this week. This is my bill that will make the process much simpler for veterans and active members of the military to renew an expired driver’s license. I consider this another way to do what we can to make things a little easier for those who have served our country.

The 13 appropriations bills have advanced to the House. Debate on the House floor will begin first thing upon our return to Jefferson City on March 28th. I think the average citizen on the street would be amazed at how the amount of deliberation and consideration goes into the construction of our state’s annual budget.

On the Senate end of the Capitol, HB 45 that I sponsored has now passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and is headed to the full Senate. This is known as “The Big Government Get Off My Back Act” in support of more ways to help small business. I am very optimistic about the success of this bill.

Visitors to the Capitol

On Tuesday, it was my pleasure to have two students from Crest Ridge High School shadowing me. Aren Dameron and Tanner Wagoner are both seniors. They spent their day divided between Sen. Pearce and me attending hearings and observing us in session for both the House and the Senate. I was delighted to have them here to see how statute is created.

The Missouri County Treasurers’ Association met this week and Nancy Davis delivered an apple pie to my office. Every year, that association takes a pie to each legislator. That sure is a nice diversion from all the papers and reports most associations take to the offices.

Ways to Keep in Contact

I know everybody is busy but keep sending in those surveys! Instead of mailing the survey back, you can respond on-line and save postage. Go to my State Representative page on the House website at I truly appreciate the input of my constituents. I’ll report the results of my survey next week at my Legislative Updates.


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. As the Legislature will not be in session, it will be two weeks before my next Capitol Report. It is genuinely a privilege to serve as your state representative.

Rupp: Please Keep Earthquake and Tsunami Victims in Your Thoughts and Prayers

As most of you know by now, Japan suffered a terrible 8.9 magnitude earthquake last Friday, which has garnered a death toll of nearly 2,800 people so far. Millions of people are without water and electricity, and more than 400,000 people are residing in shelters or temporary housing. Our country was affected too, with tsunami waves crashing into Hawaii beaches and down the West Coast.

There are many ways Missourians can help aid the countless people suffering from this natural disaster. The American Red Cross, Save the Children, and Doctors Without Borders are currently sending volunteers and resources to help victims. These organizations are very diligent in helping others. You can also visit Catholic Charities in O’Fallon or call them at (636) 723-3558 to see how you can help.

This tragedy is a reminder that natural disasters come very unexpectedly and without warning. The southeast region of our state, also known as the “Bootheel,” is located in the New Madrid fault, which is the most active seismic area in the country east of the Rocky Mountains. Many are unaware that the fault produces more than 200 earthquakes a year; we just don’t always feel them. In the winter of 1811-1812, a series of powerful earthquakes occurred in the New Madrid fault, with magnitudes up to an 8.0. Missouri hasn’t seen earthquakes of that magnitude since, but they are capable of happening again. It’s important to practice earthquake drills in our homes and schools, so we know exactly what to do should an earthquake occur. To learn more about earthquake awareness, visit

Please keep the victims of this disaster in your thoughts and prayers. Even though the earthquake is over, areas are still experiencing massive flooding from the tsunami and are dealing with a nuclear crisis and threats of radiation contamination. If everyone does just one kind act to help aid the people suffering, a big difference can be made.

As always, if you have any inquiries 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.

Lichtenegger: Two House Joint Resolutions Arrive In Senate

Irish Blessing: May Trouble Neglect You!

It has been a whirlwind week of meetings and House debates, and I want to make you aware of a few important pieces of legislation that moved forward in the legislative process:
  • House Bill 591 – Passed out of the Professional Registration & Licensing Committee. This is a bill I sponsored that authorizes the Missouri Dental Board within the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration to issue a limited teaching license to a dentist employed as an instructor in an accredited dental school located in this state.
  • House Committee Substitute 213 –Passed out of the House of Representatives (March 17). This bill specifies that no abortion of a viable unborn child –with a gestational age of 20 weeks or more- can be performed or induced except in the case of a medical emergency where the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury or when the continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman. A physician must certify in writing the determined medical threat or threats. A second physician (who has knowledge of accepted obstetrical and neonatal practices) determination must be obtained, and that second physician cannot have any legal or financial affiliation or relationship with the physician performing or inducing the abortion.
  • House Joint Resolution 2 – Passed out of the House of Representatives and is reported to the Senate. Upon voter approval, this proposed constitutional amendment guarantees a citizen’s right to pray and worship in all public areas including schools as long as the activities are voluntary and subject to the same rules and regulations that apply to all other types of speech.

    A citizen’s right to choose any religion or no religion at all is reaffirmed by prohibiting the state or any of its political subdivisions from establishing an official state religion and from coercing any person to participate in any prayer or other religious activity.

    The resolution also reaffirms the right of employees and elected officials of the State of Missouri to pray on government premises and public property and ensures the General Assembly and other political subdivisions the right to have ministers and clergymen offer prayers or invocations at meetings or sessions of the General Assembly or governing bodies.

    Students are allowed to express their religious beliefs in assignments free from discrimination and cannot be compelled to participate in assignments that violate their beliefs. Public schools receiving state funds are required to display the text of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States in a conspicuous and legible manner.
  • House Joint Resolution 29 - Passed out of the House of Representatives and is reported to the Senate. This proposed constitutional amendment requires the State Lottery Commission to develop and begin selling a “Veterans Lottery Ticket” by July 1, 2013. All net proceeds received from the sale of these tickets must be deposited solely into the Veterans Commission Capital improvement Trust Fund.

Constituent Corner

Photo Left taken during the Cape Girardeau County Coroner’s Legislative Dinner; (l to r) Representative Billy Pat Wright, me, Cape G County Coroner Dr. John Clifton and Representative Wayne Wallingford.

Photo Right (l to r) Rep. Michael R. Brown Dist. 50, me, Raymond Doswell, Interim President of the Negro League Baseball Museum and Rep. Wayne Wallingford. The museum is located in Kansas City, 816-221-1920.

Handout for HCS 131 (modification to Prop B) is available at the MU Extension Office in Perryville.

State Property for Sale: From March 28 to April 1, MoDOT will have for purchase 39 property-parcels ranging in size from one-tenth of an acre to 199 acres. The money brought in through the sale event will be used to fund highway projects. For more information about the Southeast District properties, please contact Senior Right of Way Technician Michael Smith at (573) 472-5286 or visit: MODOT Realty to Roads program.

Nance: A St. Patrick's Day Blessing, A Narrow Sidewalk In Illinois

“I was reminded of the story about Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas who met on a narrow sidewalk in Illinois. According to the story, Douglas said to Lincoln, “I never step aside for a fool. To which, Lincoln replied, “I always do,” as he stepped aside and allowed Douglas to pass.”

In My Committees

The House Retirement Committee voted do pass HB 183, which would change the laws regarding the Police Retirement System of Kansas City and the Civilian Employees’ Retirement System of the Police Department of Kansas City.

The House Health Care Policy Committee voted do pass HB 300, which would establish the High School Sports Brain Injury Prevention Act which requires school boards to work with the Missouri State High School Activities Association to develop guidelines regarding head injuries.

HB 407 went through the Insurance Policy Committee by a vote of 10-0. The bill prohibits a person from preparing, issuing, or requesting the issuance of a certificate of insurance form unless it has been filed with the Director of the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration and from altering or modifying a filed certificate of insurance form.

HB 746 authorized a check-off box for the newly created Puppy Protection Trust Fund to be added to the individual and corporate income tax forms to be used to help fund more inspections.

Other Committee Work

The House Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety held a public hearing on HB 658, which would move the controlled substance classification of all methamphetamine precursor drugs in Schedule IV and V to Schedule III requiring a prescription for them which will be known as Meth Lab Elimination Act.

House Floor

HB 131 was heard in the House on Tuesday. I have attached an explanation of the adjustments to Prop B. Not one of us condones cruelty to animals. [See attached explanation.]

HB 213 Specifies that no abortion of a viable unborn child as determined by a physician can be performed or induced except in certain specified situations. This bill passed 120 – 37.

In the District

Tom and Penny Cox were visitors to the Capitol today. The Mennonite school from Ray County also toured the Capitol today.

Irish Blessing

May St. Patrick guard you wherever you go, and guide you in whatever you do – and may his loving protection be a blessing to you always.

Allen: Voting Intent on Prop B Modifications

Parents as Teachers

Twenty-five years ago, Missouri pioneered the concept of helping parents embrace their important role as their child’s first and best teacher. Parents as Teachers continues to equip early childhood organizations and professionals with information and tools that are relevant and widely applicable to parents, families, and children today!

Funding for the Parents as Teachers program has been added into HB 2 by our House Budget Committee. We will pass the budget bills in the House the week following Spring Break. The budget bills will then go to the Senate.

As a paediatric physical therapist, I have seen the importance of early childhood development and am very hopeful of the possibility of this funding being added and and I am working to keep it in during the budget process. I would like to see, however, the program have more shared financial responsibility with parents. With
even minor parent financial contributions, the program can be much more self-sustaining and can reach more kids. I am working to see if this can be done.

Prop B Update

This week HB 131, which would edit prop B, was brought to the floor for perfection. As I have said in the past, I will not vote to edit or change prop B. However, I did vote for two amendments to HB 131 which would impose additional requirements on breeders to improve living conditions for dogs. One amendment would require fresh water for dogs every 8 hours and the other would protect dogs from extreme temperature conditions.

To again clarify, while I do believe there are some serious flaws in Prop B which should be corrected, the voters of the 92nd District spoke decisively on this proposition and, therefore, I will vote NO on the underlying bill, HB 131.

Comparative Audit Legislation

My Comparative Audit Legislation, HB 657, was passed out of the Downsizing Government Committee. It calls for the State Auditor to provide a one-time comparative audit of our largest state agencies to look for across-the board reforms to limit waste, eliminate duplicative services, and maximize every tax dollar we spend. This approach is often used with great success in the private sector. I thank the committee for their support and look forward to pushing for its final passage in the House.

Sater: Concerns About State Budget

Right now the main topic at the Capitol is the BUDGET! This is the House of Representatives only constitutional requirement. It does not mean we have to pass any other bills, but of course we will. Some are unnecessary and some do help our citizens. However, in my opinion, we certainly have too many bills.

We have consent bills which have no fiscal notes or opposition and non-consent bills. Even if it is a consent bill, there will be a slight cost for the government. This year we passed a budget which is slightly more than last year and that disturbs me. I really think that an increase in general revenue is overstated and we still need to cut back on programs that I call “feel good” programs. I do hope things improve with our economy, but I’m not optimistic. This week we finalized the budget with the passage of all 13 appropriation bills.

This is my sixth year on the Budget Committee and I am a little worried. In the past, we had many votes against each bill from the Democrat side, and this year, every bill was passed without dissent from both sides of the isle. I guess I am just suspicious. The amendment process was very calm. Usually there are over 200 amendments and this year only 62. Most of them were withdrawn or not offered. As is my usual agenda, I tried to reduce some program expenditures. This did not work out and even my fellow Republicans voted against my decreases. The process on increasing a fund line is that you have to decrease another line before you can increase a program that you feel needs more funding. I was successful on a couple of items.

The main line that I increased, after taking away money from another program, was to fund the UMKC-Missouri State collaboration for a pharmacy program at Missouri State. The startup cost for this program is 2 million dollars and I was able to secure these funds. This was the biggest transfer of funds in the amendment process. Of course, it has to be approved in the Senate. I accomplished this last year, but the Senate deleted it, but there is more support this year for this line. Another line item I had some success with was increased funding for advertising in the tourism budget.

There is a good chance this year to pass legislation [SB1] entitled Right to Work. The legislation ensures that a person does not have to join a union in order to work at a company. In states that have passed similar legislation, percentage of growth in employment and a company's growth is much higher than in states that do not permit this.

This week we debated adjustments to Proposition B, the so called “puppy mill law.” Surprisingly, many Democrats from the rural areas support this initiative [HB131]. The House will not take our bill up for a vote because a similar Senate bill [SB113] will be passed and will come to the House for a vote.

Next week the House will stand adjourned for Spring Break, which means we are halfway through the session. At least nothing bad can happen when we are not up here.

I continue to receive concerns on issues and personal matters from you. I will always do my best to help you and take each one seriously. Contact me anytime.

Kelley: Budget Update

This week we were reminded of what is really important when a colleague was removed from the House chamber on a stretcher. Rep. Sylvester Taylor (D-Black Jack) began experiencing chest pains during debate on Tuesday afternoon. Emergency personnel and an ambulance were called, and Rep. Taylor was taken to a local hospital. As of this writing, he was resting comfortably. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

The House Budget Committee passed its version of the state budget this week. This represents the second step in the budgetary process. The first was Governor Nixon delivering his budget to the legislature as a starting point. All appropriations bills originate in the House.

The total budget this year, as passed by the Budget Committee, amounts to about $23.2 billion. This is an increase of about $142 million from what was proposed by Governor Nixon and a slight overall decrease from last year. The main difference is in the use of federal funds to be used for education.

The reality of limited state revenue was realized as several amendments were distributed but not voted on. One amendment would have added money for transportation for rural school districts. The money would have come from an ethanol production subsidy fund. After some debate, the sponsor of the amendment withdrew it. In all, less than two dozen amendments were offered. This is in comparison to over 200 last year. It has long been a Budget Committee practice that additional spending must come from an identified source.

Although the total budget tops $23 billion, less than $7 billion amounts to what is known as General Revenue. This is money which comes from sources such as the state sales tax and income taxes. It is also the only money over which legislators have some form of control. Most of the money in the budget is dedicated for a particular purpose and can only be spent in certain areas. Examples of these funds are fuel taxes, conservation money, federal money, and professional fees.

The full House is scheduled to debate the budget during the final week of March. Following passage, the process will begin again in the Senate. Any differences between the two chambers will be reconciled by conference committees consisting of five representatives and five senators. The final budget takes effect July 1, 2011.

15 March 2011

Torpey & Kraus: First Annual 52nd House District and 8th Senatorial District Joint Legislative Forum

First Annual
52nd House District and 8th Senatorial District
Joint Legislative Forum

Representative Noel Torpey and Senator Will Kraus

Date: Thursday, March 24, 2011

Time: 7 to 9 p.m.

Location: Midwest Genealogy Center
Northeast Hall

3440 S. Lee's Summit Road
Independence, MO 64055-1923

Questions: Please contact Amanda Petelin by calling 573-751-3623 or emailing amanda{dot}petelin{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov

Davis: Gasoline Price Surge Caused by Government Blunders

On March 11th, the Obama administration granted the first federal permit for deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico since a moratorium was put in place last May. With the political instability in Libya, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the Middle East, gasoline prices have begun to surge. Last week I paid $3.37 per gallon. Many experts are predicting $4.00 per gallon of gasoline this summer and possibly higher later this year. These facts make it clear that we must free ourselves from our dependence of foreign oil and use the domestic and other reliable sources of oil which are readily available.

Since President Obama assumed office, gas prices have risen 87%. Part of the explanation is that global demand for oil is rising, and the competition for foreign resources has intensified. By 2035, the United States, Japan, Europe, China, and India are projected to need 25% more imported oil than in 2005, with China and India accounting for the major portion of that increase.

Also, part of the explanation to our current crisis is that the Obama Administration has not done what is prudent in regard to our domestic energy sources. Oil and gas exploration in the Gulf’s deep waters has been stopped since May when President Barack Obama announced a six-month drilling moratorium in the wake of the April explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig which killed 11 workers and set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The administration lifted the ban in October – a month ahead of schedule – but hadn’t issued until last week any permits for new deep water oil wells. In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that the delay has hurt both the oil industry, which has seen billions of dollars in projects put on hold, and the Gulf Coast’s economy, which has been hit hard by the slowdown.

Rather than dwelling on the ill-conceived “cap and trade” legislation designed to reduce carbon emissions, the President needs to encourage domestic exploration of our substantial petroleum reserves currently locked up in Alaska, off-shore and shale oil in our Western states. According to the Energy Information Agency, domestic offshore oil production will fall 13 % in 2011, a loss of about 220,000 barrels/day, mainly due to the lack of permits for the Gulf of Mexico. If we use the reserves that we have and increase domestic refining, we can protect our nations from the uncertainty caused by unreliable foreign markets.

In addition to failing to develop domestic markets, the Obama Administration is setting on their hands in granting a permit which would permit additional Canadian crude oil to be delivered to the United States by pipeline. On June 30, 2010, TransCanada Corporation commenced commercial operation of the first phase of the Keystone Pipeline system. Keystone’s first phase was highlighted by the 537 mile conversion of natural gas pipeline to crude oil pipeline and construction of an innovative bullet line that brings the crude oil non-stop from Canada through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois to market hubs in the U.S. Midwest.

When completed, the planned project will increase the commercial capacity of the Keystone Pipeline System from 590,000 barrels per day to approximately 1.1million barrels per day. This indecision by the President has been made based upon unreasonable environmental concerns. Realizing that this may bring some immediate relief to our state, I recently signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton which was signed by dozens of state legislators across our nation encouraging her to act promptly on this permit request. I am hoping for a prompt decision. If we are to have a stable and reliable energy supply, we need to act now to unlock our vast domestic oil reserves and take advantage of the oil available from our neighbor to the north.

14 March 2011

Stouffer: Improving Proposition B

Missouri lawmakers are working toward improving what folks saw last November as Proposition B. Instead of picking on Missouri’s best dog breeders and our right to raise animals, we are now one step closer to a law that makes sense.

This compromise protects the livelihoods of pets and the folks that raise them, without a repeal of the intent of Missouri’s voters.

Senate Bill 113 passed the Missouri Senate on March 10 and now moves on to the House. This measure would allow the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) to refer cases of unlicensed breeders to the Attorney General, circuit attorney or local prosecutor. It also makes it a crime to operate without a license, with punishment ranging up to a Class A misdemeanor. The bill also raises the cap on the license fee for breeders from $500 to $2,500 and removes the cap on the amount of dogs one person can own.

According to Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, the bill allows Missouri’s best breeders to stay in business. Currently, not one of Missouri’s more than 1,400 licensed breeders meets the standards of Proposition B. Instead of a law that is next to impossible for legally operating breeders in Missouri to follow, we would have rules that help keep the bad actors out of play. There is also wording in the bill that would let the MDA inspect facilities and root out those that are breaking the law.

I continue to argue that if we want to keep bad breeders out of business, folks need to be educated on where their pets come from. We also need to adequately fund inspectors within the MDA. Both sides support this argument, but are focusing instead on where they are divided on issues that simply do not work in the real world.

What was passed by voters last year was a clear message that Missourians desired improvements in the way we raise dogs in this state. The “yes” or “no” option presented to voters provided for no public debate, compromise or review like the legislative process. It also provided no details on how these goals would be met. Senate Bill 113 addresses real-world flaws in Proposition B, including the mention of domesticated animals within the law.

Nobody wants to see animals abused. All of us want animals to be raised in proper conditions. Unfortunately, Proposition B punishes dog owners doing a good job. The goal of the Legislature is not to undo the will of the people. It is to correct errors that would have put a lot of folks out of business for doing nothing wrong.

My hope is this measure will make it through the House and be signed by the governor. We need real leadership on this issue. I do not want to see any hard-working person put out of work, for no reason. Senate Bill 113 works toward making things right again by improving on Proposition B.

Tim Jones: Majority Minute: Late-Term Abortion Restrictions Pass With Overwhelming, Bipartisan Majority

As we enter our tenth full week and yet another winter storm joined us on our journey to the Capitol today, the House Floor Calendar is seeing more activity than ever and Chamber hours will steadily increase as we work away beneath the Capitol Dome…

Today in the House

Monday, March 14, 2011

HCS HB 213, of which I am the Chief Sponsor, continued debate on the Floor of the House today. This bill is commonly referred to as the late term abortion ban. The bottom line: It is a constitutionally defensible position that the State should protect those who are most needy. The long, long line of federal jurisprudence has time and again proclaimed that the State HAS an interest in human life and can protect that life at the point of viability. With respect to the neediest, who could be more in need of protection than an unborn child? In the State of Missouri, if you are an unborn child who has reached “viability,” you are currently not afforded any legal protection. We must take the steps necessary to correct this injustice and HB 213 does exactly that by making it a class-C felony to perform an abortion after 20 weeks without determining viability and assessing penalties to the facility used to perform the late-term abortion. When debate ended, HCS HB 213 was ordered perfected and printed by the overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 120 to 37.

HJR 6, sponsored by Rep. Mike Cierpiot (R-56), proposes amending the Missouri Constitution to include a 35th section in Article I which would guarantee the right to vote by secret ballot. This is a key concept in maintaining the integrity of the voting system. HJR 6 passed and was ordered perfected and printed.

HCS HB 29, sponsored by Rep. David Sater (R-68), was ordered perfected and printed. This bill establishes the Volunteer Health Services Act which allows a licensed health care provider to render volunteer professional health care services for a sponsoring organization.

HCS HB 89, sponsored by Rep. Darrell Pollock (R-146), was ordered perfected and printed. This bill changes the laws regarding deposits into the State Park Earnings Fund, notice requirements of the Clean Water Commission, and certain water pollution control fees. It eliminates the ability of the state legislature from sweeping the funds into general revenue. The funds are meant for the parks, not for general revenue.

Later this Week

House Concurrent Resolution for Perfection

HCR 19, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R-13), submits an official application by the State of Missouri for proposing a federal balanced budget amendment. Congress sure could use some restraint these days!

House Bills for Perfection

HB 252, sponsored by Rep. Stanley Cox (R-118), establishes the Business Premises Safety Act, protecting business owners from frivolous lawsuits while protecting the second amendment rights of law abiding Missourians.

HB 361, sponsored by Rep. Mike Leara (R-95), establishes the Missouri Firearms Freedom Act.

HCS HBs 294, sponsored by Rep. Jeanie Riddle (R-20), changes the laws regarding firearms, ammunition, and concealed carry endorsements. This will further protect the rights of law abiding gun owners in Missouri while strengthening the penalties against criminals.

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

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