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01 April 2011

Ridgeway: Missouri Is Not Wisconsin

Wisconsin has recently been the focus of national attention as democrat members of their senate left the state in order to prevent votes on state employee union issues. Scenes of angry state employees have been shown on the news as well as people spending the night at the Capitol. Since every state, including Missouri, has a significant work force I wondered if such a situation could occur here.

After doing some research I found there are different policies in place here in Missouri than in Wisconsin. Instead of being a collective bargaining state for public employees, we operate under meet and confer laws. Unlike Wisconsin, very little is negotiable through union bargaining for public employees in Missouri. Most of our state employees are not represented by unions and all are covered under Missouri’s merit system. This means wages, benefits, and retirement are not subject to union negotiations. There are clear and uniform wage classes and retirement benefits and requirements for all state employees. Benefits such as health insurance options are the same for all employees. One difference between union and non union state employees is typically the union will provide assistance in the event of a grievance or leave hearing. As a result of meet and confer laws, unions are sometimes given representation on personnel boards and commissions.

State employees in Missouri are not allowed to strike, although there are no penalty provisions in place if they do. Under provisions of the National Labor Relations Act, workers involved in a legal strike are provided certain rights and benefits. Since a strike by state workers in Missouri would be illegal, they would not be eligible for these.

Legislation [SJR22] has been filed in Missouri which would declare vacant the seat of any legislator who left the state for the purpose of avoiding a vote or other official duties. The vacancy would be treated as they are currently by holding a special election.

Currently, with a vote of ten senators, the Missouri Senate is authorized to send anyone anywhere to bring back a senator who has gone AWOL. Additionally, any costs incurred would be billed to the senator so as to not cause any expense to taxpayers. This provision is contained within the rules of the Missouri Senate.

There should be a sacred trust between public employees and the public itself. Public employees generally enjoy better job security, protection, and benefits than their private sector counterparts. In return, taxpayers expect them to be faithful to the duties entrusted to their care.

As a general rule, our state employees are dedicated individuals. As with any large employer, the state occasionally finds a few bad apples. In that event, such workers’ employment can be terminated pursuant to Missouri’s merit system. We should expect no less from our elected officials.

Neth: Redistricting Splits Clay County In Two, Budget Week

We are back at it after a week off. This is the last week to file bills so there has been a rush to get those in. As we wind down the final six weeks, our committee work will begin to focus more on bills passed by the Senate that the House must also approve for the final passage of any legislation. In addition to those committee hearings, our days debating legislation on the floor will get longer as we finish up the discussion on the House bills and begin floor debate of Senate bills. We are doing two sessions a day now, many of which continue over lunch and sometimes into the evenings. This will become more of the norm in the days to come.

Two big things this week: the state budget and Congressional Redistricting. The budget is the one and only thing that the Legislature is Constitutionally required to do while in session- Congressional redistricting is the responsibility of the General Assembly and is especially important this time around due to Missouri losing a Congressional seat. See my notes below regarding each of these very important issues.

Have a great weekend.

Budget Week

The big item of the week was the budget! The budget includes 13 appropriation bills that are vetted in committee and then fully discussed and passed by the entire House of Representatives. This year, we quickly approved all 13 appropriation bills that make up the state's 2012 fiscal operating budget. House members began discussion on the $23.2 billion budget Monday evening and approved the appropriation bills Wednesday afternoon.

The budget approved by House members preserves basic aid for public schools at current funding levels, appropriating more than $3 billion for the school Foundation Formula. The budget also contains a governor-recommended cut to public colleges and universities. In addition, the budget contains a 5 percent cut to the budgets of all elected statewide officials.

Several amendments modified the budget on the floor before its final passage. The amendment process for appropriation bills is quite different from the normal amendment process. First, an amendment must be offered to decrease some line item in the budget. Then a second amendment is offered to increase a different line item in the budget by the same amount. You can think of it as a procedural transfer of funds where you have to take money out of one place before you can add it into a different place. The concept of increasing and decreasing amendments is quite confusing and requires the legislators to pay close attention to where the money is going and where it came from. For example, one of the amendments we adopted Tuesday cut the governor's travel budget by $500,000 and reallocated the funds for dropout prevention in St. Louis. Another amendment achieved approximately $1 million in savings by cutting the salaries of all state agency officials who are paid in excess of $86,500. Money from this amendment was not reallocated to a different section; it was simply stricken from the budget.

The budget debate is timed and the time is allotted by the majority Budget Chairman and by the ranking minority member of the Budget Committee. The House Rules allow 12 hours of debate, if needed. This year, we flew through the process, not needing anywhere near the maximum 12 hours. I credit a lot of this to our budget Chairman, Ryan Silvey, who has worked tirelessly since November on the budget.

From here, the budget goes to the Senate. I am hopeful that they will take the work we have done and move it through to an efficient final approval.


The job of redistricting comes around every 10 years after the results of the nationwide census. This year, the job of drafting a redistricting map was given to the Senate but they declined the offer and gave the job to the House Special Committee on Redistricting. Under the leadership of State Rep. John Diehl and his Redistricting Committee, a map was proposed this week to make the required changes to Missouri's Congressional map. The redrawing of congressional lines is always a big deal, however, additional complications arose this year as Missouri lost a Congressional seat, going from 9 to 8. Although Missouri gained in population, the rate of growth was slower than some other states, causing the decrease in representation at the national level. You can see a copy of the proposed map and the current map here.

The new map would split the 34th District between two Congressmen. Liberty would remain in the 6th Congressional District, a seat currently held by Sam Graves. The Southern/Kansas City area of the District would move to the 5th Congressional District, a seat currently held by Emmanuel Cleaver. The biggest change occurs on the Eastern side of the state in the St. Louis area, where one Congressional seat is removed and split between 4 other districts.

We plan to vote on the map in the House next week. From there, it will go to the Senate. If the Senate approves the map promptly and the General Assembly sends it to the Governor by April 18, then he would be forced to sign or veto before we are out of session. If the Governor decides to veto the map and a supermajority cannot override his veto, the map will be determined by the courts. If the decision is given to the courts, I believe the map will be very convoluted and will involve gerrymandering to its greatest effect. I hope we can take care of it without getting the courts involved.

Floor/Committee Action

We tackled very few issues of substance aside from the budget on the House Floor this week. Most legislation we discussed were minor consent bills that will have little effect. I commented on one of those bills that simply eliminated a few unnecessary lines of statute. Legislation that removes useless language is my favorite. I was happy to make a vote that decreased the already cumbersome 20 volumes of Missouri statute. You can peruse the house journal by following this link if you want to see exactly what bills were passed this week.

Committee action mirrored the House Floor this week as the majority of members' efforts were spent working on the budget. As the number of house bills that we need to hear in committee wind down, this week provided a brief lull in committee action before we fire the engines back up to work through legislation passed by the Senate.

Community Calendar

Tonight!!! - Around the World - Spain and Portugal

Apr 4 - Jazz on the Square

Apr 14 - 4th Annual A Downtown Affair: Walk the Red Carpet

Visit the Jesse James Bank Museum Monday - Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

See the Community Events section to the left for more events in our area!

Korman: Spirits Refreshed To Tackle Budget

The Missouri General Assembly returned from Spring Break this week with a refreshed spirit we began to tackle the task of the budget right away!

The focus this week was on approving the budget for Fiscal Year 2012 beginning July 1, 2011. The Missouri House of Representatives approved the Appropriations Bills and sent them over to the Senate for their consideration. Among the highlights of the roughly $23 billion budget, we held funding for the education foundation formula whole and noted an ability to avoid any tax increases. Unfortunately we appropriated $97.8 million for the school transportation program; which was better than some earlier proposals but way short of what is needed. The Senate will go through the bill process and the two Chambers must ultimately agree. No appropriation bill may be considered after 6:00 p.m. on the first Friday after the first Monday in May (this year May 6, 2011).

The Affordable Health Care Act passed by Congress has unfunded mandates and crippling tax increases. In the Missouri House this week we tackled both of those issues that ravage our state’s healthcare system.

Under HB 423 - The Health Care Compact, Missouri would have the ability to band with other states and write our own rules. A compact is a legal device that states can use to work together aside from the Federal Government. We already have compacts on issues as diverse as energy production, our border with Nebraska, and the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Compacts can be given legal powers from Congress that overrules Federal Laws, like the Affordable Health Care Act.

We also passed HB 475, this bill would require greater transparency of healthcare costs among providers and carriers, so consumers have better knowledge and information regarding where they go for their healthcare needs. The key principles of HB 475 are that it encourages competition and improves transparency both things that will naturally drive down costs and increase quality.

The Missouri Farm Bureau Youth Leadership Day was Thursday, March 31, 2011. We welcomed youth from Montgomery and Warren Counties to the Capitol. Other visitors included members of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers Association with gas and convenience stores in the 99th District. Machinists from SAF-HOLLAND & Metso Minerals and elected officials; Sheriffs and Assessors also visited.

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

Denison: Lakewood Street Closed For Two Weeks

“People who deal with life generously and large-heartedly go on multiplying relationships to the end.” – Arthur C. Benson

Fiscal Year 2012 State Operating Budget (House Bills 1 – 13)

The 13 bills that make up the state’s operating budget for the next fiscal year came to the floor this week. After a little more than five hours discussion and with only a handful of amendments, the House gave strong bipartisan approval to the approximately $23.2 billion state budget.

District News

Lakewood Street CLOSED Up to Two Weeks West of Campbell Avenue Starting April 4

MoDOT, District 8, Springfield – Lakewood Street on the west side of Campbell Avenue (Route 160/13) will be closed for up to two weeks beginning Monday, April 4, the Missouri Department of Transportation said. Contractor crews must relocate a gas line and two stormwater drain pipes underneath Lakewood Street just west of Campbell Avenue. This work is part of an ongoing project to six-lane Campbell Avenue between South Avenue north of James River Freeway and a point north of Plainview Road.

During the utility relocation that will block Lakewood Street, drivers can access the Springfield-Greene County Library Center to the north by using El Camino Alto Street off of Campbell Avenue.

Also closed during the two-week period when Lakewood Street is closed on the west side of Campbell Avenue:
  • Right-turn lane from southbound Campbell Avenue into Lakewood Street.
  • Left-turn lane from northbound Campbell Avenue into Lakewood Street
  • Westbound through lane of Lakewood Street on the east side of Campbell Avenue.

Project Information

The project will:
  • Widen along each outside shoulder of Campbell Avenue (Route 160/13) between South Avenue and a point north of Plainview Road (Farm Road 182) to add a new lane in each direction. A portion of the widening on the west side of Campbell Avenue between James River Freeway (Route 60) and Lakewood Street was completed earlier by a developer.
  • Build dual left-turn lanes on Campbell Avenue to turn east and west onto James River Freeway, build dual-left turn lanes on the freeway’s eastbound off-ramp to turn north on Campbell Avenue and triple-left turn lanes on the freeway’s westbound off-ramp to turn south on Campbell Avenue.
  • Install a new sidewalk on the west side of Campbell Avenue between Republic Road north of the freeway and Cardinal Street south of the freeway.
  • Build concrete medians in various locations to lengthen left-turn lanes.
MoDOT, the City of Springfield and Greene County are partners in the Campbell Avenue six-laning project.

The prime contractor is Hartman Construction Company of Springfield, doing the work for a low bid amount of $4.9 million. Part of the construction cost is being funded by federal funds earmarked by U.S. Sen. Christopher Bond and U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt. (For more information, call MoDOT in Springfield at 417-895-7600 or visit


On Tuesday, March 29, 2011, Greg Horton, Chief Executive Officer, Integrity Home Care, Springfield; Elisa Pellham, Executive Director, Integrity Home Care, Independence; and James Moody, James R. Moody & Associates, stopped by my office.

On Tuesday, March 29, 2011, James R. Billedo, President, Communications Workers of America, Local 6312, Springfield, and Josh Heuser, El Dorado Springs, and also with the Communications Workers of America, Local 6312, visited my office as well as other legislators.

Also, March 29th was the Missouri Credit Union Association’s Annual Advocacy Day. Craig Tabor, Executive Director, Postal Federal Community Credit Union, Springfield, and Ed Hirsch, President/CEO, Assemblies of God Credit Union (AGCU), Springfield, were in my office.

On Wednesday, March 30, 2011, Speaker Steven Tilley presented John Twitty, retiring General Manager of Springfield City Utilities, with an Outstanding Missourian award. City Utilities’ executive staff were at the Capitol for the presentation of the award.

Pictured at right: John Twitty, Rep. Denison, Sharon Gott, Brenda Putnam, Scott Miller, Lisa Turner, Amy Austin, Mike Finch, Dean Thompson, John Black, Kyle McClure, Bob Jackson

On March 30th, Sheriff Jim Arnott, Greene County Sheriff was at the Capitol for Missouri Sheriffs Association Legislative Day. I appreciate the visit from Sheriff Arnott, and I appreciate his service to the citizens of Greene County.

Pictured at right: Rep. Denison, Sheriff Jim Arnott

March 31st was also the 29th Annual Missouri Child Advocacy Day. Donna Petiford, President-Elect, Missouri PTA, Springfield, and Dawn Thompson, Springfield Council of PTA’s, Springfield participated in this event. Donna and Dawn stopped by my office to discuss issues affecting children.

On Thursday, March 31st, visitors with the American Diabetes Association, Springfield, visited the Capitol. The visitors were the staff members: Carla Wade, Manager, Renee Paulsell, Rachel Drake, and association members: Samuel Pruitt, Maddie Gardner, Isabel Hart, AJ Lynn, Kylie Stage, Tony Carr, and Nicole Andrews, along with their parents. Samuel, Maddie, Isabel, AJ, Kylie, Tony and Nicole, were introduced as guests on the House floor, and they were named Honorary Pages for the Day. While at the Capitol, they also toured the Capitol and visited other legislators.

Pictured at right: American Diabetes Association members, member’s families, staff, Rep. Denison

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

Allen: Appropriations Committee Takes on Oversight Function in Wake of Audit Report Finding Billions Misallocated

As a member of the Appropriations Committee on Health, Mental Health, and Social Services, I am happy to report the committee has taken on an unorthodox oversight function. The committee has completed a preliminary oversight hearing in response to the recent FY 2010 Statewide Single Audit. Long term bureaucrats and reporters have stated that they have never seen this level of oversight before. Generally, appropriations committees are disbanded after they issue their recommendations to the budget committee.

The committee convened after the State Auditor’s office noted several issues that warranted the attention of the General Assembly, including one department failing to abide by federal regulations in 70% of sampled cases and general lack of monetary oversight in particular areas. In one case, $2.61 billion of Federal Stimulus dollars was not appropriately documented or accounted for. Future hearings will be held throughout the year to ensure that the “Corrective Action Plans” issued by the Auditor’s office are followed and to continually review overall departmental operations.

Proper oversight throughout the year is necessary to ensure that your tax dollars are not wasted. The pressure thrust upon government agencies during this budget process must be kept in order to maintain the strides we have made.


Below is a budget analysis issued by our caucus. I have attempted to remove any
partisan slant in order to provide you strictly with the information.

The Missouri House passed our state budget this week granting approval to a $23.2 billion budget. This budget reflects the continuing commitment of the House to pass a budget that’s not only balanced, but sets aside $49 million in savings and continues to reflect the top priorities of the Missouri House of Representatives.

States across this country are faced with budget shortfalls on an unprecedented scale. Tough decisions made in the past, and tougher decisions made during this budget process have led to a budget that House members can point to as a roadmap for continued fiscal recovery. The House balanced this budget while being able to hold K-12 education “harmless” to the 2011 funding levels, while instituting only modest reductions to our higher education institutions, while protecting low income health care and while maintaining funding for other vital state services such as correctional facilities and public safety.

Further state restructuring and programmatic changes will be needed to move Missouri through this current financial crisis. Continuing work by the House Appropriations Committees and by the Interim Committee on Budget Transparency will enable this process to remain fluid and will allow members the needed knowledge of state services to continue to make fiscal decisions.

  • Left more than $49 million on the balance sheet, a balanced budget that continues to meet the needs of all Missourians.
  • Held funding for the Foundation Formula “harmless.” In light of recent historical declines in state revenues, the House Majority was able to again make education the #1 priority.
  • Implemented the Preparing to Care Program for higher education institutions that will help prepare students for careers in the health care industry.
  • Continued funding for Missouri’s commitment to the production of alternative fuels. This aims to continue to move Missouri towards an economy less dependent on foreign oil.
  • A budget of over $8.4 billion for the MO Healthnet program. This money will continue to fund access to healthcare for the neediest Missourians.
  • Combined funding of over $40 million for job training, retention and development programs within the Department of Economic Development.
  • $365k in cuts to the Missouri House of Representatives budget, further proof the House is taking the lead during this financial crisis.
  • Reduced funding for Department Directors and Deputy Directors to a maximum level of $86,500, saving state taxpayers over $1.0 million.
  • Held the Governor accountable for his excessive use of the state plane by restricting expenses from other state departments.


The House of Representatives continues their strong commitment to public education and this budget is a clear reflection of how the Missouri House is prepared to deal with the nation’s economic downturn. Included in this is the House’s continued commitment to make K-12 education the highest priority. Holding the Foundation Formula harmless during these challenging economic times further proves this promise. Total funding for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will exceed $5.2 billion.

Also included is the House’s commitment to the state’s higher education system. The House exceeded the Governor’s funding levels for institutions by implementing the Preparing to Care program, a $12M increase over the Governor’s recommendation.

  • Over $3 billion for the School Foundation Formula. This completes the House’s plan to fund both the FY 2011 and FY 2012 Foundation Formula at the same amount, mitigating funding disparities that would have occurred in the Governor’s initial plan.
  • $97.8 million for the school transportation program. Withholdings in the current year by the Governor continue to effect out-state school districts.
  • $500k for a pilot St. Louis dropout project. This will provide outreach to kids in inner-City St. Louis, a district that continues to struggle with a high dropout rate.
  • $29.3M for the High Need Fund. This reimburses school districts for the excess costs of educating children with disabilities.
  • Provides an increase in the Early Childhood Special Education line of $9.5 million. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that these services shall come at no cost to school districts, and we continue to meet this commitment.
Funding for education also includes
  • Over $16 million for the Parents As Teachers program.
  • A 7.0% reduction to higher education institutions.
  • An increase of $1M for the Bright Flight program. This will continue to ensure that our State’s best and brightest stay in Missouri’s higher education institutions.
  • $7M increase for the A+ Program. This will fully fund all eligible students.
  • Continued funding of over $64.8M for the Access Missouri Scholarship program. These successful scholarship programs will continue to allow Missouri students the ability to attend Missouri public and private institutions.
  • $12M for the Preparing to Care program, a grant program aimed to promote students towards areas of study relating to health care.


This budget provides access for low-income health care across the entire state of Missouri. With the state’s new focus on early diagnosis and treatment, as well as prevention, we are moving in the right direction for the needy citizens in Missouri.

The Missouri HealthNet program will receive over $8.4 billion in funding, an increase of over $559 million. This continues to be the single largest program in the State of Missouri, and while the commitment of the House to low-income health care cannot be debated, the staggering caseload increases and subsequent cost increases continue to put an enormous strain on state finances. With this trend, and the imminent enactment of Obamacare, the State of Missouri must continue to look for ways to manage our Medicaid system the most efficient way possible.

  • Provides $48.2 million to continue the MO Healthnet program as well as $34.5 million in caseload growth for the growth in the low income health care population. This continued growth, coupled with an impending federal health care mandate, will have serious consequences on future General Revenue outlays.
  • Increased funding for the MO Healthnet/Mental Health Partnership which saves the state approximately $15 million per year on pharmaceutical costs.
  • Over $20.2 million in funding to pay for increased mental health caseloads.
  • $200k for a Mobile Dental Unit. This program, combined with private donations, will help with getting dental care to underserved areas of the state.


This budget continues to honor and assist our seniors by continuing our commitment to providing funding for nursing homes, in-home services, home delivered meals and non-emergency medical transportation.

  • $571 million for our State’s nursing home industry.
  • $581 million for in-home services. This funding ensures that seniors will be able to stay in their own homes with care.
  • Approximately $37 million for non-emergency medical transportation.
  • Increased funding of $1.4 million, totaling over $41.1 million for Area Agencies on Aging (AAA’s). This will support continued congregate and home delivered meals.


Missouri’s primary industry is agriculture, and our state cannot meet the challenges of the competitive global economy without a healthy, vibrant agricultural system.

America uses foreign oil at an alarming rate. We must look to agriculture as a solution to this dependence. The Missouri House of Representatives is seeking innovative solutions to our energy issues through the promotion of biofuels. Research institutions statewide continue to develop new, innovative means to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

This budget, as it affects agriculture, is forward-looking, as we continue our service to Missouri farmers, while realizing the potential of Missouri agribusiness in the new, global economy.

  • Continued funding of the biodiesel incentive fund totaling $11.9 million.
  • Continued funding of the ethanol incentive fund totaling $8.9 million.
  • $24 million in aid to private land owners for local soil and water conservation efforts.
  • House added two inspectors for the purpose of animal health investigations throughout the state in response to concerns brought by Prop B.


The Missouri economy—fueled by key budgetary and policy decisions passed by this General Assembly—is continuing to move in the right direction despite challenging economic times nationwide. Combined with the Quality Jobs Act, continued funding for job creation and incentives for innovation will be vital as we strive to climb out of this global financial recession.

  • House funded over $2.1 million for innovation centers, the State MOFAST program and the Missouri Manufacturing Program. These programs will continue to assist businesses in job training/job retention programs throughout the State.
  • Continued full funding for the Community College Jobs Retention Training ($10M), Community College New Jobs Training ($16M) and Jobs Development ($14.5M) programs. Combined, these programs will continue to aid in statewide workforce development.

Torpey: Two New Bills Filed, Word Of The Week

A Special Note

We hit the ground running this week to make up lost time from Legislative Spring Break. I filed two new bills this week. First, HB 906 will prohibit any person operating a school bus who is transporting children at the time from using a hand-held electronic wireless communications device. Secondly, HB 932 will exempt any vehicle not registered in this state from the requirements regarding vision-reducing material or window tinting applied to a motor vehicle's windshield or window.

For a list of legislation I have sponsored this session, visit my member page on the House website.

2011 Legislative Session continues

This week we passed our version of the state budget. Coming in at over $23 billion dollars it's quite obvious our budget will have a huge impact for the state of Missouri. While everyone will not be happy and we couldn't do everything some would have liked, it was a budget that does the most we can while still protecting our taxpayers.

At a time when our state and the nation are struggling economically, making ends meet can be difficult. However we were still able to provide key services despite rolling back funding across the board. Most importantly, I believe we were able to accomplish this without any tax increases! In fact, we actually set aside $49 million just to ensure our state would have a positive balance at the end of the next fiscal year.

The biggest highlight of the budget for the next fiscal year is the fact that we were able to keep funding for the education foundation formula whole. This ensures that despite a tough economic environment we are able to make investments in our future. Other highlights include combining several programs together and setting aside $40 million for job retraining, retention, and development. This is an important part of helping a struggling workforce emerge from this recession. In addition, we scratched together roughly $12 million dollars for Preparing to Care. This program works through higher education institutions and trains young people in the growing field of healthcare services, which often offer good paying jobs.

For more information on the Missouri House of Representative's version of the state budget, please contact our office our visit the House website and search HB 1-15.


Fiscal Review met today to discuss one bill that had been referred to committee. HB 475, sponsored by Rep. Doug Funderburk, will change the laws regarding health care quality data standardization and transparency and establishes criteria for programs of insurers to compare the quality and cost efficiency of health care providers. This bill passed out of committee unanimously.

For more information on this bill, 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

Fiscal Note: A fiscal note estimates the costs, savings, revenue gain, or loss resulting from the implementation of proposed legislation. This can greatly influence if a bill is passed, failed, or amended. Legislators will often request an informal fiscal note on a piece of legislation that they have not yet filed to determine if they should file the bill, or if it should be revised.

In the committee of Fiscal Review, we hear the fiscal notes of pending legislation if the legislation requires net additional expenditures of state money in excess of $100,000 or which reduces net state revenue by more than $100,000 in any of the three fiscal years immediately following the effective date of the bill. Any such House bill, after having been perfected and ordered printed by the House, shall be referred to the Committee on Fiscal Review for its consideration prior to the bill's submission to the House for third reading and final passage.

In Other News

Last Thursday, Senator Kraus and I held a legislative forum for our constituents of the 52nd House District and the 8th Senatorial District. I was pleased to see about 40 constituents attend; if you were unable to attend please contact me with your questions or concerns.

Yesterday was the last day to RSVP for the first annual 52nd District Day. I look forward to hosting 70+ constituents here in the Missouri House of Representatives!

Stouffer: Where have All the Matt Blunts Gone?

Before New Jersey’s larger-than-life Gov. Chris Christie came onto the scene and long before protestors crowded in the halls of Wisconsin’s capitol to oppose Gov. Scott Walker’s cuts to the state budget, there was Missouri’s Gov. Matt Blunt.

Looking back, Gov. Matt Blunt was ahead of his time. In his one-term as governor, Blunt proposed and passed fiscally conservative measures before being a budget hawk was cool. Blunt worked for austerity in Missouri’s budget long before most of us knew the meaning of the word.

Blunt shrank the size of government in Missouri, cut able-bodied Missourians from welfare rolls and passed tort reform laws making our courts less of a lottery. His efforts kept doctors and businesses from fleeing the state and he left our state in solid financial shape prior to uncertain economic times.

Today, our nation is faced with many challenges. Folks throughout Missouri realize government has to live within its means, just like our working families do every day. To spend our way to prosperity is not sustainable or responsible. It is like giving into a two year old screaming for a toy at the store every visit. We had been spoiled for far too long, and finally realized we can no longer spend more than we take in.

The state Legislature is looking at several proposals to put Missourians back to work and to make sure we have a skilled workforce in the future. This includes six common-sense plans to make it easier for working families to live and work in our state. The Legislature is working to improve Proposition B to protect the livelihood of pets and those raising them. Legislators have also proposed stable, predictable funding to meet the needs of our local students. While one in six Missourians receive food stamps, we continue to look for more opportunities to help working families thrive in our state.

As we do this, out current governor has been able to serve with little controversy. It’s hard to imagine the restraint it takes to run for such a high position and serve without trying to leave an apparent legacy or take a public stand on tough issues. Most folks seek higher office to leave their mark, while the governor has been able to serve without making headlines.

This year is a great opportunity for our current governor to join us and help lead. While I applaud his ability to be humble enough to avoid the spotlight, I encourage him to help move these important issues forward. Far too many Missourians are close to the edge of disaster - the stakes are too high to not get this right. That’s why it is my prayer, despite the consequences, that the governor will step up to this challenge.

Holsman: Need Team of Sherpas To Help Scale Mt. Senate For HB 613, Flying Solo Against Cyberbullies

Dear Friends

Halftime is over. The House has completed the budget process. It's the time of year when we start to see which legislation will come to define our legislative session.

As Chairman of the Committee on Renewable Energy, my session has been consumed by trying to work out a compromise on Prop C implementation. I am still hopeful for a solution, but it hasn't been easy. The next few days will decide if the progress we have made to build a coalition around the legislative fix will gel. Make no mistake, to summit Mnt Senate it will take a near unanimous shirpa team to carry HB 613 to the top.

Included in this newsletter is part two of my legislative platform. In the lower section of the publication I have assembled a few articles published by the Missouri House Communications team.

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

Solar Water System Incentive

House Bill 622 will establish the Solar Water Heating System Incentive Program to provide financial incentives for the purchase and installation of solar water heating systems in private residences. Subject to appropriations, the Department of Natural Resources must provide and administer the incentives.

For more information and to read the Bill: House Bill 622

Abuse of the Internet and Criminal Cyber Defamation

HB 948 was filed in response to Governor Jay Nixon's call to address the damage capability of anonymous cyber assassins on the internet. The legislation is adapted from a current Kansas Statute to apply to electronic communications.

The internet has changed politics. The shift in attention from main street media to political blog sites has opened a new avenue for opponents to anonymously defame the rival campaign. We have laws in the state which require a "paid for by" for all political mail, radio, phone, television and print media. These laws exist to protect candidates from malicious defamation without there being a level of responsibility for the statements. Keep in mind that a candidate is not an elected official until the race is over.

Many internet records live in cyber perpetuity and are easily accessible through search engines. If we can't protect our candidates from libelous hatred then the quality of candidate will continue to decrease as average citizens won't want to expose themselves or family to public ridicule and humiliation.

There are websites on the internet where our young adults are being intentionally defamed like it is a sport. Photos of college students are taken from their social network profiles and published on websites with the intent to destroy the person's character.

As a father of two, I dedicate my life to building my children's self worth and I will not sit idly by while some anonymous hate monger targets to emotionally harm our kids.

There are many supporters of this legislation in the House, but I chose to file it alone knowing that I am making myself a target of those whom I wish to regulate. Protecting our kids is worth their attempt at my personal humiliation.

For more informaton about the bill: House Bill 948

Industrial Hemp Freedom Act

House Bill 620 will define "industrial hemp" as cannabis sativa L. containing no greater than 1% tetrahydrocanabinols (THC) and exempts it from the varieties of cannabis that are classified as controlled substances. Any person who has not been convicted of a felony offense or misdemeanor drug-related offense may legally grow and cultivate industrial hemp.

To read more about the benefits of hemp: Hemp Information

For more information and to read the Bill: House Bill 620

Preschool Plus Grant Program

House Bill 389 increases the number of students to be served by the Missouri Preschool Plus Grant Program from up to 1,250 to up to 6,250 and expands potential grantees to include the Kansas City School District.

For more information and to read the Bill: House Bill 389

High School Dropout Prevention Seminars

House Bill 621, beginning with school year 2012-2013, will require a student who is older than the district's compulsory school age and who wants to drop out of high school to attend a dropout prevention seminar. School districts must offer the seminars based on requirements established by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

For more information and to read the Bill: House Bill 621

Not for Profit KidCare Co-op Program

House Bill 390, subject to appropriations, will establish a public option, nonprofit health insurance cooperative, the KidCare Co-op Program, within the Department of Social Services to provide affordable health insurance to all children regardless of income through 18 years of age.

For more information and to read the Bill: House Bill 390

Renewable Energy Prop. C Fix

House Bill 613 will repeal and re-establish provisions regarding the renewable energy standard including standards recently enacted by Proposition C in 2008.

The legislation has gone through 19 drafts and four hearings. I hesitate to publish a link to the bill because the online version is draft #1. The current HCS looks nothing like this bill, but to give you an idea of what we are working on here is draft 1 of 19, we will release draft 20 on Monday.

For more information on the bill: House Bill 613

Capital Green Legislation and Tour

This past month members of the Committee on Renewable Energy joined staff from Office of Administration along with House Chief Clerk Adam Crubliss to tour the deferred maintenance of the Capitol.

The Capitol is in bad shape. Roofs leak, stairs are crumbling and the amount of energy wasted is staggering. There are literally close to 100 million dollars of improvements necessary to restore the energy efficiency of the building.

However, we can offset a portion of demand with onsite clean renewable energy with a 5 million dollar investment. The project would create short term construction jobs and save the state money into perpetuity. The investment also helps maintain the continuity of government in times of power shortage.

House Bill 839 will establish the Capital Green Program thereby creating a fund, subject to appropriations, in order to provide funding for energy efficiency improvements and installation of renewable energy generation systems including geothermal,wind and solar energy resources.

For more information and to read the Bill: House Bill 839

Military Area Night Sky Protection Act

House Bill 611 will establish the Night Sky Protection Act to reduce the amount of light emitted into the night sky to near natural levels for designated military training areas. The Air Conservation Commission within the Department of Natural Resources must develop voluntary guidelines to achieve specified reduction rates starting in 2025.

For more information and to read the Bill: House Bill 611

Nurses for Newborns

House Bill 391 will add home nursing visits for newborn infants including follow-up care as needed until an infant's second birthday for certain at-risk newborns to the list of covered services under the MO HealthNet Program. The Mo HealthNet Division within the Department of Social Services is required to request the appropriate waivers or state plan amendments from the United States Department of Health and Human Services to provide these services.

For more information and to read the Bill: House Bill 391

Class Size Reduction Act

House Bill 612 will establish smaller class size for the Kansas City School District than the minimum and desirable standards established by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The legislation takes the number from 33 to 23 students per class.

For more information and to read the Bill: House Bill 612

Clean Election Legislation

The influence of money in politics will never go away entirely. Like water money finds and flows through the cracks. But the option for a publicly financed candidate would help balance the power of the legislature between special interests and the people. No candidate can afford to unilaterally disarm without the resources available to win an election.

Red Bridge Elementary Visits Capitol

On March 8th, Red Bridge Elementary 4th grade classes loaded the bus and headed to Jefferson City. During the visit they toured the Capitol, Supreme Court Building and Governor's Mansion. It is always a special visit because my wife Robyn teaches 4th grade at Red Bridge and leads the field trip. I am also appreciate of the other teachers and parents who made the trip possible. The Center Foundation raises money every year to pay for the buses and other expenses of the trip.

Robotics Championship

I took both my kids to the robotics championship at the Hale Arena in KC. All of my school districts competed. Great job by students from Grandview, Ruskin, Center and Barstow. I was amazed at the turnout, excitement and economic activity the event brought to Kansas City.

House Approves State Budget for Fiscal Year 2012

Jefferson City - The Missouri House gave approval Wednesday to the 13 appropriations bills that make up the fiscal year 2012 state operating budget. Jonathan Lorenz reports from the state Capitol.

Good Job to Budget Chair Ryan Silvey (R-NKC) and Ranking Member Sarah Lampe (D-Springfield)

Watch Here

House Redistricting Committee Unveils Proposed Congressional District Map

The House Special Standing Committee on Redistricting held two hearings this week to discuss legislation that would redraw the boundaries for Missouri's congressional districts. At Wednesday's hearing, Rep. John J. Diehl, Jr., who chairs the committee, unveiled a proposed map for the consideration of the committee's members. The committee is responsible for drawing a new map that has eight congressional districts rather than nine, as Missouri will lose a congressional seat based on 2010 Census data.

The proposed congressional redistricting map is available at the following link:

View Here

House Leaders Discuss First Half of 2011 Session

Leaders from both sides of the aisle held press conferences Thursday to discuss the first half of the 2011 legislative session and the issues they will address when House members return from their annual Spring Break.

Click Here

At left: This photo was taken in 2008 and even before Mike Talboy (D-KC) and Steven Tilley (R-Perryville) became Minority Floor Leader and Speaker of the House they agreed to disagree, respectfully. Click the link to watch their dueling press conferences.

Berry: Budget Receives 92% Approval From House

Under the Constitution of Missouri there are very few things that the House must do. Number one, we must pass the budget. Number two, every 10 years we must deal with redistricting after the census. This week we worked on both.

The Missouri House passed its budget this week granting approval to a $23.2 billion budget. This budget reflects the continuing commitment of the House Majority to pass a budget that’s not only balanced, but sets aside $49 million in savings and continues to reflect the top priorities of the Missouri House of Representatives.

The budget is broke out into 13 Bills.
HCS HB1 - Appropriates money to the Board of Fund Commissioners.Yes Votes- 161
No Votes- 0
HCS HB 2 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the State Board of Education and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.Yes Votes- 146
No Votes- 14
HCS HB3 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Higher Education.Yes Votes- 141
No Votes- 19
HCS HB4 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Revenue and Department of Transportation.Yes Votes- 154
No Votes- 7
HCS HB5 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Office of Administration, Department of Transportation, and Department of Public Safety.Yes Votes- 143
No Votes- 17
HCS HB6 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Conservation.Yes Votes- 153
No Votes- 7
HCS HB 7 - Appropriates money for the expenses and distributions of the departments of Economic Development; Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration; and Labor and Industrial Relations.Yes Votes- 126
No Votes- 35
HCS HR8 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Public Safety.Yes Votes- 158
No Votes- 2
HCS HR9 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Corrections.Yes Votes- 155
No Votes- 3
HCS HR10 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Mental Health, Board of Public Buildings, and Department of Health and Senior Services.Yes Votes- 131
No Votes- 27
HCS HR11 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, and distributions of the Department of Social Services.Yes Votes- 140
No Votes- 20
HCS HR12 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of statewide elected officials, the Judiciary, Office of the State Public Defender, and General Assembly.Yes Votes- 149
No Votes- 10
HCS HR13 - Appropriates money for real property leases and related services.Yes Votes- 157
No Votes- 2
The budget was passed by 92% despite the media reports, Republicans and Democrats have worked together during these hard times. We set the precedent that the budgeting process will continue year round. We have already issued notice to state departments and agencies that containing costs is a key priority and it should be done regardless of the economic conditions because improved efficiency needs to be our constant goal. The budget now moves to the State Senate for consideration.

As always if you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact my office at (573) 751 -2238 or by email at TJ{dot}Berry{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov.

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.

Co-sponsored 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 week we had a visit from the Youth with a Vision who had a very nice visit with Representative Berry. 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

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

Lichtenegger: Survey Question, Redistricting Reaction,

Spring recess was last week and the House wasted no time in getting back into the swing of things. Since the start of session in January to mid- March, The Missouri House of Representatives has filed 926 bills; 227 of those have had a public hearing and were passed out the committee to which they were referred; and 75 of those were perfected (meaning they were debated and voted upon in the House chambers). You can search for any and all filed House bills by linking here and searching by bill number or subject: Bill Tracker / Search, and for Senate bills: Missouri State Senate.

There will be a Public Hearing on my HB 299 - Land Reclamation Act, April 5, at noon in the Capitol House Hearing Room 7. If you or someone you know testified at the DNR Jan 27 meeting please inform them about the hearing so that can testify on behalf of the bill.

Since I intend to fulfill my campaign promise of “listening to my constituents”, I propose to periodically include in my Capitol Report a survey question of current or upcoming legislation. I will track all feedback and file it with the legislation to which it pertains.

Please respond to the following survey question which pertains to House Bill HCS 131 and Senate Bill SCS 113:

Do you think the House and Senate should modify the language of Prop B? And Why or Why not?

Call 1-573-751-6662 or email your response to my assistant who will track and file all responses: Survey Response

As a result of the 2010 US Census, Missouri’s US Congress will be re-districted. You can follow these links to view the current district-map of Missouri’s 108th Congressional: Missouri's 108th Congressional Districts and MO Congressional District 8 Map and then compare it to the proposed redistricting map [at right]. I'm not pleased with the current redistricting proposal but, at this point this may be the best we can do. I would rather vote yes than have the issue litigated in court. There remains more work to accomplish in the redistricting process.

The following list represents a few of the most recent House activities:
  • House Bill 361 establishes the Missouri Firearms Freedom Act. It passed the House March 28 and was reported to the Senate. This bill: (1) Asserts the right of the State of Missouri to regulate the intrastate use and acquisition of certain firearms pursuant to the reserved powers of the state over intrastate commerce and the right to keep and bear arms; (2) Specifies that certain personal firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition manufactured in Missouri and that remain in Missouri will not be subject to federal law or regulation; (3) Exempts firearms made for multiple person use; machine guns; firearms that use smokeless powder, not black powder, and have a bore diameter greater than one and one-half inches; and ammunition with a projectile that explodes using an explosion of chemical energy after the projectile leaves the firearm from the provisions of the bill and subjects them to federal regulation; and (4) Requires a firearm manufactured or sold in Missouri under the provisions of the bill to bear the words “Made in Missouri” clearly stamped on a central metallic part.
  • House Bill 431 implements several provisions in the foster care and adoption system. A few noteworthy are:
    • With respect to foster care placement it establishes the following order of the preference for the placement of a child in foster care: grandparents and relatives, a trusted adult who has a pre-existing relationship with the child, and any foster parent who is currently licensed and capable of accepting placement of the child. Any person receiving a preference may be licensed in an expedited manner if a child is placed under the person’s care.
    • Regarding sibling placement there is a requirement to make reasonable efforts to place siblings in the same foster care, kinship, guardianship, or adoptive placement unless doing so would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings. If siblings are not placed together, the division must make reasonable efforts to provide frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction between the siblings unless this interaction would be contrary to a sibling’s safety or well-being.
    • The Missouri State Foster Care and Adoption Board will be established to provide several areas of oversight, consultation and assistance to the department. To read more of its many duties link here: HB 431 bill summary.
    • With respect to the foster care case management the Children’s Division within the Department of Social Services must include in any foster care case management contract a provision that all recruitment, licensing, and retention activities for foster and adoptive parents in the areas of the state included in the contract must be provided by the contracted entity. The division is allowed to enter into additional family foster care case and adoptive resources in the areas of the state not already included in a contract.
  • HB 731 This bill adds citizenship to the information that must be included on a sexual offender registration form and requires the State Highway Patrol to report to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement or other appropriate federal agency certain information regarding any person on the sexual offender registry who is not a citizen of the United States and to request a determination as to whether the person.

Constituent Corner

Follow the links below to view April 5 election sample ballots for the county in which you live:
SAMPLE BALLOT for Cape Girardeau County Elections; SAMPLE BALLOT for Perry County Elections.

MoDOT Contest: Watch for Barrel Bob on Missouri Highways and Win!

The Missouri Department of Transportation is participating in the National Work Zone Awareness Week April 4 - 8. During this event, the Southeast District has planned interactive activities to make people aware of the importance of work zone safety.

Last year “1,033 people were injured in Missouri work zones," says District Engineer Mark Shelton. "Our goal is to educate the public and our employees to ensure everyone gets home safe at the end of each day. Please watch for signs, be alert and don't barrel through work zones."

The Southeast District will hold "Where in the District is Barrel Bob?" contest. Barrel Bob, constructed by Road Runner Safety Services, Inc., is a 10-foot-tall man made of orange construction barrels. Each day he will appear in a new location throughout the14-county district. Photos of Bob will be posted to both Facebook and Twitter. The first person to correctly identify Bob's location will receive a prize, donated by the Southeast Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.

I will be participating in the week’s events by wearing an orange MoDOT "Arrive Alive" shirt. You can view photos and other information on the Wall of Fame on Flickr. Additional photos will be added to the wall throughout the week. Photos will also be posted on Facebook and Twitter and videos can be viewed on YouTube at

To get involved, visit and click on the Facebook or Twitter icons at the top of the page. If you already follow the Southeast District on Facebook or Twitter, continue to check those pages for upcoming announcements about Work Zone Awareness Week. For more information, please contact the MoDOT Customer Service Center at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636), or visit

Three ways to contact me:

  • 201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 409B, Jefferson City, MO 65101-6806;
  • 573-751-6662;
  • or donna{dot}lichtenegger{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov

Tilley: House Budget Highlights

This week in the Missouri House we passed our version of the state budget. Coming in at over $23 billion dollars it’s quite obvious our budget will have a huge impact for the state of Missouri. While everyone will not be happy and we couldn’t do everything some would have liked, it was a budget that does the most we can while still protecting our taxpayers.

At a time when our state and nation are struggling economically, making ends meet can be difficult. However we were still able to provide key services despite rolling back funding across the board. Most importantly, I believe we were able to accomplish this without any tax increases! In fact, we actually set aside $49 million just to ensure our state would have a positive balance at the end of the next fiscal year.

The biggest highlight of the budget for the next fiscal year is the fact that we were able to keep funding for the education foundation formula whole. This ensures that despite a tough economic environment we are able to make investments in our future.

Other highlights include combining several programs together and setting aside $40 million for job retraining, retention, and development. This is an important part of helping a struggling workforce emerge from this recession. In addition, we scratched together roughly $12 million dollars for Preparing to Care. This program works through higher education institutions and trains young people in the growing field of healthcare services, which often offer good paying jobs.

Another area where we were able to make some key decisions was actually in reduction and spending. For instance, we chose to cut funding for the state legislature more than any other statewide office to show our commitment to lead by example. We also placed a cap on the size of salaries in the public sector. This move was made after it was found the Governor has 6 positions alone in his office making over $100,000.

We also improved transparency and protected the integrity of other state
department budgets. One way we did this was to make sure flights taken by the Governor weren’t unfairly billed to other state agencies – making the travel more transparent and protecting departments’ core budgets.

Finally, we set the precedent that the budgeting process will continue year round. We have already issued notice to state departments and agencies that containing costs is a key priority and it should be done regardless of the economic conditions because improved efficiency needs to be our constant goal.

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.

31 March 2011

Davis: Make Mine Freedom, Health Care Compact

Click picture [at right] to watch the Make Mine Freedom 1948 political cartoon. We’ve come a long way!

“You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.” –Dr. Seuss

After a wonderful spring break, it was great to get back to the capitol. Spending time with my family was precious and I had an awesome time. It is amazing how fast our children grow up. My daughter Jennifer leaves for college in only a couple of months, where has the time gone? My son, Timothy, participated in his first track meet this week and did very well. Robert, my 5 year old, and I just finished putting together a Lego helicopter. We need to enjoy our children, they will all be gone too soon.

The Budget for the next fiscal year has been passed! With carefulness and haste the Missouri House of Representatives has 3rd read and passed all 13 of this year’s budget appropriation bills. I am pleased to announce that the Missouri House exceeded Governor Nixon’s recommendation on Elementary and Secondary Education by more than 16 million dollars. The total budget for Elementary and Secondary Education for this year’s budget is almost 23 million dollars more than it was last year! I would like to commend Representative Silvey and all the members of the budget committees for the hard work and dedication they showed during the budget process. We live in hard economic times and many cuts had to be made, but I want to tell you that the future is bright for our great state. The budget now goes to the senate for them to debate. Hopefully it remains a good budget.

Other floor actions this week

The house perfected and printed HB434 which protects employees.


Requires co-employees to be released from liability for negligence in performing the non delegable duty of an employer to provide a safe workplace when the negligence contributes to injury or death.

Healthcare was also a hot topic of debate on the floor of the house this week. We passed 2 bills on the subject, HB475 and HB423.


Changes the laws regarding health care quality data standardization and transparency and establishes criteria for programs of insurers to compare the quality and cost efficiency of health care providers.


Authorizes Missouri to adopt the provisions of the Health Care Compact to improve health care policy by returning the authority to regulate health care to the state legislatures.

This week, I started the first Missouri General Assembly Military Caucus. The caucus is open to any member of the general assembly that served in any branch of the United States Armed Forces. Members that did not serve were welcomed to join as associate members. The goal of this caucus is to show our support to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces both on Active duty and those who have served. We will be going to different military bases around our state as well as visiting some of our veteran’s homes. I am looking forward to leading this caucus and I feel honored to be able to help out my fellow veterans in any way I can.

A thank you to Howard House who came to the capitol for a visit as he represented the Federal Postal Credit Union during Credit Union Day at the capitol. Also to Sheriff Archie Dunn for his visit for Sheriff’s Day.

As the weeks progress, the days at the capitol will become LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG! But it is my pleasure and honor to serve you as well as all the fine folks in the 128th District. I pray God’s blessings on you and your family. Until next week…

Nolte: House Approves Legislation to Restore Co-Employee Liability Protection

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri House gave final approval Thursday to legislation sponsored by state Rep. Jerry Nolte, R-Gladstone, that would protect Missouri workers and businesses by restoring liability protection taken away by the courts last summer. The House approved HB 434 by a vote of 95-53. The bill is similar to HB 162, co-sponsored by Nolte, that was approved by the House last month.

House Bill 434 would restore co-employee liability protection in Missouri’s workers’ compensation laws. The bill specifically addresses an issue raised last year when a court ruling allowed an injured worker to sue a co-worker after already settling a workers' compensation claim against his employer.

“The court ruling made last year stripped away co-employee liability protection and opened up a floodgate of potential lawsuits by injured employees against co-workers,” said Nolte. “The ruling has now created a hostile environment for both employers and employees here in Missouri. It’s something we have to address if we’re going to make our state a more attractive location for businesses and workers.”

Nolte said the court ruling has made it more difficult for employers to hire and retain employees in supervisory roles where there is a greater chance the employee may be subjected to a lawsuit. His legislation would reinstate liability protection to employees in cases where a workers’ compensation claim is settled. However, employees would still be liable in situations where injury is caused by an intentional act that purposefully and dangerously caused or increased the risk of injury.

“We need to get back to the original intent of the workers’ compensation reforms that were done in 2005 by protecting workers and ensuring some certainty in the worker’s compensation system,” said Nolte.

Nolte’s bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Nance: State Budget Discussions, Redistricting

“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!” –Ronald Reagan

State Budget

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to the 13 appropriations bills that make up the state’s fiscal year 2012 operating budget. House members began discussion on the approximately $23.2 billion budget Monday evening and approved the appropriations bills Tuesday afternoon.

The budget approved by House members preserves basic aid for public schools at current funding levels; appropriating more than $3 billion for the school Foundation Formula. The budget also contains a governor-recommended cut of approximately 7 percent to public colleges and universities. In addition, the budget contains a 5 percent ($7million) cut to the budgets of all elected statewide officials.

Amendments adopted Tuesday cut the governor’s travel budget by $500,000 and reallocated the funds for dropout prevention in St. Louis. Another set of amendments achieved approximately $1 million in savings by cutting the salaries of all state agency officials who are paid in excess of $86,500. Health, mental health and social services all received increases for the coming year. The Judiciary Branch got a $3 million increase for Drug Courts.

Floor Action

HB 361, which would establish the Missouri Firearms Freedom Act, passed by a vote of 118-37.

HB 29, which would establish the Volunteer Health Services Act which allows a licensed health care provider to render volunteer professional health care services for a sponsoring organization, passed by a vote of 117-37.

HJR 6, which would propose a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right of individuals to vote by secret ballot, passed with a vote of 100-57.

The House also Third Read and Passed over 40 consent bills. A consent bill cannot cause any fiscal impact to the state or be controversial.

Did you know that more than 91,000 acres of land in Missouri is owned by foreign countries?


The first map of redistricting is out and it is surprising that Ray, Lafayette, and Saline counties would now be in Emanuel Cleaver’s Congressional District. After close review, Excelsior Springs has also been given to that district. Nothing is finalized, but discussion is being continued. ( Map attached )


Pictured [at right] are recent Eagle Scouts in Richmond. The young men from left to right are Chris Mallott, Jonathan Masey, Ian Wratt, and Quinton Maxwell.

Orrick school fourth graders visited the Capitol today. We had a great time and welcome other schools to the Capitol.

Mary Martens, Tanya McBee, and Nellie Ogan with Family and Community Education gave me a doll to be shared with an agency in Ray County. The FCE works to protect our children.

More than 14 Ray County Home Schoolers and their parents visited the Capitol Monday. It was a great experience for all.

Kraus: Budget Crunch

We’re back in session, and the key word for this next five to six weeks is “budget.” This week, the House passed a collective group of 13 budget bills, House Bill 1 through House Bill 13, which have been sent to the Senate for our consideration. The House budget totaled $23.2 billion for the fiscal year 2012 state government operating budget.

After introduction into the Senate, the budget bills will be sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee, of which I am a member. While this committee has already held extensive hearings on each state department budget, we will still discuss and amend the House proposal as we think needed before passing the bills out of committee.

When the Appropriations Committee begins to meet, I expect to start at 8:00 a.m., break for session, and then re-convene in the afternoon. Committee meetings can go until 11:00 or 12 p.m. as we pore over every item of the budget and try to squeeze out greater efficiency or eliminate waste where ever we can. Traditionally, the Committee takes about a week of this hectic schedule to do its work and then sends the bills to the floor of the Senate.

Once in the full Senate, senators take about a week to review, debate, or amend as deemed necessary, and then pass the budget bills. Generally, this process results in differences between the House and the Senate version of the budget. A conference committee, composed of members of both Chambers, is appointed to reconcile the differences. In the end, both Chambers must agree on the final version. Both Chambers must approve the 13 budget bills by May 6. The budget is then sent to the governor for his signature.

It is a long and time-intensive process – as it should be because we are spending taxpayer dollars and we need to be as watchful as we can. For the rest of the session, the pace will be fast and furious as we finish the budget, as well as finish up debate on a variety of priority bills. The last day of session is May 13.

Welcome Visitors

Again this week, constituents from District 8 took the time to visit the Capitol, which I always appreciate. Some of the visitors were: Nick Faulkner, Kelsey Shields, Juanita and Terry Wilson, Steve Fagan, Chere Chaney, Todd Appleby, J.R. DeGraffenreid, Kathy Garver, Jose Reveles, Sarah Harreus, Alice Madry, Colleen Downing, Amy Barlier, Robert A. Evans III, Barb Schnepf, and Craig Rutter. Several individuals from outside the district also dropped by the office: Phyllis Sue Domann, Nancy Parker, Tamra Carter, Bill Shackelford, and Bradley Harmon.

In addition, about 15 individuals came down for District Day. This is a really special occasion for me, as I have the opportunity to talk with them on the Senate floor and discuss their concerns about state government. I hope they enjoyed their day in Jefferson City as much as I enjoyed having them as my guests.

Town Hall Meetings

I was extremely pleased with the three Town Hall Meetings that I, along with Representatives Sheila Solon (Dist. 55), Gary Cross (Dist. 48), and Noel Torpey (Dist. 52), held during spring recess. I cannot say enough about the value of meeting directly with constituents and having the chance to hear your concerns. Thank all of you for taking time out of your busy schedule to come out and participate in your state government.

District 8 Day

There are still a few spots left for District Day on April 5, where I invite you to be my guest here in Jefferson City. Each day will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end around 3:15 p.m.

If you are interested, 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.

Share Your Heart and Home with a Foreign Exchange Student!

Program of Academic Exchange (PAX) welcomes host families of all kinds who would like to share their heart, home and culture with a young person from Germany, Korea, Sweden, China, France, Mexico, Italy or any one of our international students. Host families are asked to provide students with meals, a place to sleep and study, and a warm, supportive environment. Private rooms are not required and single parents, young couples and retirees are all welcome to host. “The rewards of hosting are certainly not monetary, but we have become so rich through these experiences,” say the DeWitt family of Minnesota. “What we have gained has been amazing: a daughter for life!”

For more information about becoming a host family with PAX, call or email local PAX Coordinator Liz Carver at 816-228-8587 or carver{underscore}elizabeth{at}yahoo{dot}com.

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!
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

Hoskins: Buidget Advances, A Multitude of Visitors This Week

Now that the mid-session break is over, we in the Legislature have rolled up our shirt sleeves to be back at work for some heavy lifting. Many thanks to those of you who attended one of my three legislative update sessions last Thursday in Knob Noster, Warrensburg, and Holden. I appreciate the informal nature of these opportunities to bring constituents up to date with the first half of this year’s session. I especially appreciate being able to hold these updates at the Trails Regional Library branches. I am excited about next time being in the new library facility which will be serving Knob Noster.

Legislative Update

The primary focus for this week’s activities by the House has been the budget. Actually, the budget has consumed the majority of our efforts. And this is as it should be as it is clearly budget season. As a member of the House Budget Committee, chairman of Appropriations – Transportation & Economic Development, and a Certified Public Accountant, I am clearly a number-cruncher and relish working on the budget.

On Wednesday, the House approved all 13 appropriations bills, which makes up the total budget. The budget now moves to the Senate for them to address on the other end of the Capitol. I feel very good about what we’ve sent the Senate but only time will tell as to what changes the Senate will propose. When the Senate finishes with those bills, then they will go to a conference committee to be finally ironed out. I’m hopeful any changes the Senate might have will be minimal.

I’ve covered the appropriations process in earlier Capitol Reports but as a quick review, the primary responsibility of the House is to create the annual state budget. The Governor provides a recommendation from all of the agencies which becomes the template the six different Appropriations Committees and the Budget Committee use to create the budget. Then the full House acts on the 13 appropriations bills covering all facets of the operation of the state and its programs. The Senate takes these 13 bills under consideration and offers their amendments. If the Senate bills differ from the House versions, then they go a conference committee to iron out differences. Then the House and Senate will again act on the conference committee version of the appropriations. Ultimately, the appropriations bills will go to the Governor for signature. It is a lengthy process but without a budget, the state cannot provide its programs and services.

Visitors to the Capitol

There have been so many visitors through my office this week in the Capitol that I know I’ll surely forget to mention somebody. If I didn’t mention you, then please accept my apologies in advance.

Groups included Johnson County Hospice, Freedom of the Road Riders, Recovery Lighthouse, Baillie James (a Truman State student from Warrensburg), Communication Workers of America, Mark Reynolds (Johnson County Assessor), Jane Van Sant and Steve Mohler (Missouri Conservation Day), and officers from Warrensburg FFA for Farm Bureau’s Youth Leadership Day. I am delighted to have had so many groups come by my office.

Ways to Keep in Contact

In next week’s Capitol Report, I plan to report the results from my surveys. It seems like the largest groups of surveys have been returned so I think it’s time to report in. If you haven’t sent yours back yet, then dig it out of the pile of old mail we all let accumulate. 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 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.

Engler: Tax Credit Discussion is a Necessity

Things are continuing to move slowly in the Senate. While we continue to debate issues, it’s rare that we actually pass a bill. Last session at this time of the year, the House and Senate had already passed three bills and delivered them to the governor’s desk. This year, we have not sent anything to the Governor. At the same time last year 17 percent of the bills filed in the Senate had been approved and sent to the House; this year, only 9 percent of Senate bills have been sent to the House. The pattern continues this week — after discussing several major issues, including abortion and tax credit reform, we have little to show for it.

We began the discussion on tax credits this week. The fact of the matter is that our state is facing a budget shortfall, and while we are forced to make cuts to state programs and services, we continue to award tax credits through 61 different tax credit programs. Every dollar that is used for a tax credit is a dollar that cannot be used for our local schools, prisons, or mental health facilities.

Senate Bill 280 would make changes to several tax credit programs in the state to repeal, reform, and improve certain programs. Many of the changes in the bill were suggested by the governor’s Tax Credit Review Commission, which was formed last summer to review the state’s tax credit programs. This process of reviewing and examining these programs is necessary to keep our state on solid fiscal ground. While some of these programs are economically valuable, others have a low return on investment for our state.

We did send several measures I sponsored to the House this week. These include:
  • Senate Bill 226, which would make several changes to the laws affecting ambulance districts, including provisions to allow ambulance board members to be recalled, similar to the process available for recalling members of school, hospital, and other local boards. The bill would also allow new ambulance districts the option of asking voters to approve a sales tax or property tax when the district is established. Currently newly-founded ambulance districts have to begin with a property tax and must then get additional voter approval to convert to a sales tax.
  • Senate Bill 96, which would convey certain state property to St. Francois County and to Habitat for Humanity of St. Francois County, Inc.
  • Senate Bill 97, which would convey certain state property located at the South East Missouri Mental Health Center to the city of Farmington.
  • Senate Bill 282, which would move the state’s presidential primary to seven days after the presidential primary is conducted in the state of New Hampshire. The legislation is in response to requests by the national Democrat and Republican parties that several states move the date of their primary.

Speaker Steve Tilley, Senator Kevin Engler, and Betty Schaper, who was presented with resolutions for receiving Missouri Arts Awards in the Leadership in the Arts category.

St. Paul's Lutheran School visited Capitol on Wednesday.

Tim Jones: 40+ Days of Prayer and Fasting, Healthcare Compact Advances

Winter will not relinquish its chilly grip as the Midwest continues to receive its fair share of cold winds and drenching snowfalls. As we returned to the Capitol this week, the House Floor buzzed with increased activity as passionate debate swelled throughout the House Chamber as the State’s 23 Billion Dollar Budget received final House passage…

“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”—Thomas Jefferson

40 Days of Prayer and Fasting

In a combined effort, the Missouri House and Senate have called for citizens to pray as they seek to tackle the state budget and other issues facing the State of Missouri. Sponsored by Bott Radio Network, prayer services were held at the Capitol where key-note speaker, Dr. Tom Blackaby, started the 40+ days of prayer and fasting scheduled to end on the National Day of Prayer, May 5th, 2011. Thank you to all who have contributed in this effort.

At right: Speaking at the St. Louis RCGA Missouri Legislative Day.

FLOOR ACTION: Monday, March 28th

The house was abuzz with activity as legislators rushed to complete their budget amendments on time for debate on the Floor of the House this day. Senior legislators and staff members alike have been impressed with the efficiency and smoothness of, not only this year’s budget process, but operation of the House of Representatives as a whole. We have the Missouri voters to thank for electing quality legislators to represent them here in the House.

FLOOR ACTION: Tuesday, March 29th

Debate on the budget was completed in time for noon recess and in the afternoon session we began debate on HB 434 and HCS HB 423.

HB 434, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nolte (R-33), provides employee protection from negligence liability lawsuits brought by an injured co-worker. Accidents occurring on the job should be covered pursuant to our worker’s compensation laws. Leaving this door open for suits against co-workers for negligence is an invitation for overzealous litigants to argue negligence through a variety of avenues, circumstances, and actors. As well as protecting employees in Missouri, this legislation helps to keep the Missouri business environment attractive to employers interested in operating in the State of Missouri.

HB 423, sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison (R-136), paves the way for the development of a Health Care Compact between states in order to return the regulation of health care back to the control of the state; where it belongs. This legislation is designed to protect the State of Missouri and Missourians from the overreach of the federal government into your health care. We cannot depend on the Federal Supreme Court to rule the unfunded mandate of Obamacare unconstitutional; nor can we afford it if it is upheld. Steps need to be taken to rectify this situation and HB 423 accomplishes this goal.

FLOOR ACTION: Wednesday, March 30th

Third reading and final passage of Appropriations Bills (Budget) occurred in the House today with nearly unanimous support. While the time spent on the Floor of the House working on the budget this week appeared very efficient and fast paced in comparison to other issues, it is the direct result of numerous hours spent in budget committee hearings, bipartisan effort, and your prayers.

As well as hammering out and finalizing the budget, the aforementioned HB 434 and HB 423 were ordered perfected and printed.

HCS HB 475, sponsored by Rep. Doug Funderburk (R-12), was also ordered perfected and printed. This legislation addresses the disclosure of healthcare data sets (i.e., quality and cost effectiveness) from the healthcare provider to the consumer. The secrecy behind the cost of treatment is not only unfair to the consumer, but is one of the major causes in the erosion of the Doctor/Patient relationship. How nice would it be to be able to go to the doctor knowing ahead of time how much they charge and, for that price, how good are they? This way you are not paying for a Cadillac and receiving a Yugo! Frugal shoppers may actually find Yugo pricing for Cadillac service. Affordability, accountability, and transparency are key issues necessary to facilitate real healthcare reform.

Third Read: Thursday, March 31th

Today the House gave final passage to the following bills described above: HBs 434, 423 & 475.

Special Local Information

The Landmarks Association of St. Louis was awarded a $3,500 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation from the Missouri-Kansas Preservation Fund. The seed grant funds will launch the first phase of a multi-phased project to develop a master plan for the Historic Route 66 Bridge over the Meramec River. For more information about this project visit

Attention Young Missourians aged 17-21, the State Parks Youth Corps will hold a job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 2 at the Route 66 State Park visitor center near Eureka. This is a great opportunity to learn new skills, earn money, and experience Missouri state parks and historic sites. The Route 66 State Park Visitor Center is located two miles east of Eureka off Interstate I-44 in St. Louis County. For information about the job fair, call Route 66 State Park at 636-938-7198. For information on state parks and historic sites, go to

Public Service Announcement!

The recent tragedy in Japan has sparked concern over nuclear plant safety. Recent studies report the risk at the Callaway plant is the lowest in the country. It was built with newer technology than the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and in the event of an emergency, current emergency response procedures will protect all residents living near the Callaway plant. Nuclear energy remains the most viable option for meeting the future energy needs of Missouri by continuing to produce cheap, clean, and safe energy.

Important Tax Information

The tax deadline is soon approaching; make sure you take advantage of the opportunity to file your taxes for free. 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. I want to personally thank the Freedom Scholars for coming to visit us at the Capitol and especially Kelci Weidenaar for the kind words she wrote. Kelci’s ability to articulate her experience at the Capitol is a testament to the quality of the education she has received through Home Schooling and is a must read for anyone who appreciates true literary talent. Her article can be located at 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 (especially after being home for an entire week last week!), I am excited to be ready for the trip home this evening to spend time with Suzanne, Katie and Abby and to let my partners at Doster Ullom know I am hitting the legal files! Finally, 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,