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22 April 2011

Neth: "Somewhat Dysfunctional" Week In Jeff City

As in all organizations there is, at times, dysfunction. This week probably qualified as a somewhat dysfunctional week in the General Assembly. The Congressional redistricting map is being held up in the Senate, who is refusing to work with the House to reach some sort of compromise. In response to the lack of cooperation by the Senate, the House of Representatives is refusing to pass any Senate bills currently in the House. We are facing somewhat of a stalemate. This climaxed with the House having to come back into session on Friday(in which I had to drive back to Jeff City from home) to hopefully vote on a compromise map. However, this was not to be. We had no compromise from the Senate, thus we voted on our revised map [SB68] and left- with no conclusion in sight. At this point, there is a high likelihood that the redistricting decision will go to the courts. Not a good option in my opinion.

In addition, the Governor has thrown a monkey wrench in the mix on the Proposition B issue. After the House and Senate passed SB 113 (which I voted against) and sent it to the Governor, he has now decided to weigh in and try to broker a compromise between many of the animal welfare groups and agriculture groups. I appreciate his trying to work something out, but I ask the question, "where was he before this?".

On the House Floor, we are working though existing house bills, but the reality of the situation is that very few will have a chance to navigate through the entire legislative process due to the limited time left in this years session. If we are going to make positive changes for the people of Missouri, we must end the stalemate with the senate. As soon as a compromise is reached on the congressional redistricting map, I expect legislation to start moving very quickly.

Have a great Easter!



At a surprise all-school assembly held at Manor Hill Elementary, it was announced that Essential Skills Paraprofessional Debby Ross has been selected as the FIRST Liberty Public Schools Support Employee of the Year for 2011-2012! Ms. Ross has been a tremendous asset to LPS for nearly 11 years and provides exceptional service to our students each and every day. Congratulations to her commitment to excellence and serving our kids

Survey Results

As those of you in District 34 know, I sent out a survey in January. I wrote an article that appears in the Liberty Tribune this week regarding those results. Click here to see the article

Visitors to the Capitol

On Monday, my good friends, Craig and Nicole Swanson and their son Brett, came by the Capitol on their way back from St. Louis. It was great having the time to visit and take them on a personal tour.

Kansas City mayor-elect, Sly James, came by the Capitol to introduce himself and have lunch with the newly formed Kansas City Caucus. I think he is going to be a positive force for the Kansas City region as we work to compete for jobs and business.

I had the privilege of having the St. James School 4th Graders from Liberty in the capitol this week. They took the capitol tour and we had the opportunity for the kids to ask questions about their state government.

Community Calendar

May 7 - Liberty Historic Walking Tour: Three Downtown Churches

May 7 - Farmers Market: Opening Day!

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

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

For a better Missouri,

Mayer: A Balanced Budget, Protecting Animal Agriculture and Strengthening Domestic Violence Laws

This week in the Missouri Senate we tackled the state operating budget, efforts to protect animal agriculture and criminal code revisions to domestic violence laws.

The Missouri Senate this week amended and passed 13 budget bills totaling $23.2 billion that make up the state operating budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The approved funding will run the critical functions of state government without a tax increase and include a $6 million net reduction in spending from the budget proposed by the governor in January. Our budget also prioritized education with $20 million increases for K-12 busing and Missouri’s two and four-year colleges and universities.

By lessening the governor’s 7 percent cut to only 4.8 percent, we allow our colleges and universities to find and pass on real savings to out-of-pocket expenses students would have incurred. And by shoring up funding for K-12 transportation, we help prevent local schools from having to raid funding for our classrooms or other dollars directed to education. The Senate also voted to maintain K-12 school funding at its current level for the coming budget year and we voted to accept an additional $189 million in federal funding to go toward that effort.

I commend our Appropriations chairman and the Senate for continuing our commitment to education. This budget protects our students in our K-12 classrooms and goes further by finding even more funding — where the governor could not — for school transportation and our students attending Missouri’s community colleges and universities.

Differences in the House and Senate versions of the budget bills will now be ironed out by lawmakers in conference committees. Negotiated versions must return to the House before gaining Senate approval to advance to the governor. The budget must pass by 6 p.m., Friday, May 6, as required by the constitution.

We also saw hundreds — if not a thousand — Missourians turn out from across the state at the Capitol Wednesday to show their support for animal agriculture. The governor’s signature is all that stands in the way of reforming Missouri’s dog breeding industry while protecting it as a viable profession for Missourians. More than 65 lawmakers, 10 agriculture community representatives, and all those that turned out Wednesday are calling on the governor to sign Senate Bill 113 & 95 into law.

This bill still represents the best hope to repair the damage Proposition B would do to the dog breeding industry and Missouri agriculture. The governor has proposed a new compromise, but his signature on Senate Bill 113 & 95 is paramount in developing goodwill with lawmakers for us to advance his compromise language so late in the legislative session. It was great to see so many come out and support agriculture as a way of life in our great state. I hope the governor takes the immense turnout in support of animal agriculture to heart as he makes his decision.

We also voted unanimously to approve legislation that would strengthen domestic violence laws throughout the state of Missouri. Senate Bill 320 would provide consistency by updating definitions, improving protections available to victims and increasing the accountability for offenders.

The goal of this legislation is to make Missouri a safer place to live by providing a more meaningful order of protection process for women, children and all victims of domestic violence. In order to make Missouri’s domestic violence laws the most effective, we need to provide courts and law enforcement officers with clear, consistent definitions. The legislation does that and is based on recommendations made by a special Domestic Violence Task Force that met last year to suggest and analyze improvements to law enforcement procedures and the courts system.

Please feel free to contact me throughout the year with any comments, questions, or issues using the information listed below and on my website at

Lampe: "Missouri Solution" To Prop B, Discussion On Other Bills Get Shafted By Redistricting


Both the House and Senate have been attempting to craft a map consisting of eight Missouri congressional districts instead of the current nine. This change is inevitable, as Missouri's population did not grow at the rate of the rest of the nation the past ten years. The House and the Senate have both passed versions of this new map in their respective bodies. However, the maps are not identical, which requires members from the House and members of the Senate to get together and compromise to create one version of the map. This Conference Committee will meet Thursday evening to address the matter. If a compromise is reached at that time, then legislators will be asked to return to the Capitol on Friday to vote on the final map. The Conference Committee has until 11:00 p.m. on Thursday to reach a consensus or decide to continue to debate on the matter next week.

Although I understand the gravity of finalizing a new congressional district map of Missouri, I am disappointed in the manner in which the legislature has acted. Holding technical sessions on Monday and Thursday rather than holding discussion on other legislative matters sends the message that other bills and issues are less important than redistricting. It is our duty to deal with all legislation on the calendar, and we are doing Missourians and ourselves a great disservice by not holding scheduled debate.

Dog Breeders Letter

“To the Governor and Members of the Missouri General Assembly:

“We write to you today to outline an agreement on a pathway forward on a matter of tremendous importance to the state of Missouri: the care and treatment of dogs. This agreement is based on our shared belief that agriculture is the background of Missouri's economy; that responsible, professional dog breeders area vital part of Missouri's agricultural industry; and that the welfare of dogs is of paramount importance.

“When Missourians have to tackle tough issues, we come together to get things done. That is exactly what we have agreed to do on this complex issue. Together, we have worked through the details, found common ground, and forged a Missouri solution.

“Today, we are pleased to submit for your consideration legislation that upholds the intent of Missouri voters concerning the treatment of dogs and incorporates legislative revisions necessary to ensure proper implementation. The agreement we have reached strengthens requirements for the care and treatment of dogs and protects Missouri agriculture.

“Specifically, our legislation, which is attached to this letter:
  • Strengthens standards for veterinary care that must be provided to dogs in breeding facilities;
  • Strengthens standards concerning living conditions for dogs in breeding facilities, including access to sufficient food and clean water;
  • Strengthens standards concerning the amount of space that must be provided for each dog, with sufficient time for the industry to meet this higher standard; and
  • Strengthens state enforcement.
“Combined with the considerable additional enforcement resources recommended in next year's budget, our agreement serves as a solid foundation for the future. In the coming months, we will build upon that foundation with greater collaboration and cooperation to advance the care and treatment of dogs in Missouri.

“We are mindful of the voters' desire to address this important issue and the legislative efforts to do so, and we applaud all those who have worked to bring people together. Our organizations pledge to work with you to move our agreement through the legislative process swiftly, and we look forward to seeing it signed into law as soon as possible. We also pledge to continue our partnership to advance the care and treatment of dogs and to move Missouri agriculture forward.

“We are proud to be working together on this critical issue for our state. We hope you will join us in these efforts.

Kathy Warnick, Human Society of Missouri
Karen Strange, Missouri Federation of Animal Owners
Bob Baker, Missouri Alliances for Animal Legislation
Barbara York, Missouri Pet Breeders Association
Jon Hagler, Director Missouri Department of Agriculture
Don Nikodim, Missouri Farmers Care”

Read the proposed legislation here.

Survey Results

I appreciate the great responses that I have been receiving towards the survey. Your responses have granted me a great amount of insight into the opinons and priorities of those I am honored to serve. Your responses enable me to craft better legislation and support policies that are congenial to you. Some of the findings from my survey are below.
  1. Should state law require lawmakers to regularly review tax credits?
    90.9% Yes
    2.7% No
    6.4% No Opinion
  2. Should Missouri regulate the interest rates and fees charged by the payday loan industry?
    84.1% Yes
    11.7% No
    4.2% No Opinion
  3. Should the legislature reinstate campaign contribution limits?
    86.7% yes
    9.1% No
    4.2% No Opinion

Bill to Tilt Discrimination Laws Against Victims Should Face Veto

When it comes to the Missouri Human Rights Act, the old axiom of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is appropriate. Yet, the Republican-controlled Missouri General Assembly has decided to do some tinkering that could actually make it more difficult for victims of unlawful employment discrimination to hold perpetrators accountable.

Supporters of Senate Bill 188, which lawmakers recently passed to rewrite the rules governing discrimination lawsuits, say the bill will "fix" existing law. Well, the fix certainly is in with SB 188 - but these tweaks imperil us all.

The bill changes it so that discrimination claims will be substantially more difficult to prove in court. It changes it so that when victims do prove their allegations, actual damages are capped at artificially low levels and punitive damages are prohibited entirely. It even changes it so that some employers are exempt from being held liable for discriminatory practices.

In short, SB 188 tips the scales of justice so that they tilt firmly against victims of discrimination.

Missourians believe hiring and firing decisions should be based on merit and job performance, not on a person's gender or the color of their skin. With this action, the General Assembly would roll back civil rights in this state to a time when certain people simply need not apply for jobs, regardless of qualifications.

Fortunately, the General Assembly does not have the last word on the matter, which is now in the hands of Governor Jay Nixon. It is my sincere hope that the Governor will do the right thing and promptly veto this bill to send the message that Missouri doesn't tolerate workplace discrimination.

Sara Lampe, D-Springfield, represents the 138th District in the Missouri House of Representatives.

Domestic Violence Legislation

Barbara Brown, the Executive Director for the Child Advocacy Center in Springfield stopped by the Capitol to share information concerning domestic violence policy. I have co-sponsored HCS HB 504, 505, and 874 which aims to update laws regarding domestic violence and incorporate recommendations of Attorney General Koster's Domestic Violence Task Force. Among other changes, this legislation includes stalking and abuse in the definition of domestic violence and requires the Department of Public Safety to establish reimbursement rates for forensic examinations for a victim of sexual offense.

On the Floor this Week

The House has passed HB 1008. This bill allows the Highways and Transportation Commission within the Department of Transportation to enter into a binding highway infrastructure agreement to reimburse or repay any funds advanced by or for the benefit of a county, political subdivision, or private entity to expedite state road construction or improvement.

The House also passed HB 828 this week. This legislation weakens prevailing wage in the state of Missouri.

HB 656 was passed this week. This payday loan reform legislation remains incomplete and will move to the Senate. Debate continues regarding appropriate interest rate caps and renewal requirements.

The House addressed HB 661 regarding debt relief services.

The House addressed HJR 5, concerning the right to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest wildlife. Upon voter approval, this proposed constitutional amendment guarantees a citizen's right to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest wildlife using traditionally approved devices or methods.

SS SCS HCS HB 14 was agreed to and passed after facing changes from the Senate. This legislation appropriates money for supplemental purposes for state departments and offices. Money appropriated from this bill is to be used for the payment of various claims for refunds for people, firms, and corporations.

Please Share Your Ideas

One of my top priorities this session is coming up with ideas to get Missourians back to work. I am interested in hearing ideas from you on how to create jobs to strengthen Missouri's economic base.

As always, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.


Korman: Special Friday Session

The Capitol Report will be slightly different this week as I will be including in my writing actions of our special Friday Legislative Session.

On Monday we sent a number of bills to the Governor to sign (HB174, HB209, HB358, SB19, SB108, SB113, SB188). From what I was told this is not common practice, but the reason we sent them instead of waiting until after session was to get a response from Nixon before the end of session.

Third Read and Passed House Bill 1008 – Highway Construction. The Missouri Department of Transportation is not like a business – it can’t always build projects the cheapest way possible because there are limits on how state agencies can spend money. Most of the time this is good, state money is public money and there should be restrictions on how it is spent. However, sometimes the protections get in the way, and make projects cost more than they should. This bill simply allows MODOT to enter into a type of payment agreement that it normally could not. This payment agreement would be flexible, allowing for changes in highway revenues, but also allowing private contractors and MODOT to work together more efficiently through greater public-private partnerships.

Friday we held session to vote on re-districting of the congressional districts. The House voted on another re-districting map [SB68] in response to some restrictions with the Senate. You will probably hear more on the subject until a final bill is passed by both Chambers and signed by the Governor.

It isn’t too late for area residents to complete and return the legislative survey which was mailed earlier this month and I spoke about in last week’s Capitol Report. If you would like a survey mailed to you please contact our office.

Please feel free to stop by or contact your 99th District office at:

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

Davis: Rallies In Run-Up To Easter Weekend

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.” –Dr. Seuss

At right: Our local Tax Day Rally was a great success. Thank you to all those who came to stand for personal freedoms and liberties.

It was a very busy week at the capitol. We continue to make great progress on common sense reforms in our state. Here a few key issues addressed:

HJR5 - Constitutional Right to Hunt and Fish

The past several years have not been friendly to gamesman in our state. With federal talk about gun control, the price of guns and ammunition continue to sky-rocket in response. Some groups would like to end all sport hunting in the country. Because of Missouri’s initiative petition process these groups can come into our state, drop millions of dollars, and put a measure on the ballot to outlaw certain kinds of hunting or fishing. The constitutional amendment we passed makes it harder for outside groups to tell us how we should appreciate our land, property, and heritage. Conservation and appreciation of the outdoors have been a hallmark in Missouri’s history with huge numbers of hunting and fishing advocates and we want to keep it that way.

HB 708 – American Law in American Courts

Unless you’re a lawyer, going to court is often bad. You may be getting sued, or suing someone or something terrible has happened and you face being fined or imprisoned. It’s a confusing and stressful time – under American laws. Now imagine you go to court, and instead of using American law, the judge decides that he’s going to try your case under New Zealand law, or Brazilian law, or even a religious law. If we didn’t make some changes, this might become the norm instead of an exception. That’s why we passed HB 708 – a measure to make sure that Missouri courts use Missouri and American law when they decide cases. They can still look at foreign laws that are the same as ours, but they can’t use a different remedy or outcome than would happen under our law.

On Wednesday, a rally was held on the south lawn of the Capitol to show support for SB113 and urge Governor Nixon to sign it into law. By most estimates over one thousand people showed up to lend their support. Several agriculture commodity groups went together and provided hot dogs, chips, and drinks for those attending. A counter rally organized by the Humane Society of the United States only drew a few dozen attendees.

For the new compromise to work, Governor Nixon needs to sign SB113 now so we can turn our attention to the new language. The sooner we know his intentions of signing or not, the quicker we can work on getting the new language through the legislature.

HCS HB 828, sponsored by Rep. Barney Fisher (R-125), was third read and passed. This bill revises the definition of "construction" as it relates to prevailing wages on public works projects and abrogates the ruling in Utility Service Co., Inc. v. Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. “Construction,” under the new definition, includes; new construction, enlargement, and major alterations. Paying prevailing wage for simple repair and repaint jobs drains needed resources and can result in needed repair and repaint jobs being put off for economic reasons.

HB 656, sponsored by Rep. Ellen Brandom (R-160), was third read and passed. Payday loans companies remain an important avenue for those unable to otherwise secure loans and make ends meet. This bill provides greater protections for both the consumer and the payday loan industry.

At right: A great day at the capitol with the Southwest Pachyderms.

As this week comes to an end, I wish everyone a wonderful Easter weekend. Life on this Earth is so short and then comes eternity. Remember why we celebrate Easter, it is because He is risen that we will be able to rise again, also. My God bless you all.

Hoskins: "Big Government Get Off My Back" Act Clears Senate Committee

As session continues to heat up before the final stretch, the Missouri House keeps working to pass new job-creating reforms. We want to avoid the last-minute confusion we often hear about in Washington DC by getting things done before the last minute. We only have another month or so of session to go so we have to keep moving. The House has truly agreed and finally passed a bill to help eliminate junk lawsuits that employees file against their employers. That’s the bill I especially want to focus on in this week’s Capitol Report.

Legislative Action

SB 188 As some background, the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) is our state’s version of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. MHRA punishes employers for discriminating against employees in protected classes including race, sex, national origin, age, or religion. The problem with MHRA is that it is enforced differently than the federal law. Basically, Missouri businesses are forced to be in compliance with two different anti-discrimination laws that say different things. They may be in compliance with one but not the other, making it very confusing.

Under the federal law, an employer can get a frivolous lawsuit thrown out of court early in the process through “summary judgment.” This greatly reduces the cost of defending against junk lawsuits, and allows employers to spend more money on creating new jobs instead of legal fees. Missouri courts have interpreted the MHRA so that employers cannot get frivolous lawsuits thrown out before trial at “summary judgment.” This means that if an employee has it out for an employer, they can file junk lawsuits and the employer is forced to spend money defending them all the way to trial.

SB 188 would amend the MHRA so that it will make it easier for Missouri businesses to be in compliance and make sure they are not breaking the law. Also, we added damage caps to MHRA cases. The larger the business an individual is suing, the more money they can collect. We want to protect small businesses that are growing and hiring new people from being wiped out by a single lawsuit. There’s no question that wronged individuals should receive compensation, however we certainly don’t want that compensation to cost several other people their jobs.

Finally, this bill adds “whistleblower” protection to the MHRA. Currently, if an employee is directed to do something at work that is illegal but refuses, it may be possible for their employer to fire them for insubordination. It is important to protect employees who refuse to engage in illegal activity at work, or who report this illegal activity to their manager or the proper authorities. SB 188 will do that.

HB 45 My bill, called the Big Government Get Off My Back Act, continues to make progress. Last Thursday, it was voted out of the Senate Ways and Means and Fiscal Oversight Committee and is now awaiting debate on the Senate floor. I will continue to keep you up to date as this bill progresses through the legislative process.


Both bodies of the legislature continue to work on what the new Congressional map will look like for Missouri. Although Missouri increased in population as per the 2010 Census, we didn’t grow as much as other states. As a result, Missouri loses a Congressional seat. What makes redrawing the Congressional districts so difficult is that when a line is moved in one place, it impacts several other Congressional districts. The effort is to keep the districts balanced by population but there are more issues than only population to consider. I covered this in greater detail a couple of weeks ago. One thing that is crystal clear in this is that it is a confusing process.

Today, the Missouri House amended a map in a rare Friday session to reconfigure the Congressional districts. Continue to stand by to see what the final map will be.

Visitors to the Capitol

Recent visitors that stopped by my office included a good contingent from UCM Collegiate Farm Bureau, a group of seniors touring the Capital City led by Melissa Gower, and 4th graders that came on Amtrak from Sterling Elementary at Warrensburg. Whenever you’re in the Capitol, I hope you’ll stop by to say hello.

Ways to Keep in Contact

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.

Tim Jones: Storm Clouds Outside And Inside Capitol

Massive tornadic systems stomped and marched across most of the Nation’s mid-section this week bringing with it revolving torrents of icy hail, powerful driving rains and mighty winds. Beneath the Capitol Dome, legislative storms built in ominous clouds as the stresses and tensions of a long Session began to play out in deliberative, passionate and stern debate on the House Floor…

“I have found it advisable not to give too much heed to what people say when I am trying to accomplish something of consequence. Invariably they proclaim it can't be done. I deem that the very best time to make the effort.”--Calvin Coolidge

Third Reading & Final House Passage

The following bills were given final approval by the House and sent to the Senate for further consideration.
For more information regarding any specific piece of legislation, please visit

HB 656, sponsored by Rep. Ellen Brandom (R-160), was third read and passed. Payday loans companies remain an important avenue for those unable to otherwise secure loans and make ends meet. This bill provides greater protections for both the consumer and the payday loan industry.

HCS HJR 5, sponsored by Rep. Darrell Pollock (R-146), was third read and passed. This resolution proposes a constitutional amendment guaranteeing citizens the right to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest wildlife using traditionally approved devices or methods. Recent activities by extreme animal activist groups, who come from outside the State of Missouri, suggest a continued assault on this very basic aspect of American culture and the livelihood of many Missourians. This resolution would solidify these rights in our Missouri Constitution and put this issue to rest.

At right: With Speaker Tilley on the House Floor.

HB 661, sponsored by Rep. Don Wells (R-147), was third read and passed. This bill relates to the laws governing debt adjusters. Not only will this bill secure Missouri compliance to federal regulations, but provides greater protections for debt service consumers.

HB 1008, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Long (R-134), was third read and passed. This bill improves the efficiency in the working relationship between private developers and public entities by increasing finance flexibility with respect to highway development projects.

HB 708, sponsored by Rep. Paul Curtman (R-105), was third read and passed. This bill changes the laws regarding violations of public policy of Missouri when decisions are based on foreign law or legal code. The purpose of this legislation is to guarantee that Missourians receive all the rights afforded to them under the Missouri and US Constitutions. Over the past few decades, technological advances have increased international mobility. At the same time, there has been liberal adherence to our nation’s immigration laws, and a clear intellectual push for multiculturalism in America. The result has been a destruction of the melting pot analogy of American culture in which immigrants desired integration into our culture (truly wish to become US citizens). I am all for legal immigration and believe multiculturalism and cultural awareness are extremely positive for our country. However, governing the people of the State of Missouri, based upon foreign laws and legal codes, crosses the line and results in inconsistent and unequal justice.

HCS HB 828, sponsored by Rep. Barney Fisher (R-125), was third read and passed. This bill revises the definition of "construction" as it relates to prevailing wages on public works projects and abrogates the ruling in Utility Service Co., Inc. v. Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. “Construction,” under the new definition, includes; new construction, enlargement, and major alterations. Paying prevailing wage for simple repair and repaint jobs drains needed resources and can result in needed repair and repaint jobs being put off for economic reasons.

Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed

This legislation has been passed by both the House and the Senate and is now headed to the Governor’s desk for consideration.
For more information regarding any specific piece of legislation, please visit

SS SCS HCS HB 14 was truly agreed to and finally passed by the vote off 150 to 0. This appropriations bill provides funding for supplemental purposes in state departments and offices.

Congressional Redistricting Update

As many of you are aware, it is the duty of the General Assembly to complete the task of Congressional Redistricting, every ten years, following the national census. The House and Senate Redistricting Committees have been working hard on this task for many months, which has been made more difficult due to the fact that Missouri must reduce its Congressional Districts from nine to eight. The Missouri House has worked especially hard on completing and preparing a Congressional Map that meets all of the legal requirements and did pass a map out of the House with a large overwhelming and bipartisan vote many weeks ago. The Senate also passed a version of a map and then finally agreed to conference on the maps to come up with an alternative compromise map. The House has now also passed a compromise version of the map [SB68] but unfortunately, our State Senate has been unable to come to any agreement so the matter remains “on hold”. We will continue working on this very difficult and challenging issue as the Session quickly speeds towards its final days.

Attention: Scholarship Opportunity

The Women Legislators of Missouri sponsor scholarship awards for graduating high school senior women in Missouri. They will award nine $500 scholarships to women in the 2011 graduating class. One recipient from each congressional district will receive a scholarship award. If you are interested in applying for this scholarship award, the deadline is April 27, 2011. For an application, contact Denia Fields at denia{dot}fields{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov.

Washington, D.C., School Choice Program Restored and Expanded

From Washington, D.C.: After an aggressive, multi-year battle to save school choice in the nation’s capital, children in low-income D.C. families won a landmark victory this past week as national lawmakers officially reauthorized and expanded the highly successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. The passage of this historic budget deal restores and extends the school voucher program for DC metro schools and provides – over five years – $300 million for education in the District of Columbia. The agreement preserves the federal three-sector approach to education reform in the nation’s capital that has seen significant improvements in student attainment. This is true education reform for the most needy and most vulnerable children in our society.

Unemployment Benefits for Missouri’s Unemployed

The Missouri Senate finally passed a bill [HB163] that will allow Missouri to receive federal funding for extended unemployment benefits. Currently, the Missouri Department of Labor pays unemployment claims with tax money collected from Missouri Businesses. The department is responsible for the first 26 weeks of unemployment and then the federal government picks up the bill for the remaining 53 weeks. What the Senate passed allows the State of Missouri to use federal stimulus money for the funding of an additional 20 weeks of unemployment compensation. The bill would also reduce the number of weeks the Missouri Department of Labor would pay unemployment to 20 weeks; at which point an extension would be filed with the federal government for continued support if unemployment has continued. We, in the House of Representatives, are doing everything we can to pass common sense legislation which supports growth of the business community in Missouri. In this way, extensions of unemployment benefits become a non-issue. We must make it easier to do business in Missouri so economic growth occurs in Missouri and Missourians in need of work can find it.

Michelle Moore Needs Your Help

Michelle Moore is a great friend and colleague back in the St. Louis region. 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. This week I had the pleasure [at right] of being joined by Wildwood residents John and June Schroeder, Keith and Dory Barbero, Sandra Bitter, Joan and Jerry Bess, and Joyce Schnoes; as well as St. Louis City residents, Tom and Linda Whelan. 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

This week many of us are celebrating the high Holy Days of both Easter and Passover. These most holy days represent times of renewal and a welcome to Spring with flowers blooming and birds singing. This is the time to give thanks back for all that we have been given. Easter and Passover both represent a times of hope, thanksgiving and rebirth. During one of the most important weeks of the year, I wish for you all the best during this time of renewal and peace.

If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this 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 a great deal longer under the Capitol Dome, we want to encourage you to keep up with the flurry of legislative activity.

As the Session grows long indeed and we find ourselves here working at the Capitol on Good Friday, I can tell you I am most eager for the trip home this afternoon to spend a joyous and happy Easter weekend with Suzanne, Katie, Abby and the rest of my family. Happy Easter to you and yours as well! 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.

Torpey: District Day Visit, Fiscal Review Committee Recap

A Special Note

On Tuesday, we were more than happy to hold our First Annual District Day! We were very pleased with the turn out, and truly hope that everyone had a good time! I am looking forward to holding this event again, so if you were unable to attend, there will be another chance next year. A heartfelt thank you to those who braved the rainy weather to drive down to Jefferson City to see the House in action. Please remember that if you wish to come to Jefferson City, contact my office and we would love to meet with you and show you around the area.

2011 Legislative Session continues

Passes through the House this week:
  • HB 656, sponsored by Rep. Brandom, will change the laws regarding unsecured loans of $500 or less, commonly known as payday loans. This bill tries to strike a middle point between allowing responsible individuals access to payday loans, while trying to protect borrowers from predatory lending. Although this bill does not take huge strides towards payday loan reform, I believe that this is a small step in the direction we need to be heading in order to make true payday loan reform. This bill passed by a vote of 96-58, with myself voting in favor. This will now be sent to the Senate for further action.
  • HB 661, sponsored by Rep. Wells, will change the laws regarding debt adjusters. With the economy in its current bad state, debt adjusters can actually provide useful services to help people lower what they may owe; however, sometimes these adjusters take advantage of people. This bill makes it clear that debt relief agencies cannot charge people without lowering the debt they owe, and they cannot charge people without explaining the process to them. This bill passed 120-22, with myself voting in favor, and is now sent to the Senate for further action.
  • HB 1008, sponsored by Rep. Long, will allow the Highways and Transportation Commission to enter into infrastructure improvement agreements to reimburse funds advanced for the benefit of a county, political subdivision, or private entity. This bill simply allows MODOT to work together more efficiently through greater public-private partnerships. This bill passed 146-1, with myself voting in favor, and is now sent to the Senate.
  • HB 473, sponsored by Rep. Jones (63), will change the laws regarding charter schools and establishes the Missouri Charter Public School Commission. This bill passed and was sent to the Committee on Fiscal Review for further action (see below).
For more information on current legislation in the Missouri House of Representatives, please contact our office or visit the House website.


Elementary and Secondary Education met on Wednesday to hold a hearing on my bill regarding kindergarten education. HB 752 will change the laws regarding the compulsory school attendance of kindergarten students. Currently, once a student is enrolled in kindergarten or first grade, even though the student is below the compulsory school age of seven years, the student's parent or guardian is required to ensure the regular attendance of the student. However, any student below the compulsory school age may be withdrawn from the school's attendance rolls upon written request. This bill requires the request to be because of a transfer to another school, health reasons, or the parent's belief that the child's best interests are served by withdrawal after discussing educational options with school personnel.

Fiscal Review met on Thursday to hold executive session.
  • HB 473 (see above) was voted out of committee and sent back to the floor by a vote of 7-4, with myself voting in favor.
  • HB 579, sponsored by Rep. Frederick, will change the laws regarding health care. This bill was tabled by the committee until the next meeting.
  • HB 366, sponsored by Rep. Silvey, will authorize tax incentives for technology business facilities and for data storage centers and server farm facilities. This bill was also tabled until next week.
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

Every day, the actions in the House for the previous day are recorded in the House Journal. House Journal --An official chronological record of the actions taken and proceedings of the respective chambers. People are able to view the House Journals on-line, in order to follow the House's actions and representative's votes. You can access our journals by clicking here.

In Other News

Redistricting has been a huge topic on everyone's mind here in Jefferson City and back home. This week, the House and Senate have been going back and forth trying to find a compromise that we can send to Governor Nixon for approval. However, today (on Good Friday) the House reluctantly came back into session and passed the redistricting map [SB68] by a vote of 91-47, with the hopes that the Senate will take it up next week and then deliver it to the governor.

Dugger: Happy Easter

This is the time of year for family and friends to come together and appreciate the sacrifices that the Lord has made for mankind. Easter is a time of rebirth, and just like Jesus rose from the grave, the flowers and trees are being re-born and emerging from the ground. Looking around this time of year it is so easy to see all the wonders that the Lord has bestowed upon our beautiful planet.

It is my hope that this time of year you and your family can come together and eat, sing, pray, and love together. In these dark economic times simply coming together as a family or community, to lend a helping hand or simply being there for a neighbor, is not only a testament of one’s character, but also a true testament to the word of God.

May all your lives be blessed with the love of all that you come in contact with. Keep your head held high because just like the budding flower, the Lord will deliver us from these dark times, and reward His followers with the gift of life, and everlasting love.

"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?" -John 11:25-26

Happy Easter from MO State Representative Tony Dugger

Tilley: Bill Keeps Laws Made By Kiwis, Taliban Out Of Missouri's Courts

This week we continued to make great progress on common sense reforms for Missouri, some of the key proposals were:

HJR 5 – Constitutional Right to Hunt and Fish

The past several years have not been friendly to gamesman in our state. Federally, President Obama is talking about gun control, and nationwide, the price of guns and ammunition continue to sky-rocket in response.

Worse, groups like the Humane Society have stated that they want to end all sport hunting in the country:

“If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would.” -Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS, Associated Press

We are already battling what they have done in Proposition B, but it was just a test-case. HSUS often times follows up an initial effort with a broader more reaching effort to curtail hunting and fishing.

In other states it may start with an obscure style of hunting or fishing or a rare animal, but vague language and high priced attorneys then fight to expand or uphold what was already passed.

The constitutional amendment we passed makes it harder for liberal outside groups to tell us how we should appreciate our land, property, and heritage. Conservation and appreciation of the outdoors have been a hallmark in Missouri’s history with huge numbers of hunting and fishing advocates and we want to keep it that way.

HB 708 – American Law in American Courts

Unless you’re a lawyer, going to court is often bad. You may be getting sued, or suing someone or something terrible has happened and you face being fined or imprisoned. It’s a confusing and stressful time – under American laws.

Now imagine you go to court, and instead of using American law, the judge decides that he’s going to try your case under New Zealand law, or Brazilian law, or even a religious law.

Good luck. It’s hard enough for the average citizen to figure out what’s going on under American laws. Worse – courts across the country have begun to use these foreign laws in their cases, and if we don’t do something, this might become the norm instead of an exception.

That’s why we passed HB 708 – a measure to make sure that Missouri courts use Missouri and American law when they decide cases. They can still look at foreign laws that are the same as ours, but they can’t use a different remedy or outcome than would happen under our law.

It just makes sense. In a Missouri law, you should be subject to the laws of Missouri and of the United States. New Zealand, Brazilian, or Sharia law has no place here unless it’s the same as ours.

HB 661 – Debt Adjusters

With the economy as bad as it is right now, you have probably seen a lot of ads on TV promising to help people get out of debt. Sometimes these “debt” adjusters actually provide useful services, and help people lower what they owe. Unfortunately, sometimes these adjusters take advantage of people.

This bill helps formalize the process by which these companies operate. For example, right now, these companies might be able to start charging people for lowering their debts before they complete any service.

This bill makes it clear that debt relief agencies cannot charge people without lowering the debt they owe. It also makes it clear that they can’t charge people without explaining to them how they will repay their debts, and how long it will take.

We want to encourage debt repayment – it’s better than bankruptcy. That’s why creditors will often work with debt relief agencies; they know that if the person goes bankrupt, they will probably get nothing.

Unfortunately, some bad apples have been exploiting people who don’t know how or aren’t willing to declare bankruptcy by charging them a lot of money without giving them a repayment plan or reducing the amount of money they owe.

This bill makes it a crime to take advantage of people in hard times without lowering their debt or helping them create a repayment plan. We want it to be easier for people to repay their debts without going bankrupt, not harder.

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.

If you know of anyone who would like to receive my Capitol Reports electronically, please contact me with their e-mail address.

Happy Easter,

Steven Tilley

Dempsey: Missouri Senate Passes 2012 Budget

This week the Missouri Senate took up and passed a balanced budget for the next fiscal year that begins in July. Crafting an annual budget is the main duty given to the General Assembly by the Missouri Constitution. This year we are on track to work out differences with the Missouri House and send the $23 billion budget on to the governor well ahead of the constitutional deadline of May 6.

Passing a budget during lean economic times is always difficult. Just like the budgets of many Missouri families, our state budget has contracted over the past few years and we can no longer afford certain things that were once taken for granted. However, in spite of the current economic situation, we were able to pass a balanced budget without raising taxes. We were also able to protect top priorities such as education.

In fact, thanks to the leadership of Senate budget drafters, the Senate version of the budget secures even more funding than the governor's proposed budget for our students attending Missouri’s community colleges and universities. For instance, a seven percent proposed cut to higher education was reduced under the Senate plan to a cut of less than five percent – a difference to Missouri’s two- and four-year colleges and universities of $20 million.

Despite revenue shortfalls, we were also able to maintain the elementary and secondary school funding formula at its current level.

Unfortunately, when budget times are hard, the Legislature is sometimes called on to make difficult cuts. Along these lines, we are proposing to cut thousands of dollars from our own budgets. These reductions will come from funds used to support various staff positions and Joint Legislative Committee offices and come on top of a five percent reduction the Senate made in its budget last year.

As difficult as this year was, Legislators are bracing themselves for far more extensive cuts next year. Estimates are that next year’s budget will need to be reduced by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Our work on the current budget will resume next week as House and Senate conference committees meet to hammer out differences between versions passed in each Chamber. The bills will then move on to the governor for his signature.

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

Denison: More Bills Arriving On Governor's Desk

“There are people whom one appreciates immediately and forever. Even to know they are alive in the world is quite enough.” – Nancy Spain

Limiting Lawsuits Against Farmers (HB 209)

One piece of legislation that now awaits the governor’s signature would limit the damage awards in nuisance lawsuits against farmers. The legislation, which was approved by both the House and Senate, also would restrict the ability of an individual to sue multiple times for things such as the odor produced by a large hog farm.

In addition, the bill would require anyone who wants to file suit against a farm operation to own at least part of the affected land. In an instance where a farm is found to cause a temporary nuisance against another property owner, the owner could sue for damages based on the decline in the property’s fair market value. The bill also clarifies that if multiple lawsuits are filed against a farming operation for the same nuisance, it would be declared a permanent nuisance.

The motivating factor behind the passage of this bill is to protect farmers and farming operations from being forced out of business by an inordinate number of lawsuits. It is important to make it clear that the legislation does not take away anyone’s right to sue. Instead, it limits the ability of an individual to file the same lawsuit time and time again. We hope this change will give the folks in our agriculture industry a better opportunity to stay in business.

Omnibus Disabilities Bill (HB 555)

Another bill passed in recent weeks was hailed by its sponsor as “a historic and unprecedented advancement for the disabilities community in Missouri.” The legislation makes a number of important changes that would improve the quality of care for the many Missourians currently living with disabilities.

Some of the bill’s main features include comprehensive rehabilitation services for those suffering from traumatic brain injuries and coverage for medically necessary hearing aids under Missouri’s Medicaid program. Both changes would be subject to appropriations. The bill also would establish a state income tax check-off to contribute to the Developmental Disabilities Waiting List Equity Trust Fund. With approximately 5,000 Missourians currently on the waiting list, it is imperative that we develop new funding models to help provide disabled Missourians with the services they need.

Other provisions in the bill create would create new protections to safeguard the parental rights of individuals with disabilities; designate the month of October as Disability History and Awareness month in Missouri’s K through 12 public schools; put into statute Mental Health First Aid in Missouri; add a mental health practitioner to the 18 member MO HealthNet Oversight Committee; and add individuals with mental disabilities, especially autism, to the list of people whose service dogs must be allowed access to public places. The bill also would require all new parking signs related to disabled parking to contain the words “Accessible Parking” and not contain “Handicapped” or “Handicap Parking.” In addition, it would remove all references to “mentally retarded” or “mental retardation” or “handicapped” in state law, changing them to “developmentally disabled,” “developmental disability” or “disabled.”

By passing this bill we hope to make it clear that we view our must vulnerable Missourians as our most valuable citizens. We want to make certain that individuals with disabilities are among those who receive the first portions of government assistance.

Federal Education Funding (HB 15)

A bill we passed out of the House in February finally received approval in the Senate this week. The legislation would allocate $189 million in federal funding for our system of education. Under the plan that now awaits the governor’s signature, schools will receive approximately $37 million of that money this school year. The funding will be used to bridge the gap created by shortfalls in gaming and cigarette taxes. The remainder of the funding will be distributed to schools next year under the state's education funding formula.

Protecting High School Athletes (HB 300)

Another bill approved by the House in recent weeks is designed to protect high school athletes who suffer head injuries. The bill would require high school athletes to be removed from games if they appear to have a concussion or brain injury. Specifically, it would require that players remain out of competition at least 24 hours and get clearance from a licensed medical professional before they return to play. The bottom line is that we don’t want our young people risking their future by being sent back into games when they’re injured. We think this legislation will provide some much-needed protections to ensure kids aren’t put in dangerous situations.

Paycheck Protection (HB 466)

A bill we passed this week would empower union members to have a political position different from that of their union. The bill would require unions to obtain written consent from members in order to deduct money from their paychecks for political purposes. It’s a simple change but one that would give union members the ability to choose whether their dues are used to support certain political agendas. The bill needs another vote in the House before it moves to the Senate where similar legislation has already been approved.


On Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 4th Grade students from New Covenant Academy, Springfield, visited the Capitol. While at the Capitol, the students also visited with the Greene County legislators.

Pictured: Representative Eric Burlison, Representative Thomas Long, 4th Grade Students, Teachers: Ms. Sarah Broden, Ms. Eden Cruz, Representative Shane Schoeller, Representative Charlie Denison

On Wednesday, April 20, 2011, Stuart Scott, DDS, and Nathan Bauer, DDS, were at the Capitol visiting with legislators concerning pending legislation. Dr. Scott and Dr. Bauer are members of the Missouri Dental Association.

Pictured left to right: Dr. Stuart Scott, Representative Denison, Dr. Nathan Bauer

On Thursday, April 21, 2011, Jo Thompson, Springfield, stopped by my office to discuss Tobacco Free Missouri, a statewide tobacco control coalition consisting of concerned citizens, organizations, and local coalitions. I appreciated her visit and the information she provided.

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.

21 April 2011

Stouffer: MoDOT Considering Major Restructuring Plans

The state agency responsible for maintaining our roads and bridges is preparing for significant change. While no official report has been published or approved, the director of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has been working on a plan to restructure one of the state’s largest departments. The details are still forthcoming.

Transportation is personal to all of us. We rely on our state’s system to safely move people, goods and services as efficiently as possible. Today’s economic reality is that we must require government to do more with less. In 2011, funding for transportation in Missouri is half of what it once was – the agency’s construction program that averaged $1.2 billion is now about $600 million a year.

To put more money on our roads, MoDOT must become more efficient. In addition, federal funding often follows what the state agency puts into roads, but not administration.

This means MoDOT must reboot a workforce from design-and-build to mostly maintenance. In the meantime, the organization plans to reduce payroll by about 400 employees and restructure its delivery system to continue to meet the state’s needs and honor taxpayers. Most of this will be through attrition, but the reality is this: with fewer funds, the organization must reduce equipment, facilities and payroll to make ends meet.

MoDOT was last reorganized in the 1930s, when today’s 10 districts were established. The engineers in charge of each region are now housed in St. Joseph, Macon, Hannibal, Lee’s Summit, Jefferson City, Chesterfield, Joplin, Springfield, Willow Springs and Sikeston. The statewide organization is headquartered in Jefferson City. Restructuring plans may include reducing district offices to create a more regional approach.

In rural areas, we often call MoDOT’s maintenance sheds “barns.” This is with good reason. When the current maintenance shed maps were established in the 1920s, they were designed to allow one team of mules to pull a plow to one end of the area and back in one day’s time. Today’s technologies have provided much quicker response times to transportation needs, even though the state is maintaining many more miles of roads.

A few years ago, MoDOT closed a shed in Waverly. Local folks were furious and I was, too. We set a course of action that we would wait for the winter to prove that the closure reduced services, including snow removal. What we learned was the employees at Waverly were moved to Concordia, where today’s larger and more modern equipment could service the expanded area. We never heard from constituents that winter, and while I assume snow removal over this winter was as rough there as elsewhere, I must assume services have been consistent throughout the area.

I realize government needs a “right-sizing” and hope this organization, like others, can do more with less as we continue to reduce the size of government to appropriate levels. I also know transportation and these jobs are personal to my constituents. I am anxiously awaiting any restructuring plans MoDOT has to offer.

Rupp: Fairly Representing the People of Missouri

We are only weeks away from the last day of the First Regular Session of the 96th General Assembly, and two of my biggest priorities are to focus on redistricting and passing a fair budget for Missouri. As chair of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting, and vice-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have clear responsibilities to represent the citizens of Missouri in a just and accurate manner.

Last week, the Missouri Senate approved a congressional map that was drafted to accurately represent Missouri’s population, based on the results from the 23rd Decennial Census. This approved map was created by the House Special Standing Committee on Redistricting, and is listed under House Bill 193.

When House Bill 193 was brought to the Senate for debate, many senators opposed the legislation, and felt their districts would not be fairly represented in Congress. I offered my Senate substitute that altered the House map to better reflect the Senate map, which is listed under Senate Bill 264. The substitute addressed how Jefferson County would be divided. In the original House map, 100,000 residents in Jefferson County would be placed in the rural 8th Congressional District. My adopted substitute would only affect 42,000 residents in Jefferson County. The split of St. Charles County and the placement of some Southwest Missouri counties were also discussed. On April 13, the map passed in the Missouri Senate, with a vote of 22-11.

The Missouri House did not agree with the Senate’s alterations to the map and are requesting a conference committee to resolve the House and Senate differences regarding the map.

Recently, I met with some of my fellow lawmakers and several members of Congress to discuss the proposed map. I know some congressional members are displeased with the alteration of the districts they represent. It is important to remember, however, that we have to take the approach that we don’t represent the current members of Congress. We represent the people of Missouri. My priority throughout the entire redistricting process has been to listen to the people, to take their concerns into consideration, and to draft a map that would most accurately represent them.

My hope is to have the map finalized by the end of the week, after discussion throughout the next few days. If the map is not finalized, we have until the last day of session, May 13, to have a map sent to the governor. If the proposal is vetoed by the governor and the Legislature is unable to override it, congressional redistricting would be decided by the Missouri Supreme Court.

Also on my mind is Missouri’s budget. I’m happy to announce that the Appropriations Committee recently completed its draft of the state’s operating budget. The 13 House budget bills were taken up on the Senate floor for debate and approved. Now the House has to approve the changes made in each bill by the Senate or they will be sent to a conference committee, where various members will iron out any differences. As vice-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I plan to be present at the conference committee and serve as one of three senators that will help craft the final budget. The budget must be completed and sent to the governor no later than 6 p.m. on Friday, May 6.

It is my hope that FY 2012 will be a good year for Missouri. It’s estimated that FY 2012 will bring in $7.295 billion in net general revenue collections, which is an estimated 4 percent growth. In our current fiscal year (2011), we are seeing improvement as well. It was announced in Missouri’s March 2011 General Revenue Report that the 2011 fiscal year-to-date net general revenue collections increased 6.5 percent compared to 2010, from $4.68 billion last year to $4.98 billion this year.

It is my pleasure to serve on the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting and the Senate Appropriations Committee and represent you in matters of your government. I take my responsibilities very seriously, and it is my mission to improve your quality of life in our state.

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.

Nolte Welcomes Members of Turkish Parliament to Missouri State Capitol

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Members of the Missouri House of Representatives welcomed their legislative counterparts from Turkey to the state Capitol Wednesday. Rep. Jerry Nolte, R-Gladstone, who chairs the House International Trade and Job Creation Committee, was one of a handful of legislators who participated in extensive meetings with the members of the Turkish Parliament. Nolte said the meeting was beneficial to his efforts to help secure new trade partners for the state.

“If Missouri is going to fulfill its vast economic potential, we have to build on relations with trade partners from around the globe,” said Nolte. “Expanding our communication with a potential trade partner like Turkey can only mean positive things for our state. I’m excited to have this opportunity to develop a relationship that could have long-term beneficial results for our state.” In 2010 Missouri exported over $61 Million to Turkey.

Nolte participated in a meeting with Turkish Parliament members M. Salih Erdogan and Ismail Ozgun. Also in attendance were Ibrahim Tutar, an economist and deputy president of the Social Studies Association, and Aydin Danaci, executive director of the Niagra Foundation. Nolte said their meeting was both informative and productive.

Kraus: Senate Budget Proposal

Senate Completes Its Budget Review

The Senate has completed yet another step in the budget process by approving 13 budget bills, totaling $23.2 billion, for the next fiscal year. The bills include a $6 million net reduction in spending from the budget proposed by Gov. Jay Nixon in January. As we have pledged all along, I am happy to report that we did not raise taxes.

I voted against several budget bills because we are using close to $400 million in one-time federal funds that will not be available next year. Using one-time money for on-going budget items is irresponsible.

This year, education remained a top budget priority for the Senate. The Senate budget included several major increases from the plan proposed by both Gov. Nixon and the House. I was particularly interested in and happy that we were able to find funding for the following:
  • In the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, we increased funding for Early Childhood Special Education by over $9 million. Funding for the Parents As Teachers Program was increased over what was proposed by Gov. Nixon by over $3 million. There was a core reduction to the School Transportation appropriation of $35 million; however, the Senate added $20 million back compared to the proposed governor and House budgets
  • In the Department of Higher Education, we proposed moving $30 million of General Revenue funds slated for the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative to the Access MO Scholarship Program. We also increased funding for the A+ Schools Program by $7 million.
Overall, funding for our public schools remains flat from what it is this fiscal year. A cut of 4.8 percent is proposed for higher education; this is a smaller cut than the 7 percent cut proposed in the governor’s budget.

The next step for our state’s budget is that differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget bills will now be ironed out by legislators in conference committees. Negotiated versions must return to the House before obtaining Senate approval to advance to the governor. As required by the constitution, the budget must pass by 6 p.m. on Friday, May 6.

Rate Increase

The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) recently approved a 5.23 percent rate increase for Kansas City Power & Light. The PSC operates independently of the Legislature, so we do not have a say over its decisions. I know the increase will be hard on those with fixed incomes.

This week, I opposed a fee increase on your utility bill that would have gone to fund the Office of the Public Council. Opposing the fee was something I could do to stop additional costs to consumers.

Kelley: "Missouri Solution" Comes Four Weeks Before Session's End, Without Legislator Input

The ongoing effort to fix the more onerous provisions of Proposition B took a side road this week after SB113 was sent to Governor Nixon’s desk. The measure had narrowly passed the House after intense lobbying from both sides of the issue. Although the Director of Agriculture had been involved in the legislation from the beginning and testified on the bill in committee, the governor had been quiet on whether or not he supported SB113.

This week, without any legislators being involved, Governor Nixon called a meeting of various agriculture groups and animal rights organizations. He persuaded them, along with the Director of Agriculture, to sign an agreement which would change some aspects of SB113. For this agreement to become a reality, new legislation would need to be passed by both the House and Senate.

Therein lies the largest obstacle to this agreement Governor Nixon has dubbed the Missouri Solution. Under the best of conditions, passing a bill through the legislature is a lengthy process. This agreement, decided on with no input from legislators, was signed with only four weeks of the legislative session remaining. This issue does not fall into the category of ‘best of conditions’. From the beginning this has been very contentious as we sought to find a balance between honoring the integrity of what the voters passed and protecting the licensed, legitimate, and law abiding producers of our state.

If the canine producers and other commodity groups in our state are willing to accept the changes proposed by Governor Nixon, that is fine. However, since we are so close to the end of session, the chances of passing a second bill through both chambers would be a daunting task.

On Wednesday, a rally was held on the south lawn of the Capitol to show support for SB113 and urge Governor Nixon to sign it into law. By most estimates over one thousand people showed up to lend their support. Several agriculture commodity groups went together and provided hot dogs, chips, and drinks for those attending. A counter rally organized by the Humane Society of the United States only drew a few dozen attendees.

For the new compromise to work, Governor Nixon needs to sign SB113 now so we can turn our attention to the new language. The sooner we know his intentions of signing or not, the quicker we can work on getting the new language through the legislature.

Until my next update,

Mike Kelley

Nance: Survey Results,

“Elections should be held on April 16th- the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders.” –Thomas Sowell


I have compiled the results from the survey you received earlier this year. I want to thank the almost one thousand constituents who took the time to respond.

Of 1000 respondents, 62% were in favor of supporting a minimum salary of approximately $30,000 for new teachers.

Protecting teachers from liability when they follow school board policies was supported by 82% of the respondents.

Using state money for children in failing districts to move into a successful district only received 35% support.

On supporting large businesses with incentives, only 56% agreed. When it came to giving small businesses the same incentive, 84% were in favor. When it came to lowering tax burden on all businesses instead of just large, 70% answered yes.

Reviewing tax credits regularly was supported by 91% of respondents.

The tax structure that Missouri should have was evenly spread at 29%-30% between the progressive, flat tax, and consumption tax.

Tax deductions for healthcare costs received 85% approval.

Photo ID to vote has also been a hot topic, was supported by 67% of respondents.

More than 80% supported term limits on all Missouri elected officials including state-wide offices.

On transportation, 35% of my constituents support toll roads, 13% want an increase in fuel tax, 5% want a sales tax and 19% want no increase in taxes.


HB 28, which would establish the Abortion-inducing Drugs Safety Act which prohibits a non-physician from prescribing an abortion-inducing drug and specifies that a pharmacy cannot be required to be connected with the drug.

HB 458, which would establish the Missouri Farmland Trust Act to receive donated land to preserve it as farmland and provide beginning farmers an opportunity to farm through low and variable cost leases on the land.


Tim and Travis Luther visited the Capitol on Wednesday in support of the adjustments to Prop B. A rally was held on the Capitol steps.

Engler: Welcoming Pat Jones to the Capitol

This week, I was pleased to welcome Pat Jones to the Capitol for the dedication of the Pat Jones Pedestrian/Bicycle Lane. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Pat Jones is the widow of Ted Jones, the son of the founder of Edward Jones, who served as the managing partner of the firm from 1968 to 1980. Together, Pat and Ted donated millions to support the development of the Katy Trail, the longest rails-to-trails project in the country.

The biking and walking lane was added onto the side of the northbound U.S. 54/63 bridge over the Missouri River. Legislation passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor in 2010 officially designated the walking and biking lane as the Pat Jones Pedestrian/Bicycle Lane. It will connect the main part of Jefferson City with the Katy Trail State Park and will make it easier and safer for bicyclists to access Jefferson City from the Katy Trail. I also hosted representatives from Edward Jones offices throughout the state visiting the Capitol for the event.

In the Senate this week, we passed two supplemental spending bills. These bills fund state programs and services for the current fiscal year that were not passed or were not funded to the level of being sufficient for the whole year. House Bill 14 is the main supplemental bill and contains appropriations for a variety of programs.

House Bill 15 is an important bill for school funding because it allows the state to hold over $189.7 million in federal funding. This funding is available to schools through the Federal Education Jobs Fund and will make it possible to fund our K-12 classrooms at the same level as last year. While some lawmakers have expressed concerns with accepting these federal funds, I feel strongly that Missouri must accept the federal dollars or lose out to other states. Both supplemental bills were approved by both the House and Senate and now await the governor’s signature.

The Senate also gave initial approval to House Bills 1-13, the core budget for the 2012 fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2011. If the House does not accept the Senate’s changes to the bills, they will go to a conference committee. The bills will then need final approval from both chambers before the budget deadline, which is May 6 this year.

Another interesting piece of legislation that was approved this week was Senate Joint Resolution 12. The resolution would, with the approval of the voters, increase term limits from eight years to 16 years total in any one chamber of the General Assembly. If approved, the measure would go into effect in 2022. I am for term limits, but I think the term limits in place now hurt the legislative process. As it is right now, you spend four years learning the process and then have only four years to accomplish your goals in the Legislature. The unintended effect is rushed legislation. This resolution would be a step in the right direction for our state.

Lichtenegger: "Do Not Offer" State Registry, Payroll Deductions For Political Action

This week’s survey question: Should Missouri lower the overall tax burden on all Missouri businesses instead of offering incentives to large corporations? Call 1-573-751-6662 or email your response to my assistant who will track and file all responses: Survey Response

The following list represents a few of the most recent House legislative activities:
  • HB 831 which establishes the Do-Not-Offer Statewide Registry Act, has been referred to the Professional Registration & Licensing Committee. It requires the Attorney General to create rules and regulations governing the establishment of a do-not-offer statewide registry database –that is, a list of addresses, post office boxes, or other locations of mail delivery of Missouri residents, 70 years of age or older, who object to receiving direct mail marketing. The Attorney General is encouraged to quarterly check the listing of Missouri citizens who are on the national no-direct mail marketing list and add those names to the state database.
  • HB 163 has been approved by Governor Nixon. It changes the laws regarding unemployment compensation and makes Missouri eligible to receive extended federal unemployment benefit funds.
  • HB 167 was reported to the Senate. It requires Missouri driver's license examinations to only be administered in English so that the applicant can demonstrate his or her ability to sufficiently understand highway traffic signs and safety warnings. The Director of the Department of Revenue cannot supply or permit the use of language interpreters, except sign language interpreters, in connection with the required written and driving tests.
  • HB 466 concerning payroll deductions for campaign contributions has passed out of both the Committee on Workforce Development and Safety and out of the Rules committee. So it could be placed on the House Calendar for passage. This bill allows an employer or labor organization to obtain political contributions through a payroll deduction only if the employee or member affirmatively consents to the contribution in writing.

    Proponents of the bill say it allows union members to choose whether or not the union dues deducted from their paychecks go to political campaigns. The bill empowers Missouri workers by giving them a choice. Organizations testifying for the bill were Missouri Right to Work; Associated Builders and Contractors; Home Builders Association of Springfield; Adam Smith Foundation; Associated Industries of Missouri; National Federation of Independent Business; and Missouri Grocers’ Association.

    Opponents say that currently a worker must consent prior to his or her union dues being allocated to political campaigns. The bill merely makes it more difficult for a worker to participate because it requires an annual renewal of the consent from each worker. Groups testifying against the bill were Missouri AFL-CIO; United Steelworkers District 11; AFT Missouri; Missouri National Education Association; Adam McBride, Eastern and Western Missouri Laborers District Councils; and Carpenters’ District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity.
STATE –WIDE GOOD NEWS: Initial unemployment claims from mass layoffs in Missouri declined by 78 percent in February, exceeding the national rate drop of 65 percent. These claims, which cover single employer layoffs of 50 or more workers, are tracked by the U.S. Department of Labor and represent one key monthly indicator economists follow. Read more...

Constituent Corner

Immaculate Conception Catholic School 8th graders along with Father John Harth and teacher Laura Bray (to my right - top of picture) and several parents toured the Capitol and several sites in Jefferson City.

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

Sater: Rally For Animal Agriculture

Yesterday afternoon around 4pm the House stood in recess and many of us went outside to attend a rally. The rally was sponsored by every farm and agricultural organization in Missouri. There were a couple of speakers, a veterinarian representing the Veterinarians Association, Senator Munzlinger who chairs the Agriculture Committee, and the Farm Bureau president. It was a celebration of Governor Nixon's commitment to sign into law the bill [SB113] that modifies what Proposition B or the "puppy mill" law did. Potentially Prop B could have run all dog breeders, some 10,000 people, out of business or out of state. The reason for the wide support amongst the agriculture community is there are groups in this country whose main goal is to shut down all forms of animal agriculture.  The House, Senate and now the Governor think that the new legislation improves Prop B.  The legislation is reasonable and goes after the bad dog breeders, insures the profitability of the good dog breeders while protecting the animal agriculture community.

We had a good floor debate on a few issues this week. One bill [HB320] had to do with prevailing wage requirements for government or public construction. This bill was about renovation of existing school buildings and allowing the renovation not be tied to prevailing wage. This will save taxpayers of school districts many dollars in our area because we will not have to pay contractors a wage that a contractor in St. Louis receives. It would be bid out to the lowest quality contractor.

Another bill we discussed [HB492] was the requirement that unions who deduct monies from a worker's salary for the purpose of funding the organizations political action committee.  Yearly the union must have permission from the worker to continue deducting money for this purpose. There are bills from the Senate on the House calendar and a few House bills on the Senate calendar. I have three bills that have passed out of the House and are sitting in limbo in the Senate. I am trying to attach some of my bills to some Senate bills in an effort to get this legislation passed.

Unfortunately yesterday afternoon the legislature came to a standstill because of congressional redistricting. Every 10 years after the census is taken, and if there is a major change in population, the congressional districts are redrawn. Since Missouri did not keep up with the rest of the nation in population growth we will be losing one congressional seat.  Missouri will have eight seats instead of nine.  It is up to the House and Senate to draw the lines for the new districts. Each side has drawn up their respective maps.  We don't like the Senate map and they don't like the House map.  As of this time we have a "conference committee" made up of members from both sides who are trying to work things out.  We have to come to an agreement and have the bill on the Governor's desk by tomorrow.  He has the choice of approving or vetoing the bill.  If he vetoes the bill it comes back to us for an override vote.  It's a mess, but if we don't get this settled the courts will take over and do it for us. As of right now, we are deadlocked, but hopefully this weekend, there will be a resolution.

That is all for now. Contact me anytime.

Sater: Missouri officials warn of scams


Scammers in Missouri are trying a worn old con and a couple of fairly unusual ones.

The old con involves sending letters to people with mortgages saying that their lender has changed, and directing them to send their checks to the scammer.

The Missouri Division of Finance, the state's bank regulators, reports that other fraudsters are trying to interest people in a non-existent class action law suit.

Meanwhile, a department investigator found himself being conned after he posed as a borrower seeking an on-line payday loan.  He was then contacted by a collector claiming he was behind on payments and demanding money on a loan that was never received.

Homeowners should know that scammers have access to documents including their property deed, the name of their lender and the amount borrowed, said Rich Weaver, Missouri commissioner of finance.

"This can attract con artists, so Missourians should be highly suspicious of any solicitation, debt collection call or other contact that comes from someone other than their lender," he said.

20 April 2011

Schaefer and Mayer: Senate Advances $23 Billion State Operating Budget

Education is Priority with Increases for K-12 Busing, Higher Education

JEFFERSON CITY - Approving funding to run critical functions of state government without a tax increase, the Missouri Senate today advanced thirteen budget bills totaling $23.2 billion for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The bills include a $6 million net reduction in spending from the budget proposed by Gov. Jay Nixon in January. The Senate also prioritized education with increases for K-12 busing and the budget for higher education colleges and universities.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, handled the budget bills in the Senate and initiated the chamber's effort to secure the increases for education after the Senate Appropriations Committee trimmed other sections of the budget by more than $50 million in the last month.

The Senate's actions lessen a 7 percent cut to higher education by adopting a $20 million increase for Missouri's two and four-year colleges and universities and another increase of $20 million for Missouri's K-12 transportation line item.

"By lessening that 7 percent cut to only 4.8 percent, we allow our colleges and universities to find and pass on real savings to out-of-pocket expenses students would have incurred," said Schaefer. "By also working to help shore up funding for K-12 transportation, we help prevent local schools from having to raid funding for our classrooms or other dollars directed to education."

Of the $20 million increase for higher education, a funding formula determines that $16.8 million would go to four-year institutions, $3.1 million would go to two-year colleges, with the remaining $108,931 to go to Linn State Technical College. The $20 million increase for K-12 busing restores nearly half of the governor's reduction adopted by the House. With the increase, the funding for public school transportation would total $120 million.

The Senate also voted to maintain the school funding formula at its current level..The chamber voted Monday to accept an additional $189 million in federal funding to go toward maintaining K-12 funding in FY2013.

Senate Leader Robert N. Mayer. R-Dexter, commended Schaefer for his leadership on the budget.

"Education is a top priority in the Senate and education leaders told us that they would like us to keep their core funding intact," said Mayer. "Sen. Schaefer listened and not only protected our students in our K-12 classrooms, but prioritized education by finding even more funding - where the governor could not - for school transportation and our students attending Missouri's community colleges and universities."

Differences in the House and Senate versions of the budget bills will now be ironed out by lawmakers in conference committees. Negotiated versions must return to the House before gaining Senate approval to advance to the governor. The budget must pass by 6 p.m., Friday, May 6, as required by the constitution.

19 April 2011

Mayer: Lawmakers and Agriculture Community Call on Governor to Sign Senate Bill 133 & 95 Into Law

Bill Targets Unlicensed Dog Breeders in Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY – The governor's signature is all that stands in the way of reforming Missouri's dog breeding industry while protecting it as a viable profession for Missourians, said more than 65 lawmakers and 10 agriculture community representatives today in a letter sent to the governor. The letter called on Gov. Nixon to sign Senate Bill 113 & 95 into law. The bill would create a new crime targeting unlicensed dog breeders, as well as strengthen guidelines and increase the number of inspections of licensed dog breeders in Missouri. Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, sponsored the measure and said he is thankful the governor has chosen to stand with Missouri's farmers and agriculture interests.

"This bill still represents the best hope to repair the damage Proposition B has done to the dog breeding industry and Missouri agriculture," said Parson. "If SB 113 & 95 is vetoed, the agriculture community in Missouri will have taken a serious setback, and our efforts to pass new legislation would be heavily compromised."

Parson said the governor's signature is paramount in developing goodwill with lawmakers for them to advance his compromise language so late in the legislative session. The governor announced Monday a compromise he crafted involving language included in Proposition B passed by voters last year. The governor's compromise language is currently not filed in any legislation before the General Assembly and would begin the legislative process with less than four weeks left in the current session that ends May 13.

Parson, 15 senators, 55 representatives and 10 organizations representing agricultural interests signed the letter dated Tuesday, April 19 and delivered to the governor that same day.

Parson said Senate Bill 113 & 95 keeps the heart of the proposition Missouri voters adopted by strengthening provisions and inspections of licensed dog breeders and cracking down on unlicensed breeders. It is estimated there are more than 1,500 unlicensed breeding facilities in Missouri.

"We all want puppies and dogs to be bred and raised under healthy and safe conditions," said Parson. "That is why we have created a new crime and funding mechanism to hire more inspectors to go after and shut down unlicensed breeders in our state. We also build on the will of the people by making sure licensed breeders must follow common-sense guidelines to protect the dogs' health and well-being."

Senate Leader Robert N. Mayer, R-Dexter, said the bill has been delivered to the governor.

"The governor's involvement would have been helpful had it been earlier," said Mayer. "By announcing a compromise after a bill has already passed the General Assembly, it is important he show leadership and sign Senate Bill 113 & 95 before the compromise language can move forward in good faith."