Thoughts and prayers go out to our neighbors who are suffering from the tornadoes and flooding in the most recent episodes of severe weather. Many of you have stepped forward to lend a hand and offer support in this time of need. Actions speak volumes.
In our State Capitol, issues including Congressional redistricting, puppy mills and charter schools have made their ways center stage.
Many of you have been in contact. Proposition B, the puppy mill legislation, has generated more interest and contact from you than any other issue this year. The legislative status is described in an article below.
Responses to the legislative survey you received are still pouring in, and we continue to tally the results. As we move quickly to the end of session and toward legislation that is "Truly Agreed and Finally Passed," I remain committed to hearing your suggestions and concerns, and representing you to the best of my abilities in your State House.
Thank you again for allowing me to serve.
After months of discussion, a deadlock between the House and the Senate was broken and a congressional redistricting bill, strongly favoring Republicans, was sent to Governor Jay Nixon.
House Bill 193 passed 96-55 in the House and 27-7 in the Senate. The House suspended its rules in an attempt to pass this legislation quickly. Passage by April 27 was critical to Republicans because it ensures that, even if the Governor vetoes the bill, the legislature will still be in session to try to overturn the veto.
As many of you know, Missouri will lose a congressional seat in January 2013 as a result of the 2010 Census numbers, lowering our Congressional representation from 9 to 8.
In a state that has historically been politically balanced, HB 193 creates a map with six safely Republican districts and two safely Democratic districts.
Missouri Democrats believe that this map does not meet the standards of contiguous and compact by unnecessarily dividing some counties and adding some rural areas to a Kansas City district. Because of the diverse interests of districts as proposed, fair representation to rural versus urban versus suburban areas of the state would not be achieved.
In this tough partisan battle, Democrats are calling for Governor Nixon to veto this legislation and allow the courts to determine the district boundary lines. Democrats are hopeful that a new map will minimally include 3 Democratic seats, and therefore 5 Republican seats.
A Canine Compromise?
The repeal of Proposition B, the puppy mill legislation, has garnered more interest from our district than any other issue this year. Thank you to those of you who have made your position on this issue known.
Proposition B was passed by Missouri voters in November 2010, was repealed by Senate Bill 113, which the Governor signed into law.
The Governor signed this legislation with the understanding that Senate Bill 161, would be passed. This compromise bill would tighten protections for our canine friends, but was still not as protective as the original legislation passed by Missouri voters: Prop B.
I could not justify supporting either of these repeals of your votes. I voted to leave Prop B intact.
Additionally, I voted against the passage of an "emergency clause" which makes the repeal go into effect immediately. It essentially strips voters of the chance to appeal this change through a referendum.
Both the repeal and emergency clause passed, but I continue to stand behind the vote you took in November. I
Showing Students Their Show-Me State Capitol
I was pleased to welcome 75 students and 22 parents and teachers from Bellerive Elementary School. These fourth graders, led by teacher Julie Otey, toured the Capitol and Supreme Court, got a firsthand look at the original Jefferson Landing site, and were introduced to the House during session. It is always a privilege to meet the bright young minds of tomorrow!
Recent Legislation:Honoring a Fallen Trooper;
Sergeant Schuengel's mother, pictured here, and sister visited the Capitol to support HB 518, which establishes a part of Highway 64/40 be named in his honor. Private donations cover all costs.
HB 518: Honoring Sergeant Joseph SchuengelI presented House Bill 518, a memorial highway naming bill, to the House committee on Transportation on March 29. HB 518 honors Missouri Highway Patrol Sergeant Joseph Schuengel, who was killed in the line of duty in St. Louis County in October 2010. While the bill has not been passed out of committee, It looks as if it may move forward as part of a larger transportation bill. There has been an outpouring of support and respect for the family of Trooper Schuengel and I hope to see that reflected in legislation these final two weeks of session.
I had the privilege of introducing Sergeant Schuengel's mother, Georgiana Schuengel, and his sister, Adrianne Miller, to the members of the House of Representatives. Missouri Highway Patrol Lieutenant Bob Wolf and Corporal Jeff Myers (not pictured) were also on hand to support HB 518.
Conservation Day at the Capitol
Steve O'Rourke and his daughter, Katie visited the Capitol for Conservation Lobby Day. Steve's group focused its efforts on speaking to Representatives and Senators about Renewable Energy initiatives, including the geographic sourcing of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) and expanding interconnection standards.
Green Tip of the WeekBy Liz Augustine, Legislative Intern
The amount of paper used in regular mailings that we rarely look at is tremendous. To cut down on this paper usage, get yourself off the junk mail list. It saves the environment and gives you less of a headache when you check your mailbox! Consider switching to online magazine and newspaper subscriptions, most of which provide full coverage with little or no cost.
Visit OptOutPreScreen.com to add your name to the Do Not Mail list at the Direct Marketing Agency, which provides lists to credit card, insurance, mortgage and other companies that solicit by mail.
These tips and many more can be found at, http://www.divinecaroline.com/22355/28177-fifty-green-tips-earth-day/2