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

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

02 June 2011

Denison: Disaster Relief Efforts, Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure, Interim Hours

“Talents are best nurtured in solitude. Character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Disaster Relief Efforts

Our state has been hit hard in recent weeks with flooding in Southeast Missouri and then tornadoes in both the Sedalia area and Joplin. It has been a trying time for the many families who have been displaced from their homes and for those who have lost loved ones to the ferocious weather. But through it all, the people of this great state have shown their resilience in the wake of tragedy and their compassion as so many have come together to provide support to those in need. In fact, we’ve seen so many Missourians offer their support to the survivors of the Joplin tornado that the recovery effort has been overwhelmed by volunteers and donations. It’s a great reminder of the kind of people we have here in the Show Me State – thoughtful and compassionate folks who care about their neighbors and are willing to lend a hand when it’s needed.

Because the Joplin relief effort has been inundated with donations and volunteers, officials are now doing their best to coordinate the effort to ensure the process moves forward with the utmost efficiency. My colleagues who represent the Joplin area are now urging Missourians to utilize a new website to find resources and help those affected by the tornado. The website is a resource for people affected by the storm and for those who wish to help. Those looking for ways to contribute to the ongoing efforts in Joplin can go to the website and get connected with verified agencies. These agencies and resources are screened and verified. is endorsed by the City of Joplin, Joplin Schools, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way 2-1-1.

For anyone who wants to help, I encourage you to visit the site and investigate ways you can donate or volunteer to assist in the rebuilding effort.

Union Pacific Railroad’s Great Excursion Adventure

Union Pacific’s legendary No. 844 steam locomotive is making a goodwill tour which started in Kansas City, Missouri, heading east through Jefferson City and St. Louis before turning south en route to Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff and North Little Rock, Arkansas. When diesel locomotives took over pulling passenger trains, No. 844 was placed in freight service in Nebraska between 1957 and 1959. It was saved from being scrapped in 1960 and held for special service. This engine has run hundreds of thousands of miles as Union Pacific’s ambassador of goodwill.

Legislators and a guest were invited on this tour. This was an once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I was very honored to ride as a guest from Jefferson City to Washington, Missouri. My wife Daryl accompanied me on the tour.

Pictured left to right: Daryl Denison, Rep. Charlie Denison, Rep. Darrell Pollock, Rep. Steve Cookson, Mary Scruggs (Assn. of MO Electric Cooperatives), Rep. Bart Korman, Elaine Meller

Whistle stop in Washington, Missouri

Interim Office Hours

Due to cutbacks, and in an effort to save the state money, my office has elected to reduce office hours during interim. Effective June 1, 2011, my office will be staffed Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Normal schedule will resume December 1, 2011. If you need to call me at home, my number is 417-887-3353.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Best wishes.

Tim Jones: Tragedy in Joplin, Remembering Our Veterans, Session Accomplishments

Warm, humid, stormy days have led into cool evenings as many of us across the State have been bombarded with a cacophony of sound produced by the “13 year” cicadas. But these bizarre creatures and their “interesting” noise will soon cease as they end their short little circle of life and do not reappear again until the year 2024. The Midwestern summer has descended gently upon us as we have all returned to families, careers and summer chores back home…

Tragedy in Joplin

The tornado that struck Joplin on Sunday, May 22 was the deadliest in the United States in over 60 years. Over 100 people were killed and 1,000 injured. The city of Joplin was left in utter devastation. Representatives Bill White, Charlie Davis, Bill Lant, Bill Reiboldt, Tom Flanigan, Mike Kelley and Senator Ron Richards all reside in and around this area of the State but, thankfully, they and their loved ones are safe. They are working through serving constituents, taking care of family needs and assisting in all means possible. If you would like to make a donation to the American Red Cross’ Disaster Relief, visit their online donation page at and enter the zip code for Joplin, 64801. If you wish to donate blood, please contact the Red Cross location in your area at I have been told that they and their constituents have felt your thoughts and prayers and these men all want to thank you for your compassion, your contributions and your willingness to help.

Rebuilding Joplin for the Future

A Bright Futures team from Joplin has launched a website called This website is a comprehensive resource for people affected by the storm AND for those who wish to help. If you are able to help, please consider going to the website and get connected with verified agencies. Also, please help us spread the word that is the primary website for sending help to Joplin. It is by Joplin, for Joplin. These agencies and resources are screened and verified. is endorsed by the City of Joplin, Joplin Schools, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way 2-1-1., an initiative launched by Bright Futures, will adjust to the changing needs of community relief efforts. Joplin Schools created Bright Futures as a grass roots, community based program that creates partnerships and utilizes community resources for the common goal of helping our kids and strengthening our families and community. In the wake of the destruction, Bright Futures is adapting a successful program to meet the needs of those impacted by the tornado. Together we can rebuild Joplin. A local contact person with is Garen McMillian 417-483-5136. We are all so proud of the courageous people of the great State of Missouri for pulling together and demonstrating what is best about our nature as human beings! May God bless and remember the Joplin residents in your prayers…

“Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage you cannot practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” – Maya Angelou

Remembering our Veterans

I was given the distinct honor of paying tribute to our Veterans at the Eureka VFW Post 5468 Annual Memorial Day Event. We must remember those who serve and have served their country as well as our fallen heroes. Here is a link, prepared by the VFW, with more information about the event, including photographs:

A good family friend, Marine Corporal Riley Baker from Eureka, was killed in action at the age of 22. He sacrificed his life during his second tour of duty fighting in defense of his nation in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was loved, and he will be missed…every day. Thanks to his service and commitment, we will never forget his actions or the actions of his fellow soldiers.

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, but we must never lose focus of the true meaning of Memorial Day. It is not about beaches, picnics or auto races, it is a day to remember the brave American men and women who fight for our freedom in all corners of the world. It is important that all veterans, their families and all Americans reflect, remember and give thanks to our many heroes. We owe them no less. God bless our veterans, our fallen and God Bless America!

Accomplishments of the 2011 Legislative Session

Following are just a few of the many Republican-led accomplishments of the 2011 Legislative Session:
  • Balancing the budget without a tax increase: This budget, which makes educating Missouri’s children a priority, slashed budgets for state departments and elected officials, reduced the salaries of high-level public employees and eliminated funding for unnecessary employees such as the Governor’s personal chef.
  • Strengthening the business climate: The General Assembly cut taxes, reduced costs and increased regulatory certainty for Missouri’s job creators so they can invest and thrive.
  • Securing our elections: We passed legislation to secure our elections by allowing Missourians to vote on a constitutional amendment requiring photo identification for voters. One of our most sacred fundamental rights deserves this level of protection.
  • Drug testing for welfare recipients: This legislation requires applicants and recipients of certain welfare programs to be drug tested. Your tax dollars should go to assist the neediest among us, not to purchase illegal substances that only perpetuate problems and ruin lives. Your Legislature continues to offer not a hand out, but a hand up.
  • Protecting life by ending late-term abortions: By an overwhelming, veto-proof majority, the General Assembly passed legislation banning elective late-term abortions. I am very pleased to report that I was the chief sponsor of this bill.
  • Second Amendment Rights: The General Assembly lowered the age necessary to obtain a concealed carry permit from 23-21. Prior to this legislation, Missouri’s age limit was one of the highest in the nation. We continue to work hard to protect your Second Amendment rights.
These legislative initiatives have been sent to Governor Nixon and await his approval and signature in order to become effective.

Visiting the Capitol

At left: It was my pleasure to meet Herman Cain at the Capitol on April 12.

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

Personal News & Notes

My youngest daughter, Abigail, turned 2 on May 20th and we had a lovely family celebration in her honor. On May 25th, I turned 40 and entered yet another new decade of life. And on June 15, our oldest daughter, Katie, turns 6 and prepares to enter First Grade in the Fall! All of that is hard to imagine. Life is indeed all about the journey, and I am ever grateful to my parents, Bill and JoAnn for raising me in a very loving, spiritual family environment. I also want to thank my patient, incredibly caring and beautiful wife, Suzanne, for her constant love and support. I look forward to the years ahead and raising our daughters, Katie and Abby with all the challenges and joy that life brings forth!

Thank you for reading this Interim Report. If you happen to see me in and around the District this summer, please feel free to introduce yourself and say hello! If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this Interim Capitol Report, please click the “Capitol Report Signup” button on my member home page at and enter the appropriate information to receive the Capitol Report.

Finally, if we can ever be of any assistance to you at your State Capitol during the coming months even while we are in the Interim Session, please 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.

Dempsey: General Assembly Passes Measures Protecting Victims of Crime

As legislators, we are entrusted with a solemn duty to uphold the sacred freedoms guaranteed to all Missourians. The opening paragraphs of our State Constitution proclaim that " . . . all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness . . . [and] that all persons are created equal and are entitled to equal rights and opportunity under the law."

It goes on to say that giving ". . . security to these things is the principal office of government, and that when government does not confer this security, it fails in its chief design."

Sadly, for some of our citizens (often women and children), these fundamental liberties are threatened by unscrupulous individuals who target the vulnerable. I am pleased to report that during the recently completed Legislative session, lawmakers responded and sent several measures designed to protect these citizens to the governor for his signature.

Among these was a bill to crack down on the scourge of human trafficking. Under this legislation (SB 394), those convicted of trafficking their fellow human beings would face stiffer punishment and fines. We also updated the law to reflect the reality of how these criminals operate by including blackmail and coercion in the definition of what constitutes this crime. In addition, the legislation allows victims to recover significant financial damages from their captors in civil court.

Another important piece of legislation we passed was the “Amy Hester Student Protection Act.” Under current law, school districts are sometimes reluctant to share information regarding former employees for fear of lawsuits. As a result, teachers who engage in sexual abuse or misconduct with students may be allowed to relocate from one district to another, with the new school district unaware of the employee’s prior record.

The bill would legally protect school districts that share this information. It would also make them liable for damages if they dismiss an employee for sexual misconduct and then fail to disclose those reasons to a school district seeking to hire that individual.

Another proposal we sent on to the governor was a bill (SB 320) to protect victims of domestic violence. This legislation is a long overdue, comprehensive update of Missouri’s domestic violence laws. It irons out inconsistencies and errors in the old law that made it more cumbersome to enforce. It also streamlines the process for getting prompt orders of protection and gives judges greater flexibility in what they can include in such orders. In addition, the bill allows prior convictions in municipal court to be used to qualify a stalker for greater penalties in subsequent state court convictions.

I always appreciate hearing from you. If you have any questions about these or any other issues, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Lichtenegger: Update for Joplin

There were several MO legislators affected by the Joplin disaster, especially Rep. Bill White who lost his residence and business! And my heart goes out to Rep. Charlie Davis -who shares an office with me at the Capitol; he has many constituents whose lives will be forever changed.

“When one part of the body hurts, the whole body hurts.” Therefore, I will leave this Tuesday night and meet up with other MO House Representatives for in Joplin where we will assist in the clean-up efforts.

There are several foundations and organizations that are conducting relief efforts, but we have been directed to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, with its Joplin-Carthage area affiliate. They have established the Joplin Recovery Fund for donors interested in supporting mid- and long-term community redevelopment efforts to rebuild the city. Checks can be made out to: Community Foundation of the Ozarks and mailed to P.O. Box 8960, Springfield, MO 65801or go to the website above and donate online. Please note “Joplin Recovery Fund” on your check.

A complete list of tornado recovery information can be found on The City of Joplin website.

The following is a message from Southwest Missouri legislators whose constituents were affected by the tornado:

A Bright Futures team from Joplin has launched a website called This website is a comprehensive resource for people affected by the storm and for those who wish to help. If you are able to help, please consider going to the website and get connected with verified agencies. These agencies and resources are screened and verified. is endorsed by the City of Joplin, Joplin Schools, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way 211., an initiative launched by Bright Futures, will adjust to the changing needs of community relief efforts. Joplin Schools created Bright Futures as a grass roots, community based program that creates partnerships and utilizes community resources for the common goal of helping our kids and strengthening our families and community. In the wake of the destruction, Bright Futures is adapting a successful program to meet the needs of those impacted by the tornado.

A local contact person with is Garen McMillian 417-483-5136.

With all our thanks, Senator Ron Richard, Representative Tom Flanigan, Representative Charlie Davis, Representative Bill Lant, Representative Reiboldt

The latest word from Representative White’s office is: PLEASE – NO MORE CLOTHING! His office has received calls from charities requesting storage for clothing. Apparently, charities have been inundated with clothing and they have requested our help in getting the word out that clothing is NOT needed AT THIS TIME. Your help in spreading the word is appreciated.

The immediate need is for plastic storage containers. This need-notice came from the McCauley Catholic High School in Joplin who requested legislators notify others of their desperate need for plastic containers (tubs) for tornado victims to store what little they have salvaged from the rubble of their homes. Currently, they are using cardboard boxes but those become saturated and ruined as they sit on the ground. Of course, groups or individuals are welcome to drop off their donation of containers directly to the McCauley High School located at 930 Pearl Street in Joplin.

Rep. White’s office will collect plastic containers here in the Capitol (Room 406). For convenience, please call 573-751-3791 before delivery.

If you have collected non-clothing donations call Van Fisher in the office of Representative Bill White at (573) 751-3791 or (573) 225-6225. She will work with you to schedule delivery to one of these warehouses. If she is not available, please call Peggy Talken, Legislative Assistant to Rep. Sue Entlicher at (573) 751-1347.

The Red Cross is always in need of blood donations. The current blood supply that is now being used for the severely injured will need to be replaced. Please call the local Red Cross Chapter for more information.

Constituent Corner

Soon the labor force will be flooded with new graduates. That’s why it is always beneficial to scout out the best job market and employment outlooks -it also never hurts to plan ahead! The Missouri DED Career Guide has been updated and offers several pages of insightful information for graduates, but parents are going to want to take a peek too!

For those adults who just want to view the economy status for southeast Missouri using this website: SEMO Regional Profile and Missouri Economy for information regarding all regions of the state.

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

Hoskins: Storms Show State's Resilience, End Of Session Report

So far in 2011, Mother Nature has clearly been in charge in Missouri. Flooding on the Mississippi River, tornadoes in Joplin and Sedalia, and now more flooding along the Missouri River. The devastating blizzards of the winter seem so long ago.

Missouri is a state filled with resilient people. We have been there to help other people and now those people are helping us while we still work to help ourselves. I am without words in being able to express how proud I am of how our neighbors are helping neighbors.

There are many organizations and web sites available for you to help. We immediately think of the good work done by the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the committed network of churches. A web site you may not be familiar with is This is a well organized clearinghouse to help you determine how you can best assist those in the Joplin community. It goes without saying that our prayers for Joplin and all the others experiencing these tragedies continue to be important.

The Legislative Session Wrap-up

After all that has happened since the middle of May, the legislative session seems a long time ago. There is definitely a time and a season for everything and this past legislative session definitely seemed like a new season. I am proud of the progress and changes we were able to make on behalf of Missouri families and the citizens of this state.

When we began this session in that exceptionally cold January, we started with our pledge to live within our means, keep taxes low, and balance our state budget. Now that summer is here, we can look back on the work we did during the session and know that we accomplished good work. We also changed the culture in Jefferson City. We started hearing bills sooner than ever before, gave the minority party more power which enhanced cooperation, and ushered in a new era of greater responsibility among elected officials.

Throughout this session our top priority was creating jobs for Missouri. We successfully passed measures that would reduce regulations and cut down on frivolous lawsuits for small businesses and family farms. Through HB 45, The Big Government Get Off My Back Act, we cut taxes for small businesses that hire additional employees. I sponsored HB 45 and am looking forward to the governor’s signature to make that bill law. HB 45 is directed toward businesses with fewer than 50 employees, the size business that is the heart and soul of our state. I am optimistic it will provide another tool that will help create jobs in Missouri and keep our local Main Street businesses prosperous.

We also continued to fight for Missouri taxpayers by requiring drug tests for welfare recipients (HB 73 & 47). This reinforces that our tax dollars are used to provide a hand up and not a hand out. In addition, we went after the worst of the worst and toughened penalties on those who attempt to use human trafficking as a profiteering venture (HB 214). We increased transparency in our healthcare costs to consumers (SB 62). I am also proud we were able to champion a number of responsibility measures by ensuring that Missourians must use a photo ID when they vote, so our elections will be free of fraud (SJR 2). This issue will now come before the voters.

A few other things I am glad we were able to achieve include removal of the potential for impropriety through gubernatorial appointments by requiring statewide elections to fill vacancies instead of repeating a Blagojevich situation like we saw happen in Illinois (SB 282). We passed a reasonable fix to Proposition B that will improve the safety of animals and enforceability for bad actors through SB 113. Prop B was NOT repealed but this bill corrects some of the serious errors that made it unable to be administered as it was. We also approved a fair redistricting map for the Congressional district boundaries for the next ten years (HB 193).

Although I’ve mentioned this in previous Capitol Reports, I am again sharing news about HB 203 simplifying the renewal process for driver’s licenses for our military. I am very pleased that this is ready for the governor’s signature. Anything we can do to make things smoother for our military is a good thing and I am delighted to have been able to sponsor this bill. The governor has until July 14 to sign the bills on his desk. For any bills he vetoes, we will hold a veto session on September 14.

District Directory

Later this summer, please be watching your mail for your updated District Directory. This is really an easy reference for phone numbers and addresses for a variety of government contacts including federal, state, county and city officials. Government phone numbers are sometimes hard to find in the phone book. I really like that handy little book and hope you find it as useful as I do. Also included in the directory is a list of all the bills that were Finally Agreed and Truly Passed. You may find that an interesting list to review. If you have any questions about any of those bills, you can go on-line at to read the text or you could call my Jefferson City office.

Ways to Keep in Contact

I consider communication with my constituents a high priority. I look forward to seeing you at different events while I’m back in Johnson County now that this year’s session is over. During the interim, I will be continuing my weekly Monday morning chat at 8:45 a.m. with Woody at KOKO Radio on AM 1450. That is truly one of the best ways I’ve found for you to literally “hear” from me. Tune in every Monday morning at 8:45 to hear the latest concerning District 121.

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

Keaveny: Health Fair In August, Local Control Update, Celebrating Turkish Community In Midwest

Senator Keaveny's Free Health Fair

Click on flyer [at left] for a larger version.

On Saturday, Aug. 13, I will be hosting a FREE health fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, located at 5515 Martin Luther King in St. Louis.

More than 40 organizations will be offering FREE screenings and health care information for the public. This is an excellent opportunity to make sure you are in good health, and to learn valuable information to ensure that you remain healthy throughout the years.

For more information about the health fair and volunteer opportunities, please call (573) 751-3599 or (866) 783-1534, or e-mail Stacy Morse or Wilma Rowden.

Please mark this date on your calendars, and I hope to see you there!

Thomas J. Irwin's Gubernatorial Appointment

At right: Senator Keaveny and Mr. Thomas J. Irwin before the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee.

In early May, I had the pleasure of sponsoring the appointment of Thomas J. Irwin, who was recommended by the governor to serve on the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners until Jan. 31, 2015. His appointment was confirmed by the Missouri Senate on May 11.

The Board of Police Commissioners is responsible for the effective operation of the Metropolitan Police Department. The board also sets policy, handles promotions, holds open and closed meetings, and coordinates with the Chief of Police in providing effective police services to the people of the City of St. Louis.

Mr. Irwin is a very qualified candidate for the position. A proud citizen of St. Louis, Irwin serves as executive director of Civic Progress, and has more than 25 years of public policy and public administration experience under his belt. I was happy to sponsor his appointment, and know that he'll do an excellent job serving the needs of police officers and the people of St. Louis.

Local Control of the St. Louis Police Department

One of my biggest priorities throughout the 2011 legislative session was returning local control of the St. Louis Police Department back to the City of St. Louis.

This past session, my legislation, SB 23, and companion bill HB 71, were aimed to allow the City of St. Louis to control its own police force without state intervention, though the measures were held up in a tug-of-war over tax credits and did not pass. I will continue to work on returning local control back to St. Louis by any means necessary, and will continue to advocate for our dedicated police officers to ensure that police officers' rights and benefits are protected. Returning local control to the City of St. Louis would have many benefits, including:
  • Improved communication and coordination among city departments and the police.
  • Better efficiency and accountability of city government.
  • Better use of tax dollars — the City of St. Louis could save more than $4 million by combining services.
Substantial steps were made between the city and police officers’ representatives, with an agreement that satisfies all parties. On May 31, I had the honor of attending the signing of the collective bargaining agreement between the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Board and the St. Louis Police Officers Association. I want to congratulate and thank all of the people who negotiated a successful compromise. We still have plenty of work to accomplish, and I will continue to advocate for the state to return control back to the city, as nearly 70 percent of 80,000 people voted in favor of last fall.

Legislative Updates: Measures I Supported

The First Regular Session of the 96th General Assembly is now complete. Several bills have passed through the Legislature, with some signed by the governor.

One of my bills, SB 59, has been sent to the governor for his signature. My bill will modify provisions regarding power of attorneys, the Uniform Trust Code, and the Uniform Principal and Income Act. When I drafted the legislation, I collaborated with the Missouri Bar, Missouri’s judicial branch, and the attorney general’s office.

Senate Bill 59 includes clarification of creditors’ rights, provides additional flexibility to trustees and allows them to amend or create a new trust, consistent with the purpose of the original trust. This will provide a more reasonable timeframe for trustees to provide notice to beneficiaries and statutory changes, which will ensure that Missouri trusts are in compliance with federal tax law.

The bill also contains a provision regarding the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA). The UAGPPJA deals with issues that arise when several states are involved with an adult who lacks the ability to care for their own needs or property. The UAGPPJA includes provisions regarding communication and assistance between courts in different states, and offered testimony in other states.

Also, several bill amendments I proposed were adopted, and I guided the passage of several pieces of legislation.
  • I offered an amendment to HB 142 — the amendment would authorize the board of commissioners of Tower Grove Park to adjust the size of its membership upon the approval of a majority of its members.
  • I filed SB 61, which passed in both chambers, but had problematic provisions that were added by the House. Luckily, the provision in SB 61 was added to HB 111, which was passed by the Legislature. The bill requires that in St. Louis City and the counties of St. Louis and Jackson, at least one of the three commissioners appointed by the court in condemnation proceedings must be either a licensed real estate broker, or a licensed or certified real estate appraiser.
  • I offered an amendment to HB 664 and HB 282, which pertains to education reimbursement for firefighters on disability. The amendment addresses the minimum GPA that a firefighter must maintain to receive education benefits.
  • I filed SB 158, which addressed clean water fees. Provisions from SB 158 were added to HB 89. Under HB 89, the expiration date is removed on the public notice requirements of the Clean Water Commission of the State of Missouri when listing any impaired waters in Missouri. The commission's authority to charge fees for water-related permits would be extended to Sept. 1, 2013.

Legislation I Did Not Support Throughout Session

Although there were several bills that I supported throughout session, there were many that were debated and some passed that I did not endorse. Those bills include:
  • House Bill 73, which would require certain applicants for and recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program benefits to be tested for illegal drug use.
    This bill unfairly targets single minority mothers, and offers no real solution to those who have drug problems.
  • Measures that would require citizens to produce photo identification to vote (SB 3 and SJR 2) would go into effect upon voter approval.
    The photo identification requirements in these measures do nothing to prevent voter fraud, and could exclude many citizens, particularly seniors, from voting.
  • House Bill 294, which would allow citizens to carry concealed weapons at a younger age.
    Lowering the age for conceal and carry permits is not a wise move. Gun safety is a serious concern, particularly in urban areas.
  • Senate Bill 113, which drastically modifies Proposition B. Proposition B was approved by Missouri voters last November. Senate Bill 113 was signed by the governor.
    Senate Bill 113 diminished the will of the voters who voted in favor of Prop B, and eliminated the most important provisions of Prop B that so many fought for. However, a compromise bill was created (SB 161) and provisions of the bill were negotiated by lawmakers, the governor, and the Humane Society of Missouri. I was reluctant to vote "yes" on the compromise bill, but it was in the best interest of Missouri dogs. Senate Bill 161 has been signed by the governor.
  • Senate Bill 187 modifies the laws regarding nuisances and junkyards. The bill has been signed by the governor.
    This bill will allow large corporations to have more wiggle-room regarding nuisance laws, while ignoring the rights of small Missouri farmers.

Missouri Governor Vetoes Senate Bill 188

Lawmakers and citizens held a rally in front of the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis to encourage the governor to veto SB 188, a measure which would have changed Missouri's law relating to the Missouri Human Rights Act and employment discrimination. To the relief of many, the governor did veto the bill.

If SB 188 had been enacted into law, the bill would have made it more difficult to pinpoint discrimination at work, and the voices of those who have been the victims of discrimination at work would have been diminished. It would have required workers who claim discrimination in wrongful termination lawsuits to prove that bias was a "motivating" factor. Missouri's current law requires them to prove only that it was a "contributing" factor.

I'd like to thank my constituents who came out to the Old Courthouse to support workers' rights. After hearing your voices, the bill was vetoed, and you made a positive impact in your community.

Governor Nixon vetoes SB 188 in front of the Old Courthouse in St. Louis.

Senator Keaveny meets with constituents in St. Louis.

Honoring the Turkish Community With Goodwill Resolution

I had the recent pleasure of hosting a Turkish delegation meeting at the Capitol. I met with members of the Turkish community in Missouri, and briefed them on legislative happenings in the Missouri Senate. This group of people was honored with a standing ovation and a goodwill resolution passed by the House, which recognizes the Turkish community in our state and honors their friendship.

Two members of the community were Mehmet Salih Erdoğan and İsmail Özgün, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputies from Denizli and Balıkesir. They were applauded for their efforts for the Niagara Foundation, an interfaith dialogue organization founded by Turkish citizens active in the Midwestern states of the U.S., the Turkish American Society of Missouri (TASOM), and the Chicago-based Turkish American Federation of Midwest, an umbrella organization of Turkish organizations in Midwestern states.

It was an honor to meet these individuals, and I hope they will visit us at the Capitol again.

North City Farmers' Market

The North City Farmers' Market is open from June 4 to Oct. 15, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon (photo [at right] courtesy of the North City Farmers' Market).

The North City Farmers' Market will be open once again on Saturday, June 4. This market, run by proud citizens of St. Louis, has a mission to promote community health by offering affordable fresh produce, complimentary health screenings, and healthy cooking demonstrations, while encouraging the community to participate.

All vendors who sell their goods at North City Farmers' Market are local — the produce available is grown and raised near St. Louis. Vendors for the 2011 season include:

These local farmers and businesses take great pride in their home of St. Louis, and work very hard to provide local, healthy food for citizens, while also stimulating St. Louis' economy.

The North City Farmers' Market is located across from Crown Candy in Old North St. Louis, at the intersection of St. Louis Ave and N. 14th Street (two blocks east of Florissant), and is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon. The market will remain open until Oct. 15. For more information, please visit the website at

Missouri Community College Rally Day

At right: From right to left, Christy Hart from St. Louis Community College (STLCC), Sen. Keaveny, and several STLCC students.

I had the privilege of meeting St. Louis Community College (STLCC) representatives at the Missouri Community College Association's Rally Day. I had a wonderful time meeting the students, representatives, and STLCC faculty, and I hope they will continue to visit us in Jefferson City.

The Missouri Community College Association prides itself in providing the following:
  • Associate Degrees with strong general education curriculums that meet Missouri general education requirements preparing students for transfer and further study.
  • Developmental course work and support services for learners who are under-prepared for college-level work.
  • Workforce training and certificates that upgrade skills or support retraining in both credit and non-credit formats.
  • Dynamic, customized training programs for business and industry, both in credit and non-credit formats.
To learn more about the Missouri Community College association, visit, and to view opportunities at STLCC, visit

Missouri Women in Trades' MAGIC Summer Camp

Missouri Women in Trades is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting career opportunities for women in construction trades.

Missouri Women in Trades, an organization dedicated to increasing opportunities for women in the construction trade, is hosting a FREE summer day camp for girls — MAGIC (Mentoring A Girl In Construction).

At the MAGIC camp, girls in grades 9-12 (or recently graduated) will learn basic construction skills, explore possible employment opportunities for women in construction, and meet women who are successful in the industry. Also, very importantly, girls will learn how to be safe around construction projects.

The camp will last from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., June 27 to July 1, and will be held at the Carpenters' Joint Apprenticeship Program Training School.

Missouri Women In Trades has several goals:
  • Recruit — increase the number of women working in the construction trades.
  • Retain — increase the retention and worker satisfaction rates for women working in the construction trades.
  • Advocate — increase the opportunities for women in the construction trades.
For more information about Missouri Women In Trades, please visit its website at

Bandit Tracker: Keeping Our City Safe

Bank robberies are one of the most common crimes in the country. According to the FBI, a total of 1,183 bank crimes were recorded throughout the country in 2010.

To help keep citizens aware of wanted criminals in the St. Louis area, law enforcement agencies have created BanditTracker, a website that displays photos and lists physical descriptions of bank robbery suspects.

Please visit the website at and contact the St. Louis Regional Crime Stoppers at (866) 371-TIPS if you have any information. You may also submit any tips or information on the website — simply click on the "Submit Tip" tab at the right-hand side of the page.

Rupp: Rebuilding Joplin, One Step at a Time

As I mentioned in last week’s column, the people of Joplin are enduring devastating hardships after a powerful EF-5 tornado swept through the town on May 22. Although sadness still looms over southwest Missouri, a glimmer of hope is on the horizon for Joplin. Numerous citizens from across our state and nation have made their way to Joplin to volunteer, and organizations are collaborating to help victims with everything from food service to rebuilding plans. The generosity demonstrated by these people is a true example of the American spirit — when a community is struck with grief, the rest of us are there to help pick up the pieces.

Recently, a website was launched by Bright Futures, a grassroots, community-based program that creates partnerships and utilizes local resources for the common goal of helping families and the community. The website,, is a beneficial resource for people who have been affected by the storm, and for people who would like to help. This website is both valuable and trustworthy (all information has been verified), and is endorsed by the City of Joplin, Joplin Public Schools, United Way 2-1-1, and an abundance of other organizations.

For tornado victims, lists charities, churches, and businesses that are offering food and supplies, housing and employment assistance, helpful services (banking, child care, pet care, storage, etc.), and support for those who have lost or are missing a loved one. The website also provides options for citizens who would care to offer funds, resources, and/or their time to help the people of Joplin. Over the next several months, will adapt to meet the changing needs of Joplin. Several organizations are asking for assistance, including the Salvation Army, Joplin Public Schools, United Way, the Joplin Humane Society, the Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, and several local churches.

Please consider a gift to help the people of Joplin. Many have lost loved ones and no longer have their homes, and would appreciate knowing that their fellow Missourians are looking out for them and care for them. Thank you for keeping the people of Joplin in your thoughts and prayers, and please continue to do so as they dust themselves off from this horrible disaster and begin to move forward.

Kraus:Joplin Relief Effort

n the last week or so, we have witnessed the power of Missourians helping Missourians. The devastating events in Joplin have unleashed a wave of support across the state. Organizations from first responders to churches to civic groups have stepped up in various ways to offer assistance.

In the first week, officials in Joplin made it clear that, while they needed and wanted help, volunteer efforts needed to be organized and focused. Thankfully, the rescue efforts have located all unaccounted for individuals, but we know that they still need even more help with the recovery effort.

Using contacts from my church, which has already made one authorized trip and plans to make several more, I have decided to coordinate a District 8 Day Recovery Trip for June 11. We will carpool to Joplin early in the morning and return later that evening. We will have to be prepared to tackle whatever tasks that are most needed by recovery coordinators at the time. We may work in a warehouse, clean up yards, cut wood, or simply provide companionship for those affected by the tornado.

For now, please let me know, by phone or e-mail, if you are interested in attending. Also, if you know anyone in the district who might like to join us, please feel free to forward this e-mail. For those interested, I will send a second e-mail with more details later.

It is important to know that we will be coordinating this trip with the City of Joplin and an organization that is managing volunteers. Joplin is still asking that no one self-report to the city to help. Staying organized will be critical to managing the clean-up effort, and the city wants to stay on top of that.

I hope many of you can join me in helping our fellow Missourians.

My door is always open,

District Activities

This Friday, June 3, I look forward to attending the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast. I also welcome the opportunity to meet with Mayor Carson Ross.

Sater: Federal disaster assistance extended to more Missouri counties hit hard by severe storms and flooding


Federal disaster assistance extended to more Missouri counties hit hard by severe storms and flooding

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended public disaster assistance to 22 additional counties in Missouri. Some counties were designated for public assistance only; some for public assistance, in addition to a previous designation for individual assistance; and some for public assistance, in addition to a previous designation for individual assistance, debris removal and emergency protective assistance.

“Over the past several weeks, local and county governments have faced historic challenges from floods, tornadoes and other storms, and they have incurred significant expenses as a result,” Gov. Nixon said. “As we begin to focus on clean-up and rebuilding in the immediate aftermath of the Joplin tornado, we must continue to move forward with recovery from these other disasters as well. This additional federal assistance will be a critical part of that process.”

The following counties were designated for assistance today:

Additional counties designated today for Public Assistance only


Additional counties designated today for Public Assistance, in addition to a previous designation for Individual Assistance

Cape Girardeau
New Madrid
St. Francois

Additional counties designated today for Public Assistance, in addition to a previous designation for Individual Assistance, Debris Removal and Emergency Protective Measures


Individual assistance means that eligible individuals and households can seek federal assistance for uninsured losses from storms and flooding.

Public assistance allows local governments to seek assistance for response and recovery expenses associated with the storms.

01 June 2011

Neth: Town Hall Forum

Thursday, June 2 at 7:30 PM
TOWN HALL FORUM - End of Session Wrap Up
Hosted By: State Representative Myron Neth

Liberty Community Center- Red Room
1600 S. Withers Road
Liberty, MO 64068

Representative Neth will give an overview of the session and will take questions from the public. This will be an excellent opportunity to learn about what your state government did or did not get accomplished this year. A constituent case worker will be available for any issues or problems with state government you may have.

Nance: Memoirs of an ER Doctor

There have been many stories written about Joplin, but I considered this an opportunity to hear the story from an Emergency Room Physician after everything was lost.

45 Seconds: Memoirs of an ER Doctor from May 22, 2011

My name is Dr. Kevin Kikta, and I was one of two emergency room doctors who were on duty at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, MO on Sunday, May 22, 2011.

You never know that it will be the most important day of your life until the day is over. The day started like any other day for me: waking up, eating, going to the gym, showering, and going to my 4:00 pm ER shift. As I drove to the hospital I mentally prepared for my shift as I always do, but nothing could ever have prepared me for what was going to happen on this shift. Things were normal for the first hour and half. At approximately 5:30 pm we received a warning that a tornado had been spotted. Although I work in Joplin and went to medical school in Oklahoma, I live in New Jersey, and I have never seen or been in a tornado. I learned that a “code gray” was being called. We were to start bringing patients to safer spots within the ED and hospital.

At 5:42 pm a security guard yelled to everyone, “Take cover! We are about to get hit by a tornado!” I ran with a pregnant RN, Shilo Cook, while others scattered to various places, to the only place that I was familiar with in the hospital without windows, a small doctor’s office in the ED. Together, Shilo and I tremored and huddled under a desk. We heard a loud horrifying sound like a large locomotive ripping through the hospital. The whole hospital shook and vibrated as we heard glass shattering, light bulbs popping, walls collapsing, people screaming, the ceiling caving in above us, and water pipes breaking, showering water down on everything. We suffered this in complete darkness, unaware of anyone else’s status, worried, scared. We could feel a tight pressure in our heads as the tornado annihilated the hospital and the surrounding area. The whole process took about 45 seconds, but seemed like eternity. The hospital had just taken a direct hit from a category EF5 tornado.

Then it was over. Just 45 seconds. 45 long seconds. We looked at each other, terrified, and thanked God that we were alive. We didn’t know, but hoped that it was safe enough to go back out to the ED, find the rest of the staff and patients, and assess our losses.

“Like a bomb went off. ” That’s the only way that I can describe what we saw next. Patients were coming into the ED in droves. It was absolute, utter chaos. They were limping, bleeding, crying, terrified, with debris and glass sticking out of them, just thankful to be alive. The floor was covered with about 3 inches of water, there was no power, not even backup generators, rendering it completely dark and eerie in the ED. The frightening aroma of methane gas leaking from the broken gas lines permeated the air; we knew, but did not dare mention aloud, what that meant. I redoubled my pace.

We had to use flashlights to direct ourselves to the crying and wounded. Where did all the flashlights come from? I’ll never know, but immediately, and thankfully, my years of training in emergency procedures kicked in. There was no power, but our mental generators were up and running, and on high test adrenaline. We had no cell phone service in the first hour, so we were not even able to call for help and backup in the ED.

I remember a patient in his early 20’s gasping for breath, telling me that he was going to die. After a quick exam, I removed the large shard of glass from his back, made the clinical diagnosis of a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and gathered supplies from wherever I could locate them to insert a thoracostomy tube in him. He was a trooper; I’ll never forget his courage. He allowed me to do this without any local anesthetic since none could be found. With his life threatening injuries I knew he was running out of time, and it had to be done. Quickly. Imagine my relief when I heard a big rush of air, and breath sounds again; fortunately, I was able to get him transported out. I immediately moved on to the next patient, an asthmatic in status asthmaticus. We didn’t even have the option of trying a nebulizer treatment or steroids, but I was able to get him intubated using a flashlight that I held in my mouth. A small child of approximately 3-4 years of age was crying; he had a large avulsion of skin to his neck and spine. The gaping wound revealed his cervical spine and upper thoracic spine bones. I could actually count his vertebrae with my fingers. This was a child, his whole life ahead of him, suffering life threatening wounds in front of me, his eyes pleading me to help him.. We could not find any pediatric C collars in the darkness, and water from the shattered main pipes was once again showering down upon all of us. Fortunately, we were able to get him immobilized with towels, and start an IV with fluids and pain meds before shipping him out. We felt paralyzed and helpless ourselves. I didn’t even know a lot of the RN’s I was working with. They were from departments scattered all over the hospital. It didn’t matter. We worked as a team, determined to save lives. There were no specialists available -- my orthopedist was trapped in the OR. We were it, and we knew we had to get patients out of the hospital as quickly as possible. As we were shuffling them out, the fire department showed up and helped us to evacuate. Together we worked furiously, motivated by the knowledge and fear that the methane leaks to cause the hospital could blow up at any minute.

Things were no better outside of the ED. I saw a man crushed under a large SUV, still alive, begging for help; another one was dead, impaled by a street sign through his chest. Wounded people were walking, staggering, all over, dazed and shocked. All around us was chaos, reminding me of scenes in a war movie, or newsreels from bombings in Bagdad. Except this was right in front of me and it had happened in just 45 seconds. My own car was blown away. Gone. Seemingly evaporated. We searched within a half mile radius later that night, but never found the car, only the littered, crumpled remains of former cars. And a John Deere tractor that had blown in from miles away.

Tragedy has a way of revealing human goodness. As I worked, surrounded by devastation and suffering, I realized I was not alone. The people of the community of Joplin were absolutely incredible. Within minutes of the horrific event, local residents showed up in pickups and sport utility vehicles, all offering to help transport the wounded to other facilities, including Freeman, the trauma center literally across the street. Ironically, it had sustained only minimal damage and was functioning (although I’m sure overwhelmed). I carried on, grateful for the help of the community.

Within hours I estimated that over 100 EMS units showed up from various towns, counties and four different states. Considering the circumstances, their response time was miraculous. Roads were blocked with downed utility lines, smashed up cars in piles, and they still made it through.

We continued to carry patients out of the hospital on anything that we could find: sheets, stretchers, broken doors, mattresses, wheelchairs—anything that could be used as a transport mechanism.

As I finished up what I could do at St John’s, I walked with two RN’s, Shilo Cook and Julie Vandorn, to a makeshift MASH center that was being set up miles away at Memorial Hall. We walked where flourishing neighborhoods once stood, astonished to see only the disastrous remains of flattened homes, body parts, and dead people everywhere. I saw a small dog just whimpering in circles over his master who was dead, unaware that his master would not ever play with him again. At one point we tended to a young woman who just stood crying over her dead mother who was crushed by her own home. The young woman covered her mother up with a blanket and then asked all of us, “What should I do?” We had no answer for her, but silence and tears.

By this time news crews and photographers were starting to swarm around, and we were able to get a ride to Memorial Hall from another RN. The chaos was slightly more controlled at Memorial Hall. I was relieved to see many of my colleagues, doctors from every specialty, helping out. It was amazing to be able to see life again. It was also amazing to see how fast workers mobilized to set up this MASH unit under the circumstances. Supplies, food, drink, generators, exam tables, all were there—except pharmaceutical pain meds. I sutured multiple lacerations, and splinted many fractures, including some open with bone exposed, and then intubated another patient with severe COPD, slightly better controlled conditions this time, but still less than optimal.

But we really needed pain meds. I managed to go back to the St John’s with another physician, pharmacist, and a sheriff’s officer. Luckily, security let us in to a highly guarded pharmacy to bring back a garbage bucket sized supply of pain meds.

At about midnight I walked around the parking lot of St. John’s with local law enforcement officers looking for anyone who might be alive or trapped in crushed cars. They spray-painted “X”s on the fortunate vehicles that had been searched without finding anyone inside. The unfortunate vehicles wore “X’s” and sprayed-on numerals, indicating the number of dead inside, crushed in their cars, cars which now resembled flattened recycled aluminum cans the tornado had crumpled in her iron hands, an EF5 tornado, one of the worst in history, whipping through this quiet town with demonic strength. I continued back to Memorial hall into the early morning hours until my ER colleagues told me it was time for me to go home. I was completely exhausted. I had seen enough of my first tornado.

How can one describe these indescribable scenes of destruction? The next day I saw news coverage of this horrible, deadly tornado. It was excellent coverage, and Mike Bettes from the Weather Channel did a great job, but there is nothing that pictures and video can depict compared to seeing it in person. That video will play forever in my mind.

I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to everyone involved in helping during this nightmarish disaster. My fellow doctors, RN’s, techs, and all of the staff from St. John’s. I have worked at St John’s for approximately 2 years, and I have always been proud to say that I was a physician at St John’s in Joplin, MO. The smart, selfless and immediate response of the professionals and the community during this catastrophe proves to me that St John’s and the surrounding community are special. I am beyond proud.

To the members of this community, the health care workers from states away, and especially Freeman Medical Center, I commend everyone on unselfishly coming together and giving 110% the way that you all did, even in your own time of need. St John’s Regional Medical Center is gone, but her spirit and goodness lives on in each of you.

EMS, you should be proud of yourselves. You were all excellent, and did a great job despite incredible difficulties and against all odds

For all of the injured who I treated, although I do not remember your names (nor would I expect you to remember mine) I will never forget your faces. I’m glad that I was able to make a difference and help in the best way that I knew how, and hopefully give some of you a chance at rebuilding your lives again. For those whom I was not able to get to or treat, I apologize whole heartedly.

Last, but not least, thank you, and God bless you, Mercy/St John’s for providing incredible care in good times and even more so, in times of the unthinkable, and for all the training that enabled us to be a team and treat the people and save lives.


Kevin J. Kikta, DO
Department of Emergency Medicine
Mercy/St John’s Regional Medical Center, Joplin, MO

Tilley et al: Rebuild Joplin

I wanted to share with each of you the following email that I received earlier today. As you are able I hope you will help Joplin in any way that you can.

Steven Tilley

Email Blast to State Officials

Dear Friends,

In Joplin, we have felt your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your compassion, your contributions and your willingness to help.

A Bright Futures team from Joplin has launched a website called This website is a comprehensive resource for people affected by the storm AND for those who wish to help. If you are able to help, please consider going to the website and get connected with verified agencies.

Also, please help us spread the word that is the primary website for sending help to Joplin. It’s by Joplin, for Joplin.

These agencies and resources are screened and verified. is endorsed by the City of Joplin, Joplin Schools, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way 2-1-1., an initiative launched by Bright Futures, will adjust to the changing needs of community relief efforts. Joplin Schools created Bright Futures as a grass roots, community based program that creates partnerships and utilizes community resources for the common goal of helping our kids and strengthening our families and community. In the wake of the destruction, Bright Futures is adapting a successful program to meet the needs of those impacted by the tornado.

Friends, I ask that you please disseminate this information to your contact list so we can spread the word as quickly as possible, as far as possible. Together we can rebuild Joplin.

A local contact person with is Garen McMillian 417-483-5136

With all our thanks,

Senator Ron Richard
Representative Tom Flanigan
Representative Charlie Davis
Representative Bill Lant
Representative Reiboldt

Burlison: On the Governor's Desk

Important legislation the 96th General Assembly passed and sent to the Governor

FY 2012 Budget

Missouri's General Assembly has again passed a balanced budget with no tax increase; one of the main reasons Missouri again has a AAA bond rating. The fiscal year 2012 budget heavily funds our state's most important priorities. This required an enormous bipartisan effort and was a huge accomplishment. We held the funding for K-12 at 2011 levels while increasing transportation funding for school districts. We will be required to prepare our state for future budget shortfalls as the struggle to recover from our nation's recession continues. In Missouri, smart, conservative budgeting has proven to provide the type of stability necessary, not only to survive this economic recession, but to actually see some growth in revenue.

Jobs and Economic Growth

The General Assembly passed numerous pieces of legislation designed to improve Missouri's ability to compete for jobs. The Elimination of the Corporate Franchise Tax, with the passage of SB 19, is just one of those measures. This is a huge step for business development in Missouri and will ensure future job growth. In a tough economy, businesses are interested in locating and expanding in states where it is cheaper and easier to do business. The passage of HB 45 provides additional incentives for responsible businesses that provide health benefits to those new, full-time employees. In particular, there is a $10,000 tax incentive for each new full-time job created or a $20,000 incentive for each new full-time job created when the business offers health insurance and pays at least 50% of the premiums of all full-time employees. The bill also seeks to limit and reduce the amount of regulations that Government forces onto small businesses that simply cause them to spend time doing paperwork instead of growing their enterprise. This bill is a positive step in the direction of strengthening Missouri small businesses, encouraging growth and providing needed jobs for Missourians.

Congressional Redistricting

Missouri's Congressional redistricting bill (HB 193) was passed by both the House and the Senate to draft eight new Congressional Districts for our State. 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. This bill was vetoed by the Governor. To prevent this issue from going to the Courts and being decided by unelected judges, the House and Senate, in historic fashion, voted to override the Governor's veto. A map drawn by the people's elected representatives will now go into effect.

Drug Tests for Welfare Recipients

House Bills 73 and 47 require drug testing if there is suspicion of drug. If parents are tested positive for drug use benefits for the children go through a third party, and the parents are forced to enter a drug treatment program. By forcing them to enter drug treatment, or stop using, we end up with a win-win situation. Maintaining employment becomes an issue for drug users. By ending this cycle of abuse and unemployment, they become more productive, gainfully employed, and better able to provide for their families.

Voter Photo Identification

Many people throughout our nation's history have spent their lives fighting for the right to vote. We want everyone to have the right to vote, AND, ensure that everyone only casts ONE ballot. SB 3 and SJR 2 accomplish this goal.

Right to Life

HB 213 was passed by a bi-partisan majority of 117 to 30. This bill specifies that no abortion of a viable unborn child can be performed or induced except in certain specified situations. Given the Governor's track record on supporting life issues,he will likely sign HB213 as soon as possible.

In the District

I've been busy since the end of Session making up for lost time at my real job with Cox Hospital and visiting with constituents. This week I've sat in on a conference for the Home Builders Association to learn about the state of the building industry here in Springfield and will also be visiting with students from Mark Twain and Cowden Elementary before the students begin their summer break.

If you would like to meet with me in Springfield during this interim please call my office to schedule an appointment. 573-751-0136.

31 May 2011

Sater: A Stirring Week

It has been a busy two weeks since the 96th General Assembly, First Regular Session ended. My father of 92 years old passed away. He led a great life and although I hated to see him pass away, it was his time. The 3rd weekend in May was my daughter’s graduation at KU in Lawrence, Kansas. My wife and I came back to Cassville on the evening of the 21st. We found out later that we were 20 minutes ahead of the tornado as we passed east of Joplin.

This last week was a time of calling fellow legislators and offering whatever help I could give. I was invited to a memorial service at Taylor Auditorium in Joplin this past Sunday afternoon. As Sharon and I drove closer to MSSU, hundreds and hundreds of people lined the streets with flags and signs to show support for the residents of Joplin. The ceremony included three different pastors, a Methodist choir from the church that was completely destroyed and the pastor of that church spoke. Governor Nixon spoke from his heart and I thought did an excellent job with his remarks. He was really moved with what has happened. President Obama flew in, took a tour of the devastation along with Senator McCaskill, Congressman Billy Long, and Governor Nixon. The President spoke for about fifteen minutes and even stayed around afterwards, greeting those in the crowd of five thousand that were affected by the tornado. Getting in and out of an event like this with all the security, one has to be patient, but I am glad Sharon and I attended. Tragedies like this have a way of bringing people together and all support is truly appreciated. I can only imagine how I would feel if a tornado ripped through Barry County killing many people in its path.

I doubt if the Governor calls us back for a Special Session. Right now I do not believe the House and Senate can come to an agreement on much of anything, so it would be a waste of time and money to go back into session. However, we will have Veto Session the first of September. This is required by the state constitution even if we do not have anything to do.

Some of the issues I worked on this year made it through and many did not. That is par for the course in Jefferson City. Unlike running your own business you cannot snap your fingers and get things done at the Capitol. It is painstakingly slow and compromise sometimes is needed. A good example is a bill that I filed for several years. This legislation would keep the Department of Revenue from going into pharmacies, doing an audit, and demanding sales tax be paid for the previous three years. Prescription drugs are tax exempt. So if the physician writes a prescription for an over-the-counter product we have always treated it as a tax exempt product. When I first filed this bill two years ago, the Speaker wanted to add durable medical equipment to the bill as a tax exempt product. Since it was the Speaker I of course said, yes. The bill passed the house, but failed in the Senate, This past session, the Speaker wanted to add diabetic testing supplies to a tax exempt status. I agreed because it was the Speaker. The bill passed again this year and moved to the Senate. The Governor had some “heartburn” over this issue so he sent two people to speak to me about how much money this was going to cost the state in revenue if the bill passed. So we worked on a compromise. I dropped the diabetic and medical equipment from the bill during “conference committee”, and by doing so he endorsed the prescription part of the bill. We also agreed the Department of Revenue would stop all current audits. Without the compromise and the leverage, it would not have passed. This is how things work here in Jefferson City, leverage and compromise. I will be speaking on more issues that happened this past session in future articles.

Keep your thoughts and prayers with those affected by the tornados and in the weeks and months ahead, keep remembering and helping in your own way. We get all excited at first and then in a few weeks, we forget. Please don’t forget these people.

Lant: Rebuilding Joplin

It's hard to know where to start this report. After I finished my report last Sunday afternoon, I called Jane who was at the Mall with our granddaughter and agreed to meet her at I Hop for dinner. I'm still looking for my omelet! Jane, myself, two of our grandchildren and our oldest son Will, along with 40 other people were huddled in the kitchen of I Hop while the monster tornado roared through. To make a long story short, I could hear Jane and Rosie praying over the roar of the tornado. By the grace of God alone, no one there was hurt!

I have just come from a Memorial service at the college. Governor Jay Nixon and President Obama both made some wonderful uplifting speeches, but it was the Governor that hit a home run. He was amazed at the "can do" attitude that we have here. He mentioned that we were unlike folks in other disasters, as we were all helping each other do what needed to be done! I have personal knowledge of that attitude as we were the recipient of an amazing outpouring of help and support in 2008. The stunning difference in the disasters is that in 2008 the tornado that struck our area was in a mostly rural setting. It also was a relatively fast mover passing through in just a matter of seconds. Last weeks monster covered 1800 acres. It was 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile wide and over six miles long. Because it moved much slower, it completely devastated structures as it passed by. They are releasing reports showing as many as 5,000 dwellings and 2,000 commercial and business buildings totally destroyed.

Some communities would be ruined by the amount of devastation that Joplin has suffered. NOT US!! I am already seeing businesses cleaning up and starting to rebuild their store fronts. The State and FEMA are working to find temporary housing and literally thousands of volunteers are working to clear streets and yards so repair and rebuilding can begin. Sure it's going to take some time, but the important thing is that we as Southwest Missourians are willing to do whatever it takes to help our friends and neighbors.

All of the Representatives and Senators from this area have pledged to work together to do what is necessary to promote legislation that will expedite the rebuilding process. I have great hope that the Governor will see the need for a special session to address the Economic Development bills that have not passed. This would allow us to add amendments that would really benefit this area.

The Governor also said that he would like to authorize the National Guard to do the clean up and debris removal. This seems to be a great plan as we would have local people doing the work and for some reason it always seems to be smoother that way. There are many plans in the works that we don't know about at this point but I am certain that the people of this area will rebuild bigger and better than ever.

Until next week, please join Jane and I in prayer for those who have lost family and friends in this terrible event and offer up a special prayer that those who are unaccounted for will be found safe.

30 May 2011

Tishaura Jones: Upcoming Meeting with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, National Leaders

Will join over 200 Young, Progressive Elected Officials at Policy Summit in Washington

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Rep. Tishaura Jones will meet with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other national political leaders next week in Washington, DC at the sixth annual convening of People For the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network. At the convening, Rep. Jones will have the opportunity to discuss innovative local and state policy initiatives with national leaders and with over 200 progressive elected officials from around the country.

“This is an exciting opportunity and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with like-minded progressive elected officials,” said Jones. “The YEO Convening never fails to deliver on its ability to energize me for the rest of the year!”

Rep. Jones, 39, was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2008. At the convening, she will share with other elected officials her experiences working for protecting a woman’s reproductive rights in a presentation with NARAL titled, Talking About Choice.

The Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network, a project of People For the American Way Foundation, consists of over 600 young, progressive city, county, state and federal officials from all 50 states. At the network’s convening, elected officials will discuss innovative policy solutions for issues including economic development, education, environmental policy, tax reform, immigration, equality, national security and more.

“These elected officials make a difference every day in their home communities,” said Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee City Commissioner and executive director of the YEO Network. “This conference is an opportunity for young, progressive elected officials to exchange ideas with fellow office holders and with national policy leaders. State and local elected officials lay the foundation for progressive change around the country. The Young Elected Officials Network gives leaders an opportunity to share ideas and come back to their communities with new strategies and solutions.”

The Young Elected Officials Network is a program of People For the American Way Foundation. The program provides a network of support for young elected leaders to share ideas and discuss issues that affect their common interests and constituencies.