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24 June 2011

Tishaura Jones: Racists Billboards in Oakland, CA

Mr. McCuen,

Attached please find a letter encouraging CBS Outdoor Advertising to remove the racist and offensive billboards in Oakland, CA.

Thanks in advance!

[Click here to read]

Goodman: Protecting the Housing Marketplace

With the challenges posed by our current, worldwide economic downturn, legislators spent much of this session working to help improve the situation for Missourians. One economic strategy, promoted early by the Senate in Senate Bill 108, was to prevent potential problems in the housing market by protecting consumers from the undue costs of overregulation by the government.

No sector of the economy has been hit harder than housing. Foreclosures remain at record highs and demand for new housing remains at historic lows. These problems make it vital for policy makers to avoid encumbering the industry with new regulatory costs. Senate Bill 108 extended an existing provision in state law that was set to expire. The expiring provision protected Missourians from an overreaching mandate in the 2009 International Residential Code, which would require the installation of a sprinkler system in all newly constructed single-family homes. Obviously, the mandate is designed to protect people in their homes, but consumers in the marketplace should have the freedom to conduct the cost-benefit analysis of that safety provision on their own. The decision and its concurrent expense should not be imposed upon homebuyers by regulation. There is strong evidence that these types of fire suppression systems are no more effective in residential homes than fire alarms. Yet, the cost of these systems, typically 1-2 percent of the total cost of construction, would add a heavy burden to an already overwhelmed and struggling housing market. Back in 2009, legislators recognized the potential for this problem and we passed legislation requiring builders to offer consumers a choice to either install or decline the installation of a sprinkler system in the home. As part of the process of compromise, the legislation included a sunset date, after which it would expire. This year, we extended the sunset in SB 108, providing further relief to homebuyers and those who provide jobs in the housing industry.

With so many people still looking for work, government must guard against placing any further burden on an already struggling industry. State government should certainly work to increase public safety, but only in an objective, balanced manner that protects personal freedoms and avoids unnecessary burdens on the private marketplace. Governor Nixon has already signed SB 108 into law.

As always, I welcome your ideas, questions and concerns about Missouri government. You may contact me at the State Capitol as follows: (573) 751-2234, jack{dot}goodman{at}senate{dot}mo{dot}gov or by writing to Senator Jack Goodman, Missouri State Capitol, Room 331-A, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

23 June 2011

Nance: Explaining Vetoes and Withholdings, MOHELA Funds Diverted, Excelsior Springs Fireworks

Earlier this month, Governor Nixon announced his vetoes and withholds in the state budget. The total in all areas amounted to about $172 million.

When reviewing the budget, the governor can either veto a spending item or withhold the funds. If he vetoes the appropriation, the money is simply not spent and is no longer part of the budget. If he chooses to withhold the money, the option is available to release the money at a later date. This option is used when money is not readily available, but could be later in the fiscal year. This year there was only one line-item veto, all the other reductions were withholds.

The largest withhold is an appropriation for almost $100 million in college and university construction projects funded through MOHELA dollars. Four year higher education institutions also saw a reduction of in excess of $14 million from what the legislature appropriated. The governor had recommended a 7% decrease for most state supported colleges and universities. During the budget process, the legislature added money to bring the reduction under 5%. Not only did Governor Nixon withhold the added money, but in the case of two universities he withheld additional dollars to bring their reduction closer to 8%. In his accompanying message he referenced that these two institutions had increased tuition costs by over 5% and should thus have additional money available.

While vetoes are subject to a legislative over ride attempt, withholds are not. The reductions will stand unless released by the governor at a later date.

Missouri River

The Corps of Engineers has been releasing water from Gavin’s Point and it looks to be a long Summer for those along the river with heavy flows expected into August..

Major flood fighting is ongoing near Rock Port in Atchison County. Flood fighting is very active at many locations in Holt County, Missouri. Parkville is also bracing for high waters. We can only hope that flooding problems will only exist in the Northwest part of the state, but it won’t take much rain to threaten the Ray County area.

In the District

Water fest begins Friday in Excelsior Springs and the parade is Saturday. Up to five Kansas City Chiefs are scheduled for autographs. Fireworks will be displayed at dusk.

I attended the Richmond area Family Community Education meeting on Wednesday and gave two dolls to the Ray County Health Department as compliments of the group. They stay active by hand making dolls to help children in need.

I recently traveled to Boonville for the anniversary of the Civil War. There was a tremendous turnout along with battle reenactments and period general stores.

Rupp: Many Disappointed By the Governor’s Veto on Voter ID Legislation

You may remember in last week’s column, I discussed SB 3, which would have established requirements for voting and voter photo identification for elections. This bill, on which many lawmakers have worked dutifully, would have been a simple, yet efficient way to target voter fraud in our state. Unfortunately, on June 17, the governor vetoed the legislation. I am very disappointed that the governor didn’t see the importance of this bill. Voting is one of the most important rights we have in this country, and that right should not be watered down by people who are voting illegally and affecting matters that are of the upmost importance to Missourians. The bottom line is that we wanted to make voting simple for the people in our state, while also keeping integrity at our polls.

When the governor vetoed the legislation, he stated that the photo ID requirement would “disproportionately impact senior citizens and persons with disabilities, among others, who are qualified to vote and have been lawfully voting since becoming eligible to do so, but are less likely to have a driver’s license or government-issued photo ID.” In addition, the governor declared that the bill “imposes unnecessary burdens on senior citizens and persons with disabilities, for example, who do not have a government-issued photo ID, with no guarantee that, in the end, their vote will count.” Allow me to explain why several of my colleagues and I disagree with the governor’s statements regarding this bill.
  • Senate Bill 3 would have enhanced the election process by cracking down on voter fraud.
  • Citizens would not have to present a photo ID until Missouri voters approved the constitutional amendment (SJR 2) allowing it – the constitutional amendment will still be voted on no later than November 2012.
  • By vetoing the enabling language in SB 3, voters will be asked to amend the constitution without any knowledge of how that amendment would be enacted through state law.
  • Those without a photo ID would have been allowed to cast a provisional ballot as long as their signatures match those on file with the election authority. This would have applied to:
    • Missourians born before 1941.
    • Physically and mentally disabled Missourians.
    • Individuals unable to pay for documents needed to obtain a photo ID.
    • Citizens with religious beliefs against photo IDs.
    • Missourians whose license had been confiscated after an arrest or summons.
The bill received a healthy approval rating from the Legislature — the measure passed in the Senate with a vote of 26-7 on Feb. 17, and received the House’s stamp of approval with a vote of 99-52 on May 4. Given this support among lawmakers, I am hoping that the Legislature will vote to override this veto when the Missouri General Assembly meets for veto session in September.

Thank you for reading this legislative column. Please continue to keep up with the governor’s actions on legislation by visiting the Missouri Senate website at, and clicking on “Governor’s Action on Truly Agreed Bills” under the “Legislation” tab.

Denison: "Missouri Solution" Explained, Will Rogers Turnpike Construction Prompts Detours

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” – Francis Bacon

Proposition B Compromise Explained

One of the most contentious issues that has been mentioned in previous Capitol Reports is the compromise on Proposition B that was passed by voters in 2010. As most know, the intent of Proposition B was to protect animals and keep bad dog breeders from doing business in Missouri. The unintended consequence of the measure is that many reputable dog breeders were going to be forced out of business as a result of some of the new requirements that were being put into place.

To keep law-abiding breeders in business while also ensuring that animals are treated humanely, the legislature worked with individuals and organizations on both sides of the issue to create a compromise. The final bill [SB161] was signed into law immediately after its passage and is something I firmly believe everyone can be happy with. Known as the Missouri Solution, it will make a few key changes that will protect dogs from improper treatment. The law we passed now requires that dogs have access to food at least twice per day; continuous access to water; and an examination at least once a year by a licensed veterinarian. The law also doubles the amount of space provided to each dog effective January 2012, and triples the amount of space after January 2016. The new law also enhances enforcement by giving specific authority for the Attorney General to crack down on illegal and irresponsible breeders. To further enhance enforcement, we approved an additional $1.1 million in the budget this year to be used for additional inspectors and enforcement agents.

We believe these changes when taken in their totality will help us to better ensure the health and wellbeing of the thousands of dogs that are raised in our state. At the same time, it will allow reputable, law-abiding dog breeders to continue to operate within our borders. It truly is a compromise and a solution that all Missourians can support.

Oklahoma Turnpike Work Could Affect Your Travel

Following is a MoDot news release:

“If you’re thinking about heading to Oklahoma via Interstate 44 and the Will Rogers Turnpike any time between July 5 and next summer, you might want to take note of a major repair project that will limit travel to a single lane in each direction.

“The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority plans to repair 4.5 miles of pavement between the Oklahoma/Missouri state line to Oklahoma milepost 325 and completely rebuild the Five Mile Creek Bridges in Oklahoma.

“Traffic will be limited to a single lane in each direction from just east of the Missouri state line to mile marker 325 in Oklahoma. During the first phase, expected from July through November 2011, lane reductions will begin just west of Exit 1 in Missouri.

“Travelers on the Will Rogers Turnpike/Interstate 44 in Oklahoma will share the single pair of eastbound lanes as the westbound side and an entire bridge is rebuilt. In the next phase, travelers will share the westbound lanes as the eastbound side is rebuilt.

“Message boards will inform travelers of real-time traffic conditions, displaying expected travel times within the work zone. A strong law enforcement presence is expected in the construction zone for the duration of the project.

“Those seeking an alternate to traveling in the construction zone can consider the following route:

“Westbound - I-44 West to US 71 South (Joplin, Mo.) to US 60 West (Neosho, Mo.) to I-44 West/Will Rogers Turnpike; and

“Eastbound - I-44 East/Will Rogers Turnpike to US 60 East to US 71 North (Neosho, Mo.) to I-44 East (Joplin, Mo.)”

Interim Office Hours

Interim office hours are 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.

Lichtenegger: Disaster Recovery Committee, Track The Governor's Bill Decisions, Mark Twain Stamp Debuts

I now have a website wherein readers can access my Capitol Reports, press releases, link to various State websites and most importantly sign my guest book with your comments. Please follow this link: and let me know what you think about this past 2011 Legislative Session.

The Missouri Senate this week joined the House in creating a special Interim Committee to address the recent disaster recovery efforts. Those named as chairpersons of the House Committee are Representatives Shane Schoeller and Bill White. There are three sub-committees: Emergency Response, Fiscal Response and Insurance Response. You can read more here: Disaster Recovery Committee. This important committee will hold a meeting June 30, 1 p.m. at the Sikeston Clinton Community Building, 501 Campanella Drive, 573-475-3725.

*Mid- May I reported regarding a few bills that were reported to the Governor for signing. We took a break from our “bill reporting” to focus on the disaster in Joplin. I would like to return now to report on other bills that were reported to the Governor –which he may or may not veto. To track what legislation the Governor signs you can link here to the Governor's News Room, and if you click on any of the news stories you will see a sign up (the right-most side) to receive various types of e-updates.
  • HB213, SB65 bans abortion after 20 weeks of gestation except in medical emergency or when fetus is not viable.
  • HB294 lowers minimum age to obtain a concealed-gun permit to 21.
  • HB431 establishes a fund to recruit and retain foster parents.
  • SB62 extends various medical provider taxes that help draw federal matching funds for Medicaid program.
  • HB412 renews prescription drug subsidy program for elderly and disabled, which expires this summer.
  • HB73 requires welfare recipients suspected of using illegal drugs to undergo drug testing.
  • SJR2, SB3 places a constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot that would require photo IDs to vote. Also establishes early voting.
  • SB54 requires school districts to inform other districts if a teacher is fired or forced to resign for sexually abusing a student.
  • HB641 bans bath salts and expands ban on K2, synthetic marijuana.
  • HB45 gives small businesses a $10,000 tax deduction for every new job they create from 2011 through 2014 if the job pays at least the county's average wage.
  • HJR2 proposes a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to pray on public property.
  • HB 214 Increases punishment for human trafficking crimes.
  • SB 320 Revises law on orders of protection and extends address confidentiality program for stalking victims.
  • HB 307 Authorizes a "Don't Tread on Me" specialty license plate.
If you would like the full list of Truly Agreed and Finally Passed 2011 bills, you can request it via email donna{dot}lichtenegger{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov and I will email you the 193-page book. Or you can get it from my new website under the “News Events” tab.

I want to introduce you to a quick way to find any elected State or Federal official using this website: Politician Search. Try it out!

Constituent Corner

The Missouri State Treasurer’s office would like to unite more than $3 million that belongs to more than 31,000 persons in the Cape Girardeau & Perry Counties! Link here Show Me Money for the fastest results and follow the instructions in the UNCLAIMED PROPERTY section. The Treasurer’s office reports that the average claim is $330. The state-wide unclaimed property amounts to more than $600 million! You can also submit a written request to Clint Zweifel, Missouri State Treasurer, P.O. Box 1004, Jefferson City, MO 65102-1004. Specify your name and complete residential address.

If you’re looking to travel this week end, you may want to join in the celebrations in Hannibal, Missouri. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is issuing a new Mark Twain stamp on Saturday, June 25 at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum located at 120 North Main Street in Hannibal, Missouri. The new design will be formally unveiled in a ceremony at 10:00 a.m. on the Museum Mall by Hannibal's Tom and Becky. The public is invited to attend the event. A tent and chairs will be provided for attendees. The mission of the Mark Twain Home Foundation is to promote awareness and appreciation of the life and works of Mark Twain and to demonstrate the relevance of his stories and ideas to citizens of the world. Visit the Mark Twain Museum website.

The Hannibal Post Office will have staff on hand to sell the new stamps and to cancel mail. A special cancellation reading "First Day of Issue" will be available. Those interested may bring envelopes, purchase stamps, and have the special cancel applied. These "First Day Covers" are a good souvenir of the event and are sought by stamp collectors. The Mark Twain Museum will offer for purchase envelopes with a four-color cachet or illustrated design that can be used to make First Day Covers.

The post office will be open by 8:30 am and will remain open until noon for those wanting the special cancellation. The parking lot of the former Murphy Motors business is available for parking for this event.

Sater: A Waiting Game For Governor's Signature

Legislators around the state are watching what bills the Governor will or won’t sign, and trying to prepare our schedules if a Special Session is called. There are two issues which could prompt a Special Session in Jefferson City: 1) Bills that passed the House concerning business and workplace issues, but did not make it through the Senate; and 2) Where do we obtain the funds to help with the restoration of the city of Joplin, and the restoration of Southeast Missouri where the Corp. of Engineers flooded thousands of acres of farmland.

The present formula for disasters declared by the federal government is the feds pay 90% and the state picks up the other 10%, which is estimated to be in the 50 million dollar range. Our state is, of course, is pressing for the feds to pay 100% since we are revenue strapped. If we have to pay the 50 million, we can either decrease next year’s budget or borrow the money from the “Rainy Day Fund” which is around $250 million. This has to be paid back within three years with interest which is very low at around 1%. The “Rainy Day Fund” was set up for just this sort of thing. I believe it is better fiscal policy to use the fund and spread out the expenditures over the three years instead of slashing necessary programs for one year. Businesses do this all the time to spread out expenses, so they can meet payroll and expand.

A few weeks ago I received the Governor’s expenditure restrictions for the 2012 budget. The most significant reduction was to higher education which will be decreased by 7% below last year’s budget. The General Assembly compromised on a 4.5% decrease, but the Governor wanted the 7% reduction, and I agree. I find it interesting that when public institutions budgets are decreased, they complain loudly that they cannot exist, but then find ways of increasing efficiency to provide the same services. It seems they never do this unless forced into it. Additionally, there are also many degree programs that do not have enough students to be financially feasible and these programs need consolidation with other departments. Almost every department has a dean and assistant deans and by consolidating two or three departments into one, you save hundreds of thousands of dollars on administration costs. But, if you keep the funding level the same or higher each year, these efficiencies don’t seem to take place. As important as our public colleges are, there is some waste and inefficiencies in running these operations, and this needs to be addressed.

Concerning higher education, for the last 2 years, I have been working with UMKC and Missouri State, for a Pharmacy Doctorate Program at Missouri State, but supervised by UMKC School of Pharmacy. It will take $2 million dollars to run this program for approximately 25 students. Being on the Budget Committee, I offered an amendment last year for this amount and it passed in the House, but the Senate took it out. This year again, I did the same thing and it passed. Fortunately, the Governor is much in favor of this program, because he knows these are 25 students that will stay in southwest Missouri and these are great paying jobs. In the expenditure restrictions discussed above, the Governor left this in the budget. Missouri State and UMKC are excited about this opportunity because of the shortage of pharmacists in southwest Missouri.

Another bill on the Governor’s desk that we are hoping he will sign is HB 294. This deals with the right to carry firearms. The main provision was to lower the age to obtain a “conceal and carry” permit to 21 years of age. It also limits taxation on firearms and ammo to no greater than other outdoor products. This keeps state government from deciding it will increase taxes on those products which is really a way of limiting sales. We will see what comes of this.

As required by law we will reconvene in September for Veto Session. This is scheduled every year, so we know to schedule this on our calendars. The problem with a Special Session is no one knows if and when it will happen, and since many of us have regular or part time jobs, this can be difficult. I am working as a relief pharmacist this summer and once I commit myself, it’s a done deal, unless there is a serious problem that comes up. So, like my colleagues I’ll just wait and see what happens.

My Capitol office is only open on Mondays & Thursdays now (interim hours), so leave a message if no one is there. You can also call me at my home in Cassville (417/847-4661).

22 June 2011

Kraus: Photo ID Legislation Vetoed by Governor

Last session, the Senate passed legislation, Senate Bill 3, requiring voter photo identification in Missouri and also allowing for early voting. There was a sense of accomplishment in passing this bill that would preserve the integrity of the voting process in this state.

Unfortunately, Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed that legislation, obstructing our legislative efforts to make it tough on those who want to cheat while still maintaining easy access for all Missourians to vote. I was very disappointed in his decision.

In his veto letter, the governor said that the law would be hard on senior citizens and persons with disabilities because they would be less likely to have a driver’s license or government-issued photo ID. However, the legislation addressed this potential problem.

The legislation stipulated that those without a photo ID would have been allowed to cast a provisional ballot as long as their signatures matched those on file with the election authority. This stipulation would have applied to:
  • Missourians born before 1941,
  • Physically and mentally disabled Missourians,
  • Individuals unable to pay for documents needed to obtain a photo ID,
  • Citizens with religious beliefs against photo IDs, and
  • Missourians whose license had been confiscated after an arrest or summons.
In addition, the governor commented on the cost of obtaining a government-issued photo ID, if needed. However, several forms of acceptable ID were listed. About 95 percent of Missourians already have an acceptable form of photo ID. We use those IDs for the simplest of transactions, such as renting a movie or cashing a check. For those who don’t have one, SB 3 contained a provision that would have provided a free photo ID.

Senate Bill 3 was contingent on the passage of a constitutional amendment establishing voter photo identification for elections, advance voting, and voter registration requirements.

To meet that contingency, the Legislature also passed Senate Joint Resolution 2, which provides for a constitutional amendment to allow requiring a person to show a valid, government-issued photo ID to vote, as well as to allow early voting eleven days in advance of the election date. This resolution goes directly to the voters for a vote, so, regardless of what the governor did, the people of Missouri still have a chance to register their opinion at the ballot box.

Even if SJR 2 were passed by the voters, though, the General Assembly must still pass legislation such as SB 3 to require a voter ID. At this point, we have the option of bringing SB 3 back up during veto session to see if we can garner enough votes to override the governor’s veto. Or, we will have another chance next year to get this legislation on the books. I’ll continue to work to make photo ID a requirement at the voting booth.

District Activities

Natural disasters are taking their toll all over Missouri. Last Friday, I travelled to Levasy to help fill sand bags to lessen the potential Sibley-Levasy flooding due to dam releases on the upper Missouri River. However, when I arrived the work had already been completed. Once more, I was gratified to see how Missourians pitch in and help out.

I also stopped by the Buckner City Hall to talk with officials there and visited the Fort Osage R-1 School District in Independence.

This Friday, I look forward to attending the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast and attending a meeting of the Eastern Jackson County Betterment Council.

This Saturday, my wife, Carmen, my youngest son, Tannor, and I are making another trip to Joplin. This time we are going through our church. Your 8th Senatorial District office is planning another trip later this summer; if you are interested, please let us know.

Allen: Interim Work Groups, Governor's Vetos, No More Cicadas!


Attached is the latest Capitol Report. God Bless, stay cool, and try and enjoy the outdoors - it FINALLY sounds like the cicadas are no more!

Personal note

Many weeks ago following the end of the first session of the Missouri 96th General Assembly, I started writing a summary of the session, then REAL LIFE got in my way. My 93 year old mother passed away following a short, but sharp decline. We are very blessed to have had her with us and she had 90 good years. She worked part-time until the age of 85. Our kids, grandchildren, extended family and friends helped us celebrate the life of Mom up in Brookfield, Missouri and in Chesterfield.

We are putting together a District Directory to be mailed out next month which will include a session summary. In the meantime if you have questions regarding specific bills, you can go online to to find a list of Truly Agreed and Passed bills.

Matt, my Legislator Assistant, is in my Capitol office daily, although he will be taking some vacation time this summer. He has been working on various district issues and has taken on various research projects to help prepare us for next year. I plan to pre-file my bullying bill and comparative audit bill in December.

Interim Work Group

Rep. Tom Flanigan and I held our first two "work group" sessions on June 6-7 and this past Monday and Tuesday. The group consists of mostly freshman legislators as well as some members on appropriations committees. Much of our work group discussions have focused on two fundamental questions: What is the role, or core function, of government, and how can we cut waste? We met with the Deputy Commissioner from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Commissioner of Higher Education to better understand functions and funding issues of those departments. The meetings were very fruitful and eye-opening. We will next meet with the Department of Social Services on July 18 and 19. Some freshman representatives will be organizing this meeting. Rep. Flanigan and I have focused on helping our most newly elected to step up and begin this oversight function which is key to our legislative responsibility.

Saving YOUR Tax Dollars

Every quarter my office is allotted $2,100 for supplies, mailing, and other expenses. I am happy to announce that for fiscal year 2010 my office has returned over $2,000 of your tax dollars to the state. This is in part due to our increased use of electronic communications and careful monitoring of expenses. I hope all state agencies and departments are performing as efficiently.

Governor Vetoes

Last week Governor Nixon vetoed legislation that would have required voters to show photo identification and created an early-voting period in Missouri. Photo identification was one of the most supported items on my last district-wide survey and received many supportive comments. I will continue to work on this measure. I was recently told the Grand Glaize Library in Manchester displays a sign stating that a photo ID is required just to get a library card!

The governor withheld $300,000 from the state budget which would have funded a comparative audit to be performed by the state auditor’s office. This was a key issue I worked on this past session due to the need for oversight and government working most effectively. The savings in revenue from a similar audit by Washington State is reported to have saved $65 million per year once appropriate changes were implemented. This was not a one-time savings, but a yearly savings.


In light of the Joplin tornado relief and the recent and expected flooding in MO, we are looking at possibly $50-200 million of state expenditures. The questions are many: How is that number generated? What does it cover? And where does that additional spending come from? Remember, with a balanced state budget, what you give to “one” you take from “another.”

Also, thank you to all of you who dropped off donations and supplies at the Town & Country Municipal Center. Your generosity was greatly appreciated. The donations were delivered to Joplin on June 8. Missourians demonstrate the great ability to pull each other up when our neighbors need a hand.

Town and Country Fire & Ice 2011

The Town and Country annual Fire & Ice event will be held this Saturday from 6:30-9:30 at the Town and Country Crossing. It’s a great event for friends and families to gather and have a real good time. I plan to be there and hope you will too!

Dempsey: Missouri Lawmakers Make Real Changes to TANF

To even a casual observer, it is clear that government spending in Washington, D.C. is out of control. Much of this is due to the expansion of programs that were meant to be a safety net, but now require ever increasing amounts of cash. While our state budget in Missouri must be balanced each year (unlike the budget of the federal government which is hopelessly "in the red"), the policies coming out of our nation's capitol directly impact us since many social programs are a joint state-federal effort.

Here in Missouri, we are serious about making sure that those who are on government assistance programs are really in need of them and are using the money wisely. To that end, this session we passed a bill that would require the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) to screen individuals getting welfare benefits if there is reasonable suspicion the recipient is using illegal drugs. If a recipient is found to be using drugs, that person will be ineligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits for three years. A recipient can, however, continue to receive benefits if he or she successfully completes a substance abuse treatment program and may receive benefits while in treatment.

Also, great care was taken by the Legislature to ensure that children in the household are still eligible for benefits - regardless of the actions of their parent or guardian.

Every morning, thousands of Missourians go to work to provide for their families. It is fundamentally unfair that someone would use the tax dollars paid by these citizens to support their own drug addictions.

House Bill 73, which makes the first real changes to TANF that we’ve seen since federal welfare reform happened in 1995, has now been sent to the governor for his signature.

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

21 June 2011

Holsman: White House Visit, National Security Summit, Disaster Committee

At right: Rep. Holsman volunteering in Joplin

Dear Friends,

I hope you have been enjoying the start of summer here in the midwest. The past month since the legislature ended has been anything but quiet. No issue happening around the State of Missouri has drawn more concern or attention than the devastation that took place to our neighbors in Joplin.

The citizens in Joplin, and other areas affected by natural disasters, are in need of support. Both in terms of volunteers to clean up the wreckage as well as donations to help rebuild their communities.

The resolve and spirit of those whose lives have been drastically altered is strong, and the tireless efforts that are being made to bring those communities back to life gives credence to the amount of pride we take in helping each other during times of great need. Americans always rise to the occassion.

It is important that as the weeks carry on that we do not forget our fellow citizens who are still in distress. For those who wish to donate to the Joplin relief effort a great resource can be found at

Garen McMillian from that organization can be contacted at 417-483-5136 for details.

Additionally the Red Cross has played an integral role in the recovery effort, their website is and general information number is (866) 206-0256.

In response to the natural disasters sustained by our State, the House Speaker Steven Tilley has established the Interim Committee on Disaster Recovery to which I am honored to receive the appointment to serve by Democratic Leader Mike Talboy.

It is an awesome responsibility to help prepare the state for the unexpected and assist in mapping out our road to recovery. Though it is unfortunate the impetus for action was borne from such tragic circumstances.

The remainder of this summer edition is filled with a closer look at the legislation we passed this past session. As well as a highlight of my visits to Chicago for a Summit on National Security and Climate Change through the NCEL and the White House for a YEO briefing.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of these issues, please do not hesitate to ask. It is my honor to serve you in our state capitol. The Part II edition should be out sometime in August. Have a great summer.


Interim Committee on Disaster Recovery

At left: Holsman at Joplin

The Interim Committee on Disaster Recovery, recently established by Speaker Tilley, will conduct meetings in June. Preliminary scheduling dictates the committee will conduct meetings:

June 22nd in Sedalia
June 27th in Joplin
June 30th in Sikeston

The committee will look at the ongoing recovery efforts in affected areas of Missouri and research how the State can better aid in the immediate recovery process concluding with a report to the legislature by July 31, 2011. Included in the report will be long term strategies to set up infrastructure to be better prepared for future natural disasters.

Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller will chair the efforts of the interim committee.

This past session I sponsored HB615 which would give Governor Nixon the authority to establish the "Civil Disaster Response Corps" within the department of Public Safety. This group of citizens would be called into action to assist in relief efforts such as the one in Joplin.

Briefing in Washington

At right: Sen. Chapell-Naddal, KCMSD Board President West, Kansas Rep. England, Rep. Smith, Kansas Rep. Gunby, Rep. Holsman, Rep. Jones, Councilman Reed

On June 17, eight Missouri elected officials traveled to Washington, D.C., for a policy briefing in the Eisenhower Building with top members of the Obama administration as part of the Young Elected Officials organization (YEO).

YEO is a program of the People for the American Way Foundation, a non-profit organization. YEO's mission is to unite and support young leaders who share a passion for building communities that reflect the values of freedom, fairness, and opportunity.

House Minority Leader Mike Talboy, State Rep. Jason Holsman, Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed and Kansas City School Board President Airick Leonard West made up the Kansas City delegation invited to the event.

At age 26 Councilman Jermaine Reed, 3rd district, is the youngest member currently serving on the Kansas City Council. School Board President Airick Leonard West, age 31, took the reins of a troubled school board. West's leadership has provided direction to the school board, and reengaged the community.

Representatives Talboy and Holsman were elected in the same class to the Missouri General Assembly in 2006. Rep. Mike Talboy, age 33, has risen to lead the Democratic caucus as Minority Floor leader. While Rep. Holsman, age 35, serves on seven House Committees and chairs both the Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture and the Committee on Renewable Energy despite being a member of the minority party.

The Kansas City delegation joined Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Rep. Tishaura Jones, Rep. Chris Carter, and Rep. Clem Smith, all of the St. Louis area, at the event.

Maria Chappelle-Nadal, age 37, previously served six years in the Missouri House before being elected to the Missouri State Senate in 2010. Tishaura Jones, age 39, was elected to the Missouri House in 2008, and is the first African American female to serve as the assistant Minority Floor Leader. Chris Carter, age 29, serves as the vice chairman of the House Democratic caucus. Clem Smith, age 34,was elected to the Missouri House in 2010 and serves as Deputy Minority Whip and Treasurer of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus.

During the three and a half hour policy briefing the group of Young Elected Officials heard from speakers: David Agnew, Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs; Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors; Stephanie Cutter, Deputy Senior Advisor to the President; Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Energy and Climate Change; Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; and Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer.

Rep. Holsman was recognized for questions during the energy segment conducted by Heather Zichal.

"Considering the tragedy in Fukushima Daiichi and Germany's recent announcement to draw down nuclear power by 2020 what is the administration's view of nuclear resources in the future and are they considering alternative fuels and technology like thorium and modular generation?" Holsman said.

Zichal responded to Holsman by acknowledging the concern over Fukushima Daiichi and expressed the need for clean base load power with an interest in exploring modular technology.

Aneesh Chopra gave a presentation about utilizing existing data from untapped research to aid entrepreneurs and innovators to create private sector business opportunities through new and useful application of the information. Airick Leonard West was recognized for a question regarding innovations to technology currently in public school districts. Chopra recognized the need to promote technology in the classroom, and gave an example of its potential advantages, citing fifth graders who were able to learn calculus by conducting online virtual assessments. By going at their own pace students enjoy working with online games and challenges by participating in self paced electronic benchmarking.

Following the policy briefing, the group of 150 elected officials were escorted to the White House for a reception attended by President Obama. At the reception the President gave remarks on the importance of young officials gaining valuable leadership experience that will carry on our unique American Democracy.

Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture Hearing in Kansas City: July 11th

At right: Holsman touring growing power

The Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture will host a hearing in Kansas City on July 11th at 5:30 PM. UMKC is graciously allowing the committee to conduct its' first hearing at their Pierson Auditorium.

Special thanks to Beth Low, Director of the Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition, Troy Lillibo, Director of External Relations UMKC, and Jacob Wagner, Assistant Professor UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning, and Design for making this event possible. There will be free event parking for those interested in attending the event.

In preparation for the hearing, members of the committee will take part in a trip to Milwaukee to tour some of the nation's most innovative Urban Agriculture facilities.

Milwaukee has converted abandoned factory buildings into working farms that produce vegetables and fish stock year round. One of those facilities currently houses over 35,000 perch and 20,000 tilapia. These facilities are local organic producers that participate in local economies.

Sweetwater Organics
Will Allen Growing Power

End of Session Town Hall

I would like to thank all of those citizens who made it out to our most recent town hall meeting in May. Although the weather was threatening we still had a great turnout. We were able to get through a tremendous amount of information from this past session and answer questions from the district.

Summit on National Security and Climate Change

In May I was invited to attend a conference in Chicago hosted by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. The conference brought together policy makers from 10 different state legislatures to discuss and analyze the national security risks associated with Climate Change.

In attendance was Jay Gulledge, Senior Scientist from the Pew Institute for research on Global Climate Change, Vice Admiral Dennis Mcginn now President of the American Council on Renewable Energy and Michael Block from the White House's Office on Intergovernmental Affairs. The event was sponsored by the Joyce Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers.

Although no final conclusion has been reached, the evidence for society's impact on climate change is complex and extensive. The United States Military is reacting to the data with an internal Renewable Energy Standard of 25% by 2020 and a goal of 50% of forward bases at net zero emissions.

The example set by the US military leading changes in public policy is an established fact of history. In 1948 President Harry Truman issued an executive order desegregating the US Military. It would take the US Congress 16 years before they did the same for the public with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. President Obama has provided leadership overturning Don't Ask Don't Tell removing the fear of service members being discharged for sexual orientation. Now, the US Military again recognizes the need for progressive action. The strategic importance of generating electricity from clean sustainable technology is now a stated goal. As the US Congress again rebukes meaningful energy reform, the US Military is leading the way.

"Mobile strategic renewable sources of energy fit with every aspect of the 21st Century Fighting Forces." Vice Admiral Mcginn said. "We need our citizens to view solar panels on their roof as the 21st century 'victory gardens' demonstrating their patriotism for our soldiers."

For scientists who spend their lives in pursuit of an accurate understanding of the planet's temperature change it's hard accepting their people's representatives in Congress allow 2% of the world's scientific community to decry volumes of evidence as liberal politics. The interests who oppose this shift in power producing technology profit from the status quo and work to convince a majority in the US House that believing in climate change is somehow affiliated with leftist ideology. The echo chamber and news outlets also owned and controlled by those same interests provide talking points to misinform the electorate.

Fortunately there are elected officials from both parties willing to stand up for a long-term renewable energy policy. But it's happening at the state level. Currently almost 35 states have some form of a Renewable Energy Standard. Missouri voters overwhelmingly passed Prop C in 2008 establishing an RES of 15% by 2021. Unfortunately ambiguous language and legislative meddling have delayed the investment by three years and without changes could put off development for a total of ten years.

As Chairman of the Committee on Renewable Energy I worked across the isle with Republican members including Zach Wyatt on HB613 to fix prop c and secure immediate investment in alternative energy.

The legislation was bottled up in the House and failed to receive a vote in the final hour of session in the Senate. The solution may reside in a return to the ballot circumventing the legislature. If the US Military commits to the value of renewable energy then the American people have traditionally supported their armed services.

Neth: Summer Is Here, Junteenth Celebration, Continued Relief Efforts For Joplin

Summer is here! We are already dealing with high temperatures, high humidity and summer is just officially beginning. Hopefully we will have a few breaks from the persistent Missouri weather this year.

Session was completed on May 13, and I am in "off-season" mode. I spent last month working the family cattle farm and tying up loose ends in Jefferson City. Now, I am gearing up for a busy summer and fall with a lot of scheduled meetings and conferences here at home and across the state. This week, I am spending some time in Jefferson City to work on legislation for the next session. Don't worry though; I am also spending a healthy amount of time enjoying my family after taking several months away from home representing the 34th District at the State Capitol.

It has been great to hear the many thanks and compliments from you who have signed up to receive my emails and those of you who are fans on Facebook. My office has worked hard to stay connected to our community. Effective communication was one of my key promises when I ran for election in 2010, and I am glad that so many of you feel my office is accomplishing this goal. That being said I know it has been several months since I have sent out a capitol report. There is rarely enough information to put into a weekly capitol report during the interim. Instead I will be sending out random updates and reports when I have collected enough material to warrant a report. Due to the infrequent nature of these interim capitol reports, there is much more to discuss. I encourage you to look at the table of contents to the left to see a list of everything in this article.

Have a great summer!


Clay County Juneteenth Celebration

I was honored to present a resolution to the Clay County African American Legacy (CCAAL) group recognizing the 10th annual, Clay County Juneteenth celebration. Juneteenth is the holiday that many African Americans recognize as the day they truly won their freedom. On June 19, 1865, Texas, the last state to fully enforce President Lincoln's Emancipation proclamation, finally gave slaves in Texas their freedom.

In Liberty, the celebration included a small drama with community leaders playing the parts of prominent people in the abolitionist movement prior to and during the Civil War. The CCAAL was able to obtain a copy of the Missouri Emancipation Proclamation that was issued by the governor in 1865. I am thankful that we have such outstanding people in our community like Dr. Cecelia Robinson, A.J. Byrd, and so many others who keep the African American legacy alive in Clay County.

Liberty 4th Fest

Liberty will celebrate Independence Day activities on July 3rd and 4th. I will be in the Parade on the 4th at 4:30 pm, and following, I will sing the National Anthem on the courthouse steps prior to a short program. Corbin Theatre will once again host "Celebrating Liberty", a program at the Liberty Performing Arts Center on July 3rd. There will be fireworks at William Jewell College the evening of the 4th. You can find out about all the activities and schedule by visiting the Liberty website.

Joplin Tornado

A few weeks ago, the Joplin Delegation of State Representatives invited other representatives and their spouses to take a tour of Joplin and help in the cleanup efforts so my wife and I went down for the day. Any pictures you have seen in the media do not truly represent the utter destruction that the community suffered. The devastation is so traumatic that I wonder how there could be such a thing as recovery. I honestly can only compare it to pictures I have seen of Hiroshima or Nagasaki after the atomic bomb. The landscape is wiped clean - no trees, no houses - just rubble. We were surprised there was not more loss of life.

Recovery is under way. They are attempting to remove more debris than there was at the World Trade Center after 9/11. The dump trucks are running non-stop up and down highway 71. They are trying to assess how to best clean up entirely and then they will begin to figure out the process of rebuilding. It will be a long road.

It has been a month now since the tornado and the number of volunteers is decreasing; however, the need for them has not. There are several ways that people can volunteer - even if you are not with an organized group going to Joplin. Once such way an individual can volunteer is to just show up and work through AmeriCorps. They have a staging area set up at Missouri Southern University where you can get signed up and they will bus you to areas of need around the city. You do not have to do multiple days or even a full day. From the Kansas City area you can do a day trip where you help out when you get there and drive back when you get tired. I would encourage you to consider volunteering in Joplin, if only to see some of the effects on their citizens and what they are confronting.

My wife, a LibertyTeacher, and I, a member of the House Education Committee, are focusing on the effect the tornado had on the Joplin schools and their future. At least two elementary schools and the High School were completely destroyed, and many other schools were damaged. After speaking with the Joplin School District, my office is working to help. One of the greatest losses besides the buildings themselves, were the loss of individual teacher supplies and tools, most of which were purchased by the teachers at their own expense and not covered by insurance. There were over 200 teachers that lost everything in their rooms. I took an interest in a unique program that will help alleviate this loss of teaching materials called "Adopt a Classroom". We are in the process of working through the details of the program to see how many teachers we might be able to adopt through an organized donation effort in the 34th district. Between our local school districts, community groups, and religious groups, my goal is to help as many individual teachers as possible. We hope to have this up and running within the next two weeks and will put out all the needed information at that time. I hope you will consider helping this very worthy cause.

Town Hall

I held my first Town Hall meeting on June 2, at the Liberty Community Center. I was thrilled by the turnout. I spent most of the time giving a brief wrap-up of the session and taking questions from constituents. I really enjoyed the evening and felt that we had a good discussion of the current legislative and community issues of the past year. You can find an article about the Town Hall in the Liberty Tribune here- Town Hall.

Voter Photo ID

Friday, June 17, Governor Nixon vetoed legislation that would have mandated photo identification for most voters in Missouri. In his veto message Nixon wrote that the legislation is discriminatory to seniors, the elderly and disabled persons who are less likely to have a driver's license or government issued photo ID.

I was on the House committee that heard this bill and I voted for it. I am disappointed by the veto. From my surveys and talking with many in the 34th District, most citizens are very much in favor of requiring a photo ID to vote. The Governor and others talk about some being disenfranchised; however, I am concerned about the existing legal voters who are disenfranchised by fraudulent votes being cast. We are required to show photo ID for numerous things in our lives. To not require this small burden for something so important as voting is irresponsible from my point of view. The legislation the Governor vetoed allowed exceptions for those who did not have existing photo ID and mandated the state pay for an ID if someone did not have one.

The bill passed the House during the legislative session by a 99-52 margin. In the Senate, the vote was 26-7. State senate sponsor Bill Stouffer says he is disappointed by the veto and is calling for the legislature to attempt a veto override. While Republicans in the Senate have a veto-proof majority, in the Missouri house, there are only 105 Republican representatives falling four short of the required 109 votes needed for a veto override. House Democrats have vowed to support the governor's veto on this issue. There were four Democrats who voted with Republicans to override Nixon's veto on the congressional redistricting plan during the legislative session so a veto override is not unthinkable.

The legislation the Governor vetoed was the language for a photo voter identification state statute. Missouri voters will still get an opportunity to vote in the November 2012 general election for a state constitutional amendment that will require photo voter identification.

Holsman: Session In Review

Courtesy of Minority Caucus Director of Communications and policy, Marc Powers, we have provided a brief list of bills that have gone through the legislative process and are on their way to becoming public laws in the State of Missouri. To give a complete overview of the actions to every bill this session would not be feasible. If you have additional questions or concerns on a matter that is not presented here, or is presented but you would like more information please do not hesitate to contact our office for additional information. Links to various pieces of legislation are also included.

House Bill 73: Drug Testing for T.A.N.F Recipients

HB 73 requires the Department of Social Services to develop a program to screen each applicant for or recipient of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program benefits. The bill will allow applicants and recipients to be tested if department case workers have a reasonable suspicion of drug use.

The penalty for a failed drug test will be a loss of benefits for three years. However, individuals who fail a test can avoid a loss of benefits by completing a substance abuse treatment program. The bill also contains a provision to ensure that only the adult who fails the drug test will lose benefits.

Children of an individual who fails a drug test will continue to receive benefits through a third party selected by the state. In addition, the bill requires all electronic benefit cards to include a photo of the recipient. Read the TANF Bill here.

House Bill 641: Ban on K2 Alternatives and Bath Salts

HB 641 outlaws synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of cocaine and marijuana. These products respectively have been marketed as bath salts and incense. Possession of the bath salts or more than 35 grams of the synthetic cannabinoids would be a class C felony. In addition, the bill makes it a class A felony to distribute cocaine near a park.

Legislation passed last year by the General Assembly banned possession of one type of synthetic marijuana commonly known by the name K2. Soon after that legislation was passed, another form of synthetic marijuana known as K3 went on the market. Read up on the particulars of House Bill 641

House Joint Resolution 2: Religious Freedom

HJR 2 places a proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2012 statewide ballot that, if ratified by voters, would make numerous changes to the existing provision of the Missouri Constitution that protects the right to freely exercise religion.

HJR 2 would specifically enumerate a number of religious rights that Missourians already broadly enjoy under the state and federal constitutions, such as the right to pray in public places and the right of students to express their religious beliefs and not be compelled to participate in assignments that violate those beliefs. Read HJR 2 here.

House Bill 431: Parents with Disabilities

HBs 431, 555 and 604 each contain a provision that protect the rights of parents living with a disability or disease. The bills specifically state that a disease or disability will not be a basis for terminating parental rights unless it poses a serious risk of harm to the child. In addition, unless it puts a child at risk, a disability or disease cannot be the basis for a determination to refuse to issue, suspend or revoke a foster care license or to rule that an individual is unfit or not suitable to be an adoptive parent or a foster parent.

Senate Bill 54: Amy Hestir Student Protection

SB 54 creates the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act to protect students from being sexually abused by school employees. The legislation addresses an issue in current employment law that causes school districts to hesitate to share information regarding former employees for fear of a lawsuit. The lack of information sharing has allowed some teachers with a history of sexual abuse to transfer to other schools where administrators, parents and students may not be aware of their background.

The bill allows school districts to discuss information about their employees with other school districts. It also makes school districts liable for damages if they dismiss an employee or allow an employee to resign for reasons of sexual misconduct and then fail to disclose those reasons in a reference request from another school district. The bill also prohibits a teacher from online communications with a current or former student in ways that aren't accessible to district administrators and the parents of the student. In addition, the bill creates a task force charged with making recommendations to the governor, General Assembly and State Board of Education on ways to reduce child sexual abuse. Read Senate Bill 54 hear.

House Bill 151: Organ Donation

HB 151 allows Missourians to contribute to the state's organ donation program when they file their income tax returns. The bill authorizes an individual or corporation to designate at least $2 on a Missouri individual income tax return or at least $4 on a combined return to the Organ Donor Program Fund.

Funding for the organ donation program has been provided through contributions made by Missourians when they register their motor vehicles. That funding has diminished as more residents register their vehicle every two years rather than annually. The creation of the tax return check-off is estimated to supplement funding for the organ donation program by more than $100,000 annually. Read House Bill 151 here.

House Bill 458: Mo Farmland Trust Act

HB 458 establishes the Missouri Farmland Trust Act to provide young farmers with a means to acquire land through a low-cost lease and to allow land to continue to be farmed in the future.

Through the act, individuals and entities can donate or convey farmland to the Department of Agriculture to preserve it as farmland and to assist beginning farmers by allowing long-term, low- and variable-cost leases on the land, making it affordable for the next generation of farmers to produce food, fiber, and fuel.

The bill also changes the definition of noxious weed and expands the requirement of every landowner to control all noxious weeds growing on his or her land. In addition, the bill establishes the Private Landowner Protection Act to allow for the creation and enforcement of conservation easements designed to protect the environment or preserve certain historical or cultural aspects of real property. Find that legislation here.

Senate Bill 188: Workplace Discrimination

SB 188 would have made it more difficult for victims of workplace discrimination to file suit against their employers under the Missouri Human Rights Act. The bill also would have capped actual damage awards on successful lawsuits and prohibited punitive damages. The governor has already vetoed the bill.

Senate Bill 55: Sawmill Tax Relief

SB 55 seeks to help Missouri's struggling sawmill industry by putting the tax burden for sawmills in line with other agricultural businesses. Specifically, it reclassifies sawmills at the agriculture tax rate of 12 percent. Currently, they are taxed at the business tax rate, which is 32 percent.

According to statistics kept by the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri lost 90 sawmills between 2006 and 2009. In 2010, the state's sawmills reported $2.2 million in sales -- a 60 percent drop from 2008. Read the Sawmill bill here.

Senate Bill 320: Domestic Violence

As a result of Attorney General Chris Koster's task force for Domestic Violence SB 320 updates and strengthens Missouri's domestic violence laws.

The legislation makes changes to the orders of protection process so that individuals seeking a protection order will not be charged filing fees for any action relating to the order.

The bill also allows judges to customize protection orders based on the situation. In addition, the legislation eliminates the expiration date for the Safe at Home confidentiality program.

Safe at Home protects victims of sexual assault, rape or domestic violence by providing them with an alternative mailing address.

Find that bill at the following link.

House Bill 163: Extension of Unemployment Benefits

HB 163 extends unemployment benefits to Missourians who have exhausted state and emergency federal assistance. The bill, which the governor has already signed into law, provides an additional 20 weeks of assistance to Missourians who have already exhausted 79 weeks of regular and emergency assistance. State officials estimate that approximately 10,000 Missourians benefited from the extended assistance and an additional 24,000 could receive extended assistance by January 2012. The bill also lowers the number of weeks for regular unemployment assistance from 26 to 20.

Find that legislation here.

Senate Bill 113: Modifies the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act

SB 113 and SB 161 are two measures already signed into law by the Governor the law make changes to Proposition B, which was approved by voters in 2010 to impose strict new regulations on commercial dog breeders. The bills repeal most of the significant provisions of Proposition B but represent a compromise between Missouri's agriculture groups and animal welfare organizations with the goal of improving the care of dogs without forcing licensed dog breeders out of business.

Changes approved by the General Assembly include removing Proposition B's limit of 50 breeding dogs per business and phasing in requirements for larger cages and increased access to the outdoors for animals. Proposition B required at least one yearly exam with prompt treatment for any illness or injury. The compromise bills require one yearly exam and prompt treatment of a "serious illness or injury."

The compromise also requires dogs to have continuous access to water and access to food at least twice per day. The voter-approved law required access to food only once per day.

The bills also require licensed dog breeders to pay an extra $25 fee each year to finance State efforts to crack down on unlicensed dog breeders. Find bill text here.

House Bill 344: Establishes the Farm-to-Table Advisory Board

HB 344 establishes the Farm-to-Table Advisory Board to bring produce grown in Missouri to schools and other institutions more efficiently. The advisory board would look at current obstacles and make recommendations for statutory and rule changes to make it easier for schools to purchase locally grown produce. The bill will allow schools and other institutions the opportunity to provide fresh, healthier food choices that could encourage healthier eating behaviors and lifestyles.

For more information and to read the Bill: House Bill 344

Senate Bill 3: Requires Photo Identification to Vote

The Missouri General Assembly approved both SJR 2 and SB 3 with the intent of establishing photo identification requirements for voting. SJR 2 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would grant the General Assembly the constitutional authority to require Missouri voters to provide valid, government-issued photo identification in order to cast a ballot. SJR 2 also would establish in the constitution that advance voting is allowed in Missouri, even though the General Assembly already has such authority and no constitutional amendment for that purpose is necessary.

If SJR 2 is ratified by Missouri voters at the November 2012 election, SB 3 would put into law the specific requirements for voter identification. It would require voters to provide valid, government-issued photo identification at the polls unless they sign an affidavit attesting they were not able to obtain photo identification for one of several reasons defined in the bill.

The reasons include an inability to obtain photo identification because of a physical or mental disability, an inability to pay for a document necessary to obtain the required identification, a religious belief against forms of identification or if they were born before January 1, 1941. In addition, the legislation requires the state to provide at least one form of identification required to vote at no cost to the voter. It also requires the state to provide at least one document required to obtain the required identification at no cost. The Secretary of State's Office estimates that more than 200,000 Missouri voters do not have a government-issued photo ID.

SB 3 also would implement provisions for advance voting. The bill would allow voting on two Saturdays and seven weekdays before Election Day for statewide elections. It also requires at least one "advance-voting center" to be established in every county. In more populous counties at least one center would be required for every 100,000 residents.

Read its provisions here.

This measure was vetoed by Governor Nixon on June 17th. A statement by Nixon shortly thereafter indicated that:
"This new mandate would disproportionately impact senior citizens and persons with disabilities, among others, who are qualified to vote and have been lawfully voting since becoming eligible to do so, but are less likely to have a driver's license or government-issued photo ID," "Disenfranchising certain classes of persons is not acceptable."

Minority Leader Mike Talboy, Democrat-37, agreed issuing the following statement.

"House Democrats unanimously opposed this bill during the legislative session and subsequently voted to make sustaining the governor's veto an official caucus position. With House Democrats unified on this issue, we are confident that any attempt by House Republicans to override the governor's veto will fail."

House Bill 217: Electronic Voter Identification

HB 217 allows an election authority to use an electronic voter identification system or an electronic signature pad to verify a voter's address, registration status and signature information at a polling place. Signature pads must be able to read information from a person's driver's license or state identification card.

The system must also allow election officials to enter the information manually. A similar system is already in place in Greene County, where it has been successful in helping election officials to check voters in more quickly. A link to House Bill 217 can be found at this link.

Senate Bill 101: Residential Contractors

SB 101 is designed to protect Missourians from unscrupulous contractors who may prey on homeowners in the wake of devastating storms. The bill prohibits contractors who perform exterior repairs from offering to pay a homeowner's insurance deductible as an incentive to encourage the homeowner to hire the contractor. The bill also prohibits contractors from negotiating on behalf of a homeowner for insurance claims. That Bill can be found here.

House Bill 223: College Grants

HB 223 authorizes new incentive grants for excellence in math and science and for students entering nursing programs.

The bill requires the Department of Higher Education to award an additional $500 to state A+ Schools or Access Missouri scholarship recipients who score well on at least two Advanced Placement Exams in mathematics or science. The bill also creates the Nursing Education Incentive Program with the goal of addressing the state's current nursing workforce shortage. The program provides grants of up to $150,000 to colleges and universities that provide nursing programs to allow them to expand their programs.

Find House Bill 223 here.

HB 264 - Regulation of Doctors

HB 265 gives the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts additional authority to discipline bad doctors and improve patient safety. Under current law, the board has the authority to suspend dangerous doctors, but the power is rarely used because of the difficulty in proving that a doctor poses a danger. HB 265 allows the board to initiate a hearing to determine if reasonable cause exists to believe that a licensee or applicant is unable to practice his or her profession.

20 June 2011

Kelley: Summertime

It’s that time of year again. Summertime, children out of school, day camps, parades, etc.

Many of our youth will be participating in 4H, FFA, Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, Rotary, Vacation Bible School and school day camps over the summer. All of these programs require many volunteers and leaders to ensure that they have a wonderful experience as they develop their minds and leadership skills that will allow them to be a vital part of their community.

I would like to encourage those of you who have donated time and support over the years, to continue to do so. And for those of you who have never had the opportunity, perhaps you can offer your time or if you don’t have the time, they always appreciate your support. There are so many ways you can help.

The local county fairs showcase a variety of projects that these youth have worked hard for over the past year. Take the opportunity to go by and visit if you need some inspiration for lending them a hand!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! With fewer trips to Jefferson City, I have more time to get out and about the district and visit with you. If you happen to see me at a local fair, rodeo or just walking down the street, please come up and say hello and visit with me.

I am proud to serve on your behalf,

Lant: Revitalizing Noel, Week Of Meetings In Jefferson City

One of the 2011 General Assemblies' top priorities has been signed into law. The Missouri Rx Program has been reauthorized. This plan, first established in 2006, works with Medicare part D to lower out of pocket expenses for seniors and disabled individuals paying for prescription drugs. Currently more than 212,000 Missourians are enrolled in the program. Elderly and disabled Missourians enrolled in MOHealthNet are automatically enrolled in Missouri Rx. For more information on Missouri Rx, contact the Help Desk toll free at 1-800-375-1406.

There were approximately forty people present at the River Ranch Meeting Room on Thursday evening to exchange ideas on revitalization of downtown Noel. There are still a lot of us around that remember Noel as being "The Christmas City". Cards and letters from all over the globe were sent to Noel during the Holidays in order to get their unique postage cancellation. There were a lot of ideas exchanged and the general consensus was that a good cleaning up was the best place to start. Some thought that a contest for the youth to draw pictures with their ideas of what main street should look like would generate a lot of interest. The Mayor presented his idea for a minimal property tax and representatives from Tyson were present and pledged their help for future projects. I've been to a lot of meetings of this type over the years but I've never seen such a large group attend an idea exchange and literally everyone there agree to taking the next step and start organizing. With the "Can Do" attitudes I witnessed last week, we can expect to see some good stuff happening in Noel in the near future.

One thing that is hard to ignore is the growing popularity of recreation in McDonald County. It seems to me that a lot of good fun places are being rediscovered. When I first moved to this part of the world back in 1964, one of the first places I visited was Shadow Lake. When Jane and I were first married in 1969, we spent many summer weekends camping in Pineville, Lanagan, or Noel. (We were camping the night the train blew up). I have been trying to visit all the camping and recreation areas and I sure see a lot of folks enjoying the recreation facilities right here at home! Maybe with higher fuel prices we are finding out that we don't have to spend big bucks for motels and theme park tickets when all the good clean family fun we want is right here! Of course, with increased traffic and large numbers of campers, we all have to be more careful. The Commissioners and Mayors have mentioned that there are times that our emergency services are a bit strained. A safety awareness program might be a good service project for one of the Church Youth Groups.

I am amazed at the pace of the clean up in Joplin. If you are not up there for a few days, then drive through the most damaged areas, it's hard to believe how much debris they have removed. Some areas appear ready for new construction already. Many of the damaged shopping areas on Rangeline are soon to be reopened. I think our biggest challenge is providing enough temporary housing. If you know of rentals in your area, please let one of the agencies know about it.

I'm going to be in Jefferson City for a few days this week for more interim training meetings. I'll give a full accounting next week! Until then, I am and remain, in your service