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12 August 2011

Dempsey: MoDOT closes Route B bridge Monday for 50 days

St. Charles County bridge is on Safe and Sound Bridge Improvement program

St. Louis, MO - The Missouri Department of Transportation has confirmed that it will close the Route B bridge over Dardenne Creek in St. Charles County on Monday, August 15, for bridge repair work.

Crews will have the bridge closed for up to 50 days while workers remove and replace the bridge driving surface and repaint the bridge.

Drivers will be able to use Route 94, Route 370, Interstate 70 and Route C to detour around the closure.

This bridge is one of 802 Safe and Sound bridges projected to be repaired or replaced before 2013.

More information about the St. Louis region Safe and Sound Bridge Program can be found at

11 August 2011

Korman: Legislative Highlights

It has been a busy (and HOT) summer with county fairs, picnics, festivals, guest speaking engagements, etc., along with working in the private sector and spending quality time with family and friends. With all the activity, I wanted to take a moment to tell you, I feel it is a pleasure, as well as, a privilege, to serve the people of the 99th District.

Recent news has been focused on our Nation’s Economy and the Federal Government’s policies on debt and spending. So much so, that the positive steps taken by your Missouri Legislators in paving the road to recovery for Missouri have been lost in the media. For this reason, I have included (below) some of the key legislation which will soon become law.

Highlights of the 2011 Legislative Session

Jobs Legislation

SB 19 “phases out” Missouri’s Corporate Franchise Tax over the next 5 years until completely eliminated in 2016. This removes the tax penalty for business expansion in Missouri and encourages job growth.

HB 45 changes the definition of small business to include businesses with fewer than 50 employees, requires General Assembly approval of any federal mandates, extends a moratorium on new regulations and fees that impact small businesses for an additional year, and authorizes an income tax deduction for small businesses of ten thousand dollars for each full-time job created or twenty thousand dollars per new job if the employer offers, and pays, at least half the Health Insurance premiums.

SB 55 seeks to help Missouri’s sawmill industry by aligning the tax burden for sawmills with other agricultural businesses. Specifically, it reclassifies sawmills at the agriculture tax rate of 12 percent instead of the current business rate of 32 percent.

I was proud to support this legislation which improves the attractiveness of Missouri’s business environment; helping bring needed jobs to Missouri.

Ag Legislation

SB 187 provides additional protections to farming operations against recurrent lawsuits from the same person, for the same nuisance, while maintaining an appropriate level of recourse for property owners against permanent nuisances.

HB 109 extends Missouri’s Linked Deposit Program, a highly successful, low-interest loan program for farmers and small businesses responsible for more than $550 million in loans and positively impacting approximately 9,000 jobs and farmers in the past two years.

HB 458 provides the mechanism by which farmland can be donated, or conveyed, to the Department of Agriculture to preserve as farmland to be leased, at a low rate, to beginning farmers; making it affordable for the next generation of farmers to produce food, fiber, and fuel.

HB 344 establishes the Farm-to-Table Advisory Board. The board will be responsible for making it easier for schools to purchase fresh, locally grown produce to encourage healthier eating behaviors and lifestyles.

Agriculture is the largest industry in Missouri and we have a responsibility to promote the industries continued success as we recover in this struggling economy. The Ag bills passed by the General Assembly in 2011 are a positive step in the direction of economic recovery.

Fiscally Responsible Legislation

HB 73, Drug Testing for TANF Recipients, requires the Department of Social Services to develop a program to screen applicants, or recipients, of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program benefits if DSS case workers have a reason to suspect drug use. Failing a drug test can result in a loss of adult benefits unless the client completes a substance abuse treatment program. Children could still receive benefits through a third party. Additionally, all electronic benefit cards will now include a photo of the recipient.

When the State feels it is necessary to use your tax dollars, for whatever reason, it becomes incumbent upon the State to make sure your money is used for the intended purpose. Not only will HB 73 help stop the misuse of your tax dollars, but, it also addresses the issue of getting drug abusers into the substance abuse treatment programs they need.

Appropriations (Budget) Legislation

HBs 1-15, 17, 18, 21, and 22 (Budget Bills). Despite diminished revenue during our nation’s recession, we were able to pass a balanced budget which continues to provide funding for our priorities without raising taxes for you and your family. Missouri government must live within its means; just like Missouri families. The House of Representatives led by example by cutting its own budget and reducing waste, fraud, and abuse, elsewhere in state government. There will be other tough decisions to be made as we continue down the “fiscally responsible” road to economic recovery. But make no mistake; the Missouri Legislature will do everything possible to ensure the continued, and appropriate, funding of our State’s priorities.

Gun Laws

HB 294 lowers the minimum age requirement to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon from 23 to 21 (like the majority of states which allow concealed gun permits). The bill also requires an applicant to gain experience shooting 50 rounds each with a revolver and a semiautomatic pistol, makes it easier for Missourians to buy firearms out of state, and provides additional protection of your right to purchase firearms and ammunition by prohibiting a sales tax on any firearms or ammunition from being levied at a higher rate than sales tax charged on sporting goods or hunting equipment.

This is common sense legislation which further protects our 2nd Amendment rights and eliminates out-of-date laws regarding firearm purchases.

Pro-Life Legislation

HB 213, and SB 65, essentially ban abortions after 20 weeks unless two doctors verify that the fetus is not viable, the mother would not survive, or continuing the pregnancy creates a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the mother. If a fetus is found to be unviable and is aborted, a doctor will be required to report why the child was unviable to the state. A person who violates the law could spend up to seven years in prison and be fined up to $50,000.

We have a societal responsibility to provide protections for those whom cannot protect themselves. There can be no one needier of this protection than the viable, unborn child.

Puppy Legislation

SB 113 and SB 161 made beneficial changes to Proposition B. These bills were a compromise between Missouri’s agriculture groups and animal welfare organizations, with the ultimate goal of improving the care of dogs, while keeping licensed breeders in business.

SB 356 establishes the Puppy Protection Trust Fund which collects funds to be used by the Department of Agriculture for the administration of the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act. The bill allows individuals and corporations to donate a portion of any tax refund owed to them by the state of Missouri to the fund.

For those of you concerned about altering Prop B, this legislation is by no means a full repeal of the Proposition. I have reviewed the alterations and I believe this act is beneficial to both breeders and dogs.

As always, if you have any questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact your 99th District office at:

201 W. Capitol Avenue, Room 114-C
Jefferson City, MO 65101
(573) 751-2689

Nance: Concern About Student Protection Act

Kearney Missouri native Matt Mason was killed in Afghanistan this past weekend when his helicopter was shot down. Mason was a member of the Navy's elite Seal Team Six. He leaves behind a wife, two children & a third child on the way. Please pray for his family and all of our military.

SB 54

I have been receiving communications regarding the passage of Senate Bill 54, and more specifically, the internet communication policies established within the bill. I wanted to pass along some information that may be helpful in communicating with you about this bill. Please forward this to your teacher friends because some districts block some emails.

The bill, known as the Amy Hestir Protection Act, is named after a student who was repeatedly sexually abused by her teacher. The teacher was subsequently hired by numerous school districts before retiring. Currently, school districts fear being sued for sharing information about former employees, and as a result, many teachers are able to transfer districts without having information about misconduct disclosed.

To put an end to this practice, the new law requires criminal background checks for teacher applicants, allows school districts to share information with other districts regarding sexual misconduct by their employees, and makes districts liable if they fail to disclose information regarding misconduct upon request by another district.

The most contact is over the provisions regarding student-teacher online communication, though. Here are some of the key points from that section:
  • Senate Bill 54 requires all school districts to adopt policies relating to student-teacher internet communication. These policies must be adopted no later than January of 2012.
  • The law requires school districts to adopt policies which prohibit “exclusive communication” between teachers and students on internet websites. In other words, all communication between teachers and students on the internet must be accessible to parents and administrators.
  • These policies DO NOT prohibit online communication between teachers and students unless the communication is not accessible to parents and administrators.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 154-0 and the Senate by a vote of 34-0. It is also important to note that this bill has been under consideration in the legislature for the past four years, and this year, was supported by the following groups:
  • Missouri State Teachers’ Association
  • Missouri National Education Association
  • Missouri School Boards Association
  • American Federation of Teachers of Missouri

In the District

I attended the Ray County Coalition meeting last Thursday in Richmond and met former Royal Jim Eisenreich who does volunteer work for the “House of Hope”, an organization that works to prevent domestic violence.

On Tuesday I visited the Crystal Lakes Council meeting and then met with officials from MoDOT in Lees’ Summit.

Stouffer: The State Fair Is Here

It is August, meaning one of the biggest events of the year is here. The annual Missouri State Fair is back in Sedalia.

Aug. 11-21 marks the culmination of an active summer for hundreds of folks from rural Missouri. Most of their summer is spent in varying competitions at county fairs, in an effort to make it all the way to the State Fair. Agriculture is at the heart of this annual event.

Missouri has had a state fair since 1901. Regardless of any changes in the past 110 years, one thing has stayed the same at the fair: agriculture. In fact, it was a group of livestock breeders who got the ball rolling to start a fair in the late 1800s. This led to legislation in the Missouri General Assembly in 1899. After that, the State Board of Agriculture toured the six locations that were finalists for the permanent location of the Missouri State Fair: Centralia, Chillicothe, Marshall, Mexico, Moberly and Sedalia. The site was chosen based on proximity to the Missouri River and railroads. Plus, land was donated to the state specifically for this purpose.

Among the highlights this year will be the Rural Lifestyles Showcase. This is an opportunity for folks to learn about rural Missouri and to incorporate rural living into their everyday lives. This will include demonstrations by 4-H and FFA, “Celebrate Missouri Gardens,” Family Living and the farm toy show.

There are other events at the fair, including days set aside for different groups: “Military Appreciation Day,” set for Aug. 14; “Farm Family Day” on the 15th; and “Missouri Farmers Care Food Drive Tuesday,” which will be Aug. 16. Plus, there will be numerous shows on the grandstand.

I am looking forward to the fair, and the weather looks to be cooler than what we have seen not only in past years, but just the past month here in Missouri. I look forward to seeing you and your family in Sedalia Aug. 11-21 for the Missouri State Fair. If you would like more information about the fair, long on to or call 800-422-FAIR (3247).

Denison: Beware of Unclaimed Property Scam

“Never lose a chance of saying a kind word.” – William Thackeray

Beware of Unclaimed Property Scam

Our state treasurer has spent the last several months trying to make Missourians aware of existing unclaimed property and how to claim it. Now he is trying to warn Missourians about an email scam that claims to help Missourians reclaim lost property.

Specifically, if you receive an email from Jeff Smith, director of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, claiming to want to return $2.8 million in lost property to you, please disregard the email. The email also asks for personal information and asks you to call an attorney in the United Kingdom. Missourians who believe such an offer is too good to be true are right. The email is a scam that will result in anyone who falls for it being charged a hefty fee.

When trying to identify an unclaimed property scam, Missourians should keep two things in mind. First, the treasurer’s office does not send unsolicited emails asking for detailed personal information. Second, the office never charges a fee for processing an unclaimed property claim. If you have any questions regarding whether an email or phone call relating to unclaimed property is a scam, please call the treasurer’s office at 573-751-0123.

Other News

On August 3-6 I attended the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) 38th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. There were several legislators from Missouri in attendance, along with legislators from all fifty states. ALEC’s Annual Meeting covered public safety, education, health care, fiscal responsibility, policies to promote economic growth, and environmental policy. I came away from the meeting with some very good information.

On August 6th four scouts from Boy Scouts of America, Troop 111, in the 135th district received the prestigious Eagle Scout Award during a solemn Court of Honor Ceremony at King’s Way United Methodist Church. The scouts are Deven Colbert, Derek Colbert, and Daren Colbert, and their parents are Albert and Reina Colbert; and Brennan Kyle Smith, son of Calvin and Cynthia Smith. The Eagle Scouts were presented a House Resolution during the ceremony on my behalf by Representative Lincoln Hough, and I wish them the very best as they uphold the Scouting tradition. John Prescott is the Eagle Coordinator for Troop 111, and his son Logan Prescott also received the prestigious award.

Pictured left to right: Rep. Lincoln Hough, Deven Colbert, Derek Colbert, Daren Colbert, Logan Prescott, Brennan Smith

Several months ago I mentioned the bridge closing over Pearson Creek on Greene County Route YY east of Springfield. My office received a report this week advising the bridge was reopened the evening of August 9th. The bridge project was part of MoDOT’s Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program that will repair or replace 802 bridges across Missouri by the end of 2013.

As I mentioned last week, the District Directory will arrive in your mailbox very soon. I hope you find the booklet a great resource for local, state and federal contact information.

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: Knowing Your Missouri State Departments: Economic Development, Division of Tourism

Here at the Capitol it is known as DED: the Department of Economic Development. It has fourteen divisions, among which is the Division of Tourism. You can link from the picture below to view the DED webpage that lists all 14 Divisions. Each division heading is a hyperlink where you’ll find information, resources and other useful information. Today’s Capitol Report will focus on the Division of Tourism.

Division of Tourism: The Missouri Division of Tourism is the administrative arm of the Missouri Tourism Commission, and it advocates for the sound development of the travel and tourism industry in Missouri. Created by the 74th General Assembly in 1967, the Division of Tourism’s mission is to promote Missouri as a top-of-mind travel destination and to boost state revenue through increased visitor spending.

In my July 21 Capitol Report I showed you how to use the Department of Natural Resources to access and plan an outdoor event at any State Park or Historical Site, but of course, these are not the only sites to visit in this beautiful state. Use either picture-link below to view the Missouri tourism home page where you can order a travel guide; get trip ideas; print off coupons; or find a special fun event for kids!

When you linked to the home page above did you notice the black state silhouette at the top? If you want to find events in any region of the state just click on the regional section and it will take you to listings and other information relative to that region. Let’s explore the Southeast region. After all, we might be surprised what’s in our own “backyard”! When we click on the SE area of the black silhoette, below is what we get (yes, the pictures are hyperlinks!):

You’ll notice this upper section (left-most picture) of the webpage rotates pictures of a few of the places to visit. If you click on the picture it will take you to a description of –in this case- a listing of the Art Galleries in SEMO. The webpage picture on the right is of the mid-section which has a short description of the region. Don’t forget if your computer’s pointing device turns into a pointing finger when placed over a webpage object that means it’s a webpage hyperlink. For example, the photo of the carousel horse will take you to a listing of regional museums. The webpage also has other features you’re going to want to explore –such as the lower section where detailed information can be accessed by using the tabs. Under the Listings tab, for example, you’ll be able to sort the information by city or type. The left side bar contains hyperlinks to more information.

So what are you waiting for? Take a look at what’s available and get planning!

10 August 2011

Allen: Amy Hestir Student Protection Act

SB 54, also known as the Amy Hesir Protection Act, has recently been signed by the Governor. This bill is very important to protect our children and make our schools a safer environment. I wanted to share with you the history behind the bill as well as some of the new provisions that will take effect.

The Amy Hestir Protection Act, is named after a student who was repeatedly sexually abused by her teacher. The teacher was subsequently hired by numerous school districts before retiring. Currently, school districts fear being sued for sharing information about former employees, and as a result, many teachers are able to transfer districts without having information about misconduct disclosed.

To put an end to this practice, the new law requires criminal background checks for teacher applicants, allows school districts to share information with other districts regarding sexual misconduct by their employees, and makes districts liable if they fail to disclose information regarding misconduct upon request by another district.

There are also new provisions regarding student-teacher online communication. Here are some of the key points from that section:
  • Senate Bill 54 requires all school districts to adopt policies relating to student-teacher internet communication. These policies must be adopted no later than January of 2011.
  • The law requires school districts to adopt policies which prohibit “exclusive communication” between teachers and students on internet websites. In other words, all communication between teachers and students on the internet must be accessible to parents and administrators.
  • These policies DO NOT prohibit online communication between teachers and students unless the communication is not accessible to parents and administrators.

The bill passed with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate earlier this year. It passed the House by a vote of 154-0 and the Senate by a vote of 34-0.

If you have further questions, please let me know.

09 August 2011

Hoskins: Dog Days Of Summer Continue, General Assembly Redistricting

Although it is just now August, the dog days of summer have been with us for way too long. We in Johnson County know that dog is man’s best friend, but this is really too much. Unfortunately, I’m not telling you anything new if I talk about this hot, humid summer so I’ll leave that alone. One thing I can say is thank goodness for air conditioning.

Typically, I only issue a Capitol Report when I’ve actually been at the Capitol. I’m not in Jefferson City these days since this is the interim session but there are several things I want to cover with you that I think justify sending one out. I hope you’ll agree. Since I send all these Capitol Reports electronically by email, then my Capitol Reports don’t really have a direct cost since there is no expense in the cost of delivery. I realize not everybody has email but I sure appreciate being able to use this as a cost effective tool to communicate with my constituents.

So let’s jump right in here to the things I want to share with you today.

Additional Committee Appointments

Since the legislature adjourned in May, Speaker Steve Tilley has made new committee appointments. I continue to serve on Budget, Appropriations for Transportation & Economic Development, Higher Education, Veterans, and Renewable Energy so these are additional duties.

My training as a CPA gives me special insight into seeing past the smoke and mirrors. That is a critical reason Speaker Tilley appointed me to serve on the Interim Committee on Budget Transparency plus the Joint Committee on Transportation. I have long touted the importance to publically report how our state’s funds are being expended. Because of Johnson County’s strategic location at a major highway crossroads and being bisected by the state’s primary east-west railway line, I bring a good knowledge base to this table, too. I am hopeful both of these committees will provide additional information for my Appropriations Committee and the House Budget Committee to use in consideration of the next fiscal year’s budget.

Redistricting Process

The Missouri House Redistricting Commission has been meeting to collect input on the most appropriate way to draw the boundaries for the House legislative districts. Violet Corbett from Johnson County was appointed to serve on this commission. There are two major proposals being considered offered by each of the two primary political parties. The Commission has been collecting comments regarding those plans to use in the development of the final map it will present to Governor Nixon. I don’t expect the Commission to adopt either the Republican or the Democratic plan in entirety.

I submitted a letter to the Commission expressing what I consider to be in the best interest for our county and Johnson County’s communities. Actually, I concentrated my comments to the Commission on impacts specific to Johnson County. The Democratic Plan proposes to divide Johnson County into four different House districts. Under that plan, the City of Warrensburg would be divided into two separate districts, too. I don’t think the current representation we have for Johnson County has problems. The Republican Proposal would essentially keep Johnson County pretty much the same as it is now with three House districts and Warrensburg with a single representative. Why fix what isn’t broken?

I’m looking forward to the final map the Commission will submit. I am especially hopeful it will result in a good plan for Johnson County.

Special Session

Our primary objective in the last legislative session was economic development especially as it relates to jobs. Due to complications of a threatened gubernatorial veto, the legislature was unable to accomplish all we had set out to do. Now Governor Nixon has announced that he plans to call the legislature back for a special session to address economic development. There is also speculation that discussions regarding the presidential primary might also be included. The only issues that can be addressed during a special session are those agenda items specifically named by the governor. Neither the detailed agenda nor the dates have been released. The legislature comes back for the regularly scheduled veto session on September 14. If we have a special session, it will need to be prior to the veto session when we consider all bills the governor vetoed.

Whiteman Tour

Last Friday, it was my pleasure to showcase Whiteman Air Force Base to some of my legislative colleagues. There were 13 legislators plus their guests on the tour. Several of them brought their sons to see the inner workings at Whiteman. We had also planned to tour at the University of Central Missouri but the itinerary changed at the last minute. That day we had the first rain we’d seen in weeks so that caused us to lose the time we needed to go to UCM. We’ll head to UCM another time. My purpose in hosting this tour was to increase the level of knowledge of the impacts this key military installation and UCM have in our state. We in Johnson County know how important these two fine jewels are so I look forward to helping others know, too.

Ways to Keep in Contact

I consider communication with my constituents a high priority. My weekly Monday morning chat at 8:45 a.m. with Woody at KOKO Radio on AM 1450 is one of the best ways I’ve found for you to literally “hear” from me. During session or interim, 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: Special Session Announcement, Free Gun Locks from SLPD, Health Fair Saturday

Special Session Announcement

In recent news, the governor announced that he will call us into a special session in September to work on economic development legislation — possibly when the General Assembly is at the Capitol for its annual veto session.

A delicate compromise was finally reached between the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Board and the St. Louis Police Officers Association, setting the stage to return local control of our police department to the city. The compromise protects officers' bargaining rights and employment benefits.

St. Louis city leaders expressed that the local control matter should be a priority during special session and majority leadership said they have no problem passing the local control measure. I sincerely hope that lawmakers will be able to form an agreement and give control of the police department back to the City of St. Louis.

Free Gun Locks Provided by Police Department

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department offers FREE gun locks to residents.

If you decide to have guns in your home, it is very important that you keep your weapons safe — many children die each year from misusing or playing with guns. According to a KSDK report published on July 21, four accidental shootings involving children occurred in the St. Louis-metro area in July.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department offers FREE gun locks to residents, courtesy of ATF and Project ChildSafe. The gun locks are available at 1200 Clark Ave. in St. Louis. There are also limited supplies of gun locks at the following stations:
  • North Patrol, 4014 Union, 444-0001
  • Central Patrol, 919 North Jefferson, 444-2500
  • South Patrol, 3157 Sublette, 444-0100

The Citizen Service Bureau

Many nuisance issues are handled by the city’s Citizen Service Bureau. If you have concerns regarding:
  • Refuse collection
  • Street maintenance
  • Traffic control signals and signs
  • Street lights
  • Requests for building inspections
  • Health inspections
  • Stray or vicious dogs
  • Accumulations of trash, weeds or similar problems
Contact them at (314) 622-4800, or visit the City of St. Louis website at

Legislation Signed By Governor

Uniform Trust Code

I’m very pleased to announce that one of my bills, SB 59, was signed by the governor. My bill will modify the Uniform Trust Code, among other provisions.

The bill clarifies creditors’ rights, provides 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 of statutory changes, which will ensure that Missouri trusts are in compliance with federal tax law.

My bill also modifies the type of information that is required to include in a petition for guardianship for a minor or an incapacitated person, and adopts the Uniform Adult Guardianship of Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA).

When I drafted the legislation, I collaborated with the Missouri Bar, Missouri’s judicial branch and the attorney general’s office. Several organizations supported my legislation, including the Alzheimer’s Association.

I also had the pleasure of sponsoring several provisions that were adopted in the legislation. Some of those provisions include:

Judicial Procedures and Local Government

I filed SB 61, which requires at least one of the three commissioners appointed by the court in condemnation proceedings to be either a licensed real estate broker or a licensed or certified real estate appraiser. These professionals can accurately assess the fair market value of the property rights acquired. The provision was added to HB 111, which was signed by the governor.

Firefighter Education Benefits

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. Both bills have been approved by the governor.

Tower Grove Park Board of Commissioners

I offered an amendment to HB 142 that authorizes the board of commissioners of Tower Grove Park to adjust the size of its membership upon the approval of a majority of its members. The bill has been approved by the governor.

Maintaining Water Fees

I filed legislation to ensure our rivers, lakes and streams continue to be healthy and clean. Senate Bill 158 extends clean water fees to provide continued funding for the federal Clean Water Act and the Missouri Clean Water Law. This provision was included in HB 89, which was approved by the governor.

Help With Your Insurance Complaints

The Missouri Department of Insurance is available to help you with complaints and questions about your insurance company.

It's no secret that insurance matters can be confusing. To help answer your questions, the Missouri Department of Insurance is here to assist you and can serve as a liaison between you and your insurance company.

The Dept. of Insurance is available to help with complaints regarding insurance companies, and is able to:
  • Forward a copy of your complaint to your insurance company and require the company to provide a response and explanation.
  • Review the company’s response for compliance with applicable Missouri insurance law and policy requirements.
  • Require the company to take corrective action if its determined that the company’s position does not comply with Missouri insurance law.
  • Help you understand your insurance policy.
  • Use a process called external review to resolve disputes with your insurance company, if the dispute is medical in nature. For example, the dispute could be about whether a service is medically necessary.
More than 20,000 consumers contact the department each year to file complaints and ask general questions about insurance. The department can explain which insurance companies have the highest rates of consumer complaints, and verify that companies and agents are licensed in Missouri. Each year, the department returns about $10 million to consumers who filed complaints because their claims were underpaid or their premiums were too high.

To contact the department, call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit

Free Health Fair

It's almost here! My FREE health fair is on:

Saturday, Aug. 13., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church
5515 Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. in St. Louis

At the health fair, information will be provided regarding breast cancer, mental health, diabetes, pregnancy, senior health, asthma, responsible parenting, Alzheimer's Disease, and more.

Some of the health organizations that will be happy to help you at the fair include:

Medical professionals will be available to test your blood pressure and eyesight — lead and HIV screenings will be available as well.

Please call my office at (573) 751-3599 if I can answer any questions you have regarding this event, or e-mail Stacy Morse at stacy{dot}morse{at}senate{dot}mo{dot}gov. I hope to see you there!

Missouri's FY 2012 Operating Budget

On May 5, the General Assembly delivered the state's FY 2012 operating budget to the governor, one day before its constitutional deadline. The $23.2 billion spending plan included funding for Missouri's vital programs and departments.

On June 10, the governor approved the operating budget — however, he decided to withhold $172 million from the budget. These cuts include $14.9 million for universities, $1.9 million for community colleges, and $8 million for school transportation. I am disappointed that Missouri schools took a hit in the budget, but I understand that difficult decisions had to be made. Missourians have seen difficult economic times, especially considering the natural disasters that hit our state, and funding has to be distributed wisely.

Open Enrollment Event: Learn More about Your Medicare

I will host a FREE Medicare Open Enrollment event for senior citizens and citizens with disabilities:

Tuesday, Oct. 18., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church
5515 Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. in St. Louis

There, you will be able to:
  • Learn more about your Medicare options
  • Enroll in a new prescription drug plan for 2012
  • Visit with senior services organizations
  • See if you qualify to pay less for Medicare
Medicare experts will be available to answer any questions you may have — counseling is FREE and confidential.

Organizations interested in participating in this event are absolutely welcome — if you would like to participate and provide your services to seniors and disabled citizens, please call my office at (573) 751-3599.

For more information regarding this open enrollment, please visit or call 1-800-390-3330.

Click here to view my postcard for the event.

Matters that Continue to Be of Great Importance

At right: Thomas J. Irwin was appointed to serve on the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners. The Senate confirmed his appointment on May 11. I hope that local control of the St. Louis police department will be addressed during special session.

Seat Belt Fines

For the past few years, I have been working to increase seat belt use in Missouri, which remains stuck at 76 percent. The national average is 85 percent and seat belt use in neighboring Illinois is over 92 percent. This year I sponsored
SB 24, which would increase the fine for seat belt violations from $10 to $50 in an effort to increase seat belt usage in Missouri. I will reintroduce this important legislation next session.

School Attendance

Inconsistent school attendance often accounts for students not graduating — it's vital that young children attend school on a regular basis. I filed SB 124, which would have required children in St. Louis to attend school at age five instead of seven. This would have helped identify students with special needs and would have prepared children for future learning. The well-being of our children remains a top priority for me, and I will continue to promote a quality education for all in Missouri.

Payday Loan Reform

For the past five sessions, we have been trying curb the abusive practices of the payday loan industry in Missouri. Senate Bill 295, which I sponsored this year, would amend state law relating to unsecured loans of $500 or less. It also would prohibit lenders from renewing such loans and create a statewide compliance system to ensure lenders play by the rules. The eight states that surround Missouri currently prohibit payday loan renewals. The federal government has stopped some of the worst payday lending practices targeted at our military families, and other states have enacted consumer guidelines to protect their citizens from predatory lenders. I think it is past time Missouri showed the same compassion for its citizens.

My Trip to Turkey and the Niagara Foundation

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Turkey with my fellow lawmakers and friends. We were guests of several people representing the Niagara Foundation, a non-profit organization whose goal is to bring people together and promote understanding, tolerance, respect, and compassion between people of various backgrounds.

The Niagara Foundation Missouri Branch organizes trips to Turkey with a goal of strengthening friendships between people in the East and West. The trip was a very educational and memorable experience.

During session, several members of the Turkish community in Missouri came to the Capitol and received a goodwill resolution (along with a standing ovation) passed by the House, which recognized the Turkish community in our state and honored our friendship.

Thank you to our hosts for your hospitality and generosity. To learn more about the Niagara Foundation, please visit, or click on this link to go directly to the Missouri branch of the Niagara Foundation.

My friends and I at Hierapolis, near Denizli, Turkey.

Meeting with the governor of Denizli, Turkey.

Overlooking Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey.

Allen: District Notice concerning Proposed Sewer Rate Increases


I wanted to make you aware of the upcoming public hearings that the St. Louis Rate Commission is having regarding MSD's proposed rate increases. These meetings will give everyone an opportunity to voice their opinions on the rate proposal. The hearings run from August 16 - 24 throughout the MSD District. For details on the hearings, please click on the link below:

If you have any questions, please contact my office.

Be Well,
Sue Allen
District 92

Kelley: Whiteman Air Force Base Tour

JEFFERSON CITY – State Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, recently joined a group of lawmakers for a trip to Warrensburg where the group toured Whiteman Air Force Base. The trip, which took place Friday, Aug. 5, was hosted by state Rep. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, who represents the area.

Kelley and other members of the Missouri House met with military officials to learn more about the specific functions of Whiteman Air Force base, which houses the B-2 Stealth Bomber. The group was able to observe a B-2 Bomber as well as tour a deactivated Minuteman launch facility.

“I’m thankful I had the opportunity to make the trip and to meet some of the fine men and women serving in our United States Air Force,” said Kelley. “It was eye opening see firsthand how large the base is and how important it is to the Johnson County area and the state With more than 5,000 people living on base, it functions as its own city. The economic impact it has on the 121st district and all of Missouri is immense.”

08 August 2011

Dempsey: MoDOT to split Mid Rivers Mall traffic at Route 94 on August 12

The Missouri Department of Transportation and its contractor, Fred Weber, Inc., will split traffic lanes on Mid Rivers Mall Drive on Friday, August 12, as part of ongoing Route 364 construction in the area.

The traffic switch will take place between the morning and evening rush periods, weather permitting.

When the shift is done, traffic on eastbound and westbound Route 94 heading to northbound Mid Rivers Mall Drive will need to use a temporary signal and the north outer road to get the Mid Rivers Mall Drive. This temporary signal is just east of the new Mid Rivers Mall Drive bridge. Access between southbound Mid Rivers Mall Drive and Route 94 is not changed at this time. Traffic on Pitman Hill will need to use the south outer road, cross Route 94 at the temporary signal to the north outer road and follow the north outer road to Mid Rivers Mall Drive.

During this traffic shift, the first signals north of Route 94 (near Mobil and the McDonalds) will only allow drivers to turn right into the businesses or right out of the entrance during this shift. Drivers can use next signal (by Home Depot and St. Louis Bread Company) to make all turns onto Mid Rivers Mall Drive. Drivers can expect further changes on Mid Rivers Mall Drive in about two weeks.

This is part of a $25.5 million project to extend Route 364 from west of Central School Road to Mid Rivers Mall Drive in St. Charles County. Crews will also construct bridges at Kisker Road and Mid Rivers Mall Drive over the new route. The project is scheduled to be complete in 2012.

Stouffer: The Case for a Balanced Budget

A lot of folks are making a big deal over raising the nation’s debt ceiling once again. What started as a serious round of discussions to actually curb the out-of-control spending in Washington, D.C., may have turned into yet another example of kicking the can down the road.

Part of the initial discussions on Capitol Hill centered around “cut, cap and balance,” a simple idea that sought to cut the total amount of spending, cap the amount of money spent to a particular baseline and balance the federal budget. This was deemed as drastic, extreme and impossible by many — including the president. Why it is okay to raise the debt ceiling, but NOT cut the ridiculously high spending, is beyond me.

A balanced budget amendment is proposed in Congress every few years. The plan normally gets discussed, but does not make it to the people. Balanced federal spending would mean big changes, even at the state budget level, and I wholeheartedly support the cause.

In Missouri, we balance the budget. We have to; it is the law. We do have debt in this state, but it is very low, comparatively speaking. For every dollar that will be spent in Fiscal Year 2012 (which runs July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012), three-tenths of a cent will go to pay off our public debt. Roughly speaking, this translates to approximately $7.6 million of a $23.3 billion budget.

Our ability to balance the budget has also kept our state’s credit rating high. While threats to downgrade the nation’s credit rating continue to be bounced around, Missouri enjoys a AAA rating, which means our interest payments stay low.

There is nothing new about the concept of a federal balanced budget. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1798 how he wished it could be impossible for a government to borrow money. But, since the country was recovering from the cost of the Revolutionary War, such an amendment was not feasible then. Nothing was proposed until 1936. More calls for a federal balanced budget amendment happened during the 1970s. The latest attempts were in 1995 and ’97, but nothing has occurred since then.

Our governor has also exercised his authority and ordered the withholding of millions of dollars over the past couple of years. Unfortunately, most of the money that has been withheld lately has never been replaced, despite increasing revenues this year. This is especially true of school transportation funding; the state’s promised share of paying for bus service for our schools has been cut drastically this year. The downside of withholding money is it circumvents the Legislature. That having been said, the governor has released $1.2 million for children’s crisis care, domestic abuse victims and the elderly.

When federal lawmakers revisit the debt limit in December, I am hopeful they will finally obey the will of the people and take serious strides to curb the massive spending that takes place in Washington, D.C. Without new discipline, our nation faces unprecedented challenges. I pray that our leaders will do the right thing.

Lant: ALEC Conference

What a marvelous opportunity it was for me to participate in the ALEC Conference this past week. ALEC is a non-partisan group of legislators from every state that hold a conference yearly to act as a clearing house for ideas and to propose model legislation to help guide legislators in proposing bills to address today's problems. To be completely honest, most of us were fiscal conservatives, but there was certainly representation of both major political parties as well as several delegates with independent views. The topics discussed were not of a political nature. The workshops and subcommittees were addressing issues that are now, and will be, of vital importance to each of us. I was part of a subcommittee on commerce, insurance, and economic development. Medicaid was one topic that was discussed at length and how current and future Federal Rulings will affect participant numbers and consequently costs. There were different ideas brought forth for cost containment by individual states. One idea that seemed to make good sense to me was giving states more flexibility in dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues.

Another workshop dealt with a smarter approach to improving our environment by addressing the costs of proposed EPA regulations on energy affordability. Under new EPA regulations, "downwind pollution" is going to be regulated starting next year. This has the acclaim of being the most expensive regulation ever imposed and yet most of us have never heard of it. The regulation is imposed on coal fired plants that are located close to another states' border and could possibly let some of their smoke drift across the line. Never mind how the heck they are going to measure the amount or tell how much the other state drifts back our way when the wind changes, everybody gets to pay more! The conservative estimate of job loss and energy price increases from this EPA ruling alone is 17.8 billion dollars. Please don't take this wrong, I am certainly in favor of cleaner air and water, but we also learned that since 1980 the pollutants from coal fired plants have dropped by over 80%. There are plans now being implemented to further reduce the emissions. We already have the cleanest power plants in the world and will soon be even better if the EPA doesn't continue to impose regulations that are impossible to meet. Please don't take me wrong, I'm not for dirty air and water, but there is a point where regulations become punitive. If we cause energy prices to raise so high that our industrial complex moves off shore where there are no regulations, the result is much higher percentages of air pollution worldwide and we all lose.

We were honored by several speakers at breakfast and lunch. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Steve Moore with The Wall Street Journal, Marvin Odum, President, Shell Oil, Tucker Carlson, Political Analyst for CNN, and last but certainly not least, Dick Armey, Former House Majority Leader. Each of these gentlemen gave us their views and opinions on current events and pending train wrecks. Much to my pleasant surprise, to a person they expounded the belief that we will recover from our recession and emerge better than ever. Each one of them gave accounts from their experiences of how, just when it seemed impossible to solve our problems, good old American ingenuity found a way. I'm sure looking forward to reporting that when it happens!

Next week I'll go into some of the other meetings. Until then, I am and remain, in your service.