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19 August 2011

Allen: Freshman Work Groups, Auditor's Letter on Governor's Withholdings,

The summer has flown by and we are coming upon our Constitutionally bound Veto Session, on September 15 and a likely Special Session adjacent to Veto Session.

I am happy to report we have had four 2-day "work groups" so far, averaging 20-25 of our new caucus freshmen. We have brought in various Department directors, deputies and others who have been around the Capitol and MO government for many years. The point is to gain the "institutional knowledge" which our current term-limits makes more challenging.

The Interim Budget Committee on Transparency will convene next week. We will start with the Governor's Budget Director, Linda Luebring. I believe we will be discussing the Governor's withholds and promises he has made for disaster expenditures around the state.

It has been reported that Governor Nixon has made many commitments of state funds in Joplin and I recognize the need to help Joplin and other communities who have suffered recent disasters. However, Nixon apparently has spoken and promised without having transparent and accountable data to present to the legislature as was apparent this past week when Director Luebring spoke to a Senate committee. Instead it would appear that, up to this point, there has been an end-run around the legislature.

As I have stated often, I believe that in order for our State to function most effectively and efficiently, we MUST have transparency and accountability. It should NEVER have to be questioned that we meet legal and Constitutional standards.

A letter has been sent to Governor Nixon from our State Auditor, Tom Schweich, citing statutes and Constitutional provisions which relate to withholds and redirecting appropriated budgetary funds. The complete letter is attached in a PDF file.

I am well aware of the many needs from the devastation from the Joplin tornado and flooded areas where water is still standing in rural areas of the state. I think it is also important that people recognize the $170 million of Governor withholds have taken appropriated funding away from programs such as community colleges, children's services, courts and judges, University of Missouri, senior health programs, and others without legislative approval or oversight.

18 August 2011

Stouffer: The Special Session Is Supposed to Be Coming

When lawmakers return to Jefferson City in September for the annual veto session, they may also address issues that will be a part of the First Extraordinary Session of the 96th General Assembly.

As was the case last year, when the governor called the Legislature back to the Capitol, jobs and economic development will be the focal point again this year. What makes this special session different from last years, instead of a bill aimed at one company, all of Missouri is said benefit from the items on the agenda.

Proponents of the newest “eco devo” legislation say the total package could save Missouri $1.5 billion over the next decade. This proposal includes several key elements that have been worked out by a number of folks since the regular legislative session ended in May.

Limiting Tax Credits

At the top of the list is tax credit reform. The Low-Income Housing and Historic Preservation tax credit programs could see reductions, as could other tax credits that were mentioned by the governor’s Tax Credit Review Commission, which met last year. Many folks are disappointed these credits are not part of the appropriations process. In other words, when lawmakers put together the state’s budget, the money that goes toward tax credits is not figured in. I have often said if tax credits were a part of the budget, may not even exist.

Creating a Trade Hub with China

These cost reductions listed above would help fund the “Aerotropolis Trade Incentive Act,” which supports say will help Lambert-St. Louis International Airport become a major trade hub. Over a 15-year period, $360 million in tax credits would be utilized to make this a reality. Many believe this will help move agriculture products overseas. Others say trade with China is a losing game for the United States and we should support existing infrastructure, not just a handful of investors.

More Spending in Missouri

Also included in the proposal are incentives to get amateur sporting events and data centers into Missouri. Some say these are beneficial ideas that would boost the economy for towns of every size. In addition, the “Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act” (MOSIRA) is designed to start the process of creating high-paying 21st century jobs that could put Missouri ahead of several states, in terms of job growth, retention and creation. Some worry MOSIRA funding may lead to unethical bioscience research. Others believe public investment in the private industry is the wrong way to go.

Setting the Date

Most of the legwork has been done on these ideas. All that is left is to decide what day to hold the special session, which is likely to coincide with the annual veto session during the second week of September. A lot of folks will be watching what takes place, and I pray lawmakers make the right decisions to put our state back to work soon.

Kraus: The Power of the Future

The debate over future energy options is alive and well in Missouri. Prop C, passed in 2008, created rules for Missouri to explore and utilize alternative energy sources. Coal is still the most plentiful resource in the state, but the effort to expand nuclear power by building a second plant near the current Callaway plant is ongoing.

Previously, Ameren and other energy companies have made it clear they would like to build a second nuclear plant. The problem, from their perspective, is a Missouri law which does not allow them to charge consumers for construction work in progress (CWIP). In other words, unless they can have the law overturned or waived, they would have to come up with the full cost upfront. Earlier attempts to change the law have repeatedly failed.

This year, Ameren tried a different approach. They came to the General Assembly looking only for funding to apply for a nuclear site permit, approximately $40 million. They asked for permission to raise rates to get the money for the permit. Since it doesn’t technically finance CWIP, they thought this was an option. However, too many obstacles stood in their way, and no bill passed the General Assembly.

The issues surrounding building a new nuclear plant are a good example of special interests at work in Jefferson City. There is a strong and vocal lobby for Ameren and other energy companies. There is an active lobby for the largest energy consumers, industrial companies. There is even a “voice” for consumers, the Office of Public Counsel (OPC), currently financed through Missouri’s general revenues, although they don’t lobby legislators.

In current versions of the plan to finance a site permit, the energy companies and industrial companies worked out a deal to remove funding for the Office of Public Counsel (OPC) from general revenue and fund it by raising a fee on rate payers. I have been and will continue to be vocally opposed to this “compromise” because it is, in essence, a hidden tax hike on consumers. While I made it clear earlier in the session that I was opposed to such funding, the funding was increased in a version introduced the last day of session. I again stood up in opposition. While the rate increase per household is minor, it is still a higher fee on all users. Combined with rate hikes for the site permit, and future rate hikes for the plant itself, too much of the burden lies on you, the end user.

While I see a future need for a plant to be built, I am against raising fees just to fund a site permit. I truly believe that the energy companies could (and likely would, if pressed) fund the site permit with existing assets and ongoing revenues. I think that with a reasonable plan, the legislature would relax CWIP rules to allow some upfront construction funding after a permit was obtained. I also believe that the voice of the average residential consumer has been lost in the mix and needs to be restored.

Let me be clear - I support nuclear power and might support a second nuclear plant in Missouri if the rate payers are protected. I will, however, continue to be a watchdog for rate payers and taxpayers, making sure your interests are properly discussed as part of any solution.

Chinook Crash


Last week’s tragic helicopter crash in Afghanistan hit close to home. In addition to the Navy Seal team on board, the Chinook carried members of my former reserve unit based out of Olathe. My thoughts and prayers are with each of these brave soldier’s families as they deal with their loss.

Nance: Missouri Main Street Convention, America Declining?

In the District

This past week I attended the” Missouri Main Street Connection Awards Ceremony” in Kansas City where two Excelsior Springs projects received awards. Jim and Ginger Nelson received the” Stick-Out-Your-Neck-Award” for their efforts with the buildings they have renovated on Broadway. Brent McElwee received an award for “Top Fa├žade Rehabilitation under $10,000” for his work on the old Broadway Market which is now the “Broadway and Penn” building. Their work in Excelsior Springs is being recognized by others.

I met with Eric Busick and Brenda Smith on Thursday as the new Elms’ owners set up a Community Improvement District. I was asked to serve a two year term and be part of the District’s CID Board.

On Friday I went to the Metropolitan Re-entry Coalition for Transitional Jobs Summit in Kansas City. Six different groups including the Kansas City Crime Commission shared the need for temporary jobs for those transitioning from prison to the community.

The Missouri Department of Transportation has completed three bridges on Route C as part of the Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program. These new bridges replace structures more than 65-years-old.

To date, Ray County has received 18 new or improved bridges, leaving four remaining bridges to be replaced. The remaining structures are scheduled for this fall. Each bridge is located on Route 10; three just west of Hardin and the fourth located west of Richmond, and have been postponed until flooding is no longer a threat for the area. Route 10 will be the designated detour.

The Beach at Watkins Mill State Park is closed due to bacteria levels.

Downtown Excelsior Springs will be packed this Friday and Saturday with over 50 entries in the “Barbeque on the River” event.


America Declining?


We constantly hear that America is in decline. Ann Curty-Case, a local financial advisor recently gave me information I would like to share. She acquired it from an article in Oxford Club, August 4, 2011, written by Carl Delfield.

Here are a few bullet points.
  • America is still the leading manufacturer in the world with 22% of global manufacturing primarily in advanced, capital intense manufacturing. American manufacturing workers are eight times more productive that Chinese workers.
  • The American economy is still three times the size of China’s, even though its population is about one-fifth its size.
  • The market values of Exxon and Apple alone are greater than the market value of the entire Shanghai stock market. America’s multinationals are dominant, representing 47 of the world’s 100 largest companies by market value. Meanwhile, 15 of China’s 20 largest companies are owned and run by the Chinese state.
  • America is the world’s third-largest exporter (just a hair behind China and Germany) and its upside potential is enormous. Only two percent of America’s small and medium sized businesses export at all right now. About two-thirds of our trade deficit is due to Chinese and energy exports.
  • America remains the world’s agriculture king, accounting for 20% of the global trade. It has twice the arable land of China (25%) and our farms are the most productive in the world. By contrast, in India 60% of the people are in agriculture, but that sector accounts for only 15% of the GPD. About 40% of India’s crops spoil on the way to market due to poor infrastructure.
  • The United States has 28% of the world’s coal reserves and Louisiana alone has four times the proven natural gas reserves of China. The United States has twice the fresh water of China; while China’s annual carbon emissions are already twice that of America.
  • America is still the #1 destination of foreign direct investment. On the cumulative basis, it has four times that of the U.K. and six time that of China.

America, like every country, has its economic challenges, but it is hardly on its last leg.

Lichtenegger: Knowing Your Missouri State Departments: Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

Before I report on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as part of my Knowing Your Missouri State Department series, I would like to commend teachers everywhere for their dedication and hard work. Educating future leaders is not an easy task –especially given the countless classroom distractions, needing the cooperation of parents in the educational process and the pressure for students to perform on state tests. It’s a daily grind of hard work, exhausting hours and endless patience. God Bless all of you!

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education exists primarily to oversee the public schools’ role in educating the state’s residential youth. Their mission statement: The mission of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is to guarantee the superior preparation and performance of every child in school and in life.

There is valuable information at every turn on the DESE website. In fact there is so much information I recommend you start with the DESE website map to explore available information. There you will find information of interest to parents, teachers and even the general public.

Information in the form of public school data - MAP and even ACT scores- can be accessed through what’s called the Missouri Comprehensive Data System (MCDS) a data portal for all things DESE. Follow the hyperlink below to view what’s in the eight categories of interest. When you hover your pointer over each of the categories, you can read a description –to the right- of what information is provided. The example below describes the information contained in the State Assessment data.


Since most of my Capitol Report readers are from Cape Girardeau County, I provided a direct hyperlink here to the Cape Girardeau Public School profile and to the Jackson R-II Public School profile.

Want a one-stop-info-shop for any Missouri school districts? Link here to the School Statistics webpage and use the Make a Selection to scroll and select the school district of your choice. These pages give what is called Planning Profiles for every school district. This type of profile gives you everything from student test scores to disciplinary issues. Below is the page for Jackson R-II school district.


In addition to the DESE website, teachers may want to visit the Secretary of State’s Missouri Kids! web-page to download teaching tools such as the School Packet, games and fun facts.

I encourage every constituent to be informed about the public education system so that you understand how and when to influence legislators to keep what works and eliminate what doesn’t.

Denison: Clarifying Intent of Student Protection Act, MoDOT Road Work

“Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live, as well as strong to think.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Clarifying the Intent of the Amy Hestir Davis Student Protection Act


I mentioned in a previous report the Amy Hestir Davis Student Protection Act [SB54] that was passed this year to protect students from the few unscrupulous individuals who unfortunately exist in the teaching profession. One portion of that legislation has recently been the subject of a great deal of discussion in both the media and among educators. The section in question limits online communication between teachers and students to communication that is open to both parents and schools. Teachers have raised concerns that the provision will prevent the use of Facebook and other electronic mediums that are used commonly to keep in touch with students. The truth is that the new law does not outlaw the use of Facebook but instead prevents the use of private messages, chat, restricted wall posts or other communication that happens where a parent cannot see.

It’s also important to note that the law simply requires schools to establish a policy to address this issue. We believe they can do that without severely hampering the ability of a teacher to effectively communicate with students. As the Missouri State Teachers Association, which supported the bill, said in a recent blog post, “What teachers need to know right now is that the law does not bar appropriate use of text messaging and social networking sites. Schools will have to address the question of what is appropriate and what is inappropriate when they establish a policy that is required by this law.” The intent of the law is to make sure communication between teachers and students is an open book so that any inappropriate communication is prevented. If we find the law we passed makes it difficult for good teachers to do their jobs, we will revisit the law and find ways to modify so that we get this important provision right.

In the District


I was very honored to present a 50th Wedding Anniversary Resolution to James and Sybil Osborn at a special celebration to commemorate their Golden Wedding Anniversary at Central Assembly of God Church on August 12, 2011. James and Sybil have three children, and five grandchildren.

Following is the work being accomplished this week on two of the road construction projects in Springfield. The information is from MoDOT:

Route 60/65 Interchange Reconstruction, Springfield

  • Building crossovers in median of Route 65 on either side of Route 60 between old northbound lanes and southbound lanes
  • Hauling in rock and dirt to build new westbound lanes of Route 60 leading to new bridge over railroad tracks west of Route 65
  • Building columns for new eastbound and westbound Route 60 bridges over railroad tracks west of Route 65
  • Demolishing old westbound Route 60 bridge over Galloway Creek west of Route
  • Sealing new section of widened eastbound Route 60 bridge over the James River east of Route 65

Route 65 Six-Laning Project, Springfield

  • Pouring median barrier walls at various locations between Chestnut Expressway and I-44
  • Installing road signs in various locations between Sunshine Street and I-44
  • Pouring concrete for soundwall footings on west side of Route 65 between Gasconade Street bridge and Route 60

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.

16 August 2011

Kelley: Late Term Abortion Restrictions, Special Session Imminent

Over the past few weeks we have experienced record-breaking temperatures of 100+ degrees with heat indices well above 110 degrees. We are officially in the “Dog Days” of Summer! The Dog Days are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In Ancient Rome, the Dog Days extended from July 24th through August 24th. The Romans associated the Dog Days and hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the brightest star in the night sky and believed that it was responsible for the hot weather due to its close proximity to the Sun. Take heart, there will soon be reprieve, because the official start of Autumn is Saturday, September 22, a mere 38 days away!

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”—Muhammad Ali

Update on Legislation Passed in the First Regular Legislative Session of 2011

HB 213—Late Term Abortion Ban to Become Law of the Land


I am pleased to inform you that HB 213 will become the law of the land on August 28, 2011. Governor Nixon declined to take any action on the bill (he did not sign it or veto it), therefore, by operation of law, the bill will become effective this month. I supported HB 213 and feel it is truly a wonderful victory for promoting the sanctity of human life. HB 213 will place true restrictions on late-term abortions. The legislation will make it illegal to abort a child deemed capable of living outside the womb. Specifically, it will ban abortions after 20 weeks unless two doctors verify that the child is not viable; or the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman; or a continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the woman. For a child found to be unviable, a doctor would be required after performing the abortion to report to the state why the child was unviable. The state of Missouri has acted to protect and provide for the most needy—the unborn child! I am very honored to have sponsored this legislation in the House and that it received broad, overwhelming bi partisan support. To read the full text of HB 213, please access the following link: http://www.house.mo.gov/billsummary.aspx?bill=HB213&year=2011&code=R

Governor Nixon Calls for Special Session


The top issue for many of us in the Missouri Legislature this year is the need to promote jobs and economic development. We spent the regular session working toward this goal, but there is much more work to accomplish. The current conventional wisdom is that we should return in September and discuss further ideas for helping Missourians regain employment.

I believe it is the private sector—not government—that creates actual jobs. The best thing that government can provide is the infrastructure to incubate economic growth and then get out of the way by reducing the cost of doing business and reducing unnecessary regulations. If we return for a Special Session, the focus will be on a large economic development package we discussed during regular Session but on which time ultimately ran out. This legislation focuses on various economic development incentive plans AND an equal dose of tax credit reform. One of the proposals that you have probably heard about has been coined “Aerotropolis,” a cargo hub proposal for Lambert International Airport in St. Louis. The idea is to make St. Louis a major international trading hub, a move that supporters say would benefit all of Missouri, including those wanting to feed a hungry world with our farm products. Aerotropolis has both supporters and detractors. Those in favor say the plan would boost the state’s economy and add jobs just about everywhere in Missouri. Those who are against it say it would be a major expense that would cost more than it is worth. They make the argument, “If it is such a good idea, then investors would have already fronted the money for it.” We will see where the debate goes in September.

Tax credit reform could include the end of some tax credits and an expansion of others. There are several different ideas that have been floated, and I am sure there will be others by this fall’s Special Session.

Currently, the plan is to hold the Special Session in conjunction with the annual Veto Session, since lawmakers must already be in Jefferson City. Whatever the timing, we must continue to work to help businesses grow and provide more jobs in Missouri. The recession and slow economy have gone on far too long. We were able to accomplish a lot in terms of providing for job creation and economic development during the regular session. This must continue to be our focus.

Missouri’s Rainy Day Fund


Ever since a devastating tornado hit Joplin back in May, some questions have arisen over how to pay for the recovery efforts. The Governor started to withhold money from the Fiscal Year 2012 budget, in part, to afford this. But what about the “budget reserve,” a.k.a. the “rainy day” fund?

What we know now as the rainy day fund in Missouri was born of Senate Joint Resolution 25 in 1999 by then-Missouri Senator Larry Rohrbach. His proposal was placed on the ballot in 2000 and approved by 59 percent of the voters. This fund combined the “budget stabilization fund” of the early 1980s with the “cash operating reserve fund” that was created in 1986. The “rainy day fund” simply provides the ability to meet cash flow needs in times of emergencies or budget shortfalls.

The rainy day fund can be used to make cash operating transfers to meet the immediate cash requirements of the state without legislative authorization. These must be repaid by May 15th with interest, and no transfer can happen after May 15th. The state routinely uses the fund for this purpose. For instance, in Fiscal Year 2011, $150 million was transferred to the general revenue fund in March 2011 and was paid back in April 2011.

The fund may also be used in the event of a disaster or to meet budget shortfalls within the current fiscal year. In both cases, the Governor must request an emergency appropriation and the General Assembly must approve the bill by a two-thirds vote. The money must be repaid along with interest in equal payments during each of the three following fiscal years.

The fund has been used consistently to maintain cash flow and has never been used to stabilize the budget. Before the rainy day fund existed, the only time money was appropriated was in 1993 in response to widespread flooding. A special session was called in the fall of 1993 and $16.1 million was appropriated by the General Assembly to finance reconstruction after the flood.

Whether or not the rainy day fund will be tapped into to help pay for the Joplin tornado or flooding along the Missouri River, remains to be seen. It is another issue that will be debated in the near future.

News & Notes


I want to encourage you to search for any money or assets being held as Unclaimed Property by the Office of the State Treasurer. You may search for Unclaimed Property being held in your name so it can be returned to you as soon as possible at the following website: http://www.treasurer.mo.gov//mainucp.aspx.

Information on all Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed Summaries for the 2011 Legislative Session is available for your review on the Missouri House Website through the following link: http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills111/rpt/tafpsum.pdf

Thank you for reading this Interim Report. If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this report, please click the “Capitol Report Signup” button on my member home page at www.house.mo.gov and enter the appropriate information. If you happen to see me in and around the District this summer, please feel free to introduce yourself and say hello! I have been very busy traveling all over the District and speaking to various groups about our many substantive legislative accomplishments. If you would like for me to speak to your group or community, please contact Tammy at our office at 573.751.2165, and we will be happy to accommodate you.

Finally, if we can ever be of any assistance to you at your State Capitol during the coming months even while we are in the Interim Session, please do not hesitate to contact us at: 573.751.2165 or you can reach my primary assistant, Tammy, at: tammy{dot}weber{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov. If you ever find yourself in or around Jefferson City at any time during the year, please feel free to visit the Majority Leader’s Office in Room 201 and Tammy will be happy to meet and greet you!

Until my next update, I am, and remain, in your service.

Mayer: Several Members Appointed to New Joint Interim Committee

Panel Created to Examine Court Decisions Regarding School Accreditation

JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Senate Leader Robert N. Mayer, R-Dexter, recently named six members of the upper chamber to serve on the Joint Interim Committee on School Accreditation. The committee is charged with examining the potential impact of court decisions related to school accreditation on local school districts.

“Two court decisions have come down in the past year determining students in non-accredited school districts have the right to attend an accredited school district,” said Sen. Mayer. “Every student should have an equal opportunity for a world-class education. Based on these recent court decisions, it is important this committee understand these students' options and the impact their families' decisions will have on both the non-accredited districts as well as neighboring accredited districts.”

Members serving from the Senate include Sen. Jane Cunningham (co-chair), R-Chesterfield; Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg; Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton; Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington; Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis; and Sen. Shalonn “Kiki” Curls, D-Kansas City.

Rep. Scott Dieckhaus, R-Washington, will co-chair the committee with Sen. Cunningham. The other five House members serving on the panel have yet to be announced.

Future committee hearing information will be posted on the Senate hearing schedule on the Missouri Senate website (www.senate.mo.gov).

15 August 2011

Tim Jones: Late Term Abortion Ban To Become Law

Over the past few weeks we have experienced record-breaking temperatures of 100+ degrees with heat indices well above 110 degrees. We are officially in the “Dog Days” of Summer! The Dog Days are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In Ancient Rome, the Dog Days extended from July 24th through August 24th. The Romans associated the Dog Days and hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the brightest star in the night sky and believed that it was responsible for the hot weather due to its close proximity to the Sun. Take heart, there will soon be reprieve, because the official start of Autumn is Saturday, September 22, a mere 38 days away!

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”—Muhammad Ali

Update on Legislation Passed in the First Regular Legislative Session of 2011

HB 213—Late Term Abortion Ban to Become Law of the Land

At right: Helping daughter Katie with a school project.

I am pleased to inform you that HB 213 will become the law of the land on August 28, 2011. Governor Nixon declined to take any action on the bill (he did not sign it or veto it), therefore, by operation of law, the bill will become effective this month. I sponsored HB 213 and feel it is truly a wonderful victory for promoting the sanctity of human life. HB 213 will place true restrictions on late-term abortions. The legislation will make it illegal to abort a child deemed capable of living outside the womb. Specifically, it will ban abortions after 20 weeks unless two doctors verify that the child is not viable; or the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman; or a continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the woman. For a child found to be unviable, a doctor would be required after performing the abortion to report to the state why the child was unviable. The state of Missouri has acted to protect and provide for the most needy—the unborn child! I am very honored to have sponsored this legislation in the House and that it received broad, overwhelming bi partisan support. To read the full text of HB 213, please access the following link: http://www.house.mo.gov/billsummary.aspx?bill=HB213&year=2011&code=R

Governor Nixon Calls for Special Session


The top issue for many of us in the Missouri Legislature this year is the need to promote jobs and economic development. We spent the regular session working toward this goal, but there is much more work to accomplish. The current conventional wisdom is that we should return in September and discuss further ideas for helping Missourians regain employment.

I believe it is the private sector—not government—that creates actual jobs. The best thing that government can provide is the infrastructure to incubate economic growth and then get out of the way by reducing the cost of doing business and reducing unnecessary regulations. If we return for a Special Session, the focus will be on a large economic development package we discussed during regular Session but on which time ultimately ran out. This legislation focuses on various economic development incentive plans AND an equal dose of tax credit reform. One of the proposals that you have probably heard about has been coined “Aerotropolis,” a cargo hub proposal for Lambert International Airport in St. Louis. The idea is to make St. Louis a major international trading hub, a move that supporters say would benefit all of Missouri, including those wanting to feed a hungry world with our farm products. Aerotropolis has both supporters and detractors. Those in favor say the plan would boost the state’s economy and add jobs just about everywhere in Missouri. Those who are against it say it would be a major expense that would cost more than it is worth. They make the argument, “If it is such a good idea, then investors would have already fronted the money for it.” We will see where the debate goes in September.

Tax credit reform could include the end of some tax credits and an expansion of others. There are several different ideas that have been floated, and I am sure there will be others by this fall’s Special Session.

Currently, the plan is to hold the Special Session in conjunction with the annual Veto Session, since lawmakers must already be in Jefferson City. Whatever the timing, we must continue to work to help businesses grow and provide more jobs in Missouri. The recession and slow economy have gone on far too long. We were able to accomplish a lot in terms of providing for job creation and economic development during the regular session. This must continue to be our focus.

Missouri’s Rainy Day Fund


Ever since a devastating tornado hit Joplin back in May, some questions have arisen over how to pay for the recovery efforts. The Governor started to withhold money from the Fiscal Year 2012 budget, in part, to afford this. But what about the “budget reserve,” a.k.a. the “rainy day” fund?

What we know now as the rainy day fund in Missouri was born of Senate Joint Resolution 25 in 1999 by then-Missouri Senator Larry Rohrbach. His proposal was placed on the ballot in 2000 and approved by 59 percent of the voters. This fund combined the “budget stabilization fund” of the early 1980s with the “cash operating reserve fund” that was created in 1986. The “rainy day fund” simply provides the ability to meet cash flow needs in times of emergencies or budget shortfalls.

The rainy day fund can be used to make cash operating transfers to meet the immediate cash requirements of the state without legislative authorization. These must be repaid by May 15th with interest, and no transfer can happen after May 15th. The state routinely uses the fund for this purpose. For instance, in Fiscal Year 2011, $150 million was transferred to the general revenue fund in March 2011 and was paid back in April 2011.

The fund may also be used in the event of a disaster or to meet budget shortfalls within the current fiscal year. In both cases, the Governor must request an emergency appropriation and the General Assembly must approve the bill by a two-thirds vote. The money must be repaid along with interest in equal payments during each of the three following fiscal years.

The fund has been used consistently to maintain cash flow and has never been used to stabilize the budget. Before the rainy day fund existed, the only time money was appropriated was in 1993 in response to widespread flooding. A special session was called in the fall of 1993 and $16.1 million was appropriated by the General Assembly to finance reconstruction after the flood.

Whether or not the rainy day fund will be tapped into to help pay for the Joplin tornado or flooding along the Missouri River, remains to be seen. It is another issue that will be debated in the near future.

News & Notes

At right: With Taylor Branson (City of Eureka’s “Chief of the Day”!) at the Eureka 4th of July Celebration.

I want to encourage you to search for any money or assets being held as Unclaimed Property by the Office of the State Treasurer. You may search for Unclaimed Property being held in your name so it can be returned to you as soon as possible at the following website: http://www.treasurer.mo.gov//mainucp.aspx.

Information on all Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed Summaries for the 2011 Legislative Session is available for your review on the Missouri House Website through the following link: http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills111/rpt/tafpsum.pdf

Thank you for reading this Interim Report. If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this report, please click the “Capitol Report Signup” button on my member home page at www.house.mo.gov and enter the appropriate information. If you happen to see me in and around the District this summer, please feel free to introduce yourself and say hello! I have been very busy traveling all over the State and speaking to various groups about our many substantive legislative accomplishments. If you would like for me to speak to your group or community, please contact Jody at our office at 573.751.0562, and we will be happy to accommodate you.

Finally, if we can ever be of any assistance to you at your State Capitol during the coming months even while we are in the Interim Session, please do not hesitate to contact us at: 573.751.0562 or you can reach my primary assistant, Jody, at: jody{dot}williams{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov. If you ever find yourself in or around Jefferson City at any time during the year, please feel free to visit the Majority Leader’s Office in Room 302 and Jody will be happy to meet and greet you!

Until our next update, I am, and remain, in your service.

Dugger: Revisiting Senate Bill 54

“Education is not the means of showing people how to get what they want. Education is an exercise by means of which enough men, it is hoped, will learn to want what is worth having.”—Ronald Reagan

It seems as if just yesterday schools were letting out for summer vacation. However, parents, students, and teachers are once again getting ready to start a new school year. For many, this time of year is filled with the hustle and bustle of purchasing school supplies and as the back-to-school rush set in I thought it would be beneficial to highlight a piece of legislation that will take effect during this school year.

You may have recently heard about Senate Bill 54, otherwise known as the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act. Specifically, the bill’s changes to student-teacher relationships on social networking sites such as Facebook have been the subject matter of recent controversy. Before I address the concerns regarding student-teacher relationships on the internet I’d like to first highlight some of the “good” and less controversial parts of the bill.

First, SB 54 requires that any school employee who is a mandated reporter and the superintendent of the school district to forward any allegation of sexual misconduct by a teacher or other school employee reported by a student within 24 hours the Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services. This allows the Children’s Division to promptly investigate alleged cases of sexual misconduct and limits the role of the district to determining the employment of the accused employee rather than also determining if the allegations should be substantiated.

SB 54 also creates the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children. The task force will investigate the issue of sexual abuse of children until January 1, 2013. At which time they will provide a final report, as well as make policy suggestions to limit the number of incidents involving the sexual abuse of children.

The new law goes on to require school districts to provide teachers and employees with up-to-date information regarding the signs of and signals of sexual abuse and abusive relationships between children and adults. This information is to be included in the training programs of all Missouri school districts by July 2012 and should stress how to create a trustworthy atmosphere for students to report potential cases of abuse.

Lastly, SB 54 institutes the requirement that applicants for teaching certificates must first complete a background check before obtaining their certificate from the state. These certificates may be revoked for crimes involving sexual misconduct with a student while on school property or sexual misconduct of the second or third degree. SB 54 also prohibits a registered sex offender from being a candidate for any school board.

Recently, SB 54 has received some criticism for its requirement that every school district develop a written policy by January 1, 2012, concerning teacher-student communication and employee-student communications. Specifically, the use of text messaging and social networking sites for instructional and personal purposes. Primarily, the concerns stem from the parts of the bill that restrict a teacher’s use of a nonwork-related internet site, such as Facebook, which allows exclusive access with a current or former student under the age of 18. Some teachers, whose own children are student in the school district in which they teach, are concerned that the language of the bill might prohibit them from being Facebook friends with their own children.

As the legislation is written, this portion of SB 54 has good intentions. It attempts to prohibit teachers from communicating with students in a manner that excludes the surveillance of parents, guardians, and school administrators. However, due to the lack of specifics the General Assembly will have to revisit this portion of SB 54. During this process the constitutionality of limiting the ability of an individual to be Facebook friends with another individual must be discussed before attempting to define more clearly the dynamics of appropriate student-teacher relationships on Facebook and other forms of social networking.

A summary and full text of Senate Bill 54 can be obtained at the Missouri House of Representatives website, www.house.mo.gov and using the bill information tab to access bill tracking.

Lant: Extraordinary Support For Bill Under Fire

We are finally getting a welcome reprieve to the hot dry weather! Even the weeds in my yard were showing signs of distress. I spoke to a State Forester this week and was told that the trees that are showing brown, dry leaves aren't necessarily dying. Trees have a built in response to extreme heat and dry conditions. They drop their leaves to keep them from allowing moisture to escape through evaporation, and more than likely will be just fine next year.

I've been getting a lot of calls about Senate Bill 54. This bill is labeled ”Protection of Children From Sexual Offenders” and is known as the Amy Hestir Protection Act. It is named after a student who was repeatedly sexually abused by her teacher. Because of loopholes in the law and inconsistencies in reporting policies, this teacher was later hired by several school districts before retiring. This bill puts an end to school districts fearing lawsuits for disclosing information about former employees. Background checks are required for teacher applicants and school districts are found liable if they fail to disclose misconduct information. The most confusing part of the law concerns student-teacher internet communication. The law simply states "exclusive communication" between students and teachers is banned. All communication between students and teachers must be accessible to parents and administrators. Ladies and gentlemen, this is another "No Brainer"! If your child is communicating to ANYONE and you have no way to monitor the content of that communication, you are taking a great risk. The only way this bill prohibits communication between teachers and students is if it is not accessible to parents and administrators.

The sponsors of this bill did the near impossible by getting a House vote of 154-0 and a Senate vote of 34-0. It had the support of the Missouri State Teachers Association, the Missouri N.E.A., the Missouri School Boards Association, and the Missouri Federation of Teachers. I don't know what is more extraordinary; getting all those groups to agree or a 34-0 Senate vote?

One of the seminars I went to at the ALEC Conference was dealing with the future of Medicaid. I attended the class not because I am for or against what Medicaid does, but to acquire some information to better equip me for future legislative actions. Medicaid is another one of those programs that started out sounding both needed and affordable. We now have in excess of 50 million people on some type of Medicaid assistance. I was a bit surprised to hear that 41% of all births in the U.S. are paid for by Medicaid. A full two third of the costs are associated with long term care and this figure is growing at an alarming rate. It was then pointed out that with Obama care, Medicaid will be the primary vehicle for coverage. As more people are enrolled in Medicaid programs (all the current uninsured and newly eligible recipients) as well as greater numbers of Behavioral Issue patients, the system will have to change drastically. Some suggestions for States to begin proactive measures were, simplifying eligibility based on conditions, reasonable premiums and co-pays, better leverage through the use of vouchers, and block grants from the Fed to give states more flexibility. The monumental size of this type of program also makes it a perfect target for waste, fraud, abuse, and error.

We are going to be in Jefferson City next week for a two day Interim Study program I set up on Workforce Development. I expect about 20 Reps to attend the round table discussions and we hope to gain some valuable information to help us get started on next Session. I can't think of anything more important right now than creating jobs in Missouri and especially in our area. I'll fill you in on the details next week. Don't forget to plan for Jesse James Days in Pineville beginning August 24 with the Pageant on the 26th and Parade the 27th. If you can't have fun there, there's something wrong with you!

I am and remain in your service,
Bill Lant

14 August 2011

Schupp: Pasta House "Let's Talk" Breakfast Event

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Summer is when much of my preparation work gets done for the upcoming legislative session. Meeting with you and other neighbors and groups helps inform me about your concerns and priorities. Good ideas, new resources and interesting perspectives often grow out of these meetings.

This e-newsletter will give you information about my office's upcoming meetings in our community. We will always work hard to listen and be helpful in whatever ways we are able.

Please RSVP right away to our annual Pasta House "Let's Talk" Breakfast event!

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve.

Truly,
Jill Schupp

RSVP TODAY! Free Breakfast at The Pasta House

Please Join Me! Let's Talk!


Please join in as we catch up at our annual "Let's Talk" breakfast at The Pasta House.

We will review the legislative session, and talk about where we are and should be headed!

The event is FREE! Space is limited, so please RSVP right away! Call Anne Marie at (314) 616-5009

The Pasta House
700 N. New Ballas Rd.
Creve Coeur, MO 63141
Tuesday, August 23, 8:30 - 10:00 AM

Mobile Office Hours at Pastries of Denmark in Creve Coeur


Please come by to meet a member of my staff, catch up on information and share your ideas:

Monday, August 15, 9:00 - 10:00 AM
Monday, August 22, 9:00 - 10:00 AM
Pastries of Denmark Bakery and Cafe
12613 Olive Blvd
Creve Coeur, MO 63141
No Appointment Necessary!

Join in the Fourth Annual Community Against Poverty (CAP) Volunteer Fair


Join over thirty local organizations in need of volunteers to help in their efforts to combat poverty.

Sunday, September 18
The Heights
8001 Dale Avenue
Richmond Heights 63117

3-3:30 PM keynote address by Bridget Flood, Executive Director of the Incarnate Word Foundation.

3:30 - 5:00 PM: Meet with agencies to discuss volunteer opportunities for all ages, interests and abilities.

APPNA Health Clinic , Beyond Housing, Bread for the World, Bi-Lingual International Assistant Services, Casa de Salud, Circle of Concern, Doorways, Employment Connection, Family Health Care Centers, Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition, Immigrant and Refugee Women's Program, International Institute, Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, Jewish Family and Children's Service, Kids Place, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Lydia's House, National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section, Neighborhood Houses, Operation Food Search, Ready Readers, Redevelopment Opportunities for Women, Safe Connections, St. Louis County CASA, St. Louis Crisis Nursery, St. Louis NORC, UrbanFuture, Volunteers in Medicine and Voices for Children.

In addition to the Jewish Community Relations Council, co-sponsors of the Volunteer Fair include Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri, International Institute, Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, jewisininstlouis.org, Jewish Family and Children's Service, Missouri Association for Social Welfare, National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section, St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition and Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice.

For more information, contact Gail Wechsler at (314) 442-3894 or (314) 503-5814 or visit www.jcrcstl.org or www.communityagainstpoverty.org.