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30 September 2011

Schupp: Department of Corrections Forum, Secretary of State Endorsement

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Please join me!

On October 14, MO Dept. of Corrections Director George Lombardi will come to Creve Coeur to meet with the public. On October 15, we ramp up our recording of Veterans' histories.

There is Special Session news of a very limited nature, and new information about a statewide office.

Please read on for the details, and participate when you can!

Thank you for the opportunity you have given me to serve.

Jill Schupp

Join the Conversation with Director George Lombardi, MO Department of Corrections

Friday, October 14, 10:00 - 11:30 AM

Creve Coeur Government Center
300 North New Ballas Road
Multi Purpose Room on the Lower Level

Presentation Topics:
  • Restorative Justice
  • Puppies for Parole
  • Alternative Sentencing for Non-Violent Offenders
Bring your questions:
  • How do we keep ourselves safe?
  • Can we save taxpayer dollars?
  • Can offenders be rehabilitated?
FREE! And Open to the Public

Help us provide enough seating:
Please RSVP to Anne Marie (314) 616-5009 or Annemarie{dot}rhoades{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov

Check out the Department of Corrections website

Missouri Veterans History Project

Please volunteer your time on Saturday, October 15, as we spend the day recording Veterans' oral histories. If you are free between 10:00 AM -2:00 PM, we can use your help. Please contact Teri Miller at tstm{at}sbcglobal{dot}net

If you are a Veteran, or would like to volunteer to help us fulfill the mission of recording all of Missouri's Veterans' histories at other times throughout the year, please contact Teri Miller at tstm{at}sbcglobal{dot}net

Thank you in advance for whatever help you can provide!

Show Me The Missouri "Special" Session

As residents of the "Show Me" state, we're all feeling frustrated by the inability of the legislature to "show us" job creation.

The Special Session was called with the understanding that the House and Senate Republicans had reached an agreement on the Aerotropolis (or "China Hub" as it is also called) legislation which is designed to reinvent Lambert airport as an international trading hub. This was proposed to be done through the use of tax credits for building warehouses and moving freight into and out of the U.S. Of course, the ultimate goal is job creation. Any bill of this magnitude that I support a will have to tie tax credits into actual job creation.

The Republicans in each legislative chamber have enough members to pass a jobs bill, but have differed by as much as $300 million on tax credit amounts in addition to other aspects of the complicated omnibus bill. Democrats were among those pushing hard to remove the provision that took away tax credits from low income seniors and people with disabilities who rent their homes. This provision was removed in the Senate version.

House members are tentatively scheduled to go back into session late next week.

29 September 2011

Denison: Facebook Fix Approved

“The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.” – William James

In The Capitol

Special Session Continues

The House convened for debate on two pieces of legislation Friday. In what has been a very interesting special session where much of the time has been spent in negotiations with the Senate, the House took swift action to send two bills to the governor’s desk for his approval. The two bills represent the first real progress made during the special session as the Senate continues to hold up the many bills passed by the House. The major economic development package continues to be in question as well with the Senate refusing to uphold the deal made prior to the beginning of the special session. The coming weeks will be used to continue negotiations on these important issues.

“Facebook Fix” Legislation Approved

The House gave overwhelming approval to legislation that has commonly been referred to as the “Facebook Fix”. The fix is necessary because of an unintended consequence that resulted from a bill passed during the regular session to protect students from inappropriate conduct by unscrupulous teachers. Our goal was to make certain that communications through social media such as Facebook and Twitter are viewable by parents at all times. Instead, the language in the bill caused concerns that it would limit the ability of our many good teachers to use these tools to communicate school-related matters with their students.

Senate Bill 1 requires each school district to put in place a written policy concerning employee-student communication. The policy will have to be in place by March 1, 2012 and must pertain to the use of electronic media and other mechanisms to prevent improper communications between school district staff members and students. In addition, the bill repeals a provision that would have prohibited teachers from creating and using a work-related Internet site unless it is also available to school administrators and the child’s parent or guardian. Senate Bill 1 allows teachers to establish and maintain a work- and non-work related Internet site to have exclusive access with a current or former student.

The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.

In The District

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

  • Removing deck of southbound Route 65 bridge over Route 60
  • Repairing deck of eastbound Route 60 bridge over Lake Springfield
  • Building columns and bridge ends for new eastbound and westbound Route 60 bridges over railroad tracks west of Route 65

Route 65 Soundwall Project, Springfield

  • Building soundwall footings, building shoulders and installing guardrail along Ingram Mill Road north of Sunshine Street

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: Joint Interim Committee on School Accreditation

My work at the Capitol this interim includes the Joint Interim Committee on School Accreditation. Our meeting yesterday included public testimony from individuals, the Children’s Education Council of Missouri (CECM) and the CDS Cooperating School Districts (St. Louis based). As many of you know the St. Louis and Kansas City School Districts have lost their accreditation, and six others in different state regions have been given one year to produce recognizable improvement in order to retain accreditation. According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), school districts receive accreditation classification after the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) performs its reviews. The MSIP webpages summarize more of this review process.

Unaccredited schools have two full school years to prove sustainable academic progress; if they are unsuccessful the State Board of Education will intervene. To help you understand more about school district accreditation, link here for information from DESE: FAQ's regarding school accreditation. And you can read The 2011 Annual Performance Report to determine a particular school district’s progress or digress. This report also compares multi-annual scores, so that you can identify performance trends.

When a school district’s classification digresses to unaccredited, it creates a significant issue for parents and students of those districts. State statues allow for students to transfer to a neighboring accredited school district, but according to the CECM this law apparently is not being enforced. The House interim committee is exploring one of many issues related to school accreditation, including how to transition students of an unaccredited school to an accredited one. As legislators our job is not to oversee the accreditation review process –that’s not broken, but rather to find solutions for those students who want to attend an accredited school. Stop for a moment and consider all the educational entities that play a role in a school district’s overall performance. It involves not just teachers, parents and students, but also district superintendents and school board members who make effective decisions concerning everything from curriculum to classroom discipline. This demonstrates that it is the public at large who share responsibility to ensure that the schools perform to produce the best educational outcome for each student. This should be every community member’s priority –whether or not you have school aged children- since that shapes the present and determines the future of our communities. Every school district is vulnerable to losing their accreditation without support from the entire community.

My Capitol office will be closed October 4 through the 17. If you have an emergency please call me: 573-979-1084.

Constituent Corner

October is Disability Awareness Month – Cape Girardeau has established October 3-7 as Disability Awareness Week, so I have prepared a State resolution for Jackson R-2 Parent Partnership Council in recognition of the event and what some communities are planning as a result. Below is a message from the bill’s (HB 555) sponsor, Representative Jeff Grisamore, describing a resource designed for this important social & educational designation:

Disability History and Awareness Month: A Resource Guide for Missouri is a 100 page guide designed to assist K-12 schools in developing curriculum, special events and programming during the month of October, which 555 designates—in part—as Disability History and Awareness Month.

This excellent resource was developed and adapted from similar resource guides in Kansas and Florida. This guide contains helpful resources for curriculum integration with differentiated instruction across grade levels, sample resolutions, bios of both Missourians and Americans with disabilities throughout history, classroom activity ideas, disability etiquette and respectful language—and much more.

The release of this new disabilities resource provides an opportunity to promote Disabilities History and Awareness Month. I would encourage you to join with us in promoting this breakthrough resource that can have a transformational impact in our K-12 schools and the positive impact it will have on Missouri students with disabilities. –Rep. Jeff Grisamore, Dist. 47

Rupp: Missouri Students One Step Closer To Better Protection in Our Schools

Last week, SB 1, otherwise known as the “Facebook law fix,” was passed by the Legislature and sent to the governor for his stamp of approval. This bill was formatted to fix a provision in the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act (passed during the 2011 regular session) regarding communication between public school students and employees.

As you likely know, after the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act (also known as SB 54) was signed by the governor, some confusion occurred regarding communication boundaries between students and staff members. As a result, a Missouri judge granted an injunction (lasting 180 days) against this communication provision in SB 54. The remaining provisions of the legislation took effect as scheduled on Aug. 28. To remedy any misinterpretations and ensure students are protected when communicating with educators, SB 1 was introduced during our special session, which began Sept. 6.

I have always supported the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, and am glad that we passed this measure to further clarify its importance for the well-being of young Missourians.

Under the bill, school districts would be required to submit a written policy regarding student-employee communication by March 1, 2012. Each district must include its position on the use of electronic media and the Internet, with the goal of preventing inappropriate communications between students and school employees. This provides school districts the flexibility to work with parents and configure a policy that works best for them and the students. The bill also repeals the prohibition of a teacher establishing, maintaining, or using a work-related Internet site unless it is available to school administrators and the child's guardian.

The bottom line is that the legislation prevents our kids from encountering inappropriate situations in our public schools. The young woman, whom the legislation is named after, was continually assaulted throughout her school years by an educator, and the teacher was able to continue his career unscathed. In addition, a report published in 2007 ranked Missouri as the 11th state in the country for educators losing their licenses due to sexual misconduct. We can’t allow our state to continue in this pattern. No child should fear going to school and feel uncomfortable in his or her learning environment. With parents, guardians, and school districts in the driver’s seat, we can sleep better knowing that effective and appropriate rules will be set in place that will weed out the bad apples from Missouri’s dedicated teachers and staff.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please don’t hesitate to contact me at the information below:

Capitol Office
State Capitol Building, Room 418
Jefferson City , MO 65101
(573) 751-1282

Tim Jones: Proposing Plan With Sen. Lembke To Stop Governor From Bypassing Legislature In Forming Health Insurance Exchange

Jefferson City, MO—House Majority Leader Tim Jones, (R-St. Louis), joins Senator Jim Lembke, (R-St. Louis), in introducing a resolution aimed at preventing the Governor from assembling a governmental health insurance exchange without involvement of the Missouri General Assembly.

“In August 2010, voters approved Proposition C, which exempts Missouri from much of the federally mandated insurance components in the new health care law. I think Missourians sent a clear message to Washington, D.C. They want the government out of their health care decisions,” Rep. Jones said.

Senate Resolution 60 would require the Missouri Health Insurance Pool (MHIP) to follow recommendations made by the Senate Interim Committee on Health Insurance Exchanges. On Sept. 15, 2011, the board of directors of MHIP considered adopting a resolution establishing the “MHIP/Show-Me HIX” (health insurance exchange) as a distinct organizational unit within MHIP. The MHIP board of directors also considered accepting a $21 million federal grant to help build the technological infrastructure for a health insurance exchange.

After consulting with some key senators from the Senate Interim Committee on Health Insurance Exchanges, the MHIP board of directors postponed action on the resolution to establish an exchange and accept the federal grant. However, counsel retained by MHIP stated that they have the statutory authority to accept the federal monies and take the preliminary steps to establish a health insurance exchange pursuant to ObamaCare. This prompted Sen. Lembke to file SR 60 and for Rep. Jones to join with and fully support the endeavor.

“This action by the Governor ignored both the will of the people and the constitutional role of the Legislature. This was an attempt to open the door for federal health care by either rule or executive order and is an overreaching and improper use of executive power,” Rep. Jones stated.

Allen: Special Session Updates, Lessons of Moberly

Special Session Update

SB 1 modifies provisions relating to communications between school district employees and students.

The House gave overwhelming approval to legislation that has commonly been referred to as the “Facebook Fix.” The fix is necessary because of an unintended consequence that resulted from a bill passed during the regular session to protect students from inappropriate conduct by unscrupulous teachers. Our goal was to make certain that communications through social media such as Facebook and Twitter are viewable by parents at all times. Instead, the language in the bill caused concerns that it would limit the ability of our many good teachers to use these tools to communicate school-related matters with their students.

Senate Bill 1 requires each school district to put in place a written policy concerning employee-student communication. The bill repeals a provision that would have prohibited teachers from creating and using a work-related Internet site unless it is also available to school administrators and the child’s parent or guardian. SB 1 allows teachers to establish and maintain a work- and non-work related Internet site to have exclusive access with a current or former student. The bill now goes to the Governor for his signature.

SB 7 would establish the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act.

The House approved SB 7 which would create the Missouri Science and Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA). In essence, MOSIRA is a seed program designed to kickstart Missouri’s next generation of hi-tech jobs. The goal is to make our state a national leader in life sciences and technology and to help retain and grow science and technology companies in Missouri. The bill would allow us to develop our high-tech workforce that will create good-paying jobs for Missouri residents and give a significant boost to our economy. One of the great things about MOSIRA is the funding method it would utilize. It would not create any new taxes nor would it seek budget money currently being directed to Missouri general revenues. Rather, after a set base year, it would capture part of the increase in gross receipts from state income taxes generated by employees working within designated science and innovation fields. Money generated would then go into a fund that would continue to do outreach to attract more high-tech jobs. This is a revenue neutral bill with solid taxpayer protections.

Many pro-life groups lobbied against MOSIRA. They argued that pro-life protections were needed so that money was not appropriated to embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. As a pro-life Representative, I took these concerns to heart. However, although specific language was not in the bill, the Missouri Constitution specifically bans these practices in our state in Article III Section 38(d). With pro-life protections in place, I supported this bill.

Tax Credit Reform & Economic Development Bills Stalled

The large omnibus Economic Development bill was not passed. Negotiations between the Senate, House, and Governor’s Office did not yield a good bill overall, despite some very good provisions. The House is expected to reconvene next week to negotiate further.

Lessons of Moberly

As we continue to work through this Special Session, I will keep you apprised of all developments relating to the Governor’s recent policy failures and on his Department of Economic Development’s troubling issues with the Mamtek debacle in Moberly, MO. Mamtek was given tax credits and incentives to build a manufacturing plant in Moberly, but pulled out at the last minute. This incident has cast the passage of any additional economic development bills in question. However, the House remains committed to working with the Senate should they wish to strive for additional legislation to help put Missourians back to work. No matter what is passed, the lessons of Moberly must be learned and the institutional failures that occurred must be fixed.

Thoughts on Governance

The very nature of our Missouri government structure makes for a slow and thorough process to consider legislation, much more so than many other states. There are many mechanisms that are used to achieve this slow process.

Term Limits, for example, lead to a more dedicated group of legislators as opposed to career politicians. With only 8 years in either House, there is less incentive to cooperate and compromise and more inclination to fight for what they and their constituents are passionate about. With such a dynamic, it often takes broad agreement beyond simple majorities to pass legislation. We see this happening right now in the Senate where a small minority of individuals are refusing to allow smooth passage of the Economic Development Bill.

Missouri government is also quite transparent compared to many other states. Open committee hearings and strong sunshine laws allows citizens to easily get involved and give their input. An informed citizenry adds another dynamic that keeps government in check from runaway “compromises” as we currently see in Washington.

While the Missouri system of government may not be perfect, it is slow and tedious at times, but it is what we have. A bit of time and deliberation in matters of urgency will in the end yield a better quality result that will benefit all Missourians.

28 September 2011

Denison: House Advances Measures, Medicare Part D Meetings

“Kind words are the music of the world.” – F.W. Faber

Special Session Update

In order to ensure an efficient session, the Senate agreed to work on the jobs bills while the House worked on each of the others. Last Thursday, House committees met and on Friday, the full House debated them on the floor. With overwhelming bipartisan agreement, the House passed bills that will do the following:
  • Move the presidential primary from February to March to ensure compliance with national party rules. The move will ensure that Missouri will not lose delegates and representation at the national conventions next summer. [HB3]
  • End a 150-year policy of state control over the St. Louis Police Department. The bill will ensure more accountability by returning control of the department to elected officials accountable to voters instead of individuals appointed by the governor. [HB1]
  • Tap the Rainy Day Fund to provide funding for areas of the state affected by disasters. Not only will the fund, which was designed for this purpose, provide relief to disaster affected areas, but it will hopefully put an end to the governor’s unconstitutional practice of withholding funds from schools to pay for this recovery. [HB6]
  • Provide property tax relief to businesses destroyed by disaster. State law currently requires businesses to pay full property tax even if they are ruined in disasters. The bill will allow those businesses destroyed by the storms to receive a tax reduction for those months that their businesses were destroyed. [HB2]
Each of the bills has been sent to the Senate and the Jobs bill has been passed on to the House.

In the District

Medicare Part D Enrollment Meetings

Save the Date: Representatives from the CLAIM organization will be available to assist Medicare eligible citizens to enroll in the Medicare Part D prescription plan for 2012 in Springfield. CLAIM is a statewide program that provides free, confidential and unbiased health insurance counseling to Missourians with Medicare and their families. Meetings will be held on Thursday, November 17, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Friday, November 18, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Library Center, Conference Rooms A, B, and C, 4653 South Campbell Avenue, Springfield. More information will follow about the meetings.

The Medicare Part D enrollment period for the 2012 plans is October 15, 2011 - December 7, 2011. Seniors may switch plans without penalty until December 7, 2011.

If this information does not apply to you, but you have family members this does apply to, please pass this important information on to them.

Missouri Rx

Also, while prescription drug plans for seniors is our focus today, I hope you find the following information about the MoRx prescription drug plan helpful.

MoRx is a State Pharmacy Assistance Program. It provides prescription drug assistance to Missourians in need by coordinating benefits with Medicare’s (Part D) Prescription Drug Program to lower costs for qualifying seniors and disabled Medicare beneficiaries.

Benefits of MoRx:
  • MoRx works with all Medicare Part D plans.
  • MoRx pays for 50% of your out-of-pocket costs on medications that are covered by your Medicare Part D plan. This means you will save 50% on your deductible, 50% on your co-pays, including during the coverage gap and beyond. MoRx does not pay for the Medicare Part D plan's monthly premium.
  • MoRx uses the formulary of the Medicare Part D plan. Any drug covered by a member's Medicare Drug Plan will also be covered by MoRx.
  • MoRx covers up to a 31-day supply for each prescription.
  • You can use any Missouri pharmacy that works with your Part D plan. (MoRx does not cover mail order services).
To learn more about eligibility please visit, call the MoRx Enrollment Center toll free at 1-800-375-1406, or call my office at 573 751-2210 and we will assist you in speaking with MoRx staff.

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.

Stouffer: Governor Considers Executive Order to Bring Federal Health Care “Reform” to Missouri

A new development has come to light in the federal health care debate, and it involves a potential executive order that would go against the will of the people and the Legislature.

Among the many elements of the president’s Affordable Care Act is one that provides funding for states in order to establish health insurance exchanges, which are designed to offer affordable health care choices for both individuals and businesses. Missouri is in line for anywhere between $13 million and $21 million to start its own exchange.

With this in mind, the Senate Interim Committee on Health Insurance Exchanges was formed to study the effectiveness of exchanges, and whether or not one is actually needed here. As they were meeting in Jefferson City in mid-September, word came that members of the Missouri Health Insurance Pool were gathering to enact the “Show-Me Health Insurance Exchange,” established by an executive order by the governor. It turns out that this was not the case. Swift actions taken by various lawmakers stopped this vote from happening.

Executive orders are used by governors and presidents to swiftly enact new laws without the consent of legislatures or the people.

States have until 2013 to either enact health insurance exchanges or face more federal government intervention, which is essentially putting Missouri between a rock and a hard place. Proponents of exchanges say these are necessary as the first steps toward getting coverage for more folks and driving down costs. However, opponents say exchanges would do the exact opposite, turning into a major unfunded mandate on the state, resting on the state’s shoulders in one year. By 2014, there is no more federal funding for the exchanges.

Unfortunately, there is not much to stop the governor from proceeding with an executive order to make this all possible. If this were to happen, it would mean no one in the general public or in the Legislature would have anything to say about how these health insurance exchanges are created, or allow any way to stop them from occurring. Our hands would be tied.

The whole purpose of the Senate interim committee is to study the need for an exchange. Committee members may find we would benefit from a health insurance exchange, or they may discover it would be a bad idea. It may be a good idea for Missouri to design the exchanges instead of the federal government doing it for us. Either way, can we justify one person signing an order, and undermining a legislative committee’s work, just in the hopes of getting more one-time federal money into the state?

There is not a lot of time before the Affordable care Act begins to take full effect. There are still a lot of unknowns about the proposal. We hear one day how broke we are, as a country. The next, we hear how billions of dollars will be spent on a plan fewer people support each day. We have to be extremely careful with how taxpayer money is spent, at every level. The Missouri Senate’s committee is helping to do this. I pray the governor will take this committee’s work into consideration before signing an executive order.

Kraus: The Problem of Mamtek

Economic Development Disaster

Many of you are aware that the governor has been flying around the state, from city to city, touting new jobs. Several times, his visits have backfired as the companies and executives he visits turn out to be less desirable than the state would like. Now, perhaps the biggest failure yet is under investigation by the Missouri Senate Governmental Accountability Committee, on which I sit.

In July, the governor visited Moberly and Mamtek U.S. Inc. (a subsidiary of Mamtek International Limited) to announce $17 million in state incentives to build a sweetener factory. Based on the state’s partnership, the city of Moberly stepped up to guarantee $39 million in industrial development bonds to the company. The company was only to come up with $8 million on its own. Just recently, the company missed its first bond payment and laid off all its employees, leaving Moberly to hold the bag.

Several issues raise red flags in this scenario. Why did the state offer so high a percentage of the overall project costs, and why did it approve any incentives for a company with such a weak structure? Did Moberly rely on the state’s analysis to make its decision to back the bonds? How did the governor and his Department of Economic Development (DED) team not fully investigate the strength of the company and its finances?

The governor has given no good answers so far. He is falling back on the one fact that Missouri hasn’t actually paid any incentive yet, so state taxpayers are not out money. Meanwhile, however, taxpayers in Moberly are out $39 million… an amount that could easily bankrupt a city that size. His team made a bad decision, regardless of the actual consequences. When asked about how the deal was approved, the governor replied, “I don’t run the Department of Economic Development.”* In fact, the governor is in charge of DED. Perhaps he should ask his party’s Missouri hero, Harry Truman, where the buck should stop on this deal.

I look forward to helping find answers for Missouri taxpayers. In addition to the investigation by the Governmental Accountability Committee, the matter is also under investigation by the Missouri Attorney General.

*“Did State Do Due Diligence?” Columbia Tribune, Sept. 25, 2011.

Special Session Stalled

As of this writing, the Missouri House of Representatives Economic Development Committee has still not passed an economic development bill. The Senate has passed two bills on this subject, which have both been sent to the House but have not been heard or voted on in that chamber.

While the passage of an economic bill was to be the main focus of this special session, the General Assembly has passed two other bills, SB1 and SB7. SB1 modifies provisions relating to communications between school district employees and students (the Facebook controversy). SB7 establishes the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA), which provides incentives for investment in science and technology in the state. Click on the bill number for more information.

I’ll continue to keep you updated on our progress during special session in future reports.

Town Hall Meeting

Don’t forget that on Thursday, Sept. 29, Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs, and I will be hosting a town hall meeting in Blue Springs from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Blue Springs Country Club on 1600 NW Circle Drive.

The focus of the town hall is to provide information on the current legislative special session and the recently completed veto session and to discuss the emphasis for the upcoming 2012 regular session. In addition, Blue Springs Councilmen Dale Carter, Jeff Quibell, Chris Lievsay and Kent Edmondson will be in attendance to discuss local issues.

These town hall meetings are important to me because they give me the opportunity to interact on a personal level with the constituents of the 8th Senatorial District. It is a vital way to keep members of the local community up-to-date on activities within the Capitol and upcoming issues and events. I look forward to speaking with concerned citizens and addressing any questions they might have.

I hope to see you there!

26 September 2011

Korman: House Sends Two Bills To Governor

This past week after much discussion and debate in the Special Session, the House passed two Senate bills and sent them to the Governor’s desk. Most Special Sessions only produce 1 or two bills.

Senate Bill 1 Modifies provisions relating to communications between school district employees and students. Senate Bill 7 Establishes the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act. This bill provides a positive stand for science and innovation. It is critical for Missouri's economic future.

I had an amendment filed for SB 7 similar to seventeen other members and the one that was offered relating to statutorily restricting public funds for unethical research. The amendment failed mainly due to a constitutionality concern by connecting it to the bill. Even though the amendment failed the debate was good and adequate for all sides of the issue. The final bill restricts public funds for unethical research through the Appropriation process.

It is still possible for other bills to come from this Special Session, that are within the Governor’s call. The House will not be active next week as we wait for the Senate to debate six House bills that were sent over earlier in the session.

House Bill 1 Allows the City of St. Louis to establish and maintain a municipal police force completely under the city's authority. House Bill 2 Changes the laws regarding the collection of moneys owed to the state. House Bill 3 Changes the laws regarding presidential elections. House Bill 5 Changes the laws regarding the assessment of commercial real property destroyed by a natural disaster and authorizes tax increment financing in certain areas affected by a natural disaster. House Bill 6 To appropriate money for the purpose of matching Federal Emergency Management Agency expenditures due to natural disasters in the state of Missouri in 2011 for the period ending June 30, 2012. House Bill 7 Establishes the Joint Committee on Disaster Funding.

Please feel free to stop by or contact your 99th District office at:
201 W Capitol Ave., Office 114C, Jefferson City, MO 65101 573-751-2689

Mayer and Schaefer: Committee on Governmental Accountability to Investigate State’s Role in Mamtek Deal

Sen. Kurt Schaefer Appointed to Panel to Delve into District Issue

JEFFERSON CITY – The state’s role, particularly that of the Department of Economic Development, in luring a failed economic development project leaving Moberly residents on the hook for $39 million in bond revenues will be examined by the Senate Committee on Governmental Accountability. Missouri Senate Leader Robert N. Mayer, R-Dexter, today named Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, to the panel and charged them with investigating the matter.

“We all want to see more jobs created in our state, but it must not be at the expense of taxpayer safeguards,” said Mayer. “That is why I have asked the Governmental Accountability Committee to examine the role the state played in moving forward on this deal gone bad.”

Recent press accounts report Mamtek received $37 million in bonds from the City of Moberly to build a new facility where the company would make artificial sugar. Reports indicate the company had also been promised more than $17.6 million in state tax incentives if they met certain requirements.

Chairman Sen. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis, said the panel will hold an organizational meeting early next week.

“The committee will first meet to lay the roadmap for the actions we will examine and the questions we intend to ask,” Lembke said. “We want to be clear from the beginning on our goals, so those who may come before us as well as taxpayers will have a clear understanding of how we plan to find out how one of our state’s communities ended up in the middle of a failed economic development plan promoted by the governor and the Department of Economic Development.”

Sen. Schaefer represents Boone and Randolph counties and requested to be involved in finding whether or not there was any wrong doing or misguidance by state officials in the promotion of the deal to local leaders.

“Each day more and more information is unfolding when it comes to how this deal started and how it failed,” said Schaefer. “It is extremely important for everyone across our state to learn what happened here so we may prevent other communities from falling victim to similar scenarios.”

Other members serving on the committee include Vice-Chairman Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah; Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit; Sen. Chuck Purgason, R-Caulfield; and Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis. Committee hearing information will be posted on the Senate hearing schedule on the Missouri Senate website (

Rupp: General Motors Plans Investment In Wentzville, Report on Natural Disaster Recovery Released

Recently, some exciting news was announced that could directly impact our area. It was reported that General Motors (GM) plans to invest $380 million into its assembly plant in Wentzville. The proposal has the potential to add 1,850 jobs to our community.

According to an article published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, GM’s initiative to invest in the Wentzville plant is an element in the company’s proposal to invest $2.5 billion in its facilities across the nation and create or retain more than 6,000 jobs during a four-year contract (the contract still needs to be ratified by union members). The article further states, “The investment by GM would pay for a 500,000-square-foot addition to the Wentzville's current 3.7 million-square-foot facility, improvements to its paint department and other upgrades. The new contract also details plans for a midsize pickup to be produced in Wentzville.”

It’s no secret that we are dealing with a tough economy, and all too often, we only hear bad news, which is disheartening. Therefore, I am very pleased to see the potential for economic growth in our area, and I am sincerely hoping for the best.

In legislative news, the Senate Interim Committee on Natural Disaster Recovery released its final report this week. The report details testimony that the board’s three subcommittees heard during public hearings, and states its proposals for helping our fellow Missourians move forward after various natural disasters struck our state this year.

I had the pleasure of serving on the Subcommittee on Insurance Response, and my colleagues and I attended several public meetings across the state. On Aug. 23, the full committee met to discuss the present recovery efforts, and how to prepare Missouri for future disasters. We targeted several issues during our conference, including cleanup and rebuilding efforts, the importance of communication during a crisis, and how a clear chain of command is vital to staying in control during times of uncertainty. To view the committee’s full recommendations, please click here.

Natural disasters are unpredictable and usually always catch us off guard. Therefore, it’s important for us to be as prepared as possible. Heaven forbid this magnitude of disaster should happen again, our learning experiences from this year will help us recover in the future. I do not doubt the resolve people have in our state. When faced with obstacles, we always brush ourselves off and stand up taller than before.

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this or any other legislative matter. As always, thank you for the privilege and honor of serving you in our state government.

25 September 2011

Kander: Update On Special Session

Dear Friends,

Far too many Missourians looking for work can’t find it. We were called into special session to do our part to address that problem. People are counting on us to act. But if you’ve seen the paper this week about the special session in Jefferson City, I hope you’ll forgive me for admitting that I am, at this moment, frustrated.

We had a good chance over the last three weeks to add new tools to our development programs that will help us to defuse the economic border war with Kansas, make existing development tools more efficient, and save taxpayer resources so that going forward we can help keep college affordable, keep our streets safe and care for the most vulnerable.

Unfortunately, due to a small minority of extremists in the House and Senate, we appear to be at a standstill. Let me be clear, this is not a Democrat vs. Republican thing.

Republicans control 70% of the seats in the legislature and Democrats are in accord on most major components of the economic development legislation we’ve been debating. Rather, it’s a Republican vs. Republican thing. After months of talking they are still so busy fighting one another they can’t seem to close a deal. And so our state stands to suffer.

Like so often in the legislature, blustering personalities and weak political rationales block progress. That’s just unacceptable. You’re counting on us to act like adults, put petty differences aside, and do our jobs. I’m ready to work and I know a lot of you are too.

Missouri deserves better. The legislature still has time to act, but every day that passes is another day we lack the tools that could make a difference. I promise to keep fighting every day to move Missouri’s economy forward.