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14 October 2011

Korman: Medicare patients face earlier deadlines for medical coverage this year

Free expert counseling coming to Warren and Montgomery Counties hosted by State Representative, Bart Korman.

Warrenton, Mo. – With medical costs rising every day, it’s more important than ever that Missourians on Medicare choose the prescription-drug plan that best fits their needs.

This year, the time for making changes – including signing up for new prescription-drug plans – comes earlier for people on Medicare. The open-enrollment period for Medicare Part D, the federal prescription-drug program, is from Oct. 15 to Nov. 7.

Those eligible for Medicare’s prescription drug program can get free expert help at an event later this month. State officials encourage Medicare patients to review their insurance options annually.

The free discussion will be:
10AM – 1 PM OCTOBER 26, 2011
912 SOUTH HWY 47

There are a limited number of spots at this enrollment session -- reservations are encouraged. Spaces can be reserved by calling CLAIM at 1-800-390-3330.

All Medicare beneficiaries are eligible for Part D coverage, but they must enroll first.

People enrolled in Part D still pay out-of-pocket costs for their prescriptions, but there is an additional program meant to help those who have trouble doing so. Called Extra Help, this program reduces prescription-drug costs for Medicare patients who meet low-income guidelines.

Many Medicare beneficiaries do not know about the program. Thousands of eligible Missourians are missing out on help paying for their prescription drugs, according to the federal government.


CLAIM has been Missouri’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program since 1993. As such, the program provides free Medicare counseling to Missourians though a toll-free helpline, 1-800-390-3330, and

The program is run by Primaris; administered by the Missouri Department of Insurance; and paid in part through a grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

13 October 2011

Lampe: Special Session Update, Corporate Income Tax Cuts

At left: Rep. Lampe at a Labor Day parade


As many of you know, the Missouri General Assembly began a special session on September 6th. The legislature convened under the impression that the majority party had taken the steps necessary to pass a bill that would spur job growth and help countless Missourians and their families. The actions, or rather inaction, of the past month have proven just the opposite.

Friction inside the majority party in both chambers has prevented the passage of any legislation that could create jobs. To add insult to injury, drawing out this special session is costing taxpayers thousands of dollars everyday that the general assembly is convened.

I hope this newsletter will provide you with information about the legislation and happenings of special session.

SB 8

The main focus of this special session is an economic development bill. You may have heard it called "Aerotropolis" or "China Hub", but what does this legislation really do? SB 8 has its origins in the previous regular session, where it was known as SB 100. This legislation contained a combination of reduced tax credits and new tax credits with the intention of spurring job creation. The House passed its version of SB 100 prior to the end of session. The Senate, however, did not pass this version before the deadline, meaning that no part of the legislation could be enacted.

Since then, both the Senate and House have passed new versions of this bill that somewhat resemble the original version. The House passed a version of SB 8 on last Thursday that greatly deviates from the most recent Senate version.The House's bill eliminates sunsets on low income housing and historic preservation tax credits and decreases the corporate income tax. The House maintained the Senate reduction in tax credits for the St. Louis Airport project from $360 million to $60 million.

The fate of this jobs package is uncertain. The Senate convenes on October 17 to appoint senators to a joint conference committee that could negotiate a final bill. The House will also appoint representatives to this committee. Since the Senate insisted that this legislation include sunsets on the above stated tax credits, it is unlikely that the Senate will budge from this position during the conference committee. Under the Missouri Constitution, a special session can last no more that 60 days, meaning that the current session will automatically end on November 4, unless the legislature passes this legislation.

Corporate Income Tax Press Relase

House GOP passes $50 million income tax cut for corporations, $0 income tax cut for Missouri families

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - On a straight party-line vote, Missouri House Republicans voted to cut the state income tax rate for corporations from 6 percent to 5.5 percent. Working Missouri families, however, will continue to pay the full 6 percent rate under the Republican proposal.

"By granting wealthy corporations a tax cut while expecting working Missouri families to pay in full, House Republicans are engaging in class warfare," said House Minority Leader Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City. "Missourians expect everyone to pay their fair share. It is simply wrong to give a $50 million tax break to corporations while not providing a penny in tax relief to struggling families."

The House approved the corporate income tax cut on a vote of 95-51, with all Republicans in support and all Democrats opposed. The legislation was added as an amendment to a larger measure, Senate Bill 8.

Passed Special Session Legislation

While the legislature has been unable to reach an agreement on job creation legislation, two other bills were sent to Governor Nixon after being passed in both chambers. SB 1 would repeal previsions of a new state law enacted earlier this year that sought to prohibit teacher-student communications via text messaging and social networking sites. This legislation intended to prevent inappropriate communication between teachers and students. However, a Cole Country Circuit judge issued an injunction blocking the enforcement of the law on the grounds that it violated the free speech rights of teachers and students. Governor Nixon asked that the legislature consider this issue in special session. SB 1 is the result of that. SB 1 gives control over teacher-student communication to the schools, and asks the local school districts to adopt policies to govern this type of communication.

The other bill passed by the legislature is SB 7. SB 7 would establish the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) to provide incentives for science and technology business to locate to the state. MOSIRA was part of SB 8 in the beginning of special session. However, the Senate separated this legislation into its own bill. Although both chambers have passed SB 7, the Senate inserted a clause that states SB 7 will not take effect unless SB 8 also passes. However, the legality of that clause is being called into question.

The Interim Continues

Although I have been spending time in Jefferson City for the special session, I still spend most of my time in Springfield during the interim. It has been a pleasure to attend community meetings and gatherings. The people of the Springfield community are always welcoming and willing to share thoughts, opinions and concerns with me. Time spent in the district is invaluable to me, and it has been an honor to connect and learn from so many during this interim. If anyone is having an event in the area, or would like to schedule time to meet with me at my district office, I would be honored to attend. As always, you may contact my Capitol office with any questions about social programs, licensing or other government issues.

Denison: Senate Yet To Discuss Jobs Bill, Highway 65 Project

“To find what you seek in the road of life, the best proverb of all is that which says: “Leave no stone unturned.” –Edward Bulwer Lytton

In The Capitol

The job creation packaged [SB8] passed by the House last week has yet to be considered by the Senate. While there has been a great deal of doubt in regard to the chance of passing the economic development bill, some reason for optimism has emerged this week. The Senate Republicans met Tuesday to decide whether to continue the special session. Fortunately, the prevailing thought was to continue to work toward a compromise – something we in the House are glad to hear. We have a large gap to close in the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, but I am hopeful we can come to an agreement. The Senate is scheduled to meet again Monday, October 17. We anticipate they will send the bill to a conference committee where members of both sides will try to work out the differences in the bill. Ideally we will reach a compromise and pass a bill next week that will give our state some powerful economic development tools that will create the good-paying, family-supporting jobs we desperately need.

In The District

If you have traveled on Highway 65 in the last couple weeks, you will see the sound barrier walls are being installed. This process will take several months but is moving along well.

On October 10th, I was honored to present a House Resolution on the joyous occasion of Wayne and Pat Keltner’s Sixtieth Wedding Anniversary. They celebrated with a family dinner. Wayne and Pat have two children and two grandchildren. Best wishes to them and their family.

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.

12 October 2011

Kraus: Town Hall News

Blue Springs Town Hall

On Sept. 29, I held my sixth town hall of the year in Blue Springs. The town hall was co-hosted by Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs. In addition, four Blue Springs Council members were there to answer questions on local issues: Dale Carter, Jeff Quibell, Kent Edmondson and Chris Lievsay. About 40 engaged residents attended the meeting.

Several state-related issues were raised during the town hall. Questions were raised or comments given on issues including a state health exchange, funding for education, job retention incentives, lottery funding for education, an attempt by Lake Tapawingo to annex part of State Route 40, the idea of replacing the state’s income tax with a consumption (sales) tax, the addition of 911 charges to cell phones, and the possibility of adding more casinos.

The issue that stood out the most, mainly because of its immediate impact, was a discussion about the current tax credit reform bill [SB8] we are debating in special session. Specific questions were raised about the St. Louis Aerotropolis and MOSIRA pieces of the bill. General comments were offered about the stalemate between the Senate and the House. Regarding the Senate’s position, I conveyed the same message I have delivered through these reports.

I continue to enjoy the town hall formats because of the breadth of issues we cover and the diversity of opinion I get to hear. I also enjoy the chance to provide perspective on what works, and what doesn’t, in Jefferson City. This type of open and honest communication between elected leaders and their constituents is what will return trust to the system.

News from Other Capitols

As you know if you saw last week’s report, my family and I took a personal vacation to Fort Benning, Georgia, to attend the graduation of my son, Tylor, from basic training in the U.S. Army Reserve. He was very happy about completing the training and excited about going on to Virginia to train to be a mechanic on the Chinook helicopter.

While traveling, my family and I like to visit other state Capitols, and this time, we were able to visit the Capitols of both Alabama and Tennessee. I picked up some interesting bits of information while there. For instance, in Tennessee, the Speaker of the Senate, who is elected by the Tennessee State Senate from among its members, also holds the office of Lieutenant Governor. The Speaker/Lieutenant Governor is the governor's designated successor.

I learned that Alabama has 35 state senators and 105 state representatives and Tennessee has 33 senators and 99 representatives. In comparison, the people of Missouri elect 34 state senators and 163 state representatives.

In Alabama, I noticed that the Missouri state flag being flown in the Capitol was quite worn and tattered. I immediately visited the office of the Secretary of the Senate and, as a gesture of friendship, offered to send him a new flag to be displayed. He was happy to accept it, and a new Missouri flag is on its way to Alabama.

I was also surprised and pleased to run into two constituents from Lee’s Summit while touring the state capitol in Nashville. It is a small world!

Tim Jones: Amendment To Jobs Bill Saves Pro-Life Tax Credits

Jefferson City, MO – Representative Tim Jones (R-Eureka), in his capacity as Majority Floor Leader, successfully assisted his colleague, Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) in amending the jobs bill [SB8] under consideration by the Missouri House last Thursday to save pro-life pregnancy resource center tax credits from expiration in 2015.

“Pregnancy resource centers offer assistance, comfort and support to mothers facing difficult pregnancies,” Jones said, “These centers save and improve the lives of both Missouri mothers and children.”

The pregnancy resource center tax credits provide personal income tax credits to Missouri taxpayers who make donations supporting these life-affirming charitable organizations. Without Rep. Barnes’ amendment and the Floor Leader’s assistance in attaching that amendment to the bill, the credits would have expired in 2015.

Mayer: Audio On Special Session Status

Jefferson City — Senate Leader Robert N. Mayer, R-Dexter, recently added new audio links to his multimedia page, which is located on his Missouri Senate website. This page features audio and video links (both streaming and broadcast quality — when available) for visitors to listen to and watch Sen. Mayer address issues that are important to him and the citizens of the 25th Senatorial District.

The new audio links include Sen. Mayer discussing the status of the First Extraordinary Session of the 96th General Assembly. Missouri senators will return to the Capitol on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, with the intention of resuming work on an economic development proposal [SB8].

Senator Mayer will continue to add audio and video clips throughout the year. You can download his podcast and listen to it by going to Sen. Mayer’s multimedia page:

11 October 2011

Sater: Special Session Lingers

Special session, when will it end? It could last until November 15th, 2011, but it should not. As I mentioned in a previous report, it is costing you around $25 thousand dollars a day for us to be in session.

Two weeks ago, the Senate and House passed two pieces of legislation. The Missouri Science and Reinvestment Act [SB7] encourages investments in science and technology companies in Missouri. We repealed [SB1] a provision of a new law [SB54] that prohibits teachers from using sites such as Facebook to privately message students. The Legislature and the Governor thought this was a good idea, at the time, but freedom of speech was a concern. Our mission in this law was to keep our school children safe from teachers that acted badly. The Governor will sign both of these bills.

Last week we met for a few days to discuss an economic bill. We were in caucus last Wednesday to see if there was enough support for the bill. I try and keep in good contact with my senator, Jack Goodman, and three other senators in Southwest Missouri. They told me before caucus that our bill in the House was dead on arrival and they would not endorse it. In caucus, I mentioned that since the bill we were discussing would probably not go anywhere, it sure took away from some good crappie fishing. It got a laugh, but the point was made. House leadership is still insistent we pass the bill and send it to the Senate.

The key pieces of this bill are incentives to attract new businesses and jobs in Missouri. I still believe that government should not be in the business of creating jobs, the private sector does a much better job. Anyway, this bill would offer tax incentives to attract amateur sporting events in Missouri and encourage the creation of data storage centers. The bill would also create the Missouri Export Act, which creates incentives for exporting Missouri products - such as pork products. The bill would provide funding for job training and create a fund to both retain companies that are considering leaving Missouri and attract businesses that are looking for a new location. An amendment added to the bill on the House floor would reduce Missouri`s corporate income tax from 6.25 percent to 5.5 percent. The tax would be offset by savings generated by reforms to existing tax credit programs. We decreased the Historical Preservation Tax Credit by $28 million per year, decreased the Remediation Tax Credit per year (Brownfield Redevelopment Program) by $17.5 million, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit by $32 million dollars. We also kept a no sunset condition, which means it continues without reauthorization, on the Historical and Low Income Tax Credits. We took off the sunset, which is usually 4 or 5 years, on the Food Pantry and Pregnancy Resource Tax Credits. In the bill, there was also a provision that the Legislature would review any tax credit program by September 1st of the calendar year prior to the sunset of the program to analyze the effectiveness of the program and to see if the money we are giving these programs is worthwhile.

I was able to get one amendment through on the House floor. There is a new tax credit program for the Development Disability Care Providers which was in this legislation. I noticed that it did not have a cap on the amount to be given out. I added an amendment to cap the tax credits $5 million dollars per year. According to my conversations with leadership, this was an omission and they welcomed the amendment.

As mentioned, probably all of this could of waited another three months for the regular session that starts the first of January. But this was the Governor’s call and by law we have to attend.

The Governor will be in Springfield at Missouri State University on October 14 for a ceremony that celebrates the start of a UMKC-Missouri State Pharmacy Program at Missouri State. They will be able to graduate 25 to 30 students from Missouri State with a degree in Pharmacy. This will help southwest Missouri in the shortage of pharmacists. I have been invited to attend because I placed the money in the budget for the program this year. I attempted it in 2010 and it did not stay, but this year there was enough support to keep it in the budget.

Hopefully this will give you an explanation of the legislative process. If you have any questions, call me at my home in Cassville (417/847-4661) or my Capitol office (573/751-1480). Thanks for letting me serve you.