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29 October 2011

MO Expat: Clearing Up A Ridiculous Backlog

When your place of employment also requires extensive coverage of high school football, the prep-school pigskin tends to take precedence over political publishing.

Now that we know who all's going to the playoffs in Missouri (and surrounding states conclude their regular season next week), I finally have a chance to clear up this backlog of Missives. Hopefully I'll have this cleared up in the next day or so.

[Update @ 1235, 30 Oct 2011: Backlog cleared.]

28 October 2011

Korman: General Assembly Didn't Agree With Governor's Call For Special Session

The Special Session, for all purposes, is over. The MO House of Representatives saved your tax dollars by not calling Representatives back this week to adjourn Sine Die. Instead the MO House of Representatives has adjourned by a Technical Session not requiring a majority present. The Special Session will expire on November 6, 2011. The General Assembly did not and does not have to agree with the Governor’s agenda for a Special Session. The Economic Development and Tax Reform bill had been debated extensively this past spring during regular session with no consensus, so simply the Special Session resulted in the same result. The Governor’s call was his way of "political forcing" the General Assembly to send him bills that we didn't send him in the five months of regular session and shouldn't send to him in sixty calendar days (special session length). With the issuing of new tax credits, tax credit reform and other economic issues, it is best to have a quality bill with a large amount of support from the people of Missouri before becoming law.

The General Assembly passed the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) [SB7] which has been signed by Gov. Jay Nixon. Senate Bill 1 also has been passed and signed, which repeals a section of a bill passed by the General Assembly last spring and enacts a new section to address communications between school district employees and students.

On Monday, October 24, 2011, I participated in Marthasville Elementary Red Ribbon Week assembly. Red Ribbon Week is an alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign observed annually in October in the United States.

Missouri is the proud home of Boeing, which manufactures the F/A 18 E/F Super Hornet fighter plane, a key component to our national defense. On October 20, 2011, the Missouri House urged Congress to continue funding the Super Hornet by passing HR 4672 by an overwhelming majority.

On Thursday, October 20, 2011, Sarah and I attended the Associated Industries of Missouri Awards Reception and Dinner where I was given the 2011 Friends of Manufacturing and Industry Award.

The free counseling for the Medicare Part D enrollment event was held on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. at the Warren County Scenic Regional Library in Warrenton. It seemed for those that took advantage of this event it was helpful. The open-enrollment period for Medicare Part D, the federal prescription-drug program, is from October 15 to November 7, 2011.

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

Denison: Special Session Ends, Dooms Several Pieces Of Legislation

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” –Denis Waitley

In The Capitol

Extraordinary Session Comes to an End

Despite the best efforts of the Missouri House, the extraordinary session came to an end this week without the passage of legislation [SB8] to create good-paying jobs for Missouri families. The House sent the jobs package back to the Senate last week with the hope the other chamber would join us in a conference where we could iron out our differences. Instead, the Senate chose to walk away from the negotiating table and end the session without passing the bill that was the primary reason the session was called. The failure to pass the bill leaves us without some of the important tools we need to attract new businesses, create new jobs and bring down our unemployment rate that continues to hover around 9 percent. We now must hope the Senate will be willing to work with us during the 2012 regular session so that we can pass legislation that will give Missouri’s economy the boost it desperately needs.

MOSIRA and “Facebook Fix” Bills

While the failure to pass the jobs package cast a shadow over the extraordinary session, it’s important to point out that we were able to pass two bills that are important to our state. One [SB7] is a powerful economic development tool that will help Missouri attract high-tech and life sciences businesses to our state. The Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) will create a funding source to fuel new growth in the fields of science and technology. MOSIRA was meant to supplement the primary jobs package but it does offer a significant economic development tool on its own. I am excited to see some of the new start-ups that emerge in Missouri because of this program. The other bill [SB1] passed during the extraordinary session is what has commonly been referred to as the “Facebook Fix.” The fix will protect the ability of teachers to have appropriate online communications with students. This fixes the unintended consequences that resulted from a previous bill that was meant to prohibit improper communications but put all communications into question. Both bills have already been signed into law by the governor.

End of Extraordinary Session Dooms Several Other Bills

The Senate’s motion to adjourn doomed not only the jobs package but several other important pieces of legislation as well. In the first week of the extraordinary session, the House quickly passed bills to move Missouri’s presidential primary, create a period of tax amnesty to Missourians who have fallen behind on their taxes, provide disaster relief funding to areas of the state devastated by severe weather, and return control of the St. Louis Police Department to the City of St. Louis. All of these items received overwhelming approval in the House and then sat in the Senate for weeks. The failure of the Senate to pass these bills leaves several serious problems unaddressed. Missouri taxpayers will now be on the hook for a meaningless presidential primary that will cost approximately $8 million. The failure to pass the tax amnesty bill will prevent the state from collecting as much as $74 million in additional revenues. Both of these would have helped immensely as we work to create a balanced budget during a time when our economy is slumping.

In The District

If you have not been on Highway 65, the sound barrier walls are being installed. The work is taking place at night and the lanes are cut down to one lane of traffic, so be ready to go at a snail’s pace. You will be pleased with what you see.

Last Friday, October 21st, I was so pleased to present a House Resolution to recognize the Miracle League Field during the dedication ceremony of the field, at Dan Kinney Park in Springfield. Miracle League Field has a special surface that allows special-needs children and young adults the opportunity to play baseball and softball on a field designated just for them.

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.

27 October 2011

Mayer: 25th District Citizen Appointed to Salary Review Interim Committee

Panel responsible for examining state worker wages

[Op. note: HCR32 is incorrectly identified as HCR42 in this missive. HCR42 calls on Congress to prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.]

JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Senate Leader Robert N. Mayer, R-Dexter, recently appointed Mr. Brett Dorton of Dexter to serve on the Joint Interim Committee on State Employee Wages. Mr. Dorton was one of two Missouri citizens selected to serve on the panel, which includes three members of the Missouri Senate, three members from the House, one representative from the governor’s office, and one representative from the State Personnel Advisory Board.

“Attracting and maintaining a talented and dedicated workforce is essential to providing critical state services to our state’s citizens,” said Sen. Mayer. “Mr. Dorton’s background in the private banking industry will provide the panel with beneficial information on how to develop strategies for providing fair wages and benefit packages to Missouri’s state employees.”

The interim committee was created through the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 42 in May 2011. Members of the panel are responsible for comparing the wages of Missouri state employees to other state employees throughout the country, studying and developing strategies for increasing the wages of Missouri’s state employees, and reporting its findings to the Senate Appropriations Committee and House Budget Committee by Dec. 31, 2011.

“I look forward to this opportunity to serve the state, and to work with the members of this committee in seeking to develop a plan to more adequately support Missouri’s 57,000 state employees,” said Dorton. “These workers have been asked to ‘do more with less,’ and they have. It is vitally important to develop strategies to financially support and retain these talented and dedicated employees who serve the best interests of our state’s citizens.”

The committee held its first organizational meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the State Capitol. Future meetings will be announced on the Missouri Senate website — — under the Senate Hearing Schedule link.

26 October 2011

Kraus: Special Session Ends

Special Session Officially Ends

This week, the Missouri Senate adjourned sine die, which means we closed the special session started in September. The Senate spent $46,366 in taxpayer money during the session. While all of us wish we had been able to work a deal to curb tax credits and provide incentives for Missouri businesses to add jobs, the Senate as a whole could not accept the House’s version of a bill designed to spur economic development and reform our state’s tax credits.

In the past, I have discussed the need for sunsets to review all tax credit programs. Sunsets became the buzz word of the session. Since the House’s version did not include sunsets on the two biggest programs, many senators could not support that version. But a bigger picture emerged when we learned that the House version actually cost Missouri taxpayers $300 million over 15 years. The Senate version would have saved taxpayers close to a billion dollars over that same time frame. In the end, that gap was too big to bridge.

My biggest concern with our lack of success is for next year’s budget. Tax credits chew up about $500 million in money that could be going to education and other critical programs. I had hoped we would free some of that up, but, since we haven’t, it will be another very tough budget year.

The General Assembly did pass two bills during the special session. The first bill, SB 1, fixed some language which troubled teachers regarding their ability to interact with students online. The second, SB 7, provided incentives, subject to appropriations, for new or expanding science and technology innovators. Both have been signed by the governor.

Preparing for 2012 Regular Session

My office is now focused on preparing for the regular session which will begin in January. As part of that preparation, I have several meetings with local educators and I am hosting a series of small meetings for business owners, as well as for local municipal and school elected officials. If you fit into one of those groups and would like to attend a meeting, please call my Capitol office at 573-751-1464 to schedule a meeting. We are also planning at least one more town hall and will publicize that in a future Capital Report and in local newspapers.

Another part of our preparation for the upcoming session is researching and beginning the drafting process on bills I plan to file. I can give you a preview of my legislation/bills by telling you I will continue to focus on legislation that makes government small and provides an environment where businesses can grow. Last year, we passed several bills that came to us at the recommendation of residents of the 8th District. If you have a suggestion for legislation, I would be glad to hear it. Please email me your ideas at will{dot}kraus{at}senate{dot}mo{dot}gov.

District Office Reminder

Finally, don’t forget we have a new district office at 4201 Lakewood Way (Suite 100) in Lee’s Summit (Lakewood Way is located on the east outer road of I-470 between Lakewood Blvd. and Woods Chapel Road). Please let us know if you would like to stop by. Our regular office hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Rupp: The Importance of Child Care Safety

As a state senator, I am always examining pressing issues in our state and considering matters that are of utmost importance to Missourians. One of my top priorities for the 2012 regular session, which begins in January, is to address the safety of our children in day care facilities. I want Missouri parents to be certain that when they go to work or attend to personal business, their children are in the best hands possible.

During the 2011 regular session, I sponsored SB 339, which would have established “Sam Pratt’s Law” and “Nathan’s Law,” modifying provisions relating to child care providers. I filed this measure when it was brought to my attention just how many preventable deaths were occurring in day care facilities throughout our state. Sam and Nathan are two children that died tragically while in the hands of unlicensed child care services.

Under Sam Pratt’s Law, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) would be authorized to investigate child care providers who are exempt from licensure if the department learns (or is notified) that such a provider has pending criminal charges. Any child care provider who continues to look after kids after notification by DHSS to stop such services would be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor for the first violation and a Class A misdemeanor for any subsequent violation.

Nathan’s Law addresses the number of children a provider can legally look after, among other protections. Under current law, a child care provider may be exempt from licensure if that person is caring for four or fewer children. Also, children who are related to the provider are not considered in the total number of children under the provider’s watch. Nathan’s Law would count the provider’s related children in the caregiver-to-child ratio, except in certain circumstances outlined by the law. If a child care provider continues to break the law, he or she would face a fine of up to $10,000. In addition, DHSS would be allowed to immediately shut down any day care facility that is unlicensed.

My hope is that families will be able to come together once again to help support these issues. Our kids deserve to be looked after by honest, caring individuals — as parents, there is no feeling more sickening than the doubt of your child’s safety. If you have any questions or concerns about our local child care centers, I encourage you to contact my Capitol office. I will remain dedicated to making our voices heard in Jefferson City regarding the well-being of our children.

Tim Jones: House Pursues Conference Committee On Jobs Bill,

As the cool, fog shrouded evenings and brilliant sun drenched colorful days of autumn descend upon us across the Heartland, the Special Session is winding down as most eyes are firmly fixed on the 10 time World Champion St. Louis Cardinals as they make yet another run into the annals of baseball history…

On Monday, October 31st we also once again observe Halloween. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as a time to honor all saints and martyrs: the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the tradition of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. As the days begin to grow shorter and the nights get colder, we will usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement address, 2005.

2011 Special Session

Since September 6th, the Missouri General Assembly has been in special session with the goal of passing several major bills. With nearly 9 percent of Missourians unemployed, the Missouri House remains committed to the number one issue for Missourians - jobs.

On October 6th, the Missouri House took a major step in moving forward SB 8 which is a comprehensive jobs bill that will give Missouri’s economy the boost it needs to get back on track. After hours of debate on the House floor, the bill received an overwhelming positive bipartisan vote. The bill includes innovative tax incentives, reforms to existing programs, and an across the board tax cut for Missouri job creators. The bill also includes many new incentive programs that will help Missouri’s economy compete in the 21st century. The new incentives will help attract amateur sporting events to the state, encourage the creation of data storage centers, and create the Missouri Export Act, which creates incentives for exporting Missouri products. In addition to these new incentives, the bill provides funding for job training and creates a fund to retain companies that are considering leaving our state and attract businesses that are looking for a new location. The bill will also make dramatic changes that will create hundreds of millions in savings and ensure taxpayer protections for many incentive programs. The House lowered caps on two of Missouri’s largest programs and eliminated many underutilized and ineffective programs. With the savings created through these reforms, we passed an across the board tax cut for Missouri businesses. SB 8 was then sent to the Senate where we had hopes that it would move to the Governor’s desk for signature.

The Senate convened on October 17th and refused to take up and pass the House Committee Substitute for SB 8 as amended by the House. Consequently, on Thursday, October 20th, the Missouri House met and overwhelmingly approved a motion to continue efforts to reach a compromise. The House approved a motion to send the economic development bill (SB 8) to conference where selected members from both sides would work together to find common ground. The President Pro Tem of the Senate has continually indicated he wanted to send the bill to conference but apparently then changed his mind. While the House does have concerns about some of the provisions in the Senate version of the bill, the House always remained willing to sit down together with our Senate colleagues to iron out differences. I truly believe that a strong majority of my Senate colleagues want to move Missouri forward and accomplish the task of finding solutions to the challenges that this terrible economy has posed. Unfortunately, the Senate has been thwarted in its efforts by one or two Senators and their personal agendas. I will continue to look for ways to cooperate and work with the majority of my Senate colleagues who want to work for, and not against, a positive future for all Missourians. For more information on SB 8 and to read the full text of the bill, please access the following link:

House Approves Constitutional Amendment to Authorize Tax Credit Review Process

The House also approved a constitutional amendment (HJR 1) on October 20th that would create a tax credit review process if approved by voters. The Senate has asked for each of our tax credit programs to have sunset clauses – something that would set them to expire unless a vote of the Legislature extends the sunset. While we in the House believe in the idea of reviewing our tax credit programs on a regular basis, we are far less excited by the prospect of one senator having the ability to filibuster a vote to preserve a tax credit the majority of legislators overwhelmingly support. That is why the House approved HJR 1, which would require an up or down vote on our various tax credit programs every four years. The key difference between this and traditional sunsets is that the amendment we passed would require a vote be taken by the 50th legislative day every four years. This would prevent a filibuster by a particular senator and ensure the will of the majority ultimately determines the fate of each tax credit. It is something we believe is good public policy and we hope our colleagues in the Senate will agree. For more information on HJR 1 and to read the resolution, please access the following link:

House Members Urge Congress to Continue Support for F/A-18 Fighter Jet

Also last week, we took time to approve a resolution (HR 4672) to urge Congress to recognize the importance of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet program to our state. The plane is made by Boeing, which is one of the biggest employers in our state with more than 15,000 employees. More than 5,000 employees are directly associated with production of the F/A-18. For the year 2010 alone, Boeing contributed significantly to our economy by purchasing more than $764 million of materials from 969 Missouri suppliers. The company’s impact on our economy cannot be overstated and the importance of the F/A-18 Super Hornet to our nation’s security cannot be denied. For more information on HR 4672 and to read the resolution, please access the following link:

Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) Passes Missouri Legislature with Strong Majority in Both Chambers!

On September 23rd, the Missouri House gave final approval to SB 7, the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) signifying the state’s commitment to innovation and technology-based economic development. MOSIRA will provide a predictable, stable source of state funding to invest in advanced technology entrepreneurial infrastructure and foster 21st Century jobs in growing industries like biotechnology. MOSIRA is a pro-growth, pro-jobs bill with NO fiscal note (completely subject to appropriations based solely on net gains!) that will keep Missouri extremely competitive in the fast growing 21st century field of Bio-Tech and Bio-Science. The passage of this bill is a major step forward for the St. Louis region and for Missouri.

The House passed MOSIRA by a margin of 94-48 showing broad support for the measure. There were false allegations that the bill would fund human cloning research and an effort to pass a “poison pill” amendment that would have raised Constitutional questions and subjected MOSIRA to never-ending court battles. For those Missourians who are pro-life, the bill is subject to appropriations, every single year, and continues notification procedures that provide stringent pro-life protections relating to prohibitions on public funding of stem cell research. For more information on SB 7 and to read the summary and full text of the bill, please feel free to access the following website:

Special Local Announcements

St. Louis Chase Homeownership Center may be able to help customers lower their monthly mortgage payment or interest rate and avoid foreclosure. They provide one-on-one meetings with a Chase Mortgage Counselor, extended hours of operation including evenings and Saturdays, and assistance for Spanish-speaking customers. Any Chase customer in need of mortgage assistance may call to make an appointment at 314.729.0421 or stop by the center at 9717 Landmark Parkway Drive, Suite 101, St. Louis, Missouri 63127. Their hours of operation are: Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Friday-9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

The City of Eureka would like to invite you to participate in the City of Eureka’s ‘Howl’oween dog event. The event will take place on Sunday, October 30th from 1-4 p.m. on Central Avenue. There will be live music, vendors, children’s activities, trick-or-treating and several dog related contests! The City’s last pet friendly event drew a crowd of over 1,000 participants.

The City of Eureka is again participating in the 2011 Home Improvement Program with its Community Development Block Grant funds which are administered by St. Louis County. The purpose of this program is to provide financial assistance to low/moderate income homeowners with home repairs which will correct code violations and safety hazards. For additional information, please contact Rose Loehr, City of Eureka at 314.615.4025.

The City of Eureka also recently entered into an agreement with St. Louis County to allow its residents to participate in a Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program. This program will allow the City to make low interest rate loans available to eligible residential property owners for upgrades that improve comfort and reduce energy costs in their homes. For additional information, please contact Anne Klein at aklein{at}st{dot}louisco{dot}com or by telephone at 314.615.7017.

News & Notes

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 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!

25 October 2011

Mayer: Audio On Special Session's Conclusion

Jefferson City — Senate Leader Robert N. Mayer, R-Dexter, recently added new audio/video 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 and video links include Sen. Mayer talking with members of the media on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, where they discussed the latest developments regarding the First Extraordinary Session of the 96th General Assembly.

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:

24 October 2011

Berry: Not A Normal Year In Missouri

2011 Extraordinary Special Session

Jefferson City in the fall is a beautiful place to visit. I did not for see getting to experience so much of central Missouri this year. The fact is in a “normal” year the legislature is not in session. This year on September 7th we entered into Special Session. We were to talk and pass bills dealing with economic development in the hopes of creating jobs in Missouri.

This past week, the House continued our efforts to come up with a Jobs Package that would be negotiable with the Senate. We overwhelmingly approved a motion to continue efforts to reach a compromise on an economic development bill and send SB8 to conference where selected members from both sides would work together to find common ground. While we have concerns about some of the provisions in the Senate version that prevent us from passing the bill, we are willing to sit down together with our Senate colleagues to work out our differences. I feel the citizens are becoming frustrated with the long process this is taking but I wouldn’t want to rush legislation that would result in a poor outcome. This particular bills effect on the state of Missouri is one that is going to last for many years to come. And I personally would rather pass no legislation at all than pass a piece of bad legislation.

Tracking Legislation

If you would like to track legislation you may log on to and select “Bill Information” and then select Bill Tracking. You may search by topic or bill number. If you want to track the bills that I have either sponsored or co-sponsored, just enter my last name and you will be able to look at each of those also.

Mayer: Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act Signed into Law

Legislation attracts science and innovation companies to Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY – Designed to create, attract and retain jobs in the field of science and innovation, the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, also known as MOSIRA, sponsored by Senate Leader Robert N. Mayer, R-Dexter, received the governor’s approval Friday (10-21). Senate Bill 7, which passed the Senate chamber on Sept. 14 by a vote of 30-4, attracts science and innovation companies to the state by distributing funds appropriated by the General Assembly from the Life Sciences Research Trust Fund to the Life Sciences Research Board in order to increase the quality and capacity of scientific research at public and private nonprofit institutions.

“This legislation will continue to foster economic growth in our state,” said Sen. Mayer. “The economic trend for today and into the future continues to move toward science and high-tech jobs, and that brings with it highly skilled workers. These types of jobs tend to be higher-paying jobs that can bring many of the best and brightest researchers from around our country right here to Missouri.”

The act replaces the Missouri Technology Fund with the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Fund, which would receive annual appropriations made by the General Assembly, based upon recommendation made by the directors of the Department of Economic Development and Department of Revenue, as well as contributions made by private entities, the federal government, and local governments.

“This is something lawmakers have talked about as a legislative body for several years,” said Sen. Mayer. “Through this legislation, we’ve passed a beneficial measure that will spur investment in science and technology in our state, while creating much-needed jobs for Missourians in these industries.”

Sen. Mayer is in full support of the state’s efforts toward implementation of Senate Bill 7. The legislation will take effect 90 days after receiving the governor’s stamp of approval, Jan. 19, 2012.

Lant: Neosho Ag Team Wins Nationals, MoDOT Makes More Progress Than Special Session

I just heard great news! Mike Aldridge, Ag instructor at Neosho and his team of students just captured the National Agronomy Championships. We certainly are fortunate to have educators in our area with this kind of expertise and dedication. Those students just participated in something that they can be proud of all their lives. My hat is certainly off to all of them.

Since our last report we spent Sunday afternoon in Kenny Underwood's backyard for a birthday dinner. Kenny is The McDonald County Recorder of Deeds and the only man I've ever known that cooks for two days to provide lunch for everyone that attends his birthday celebration. There were at least 200 people there and everyone got all they wanted to eat plus some of the best desserts in Southwest Missouri! I can't wait for Kenny to be a year older.

Tuesday evening we went to the Developmental Disabilities Banquet in Joplin. One of this year's honorees was Mark Lindquist who was working in a group home in the direct path of the tornado. Mark is unquestionably the most heroic person I have ever met. He took his three patients to an interior room, covered them with a mattress and then laid across the mattress and told the boys to pray. He awoke a week later in the hospital with horrific wounds. His ordeal was only beginning, as he contracted the fungus infection in his wounds and nearly died from the effects of it. Mark was at the banquet with his two rescuers who drove from Alba with what had to be Divine Guidance directly to the pile of rubble covering Mark. One of the young men, Staff Sergeant Michael Byers commandeered a pickup and driver to transport Mark to Freeman Hospital. When they picked him up, bones literally fell from his shoulder! Mark and his two rescuers were sitting with us at a front table and enjoying good food and companionship just five months later. If that's not inspirational, I don't know what is.

Wednesday and Thursday we were in Jefferson City for the continuation of Special Session. We passed a couple of resolutions and voted nearly unanimously to send our Economic Development bill [SB8] to conference committee with the Senate. If the Senate agrees to confer, we may yet get an additional jobs bill. The Capitol maintenance crews have been busy all summer and have completed some much needed repairs. DOT has also been busy and the new by-pass on Highway 5 is nearly complete.

Thursday evening we were at the Civic Center for the Talkington Foundation event. The Talkington Foundation is devoted to drug and alcohol intervention and recovery. The room was filled with civic and business leaders who support the foundation. I feel like it is worth mentioning that their goal is to save lives and families and provide second chances. They are always ready to welcome everyone who has a problem and is ready to solve it. I can't think of many things more worthwhile of our support.

Friday we ended our week at the 75th Anniversary celebration of our Newton County Courthouse. The ceremony was well attended with standing room only in the courtroom for the awards. The celebratory lunch on the lawn was better attended however, with excellent food and enjoyable conversation on a perfect fall day.

It looks like this week is going to be another busy one with a possibility of yet another trip to Jeff City. I'll give you a full accounting next week. Until then, I am and remain in your service.