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18 November 2011

Denison: Child Abuse Reporting Laws, "Be Safe, Be Seen"

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.” –Charles Dickens

Missouri Attorney General Asks Legislature to Look at Child Abuse Reporting Laws

One of the issues that may come up during the rapidly-approaching 2012 legislative session focuses on the mandatory reporting requirements for cases of sexual abuse of a child. The shocking scandal that continues to unfold at Pennsylvania State University has led many states to take a closer look at the laws the reporting requirements they currently have in place. Here in Missouri, current law requires teachers, clergy and members of certain other professions to report child sex abuse to law enforcement. Missouri’s Attorney General is asking the members of the General Assembly to consider extending the mandatory reporting requirement to all citizens. The change would put us in line with 18 other states that require all citizens to report suspected abuse or neglect of children.

MoDOT Reminds Motorists and Pedestrians to “Be Safe. Be Seen”

A disturbing increase in the number of pedestrian traffic deaths has prompted the Missouri Department of Transportation to launch a new public safety campaign. Known as “Be Safe. Be Seen”, the campaign is meant to remind pedestrians and motorists to look out for each other. MoDOT officials released statistics showing that as of the end of September, 54 pedestrians died as a result of a traffic crash. In all of 2010, there were 57 similar fatalities. Officials believe the spike in accidents is related to people already experiencing a bad day by having a flat tire or mechanical problem. To avoid accidents while stopped on the side of the road, safety advocates say to stay alert to the traffic around you and don't expect that vehicles will yield. It’s also important to make yourself visible - especially if your car is disabled – and to turn on your headlights and hazard lights. Other safety tips include pulling as far off the road as possible and having all occupants remain in the vehicle with seat belts fastened. MoDOT also recommends that when walking near a highway or street, you should move in the opposite direction of traffic, so you can see oncoming vehicles. To find more pedestrian safety information, please visit

Committee Meeting

The Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight met Wednesday, November 16th. Kevin Keith, Director of The Missouri Department of Transportation presented the annual accountability report to the committee. Several members of the State Highways and Transportation Commission were present. A copy of MoDOT’s report to the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight can be found at

In the District

House Resolution

On Wednesday, November 9th, I was very honored to present a House Resolution to Jodie Adams in recognition of 37 years of exceptional service to the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Jodie officially retired from the Park Board on November 1, 2011.

Road Construction in Springfield

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 Reconstruction in Springfield:
  • Westbound Route 60 traffic shifted to eastbound lanes at Lake Springfield bridge east of Route 65.
  • Southbound Route 65 traffic shifted to old northbound lanes and southbound-to-eastbound ramp traffic using temporary pavement.
  • Two-way traffic in eastbound lanes of U.S. 60. Speed limit 45 mph.
  • Westbound U.S. 60-to-southbound U.S. 65 ramp CLOSED until fall 2012.
  • Other nighttime lane and ramp closings possible. When lanes or ramps closed, 45 mph work zone

Route 65 Sound Walls:
  • Ingram Mill Road CLOSED between Linwood and Bennett streets north of Sunshine Street. Large crane set up to install columns and panels for new sound-reducing walls. Work hours: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday.
  • One or two northbound lanes closed south of Battlefield Road. Work hours: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Narrowed lanes on Ingram Mill Road with traffic shifted to the west. NO big trucks allowed on this stretch of Ingram Mill Road. Constructing sound walls.

Medicare Part D Enrollment

The Medicare Part D enrollment period for the 2012 plans is October 15, 2011 - December 7, 2011. If you have questions about the Medicare Part D prescription plans for 2012, you may contact CLAIM for assistance at 1-800-390-3330, and a counselor will assist you with selecting a plan. Seniors may switch plans without penalty until December 7, 2011.

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.

17 November 2011

Rupp: The Missouri Cold Weather Rule

As temperatures begin to drop and winter coats are brought out of storage, citizens across Missouri will be adjusting their thermostats to make their homes comfortable during the chilly weather. However, heating services can be expensive and are unattainable for some without help. To ensure that Missourians in need are not left out in the cold, the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued the Cold Weather Rule, which took effect Nov. 1, and will continue until March 31.

The Cold Weather Rule, which has been part of PSC regulations since 1977, applies to natural gas and electric utilities under PSC authority that provide heat-related services to the people of Missouri. The purpose of the rule is to protect Missourians from feeling the wrath of cold weather by preventing the disabling of customers’ heat services. Under this rule, certain investor-owned utilities regulated by the PSC in our state must follow these guidelines:
  • A person's heat-related service cannot be disconnected if the temperature is forecasted to drop below 32 degrees.
  • Customers are allowed to budget their payments over 12 months.
  • Customers aren't required to submit a deposit if a payment agreement is kept.
  • Before a person's service can be shut off, a representative must notify the customer by mail and in person.
  • People registered as low-income elderly or disabled customers who make minimum payments cannot have their service disconnected.
    (Please click here if you would like to learn more about the Cold Weather Rule.)
Considering the fact that Missourians dealt with brutal cold weather earlier this year, it’s a good idea to begin taking precautions now. Please visit the PSC website at to learn more about budget billing, setting your thermostat, preparing for heating season, and steps to take in case of emergency.

As always, if you have any inquiries regarding this issue or any other matter within state government, please feel free to e-mail me or call my office toll-free at (866) 271-2844. You can also visit my website at Here, you can keep up to date on all my columns, press releases, and multimedia postings.

Tim Jones: Spirit of Enterprise Award

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The state’s leading business organization has recognized state Rep. Tim W. Jones (R-Eureka), for his efforts to promote policies that create jobs and spur economic development. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce presented Jones with a Legislative Spirit of Enterprise Award at the organization’s annual meeting on November 8 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

President/CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dan Mehan, recognized Jones for his commitment to “working hard on behalf of Missouri’s business community.” As the Majority Floor Leader for the Missouri House, Jones controls the flow of legislative traffic on the House floor and was instrumental in securing passage of several economic development measures during the 2011 legislative session. The House was able to pass a phase-out of the corporate income tax, the Big Government Get off My Back Act [HB45] for small businesses and the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act [SB7] to promote growth in the high-tech job sector.

“We had a productive year in the legislature that produced policy that will lead to new good-paying jobs for Missouri families,” said Jones. “I appreciate the recognition from the Missouri Chamber for the work we’ve done, but I am focused now on the upcoming session and the work we have yet to do to turn our economy around. I look forward to working with the Chamber again in 2012 to accomplish some of the business policy reforms we need to make our great state even greater.”

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians. The Spirit of Enterprise Award was established in 1990 to recognize legislators who have consistently shown efforts to protect the free-enterprise system in Missouri.

Lichtenegger: Community Heroes

Last week was Veterans Day. A day which we set aside to remember those who protect our country’s freedom from global tyranny. But really when you think about it there are similar heroes all throughout our local communities. Persons whose “job description” is to place their own lives in jeopardy in order to save ours.

These city police, county sheriffs, fire and rescue personnel wake up every morning –or evening, depending on their shift!- knowing that today their life may hang in the balance for ours. That’s amazing to me. There has to be a special mind-set or a soul-invested courage that empowers them to carry on a level of normalcy one moment and the next they are face to face with a potential life-threatening situation. Next time you at your children’s or grandchildren’s school function take a look around you and identify those you know are these community heroes. Now question yourself, “Could I do what they do?” Most of us would at least answer, “I don’t’ know”.

Most the men and women who serve their communities this way really don’t expect much in return –a paycheck, a smile and of course a “thank you so much” goes with the smile. Most of them would tell you “Your welcome, I’m just doing my job”.

Jackson Fire Department recently celebrated its 100th anniversary by having an open house. (Use the hyperlink to view a video and pictures of the JFD in action!) During the celebration they dedicated the departments new Sutphen 75' ladder fire truck obtained through a grant. Chief Jason Mouser is responsible for securing this top-of-the-line, life-saving equipment which demonstrates their motto: Beyond the Nozzle!

The Jackson Police Department whose motto is “Dedicated to Serving and Protecting the Community of Jackson” is an Internationally Accredited Police Agency with Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., (CALEA®) who has multiple ways in which its serves the citizens of Jackson.

And let’s not forget our county law enforcement heroes like Cape Girardeau County and Perry County Sheriffs who work equally hard to preserve public safety.

Call, write or stop in the offices of YOUR local heroes during this Thanksgiving season and say, “Thank you for all you do for us”. I bet they’ll smile!

16 November 2011

Allen: Veterans Memorial Service in Manchester

Happy Thanksgiving

As we all gather to give thanks for our family, friends, and all our blessings, let us also be sure to remember our troops overseas who are keeping us safe and all those less fortunate than us. While it is a time of celebration, it is also a time of prayer and reflection. It is a time to reflect upon the founding values of our nation and ensure we are embodying those ideals as individual citizens. We may disagree on exactly how to embody them, but that too is what makes this country great. Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Veterans Memorial Service – Manchester

The City of Manchester held a Veterans Memorial Service on 11-11-11 at 11am at the city Veterans Memorial in Margaret Stoecker Park. The service was very moving and was attended by over 100 local residents. I believe it is very important to ensure that our veterans are taken care of not only on Veterans Day, but every day. The issue surrounding the Missouri Veteran Homes Program is paramount. There are currently seven Veteran Homes in Missouri and they serve over 1,300 veterans. These homes do not receive adequate funding and some may be closed in the upcoming years. Since 2010, the Missouri Veterans Commission lost $42 million in general revenue support for the Veteran Homes Program. I am committed to restoring adequate funding to this program and ensuring that we safeguard the well-being of our Veterans.

Manchester Board Meeting

Last week the Manchester Board of Alderman discussed an issue that really hit home, our county parks. The County Executive has proposed closing county parks to balance the upcoming budget. Manchester’s Mayor Willson sent a letter to the County asking them to reconsider such a proposal and allow local governments to be brought into the discussions.

Parks are a great place for families and children to be outdoors and play in a safe environment and it would be sad to see many of them closed simply to balance the County's budget for one or two years . I recently took my three grandsons to Lone Elk Park. We were all excited to see elk within five feet of our car and were happy to see the bison a bit further away! I remarked to my grandsons that if they want to see deer, we could simply drive around Town & Country! I have encouraged many St. Louis County citizens to attend the County Council Meetings and voice their support for our parks. There are many other ways to balance our budget.

Meetings with our Local Senators

Over the past two weeks I have met with Senators Jane Cunningham and Eric Schmitt who each serve a portion of the 92nd District. More dialogue and cooperation must occur between the House and Senate so that our State government can function more effectively. We discussed upcoming issues and legislation of mutual interest, including my Cyber-Bullying bill which will be filed December 1. These meetings were very productive. Senators Cunningham and Schmitt are not the obstructionists we often read about in the newspapers and I am proud to have them as colleagues within the 92nd District.

15 November 2011

Carter: Future of St. Louis Public Schools Town Hall Meeting

If you have any questions, please feel free to call my office in Jefferson City at 573-751-7605.

I hope to see you there!

14 November 2011

Lant: Caucus Meetings in Jeff City, Candidates For State Office in District

Last week the pace was a little slower. We had caucus meetings in Jefferson City which were quite interesting to say the least. The first information we were presented with was the Speaker, Steve Tilley, withdrawing from the Lt. Governor race. Steve cited family reasons for his decision and shared with us his feelings about the sacrifices one has to make to be in a leadership position. The demands on your time must be truly daunting. At this point we don't really know who might run in his place but rest assured, someone will. We talked at length about what our priorities should be next session. The number one priority has to be job creation. This seems to be the topic of discussion whenever you turn on the talk shows nowadays. The problem we are facing in the Four States Area is attracting new businesses. When I meet with Chamber people, they are all telling the same story. There is fierce competition for industry and we need to change our thinking about what we are willing to do as a state to attract and keep quality job creators. When I attended workshops last summer put on by Chambers of Commerce, the central theme was Right to Work. Six of the eight states that join us already have right to work laws and industry rates; it as the number three consideration in locating new plants. This is certainly something we need to do more research on and look at the possibility of Legislation in the near future.

On a related issue, last year the Missouri Housing and Development Commission increased the prevailing wage for low income housing projects. They recently issued a statement that they will not allocate any Federal or State tax credits to assist in Joplin's rebuilding efforts unless the builders agree to all these new requirements. It is important to note that the Federal Government has no authority to enforce these statutes except for commercial building. The threat of withholding help where it is most needed comes from the MHDC only. I am participating in a press conference with Lt. Governor Peter Kinder where he will ask the Director and the Governor to waive the requirement. This waiver will allow nearly 600 low income homes to be constructed which will fill a much needed void. Joplin had over 4000 homes destroyed and this would make a significant dent in the severe shortage of affordable housing. This isn't an attempt to undermine prevailing wage, but when disaster of this magnitude strikes, we should be able to make some extraordinary concessions while still paying a fair, living wage.

As fall progresses the field of Political candidates is growing. State Representative and Speaker Pro-Tem, Shane Schoeller has announced his intention to run for Secretary of State. Shane is from Springfield and has accompanied me to events in McDonald County. I am going to try to get him down here for a meet-and-greet in the near future so he can answer any questions you may have. Speaking of questions, I have plans to do a series of "Town Hall" meetings over the next few months and I look forward to seeing many of you then. Until next week I am and remain in your service.