Weather-Related Disclaimer: missives from legislators concerning road conditions, although timely and important, should be considered snapspots in time. For the most recent travel information, please consult MoDOT's Web site at

except when the post starts "MO Expat", all content published on Missives from Missouri is written and supplied by the noted legislator. Said missives will not necessarily reflect the views of Kyle Hill, the operator of Missives from Missouri, and as such the operator does not assume responsibility for its content. More information
Share this missive:

02 December 2011

Denison: Pre-Filing Begins, Interim Committee Readies Final Report

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” – William Feather

Bill Pre-Filing Begins

Just a little more than a month away from the official beginning of the 2012 legislative session, legislators are now pre-filing bills that will set the tone for upcoming session. Legislators are able to file bills before the session begins each year on December 1. So far only a few bills have been filed but that number will grow in the next few weeks as House members make clear their legislative priorities for 2012. To keep up with the growing list of pre-filed bills you can visit the Missouri House of Representatives official website at

Interim Committee on Disaster Recovery Readies Final Report

An interim committee charged with taking a closer look at how the state responds to natural disasters is in the process of readying its final report to the Speaker of the Missouri House. The committee spent the last few months travelling around the state to visit areas devastated by natural disasters. As we all know, Missouri was extremely unfortunate with tornadoes striking Joplin, Sedalia and St. Louis and flooding causing serious problems in both Southeast and Northwest Missouri. While the state has handled these situations well in many cases, the committee found a few key areas where improvements can be made. One change the committee will likely recommend is to remove some of the red tape that currently exists that has prevented physicians from other states from lending a helping hand during times of need. It is likely that legislation will be filed in 2012 to ensure physicians can cross the border into Missouri during times of emergency without worrying about legal repercussions. The committee also is likely to recommend changes to the state’s prevailing wage law in relation to disaster recovery efforts. Committee members found that the prevailing wage had tripled in Joplin, which would cause rebuilding efforts there to be much more costly. Several members of the committee would like to reduce the cost of rebuilding efforts by exempting disaster recovery construction projects from prevailing wage requirements. This is an issue we will almost certainly discuss during the 2012 session.

In the District

Below is a press release from MoDOT concerning road work in Greene county.

Ramp/Lane Closings Dec. 5-7 at Campbell Avenue/James River Freeway

Springfield, Greene County -- The westbound ramps at the Campbell Avenue/James River Freeway (Route 60) interchange will be closed one at a time beginning Mon. night, Dec. 5 and lasting until Wed. afternoon, Dec. 7, the Missouri Department of Transportation said.

The ramp closings are needed to allow contractor crews to remove the existing pavement on the ramps and pour new concrete for new ramp pavement as it approaches Campbell Avenue.

By closing the ramps, the work can be done quickly and safely.

Also, during daytime hours on Wednesday, Dec. 7, lane closings are planned on Campbell Avenue between South Avenue north of Republic Road and El Camino Alto Street south of James River Freeway. Crews will lay asphalt to smooth out the transition areas between the new concrete pavement and the existing road. Only one northbound and one southbound lane will be closed at a time.

Work Schedule:
  • 7 p.m. Monday to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5-6 -- Westbound on-ramp from Campbell Avenue to James River Freeway (Route 60) CLOSED to all traffic. Drivers will have to use National Avenue or Kansas Expressway to access James River Freeway.
  • 7 p.m. Tuesday to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6-7 -- Westbound off-ramp from James River Freeway (Route 60) to Campbell Avenue CLOSED to all traffic. Drivers will have to use the National Avenue or Kansas Expressway interchanges to exit off James River Freeway.
  • At 3 p.m., Wednesday, the westbound off-ramp will reopen. However, there will only be one left-turn lane open from the ramp to southbound Campbell Avenue. During this time drivers can expect much traffic congestion until the second left-turn lane can be opened later that evening.
  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7 -- The northbound and southbound right lanes of Campbell Avenue will be blocked one lane at a time to allow contractor crews to lay temporary asphalt to reduce the bumps between the new concrete pavement and the existing roadway.
All times are approximate. With cold temperatures forecasted early in the week, concrete poured will take longer to cure and gain strength before traffic can be allowed to travel over the new pavement. It may be necessary to delay the opening times of the ramps until the new pavement hardens sufficiently to allow traffic onto it.

Capitol Office

I look forward to hearing from you. The normal work schedule has resumed at the Capitol office. The office is staffed Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Best wishes.

01 December 2011

Nance: Drastic Change To House District

The redistricting maps have been drawn by the Appellate Courts and our district has changed drastically.

The 39th District will cover Ray County (with the exclusion of Lawson and Elmira) and include Carroll and Chariton Counties. Each representative district is approximately 38,000 people.

The 38th will include portions of Liberty, Kearney, Excelsior Springs, and Missouri City. T.J. Berry is the present representative that resides in the district.

The 8th is a new district that includes Lawson and Clinton and Caldwell Counties.

The Senatorial District 21 that Senator Stouffer represents will change and Ray County and Clay County will not be in the district. Each senatorial district represents approximately 178,000 people.

Ray County (24,000 census) and Northern Clay County (35,000 census) and nine counties to the North will become the 12th District. It is represented by Senator Brad Lager and even number districts are in the 2014 election cycle. Senator Lager has expressed interest in a statewide office which could lead to a special election for the 12th Senatorial District if he was successful.

Below are links to an interactive map.

Stouffer: New Video Shows Personal Perspective

It was a day just like today that our lives were changed forever: I received a phone call from my wife, saying she had been hurt.

As Sue Ellen puts it, when she started that backward fall off a horse on our farm, she knew her life was changed forever. The injury was more severe than we realized.

After several days in the hospital, we realized our Sue Ellen would never be the same. Thirty years ago, people did not survive these types of injuries. Today, some individuals suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) may return to a normal life with the right care and quick, complete rehabilitation.

The first 18 months following a traumatic brain injury are the most important; if folks do not receive rehabilitation during that time, then those who are injured may never return to the workforce or a normal life. For us, this accident meant the woman that helped care for my two sons and me for decades was the one who needed nursing back to health.

Those who are fortunate to have the resources or help to receive comprehensive day-to-day rehabilitation — like Sue Ellen — may learn how to walk again, learn how to make change in a financial transaction and perform other normal daily functions of life that we all take for granted. Not every victim of a TBI is as lucky to return to a normal life like Sue Ellen. We consider ourselves blessed.

For TBI victims who are currently uninsured, lack adequate coverage, or do not qualify for Medicaid, rehabilitation is not readily available. This makes a return to normal life nearly impossible. For this reason, I have worked hard to promote comprehensive day-to-day rehabilitation for those Missourians who qualify for MO HealthNet (Medicaid).

While these expenses are substantial, the cost of these folks not returning to the workforce is much higher. This would include paying for their daily needs in addition to skilled or assisted care at thousands of dollars a month for a lifetime.

Some states use fees and other revenues to fund this type of service for those in need. This includes collections from those driving while intoxicated or involved in other high-risk or illegal activities that are more likely to cause this type of injury.

The Director of the Center for Head Injury Services, Donna Gunning, explains that it is hard to think this could happen to you or your loved one, saying, “It is easy for people in decision-making positions to think that this will never affect them or their family. But if it does, they would want these services for their family.”

For us, comprehensive day-to-day rehabilitation meant we could have my wife, the kids’ mother and a very special friend back. However, our neighbors who suffer this type of injury and lack the resources to pay for this type of service, their lives will never be the same. The long-term costs to taxpayers to meet their needs will also be substantial.

For more information, I encourage you to watch some videos regarding this by searching “A Victory for Today.” Fellow legislators can also watch a similar video entitled “A Message to Missouri Legislators.” Please use quotations around both phrases to narrow your search.

Kraus: Busy Time Of Year

I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to spend time with family and friends. I am reminded to be thankful year-round for the many blessings we enjoy as free citizens in this great country. It is also always a good time to remember those less fortunate than ourselves and to give back to the community. Food pantries are especially in need of food items this time of year.

Pre-Filing Legislation

This time of year, we in the Senate also turn to preparing legislation for the 2012 legislative session starting Jan. 4. On Dec. 1, we begin the next step in the process known as prefiling, when the Secretary of the Senate is allowed to start numbering our bills. Because prefiling leads to a bill being introduced more quickly on the Senate floor and, hopefully, assigned to a committee and on its way, most senators will try to get bills filed on this day. Each senator is allowed to file up to three bills per rotation of the seniority list. I am filing three bills important to District 8 and Missouri.

Tax Credit Reform

For many years, I have believed that the state’s 61 tax credit programs were in need of review and reform. Many do not offer much return on each state dollar given up, whether in the form of jobs or economic activity. In addition, tax credits chew up about $500 million in money that could be going to education and other critical programs.

Therefore, my first bill [SB472] offers substantial and far-reaching improvements to tax credits. If passed, it would prohibit the authorization of further tax credits for some programs after Aug. 28, 2012; other tax credits would be ended on Dec. 31, 2012. The cap on low-income housing and historic preservation credits would be reduced, and stacking between these two programs prohibited. Finally, after Aug. 28, 2012, the act would also prohibit any new agreements with qualified manufacturers under the manufacturing jobs act.

Federal Enforcement of Immigration Laws

I have been very disappointed that federal immigration laws are not being enforced. If passed, this bill [SB473] contains a provision to allow voters of the state to vote on a requirement that the attorney general seek appropriate relief to compel the federal government to enforce immigration laws. The bill also compels the state auditor to provide information on the costs incurred by Missouri and its political subdivisions due to the lack of enforcement. In this time of decreasing state revenues, we need to know how much we end up spending when the federal government is not doing its job.

Photo ID for Food Stamps

If passed, this act [SB474] would require the Department of Social Services to request the federal Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service to mandate the use of photo identification for food stamp recipients in Missouri. Without a photo ID, recipients can sell their food stamp EBT card to someone else, who can then turn around and use the benefits for their personal use. This is a mandate that should have been done by now; it is a needed step to ensure that food stamp funds are not abused.

This is just the beginning of a long and busy legislative session; I’ll keep you informed of legislation via this newsletter. You can also go to my Senate web page,, hover over “Legislation,” click on “Sponsored Bills,” and be able to read in entirety each piece of legislation that I file.

30 November 2011

Neth: Town Hall Meeting December 5

Monday December 5
7:00 PM
Liberty Community Center

I will be reviewing the recent Special Session, looking ahead to the upcoming session starting in January, giving some information about legislation I will be filing and getting input from the community.

I hope to see you there!

29 November 2011

Rupp: Medicare Part D Open Enrollment Concludes Soon

Now that Thanksgiving is over, Missourians are in preparation mode for the December holidays. Along with shopping for gifts, preparing delicious meals, and putting up decorations, many will participate in the Medicare Part D open enrollment period, which ends next week on Wednesday, Dec. 7. I hope you will be sure to set some time aside to address this important health care matter.

Medicare Part D is a helpful program that can assist citizens in paying for prescription drugs. The program is newer in Medicare, having been signed into law in 2003 as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act. On Jan. 1, 2006, the prescription drug benefits began, with coverage offering:
  • Prescription drug coverage for people with Medicare, regardless of income and resources, health status, or current prescription expenses;
  • Brand name and generic prescription drugs at participating pharmacies convenient to beneficiaries; and
  • Protection for those who have especially high drug costs or from unexpected prescription drug bills in the future.
    (Please visit to learn more about Medicare Part D.)
Throughout the open enrollment period, helpful volunteers from Community Leaders Assisting the Insured of Missouri, or CLAIM, have been available to assist Missourians with their Medicare questions. CLAIM has been Missouri’s official State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) since 1993 and is a nonprofit organization, offering confidential services to people in our state without charge. I understand that health care matters are confusing, so I encourage you to take advantage of CLAIM services.

While going through the steps of Medicare Part D open enrollment, please be aware of possible scams. Unfortunately, there are people out there who will try to take advantage of Missouri seniors, and so I urge my constituents to use caution while enrolling in or changing Medicare plans. In an article published by Missourinet, a list highlights a number of ways individuals try to scam Missourians, including:
  • Claiming to represent or be endorsed by Medicare.
  • Soliciting door-to-door.
  • Soliciting using unwanted e-mails, text messages, or voice mails.
  • Approaching people in common areas, like parking lots, hallways, and sidewalks.
  • Pitching products in health care settings, like hospital waiting areas, exam rooms, patient rooms, and pharmacy counters.
  • Setting up an appointment to discuss Medicare, and then sell unrelated products, such as life insurance or annuities.
If you have any doubts during the open enrollment process or are unsure about a possible scam, please don’t hesitate to speak to a CLAIM volunteer. To learn more about open enrollment and CLAIM, please visit or call 800-390-3330. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office if I can be of any assistance to you. Thank you and stay safe.

28 November 2011

Lant: No News From Jeff City The Best News To Report

Absolutely nothing was going on in Jefferson City last week which is probably the best news I could report. We are still awaiting word on the new District maps but the commission has until December 17 to announce them. I suspect that my district and Bill Reiboldts’ will change a little bit, but it probably won't be a drastic difference. Early in the process each political party was asked to submit their idea of what the districts should look like. The Republican map showed very little change, basically just adjusting for population growth. The Democrat map, however, put Bill Reiboldt, Myself, and Bill White all in the same district. That would sure be interesting!

I have been asked several times lately what bills I intend to prepare for next Session. So far I have been working on four rough drafts. I will resubmit the Funeral Protest Bill that the Governor vetoed. The bill provides that protestors must remain at least 200 feet away from a funeral home, church, cemetery, or line of procession for 2 hours before and 2 hours after the funeral. There is a provision for the protest assembly to be granted space outside the immediate area which should satisfy the "Freedom of Speech" question. I feel like it is only common courtesy to allow a grieving family the privacy to conduct last rites with the dignity the occasion dictates. The second bill I have been working on allows a tax credit for the installation of a storm shelter. There would be a limit on how much would be reimbursed and a cap on the total credit for any budget year. Although this appears to be a bill designated for Joplin, there is a lot of interest all over the state in storm shelters. I have been asked to submit a bill or an amendment to a bill that would allow the McDonald County Commissioners to place a question on the ballot that would allow a recreation tax to be levied to offset the additional cost of emergency services in the summer. It stands to reason that with the thousands of campers, rafters, tubers, etc. that descend upon the streams and rivers each summer, there is going to be an additional cost for providing emergency services to the area. It will be up to the county to set the amount and place the question on the ballot. Finally, I am preparing a proposal to allow an option for the payment of prevailing wage. This, by far will be the most controversial bill I am working on. The idea we are working on would require the Governor to trigger the application by designating a "Disaster Area". The governing body of the designated area, whether it be a local school board, a city council, or a county commission, would then decide whether or not to opt out of prevailing wages for the repair or rebuilding of the affected area. The bill has provisions to exempt the counties containing the largest metropolitan areas of the state. The only intention of this legislation is to allow as much as possible to be rebuilt for the least amount of money.

We are rapidly approaching the Christmas season and with it comes a lot of Parades and Celebrations. This is my favorite time of the year as I am able to visit with so many different people. It sometimes becomes a real trick to be at two or three parades in one day, but we will do our best. Speaking of celebrations, Bill Reiboldt and I are having a Reception for Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller. Shane has announced his candidacy for Secretary Of State and we wanted people in the area to have the chance to meet him and hear what he has to say. It will be held at the Lampo Building from 4:00 P.M. until 6:00 P.M. on Thursday the 8th. Come by for refreshments and good company!

I urge everyone to be extra cautious with all the Holiday Travel coming up. We will be making a lot more trips to town and traveling on busy streets and highways for the next few weeks. Please be extra careful as there are many, many distractions for everyone on the roads. More next week, until then I am and remain, in your service.