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09 December 2011

Nolte: Tax Relief Legislation for All Missouri Businesses to Encourage Job Growth

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State Rep. Jerry Nolte, R-Gladstone, will file legislation for the 2012 session that will provide broad-based tax relief to all Missouri businesses. Following the success of his Manufacturing Jobs Act [HB2], Nolte said the goal of this legislation is to make Missouri more competitive and stimulate job creation.

“Times are tough, unemployment is still too high and Missouri families are hurting,” observed Nolte. “As chairman of the International Trade and Job Creation committee, I have worked to create a pro-job environment where everyone has the opportunity to prosper.”

After the Manufacturing Jobs Act, the next step in creating that pro-job environment is across the board tax relief. This legislation will reduce by 50% the income taxes paid by all companies large and small, including family farms, producing a level playing field for everyone. This incentive will be paid for by reductions in Missouri’s tax credit programs. These targeted tax breaks for a few specific areas have ballooned by over 400% since 1998 (from $102.7 million to $521.5 million).

“Government does not create jobs, private enterprise does,” said Nolte. “The broad based incentives in this legislation will give Missouri one of the lowest tax rates in the country attracting new businesses to Missouri while keeping existing businesses and encouraging job growth.”

The 2010 Manufacturing Jobs Act sponsored by Representative Nolte was the catalyst for the $1.1 billion investment by Ford at its Claycomo location, the retention of 3,700 existing jobs and an additional 1,600 new jobs. In addition, GM announced it will invest $384 million with over 1600 jobs saved and created at its plant in Wentzville. Jobs and investment related to the auto company suppliers and other businesses are not included in these figures.

“We have an opportunity to take another bold step forward in Missouri by creating an environment that will help us keep the businesses we have as well as attract new businesses from all over the country,” said Nolte. “Anyone who is willing to work hard must have the opportunity to succeed and benefit from their hard work.”

08 December 2011

Davis: Heart of Gratitude

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” –Dr. Seuss

Thanksgiving was and is a time to take stock; a time to count our many blessings a time to express our gratitude.

There is a tendency in life to dwell on the negative. As example, it would be easy to look to Washington D.C. to witness our dysfunctional political process, although democracy has always been noisy, as opposed to neat and orderly. In our homes, our TV's seem to be a window onto a world in chaos. Admittedly, there are real problems and challenges that must be met, but the sense of a troubled world is magnified by the ability of television news and the Internet to quickly aggregate and bombard us with images of chaos.

In these harsh times perhaps we should return to the basics and appreciate all we have. Many of us will sit down to a meal surrounded by family and friends. Our Davis family experienced that on Thanksgiving at home where we gathered to celebrate. Did each of us sincerely give thanks for all we have received?

Most of us have roofs over our heads and food on our tables. We have family that is a great blessing when others are lonely. We give thanks for friendship and what it means in our lives. Our good health contributes to our joy of living. We have the freedom to apply our skills and talents in pursuit of happiness.

We should give thanks for living in a democracy where we can express our feelings through the ballot box. We should be thankful for the fact that we can walk down the street without fearing a hand on our shoulder snatching us off to imprisonment and torture. We must also remember and praise those who keep us safe: our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, as well as our law enforcement officers and first responders.

As American's our blessings far outweigh our burdens. Let us reflect this Thanksgiving and praise God from whom all blessings flow.

“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.” –Edward Sandford Martin

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving

Missouri families won a major victory in our state courts. The Supreme Court upheld, in a unanimous ruling, the state's new law regulating sexually oriented businesses. That law was adopted by the Missouri Legislature last year to limit the negative secondary effects from businesses such as strip clubs, "adult" video stores and video arcades, and so-called "gentlemen's clubs." Believe me, there is NOTHING “gentlemen” about them. The law was challenged by operators of sexually oriented businesses around the state, who claimed that it violated their First Amendment rights to freedom of expression. The State Supreme Court ruled, consistent with numerous federal court decisions, that the new provisions are constitutional.

As we prepare for session this January, please feel free to contact me with issues you think we need to address this coming year. Here is what I plan:
  1. Right to Work
  2. Prevailing wage reform
  3. REAL tax reform
  4. Regulatory reform. We simply have to get off the backs of our businesses and allow them to grow
  5. Disaster relief legislation, rainy day fund usage, commercial property tax relief
  6. We must have the Turner Fix in education
  7. We must redo the funding formula for K-12 education so as not to create huge numbers of Hold Harmless districts and let the others take the full brunt of any cuts
I encourage you to contact me with any suggestions that you may have for Missouri legislation. Also, if you should experience problems in contacting or resolving an issue with a Missouri state agency, please feel free to call my Capitol office at (573) 751-7082 or email at charlie{dot}davis{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov. Thank you for the honor to serve as your Representative in the Missouri House of Representatives.

Denison: Observing Pearl Harbor, Tax Credits for Storm Shelters, ALEC Summit Recap

“The very best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature.” – Andy Rooney

Observing Pearl Harbor Day

This week our nation once again paused to observe Pearl Harbor Day and to honor and remember those brave Americans who endured that tragic event. For those who survived, and those who did not, it is our solemn duty to never forget the sacrifices they made for our nation. And while we have holidays like Veterans Day, Memorial Day and this one, it is also our responsibility to recognize the contributions of the men and women of our armed forces on each and every day of the year, rather than just a few.

We are a great nation and a great people and that greatness stems from our devotion to the ideals that have made this nation what it is today. That devotion leads to selfless men and women sacrificing their lives to keep our freedoms intact. That devotion also means those who do not serve should support and honor those who do. Whether it is on Pearl Harbor Day or any day of the year, I ask you to support our troops and our veterans in any way that you can.

Storm Shelter Tax Credit Legislation

The many natural disasters that devastated areas across the state this year brought more attention to the fact that Missouri families could greatly benefit from a safe place to go when dangerous weather strikes. One bill already filed for the 2012 legislative session (HB 1035) would establish a tax break to help Missouri families construct storm shelters. Specifically, it would grant income tax deductions to Missourians who construct storm shelters at their residences. The legislation would authorize an individual deduction of $5,000 or the cost of the construction, whichever is higher. We know that storm shelters help save lives and the tornadoes that hit Missouri this year emphasized the fact that we need more of these safe structures where families can go in times of need. The idea is to make it an affordable option for a Missouri family to build a shelter. This is a bill that has been passed by the House in past years but has failed to make it through the Senate.

Legislative Conference

On November 30th through December 2nd, I attended the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual States & Nation Policy Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. There were several legislators from Missouri in attendance as well as legislators from 49 states and the District of Columbia. ALEC is a resource for state legislators to learn from each other and to discuss policy that will lead to more individual freedom and economic growth. Keynote speakers at ALEC’s summit included Arizona Governor Jan Brewer; Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III; Dr. Tony Bennett, Superintendent of Public Instruction in Indiana; David Walker, Founder and CEO of Comeback America Initiative; and, Premier Brad Wall, Saskatchewan, Canada.

In the District

As I am sure many of you experienced our first taste of winter, our friends at MoDOT put out a press release reminding us of the on-line and toll free road condition information that is available from the Department. Below is the information from MoDOT:

MoDOT Traveler Information Map Reports Winter Road Conditions

Toll-free Customer Service Line Also Available

JEFFERSON CITY – With the first snow of the season hitting several parts of the state, the Missouri Department of Transportation reminds travelers that road condition information is easy to access by using the MoDOT Traveler Information Map online or by calling its toll-free, 24-hour customer service center.

Located at, MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map gives drivers an up-to-the-minute view of road conditions for state highways and interstates. Conditions for these routes are color-coded to give visitors the information they need at a glance.

“It’s as easy as looking out the window,” said Beth Wright, State Maintenance Engineer. “One click on the map and you can see what’s happening on the roads and determine your plan of action.” By using the zoom function, users can learn the condition of local city and county arteries that receive continuous attention from MoDOT crews. More specific information is available by viewing state highway conditions by city, county or route. As users narrow the view to specific areas, interstate exit numbers and lower-volume highways appear.

A text report and links to road condition maps for surrounding states are also featured on the site. In addition, users can access traffic cameras, view message boards or see if any highway sections are closed by incidents.

Motorists can also contact MoDOT’s customer service representatives 24-hours a day by calling 1-888 ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636), toll-free. In addition, MoDOT uses Facebook and Twitter to provide weather-related information and tips. Visit and click on the Facebook and Twitter icons.

Although the Traveler Information Map and the reports used by MoDOT customer service are updated around the clock during winter events, road conditions can go from bad to worse in an instant. Drivers are strongly urged to consult other sources before heading out in questionable weather. Tune in to television and radio stations for additional local information.

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.

07 December 2011

Kraus: Senate District 8 Redrawn

After the 2012 general election, the boundaries of the state Senate District 8 will change, due to modifications in the state’s population according to the latest census. It may mean a change in who represents you in the Missouri Senate.

District 8 will still encompass Blue Springs, Buckner, Grain Valley, Greenwood, Lake Tapawingo, Lee’s Summit, and Levasy. I look forward to continuing to serve these great cities. Unfortunately, District 8 will no longer contain Independence, Lake Lotawana, Lone Jack, Oak Grove or Sibley. The 8th Senatorial District is the third largest district with regards to population; therefore, I will lose representation of about 30,000 people. I have enjoyed serving these areas and greatly regret that I will no longer be their senator.

The Missouri Constitution calls for 34 Senate districts. It also requires that the lines be drawn to create districts that are almost equal in population. The population of District 8 has grown greatly over the last 10 years, and, therefore, some of this population needed to be redistributed to other districts. It says a lot about eastern Jackson County that people want to move and remain here; it is a great place to live and raise a family.

Earlier this year, the job of redrawing the state’s 34 Senate districts and 163 House districts was assigned to two bipartisan commissions appointed by the governor. However, since the commissions failed to agree, the responsibility of state legislative redistricting was placed in the judicial system. Released on Nov. 30, the maps were drawn by a six-member panel of Court of Appeals judges, called the Appellate Apportionment Commission.

For an interactive map of the new and old district lines, click here. By using the “more” button, the map allows you to decide what information is contained on the map that you see. You can also zoom in and out to enlarge or minimize the area that you see on one screen. The map below, taken from this website, shows the basic outline of the new district.

In addition, you can always go to the Senate Home page,, and use the Legislator Look-Up section on the lower left to determine who currently represents you. You will need your entire nine digit zip code. It is a useful tool that is easy to use.

These newly-drawn maps can be confusing. It will take some time to adjust and re-learn new boundaries, names of elected officials, office phone numbers, and other pertinent information. Please rest assured that the 8th District office and its members will do their very best to help with the transition and to answer any questions you might have.

Allen: Redistricting A Low Blow, Plain & Simple

As many of you may have already seen in the media, the Appellate Apportionment Commission released the new House and Senate district maps. The 92nd District has been erased. My residence has now been carved into the Northeast corner of the 100th House District. The rest of the 92nd now lies mostly in the new 89th and 99th districts. About 300 of my current constituents are in the 100th district. This is a low blow, plain and simple.

Nonetheless, I am still your state representative until January 2013 and I will continue to serve the District to my fullest capacity. Remember that my office door is always open and you can always give my office a call to voice your concerns or if
you need help facilitating state business. My Legislator Assistant, Matt Schumann, can always be reached at the office during business hours.

Although I look forward to continuing my service to our state and meeting the
people in my new district, I will miss the 92nd and the friends I have in it. It is an honor and a privilege to serve you.

For those who would like to view the new map, click on the below link to see the
interactive map:

We reconvene the final session of the 96th General Assembly on January 4, 2012. God Bless and have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and a Happy New Year!

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.

Kelley: Reservations About Expanding "Mandatory Reporting" Law

You have probably heard of the tragic events that recently occurred on the campus of Penn State University at State College, Pennsylvania. A former assistant football coach has been accused of years of sexual abuse of young boys. Adding to the embarrassment to that institution is the apparent failure by Penn State’s then head football coach, Joe Paterno, and several of the universities’ top administrators to properly report these allegations of abuse to authorities. Last week, Missouri’s Attorney General Chris Koster urged the Missouri Legislature to expand Missouri’s so-called “mandatory reporter” law. The “mandatory reporter” law currently requires members of professions that deal directly with children to report suspected abuse or neglect of children to the Missouri Children’s Division, a state agency. Mr. Koster wants to make every adult in the state a mandatory reporter.

There is a regrettable tendency in America for politicians to overact to tragic events by immediately seeking new laws that they believe might stop these terrible things from happening again. Although, I believe that Attorney General Koster earnestly believes that such a change in law would help protect children, I have some serious doubts about this conclusion.

Missouri has had some version of a mandatory reporter law since the mid-1970s. Our current law requires physicians, other health practitioners, mental health professionals, social workers, child-care workers, juvenile officers, probation or parole officers, ministers and peace officers to report to the State authorities information about possible child abuse if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse. Those people who are currently required to make these reports are subject to criminal prosecution for a misdemeanor which can result in a year in jail and a fine of $1,000 if they fail to report. I would point out that generally these individuals are professionals who have some training or expertise in identifying the signs of child abuse and neglect. Incidentally, most of those who failed to report at Penn State are required under their law to make a report but failed to do so.

I believe that there are serious problems related to expanding this requirement to the entire population. First of all, the average person who is not trained in this area might have trouble distinguishing child abuse from appropriate discipline by a parent. If you are in Wal-Mart and saw a woman applying two swats to the rear end of her 6 year old child, would you feel compelled to report this to the authorities – especially if you faced a possible jail sentence? Contrary to what some people believe, appropriate corporal punishment to children remains lawful in Missouri. Even though no one is required to report appropriate discipline administered to a child, expanding this law to everyone will certainly increase the number of reports to Missouri Children’s Division of conduct which is clearly lawful. Likewise, I question who is qualified, other than a professional, to recognize “emotional” abuse of a child in a brief contact. This proposed change in the law would require everyone to report emotional abuse of a child if there is reasonable cause to suspect abuse.

My fear is that the frequency of false reports would increase. Only 18 states have required reporting by everyone. Even under our present system, out of the 2.9 million reports of child abuse in our nation annually, about 2/3rd of those reports were “unfounded”. If Missouri adopted a requirement that everyone was required to report whenever they had reasonable cause to suspect abuse, the frequency of the unfounded reports would certainly increase because of the fear of being prosecuted for a crime.

Another concern I have for requiring everyone to report these incidences would be the glut of child abuse reports that would result and in turn make it more difficult for understaffed investigators in the Children’s Division to sort through large numbers of unfounded allegations made by people. Legitimate reports of abuse might get overlooked under these circumstances.

I would not suggest that there is no room for improvement in the current child abuse reporting system. I certainly believe the system can be improved. I have real concerns about any proposed legislation that under threat of prosecution would mandate all ordinary citizens to make decisions that are more reasonably left to professionals. I also believe that any changes in the law should be based on what is best for these children and should not be driven by an over-reaction to what recently happened in Pennsylvania.

Visiting the Capitol

I welcomed many visitors to the Capitol this year. I always enjoy it when constituents visit, and I want to thank all who made the journey. If you ever find yourself in or around Jefferson City at any time during the year, please feel free to visit us!

Thank you for reading this Interim Report. If you happen to see me in and around the District this summer, please feel free to introduce yourself and say hello! If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this Interim Capitol Report, please click the “Capitol Report Signup” button on my member home page at and enter the appropriate information to receive the Capitol Report.

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: 573.751.2165 or you can reach my legislative assistant, Tammy, at: tammy{dot}weber{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov.

Until my next update, I am, and remain, in your service.

05 December 2011

Keaveny: Priorities For Upcoming Session, Safe Connections, Staying Warm This Winter

Priorities for the Second Regular Session of the 96th General Assembly

The Second Regular Session of the 96th General Assembly will begin at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 4. Since the 2011 regular session ended in May, I have been busy meeting with my constituents and pinpointing my priorities for next year's session.

Thursday, Dec. 1 marked the date that lawmakers could prefile their bills for the 2012 regular session. Allow me to share three of my bills with you.

Local Control for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

One of my top priorities is to finally see local control legislation pass in the General Assembly. Since I was elected to the Senate in 2009, I have advocated for the City of St. Louis to control its own police force. Despite the fact that several groups have compromised regarding local control matters, and many are on board to see a city-run police department, political bickering has prevented local control measures from crossing the legislative finish line.

It is disappointing that we have not been able to end the inefficient governing system that has controlled the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) for years. There are many benefits to be gained from my local control bill (SB 461), including the potential to save the city nearly $4.1 million, and save the state more than a million dollars in annual legal fees by eliminating the Legal Expense Fund. In addition, police officers and their families would maintain their accrued benefits.

Payday Loan Reform

Missouri's payday loan industry has been loosely moderated compared to our neighboring states, and we need regulations put into place that will prevent dishonest practices in the industry, while allowing good lenders to continue to keep their doors open for business. My measure (SB 462) would prohibit lenders from renewing unsecured payday loans of $500 or less more than once, an act known as rollovers. Though short-term payday loans appear to help people dealing with financial stress, borrowers can become engulfed in a mountain of debt with no means of escape. My bill would allow rollovers to occur only once, as opposed to six times as currently permitted, which will help prevent Missourians from acquiring extensive debt.

Fines for Seat Belt Violations

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Missouri drivers wear their seat belts 79 percent of the time. The national average for seat belt use is 84 percent. My legislation (SB 463) would raise fines for motorists not wearing seat belts from $10 to $50. Studies have proven that higher fines result in higher seat belt usage, which would prevent tragic losses of life due to traffic accidents. We need to better enforce seat belt usage to save lives and encourage Missourians to make safety a top priority.

Please click here to view a news release I issued addressing my prefiled legislation. To follow my various sponsored and co-sponsored bills for the 2012 regular session, please visit my Missouri Senate website at

New State Legislative Districts Announced

In a news release issued on Nov. 30, it was announced that the Missouri Appellate Apportionment Commission filed new state Senate and House of Representatives redistricting plans and maps with the Missouri Secretary of State. Lawmakers will continue to serve their current legislative districts in both the Senate and the House. Although the new map took effect immediately, the redrawn boundaries will coincide with any new member joining the Legislature after the next election.

The legislative map was drafted by members of the appellate commission (appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court) after two bipartisan commissions appointed by the governor gave their notice to disband, as panel members were unable to reach an agreement.

To review the new legislative maps, please click here.

Safe Connections Receives Tax Credits

An estimated one in four women will suffer from domestic violence in her lifetime. Safe Connections gives women and young adults the chance of a better, safer life.

I'm happy to announce that Safe Connections — a program that provides complimentary counseling services, support groups, and education to women and teenagers who have experienced abuse — has been approved for $126,750 in tax credits. The tax credits are provided by the Missouri Department of Economic Development's Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP). Acquired funds will be used for the organization's counseling and support services.

About one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Research also shows that the percentage of female murder victims killed by intimate or former partners has remained at about 30 percent since 1976. The need for organizations like this are ever-present. Safe Connections offers information about:

For more information about domestic violence and how you can help, please visit the Safe Connections website at, or call the general office number at (314) 646-7500.

Department of Insurance Helps Missourians Find Lost Policies

The Missouri Department of Insurance recently announced a valuable service — Missourians will have a way to communicate with licensed insurance companies to find information on deceased loved ones.

The Department of Insurance created the Life Policy Locator service, which can help consumers find lost life insurance policies or annuity contracts purchased in Missouri. The department will collect information from consumers, then send it electronically each month to licensed life insurance companies in the state.

For information about the Life Policy Locator service, please visit the department website at or call 800-726-7390.

National Alliance on Mental Illness

I had the pleasure of meeting representatives of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The organization hosted the NAMIWalks for the Mind of America event, raising awareness and support for millions of Americans who suffer from various mental illnesses. It was an honor to meet these kind people and learn more about NAMI's services.

It's estimated that up to 57.7 million Americans (one in four adults) experience a mental health disorder in a given year. Since 1979, NAMI's mission has been to improve the lives of people dealing with mental illness and their families. NAMI also offers educational programs to inform people about mental illness and help eliminate stereotypes that are associated with mental illness.

Some of the support services offered by NAMI include:
  • State and Local NAMIs — 1,200 affiliate organizations provide local services, support, and other opportunities for consumers and their families.
  • Education, Training, and Peer Support Center — offering a variety of education and training programs and services for consumers, family members, providers, and the general public. These include Family-to-Family, Peer-to-Peer, NAMI Family Support Group, In Our Own Voice, and more.
  • NAMI on Campus — a network of student-led mental health awareness, education, and advocacy groups designed to meet the needs of individual college communities.
  • Veterans Resource Center — resources for veterans and active duty military members, as well as their families, friends, and advocates.
  • Missing Persons Support — Resources and support for locating missing people with mental illness.
For more information about NAMI, please visit, or call your local NAMI service at (314) 962-4670.

Preventing Falls in Older Adults

Along with 42 other states, Missouri declared a statewide "Falls Prevention Awareness Day" on the first day of autumn, Sept. 23.

Slips and falls are the leading cause of death in people age 65 and older, and is an issue that always needs to be taken seriously. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, more than 18,000 deaths of older Americans can be attributed to a fall. Unfortunately, Missouri's rate of death by falling is 31 percent higher than the national average.

A valuable resource to look over is the "Show-Me Falls Free Missouri" website, which offers pertinent information about senior health. The online booklet lists several ways to prevent your loved ones from falling, including:
  • Regular strength and balance exercises
  • Reviewing your loved ones' medications and doses
  • Reducing home hazards
  • Vision correction
For more information, visit

Child Care Aware Missouri

Child Care Aware of Missouri was recently awarded a grant from the Missouri Children's Trust Fund, and the funding will allow its regional agencies to offer child care providers technical assistance and training related to preventing child abuse and neglect.

Child Care Aware of Missouri connects families to quality child care, early learning programs, and after-school programs, and also collaborates with business and civic leaders to make child care safe for Missouri children.

The organization also offers valuable information for:

Congratulations to Child Care Aware of Missouri on this success — keep up the good work! And please visit to learn more about child care and child safety.

Staying Warm This Winter

We had a turbulent winter last year with extreme snowfalls and frigid temperatures, so it's wise to prepare for the same conditions this year.

Missouri's Cold Weather Rule took effect on Nov. 1, and states that until March 31, certain investor-owned utilities regulated by the Missouri Public Service Commission (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 is shut off, a representative must notify the customer by mail and in person.
  • People registered as low-income or disabled customers who make minimum payments cannot have their service disconnected.
    (Click here for more information about the Cold Weather Rule.)
If you would like to learn more about help you can access to keep your home warm, please visit the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis at On its website, you can learn about weatherization services and energy savings. For qualified applicants, the Urban League can assist those in need by providing a range of residential improvement services to reduce energy costs and increase safety in the home. Please click here to go directly to the weatherization website.

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season

It's hard to believe that 2011 will soon come to a close. With a new year on its way, it is a good time to reflect back on this year's blessings, and enjoy time with our loved ones this holiday season.

While your children are on holiday break, it's an opportune time to participate in activities that you can enjoy as a family. A great family day is spending some time at our State Capitol, where you can take a tour of the building and visit the Missouri State Museum. Currently, the museum is hosting Civil War Tours, which will continue to be held on Saturdays at 2 p.m. until Dec. 17. There, you will have the chance to view artwork, artifacts, and other various displays that pertain to the conflict. If you're more interested in exploring our Capitol, you can participate in a free, 45 minute tour. Please click on the following links to learn more about the Missouri State Museum and tours of the Capitol. (These links can be found on the Missouri State Parks website,

Also, please be sure to stay safe this holiday season. Amid holiday festivities, safety precautions can often be overlooked. Click here to view various holiday safety tips, provided by the Electrical Safety Foundation International. On this "Holiday Safety" website, you can read information regarding:

(All these links can be found on the Electrical Safety Foundation International website,

I hope you and your family have a very merry and safe holiday season!