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24 December 2011

Holsman: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in our state capitol.

Every Sunday we gather at John Knox Kirk to study the peaceful healer who found opportunities in his time to teach us that boundaries are meant to be crossed in the name of social justice.

National candidates for President race to embrace Christianity for votes, and cable news networks cry foul that Christmas is under attack by liberal society, but I can't help to think this world would be a better place if we all exercised our Christian credentials by forgiving one another and spreading peace and love instead of engaging in the negative propaganda campaigning which will inevitably dominate the commercials this summer and fall.

I've asked Santa for a US Congress that will work together in 2012 and he told me the Red Ryder BB gun was on it's way.

Have a safe and happy holiday! Peace and prosperity for the new year!


Meaning of Christmas

Charlie Brown: Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?

Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.

Lights, please.

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward man.'"

Peace on Earth Good Will Toward Man
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

22 December 2011

Korman: Public Service Announcement and Merry Christmas

Sarah, Wyatt and I wish you a Merry Christmas. As you travel this holiday season, we encourage proper car seat safety procedures.

Click here for our public service announcement on car seat safety.

Berry: Christmas Wishes

I hope this Christmas is filled with joy and warmth for you and your family. I wish you safe travels if you are visiting loved ones and wish the same for those who may be coming to stay with you. At the same time as we prepare for this greatest of holidays, I also ask us to remember there are many Missourians who are not as fortunate. They won’t have the luxury of a warm fire with stockings hung on the mantle, or even a simple meal. I ask you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this holiday season. We are all so very blessed to have the many riches that we do. Please take the time this Christmas to give thanks for all that you have regardless of how plentiful or meager it may be.

It is also important that we remember those who won’t have the companionship of family and friends this holiday season. There are many service men and women that won’t be able to come home for the holidays. I urge you to send care packages and cards to the troops that are protecting our freedom.

I would also like to talk a bit about the upcoming session. My colleagues and I will return to the Capitol on January 4th for the first day of session. If there are any issues that you would like to see legislation for I encourage you to contact my office. I am eager to serve my constituents.

Thank you again for your support and may you all have a Merry Christmas. After Christmas my Capitol Reports will shift their focus to the upcoming session and some of the key issues we will address. If you have any questions or concerns before then, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Gatschenberger: Property Tax Bill Information, GM Invests in Wentzville

On the Local Level

Representative Gatschenberger Receives Legislator of the Year Award

Representative Gatchenberger receiving the Legislator of the Year Award from the Brain Injury Association of Missouri for his House Bill 300 Sports Concussion Legislation

Property Tax Bill Information

I was given the following update on this issue from the County …

The County Executive has been advised by the Collector that all remaining property tax bills are in the mail. Anyone who may not have received their bill in the mail, can access it on the Collector’s website: They would click on Property Tax Database and then on the next page the tab Personal Property Search to find their personal property tax bill, and click on Real Estate Search to locate the real estate tax bill. If you need help with this, feel free to call the County Executive’s office (636.949.7520) and they will assist.

We are encouraging everyone to pay on time by December 31. If they fail to do so, they would be prohibited from taking a property tax deduction on their 2011 income tax returns, and prohibited from filing for a 2011 state property tax refund next year on the Circuit Breaker. A payment is made timely if postmarked by December 31, and we do have a drop box located outside on the corner in front of the Administration Building at 201 N. Second Street, where the Collector’s office is located.

If they have a dispute with their bill based on the value or description of the property, they need to contact the office of the Assessor during regular weekday business hours. Also, Section 139.031, RSMO., sets out the provisions for paying taxes under protest and for applying for a refund of taxes mistakenly or erroneously levied. Note in the statute that payments made under protest are to include a written statement as to the reason for the protest and to set out the amount in dispute.

PLEASE NOTE that St. Charles County employees have a Christmas Eve as well as a Christmas Day holiday, so we will be closed December 23 and December 26. County offices will also be closed on January 2 for the New Year’s holiday. There is no New Year’s Eve holiday.

We are expecting the Collector to be closed December 23 and December 26, as are other county offices, and it appears she will also be closed on Saturday, December 31. The Collector has the means to extend office hours for accepting payments, but we have had no word yet of any intention to do so.

Bells Will Be Ringing

Representative Gatschenberger volunteers as a bell ringer and asks you to do what you can to help those less fortunate this holiday season.

GM invests in Wentzville

Click on image to watch this video!

A new truck will soon be produced in Wentzville only.
See the new truck and listen to auto workers who have been called back to the line!

Emmaus Home at Shadow Trace

Representative Gatschenberger at the Emmaus Homes open house at Shadow Trace

Help with Medicare Decisions

Representative Gatschenberger attended the CLAIM enrollment event held at the Wentzville Library to assist Seniors with Medicare questions. The event will be scheduled on the same date next year, 11/8/12, from 9:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

American Legislative Exchange Council Environmental Task Force

As a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council Environmental Task Force… Representative Gatschenberger tours Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station

Legislative Update

My work continues as the Chairman of the Interim Committee on 9-1-1 so honestly… the “interim” has not lived up to its name. We are still diligently working to come up with a solution as the funding that is currently provided by land-line phone service rapidly dwindles. As the only state in our Nation that does not have a State Funded 9-1-1 service, we need to move quickly and carefully to get our 9-1-1 service up to the current standards that are expected by all of us. I can assure you I am diligently working to that end.

This time of year makes me even more aware of how blessed my life has been. I thank each of you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your State Representative.

May your holidays be filled with loved ones as you create new memories for tomorrow. I wish you a Merry Christmas and send a special heartfelt THANK YOU to the troops that won’t get to be with their families because they have been keeping ours safe. God Bless You and Merry Christmas to you!

Additional Items of Interest

"The Meaning of the Flag Draped Coffin Folds"

Meaning of the Draped Coffin Flag Folding

Pass it along and be proud of the country we live in and even more proud of those who serve to protect our 'GOD GIVEN' rights and freedoms.

God Bless Them!

Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?

Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America Flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!

The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life.

The 2nd fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.

The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

The 4th fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The 5th fold is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, 'Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.'

The 6th fold is for where people's hearts lie. It is with their heart that they pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America , and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic.

The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.

The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding them of their Nations motto, 'In God We Trust.'

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.

There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning.

In the future, you'll see flags folded and now you will know why.

Share this with the children you love and all others who love what is referred to, the symbol of 'Liberty and Freedom.'


Register to Vote

Please exercise your right to vote!
Click on this link to register…

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 too.

Dugger: Christmas Wishes

Christmas can be celebrated in the school room with pine trees, tinsel and reindeer, but there must be no mention of the man whose birthday is being celebrated. One wonders how a teacher would answer if a student asked why it was called Christmas. —Ronald Reagan

It almost seems as if just as soon as we put down our forks on Thanksgiving the madness of “black Friday,” and the whirlwind that is the holiday gift purchasing season is upon us. Each year the deals get “better” and the lines get longer as we try to get our hands on the newest and greatest gadget or toy. So often, amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is easy to forget the reason for season. However, no matter how many gifts are waiting under the tree on Christmas morning, one can’t truly have Christmas without Christ.

Over 2000 years ago, we received the ultimate gift. This gift came in the form of a baby boy born into the humblest of surroundings. Yet, from his humble beginnings this child grew into a man who brought a message of love for all, giving to those in need, and sacrificing everything for others.

As we gather together with loved ones this Christmas, let us not forget the example of the birthday boy who has given us the true reason for the season. It is not merely about the presents under the tree or remembering to leave cookies and milk out for Santa. Rather, Christmas is about the love shared by family and friends, the spirit of giving, and the willingness to lend a hand to someone in need.

May God bless you and grant you and your family a wonderful Christmas!

Denison: Christmas Wishes, 2012 Legislation Session Blueprint

“From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another, the warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other.” –Emily Matthews

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season

We’ve reached that time of the year yet again when we come together with family and friends to celebrate Christmas and to reflect on the many blessings we have been given. It’s a time to delight in the wonderment of our children and grandchildren as they open their presents, and it’s a time to slow down from our normally hectic pace and enjoy the company of those who mean the most to us. No, Christmas is not all about the presents we give and receive, but it is about taking the time to express our love and appreciation for the many individuals who enrich our lives on a daily basis. It’s also a time to give thanks for the many men and women in our Armed Forces who are serving our nation far away from the comforts of home during the holiday season. Because of their sacrifices, we continue to celebrate the holidays in the greatest nation on this planet.

We are truly blessed and, even during these tough economic times, we continue to have so many reasons to celebrate and so much for which to be thankful. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season.

House Prepares Blueprint for 2012 Legislative Session

As we’re now just days away from the beginning of the 2012 legislative session, the legislative agenda for the coming year has begun to take shape. While we will place a primary emphasis on creating a fiscally responsible, balanced state budget this session, we also will see a number of important issues addressed in the coming months. One thing you can be certain of yet again this year is that the Missouri House will not allow any kind of tax increase. Yes, revenues have declined and caused us to tighten our belts in recent years, but we will never subscribe to the theory that raising taxes is an acceptable way to balance the budget. Instead, we have all pledged to keep your hard-earned dollars where they belong – in your pocket – and to balance the budget by making fiscally responsible, common sense choices. We’ve held true to that pledge during my time in the legislature and we will continue that this year.

The blueprint we will follow this year also will focus on improving our business environment so that Missouri is an even more attractive location for businesses looking to relocate or expand. We want employers around the country and even around the world to know that we are open for business and ready to fill the jobs they create with capable, hard-working Missourians. We also have specific goals in mind such as the creation of the Missouri Entrepreneur Virtual Resource Network to help enterprising Missourians create and grow a business from scratch.

This session will also bring with it a great deal of discussion on ways to improve our system of education. We will look at a fix to our public school foundation formula. The goal is to have funding distributed to every public school in the state in a way that is fair and equitable. To help young people make the transition from high school to college we also hope to expand the investment options available through our MOST college savings program that has been a huge success since its creation. We want to make Missouri’s system of education one of the finest in the nation and this session will give us the opportunity to take some steps in a positive direction.

These are just a few of the things we will talk about in 2012. The list is certain to grow in the coming days and weeks. As always, I will do my best to keep you updated as the session progresses.

I look forward to hearing from you, and if you will be in Jefferson City, please stop by my office. The legislative session begins January 4, 2012. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Best wishes.

21 December 2011

Tim Jones: 2012 Legislative Session Preview, Local Jobs Announcement, Reason For The Season

Every year after Thanksgiving, our thoughts turn to Christmas. Christmas is a wonderful time, wherein we focus on the “reason for the season”: giving, family togetherness and traditions, beautiful music and decorations, feasting on special foods and singing Christmas carols. This is the very essence of Christmas in America—the meaningful time we spend with family and friends, the quiet time we spend in churches and synagogues, all being grateful for the blessings of our lives and in our great nation. As you gather with family and friends during this holiday season, whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, my prayers and wishes are with you for are a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the honor of serving as State Representative for District 89 and to express my warmest greetings for a wonderful Holiday Season!

“Good news from heaven the angels bring, Glad tidings to the earth they sing: To us this day a child is given, To crown us with the joy of heaven.”—Martin Luther

Looking Ahead to the 2012 Legislative Session

With the 2012 legislative session just weeks away, members of the Missouri House and Senate have turned their attention to the fiscal year 2013 state operating budget and important public policy concerns. Thursday, December 1st was the first day legislators could begin submitting legislation for the 2012 session and dozens of measures have already been filed in the House and Senate.

This past weekend, the House Majority Caucus met in Jefferson City for our final meeting of the year wherein the Speaker and I unveiled our “Blueprint for Missouri” which includes our central priorities for the coming Session. For 2012, the House will be focused on improving our State and passing meaningful reform in and for the following four subject areas: Missouri Taxpayers, Missouri Jobs, Missouri Schools and Missouri Values. Over the coming few weeks, I will describe in greater detail the specific planks that make up the 2012 Legislative Platform.

Missouri House and Senate Redistricting

The results of the 2010 census have become reality as new boundaries have taken effect for Missouri’s 34 senators and 163 representatives. Now Missourians know more about who will be representing them in Jefferson City beginning in 2013.

The redistricting maps were drawn by a panel of six Appellate Court judges, and many, many districts have been dramatically altered. The dust is quickly settling over the Districts as current incumbents decide in which District they will run. For more information, the link to the website is the following: On the left hand side of the page, you may select either the House or Senate district of interest.

Special Local Jobs Announcement

AT&T is now hiring Retail Sales Professionals in Eureka, Missouri. AT&T’s Retail Sales Professionals thrive in a fun, fast-paced environment where they work hands-on with customers to understand their communications needs and discover how AT&T products meet those needs. AT&T offers paid training, competitive wages and benefits that include medical, dental, paid vacation, employee discounts and much more! Learn more and apply online at:

Two Simple Stories that Remind Us of the Reason for the Season

Many of you are very familiar with two of my favorite Christmas Season literary pieces that I have published in this newsletter over the past few years so without further ado, I share them with you as my gift and present to you and yours!

From Linus to Charlie Brown

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.” (Luke 2: 8-14)

“That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.” –Linus Van Pelt

And from the Editor of the New York Sun (1897) to Virginia

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Tim on the Radio!

On a personal note, on Monday, December 26th, I will be honored to host the Jamie Allman Morning show from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. on FM Newstalk 97.1 on your FM dial in the St. Louis region or you can live stream me on your computer anywhere in the world at the following link: I am very much looking forward to hosting this widely listened to morning radio show. See you on the radio the day after Christmas!

Personal 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 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, 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!

20 December 2011

Rupp: Wishing You a Merry Christmas

Christmas Day, which is this Sunday, is one of the merriest days of the year. It’s a day for spending time with loved ones, watching classic Christmas films, such as “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” eating delicious food, and seeing the joy in your children’s eyes as they discover their filled stockings under the tree or resting by the fireplace. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, and as always, I’m looking forward to spending this joyous and holy day with my family.

Aside from the holiday festivities, Christmas is a time to be appreciative for all that has been bestowed upon us. There will always be someone who comes along that has a bigger home or fancier car, but what truly matters in life are the people we care about. The richest people in the world are those who have family and friends who love them — and with all the love I share with my wife, children, parents, siblings, and friends, I consider myself a wealthy man. In addition to my loved ones, I’m grateful for my constituents in the 2nd Senatorial District, who provide me with their input and support, and encourage me to represent Missouri in the best way possible. I’m also thankful for members of our Armed Forces, some of whom are away from their families this Christmas, serving our country. To these brave men and women — thank you for allowing us to celebrate this divine holiday in freedom.

Another reason why I’m particularly fond of Christmas is that Missourians come together to help those in need. While some of us may enjoy a Christmas feast, gathered around a brightly lit tree, other families won’t be able to take part in these pleasures this year, due to hardships. Please consider a donation to a valuable charity, such as the Salvation Army, or volunteer with your local or church community.

I hope you and your family enjoy a wonderful Christmas holiday together, and remember to be thankful for the bountiful blessings you have in your life. God Bless you always.

Stouffer: An Old Fashioned Christmas or Post Christmas Idea

The Christ-Child is born!

Merry Christmas, from Bill & Sue Ellen

An Old Fashioned Christmas or Post Christmas Idea

Please let us share this greeting with you — Merry Christmas. It almost sounds refreshing to write and to hear those words. And we can say them all month.

It still amazes me that a little baby boy born amongst farm animals and their bedding could become King of Kings. Thankfully, here we are again, celebrating his miraculous birth. It is this time of year that we stop to share in this celebration, spend time with family and friends and reflect on our lives, both past and present. For just one day, there is peace on Earth with celebrations and ceasefires alike. Christmastime is here.

Unfortunately, Christmas has become a commercialized event. I hope we never forget the true reason for the season. While the Dutch and others shared gifts at this time long before it was a part of worldwide tradition, it was not until the last 200 years that the concept became so popular here in the United States.

Considering how many items we buy come from other countries, it may be time to reverse a growing trend.

There are many gift ideas that benefit your local Main Street. Here are some that have been sent my way in recent weeks:
  • Everyone needs a haircut. Perhaps a gift certificate from a local salon or barber would be the perfect gift?
  • Giving a gym or club membership would benefit local YMCA’s or other small businesses that provide this type of service. It is this time of year that folks start to think more about their waistline.
  • For those who like things to be tidy, perhaps a local car detailer or housecleaner could be hired for one day’s wages to assist.
  • Car wash tokens or homemade certificates for things like oil changes may do the trick as well.
  • Needed home repairs could be completed by local folks who specialize in home improvements. This could include snow shoveling, lawn maintenance or landscaping.
  • Every small town has a restaurant and the folks on your Christmas list probably have a favorite eatery. Please do not forget to leave a generous tip.
  • A tune-up at a local computer shop may make needed improvements to an existing computer system.
  • Season tickets to a local theaters, or support for non-profits or local musicians, can be a part of a gift that keeps on giving.
  • We recently had an old-time photo taken here in Missouri. Local photographers can provide a fun way to share memories that can last a lifetime.
  • Homemade and handcrafted goods, including those made in the kitchen, can also bring delight. If you have little skills or time, a local florist or bakery can help fulfill your holiday or yearly baking needs.
  • Craigslist, eBay and social media sites provide great ways to purchase gently used toys that neighbors can sell to help make ends meet as well.
Finally, these ideas can be used for anyone on the list, including those providing services like trash pickup and mail delivery.

Remember the true reason for the season. Reach out to your neighbors throughout the year. Small, random acts of kindness can easily catch on and become part of your regular routine each and every day of the year. Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

Kelley: Ban on Cell Phones Behind The Wheel A Knee-Jerk Reaction

Anytime there is an accident causing loss of life, that is tragic beyond words. As legislators it is our duty to pass laws which protect and benefit citizens while making sure we avoid the temptation of knee jerk reactions. History has shown if we try to protect everyone from everything the law of unintended consequences is sure to kick in.

I do believe texting while driving should be made illegal. It is very distracting and dangerous and I would support legislation banning it for all ages while behind the wheel. As to banning all cell phone activity while driving, I believe that would fall into the knee jerk reaction category. If we ban all cell phone use in a car, then in the interest of fairness, we should not stop there. Eating, applying makeup, visiting with a passenger, and changing the radio station should also be made illegal. Beyond it being unenforceable these bans would never pass muster with the public.

Cell phones have become a part of our daily lives and are here to stay. The final responsibility lies with the users, not legislators. Below is a press release that I will be sending out today.

Rep. Mike Kelley Co-Sponsors Legislation to Improve Roadway Safety by Implementing a Ban on Texting while Driving

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Legislation co-sponsored by state Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, would expand Missouri’s texting-while-driving ban for drivers 21 and under to all Missourians who get behind the wheel. The legislation (HB 1083) was filed the same week the National Transportation Safety Board called on all states to implement a ban. Kelley said that for it is time for Missouri to improve roadway safety by joining the 35 states who already have bans in place.

“We’ve all seen drivers weaving dangerously in traffic as they try to send a text message. There is no doubt these drivers are not paying attention to the road and endangering all those around them as a result,” said Kelley. “It’s time to expand our ban so that it applies to every driver and not just those 21 and under. The change will mean safer roads and far fewer accidents.”

Missouri’s current law, which was passed in 2009, currently bans anyone 21 and younger from texting while driving. The legislation co-sponsored by Kelley would prohibit all drivers, regardless of age, from text messaging while operating a moving vehicle unless the device being used is equipped with technology allowing for voice-recognition hands-free texting.

The 2012 legislative session begins Jan. 4.

Finally, if we can ever be of any assistance to you at your State Capitol during the coming months, 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,

Nolte: Honored by Missouri Cattlemen’s Association

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In recognition of his dedication and commitment to Missouri’s Beef Cattle Industry, state Rep. Jerry Nolte, R-Gladstone, was honored with the 2011 Friend of Missouri Cattlemen award by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association. The award is given to legislators who are influential in protecting animal agriculture and specifically beef producers in Missouri.

Nolte was selected for the award because of his commitment to the agriculture industry and his recognition of the industry as a major economic sector of agriculture. Throughout his time in the legislature he has supported legislation to assist farmers and promote the agriculture industry.

“Rep. Nolte recognizes the value of animal agriculture and its importance to the state of Missouri,” stated Jeff Windett, Executive Vice President of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association. “He has been a valuable friend of agriculture and in particular the beef industry.” Windett proclaimed to the attendees at the annual meeting in Columbia that Rep. Nolte has a 100 percent rating with the Cattlemen’s Association.

“It is a great honor to accept this award from the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association,” said Nolte. “During my time in the legislature, we’ve made the sustained growth of our agriculture industry a legislative priority. I’m proud to have played a part in helping to sustain an industry that is an important part of our state’s history and a vital component of our economy.”

The Missouri Cattlemen Association is a not-for-profit, grassroots, member-driven organization focused on protection and promotion of the "economic, educational, political, and social interests of the Missouri beef cattle industry."

19 December 2011

Newman: 2011 Draws To A Close

As the year grows shorter and shorter, I’m wrapping up my legislative work in order to focus on the holidays and family time. The 2012 legislative session will begin January 4th in Jefferson City - just 16 days away.

As you may have seen in the media, the 2011 special session was a bust. The regional China Hub economic proposals were not supported by the House & Senate GOP leadership which resulted in numerous taxpayer-funded wasted days and a huge loss for the state AND the St. Louis region. The nationally publicized Facebook bill however was fixed leaving social communications policies up to individual school districts as they have been.

The presidential primary elections date change mandated by both the National Republican and Democratic parties did not pass in either regular or special session. Therefore the Democratic presidential primary election will remain on February 7th but the Missouri GOP has elected to convene via caucus on March 17th to meet their party’s requirement.

New members elected this past November are joining us in January. I’m thrilled to be working with one of my closest friends and longtime colleague, Tracy McCreery (D) who will be representing the 83rd district of Olivette and Overland. She will be sworn in on January 10th along with Judy Morgan (D-Kansas City), Brandon Ellington (D-Kansas City) and Chrissy Sommer (R-St. Charles). Their elections keep our House numbers the same – 57 Democrats and 107 Republicans.

My work continues: keeping our elections suppression-free, strengthening laws to keep children safe from sexual abuse, advocating for workplace rights for all and protecting women’s reproductive health decisions.

I’ve been speaking out loudly across the state against Voter photo ID proposals that would restrict current voters from being able to vote –the elderly, disabled, working poor, minorities, and students. These bills are filed every year and I promise you that my Democratic House Caucus will remain unified in opposition to voter suppression. Voter ID efforts will prevent many in your community or even in your own family from the most important voice that any of us have.

This summer I was appointed to the new Task Force on Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children – a commission created via legislation months before the media broke the horrors at Penn State and Syracuse University. I look forward to our first task force meeting on January 6th and working with a diverse group of children’s advocates on recommendations for Governor Nixon.

Equality rights matter a great deal to me – particularly in the work place. I’m hopeful that my equal pay enforcement bill will have another hearing this session. Gender and sexual orientation discrimination of any kind needs to belong to the past, not the present.

You may also continue to count on me to be a strong advocate protecting women’s reproductive health rights. I work closely with Missouri NARAL and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri to make sure that birth control & family planning is accessible to all women. It’s amazing to me in 2012 to have to keep at this fight but it’s my daughter’s and granddaughters’ generations who depend on it.

I keep all of you in mind every single day in Jefferson City, particularly on the House floor when I know my votes are crucial to your everyday lives. I am humbled to represent you in the state legislature and would love to hear from you anytime with your thoughts and concerns.

I wish all of you a very Happy Holidays however you may celebrate = Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and particularly Happy New Year.

May 2012 truly bring equality, prosperity, good health and joy to everyone.


Lant: "Blueprint For Missouri", Pet Peeves

I said it was going to be a busy week and it sure was! We began with a ceremony on Monday for a Newton County Drug Court graduation. We met at 5:30 at the Neosho R5 Administration Building and what a crowd there was! I counted over 120 people there for the ceremony, of course there was a school board meeting following, but I can't tell you how moving that graduation was. Judge Perigo has done a marvelous job in creating an alternative to jail time for these young offenders. I'm not talking about a slap on the wrist, these young offenders have a tough go of it meeting the requirements of this program. The marvelous thing is that very few slip back into their old life style. It is noteworthy that Justice Ray Price of the Missouri Supreme Court is making it a priority to encourage more Drug Courts throughout our State. I'm going to say more about this in future columns, but for now my hat is certainly off to Judges Perigo and LePage for the wonderful work they are doing.

Seneca's Chamber of Commerce meeting was held at noon on Thursday and they are planning a great 2012. It is a great feeling to see so many business people interested in improving their town. Much like Noel, the Chamber in Seneca is working diligently to bring new businesses and a new look to their downtown. There has been a real flurry of activity in Seneca this past year with new business and improvements to old businesses. Josh Dodson and his Chamber invite everyone to come see the differences in town!

The big news for the week was the Caucus meeting in Jefferson City on Saturday. Speaker Tilley and Speaker Elect Tim Jones spelled out our Legislative Priorities for next session. The plan is called "Blueprint for Missouri". The 4 major priorities are : Education, Jobs, Economy, and Taxpayer Protection. First and foremost we will balance the budget with NO new taxes. We will propose a Taxpayer Protection Act, County Debt Disclosure, Prevailing Wage Reform, Criminal Justice Reform, Workers Comp and 2nd Injury Fund fixes, Tort Reform (loser pays), Foundation Formula fix and Teacher Quality Act, and Veterans Home funding fix. There are also going to be bills addressing such things as protection for Pharmacists whose conscience will not let them sell "Morning After Pills" , A Mandatory Reporter Reform bill to insure that the tiny percent of educators that are sick enough to sexually prey upon their students are reported and permanently removed from the system, and making it mandatory to take your drivers test in English. Please remember this was not a bi-partisan meeting and we will have a great degree of difficulty getting some of these bills through the Senate and then getting the Governor's signature. This agenda does however reflect the will of the majority of the members of The House and, I believe, the people of Southwest Missouri.

Finally, I am going to air one of my pet peeves. There is not a single one of us who hasn't contributed in one way or another to the relief of the Tornado Victims and the herculean clean up and rebuilding project in Joplin. Over 100,000 people have been recorded as volunteer help. They have come from literally all over the world. Many, many dollars have been contributed to offset the enormous cost of rebuilding homes, businesses, and schools. There is much more to do, but we are well on the way to recovery. We have, in the eyes of the world, accomplished the near impossible to be as far along as we are in so short a time. Now to my "Pet Peeve", every time a corporation or philanthropist makes a contribution to the rebuilding effort, we are treated to another appearance by the Governor. I'm sorry, but he has no business showing up every time someone has a check for the Joplin Schools or a Park project. This is the same guy who withheld from this year's budget over 33 million dollars for education. I'm talking about money that the General Assembly included in the Budget for things like Tutoring, Transportation, and Children's Treatment Services. The Auditor has a pending lawsuit to make him return the funding but who knows how that will come out. Just for fun I have asked for an accounting of the cost of the Governor's trips. I'll bet we could build a couple of those low income houses with the cost to the state. Oh well, I guess that is enough for now. Until next time, I am and remain in your service,