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13 January 2012

Kraus: Legislation Grabs State Media's Attention

Legislation Questions

Shortly after arriving at the Capitol on Monday, my office started receiving calls from the media regarding Senate Bill 590, a bill I filed which deals with illegal immigration. Calls came from all over the state, including Columbia, St. Louis, and Kansas City. Over the next two days, I appeared on a talk radio show, gave a statement over the phone to a local Kansas City radio news station, appeared on camera for news shows in Columbia and Kansas City, and spoke with several print reporters.

Because we had so many inquiries, and because those opposing the bill held a tele-conference which I believe misrepresented the intent of the bill, we issued the following statement to the media:

“During the 2011 legislative session, I introduced a bill that would require the Missouri Attorney General to sue the federal government for its lack of enforcement of immigration laws. One of the objections we encountered was that there was no known cost to the state. Based on those comments, I asked my office to reach out to state agencies to find out who actually tracked the cost of illegal immigration on Missouri taxpayers. The results were underwhelming as we found most agencies have no idea of the true cost to taxpayers.

This year, I introduced SB 473, which again asks the Attorney General to sue the federal government, and also asks the Missouri Auditor’s office to determine the cost to Missouri taxpayers so we can seek restitution from the federal government to recoup those costs.

As a companion bill, I introduced SB 590, which does three things: Asks our public schools and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to specifically determine the cost of illegal immigration on our public schools; mirrors federal law in creating a state misdemeanor for any non-citizen who does not have their documentation; and allows police to ask for immigration status on all stops, not just arrests. Each of these provisions is designed to better determine the number and impact of illegal immigrants in Missouri. None of these proposed items have any significant punitive provision above what is already in current federal law.

Immigration is ultimately a federal issue and the solution will be a federal solution. But until a solution is reached, the impact of the federal government’s lack of enforcement is being felt at the state level. As fiscal stewards of our residents’ tax dollars, we have a responsibility to determine that impact.”

You can find some media stories and clips regarding SB 473 and SB 590 at the following links:

Grain Valley Town Hall

On Thursday, Jan. 19, Grain Valley Mayor Mike Todd and I will be hosting a town hall meeting in Grain Valley from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Grain Valley Community Center, 713 Main Street.

I will open with a short talk on the upcoming 2012 legislative session and then open the floor for questions and answers. Mayor Todd will also be there to discuss local issues and answer any questions you may have.

These town hall meetings are important to me because they give me the opportunity to interact on a personal level with the constituents of the 8th Senatorial District. It is a vital way to keep members of the local community up-to-date on activities within the Capitol and upcoming issues and events. I look forward to speaking with concerned citizens and addressing any questions they might have.

I hope to see you there

2012 District Days

We have set the dates for this year’s District Days! Each year, we set two days aside during session when district residents can come to the Capitol, attend a session, take tours and visit with their senator. For 2012, our District Days will be March 21 and March 27. If you are interested in attending, let us know by replying to this email. More information will be coming in the next few weeks.

District Office

Now that we are in session, the District Office will only be open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Fridays. We continue to urge you to call for an appointment at 573-751-1464, since it is possible other events may pull us away.

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