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10 February 2012

Lichtenegger: Three Military-Related Measures Clear House

The following three bills, all military in nature, passed out of the House and reported to the Senate this past week:
  • HB 1100 designates an annual March 30 date as Vietnam Veterans Day in recognition of the courage and patriotism of those who served during the Vietnam conflict.
  • HB 1105 allows the Adjutant General to waive the maximum age requirement for a member of the state militia on a case-by-case basis.
  • HB 1099 is also a designation bill, establishing March 26 of each year as Veterans of Operation Iraq / Enduring Freedom Day. Missourians are and will be encouraged to observe the day with events honoring and remembering those who served their country during those operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Last week I reported a summary of HB 1104, the voter ID bill, and this week I’ll state the reasons supporters give for its passage. Those are:
  • HB 1104 protects the integrity and principles of our electoral process by ensuring that only eligible persons are voting.
  • HB 1104 ensures that legitimate votes are counted and carry the weight they should by reducing the number of fraudulent votes cast.
  • Voting is the lifeblood of democracy, and HB 1104 keeps legitimate votes from being diluted by those who are willing to break the law.
  • The charges of suppression are overblown because HB 1104 allows citizens to get photo identification for free from the state or their local license bureau.
There has been a flood of comments regarding the February 7 non-binding primary. I always encourage my constituents to exercise their rights as American citizens to vote, even under these circumstances. House Republican Leadership offered the below explanation as to why this primary took place when it did.

The media this past week was replete with news stories calling this week’s presidential primary a “waste of money” or a “beauty contest.” The media focused their outrage on the General Assembly for not acting to save the state $7 million by eliminating the nonbinding primary.

However, what is not mentioned is the fact that we passed SB 282 last session. This legislation would have tied the choosing of our delegates to the primary results by moving the election to March as the national parties wished.

Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed this important piece of legislation. If the Governor had signed this into law, we wouldn’t have faced losing half of our delegates to the party conventions. Faced with this possibility, the state party decided to choose our delegates through the caucus process ensuring that all of them would be counted.

Now, we will rely on the outcome of the party caucuses on March 17 to finish the job. Until that time, it would be good if the media pointed its finger at who really cost the state its presidential primary and the money for the “beauty contest.”

STATE-WIDE NEWS released to the public regarding Missouri’s consideration for a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind / U.S. Department of Education program.

Missouri education officials are moving closer to submitting a voluntary waiver application to the U.S. Department of Education which, if approved, would provide state and local education leaders with flexibility in meeting requirements of No Child Left Behind.

An approved waiver would allow states to exchange certain federal NCLB requirements for comprehensive state-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students. Waivers approved in the first and second rounds could go into effect as early as the 2012-13 school year.

Read more about the waiver and what it will mean for Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) fulfilling the federal requirements.

Constituent Corner

I was delighted to meet with several constituents who visited the Capitol this past week:
  • Bill Bess and Kathy Bess Holloway with the Missouri Beer Wholesalers from Cape Girardeau and Jackson.
  • A group from the Southeast Missouri (SEMO) Food Bank is due special congratulations as recent recipients of a Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) grant. The SEMO Food Bank serves a 16-county area with emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and much more.
  • And in the photo [at left] (left to right) are Representative Wayne Wallingford, Jan McSerron and Sondra O’Laughlin. The two Southeast Missouri constituents are with the Long Term Care Ombudsman program. This program provides vital services and support to individuals and their families. It advocates for the rights of long-term care residents regarding their care and treatment; offers information on issues assists with choosing a facility; works to prevent elder abuse and neglect and much more.

MoDOT Southeast District News

A new property on Route 74 in Cape Girardeau County has been added to the Realty to Roads website. The asking price is currently $65,000. For details, please visit: Realty to Roads.

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