Spring showered sunshine and fair temperatures across mid Missouri and throughout the greater Midwest this week as we returned for another week in the Legislative Session. One year ago this week, Old Man Winter treated us to a dramatically different scene as we experienced a mighty storm that blanketed most of Missouri in a thick carpet of swirling snow, causing an entire stretch of I-70 to be completely shut down and following that with a dose of record cold. What a difference a year always makes…
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln
HB 1219 and HB 1104 were presented for “perfection” and debated on the House Floor this week. Both bills have been laid over as we anticipate resuming discussion on them next week.
HB 1219, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Elmer (R-141), will protect Missouri jobs and Missouri employers by returning Missouri law to a position that is consistent with the federal Civil Rights Law. The bill removes provisions which currently make a manager liable for the actions of an employee and establishes a graduated scale for damages based on the number of employees which provides a level of uniformity in awarding damages. Court cases need to be handled more quickly and efficiently, businesses need to be free to appropriately handle problematic, harmful employees to keep the workplace safe, and this bill reinstates the original summary judgment standards that have existed in our nation and state for many decades to help courts accomplish this objective. Businesses need certainty if we want employers to expand, grow and re-invest. With the current system set up to punish employers, businesses are having difficulty dealing with our current litigious environment. HB 1219 restores certainty and fairness and treats employers and employees equally.
HB 1104, sponsored by Rep. Shane Schoeller (R-139), specifies that a person seeking to vote in a public election must show a valid photo identification, driving or non-driving, to election officials before they can receive a ballot and have it counted. This is a simple, common sense requirement that all should embrace to protect one of our most sacred and fundamental rights and to seek to end the rampant voter registration fraud that continues to be discovered across our Nation. All costs incurred by an election authority to implement the photo identification requirement will be reimbursed by the state. If the voter does not have a valid identification, they are allowed to cast a provisional ballot. If the reason for not having a valid identification is because they cannot afford to receive a new birth certificate or other documentation, they can sign an affidavit to receive a ballot. If an individual does not have their identification with them, they are allowed to vote using a provisional ballot. It will only be counted if they return to the election authority and present the appropriate identification within three days after the election.
Your Missouri House: Saving Taxpayer Dollars & Safeguarding Your Freedoms
Today, I decided that the Missouri House would only hold a Technical Session. This means that although House Committees and other meetings will still be held and will still proceed, there will be no active Floor Activity. By holding a Technical Session, we have the opportunity to save thousands of taxpayer dollars and not hold a Session when no legislation will be considered. Because the House has acted efficiently and purposely and it is still early in Session, there is no new legislation yet waiting to be heard on the House Calendar so there is no significant reason to hold a full blown Floor Session of the House today. And as the old adage goes: “as long as the Legislature is not in Session, your pocketbooks and liberties remain safe!” We will resume with a full Session of the House on Monday, February 5th.
The Capitol Dialogue Program
I had the opportunity to appear on a show that is posted on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website. I was joined by my colleagues, Assistant House Minority Leader Tishaura Jones, the Senate Minority Leader Victor Callahan and Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer as we discussed what both parties hope to accomplish during this 2012 Legislative Session. You can view the Capitol Dialogue program at http://dese.mo.gov/comm/mps/LVIS.html.
Local News and Events
Honoring Iraq War VeteransAt right: The Heroes Parade in Downtown St. Louis on Saturday, January 28, 2012.
St. Louis hosted the country’s first parade to thank the veterans of the Iraq war for their service and welcome them home this past Saturday, January 28th. Thousands of people lined the parade route on Market Street, cheering, waving American Flags and holding “Welcome Home” signs. Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales and St. Louis police and fire departments joined 83 floats in the parade to show appreciation for the veterans. Prior to the parade, on Friday at 9:11 p.m. at Soldier’s Memorial in downtown St. Louis, a vigil was held where volunteers read the names of the U.S. servicemen and servicewomen who have died in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am proud that St. Louis stepped up, stepped forward and held a parade to honor the men and women that put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and liberties.
Important Tax InformationTaxpayers making $57,000 or less can visit www.irs.gov/efile to prepare and E-File federal tax returns for FREE, a landmark partnership between the IRS and tax software providers.
Garage Sale/Swap MeetThe City of Eureka’s Chamber of Commerce will be holding its 5th annual Garage Sale/Swap Meet Saturday, March 10th from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. located in the Six Flags Parking Lot. For more information and downloadable form go to www.eurekachamber.org and click on the events tab on the left hand side of your screen. You can also call the Chamber office at 636-938-6062 for more information.
Employment OpportunitySix Flags St. Louis will host job fairs at the park in Eureka from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on three Saturdays in February – Feb. 4, 11 and 25 – to hire workers for this year’s season. The amusement park is looking to hire about 3,000 workers. For a listing of jobs and more information about the career fair, visit www.sixflags.com/stLouis and look under the Jobs tab at the top of the page.
Visiting the Capitol
I always enjoy it when constituents visit the Capitol, and this week I was thrilled to greet Mark Schwieder, Bill Brandes and Fred Goglia. I was also pleased to greet Mary Schaefer from Route 66 Senior Center in Pacific as well as Sherry Whitaker from the Choices for People Center in Rolla. If you ever find yourself in or around Jefferson City at any time during the year, please feel free to visit us! Stop by the Majority Leader’s Office in Room 302 and we will be happy to meet and greet you!
Personal News & Notes
If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this Capitol Report, they can click the “Capitol Report Signup” button on my member home page at www.house.mo.gov and enter the appropriate information to receive the Capitol Report.