2013 Capitol Reports & Press Releases (Archived)

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January 6, 2013. Since my last news release we have finished the last chapter of 2012 and our Nation did not drop off the Fiscal Cliff. Now our National Leaders have many issues to confront and the biggest concern is what I have been hearing from Constituents in the 125th district this past year. That issue is the run-a-way national debt and excessive Government spending. However at the state level we operate on a balanced budget and are not allowed to spend more money that we take in. So our new chapter of Missouri State Government starts on Wednesday, January 9th when the State Legislatures are officially sworn in. Our Speaker Tim Jones has announced the Triple E agenda, which will focus on Energy, Education, and Economic Development. I am excited to be part of the State Team that tackles these issues. I am also looking forward to representing the 125th district and being your voice at Jefferson City. My office is 201A and my door will always be open. 

I want to also introduce my Legislative Assistant who will meet and greet you and take phone calls and correspondence. Her name is Debbie Poire. [Read More] >>Meet Debbie Poire

January 12, 2013. State Representative Love, Republican officially began his service as state representative of the 125th District after being sworn in during a ceremony Wednesday, January 9 in the Missouri State Capitol. Warren joined 162 other state representatives who were administered the oath of office during opening day proceedings in the Missouri House Chamber. 

“It was a great honor and humbling experience to once again stand with all the other members, both new and returning, and take the oath to uphold the US and Missouri Constitutions,” said Love. “I’m excited about the coming session and welcome the challenges we will surely face as we work to ensure Missouri remains on the path to prosperity.”

Members gathered in the House Chamber as Secretary of State Robin Carnahan gaveled in the beginning of the 97th General Assembly. Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Teitelman then administered the oath of office to all 163 representatives. Judge Dan Pelikan of the 11th Circuit Court of Missouri swore in Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka, as the Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives.

“We have a tough session ahead of us as we address the pressing issues facing our state but I am confident we will remain focused and by working together we can help shape the future for the “Greater Good” of all Missourians. I believe that the State of Missouri is the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Love.

Our day started at Concord Baptist Church with breakfast and a Prayer Service for Missouri Government Leaders. The physical food was great, however the spiritual was even greater. The week ended very well with my committee appointments of Agriculture Policy, Tourism and Natural Resources, and Transportation Appropriations being confirmed.

We were pleased to have citizens from the district stop by the office this week, Jay and Sheila Knight of Appleton City, and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Hawks of Warsaw.

January 19, 2013. Monday, January 14th during the Governor’s Inauguration at the State Capitol, Governor Jay Nixon, Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, Secretary of State Jason Kander, Attorney General Chris Koster, and Treasurer Clint Zweifel were sworn into office. They will separately hold a four year term. It was a cold day that began with a parade of the State office holders along with several marching bands from around the state. Bringing up the rear of the parade was the magnificent Budweiser Clydesdale eight horse hitch.  

We were honored to have our Children and Grandchildren attend all of the festivities. We also had several guests and friends from the district attend the Inaugural events. Marla and I had the pleasure of being introduced, and walk down the grand staircase in the Capitol Rotunda with our four children, Elizabeth, Anna, Charles, and John. During the day the grandchildren toured the Capitol, visited the Capitol Museum, and House Chamber taking turns sitting in Pa Pa’s chair. It was a very exciting memorable event for our entire family. 

This week’s work began in Caucus & Committee meetings with limited time being spent in session. I attended Missouri Community Colleges, Healthcare Associations and Agriculture Leaders receptions. In Columbia, I also attended a tour of the Missouri University. I finished the week on Friday by attending a Legislature Reception at Troop D Headquarters in Springfield. We were updated on State Highway Patrol operations. I also visited with the Southwest Region MoDOT office to discuss directional signs at the junction of 13 & 54 Highway in Collins.

Visitors this week were Marie Payne-Bowman and Hollis Hensley, from Warsaw, Mo. representing Katy Trail Community Health, informed me of issues and concerns this week.

January 26, 2013. The past week began by government agencies observing Martin Luther King Day. Tuesday morning on my way to Jefferson City I observed the devastation of a fire in Weaubleau, The century-old structure occupied by The Common Ground Café was a complete loss. The 125th District have recently experienced losses by fire at Iconium Firehouse on Labor Day weekend, and the loss of three business buildings in Osceola in December.

The State of the Judiciary was held at 10:23 am on January 23, 2013, the Missouri House of Representatives voted to suspend the House Rules and allow State Office holders, Members of the Senate, and Missouri Supreme Court Justices to enter the House Chambers for a Joint Session.  With 150 House Members present and 32 Senate Members, we welcomed Chief Justice Richard B. Teitelman for the delivery of the State of the Judiciary Address.  In a fashion befitting of Chief Justice Teitelman, he delivered a brief address designed to pay respects to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., recognized the efforts of some exceptional Missouri citizens, and offered his view on the benefits of cooperative government.  It was truly an honor to welcome him to the House Chambers.

Though sometimes taken for granted, the State of the Judiciary is far from symbolic.  There are few who know better, or are as well versed, in the effectiveness of our state laws than the justices who came before us today.  Their knowledge of the direct impact and success of policies like drug courts - which our legislature created and the judiciary implemented - serve to reinforce the rule of law in the most beneficial way to Missourians. 

A Good Government Bill Passed in the House this week. I am happy to report that we saw the quick passage of a bill that supports and affirms good government procedures and protocol. HB 110, sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith (R-Salem) makes our law clear that the voice of the people will be heard when filling a vacancy for statewide offices such as; lieutenant governor, governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state auditor, state treasurer, and US senator. The measure passed with a vote of 115-45.

HB 110 is a needed piece of legislation that will ensure the power to select statewide office holders remains in the possession of the people. The current system—based on precedent, not law—excludes the people from the process. In the past, the governor has been allowed to select an individual to fill a vacancy in the office of lt. governor. HB 110 simply clarifies our law to say that the governor can fill a vacant office on a temporary basis only. That appointee would then serve as the formal placeholder until the time of the next general election, upon which the people would then elect the new individual to fill that particular statewide seat. Furthermore, this legislation stipulates that the governor must call for the special election to coincide with a scheduled general election. This is an important change that would give the people a say in the process without creating additional financial burden for Missouri taxpayers.  Now we await and anticipate swift action on HB 110 by the senate so that it can go before the governor for his approval. Upon the governor’s signature, it would immediately become law because it contains an emergency clause. This measure is an example of the common sense government the people deserve. The voters should have the ultimate authority to decide who represents them in the halls of government.

I was an honored for past legislatures to come by my office this week. Tuesday Representative Larry Wilson, Senator Delbert Scott, and wife Donna, were in the capitol along with past and present legislators celebrating a 10 year reunion of the Republican majority. Other constituents who came by the office to discuss issues and concerns were: Alan Stevens, representing St. Clair Co. Health Dept. in Osceola, Starla Dobbs, representing Sac Osage Home Health in El Dorado Springs, and Cindy Gunter from Edwards, Missouri promoting a Tobacco Free Missouri.

January 31, 2013. This week Governor Jay Nixon delivered his State of the State Address to a Joint Session of the House and Senate.  This annual speech outlining the governor’s legislative and budgetary priorities is mandated by the Missouri Constitution.  The governor spoke for about forty-five minutes and covered topics ranging from Medicaid expansion to lengthening the school year. 

In the district, I attended on January 25th the Eldorado Springs 4th Friday Coffee at the new Casey's store.  I also attended the monthly Osceola Chamber luncheon.  On Sunday the 27th Marla & I had dinner at the McCarty Senior Center in Wheatland.  About 250 supporters attended the dinner/fundraiser to support the Center and Care Connection.

On Monday I attended “Discover More on Route 54” conference at the Lucas Oil Speedway to finalize plans for our new website.  You  will be able to visit the website at:  www.discover54.com. Most of the week was devoted to committee meetings.  The Agriculture Policy Committee that I am a member of met for an organizational meeting, and my Tourism and Natural Resources Committee met to discuss HB42 which pertains to Private Property Rights.

Recent visitors to my office included Superintendent Aaron Bennet of Osceola public Schools.  Myra Burrow came by to discuss dog breeding regulations.  I also visited with Janet Ackers from Henry County, along with Jim McCann and Dustin Schnake representing the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association.  Representing Veterans this week were Dick & Carolyn Sanford from the Warsaw American legion.

February 7, 2013. Most of the activity on the House side of the Capitol this week was attending committee meetings.  The Agriculture Policy Committee heard and passed HB 202 which authorizes University of Missouri extension councils to form extension districts made up of cooperating counties for the purpose of funding extension programming. An extension district can be a single-council district or a consolidated district consisting of two or more extension councils. A majority vote of each participating council is required to form an extension district. 

On the House Floor, we looked at the needs of our less-fortunate citizens, and will be working to offer and pass the best solutions for Missouri. One such plan to assist Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens was passed in the House this week with nearly unanimous bipartisan support. House Bill 87 sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Springfield) re-establishes or extends the sunset date on many Benevolent Tax Credits to December 31, 2019. The tax credits impacted by this legislation include the income tax credit for the surviving spouse of a public safety officer who has not remarried, the children in crisis tax credit, the disability access residential renovations tax credit, the pregnancy resource center tax credit, and the income tax credit for a donation to a food pantry. These tax credits encourage investments, from private citizens, in programs that benefit many of our most needy citizens. HB 87 will help many of our charitable organizations gather resources to provide much needed assistance to low-income families. These benevolent tax credits are a fiscally responsible way of assisting Missourians who are in need.

In our District:  On Friday, February 1st, I presented “The Show-Me State” Booklets to the Appleton City High School Government class.  These booklets contain information on the history of Missouri; the State Capitol; our local, state, and federal governments; the role and responsibilities of citizens; and some famous Missourians.  If interested, I would be glad to bring several of these booklets to your school for use by your Government/Social Studies teachers, and would appreciate the opportunity to speak to and participate in a classroom discussion and question/answer forum if time permitted.  Because I am currently in Legislative Session at the State Capitol Monday through Thursday, I could schedule a visit any time on a Friday.  Please contact my Legislative Assistant, Debbie Poire at (573) 751-4065 or e-mail her at debbie.poire@house.mo.gov if you are interested.

Visitors to our office this week included Commissioners from Hickory County; Robert Breshears, Rick Pearson, and Robert Sawyer, Commissioner Leroy Strope from St. Clair County; Don Boultinghouse, Jesse Watts and his wife, Joyce Watts from Cedar County; and Commissioners Tom Self, Jim Hansen and Steve Daleske from Benton County.

February 14, 2013. This week, the Missouri House passed a key measure that ensures that our state government is a service to the people of this great state.

On Thursday, February 14th the House Third Read and Passed HCS HB 48 & 216 and HCS HJRs 5 & 12, sponsored by Rep. Tony Dugger (R-Hartsville) this legislation requires a person to submit a specified form of photo identification in order to vote in a public election. HCS HJRs 5 & 12, creates a Voter ID ballot measure for approval of the people that would add language identical to that in HCS HBs 48 & 216 to the Missouri Constitution.

The goal of these bills is to protect the sanctity and integrity of the election process, not to restrict anyone from voting.   Acceptable forms of identification under these measures include: non-expired Missouri driver’s or non-driver’s license; a document issued by the federal or state government that contains the individual’s name, signature, photograph and expiration date; or a photo ID issued by the National Guard, US Armed Forces or US Department of Veterans Affairs. There are also provisions in the bills that would help Missourians who might not have or be able to afford an ID to obtain a proper form of identification at no cost to the voter or vote by provisional ballot. Thus, allowing everyone to partake in the democratic process while safeguarding against voter fraud.

On Friday February 8th I attended the Kansas City Chamber luncheon and sat in on an Economic Development Committee hearing.  The topic was how to end the economic “Border War.”  Issues discussed were tax credits, TIFs, and public schools.

On my way to Jefferson City my first stop was at the Boring Drug coffee caucus in Warsaw.  I then dropped by the Lincoln MFA Exchange where the Benton County Farm Bureau was having a “Thank A Farmer” Appreciation Gathering. I also did my monthly radio interview with Paula Spring from KAYQ/97.1  This interview with Paula will be the second Monday of each month at the noon hour.

Two events that my wife Marla and I attended together included dinner Tuesday evening with Governor and Mrs. Nixon at the Governor’s Mansion and dinner Wednesday with the Missouri Supreme Court judges.

Visitors this week included Mayor Justin Stephan from Appleton City.  We discussed municipalities, elections, and public work projects.  On Tuesday, several retired teachers from Appleton City, Eldorado Springs, and Osceola came by my office.  Wednesday morning I attended the weekly get-together of Representatives in our Senate District with Senator Mike Parson.  Guests were Natalie Hunter from Lakeland Schools and Dan Wallace, the Director of Clinton Technical School.

February 28, 2013.  Old Man Winter has finally appeared! Two major storms dumping sleet and snow have swept across our state during the past two weeks. My “Hat Is Off” to all public government workers for stepping up to the task of keeping our roads and bridges and utility lines open and usable. As I write this report, most all electricity and utilities are back in working condition. Many constituents from our district that planned to visit the Capitol had to cancel, however much work was done with legislation.

—Protecting Rural Missourians

The Missouri House passed legislation this week sending a strong message about our support of your right to farm here in Missouri. We are fully committed to standing in defense of the traditions, values and rights we Missourians have held dear for generations. HCS HJR 11 & 7, sponsored by Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-160), and which I co-signed, would approve a constitutional amendment giving voters the opportunity to make their voices heard on this important issue in the next statewide election. It will allow all of us who value our agrarian traditions to stand in opposition to the radical animal rights groups like PETA and HSUS when they assault our freedoms with measures like Prop B. Farming is the bright shining star of Missouri’s economy. It’s important to allow our producers of meat, milk, eggs, grains, and fiber the freedom and liberty to farm with modern practices without unreasonable rules and regulations.

—Providing Support to Those Who Sacrifice for Us

HJR 8, sponsored by Rep. Sheila Solon (R-31), proposes a constitutional amendment requiring the State Lottery Commission to develop and begin selling a “Veterans Lottery Ticket” by July 1, 2015. The net proceeds from the sale of these tickets would be deposited into the Veterans Commission Capital Improvements Trust Fund to provide vital services to our veterans. This legislation has received resounding support and no opposition.

This week I presented in House Committees two bills that I am sponsoring. HB 542 revises the definition of eggs as it relates to the regulation of the sale of eggs to mean the shell eggs of a domesticated chicken, turkey, duck, goose, or guinea that are intended for human consumption. Second, I presented my HB 409 concerning prevailing wages in third classification counties. This bill would allow 3rd class counties to opt out of the current Missouri Division of Labor Standard Wage Rates set for Public Works Projects. The new proposal would use the median hourly wage estimate for occupational code 47-0000 in the construction and extraction occupational code published in the latest United States Bureau of Labor Statistics publication. This would allow wiser use of our tax dollars on public works projects. Both HB 542 and HB 409 were passed out of committee by a unanimous vote.

Also, we passed HB 202, sponsored by Rep. Bill Reiboldt, which authorizes University of Missouri extension councils to form extension districts made up of cooperating counties to fund extension programming. I spoke for my first time on the House floor in favor of this bill. My support was shown by holding up my old farm rope handicraft booklet that I used when I was a 12 year old boy involved in a 4-H club.

March 7, 2013. On Friday, March 1st I had the opportunity to present “The Show-Me State” booklets to the 8th grade Government class at Weaubleau.  Then Darin Hamelink and I discussed the planned MoDOT highway project in the 125th District this year.

On Sunday, Marla and I attended a Boy Scout Eagle ceremony at the Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Warsaw. It was a privilege to present Missouri House Resolutions to Kendall Kee, Ryan Sprouse and Nate Fauquier.

My week began at the Capitol when I boarded a bus and traveled with other legislators on the “Infrastructure Needs Tours of Highways & Bridges” around the Columbia area.  It is becoming very obvious that Missourians are going to have to address our future infrastructure needs.  Missouri’s highway system is the 7th largest in the United States with 33,702 miles of state highways.  Our highway and bridge funding is currently a mix of Federal and State funds that largely come from fuel taxes.  The fuel tax rates were voted on by the citizens in 1992 and 1993.  They have not changed since.  In 1992, a ton of asphalt cost $21.52.  Today it costs $59.31, a 176% increase.  Concrete is three times more expensive and steel has over doubled.  Missouri’s 17 cent per gallon gas tax is less than any of our border states.

The challenge is — How are we going to fund infrastructure in the future?  One proposal is HCS HJR 23, “The Sales and Use Tax for Transportation” sponsored by Rep. Dave Hinson.  Upon voter approval by the citizens of Missouri, this proposed constitutional amendment raises the state sales and use tax by 1% for a period of 10 years. The proceeds from the additional tax are to be used for transportation purposes. The tax measure is temporary and must be resubmitted to the voters every 10 years until the measure is defeated. Five percent of the sales and use tax proceeds will be deposited into the newly created County Aid Transportation Fund. Moneys in the fund must be distributed to the counties based on the county road mileage and assessed rural land valuation calculation in Article IV Section 30(a) of the Missouri Constitution, except that 5% of the moneys will be distributed to the City of St. Louis. The proceeds distributed to the counties may be used for local highways and bridges, for state highway system purposes, or for county transportation system purposes. In a similar manner, 5% of the sales and use tax proceeds must be deposited into the newly created Municipal Aid Transportation Fund. Moneys in the fund must be distributed to cities, towns and villages based on the population ratio calculations in Article IV Section 30(a) of the Missouri Constitution. The proceeds distributed to the cities, towns, and villages may be used for local roads and streets, for state highway system purposes, or for city transportation system purposes.

I would encourage you to contact me personally or call my Capitol office to share your input on this issue.

My constituent activity this week began by visits from members of the Silver Haired Legislature from Benton County; Gerry and Cynthia Smith, and Larry Pursley from Cedar County.  On Wednesday morning I attended the Missouri Methodist Women’s Breakfast and had the opportunity to visit with Linda Diamond, Helen Kidwell, and Joanne McClelland.  Other visitors were Judy Culbertson from Collins, Laurie Primm and Hugh Abercrombie from Stockton, and Sandy & Debra Simaitis from Benton County.

Our school visitors this week was Patti Hutton’s 8th grade class from Weaubleau.  It was an honor to introduce them on the House Floor and I am grateful to Kory Garr, an intern in our office complex, who took them on a tour and to the top of the Capitol dome.

March 14, 2013.  Improving the Economy and Creating More Jobs in Missouri.  This week the Missouri House perfected and printed several pieces of legislation relating to economic development.  The Republican-led legislature continues to look at measures that will help our economy grow and provide more jobs for our fellow Missourians.

HB 409, which I sponsored and handled on the floor, was Perfected and passed.  The  bill in its original form specifiedthat the prevailing hourly rate of wages in third classification counties will be the median hourly estimated wage for the construction and extraction occupational code most closely resembling the occupational title as published in the latest United States Bureau of Labor Statistics by Metropolitan and Non-Metropolitan Area Occupational Employment Wage Estimate or, if the rate cannot be determined under that method, the prevailing hourly rate of wages will be the median hourly wage estimate for occupational code 47-0000 in the construction and extraction occupational code published in the latest United States Bureau of Labor Statistics publication. 

However, HB 409 ended up with three amendments added. The first amendment clarified that maintenance, such as painting or re-roofing, would be treated the same as new construction. The second amendment excluded several counties including Cass, Clay, Franklin, Lincoln, St. Charles, St. Louis and Jackson. The third amendment changed the statistics from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to the Missouri State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. This new proposal would allow wiser use of our tax dollars on public works projects. HB 409 will now go to the Senate and should be similar to Senator Parson’s SB 68.

Another bill that addressed Labor Reform was HB 64 sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison from Springfield.  This bill allows a labor organization to obtain a political contribution through an automatic payroll deduction if the employee or member consents to the contribution in writing annually. HB 64 was Third Read and Passed this week and will go to the Senate.

Also, Speaker Tim Jones has sponsored HB 457 which specifies that anyone providing medical services cannot be required to perform or participate in activities that violate his or her conscience or principles. HCS HB 457 was Third Read and Passed this week and will go to the Senate.

—In Our District This Week:

I presented the “Show-Me State Booklets” along with a little Missouri history and the way our state government works to the 5th grade students at Warsaw South Elementary.  Marla and I attended the Lowry City Christian School Fundraiser on Friday evening.  And on my way back to Jefferson City on Monday, I conferenced with City Manager Randy Pogue of Warsaw about several Public Work Projects they are currently working on.

I had my monthly radio interview with KAYQ and was able to pinch in a little time on Monday to travel to the Missouri National Guard Ike Skelton Training Center and ride an AS139 military helicopter.  These helicopters are smaller and less expensive than the Blackhawk.  They are ideal for Homeland Security and responding to natural disasters.  It was my first time to ride a chopper and I was surprised to get to ride in the co-pilot seat.

District Visitors by the Capitol office this week included Dr. Joseph Gialde, Director Tony Curtis, and Diane Kirchgassner from Twin Lakes Hospice in Clinton. John Carleton and Kristin Marema, father and daughter from Warsaw; and Anna Campbell, a Speech Pathologist from Clinton, and FFA members from Hermitage High School.

March 28, 2013.  As we approach Easter this weekend, my wish to all is that we Christians are grateful for Amendment 1 of our Constitution which allows all Christians the right to worship freely and celebrate the risen Savior Jesus Christ.

I began my first day of spring break last week by meeting Aaron Jeffries and Lynn Gilmore of the Missouri Conservation Department.  They guided Rep. Randy Pike of District 126 and I on a tour of the 3000 acre Wah-Kon-Tah Prairie in St. Clair and Cedar counties, just north of El Dorado Springs.  Prairie chickens are being re-established and we were able to see how this project is being managed. The Department of Conservation is hosting a “Discover Nature Family Paddlefish Snagging Clinic at the Warsaw Community Building in Warsaw, on April 13th, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.  For information or to register, call the Department’s Sedalia office at (660) 530-5500.

On Monday afternoon I attended a MoDOT meeting in Springfield and was updated on projects planned for our district in 2013.  The project to resurface and add two-foot shoulders to Route 7 between Tightwad and Warsaw is scheduled to begin April 8th, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation.  When the project begins, drivers can expect one-lane traffic where crews are set up working between Henry County Route PP in Tightwad and Route 65 in Warsaw.  The Department says the work will take place during daytime hours Monday through Friday, and that weather and/or construction delays may alter the work schedule.

On Tuesday evening, I attended a Benton County State of the Health meeting in Warsaw.  Several agencies presenting included Bothwell Hospital and Golden Valley who both have clinics in Warsaw, the Benton County Health Department, Katy Trails, Pathway, and Care Connection.  It’s very impressive to learn that the citizens in the Truman Lake area have access to excellent health care.

On my way back to the Capitol Monday, March 25th, I attended a “Discover More on Route 54” highway meeting.  Plans are moving forward on this project to develop tourism along this historic U.S. highway corridor.

The Missouri Constitution requires that the General Assembly submit and pass a budget.  Most of the legislation this week was devoted to passing another responsible, balanced budget, without Medicaid expansion.  Even in tough budget times we were able to find or keep money.  Just some of the programs include:  $2.4m increase for Bright Flight scholarships; $2.5m for Teaching programs in Urban Areas (Teach for America); cut $85k from Department of Revenue for scanning and retention of personal documents; $50k for WWI Memorial and Museum; $1/hour increase for Home and Community Based Services providers.                                                                                                

This week I presented my HB 542 on the House floor.  This bill will give consumers of eggs often sold at farmer and specialty markets confidence that they are safe and under the same health safety standards as current chicken eggs, with the exception that they are not graded to USDA standard sizes, grades, and weight classes that apply only to domesticated chicken eggs.  There is no fiscal impact to the Department of Agriculture.  The Chamber had a little fun and humor with this bill, as I found many members didn’t know what a guinea was.  While I was informing them, the Floor Leader called a “Point of Order” and I became confused and felt I was being reprimanded.  However, it turned out to be a planned, fun joke.  No food is allowed in the Chambers and someone had asked for an egg to be “planted” on the Speaker’s Dias to be removed. The whole chamber broke out in some much needed laughter.  The bill was passed and will now go to the Senate.

Visitors This Week: Voices of Benton County Youth Group, 4th grade class from El Dorado Springs Christian School, 4th grade class from Appleton City, Peggy Kenny and FFA members from Stockton and El Dorado Springs, FFA students from Appleton City, Lakeland, and Osceola schools also visited me this week.

April 4, 2013. This past week most of the bills passed in the House were Consent Bills.  We debated on the floor HB 578 which changes the laws regarding the collection of sales and use taxes relating to nexus with Missouri.  Several amendments were added and the bill was laid over.

I had the opportunity to meet with MoDOT and Division of Tourism representatives and discuss the “Discover More on Route 54” project.  We drafted HB 1017 that would designate Highway 54, all the way from the Mississippi River to the Kansas line, a named highway.  It would allow private donations and funding to pay for signs along the route which would increase awareness of the scenic route and encourage tourists to travel the route across Missouri.

Representative Wanda Brown of the 57th District and I met with City Aldermen from Osceola and the Mayor from Deepwater.  We discussed the PILT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) that the counties of St. Clair and Henry receive from the Federal Government which help off-set the loss of revenue on property taken off the tax rolls when Truman Lake went in.  Currently these payments go into the counties general revenue fund and the towns do not receive any monies, although they are responsible for mowing and upkeep on several hundred acres within their city limits that are owned by the Federal Government.

My visitors this week were Brie Menjoulet and Nancy Johnson from Hermitage.  They updated me on all the activities and projects that the University of Missouri Extension is doing in Hickory County.  Also visiting my Capitol office were Missouri Sheriffs Dean ‘Leon’ Dwerlkotte, Scott A. Keeler, and Ray Tipton.

April 15, 2013.  It’s great to watch springtime unfolding her beauty each day as the trees are leafing out and the new grass is beginning to grow.  It’s also great to be involved in our State Legislature beginning to work for the greater good of Missourians.

This past week I attended the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the Benton County Museum in Warsaw.  I “tip my hat” to all of the volunteers who helped acquire and relocate to a new building.  The displays are very well organized and should prove to be quite a tourist attraction.

On Monday, I did my monthly radio interview with KAYQ Radio.  We discussed Medicaid Expansion, Auto Use Tax issue, and 1 cent Sales Tax Proposal for Transportation.  At noon on Monday, I joined and rode with about fifty bicyclists on the Missouri Legislators Bicycle Ride.  We departed from the South lawn of the Capitol and rode north across the new Pat Jones Pedestrian/Bicycle Lane across the Missouri River to the Katy Trail. 

I was surprised to meet James Allen and his Retro Big Wheel bicycle.  James graduated from Weaubleau High School and we became friends while attending college at Warrensburg.  James has ridden his Big Wheel bicycle over 22,000 miles and is very active promoting bicycling all over the nation.  He has a brass plaque that confirms he has rode from San Francisco across country to the East Coast.  It was an honor to have him lead the ride.

—In Committee Work This Week

I introduced HB 1017 which designates and names U.S. Highway 54 the “Discover More on Route 54” Highway.  I also was called on to introduce HB 410, legislation I sponsored which changes the laws regarding the collection of sales and use taxes relating to nexus with Missouri.

—House Bills Recently Passed:

HB 787 - The ongoing saga of the new document-scanning policy use by the Missouri Department of Revenue took additional twists and turns this week. Our colleagues in the Senate learned that the Missouri Highway Patrol did in fact turn over a list to the federal government of more than 163,000 Missouri residents with concealed gun permits. This information came out after the department had said that no information collected from residents who obtain or renew a license, or have a concealed carry authorization added to their licenses, was being shared.

The more we learn the more worrisome this problem becomes. That is why I am glad the House stood together this week to pass legislation that will stop the department from sharing our personal information. The bill we approved will prevent the department from scanning and storing personal documents of Missourians who seek a driver's license or state identification card. It also requires that the department destroy all documents that have already been scanned.

At the end of the day, we want to make certain our private information remains private. By putting an end to this flawed policy, we can keep the personal information of Missouri citizens from falling into the hands of those who might misuse it. The bill now moves over to the Senate where it is sure to receive strong support.

HB 42 – Prohibits the state and all political subdivisions from adopting or implementing United Nations or international environmental and developmental policies that infringe or restrict private property rights without due process.

HB 533 – Specifies that the state shall not prohibit a state employee from keeping a firearm in his or her vehicle on state property as long as the vehicle is locked and the firearm is not visible.

HB 787 – Prohibits the Department of Revenue from retaining copies of source documents used to obtain driver's licenses and non-driver's licenses.

HB 168 - Allows an individual who is separating from the military to have resident student status for admission and tuition purposes at a public institution of higher education under specified circumstances

HB 316 - Extends the expiration date of the Division of Tourism Supplemental Revenue Fund from the year 2015 to 2020

SB 182 - Prohibits counties and municipalities from imposing a local use tax on the sale of motor vehicles, trailers, boats, or outboard motors. Local sales taxes must be imposed on the sale of these items, regardless of whether the item was purchased in Missouri

April 22, 2013. This past Friday I had the opportunity to attend the Region 6 Missouri Retired Teacher’s Regional meeting in Osceola.  I shared with them what bills had been brought up in the House Chamber.  Saturday Marla and I attended two fundraisers, one in Osceola and the other in El Dorado Springs.  These were to raise money for expenses incurred with medical costs.  Both events were well attended and show the strong support provided by friends, family church, and communities.

Monday began at the Boring Drug coffee caucus in Warsaw, then at noon I had a radio interview with KAYQ radio.  The main topic of discussion was about the Department of Revenue sending concealed carry permit names to the Federal government.

I also would like to share about Capitol Commission.  Each Tuesday morning at 7:00 a.m. for about 45 minutes, legislators gather in House Hearing Room 5 for a Bible study.  This study is led by Paul Meinsen, who is in the Capitol daily serving as a pastor to the legislators and staff. 

The Director of the Department of Revenue resigned this week after serving in this job only a few months.  The situation surrounding the department continues to become more complex as new information comes to light.  Despite repeated denials from department officials that sensitive information regarding holders of Conceal and Carry permits was not released to the federal government, there has been a U.S. government employee identified that was given the information on a computer disc.  The disc containing the data was apparently given to the employee by the Missouri Highway Patrol.  There have been conflicting reports from the employee’s superiors as to whether or not the information was viewed by anyone.

Protection of private information as it relates to Missouri’s citizens is a serious matter.  Several years ago the Legislature passed a law specifically requiring Missouri officials to put a higher priority on protecting privacy than complying with requests for information from the federal government.  There is a question of whether this law has been broken. 

—Protecting Your Second Amendment Rights

This week the House perfected and printed HB 436; the Second Amendment Preservation Act. This act sends a message to our federal government that Missourians’ right to bear arms will not be infringed. It would also makes the following changes: 

Military & Law Enforcement Officials are exempt from the provisions of this bill during the fulfillment of their lawful duties or while traveling to or from their places of employment or assignment.

  • Regarding Open Carry laws: In any jurisdiction that prohibits open carry, that prohibition is lifted if the person carrying has a valid concealed carry permit and that permit can be produced upon the request of any law enforcement officer.
  • Regarding School Safety: Any school district may designate one or more teachers or administrators as a School Protection Officer. In that voluntary position, the designee(s) may carry a concealed firearm but must meet the following stipulations: 1) they must already possess a valid concealed carry permit, 2) must complete approved training developed by the Missouri Department of Public Safety, 3) the firearm must be concealed on their person, 4) the school district must make the Department of Public Safety aware in writing of the identities of individuals designated as School Protection Officers. In the event that a School Protection Officer fails to keep their weapon concealed on their person, they will be removed from the classroom immediately and face grounds for termination.
  • Firearm Ownership Information: The fact that you own a firearm or have a permit to carry a concealed firearm is not public knowledge. In the event that a person or entity publishes that information, they are guilty of a misdemeanor.
  • Concealed Carry Age: The minimum age to obtain a concealed carry permit will be lowered to 19 years old.

HB 698 had to do with more tax credits than “Carter’s Got Pills.” There were so many amendments added, it ended up being the worst sausage making I’ve seen so far, so I voted No.

I also squeezed in two Senate Committee hearings.  One was my HB 542, Egg Bill” and the other was HB 409 which would allow several Missouri counties to opt out of paying prevailing wage on public work projects.

—Discover Nature at Youth Bow Fishing Clinic in Warsaw

The Missouri Department of Conservation invites youth to discover nature with a youth bow fishing clinic on May 4 at Harry S. Truman State Park in Warsaw.  This program is open to youth ages 10 to 17 with a parent or adult mentor.  The clinic will consist of classroom lessons followed by a field trip. Participants will learn the basics of bow fishing safety, equipment, fish identification, regulations and much more.  The clinic is free and lunch will be provided. Pre-registration is required by April 30 and is limited to 25 participants. To register, or for more information, contact MDC Outdoor Skills Specialist Brian Flowers at Brian.Flowers@mdc.mo.gov or (573) 815-7901, ext. 3388.

Several visitors this week representing health care were Donni Kuck and Deborah McKee from Pathways.Bryan Coffey from Sac-Osage Hospital; Craig Thompson from Golden Valley Medical Clinic; Scott Crouch from Citizens Memorial Hospital; Jana Witt from Cedar County Memorial Hospital; Glen Nelson and Associates from Bothwell Regional Clinic; and Sara Cooper Nunez, Jennifer Gundy and Cheryl Kauffman from On My Own. 

I also had the opportunity to visit with a group of Missouri Cattlemen from St. Clair, Bates, Polk, and Benton counties.

April 25, 2013.  My activities in the district began in Hickory County last week. It’s always great to begin the morning with breakfast at the Old Pool Hall Café in Hermitage, to visit with several of the regulars. It was also a highlight of the day to make a presentation to Mr. Chase Crawford’s 8th grade class at Wheatland School.

The weekend was filled with community fundraisers for benevolent and community projects. I started Saturday morning at the Tara Moore Biesemeyer Volleyball Tournament, then to the 2nd annual Heritage Days at the Shiloh Tabernacle. I always enjoy sharing history about the area and how the tabernacle got started.

Marla and I also attended the Keely M. Haynes Memorial service at the South School in Warsaw. It’s always tough to see a young 15 year old succumb to cancer, however it was a joy to see the school and community turn out in large numbers to join family and friends in a celebration of her life. Then we went to Cross Timbers for a supper and auction to support Jay & Donna Acheson’s medical costs. We finished the evening at the Benton County Historical Society Banquet. On Sunday we joined about 180 people at the McCarty Senior Center in Wheatland. Funds raised from this benefit go to support the Old Settler’s Museum in Wheatland. It’s very encouraging to see volunteers and concerned citizens coming out to support their friends, neighbors, and organizations.

HOUSE BILLS on the floor this week of special interest were:

HB 297 sponsored by my good friend Rep. Keith English. The bill will help reduce food stamp fraud. It requires the Department of Social Services to seek a waiver from the federal government to mandate the use of photo identification for continued eligibility in the food stamp program administered in this state. One year after approval from the federal government, the department must issue a photo identification card to each eligible household member who is 16 years old or older. Upon request, a person must present the photo identification card at issuance points, retail food stores, or meal services when exchanging benefits for eligible food.

HB 161 sponsored by Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger, has new laws on political subdivisions and local government. It passed through the House with an amendment that I was opposed to. I tried to get floor time to speak against the amendment, however was unable to do so. The section that concerned me had to do with 3rd class counties such as ours. It would authorize the county commission of any county to adopt regulations regarding building codes, including permit, license, and inspection fees, and to establish a building commission to prepare the regulations as specified under Sections 64.170 to 64.200, RSMo. Currently, only the county commission of a county of the first or second classification has this authority. A structure used solely for certain specified agricultural purposes is exempted from the building code regulations.

One of the reasons I ran for this office to be our voice in Jefferson City was to help stop unnecessary rules and regulations at the local level. This amendment appears to be just that. I have contacted several senators including our Senator Mike Parson, and asked them to remove this section. If you agree with me, please contact Senator Parson. I voted No on the bill.

Visitors This Week: Aaron Ash from El Dorado Springs visited as a representative of Sac-Osage Electric Co-Op. He was at the Capitol helping with the annual Rural Electric Co-Op Fish Fry. Karen Stokes, Hickory County Collector, Dr. Kathryn Findley from Edwards, and Misty Holland from Preston.

May 2, 2013.  We have only two weeks of session remaining and we are down to the short rows.

My In-District activity last week started by attending the 4th Friday Chamber of Commerce coffee at El Dorado Springs.  It was held at the Snodgrass Greenhouse which has been in business for over 60 years. It was hosted by new proprietors Frank and Ida Lambrecht who plan to continue the business.  They were honored by a ribbon cutting.  I then discussed several issues with El Dorado Springs City Manager, Bruce Rodgers.

My noon stop was attending the Osceola Chamber luncheon.  An update was given on the Sac-Osage Hospital.  Since I was unable to attend the ribbon cutting of the new Col. C.M. Pasley Memorial Pharmacy, I stopped in for a visit.  My “Hat’s Off” to Dale and Janet Pasley for continuing their support of this much needed service.

On Saturday, I joined about 100 others at a meeting hosted by Forrest Lucas at the Lucas Cattle Company in Cross Timbers.  Senator Mike Parson facilitated the meeting.  Representative Sandy Crawford and Representative Wanda Brown, along with Department of Agriculture Director Dr. Jon Hagler attended.  Some of the farm organizations attending included; Missouri Cattlemen, Missouri Pork Producers, Farmers Care, Missouri State University, and the Missouri State Fair Foundation.  The purpose of this meeting was to introduce “Protect The Harvest” which is a National organization that helps protect the “Right To Farm” without unreasonable rules and regulations from animal rights groups like HSUS and PETA.

On Monday our Agriculture Policy Committee toured the Veterinarian School, the Meat Laboratory, and the Vegetable & Crop Research Farm at the University of Missouri Columbia.

—Most of the Legislative Work done this week were Senate Bills and included:

SB 16 sponsored by Sen. Munzlinger which exempts farm work performed by children under 16 years old from certain child labor requirements.  I spoke in support of this legislation on the House floor after an attempt by an urban Representative to prevent farm children from working because of danger.  I began by sharing that as a small boy I was my daddy’s shadow and had my own farm operation started with two Duroc Gilt pigs when I was nine years old.  I talked about how we grew up hauling and stacking hay in barn lofts on hot, 100 degree July days; jumping out of the barn loft and washing the hay chaff off in a moss filled stock tank filled with cow slobbers and then rode on a flatbed wagon, racing back to the field for more hay because we believed in “The Right to Work.” We were hauling for 2 cents a bale, we knew the more we hauled the more money we made.  My point was that as young farm boys, we grew up with a solid work ethic vs. waiting to work until we were sixteen years old.  I also pointed out that this kept us from standing on street corners wearing baggy pants, getting tattoos, and getting into trouble.  The bill passed 113 to 40.

SB 106  requires public post-secondary institutions to accept credits for courses that the military awarded to personnel as part of their military training if the courses meet certain standards for academic credit. Members of the armed forces with health-related professional licenses or certificates that are in good standing when entering active duty will remain in good standing while on active duty. Renewal of these licenses or certificates while the member is on active duty shall occur without the payment of dues. Continuing education will also not be required if certain requirements are met. Service as a member of the armed forces, if satisfactory to the licensing board, may be applied towards qualifications to receive a license or certificate from a professional licensing board.  SB 106 passed 160-0 on a 100% bi-partisan vote.

Visitors This Week: Gary & Joyce Noakes from Lowry City; The Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission, who came by to discuss issues concerning solid waste districts and recycling; and for some fun and fellowship, the Annual Legislative Charity Softball Tournament was held this week. I put together a bi-partisan team sponsored by Farmers Care. My team’s t-shirt design was an elephant and a mule hitched to a plow driven by a rooster. Our team name was “The Rowdy Roosters.” We didn’t win any games, but we sure had a lot of fun!

May 13, 2013. On Friday morning of last week I dropped in on the Boring Drug Coffee Caucus in Warsaw. I then met with Board members of the Bothwell Regional Health Clinic. Before leaving Warsaw, I visited with a citizen of the Benton County Sewer District #1, and then drove to Osceola to discuss Department of Natural Resources issues with a business owner.

During the afternoon, I presented the Show-Me State booklets and discussed how our state government works to the 8th grade classes and Mr. Adam Collins High School Government class at Osceola public School.

—Budget Highlights

  • The budget contains the largest level of funding for K-12 education in the history of the state including a $66M increase in funding for the Foundation Formula.
  • $2.4 M increase for Bright Flight scholarships.
  • $1 M increase in Tourism Funding.
  • $8.9 M for developmentally disabled provider rate restructuring in Department of Mental Health.
  • $1.3 M for Occupational Therapy Program at a Missouri State University in Springfield.
  • $10 M for expanded medical school at the University of Missouri in cooperation with Springfield hospitals.
  • $25 M increase for four-year State Universities

Education Reform

We are finally in the home stretch of a very busy legislative session.  Prior to the 2013 session starting, our Speaker of the House, Tim Jones, explained that education reform was one of the three most important topics to him and we needed to be prepared to work diligently on this; and we most certainly have.
Last month we voted on House Bill 631 that dealt with teacher and principal evaluations, modifications to tenure and the downsizing method of last hired has to be the first one let go regardless of ability.  It did not pass.  This week we voted on Senate Bill 125, the Education Accountability Bill.  It came up for a vote Wednesday evening, I voted in favor of it, but it failed 76 to 82.
The final version of the bill that we voted on Wednesday evening would have required an evaluation system for school principals and some other administrators.  As part of the evaluation system, principals would have been evaluated annually and assigned one of four ratings: highly effective, effective, minimally effective or ineffective.  At least 33 percent of the evaluation would have focused on the academic achievement and growth of students. The evaluations also would have factored in confidential teacher surveys and input from parents. Under the bill, the evaluations would have begun in the 2014-15 academic year.
Another provision in the bill would have allowed the state to immediately takeover the Kansas City schools, which are currently unaccredited.  Current law requires state education officials to wait until June 30, 2014, before intervening.
The bottom line with the bill I voted for is that it was meant to ensure our schools are always working to get better.  It’s something most of our schools are doing already.  Simply adding an evaluation system would have done nothing more than give parents the opportunity to see where our schools are succeeding and where they can stand to improve.  And I will say again as I did with House Bill 631, the majority of jobs in the US require evaluations and it is not to attack the worker.  They are to improve the worker and the job and we all have room for improvement. 
It’s important to note that our Missouri State Board of Education actually approved a pilot project dealing with evaluations last year.  Also, the state's waiver for the federal “No Child Left Behind” law will require districts to have an evaluation process in place within several years.  This is forthcoming for everyone.  Passing this bill would not have hurt us in the 125th district, as the school lobby would like everyone to believe.  However, not passing and implementing it now is hurting those children in areas who are not as fortunate as us.
We have schools in Missouri that are unaccredited, and many that are provisionally accredited.  The schools are in Kansas City and St. Louis. We actually have high school students graduating who cannot read.  We need to do something to help these students. However, if we were to pass a bill limiting reforms to just the school districts who are failing, teachers and principals wouldn’t give them a second look.  They would apply for positions at schools with the easier standards.  It is wrong for us to say we are doing well in our own districts and refuse any and all changes.

My four children have a public education and graduated from Osceola Public Schools. They then continued their education and got degrees at Missouri colleges and universities.  All have received excellent educations and I brag on our school districts often.  But in the Missouri House of Representatives, I do not just get to vote on what affects our schools here.  As a legislator, I am making decisions that affect our entire state.  It is not just the kids in our schools that my votes affect; it is the children in all Missouri public schools.  I must vote my conscience, and for the greater good of all Missourians. 

On Thursday on my way home, I stopped at the annual “Friends of the NRA” banquet in Clinton.  About 150 people attended and showed support for our 2nd Amendment Rights. Approximately $10,000 was raised to help youth shooting programs such as the Boy Scouts.

May 17, 2013.  I spent some time in Appleton City last Friday discussing issues with Mayor Justin Stephan. The city has applied for a grant to help tear down some blighted and neglected properties. Saturday morning I attended a pancake/sausage breakfast in El Dorado Springs. The benefit was to support the Wayside Museum. While there, I visited with constituents and discussed some issues with City Manager, Bruce Rodgers. Then I attended the re-opening of my own home community volunteer Fire Department Building in Iconium. This building was severely damaged by fire on Labor Day weekend of 2012. My “Hat’s Off” to all of my Iconium neighbors who serve as volunteer fire fighters and helped get this building rebuilt. Marla and I spent the day Sunday with my mother-in-law. We had a wonderful dinner and fellowship with family and then did some yard work projects for her. We then returned home and I worked on some small projects for my wife. I sincerely hope everyone took some time to show love and appreciation for our mothers on their special day.

At the Capitol on Monday, we began the busy last week of legislative work. I was honored when my daughter Anna and son-in-law Gary Crusha, along with four granddaughters joined Marla and I at the Governor’s Yearly Barbeque.

Late Monday night I watched the Senate become embroiled in a filibuster over another measure HB 409, which I sponsored and handled in the House, and Senator Mike Parson handled in the Senate. The bill would have eliminated the state’s prevailing wage requirement for public works projects in rural Missouri. Under current law, “maintenance” work is not subject to the state’s prevailing wage rules. But a 2011 Missouri Supreme Court decision expanded the definition of “construction,” causing more projects to be subject to the wage requirement.

The bill that stalled Monday would define maintenance as routine, recurring and usual work that cannot exceed $75,000. Any work that does not meet those requirements would be subject to the prevailing wage. Democrats argue the measure would allow government entities to do construction projects without paying the wage requirement. The bill, which already passed the House, specifically exempts St. Louis, St. Charles, Warren, Lincoln, Franklin and Jefferson counties.

Labor unions strongly oppose the bills. St. Louis area State Senators participating in the filibuster included Scott Sifton, D-Affton; Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City; and Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors.

The filibuster continued until shortly after midnight, when backers of the bill agreed to drop it, in the wake of the pro-labor senator’s refusal to back down.

The Right to Farm” legislation was also passed this week. I tip my hat to Representative Bill Reiboldt, Rep. Jason Smith, and Senator Mike parson for moving this through the legislature. This will now go to a (statewide vote) of the people either at the next General Election or on a date called by Governor Nixon. If passed, the right to operate a farm or ranch in Missouri would be placed in the State Constitution. Due to out-of-state special interest groups working to disrupt our state’s number one industry, as well as a way of life and our heritage, this protection has become necessary. This issue has been worked on for several years so it was gratifying to see it through the process. Now all that remains is for it to pass the statewide vote.

HB 542 which I sponsored and became known as the “Egg Bill” turned into an Omnibus Farm Bill in the Senate. It became an “Egg Omelet” Bill and contained all of the priorities of the Agriculture Policy Committee, State Agriculture Department, University Missouri Extension, and State Farm Organizations. I was honored to handle this bill and it now goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

It has truly been a pleasure to serve as your voice in the 97th General Assembly. Our number one responsibility was to send a balanced budget to the Governor’s desk, and we have done that.

Although the 2013 Regular Legislative Session has ended, my office remains open all year to assist you with state related issues. My staff and I will be happy to help you in any way we can.

May 23, 2013.  My Fellow Missourians, My how time flew! The final curtain call of the 97thGeneral Assembly session came to an end at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 17, 2013.

—Session Highlights

The following is a list of truly agreed and finally passed bills that embody our dedication to reaffirming Missouri values and creating opportunities for citizens.

—Galvanizing Agriculture

     Agriculture is foundation of our state’s economy. This session we took several measures to empower our family farms and to continue growing Missouri as a hub of agricultural innovation. One such major piece of agricultural legislation is HJR 11 and HJR 7, or “Right to Farm.” This resolution forever guarantees the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices. There are organizations whose mission is to destroy agriculture in this state and every other. These groups would put in place environmental regulations and restrictions on the treatment of animals that would amount to a death sentence to Missouri’s top industry. The “Right to Farm” bill would protect farmers – and every consumer of agricultural products – from undue burdens. Because this is a change to the state Constitution, HJR 11 and 7 will be on the ballot this November. Unless modified by the Secretary of State, the language on the ballot will read:

“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?"

Another measure, SB 16 (Munzlinger, R-18), secures the right of minors to work on family farms. These family enterprises could not survive without kids’ help. Furthermore, taking an active role in keeping the family business alive teaches children responsibility and gives them a head start in entering the job market. That’s why employment on family farms should continue to be exempt from child labor laws. Governor Nixon has signed SB 16 into law.

—Making School Construction Affordable

HB 34 (Guernsey, R-2) changes the way that the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations determines the prevailing hourly rate of wages on public works projects. Currently, the prevailing wage for a given trade is based on voluntary surveys collected and submitted by contractors on a project. However, because these are voluntary, the information is often skewed towards the higher-end firms, increasing the prevailing wage for the entire area. This act puts in place a new system that determines the most common wage for a specific occupation statewide. This change will make construction on schools and other public works projects more affordable and will give taxpayers a much better value for their tax dollars.

My in-district work will continue throughout the year even though we are not in session. On Monday I discussed issues with the Hickory County Commissioners. The subject was the re-construction of the Highway 254 bridge, south of Hermitage, planned for 2014. We will try to get MoDOT to keep one lane open during the project of putting in a new floor so as to not require local residents in the south half of the county to travel so far to get to and from their county seat. This could result in a tremendous economic loss for the town of Hermitage. We also discussed the possibility of a Tri-County Enhanced 911 service made up of Cedar, Hickory, and St. Clair Counties. This emergency service would require a lot of planning, cooperation, and tax support from these three counties.

 I also met with our Southwest District MoDOT engineer and discussed the current pavement overlay roadwork being done in the Pittsburg area and the overlay being done on U. S. 54 Highway in Eastern Hickory County and between Nevada and El Dorado Springs. There is a possibility that bicycle lanes may be marked on the route between El Dorado Springs and Nevada. On Tuesday I traveled back to Jefferson City and met with a MoDOT representative about these same issues and then discussed with a staff member from the Attorney General’s office about a DNR issue and the urgency of getting a motel re-opened on 13 Highway in Osceola.

Although the 2013 Regular Legislative Session has ended, my office remains open all year to assist you with state related issues. My staff and I will be happy to help you in any way we can.

PRESS RELEASE - June 3, 2013.  

REPRESENTATIVE WARREN D. LOVE HONORED WITH “FRESHMAN LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD”

Missouri State Representative Warren D. Love was honored with the “Freshman Legislator of the Year Award” on Agriculture Issues.

Speaker of the House Tim Jones stated: “I firmly believe actions speak louder than words and as an elected official, those actions are crucial to the well-being of our constituents. I commend Rep. Love on his actions regarding Agriculture Issues, showing first hand that his actions demonstrate leadership for the people of his district and the State of Missouri. It was through his role on the Agriculture Policy Committee that helped promote legislation on revising the chicken shell eggs to include eggs from Duck, Goose, Turkey, and Quinoa to meet the same health standards as currently required for Chicken eggs. This bill became known as the “Egg Bill” on the House side of the Capitol; however once it reached the Senate side it became known as the Ag Omnibus Bill. While on the Senate side several more Ag Policy Committee and State Ag Department priorities got added to it.” 

After having the opportunity to handle House Bill 542, which ended up being an “Egg Omelet Bill” and sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature, I am looking forward to the 2014 legislative session. I also want to extend thanks to the University of Missouri Extension, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Various Farm Organizations, and all of the Representatives and Senators who helped and supported in the efforts of getting this Legislation passed.

June 23, 2013. A little over a month has gone by since the 2013 Legislative session came to a close with a flurry of activity. The General Assembly Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed 164 bills.  Governor Nixon has signed several bills into law and has vetoed several also. The Governor has until July 14th to make his final decisions. Then the Legislature will convene again on September 14th in what is known as Veto Session to decide if there are any Bills they want to over-ride. An over-ride requires a 2/3 majority in both legislative chambers; 23 votes in the Senate and 109 in the House of Representatives. Republicans hold a veto-proof majority in both Chambers.

Most of my constituent work has been devoted to personal inquiries about various issues. I’ve been able to meet with Benton, Hickory, and St. Clair County Commissioners and discuss local issues and concerns.

One of the most talked about concerns is the appearance of Thistles in and around the District. I have contacted our University Extension, Conservation, and Missouri Highway Departments to ask for advice. The following are some highlights from each Department: 

According to Aaron Jefferies from the Conservation Department, “I'm sure last year's drought took its toll on pasture and grasslands in west-central Missouri.  As a result, thistles had ideal conditions to germinate last fall.  Landowners noticing an increase in pasture thistles should first check the flower heads for thistle weevils, as the weevil will control most thistles.  Herbicide treatments are effective before the plants flower.  Let me stress "before the plants flower.”  Plants sprayed after flower may appear dead, but often still produce viable seed.   Mowing is generally ineffective because the plants still produce flowers and viable seed. The University of Missouri Extension has an excellent publication on thistle control.  Please see http://extension.missouri.edu/p/ipm1010 for additional information.”

According to Andy Mueller, P.E. Assistant District Engineer, Operations Southwest District with MoDOT“State law requires noxious weeds to be controlled. In Missouri, twelve weeds are currently identified as noxious: Johnson Grass, Purple Loosestrife, Field Bindweed, Multiflora Rose, Marijuana, Musk Thistles, Scotch Thistles, Canada Thistles, Kudzu, Common Teasel, Cut-leaf Teasel and Spotted Knapweed.

Why:

1.  Noxious weeds are required by state law to be controlled.

2.  Noxious weeds are competitive with desirable vegetation and may spread to adjacent properties. 

The three primary Thistles are Musk, Scotch and Canada Thistles.  

MoDOT makes every effort to control these undesirable plants on our rights-of-way, while performing a delicate balancing act between effective vegetation management, responsible environmental stewardship, and providing a safe and reliable transportation system to all Missourians within the financial limits that we face. 
Since January 1, 2013 MoDOT's Southwest District has spent approximately $100,000.00 for herbicides, labor, and equipment to treat 4893 acres of right-of-way for noxious weeds.  In our region we make every effort to treat thistles, teasel and spotted knapweed between November 15th and March 31st each year since that is the time of year the plant is most susceptible to herbicides.  Acres treated at this time of year can be treated for 40% of the cost that they can be treated during the rest of the year, but with a higher success rate. 
During the summer months we balance our efforts between spraying, mowing and performing surface roadway work. We also take advantage of biological control during the summer months.  Biological control refers to allowing specific insects to reproduce and eat the flowers during the flowering time period.  These insects are abundant in most areas of the district and help reduce the amount of viable seed.  Cutting and/or killing thistles at this time of year can reduce the insect populations, which are useful, especially in areas difficult to reach with spray equipment.  These strategies coincide with the guidance of the University of Missouri Extension, and they are consistent with MoDOT's values by making the very best use of every dollar spent. 
Of course, every Missouri landowner must do his or her part to truly be successful at controlling these troublesome plants.  Even in the areas where we are most diligent in the control of thistles, neighboring property owners who do not address the problem prevent the elimination of these and other noxious weeds. 
The last couple of years of extremely dry conditions have also diminished the competition of desirable grasses and forbs. Noxious weeds are better at repopulating themselves in these areas of sparse vegetation than the desirable species. That is why they have reached the "noxious" status.

Another summer activity soon to happen are the County Youth Fairs. Our youth have worked hard on their projects and will soon be showing them to the public. I encourage everyone to check with your local newspapers for Fair schedules and get out and support our youth. I also want to say: “Hat’s Off” to all of the volunteers & businesses who work hard and support putting the Fairs on.

September 9, 2013.  The summer of 2013 has flown by. My in-district activities have included constituent work and attending fairs, community fundraisers and chamber meetings. Most recently I’ve been posting the Missouri flag by riding my horse in community parades. I’ve also visited with County Commissioners, School Boards and Superintendents. 

As many of you know, the legislature will convene for a constitutionally required veto session on September 11.  In order for a veto to be overridden the bill must return to the chamber of origin (bills that originated in the House must first be brought up for an override in the House, and Senate bills in the Senate), and must pass that chamber with an affirmative vote of 2/3 of the members in the body, and then must go through the same process in the other chamber.  In the House, 109 votes are required, and in the Senate, 23 votes are required.  It just so happens that we have a Democrat Governor, 109 Republican House members, and 24 Republican Senate members.  This is the first time in the history of this state that we have had a scenario such as this. 

Many of you are aware that Governor Nixon vetoed 29 Bills, plus three items in three budget bills that were passed in the 2013 legislative session. One of the most discussed bills is HB 253 which: “Changes the laws regarding the streamlined sales and use tax agreement, tax amnesty, the community development district tax, income tax, sales and use taxes, use tax nexus, and the transportation development tax. This bill passed the House 103 to 51 and the Senate 24 to 9.

HB 253 which Nixon vetoed, covers several areas of business and personal income tax as well as sales and use taxes. It also calls for the state to support a measure designed to increase collection of sales tax by web and catalog retailers. The multi-state Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, under which 24 states have agreed to modify sales tax laws, in makes it easier for retailers to collect taxes across the states.

Nixon has not objected to supporting the Streamlined Sales Tax Agreement. In fact, he has already included anticipated revenue from it in his fiscal year 2014 state budget proposal, his spokesman says, without specifying the revenue amount. In the governor’s veto message for HB 253, Nixon doesn’t mention the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, also known as the SST. Nor does he mention a provision in the bill calling for the state to require Internet retailers to collect tax if they get business from Missouri-based affiliate web sites—a provision known as a nexus use tax, but commonly known in other states as the “Amazon tax,” so-named because its biggest effect would be on Amazon.com, the world’s largest retailer by web sales.

Governor Nixon also strongly objected to a provision in the bill that calls for a 0.5% cut in the state’s maximum income tax rates coinciding with enactment of the Federal Marketplace Fairness Act. He contends that the 0.5% cut would amount to a loss in state revenue of $300 million per year. The Marketplace Fairness Act, which was passed by the U.S. Senate in March with a vote of 69-27.  If passed by the U.S. House and signed into law, the act would restore states’ sovereign rights to mandate sales tax collections by internet and catalog retailers.  Under current federal laws, states can mandate sales tax collections only on retailers with a physical in-state presence like brick and mortar stores or distribution centers.

Governor Nixon adds that the Marketplace Fairness Act provision would allow taxpayers to apply for the 0.5% tax reduction for three prior years, resulting in as much as an additional $900 million in lost tax revenue. Although Nixon notes that the Marketplace Fairness Act would also be expected to generate new revenue from sales tax collection, he contends that any additional revenue would not come until a year or so after the federal law was enacted, leaving the state to realize immediate cuts in tax revenue that would hit education and other “vital public services.”

A study from the University of Missouri found that Missouri could lose $1.78 billion in sales tax revenue between 2010 and 2014 if it doesn’t require more online and catalog retailers to begin collecting sales tax. The study also recommended that the state join the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, which enable states to begin receiving revenue from the more than 1,400 retailers that have voluntarily begun collecting sales tax in SST member states even without a new federal law. Without enacting HB 253, the governor’s office did not say how or when it expects the state to join the SST and generate additional revenue for the 2014 fiscal year budget.

In my opinion, it is just a matter of time that the United States Congress will approve and allow the individual states that have adopted the Stream Line Sales Tax Agreement to collect this revenue. Many people see this as a tax increase, however it is really a collection issue. But reality is that it will not happen this year and in all probability not in 2014, because 2014 is an election year. However Missouri needs to be prepared to collect this when it does go into effect. That’s what this Tax Reform Bill is really all about. The opposition is touting that the state could potentially lose $1.2 billion in tax revenue due to this bill, yet for this to happen, all five of the following bullet points would have to happen first.

• The Marketplace Fairness Act would have to pass Congress and be signed into law by the President.  We all know how Congress is functioning at this point in time. This will  not happen until at least 2015.  

• Our Department of Revenue would have to issue an Emergency Rule changing the rate and tax tables AND allow taxpayers to seek refunds for the previous three years.  They would also have to file a concurrent Proposed Rule that would be subject to review by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which has the power to review rules that are not consistent with our Constitution or statutes.  This maneuver to apply a retroactive income tax rate to amended returns would be a violation of Article 1 Section 13 of the Missouri Constitution, which specifically states that no ex post facto law can be enacted.  The Governor’s office disagrees, however keep in mind he is the opposition to this bill; and,
• All 2.8 million Missouri taxpayers must file amended returns for the previous three years; and
• The Department of Revenue would need to process all 11.2 million returns that first year when they typically process 2.8 million a year; and
• The $1.2 billion loss is assuming Missouri would not collect any additional revenue from the sales and use taxes on sales made to Missouri AND that the money each Missourian would be getting in their tax cut would be stuck in a drawer and not spent (circulated back into our economy).
  The facts are clear – Missouri is shrinking.  A glaring reminder is that we lost a congressional seat in the 2010 census.  Another fact - Missouri ranks 48th in economic growth over the past decade.  We need to stop the scare tactics with education and government services…..our focus should be on growing Missouri.

This is what HB 253 actually does:

1. Reduces the individual tax rate in our state, for people making over $9,000, from 6% to 5.5%, by reducing the rate by .05% per year for 10 years.

2. Creates a new exemption of $1,000 for individuals making less than $20,000 per year, or for couples filing jointly making less than $40,000 per year.  Essentially, this is a standard deduction, so if one makes $19,000 per year, this exemption would reduce the amount on which one is taxed to $18,000, saving the citizen $60 in state income taxes.

3. Creates a 50% business income exemption, phased in at 10% per year, over 5 years, for businesses that are not incorporated, and are therefore taxed at the individual income tax rate as opposed to the corporate tax rate.  This would include Sole Proprietors, LLC’s and S Corps, which are the most common forms of organization for small businesses.  To give an example of what the 50% exemption at 10% per means, assume a business pays taxes on $100,000 per year.  After year one, the business will receive a 10% exemption, meaning they will only be taxed on 90% of their income; therefore the taxable income for this imaginary business in year one would be $90,000.  In year two, they would be eligible for a 20% exemption, meaning they will be taxed on $80,000, and so on, until year five, at which point they would be eligible for a 50% exemption, and would therefore be taxed on $50,000.  At this point, the phase in is complete, and the business will be taxed on $50,000 perpetually, assuming their gross taxable income on their state return remains at $100,000.  In this scenario, the company would have originally been paying $315 on the first $9,000 of income, and 6% on the remaining $91,000, which is $5775.  Once the cut is fully phased in, this business would pay $315 on the first $9,000 of income, and 5.5% on the remaining $41,000 of income, which is $2,570.  So this imaginary business would save $3,205 on their state tax bill. 

4. Reduces the corporate tax rate from 6.25% to 3.25%, by reducing the rate by .3% per year for 10 years.

5. Reduces the personal income tax rate by an additional .5% in the event that Congress passes, and the President signs the Federal Marketplace Fairness Act (FMFA), or similar legislation, allowing states to collect sales taxes on internet sales that occur between buyers within the state, and sellers outside the state.

The absolute fastest that HB 253 can be fully phased in is 10 years.  The only way it that can be achieved is if the state realizes an increase in revenue of at least $100 million, in 10 CONSECUTIVE years. When considering state revenues today, versus state revenues once the bill is fully phased in, an overall INCREASE in revenue of $200 million is the absolute minimum outcome that could be had.  Also, understand that if revenue increases by $100 million next year, and then the year after that it decreases by $200 million, then phase two of the rate cuts would not go into effect.  For phase two to go into effect in year three, revenue would have to increase, not just by the $200 million that was lost, but an additional $100 million, for a total of $300 million, in order to eclipse the high water mark for collections over the previous three years. After studying Missouri’s tax collections over the last twenty years, it is more likely HB 253 will take fifteen years or more to be fully implemented.

In summary, this is truly a Compromise Bill based on a roll back only when $100 million of new revenue comes in each year over a 10-year period. Other states have proven that a reduced tax burden is the key to a vibrant economy and in making the state a place where businesses want to start and/or move.  I urge you to do your homework.  Research the states that have proven tax cuts that grow the economy, such as Indiana, Texas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. I voted in support of all 29 Bills that the Governor vetoed in Regular Session. I plan to uphold those votes in Veto Session next week for the Greater Good of Missourians.

September 16, 2013.  The Missouri General Assembly had a historic veto session this year. When the dust finally settled we overrode a record number of vetoed bills—ten in total. A look back at the history of Missouri only goes to further illustrate the significance of overriding ten vetoes. In fact, from 1855 till 1976 there were no vetoes overridden. And since 1976 until this year there have been only eight overridden vetoes. Governor Nixon is, in fact, the most overridden governor in the history of Missouri. No small feat considering Missouri was founded as a state in 1821 and has had a total of fifty-five governors.

Gov. Nixon made the decision in June to withhold more than $400 million from the state budget approved by lawmakers, even though the funds were available as Missouri ended its fiscal year with a surplus. This figure included $66.4 million in funding for K-12 education, $33.7 million for higher education, $45.7 million for Medicaid provider rate increases and mental health services. This past Thursday he released those funds while still withholding $185 million that was part of HB 19, an appropriations bill that was to be used for maintenance and repairs on state buildings. The surplus funds still remain in limbo as the governor continues to play games with the operating budget.

Overview of 5 of the 10 Vetoed Bills These pieces of legislation will go into effect and become Missouri Law in 30 days:

HB 19 (Appropriations Bill) We overrode the governor’s line item veto in HB 19 to authorize the appropriation of $1 million for the reconstruction of the Pike-Lincoln Technical Center in Northeast Missouri that was gutted by a fire in 2011. The facility provides critical vocational-technical services to the young people and adults who are trying to obtain the skills necessary to land the jobs of today and tomorrow. While the facility was insured, it does not have the financial resources to repair and construct facilities to serve the needs of the many people in the area who want vo-tech training. Specifically, the bill will help provide the additional funding to equip the building with computers and to make it accessible to people with disabilities. We believe in training our young people for the jobs they will need to sustain and support a family and for that reason we overrode the governor’s veto in a bipartisan fashion to appropriate this money for an extremely worthy cause.

HB278 (Federal Holidays Bill) The legislature came together to stand in defense of our rights to publicly celebrate federal holidays such as Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas by overriding the governor’s veto of HB 278. It’s unfortunate that we have reached the point where legislation is necessary to protect these rights, but we have seen in recent years a continued assault on the public celebration of Christmas and other holidays. In fact, some parents have dealt with situations where their children are prohibited from singing Christmas carols at school. We passed HB 278 during the regular session to defend our rights to celebrate these holidays openly. The bill makes it clear that any state or local governmental entity, public building, park, school, or public setting or place is not allowed to ban or restrict the practice, mention, celebration, or discussion of any federal holiday. It is a change to our state statutes that would protect everyone’s right to practice a federally deemed holiday in a public place.

HB 339 (Auto Insurance Reform Bill) By overriding the veto on HB 339 we sent a strong message to Missourians that they should abide by our laws and obtain automobile insurance before getting behind the wheel. Right now we know some 22 percent of Missouri drivers are uninsured. Under this bill, drivers who lack insurance will give up their ability to sue and collect for non-economic damages in an accident that involves an insured driver even if the insured driver is at fault.

HB650 (Tort Reform Bill) We overrode the governor’s veto of HB 650 to protect more than 1,500 family-supporting jobs right here in Missouri. Right now the Doe Run Company is exposed to heavy liability because of a large number of lawsuits that were filed in 2005 before a law capping punitive damages in all lawsuits took effect. Keep in mind, the company did not mine the property it currently owns, which ceased mining activity prior to 1975, and instead inherited this problem.
The bill we approved bars awards of punitive damages related to property where mining ceased before 1975 if the owner can show "good faith" efforts to clean it up. It also caps punitive damage awards at $2.5 million. By protecting this important Missouri business we can save vital jobs that would otherwise be lost and preserve a company that supplies the majority of lead in the United States. Doe Run has worked in good faith to remediate this issue since it obtained the property in 1994.
Agriculture Omnibus Bill (SB 9) The legislature overrode the governor’s veto on a bill that protects our state’s number one industry – agriculture. The animal trespass portion of this bill provides a much-needed correction to the current animal abuse and neglect law. Currently under Missouri law, a livestock owner can receive a hefty fine or even imprisonment because their livestock got out of their confines just one time. It doesn’t matter if the animal is out for 12 hours or 10 minutes. Animal abuse and neglect should not be taken lightly, but we need to ensure that the law does not make criminals out of farmers and ranchers that have animals break through a fence due to fallen trees, fences cut by hunters, gates left open, or an out-of-control motor vehicle. The bill we passed will give livestock owners a reasonable amount of time to get their animals back under control and allow the state to avoid needlessly punishing responsible animal owners.

In addition, the bill places harsher penalties on cattle rustling and cattle theft. This is not at all the same as stealing an object. It is even more than stealing someone’s livelihood. Stealing cattle is animal abuse at its worst. Instead of criminalizing stockmen for cattle getting out because a tree fell or a creek bed went dry, let’s punish people who have no regard for animal care or for the livelihood of Missouri’s farmers and ranchers. If a cattle rustler is facing a felony instead of a misdemeanor and looking at 5 to 15 years in prison, they might think twice before dragging a $300.00 newborn calf under a fence or backing a stock trailer up to a corral and loading 20 head of $800.00 a head feeder calves.

In addition, the governor vetoed SB 9 in part because of his concerns with a provision regarding foreign ownership of Missouri agricultural land. Right now our state prohibits foreign ownership of farmland due to a law passed in 1977. However, since 1977 we have seen about 7/10 of one percent of Missouri farmland owned by those from outside our country. This is due to them finding a way around our current law. SB 9 is meant to grandfather in some of the foreign individuals and entities who already own Missouri land and have been responsible and productive in doing so. It also gives some teeth to our laws on this issue by giving the Director of Agriculture some say in future purchases of our land, and by putting a cap of one percent on agriculture land in Missouri.
Volunteer Health Services Act (SB129) By overriding the governor’s veto of SB 129 and placing the bill into law, we will eliminate an enormous barrier that has prevented many health care professionals from volunteering their services in times of need. The threat of litigation and the need for expensive medical malpractice insurance have prevented many capable health care professionals from providing their services during emergencies. This bill is designed to ensure Missourians continue to receive quality care, and that health care practitioners are not subjected to overly burdensome regulations or frivolous litigation.
The bill will exempt a volunteer health care provider from civil liability unless they exhibit gross negligence or willful misconduct in providing their services. The bill also will allow health care professionals to provide services within their scope of practice without the need for additional licensing or certification.

The legislature fell short in its efforts to override the governor’s veto of HB 253, the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, Tax Amnesty, Community Development District Tax, Income and Corporate Tax Reform bill and HB 436 the Second Amendment Preservation Act, but the House and Senate were able to put several other bills of substance on the path to becoming law. Three of those bills have to do with Tort Reform and were strongly opposed by all of the trial attorneys that are in the Legislature. It is very obvious that trial attorneys stick together like glue [regardless of which political party they belong to] when it comes to limiting their ability to file law suits for unreasonable settlements.  

The General Assembly is now adjourned until we reconvene for Regular Session on January 8, 2014.  I expect when we come back there will be another attempt to pass some sort of tax cut bill and probably another go at making certain that Missouri’s citizens get to keep their Second Amendment Rights without fear of them being trampled by the Federal Government.  If you have questions, suggestions, or advice I look forward to hearing from you.

December 9, 2013. It was a big surprise to get called into a Special Legislative Session by Governor Nixon this past week.  Especially between the traditional holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

However, the Boeing Company, a manufacturer of Aerospace equipment, made the announcement that it plans to re-locate the production of a 777x commercial airplane.  The reason given was that the unions could not reach an agreement with Boeing in the state of Washington.  Therefore, they are looking to move to another state.  This created an opportunity for Missouri’s job growth.

Missouri lawmakers approved a $1.7 Billion tax incentive package aimed at bringing job growth to the state. During the special session called by Governor Nixon, the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved SB 1 offering specific tax incentives to the aerospace industry. This was in response to Boeing announcing they are looking to move production of their 777x airplane out of Seattle. Even though Washington state offered $9 billion in tax incentives to Boeing, their unions refused to make concessions, forcing the company to look elsewhere for a more business and cost friendly environment.

Missouri’s incentive package offers up to $150 million per year for 10 years to aerospace companies who create new jobs in Missouri. The Bill is also contingent upon Boeing creating at least 2,000 jobs in the state by June 20, 2014. Average pay for these jobs is reportedly $75,000 per year. Boeing already has a formidable workforce within the state, providing over 15,000 jobs. Other states being seriously considered are Alabama and South Carolina, both right-to-work states, with existing Boeing production locations. Boeing will reportedly make a decision regarding moving production of the 777x in January 2014.

I also want to thank all the concerned citizens who came and supported my seven “Listening Post Meetings” during the month of November.  To date, we have collected about 100 “District 125 Survey Questionnaires.”  The survey has seventeen questions that will apply to future legislation in 2014.  

As we approach the holiday season, I want to wish everyone a joyful Christmas and great, prosperous New Year!

CAPITOL REPORT - December 19, 2013 My, my, how time flies by!  We are fast approaching the final curtain call on 2013.  For the past two months I have been holding Listening Post Meetings and encouraging concerned citizens to answer a 17 question survey on the issues that I expect to come up during the 2014 Legislative Session.

The following is a condensed version of the survey questions returned by 100 constituents throughout District 125

1.  Do you support keeping term limits for state legislators at the maximum combined total of 16 years, but allowing any combination of years served in the Missouri House and/or Senate up to 16 years total?

Yes  63 No  35  Undecided  2

2.  Would you be in favor of the Director of Agriculture being an elected position to be able to serve two 4-year terms?

Yes  48 No  37 Undecided  13

3.  Do you believe a better way to help pay for roads and bridges is with a dedicated state sales tax rather than a higher state fuel tax?                          

Yes  57   No  25 Undecided  12

4.  Do you favor Missouri adopting the Medicaid Expansion for Health Care? 

    Yes  24 No  55 Undecided  16

    5.  Would you be in favor of adopting Daylight Savings time year round?

      Yes  56 No  35 Undecided  6

      6.  If a company has no brick & mortar store or warehouse in the state of Missouri, they are not required by Federal law to collect our state sales tax.  Do you think that this tax needs to be collected and sent to our Department of Revenue? 

        Yes  54 No  36 Undecided  9

        7.  Would you favor all public works projects in 3rd class counties to opt out of having to pay the state prevailing wage, which is usually based on the Kansas City/St. Louis pay scale?

        Yes  78 No  17 Undecided  4

        8.  Would you be in favor of Missouri becoming a “Right to Work” state?

          Yes  81 No  12  Undecided  6

          9.   Do you favor a photo I.D. to vote?

            Yes  80 No  13 Undecided  5

            10.  Do you favor a photo I.D. on food stamp cards to help reduce fraud?

              Yes  93 No   5 Undecided   1

              11.  Would you be in favor of school district lines to be redrawn to help reduce transportation costs?

                Yes  61 No  20 Undecided  17

                12.  Do you feel that a military veteran who has been taught how to use a firearm should be required to attend a hunter safety course in order to purchase a hunting license to hunt?

                  Yes  28 No  67 Undecided  2

                  13.  Currently, an owner of farm land in Missouri who lives out of state due to work, must purchase an out of state deer tag to hunt on his or her own land.  Do you agree?

                    Yes  16 No  78 Undecided  5

                    14.  Are you in favor of allowing voters to have building codes in 3rd class counties?

                      Yes  36 No  47 Undecided  13

                      15.    In 2014, the Missouri General Assembly will again consider legislation that would reinstate the $350,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.  Do you favor?

                        Yes  67 No  17 Undecided  16

                        16.    Would you be in favor of changing the date that the primary elections occur to Tuesday after the first Monday in June in order to have a longer time period between the Primary and General Elections?

                          Yes  11 No  23 Undecided  5

                          17.   Would you be in favor of not allowing schools to start until Tuesday following Labor Day?

                            Yes  19 No  14 Undecided  6


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