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  • 1. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 1 of 71 Experts: When census is finished, Missouri likely to retain nine congressional seats Monday, June 21, 2010 By Alaina Busch ~ Southeast Missourian State experts predict Missouri will retain its nine Congressional seats, but the count will be close. Enumerators will wrap up the door-knocking portion of the census in late July, said Lori Simms, spokeswoman for the Missouri Office of Administration. She said there is a final push to make sure everyone is counted because the difference could mean the loss of federal funds or Congressional representation. "The most recent estimates were projected that Missouri would retain the seat but it would be a narrow margin," Simms said. She said the state also receives about $1,300 in federal funds for every person counted. A phone line will be open until July 10 for people who have questions, did not receive their census or have not been visited by an enumerator. The mail-back rate statewide came in at 73 percent, 1 percent ahead of 2000, Simms said. She said there was less participation in the counties south of Interstate 70. However, a couple of Southeast Missouri counties increased response numbers. Perry and Ste. Genevieve counties reached an 82 percent participation rate as of April 27, before the door-to-door phase. Cape Girardeau County's participation rate was 69 percent, even with 2000 participation levels. Stoddard and Bollinger counties had lagging participation rates as of late April. In Bollinger County the participation rate was 59 percent, compared to 67 percent in 2000. "We're winding down but we're still out in the field," said Sydnee Chattin-Reynolds, deputy regional director in Kansas City, Mo. The office monitors census efforts in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Oklahoma. She said Missouri's one percent increase in the mail-back rate was significant. "The more people that mail it in, the less we have to go into the field," she said. In more rural areas like Southeast Missouri, she said census workers depend more on local efforts to prepare for the count. "The census is a community census," she said. Real estate agent Thomas M. Meyer chaired Cape Girardeau's complete count committee. He said the group of about 20 community leaders made contact with community organizations. Committee members also went door-to-door promoting the census, he said. "It preceded the census workers themselves, so they were welcomed," he said. He said his office also has received more calls to check on vacant properties. "I feel that we're going to come in higher than we did in 2000," he said. For census questions, call 866-872-6868. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 2. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 2 of 71 Some companies win, some lose in tax breaks David A. Lieb • Associated Press • June 21, 2010 Jefferson City -- While asserting new tax breaks are urgently needed for Ford Motor Co., Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is delaying tax credits that could help finance tens of millions of dollars of development projects. Nixon's two-sided approach to tax incentives came to light this past week. He first announced he was cutting $47 million from Missouri's existing portfolio of tax credits. Then Nixon announced he was calling a special legislative session to approve up to $150 million of new tax breaks over the next decade for Ford and other manufacturers. While some companies will win, others may lose. That has led to political sniping in the capital city. And it has left some would-be developers confused, frustrated and even near tears. The raw emotions were on display this past week at a meeting of the Missouri Housing Development Commission, one of the first entities affected by Nixon's tax-credit freeze. The commission oversees a state agency that functions like a bank, providing financing for housing projects for low- and middle-income income residents through tax-free bonds and tax credits. Most of its 10 members are appointed by the governor. But the governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer and attorney general also are members of the commission. Over the past couple months, the housing commission has canceled or pared back its meeting agendas to avoid voting on tens of millions of dollars of tax credits for more than a dozen proposed housing developments in St. Louis, Kansas City and St. Joseph. An e-mail obtained by The Associated Press shows the delay comes at the behest of Nixon's administration. Nixon's liaison to the housing agency, Rex Burlison, sent a May 6 e-mail to State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, then the chairman of the commission, asking him to postpone meetings until a replacement can be chosen for executive director for Pete Ramsel, who resigned March 1. Zweifel then canceled a May 21 meeting at which tax credit applicants had been expecting a decision. After Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder threatened to force a meeting through a procedural maneuver, the housing commission ultimately met May 26. But the tax credits were not on the agenda. The commission met again last Wednesday to approve a budget, but again left the pending tax credit applications off the agenda. New chairman Jeffrey Bay, a Kansas City attorney and recent Nixon appointee, said he wasn't comfortable considering projects without an executive director who could conduct a thorough review of applications. But few people seem to believe the executive director vacancy is the only -- or even primary -- reason for the tax-credit delay. "My understanding is (Nixon) has some concerns about tax credit programs across the state and wants to take a close look at those before they move forward," Zweifel said. At last week's meeting, Kinder called the lack of an executive director a "flimsy" and "bogus" reason not to consider a financing revision needed for a St. Louis project that had been approved in February. Kinder, a likely challenger to Nixon in the 2012 elections, accused the governor of a strategy of delaying "until the developers are brought to their knees." Burlison, in turn, accused Kinder of "shilling for" a St. Louis project being developed by Paul McKee, a contributor to Kinder's campaign committee. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 3. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 3 of 71 In the audience sat some sad-faced, tax-credit applicants. Francie Broderick, the executive director of Places for People in St. Louis, was near tears as the commission quit without taking action on her proposal to renovate a building into 23 apartments for people with mental illnesses. "It's a project that's desperately needed," she said. "We've invested money in putting the plans together for it, and we need to know because we have people who need housing immediately." Kansas City area developer Tony Krsnich, of the Landmark Investment Group, was equally frustrated. He's seeking tax credits to renovate an old hotel into 40 apartments for people age 55 and older. While the state delays, the summer construction season slowly passes by. "Without this MHDC piece, my project -- and every project that's being talked about -- is dead," Krsnich said. He added: "What this would mean to the economy is quality, affordable housing and jobs today." Nixon also is focused on jobs -- in particular the 3,700 that exist at Ford's assembly plant near Kansas City. He says new tax incentives are essential if Missouri wants to entice Ford to produce its next-generation of vehicles there. The low-income housing tax credits, meanwhile, are not necessarily the most efficient means of economic development. A 2008 state audit determined that for every $1 of tax credits -- which typically are sold by recipients -- just 35 cents goes toward actually building the housing. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 4. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 4 of 71 Shoemyer questions purpose of special session By DANNY HENLEY Hannibal Courier-Post Posted Jun 19, 2010 @ 11:59 PM Jefferson City, MO — State Sen. Wes Shoemyer, D-Clarence, is not thrilled with having to go back to Jefferson City next week for a special session of the Missouri Legislature, and it has nothing to do with interrupting his summer vacation. On Friday, Gov. Jay Nixon called the special session in an effort to get the Missouri Automotive Manufacturing Jobs Act passed. The measure would allow qualified manufacturing facilities or suppliers that bring next- generation production lines to Missouri to retain withholdings taxes typically remitted to the state. The total amount of incentives available under the act would be capped at $15 million a year. “In order to justify the $15 million that is asked for in tax credits for the Ford plant we have to go into future state employees’ pensions and ask them to contribute 4 percent of their salary,” said Shoemyer, who voted against the pension legislation during the regular session. “I just have a real problem with those who say they want tax- credit reform creating another tax credit and then saying we have to balance this tax credit by taking away from state workers. That’s just not the way to do it.” For additional details, see the Saturday, June 19, edition of the Courier-Post. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 5. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 5 of 71 State budget reductions affect scholarships MOREnet lost all its state funding due to cuts. THE MANEATER By Jimmy Hibsch Published June 19, 2010 Several college scholarship programs took a big hit with about $300 million in state budget cuts announced by the governor Thursday. “Some might say we’ve been belt-tightening,” Gov. Jay Nixon said at a news conference Thursday. “We may have to punch another hole in the belt this time.” Nixon announced a $301.4 million cut in spending reductions – about $280 million from state program cuts and $20 million to be offset by increased federal funding. These cuts come after $900 million in cuts during the 2010 fiscal year, which ends June 30. State budget director Linda Luebbering said the cuts were necessary for two reasons. “One, our state revenue collections continue to come in less than expected," Luebbering said. "Two, there was some legislation that needed to be passed in order to save money and the legislature was not able to get it all passed.” Among the hardest hit was the Access Missouri college scholarship program, which lost $50 million of its $83 million. The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority may offset this with a one-time $30 million grant. The Access Missouri program currently provides need-based scholarships of up to $2,150 for students at MU and other public state, as well as various other amounts for private institutions and community colleges. Luebbering said the cuts may shrink the awards to $500 at public institutions. Also affected is the state’s Bright Flight scholarship program, which will lose $4.1 million, about a quarter of its state funding. The merit-based program currently offers high-achieving high school seniors a $2,000 scholarship to attend a Missouri post-secondary college or university. The Missouri Department of Higher Education predicts the scholarship will drop to $1,900 for the 2010-2011 school year. Nicole Jones, an incoming freshman journalism student, will be receiving the Bright Flight scholarship for the next four years. As a result of the statewide cuts, she may receive $400 less than Bright Flight scholars in the past. “I personally am not very happy about it because they already cut it this year and that's money you count on from the time you get your ACT score back if it's high enough,” Jones said. “I'm also glad that at least I am guaranteed that much money from it because I wouldn't be surprised if they end up raising the necessary score with that big of a cut.” In the fall 2009 semester, 60 percent of Missouri students received some form of financial assistance such as the Access Missouri or Bright Flight scholarships. Despite all of the higher education cuts, the tuition freeze agreement Nixon reached with public four-year colleges remains safe, Luebbering said. "The tuition freeze is a high priority for the governor,” she said. “Even if we have to make more cuts, I don’t see that deal ending.” The Missouri Research and Education Network, or MOREnet, a consortium of schools, public libraries, higher education institutions and the University of Missouri System, lost $6.8 million, all of its state funding. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 6. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 6 of 71 Members of the MOREnet council met Friday to determine the future of the 20-year-old consortium, which provides technical services and high-speed Internet connections to its members. The council unanimously agreed to continue all services by enforcing budget reductions and increasing member fees, executive director John Gillispie said. “The governor faced an incredibly difficult decision,” he said. “We find the result unfortunate and disappointing at best.” Gillispie said MOREnet will cover 20 percent of its reduction by further lowering the operating budget, and compensate for the rest by raising member fees. “The state subsidy, which has traditionally been used to equalize services between urban and rural areas will no longer be available,” Gillispie said. “MOREnet has no choice but to increase fees in order to make up for this loss of resources.” Although Luebbering said she hopes Thursday’s cutbacks will suffice for the 2011 fiscal year, which begins July 1, she acknowledged she isn’t certain. “We had to make cuts in just about every area of state government,” Luebbering said. “We’re hoping that the revenue will start to turn around a little bit and the $300 million the governor had to reduce will keep us in balance for the entire fiscal year. We obviously don’t know anything for sure, but we’ll continue to monitor it.” News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 7. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 7 of 71 Educators worry about impact of latest cuts By BRENT ENGEL Hannibal Courier-Post Posted Jun 19, 2010 @ 08:30 AM Hannibal, MO — Hundreds of school students in Northeast Missouri might have to find another ride to class if districts slash bus routes in the wake of additional state funding cuts. Gov. Jay Nixon has announced almost $300 million in reductions from the state’s $23 billion budget. For area districts, it means a loss of anywhere from $30,000 to more than $400,000 in transportation reimbursements. Many already had trimmed budgets substantially, and administrators now must cut additional dollars. “We have no room to absorb anything,” said April Huddleston of Lincoln County R-3 in Troy, which already had said it would no longer bus students if they live within 3.5 miles of attendance centers. “It is sad.” “I think this disproportionately affects rural districts,” said Mike Gray of Bowling Green R-1. “It hurts the kids.” Hannibal anticipates a $145,000 loss of funding. Superintendent Dr. Jill Janes said the district would study areas to cut. “Now that we know, we just have to look at our expenditures and see what we can do,” Janes said. For some districts, cuts could be made in bus routes, but some administrators have not ruled out eliminating staff to balance budgets. Lincoln R-3 and Clopton R-3 are among districts seeking property tax increases in August to offset the losses. Jim Masters of Monroe City R-1 fears many rural districts will be forced to look at eliminating programs. “It presents a rather unique challenge for us,” he said. “Things are tight. We’ll have to figure out how to make it all work.” Masters compares the situation to having a high-performance car that gets 34 miles a gallon. The trip ahead is 35 miles long and the driver has only one gallon of gas. “Pretty soon, we’re all going to have to walk,” Masters said. “Diminishing resources eventually will have an impact.” As with many superintendents, Eric Churchwell of Palmyra R-1 is pleased Nixon did not touch foundation formula funding, which provides the majority of state funding to districts. While he said he’s “disappointed” with the transportation cuts, he understands. “You can’t spend money you don’t have,” Churchwell said. “There’s only so many pieces of the pie.” In addition to transportation funding cuts, Nixon ended state aid for a student loan program for health care professionals and training grants for adults who want to start agriculture-related businesses. He also killed a program that provides high-speed Internet connections to schools and libraries. Other areas taking big hits were health care, substance abuse counseling and tax credits for development. Gray fears that the cuts to education are only the beginning. “We don’t think this is the worst year,” he said. “We think next year will be.” News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 8. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 8 of 71 State's unemployment rate drops in May Monday, June 21, 2010 By Melissa Miller ~ Southeast Missourian Missouri's unemployment rate fell slightly for the second month in a row during May, according to a new report from the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The state's unemployment rate fell to 9.3 percent in May, down by two-tenths of a point from 9.5 percent in April. In March, Missouri's unemployment rate was 10.2. "I think we have likely seen the worst of the recession and unemployment has peaked," said Bruce Domazlicky, director of the Small Business and Research Center at Southeast Missouri State University. "However, like at the national level, economic growth is unlikely to be fast enough to have much of an impact on unemployment so rates will only come down slowly." Missouri's non-farm payroll employment shows 4,900 jobs were added in May, according to the DED report. The federal government added 7,300 jobs in May, including many temporary census workers. In the private sector, leisure and hospitality jobs increased by 1,000 positions. Local companies are cautiously optimistic about the future of the economy, said Mitch Robinson, executive director of Cape Girardeau Area Magnet, a not-for-profit economic development organization. "I've talked with several companies that seem to feel positive about their current business situation as well as the near future," said Robinson. Individual county data for May has not yet been released, but during April, Cape Girardeau County's unemployment rate was at 6.4 percent, significantly lower than the state average. Robinson said there is pent-up demand among local employers who have delayed hiring as they wait for economic conditions to improve. "You don't want to hire somebody and then have to lay them off in two months," Robinson said. "Training new employees is very expensive and time consuming. [Businesses] have to make sure they are at that point where they are willing to hire." Several local companies are currently working their current employees overtime to keep up with production demands, rather than hire new workers, he said. In Cape Girardeau County, unemployment rates have fallen in the month of April for the past several years. There is a strong seasonal factor that causes this, Domazlicky said. "This is partially due to construction picking up as well as, to a lesser extent, retail sales," he said. "After Christmas, retail sales tend to flatten out for a while until spring purchasing picks up." News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 9. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 9 of 71 Mo. gov. signs bill punishing patients who spit JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Sexually violent predators who spit or urinate on mental health workers could face new criminal penalties. Gov. Jay Nixon has signed the legislation into law. It allows for a felony charge against a violent sexual predator who knowingly causes mental health workers to be in contact with various bodily fluids. The crime carries maximum penalties of four years in prison or a $5,000 fine. If the offender is infected with HIV or hepatitis B or C, the maximum prison term would be seven years. A similar provision makes it a crime for prison inmates to spit or urinate on employees of the state Corrections Department. --- Mental Health bill is SB774 On the Net: Legislature: News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 10. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 10 of 71 Builders, lawyers pan bill’s lien requirements COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE By T.J. Greaney Sunday, June 20, 2010 Depending on who you listen to, a reform to state mechanic’s lien law is either a much-needed protection for homebuyers or a major setback for sub-contractors. New legislation reforming the process whereby contractors file claims for payment on residential construction work is now sitting on Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk. And although it overwhelmingly passed both houses of the General Assembly, some unhappy lien attorneys and sub-contractors are making a last-minute push for a veto. The mechanic’s lien law on the books in Missouri pre-dates the Civil War in some sections, but it wasn’t until the recent slowdown in housing construction that its weaknesses came to the forefront as a state issue, say reformers. In 2008 and 2009, nonpayment of sub-contractors and material suppliers skyrocketed and title insurers were faced with a situation where they were often unable to accurately gauge risk. David Townsend, president and CEO of Agents National Title Insurance in Columbia, said things got so bad that mechanic’s liens were popping up six months after a homebuyer had closed on a new home and lawsuits were sometimes being filed as late as a year after the closing date. “Nobody has clean hands in this,” Townsend said. “Unfortunately, sub-contractors continue to work with builders that might not have the best payment history.” Convoluted webs of sub-sub-contractors made it increasingly difficult for title insurers, like Townsend, to secure lien waivers from everyone who had done work on a property and affirm that a deed was free and clear of potential liens. The new law seeks to streamline the process. It requires land owners to record the planned closing date for a house 45 days in advance. All contractors and material suppliers must then file a “notice of rights” with the recorder of deeds at least five days before the closing date if they believe they’re still due payment. If a contractor fails to file notice, he forfeits his rights to place a lien on the house. “All we’re trying to do is get subs paid,” Townsend said. “As a title insurer the last thing we want is unpaid subcontractors. And we feel the best way to do that is for the subs to stand up and say, ‘here we are.’ ” But others see major problems with the bill. Diane Gray, a Clayton attorney who handles lien litigation, said she has scrutinized its language and finds no punishment for a homebuilder or property owner who fails to notify subcontractors of an impending sale. Therefore, she said, the onus will be on the sub-contractor or supplier to monitor activity at the recorder of deeds office and be prepared to file notice in a very small window of time. If the material supplier or sub-contractor has jobs across the state, that task can be even more time consuming and costly, said Gray. “He has to do this on every property whether it has been a problem payer or not,” Gray said. “He can’t predict if he’s going to get paid or not. So in order to protect his rights he’s going to have to file a ‘notice of lien rights’ every time a ‘notice of sale’ has been filed.” Gray also worried about the expansion of the definition of “residential property” in the bill to include high-rise apartment buildings, street, sidewalk and utility work. In a seven-page letter to Nixon, Gray pointed to stricter requirements placed on workers to produce paid and unpaid invoices when filing lien claims and new rules on when a subcontractor may be liable for “Slander of Title” as unfavorable. If sub-contractors don’t jump through these new procedural hoops, she said, they lose their lien rights. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 11. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 11 of 71 “Overall, how are the subs and material suppliers going to operate in the state with these onerous requirements?” Gray said. Still, the legislation has support from the Home Builder’s Association of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri which says three-quarters of its members are sub-contractors. It also has support from the National Electrical Contractors Association, the Missouri Banker’s Association and the Missouri Land Title Association. “If we don’t get the bill signed or approved, we’re going to have major, major problems,” said Sean Flower, the president of the local district of the Home Builder’s Association. Supporters like Townsend and Flower believe the ultimate goal of the legislation is to avoid court whenever possible. In court, contractors typically get only 50 to 80 cents on the dollar of what they’re owed and then must pay attorneys’ fees out of that payment. “We want them to get 100 percent of what they’re owed,” Townsend said. But others are less thrilled, seeing the law as infringement on a long held right. “Lien law goes back to the founding fathers,” said Tim Thomas, the president of American Steel Fabrication and an official with the American Subcontractors Association-Midwest Council. “It was the only way to guarantee the people who built our country got paid for the work they did.” The bill is currently undergoing a comprehensive review by Nixon’s office. The Associated Press contributed to this story. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 12. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 12 of 71 MoDOT: Heat might cause pavement problems HANNIBAL, Mo. (AP) -- The Missouri Department of Transportation says the excessive heat that's hit the state could cause road damage. MoDOT says roadways have already begun to buckle in parts of Missouri since the sweltering weather arrived last week. For the rest of this week, the forecast calls for high humidity and temperatures in the 90s in most of the state. MoDOT says pavement buckles when moisture builds up under weakened joints, then heats up and expands. The agency says motorists should drive cautiously on roadways where buckling has occurred. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 13. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 13 of 71 2nd Cameron prison starts training rescue dogs CAMERON, Mo. (AP) -- A second prison in the northwest Missouri city of Cameron is training rescue dogs to make them more adoptable. Corrections Department director George Lombardi will be at the Western Missouri Correctional Center on July 6 to welcome the dogs and meet inmates selected for the Puppies for Parole program. Lombardi wants to expand the dog-training program throughout Missouri's prison system. Inmates already are training dogs at prisons in Jefferson City, Pacific, Vandalia, Licking and Bonne Terre. Dogs also were added recently at the Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron. And a St. Joseph prison will add the program soon. Lombardi says the dogs "add immeasurably to the prison environment." News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 14. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 14 of 71 Senators expect to pass proposal to end anonymous ‘holds' on nominations By Dan Eggen Washington Post staff writer Sunday, June 20, 2010 Sen. Claire McCaskill said Saturday that she has enough votes to end the Senate's long-standing and much- criticized practice of allowing the use of anonymous holds to block nominations. McCaskill (D-Mo.) said Sens. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) had agreed to support the effort, giving her the 67 votes necessary to change Senate rules. Supporters include nine Republicans, and only Sen. Robert C. Byrd (W.Va.) is opposed on the Democratic side. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) "strongly supports Senator McCaskill's efforts and will work with her to schedule a vote as quickly as possible," said Reid spokesman Jim Manley. The use of secret holds has enraged lawmakers of both parties by allowing the minority party to hold up presidential nominations with no public admission by the intervening senator. Under McCaskill's proposal, senators could still place holds, but would have to do so publicly. Republicans have been particularly aggressive in their use of holds during the Obama administration, including a widely criticized move by Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) earlier this year that stalled 70 appointments. McCaskill is scheduled to testify this week before the Senate rules committee, which would have to sign off before the effort could proceed. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 15. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 15 of 71 Blunt visits all Mo. counties in US Senate race QUEEN CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Republican Roy Blunt says he has completed his quest to visit all 114 counties and the city of St. Louis as part of his U.S. Senate campaign. Blunt said he accomplished the feat as he campaigned Saturday in Queen City, which is in rural Schuyler County in northern Missouri. Blunt also said he now has attended more than 500 campaign events. Blunt is a congressman from southwest Missouri and is seeking to replace retiring Republican Sen. Kit Bond. The leading Democratic candidate in the race is Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 16. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 16 of 71 Missouri overhauling controversial sentencing guidelines By Heather Ratcliffe ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH 06/20/2010 ST. LOUIS — When a woman from Platte County, Mo., was convicted of videotaping the sexual abuse of her 16-year-old pregnant daughter, state guidelines recommended that she get probation. Instead, a judge sentenced her last month to 58 years in prison. "If 58 years is an appropriate sentence, which I think it is, then probation cannot be appropriate," said the prosecutor, Eric Zahnd, reflecting the frustrations of many that the advisory guidelines are too lenient. The disparity in that case is an extreme example of what critics say can be the irrelevance of guidelines used to try to bring consistency to punishment. Now, Missouri officials are working on an overhaul to try to get the often- ignored guidelines more respect. Statutes set a sentencing range for each crime. But judges have wide latitude within that range — ordering a relatively high sentence for a heinous crime, for example, or a lower penalty for a defendant who makes restitution. The guidelines represent an attempt to help judges apply those statutes under specific circumstances. A study published in 2008 by the National Center for State Courts showed that 20 states and the District of Columbia have guidelines. For some, such as North Carolina and Minnesota, their use is mandatory. For others, including Missouri, Wisconsin and Ohio, they are advisory. The federal system switched some time ago from mandatory to advisory. Illinois is among the states with none. The NCSC says this remains a hot topic among policymakers concerned with prison crowding and the disproportionate number of blacks who are incarcerated. (The report noted that 12 percent of Americans are black, but they are 44 percent of the prison population.) Supporters of rigid guidelines say they achieve consistency and help control discrimination. Opponents say they tend to fill the prisons and may induce unfairness by stripping judges of discretion. The Missouri Legislature requires the Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission to figure averages of actual sentences every year for every possible crime, and from those to calculate ranges of "recommended sentences." State Supreme Court Judge Michael Wolff, who heads the commission, has appointed a subcommittee to review the process. The results could be small tweaks to the 175-page sentencing guide or a complete overhaul. "The subcommittee can take a fresh look at it and make sure we're presenting information in the sentencing process that will be helpful for the judge," Wolff said. FRUSTRATED PROSECUTORS For years, many Missouri prosecutors have called guidelines "meaningless" and "a waste of resources." They say the system is unfair because officials lump categories of crimes together, and some crimes are not charged often enough to make a meaningful calculation. The guidelines do not take into account when a defendant is convicted of multiple crimes at the same time, critics say, and they never call for the maximum sentence allowed by law. "There is simply no way to provide for enough variables in any recommendations that make it meaningful in sentencing," said Zahnd, the Platte County prosecutor. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 17. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 17 of 71 St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said she has been against the guidelines since getting elected more than a decade ago. "Each case needs to be evaluated on its own merits," she said. "There is no formula that is going to ensure that justice is done." She offered the example of Tyran Hubbard, who pleaded guilty in 2007 in St. Louis Circuit Court of forcible rape and sodomy. He had raped and beaten a female college student at gunpoint in her apartment, was interrupted attempting a similar crime less than a week later and eventually was arrested lurking near apartments where many college students live. The guidelines recommended 12 years in prison. Judge Timothy J. Wilson gave Hubbard 30 years. The guidelines do have supporters, who argue that the information empowers judges and sets realistic expectations for people not familiar with the judicial process. St. Louis Public Defender Mary Fox said that defense attorneys often highlight recommended sentences when advocating for their clients. "They're reasonable," Fox said. "They are a good starting point; then a judge has to take a look at each case individually." Fox said the guidelines took into account plenty of factors — including criminal history, education, age and employment. THE VALUE OF GUIDELINES Wolff, the Supreme Court judge, said data showed that 90 percent of Missouri sentences end up within the recommended range. He said only 5 percent of defendants were sent to prison when the guidelines recommended probation. "This is just a piece of information about what judges are doing in the whole, not what ought to happen in any given cases," Wolff said. "We make it clear that the judge is free to give a more harsh or lenient sentence within the statutes." He added, "You can argue from any individual case that a recommendation seems too lenient." James McConnell, the prosecutor in Shelby County, who will serve on the subcommittee, said the debate usually came over violent or sex crimes. He said there was not much disagreement about sentences for property crimes. Some lawmakers have proposed eliminating recommendations for the most serious crimes, McConnell said. "Those are the ones in which most of the time prosecutors don't think they make sense," he explained. States with guidelines have an advantage when someone complains about the fairness of a sentence, said Brian Ostrom, a researcher at the NCSC and an author of the study. "Having a sentencing commission or sentencing guidelines in place allows people to have that conversation in a meaningful way," he said. Ostrom said the study showed that guidelines make sentences more predictable and effectively reduce disparities from irrelevant factors, such as an offender's race or economic status. "They result in greater consistency in deciding who goes to prison and for how long," he said. Illinois lawmakers have passed a series of judicial reforms that include creation of an Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Committee. It will gather statistics for elected officials but not set guidelines. THE FEDERAL SYSTEM In 1984, Congress established sentencing guidelines for the U.S. district courts as a way to balance penalties across the country. At that time, a cocaine offense punished by a 30-year term from a federal judge in North News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 18. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 18 of 71 Dakota might have drawn probation from a federal judge in Florida, said Doug Burris, chief U.S. probation officer for the court's Eastern District of Missouri. The federal guidelines, initially mandatory, brought longer sentences that tripled the federal prison population in 20 years, Burris said. In a 2005 case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that judges were not bound to follow the guidelines except for mandatory minimum sentences. Burris said appeals courts generally will sustain a sentence outside the guidelines if the judge gives a reason for it. Said Burris: "A judge who knows the entire background of case and the defendant standing before them can script a better sentence than a mathematician in 1984." News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 19. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 19 of 71 Would residents accept a pop tax? State in need of money — but no proposal yet ST. JOSEPH NEWS PRESS By Andrew Denney Sunday, June 20, 2010 at midnight Missouri does not tax its residents for buying soda pop or junk food. But some cities and states across the country, looking to improve public health — as well as raise revenue — have decided to tax food and non- alcoholic beverages of questionable nutritional value. Mary Jo Watkins, a supervisor for instruction at Helen Davis State School who was shopping at Hy-Vee Friday afternoon, said she would agree with a tax on the sugary drink for public health reasons. “People would be healthier if they drank less soda pop,” Ms. Watkins said. Kim McDaniel, a Rea resident who also was shopping at Hy-Vee, said she didn’t like the idea of taxing fatty snacks. “What’s junk food to one person might not be junk food to another,” Ms. McDaniel said. Savannah resident Roger Pearl, a driver for Fed-Ex Ground who said he starts every day with Mountain Dew — and never coffee — said imposing a tax on soda pop could cause consumers to buy it less, which could hurt local businesses. “When you increase the price of stuff, people will either pay it or say ‘It’s not in my budget,’” he said as he was shopping Friday at Apple Market. His wife, Teri, said she wouldn’t agree with a tax on soda, saying the choice to drink it is a “personal preference.” “It’s a free country,” she said. “People can choose if they want to be healthy.” No tax on pop or snacks has been proposed in the state, nor have any state leaders recently said in public that there should be. But since the recession began, the state government has had to tighten its belt. Last week, Gov. Jay Nixon announced a new round of budget cuts amounting to more than $300 million. The state has traditionally avoided increasing taxes, and this year has been no different. Lawmakers prefer to balance the budget through spending cuts and fee increases. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, Missouri is one of 17 states that do not have some form of tax on soft drinks or unhealthy foods. The Kansas legislature failed to pass a proposal this year that would have levied a one-cent tax per teaspoon of sugar in a beverage. But the bill failed to win approval from a committee. Kansas State Sen. John Vratil, a Leawood Republican who proposed the measure, said the bill was intended not only to help the state raise revenue, but for public health purposes as well. The proposal, he said, was “just common sense.” But, Mr. Vratil said, while the bill had support from many Kansas residents, soft drink manufacturers and distributors fought against it, saying it would disproportionately affect lower-income residents. Opponents of junk food taxes have argued about their effectiveness. In an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent pointed out that West Virginia and Arkansas — which have taxes on pop — are among the “fattest” states in the nation: third and tenth, respectively. And South Carolina, which is ranked as the fifth fattest state, has taxes on both junk food and soft drinks. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 20. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 20 of 71 But a study released Thursday by the American Journal of Public Health claims that raising the price of pop could reduce consumption and improve public health. In the study, researchers raised the price of soda at a cafeteria in Boston by 35 percent, and found that consumption declined by 26 percent. Comparatively, Missouri is a fat state, and a generally unhealthy one, at that. In 2009, 28.1 percent of Missouri’s population was obese, making it the 13th fattest state in the country. In a study released by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development in 2007, researchers estimated that 82 percent of adult obesity results from taking in excess calories, But for those seeking to lose weight, making healthy choices when buying food can be easier said than done, especially in financial terms. Donna Mehrle, coordinator for the Missouri Council for Activity and Nutrition, said families might see less expensive, yet less nutritious, food as cheaper in the short run. “You can feed your family and yourself less expensively with foods that aren’t as healthy,” she said. But while consumers of junk food might be saving themselves a buck, the ailments that can come from eating too much of it could end up costing them and others more in the long run. Stan Dorn, a researcher with the Urban Institute, said when one member of society gets obese, “the rest of us pay.” “Put differently, it’s your God-given right as an American to eat foods that risk obesity,” he said. “But you need to help pay your fair share of the burdens that such risks impose on the rest of us.” News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 21. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 21 of 71 DNR: Finley River Sewage Spill May Have Been Preventable By KSPR News By Joanna Small Story Created: Jun 18, 2010 at 10:17 PM CDT Story Updated: Jun 18, 2010 at 10:17 PM CDT The Department of Natural Resources is trying to determine if a wastewater treatment plant in Christian County is negligent. Late Wednesday evening, 162,000 gallons of only partially treated sewage spilled into the Finley River in Ozark. A two-and-a-half hour power outage at the plant caused the error, and now DNR will decide if it could have- and should have- been prevented. "Can't prove it but she was getting sick." Stewart Plank has always had his reservations about the Finley that flows behind his Ozark house. "I spend quite a bit of time down here, sit and read a book and listen to the river and all that." Sounds safe, after , you can't hear bacteria. But he says the river likely contains it; that's why he doesn't let his young daughter swim in it or keep the fish he catches in it. "There's Giardia, there's e.Coli, there's Hepatitis, there's Salmonella," explains Christian County Health Department Administrator Karen Potter. She agrees with Plank's amateur assessment. Several times a summer the e.Coli count in the river is too high to allow access. And now there's another problem- "On Wednesday evening storms came through, high winds and lightning- they lost power for approximately two-and-a-half hours," explains Kevin Hess with the Department of Natural Resources. Sewage spilled from this wastewater treatment plant into the river. The only stage in the cleansing process skipped is when the water is infused with ultra violet rays. Because it's the same stuff you get from the sun the water really goes through a natural cleansing process. "The ultra violet disinfection is the last treatment prior to it being discharged," says Hess. In other words the spill could have been worse, but now DNR is determining if it could have been prevented. "We're still continuing our investigation, working with the city to see what we can do to prevent this from happening again." Like utilizing a back-up system in the event of a power failure. "It's a quarter of a mile from here, not even that, where they dump the water out." Plank says he just utilizes common sense; sewage leak or not his contact with the Finley stops at its banks. DNR asked the city of Ozark to complete a series of tests on the water Thursday and Friday. Those results show no bacteria levels outside the daily limits, however that doesn't mean what happened isn't a problem. DNR says what happened as a result of the outage is a violation of the terms of the plant's permit, and that Ozark should have notified the state agency about the sewage spill sooner. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 22. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 22 of 71 Drunken driving will cost offenders more money in Missouri KY3-TV SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The high cost of drunken driving is about to go up, in dollars. That's beyond the lives put at risk, criminal charges, and the threat of losing your license for a long time. One requirement to get your license back after a driving-while-intoxicated conviction in Missouri is the Substance Abuse Traffic Offenders Program, or SATOP. The educational program is not cheap, and it's about to get even more expensive. "I got pulled over for speeding. I'd been at a bar, blew a .114. Back then, that's what the blood alcohol content was, and I got a DWI," said Paul Preece. Preece's DWI offense was in May 2002. He's taking the necessary steps to get back his license. "I haven't had one for eight years, and haven't drove for eight years. It's been kind of a burden," Preece said. The bill for the SATOP program can also be a burden. Preece says the price tag held him back. "Yes, the fees are pretty expensive for this program," he said. First of all, everyone pays a screening fee of $271. On July 1, that goes up to $375. "There's no way around that; no financial assistance," said Cheryl West, SATOP Administrator for Safety Council of the Ozarks. Then it's on to the educational part of the program. Preece and about 20 others are spending the next couple days in a weekend intervention program administered by Safety Council of the Ozarks. "This was a live and learn situation," said Preece. It's 20 hours of education with a price tag of $440, unless you qualify for help. "I'm glad I qualified for financial aid, so it only cost me $150, but that is the minimum," said Preece. On July 1, the minimum goes up to $250. For a 10-hour educational program, the mimimum price goes from $100 to $130. Part of the reason for the increase is to add more money to the financial assistance fund. "They're seeing that when clients are referred to a higher level program, they're unable to afford it, and so they wanted to make the 4th level program also eligible to clients for financial assistance," said West. West worries the higher fees could cause some to ignore SATOP and drive anyway. "Which, as of right now, could be a felony charge," she said. Of course the best way to avoid the fees is "Don't drink and drive. That's one thing; because you will pay for it," said Preece. SATOP is is a state program that is administered by many different agencies, just one of them being Safety Council of the Ozarks. Besides SATOP fees, DWI offenders have to pay a license reinstatement fee, and purchase high-risk car insurance to drive again. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 23. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 23 of 71 'Perfect storm' hammers trade unions and contractors alike By Steve Giegerich ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH 06/20/2010 A member of Sheet Metal Workers Local 36, heating and cooling contractor Mike Curran still considers himself a union man through and through. That speaks volumes, considering that Curran's relationship with the labor organization now consists of letters demanding the payment of delinquent dues, lawsuits from the union naming him a defendant and summons to appear in St. Louis federal court. Curran is far from alone. Since the onset of the recession, dozens of St. Louis area contractors have also been hauled into court as local construction trade unions — plumbers, carpenters, electricians and more — seek unpaid dues for workers' pension, welfare, health and vacation funds. What's changed is a collision between a 2008 federal law governing union pensions and the beginning of the Great Recession, which experts say has increased the number of restitution settlements tradesmen have negotiated with union officials. "Percentage-wise it's a little bit worse — we're having a heck of a time collecting our money," said David Zimmerman, the business manager and president of Local 36. It was not unusual — even before the economy tanked — for union-affiliated firms to fall behind on payments to employee benefit funds. In fact, a review of the U.S. District Court for Eastern Missouri docket prior to the collapse of the economy shows hundreds of claims filed by labor groups seeking restitution from contractors. But labor leaders and construction business owners concur: Though the exact number of court-ordered judgments isn't available, they've seen more complaints filed against contractors (and more bankruptcies among contractors) during the recession. "The contractors didn't understand the ramifications when they signed the contract and the unions didn't understand the impact of the Pension Protection Act," said Jim Kistler, the president and CEO of the Associated Builders and Contractors "Heart of America" chapter in Kansas City. "You put these two things together with the recession and you have a perfect storm hitting both sides." The Pension Protection Act obligates fund administrators to act legally on behalf of the beneficiaries, the workers, if the account balance dips below 80 percent of the payout owed retirees. "We have to do everything we can to collect the funds. It's our fiduciary responsibility for our members," explained George "Butch" Welsch, the owner of Welsch Heating and Cooling and a member of the joint contractor-union committee that oversees the Local 36 benefit plans. For Curran, who says he hasn't drawn a paycheck in two years, the union benefit fund's pursuit of his assets has pushed him to the brink of bankruptcy. "I'm done," he said. "They've got me where they want me, they can take their pound of flesh from me." News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 24. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 24 of 71 To stave off legal action, Zimmerman says, Local 36 does whatever it can to work out mutual payment agreements with contractors in arrears. "But once they quit returning phone calls, we just have to do what we have to do," he said. "The bottom line is we're not a bank." To the president of St. Louis chapter of the Associated General Contractors, Curran and Local 36 alike are casualties of an economy that has left no sector of the construction industry unscathed. "There are no good guys and no bad guys," said Leonard Toenjes. "Everybody is just doing what they have to do." In the case of the contractors, survival means staying afloat in a local sector that has seen business fall off by 31 percent in 2008-09 and another 30 percent over the first three months of this year, according to an Associated General Contractors survey. Projects that once drew interest from five contractors are now attracting 20 or more bids, said Toenjes. Moreover, banks that once bailed out contractors with short-term loans have curtailed credit in response to the wide-ranging financial crisis. As a result, contractors have been forced to choose between meeting payroll, compensating suppliers or making good on their obligations to union benefit plans. In most cases, it's the benefit fund that goes wanting, say Toenjes and others. And that's where the economic conditions visited upon the construction industry runs head-on into the Pension Protection Act. As the title implies, the legislation was passed with the best of intentions, said St. Louis University accounting professor John McGowan, a nationally recognized authority on the legislation. But for companies and labor organizations struggling to maintain the 80 percent level, the timing of the 2006 act couldn't have been worse. Within 26 months, the stock market collapsed, gutting private and public retirement accounts along with the investments of millions of other Americans. In 2008 alone, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation — the government agency that insures retirement plans — reported losses in its portfolio totaling $4.8 billion, according to a report McGowan prepared for the Associated Builders and Contractors. Entering 2008, the pension account administered by the Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity had the capacity to meet 98 percent of its potential obligations. By the end of the year, the balance stood at 82 percent. Council officials say the percentage of funding has remained at or near that level ever since. Zimmerman said the fund controlled by Local 36 of the Sheet Metal Workers at one point dipped to 71 percent but is now above 80 percent. Union officials call federal court a final, reluctant stop in the process to recoup unpaid dues from contractors. In general, labor groups turn the matter over to attorneys after a contractor fails to respond to delinquency notices sent at 30 and 60 days. With unemployment among trade workers believed to be as high as 40 percent, labor leaders say they are not unsympathetic to the plight of the contractors. "If we see if something is not collectible, we quit chasing them," said Terry Nelson, executive secretary-treasurer of the Carpenters' Council. That has not been Mike Curran's experience with Local 36 of the Sheet Metal Workers Union. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 25. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 25 of 71 Curran came to appreciate the benefits of union membership while employed as a heating and air-conditioning worker and sheet metal worker at the outset of his career. It seemed only natural for Curran to sign a pact with Local 36 on behalf of his own employees when he went into business for himself in 1992. Curran says he erred by not hiring a lawyer to review the contract terms 18 years ago. The oversight came back to haunt him in 2006. When his business slowed to a crawl, Curran opted not to renew the agreement with Local 36. He is not the first signatory contractor to suffer the consequence of ignoring the fine contractual print. "Unlike a traditional contract that expires when it's over, a collective bargaining relationship continues until you get out of the contract," said Terry Morgan, an attorney with the National Labor Relations Board. The legal term for obtaining a divorce from a labor agreement is "withdrawal liability." The price: between $100,000 and $200,000, including attorney fees. Industry advocates say there's a good reason many small contractors don't know about the consequences of withdrawal liability: They are not businessmen. "Just because I know how to install a window doesn't mean I know how to run a window company," said Toenjes. "The balance of knowledge of the industry and business knowledge is hard to strike. And there's a high churn rate because of that." Still, witness the docket of unresolved judgments and liens in U.S. District Court, the collateral damage from the recession seems destined to stretch out for years to come. "It's a downward spiral that is difficult to come out of," Toenjes says of the adversity that has struck organized labor, workers and contractors with equal vengeance. "This is the very definition of 'victims of circumstance.'" News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 26. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 26 of 71 Jay Nixon calls special session BY TONY MESSENGER ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH 06/19/2010 JEFFERSON CITY — Calling automobile manufacturing vital to Missouri's economy, Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday called lawmakers back to the capital city with the task of passing a bill that would offer about $150 million in incentives to Ford and its ancillary suppliers over the next 10 years. The day after cutting $300 million from the state budget and cutting 250 state jobs, Nixon decided that state employees — future ones, at least — were going to have to take in a little more bad news. The Ford bill will happen only if lawmakers also approve changes to the state pension system that will have future employees in effect financing the Ford incentives. It's a touchy combination of seemingly unrelated issues that has Nixon receiving criticism from members of his own party. Still, the governor said he believes that cutting pension costs and doing something to make sure Ford reinvests in its 3,500-employee plant in Claycomo — a Kansas City suburb — are both important enough to bring lawmakers back over the summer. "Economic incentives should be used to put Missourians to work and strengthen communities," Nixon said. "Investing in the future of Missouri's automotive industry meets that important standard, and it would provide a solid return on investment for the taxpayers of this state. But it's important that we offset the costs of that investment to make sure we have government we can afford." Nixon's decision was immediately praised by business leaders who see the value in keeping Ford in Missouri as other states have come calling with their own incentive deals. "The inability of the Legislature to reach agreement on this pro-jobs legislation before the end of the regular legislative session hindered, but not did not destroy, Missouri's opportunity for manufacturing expansion," said Ray McCarty, president of Associated Industries. The bill in question, the "Manufacturing Jobs Act," would allow Ford to keep up to $10 million a year in employee withholding taxes as long as it invests a certain amount of money in modernizing its Claycomo plant. The bill would also make up to $5 million a year available for other automotive manufacturing businesses, such as those that supply Ford. Nixon had pushed for the bill late in the session, but like many bills involving tax credits, it was opposed by a group of Republican senators who said that the state's tax credit system was out of control and needed to be reined in. The increase in tax credits — which reduce the amount of revenue coming into the state — has exacerbated Missouri's budget crisis. Ironically, Nixon joined the bandwagon against tax credits in the middle of the session, but he was careful to avoid criticizing tax credits that he deems important for business development. Since the session ended, Nixon has been slowing down the issuance of low-income housing tax credits, and developers have criticized him for harming job prospects in the construction industry. On the last day of the session that ended in May, Nixon and others tied fate of the Ford bill to that of the pension bill. But the House and Senate ended up in a standoff, with the pension bill dying in the House and the Ford bill failing to pass in the Senate. The same problems could pop up again in the special session. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 27. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 27 of 71 Democrats and Republicans familiar with the pension legislation have suggested it was problematic as written, particularly with the creation of a new oversight board that Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, said has "potential for corruption." Minority leader Rep. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, had asked Nixon in a letter this week to consider alternative ways to pay for the Ford incentives, such as closing tax loopholes and collecting sales taxes on Internet sales. Nixon said those proposals were "nonstarters" in the Republican-controlled Legislature. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 28. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 28 of 71 Mo. Gov. calls special session for Ford incentives By CHRIS BLANK Associated Press Writer JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is shopping for a Ford. The governor ordered lawmakers back for a special session starting Thursday to consider millions in tax incentives and pension plan changes to entice the automaker to keep its Kansas City-area plant producing. The union at the Claycomo plant, which employs 3,700 people, fears that without the tax breaks, Ford Motor Co. won't give the factory another vehicle to build if it stops making Ford Escapes next year. Claycomo also makes the Escape's twin, the Mercury Mariner, but Ford is eliminating the Mercury brand later this year. It builds the Ford F-150 pickup truck as well, but Escape-Mariner production employs the bulk of the workers. The United Auto Workers Local 249 said on its website that Ford is moving Escape production to a plant in Kentucky, which is being set up to make vehicles off Ford's global compact car underpinnings. Ford has not said which products will go to the Louisville Assembly Plant, nor has it officially said that Escape production will end next year at Claycomo. A person briefed on Ford's plans said no final decisions have been made on where to produce a new version of the Escape. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans have not been made public. The union local president did not immediately respond to a message Friday. Ford's decision likely depends on the outcome of the proposed tax breaks, as well as local and national contract negotiations with the UAW. The union's national contract with Ford and the other Detroit automakers expires next year, and Ford is likely to be the first to bargain with the union and set the pattern for Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co. Missouri's proposed tax incentives would allow manufacturers to keep half their state employee withholding taxes if they invest in factory improvements for new product lines. Suppliers would get additional incentives. The program would be capped at $15 million annually, though earlier drafts of the plan have limited any single company to $10 million annually. To offset the cost, Nixon wants to revamp Missouri's employee retirement system by requiring new employees to start contributing around 4 percent of their pay and delaying their retirement. A special legislative session will cost Missouri about $125,000 for each five-day work week, according to Nixon's budget office. On Thursday, Nixon announced $300 million of reductions in state general revenue expenses, including sizable cuts to college scholarships and public school busing. But he said the incentives for Ford are needed for Missouri to compete for future auto jobs. "Investing in the future of Missouri's automotive industry meets that important standard, and it would provide a solid return on investment," Nixon said. House Speaker Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said he does not know whether there are enough votes to approve the retirement changes. He predicted the Ford incentives would be an easier sell. Sen. Luann Ridgeway, whose district includes the Claycomo plant, said the incentives package is necessary. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 29. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 29 of 71 "It makes it exceedingly more difficult to reach out to Ford and say please spend hundreds of millions of dollars investing in a 1950s plant when Missouri does nothing," said Ridgeway, R-Smithville. Critics contend that Missouri cannot afford to spend so much to keep one company, and say it is unfair for future state workers to pick up the tab of the tax breaks. "At a time when the state is struggling to provide for the welfare of its citizens, Missouri should not make the welfare of a profitable corporation a higher priority, especially when there is no guarantee Ford will keep its jobs in Missouri," said Rep. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis. --- Associated Press writer Tom Krisher contributed to this report from Detroit. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 30. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 30 of 71 General Assembly to convene in special session next week,; tax break for Ford is topic By STEVE KRASKE The Kansas City Star Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is ordering lawmakers back to Jefferson City next week to consider tax incentives for the Ford Motor Co. Ford is expected to move production of the next version of its Escape/Mercury Mariner SUV from its Claycomo plant to Kentucky next year. The carmarker, which also builds the F-150 pickup at Claycomo, would need to retool the plant to build a different model. The plant employs about 3,900 workers. “Automobile manufacturers and suppliers employ thousands of Missourians in every corner of the state,” Nixon said Friday, “and it’s vital that Missouri remains a hub of automotive production for generations to come.” Nixon, a Democrat, said he will ask lawmakers convening at noon Thursday to consider a tax break that would allow Ford to retain withholding taxes that typically are sent to the state — a break that could be worth up to $15 million a year. The General Assembly came close to passing the measure during the legislative session that ended in May. It easily passed the House and won a preliminary vote in the Senate before stalling on the session’s final day. Nixon said Ford is in the midst of finalizing decisions about restructuring operations and locating production lines. Other states, most notably Michigan, are aggressively competing for Ford jobs, he said. This will be the sixth special session that Missouri governors have called since 2001. In his message, Nixon also asked lawmakers to consider a way to pay for the incentive package through cuts in future state pensions. He proposed requiring new state workers to pay 4 percent of their salary to the state retirement plan. “It’s important that we offset the costs of that (Ford) investment to make sure we have government we can afford,” Nixon said. The announcement of the special session came just one day after Nixon signed off on the state’s next budget, cutting about $300 million because of faltering state revenues. Those cutbacks came on top of hundreds of millions of dollars in other reductions that lawmakers made this spring. But some lawmakers predicted that giving tax breaks to Ford could be a tough sell. “At a time when the state is struggling to provide for the welfare of its citizens, Missouri should not make the welfare of a profitable corporation a higher priority, especially when there is no guarantee Ford will keep its jobs in Missouri,” said Rep. Jamilah Nasheed, a St. Louis Democrat. Rep. Paul LeVota, an Independence Democrat, said he wasn’t convinced that lawmakers would pass both the Ford package and the pension cuts. The state Senate has battled over tax breaks in recent years. One problem, LeVota said, is that Nixon has coupled the tax breaks with the pension cuts. LeVota, the House minority leader, said he had encouraged Nixon to propose several options for paying for the tax breaks. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 31. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 31 of 71 “The biggest risk is that they’re tied together,” LeVota said. “There is a handful of people who don’t like the idea of taking away incentives for state workers.” Still, the convening of a special session was welcome news at the Claycomo plant, where local economic development and union officials have been concerned about what vehicle will replace the SUV. “We’re very pleased that the governor and the legislature will reconsider this issue,” said Jeff Wright, president of United Auto Workers Local 249. “This isn’t just good for Ford and the UAW, but for all of the automotive industry in Missouri.” News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 32. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 32 of 71 Extent of cuts for school aid hits home BY TIM BARKER POST-DISPATCH 06/19/2010 When Gov. Jay Nixon revealed plans Thursday to slash a pair of scholarship programs aimed at the state's neediest and brightest students, it sent the higher education community into a frenzy. A day later, public and private schools are still scrambling to figure out exactly what the news will mean for students. And they fear that some of those students could be forced to leave school. "Everyone was expecting a cut. But no one expected it to be this large," said Jim Brooks, director of student financial aid at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where one in four Missouri students is helped by the two programs. Nixon's plan to trim more than $300 million from the state budget includes the virtual gutting of Access Missouri, an $82 million program for low- and middle-income students that was cut to $32 million. There also is a 25 percent reduction in the smaller Bright Flight program, aimed at keeping top students from leaving the state. For now, administrators, parents and students are awaiting details on the cuts. In a worst case scenario, Bright Flight awards could drop to $1,500 from $2,000. Access Missouri awards have two payment levels, based on whether a student goes to a public or private school. The maximum award could drop to $500 from nearly $1,700 last year at public schools, and to $1,000 from more than $3,500 last year at private schools. While the Department of Higher Education figures out the new payment levels — it could be a week or more before financial aid officers have more information — schools such as the University of Missouri-St. Louis are exploring ways to minimize the damage. "We'll look for ways to make sure the campus remains accessible for students in need," said Bob Samples, spokesman for UMSL, where more than 1,600 students receive aid from the programs. The problem is that most, if not all, of the state's institutions have financial troubles of their own. Endowments have suffered along with the nation's economy. Private donors have become more tight-fisted. And the state also cut funding for higher education by 5 percent. Still, the cuts in Access Missouri soon may be modified because of an infusion of cash announced last week by the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, which is giving the state $30 million for scholarships. The student loan agency characterized the infusion as a one-time event and said the money comes from a surplus generated through a series of financial restructurings undertaken during the past few months. Will Shaffner, director of business development and governmental relations for MOHELA, said the money is being released to the state, which will decide how to use it. "With the current crisis, we want to make sure that when the state has to make tough choices, the students will be protected," Shaffner said. While it's possible the money could be used to create a separate scholarship program, the Department of Higher Education said Friday that it simply may be rolled into Access Missouri. But even with that $30 million, the governor's cuts still represent a 25 percent reduction in funding for a program that had already been trimmed about 10 percent by legislators. For some students, that's going to be too much, said George Wolf, vice president and dean for enrollment services at Westminster College, where nearly a third of the students get money from the targeted programs. "Bottom line: It will keep some kids from going to school," Wolf said. "I have no doubt about that." News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 33. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 33 of 71 That type of thinking has some financial aid leaders suggesting that it's time to reconsider the Bright Flight program, which rewards students based on their ACT scores. Rarely does that money make a difference in whether those students — who don't tend to come from poor families — are able to attend college, said Faith Sandler, executive director of the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis. "It may be a nice benefit, but does it fill a critical need when we are cutting essential aid?" Sandler asked. For some schools, however, the governor's cuts were far from a worst-case scenario. The state's private schools are understandably conflicted about the cuts, considering that, just a few months ago, they were battling not to be left out of Access Missouri altogether. That was one scenario floated by Nixon while working to get everyone on board with a plan to end the practice of giving larger scholarships to students at private schools. The so-called equalization will go into effect in 2014. One of the schools at the forefront of the campaign to retain Access Missouri money for private-school students was Missouri Baptist University, which organized a pep rally, phone bank and letter-writing campaign. University president R. Alton Lacey took the news of the governor's cut with that in mind. "It's not great news. But it's probably not the worst news either," Lacey said. "I'm just glad the program is funded at any level. And that we are included." Still, things will be getting considerably tougher for students like Montez Brown, a freshman among 650 Missouri Baptist students helped by Access Missouri and Bright Flight. Brown, 19, a business administration major who's already working 30 hours a week, still owes the school $1,500 from last year. Now's he looking for a second job to offset the lost scholarship money while wondering when he's going to find time for study and homework. "I thought we were supposed to be the future," Brown said. "But now they're taking this money away from us." News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 34. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 34 of 71 Schools face tough times after recent budget cuts by Kermit Miller Posted: 06.18.2010 at 6:32 PM RUSSELLVILLE, MO. -- Organizations and agencies funded by the state are still assessing the fallout from the latest round of budget cuts. Without a doubt, education is the biggest loser in the latest round of cuts. Gov. Jay Nixon completely eliminated a program that subsidizes internet access in schools. And he sliced tens of millions from school bus funding. Like most rural superintendents, Russellville’s Jerry Hobbs depends heavily on state funds. The cuts mean no new school bus this fall to replace one of the aging units in his fleet. "We're probably gonna go from 93,000 to around 45,000 to 50,000 dollars," Hobbs said. The reduced funding from the state barely covers the $255,000 a year needed to run buses during the year. “It still costs us to run the buses,” Hobbs said. “We still have to haul the kids.” "Restricting these funds was not an easy call,” Nixon said at Thursday’s budget cut announcement. “But it will allow us to preserve full funding for K-12 classrooms.” True, but some small districts likely will have to use classroom money to provide bus service, which is required by law. The tightening money situation did not allow the governor to protect most new programs. One exception is an $8.3 million appropriation for a comprehensive smoking cessation program in Medicaid moms. The administration said that's a smart hedge against future costs. "Low birth weight babies are very expensive in the Medicaid program,” State Budget Director Linda Luebbering said. “So we believe by providing this funding we'll save at least as much in the Medicaid program.” It's the kind of choice people like Hobbs can appreciate, but not without wincing. "I feel sorry for the governor and the legislature as they have to try to make those cuts,” Hobbs said. “I know it's difficult. I know it's necessary. But it also puts us in a difficult position too.” College Administrators are also bemoaning the cuts to the state's scholarship programs. However, by doing that, the administration was able to honor its deal with tax supported institutions not to cut their budgets severely. In return, they will honor their joint pledge not to increase tuition. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 35. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 35 of 71 State determining where next job cuts will come JEFFERSON CITY NEWS TRIBUNE By Bob Watson Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon this week announced plans to cut another 255 state jobs, as part of his effort to keep the state's budget balanced. "We've taken a look at departments across state government, to increase efficiency, cut costs and save money," Nixon told reporters Thursday as he announced both his signing of the budget bills for the 2010-11 business year and $280 million in additional withholdings, and the job cuts. When this next round of job cuts is finished, Missouri government leaders will have sliced about 2,500 jobs from the state's payroll since Nixon took office in January 2009 -- about 18 months. And that's on top of former Gov. Matt Blunt's administration's job reductions, which eliminated positions until the total number of state employees was below 60,000. "We're hoping that the majority of (the new cuts) will be through attrition," Budget Director Linda Luebbering told reporters, "but, no, we don't know specifically." The budget director said the agencies still are determining which jobs will be affected by the new cuts. For that matter, the Office of Administration did not have an immediate answer to where the previous cuts had occurred, or how many were jobs filled with people at the time the positions were eliminated. The only information available Friday covered a total of 192 Merit System jobs cut in the 2009-10 business year that ends June 30, including 29 positions in Cole County, 2 jobs each in Boone and Camden counties, and 1 job each in Callaway and Miller counties. Luebbering said OA officials still were trying to determine the location and type of other jobs affected by the last two years' reductions. But administrators do know which departments are affected by the new cuts: Mental Health will lose the most jobs, at 92 FTEs (full-time equivalent). Social Services is second, with 70 positions. And the Office of Administration is third, with 52 jobs lost. Read an expanded version of this article in our newspaper or e-Edition for Sunday, June 20, 2010. Newspaper subscribers: Click on an e-Edition article and log in using your current account information at no extra charge. For help, e-mail News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 36. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 36 of 71 Nixon cuts funding for MOREnet, largest Internet access manager By MARÁ ROSE WILLIAMS The Kansas City Star Internet access has just gotten more costly for the state’s financially strapped schools, colleges, universities and libraries. The $281 million in state budget cuts approved by Gov. Jay Nixon this week included the last $7 million of the state’s subsidy to MOREnet, the largest manager of Internet access for educational services. It’s the fourth cut made to the subsidy since January. To offset the loss of those state dollars, the MOREnet consortium, serving more than 700 institutions across Missouri, Friday voted to bump up the cost for its service. How much has not been determined. The state cut represents about a quarter of the MOREnet budget and the second half of what had been a $14 million state subsidy. The executive director, John Gillispie, said MOREnet has provided low-cost telecommunication, support services and training for students, community residents and telehealth-care clinics for 20 years. “This budget cut may make access to some of these services cost prohibitive to certain members of the consortium,” Gillispie said. The largest MOREnet client is the University of Missouri four-campus system. MOREnet manages all the Internet access for the system, including MU’s University Hospital. Gary Allen, system vice president for information technology, was not sure what the financial impact will be to the university. Gillispie said the budget cuts “primarily impacts K-12,” which could see a minimum 35 percent rate increase. Service cost varies among school districts depending on size and the level of band width service used. But he said a district with the maximum student population and using the maximum band width could be charged about $33,875 a year. Kansas City School District officials said they, too, haven’t been told what the additional cost will be to the district. “But we are going to have to try and find a way to pay it to continue having Internet access for our schools,” said Eileen Houston-Stewart, district spokeswoman. “In our current financial state, any increase is going to have a significant impact.” News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 37. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 37 of 71 "Crisis" Situation For MOREnet COLUMBIA - After losing all state funding, the Missouri Research and Education Network, or MOREnet,decided Friday morning to continue operations. MOREnet held a teleconference with its staff, council, members, and sponsors Friday morning. MOREnet provides internet and network services to schools and libraries. It said although it anticipated cuts, it did not expect anything of this magnitude. On Thursday, Governor Nixon announced $281 million more in state cuts. It included $6.8 million in cuts to MOREnet. MOREnet is weighing a number of options to try and adjust to the cuts. Council members challenged the MOREnet staff to think of creative ideas. One of those options would mean relocating to a smaller building. MOREnet is currently located of LeMone Industrial Boulevard, but says it is shopping smaller buildings to move in to. It also said it had some resignations recently that it would not refill. On the conference call, council members called MOREnet a "fundamentally irreplaceable" service for school districts. Representatives from area school districts said during the conference they would have to consider other options depending on the magnitude of the fee increase. MOREnet says it will likely need to double the fee increase that was originally planned. It is also trying to become a more appealing service and increase its value. It may adopt a "cafeteria" style format. Currently, it offers memberships and anyone who is a member has the same service package. The new format would let clients pick and choose which services they want. MOREnet is working on finalizing the rates for the upcoming year before they are due on July 1. KOMU-TV Reported by: Blake Hanson Edited by: Michael Brannen News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 38. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 38 of 71 Missouri prisons will cut back visiting hours BY PHILLIP O'CONNOR ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH 06/19/2010 On Friday, as she has almost every week for the past 10 years, Judy Martin drove from her Arnold home to the state prison in Farmington, Mo. She visited a young man from her church who was convicted of murder when he was 18 years old. "He's told me over and over that I've made such a difference in his life — and I know I have — just because somebody cares about him," Martin said. But soon, Martin, 67, and others like her, may no longer be able to spend as much time with inmates. Come September, Missouri plans to cut prison visiting hours, a move corrections officials say will save money on overtime pay. "With the current fiscal climate and how the budget is and never knowing what's around the corner, we've been taking at look at how we can become more efficient," Department of Corrections spokesman Jacqueline Lapine said Friday. But some corrections experts fear that Missouri's cost savings could come at a price. They point to studies that show family visits and educational programming are the most crucial components in the successful rehabilitation of criminals. "Prisoners who are able to maintain quality contact with loved ones throughout a prison term have a much better chance of post-release success in the community, and a much lower recidivism rate," said Terry Kupers, an Oakland psychiatrist who works with inmates and has studied the effects of prison visitation. Those who don't are more likely to be the object of excessive force and abuse from staff and prisoners. "Perpetrators select prisoners to abuse who have no quality contacts outside the prison" Kupers said. The changes in visiting hours come at a time when corrections facilities across the country confront drastic budget shortfalls. With tax revenue off sharply as a result of the economic downturn, many are searching for savings in everything from food to telephone usage. Several states have eliminated education and treatment programs while others have granted inmates early release. "These are very tough choices they're being forced to take," said Joel Dvoskin, a psychologist with the University of Arizona medical school, who has written extensively on prison mental health issues. While research is clear that maintaining positive ties to the community increases an inmate's chances of living a law-abiding life outside of prison, the first priority must be to keep staff and inmates safe, Dvoskin said. "You have to look at what they would do otherwise to trim their budget," he said. "You can't cut stuff that has immediate safety implications for staff or inmates. I'm sympathetic. Budgets are bad." Despite Illinois' precarious financial position, a Department of Correction official there said no visiting hour changes are planned. Locally, the St. Louis County jail recently moved the daily starting time for prisoner visits from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., in part to save money and because there were few visitors during those early morning hours, Superintendent Vincent Vaughn said. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 39. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 39 of 71 Jail officials in St. Louis and in St. Charles, Madison and St. Clair counties all said they had no plans to change visiting hours. Jefferson County officials did not respond to a query. Maj. Thomas Knapp, executive deputy for the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department, said Illinois mandates minimum weekly visitation at local jails, and his lockup is already at that level. Missouri corrections officials say they are uncertain how much money the changes will save. The department, which houses about 30,000 inmates, saw its budget cut this year by $4.5 million, to $660 million. The change, only now being explained to inmates and families, would affect 18 of the department's 20 facilities. Hours will continue to vary by institution. Generally, visits have been allowed Thursday through Sunday at most facilities. Friends could visit on Thursdays and Fridays, with weekends reserved for family. Under the changes, Thursday visiting hours would be eliminated. Total visiting periods would be lengthened on Fridays but end at 6:30 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday visiting periods would be shorter and end earlier. As of Friday, the agency website reflected only the current hours. Corrections officials point out that so far this year, the number of prisoner visits is down about 5 percent from last year, when the state recorded about 285,000. They also note that only 12 percent of visits occur on Thursdays. The cuts will reduce the need for employees to process visitors and staff the visiting rooms. And officials point out that inmates will still be able to communicate through letters and phone calls. Martin thinks the shorter hours and earlier end times will make it difficult for visitors who have daytime jobs or have to drive long distances. "They say visits are important to the inmates, but then they do everything they can to keep you from visiting,'' she said. Martin said she will rearrange her schedule to accommodate the changes. Still, she worries about others who can't or won't make the trip. She knows what the visits have meant to both her and the man she sees. "He tries so hard to please and to stay out of trouble because somebody cares for him," Martin said. "He's become like a son to me after all this time." Denise Hollinshed and Terry Hillig of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 40. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 40 of 71 Sinquefield’s millions: More money against earnings tax, for GOP By Jake Wagman St. Louis Post-Dispatch ST. LOUIS — When wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield last month gave $2.5 million to his push to fight the city earnings tax , it was likely the largest single donation in the history of Missouri politics. It didn’t take long for Sinquefield to match his own record. (Update: As Jo Mannies at the Beacon points out, James and Virginia Stowers hold the record on the largest single donation in Missouri campaign history. They contributed a $4.2 million check in 2006 for an effort to promote stem-cell research.) Today, Sinquefield reported giving another $2.5 million to the campaign, bringing his total contribution to the effort to just over $6.75 million. In order to reach the November ballot, Sinquefield’s initiative must be certified by the Secretary of State. It’s clear, however, that Sinquefield is not waiting for official approval — and, because he turned in about twice the requisite signatures, he really doesn’t need to tarry. The statewide referendum would give voters in St. Louis — and Kansas City — the ability to rescind the 1 percent wage tax currently paid by individuals who live or work in the city. Others are also benefiting from Sinquefield’s largess. Ethics Commission filings released today show that Sinquefield, who made his fortune as a mutual fund maven, gave $75,000 to the State House Republican Campaign Committee and $100,000 to a new political action committee, “Progress for the Saint Louis Region.“ The treasurer for that new committee is Mark Tucker, a Sinquefield lobbyist. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 41. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 41 of 71 Concealed weapons at Schnucks’ Culinaria? Ain’t that a state building? By David Hunn St. Louis Post-Dispatch One Schnucks’ grocery store may have to bar concealed weapons again. Yesterday, Post-Dispatch writer Kavita Kumar reported that Schnucks lifted an old ban in Missouri stores against carrying concealed weapons. But a source in city hall just dropped off this note: Schnucks’ downtown grocery store, Culinaria, is in a state- owned building. The 905-913 block on Olive Street is owned by the Missouri Development Finance Board, which is leasing the building to the grocery chain. And state law prohibits concealed weapons in state-owned or leased buildings. Governor Jay Nixon just explained in an official state publication that only law enforcement officers or other “specified public officials” can carry weapons in state buildings. And that suggests that carrying weapons just wouldn’t be legal, at least in Culinaria. Lori Willis, spokeswoman for Schnucks, said that she wasn’t aware of any problems. “If Culinaria has to be handled differently, then we weren’t made aware of it,” she said this morning. But she said she’d look into it and get back to me. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 42. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 42 of 71 Blunt and Carnahan address VFW convention COLUMBIA MISSOURIAN By Kristina Casagrand June 18, 2010 | 5:59 p.m. CDT COLUMBIA — Roy Blunt and Robin Carnahan spoke to the Department of Missouri Veterans of Foreign Wars convention on Friday morning at the Columbia Expo Center. Also present among a crowd of about 300 VFW and Ladies Auxiliary members were Missouri Reps. Chris Kelly and Steve Webber and state Sen. Chuck Purgason. Kelly received the VFW’s legislator of the year award for efforts to secure $600,000 for a veterans service program in Missouri. During their speeches, Carnahan and Blunt thanked the VFW and offered their ideas for veterans benefits in the Senate. They both promised to honor current military members with proper equipment and financial security upon their return home. They are campaigning to take retiring U.S. Sen. Kit Bond’s seat in the fall 2010 election. Roy Blunt First to speak, Blunt was recognized for working to pass concurrent receipt legislation, which pays for both retirement and disability pay. “I am proud to be in those battles for you and doing that would be one of my top accomplishments,” Blunt said. “They’ve been fighting that battle since the start of the civil war.” Other legislative accomplishments Blunt cited included getting prescriptions from non-VA doctors honored by VA hospitals, improving survivors benefits from 35 percent to 55 percent, expanding hospital access, and his work with Tillie Fowler to get health care benefits for retirees. “How can we possibly not afford to do what we promised veterans we’d do?” he asked. Blunt said that in the Senate, he would like to address immediate access to records, expanding work opportunity tax credits for veterans and cutting down on paperwork. He also spoke about national security, saying we have a culture of denial about the threats we really have. “We have enemies in the world because of who we are,” he said. “Islamic extremists don’t like us because every day we disprove what they say — that there’s only one way that people can live together and everybody has to be just the same. We disprove that like no society ever has.” Robin Carnahan The VFW then welcomed Robin Carnahan, lauding her collaboration with veteran organizations and legislatures to make voting easier for Missourians deployed overseas. Carnahan cited her family’s history of public service. Her grandfather served in the Navy during World War I and her father, former Missouri governor Mel Carnahan, was stationed in the U.S. during the Korean War. “Like my father, I will advocate for veterans,” she said. “I will also do that for those who are continuing to serve to make sure they have the equipment and the training they need as well as the financial security they were promised and deserve when they get home.” Carnahan said she helped pass the toughest law in the nation to protect seniors from financial scams. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 43. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 43 of 71 She said she would like to step up jobs, housing and health care benefits for veterans as well as ensure proper training and equipment for those currently serving in the military. Carnahan then criticized Blunt for standing up for big banks, oil companies, insurance companies and lobbyists as well as voting to double Senate salary while voting against raising minimum wage. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 44. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 44 of 71 June 19, 2010 Candidates offer different ways to communicate From staff reports Editor's Note: This is part one in a seven part Sunday series focusing on the 7th Congressional District race. Don Ray writes letters, sends e-mails and even makes telephone calls to those representing him in Washington. His has a mixed bag of experiences with elected leaders and their staffs. Ray is retired and lives in Joplin. He characterizes himself as conservative, but says he votes both Republican and Democrat. “I vote for the person who will do the best thing for us. All I ask is they weigh what’s right,” Ray said. He says he’s troubled because he doesn’t feel like he has a relationship with political leaders in Washington. He not only wants his voice heard, but listened to as well. And he wants answers. “All I ask for is an honest response. Not a canned letter, not a politically correct speech,” Ray said. He’s following the 7th Congressional District race closely. There are 10 candidates — eight Republicans and 2 Democrats — on the Aug. 3 primary ballot. GOP contenders, listed in ballot order, are Jeff Wisdom, Springfield, an economics professor at Ozarks Technical Community College; Gary Nodler, Joplin, a state senator; Michael Moon, Ash Grove, a farmer and employee of St. John’s Medical Center; Darrell L. Moore, Springfield, Greene County prosecuting attorney; Jack Goodman, Mount Vernon, a state senator; Billy Long, Springfield, an auctioneer and real estate agent; Michael Wardell, Nixa, a retired veteran and businessman; and Steve Hunter, Joplin, a former state representative. Democratic candidates are Tim Davis, Branson, an attorney and economist; and Scott Eckersley, Kimberling City, a lawyer who sued his former boss, then-Gov. Matt Blunt, after he said the office broke the law by refusing to release e-mails to the press. The Globe, after talking to Ray, put his question to the candidates and asked them to respond in 100 words or less. What specific steps will you take, if you are elected, to make sure you are responsive to your constituents back home? Jeff Wisdom: One of the primary reasons we have a frustrated electorate is a breakdown in communication with elected officials. Most constituents want a representative who demonstrates a genuine interest in their concerns. I will never forget I work for the voters and serve as their advocate. I pledge to be accessible through regular listening sessions. Further, I will hold at least two town hall meetings each quarter where citizens can speak directly to me, discussing their concerns while I openly and candidly answer their questions. This will ensure that constituents living in Southwest Missouri have a loud voice in Washington, D.C. Gary Nodler: Constituents communicate with legislators in many ways — phone calls, letters, e-mails and by responding to surveys. A congressman should work hard to learn the views of his constituents. If a very large number of communications make the same or similar points, I think a standard answer is appropriate. The response should News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 45. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 45 of 71 be directed to the topic covered in the correspondence. If the citizen believes that he is not being heard, he should hold the elected official accountable at the ballot box. Sometimes hundreds or even thousands of communications are received in a week, making responding to all a challenge. Mike Moon: Our current congressional representative’s office staff reports that in a given month several thousand requests are made for a personal visit from the congressman, hundreds of e-mail messages are received daily and hundreds of calls are answered between the three offices each week. To answer each and every request, message or call personally would require an insurmountable amount of the representative’s time and doing so may not be feasible. I am not favorable to “canned” replies, however, I would task a trusted staff member to make a personal contact on my behalf. Darrell Moore: I would handle constituent contacts as I do now in the prosecutor’s office. There are no “canned” responses. Either I or a staff person responds directly to each inquiry, appropriately addressing the specific issue(s) raised. This is what would happen if I am your congressman. Staff would be trained to screen all e-mail, other correspondence and phone calls and refer them to the appropriate person for a direct response. I would set the parameters of who should respond to what inquiries, and include myself as being the person most appropriate to respond in most cases. Jack Goodman: As a state senator, I try to respond immediately to anyone who contacts my office, acknowledging receipt of correspondence and informing the constituent a personal response will follow. The large volume sometimes delays responses and requires staff involvement, but I do review incoming correspondence and dictate all outgoing correspondence. If elected to Congress, communicating with constituents will remain a top priority for me. Listening to constituents is vital to doing my job well. After all, my job is to reflect my constituents’ values in crafting the laws we all live under. Billy Long: I am fed up with career politicians who have forgotten who they work for. I will never forget that my bosses are the people of Missouri’s 7th District. I will hold meetings and travel around the district regularly once elected to hear their ideas and concerns. I think it is very important that anyone who submits a question or concern to his representative that he receives an answer to his question, not a dismissive form letter. I am going to represent Missouri’s 7th District to Washington, not Washington to Missouri’s 7th District. Michael Wardell: The challenge is trying to come up with a way to respond effectively with more than 500,000 people in the district. Each individual must be responded to by a human and I would have a few staff members address each concern with a non-canned response. However, if the demands of the constituents exceeded the capability of my staff and my budget for additional members was at its limit, I will hold town hall meetings at least semi-annually, in different parts of the district to address the issues important to those who perhaps asked the same type of question. Steve Hunter: As a state representative, we had a rule in my office to return calls from constituents within 24 hours. That will be my rule of practice if elected. I am paid by taxpayer money; the least my office should do is to respond in a timely manner. My intent is to hire responsive staff members that will do their jobs. If they don’t, I’ll fire them and find people who will. This is not rocket science. A constituent is like a customer in private business that you as an elected official take care of. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 46. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 46 of 71 Timothy Davis: As a congressman I would be representing my constituents. I cannot effectively represent Southwest Missouri if I lose touch with the concerns of the people here. To remain connected to voters I’ll build time in my schedule each week to respond to voters’ concerns by letter and e-mail. Although I will be working in Washington, my home will still be in Southwest Missouri. This is where my family, my church and my friends are. I will remain active in our home church, James River Assembly in Ozark. And I will continue to live in Branson. Scott Eckersley: The issue is whether anyone is really listening in Washington. With a 16 percent approval rating, most of us give Republicans and Democrats in Congress a failing grade. I’ve seen politicians put personal and party interests ahead of the people they should be serving. I am an independent voice willing to change that. New media provides incredible access to elected officials and vice-versa. Through Internet, mail and phone, there is no excuse for voters not to be heard. But all the fancy new media in the world can’t replace a leader who isn’t listening. I care. I will listen. I will act. Pullout Do you have a question for candidates seeking to represent their party in the 7th District Congressional race. Contact Susan Redden, or Carol Stark, or call 417-627-7278. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 47. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 47 of 71 BLOG ZONE Nodler: Environmental impact would “Be less likely if we were allowing more drilling on shore” June 21, 2010 THE FUSE JOPLIN By Eli Yokley (JOPLIN, Mo.) State Senator Gary Nodler spoke last week about the BP oil leak crisis to reporters gathered at his office opening in Joplin. Nodler, who’s running in a tough GOP primary against several contenders, had tough words for President Barack Obama. Nodler thinks the federal response to the leak initially was inadequate. “I think the Obama administration was at least a couple of weeks late in assuming this was a national responsibility for the government. I think they left it to BP. Now whether or not the fact that BP was a huge donor to the Obama campaign effected that lack of initiative on the part of the administration, I can’t say with certainty, but it’s troubling that they were so slow to engage when it effected a major donor to the campaign.” Nodler disagrees that the donations from the same group would effect Congressman Blunt’s performance as a U.S. Senator. “Fankly, this is not a legislative matter, this is an executive response, the President has emergency powers, this is a national disaster. Congress writes the rules for framing public responses and creates authority for the executive branch and for others to deal with it, but the reality is, this was a responsibility of the administration.” “I don’t necessarily have the same take [on energy legislation] that everybody else does. Some people might assume that that’s an issue that would drive people closer to the radical enviromentalist position. I would say that whole thing would be less likely if we were allowing more drilling on shore,” Nodler said. Nodler said, “The irony is that the United States government, really, is precluding drilling in the ANWAR in alaska, and of all people, British Petroleum is building the largest off shore platform in history, off the coast of drilling down and into the coast of the ANWAR, so the oil will be sucked out and brought to the surface of the ocean, increasing the risk of the enviromental damage.” He belives this can’t be stopped. “If they’re outside of the 69 mile restriction zone, I don’t know that the united states government has the authority to stop them, and I don’t know that there are any rules that keep them from going under the ocean floor, and drilling into the acolfloor where the oil is located.” He does believe that there should be “no cap” on BP’s liability. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 48. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 48 of 71 Kraske: Kinder's $100K donation to Schweich clears the field for Blunt...and Nixon dodges (another) bullet Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has had a good month. He picked up $25,000 in campaign funds from financier Rex Sinquefield; $25,000 more from Springfield businessman Jerry Cook; $50,000 from Jerry Hall, vice president of a Missouri banking services firm; and $30,000 from Bill Holekamp, a former Enterprise Rent-A-Car executive. Kinder, a Republican who’s seen as the most likely 2012 challenger to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, needs the dough. Although Kinder had $146,000 in his campaign account on March 31, he still carries a whopping $315,000 debt from his 2008 re-election battle. All this is prelude to a question: With Kinder still in debt, why did he donate $100,000 to little-known Republican Tom Schweich last Dec. 31, a contribution that dropped Kinder’s campaign account at the time to a measly $16,877? That’s a question Missouri Democrats are asking these days in the wake of former President Bill Clinton’s much-publicized offer of a job to Congressman Joe Sestak, apparently to convince Sestak to bail out of the Pennsylvania Senate race. Clinton and Democrats have been hammered on the issue in recent weeks, and rightly so. Federal law prohibits anyone from promising “any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit…to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity…” Not that prosecutors are pre-occupied with the age-old political tradition of dangling jobs or campaign donations to clear primary fields. Proving malfeasance in these cases is neigh impossible, to hear prosecutors tell it. In Clinton’s case, White House chief counsel Bob Bauer insisted there was nothing illegal about his offer. He called the discussions “fully consistent with…ethical requirements.” But that hasn’t stopped the GOP from firing missiles and seeking investigations. “Perhaps most disturbing is that this is an administration that claims to be the most transparent, accountable and ethical in White House history,” Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele said. We don’t know what Kinder or Schweich have to say about the lieutenant governor’s $100,000 donation, because neither agreed to talk about it. But we do know some facts. Schweich was hell-bent on running for the U.S. Senate early last year, stating early and often that the presumptive GOP nominee, Cong. Roy Blunt, was destined to be defeated. “There has been an active effort to crush, pre-emptively, any possible challenger,” Schweich wrote in a newspaper piece. “Yet most…acknowledge that Blunt will have a very difficult time winning.” Schweich even made the rounds in Jefferson City, telling his story to reporters and Republicans alike. At his side was a supporter: former Missouri Sen. Jack Danforth. Then came June 11 and a fancy dinner in St. Louis in which the GOP honored Danforth. Awkward it was, as the man being honored was saying Blunt couldn’t win. But on the day of the dinner, Schweich suddenly announced he was out of the Senate race and was backing — get this — Roy Blunt. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 49. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 49 of 71 A month later, Schweich was running for auditor, a decision made after Blunt visited him at home. In December, Kinder — by then the titular head of the Missouri GOP with Sen. Kit Bond not seeking re-election — made his gi-normous donation to Schweich. As of his last report, Kinder still owes $300,000 to the man who lent it to him in 2008 — former Gov. Matt Blunt. Some cynics suggest that because the former governor hasn’t demanded repayment suggests a Blunt tie to all of this. They say it was the Blunts working from afar to clear the field. That’s a stretch. It’s not plausible that Matt Blunt would have known that newcomer Schweich would one day challenge his father. But this tale does suggest something else: The centuries-old art of clearing primary fields is one assiduously practiced by both Democrats and Republicans. **** Gov. Jay Nixon dodged the second potentially mortal bullet of his administration last week with the news that the Big 12 is remaining largely intact. Nebraska officials, after all, blamed Nixon for starting all the realignment talk to begin with. Last summer, it was E. coli-gate. This summer, it’s the Big 12. Holy smokes, governor, these Missouri summers sure get hot. Submitted by Steve Kraske KC STAR PRIME BUZZ BLOG News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 50. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 50 of 71 McCaskill claims to have the 67 votes needed to end 'secret holds' By Jo Mannies, Beacon Political Reporter Posted 11:30 pm Sat., 06.19.10 U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is telling the political world this weekend that she has the necessary 67 votes to get rid of one of the most controversial practices in the U.S. Senate -- the "secret hold" that allows a single senator to block a vote on presidential nominees. And the colleague agreeing to provide one of the two last key votes is Missouri's top Republican, U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo. News outlets in Washington and elsewhere are abuzz after McCaskill tweeted on Twitter Saturday morning that Bond and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., had agreed to be the 66th and 67th supporters of her letter "calling for the end to secret holds." (Technically, they are the 65th and 66th signers, since the letter is to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, R-Nev., who announced his support early on -- but is not signing the letter since it is written to him.) In any case, McCaskill also tweeted Saturday: "Now I'm hoping I can testify in front of Rules Committee next week and convince them to move on rule change. Then on to the floor for a vote." According to her tally, she has the support of nine Republicans and all but one Democrat. The holdout is Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. McCaskill's drive started, in part, because many Democrats are upset that more than 100 of President Barack Obama's nominees for various posts had been held up at one point because of a secret hold by at least one senator. His Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, suffered -- although to a lesser degree -- a similar road block for many of his choices. In any case, Bond is among the veteran Republicans who agree with the Democrats that it's time to change the rules and force senators to go public if they are blocking a vote on a nominee News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 51. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 51 of 71 Local lawmakers hold energy stock Several House and Senate members from the region sit on committees that watchdog the oil industry and the environment, and all have investments in the businesses that they oversee, according to their latest financial disclosure reports. The forms don’t list a specific amount for an investment, but a range; $15,000 to $50,000, for example. Republican Rep. Jerry Moran of Kansas, who is running for the Senate, sits on the Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research Subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee. His investments in oil and other energy-related interests total perhaps as much $195,000. Republican Rep. Sam Graves serves on the same subcommittee. His disclosure form shows investments in two biodiesel plants worth up to $75,000. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, sits on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Her filing shows energy-related investments possibly valued as high as $200,000. Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, who is leaving Capitol Hill to run for governor, also serves on the Commerce Committee, as well as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He holds possibly up to $65,000 worth of stock in oil and gas interests. Republican Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri is a member of two panels: the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. His energy stock is worth perhaps as much as $95,000, according to his disclosure form. Submitted by David Goldstein KC STAR PRIME BUZZ BLOG News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 52. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 52 of 71 For what it's worth, it's what they're worth We'll post the personal financial statements of major candidates in various races as we get them. Now up: Robin Carnahan, Roy Blunt, Emanuel Cleaver, Claire McCaskill. Attachment Size bluntpfd.pdf 190.19 KB 2010 robin carnahan pfd.pdf 1003.37 KB cleaverpfd.pdf 237.73 KB mccaskillpfd.pdf 1.64 MB Submitted by Dave Helling KC STAR PRIME BUZZ BLOG News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 53. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 53 of 71 More disclosures Dennis Moore (including Stephene, listed as SP), Sam Graves, Ike Skelton, Todd Tiahrt, Jerry Moran. Attachment Size moorepfd.pdf 171.96 KB gravespfd.pdf 221.36 KB skeltonpfd.pdf 272.52 KB tihartpfd.pdf 114.22 KB moranpfd.pdf 153.22 KB Submitted by Dave Helling KC STAR PRIME BUZZ BLOG News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 54. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 54 of 71 Nixon calls special session on tax breaks for Ford, scheduled to start Thursday By Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter POSTED 1:26 PM FRI., 06.18.10 The day after trimming $301 million from the state's next budget, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that he is calling a special session so that the Legislature can pass a tax-incentive measure to encourage Ford Motor Co. to retain its manufacturing plant near Kansas City. (Read the Beacon's story on Nixon's tax cuts.) The session is slated to begin at noon next Thursday, apparently in an attempt to complete work on the tax- break package before the Independence Day holiday weekend. Nixon is pairing the tax-incentive measure with another bill to revamp the state's pension system for state workers. His administration says the pension changes would save the state about $10 million a year, about two- thirds of the cost of the tax breaks for Ford. (Click here to read an earlier Beacon story on the pension system.) The governor said in a statement that the special session is needed to protect Missouri jobs. "Automobile manufacturers and suppliers employ thousands of Missourians in every corner of the state, and it's vital that Missouri remain a hub of automotive production for generations to come," Nixon said in a statement. "As America's auto manufacturers reconfigure their operations to produce next-generation vehicles, it is absolutely critical that we are able to compete for the auto jobs of tomorrow. The Missouri Automotive Manufacturing Jobs Act will give us the ability to bring cutting-edge automotive jobs to our state, and I call on the General Assembly to send this important bill to my desk." The tax incentives would cost the state up to $15 million a year over 10 years. Called the "Missouri Automotive Manufacturing Jobs Act," the governor's office explained that "it would allow qualified manufacturing facilities or suppliers that bring next-generation production lines to Missouri to retain withholdings taxes typically remitted to the state." "To be eligible for these incentives, manufacturers would be required to make a substantial capital investment in production capacity and put people to work. Incentives would be triggered only after a company had made a firm commitment for that investment and workers were on the job." Nixon has said for days that the tax breaks -- which died during the final hours of the legislative session that ended May 14 -- are crucial if the state wants to retain Ford. "Ford Motor Co., which employs 3,700 workers at the Claycomo facility near Kansas City, is finalizing decisions about restructuring operations and locating production lines," he said today. "Other states, including Michigan, have come forward with aggressive proposals to compete for those jobs. This legislation would help Missouri compete to bring next-generation vehicle production to the state." Under the proposed pension changes, future state employees would have to work longer and they would be required to contribute 4 percent of their salary to the state retirement plan. There also would be changes in the investment bodies that handle the funds -- a key reason why the pension proposal also died last session. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry was quick to support the governor's call for a special section. "Ford's manufacturing plant is an important part of the economic foundation of Kansas City and our state," said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "The governor has made a good call to bring lawmakers back to Jefferson City to finish what they started and provide the tools needed for Ford, and other vital manufacturers in our state, to remain competitive and continue to provide Missouri jobs." News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 55. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 55 of 71 In any case, not all legislators are happy about Nixon's action -- including those within his own party. State Rep. Jamilah Nasheed D-St. Louis, swiftly issued a disparaging statement within minutes of the governor's announcement. "One day after cutting $301 million from an already decimated state budget, including taking away $70 million from local public schools, Gov. Jay Nixon has chosen to call the General Assembly into an unnecessary special legislative session for the purpose of giving the Ford Motor Co. and its suppliers up to $150 million in taxpayer money over 10 years,'' Nasheed said. "At a time when the state is struggling to provide for the welfare of its citizens, Missouri should not make the welfare of a profitable corporation a higher priority, especially when there is no guarantee Ford will keep its jobs in Missouri." News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 56. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 56 of 71 Sinquefield's millions still put him behind Stowers By Jo Mannies, Beacon Political Reporter POSTED 12:37 PM FRI., 06.18.10 Notice is legitimately being paid to wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield and his huge donations -- $6.79 million so far -- on behalf of a ballot effort to restrict, and perhaps repeal, local earnings taxes in St. Louis and Kansas City, and bar them elsewhere. His latest donation is $2.534 million this week to the campaign group, Let Voters Decide, that he helped create. But although Sinquefield is the state's largest individual campaign donor since 2008, his largess still trails that of James and Virginia Stowers of Kansas City, who donated close to $30 million to the 2006 pro-stem cell campaign. The Stowers' largest single donation -- and arguably the largest one-time campaign contribution in state history -- was $4.22 million on Sept. 30, 2006, to the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, the chief group behind Amendment 2, which protects in the state all forms of stem cell research allowed under federal law. During that year, the Stowerses made at least four other contributions -- ranging from $2.62 million to $3.208 million -- that exceed any of Sinquefield's individual donations so far. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 57. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 57 of 71 MISSOURINET Research looks at future of Missouri jobs by Bob Priddy on June 20, 2010 Researchers at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce say Missouri is not keeping up with the growing demand for people with postsecondary education. The study [Download PDF] says 59 percent of all Missouri jobs will require some postsecondary education. That’s four points below the national average. Researcher Michelle Melton says trends indicate Missouri will fall toward the bottom in good-paying, secure jobs Missouri today is slightly below average in the number of citizens with college degrees..If things remain the same, Missouri will produce jobs that are not ideal,” she says. Melton says there’s a message for Missourians, especially for the parents of the children who will be entering the job market eight years from now. If people don’t invest in educational improvements now, she says, their children will pay for it later. Special legislative session called by Bob Priddy on June 18, 2010 Governor Nixon is calling the legislature into session next Thursday to pass two bills. One is an economic development bill aimed at keeping Ford’s Claycomo plant in full operation. The other is a bill changing the state employees pension system in a way that lets the state pay for the tax concessions it would give Ford. Senate floor leader Kevin Engler expects the session to be a quick one. He hopes an agreement can be made on the two bills before the session starts, letting the House pass the bills to the Senate by Tuesday, the 29th. If that happens, Engler hopes the Senate can send them to the Governor on July 1st and end the special session. State budget director Linda Luebbering thinks the special session will cost about $125,000. The so-called Ford bill is more broadly called The Missouri Automotive Manufacturing Jobs Act. It would allow Ford to keep up to $15 million dollars a year in withholding taxes normally sent to the state if the company makes the capital investment needed to produce next-generation vehicles at the Claycomo plant. Production of some of the vehicles at the plant is to be ended this year. Supporters of the bill argue that retaining full production at Claycomo will mean jobs at dozens of smaller Missouri companies making parts for Ford. The pension reform bill would require future state employees to contribute 4% of their salaries to their pension programs. They make no contributions now. The bill would not affect the Public School Retirement System nor would it affect the Public Education Employee Retirement System. The Ford bill was near passage in the legislature last month. But the House balked on passing the pension reform bill that would have provided funding for it. The senate had passed the pension bill and was waiting for the house to approve the pension bill before taking the final vote on the Ford Bill. Both bills died on the last day of the session. Nixon has issued the call although a final pre-session agreement has not been reached with House opponents to the pension bill. But Engler says negotiations are underway that he hopes will lead to an agreement. Bob Priddy interviews Sen. Engler 3:09 mp3 News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 58. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 58 of 71 Standing up for Missouri’s missing people by Ryan Famuliner on June 21, 2010 Missouri’s Official Missing and Unidentified Persons Awareness Day coincides with the 3-year anniversary of the day a woman went missing in Cole County. A “memory walk” for Jasmine Haslag started from the State Capitol; a couple dozen people making their way through downtown Jefferson City. Jasmine’s mother, Peggy Florence, says the group “Missouri Missing” hopes to have a presence in the city. “I think the state needs some laws that govern the way a missing persons case is handled. There’s different things we need to do, we need to be more organized, for one. Missouri Missing is basically for one family to reach out to another so they don’t have to be alone. We haven’t gotten really good at pushing around legislation or getting anything done,” Florence said. Florence is one of the co-founders of Missouri Missing. She says she has hopes of hiring a lobbyist. “We just don’t know how, haven’t figured out how to go about doing that yet. To have a missing loved one in your family, it just eliminates every… you have a good thought, but where it went, I don’t know,” Florence said. The walk ends at the Cole County Courthouse and Sheriff’s Department… Friends and family signed ballons in front of the Courthouse with messages to Jasmine Haslag “Have you seen her?” One man in the group yells toward the building. “They’re gone!” Florence yells, both of them directing their frustration toward the Courthouse, where most of the employees have already left for the day. “She’s still gone!” The man adds. Florence says she thinks days like these help the group get toward that goal of becoming more organized. Missouri Missing tries to make contact with families shortly after a person goes missing. But for many, this is the first chance to meet others who have gone through the same experiences. Florence said a few words as some of those new acquaintances took part in a balloon launch for Jasmine. “I have to say to Jasmine today that I love you Jasmine Sue, I love you and I always will,” Florence said. A friend comforts Peggy Florence as she watches the balloons fly over the Missouri River This is the second official Missing and Unidentified Persons Awareness Day in Missouri. The walk came after a day of events at the Capitol. One of the keynote speakers was the father of Shawn Hornbeck; the boy who was found alive in the St. Louis area years after he disappeared, a story that generated national attention. Marianne Asher-Chapman, the other co-founder of Missouri Missing, says that was a powerful speech. “They definitely sent the message to not give up, because Shawn was found alive. But that’s not going to be the case in a lot of these cases,” said Asher-Chapman, whose daughter went missing 7 years ago. It was later discovered she was murdered. She says while this is only the second time they’ve held this event, it appears similar groups around the country have also seen the potential in joining together for common causes. “We were the first state in this country to include the unidentified in our awareness day, and since then two years ago, we’ve had seven other states follow our lead,” Asher-Chapman said. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 59. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 59 of 71 Kauffman Foundation plans to open KC charter school in 2011 by Ryan Famuliner on June 19, 2010 The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has been granted approval from the Missouri Board of Education to open a new charter school in Kansas City. The Foundation plans to start classes in fall of 2011 with 75 5th graders. “We’re intentionally starting off small. The schools that we’ve researched, the models consistently say that it’s better to start small and allow yourself to establish the structures and systems and school culture that’s necessary. So we’ll start with three classes of 25 students, a couple of administrative staff,” said Munro Richardson, Vice President of Education for the Kauffman Foundation. Richardson told the Board that if all goes as planned; the charter school would eventually be for grades 5-12. Richardson says the charter would take lessons from the Foundation’s successful “Kauffman Scholars” program. This year, 98% of the students in the first class Kauffman Scholars have completed their first year of college. “We’ve asked ourselves for a number of years, ‘what could we do if we had these students all day?’ So the Ewing Marion Kauffman School is really the next iteration, reaching back to Ewing Kauffman himself when he started Project Choice, of trying to educate young people in our community. Giving them the college and life preparation that we believe will be necessary,” Richardson said. Project choice was an effort Kauffman tried in the 1980s, to offer a free college education to at-risk students that graduated high school and stayed out of trouble. Richardson says Kauffman learned a lot from that experience. “Namely that, one, we from the very beginning had to offer a web of services around the student so they would be successful. Two, that it was not enough just to focus on college. Particularly for students who are coming from families and neighborhoods where a college-going culture is not present, where a focus on education is not appreciated. That you also needed to prepare these students for life as well. Moreover, it was too late to start just in the 9th grade; we learned that we needed to start earlier. So Kauffman Scholars actually recruits 6th graders to start in the program in 7th grade,” Richardson said. The charter can’t legally give preference to certain populations. So Richardson says the first class of 75 fifth graders will be left up to a lottery if more than that many apply. “So we’ve targeted five ZIP Codes on the eastern part of the city which have a predominance of students that are ‘at risk’ as defined by the state statute. Those students will get first opportunity in the lottery. In terms of marketing we intend to do a lot of heavy, on the street knocking on doors marketing,” Richardson said. “We obviously want to be open to any family that wants to apply, but we particularly have an interest in making sure that students that are ‘at risk’ as defined by the state statute not only have an opportunity but actually do apply. So when we look at, let’s say a public housing facility these days, we see a fertile opportunity for recruitment.” Richardson says members of the Kauffman Foundation have made trips to numerous charter schools around the country to research the best methods for the new school. The Missouri Board of Education unanimously approved the charter. Heat wave can be a killer, Health Dept. issues warning by Jessica Machetta on June 18, 2010 Heat indexes are hitting the triple digits and health officials are warning Missourians to know the signs of heat- related illness and reminding them to take steps to prevent them. Lori Harris-Franklin is an epidemiologist with the Department of Health. She says there are two separate illnesses to watch for in these conditions: heat exhaustion and heat stroke. (Click to see symptoms, etc.) News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 60. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 60 of 71 Harris-Franklin says heat exhaustion doesn’t necessarily present a life-threatening situation. She says those suffering from heat exhaustion need to rest in a cool place, loosen clothing, cool down with wet towels or a cool shower and drink non-alcoholic and caffeine free beverages to rehydrate. If you suspect heat stroke, call an ambulance. Heat stroke is when the sweating stops, skin turns red and is hot to the touch and the heart rate becomes rapid. Often the headaches will intensify and vomiting and unconciousness can follow. The department reports 11 Missourians died from heat-related causes last year. While the very young, the elderly and the chronically ill are at greatest risk of heat-related illness, summer temperatures can take a toll on healthy young and middle-aged adults, too, she says. Of the 11 Missourians who died from heat-related causes last year, eight were 25 to 64 years of age. Only three were age 65 or older. The elderly and the chronically ill perspire less and are more likely to be taking medication that can impair the body’s response to heat or that make them more sensitive to the heat. Those medications include antihistamines, over-the-counter sleeping pills, antidepressants, heart drugs, antipsychotics, major tranquilizers and some medications for Parkinson’s disease. People should check with their doctor or pharmacist to find out if their medications make them more sensitive to summer’s high temperatures. Seniors citizens on fixed incomes often do not have air conditioning or feel they cannot afford the extra expense of running it. Since many seniors live alone, Missourians should check on elderly family members and neighbors regularly to be sure they are not suffering from the effects of the heat. Missourians can call the state’s toll-free abuse and neglect hotline at 1-800-392-0210 to report senior citizens or adults with disabilities suffering from the heat and needing assistance. The hotline operates 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Young children are also sensitive to heat and must rely on adults to regulate their environments to prevent heat- related illness. Infants and children should not be left unattended in hot environments, especially in cars, even with the air conditioner running. A car’s interior can reach oven-like temperatures in minutes, putting anyone inside at risk of overheating. Children also should not be allowed to play in or around cars. Small children can become trapped because they are not big enough to open the door or roll down the window to get out. They also can fall asleep inside a hot vehicle or play or hide in the trunk of a car. Children also can become dehydrated very quickly. Small children often do not drink as much liquid as they should and can become dehydrated. Adults need to encourage children to drink plenty of fluids every day. View the Health Department’s site on hyperthermia and heat precaustions. Locate a cooling center near you where seniors and other people at risk of heat related illness can go to cool down. In Missouri, the greatest numbers of heat-related deaths have occurred in the urban, more densely populated areas of St. Louis City, St Louis County and Jackson County (Kansas City). Of the 203 heat-related deaths reported from 2000 through 2008, there were 125 (62%) deaths in these metropolitan areas. Rural deaths accounted for 78 (38%) of the deaths. Non-Missouri residents who succumb to heat while visiting are considered cases, accounting for 5 (2%) deaths. White males are the most frequent victims of heat-related illness resulting in death. In the same eight-year period, there were 99 (49%) white male deaths. Hyperthermia Mortality by Race and Sex, Missouri 2000-2008. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 61. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 61 of 71 Slightly more than half 109 (54%) of the 203 deaths during 2000-2008 were in the 65 year and older age group. Victims in this population often live alone and have other complicating medical conditions. Also, lack of air conditioning or refusal to use it for fear of higher utility expenses contributes to the number of deaths in the senior population. There were 84 (41%) hyperthermia deaths occurring in the 5 through 64-year-old age group. These deaths often have contributing causes such as physical activity (sports or work), complicating medical conditions, or substance abuse. Circumstances causing hyperthermia deaths in young children often involve a motor vehicle—a child left in or climbing into a parked vehicle during hot weather. From 2000-2008, there were 10 (5%) deaths of children less than five years of age. In August 2007, Missouri experienced a heat wave that lasted approximately 21 days and resulted in 34 hyperthermia deaths. The heat wave started August 2 with a heat index of 101 in Cape Girardeau and spread across the state. By August 7, the five cities that the Department of Health receives daily heat data on from the National Weather Service were experiencing heat indices of 103 or higher. The heat index remained in the upper 90s or higher in at least one of the five areas until Aug. 25. Public and private emergency response plans were implemented across the state. These responses included opening cooling centers, distributing ice, water, and people checking door-to-door for persons in danger from the heat. Without this quick and intensive response, public health officials believe mortality from the August 2007 heat wave would have been much greater. Fortunately, hot weather during the summer of 2008 was much more sporadic and less prolonged, resulting in 10 deaths statewide. Missouri’s highest temperatures generally occur in July and August each summer. Thus, the majority of hot- weather-related deaths also occur during these months. Of the 203 deaths from 2000-2008, 94 (46.3%) deaths were during the month of July and 78 (38.4%) were in August. Missouri is the only state that conducts on-going statewide surveillance for hot weather-related illnesses and deaths. Health care providers are required to report cases of hyperthermia to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 62. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 62 of 71 EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor Tough economy? Not if you're rich By Bill McClellan ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH 06/21/2010 I was in Baltimore recently. A friend and I arrived at the city's Inner Harbor in a small boat on a rainy morning. My friend was chilled and wanted to buy a sweat shirt. We wandered into an ESPN Zone restaurant and store. They had sweat shirts, but the real news was this — the clerk told us that the store and restaurant were closing the next day. And not just the Baltimore franchise, either, but the franchises in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Washington. My mind turned toward Ballpark Village. ESPN Zone was going to be a big part of that development. In fact, this newspaper published a story in October of 2006. The gist of the story was that Mayor Francis Slay supported a plan to provide $100 million in public funds for the project. Economists were quoted who said that the key to the project's success would be bringing new visitors downtown. One economist said that tenants such as ESPN Zone "could generate the kind of buzz" that would do that. Now the buzz-generating ESPN Zone is shutting down franchises while Ballpark Village has been transformed into a softball field. What can we learn from this? First of all, we should be grateful that Ballpark Village was a fraud. It was based on an inherently unfair premise, that national franchises would be brought in and given tax breaks to compete against the downtown restaurateurs who have paid taxes and employed people for years. That's a slap in the face to people who have long fought the good fight with no help from the city. And it is a fight. It's not as if the downtown restaurant business is easy. Consider that when Dan Dierdorf was chairman of the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, his downtown restaurant, Dierdorf and Hart's, shut down. Kim Tucci, who is currently vice chairman of the commission, recently closed his downtown restaurant, Pasta House Co. Pronto. When the people promoting tourism give up on the downtown restaurant business, that tells you something. Sadly, I'm sure there will be new projects that will demand tax subsidies, and almost surely, they will get them. It has become like a roller coaster ride. Once it starts, how do you get off? The Missouri Legislature will be in special session this week to come up with a plan to give tax breaks to Ford Motor Co. to keep operating a plant in Claycomo. Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing a package worth up to $15 million a year for 10 years. Bear in mind that the state is broke. Last week, the governor was cutting programs. This week, he's giving money away. But again, that's the way it is done these days. Last week, the Bridgeton City Council approved a rezoning bill that was the first step toward allowing Walmart to build a supercenter on St. Charles Rock Road at Harmony Lane. The development company, THF Realty Inc., is seeking $7.2 million in tax increment financing for the project. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 63. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 63 of 71 What happened to private enterprise? In the old days, if a developer wanted to build a store, he built a store. If somebody wanted to open a restaurant, he opened it. Private enterprise had something to do with risk and reward. It's not as if these would-be entrepreneurs need public money. Consider Ballpark Village. In 2001, the St. Louis Business Journal estimated that the Cardinals owners had a net worth of more than $4 billion. They need public money? Or consider the Village's would-be tenant. ESPN Zone is owned by the Walt Disney Co. Robert Iger, the chief executive of that company, made $29 million last year. He needs a tax subsidy to compete against Charlie Gitto? Nobody could argue that THF Realty needs tax subsidies to build a Walmart. One of the partners is Stan Kroenke. Last year, Forbes put his net worth at $2.7 billion. His wife's net worth was listed as $2.9 billion. If he needs $7.2 million to build a Walmart, imagine what he'll need if he decides the Rams need a new stadium. The situation with Ford is more complicated. That company isn't rolling in dough. Then again, I remember when the state put together a multimillion dollar package of incentives so that Ford would keep the Hazelwood plant open. That was in 2003. Ford shut the plant in 2006. Oh, well. My friend bought the sweat shirt. The clerk said she didn't know where she'd be able to find another job. We wished her luck. It's a tough economy out there. For most of us, anyway. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 64. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 64 of 71 Einstein’s take on Missouri’s budget woes POST-DISPATCH By Editorial Board R.J. Matson/Post-Dispatch “The world we’ve made, as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far, creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking.” To paraphrase Albert Einstein: The mess that has become the Missouri budget, as a result of the level of thinking its leaders have done thus far, has created problems that cannot be solved at the same level of thinking. On Thursday, Gov. Jay Nixon whacked another $301 million from the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. In all, the governor has cut more than $1 billion in planned state spending in the last year. Much — but not all — of this can be blamed on stubbornly high unemployment that is the residue of the 2008-2009 national recession. The rest of the blame lies with a decade of poor thinking. Things will get worse. Next year’s budget, which won’t be bolstered by federal stimulus funds as the last two budgets were, could be apocalyptic. Between 1975 and 2001, Missouri’s general revenue collections grew every year. Since 2001, the general revenue fund has had four years of negative growth. Barring a miracle on the order of the loaves and fishes, next year will make it five out of 10. Tom Kruckemeyer, a former state budget analyst who now works for the progressive Missouri Budget Project, says that in the decade of the 2000s Missouri’s general revenue collections dropped by 13 percent. Adjusted for inflation, Missouri has slightly less tax money to spend than it did in 1994. Many Missouriansno doubt regard this as good news. But for an increasing number of people, 16 years of stagnation means Missouri is a far less attractive place to live, work and do business. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 65. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 65 of 71 On Thursday, Mr. Nixon cut $54 million in state scholarship programs and $70 million in school bus spending. He understands that education is critical to building an attractive state work force, but most of the other options already were gone. Medicaid funding and mental health services already have been cut to Dickensian levels. The state throws a lot of people into prison, making its corrections budget untouchable. Mr. Nixon has reduced the state’s work force, the lowest paid in the nation, by 2,500 people. The state may owe as much as $350 million in tax credits next year for giveaways that may not be paying off. Missouri’s economy has undergone a seismic shift since the late 1990s. It has lost more than 110,000 manufacturing jobs, and very few jobs have come along to replace them. The state led the nation in the past 10 years in the drop in median income. Each lost job reverberates through the economy. Each comes with added costs for health care, unemployment compensation, food stamps and other safety-net benefits. The state’s response has been to race to the bottom: Keep cutting the budget, avoid anything that smacks of a tax increase — even just collecting all the taxes that already are owed. It refuses to even consider raising its lowest-in-the-nation cigarette and beer taxes. As to structural reforms, such as adjusting income taxes so that millionaires no longer would be taxed at the same rate as those in abject poverty, forget it. This is the level of thinking that has brought the state to its knees. Come the Aug. 3 primaries, Missourians should start to demand smarter, bolder leaders. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 66. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 66 of 71 The SB40 flap Sunday, June 20, 2010 Among those who reside in any county, the ones who deserve tax-supported services more than anyone else are those who are unable to fend for themselves. This need was recognized years ago when the Missouri Legislature passed Senate Bill 40, a piece of legislation authorizing voters in each of the state's 114 counties to impose on themselves a special tax of up to 40 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to pay for services to the developmentally disabled. In the ensuing years, 79 counties have adopted the tax. Among the traditional services provided from tax proceeds are housing, training and sheltered workplaces for developmentally disabled men and women. Cape Girardeau County's Senate Bill 40 tax is 7.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. In Scott County it is 4 cents, Perry County 8.98 cents and Bollinger County 10 cents. News stories in the Southeast Missourian in recent weeks have focused attention on the SB40 Board, an advisory group authorized by the Legislature. Senate Bill 40, among other things, gave county commissions the authority to appoint members to these special boards. But the boards are creations of the state, not the county. There is, for example, no mechanism in Senate Bill 40 for county commissioners to remove any SB40 Board members. And an attorney recently consulted by Cape Girardeau County's SB40 Board says property purchased using Senate Bill 40 tax funds should be owned by the SB40 Board. This has become a point of contention in Cape Girardeau County. The exclusive provider of services funded by the Senate Bill 40 tax is VIP Industries, a not-for-profit agency whose mission is to meet the needs of the developmentally disabled. For years VIP has had an exclusive contract with the SB40 Board to provide those services. It also has retained ownership of property purchased using funds from the Senate Bill 40 tax. County commissioners think the property should be owned by the county. An agreement was struck many years ago to transfer the property ownership from VIP to the county. Recently, it came to light that the deeds for the transfer had never been recorded, which means the property is still owned by VIP. Another development in recent months has been the issue of the SB40 Board's role. Some members of the board have expressed an interest in ending VIP's exclusive contract. All of the allocations from the Senate Bill 40 tax have always gone to VIP. There is an interest in providing more services to the developmentally disabled, and some on the board want to consider other possible providers of those services. There certainly is ample funding to provide more services. Over the years, the SB40 Board has been able to set aside nearly $3 million in reserves -- money from the Senate Bill 40 tax that was not spent on services to the developmentally disabled. In addition, as the sole beneficiary of the tax, VIP has amassed more than $15 million in reserves -- again, money not spent on the developmentally disabled. These reserves -- both by the SB40 board and by VIP -- are staggering. And they beg the question: Should the SB40 Board temporarily suspend collecting the Senate Bill 40 tax, or should it continue to collect the tax but find ways to provide additional services? And how much funding should the SB40 Board give to VIP when that not- for-profit has $15 million in idle funds? These are tough questions to grapple with. Some members of the SB40 Board have sought guidance from members of the county commission. Several weeks ago, four SB40 Board members met with Gerald Jones, presiding commissioner, and Paul Koeper, 1st District commissioner. The meeting -- an apparent violation of Missouri's Open Meetings-Open Records Law, because there was a quorum of the commission discussing county business -- did not satisfactorily resolve all the issues raised. The SB40 Board members then turned to 2nd District Commissioner Jay Purcell, seeking an advocate on the commission. Purcell has since participated in several meetings. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 67. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 67 of 71 In the meantime, Presiding Commissioner Jones has made it clear he doesn't like the squabbling going on. Jones has more than a passing interest in services for the developmentally disabled. As an educator, he taught special-needs students. He helped form the SB40 Board. But what appears to be threats to replace SB40 Board members he considers to be too contentious is out of line. The SB40 Board is an oversight board. It should be asking tough questions. And it should be resolving tough issues. To label an honest discussion of how the SB40 funds should be spent and who should own Senate Bill 40 tax-funded property as "controversy" misses the mark. Where's the controversy? The board, by asking questions, appears to be doing its job. As for the property ownership, this is something that needs to be resolved quickly. Why has this lingered in limbo all these years? Why wasn't anyone paying attention? There isn't just one good answer to these questions. Surely, however, a meeting of the minds among the SB40 Board, the county commission and VIP Industries can be worked out -- if that is everyone's goal from the start. More important, though, is to never lose sight of who needs the most help: the developmentally disabled. Is there more that can be done? Then do it. It's certainly not a question of too little funding. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 68. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 68 of 71 Tracking what health insurers actually spend on health care. POST-DISPATCH By Editorial Board Beginning next year, health insurance companies will be required to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect on medical care for the people they cover. The change is part of the federal health care reform bill passed this spring. What’s it mean to you? Plenty, if you buy your own health insurance or work for a small company. In Missouri, most people who buy health insurance on their own are covered by companies that didn’t meet that standard last year. So are nearly half of people who are insured through a job at a small business. Some of the insurance companies, particularly those in the so-called individual market, missed it by a long shot. Two of the 10 largest companies that sell individual policies, Aetna and American Family Mutual, each spent less than 60 percent of the premiums on health care in 2009. Some companies that sell insurance to large employers also failed to meet their standard. They’ll be expected to spend at least 85 percent of premiums on medical care. Two companies that control more than a third of the market fell short of the mark. The implications are significant. Companies that don’t meet the standards will be required to refund part of the premiums to customers. Federal and state officials still are working to decide exactly which expenses can be There is an important caveat: counted as medical spending — a more daunting task than you might imagine. Obviously, doctor visits and hospital admissions count. But what about the cost of appeals filed by policy holders? Or the cost of making sure that customers have paid their premiums before their claims are paid? The answer to both questions is yes; those expenses will be counted. But those expenses are not reflected in figures on insurance company spending released each year by the Missouri Department of Insurance. The department annually calculates what’s called the “medical-loss ratio” for health insurance companies doing business in the state. That’s the total value of health insurance claims expressed as a percentage of premiums collected. Medical-loss ratios can fluctuate from year to year, especially for smaller companies. That’s why the health care reform act sets rebates based on a three-year, rolling-average medical-loss ratio. As you might expect,health insurance companies think the standards are a horrible idea. They lobbied against it in Congress, arguing that setting standards does nothing to control skyrocketing health spending. But that’s not really the point. The standards exist to ensure that customers get good value for their premium dollars. Most companies that sell group health insurance probably will end up meeting the standards. The same may not be true for those selling individual policies. They have much higher expenses for each policy they sell. Even so, it’s not impossible. In 2008, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City had a medical-loss ratio for individual policies of 87 percent; its ratio for 2009 was about 81 percent. Here are a few other numbers to keep in mind: In 2008, insurance company profits averaged 2.2 percent nationally. Four of the six largest insurers in the St. Louis market beat that average. One of them was Aetna, which had a medical-loss ratio of 59 percent for individual policies sold in Missouri. It posted profits that were more than double the industry average. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 69. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 69 of 71 Climate Q&A: Why oppose legislation to help Missouri? SPRINGFIELD NEWS-LEADER June 19, 2010 Editor's note: Three area professors recently met with the News-Leader editorial board to stress their common view that climate change creates economic and biological dangers. We decided to pass some of their questions to area lawmakers on the federal level, and the lawmakers have chosen to answer for publication three questions each. Today is the third installment. Questions were drafted by biology professors Alexander Wait, Ph.D., Missouri State University; and Wendy Anderson, Ph.D., Drury University; and economics associate professor Terrel Gallaway, Ph.D., MSU. If you have a question on this subject you would like us to pass to the lawmakers, e-mail Editorial Page Editor Dave Iseman, Question: Missourians spend billions of dollars every year to buy coal, oil and gas from other states and foreign countries. Missouri has the skilled workforce and the natural resources to create homegrown energy right here in our state. Why do you oppose legislation that would create local jobs and revenues in Missouri, increase energy independence, and limit our vulnerability to inevitable price spikes for oil, gas and coal? U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt said: I've always been for more American energy. We rely far too heavily on foreign energy and that's why I've long been a cosponsor of the American Energy Act. This bill would invest in alternate technologies like solar power, biofuels and nuclear. Meanwhile it would renew our commitment to American energy resources that generations of Washington Democrats have succeeded in putting off-limits over the past 30 years, such as responsible shallow off-shore drilling and the Arctic Coastal Plain in Alaska. The American Energy Act also recognizes that coal, which is where Missouri gets more than 80 percent of our energy, will be a part of our energy equation for years to come. Drastically raising the price of energy in Missouri is a recipe for disaster in our state's economy. I'm not sure which local jobs you're referring to here, but the job-killing cap-and- tax bill I voted against in the House would have cost Missouri at least 32,000 jobs in the first year alone. It would raise the cost of energy on Missouri families by $2,700 a year. This is a big difference between my opponent and me in the U.S. Senate campaign. She supports this job-killing tax increase, I oppose this tax and instead support a comprehensive energy policy that includes responsibly finding more domestic supply, using less energy at home and investing in the future. U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond said: For years I have urged my colleagues in Congress to adopt a common- sense energy policy that provides more American energy - our energy policy should be good for American families and workers, not the foreign oil cartels or oil speculators. That's why spurring home-grown Missouri clean energy solutions is one of my highest priorities. I am proud that Missouri life scientists are leading the way with new cellulosic biofuels and innovations with woody biomass, both of which I supported with federal funding. Similarly, I support new clean technology for coal-fired power plants on which Missouri depends, such as the Springfield carbon capture and storage project that I helped jump start with a federal earmark. I also support building on Missouri's traditional battery leadership with new innovations in lithium batteries and hybrid- and all- electric vehicles. I would also love to have plentiful carbon-free electricity from a new nuclear plant in Missouri. All of these efforts create jobs for Missouri, increase our energy independence, and lower our carbon emissions. What I do not support is punishing Missouri families and workers with the higher energy taxes and lost jobs that will come from carbon cap and tax proposals such as the Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Lieberman climate bills. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 70. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 70 of 71 I am especially opposed to inflicting pain and hardship on Missouri when EPA tells us these proposals would not even produce a measurable change in world temperatures because China and India are refusing to join us with their own carbon cuts. Raising taxes, killing jobs and making consumers suffer may be a policy solution for California and East Coast liberals, but they are no solution for Missouri. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said: I think most Americans would agree we have to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources, and producing energy from alternative sources and increasing energy efficiency is key to making this a reality. Missouri definitely has tremendous capacity to produce alternative energy, like that produced by wind and biofuels. I have supported, and continue to fight for, numerous tax credits to help bolster the production of renewable energy from crop sources in Missouri. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly referred to as the stimulus, we created new tax credits and bolstered existing weatherization programs to incentivize businesses and homeowners to increase their energy efficiency. These projects are happening in Missouri right now and they are helping reduce energy bills and consumption for Missouri's families and businesses. With the growing energy demands in this country, we need to continue pursuing new solutions as well. We have to continue exploring and investing in new technology and new ideas from cellulosic biofuels to clean coal technologies. The alternative energy sector can be a great boon for Missouri's economy, bringing manufacturing jobs and dollars back to the state. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online:
  • 71. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , J u n e 2 1 , 2 0 1 0 -- Page 71 of 71 USA TODAY MISSOURI NEWS MONDAY, JUNE 21 -- St. Louis — The state plans to cut visiting hours in most of its prisons starting in September to save money. The Department of Corrections, which houses about 30,000 inmates, saw its budget cut this year by $4.5 million, to $660 million. The change would affect 18 of the 20 facilities, and hours will continue to vary by institution. News Clips online: — Subscribe via: Missouri Senate online: — Senate Communications online: