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					MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS
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McCaskill touts tax compromise
McCaskill hopes plan will bridge divide over payroll tax extension.

5:36 AM, Dec. 7, 2011



WASHINGTON -- Sen. Claire McCaskill teamed up Tuesday with a moderate Republican to offer a compromise
proposal in the contentious year-end battle over whether and how to extend the payroll tax break.

The measure outlined by McCaskill and Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, also includes a bevy of other
items, including infrastructure spending, regulatory curbs and a new small business tax credit -- add-ons that
could be sweeteners for some and poison pills for others.

McCaskill and Collins said it was the perfect mix to break the current logjam.

"It's balanced, and it's a compromise," McCaskill said at a Tuesday press conference unveiling the legislation.

Collins said she hoped the proposal would "lead to a breakthrough" in otherwise stalled negotiations over the
payroll tax. If Congress doesn't act before the end of the year, most Americans will see a tax increase, with the
payroll levy climbing back up to 6.2 percent from the current 4.2 percent.

Congressional leaders have been wrangling for weeks over whether to extend that tax cut, with Democrats
arguing that an extension is vital to revving up the still-stalled economy. Some Republicans have said the payroll
break is not an effective economic stimulus, while others have objected to the Democrats' proposed way to pay
for it -- the surtax on millionaires. Previous Democratic proposals did not include an exemption for small business
owners, and Republicans said the surtax could strangle little firms that create lots of jobs.

Thus the "carve-out" in the Collins-McCaskill proposal, which Collins said would shield about 70 percent of small
business income from the surtax.

"The carve-out is essential here," said McCaskill. By protecting small business owners and "just leaving the
passive investors and other folks on their second million, I'm optimistic that we can get more Republicans on the
bill."

But on Tuesday, GOP senators weren't rushing to endorse the proposal.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he wants to see an extension of the payroll tax cut but
didn't sound too enthusiastic about the Collins-McCaskill plan. Instead, he said he expected the main legislative
proposal on this issue to come from House Republicans, who are also debating how to extend the payroll tax cut
along with a bevy other controversial provisions.

"We would like to see provisions in the final package that create jobs," McConnell said.
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Other Republicans said Congress shouldn't extend the payroll tax cut at all, arguing that it drains money from the
Social Security program. Even if those funds are replaced with general revenue, that will create problems down
the road as the government seeks to deal with its $15 trillion debt, some GOP lawmakers say.

"I'm all for not increasing taxes," said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., "but I don't want to harm Social Security." He
argued Congress should consider enacting a short-term tax rebate instead.
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McCaskill proposes payroll tax cut extension
December 7, 2011 | Filed under: Budget and Taxes,Featured | Posted by: Tim Sampson


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill has thrust herself into the middle of the ongoing national
debate over extending the current federal payroll tax cut.

On Tuesday, McCaskill and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine introduced “The Bipartisan Jobs Creation Act –
an omnibus bill that would immediately impact American workers who are about to see their payroll tax increase
by nearly half its current rate.

Under a current temporary employee payroll tax cut, Americans pay 4.2 percent of their paychecks to the
government. If a resolution is not passed to continue this rate through 2012, that rate is set to return to 6.2
percent on Jan. 1.

That same bill also maintains a lower 4.2 percent employer payroll tax on small businesses making less than $10
million annual.

Collins and McCaskill are marketing their bill as a common sense solution to the debate over payroll tax cuts and
job creation.

“Here is a prime example of what can be accomplished when Congress stops playing politics, and starts working
together—a viable plan to put more Americans back to work, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and cut taxes
for working Americans,” McCaskill said of her bill.

Although the bill’s most direct impact may be felt in the form of payroll tax rate, it also contains a number of
other provisions, including tax credits for high-tech small businesses, new funds for transportation infrastructure
and job training programs.

To pay for these new programs and tax credits, McCaskill and Collins have proposed a 2-percent surtax on those
making more than $1 million annually – with a loophole provided for small businesses, which often pay their
taxes through the owner’s personal income tax return.

The senators plan to further offset the cost of their bill by eliminating a tax breaks for the nation’s five biggest oil
companies – and issue long championed by McCaskill.
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Blunt to run for Senate GOP leadership post next week
By Robert Koenig, Beacon Washington correspondent Posted 2:39 pm Tue., 12.6.11

WASHINGTON - Next week, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., will have what insiders describe as a good chance to be
elected as a member of the Senate Republican leadership team after less than a year as a senator.

Blunt, who learned how to drum up support and count votes as a U.S. House GOP leader, announced Tuesday
that he would run against another freshman, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., for vice chair of the Senate Republican
Conference.

In that position, Blunt would gain a seat at the table when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and
his leadership team meet to make policy decisions and devise strategy. If the GOP takes control of the Senate in
the 2012 elections, that would give Blunt considerable influence in congressional decisions.

"America is facing a critical moment when we're going to decide who we're going to be as a nation, and I believe
this is a good way for me to continue to contribute to this historic debate," Blunt said in a statement.

He added that he made the decision to contest the Number 5 Senate GOP post after "receiving encouragement
from a number of my colleagues." The election will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 13, with the winner taking his
new role in late January.

Blunt had been mulling over the decision, and likely sounding out fellow Republican senators to gauge their
potential backing, since he first announced his interest in the post in September.

On paper, at least, Blunt appears to be the more likely candidate for the leadership position. Johnson, a
Wisconsin businessman before being elected to the Senate last year, had no previous legislative experience and
won election with strong tea party backing.

Blunt, who is regarded as more of an establishment Republican, rose to high GOP leadership positions during his
14 years in the U.S. House - elected as the Republican whip and, briefly, as the acting minority leader. On the day
he was sworn into the Senate in January, Blunt became a member of the GOP whip team, helping to line up
votes.

"One of the things they're thinking about as they've talked to me, particularly if we get in the majority and
there's a majority in the House - figuring out how to strategically make this process work from Day One is really
important," Blunt told Politico. "And I may bring something to the table that nobody else does, but we'll see."

Johnson signaled to Capitol Hill reporters on Tuesday that he would likely portray himself as an outsider whose
voice would be important in the GOP leadership. Asserting that last year's election was "about bringing some
citizen legislators, people outside the system" into the mix, Johnson said he felt "pretty good" about his level of
support.
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The GOP conference vice-chair vacancy results from the announcement by the current Republican conference
chair, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., that he would step down from the GOP's Senate leadership. As part of the
domino effect, the GOP policy committee chair, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., is running uncontested for Alexander's
position, and the current GOP conference vice chair, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., appears likely to be elected to
fill Thune's current post.
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Roy Blunt hastens his Senate leadership bid
BY BILL LAMBRECHT • blambrecht@post-dispatch.com > 202-298-6880 STLtoday.com | Posted: Tuesday,
December 6, 2011 3:41 pm |


WASHINGTON • A year after winning his Senate seat, Roy Blunt is running hard in a different election – for vice-
chairman of the Senate Republican conference, the fifth-ranking slot in the GOP hierarchy and a platform to
move higher.

Blunt, who had expressed interest in the opening in September, said today after Senate Republicans moved the
election up to next Tuesday that he definitely is a candidate.

The Missourian said in a statement that he had received encouragement from colleagues and added: "America is
facing a critical moment when we're going to decide who we're going to be as a nation, and i believe this is a
good way for me to continue to contribute to this historic debate."

The announcements set the stage for a quick and intense campaign between Blunt another first-term senator,
Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin. Both identify themselves as Republican conservatives, but they are a study in
contrasts.

Blunt, 61, is a veteran member of Congress, an insider and a skilled deal-maker who is adept at building alliances
and helping colleagues raise money. In the House he rose to his party's No. 3 leadership spot faster than any
House member since the 1930s.

Johnson, 56, represents a new breed in Congress; a plastics manufacture who never before held elective office
and who sounds distinctly anti-government sentiments as a lawmaker. He won an upset election in 2010 over
three-term incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold after sinking $4 million of his own money into the campaign.

Johnson said he has received endorsements from several of freshman colleagues and from staunchly
conservative veterans Jim DeMint, of South Carolina, and Tom Coburn, of Oklahoma. In addition, he has the
backing of at least two moderate GOP senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bob Corker of Tennessee.

"One of the most significant difference is, Roy's certainly been here in Washington D.C. and serving in Congress
for many, many years and I'm a complete outsider," Johnson told reporters.

The race is being cast as the insurgent Johnson versus the establishment Blunt, though it is likely to be more
complex as the contestants conduct their below-the-radar campaigns, seeking the two dozen votes needed for
victory in the secret ballot election.

While experience is decried in some quarters, Blunt's history in the House could work to his advantage, some
Senate aides believe. He has worked closely with House GOP leaders and maintained his ties with them, which
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could prove especially helpful to his present colleagues if the GOP wins control of the Senate in next year's
elections, a distinct possibility.
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Blunt makes leadership bid official
Springfield senator, Wisconsin lawmaker want to be vice chair.

5:35 AM, Dec. 7, 2011



WASHINGTON -- Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Springfield, officially launched his bid for a Senate leadership job Tuesday.

Blunt will run for the job of vice chairman, the No. 5 rung on the Senate Republican leadership ladder. He
announced his decision Tuesday morning, right after GOP leaders said the elections would be held next week, on
Dec. 13.

"After receiving encouragement from a number of my colleagues, I've decided to run for Senate Republican
conference vice chairman," Blunt said in a statement. "America is facing a critical moment when we're going to
decide who we're going to be as a nation, and I believe this is a good way for me to continue to contribute to this
historic debate."

The official job description involves keeping minutes at Republican Senate meetings. But in reality, it brings much
more clout than that suggests.

If Blunt wins, it would give the Springfield Republican and freshman senator an avenue to shape major
Republican strategy and political decisions. It would also give him a seat at the table headed by Senate Minority
leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

But Blunt has competition in this contest. Another freshman, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is also running.

"One of the most significant differences is Roy's certainly been here in Washington, D.C., and serving in Congress
for many, many years, and I'm a complete outsider," said Johnson, a former businessman and tea party favorite.
"I really do believe that's a very important perspective to bring to the leadership table here, particularly at this
point in time."

When he served in the House, Blunt also sought a leadership role early on, winning an appointment from then-
House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas, to be deputy whip. Earlier this year, Blunt said he was eyeing a Senate
leadership bid because of a sense of disconnect between the House and the Senate that he felt he could help
bridge.

"Particularly if we get into the majority (in the Senate, while retaining a majority in the House) in the next
Congress, there will be expectation of passing legislation that gets to the president's desk," Blunt said in October.
"And an understanding of the House is something that could be a helpful thing at a leadership table."

Johnson declined to say how many votes he has lined up in what will be a secret-ballot election. Blunt's office
similarly said he would not divulge such details. And some rank-and-file senators said Tuesday they weren't
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prepared to discuss publicly who they would support. Although the election is set for next week, the vice chair
winner and other newly elected leaders wouldn't take those posts until January.

Blunt did get the endorsement of at least one fellow senator Tuesday. "I think it'd be great for Missouri and he'd
be terrific," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

Unfortunately for Blunt, she won't be able to vote in the GOP election. To be sure, McCaskill stopped herself
from saying too much.

"I don't want to be too kind, because I'm afraid I'll hurt his chances," she quipped.
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Blunt seeks leadership role in Senate
December 7, 2011 | Filed under: Politics | Posted by: Tim Sampson

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo – As he nears the end of his first year in the Senate, Missouri Republican Roy Blunt thinks
he’s ready to take on a more prominent role in the upper chamber of Congress.

On Tuesday, Blunt announced that he would seek the vice chairmanship of the Senate Republican Conference,
which will be chosen later this month.

“After receiving encouragement from a number of my colleagues, I’ve decided to run for Senate Republican
Conference Vice Chairman,” Blunt said in a written statement released Tuesday. “America is facing a critical
moment when we’re going to decide who we’re going to be as a nation, and I believe this is a good way for me to
continue to contribute to this historic debate.”

This would be Blunt’s first leadership position in the Senate. During his seven terms in the U.S. House of
Representatives, Blunt served the Minority Whip.
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Corps installs temporary flood protection at Birds Point
Posted: Dec 05, 2011 3:02 PM CST Monday, December 5, 2011 4:02 PM EST Updated: Dec 06, 2011 4:38 PM CST
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 5:38 PM EST
By Christy Hendricks

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

The Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Mississippi Valley Division has directed an orderly
shutdown of the Birds Point-New Madrid project area due to forecasts of unseasonably high river levels.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning those in the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway of a "significant risk
of renewed flooding" in that area for the near future due to unseasonably high river levels.

The Corps has been rebuilding the levee after intentionally breaching it in May to relieve pressure on a swollen
Mississippi River and flood more than 130,000 acres of farmland and several of homes.

Maj. Gen. John Peabody ordered the installation of a Hesco Barrier at the upper crevasse to temporarily bring the
system to a 55 ft level of protection (on Cairo gage) for the BPNM Floodway. Construction in this region usually
stops between December and May due to adverse weather conditions.

The construction of the interim flood protection will take about 10 good weather days to complete and work will
begin in 48 hours when weather and ground conditions improve.

A HESCO bastion is a large collapsible wire mesh container with heavy duty fabric liners filled with sand. These
materials can be used to quickly raise the levee height. Work on the HESCO bastions and related work can be
done around the clock and are not as dependent upon favorable weather conditions, according to the Corps.

"Weather conditions continue to hamper our ability to achieve our revised target of 55 feet using normal levee
construction techniques," Col. Vernie Reichling, commander of the Corps' Memphis District said. "The orderly
shutdown will commence using supplies and equipment that have been prepositioned which will allow us to
reach a 55-foot level of protection with temporary construction methods."

Weather condition prevented the Corps from reaching their target gage of 51 feet on the Cairo gage at the
middle crevasse near Big Oak Tree State Park by Nov. 30. The Corps reached 51 feet on Dec. 3. and continued
placement of clay material to a level of 55 feet.

The Corps reached 51-foot level of protection by Nov. 30 at the upper crevasse, but weather conditions
hampered efforts to reach a revised target of 55 feet using normal levee construction techniques. Col. Reichling
says he has directed workers to preposition supplies and equipment that will allow us to reach a 55-foot level of
protection with temporary construction methods.

Some of the temporary levee materials include HESCO bastions (large collapsible wire mesh containers with
heavy duty fabric liners filled with sand), sand bags and plastic sheeting.
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These materials can be used to quickly raise the levee height.

According to the Corps, the HESCO bastions and related work can be done around the clock and would not be as
dependent upon favorable weather conditions as conventional levee construction is.

Corps employees will also continue to raise the levee by placing clay as weather conditions permit.

Recent heavy rains in the area have stopped work several times in the last few weeks and slowed progress.

Mississippi County Presiding Commissioner Carlin Bennett is more concerned about the northern crevasse. He
says as the river rises, the more water will be against the crevasse, putting it to the test.

His main concern is what would happen if the levee fails and water gets into the spillway.

"The work that we've been doing for the past six months is going to be torn up again," said Bennett. "You could
get further damage to the ground. We've got damage bad enough as it is. There could be further damage. Plus
you've got to keep in mind there's still thousands of acres of soybeans right now currently in the spillway that
haven't been gotten out of the field yet."

The river was supposed to crest Monday at 42 and a half feet. Bennett says it's already at 43-and-a-half, and he
anticipates it going up.

The Corps cites a strong La Niña weather pattern over the United States that is expected to continue to bring,
heavy rains weekly to the Lower Mississippi River Valley along with the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland river
basins through the middle of December and bring the likelihood of above normal precipitation through spring.

Residents in the area are urged to closely monitor the river forecasts from the National Weather Service and
other information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps warns those in the area to be prepared to
take whatever measures they believe are necessary to safeguard their lives and property.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.
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Dec 6, 6:43 PM EST




Corps to shut down work on Mo. levee

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) -- High river levels and forecasts for more rain have prompted the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers to halt repair work on a Mississippi River levee that was blown up earlier this year at the height of
flooding along the river.

The corps said Tuesday that it will begin closing down its repair work on the Birds Point project area because
forecasts call for sustained high river levels and additional wet weather. The planned shutdown will take about
10 days, said Maj. Gen. John Peabody, commander of the corps' Mississippi Valley Division.

In May, the corps blew three holes in the Birds Point levee to relieve pressure at the height of the Mississippi
River flooding that was threatening nearby Cairo, Ill. About 130,000 acres of farmland were damaged, along with
dozens of homes. The levee is part of a floodway designed to be breached in cases of extreme flooding.

Other floodways also were opened in Louisiana during the flood, which was among the worst ever along the
lower Mississippi River.

The corps said the recent rain has hampered its efforts to restore the levee, which was 62.5 feet high before the
explosion. The corps has been working to raise the levee to 55 feet before the spring rainy season.

"Weather conditions continue to hamper our ability to achieve our revised target of 55 feet using normal levee
construction techniques," Col. Vernie Reichling, commander of the Corps' Memphis District said.

The corps said in a news release that before shutting down the repair work, crews will bring the levee system up
to 55 feet using temporary repair tools, such as sandbags.

Construction projects in the region typically stop between December and May because of weather, the corps
said.
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Dec 6, 9:04 PM EST




Mo. levee owners to get levee repair help
By HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH
Associated Press




KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A northwest Missouri levee that was dropped from a federal repair program shortly
before record flooding caused $4 million in damage has been reinstated to the program, landowners who
oversee the levee said Tuesday.

Paul Markt, president of the Forest City Levee District in Holt County, offered no details other than to confirm the
reinstatement to an Army Corps of Engineers program that helps cover the costs of repairing flood-damaged
levees.

The Forest City Levee District learned in a letter dated May 23 that it had failed an inspection and would no
longer qualify for federal help making repairs after flooding. A week later, the corps began releasing massive
amounts of water from upstream dams filled with record runoff from rain and winter snows.

Jud Kneuvean, emergency management chief for the corps' Kansas City district, didn't immediately return a
phone call Tuesday. But he has said that the timing was "coincidental" and that if the levee district was
reinstated, it would be eligible to receive help fixing damage from this year's flood.

Gov. Jay Nixon said the corps made the right decision.

"This is a victory for the farmers and residents of Holt County, who suffered greatly from the Missouri River
flooding this year," Nixon said in a statement released Tuesday evening.

When the floodwaters subsided, local officials found a massive hole next to the Holt County levee. The hole was
20- to 30-feet deep, more than a quarter-mile long and more than 100 yards wide, according to Lanny Meng,
secretary treasurer of the Forest City Levee District.

An engineer hired to conduct a preliminary damage assessment told the levee district it would cost about $4
million to make the needed repairs.

The levee protects about 300 people and 8,000 acres of land, a grain elevator and the main line of the
Burlington-Northern Railroad. But Meng has said that the district, which taxes landowners to pay for the levee's
upkeep, is essentially broke.
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Nixon had joined the effort to have the program reinstated and sent a letter to the corps last week.

The corps and the levee district said one of the main problems that led to the district's dismissal from the
program is that a pipe used to pump water from the protected side of the levee back into the river ran directly
through the levee. Such drainage pipes generally are supposed to go over the top of the levee.

Kneuvean of the corps has said the district had been warned not to pump water through the levee but kept doing
it.
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Senate leader looks at suspending wage laws in wake of
natural disasters
December 7, 2011 | Filed under: Business | Posted by: Tim Sampson

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In what is surely to be one of many bills introduced in the coming legislative session
related to the plethora of natural disasters that impacted Missouri this year, the leader of the Senate has pre-
filed a bill that would suspend prevailing wage laws in disaster areas.

The bill, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Robert Mayer, R-Dexter, would suspend for five years laws that
require government infrastructure workers a wage that is equal to what the majority of other area workers
performing a similar task are paid.

The suspension of prevailing wage laws – a legal mandate that dates back to the Great Depression – would apply
only in areas that have been declared a disaster by the Governor and would include areas effected by the Joplin
Tornado and the massive flood events along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers earlier this year.

With the state General Assembly not set to return until the first week in January, it is unclear what kind of
support this government cost saving measure will have during a year in which lawmakers will likely make
significant cuts in government programs to balance the state budget.

This is not the only bill that has been pre-filed so far this month related to the multiple disasters Missouri faced in
2011. Last week a state representative filed a bill that would create an income tax break for families that choose
to construct storm shelters.
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Newt Gingrich missing candidate from Missouri primary
ballot

By ALEXANDER BURNS | 12/6/11 11:18 AM EST Updated: 12/6/11 4:20 PM EST, Politico.com

A source passes along this sample primary ballot from the Franklin County clerk’s office in Missouri, which
includes one prominent candidate who’s no longer running (Herman Cain) and omits one who is: Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich did not file for the Feb. 7 Missouri primary, and on Monday dismissed it as a “beauty contest” with no
delegates at stake. Missouri Republicans will choose their 2012 convention delegates through a caucus process.

But Gingrich opponents have already pointed to his decision to skip out on Missouri as an example of his limited
national organization. It’s not like this was a hard primary to file for, as is evident from the list of candidates who
made the cut.

Two of Mitt Romney’s top supporters in Missouri, former Sen. Jim Talent and state Auditor Tom Schweich,
released a statement yesterday trashing Gingrich for writing off their state’s non-binding February vote.

“Speaker Gingrich's claim that the Missouri primary is not important is disrespectful to Missouri voters and it
suggests a lack of campaign organization,” they said in a statement from the campaign. “It is a mistake to ignore
the Missouri primary as caucus-goers and delegates will be influenced by the results of the primary. Gov. Romney
recognizes that Missouri is an important state not only in the primary but also in the general election.”
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Lager still challenging
Kinder for lieutenant
governor, but Schmitt's not
By Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter
Posted 2:34 pm Tue., 12.6.11

State Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, says his new legislative effort to ask Missouri voters to impose a two-term
limit on all statewide officeholders has nothing to do with his continued 2012 campaign for lieutenant governor
— which at the moment pits him against incumbent Peter Kinder, a fellow Republican seeking a third term.

Lager (right) emphasized in an interview that his proposed constitutional amendment wouldn't affect Kinder's
quest. Even if the amendment is approved by voters in 2012, Lager said, no statewide officials would be affected
until the 2014 election (when state auditor would be on the ballot).

The proposal, which Lager plans to put before the General Assembly next session, calls for a ballot
measure asking voters to impose two-term limits on the lieutenant governor, auditor, secretary of state and
attorney general. Such a restriction already is in place for the governor and state treasurer.

"In theory, (Kinder, left) could serve two more times,'' Lager said.

But in practice, as for 2012, "voters will have to make up their minds if Peter Kinder deserves a third term,'' said
Lager.

Lager's continued candidacy, in the wake of Kinder's change of heart, implies that Lager believes that Kinder does
not deserve an additional term.

In the interview, Lager did not say that. When he did say was that he and Kinder had a "very cordial, very
respectful'' meeting last week in Jefferson City.

While not getting into the particulars, Lager said the two discussed their respective reasons for running for
lieutenant governor (and, presumably, Kinder's reasons for not running for governor, and Lager's reasons for not
dropping out).

Speaking for himself, Lager said, that "none of those (reasons) have changed," noting that he had announced for
lieutenant governor before Kinder's change in political plans.

"We had a really good meeting,'' Lager said., "He (Kinder) understands the unfortunate situation I find myself in."

Lager reaffirmed his belief that he sees the lieutenant governor's job as a way to promote the idea that the best
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way to improve Missouri is to create "a climate where innovators and job creators want to come to our state."

Missouri's future, he said, depends on dealing with the key issues of public education, infrastructure needs,
public safety and caring for those who most need it: in particular, the elderly and military veterans.

Lager's proposals also would seem to touch on Missouri's income tax debate. But he said he was still studying the
proposals to do away with Missouri's income tax and replace it with a sales tax, and had yet to take a position.

He emphasized that he did support taking action to make Missouri's tax code simpler and to "eliminate special
carve-outs'' of tax benefits for certain types of businesses or activities.

Schmitt out as lieutenant governor hopeful

By the way, another Republican who had been pondering a lieutenant governor bid — state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-
Glendale — said he definitely will not challenge Kinder. Instead, Schmitt (right) will seek re-election.

He said in an interview that redistricting will change some of his 15th District (it's basically moved a bit north and
west), but the core communities of Webster Groves and Kirkwood remain. Schmitt said he looked forward to
representing the remapped district.
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Former state representative declares candidacy in 3rd
Senate District; Sikeston man runs in 148th
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Southeast Missourian

A former state representative from Perryville has thrown his name in to the race for the 3rd Senate District in
2012.

And a former mayor of Sikeston will run the 148th House district.

Patrick Naeger, who represented Perry and Ste. Genevieve counties from 1995-2002, will run for the 3rd Senate
District. While in Jefferson City, Naeger served in Republican party leadership roles in the House.

In a news release, Naeger said though he was forced out by term limits, "the fires of service have continued to
burn inside of me."

Naeger owns a pharmacy and health equipment company based in Perryville, and is an Army veteran.

So far the only person other than Naeger to declare for the 3rd Senate District is Gary Romine of Farmington,
Mo., owner of Show Me Rent to Own. Naeger and Romine will face each other in the August Republican primary.

The 3rd District is compromised of part of the 27th District, currently held by Sen. Jason Crowell, who is term
limited. The 3rd District also contains areas farther north which weren't part of the old 27th.

Sikeston man Josh Bill announced his candidacy Tuesday for the 148th state House district. Bill, a Republican, is a
former city council member and mayor and a former chief of staff for Bill Emerson. He says he'll run as a "free-
market, Reagan-style conservative."

Bill is the first candidate to announce that he's seeking the seat in the 148th district, which covers the eastern
part of Scott County and part of Mississippi County.

Rep. Ellen Brandom, R-Sikeston, had announced her intention to run for the old 27th and how the district map
changes affect her plans are still unclear. Her office said Tuesday Brandom is not accepting interview requests
about her campaign plans.
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Springfield attorney Austin to run for 136th House seat
Springfield attorney, business owner seeks new district seat.

6:02 AM, Dec. 7, 2011

Springfield Republican Kevin Austin officially announced he's running for the Missouri House of Representatives
in the 136th district.

In a release Friday afternoon, Austin pointed to his background as an attorney and small business owner. He is a
partner at Keck and Austin LLC, in Springfield.

Austin formed a campaign committee in July to run for the 135th District, but had to change after a new
redistricting map released last week put him in the 136th district.

The new 136th district is located in southeastern Springfield and includes portions of two previous districts -- the
135th and 140th house districts. The area includes Battlefield Mall and the intersection of U.S. highways 65 and
60.

David Velasco, another Republican, is also running for that new seat.

The 135th District seat is now held by Rep. Charlie Denison, a Republican who is term-limited. Denison already
announced he will challenge Roseann Bentley in the primary for a Greene County Commission seat.

Austin and his wife, Jody, have two sons and attend King's Way United Methodist Church and are longtime
residents of the district.
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Judge sets Dec. 16 hearing on
Schweich's suit challenging
governor's powers
By Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter

Updated 8:49 pm Tue., 12.6.11

State Auditor Tom Schweich is celebrating that a judge has ruled against dismissing his lawsuit challenging Gov.
Jay Nixon's power to withhold and redirect state funds.

Judge John Beetem today denied Nixon's motion to dismiss the case, saying in effect that the "factual dispute"
deserves a court hearing.

Such a hearing has been set for Dec. 16 in Cole County Circuit Court. .

Schweich, a Republican is contending that Nixon, a Democrat, has overstepped his powers by withholding some
budgeted state money and redirecting to Joplin tornado relief. Nixon says he's acting as governors have done for
decades. (Click here for the Beacon's overview of the dispute.)

Beetem didn't signal that he sided with either official, but the judge's summary does offer a synopsis of each
man's basic argument.

Writes the judge: "Nothwithstanding the imprecision of the language used, fairly read, the auditor is claiming
that the governor is 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' by permanently restricting certain appropriations and then
spending the resultant savings on diaster relief...in excess of the appropriation authority granted by the General
Assembly."

The governor, the judge continued, "denies that his restrictions are 'permanent' or 'irreversible.' Governor avers
that such restrictions are only his way of controlling the rate at which the appropriations are expended. In fact,
the governor 'denies that he (or the budget director) have 'transferred' or 'reallocated' any 'money' or 'funds'
from one purposes or the other..."

UPDATE: Later, Nixon's staff issued a statement playing down the judge's decision to allow the dispute to be
aired in court:

“Today’s procedural ruling has no impact on the Governor’s responsibility, authority and duty to take the steps
necessary to keep the state’s fiscal house in order. These powers are established by the constitution and have
been available to and used by governors in the past. Gov. Nixon will continue to make the tough decisions
needed to balance our budget, hold the line on taxes, and meet our responsibilities to help communities recover
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from natural disasters. The Governor will continue to exercise the sound fiscal management that has protected
the state's spotless Triple-A credit rating, which was reaffirmed yet again in September.”
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Dec 6, 6:15 PM EST



Lawsuit to continue over Mo. Gov.'s budget cuts


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A lawsuit over the power for Missouri governors to make budget cuts is proceeding.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beteem denied a request by Gov. Jay Nixon to decide the case based on what has
already been submitted to the court. A hearing is scheduled Dec. 16.

Republican Auditor Tom Schweich (shwyk) challenged budget cuts made by Nixon, a Democrat. The cuts amount
to about $170 million and affect universities, scholarships, the judiciary and early childhood programs. Nixon says
spending cuts were necessary to help pay the costs from the Joplin tornado and flooding.

Schweich on Tuesday said the budget cuts violated the state constitution. A spokesman for Nixon called the
ruling "procedural" and said it did not affect governors' constitutional authority to manage state finances.
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Penn State scandal prompts senator to tweak Missouri's
child abuse law
Monday, December 5, 2011 | 11:07 p.m. CST
BY Stephanie Ebbs

JEFFERSON CITY — It is not a crime in Missouri for a regular citizen to walk away from a child being abused under
current law — but a bill filed for the upcoming legislative session would change this.

The change would add a single sentence to the state's mandatory reporting law, which has been in place since
1975, that would expand current reporting requirements to include anyone who witnesses sexual abuse of a
child.

The current law only requires people who care for children in an official capacity, such as teachers or medical
professionals, to report suspected or witnessed abuse to the state Department of Social Services or a superior.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-St. Louis County, said that recent national events prompted him to
evaluate Missouri's law regarding child abuse. The scandal at Penn State includes a witness to Jerry Sandusky's
alleged child sex abuse who did not to report it to authorities.

Missouri would join 18 other states that require any individual who sees sexual abuse to report it, Schmitt said.

"These are pretty heinous crimes," Schmitt said. "And when somebody witnesses that, I think we ought to
require people to report that to law enforcement, and those people ought to be punished."

Schmitt specified sexual abuse in his proposed addition to law, and he chose not to include suspicions of abuse,
which eliminates confusion about what qualifies as abuse or neglect. Because social services is required to
investigate every report, it could become overburdened if everyone with suspicions called.

"Sen. Schmitt seems to be going the right way here, by narrowing it to a specific area," said Rep. Chris Kelly, D-
Columbia, the most senior legislator in the General Assembly.

Joy Oesterly, the executive director of the child abuse advocacy group Missouri Kids First, said she supports the
law but still doesn't think all incidents will be reported to the authorities.

"It's easy to sit here in our offices and in our homes and say, 'I would have reported had I seen that,' but we really
don't know what we would have done," Oesterly said.

She said a better solution would be to train everyone on how to identify and report child abuse.

"It makes it clear to every Missourian that they are responsible for protecting children," Oesterly said.
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Failing to report abuse would become a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in up to a year in prison or a
fine, Schmitt said.

Schmitt said he expects more aspects of this issue to be discussed during the legislative session, which begins on
Jan. 4.
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Required by Law to Report Child Sexual Abuse
Stephanie Ebbs, State Capitol Bureau

December 6, 2011 8:19 AM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) – It is not a crime in Missouri for a regular citizen to walk away from a child being
abused under current law — but a bill filed for the upcoming legislative session would change this.

The change would add a single sentence to the state’s mandatory reporting law, which has been in place since
1975, that would expand current reporting requirements to include anyone who witnesses sexual abuse of a
child.

The current law only requires people who care for children in an official capacity, such as teachers or medical
professionals, to report suspected or witnessed abuse to the state Department of Social Services or a superior.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-St. Louis County, said that recent national events prompted him to
evaluate Missouri’s law regarding child abuse. The scandal at Penn State includes a witness to Jerry Sandusky’s
alleged child sex abuse who did not to report it to authorities.

Missouri would join 18 other states that require any individual who sees sexual abuse to report it, Schmitt said.

“These are pretty heinous crimes,” Schmitt said. “And when somebody witnesses that, I think we ought to
require people to report that to law enforcement, and those people ought to be punished.”

Schmitt specified sexual abuse in his proposed addition to law, and he chose not to include suspicions of abuse,
which eliminates confusion about what qualifies as abuse or neglect. Because social services is required to
investigate every report, it could become overburdened if everyone with suspicions called.

“Sen. Schmitt seems to be going the right way here, by narrowing it to a specific area,” said Rep. Chris Kelly, D-
Columbia, the most senior legislator in the General Assembly.

Joy Oesterly, the executive director of the child abuse advocacy group Missouri Kids First, said she supports the
law but still doesn’t think all incidents will be reported to the authorities.

“It’s easy to sit here in our offices and in our homes and say, ‘I would have reported had I seen that,’ but we
really don’t know what we would have done,” Oesterly said.

She said a better solution would be to train everyone on how to identify and report child abuse.

“It makes it clear to every Missourian that they are responsible for protecting children,” Oesterly said.
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Failing to report abuse would become a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in up to a year in prison or a
fine, Schmitt said.

Schmitt said he expects more aspects of this issue to be discussed during the legislative session, which begins on
Jan. 4.

KMOX © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc.
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Springfield attorney: Law used to charge midwife too vague
5:34 AM, Dec. 7, 2011

A Springfield attorney is asking that a Missouri law used to criminally charge a midwife with unauthorized
practice of medicine or surgery be declared unconstitutional.

Elaine Diamond, 54, of Schell City, is facing felony charges of endangering the welfare of a child and unauthorized
practice of medicine or surgery.

She was charged after the October 2009 death of Raheem Gardner. He died after his mother, Amanda Gardner,
labored at her Springfield home for more than 48 hours. Authorities have said Diamond failed to provide proper
medical attention as a midwife.

If convicted of both charges, Diamond faces up to 14 years in prison. The trial, which is expected to take five
days, is scheduled to begin Sept. 10.

Diamond's attorney, Dee Wampler, said the law Diamond was charged under is unconstitutionally vague. The
statute said that it is unlawful for a person who isn't a registered physician to practice medicine "or engage in the
practice of midwifery in this state, except herein provided." There are no other provisions after this.

A separate law, approved in 2007, sets up a new class of midwives -- certified professional midwives -- who can
legally deliver babies in Missouri.

Prosecutor Ami Miller contends that the law used to charge Diamond is fair.

"I don't think it's overly broad," she said.

Judge Tom Mountjoy, who heard arguments Tuesday, is expected to make a ruling in the case.

Raheem was born Oct. 26, 2009, in a vehicle outside St. John's Hospital. He was born with the umbilical cord
wrapped around his neck, 17 minutes after he had stopped breathing. He suffered brain damage and died Oct.
30.

Diamond is not credentialed by the two groups that review certified professional midwives under Missouri law,
the North American Registry of Midwives and the American Midwifery Certification Board. Certified professional
midwives are not overseen by any regulatory body in Missouri.
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Elected officials field questions at Cape Girardeau town hall
meeting
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
By Scott Moyers ~ Southeast Missourian

From Birds Point to bike lanes, elected officials from several layers of government touched on dozens of topics
Tuesday during a town-hall meeting hosted by the League of Women Voters of Southeast Missouri.

About 30 people showed up at the Cape Girardeau Public Library to ask questions of the mayors of Cape
Girardeau and Jackson, the presiding county commissioner and three local members of the state Legislature.

Each official gave a brief overview of what was happening in their region before fielding questions. The topics
were selected by the moderator -- league member Jan Miller -- which included submissions from those who
attended the forum that was held at the Cape Girardeau Public Library.

Dozens of topics were broached during the discussion, from county planning and zoning and state tax incentives
to the economy and the environment. The six panelists included Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger, Jackson
Mayor Barbara Lohr, Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy, Sen. Jason Crowell and Reps. Donna Lichtenegger and
Wayne Wallingford.

The talks were led off by Tracy, who had to leave early. He described the county as in "pretty good fiscal shape"
with $12 million in the bank. He noted some positives -- the groundbreaking of Melaina's Magical Playland at the
county park and Nordenia's new 200,000-square-foot building on U.S. 61.

Tracy was asked a question about the county's interest in Cape Girardeau's former federal building on Broadway
and the possibility of a new courthouse to combine all county offices.

Dealing with the General Services Administration, which is selling the former federal building, has been a
"tedious process," Tracy said. "It's been difficult. It's been frustrating. If it works for the citizens, we'll be for it."

Still, Tracy talked as if it's not a certainty that the county will acquire the former federal building, which it would
use as a stopgap until a new consolidated courthouse could be built in Jackson.

"It's hard to convince me that the hard-earned taxpayer's dollars should be used to pay for that building again,"
Tracy said. "The taxpayers have already paid for it once."

Rediger, during his talk, also mentioned the old federal building as a challenge Cape Girardeau is facing as a
possible empty building in a high-profile spot.

"That looms out there as a problem," Rediger said. "Empty buildings do deteriorate. It continues to frustrate and
it is a problem for our city."
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Both mayors, Tracy and the lawmakers stood behind their decision earlier this year to require prescriptions for
pseudoephedrine, an allergy medicine that is sometimes used to make methamphetamine.

The legislators also talked about the new Missouri Senate and House district maps, which have some incumbents
and would-be challengers scrambling to figure out which district they will run in before next year's elections.

Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, said the committee that drew the new maps "shocked pretty much everyone" with
the way the judges drew the districts out.

"It's got everyone re-examining their seats," said Crowell, who is being forced out by term limits. "I'm not saying
it's good or bad. I'm just saying it's a radical departure from what was the status quo."

But they also all three took the judiciary to task for drawing the two maps in secret without holding public
hearings. Crowell was also critical of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decision to activate the Birds Point-New
Madrid Floodway.

During Rediger's presentation, the Cape Girardeau mayor mentioned highlights -- the rehab of the historic
Vasterling building, Isle of Capri's new casino and an urban deer committee that is studying ways to reduce the
population.

He also discussed challenges, including the city's attempt to deal with Commander Premier Aircraft Corp., the
failed airplane manufacturer that operated at a city-owned hangar while failing for years to make lease
payments. Rediger said he was hopeful that a bankruptcy judge would grant the city's motion at a hearing Dec.
13. If the judge agrees, it would allow for the sale of the Commander's assets.

Rediger also said the city is going to make efforts to keep the city's new bike lanes free of debris.
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Missouri wants to grade its own
schools, without adding rules
from Washington
By Dale Singer, Beacon reporter
Posted 3:28 pm Tue., 12.6.11


State education officials say their request for a waiver from requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law
is not a retreat from accountability but an effort to judge Missouri schools by Missouri rules.

As things stand now, schools and districts that fare well in the Missouri School Improvement Plan often are
judged to be falling short under the Adequate Yearly Progress yardstick from Washington. Not only is such a
divided report card confusing, educators say, but it prevents the state from identifying the good districts that can
serve as models and the poorer ones that need extra attention.

In Missouri, for example, 82.8 percent of the state's public school districts were judged as failing to make
adequate yearly progress. This was often not because the entire district did poorly but because, under the
federal rules, if one subgroup of students fails to make the grade, an entire district can fall short.

When judged by the state's yardstick, the Missouri School Improvement Plan, districts generally did far better,
with results that more closely matched the common perceptions of which districts are doing well and which need
improvement.

Congress has failed for several years to reauthorize and reform No Child Left Behind, so this fall the Obama
administration said it would allow states to apply for waivers from its requirements. Eleven states submitted
applications in the first round last month; more, including Missouri and Illinois, say they will seek the waivers in
the next round, with a February deadline for applications.

In exchange for getting out from under some of the more burdensome and confusing requirements of the federal
law, states have to pledge to come up with their own accountability systems, in three primary areas:

      Making sure all students who graduate from high school are ready for college or a career
      Having systems that identify good schools and those that fall short, with ways to recognize and improve
       both groups as needed
      Developing and supporting good teachers and principals

The waivers would create a different dynamic between state education officials and those in Washington,
according to Margie Vandeven, assistant education commissioner for the office of quality schools. In a recent
presentation on why Missouri is applying for the waiver and the case it is making to be accepted, she said the
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federal Department of Education is saying, "OK, states, it's your turn to step up to the plate and show us some
good examples of how you can move your performance forward."

In exchange, she added, states would be able to use their standards to judge their own schools, not be forced to
impose one-size-fits-all regulations that all states would have to comply with.

"Put forward your plans, talk to us how you are going to hold your districts accountable with ambitious and
attainable objectives," Vandeven said, "and we will in return not hold states accountable for imposing the
sanctions associated with Adequate Yearly Progress."

The Missouri application, advanced by the state Board of Education last week, is now open for public comment
until Jan. 5. After that time, comments will be taken into account, and the final plan will go before the board in
January for submission to Washington.

State school officials say the application shows how closely Missouri already conforms to the requirements for a
waiver, not only through the newly approved fifth version of the improvement program, known as MSIP5 but
also through the state's Top 10 by 20 goal, under which Missouri pushes to rank in the top tier of states in
education by the year 2020.

By adopting what are called Common Core Standards, Missouri has already worked with other states to come up
with a mutual understanding of what students should know when they leave school. That effort underscores the
fact that, unlike the federal Race to the Top program where states compete for grants from Washington, the
waiver program is not competitive, so it fosters more collaboration.

The 42-page draft application for the waiver from No Child Left Behind's requirements relies heavily on recent
actions by state education officials and others that show how Missouri is working to identify the best ideas in
school improvement and put them in place.

It provides in detail how the state would go about achieving the three main objectives required to earn the
waiver. The conclusion of the effective teacher section could be expanded to be part of the application as a
whole:

"What matters is not merely the discovery that many schools are in need of improvement. What matters most is
what schools, districts, and states will do to guarantee improvement and the essential role that the formative
development of its educators will play in creating this improvement."
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Letters Show KC Anger Over School District Problems
6:14 pm, December 6, 2011, by Mitch Weber

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Last week, the Missouri State Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro said that she wants
feedback from Kansas City residents before making a recommendation about the future of the Kansas City
Missouri School District – and Kansas City residents have responded – mostly in anger.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has compiled and posted over 500 of the
letters they’ve received on their website, ranging from parents and teachers to taxpayers, and the overwhelming
consensus appears to be that Kansas City residents are angry about the state of the district, which will lose its
state accreditation on January 1 following years of poor test scores, declining enrollment and a virtual revolving-
door at the superintendent position.

“Do away with the Kansas City School District and start anew,” said John Murphy in his letter. Murphy says that
when he moved to the city 12 years ago, he attended a few school board meetings and says that he knew right
away that he was going to send his child to a private school.

“Everytime I go down there, it’s bedlam,” said Murphy. “We would love to be able to do is take over that school
district in smaller chunks and run and run it well.”

Murphy says that he is in favor of other options as well, including one in which the district would be run by a
mayoral-controlled committee.

“That’s telling me that finally the elected class in the city and the business class in the city have realized what a
detriment in having no school district has been to the city,” said Murphy. “With the resources we have in the city
and in this country and the brain power we have in this country that we can’t find a better way to run a school
district, it’s shocking and it’s sinful.”

If you would like to write a letter to the Education Commissioner, or read other letters already sent in, click here.
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KCP&L customers sound off
 Ray Scherer
 St. Joseph News-Press
POSTED: 10:34 pm CST December 6, 2011UPDATED: 10:36 pm CST December 6, 2011

Kansas City Power & Light officials received an earful of concerns Tuesday afternoon over this year’s outages in
St. Joseph.

KCP&L held a “listening post” session at East Hills Library, which sought to elicit customer comments on a variety
of matters. More than 20 people — the majority of them elderly — attended to vent on recent and past power
outages and to express frustrations over infrastructure failures. Utility officials, in turn, responded with pledges
to improve performance.

“It’s very clear the system was under-invested in” before KCP&L took over, said senior director of public affairs
Chuck Caisley. “There’s no shadow of a doubt. It was a frustrating summer for us.”

April Eiman of St. Joseph said she’s gone through six outages lasting more than a week apiece over 28 years at
her residence. Aquila — which had previously operated as the utility for St. Joseph — merged with KCP&L’s
parent, Great Plains Energy, in the summer of 2008. St. Joseph Light & Power was the city’s utility before Aquila.
“It’s ridiculous,” Mrs. Eiman told the utility. “We feel like they don’t care. Show me you care.”

Richard Fulmer of St. Joseph spoke of his experience with an outage four years ago, when Aquila still operated
the utility. He depends on electricity to supply oxygen, and was also at a loss on how to care for his pets.

“I had no electricity, no heat, no nothing,” he told the News-Press after the session. “What am I supposed to
do?”

Mr. Caisley said the company is taking steps to address this year’s outages, which he linked to problems that
developed over the past decade. He apologized to customers who said they received unsympathetic treatment,
or “the runaround,” from the call center.

“We’re trying our real best,” he said. “If we messed up during a restoration, we want to know that, too.
“We’ve got some really good people that try awfully hard.”

Officials took information from customers to follow up on various issues. Those attending also discovered that
assistance is available from the Missouri Office of Public Counsel, which represents public interests and utility
customers before the Missouri Public Service Commission.

The utility is considering ways of sorting calls so the contacts can be routed to the proper office. Mr. Caisley said
the utility’s listening posts are held at various times of the day, and the mid-afternoon slot was deemed most
appropriate for St. Joseph.
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Earlier in the day, KCP&L communications director Katie McDonald said the utility continues to phase in updates
to the city’s electrical infrastructure.

“We’ve really significantly invested from a capital perspective,” she said.

The utility was recently recognized for the fifth consecutive year as a recipient of the ReliabilityOne Award in the
Plains region. The honor is bestowed by the PA Consulting Group of the United Kingdom.

Matt Dority, manager for the utility’s North District, said a multi-year plan continues toward a goal of improving
reliability. The North District covers an area from just south of St. Joseph, up to the Iowa border.

“Tree trimming is an example,” Mr. Dority said of the effort. “We’re trimming trees year round.”

The utility contracts with the Asplundh Tree Expert Co. for that work, Ms. McDonald said.

Substation projects are also ongoing, including a new $10 million-plus system at the Eastowne Business Park and
a rebuild set for the Edmond Street location. Additions or upgrades are planned for 12 other substations.

Ray Scherer can be reached at ray.scherer@newspressnow.com.
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Show-Me State showing alternate energy promise
By STEVE EVERLY

The Kansas City Star

Posted on Tue, Dec. 06, 2011 11:01 PM



When it comes to renewable energy, Missouri usually isn’t seen as a major player especially when compared to
neighboring Kansas.

The Show-Me state produces wind energy but isn’t among the states ranked as having the best potential like
Kansas. Missouri fares better when it comes to solar energy but is still viewed as being a step behind.

Missouri utilities are even looking outside of the state to help meet a mandate to use more renewable energy.

But if you’re planning on a having a pity party, don’t invite Stanley Bull, director of energy science and technology
for MRIGlobal, the Kansas City research institute. He believes Missouri has great potential in producing
renewable energy that someday could provide all the electricity the state uses.

“Missouri is in the running,” he said.

Bull has a more than a 40-year career in energy and has managed the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in
Golden, Colo. He was in St. Louis recently to speak about renewable energy at the 5th annual Midwest Energy
Policy Conference.

In an interview this week, he said he was confident about the future of renewable energy including in Missouri
which can take advantage of wind, solar and geothermal energy. He expects a jump in activity over the next few
years and in the long term after 2050 —self sufficiency in producing electricity is doable.

Northwest Missouri has already shown good potential in generating wind energy. But that industry is moving fast
and is working on wind turbines that will be put on towers the length of a football field which will reach heights
that have higher wind speed. There are still design and engineering issues but they’re coming and they’ll open up
large swaths of Missouri to wind development.

“The (wind) industry is moving that way,” Bull said.

Geothermal is already “making a lot of sense” in Missouri. Geothermal takes advantage of stable underground
temperatures for heating and cooling for residences and businesses.
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The Midwest is not typically viewed as fertile ground for solar energy but it is as good as Germany which uses the
most solar energy of any country. Missouri is already seeing more solar installations and that is expected to
grow..

There are still technology obstacles for renewable energy as it expands especially how it can be stored when not
immediately needed. But Bull says he believes that it will be possible rely on it including in Missouri with its wind,
solar and geothermal resources.

‘In the long term, the combination could provide all the energy that Missouri needs,” he said.
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Local drug task force seeks funding for MoSMART
by Stephanie Claytor
Posted: 12.06.2011 at 6:08 PM


KIRKSVILLE, MO. -- A local drug task force is about to lose federal funding for their program that helps bust meth
labs. The federal government has said it will no longer fund the Missouri Sheriff Methamphetamine Action Relief
Team. (MoSmart).

If no other funding opportunities become available, here locally, the North Missouri Drug Task Force will have to
cut two positions: its Methamphetamine detective and analyst. The director of the program said the
MoSmart detective and analyst positions are critical to their operations and have helped the task force bring
down more than 143 meth labs in the past three years. Considering that the task force works in twelve counties
in Northern Missouri, the director said it would be extremely difficult to keep up that track record without them.

"We can get out there and actually find out information that uniform officers aren't able to find out because of
the position they're in," said Capt. Chris Brown, the Director of the North Missouri Drug Task Force. "It has
worked as a cooperative effort with law enforcement. If that goes away, who knows what's going to happen. As
our funding gets decreased, our operations get decreased."

Brown said meth labs and other narcotics can damage and affect an entire community.

"When you have drugs and illegal narcotics going on in a community, you have burglaries, you have thefts, you
have assaults, you have child endangerment. These people are neglecting their kids. They're leaving the stuff out
for their kids to get into. It doesn't just stay within the drug community."

The North Missouri Drug Task Force has four detectives on the task force and one analyst. If they do not get any
new funding by Dec. 31, the task force will be reduced to three detectives. Brown said they need about $85,000
to fund the two MoSmart positions. Across Missouri, Brown said at least 27 MoSmart detectives could lose their
jobs.
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Original U.S. 67 bridge being taken down
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Daily American Republic

GREENVILLE, Mo. -- After 70 years, the original U.S. 67 bridge south of Greenville is coming down.

Demolition is expected to finish in late January. The structure has been closed since a new four-lane bridge
opened in August 2010.

"Right now, workers are taking the concrete deck off the bridge and that's half done," explained Missouri
Department of Transportation resident engineer Audie Pulliam. "Then they will take down the steel
superstructure."

Nearly 860,000 pounds of structural steel will be removed from bridge and more than 1,800 cubic yards of
reinforced concrete.

Robertson Contractors of Poplar Bluff, Mo., which is removing the bridge, will recycle, sell, reuse or scrap the
steel, Pulliam said. The concrete will be taken to an off-site disposal facility.

Work at the closed bridge began in late November and is on schedule, according to Pulliam.

Pulliam said the contractor is responsible for managing boat traffic on Wappapello Lake near the bridge work,
and will have to close the area at times during the project.

While small sections of steel are removed by a crane, the large main span will be dropped into the lake.
Explosives will be used to break up the concrete piers.

All debris will be removed from the lake, Pulliam said, and contractors are working with the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers to satisfy environmental regulations.

Pertinent address:

Greenville, MO
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Scam lottery tries to put one over head of Missouri Lottery

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS STLtoday.com | Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 6:51 am


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. • The organizers of an apparent lottery scam committed a major blunder.

Attorney General Chris Koster says the director of the Missouri Lottery received a letter informing her that she
had won a $150,000 jackpot from the United Kingdom Mega Lottery.

Rather than following instructions to call a number and claim her price, Lottery Director May Scheve Reardon
contacted the attorney general's office. So did St. Ann Mayor Mike Corcoran, who received a similar letter.

Koster says the letter about supposed lottery winnings likely was a scam to get people's confidential bank
information when they called the phone number to claim the prize.

He says anyone who has received a foreign lottery letter should instead call the attorney general's consumer
complaint hotline at 1-800-392-8222.
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MISSOURINET
Law makers question actions of Insurance Dept. (AUDIO)
December 6, 2011 By Allison Blood


House Committee on Budget Transparency questions Dept. of Insurance Director John Huff.

Several state lawmakers are unhappy with the way the Department of Insurance is handling the beginning stages
of a state insurance exchange.

The Department of Insurance Director John Huff says he’s ready to work with the legislature on deciding if
Missouri wants a state-run health insurance exchange, instead of one run by the federal government under the
new health care law. But Senator Kurt Schaefer says he doesn’t think that’s true. Schaefer says Huff is taking
instructions from someone much higher up, in order to keep this process away from legislative debate. Schaefer
says he knows Huff is working with Nixon to keep this process in the dark.

Schaefer says if the process of applying for grants to look into how this exchange should run is kept from
legislators, it takes the accountability out of the process. He also says this is potentially a billion dollar
undertaking for the state, and should be debated by those who set the budget. He tells Huff to take that message
to whoever is in charge.

The House Committee on Budget Transparency Chair Ryan Silvey says the Department’s State Insurance pool has
applied for a grant to start the process, when it should be done by a department that answers to the legislature.
Silvey says the Department should reject the grant, and reapply for it through a department that is accountable
to the legislature.


    AUDIO

Allison Blood reports. Mp3 [1:02]
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No call cell phone bill introduced (AUDIO)
December 7, 2011 By Bob Priddy

A state senator who is tired of solicitation calls on his cell phone wants to change the no-call law.

Senator Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau does not answer cell phone calls if he doesn’t recognize the number.
And he says he gets too many calls from strange numbers.

Crowell will become the latest lawmaker to try to expand the state’s no-call list to include cell phone numbers.
The present law now covers only land line residential numbers–more than 2.7 million of them. Crowell calls the
proposal a ‘logical extension of the wildly popular” program.

He says calls to cell phones are equally inconvenient as calls to regular phones at home. And Crowell says the
increasing numbers of people abandoning land lines in favor of cell phone service only further justifies extending
the law.

If the no-call list is such a great protection for land lines, he says, it should not be a burden to extend the
coverage to cell phone numbers, too. And Crowell says he would not object to extending the coverage to
business numbers.

Present law allows fines of as much as five-thousand dollars for each violation by telemarketers.

The issue has been around for five legislative sessions but has struggled for votes.


     Interview with Sen. Crowell 3:10 mp3
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Souce of St. Louis E. coli outbreak not found
December 6, 2011 By Mike Lear

The State Health Department says the investigation into an E. coli outbreak in the St. Louis area is over.

Director Margaret Donnelly says the inspections and food trace-back investigation by federal agencies were
extensive, but did not reveal a definitive source. She says a grower in California was suspected of being
connected but records were “insufficient to complete the picture.”

She told the House Appropriations Committee on Health, Mental Health and Social Services it is not unusual for a
source to go unidentified. “The food which caused the outbreak is identified in less than 50 percent of food
bourne outbreaks, and the reason for that is because of the amount of time that passes from when the person is
exposed to the pathogen until the public health receives a report. This incubation period can be up to ten days.
In addition, after that period of time, food products are often no longer available for analysis.”

The outbreak cost the Department 25 thousand dollars in lab costs that Donnelly says were absorbed by its
normal appropriation. 60 people were infected in 10 states; 37 of those were Missourians.
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BLOG ZONE
Brunner hires more staff; Steelman attacks judicial nominee
support
Posted on December 6, 2011 by Josh Nelson

Businessman John Brunner has added another political veteran to the staff of his first-time campaign for U.S.
Senate, the Post-Dispatch reports.

Jon Seaton was the national political director for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s short-lived presidential
campaign. Seaton, who also worked for Republicans John McCain and George W. Bush, joins a staff that also
includes John Hancock, the former GOP state executive director, and Rich Chismer, who worked for Matt and Roy
Blunt, the P-D reported.

Pawlenty announced Seaton as the national political director for his campaign in April. And by August, Pawlenty
had dropped out after a less-than-stellar showing at the Ames (Iowa) Straw Poll.

Brunner is fighting for space in a field that includes experienced politicians Sarah Steelman, the former state
treasurer, and U.S. Rep. Todd Akin.

Caitlin Legacki, a spokesperson for the Missouri Democratic Party, said called the move a “shakeup” in Brunner’s
campaign.

“Brunner’s campaign is off to a rocky start because of Brunner’s serious liabilities as a candidate, including an
inability to answer any questions about his background or beliefs,” Legacki said in a statement.

Democrats also continue to criticize Brunner’s response to layoffs at Vi-Jon in October. Brunner is the chairman
of the company’s board.

Steelman, meanwhile, is criticizing Sen. Claire McCaskill’ support for D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Caitlin
Halligan. An effort to break a Republican filibuster failed Tuesday.

Steelman echoed other conservatives in arguing that Halligan was unfit for the bench because she was hostile to
gun rights. Steelman pointed to Halligan’s advocacy of a legal theory that held gun manufacturers liable for
people who misuse the guns.

“ This legal theory was not only egregious; it was also determined to be ‘legally inappropriate’ by the New York
Appellate Court,” Steelman said.
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Politics


Dana Loesch Departs St. Louis Tea Party
By Chad Garrison Tue., Dec. 6 2011 at 1:08 PM
Categories: Politics

The co-founder of the St. Louis Tea Party has officially left the organization.

In a tweet this morning Dana Loesch writes: "Yes, I am finished with the St. Louis Tea Party. Not keen on
grassroots organizing under a candidate, even unofficially. Never will be."

The St. Louis Tea Party this morning issued its own press release this morning, confirming the split. "The St. Louis
Tea Party certainly benefited from Dana's rising stardom and talent," wrote St. Louis Tea Party board president,
Bill Hennessy, who founded the organization along with Loesch in 2009. "And we can't help but think our
energetic and effective grass roots have propelled Dana's career."

Since helping to found the Tea Party, Loesch has had a meteoric rise on the political landscape, getting a job as a
CNN pundit and editor of the right-wing website Big Journalism.

Daily RFT has messages out with Hennessy and Loesch for comment. At this point it's unclear exactly why Loesch
left the organization, but Hennessy suggests in today's press release that the two leaders had different opinions
on conservative candidates.

"[A]s a local Tea Party organization, we need to focus on the grass roots going into 2012. At some point, though,
one party must cleanly break the tension. In this case, the board has moved in the interest of the movement."

Progressive blogger Adam Shriver, who often chronicles the goings-on the Tea Party, reported yesterday that
Loesch and Hennessy disagreed on which Republican to support in Missouri's Second Congressional District, with
Loesch backing the establishment candidate of Ann Wagner and Hennessy favoring Ed Martin.

Shriver also reported yesterday that Loesch's husband, Chris Loesch, demanded that the St. Louis Tea Party quit
using the logo that he designed. That logo (right) no longer appears on the Tea Party site.

"We were asked to stop using our trademark logo by its creators," Hennessy told Tea Partiers this morning. "We
decided to comply."
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MR. NITELIFE
  December 6, 2011 1:39 pm | Author: Jerry Berger

Kicked off the evening at the new Filippo’s in Chesterfield Valley. The chef, Concetta San Filippo, works miracles
in the kitchen, but she’s stubborn about sharing the recipe for her celebrated dinner rolls. Son Joe is owner and
continues to operate his restaurant, J.F. San Filippo’s at the Drury Inn on Broadway- with a new 10-year lease in
his hands. While there, had a chat with Siemens’ Seith Heggie and his wife, Terri, and John and Karen Wishart of
the Special School District. BTW: Filippo’s turns out remarkable veal chops, rigatoni Giuseppe with vodka, shallots
and a spicy creole sauce and the Aussie white fish, baramundi- mirabile dictum! We learned that Filippo’s sauces
will soon line shelves at super markets, maneuvered by former A-B exec Dan Scott’s All-’n-One Co. Onward to
the St. Louis HIlls Nabe Assoc. holiday party, where AG Chris Koster insisted on addressing the crowd. About 200
neighbors were welcomed by organizers Courtney Leiendecker, Brooke Richars, Molly Spowal and Carol
Martin. Aside from neighbors, the gym at St. Raphael’s School was filled pols including Cong. Russ Carnahan,
Mayor Francis Slay, Aldermanic prez Lewis Reed, Collector of Rev. Greg Daly, Ald. and City Treasurer candidate
Jeff Boyd, state rep. Michelle Kratky, state sen. Joe Keaveny, election board leaders Carol Wilson and Scott
Leiendecker, Judges Mike Mullins and Mike Stelzer, assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Crowe and congressional
candidate Ed Martin.
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EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor
Editorial: Congress dithers its way toward the holidays

By the Editorial Board STLtoday.com | Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 12:00 am


Before Congress adjourns for the holidays, it is expected to pass an extension of payroll tax cuts enacted in 2009
and extend unemployment benefits.

"Expected" may be an overstatement. In this political climate, almost anything could happen, which also is to say
that nothing could happen.

However, because some 160 million Americans would see 2 percent less in their paychecks next year if the
payroll tax goes back up to 6.2 percent, and because next year is an election year, a one-year extension is highly
probable.

The outlook for extending unemployment benefits — for the ninth time, at a cost of $45 billion — for those out
of work between 26 weeks (which is when state-paid benefits end) and 99 weeks (the maximum for federal
benefits in the most economically devastated states) is less certain. The arguments in favor are humanitarian and
economic, neither of which may appease House Republicans.

• The average unemployment benefit nationwide, $295 a week, is all that stands between 6 million Americans
and poverty. Already 52 percent of America's 14 million jobless either have exhausted their benefits or are not
eligible. If Congress fails to act, about 2.2 million more of the jobless will lose benefits starting in February.

• The unemployment rate still is high at 8.6 percent, but it only recently has begun to fall. Pulling unemployment
benefits out of the economy could stall whatever recovery is taking place.

Democrats in Congress have been trying for two months to get both measures passed; they are the last
remnants of President Barack Obama's "pass this bill now" stimulus agenda delivered in a speech to a joint
session of Congress on Sept. 9.

Politically, Mr. Obama and his party probably would gain if Republicans continue to block the measures,
particularly the payroll tax-cut extension. That may be why both of the leading GOP presidential contenders,
former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, favor the
extension.

But everything in Washington today is a zero-sum equation: If you spend more, you have to pay for it somehow.
Mr. Obama would do that by imposing a surcharge of 1.9 percent on taxable income of more than $1 million a
year.
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To which http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/06/us/politics/obama-challenges-gop-on-payroll-tax-stance.html">
Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Senate's minority whip, said, "The surtax is, in reality, a new tax that primarily hits
small-business owners."

If by "primarily" Mr. Kyl means the small business-owners who made up fewer than 1 percent of the 236,000
Americans who paid taxes on $1 million or more in 2009, he's absolutely correct. This may be another of Mr. Kyl's
claims that "was not intended to be a factual statement."

On Tuesday, Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, unveiled their own bipartisan approach to
paying for the tax-cut extension and $25 billion in infrastructure construction. They'd apply a 2 percent
millionaires tax, but they'd exempt the relative handful of small-business people in that class. They'd also
eliminate some unspecified tax breaks for oil companies. As a sop to Republicans, they are proposing delaying for
15 months a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule limiting toxic smokestack emissions.

We're not sure why poisoned air has to be part of the bargain, but it's heartening to see some bipartisan
cooperation. Only 98 senators and 435 House members to go, and the country can get moving again.
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December 6, 2011


Our View: Banning earmarks
The Joplin Globe

We have a love-hate relationship with earmarks. Though we feel the process is hazy and hard to follow (not good
when it comes to tracking taxpayer money), we can’t deny that earmarks have done a lot of good for Southwest
Missouri.

Despite it all, we’d be OK with continued scrutiny of the process.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is pushing for a ban on earmarks. She and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, a tea party
favorite from Pennsylvania, are working to make permanent a ban that is set to expire in 2012.

While other issues are important to McCaskill, no other issue is linked so strongly to the former Missouri auditor.
Chasing down earmarks is a natural extension of that goal.

And for good reason: It’s an allocation of our money that is distributed not by merit or value, but sometimes by
the palm-greasing ability of savvy politicians. It’s not wrong, but it feels that way.

Some argue that the earmark process should be allowed. Congressmen know their districts pretty well, argues
Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., and taking away the process would mean that only the president’s administration
could dole out such funds.

Our position on earmark elimination is tempered with the knowledge that earmarks have helped out Southwest
Missouri, and, thanks to the tornado, more could be directed to repairing damage.

So, maybe a ban isn’t the best thing. That’s OK — the legislative season is young.

Maybe there are some common-sense changes that can be made, details that would solidly attach a lawmaker’s
name to a particular allocation, or add more scrutiny to taxpayer funds.

Whatever happens, a change is due. Ever since President Barack Obama took office, Congress is where
partisanship kills progress. McCaskill and Toomey working together is a good sign for a good bill, so here’s hoping
it gets heard.
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Editorial: PSC should leave its tough ethics policy alone

By the Editorial Board STLtoday.com | Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 12:15 am


Here's a simple rule of thumb to know when government is about to make your life more difficult or expensive:
When someone tries to change the word 'shall" in a rule or law to "may," hold on to your wallet.

Such is the case as the Missouri Public Service Commission considers changing its year-old ethics policy to make it
easier for monopoly utility companies like Ameren Missouri to charge higher rates for electricity.

The PSC is one of state government's most complicated public bodies, but it is vastly important. Its
commissioners, who make $105,070 annually and receive six-year appointments, sit in a quasi-judicial capacity
when investor-owned utility companies seek rate hikes. Because they act as judges, their ethics policies should
be as stringent as those that guide judges. It helps consumers know that rate increases aren't being granted in
back-room deals.

Several times in the past few years, various commissioners, Democrats and Republicans alike, have been accused
of holding private meetings with utilities seeking higher rates. That's why last year the commission enacted a
tougher ethics rule. The rule bans so-called ex-parte communications with parties to a case, and, just as
important, requires both the regulated utilities and commissioners to disclose such meetings if they take place,
accidentally or otherwise.

PSC chairman Kevin Gunn, a Webster Groves Democrat, wants to "tweak" that rule. He says the tweak would
make the rule more workable. He says he doesn't intend to weaken the rule.

Yes, and the Rams intend to win the Super Bowl.

One section of the rule, for instance, requires utilities to give 60 days notice of a pending rate case. This is the
process that starts the clock on commissioners being blocked from meeting with utility executives so that they
aren't improperly influenced.

Right now, any case filed without the proper notice 'shall not" be considered by the commission. The proposed
rule change muddies the waters, replacing 'shall not" with "may." That's quite a tweak.

The proposed change also gets rid of the key sentence in the ethics policy, the one that bans utilities and other
parties from lobbying commissioners regarding issues likely to be decided in future rate cases and requires
notification of such communication if it takes place.

In testimony about the rule change, commissioner Terry Jarrett, a Republican, lamented that he has had to avoid
certain meetings that might find him in violation of the rule.
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Isn't that the point?

Mr. Jarrett, keep in mind, ran afoul of other ethics rules last year when — while still sitting as a PSC commissioner
— ran for circuit court judge in Cole County. He accepted campaign contributions from lobbyists representing
utilities that had business before the commission. He later returned the donations.

The example perfectly illustrates this ethics kerfuffle: Powerful corporations, both utilities and the industrial
companies fighting rate increases, will use whatever means is at their disposal to influence commissioners to
vote their way.

Trying to limit undue influence in government is important to public trust. Ethics policies should be tough.

That's why last year, responding to public outrage, the PSC adopted the tougher ethics rules.

Trying to undo those rules when they haven't even had a chance to work isn't a tweak, it's a mugging.
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Mullins: Economic outcome of Fair Tax will fail to help
11:00 PM, Dec. 6, 2011



As an economist who teaches courses dealing with tax policy at Drury University, I was interested in John Lilly's
first in a series of "Local Voice" columns (Tuesday, Nov. 29) discussing the 23 percent Fair Tax as an alternative to
our current mixture of federal income and payroll taxes.

Since Missouri voters may consider a similar proposal for our state, the merits of tax reform of this type should
be explored. Most agree that the current federal income tax is overly complicated, inefficient, and arguably
unfair, but a discussion of the alternatives needs to be grounded in good economics and not wishful thinking.
Unfortunately, Lilly's column was light on the former and heavy on the latter.

The essence of Lilly's column is his claim that as a consequence of eliminating all federal income and payroll taxes
"...all new products and services would be 23 percent cheaper." If true, adding a 23 percent sales tax afterwards
would simply offset this cost reduction. He uses bread production as an example to conclude "...(t)he Fair Tax
simply replaces that 23 percent, so the price (of bread) does not increase."

This notion that product prices would not rise if we substituted a sales tax for an income tax is simply not true.

Economists have been modeling the impact of various taxes on wages and prices for over two centuries and a
substantial body of research has settled the issue.

Art Laffer on the right and Paul Krugman on the left may not be able to agree on the time of day but both
understand that the burden of federal income and payroll taxes is not "passed on" in the form of higher product
prices to consumers but is instead largely borne by workers in the form of lower after-tax wages and salaries.

Replacing federal income taxes with national sales taxes would -- as proponents of the Missouri version of the
sales tax claim -- give workers a raise, but most workers would experience a raise that would be more than offset
by higher product prices.

Lilly tries to make the substitution of a sales tax sound like a no brainer -- workers experience savings by no
longer paying income and payroll taxes and they see no increase in the price of the goods and services they buy.
It sounds too good to be true -- because it is.

Steven D. Mullins is a professor of economics at the Breech School of Business Administration at Drury
University.
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Guest Column:


Show Me Cannabis Regulation petitions to regulate cannabis
like alcohol
By Spencer Pearson — Field Director for Show-Me Cannabis Regulation

Published Dec. 6, 2011

Throughout the past four decades, people across America have vigorously debated cannabis laws. According to
an Angus Reid Public Opinion poll published just last year, though they hold a variety of opinions on the subject,
most Americans agree that it’s time to end prohibition. In the poll, 67 percent of respondents agreed the “War
on Drugs has been a failure,” and 55 percent supported regulating cannabis like alcohol. As the poll numbers
continue to show more supporters of a legal, regulated cannabis market every year, the activist coalition Show-
Me Cannabis Regulation has been given approval by Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan to collect
signatures for a ballot initiative which would do just that.

So how did cannabis ever come to be banned in the first place? Historical records show prohibition was passed as
the result of a racist fear campaign spearheaded by Harry Anslinger, commissioner of the Treasury Department’s
Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Anslinger said that cannabis “causes white women to seek sexual relations with
Negroes, entertainers and any others,” and claimed if “you smoke a joint … you're likely to kill your brother.”
After researching the origins of these policies, it’s plain to see these laws were passed based on misinformation
and prejudice.

Today many people are starting to see the harm caused by these backward policies. Parents watch as their
children are denied financial aid for college because of cannabis charges. Sick and dying people are prohibited
from using a natural medicine that, for many Missouri patients, is quite literally keeping them alive. Taxpayers
are seeing their money wasted on ineffective enforcement methods that perpetuate and sometimes further
aggravate the cycles of drug addiction.

The proposal by Show-Me Cannabis Regulation to remove cannabis from the criminal market and regulate it like
alcohol represents a solution based on common sense and logic. We have seen other states’ attempts at
regulating cannabis, so we can learn from their mistakes. California’s loose medical cannabis laws and low
qualification requirements — though a step in the right direction and a victory for many terminally ill Californians
— stretched the definition of medical use of cannabis to an absurd length because the law has not established
any legitimate means of access to non-medical users. Decriminalized states like Massachusetts have cut down on
costly cannabis busts but still deny cannabis to patients who desperately need relief. Missourians are beginning
to understand that the only way to solve the problem of prohibition is to repeal it completely.

The proposed law would remove cannabis from the list of controlled substances and legalize possession for
adults 21 years of age and older. Anyone incarcerated or on parole in Missouri for cannabis-only offenses would
be released upon passage, and citizens would be able to expunge cannabis charges from their records. Patients
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would be allowed access to medical cannabis as directed by a licensed physician and — in the case of minors —
with consent of a legal guardian. Doctors would be protected from loss of licensing for recommending cannabis
to patients. Responsible business owners would be allowed to sell cannabis in licensed establishments, which in
turn would create jobs, boost state revenue with taxes and licensing fees, establish a standard of product quality
and end the costly and dangerous black-market trade. Perhaps most importantly, it would bar Missouri law
enforcement agencies from enforcing federal cannabis laws that conflict with Missouri state law.

However, many aspects of Missouri’s cannabis laws would not change. Driving while impaired would remain
illegal, as would non-medical sales to minors. Furthermore, the law would not prohibit property owners from
banning cannabis sales on their property, nor stop employers from firing workers who show up for work
impaired.

I find it appropriate that my state has the chance to lead the nation towards a more sensible cannabis policy. The
Show-Me state has a long history as a swing state because we are a melting pot of political opinions. We stick up
for state’s rights, having a general distrust of Washington politics. We are one of 24 states that allows its citizens
to enact laws via ballot initiative. Missouri used to lead the nation in hemp production back when it was a legal
crop, overtaking Kentucky as the number one hemp producer in 1860. Finally, as the home to our nation’s largest
brewery, Anheuser-Busch, Missouri is a perfect testament to the historical failure of prohibition. This initiative
gives Missourians the opportunity to correct that failure once again.
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Letters to the editor, December 7, STL Today
From groceries to utilities, we can show our disgust

Grocery stores want a handout for each proposed store. How much of a bailout do these companies need to be
competitive? Wal-Mart pits one community against another in its tireless effort to get a break so that it can snuff
out competition. How much more does Wal-Mart billionaire Stan Kroenke need to extract from us so that he can
keep his sports teams functioning at half-throttle?

Now, super giant greedy InBev does not want to pay to have the Clydesdales at the Rose Bowl parade because
those horses will not be emblazoned and frothing in Budweiser ("A-B unhitches Bud from Rose Parade, breaks
long tradition," Nov. 29). What happened to its corporate pride in wanting to do the right thing? In a few weeks,
Rose Bowl Parade TV announcers will ask millions of listeners why InBev couldn't afford to have the Clydesdales
there. What a sure way to get negative publicity.

Now Public Service Commission members want to repeal an ethics provisions in a feigned attempt to regulate
the utilities ("PSC may repeal ethics provision," Dec. 5). If Ameren, Laclede Gas and the other utilities had a gram
of ethical integrity, they would prohibit all of their employees and their lobbyists from meeting, other than in a
public forum, with any member of the PSC.

We can show our disgust with such behavior. We can buy products at other stores. We can include a sticky note
when we pay our grocery and utility bills. We can ask those fat cats, "What do you tell your children at the dinner
table about values, principles and doing the right thing?"

Until we speak up, and do so often, they will continue to bully us.

Richard E. Drummond • Kirkwood

Redirected dollars

Regarding "A-B unhitches Bud from Rose Parade, breaks long tradition" (Nov. 29): More than just ownership and
management have changed at the Big Brew in St. Lou. Consider advertising. The company long was known for
beautiful draft horses at annual parades and clever ads with horses playing football or dogs, frogs and lizards.
These ads were perennial winners for best in show. But the times they are a changin' — and not for the better.

In May, Anheuser-Busch InBev notified the Rose Bowl Parade folks that after more than 50 years of participation
the Clydesdales would not pull a float in the parade. Rather, InBev would direct advertising dollars and efforts to
'sponsorships that reach a higher concentration of beer drinkers" and where they can more directly discuss their
beer brand.

So far we know some new products will have a higher alcohol content. And we have two of the most
objectionable, over-the-top radio spots encouraging irresponsible drinking and actions. A loud-mouth coach-type
individual loudly exhorts the bunch of guys to get out and party and drink tonight: "Because tonight might just be
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the night, the greatest night of your life. Don't be the guy who goes home to bed because he has to get up and go
to work in the morning. You don't want to be that guy! Nobody wants to be that guy!..."

After all that, adding the required tag line "please drink responsibly" is a joke.

Are these new ads and messages good use of the redirected advertising dollar? I think not.

Gary S. Bierman • Brentwood

Touch of class

Sure, it was sad to see InBev decide it can do without the Anhueser-Busch Clydesdales ("A-B unhitches Bud from
Rose Parade, breaks long tradition," Nov. 29). Our local beauties invariably added a touch of class to any event at
which they paraded.

But sadder still is trying to watch or listen to the current commercials. They have reached an embarrassing low in
coarseness and crudity. Let's hear it for the lowest common denominator.

Elaine Eggerding • Affton

Do we want answers — or clear roads?

Regarding "County could lose 'Answer Man'" (Nov. 30): With the utmost respect of Esley Hamiliton as a
renowned preservationist, St. Louis County is doing the right thing in asking Mr. Hamilton to step down from a
job with St. Louis County. How can a county that is making a true effort to watch where every dollar is spent
continue to pay for such a position? Would we rather have one more police officer or a few more snow plow
drivers for our streets or a person in a office that can explain to us the history of a blacksmith shop or where a
member of the Busch family is buried?

C. Myers • St. Charles

U.S. Navy sea power is in critical need

At a time of increasing scrutiny of the federal budget, I would like to bring attention to a critical need that must
not be overlooked. United States sea power has declined to a dangerous level. This serious decline in fleet size
began in the 1990s. We have fewer than 290 United States Navy Ships today, fewer than before World War I.

It is imperative that we continue our capabilities for conflict deterrence, forward presence, maritime security,
protection of the international sea lanes and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

Our national security requires that we be alert and present for possible clashes in the Mediterranean, Middle
East, central Asia, China and North Korea.
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Our country is critically close to not having the necessary ships needed to carry out the still-expanding mission of
the United States Navy. When the troops are coming home, it is important that the United States Navy step up its
efforts to keep the peace.

Doyle Wilhite • St. Louis County

Captain, United States Navy, Retired; Midwest Region President, United States Navy League

Illogical arguments

Reading "Seeking an honest, religious man with integrity" (Dec. 1) by Tad Armstrong made me marvel at just how
incredibly illogical a supposedly intelligent man can be. Mr. Armstrong said that he would prefer to vote for a
"Christian" for president and said that he assumes that Jewish people would prefer to vote for a Jew, an atheist
for an atheist, etc.

I never have had the opportunity to cast a ballot for a Jewish presidential candidate. If Jesus were on the ballot,
would Mr. Armstrong for him? Jesus was a liberal orthodox Jew.

Mr. Armstrong implies that our president is not a man of integrity and cites the recent health care reform. He
points out that because the legislation has not created a world of perfection and light — even though it is not
fully implemented — it is an abject failure, and the president is to blame. This transformative legislation is a
product of much compromise and, while far from perfect, it is leagues better than what was before. It will be
even better once fully implemented.

President Barack Obama gave several Thanksgiving Day addresses. He referred to the creator in several of them,
and has referred to the creator in past addresses.

Mr. Armstrong needs to get his facts straight. When it comes to integrity, our president is on a plane equal to or
higher than the current field of Republican pretenders to the office of chief executive.

John Berkowitz • St. Charles

Dodgy rhetoric

In the editorial "Too-cute-Newt" (Dec. 5), the Post-Dispatch accuses Newt Gingrich of equivocation and
misdirection while using some dodgy rhetoric.

The paper accuses him of being a liar, saying he is Richard Nixon (an outright liar) and Bill Clinton (a convicted
perjurer) in their most extreme examples of dishonesty. This isn't editorializing; it's just blatant bald-faced
smearing of a presidential candidate.

The editorial closed by telling readers,"From now on, please regard us as 'historians' and 'strategic thinkers.'" The
deserved title should be "Obama propagandists."
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Joe Stephens • Clayton

				
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