MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 1 of 55 MESSAGES TO MO. GOV. TOP 10K ON CONTRACEPTION BILL JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon now has received more than 10,000 messages urging him to sign or veto legislation related to health insurance coverage for contraception. Nixon has scheduled a Thursday news conference to announce his action on legislation. That comes a couple days ahead of a Saturday deadline for him to sign, veto or allow bills to become law without his signature. The health insurance measure passed by the Republican-led Legislature takes a shot at President Barack Obama's health care policies. It states that employers and health plan providers cannot be compelled to cover contraception, sterilization or abortion if that runs contrary to their religious or moral beliefs. The bill also allows the attorney general to sue government officials or others who infringe on the rights granted in the measure. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 2 of 55 REPUBLICANS URGE NIXON TO SIGN AUTO SALES TAX LEGISLATION SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — As Gov. Jay Nixon closes in on a July 14 deadline to sign or veto legislation, Republican lawmakers are urging him to sign a bill that would allow Missouri localities to instate a sales tax on vehicles sold outside of the state. The General Assembly approved the legislation late in session, but Gov. Jay Nixon has threatened to veto it claiming it is a tax increase on Missourians that has not been voted on by the people. Speaking with reporters earlier this week, Republican Floor Leader Tim Jones, R-St. Louis, urged Nixon to join “an overwhelming bipartisan” majority of lawmakers in supporting the measure. “There is not actual increase in taxation here,” Jones said. “Because of a court decision, we now have a problem — a loophole — we have to fix.” The Missouri Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that localities could only impose a sales tax on automobiles purchased outside of the state only if local voters approved one. For his part, Nixon again said he opposes the legislation, but would not say what his action will be. “If you’re going to raise taxes, it has to go to a vote of the people,” Nixon said. “I think it is pretty clear the people have the right to weigh in on issues like this when you’re talking about taxation on automobiles.” Jones said he was unsure if the House would be able to override a potential veto from Nixon, noting that it would require “a few brave Democrats” to vote the same way. The vehicle sales tax legislation is House Bill 1329. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 3 of 55 GOV. NIXON SIGNS BILL PROTECTING SENIORS Article | July 12, 2012 - 5:19am | By Michele Skalicky, KSMU/Springfield A crowd gathered at the Southside Senior Center his morning. Governor Jay Nixon was there to sign a bill designed to protect senior citizens from financial exploitation. According to Nixon, it’s estimated that each year in the U.S., senior citizens are swindled out of $2.6 billion. Senate Bill 689 expands the definition of financial exploitation against seniors and those with disabilities to include “undue influence…” According to Nixon, it’s been difficult for prosecutors in financial exploitation cases if the person committing the crime had legal status as a guardian or power of attorney. Nixon says the law also protects elderly from physical abuse… He says that’s regardless of whether injuries sustained were inflicted on purpose or were the result of reckless behavior. Larry Smith and Mary Netzer, two seniors who were visiting the senior center, say they’re happy to see the bill signed into law… Nixon says he’ll continue to work to protect the elderly in Missouri. He encourages seniors to get on the no-call list both on their home phones and on their cell phones. And he says anyone who is the victim of financial exploitation should contact authorities. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 4 of 55 SCHOOL CAMPS IN ST. LOUIS AREA AIM TO GIVE INCOMING KINDERGARTNERS A LEG UP BY NANCY CAMBRIA • Nancy.Cambria@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8238 | Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 12:05 am HAZELWOOD • In the haze of a summer heat wave, when little minds are often fixed on the jingle of an ice cream truck or days at the pool, kindergarten can seem as alien as blending alphabet sounds together into words that go on paper. But in an educational system where increasing pressure has been placed on that initial school grade to learn to read, write full sentences, recognize lists of words at first sight and perform basic addition and subtraction, Hazelwood school officials are serious about summer school for the youngest of pupils. So serious that a group of 5-year-olds quietly gathered at 8:10 a.m. last week in the lobby of Garrett Elementary School while many of their peers slept in or tuned out with early morning cartoons. They sat cross-legged in single file lines on the linoleum floor until their teachers arrived and cheerfully asked each line to stand and walk single-file down the hallway — faces up, posture straight — into their classrooms. And they did: quietly and deliberately, without giggles, tickles, line ditching, pushing or silly sounds. It was just another day at Sunny Start, one of a handful of summer school programs in the region designed to get children ready for the routines and curriculum they will find in kindergarten this August. "For parents now, they're starting to understand there's a different level of expectations of what kids need to start kindergarten," said Trish Adkins, director of federal programs for the Hazelwood School District. QUESTIONS AND BUDGET CUTS The program, which enrolls 400 children, is just one of a few remaining in the region after years of budget cuts in other districts as well as questions over the effectiveness of the approach. Similar programs, typically half a day in duration, are still popular in St. Louis Public Schools and the Rockwood School District. At Rockwood, for example, parents pay $85 for a weeklong program. But Webster Groves decided that its own five-week "Jump Start" program had little bang for the buck and discontinued it. Other districts have followed suit. "We pretty much decided our kindergarten teachers do a really good job with acclimating the kids in the school year, and we had kids coming in at all sorts of different levels," said John Simpson, an assistant superintendent for the Webster Groves district. Some in the child development field worry that the programs are indicative of a national push by too many school districts to regiment young children into rigid, performance-based academic learning too early. "I don't have a problem that children have a four-week introduction to going to school in the summer, but you don't want them to burn out and get them turned-off to school," warned Joan Almon, director of programs for the Alliance for Children at the University of Maryland. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 5 of 55 Administrators and teachers at Hazelwood said the month long program that ended last week gives children a chance to test the waters of a more structured school environment so they have less anxiety and more academic and social confidence in the coming school year. Most of the classrooms are led by district kindergarten teachers, which, at bare minimum, gives the students the chance to know familiar faces when the school year starts in August, said Shannon Drennan, the coordinator for Sunny Start at Garrett Elementary. For teachers, such programs get more children up to speed earlier on the basic routines and early reading and writing skills needed for an intensive learning year ahead. That makes things easier from the start for teachers who must achieve a lot of goals with their students in just nine months, Drennan said. Mary Carver said her daughter, Annabell Wallsmith, loves Sunny Start. "It gets my kid motivated to jump into kindergarten," she said. "She's learning the social skills, and it gets her more ready to read." TOO MUCH STRUCTURE? But Almon worries that the motivation behind kindergarten summer school in some districts is to prepare students earlier for mandatory assessment testing and to move them away from the free play and exploration that research suggests enhances learning in young children. "I just think that when we get caught in thinking the most regimented approach will be the best way, I haven't seen them bring about a love of learning or a comfort with a group situation or an excitement about learning," she said. In the most extreme example she's seen, Almon said, one North Carolina school district openly praised a teacher in their kindergarten summer "boot camp" program who wore military fatigues as she shouted lessons in ABCs and 1-2-3s. For the record, Mary Brownell, one of the teachers at Sunny Start in Hazelwood, was wearing a T-shirt and capri pants and spoke calmly to her class, just above a whisper, and conducted most of circle time from a rocking chair. Almon said the push she has seen toward rigid academics is particularly common in lower-income school districts where the stakes for funding and accreditation are high. She cites one study that found kindergartners in New York and Los Angeles public schools spent two to three hours a day in chairs working on literacy, math and testing and allowed about 20 minutes of play time. At St. Louis Public Schools, Cheryl Davenport, the director of early childhood programs, said the district's free "Kindergarten Here I Come!" program focuses heavily on play, though academic enrichment is a clear goal for their students. The program, which has been running for more than a decade, enrolled about 400 children this summer. Although it's open to all St. Louis children about to enter kindergarten, Davenport said the bulk of the program's students are recommended by district preschool teachers who identify them as perhaps needing "a little bit of extra time and focus on basic skills such as early reading and early writing." But, she stressed, the program is geared toward fun. So math and lessons are typically given outside at the water table with measuring cups. Prereading and science come through cooking and art projects. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 6 of 55 "Our program is meant to provide additional enrichment time," she said. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 7 of 55 6 ELECTRICITY-RELATED DEATHS IN MO. SINCE 2010 JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri utility regulators say there have been 30 electricity-related incidents in the state since 2010, resulting in a half-dozen deaths. The Public Service Commission published recent electricity incidents involving regulated utilities after three people were killed during the past week while swimming at the Lake of the Ozarks. State regulators require regulated power companies to report electricity incidents. Commission Chairman Kevin Gunn says it is important for people to understand the danger that electricity can pose. Regulators say people should assume overhead power lines are energized at lethal voltages and they should be cautious when using aluminum ladders and tall equipment around wires. Boat docks and swimming pools should also be protected with a ground fault circuit interrupter, and professional electricians should install electrical systems near docks. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 8 of 55 NEW MISSOURI LAW IMPROVES CHANCES OF AVOIDING RED LIGHT TICKET Allison Blood JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) - You might notice yellow lights getting a bit longer at intersections in your neighborhood, and throughout Missouri. Governor Jay Nixon has signed a law regulating the minimum length before yellow lights change over to red. Sen. Jim Lembke sponsored the bill — he’s observed that many communities decide to shave some time off the yellow once they install red light cameras. “The concern that we had where they’re using photo enforcement is that in some of the municipalities they might be shortening the times on the yellow lights in order to write more tickets,” Lembke told KMOX News. He cites the case of Texas, where lengthening yellow light times by just one second cut the number of red light tickets issued in half. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 9 of 55 FRANKLIN COUNTY DEFENSE ATTORNEYS DENY PLAINTIFF’S CLAIMS IN ACLU LAWSUIT By Evin Fritschle, Missourian Staff Writer | Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 9:30 pm Calling claims brought by an anonymous plaintiff “moot,” attorneys for the Franklin County Commission last week filed a response to a federal lawsuit asking the suit to be dismissed. The lawsuit was filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of an anonymous female Franklin County resident, identified only as Jane Doe, claiming Christian prayers led by county commissioners violated the U.S. and Missouri constitutions, and the plaintiff’s rights. The county’s answer denies most of the lawsuit’s claims, but does admit that Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer, who is being sued in both his official capacity as a commissioner as well as individually, offered prayers at some meetings prior to March 21, when the county received a complaint from the ACLU. Last month commissioners adopted a formal invocation policy which will allow for any member of the public to deliver prayers at the start of commission meetings if they sign up about a month in advance. While the lawsuit cites specific examples and dates upon which Griesheimer delivered Christian prayers, the defense stated only that he “opened various meetings of the Franklin County Commission with prayer” prior to March 21. Tony Rothert, ACLU of Eastern Missouri legal director and attorney for the plaintiff, told The Missourian previously that he had obtained audio recordings of the prayers, but did not say how the recordings were made available. The county does not record audio or video of commission meetings nor does it take verbatim minutes. One of the major claims of the lawsuit is that Griesheimer’s prayers violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution because “they prefer one religion over others,” “they have no secular purpose” and “they have the effect of affiliating Franklin County with one specific faith or belief.” The county’s answer denies almost all of the plaintiff’s claims, but offers little explanation. The county also denied claims that the prayers violate the Missouri Constitution, which prohibits giving preference to a church, sect or creed of religion and compelling residents to support a system of worship. Attorneys for Franklin County are claiming that the plaintiff’s complaints are barred by a variety of legal immunities as well as the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which grants sovereign immunity to states and therefore makes them immune to being sued in federal court. The county is being represented by attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative group with ties to a number of Christian organizations. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 10 of 55 HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF MISSOURI'S UNINSURED RESIDE IN RURAL COUNTIES By Robert Joiner, Beacon staff 8:04 am on Wed, 07.11.12 Most Missouri counties with the highest percentage of uninsured residents are concentrated in two congressional districts - - the 6th in the northern part of the state and the 8th in southeast Missouri, according to data in a new report. The study does not break down the number of uninsured Missourians by congressional districts. But that is one way to look at the issue as federal lawmakers decide whether to try to reverse all or parts of the health reform law that will give most people access to health insurance by 2014. The report comes from Cover Missouri, a joint project of the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. It offers these estimates of how the Affordable Care Act could drastically change access to health insurance across the state: • As a result of ACA, 509,529 Missouri residents under age 65, or 10 percent of the population, are expected to become newly insured. That's roughly two-thirds of Missouri's uninsured population of more than 800,000. • The highest percentage of the state's newly insured are likely to live in Knox, Hickory, Ozark, Morgan, Carter, Taney, Worth, Scott and McDonald counties. These also happen to be rural counties where the uninsured rates range from 21 percent to 22.6 percent, the highest in the state. • The largest number of newly insured residents -- roughly 70,000 -- is likely to live in Jackson County, which includes Kansas City. The second largest number, about 60,000, is likely to live in St. Louis County, while the third highest number, 40,000, is expected to live in St. Louis. While the largest number of residents getting help from ACA lives in urban communities, the largest percentage benefitting from the law live in rural Missouri, says Ryan Barker, director of health policy at MFH. In spite of reducing the state's uninsured population, the reform legislation would still mean 255,246, or 5.1 percent of Missourians, are likely to remain without health insurance, he said. "Some will be legal immigrants who are ineligible for Medicaid for the first five years, and some will be undocumented immigrants," Ryan says of those left out of the law. "Some will be people who get exemptions." These include people claiming religious exemptions from the law or claiming financial hardship, Barker said. He says some of those left out would have some access to health care because funds will go toward uncompensated care provided by hospitals. And, he adds, "the law forbidding hospitals to turn away sick people still stands." The study assumes that Missouri will move forward on two contentious issues -- expanding Medicaid and setting up an insurance exchange to cover the report's projected 509,529 Missouri residents eligible for insurance under ACA. Many state lawmakers have been lukewarm to hostile to both issues. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 11 of 55 Barker says MFH hopes the data will help policymakers understand which people do and don't have access to health insurance. He says that's one reason the study didn't just look at the issue at the state level but focused on how the numbers would differ from county to county under health reform law. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 12 of 55 MO. DEMOCRAT MAKES HEADLINES QUESTIONING 9/11 BY ELIZABETH CRISP • email@example.com> 573-635-6178 | Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 2:02 pm JEFFERSON CITY • A Democrat running for secretary of state in Missouri has made headlines for his comments in support of 9/11 conspiracy theories. MD Rabbi Alam of Kansas City has apologized for the remarks he made in an interview Monday with the conservative- leaning Washington Free Beacon, including claims that no Jewish people died in the 2001 terrorist attacks. “My question was, ‘What’s the reason not a single Jew was killed on that day,’” Alam told the Free Beacon. “Was there a single Jew killed on that day?” The news site said Alam, a Muslim who was born in Bangladesh, maintained that his position was based on facts, rather than a bias against Jewish people. He also questioned whether commercial airliners were the sole cause of the Twin Towers' collapse. “I have 100 percent doubts. It doesn’t add up,” Alam is quoted as saying. “My bottom line is the plane is not solely responsible for destroying the whole building.” Rabbi Yair Hoffman, reporting for Orthodox Jewish news site Vos Iz Neias?, later contacted Alam with information to show him that Jewish people died in the terrorist attacks. It has been estimated that between 270 and 400 of the victims were Jewish. “I personally know people that died – I know their father, I know their brother, I know their children,” Hoffman said in a call that was recorded. Alam apologized and blamed his misinformation on “Loose Change” a series of videos that went viral, arguing against the official account of 9/11 and claiming that it was a planned attack orchestrated by the U.S. government. According to the VIN article, Alam “still expressed some conspiracy thinking about the World Trade Center bombings” later in the conversation after apologizing for his remarks about Jewish people. Alam notes on his campaign website that he is the chairman of the National Democratic Party Asian American Caucus, as well as the chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party Asian American Caucus. Despite the official-sounding names, both of those groups were created by Alam in 2007. They have no official ties with the national party or state party, and party leaders at both levels were quick to distance themselves from Alam on Tuesday. "There is absolutely no place in the public discourse or in the Democratic Party for Mr. Alam's hateful, insensitive and bigoted remarks," Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Mike Sanders said in a statement. Some sites have linked to photos of Alam with Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Vice President Joe Biden as potential evidence of his closeness to party leaders, but it is not clear where the photos were taken. The Washington Free Beacon's claim also that Alam's "pro-Obama politicking apparently earned him an invite to the White House in December 2011," neglects to note that Alam's visit was a group tour with 268 other people. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 13 of 55 JOHN BRUNNER RETURNS TO CAMPAIGN IN KIRKSVILLE by Vanessa Alonso, KTVO/Kirksville KIRKSVILLE, MO -- A candidate makes his second stop in Kirksville for his senatorial campaign. U.S. Senate Republican Candidate John Brunner made several stops in Downtown Kirksville. KTVO caught up with him as he attended the K-REDI meeting Tuesday and spoke with the committee members afterwards. He also went around visiting several local businesses around the square and held a meet and greet at Pagliai's Pizza. Brunner said he is more determined than ever to win, so he can go to Washington to get the job done. He said his campaign focus will be the economy and putting Americans back to work. "We are continuing to spend deeper into debt. Small businesses are hurting. We have to stop spending. We have to go out and grow businesses," Brunner said. "We have to get good energy. We have to pull back regulations. We need to have fairer taxes. We have a lot of issues that need to be controlled as well." Brunner also wants President Obama's Healthcare Reform Act to get repealed. "Just two years ago 71 percent of the people in Missouri did not want ‘Obamacare.’ They wanted it repealed; now 81 percent don't want it. They understand that this is going to crush businesses. We are barely hanging on. We have to repeal it completely. We need a bottom up approach where there's a freedom of choice and get the doctors involved. We can restore healthcare," Brunner said. The primary elections are on August 7. The winner of the primary will go up against incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill in the November elections. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 14 of 55 BLUNT, MCCASKILL URGE FEDERAL ASSISTANCE FOR FARMERS STRUGGLING IN MISSOURI DROUGHT Missouri News Horizon — Both of Missouri’s U.S. Senators are joining Gov. Jay Nixon in his call for a federal disaster declaration in response to Missouri’s continued drought conditions. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack on Wednesday, Sen.’s Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt urged the Department to move forward with Nixon’s request for a primary disaster declaration for all 114 Missouri counties. “A disaster designation would give eligible producers in Missouri the additional support they need by allowing them to qualify for [Farm Service Agency] emergency loans, emergency grazing and haying, and other financial assistance,” the two wrote. Already, the Department of Agriculture has moved to help farmers get help from the agency. Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Vilsack said his agency is dropping the loan rate on emergency loans to farmers. “We need to be cognizant of the fact that drought and adverse weather conditions have severely affected and impacted producers across the country,” he said. As the temperatures continue to sear the state, farmers continue to struggle. Bill Wiebold, a specialist from the University of Missouri, said many corn crops are going to be a total loss. “Some of those fields, that yield is down to zero,” said Wiebold. “My heart goes out to those farmers. It is a tragedy.” Wiebold said soybean farmers may be in a better spot because the beans have a better shot at surviving with less water and higher temperatures. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 15 of 55 US HOUSE PANEL ADVANCES BURN PIT LEGISLATION JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A congressional committee has advanced a bill by Rep. Todd Akin, of Missouri, that would create a government registry for veterans who may have been exposed to toxic smoke while in Iraq and Afghanistan. The measure was rolled into a larger veterans' bill that was approved Wednesday by the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Some veterans believe they suffer from health problems as a result of smoke and fumes they inhaled while burning tons of trash and human waste in Iraq and Afghanistan. Akin's legislation would direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to create a registry to collect information on the number of veterans exposed to the burn pits and the types of health problems they later reported. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 16 of 55 LAWMAKERS TAKE AIM AT ATM SCAMS Say requirement for 2 notices on fees spurs ‘mayhem’ Washington Times Capitol Hill lawmakers are moving ahead with legislation that would prevent what critics say are frivolous lawsuits against banks, credit unions and stores that operate ATMs by exploiting a loophole in federal disclosure laws. The House this week unanimously passed an amendment to the 1999 Electronic Fund Transfer Act to address the quirk in the law, and the Senate is expected to act on the proposal this week. The law now requires ATM operators to post two notices about the fees customers will be charged for withdrawing cash. One notice is a digital message displayed on the screen before the transaction is made. The second notice is an actual sign, known as a placard, that is attached to the outside of the machine or nearby. Lawmakers say the double warning is worse than redundant: Some customers are covertly removing the signs, then suing because the bank is "in violation" of the disclosure law. The growing scam has forced lawmakers to take another look at the law. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, Missouri Republican, sponsored the House bill after learning that banks in his own community were being cheated. He called the scam "nonsense," saying litigants are "taking advantage" of banks and causing "financial mayhem." "There's no reason for a second disclosure when you already have it on the screen," he said. "The absurdity of having to tell people twice is what we're trying to get rid of here." This scam could force ATM operators to charge higher fees or removing the cash machines altogether to minimize more losses from fraud, said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus, Alabama Republican. But cutting back on disclosure is not the answer, said Linda Sherry, spokeswoman for Consumer Action, which along with Consumers Union and U.S. PIRG sent letters to Congress opposing the change. "Certainly, we don't need to do away with consumer disclosure," she said. "We need to improve consumer disclosure." Ms. Sherry said current disclosure rules are insufficient, noting that consumers are only told of the fee the ATM operator is charging them, but not the "foreign bank fee," which their own bank might also charge. She said her group would favor the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau coming up with a rule to address the double- disclosure requirement, rather than legislation. "There have been some lawsuits that are not as advisable as we would have hoped," she said. "That's unfortunate. It's disheartening." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 17 of 55 SENS. MCCASKILL, PORTMAN JOIN ON TARIFF PROPOSAL By DAVID A. LIEB Associated Press JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, who faces a tough re-election bid in Missouri, teamed up Wednesday with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman - an oft-mentioned potential Republican vice presidential candidate - to push for a new way of relaxing tariffs on some materials imported by U.S. manufacturers. The senators said they hoped their proposal could be debated in the coming days as an amendment to a business bill pending in the Senate. McCaskill also has filed the tariff measure as a stand-alone bill with 20 Republican co-sponsors, including Portman and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky. McCaskill and Portman said the measure is intended to quash what they described an earmark-like process in which U.S. businesses needing materials that are not made domestically must persuade a lawmaker to file a bill to temporarily reduce or suspend the tariff on the imported item. Ultimately, the various special requests are rolled into what is dubbed as a miscellaneous tariff bill. Instead, McCaskill and Portman want businesses or lawmakers to be able to file such tariff requests with the U.S. International Trade Commission, which would evaluate them and submit a draft bill for Congress to consider. They said some senators may block a vote on this year's miscellaneous tariff bill as leverage to consider the proposed changes to the tariff process for future years. "This is about some senators getting together on a bipartisan basis and doing something that is very essential to success in the Senate, and that is compromise," said McCaskill, who has made her desire for bipartisan compromise a central theme of her re-election campaign against a Republican primary field that has pledged to stand firm for conservative principles. "We will fix this problem going forward, so it is no longer an earmark, but you've got to deal with us on reform in order for us to stand aside and let the other bill move," she added. Portman said it's important for tariffs to be relaxed on certain materials, such as chemicals used in manufacturing, in order for U.S. businesses to be able to create jobs. The proposed change in the means of doing so "cleans up what is now a lobbyist-driven process," he said. Instead, the proposal "creates a transparent, merit-driven process." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 18 of 55 'ODD COUPLE' MCCASKILL AND PORTMAN COLLABORATE ON TARIFF, CONTRACT ISSUES By Robert Koenig, Beacon Washington correspondent 4:59 pm on Wed, 07.11.12 WASHINGTON – One is a first-term Missouri Democrat under constant fire from GOP critics taking aim at her Senate seat. The other is an Ohio Republican who is considered a potential running mate for presumed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Despite their political differences, U.S. Sens. Claire McCaskill and Rob Portman – the chairperson and ranking Republican on the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight – have cooperated on some issues, including an inquiry into government PR contracts and a tariff-related measure that they hope to offer in the Senate this week. On Wednesday, the two senators said they are seeking a Senate vote on their amendment that would respect the current ban on “earmarks” – a ban that McCaskill had helped engineer – by changing the way in which U.S. companies get tariff suspensions on imported products (such as certain chemicals) that aren’t made or available in this country. Instead of having to convince a member of Congress to sponsor the duty suspensions, firms could go directly through the International Trade Commission. “It’s just a matter of saying that companies are not required to hire a lobbyist, and spend more money than they need to, to get tariff relief in order to manufacture products in America,” McCaskill told reporters. In the conference call, Portman said the amendment – also introduced as a stand-alone bill – “cleans up what is now a lobbyist-driven process. We’re putting forth a process that gives businesses more certainty and less reliance on the political process. It creates a transparent, merit-based process” with the ITC doing the screening of data on the tariff reduction requests. McCaskill said backers of their amendment have some leverage because, without the change she and Portman advocate, this year’s major “miscellaneous tariff” bill – which compiles hundreds of duty-suspension requests from members of Congress – could be held up by objections that it violates the temporary ban on earmarks. “The leverage we have is: ‘Hey, if you want to get this year’s 'miscellaneous tariffs' through, you need to work with us on reform,’” McCaskill said. Portman told reporters that his Missouri colleague was “absolutely right” in her assessment of the legislative leverage. He added: “Getting the amendment to the [Senate] floor would be a great opportunity for us to inform more of our colleagues about what the real issues are here.” The duty-suspension process has relevance to Missouri and Illinois, where many companies – from chemical firms to footwear producers or marketers – rely on imported raw materials. According to a list of tariff requests compiled by the House Ways and Means Committee, five Missouri lawmakers – including U.S. Reps. William Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan, both D-St. Louis – have filed a total of at least 87 such requests in this session of Congress alone. McCaskill and Portman said that, if they are unable to add their bipartisan amendment to the small business bill that the Senate is debating this week, they will try later this summer or fall to append it to another legislative vehicle. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 19 of 55 The tariff issue is the most recent of several initiatives on which McCaskill and Portman have collaborated, mostly since Portman – a former director of the Office of Management and Budget during the administration of then-President George W. Bush – became the subcommittee’s top Republican member early last year. On April 17, Portman said a McCaskill-chaired hearing on failures in wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan was “incredibly important” because it is vital for Congress “to examine the lessons we have learned about wartime contracting from our experience over the last decade” in Iraq and Afghanistan. In February, Portman and McCaskill announced that – as a followup to a March 2011 subcommittee hearing into a sole- source $234,000 public affairs contract by the federal General Services Administration to a Kansas City PR firm – they had launched a much wider inquiry into the federal government’s spending on outside PR contracts. The two senators sent letters to all 11 federal agencies asking for a full accounting of “contracts for the acquisition of public relations, publicity, advertising, communications or similar services,” starting in October 2008. The subcommittee staff is analyzing the responses. Portman aides have sought to put a political cast on the inquiry – with one saying it would probe the current administration’s “use of taxpayer-funded spin” on issues such as the impact of the Affordable Care Act. But McCaskill’s staffers say the inquiry will be an even-handed look at whether such PR contracts are abused. “It’s an ongoing investigation,” a McCaskill spokesman said Wednesday. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 20 of 55 REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS AGAIN VOTE TO REPEAL HEALTH-CARE LAW By Ken Newton | St. Joseph News-Press Political theater, some insisted. The will of the people, others countered. One certainty: Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act don’t lack in volume. The U.S. House voted Wednesday afternoon to repeal the nation’s health-care reform legislation, passing the measure by a mostly party-line vote of 244 to 185. By some accountings, it is the 33rd time since January 2011 that representatives have voted to dial back all or parts of the landmark bill. The vote proceeded despite the emptiness of the action. The Republican-backed repeal stands little chance of making it through the Democratic-controlled Senate. Even if it did, the certainty of a presidential veto would squash the effort. Northwest Missouri Congressman Sam Graves, who contributed to the “yeas,” said the renewed effort at repeal, the first such vote since the Supreme Court decision on the law, has a purpose. “In the midst of a sluggish economy and unemployment crisis, House Republicans are focused on jobs,” said the GOP lawmaker from Tarkio. “That is why we’re exhausting all measures possible to remove this law, because it is a barrier to job growth, plain and simple.” Mr. Graves, chairman of the House Small Business Committee, cited a Government Accountability Office report as showing the ineffectiveness of the health-care measure. The report indicated that 170,300 small businesses had used a heavily promoted tax credit in the legislation that sponsors thought would be used by 4 million. “Small businesses know that a complex, temporary Band-Aid credit is not an adequate solution to compliance with the health-care law’s taxes and mandates,” Mr. Graves said in a statement on Wednesday. Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, though not facing a Wednesday vote, said in a conference call with reporters that he would continue efforts in that chamber to get the law repealed. He noted that several governors said they would not add new individuals to the Medicaid rolls, a requirement removed by the Supreme Court ruling. “When you look at Medicaid spending in all of the states, you can understand why governors would be reluctant to further cut higher education, elementary and secondary education ... because of an overreach in Medicaid,” he said. Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, in a separate conference call, ran through a roster of the law’s provisions already in effect and helping her Missouri constituents. She said repeal efforts represented more congressional partisanship. “Frankly, this is all just a political two-by-four that they’re busy engaging in, and, frankly, I think in many ways, they are going to shortchange Missourians,” she said. In the vote breakdown, all 239 Republicans who voted went for the repeal, as did five Democrats. The 185 “nay” votes all came from Democrats. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 21 of 55 The House Democratic whip, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, pointed during debate to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll that indicated 56 percent of Americans believe opponents of the health-care law should stop trying to block its implementation. “It’s time for Republicans to end their relentless obsession with taking away health-care benefits from millions of Americans,” the Democratic lawmaker said. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 22 of 55 EPA GRANT SUPPORTS JOB TRAINING AT ST. LOUIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE STAFF REPORTS | Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 2:30 pm The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $181,638 to St. Louis Community College for drinking water job training. According to a news release from the EPA, the training meets requirements set by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for drinking water treatment certification. The core curriculum focuses on the skills necessary for entry-level jobs at drinking water facilities. It includes sessions on water quality monitoring, green infrastructure, operations, maintenance, mathematics, and drinking water regulations. EPA oversees the protection of water quality and public health. The responsibility for ensuring safe drinking water is shared by EPA, states, tribes, water systems, and the public. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 23 of 55 GOP 'WAR' ON EPA FOCUSES ON COST OF REGULATIONS By Robert Koenig, Beacon Washington correspondent 8:00 am on Wed, 07.11.12 WASHINGTON – In 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency opened its doors with an aggressive new chief, later dubbed “Mr. Clean,” and an independent charter to promote clean air and water across the country. The EPA was established by a Republican president, Richard Nixon. Its first administrator, William Ruckelshaus, was a Republican. And the agency was created in response to bipartisan concern about widespread pollution. But in recent years, that one-time GOP war against pollution has gradually morphed into what critics describe as a Republican war against the EPA itself. U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., recently called EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson “the worst” leader in the agency’s history, and scores of Capitol Hill conservatives want to downgrade or even dissolve the EPA. “I think she has a callous disregard for how [EPA] rules impact families and jobs and the economy,” charges Blunt, who contends that the agency’s regulations will cost utilities, farms and industries billions of dollars. “But it’s not just all about her. Some of it’s about that fact that she’s been asked to pursue really bad policies” by the White House. Defenders of the EPA under Jackson say she is simply trying to implement laws approved by Congress and signed by presidents. “The EPA under Lisa Jackson has done its job of enforcing the laws Congress passed -- much to the dismay of many Republicans,” says Kathleen Logan Smith, executive director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “From my point of view, keep it up.” But the GOP-controlled U.S. House – in particular, the Energy and Commerce Committee – has taken aim at EPA regulations. In the first year after Republicans gained a House majority in 2010, about 160 votes were held against various environmental protections, including more than 80 votes on amendments or bills targeting the EPA. U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, who chairs the panel’s environment and the economy subcommittee, has targeted EPA regulations and its cost-benefit calculations. “It’s not a debate about which side wants to pollute our constituents and which side does not. That’s ridiculous," Shimkus said in an interview Tuesday. "Our side asks: What’s the balance between people having jobs and economic growth and having clean air and water? Of course you can have both.” Questions that Shimkus and other GOP lawmakers have fired at the EPA include: Are coal-fired power plants over- regulated? Are environmental rules stifling industries and slowing down the economy? Should manure be listed as hazardous waste? Is farm dust hazardous to health? “Republicans have made an assault on all environmental issues,” charges the committee’s top Democrat and former chair, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. In a speech last spring, he said that “this is, without doubt, the most anti-environmental Congress in history.” As for the EPA’s Jackson, who faced aggressive questioning at a series of House committee hearings, she warned in an op- ed last fall that the House GOP was engaging in “an assault in our environmental and health protections.” MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 24 of 55 Jackson wrote: “Using the economy as cover, and repeating unfounded claims that ‘regulations kill jobs,’ they have pushed through an unprecedented rollback of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and our nation's waste-disposal laws, all of which have successfully protected our families for decades.” At a conference a few years ago, Ruckelshaus said the agency had been banged up by the constant back and forth in political debates about the economy and environmental polity over the last two decades. “The EPA suffers from battered agency syndrome,” he said. “Why is EPA now the agency everyone loves to hate?” Support, criticism for EPA wax and wane In a sense, the modern environmental movement began with “Silent Spring,” a landmark 1962 book by Rachel Carson about pesticide contamination in streams. But the movement was not codified until Nixon and Congress established the EPA. Within days after the agency’s launch in December 1970, Ruckelshaus announced that the agency had “no obligation to promote commerce or agriculture” -– positioning the EPA as an environmental advocate rather than a mediator. Even though Nixon was at time lukewarm, 16 major environmental laws – addressing water, air, solid waste and endangered species – were enacted during his administration. But the bipartisan consensus on such issues began to erode during the early 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan named conservative attorney Anne M. Gorsuch to head the EPA at a time when industry was complaining about over-regulation. She cut the EPA budget, reduced staff and slowed down the number of cases filed against polluters. But a congressional outcry over Gorsuch’s handling of the Superfund toxic-waste cleanup program – holding her in contempt of Congress in December 1982 – eventually led to her resignation in March 1983, when Reagan brought back Ruckelshaus to stabilize the EPA for the next two years. “It's cyclical. The more active EPA is, the more controversy,” Ruckelshaus wrote later. The next major backlash against the EPA came from the right, when the GOP gained control of the House in 1994 and Speaker Newt Gingrich helped lead another effort to roll back some regulations. As Ruckelshaus explained in his essay: “The anti-environmental push of the '90s is prompted by the pro-environmental excess of the late '80s, which was prompted by the anti-environmental excess of the early '80s, which was prompted by the pro-environmental excess of the '70s.” Under that pendulum theory, the GOP assault on environmental regulations in the last couple of years represents the latest swing to the right, which could go further if Republicans take control of the Senate and White House in the November elections. In an interview, Blunt, the fifth-ranking Senate Republican, said his criticism was not so much aimed at Jackson personally as at the Obama administration’s aggressive promulgation of new environmental regulations at a time of economic hardship. He accused the EPA and the White House of a “lack of concern about the impact on families and the economy of the regulations they put out, one after another.” MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 25 of 55 That includes a “war on coal,” Blunt contended, that hurts Missouri. “Instead of trying to work to make ‘clean coal’ a more useable fuel, they clearly are working to make it difficult for states like Missouri that benefit from good utility rates based on coal – by putting those out of business.” Shimkus, whose southern Illinois district includes coal mines, accuses the EPA of "moving ahead on a plan to make coal un- economic through increased regulations and to drive coal out of the electricity-generation portfolio.” He says the new Prairie State coal-fired power plant near Marissa, Ill., expends two-thirds of its resources in meeting environmental regulations and only a third in generating electricity for its customers. While half of Illinois' electricity is generated by nuclear power, Shimkus said "Missouri is going to get clobbered" by new EPA power-plant regulations because about 80 percent of its power is generated at coal-fired plants. He pointed to this week's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of St. Louis-based Patriot Coal Corp. as "a warning signal" about the nation's coal industry. But the coal industry's problems relate more to the decreasing cost of natural gas, most experts say, than to regulation. Blunt and Shimkus also fault the EPA for trying to make life difficult for farmers, with Blunt accusing the agency of “pursuing longer than they should have the rule about fugitive dust on farms [and] spending a whole lot of money . . . looking into whether milk spilt on a farm should come under the ‘hazardous waste’ requirements.” But the agency says it opted not to pursue the farm-dust and spilt-milk regulations. And the EPA takes issue with a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield, called the Superfund Common Sense Act, that Long says would “stop the EPA from classifying livestock waste as a hazardous substance.” In other words, a manure regulation. At a hearing in Shimkus’ subcommittee on June 27, Long said the EPA “continues to illustrate its lack of common sense as it hurries to enact more overzealous regulation that ends up crippling job creators in southwest Missouri and across our country.” But Mathy Stanislaus, who heads the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, told the panel that the agency “has never designated manure as a hazardous substance nor . . . ever designated a farm a Superfund site and has no plans to do so.” Explaining that the rule was aimed mainly at giant feedlots whose waste emits ammonia and other potentially hazardous substances, Stanislaus said the rule exempts farms as long as they are not “large concentrated animal feeding operations.” He said Long’s bill could lead to “a substantial danger to the public health and the environment” by preventing the EPA from acting against large manure-waste lagoons. A prominent Senate supporter of the EPA, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, assails such House efforts to roll back environmental regulations. Arguing that it is “a myth that a clean environment is antithetical to a strong economy,” Boxer said in October that the GOP was engaged in “unprecedented, outrageous attacks on the EPA and our landmark environmental laws.” Taking a more moderate stand, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., opposed “cap and trade” legislation, spoke out against tighter regulation of “farm dust,” tried to add an amendment to the Senate farm bill to give a greater voice to an agriculture representative in EPA rulemaking, and in recent months has sought delays on tighter regulations on boilers and utilities. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 26 of 55 “The EPA needs to make sure that when decisions are being made, the folks on the ground who will be affected by those decisions are at the table,” McCaskill said in a statement to the Beacon. “Everybody, especially the EPA, needs to be using common sense to protect the health of Missourians, and I believe we can achieve that without burdening our local communities and farmers and ranchers with unreasonable rules.” Shimkus is not among the conservatives who want to do away with the EPA, but he wants more scrutiny of its proposals. “The Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act have been very helpful," the Illinois lawmaker said. "But we are now at a point now when we ask: Can we get to 'perfection'? At what cost? And who is defining perfection?” Mercury rules among the most costly and controversial Among the most controversial EPA regulation issues – in terms of its potential impact on health as well as its likely cost to utilities and the economy – are the agency's landmark federal standards to limit power plant emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants. In announcing the new mercury and air toxics standards in December, Jackson said they aim to “protect millions of families and children from harmful and costly air pollution and provide the American people with health benefits that far outweigh the costs.” But even the EPA estimates that the costs of retrofitting more than 600 aging power plants – including several in Missouri – would be substantial, an estimated $9.6 billion a year when the standards go into effect. Normally, power plants would be required to comply with the standards within three years, but the new rule would allow states such as Missouri to request extensions of up to two more years. While Illinois is among the states with mercury-emission standards already in place, Missouri’s many coal-fired plants are not subject to state-defined limits on mercury emissions. The Clean Air Act of 1990 allowed the EPA to regulate such emissions, but lawsuits and other delays have allowed many power plants to keep operating. The cost of compliance in Missouri with the utility MACT rules are likely to exceed $200 million over three to five years, an Ameren Missouri official said in December. That’s because the regulation will require tighter controls for mercury, particulates and acid gases at every power plant in the state. But the EPA and environmentalists argued that the health benefits outweigh the costs. Mercury pollutants are considered among the most serious risks to health, as the chemical tends to gather in watersheds after being emitted from power plants. The EPA estimates that the new safeguards will prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year. Particulate standards are estimated to help prevent about 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis. A report by Environment Missouri said the state ranked 11th-highest in total mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants in 2009, while Illinois ranked seventh. That year, Ameren's Labadie plant in Franklin County ranked as the 15th- highest mercury emitter among the 450 coal-fired plants across the country; another report last month from the Environmental Integrity Project listed the Labadie plant among the nation’s worst in terms of the potential impact of its emissions on health. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 27 of 55 John Hickey, who heads the St. Louis chapter of the Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club, applauded the EPA for the new mercury-pollution standard, arguing that it will improve health in Missouri because “many waterways in the metro area” are on a list with higher than acceptable mercury pollution. He also credits the EPA for instituting new air pollution safeguards against sulfur dioxide and says “the new rules on carbon dioxide pollution are a real game-changer.” In general, Hickey said “the EPA has taken great strides under Lisa Jackson, and has achieved a variety of major achievements that are relevant to the St. Louis area.” Those include the recent agreement with the Metropolitan Sewer District on sewer overflows; the settlement with Doe Run to clean up the Herculaneum smelter and other lead sites; and the EPA lawsuit seeking to require Ameren Missouri to install better pollution controls at its Rush Island power plant. In June, Senate Democrats – including McCaskill and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. – turned back an effort by Blunt and other GOP senators to block the utility MACT regulations. Blunt said that would save consumers billions of dollars in higher utility bills, but Boxer argued that it “would have allowed polluters to release more toxic, poisonous emissions into our air, leading to premature deaths, heart attacks and asthma.” A couple of weeks later, McCaskill – who has been under political pressure in Missouri to oppose strict regulation – announced that she had joined a bipartisan group of senators in signing a letter to Obama urging a two-year delay in implementing the utility MACT regulations to give power companies more time to retrofit. The senators wrote that the added delay – in some cases, allowing for six years for full compliance – “will allow more time to order and install equipment, to give the required public notice and to apply for necessary permits. It will minimize the possibility of disruptions in reliable electric service.” Warring studies on impact of EPA As in many policy disputes, experts on both sides of the issues are able to generate studies that support their point of view – and the environment is no exception. Republicans tend to base their criticism of the EPA on complaints from industries, utilities, farmers and ranchers that the tightening of red-tape environmental regulations is driving up their costs and slowing economic growth. “I’ve questioned Lisa Jackson on cost-benefit analysis. And when you look at their [EPA] cost-benefit analysis, it never really adds up in any reasonable way,” said Blunt. “The proposed boiler MACT rule for industrial sites – that’s a $20 billion cost. On utility MACT, [the EPA’s] own view of the impact is $9.6 billion – all of which would be passed along in higher electricity costs,” said Blunt. Adding potential costs from a new cooling-tower intake rule ($3 million) and a cross-state air pollution rule ($2.4 billion), Blunt contends the total is about “$12 billion that will be passed along to utility customers” over a decade, most of which would be passed along to consumers. But environmental groups counter that the benefits of the new rules – mainly in terms of health – far outweigh the costs. At a news conference last fall, Boxer released a report by her committee’s Democratic staff that used Commerce Department to estimate that $300 billion in revenues and 1.7 million jobs had been generated since the EPA’s creation by industries that are involved in environmental protection. The report also estimated the health benefits of clean-air protections would amount to $2 trillion by 2012. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 28 of 55 The EPA “and the nation's landmark environmental safeguards were created with overwhelming bipartisan consensus in Congress and support from Republican and Democratic presidents,” the report contends. “Forty years of achievements are now threatened by partisan attacks.” Yet critics say the costs of tightening regulations are too high. Margo Thorning, chief economist at the nonprofit American Council for Capital Formation, took issue with an EPA report on the costs and benefits of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020, which estimated that the improvements in air quality would “reach almost $2 trillion for the year, a value which vastly exceeds the cost of efforts to comply” with the law. In an op-ed, Thorning contended that “the much-touted $2 trillion claim is based on survey data that asks individuals what they would be “willing to pay” . . . for a small increase in life expectancy and the wage differential between occupations of different riskiness.” She said such surveys “have no link to overall economic activity and do not address how” they address the main elements of the economy. Thorning argued that “new, tighter emission standards should not be imposed without careful review of their costs relative to their benefits.” Shimkus agrees, saying that America now has “the cleanest air and water since the industrial revolution. Everyone accepts the premise that federal government has a role in ensuring that we breathe clean air and drink clean water. The question we’re grappling with is: How clean in clean? And what is the cost of compliance?” Jackson, arguing that the EPA already assesses costs and benefits, warned that further delays in such regulations would “give big polluters a pass in complying with the standards that more than half of the power plants across the country already meet.” She added: “How we respond to this assault on our environmental and public health protections will mean the difference between sickness and health — in some cases, life and death — for hundreds of thousands of citizens.” MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 29 of 55 MISSOURINET GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES ACTIONS ON CONSCIENCE RIGHTS, OUTSTATE VEHICLE PURCHASE TAX BILLS AND MORE July 12, 2012 By Mike Lear Governor Jay Nixon has announced today his actions on several bills passed by the legislature this year. Among those he has vetoed is the conscience rights of medical workers legislation, SB 749, that allows medical workers to abstain from participating in procedures for which they have a religious, moral or ethical objection to. Governor Nixon says these protections already exist in state law and says the bill he vetoed would actually undermine that law by letting insurance companies deny coverage for contraception even if that decision disagrees with the position of an employee or employer. The Governor has also vetoed HB 1329, allowing local sales tax to be collected on vehicle, boat and related purchases made out-of-state. He says it would violate the Constitution by raising taxes without a vote of the people. Governor Nixon signed HB 1563 establishing a provisional licensing procedure for behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts to treat children with autism. He says that will help reach more children with “life-changing therapy.” Governor Nixon also signed the following bills into law today: SB 470 concerning transportation, SB 568 concerning transportation, SB 636 concerning the judiciary, SB 719 concerning public safety, HB 1036 concerning ballot emblems, HB 1103 concerning real estate, HB 1105 concerning the state militia, HB 1308 concerning pledged securities, HB 1460 concerning the Court Automation Fund, HB 1495 concerning the reporting of insurance fraud and HB 1909 concerning aviation. Other bills the Governor vetoed today (links go to his veto messages) are: SB 566 concerning vaccination of pets, SB 569 concerning elections, SB 607 concerning outdoor advertising, SB 635 concerning banking, SB 715 concerning the state militia, SB 749 concerning health care, SB 837 concerning franchise alcohol suppliers, HB 1250 concerning elections, HB 1329 concerning motor vehicles and HB 1758 concerning parental relationships. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 30 of 55 MODOT DEALS WITH 40% FUNDING CUT July 12, 2012 By Bob Priddy A year after the state transportation commission adopted what it called a “Bolder Five-Year Direction,” it has approved a much-diminished transportation improvement program for the next five years, although calling it an “improvement program” might be seen as a stretch in today’s road building economy. The transportation commission, looking at declining fuel tax revenues, figures it can afford to maintain what the state has but can’t afford significant new road and bridge building for at least five years. The department’s chief financial officer, Roberta Breaker, says motorists might not notice deterioration of the roads because the department can afford maintenance. But she says they won’t see new interchanges or new four-lane segments, or other improvements until voters decide how they’re going to provide more money for transportation. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 31 of 55 INSPECTIONS URGED FOR LAKE OF THE OZARKS DOCKS July 11, 2012 By Mike Lear Authorities at the Lake of the Ozarks are urging property owners on the Lake to have regular inspections done of their docks, particularly for electrical safety. Three people have been electrocuted at the Lake in the last week and three others were shocked in May but were pulled from the water and survived. Ameren owns property around the Lake and issues permits for new docks. Shoreline Manager Jeff Green says his company hears about cases of electricity in the water each year, but it’s not what he calls common. “I think this is a somewhat unusual circumstance that accumulated with a lot of people here at the Lake, enjoying the Lake. It’s a hot summer so we have lots of people here right now. This is a terrible, tragic occurrence.” Green says those who do feel electricity in the water generally want to swim toward a dock. “That’s probably not the best thing to do because if the dock is energized you actually want to swim away from that dock, and certainly disconnect the power immediately and call one of the local fire districts and have them come out and take a look at it, or a qualified electrician.” There are six fire protection districts around the Lake that participate in regulations adopted in 2006 of how electrical installations are supposed to be done. Green says those districts can be called to conduct electrical safety inspections as well as electricians. Green says the only time an electrical safety inspection is required is when a boat dock permit is issued. Once that initial inspection is done, a dock owner could potentially never have another one done, but Green says they should. “It’s each individual dock owner’s responsibility to make sure that they keep their dock electrically safe and that almost demands some kind of inspection.” MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 32 of 55 NIXON SEEKS DISASTER AID FOR EVERY COUNTY July 11, 2012 By Bob Priddy Governor Nixon wants all of Missouri–every county—declared a disaster area. He bases the request on information gathered by Farm Service Agency offices throughout the state. The governor tells agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack farmers in every county have lost at least 30 percent of their crop yields. State FSA Farm Loan chief Dan Gieseke says Missouri is dry as a bone top to bottom, east to west. Gieseke says a lot of crop farmers are spectators, a lot of combines will remain parked this fall, and a lot of cattle are going to market early and at increasingly lower prices. If Missouri gets the disaster declaration, farmers can get emergency loans and oher services from the Farm Service Agency. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 33 of 55 BLOG ZONE NIXON WILL ANNOUNCE ACTION TODAY ON LEGISLATION BY VIRGINIA YOUNG • firstname.lastname@example.org > 573-635-6178 | Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 6:45 am JEFFERSON CITY • Will Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon sign or veto a bill that would let the state's employers choose whether to cover sterilization, abortion and contraception? We may know tomorrow. Nixon has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. today in his Capitol office to discuss "additional legislative actions." He has until Saturday to sign or veto legislation passed during the last session. The contraception bill (SB749) is among the hottest items on his desk. It would allow employers and insurers to decide not to provide coverage for abortion, contraception or sterilization if such procedures run contrary to their religious beliefs or moral convictions. The bill's supporters include the Catholic bishops of Missouri, the Missouri Baptist Convention and Missouri Right to Life. They argue that the law is needed to protect religious liberties threatened by the Obama administration's policy requiring contraception coverage for most insurance plans. Organized labor and Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri are among the groups that have urged a veto. They say the bill threatens access to birth control for thousands of Missouri women and invites lawsuits by attempting to supersede federal law. "We remain optimistic that Gov. Nixon will veto the bill," said Alison Gee, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. Nixon has not revealed his position, saying only that the bill was under review. He has received more than 10,000 messages urging him to sign or veto the legislation. During the legislative session, the governor's staff members tried to make sure that "medically necessary" sterilizations would still be covered under the bill. But their attempt to insert a narrow definition of sterilization failed. In the past, Nixon has straddled the fence on abortion issues, letting two anti-abortion bills become law without his signature. But he is up for election this November and seems unlikely to take that approach this time. Other controversial bills still awaiting the governor's action include a vehicle sales tax measure (HB1329) and a liquor franchise bill. (SB837). A recent Missouri Supreme Court decision knocked out local sales taxes on out-of-state auto purchases for buyers who live in Missouri cities and counties that have not passed use taxes. The state's car dealers implored the Legislature to restore the tax, saying they were losing sales to dealers across the state line. Cities and counties that lack use taxes said they were losing revenue, too. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 34 of 55 The Legislature agreed to reimpose the tax. But Nixon signaled in May that he would veto the bill because it did not put the local sales taxes to a public vote. Car dealers and municipalities have been lobbying Nixon to reverse course and sign the bill anyway. The complex liquor bill drew less public attention but spurred a hard-fought battle within the industry. The sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, said his goal was to reinstate the liquor distribution system in place before a recent federal court ruling, which he said could jeopardize Missouri distributors' jobs. The American Beverage Institute contends the bill will require restaurants to pay higher prices to buy alcohol from wholesalers and thus, will result in higher prices for consumers. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 35 of 55 NIXON MULLS RELIGIOUS LIBERTY BILL By ALLEN PALMERI / associate editor, Pathways Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 JEFFERSON CITY – A General Assembly-passed bill protecting employers from being required to buy insurance for abortions, contraception or sterilizations for their employees if they object on religious grounds is awaiting a decision by Gov. Jay Nixon, who has until July 14 to decide whether or not to sign it into law. It is possible Nixon may choose not to sign Senate Bill 749, thus allowing it to become law. Pro-abortion and other liberal groups are pressuring Nixon to veto it. The Missouri Chapter of the Secular Coalition for America along with Planned Parenthood, the AFLCIO, the Sierra Club and the National Council of Jewish Women are among the groups opposing the bill, which passed by overwhelming majorities in both the Missouri House and Senate in May. The bill was sponsored by Sen. John Lamping, R-St. Louis County. It is unclear what impact the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on ObamaCare could have on the Missouri law, since ObamaCare requires religious institutions to provide abortion coverage in their health insurance plans to employees, even if it is against their religious beliefs. It will directly impact Southwest Baptist University, Hannibal-LaGrange University and the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home. In a surprise move just days before the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare, Nixon distanced himself from the president’s health care plan fueling speculation about the governor ’s decision on SB 749. “I think I’ve been pretty clear … that the health insurance mandate is not something that I think is a good thing,” Nixon said. “Without going into great detail, having the government um … um … order you to buy something like that is not something that in the past I’ve supported.” Meanwhile, Missouri Baptist leaders turned their attention to the ObamaCare ruling, warning of its infringement on religious liberty. “We are grieved by the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Health Act, particularly the court’s ruling to uphold the mandate that health insurance plans cover contraceptives that may cause abortions,” said Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Director John Yeats. “Through the health-care act, the president and his administration have declared war on religion and freedom of conscience. And sadly, the Supreme Court is a party to this injustice. The court’s actions reflect the secularization of our society and the marginalization of people of faith. “This is a defining moment for our nation, and a grave threat to the religious liberty and freedom of conscience that all Americans have enjoyed for more than two centuries. We ask all citizens to join us in praying for those who, for the sake of conscience, will choose to obey God rather than men. “At the same time, we understand there are many people in Missouri and throughout the nation that suffer physically and financially because they are unable to obtain medical coverage due to pre-existing conditions or portability issues. We are greatly concerned for hurting people and believe the president and the Congress should work together to address these provisions without creating a Constitutional crisis.” MBC Legislative Liaison Kerry Messer said the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act may or may not factor into what the governor will do with SB 749. Ultimately he still wields the veto pen, but there is another factor to consider. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 36 of 55 “A sleeping giant has already been awakened and the American people, including Missourians, are outraged,” Messer said. “Nov. 6 is the day to watch. The court ruling is the opinion of nine justices, but millions of voters get their day, too. This is why we are still the greatest nation on the face of the earth.” MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 37 of 55 UM PRESS SUPPORTERS TO RALLY THIS MONTH BY JANE HENDERSON > Post-Dispatch Book Editor • email@example.com | Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 10:03 am The outcry over the decision to close the University of Missouri Press continues, with professors and press supporters meeting later this month in Columbia to discuss ways to fight unilateral decisions from the system's new president. The meeting begins at 11 a.m. July 24 in Room 2501 of the MU Student Center. It's sponsored by the MU chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). According to press supporter Bruce Joshua Miller: "The meeting has a dual purpose: to show the strength of faculty opposition to a high-handed maneuver that was pulled without faculty consultation, or at the very least to discuss such opposition, and as a rallying point for anyone and everyone who knows how wrong this decision to close the press is---wrong for the university and scholarship, wrong for the people of Missouri, and just plain wrong. Even though press supporters were ignored at the UM system's Board of Curators meeting last month, a group trying to save the press continues to grow in numbers. More than 4,300 people have signed an online petition and more than 2,300 "like" the Save the University of Missouri Press Facebook page. On July 2, the Post-Dispatch published an editorial critical of the curators' approval of $35 million in program and faculty salary cuts (which included $400,000 for the 54-year-old university press). At the same time, the university gleefully announced it would issue $200 million in bonds for better and bigger athletic facilities. The editorial said this showed that "sports has become the tail that wags the dog. America may be 12th among 36 industrialized nations in the number of college degrees awarded, but we're No. 1 in football and work-out facilities." With Miller, Ned Stuckey-French has been leading the Save the University of Missouri Press fight. An English professor at Florida State University who had published a book with the UM press, Stuckey-French said by email Wednesday: The University has from the start and continues to make noise about a "new model" for the Press. All discussions of this new model have been held behind closed doors, but some of their outside "consultants" have suggested to us what it might look like -- fewer books, mostly literary rather than scholarly or regional books, none of the current staff, perhaps only one on-site staff person, most work (all but some acquisition) done by interns or farmed out to freelancers, distribution and marketing farmed out, greatly reduced revenue and control for the University, little focus on Missouri heritage, elimination of current series (e.g., Twain and his Circle, etc.), etc., etc. We anticipated this kind of pretend or phony press from the start and the language of the petition has always been meant to speak to this kind of maneuver on the University's part. Our efforts have also focused on making these discussions transparent and involving the current staff in them, on retaining the current staff and press while any re-thinking of the Press takes place (i.e., don't destroy the Press and start from scratch but reform the current Press). MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 38 of 55 SPEED CAMERA PEDDLER GOT STATE RED LIGHT WITH LIFETIME NURSING HOME BAN July 11, 2012 3:48 pm | Author: Jerry Berger You may have been caught by one of the speed cameras set up on trailers in Charlack and other north St. Louis County municipalities by the shadowy company B&W Sensors. Perhaps city and law enforcement authorities don’t know that John M. Baine – the “B” in B&W Sensors – is making money from them while the State of Missouri has permanently barred him from working in the nursing home industry, apparently because of past financial irregularities. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services confirms that the same John M. Baine has a lifetime ban from the state’s nursing home industry arising from his former ownership of the one-time St. Louis Hills Retirement Center on Chippewa in south St. Louis. State court records show more than 40 lawsuits against Baine, his wife and their former companies arising from their past nursing home operations. Baine could end up being the bane of city attorneys who have to explain to their aldermen and taxpayers his past record of abusing trust of seniors and creditors. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 39 of 55 ED MARTIN'S PLEDGE TO THWART OBAMACARE FROM HIS "FIRST MINUTE IN OFFICE": WILL IT RESONATE? Riverfront Times Tea Party darling and GOP candidate for attorney general Ed Martin just released this new TV spot, which begins: "Almost 30 states filed lawsuits to stop Obamacare. Not Missouri. Our attorney general sat it out." That's technically true, but slightly misleading. What democratic AG Chris Koster did do was file a brief last year on Missouri's behalf in one of the three feeder cases that became the single landmark Supreme Court case upholding the Affordable Care Act. Koster -- a Democrat -- wrote at the time that he felt compelled to file the brief because Missourians had rejected the legitimacy of the individual insurance mandate in a 2010 ballot referendum (which brought federal and state law into conflict). In his brief, Koster adopted conservatives' main argument against the ACA: That the individual mandate was an unconstitutional broadening of Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce. However, Koster did suggest -- in a lukewarm fashion -- one way the Supreme Court might salvage the law: Refer to the money that an insurance-resister must pay as a "tax" instead of a "penalty." Which, as you know, is precisely the position that Chief Justice John Roberts took in his tie-breaking decision to uphold the ACA. None of this will matter if Koster crushes it in the upcoming AG election, but we're left to wonder: Is Ed Martin echoing the view of most Missourians? What do they think about the ACA, now that the Supreme Court has signed off on it? Daily RFT couldn't find any recent polls on the subject that break out a Missouri component, but a Washington Post - ABC news poll suggested the Americans may be accepting the law because they're now evenly divided over it, in contrast to the widespread disapproval that reigned before the high court's hand-down. Of the folks who still don't like the ACA, only about two thirds want to repeal all or parts of it, as Ed Martin so vehemently wants to do. If Missouri truly is a bellwether state, then Missourians may be ready to move on from this debate -- leaving Ed Martin's appeal to fall on unreceptive ears. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 40 of 55 IN FIRST TV AD, MISSOURI ATTORNEY GENERAL CANDIDATE PROMISES TO STOP 'OBAMACARE' BY NICHOLAS J.C. PISTOR • firstname.lastname@example.org > 314-340-8265 | Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:00 am Ed Martin, the Republican running for Missouri's attorney general, promised in his first television ad to stop President Barack Obama's healthcare law, calling it a "fundamental threat to our health, economy, and future." "Almost 30 states filed lawsuits to stop Obamacare," Martin says in the ad. "Not Missouri. Our attorney general sat it out... During my first minute in office, and I mean minute, we'll have a new legal strategy to stop Obamacare." The thirty second ad is titled "Minute," playing off what Martin says he'll do in his first moment in office. Martin is facing Adam Lee Warren in the Aug. 7 Republican primary. The winner will face incumbent Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 41 of 55 MARTIN AD PROMISES NEW LEGAL STRATEGY TO UPEND FEDERAL HEALTH CARE LAW By Jason Rosenbaum, Beacon staff 10:05 am on Wed, 07.11.12 Ed Martin, a Republican candidate for Missouri attorney general, has released his first television ad this week; it is a spot that focuses on his opposition to the federal health care law. Entitled “Minute,” the 30-second ad features the St. Louis lawyer standing in what appears to be a hospital. Martin notes that “over 30 states filed lawsuits to stop Obamacare – but not Missouri.” “Our attorney general sat it out,” said Martin, referring to incumbent Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster. “I’m Ed Martin. During my first minute in office – and I mean minute – we’ll have a new legal strategy to stop Obamacare.” Adding this is “no time for the wishy-washy,” Martin goes on to say that the federal health care law is a “fundamental threat to our health, economy and future.” Koster filed an amicus brief last April stating that a mandate prompting everyone to buy health insurance runs afoul of the U.S. Constitution's "commerce clause," which he said "bars Congress from compelling citizens to step into the stream of commerce when they have either neglected or chosen not to do so." He added though that tossing out the mandate would not affect implementation of other parts of the law. The mandate, of course, ended up being upheld under Congress’ taxation authority. Martin -- who previously was running for U.S. Senate and the U.S. House during this election cycle – is squaring off against Livingston County Prosecutor Adam Warren in the GOP primary for attorney general. But Martin has collected big donations – including a $250,000 contribution from TAMKO CEO David Humphries – and was tapped to lead the Missouri Republican Party’s Missouri Victory 2012 campaign. Koster has already accumulated a sturdy treasury for his re-election bid, including roughly $417,250 in large donations of $5,000 or above during the past fundraising quarter. This week, Martin was part of a cadre of Republicans that denounced Vice President Joe Biden’s fundraising trip to help out U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. He also went on a statewide tour yesterday with House Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller, R- Willard, to criticize ballot summary language on a measure outlawing a governor setting up a health insurance exchange through an executive order. Schoeller, who is in a three-way GOP primary for secretary of state, released his first television ad in June. According to campaign spokesman Patrick Morrow, the ad is running primarily in the GOP hotbed of southwest Missouri. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 42 of 55 AMERICAN CROSSROADS’ $70 MILLION SENATE BLITZ Roll Call American Crossroads and its sister organization are poised to inject up to $70 million into the battle for the Senate on behalf of Republicans. The GOP-aligned super PAC and its affiliated issue-advocacy arm, Crossroads GPS, have reserved $23.5 million in fall television advertising in six states and will have invested $10 million on targeted Senate contests by mid-August. With minimal overhead and competitively bid consultant contracts and by paying industry-low 3 percent media placement commissions, the group funnels about 95 percent of contributions into political activity, which this cycle will include on-air and online advertising, phone work and direct mail. In an interview with Roll Call, American Crossroads President and CEO Steven Law affirmed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s assessment that control of the chamber could go either way on Nov. 6, saying it’s his organization’s goal to tip the scale for the GOP. “We agree with Sen. McConnell that the current odds of taking the Senate are 50-50, and it’s our job to improve those odds,” said Law, a former aide to the Kentucky Republican. American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS spent a total of $70 million during the 2010 cycle, including $50 million on Senate races and $20 million on House contests. This year, their proposed $70 million expenditure on the Senate represents less than a quarter of a planned $300 million budget that includes a heavy focus on the presidential race and limited investment in House races. Last cycle, the National Republican Senatorial Committee spent about $105 million. Crossroads officials declined to reveal their race-by-race messaging strategy or to provide an exact road map for their planned Senate race spending. But they said clues could be found in the 10 battleground states that they have already invested in: Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio and Virginia. The super PAC’s fall reservations include $6.2 million in Florida by American Crossroads. Crossroads GPS has reserved $2.3 million in Missouri, $1.8 million in Nevada, $706,000 in North Dakota, $6.7 million in Ohio and $5.7 million in Virginia. Law views the Senate map as ripe for Republicans to net the four seats needed to win the majority. But he said the political climate is less favorable than in 2010, conceding that Democrats have recruited superior candidates in certain races and maintained a significant fundraising edge in others. He said Crossroads would invest where its deep war chest could fill a gap left by the party or swing an expensive, competitive race. “The Senate may not be impacted for good or ill by what’s going on at the presidential level,” Law added. “Senate races tend to be a choice. There is so much coverage and activity. Voters tend to get to know both candidates.” Perhaps because of its success last cycle, which coincided with a wave election that saw Republicans win control of the House and flip seven Senate seats — or perhaps because high-profile Republican strategist Karl Rove is among its founders, MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 43 of 55 American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have evolved into a super PAC heavyweight against which most others are measured. The organization is structured similar to a corporation, with a board of directors that approves spending and a small but seasoned staff. The board chairman is Mike Duncan, a former Republican National Committee chairman. Rove, who declined to comment for this story, handles most of the fundraising and does not charge the super PAC commission for that work or get paid in any other fashion. He is not on the board and rarely advises on an individual race or ad buy, functioning only as an “informal adviser.” Most strategic decisions are made by Law, who served as executive director of the NRSC under McConnell, and Carl Forti, the super PAC’s political director whose résumé includes political director for Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign and communications director and chief independent expenditure strategist for the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2004 and 2006. Forti also plays a key role and helped launch the pro-Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future. Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio was Forti’s deputy at the NRCC. Crossroads saves as much of every dollar possible for ad buys. It pays almost no fundraising commissions or fees and solicits bids from consultants on polling, ad production and other campaign services. Campaigns can pay anywhere from 6 percent to 15 percent commission to media buyers. But Crossroads pays 3 percent, in part because of its volume of buys. Crossroads’ spartan office occupies part of a top floor high-rise in downtown, Washington, D.C. Visitors enter through a pair of wooden double doors marked only by an inconspicuous nameplate and white doorbell. With Rove serving as its premier front man, the political group attracts its fair share of protesters. The staff relishes those attacks, hanging protesters’ posters on the wall like political taxidermy. Staffers hung one poster that declared “Indict Karl Rove” to the wall with masking tape. Just inside the entrance, there’s a framed cease and desist letter from President Bill Clinton’s counsel to Jo Ann Davidson, a Crossroads’ board member. The October 2011 letter asked Crossroads to stop using a YouTube image of Clinton in one of its advertisements. It didn’t work; the spot finished its flight. Otherwise, the white walls are mostly undecorated save for a few generic-brand flat-screen televisions. There’s a trendy red poster that reads “Keep Calm and Vote Republican.” The space is a cross between a swanky political consulting firm and a gritty campaign committee office; the young staffers walk around without jackets and ties. A large carpeted conference room anchors the office, filled by an expansive black table with seats for 14. It’s a symbolic nod to the board’s influence in the organization. About 10 board members meet almost monthly to approve overall strategy and a framework for spending in individual states. It’s a departure from the consultant-driven model of past third-party groups, for which hired hands could control the ad making, ad buying and strategy — often to their own financial benefit. “We see ourselves — certainly as not the leader — but as a convener of advocacy in the center-right sphere,” Law said. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 44 of 55 EDITORIALS … & LETTERS TO THE EDITOR EDITORIAL: CANDIDATES' SILLINESS INSULTS VOTERS RIGHT AND LEFT By the Editorial Board | Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 12:10 am Missourians have seen their share of nasty campaign commercials, but rarely has there been one that insults Democrats and Republicans alike, to say nothing of insulting the intelligence of viewers. But that's what Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Brunner's "Sound Familiar?" spot does. It portrays his two rivals for the GOP nomination in the Aug. 7 primary — U.S. Rep. Todd Akin of Wildwood and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman of Rolla — as big-spending, pork-barreling politicians. The photographs of Mr. Akin and Ms. Steelman then morph into photographs of President Barack Obama and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. To portray Mr. Akin and Ms. Steelman as big-spenders crosses the line from disingenuous to dishonest. Ms. Steelman hasn't cast a legislative vote since 2004, her last year as a state senator before being elected treasurer. Mr. Brunner criticizes her for a 2002 vote to "raise the gas tax." In fact, the vote was to keep the fuel tax at 17 cents a gallon, where it had been since 1996. The measure was popular with both parties. In those halcyon days, Republicans actually believed that public investment in good roads was good for business. As for Mr. Akin, conservative and liberal groups that rank congressional voting records agree that he is one of the two or three most conservative members of the House. Mr. Brunner criticizes him for voting four times to raise the federal debt ceiling, back in the days before the new breed of know-nothing Republicans began distorting that issue. Debt ceiling 101: No debt was added. The money already was spent. Raising the debt ceiling merely authorizes the government to meet its obligations to credit markets, thus avoiding default and financial catastrophe. Mr. Brunner, who lives in Frontenac, styles himself as a business expert off a career running a health and beauty products firm that his grandfather started. He was CEO of Vi-Jon Corp. in Overland until 2009. Surely he knows default is a bad thing. To be sure, Ms. Steelman has leveled silly charges at Mr. Brunner, too. For example: His daughter once gave money to a group that supports humane treatment of farm animals. How awful. She's even snide about the fact that he comes from the St. Louis area, a crime of which Mr. Akin also is guilty. Not to be outdone, Democrats are joining in the silliness. A "Democratic operative" this week leaked to the website Politico.com the news that Vi-Jon, Mr. Brunner's firm, had been two months late paying 2006 personal property taxes on an airplane. Apparently Democrats hope this will offset the earth-shattering campaign faux pas caused by the disclosure last year that Ms. McCaskill and her husband, developer Joe Shepard, had overlooked several years of taxes on a plane owned by one of Mr. Shepard's companies. The senator's back tax bill was more than $300,000, but she had a bigger, faster and more expensive plane than Vi-Jon's and was far later in paying the taxes. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 45 of 55 The country has serious, perhaps intractable, problems, yet Ms. Brunner and Ms. Steelman spend their time throwing mud bombs. Shockingly, Todd ("The heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God") Akin looks like the grown-up candidate in the GOP race. Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans are channeling Tattoo on "Fantasy Island," pointing at each other and crying, "De plane! De plane!" It's silly and it's sad. Missouri deserves better. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 46 of 55 PROGRAM AUDIT Thursday, July 12, 2012, Southeast Missourian Perhaps the biggest issue on the minds of Americans right now is jobs. And in Missouri this is no different. One effort to stimulate Missouri's job growth in recent years has been the state's Quality Jobs program. Supported by members of both parties, the program -- administered by the Department of Economic Development -- offers tax breaks to businesses that create or retain a minimum number of jobs. Qualifying businesses must also pay average wages and cover half of the employees' health insurance premiums. Last week Auditor Tom Schweich gave the department a "poor" rating for its administration of the program. The audit contended that the estimated number of jobs for approved projects was overstated by the department, as was the amount of money projected that businesses would invest in facilities and equipment. Since the program was signed into law in 2005, the department approved projects through 2011 that would, at an estimate, create 45,646 jobs. This estimate was later reduced 26,686. But according to the audit, only 7,176 jobs were created through Dec. 31 -- though in the current time frame more jobs may still be created. The audit also notes that for the applications approved through the end of last year, $4.93 billion was projected to be spent in facilities and equipment. But as of February actual expenditures only totaled $1.1 billion. The department maintains the state still benefits from the program. Schweich doesn't deny that. However, he said in an interview with The Associated Press that the projections were "overly optimistic" and the monitoring was "woefully inadequate." The good news is that tax breaks are issued only for jobs created, not projections. Still, Schweich makes a valid point that the department could do a better job in its projections and verification process. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 47 of 55 PUNISHMENT FOR FORMER GOVERNOR WILSON WAS FAIR Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 5:00 pm Washington Missourian Former Gov. Roger Wilson made a mistake and he admitted it. His problem was that his mistake also violated a law that he should have been aware of since he was a veteran of politics and understood the principles of ethics as to political donations. Wilson entered a guilty plea to a charge of misusing money to make a political donation. He was given two years’ probation, must perform 100 hours of community service, pay a fine of $5,000, repay half of a $5,000 political contribution involved in the case, and pay a $2,000 fine to the Missouri Ethics Commission. He was indicted by a federal grand jury. The charge was a misdemeanor. To some people it was a bit unusual for a grand jury to be given a misdemeanor case. But since this crime involved a former governor, the case was a bit unusual also, especially in Missouri. We won’t judge the prosecutors in this case because we aren’t privy to all the details in the case. The judge’s sentence was fair. Wilson could have received up to six months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. Chief Magistrate Judge Mary Ann Medler pointed to Wilson’s past record in nearly a quarter-century of public service in opting not to require jail time. She cited the large number of letters of support for Wilson and said Wilson should be grateful for that. Wilson said he was, apologized for his mistake and said he “deeply regrets it.” Wilson also said there are “no excuses” for what he did. Wilson, 64, Columbia, was a state senator for 14 years and served two terms as lieutenant governor and became governor for three months after Gov. Mel Carnahan was killed in a plane crash. He also held public office in Boone County. His record as a public official was, as the judge put it, exemplary. We don’t know what the future holds for Wilson, but with his experience, he certainly has talent that could be put to good use in public service. Although his mistake was minor, a misdemeanor, it was wrong. His many friends still have trust in him and we, along with them, wish him well. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 48 of 55 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, JULY 12 Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 12:00 am, St. Louis Post Dispatch An upscale, homogenous Soulard would mean less local flavor The city is developing a master plan for Soulard Market. It should be noted that on Saturday mornings Soulard Market is a busy, vital marketplace. There is striking diversity among the customers, with all races and economic groups represented. Although many of the stands sell commodity produce, there are farmers selling their own homegrown fruits and vegetables, free-range and cage-free poultry and eggs and other agricultural products, including honey and butter. In fact, I have found a greater variety of local produce at Soulard than at other farmers markets, and the local produce is available earlier in the spring and later into the fall. The prices at Soulard often are lower than those at other farmers markets, making the products available to a greater number of people. Furthermore, the non-local, commodity produce that other sellers provide is typically available at bargain prices, an important feature in an urban area. It certainly is true that Soulard needs upgrading and repair, and I am encouraged that the city recognizes the importance of investment in this St. Louis treasure. However, I would be saddened to see the earthy, essential character of Soulard lost in order to make it more upscale and homogenous. Susan Randich • St. Louis The border war has ended Regarding "Legislators must OK Jayhawk plates" (July 6): It is too bad Missourians who attended the University of Kansas can't show their school pride in the form of a license plate. The border war rivalry between the Tigers and Jayhawks has come to an end. The University of Missouri severed those ties when it chose to remove itself from the Big 12 and plant itself in the supposed greener, more competitive pastures of the Southeastern Conference. Many people from Missouri have attended Kansas, and some Kansas alumni have relocated here because of jobs. Go Jayhawks! Rock chalk! Anne Maraccini • St. Charles Support for the stores? Regarding "Hold-up in Hadley" (July 10): If the plan proceeds, there will be three "big box" home improvement stores within about a one-mile radius: Lowe's in Maplewood, The Home Depot in Brentwood and Menard's in Richmond Heights. I wonder if anyone is planning what to do with one of those "boxes" when the store inside it folds because of lack of business? Does anyone else wonder how this area is going to support these businesses? Brett Ross • University City Still being written Regarding "Improvising priest barred from pulpit" (July 10): My oh my, Belleville Diocese Bishop Edward Braxton has just stripped the Rev. Bill Rowe of St. Mary's Church in Mount Carmel, Ill., of his faculties as a priest and he can no longer MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 49 of 55 celebrate the sacraments. All this because, like the gospel writers, he proclaimed the good news to people of his parish in a "language" they could most understand. The writings in the Bible were written by different people with different theologies and ideologies, who were identifying events in the past and adapting those writings to the people they addressed. Could the Rev. Rowe be so far off? Eucharist is not the bread and wine but the community formed by hearing those 'stories" and relating them to today's issues and sharing a meal as a sign of solidarity in the good news of the scriptures, which still are being written. Anne Harter • Belleville De facto laicization Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton never ceases to surprise the folks in his diocese ("Improvising priest barred from pulpit," July 10). Apparently, he informed the Rev. Bill Rowe that not only was he to vacate his church rectory, but also that effective July 10 he no longer could function as a priest. Of course, the world now knows of the Rev. Rowe's horrible crime: trying to make the archaic language of the Roman Mass more meaningful to his flock. But because he refused to stop that practice, he lost his parish. The Rev. Rowe has served the people of God for more than 40 years and had an honorable career as a military chaplain. Now, the bishop has sent him an email — that's right, a lousy email — notifying the Rev. Rowe of Bishop Braxton's hierarchal decision to effectively remove the father from the priesthood. The Rev. Rowe no longer can say Mass, conduct marriage ceremonies or baptisms or do any of the other priestly things he has done for more than 40 years. It is a de facto laicization, which the Vatican does for grave reasons. Many priests accused of sexually assaulting young people were not defrocked. That the Rev. Rowe received an email instead of being notified personally by the bishop says much. Bishop Braxton's continued tenure as bishop of Belleville defies logic and is an embarrassment to all who call themselves Catholic. Dave Arnold • Shiloh Laying a foundation The article "High court provided session of surprises" (July 9) said, "What is unclear is whether Roberts' search for a middle ground on health care — and the retribution from the right — will have a lasting effect." I certainly don't think it will. If anything, Chief Justice John Roberts' opinion lays a legal foundation for future conservative wins by advancing a conservative legal theory. It is very unwise to take the opinions of one term, even though some of the higher-profile opinions this session were considered to be to the left, and paint the Roberts court to be finally "truly born" after seven years. The writer should consider the whole seven years and look to the future. If next year, which is expected to include high-profile opinions on gay marriage, human rights abuses, affirmative action and voting rights, ends up to be anything but conservative (because, perhaps, there may have been more involved in this past session), we then could consider it as the beginning of a lasting effect. To make any claims beforehand is premature. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 50 of 55 Joseph A. Custer • St. Louis Yelping Throw a rock into a group of dogs, and the one that gets hit will yelp. The Democrats have charged that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, outsourced many jobs when he headed Bain Capital. And Mr. Romney is yelping big-time. Now, Mr. Romney is accusing Presidential Barack Obama of supporting outsourcing. His claim is that the president has supported and invested federal funds in clean-energy companies that often rely on Chinese firms for product manufacturing. Is the expectation that clean-energy companies receiving such support should have special restrictions imposed that other firms escape? That certainly would produce fierce criticism. It is clear that Mr. Romney is displaying a senseless argument toward the charge against him. But when you are in pain, that is what you do. Ted Morrison • Rock Hill Hedging his bets "Democrats attack Romney over banking, taxes" (July 9), an article about offshore accounts owned by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, raises serious questions. If these wealthy folks are job creators, why (besides tax advantages) is the money not here in the United States creating jobs? Why should a man who wants to become president, and who thinks that he will make things better, have so much money overseas? A hedge bet? Why should a construction worker pay a greater percentage of taxes for his work than Mr. Romney, who chose to make money in Bain and other investments? Is Mr. Romney's work more important? Finally, Mr. Romney's father made his tax returns available to the public when he ran for office. What is the younger Mr. Romney hiding? Jay Warner • Wildwood MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 51 of 55 LETTERS | TEA PARTY, DIRTY U.S. SENATE RACE, OFFENSIVE BILLBOARD Kansas City Star Old water technology The water collectors known as “dew ponds” were invented in prehistoric times, but the technology is nearly forgotten today. With water shortages now and in the future of this world, and more water vapor in the air because of climate change, this ancient technology can help provide fresh water and help us all. Look it up. Google dew ponds. Howard J. Flint Kansas City Tea party not dead Contrary to the viewpoint of some, the tea party is not losing steam. The tea party is not a political party. It is made up of a silent segment of Americans who do not agree with the direction our country is heading. We do not believe in borrowing (taking) money out of the Social Security trust fund and leaving worthless IOUs. We do not agree that we should have allowed the home mortgage industry to put buyers into homes they could not afford. We are tired of hearing that we are the only party that needs to compromise. Compromise should go both ways. We believe the government spends too much money, is out of control and is stealing our children’s future. We are patriots and taxpayers and are not “useful idiots.” We are not dead as some would suppose, and I promise you will see us in action in November. Lowell Davis Excelsior Springs Criticism way off base I’m a little confused on what state Rep. Chris Molendorp’s point was in his July 2 letter to the editor. It seems he had moderate praise for MOST — Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan, but then took The Kansas City Star to task about the editorial on June 25, “Missouri has top college savings plan.” Then he continued by bashing State Treasurer Clint Zweifel on how part of the program has been performing. Molendorp further related that Zweifel preferred voters see only his successes. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 52 of 55 I would like to remind Mr. Molendorp about the state of the economy from mid-2008 to the present. As we all know, most of us have been hurting. Surely Chris can see this. If we want to look for less-than-stellar performance, we need only look at the Missouri legislature. Sad to say Rep. Molendorp is part of it. Leo Atkinson Archie, Mo. KC billboards law The Star’s June 25 editorial, “KC’s billboard law makes sense,” raised an important question: Should billboards in the path of roadway construction be moved, or should we divert road funds to buy billboards via condemnation? The editorial opposed moving billboards. We favor the relocation of billboards in lieu of condemnation, which eats up time and money, two precious ingredients in road building. Moving billboards in a big interchange project in Milwaukee saved $11 million-plus in condemnation costs. Government’s power to condemn private property is a necessary part of road building. However, this awesome power is balanced with a protection in the Bill of Rights, the “takings clause” of the Fifth Amendment: “... nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” The editorial mentioned that the city paid $1 million-plus for a condemned carwash in the path of the Northland road project. The editorial argued that if taxpayers already spent big money for a carwash, then why not spend more to condemn billboards? Condemnation isn’t necessary because the billboards can be moved. The state agrees with that position. Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation Tuesday, allowing billboard relocation along interstates. Bob Fessler General Manager Lamar Advertising Co.-Kansas City Dirty GOP Senate race Many folks have received a colorful piece of mail from John Brunner for Senate. The piece asserts that, based on their voting records, both Todd Akin and Sarah Steelman are earmark-loving, pork-barrel-spending “career politicians.” We’re promised that Brunner, if elected as Missouri’s senator, would vote for neither earmarks nor pork-barrel spending. Akin and Steelman are former state legislators. Each cast hundreds of votes, undoubtedly voting for bills that included spending that, had it been at their discretion, they would have removed. The reality is the legislative process doesn’t work that way. Members often have to give and take. Frequently this means supporting passage of a bill that includes spending they otherwise oppose. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 53 of 55 Having never cast a vote, Brunner can add up spending and, like an armchair quarterback, declare Akin and Steelman losers. But doing so proves no more about their fitness to represent Missouri than evaluating Brunner based solely on how many people he laid off at Vi-Jon. Ronald Reagan is famous for his 11th commandment — thou shalt not speak ill of fellow Republicans. Brunner’s smear of Akin and Steelman based solely on their voting records violates that commandment. Franz Kohler O’Fallon, Mo. Cures for ailing U.S. Our politicians can’t seem to get their acts together — greed, corruption and a lack foresight, plus no backbone to do what’s right. So here’s my proposal of what needs to be done. • Every politician needs to immediately take a 20 percent pay cut to set an example for the rest of the country. That includes the president, vice president, all members of Congress and all cabinet members. • No retiring politician or one who was defeated in an election should be allowed to hire on with any PAC. Why should they be allowed to use skills gained while upholding and defending our Constitution to benefit themselves and their PAC? In my opinion, this is treason. The politicians should wait at least six years. • Every penny from the Treasury that goes to institutions, organizations, national defense, Social Security, Medicare, education and even welfare and unemployment needs to be cut by at least 1 percent — plus any other expenditures. Do it immediately. We either do it voluntarily or those holding our debt will make the choice for us. Our country is bankrupt. Only the printing of more money keeps us going. This will only last so long. God bless America. Ronald Nash Kansas City Offensive billboard On Wornall Road just south of 78th Street is a toxic excuse for freedom of speech. I am a true blue urban girl, but this does not mean that while participating in the complexities of this lifestyle I have grown immune to certain inalienable truths. Truth one: While driving to work, I do not deserve to be accosted by soft porn billboards that couch themselves as Lichtenstein art. Pabst Blue Ribbon needs a serious wake-up call if company officials think women don’t see the blatant sexism and porn in this advertising campaign. Place the woman’s face turned upward with glossed, full lips taking in liquid with a man, and it’s the same feminist issue. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 54 of 55 Let’s get hip, Kansas City, and remove Wornall Road’s toxic excuse for freedom of speech. Tyler Stewart Kansas City Soaked by water bill Kansas City water bills have been increasing for the last three years, any Kansas City Water Services Department bill recipient can confirm. Environmental Protection Agency and Clean Water Act requirements are getting the blame. Your water bill is a combination of several charges derived from water use. My June 2009 bill was $43. My June 2012 bill was $167. It is similar to neighbors’ and is nearly a 300 percent increase. When you combine the increases mentioned in The Star, the Water Services Department bill could easily exceed $300 a month. The water department is the third-largest city employer behind the police and fire departments. Paying an average of $100 more a month should provide the water department at least $350 million to $400 million today. Is that not enough to cover the EPA’s requirements without bonds? The middle class is disappearing. This is another inflation item to add to food and fuel increases, and asset losses, combined with various tax increases to subsidize Kansas City’s tax increment financing, also known as bribes and widely accepted. Want to see who is benefiting? Follow the money. Rick Gossett Kansas City Keeping KC litter-free I’ve been cleaning up a segment of a city street and two park areas for about five years. It doesn’t seem to slow down the littering. My thought: Issue warning citations. I’m not sure what department would best serve that. Do it for a couple of years — with repeat offenders getting a fine or being required to do street cleanup in lieu of payment. The fines should go to fund a citywide cleaning crew, and those who choose to work off their fines would help with the labor force. I’d like to see Mayor Sly James lead this. I hope there are more comments to come on this untidy subject. Jim Pitts Vine Street Neighborhood Kansas City MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS DAILY NEWS CLIPS Collected/Archived for Thursday, July 12, 2012 Page 55 of 55 LETTER TO THE EDITOR: HUNTING IS BIG PART OF MISSOURI'S ECONOMY By Noah Stoll July 12, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT, Columbia Missourian I've spent my entire life working on a farm — planting, harvesting, replanting, etc. — but I've also grown up around the great outdoors and hunting. Both are key pieces in the state economy and I'm proud to have a hand in both. An organization called Hunting Works for Missouri reports that hunters' annual spending is equal to more than half the total cash receipts for cattle and soy beans in the state. Both of these resources account for two of the most valuable commodities in the agricultural field of Missouri. Being a part of a small rural town, I also have the opportunity to see the impact on local economies. With 609,000 hunters in Missouri, more than $433 million in salaries and wages are supported through the sport of hunting and hunters. Hunting is an important part of life and an even more important part of our state's economy. This information needs to be shared with all residents of Missouri. Noah Stoll is a resident of Alma and is passionate about hunting.
Pages to are hidden for
"News Clips"Please download to view full document