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MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 1 of 42 Analysis: Term-limits lead lawmakers to exit early By DAVID A. LIEB/Associated Press Writer November 8, 2009 | 4:08 p.m. CST JEFFERSON CITY — With term limits bearing down, two Missouri lawmakers have resigned from office within the past two months to accept positions that hold more long-term potential. The early departures of Reps. Dennis Wood, R-Kimberling City, and Ed Wildberger, D-St. Joseph, will result in special elections next February to select replacements for the final few months of their terms. Those elections likely will cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. Add it to the term-limit tab. In the past eight years, Missouri has spent around a half-million dollars on special elections to replace lawmakers who left office early for other jobs as they neared the end of their maximum allowed time in the Legislature. Across the nation, more lawmakers appear to be exiting early than before term limits took effect, said Jennie Drage Bowser, who tracks term limits for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "People jump ship when they know that term limits are going to knock them out," said Thad Kousser, a political science professor who has researched term limits and is a visiting scholar at The Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. Missouri is one of 15 states that limit how long people can serve in state legislatures. Voters in 1992 approved caps of about eight years each in the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate. The clock started ticking with the 1994 elections, meaning it wasn't until 2002 that most veteran House members and some senators were barred from seeking re-election. The deadline hit in 2004 for the remaining senators (those whose first four-year term after the voter initiative began with the 1996 election.) One of the first to quit early was Rep. Louis Ford, D-St. Louis, who ended his 20-year legislative career in January 2002 as he began what would have been his final year under term limits. His resignation gave Ford's son the inside track on winning the Democratic nomination for a special election. Other term-limited lawmakers forewent their final state paychecks in favor of new careers in local government or the private sector. Wood and Wildberger both accepted appointments to county government jobs. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Chuck Gross, R-St. Charles, resigned after the 2007 legislative session — a little over a year before term limits would have forced him out — to become the St. Charles County director of administration. The special election to replace Gross cost $168,061, according to records provided by the secretary of state's office. "When you know that your time in the Senate is up, then you have to start planning — you've got a family to feed and a career to get back on track, so you start saying, 'What am I going to do when I leave here," Gross said last week. "An opportunity came up that I just couldn't turn down." Rep. Fred Kratky, D-St. Louis, resigned about the same time as Gross. He could have run for election one more time under term limits but instead left to work full-time as the chief executive officer of the St. Louis Association of Realtors. Kratky said the prospect of term limits influenced his switch. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 2 of 42 His wife, Michele Kratky, later succeeded him by winning an uncontested special election that cost the state $14,982. Even though that pales in comparison to the cost of some special elections, "that's still just a tremendous expense," Fred Kratky said last week. Missouri's cost for special elections varies depending on the jurisdiction and whether there are other ballot items, which allow costs to be split with local governments. Depending on how much time passes between a lawmaker's resignation and a special election, some of those election costs could be offset by the salary savings resulting from a vacant office. Missouri's number of special elections rose during a roughly eight-year period after voters passed term limits. But the number of special elections that occurred during the most recent eight years (in the era of term limits) is comparable to the total for the eight years immediately preceding the passage of term limits. Even without the pressure of term limits, some lawmakers left early for other jobs. "If we have the same number (of special elections), term limits is a convenient excuse for 'I'm tired of this and I can't take it any more and I want something with more security," said Greg Upchurch, a St. Louis attorney who was chairman of the Missouri Term Limits group that backed the 1992 initiative. If there are additional election costs because of term limits, it's worth it for the sake of rotating fresh faces into public service, Upchurch added. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about half the states elect replacement lawmakers while the other half use appointments to fill vacancies. To prohibit governors from influencing the partisan composition of legislatures, many of those states require the appointees to be of the same political party as the legislators who resigned. Gross, whose early resignation triggered one of Missouri's more costly special elections, believes his former colleagues should consider some sort of appointment process for filling vacancies. "They need to have a debate about it," Gross said. "But I think they need to find a way to do it cheaper." News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 3 of 42 Politicians, groups react to passage of House health care bill By Chad Livengood SPRINGFIELD NEWS-LEADER Immediately following last night's passage of health insurance reform in the U.S. House of Representatives, Missouri politicians, candidates and special interest groups began issuing statements responding to the narrow 220-215 vote. U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Springfield and U.S. Senate candidate: WASHINGTON, D.C. – Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt, chairman of the House Health Care Solutions Group, tonight voted against the government takeover of health care and released the following statement after House Democrats passed their plan despite bipartisan opposition: “As I’ve met with patients, doctors, small business owners, and families to talk about health care, one thing is very clear: Missourians want to keep what works and fix what is broken. “They are tired of bills whose importance is measured in length, rather than effectiveness. But tonight the Washington Democrats’ response was to ram through a budget-busting, 2,000-plus-page health care plan with bipartisan opposition. This is more of the same go-it-alone approach they have used to lock Republicans out of the process from the start. “It’s families and patients who will suffer most under this government takeover of health care. This bill costs more than $1 trillion, increases premium costs, puts a bureaucrat between you and your doctor, and pays for most of it with Medicare cuts and job-killing tax hikes. “Instead, we should be focused on fixing what is broken in health care by keeping costs low through medical liability reform and improving access – even for those with pre-existing conditions – through small business health plans and risk pools." Julie Burkhart, executive director of Missouri ProVote: “Congressmen Carnahan, Clay and Cleaver have taken a great step for the people of Missouri in voting “yes” to pass the House’s Affordable Health Care for America Act. Their votes prove they are on the side of the American people and not the big insurance companies and special interests that have been working overtime to try and kill meaningful health care reform. Because of Congressmen Carnahan’s, Clay's and Cleaver's commitment to do what’s right for their constituents, we can look forward to having more affordable health coverage with good, comprehensive benefits, and true choice and competition in the health insurance marketplace." State Sen. Jack Goodman, Republican candidate for Congress, 7th District: “It is very disappointing that the House of Representatives decided to move forward with the $1.3 trillion Pelosi- Obama plan to centralize our healthcare system in Washington. While most of us agree that our healthcare system needs to change, taxing families, small businesses and driving up the deficit is not the way to do it. This legislation does little to make healthcare more affordable." "This legislation is loaded with job-killing taxes, mandates that create over 100 new bureaucracies, slashes Medicare funding and will further strain state budgets around the country. This is not fixing the problem, but legislating new problems in search of a solution." Billy Long, Republican candidate for Congress, 7th District: News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 4 of 42 "If you ask career politicians to come up with a solution to health care you shouldn’t be surprised when their solution is simply more government, more taxes, and more bureaucracy. This bill is at best bad policy and at worst unconstitutional. I would have voted against it." "I support common sense solutions like medical malpractice reform, association health plans, and increased competition. Unfortunately, the career politicians in Washington are more interested in playing politics than solving the problem.” State Sen. Gary Nodler, Republican candidate for Congress, 7th District: "The bill passed last night in the House by Pelosi and the liberal Democrats is a step towards single payer, government run health care. If passed by the Senate, the bill will mortgage our childrens' financial future via exploding deficits and ruin Americans' health care. I commend Congressman Roy Blunt's work in combating this dangerous bill and call on the Senate to reject it strongly." U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Lexington, 4th District: Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement concerning H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act: “This evening, I opposed passage of the health insurance reform legislation that was debated in the House of Representatives. After careful consideration and meetings with health care professionals and Fourth District residents, I decided the legislation did not represent the right balance for rural Missourians. “I understand the need for reform. Far too often, insurance companies get in between a patient and their doctor by denying coverage for necessary medical procedures, by dropping beneficiaries because they get sick, and by imposing unreasonable premiums on those who need coverage the most. These insurance company tactics are wrong and must be fixed. Republicans and Democrats in Congress agree on this. However, while the legislation on the House Floor tonight was a vast improvement over earlier versions, especially as amended to prohibit any federal funding for abortions, I am not convinced that the legislation represented the best policy choice for the American people. “I am concerned about the impact the legislation could have on rural hospitals and doctors. The proposed reductions to Medicare reimbursement could further squeeze the budgets of rural health care providers. “I also oppose the creation of a new government run public option and continue to have serious concerns about its potential unintended consequences for Missourians who have private insurance plans they like. “One solution might be for Congress to address health care reform one issue at a time and to ensure that rural Missourians understand how any new legislation will affect them and their families." “At the end of the day the American people should be able to look at this bill and say that Congress has done a good job. This legislation did not accomplish that goal,” Skelton said. State Sen. Bill Stouffer, Republican candidate for Congress, 4th District: "I would have voted against Speaker Pelosi's health care reform bill. As I travel mid-Missouri, I constantly hear that people have had enough. This bill is the wrong answer to the wrong question. Instead of growing government, we should have focused on common sense solutions like medical malpractice reform, Association Health Plans and getting rid of the state lines to create real competition. Ike Skelton and Nancy Pelosi continue to push policies that are bad for small businesses, manufacturers and farmers. I will bring some much needed common sense to Washington." U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, Democrat, 3rd District: “After years of effort, months of debate and listening to the ideas and concerns of people throughout Missouri, momentum is on the side of the American people and health insurance reform. Today we are one step closer to News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 5 of 42 enacting health insurance reform that controls costs, provides choice and competition, and emphasizes wellness, prevention and shared responsibility.” “If health care reform were easy we would have accomplished a more sensible system when President Truman was in the White House. For our country to dig ourselves out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression bold and decisive action is needed." “The truth is that the legislation I supported builds upon what works and fixes what’s broken. It puts patients and their doctors back in charge. It ensures that people happy with their coverage can keep it. And it gives those without insurance the power to choose the plan that is right for them, just as federal employees like me do.” Ed Martin, Republican candidate for Congress, 3rd District: "Tonight, Russ Carnahan once again failed to stand up for the people of Missouri's 3rd District. Instead, he chose to rubber-stamp Nancy Pelosi's latest trillion-dollar spending spree at the expense of Missouri's working families, seniors and small businesses. And as if that weren't enough, Carnahan made it clear tonight that he thinks our tax dollars should pay for abortions." "What working families want Congress to address is real health care reform; what they got tonight was a haphazard, reckless bill that will lead to higher taxes, disastrous cuts to Medicare, lower quality care, and handouts to special interests. " "In my over 50 "Ask Ed Anything" gatherings, I have heard the commonsense ideas that I embrace: fighting for competition in health care by cutting down burdens on portability, more power for patients to partner directly with their doctors, and commonsense options for families. But just like a Stimulus Bill that promised "shovel-ready jobs" and delivered only special interest giveaways and handouts, this so-called "health care reform" bill is yet another reckless, haphazard plan that will kill jobs and punish working families, while growing government power. " "Americans lost tonight. May God help us as we move forward and pray that the Senate blocks this bill." News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 6 of 42 Abuse support programs threatened Economy jeopardizes funds by R.J. Cooper Sunday, November 8, 2009 Only two professionally painted pictures hang in Dwight Scroggins’ office, but the Buchanan County prosecutor’s walls hardly lack for artistic flair. More than 40 children’s drawings cover the east wall. In one picture, Luigi navigates a veritable minefield of mushrooms, while in another, a yellow, orange and blue tugboat chugs along under partly cloudy skies as a shark tags along for the ride. Sheriffs, dragons, leprechauns, chickens, puppies, kittens and even Jesus vie for face time on the whimsical wall. “There is a story with every drawing that’s up there,” Mr. Scroggins says. But the stories behind the bright crayon strokes betray a much darker, and less innocent, picture of childhood. Each artist is a sexual abuse victim, coloring his or her way though counseling. It’s a therapeutic exercise meant to help children open up to prosecutors during the disclosure process that Mr. Scroggins adopted about 15 years ago. And these days, there is no shortage of artwork. In 1999, the Northwest Missouri Children’s Advocacy Center, which serves nine counties, interviewed 108 children who said they were sexually abused. Last year, that number was 226, and through Sept. 24 of this year, the center interviewed 173 kids, on pace for about 230 to 235 in 2009. Those figures mark some measure of success for the people who fight against and deal with sexual abuse every day in Northwest Missouri. But they’re also a grim reminder that the problem is outpacing the resources to combat it. National studies estimate that one in four women and one in six men are sexually abused at some point in their lives. The advocacy center and prosecutor’s office, along with local law enforcement, spent the past decade and a half educating themselves and the public about sex abuse and increasing their efforts to track down and report the crimes. Put another way, they always knew far more people suffered abuse than disclosed or reported it. It was a matter of educating the community to recognize abuse and then respond. As the St. Joseph Police Department, Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department and prosecutor’s office started training people to specialize in this area, advocates expected the number of reports to increase. “There is more reporting because people are more aware of it than they used to be 10 years ago,” says Joyce Estes, the director of the advocacy center. But local observers believe the spike in numbers during the middle-to-late part of the current decade also reflects an increase in the actual abuse as well. In the Internet age, it’s easy to place the blame on Web predators prowling social networking sites such as Facebook and the proliferation of child pornography. And that’s certainly a small part of the spike, local experts say. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 7 of 42 Ms. Estes notes that people who view child porn are more likely to abuse children as well. The images can be a sort of gateway drug. And the online pedophiles highlighted by Dateline’s show “To Catch A Predator” certainly lurk in society. But the fact remains that most children are abused by someone they know. Mr. Scroggins and Ms. Estes attribute much of the increase to a breakdown of the nuclear family. “There are more single mothers. There are more in-and-out boyfriends,” Ms. Estes said. “There are more relationships, and they seem to get into these relationships sooner.” Essentially, it’s just a matter of probability. The more people that parents expose their children to, the greater chance one of those individuals will be a potential abuser. And with a higher percentage of single, working mothers entrusting their children’s care to others, the trend shows little sign of abating. “It’s simply that children are exposed to more people who have the potential to be an abuser than they were ever exposed in the first 200 years of our country’s history,” Mr. Scroggins said. “That has continued to increase. There is no reason to think that one of the negative outcomes of that won’t be an ever-increasing number of children (being abused).” To this point, Buchanan County’s efforts to prevent and treat child abuse have grown with the problem. The advocacy center opened its doors in 1993 in the basement of the Noyes Home, then moved into its own facility on Woodbine Road in 2006. The center steadily added services during the past decade and now offers free, in-house counseling to children for as long as they need it, thanks to a full-time advocate and a full-time counselor. And law enforcement, the prosecutor’s office, the juvenile system, the Children’s Division and the advocacy center also took on a more proactive approach as the resources become available. Beyond educating parents about the dangers their kids face, those groups also help sexual abuse victims cope. Abusers are more likely to have been abused themselves. So extensive counseling and other approaches can pay dividends in the long run by breaking the cycle of abuse. “All of the easy things that can be done have been done,” said Mr. Scroggins, noting the improvement in training and communication among the various groups working on the issue. “All of the second-level things that can be done have been done. We’re into third-level things, trying to get them done. That’s really where we hit the resource issue.” They need additional resources from the national, state and local levels, but there’s not exactly extra money lying around. The county faces cutting $600,000 to $700,000 from its budget, while cuts are expected at the state level, as well. Mr. Scroggins said he feels fine about the county’s investment in protecting against and treating sexual abuse. Beyond that, he’s not so sure. Even as Missouri trimmed its budget the past couple of years, it increased funding for its 17 advocacy centers. That probably won’t happen this year. “To hold that (funding) current would probably be a victory at this point,” state Sen. Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, said. “It’s probably going to be very difficult to put more resources into those areas. That’s not to discount the need, by any stretch.” Northwest Missouri’s advocacy center currently operates on a $198,000 annual budget. Ms. Estes, who estimates she spends 25 percent of her time searching and asking for money and grants, wants to add another counselor and advocate to deal with the increasing volume of victims. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 8 of 42 She estimates it would cost another $70,000 annually. But Ms. Estes also is bracing for the possibility that cuts in funding would not only eliminate that goal, but force the center to cut its counseling to Northwest Missouri counties that don’t support the center. The county’s final hope, then, lies with the community. Local unions and businesses donated materials and labor for the first advocacy center at the Noyes Home. The new center out of Woodbine received (and continues to) generous donations of goods and services. Annual fundraisers help cover for the areas where government funding falls short. However, as generous as the community’s support has been thus far, sexual abuse also is not an issue the general public feels comfortable acknowledging or addressing. “It’s a hard thing to think about,” Ms. Estes said. “It’s just horrible for people to think that someone is raping a 5-year- old.” So how do you reconcile the need for community support amid a government funding crisis with the fact these are the types of crimes many people would just as soon not know about? “Education,” said Ms. Estes, referring to the center’s outreach to parents. “Telling them what it is, telling them that none of us like it, but we have to deal with it and try to prevent it. “Bottom line, there is no 5-year-old who can stop an adult male from doing whatever he wants. We need to educate the adults.” News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 9 of 42 China Hub budget stand-off ends By Tim Logan ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH 11/08/2009 For weeks, area business leaders have been leaning on Gov. Jay Nixon to find some cash in the beleaguered state budget for their efforts to bring Chinese air cargo flights to St. Louis. This week, it appears, he did. Members of the region's Midwest China Hub Commission said Friday that Nixon had agreed to free up $1.1 million to pay for studies and marketing for the project. That's $800,000 more than he had offered two weeks ago, and enough to get the project off the ground, said Hub Commission chairman Mike Jones. "Basically, we're back in the game," Jones said. "We're tremendously grateful to the governor for figuring this out." The money would keep up momentum for a project that many in the St. Louis area see as a huge opportunity for the region: a chance to hitch to China's fast growth. But it's not in hand just yet. A spokesman for the state Department of Economic Development said St. Louis County must apply and be approved for the funds. But that won't take long, said Jones, a top aide to County Executive Charlie Dooley. And the money comes at a critical time for the two-year-old project. The Commission has reached deals with Chinese authorities to study air service, but needs to make a business case to airlines and freight forwarders that there's enough demand to support regular flights between St. Louis and China. For that, they want to hire Guenter Rohrmann, a renowned air freight expert and former top executive at DHL. He's the kind of person who can sell St. Louis to the cargo industry, Jones said. But his fee is $931,000, and the Hub Commission, funded by local governments and business groups and a federal grant, doesn't have that kind of cash. Earlier this year, the Missouri Legislature set aside $2 million to help fund the project. But Nixon froze it as part of $325 million in spending cuts to cope with the state's budget shortfall. St. Louis-area business and union groups have been lobbying him for months to open the state wallet for what they say could a boon to region's economy. Two weeks ago, citing "historic economic challenges," Nixon's chief of staff, John Watson, said the state could contribute $300,000, and no more. That wasn't enough to keep the project going, said Jones. So Commission members threatened to cancel it. They kept lobbying, too, including several face-to-face meetings with Nixon. Meanwhile, last week, the governor announced another $204 million in budget cuts, including 363 layoffs. Eventually, both sides agreed to tap a different source — not the state's general budget, but federal money designated for economic development: the so-called Community Development Block Grant program, which helps fund a wide range of housing and job-generation programs. The state has about $24 million this year. The state must approve an application before the Hub Commission gets its money. But Jones said he was confident that will happen. It's a smart solution, said Richard Fleming, president of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 10 of 42 "We certainly recognized that the governor and his team were in a really tough spot in terms of finding resources," Fleming said. "It's a good combination." State spokesmen declined to comment, but confirmed that the county plans to file an application. It's unclear why the China project moved up Nixon's list of priorities, but Fleming and Jones said the project's broad support within the St. Louis community probably played a role. Both union and business groups, Democrats and Republicans from several counties weighed in for it. "Without that collective effort we couldn't have pulled this off," said Jones. "The unity that's been forged around this is like nothing I've ever seen around here." The news came the same day as word that Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond inserted a $500,000 earmark for the project in a Senate budget bill. The bill was passed Thursday, and if the $500,000 remains after House and Senate negotiators craft a final budget, and it's signed by President Barack Obama, it will help keep the China Hub project moving next year, Jones said. The cash from Jefferson City will come sooner. They hope to sign a consultant within two weeks, to prove the business case. And they still hope to have planes full of cargo flying between St. Louis and China by the end of next year. "If this works, it works," Jones said. "We won't fail because it started a month late." News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 11 of 42 MAP test among country’s hardest New report puts state exam in second ST. JOSEPH NEWS-PRESS by Alonzo Weston Monday, November 9, 2009 St. Joseph School District officials have long said that Missouri may have one of the toughest state student assessment tests in the nation — the Missouri Assessment Program. Now there’s a study to back up that assertion. The National Center for Education Statistics released a report last week that showed MAP standards in reading and math are among the most rigorous in the nation. Missouri rated second highest of all states in three out of four measured areas in the study. For Cheri Patterson, associate superintendent, the study is a double-edged sword. On one hand, she likes the fact that Missouri holds its students and teachers to high levels of expectation. What she doesn’t like is the fact that Missouri is unfairly judged and compared to other districts that do not have the same level of expectation. “I want to make sure people understand that no educator in the state of Missouri is saying the test isn’t a good one, or we shouldn’t be shooting for really high expectations,” Ms. Patterson said. “But where we are being compared to other districts, and our funding is tied to those results, that’s an issue.” The findings were based on a study, “Mapping State Proficiency Standards onto NAEP Scales: 2005-2007.” The study looked at academic proficiency standards by state and compared them by using the National Assessment of Educational Progress as the common yardstick, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Based on this study, Missouri’s proficiency standards are: Second in rigor only to Massachusetts in Grade 4 reading and Grade 4 math. Second only to South Carolina in Grade 8 reading. Fourth in the nation in Grade 8 math (behind South Carolina, Massachusetts and Hawaii). Jim Morris, DESE director of public information, said Missouri’s high testing standards have been a source of stress for some educators. “When we set standards back in 1996, we made a conscious choice at that time to define proficient at a high level. Not just to be at grade level or average or something else, but to make proficient mean high expectations,” Mr. Morris said. “The state board of education has chosen to stick with that philosophy ever since.” Mr. Morris said a national project, the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is being developed to coordinate national proficiency standards. According to the initiative’s Web site, corestandards.org, the mission is to develop a common core of state standards in English-language arts and math for grades Kindergarten through 12. That effort is gaining momentum, Mr. Morris said, and Missouri is part of that mission. “Based on our review of the drafts, we think that Missouri standards and these proposed national standards are pretty close, that we’re already pretty well aligned with what’s being considered,” he said. He expected there to be an agreement on the initiative by the end of this year or early next year. Ms. Patterson said she is for a uniform test that actually compares apples to apples. However, she was concerned that a national effort might lead to a loss of state and local district control. “Right now, the obligation to educate students belongs to the states, and the states — especially the state of Missouri — turn a lot of that responsibility and autonomy over to the local district,” she said. “That’s a wonderful thing — that you don’t have a state government or a national government that doesn’t know your students and your community, telling you what you teach, how you should teach and the textbooks you use to teach it.” News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 12 of 42 Water quality generates worries w/ link to reporting data JOPLIN GLOBE By Susan Redden CARTHAGE, Mo. — The reaction was dramatic after state officials learned that bacteria levels at Lake of the Ozarks made beaches there unsafe for swimming over the Memorial Day weekend. True, much of the response stemmed from the fact that the information was withheld until July by state officials, some of whom may have believed that the revelation would hurt business at the lake during the first holiday of the summer. After disciplinary action involving the director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and other workers, Gov. Jay Nixon in September announced plans to target businesses and other entities contributing to pollution in the central Missouri lake. Area residents who were splashing around in streams and rivers in Jasper County about the same time probably were not aware that local waters had levels of E. coli bacteria just as high as those that, according to the state, should have closed the beaches at Lake of the Ozarks. In fact, all but two of the 21 sites sampled by the Jasper County Health Department on May 28, three days after Memorial Day, had E. coli levels that exceeded those that state standards deem as suitable for swimming. Three sites on Center Creek — at High Street in Sarcoxie, at Cedar Road and County Road 180, and on County Road 110 — had bacteria levels more than 10 times the state standard for swimming. Sites on Spring River in and near Carthage were nearly that high. In fact, sampling at 18 different times during the summer showed levels above state standards about half the time at the 21 testing sites. Stream team Elevated E. coli levels often are found after heavy rains due to runoff, and heavy rains were cited as a factor in the test results locally and at Lake of the Ozarks. High levels of the bacteria indicate the presence of microorganisms that increase the risk for illness. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever; minor swimming illnesses include ear, eye, nose and throat infections. The state’s response at Lake of the Ozarks was an announcement that there would be a new zero-tolerance policy for polluting the lake, along with a comprehensive study of water quality, testing for E. coli, pesticide and petroleum pollution, and an evaluation of about 400 operations near the lake that have wastewater permits. Since then, at least two housing associations have been referred to Missouri’s attorney general for enforcement action targeting improper operation of wastewater treatment systems. Concerns about elevated E. coli levels in local waterways were raised more than five years ago when a stream team at Carthage High School began sampling for the bacteria. High levels were detected immediately, but the testing drew no reaction from local officials or the state, said Wayne Christian, a CHS science teacher who sponsored the student team. “We tried to get their attention, but I don’t think anyone really gave a damn,” he said. “We went to great lengths to establish our testing program, but I never got the impression anyone was interested in the results. They would have preferred that we just picked up trash.” Christian’s group also discussed test results with members of the Jasper County Commission, and called for warnings to be posted at swimming sites when bacteria levels were high. No signs were ever posted. “I thought we were doing that, and I think we ought to follow up,” said John Bartosh, presiding county commissioner. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 13 of 42 Posting of waterways still is under discussion, but some reservations have been raised that the program might be too costly, or that changes in water conditions might make it too difficult to keep up if there were a number of posting sites, said Steve McKarus, an environmental health services supervisor for the Jasper County Health Department. The department in 2007 started doing its own stream sampling, and it posts test results on its Web site each week, he added. Management plan Agencies that have information about high bacteria levels in water used for recreation need to be sharing it somehow, said Ken Midkiff, chairman of the Missouri Clean Water Campaign for the Sierra Club. If there is a good outcome from the Lake of the Ozarks debacle, he said, it will be “that people will do a better job of telling the public when waters are unhealthy.” “What’s needed are physical signs at public access points saying people should avoid contact with the water,” he said. “A lot of people don’t have the Internet.” Testing by the Carthage High School stream team and later by the county Health Department has led to the designation of parts of local streams, including Spring River, as “impaired.” Since then, work has started on a watershed management plan that looks at water quality problems and how pollution can be reduced. The plan could open the way for state and federal funds for those projects. Midkiff said the number of streams impaired by bacteria has gone up dramatically and probably will continue to do so as population growth leads to more runoff. The Spring River plan started with a meeting to get residents’ comments on the waterway. A volunteer committee is working with members of the Health Department on the plan. The draft will be submitted to the DNR. McKarus said DNR officials are helping with its development. He said the plan will recommend practices aimed at reducing pollution in the waterway, including addressing problems with septic systems near the river and building ponds to get cattle out of waterways. Federal funds are available for both programs, he said. “After we finish the draft, we’ll be showing it to the public,” McKarus said. “We started small, with this part through Carthage and on either side. Once we address that, the plan is to keep moving up and down the stream and take care of the whole watershed.” McKarus said there was no expectation that E. coli levels in Jasper County would evoke from the state a response similar to that at Lake of the Ozarks. “That’s a different area and a different situation,” he said. “We hope we don’t have to do some of the things they’ve done up there. We want to work with homeowners and landowners to address the problem.” Renee Bungart, a DNR spokeswoman, said the agency is reviewing Spring River testing results as part of the work on the watershed management plan. “We just now have all the combined results; we weren’t getting real-time data,” she said. “We are giving them guidance and assistance on a management plan that’s needed for grant funding.” The DNR administers grant funding from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to restore waters that are impaired by unregulated or non-permitted sources. Partnership The Spring River Watershed Partnership is a cooperative effort of Jasper County and the Environmental Task Force of Jasper and Newton Counties. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 14 of 42 House approves historic health care legislation By DAVE HELLING and DAVID GOLDSTEIN The Kansas City Star A pounded gavel, the votes, then four words: “The bill is passed.” With that, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced narrow passage Saturday of historic legislation that would fundamentally change American health care for decades. Democrats erupted in weary applause and cheers after a day-long debate. Republicans, equally tired, promised to continue opposing the $1.1 trillion plan. The vote was razor close — 220-215. Thirty-nine Democrats, including Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, voted against the measure, while only one Republican, Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao of New Orleans, voted for it. Every Republican from Kansas and Missouri voted no, while every other Democrat, including Rep. Dennis Moore of Kansas, voted yes. “Tonight, in an historic vote, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would finally make real the promise of quality, affordable health care for the American people,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. Republicans did not agree. “Tonight, the Washington Democrats … (rammed) through a budget-busting, 2,000-plus-page health care plan with bipartisan opposition,” said Rep. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, in a statement. The nearly 2,000-page bill isn’t law yet — the Senate is struggling with its version, which will have to be merged with the House bill before a final vote. But Democrats said a significant hurdle had been overcome. “There are few moments when we have the opportunity to do so much good with one vote. This is one of those moments,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat. The final vote was in doubt for much of the day. It took a visit to Capitol Hill by Obama — and a last-minute compromise allowing a vote on tougher restrictions on abortion funding — to persuade enough reluctant conservative Democrats to provide the margin of victory. “When I sign this in the Rose Garden, each and every one of you will be able ” Obama to look back and say, ‘This was my finest moment in politics,’ reportedly told Democrats in the private meeting. During the sometimes contentious debate, which lasted all of Saturday, GOP members repeatedly complained about the size and complexity of the measure, some feigning injury as they lugged a copy of the massive blueprint to the floor. “We are going to have a complete government takeover of our health care ” said Rep. Candice system faster than you can say, ‘This is making me sick,’ Miller, a Michigan Republican. The bill is complicated, although many parts are well known. It requires almost everyone to get insurance, and for most employers to provide it. It expands subsidies for people too poor to afford coverage and sets up a public company to compete with private insurers. It raises taxes and cuts Medicare and prohibits insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 15 of 42 It would also provide health insurance to 96 percent of all Americans by 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But millions of Americans may soon learn how dramatically other, less familiar parts of the legislation would change virtually every part of the health care system, which now takes up 16 cents of every dollar in the U.S. economy. The House bill: •Creates a Health Choices Administration to oversee health care reform. •Establishes a Health Benefits Advisory Council, chaired by the surgeon general, which will recommend an “essential benefits package” that people must buy and employers must pay for in part. •Creates the Center for Quality Improvement to develop national priorities for improving health care delivery. •Requires doctors, pharmacists, and other providers to disclose financial relationships with drug makers, equipment providers and other suppliers. •Phases out the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP, and moves families either into Medicaid or onto health “exchanges” to buy subsidized coverage. •Doubles the penalty for withdrawing money from a health savings account to pay for non-health-related items. •Prohibits different insurance rates for men and women of the same age. •Allows drug makers exclusive rights to biologic drugs for 12 years before generic equivalents can be offered. •Gives money to the states to experiment with plans to reduce malpractice lawsuits. Republicans argued Saturday that all of these provisions were too complicated and too expensive. One — Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona — held a toddler in his arms as he criticized the bill. “We can’t afford it,” said Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Kansas Republican. The GOP offered an alternative measure that was dramatically cheaper, according to the CBO, but would have actually increased the number of uninsured Americans by 2019. “This is a common-sense approach,” said Rep. John Boehner, an Ohio Republican. The House rejected the Republican alternative, 258-176. Democrats were able to avoid a collapse of the measure over the abortion issue, which has caused the leadership serious headaches in the past several days. Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan — a Democrat who opposes abortion rights — insisted on tougher language to prohibit use of subsidies and credits to purchase coverage that includes abortion services. Early Saturday morning the House Rules Committee allowed Stupak to offer those tougher regulations as an amendment, prompting him and some other anti-abortion Democrats to drop opposition to consideration of the overall bill. The Stupak amendment passed 240-194, with one member voting “present.” Liberal Democrats are expected to try and remove the amendment as the bill advances. Republican Reps. Sam Graves and Jenkins voted for the amendment, as did Democrat Skelton. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver and Moore voted no. The final vote on the House reform package came as polls show increasing skepticism about health care reform. Since July, according to the Web site Pollster.com, a variety of surveys have shown a small but consistent majority opposing a health care overhaul. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 16 of 42 The latest survey, from Ipsos/McClatchy, showed 49 percent of those questioned in late October were against the reform plan, while just 39 percent supported it. The White House, which has called health care reform its top priority, pointed to recent endorsements from leading senior and physician organizations as a reason to support the plan. “It’s crucial for the Obama administration,” said James Thurber, an expert on Congress at American University. “It’s the first big step for a very tough bill.” That, in turn, has raised the stakes for Republicans and reform opponents, who long ago closed ranks against the measure. Several thousand opponents from around the country descended on Capitol Hill last week under the banner of the tea party movement, shouting, “Kill the bill.” Michael Franc, vice president of government relations at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, noted that by the government’s own accounting the bill would put Washington on the hook for more than half of the nation’s health care spending in less than a decade. “The House bill clearly equals a government takeover of our health care sector,” he said. Republicans in the Senate said Saturday they would step up efforts to stop the reform effort on the other side of the Capitol. Some experts, though, said passage in the House could increase pressure in the Senate to reach an agreement on a bill. “It keeps the focus and momentum on reform and puts pressure on the Senate to craft a bill and get it up for a vote before the end of the year,” said Marcia Nielsen, former head of the Kansas Health Policy Authority now at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Should health reform eventually get through the House and Senate and to the president’s desk experts said Democrats might reap political benefits. “It’s pretty significant,” said John Holahan, director of the Health Policy Research Center at the nonpartisan Urban Institute, speaking about the House bill. “Nobody’s going to get a bill that they like every aspect of. It would do the country a lot of good.” Cracking open the bill Three key points of the House’s health care reform bill: 1. REQUIRED INSURANCE You must have insurance, and your employer has to pay for some of it. 2. SUBSIDIES AND A PUBLIC OPTION You’ll get premium subsidies if you qualify and a public option for insurance. 3. TAX INCREASES AND MEDICARE CUTS The rich will pay higher taxes, and you may lose some Medicare benefits. ON PAGE A10 •Q&A with nuts and bolts on the bill •Four local congressmen explain their votes News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 17 of 42 The complex facets of the health care debate Four local members of Congress were good examples of the complicated politics of health insurance reform. Liberal and moderate Democrats had different priorities, while Republicans stayed united in opposition. Last week, The Star talked with the local lawmakers. They explained how they would vote and how they reached their conclusions. REP EMANUEL CLEAVER, MISSOURI DEMOCRAT VOTE: Yes WHY: He backed a government-run insurance option and said his Kansas City congressional district did, too. The bill still included a public option, but it’s a pale shadow of what it could have been. “It is not now as weak as water, but it’s certainly not as strong as bourbon. I know that some have the goal of getting something onto the president’s desk. They believe a watered-down bill is better than no bill.” Cleaver doesn’t hold out much hope that the Senate will include one in its bill. CONCERNS: He said Democrats face political trouble next year because many of their core supporters are disappointed and a strong health reform bill would help galvanize them. “A weak bill is not going to energize the base. They’re going to know what we approved is not what we set out to do. The right wing of the Republican Party is energized through anger, so they’re out working.” REP. SAM GRAVES, MISSOURI REPUBLICAN VOTE: No WHY: He objected to the mandates on private insurers to provide coverage, which he said will raise their costs, the public option, which he believes would lead to a government takeover of health care, and the $1.1 trillion price tag. He said he also doesn’t believe the Congressional Budget Office conclusion that the plan would actually help reduce the deficit. “Please. That is such garbage. You don’t add a trillion dollars to the budget and don’t see an increase.” CONCERNS: He worried about the public option because he said the private market can’t compete with the government, which can set the price for services. REP. IKE SKELTON, MISSOURI DEMOCRAT VOTE: No WHY: Skelton opposed the public option because there were too many unanswered questions. “I … have serious concerns about its unintended consequences for Missourians who have private insurance plans they like. I would like to see something pass Congress where the American people would say we’ve done a good job and this has been an outstanding accomplishment. With the uncertainty that surrounds this bill, I worry about that not being the case.” CONCERNS: Skelton said that while the health care system has a lot of problems, a better way might be “to tackle 1-2-3 issues at a time and get bipartisan support.” He also was concerned about the bill’s effect on rural hospitals and doctors. Skelton is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and re-elections are usually a breeze. But the Republicans recently have been singling him out for a lot of criticism. He acknowledged that the bill was a tough vote. REP. DENNIS MOORE, KANSAS DEMOCRAT VOTE: Yes WHY: “I think it’s the right thing to do for our country. We should have adopted a health care package 40 years ago. If we had, we’d be in a much stronger and better position. But we have to look to the future.” News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 18 of 42 CONCERNS: Moore is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 52 fiscally conservative House Democrats, but still supported a public option. He said private insurance needs price competition. He worried about the reform plan’s costs, but said that doing nothing about the rising health costs would mean more serious financial problems in the future. “But if we do it right, we will end up saving a lot of money. I’ve told people back home that 36 million don’t have any kind of insurance. They get sick; they stay home until they can’t stay any longer and then get so ill they end up in an emergency room. That’s the most expensive kind of care and everybody in the country ends up paying for that as taxpayers.” Moore comes from a swing district and has always been a top Republican target. His vote will do nothing to change that. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 19 of 42 Housing agency delays disclosure rules COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE By Terry Ganey Saturday, November 7, 2009 The state housing agency has pulled the plug — at least for now — on a plan to require developers to report details of campaign contributions, lobbyists’ identities and other financial data when applying for tax credit subsidies to the Missouri Housing Development Commission. Commissioners decided to hold off on the new disclosure requirements after a St. Louis law firm challenged their legality and questioned whether they violated developers’ privacy rights. Yesterday was the deadline for developers to file applications for affordable rental housing assistance from the MHDC. Under an original plan, developers were asked to prepare forms disclosing additional information related to company principals, relationships between developers and former commission members, percentages of ownership interests, identities of consultants and lobbyists, and the amount of campaign contributions made during the past two years to commissioners who also were statewide elected officials. The new forms also sought disclosure of some IRS tax information as well as a listing of campaign donations made to elected officials who wrote letters of support for a developer’s housing project proposal. “While we understand and applaud the efforts of MHDC to identify any potential conflicts between applicants and MHDC commissioners, we feel that more clarification is needed to address who constitutes a ‘principal,’ ” wrote Carl Lang, an attorney with a St. Louis law firm that often works for housing developers. Lang argued that under an MHDC staff interpretation, it could mean that minority owners with no voting control over a development business might be required to make the additional disclosures. In a letter to MHDC Executive Director Pete Ramsel, Lang suggested the commission seek the disclosures from developers and general partners and shareholders who own more than half of a development company’s assets. Bram Higgins, MHDC’s legal counsel, said that, in the light of Lang’s letter, the agency did not require developers to provide the additional disclosures with yesterday’s application filings. Higgins said the agency would re-examine the requirements to determine their legality and decide whether they should be used in future. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 20 of 42 Marijuana Law Reform Advocates Come To Columbia COLUMBIA - It is a controversial issue that is been talked about for years and Saturday advocates for marijuana law reform gathered in Columbia. Supporters met on the MU campus to talk about ways to increase awareness of medical marijuana legislation in Missouri. Supporters said marijuana is safe and it can help people. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, hosted Saturday's state conference. Attendees heard from several speakers and from patients who say medical marijuana helped them. For one man, it is an issue he has been passionate about for years because he said he is tired of seeing good people go behind bars. For 23 years, Dan Viets has worked as a criminal defense lawyer in Missouri and every week he said he watches innocent people face punishment. "It makes absolutely no sense to treat people who are otherwise law abiding productive good citizens as if they were criminals because they choose to use a substance which is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco," state coordinator for reform of marijuana laws Dan Viets said. But opponents of marijuana use said it can affect ones body. "Over the course of eight years I've been employed as a trooper, I have seen several cases where people where have been intoxicated on marijuana and it did impair their ability to operate their motor vehicle in a safe manner," Kyle Green from the Missouri State Highway Patrol said. Currently in the state of Missouri, if one is found with up to one and a quarter ounces of marijuana they face up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1000. If one is found with more than an ounce and a quarter of marijuana they face a felony charge and a prison term of up to seven years. The fine would be up to $5000. If an individual grows a single seed of marijuana they face a possible felony and a 15-year sentence. But attendees at the Missouri NORML state conference Saturday had different reasons why they want officials to legalize marijuana. "I have scoliosis, I have general disc disease, I have rheumatoid arthritis, I have de quervain syndrome in both wrists, I've had my hip replaced, and every drug I have been prescribed one of the side effects is death, even Tylenol. One of the side effects is death, there's never been a death from marijuana," Linda Yelvington said. Even with the current laws, Viets remains positive. "I think the government's going to wake up to the fact that there is a great deal of money to be realized by not putting people in prison where they cannot pay taxes, where they become a burden on other taxpayers, and instead taxing the commerce in marijuana," Viets said. In the upcoming legislative session, Missouri Democrat Representative Kate Meiners of Kansas City will introduce the Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill. Supporters said the bill would protect patients from criminal arrest and prosecution for medical marijuana users with the recommendation of a doctor. KOMU-TV Reported by: Alex Rozier Edited by: Tara Grimes News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 21 of 42 Unemployment rate jumps into double digits By MARK DAVIS The Kansas City Star Idled American workers, this is not your parents’ recession. Unemployment rocketed above 10 percent in October, the first double-digit rate since the recession in the early 1980s. But experts warned that the current job-market malaise won’t be cured as easily this time around. And at least one forecaster said Friday’s report means next year will be even worse than previously thought. The jump in joblessness to 10.2 percent in October also brought some calls for a bigger federal response. “We’re obviously going to need more stimulus,” said Judy Ancel, director of the Institute for Labor Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Jobs remain hard not only to find but also to keep. Mike Hoffman, 61, of Raytown, lost work this summer but got back on a payroll after three months. In a “double whammy,” that new job disappeared on Monday, Hoffman said while at a Missouri Career Center on Friday. October’s unemployment rate was the first in double-digits since June 1983. The Labor Department also said payrolls shrank by 190,000 during the month. Both numbers were higher than forecasters had guessed. The rate exceeded even the highest estimates among 81 economists quizzed by Bloomberg News. The unemployment rate doesn’t include people without jobs who have stopped looking, or those who settled for part-time jobs. Counting those people, the unemployment rate would be 17.5 percent. Investors, however, seemed undaunted by the report as stocks nudged higher on expectations that the Federal Reserve will hold interest rates low for some time. The jobs report came the same day President Barack Obama signed a $24 billion extension of jobless benefits and tax credits for homebuyers, both of which help stimulate economic activity. “I won’t let up until the Americans who want to find work can find work, and until all Americans can earn enough to raise their families and keep their businesses open,” Obama said. Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who heads Congress’s Joint Economic committee, said her party would consider new aid to states, an “infrastructure bank” to increase construction jobs and small-business tax credits. Concerns about double-digit unemployment reflect doubts that this economy will be able to regenerate the kinds of jobs many of America’s 15.7 million unemployed have lost. It was easier for the 1983 economy to do that because unemployment reached double digits then mostly because economic activity had slowed. The economy was much more industrially based then, and layoffs meant temporary idleness. Factories geared back up once the economy began to grow again. Today’s job market, by contrast, has been racked by structural changes that mean many lost jobs won’t be coming back. Construction crews disbanded by housing’s bust won’t be reassembling in large numbers anytime soon. And despite some factory expansions, including the addition of a third shift at the General Motors Fairfax plant, much manufacturing work around the country has shifted to machines or foreign factories. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 22 of 42 “A lot of this unemployment is structural,” said John Silvia, chief economist for Wells Fargo. “These people have the wrong skills, and they live in the wrong places.” They’re also getting tagged with the highest rates of unemployment. According to Friday’s report, unemployment among construction and extraction occupations hit 19.1 percent in October. Production workers’ joblessness reached 14.5 percent. Sales and office workers fare a bit better than the 10.2 percent average. Management and professional unemployment remained relatively scant at about half the overall average. Moreover, economists say those kinds of jobs will still rebound with the economy, which has begun to grow again after shrinking for a year. But some kinds of jobs will not. “What do you do with a 55-year-old auto worker?” asked Chris Kuehl, managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence in Kansas City. You can’t send him back to jobs in Detroit, St. Louis or other markets where factories likely have closed for good. Nor do idled production workers have much chance of learning Portuguese and landing a job in Brazil, where such work is expanding, Kuehl said. For some, the answer to structural unemployment lies in more federal jobs. Randall Wray, an economics professor at UMKC, said Washington should take on the role of employer of last resort, and perhaps on a permanent basis. He envisions government infrastructure projects on the scale of the 1930s or even more. “The government has to employ those the private sector doesn’t need and won’t employ,” Wray said. Ancel said badly needed transportation systems and developing alternative energy sources could make use of construction workers and spur demand for manufactured goods. “The green jobs were supposed to do that, but we haven’t seen any results of that around here,” Ancel said. America’s return to double-digit unemployment for the second time since World War II bumps up against other dramatic differences in the economy from the first go-around. When unemployment topped 10 percent in September 1982, it stayed there for 10 months through June 1983. During that time, the stock market soared and inflation plunged. But those events already have taken place in this economy. The 1983 economy also boomed despite 10 percent unemployment. Growth was flat in late 1982 but reached a blistering 9.3 percent pace by mid-1983. Most growth forecasts now are much less optimistic. Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody’s Economy.com, said the economy’s recent 3.5 percent growth pace was likely as much as we’ll see for a while. Sweet said a “new normal” unemployment rate of 6 percent is likely, compared with a normal 5 percent unemployment before this recession began. Friday’s report did little to brighten that outlook and likely will lead Moody’s to raise its forecast peak rate, currently at 10.5 percent next year, Sweet said. Some economists preferred to look at Friday’s other jobs number. The 190,000 jobs lost in October were considerably fewer than losses early in the recession, when half a million or more jobs disappeared each month. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 23 of 42 Normally, the unemployment rate rises in the early part of an economic recovery because formerly discouraged workers re- enter the job market. But that didn’t happen last month, Sweet said. Workers continued to leave the work force. Friday’s report did show an increase in the number of temporary workers, but the average work week remained at a stunted 33 hours. Both should be increasing in an economic recovery. “It’s very difficult to find anything encouraging in this report,” Sweet said. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 24 of 42 Friday, November 06, 2009 Missouri Pols Play Unemployment Blame Game Missouri Republicans hopped all over the new unemployment rate Friday, which hit double-digits for the first time in 26 years. GOPers said the 10.2 percent jobless number proved that the Obama administration's massive economic stimulus package failed to accomplish its intended goals, eight months after its passage. "While President Obama told us that the failed stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent, more than 10 percent of Americans are unemployed," Congressman Roy Blunt said in a statement. The country lost 190,000 jobs in October, continuing a downward trend that began last spring. The Obama administration noted that employment in temporary jobs increased by 33,700. Christina Romer, chair of the president's Council of Economic Advisors, said that number represented a sign of hope amid "painful evidence of continued labor market weakness." "The motor vehicle industry also posted employment gains. These are hopeful signs that the unprecedented policy actions are working to stabilize the economy and put us on a path toward recovery," said Romer. Read her full statement HERE. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) attempted to tie Missouri's Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate to the climb in unemployment. "Robin Carnahan was among those Democrats who said that she would have voted in favor of the failed stimulus debacle," said NRSC press secretary Amber Wilkerson Marchand. In an interview with The Notebook back in March, Carnahan did not specifically commit support to the $787 billion dollar stimulus package, but said "we've got to do something." On the specific legislation, Carnahan said, "I didn't read the 18-hundred page bill and wasn't asked to vote on that. There's no reason for me to kind of talk about something I didn't have any input on. (You can watch the full clips from that interview HERE.) Meanwhile, Missouri Democrats tried to reach back to the Bush administration to pin blame for the country's continuing economic problems. Missouri Democratic Party executive director Brian Zuzenak said that Blunt's 93 percent voting record with President Bush makes him responsible for one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression. In the 7th Congressional District, Sen. Jack Goodman said the 10.2% unemployment rate "is another sure sign that the Pelosi-Obama stimulus has failed." Goodman, who voted against a large state spending bill that included stimulus money, has tried to carve himself out as the most fiscally conservative Republican in the race to replace Roy Blunt. "Stimulus bills, bailouts, and government takeovers have done little more than increase the national deficit by trillions of dollars that future generations of Americans will struggle to pay off," Goodman said. Posted by David Catanese KY3-TV News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 25 of 42 Bond headed to 'Daily Show' to talk about Islam and terrorism By Jo Mannies, Beacon Political Reporter Posted 3:40 p.m. Fri., Nov. 6: Missouri's senior member of the U.S. Senate, Republican Christopher "Kit" Bond, is the state's next GOP notable to appear on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" on the cable TV channel Comedy Central. Bond is slated to be a guest next Monday, to promote his new book, "The Next Front: Southeast Asia and the Road to Global Peace with Islam," which talks about the spread of Islam into Southeast Asia and how Bond believes the U.S. should best fight global terrorism. Bond has been busy this week, particularly when he joined other Republicans in boycotting a meeting of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, in which Democrats went on to approve a "cap-and- trade" energy/environment bill opposed by Republicans. The measure now goes to the full Senate. He also took credit today for $4 million in federal money that's earmarked for Missouri projects "that will provide economic development, fund new technologies, and support local law enforcement," his office said. The money is in a new budget bill that the Senate approved Thursday night. The local beneficiaries include the Midwest China Hub Commission, which will get $500,000 in federal money to assist its effort to persuade China to locate a cargo operation at Lambert Field. (Question: Will that money help replace some of the state money facing the chopping block?) As for the Daily Show, Bond spokeswoman Shana Marchio said the appearance was set up by Bond's book publicist. "Sen. Bond is excited about reaching a different audience,'' Marchio said, saying the demographics for Stewart's show lean toward young adults who are "highly education and read a lot of books." Marchio added that Stewart, although a comedian, also makes a point of reading the books of the authors he has invited on the show. Bond is expecting the discussion of his book to generally be serious. He plans to focus on his book's theme that the U.S. needs to reach out to Muslims in Southeast Asia, who tend to be "peaceful and moderate,'' his spokeswoman said. But Bond also has his lighter side, she added. If necessary, "he has a joke or two up his sleeve." News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 26 of 42 Friday, November 06, 2009 Wardell Rips Nodler For Comments on Lobbyists 7th District Republican Congressional candidate Michael Wardell called Sen. Gary Nodler's comments about the influence of lobbyists on campaigns "astounding" and said it exemplifies "so many of our problems." On Thursday, while explaining his endorsement from Washington, D.C. lobbyist Gregg Hartley, Nodler told The Notebook that lobbyists ties to candidates and campaign contributors are a normal part of the political system. "You're not going to find any significant contributor base that isn't tied to a lobbyist base. Any candidate who's raised any substantial money, has accepted money from lobbyists, people who have been lobbyists, paid lobbyists or employed lobbyists," Nodler said. You can read his entire remarks HERE. Wardell called that remark "astounding." "Based on what he said, one would think 'lobbying up' is a qualification for holding congressional office," Wardell said Friday. "Nodler implies lobbyists go with the territory, that their support is an indication of your strength as a candidate or office-holder; nothing could be further from the truth. What you need to get elected and get things done in Washington, DC is the support of the people you represent," Wardell continued. "The grip lobbyists have on Congress is the source of so many of our problems. At worst, Senator Nodler is representing the wrong people at the expense of his constituents. At best, he has a political tin ear. Wardell did not make any specific pledges about who he would not take money from. He only said he would put his constituents against "special interests." Nodler said he wasn't being critical of how people went about raising money, but just pointed out that most campaigns have some type of ties to lobbyists. Wardell and Nodler are two of seven announced Republican candidates running to replace Congressman Roy Blunt in the 7th Congressional District. Posted by David Catanese KY3-TV News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 27 of 42 DNR set to lay off 48 after budget cutbacks Agency to reassign 77 employees, allow eight more to retire. Chad Livengood News-Leader The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has finalized its cost-cutting plans in the Division of State Parks and Historic Sites, resulting in the layoffs of 48 employees. Eight others are retiring from the agency. DNR originally estimated 100 positions would be eliminated. Approximately 77 other employees are transferring into different positions or taking pay cuts, according to DNR spokesman Travis Ford. Three weeks ago, the agency sent notice to 199 parks employees that their positions might be affected by the need to slash $3.7 million from the budget in response to declining tax revenues, Ford said. After employees with seniority completed the process of moving into vacancies or bumping junior employees, 48 employees received layoff notices this week. Nov. 15 will be their last day on the job, Ford said. Because of the retirements and transfers within the agency, 66 employees who originally got notices will be unaffected by the job cuts, Ford said. Critics of the plan have said the agency should have considered making all employees in the state parks system take unpaid furlough days off. "It buys you time to try to deal with the crisis," said Bill Farrand, a retired deputy director of state parks in the Ashcroft and Carnahan administrations. "You can't get them back once they're gone. It's just a bad way to handle the situation." DNR Director Mark Templeton said furloughs were ruled out because it would have required at least 50 unpaid days off from each employee, making it not feasible for keeping facilities open year-round. "We were not going to be able to get the amount of savings that we needed to through furloughs," Templeton told the News-Leader after speaking Friday morning at a Watershed Committee of the Ozarks meeting in Springfield. Templeton said none of the state's 80 parks and historic sites will have to close as a result of the downsizing, which will save DNR $6.3 million annually in future fiscal years. Additional Facts "We were not going to be able to get the amount of savings that we needed to through furloughs." -- Mark Templeton, DNR Director, regarding layoffs News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 28 of 42 Conservation official named Mo. technology chief JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A 20-year Conservation Department veteran will be Missouri's new technology chief. Doug Young was picked Friday to be the new chief information officer starting Nov. 18. The position is in charge of Missouri's budget for computers and technology and is responsible for deciding what new technological developments should be used. Young started working for the Department of Conservation in the late 1980s and provided computer support to more than 30 offices across the state. He currently is the head of information technology services for the agency. At the Conservation Department, Young implemented a system to allow deer and turkey hunters to electronically check animals they had killed. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 29 of 42 Mo. Conservation Commission picks new director JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A California, Mo., conservation official has been picked to lead the Missouri Conservation Department. The Conservation Commission announced Friday that Bob Ziehmer (ZEE'-mer) will take over the state agency on Jan. 15. The 42-year-old started working for the Conservation Department in 1991 as an assistant natural history biologist. He also has worked as an environmental consultant and aquatic services biologist, and spent three years as a wetlands specialist for the Missouri Department of Transportation. John Hoskins, the agency's current director, said in August that he planned to retire. The Conservation Department regulates and licenses hunting and fishing, manages forests and nature centers and promotes habitat conservation efforts on public and private lands News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 30 of 42 Sen. Kevin Engler seeing red over Missouri’s Blue Books By Tony Messenger St. Louis Post-Dispatch JEFFERSON CITY — The day after Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced that her office has made past state Blue Books available online, Sen. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, has issued a news release repeating his past call to do away with the Blue Books entirely. Engler, the majority floor leader of the Senate, said that Carnahan’s actions in putting the old books online help provide support for his position that the books should be online only, saving the state about $500,000 in printing costs. “We are not talking about withholding information from people. Everyone in the state has internet access, either in their home or at a local library,” Engler said. “We are elected to be good stewards of taxpayer money, and if we can make this information available while saving the state a significant amount of money, it is our responsibility to take those steps.” The Blue Books are a popular handout with legislators of both parties, who give them as gifts, often with personal remarks and signatures. But Engler said he will not be receiving any Blue Books this year. Missouri’s historic Blue Books from 1889 to 1972 are now available online. More recent Blue Books are here. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 31 of 42 Mo. education leaders discuss ideas for improving state education by '20 Jack Miles Editor DAILY STAR-JOURNAL Warrensburg - The future of education from preschool to beyond graduate school united four state senators and top state educators for a hearing at the University of Central Missouri on Thursday. About 30 percent of students entering college need remedial education, prompting a question from a west St. Louis Countian, Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield. "What if the students who came to your college and had to take remedial courses - that tuition for those remedial courses was required to be paid by the school district that did not prepare them?" Cunningham asked. The vice provost and dean of enrollment management for the Missouri University of Science and Technology at Rolla, Jay W. Goff, testified that the university had not considered that policy idea for public schools. "I've seen few punitive programs that tend to be extremely effective," Goff said. "The thing I worry about right now - they really are struggling with the budgets they have. ... It would penalize the students that were in the district simply to help the students who've already graduated and gone on to college." The Missouri Educated Citizenry 2020 Committee members heard testimony from educators who agreed generally on broad ideas about education in 10 years. Their ideas included students being adept technologically, savvy internationally and willing to embrace changes that will come fast. University of Central Missouri President Aaron Podolefsky testified that the state needs to put more money into education to reach such goals. Missouri ranks 45th nationally in per capita state appropriations for higher education, he said, and spends $4.91 in support per $1,000 in personal income. The amount compares poorly to the $7.96 average spent by surrounding states, Podolefsky said. "If I could change one thing about education in our state, I would ask that the opinion leaders recognize the value of higher education - provide financial support for our institutions at a level that is at least average in relation to other states in the nation - and that would be a good 10-year goal," he said. Missouri Higher Education Commissioner Robert Stein called the state's examination of education's future "pace-setting not just for the state, but for the country." But making a difference requires more than talk, he said. "I've heard the glittering generalities, I've heard the genuine good faith efforts - we're going to change, we're going to be different in two or three decades - and we slip back to the same," Stein said. The state needs a blueprint for education and measurements that government and schools can follow, he said. The general counsel for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mark Van Zandt, said a voluntary, public preschool system for 3- and 4-year-olds ranks among top education needs. "This one step would be a transformational policy that would pay long-term benefits educationally, economically and socially," he said. Missouri's former homeland security director, Mark James - now vice chancellor for administrative services at the Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City - advocated asking business leaders to help set the state's education agenda. "We need to engage the employers of 2020 and beyond to help identify the knowledge, skills and abilities they will need in their workforce," he testified. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 32 of 42 James also suggested universal college class standards, so requirements for a math 101 class, for example, are the same statewide. The requirement would make transferring credits easier. Representing the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education, Deb Fisher testified that Missouri should not continue to diminish the value of the arts in public education. The ability to collaborate is something education and business leaders say they value, and students who participate in bands and choirs learn teamwork, Fisher said. The arts also teach problem solving and get students to employ creativity and innovation, she said. "Thinking outside the box - that's what the arts encourage," Fisher said, and advocated reinstating the arts requirement at the middle school level. After the hearing, Stein called the meeting a good beginning. "We've started a process that will begin to get us beneath those glittering generalities," he said, by providing "an open process inviting us to submit to this committee specific suggestions for how to get ... legislation." The committee chairman, Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, said the committee received valuable testimony. "It's really important to get what's on people's minds - the real stakeholders in education. That's what we did today," he said. The committee meets next at 1 p.m. Monday at Confluence College Prep High School, 310 N. 15th St., St. Louis. The committee will use information from the Warrensburg and St. Louis hearings to plan legislation designed to improve education, Pearce said. "What we're going to be doing is having targets every two or three years all the way from now to the year 2020 to actually get there," Pearce said. "Specifically, we don't have one piece of legislation right now, but we will by the time this committee is done." News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 33 of 42 Mo. to sell tickets for second multistate lottery JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missourians will soon have more chances to win tens of millions of dollars. The Missouri State Lottery Commission voted Friday to start selling lottery tickets for Mega Millions. Missouri is one of 33 states that participate in Powerball, and 12 states participate in Mega Millions, which started in 1996. The estimated jackpot for Mega Millions on Friday was $63 million. The next estimated jackpot for Powerball was $80 million. A Missouri Lottery Commission spokeswoman said the agency hopes to begin participating in Mega Millions by the end of January. But it is unclear if the state will be ready by then. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 34 of 42 EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor St. Louis Public Schools needs help from many hands By Editorial Board Three hundred public school professionals from districts throughout the state descended on schools throughout the St. Louis School District over several days last April and May. They were teachers, principals, superintendents, librarians, counselors, technology advisers and special education consultants. Most worked for school districts in the St. Louis region, but also on hand were educators from Maryville, Cape Girardeau, Kirksville and Carl Junction, among others. They formed professional SWAT teams as part of a program that performs periodic peer reviews in every school district in the state. Bob Taylor, state supervisor of school improvement and accountability for districts in the St. Louis metro area, calls them a school district’s “critical friends.” They visited every building and evaluated resources, management, staffing and adherence to a multitude of state standards. Last month they presented a long list of deficiencies: Records and data were a mess. Curricula weren’t meeting students’ needs. Attendance, graduation and student achievement rates are low. There were few indications of any progress. The cycle is familiar to anyone who follows St. Louis Public Schools. Outside evaluators arrive. They offer a grim assessment. The district responds with a plan to fix the problems. A new cycle begins, and then more evaluators arrive. When will the cycle be broken? St. Louis Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams took office one year ago — just a few months before the review teams arrived. He says the findings represent “a cleansing” that washes away any uncertainty about “where we are.” “There was no whining, fault finding or finger pointing,” he said. “This is the reality. Ownership (now) means everybody’s ownership. It’s clear what it takes to become accredited.” Mr. Adams refuses to rule out the possibility that the district could regain provisional accreditation by the end of 2010. He concedes that it is a long shot but, he adds, city schools now have a productive working relationship with state education officials in aggressively confronting and correcting the district’s problems. That hasn’t always been the case. “It’s like a breath of fresh air,” said Mr. Taylor, the education department’s local supervisor. He said that Mr. Adams had identified serious deficiencies even before the review teams came to town — in many instances asking that reviewers focus on them. He credits the Special Administrative Board that now oversees the district under state fiat for “creating the stability” that enables “a superintendent to do his job.” News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 35 of 42 “There are going to be challenges,” Mr. Taylor said, but the district is “moving in the right direction.” Stability, collaboration and confidence from outside authorities aren’t qualities commonly attributed St. Louis Public Schools. They do not guarantee success or significant progress. But without them, progress is impossible. Still, the district and the Special Administrative Board have their critics. Peter Downs, president of the elected school board that was stripped of power in 2007, widely circulated the list of problems identified by the review team. He sought to lay them at the feet of the Special Administrative Board even though many were years in the making. That’s the sort of combative political approach that typified district governance before the district lost accreditation. It calls to mind President Barack Obama’s response last month to Republican critics of his handling of the national economic crisis. Mr. Obama told a group in Miami, “I’m mopping the floor, and the folks who made the mess, they’re standing there saying, ‘You’re not mopping fast enough. You’re not holding the mop the right way. It’s a socialist mop.’” “You know what,” the president said, “just grab a mop!” Real school reformers are easy to identify. They’re busy working their mops. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 36 of 42 Is Missouri test simply too hard? THE DAILY STAR-JOURNAL Editorial Is the federal government telling Missouri to dummy down the test used to measure student achievement? Or course not (wink, wink). A National Center for Education Statistics study compared states' standards for judging proficiency in math and reading for fourth- and eighth-graders. Missouri had the second-highest standards in reading for fourth- and eighth-graders, the second highest standards for fourth-graders in math, and is the fourth-most stringent in math for eighth graders. The standards are among the nation's toughest and Missouri students and teachers struggle to achieve them. Failure means federal reprisals, including firing teachers. But Missouri can avoid reprisals, posed by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The easy solution: Dumb down standards and make sure more children strive, not for excellence, but mediocrity. Other states have opted for low expectations. Mississippi, for example, offer relatively easy tests and many students score "proficient," reducing the threat of federal sanctions. But Missouri, by setting the bar high, invites federal sanctions. Anyone can see the course of least resistance suggests Missouri should quit caring so much about educating students, and instead line up to look good rather than be good. The intent of the law is laudable - to help all students, even with learning problems, achieve more. Progress is occurring in that area. But the law is not about progress. The law coldly calculates only results. This means that if a fifth-grader who reads on the second-grade level - after getting help from a tutor and family - jumps to the fourth-grade level, there is no pat on the back for the tutor. No applause for the family. Not for the pupil, either. The government sees only that a fifth-grader failed to read at the fifth-grade level and stands ready to punish that result with sanctions. To save the good intention of a badly written law, Congress should rewrite the law to give schools credit for progress, initiate a national test so that a child in Mississippi takes the same test as a child in Missouri, and provide full funding to carry out the mandate that no child should be left behind. To have value, goals must be attainable. With education leaders saying more than 90 percent of schools will fail to meet the increasingly harder No Child expectations by 2014, the act's goals are unattainable and have no value. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 37 of 42 Guest column, Tim D. Ripperger: MDC working on communication By Tim D. Ripperger Globe guest columnist Editor’s note: Tim Ripperger, assistant director of the Missouri Department of Conservation, was asked by the Globe for his response to Larry Dablemont’s column. Richard Massengill donated approximately 207 acres to the Missouri Department of Conservation in 2000. The Department of Conservation now holds this land in public trust and manages the area in a natural state for the citizens of Missouri as requested by Massengill. The Department of Conservation takes our public trust responsibilities seriously and works hard to promote, improve and implement conservation practices on public land throughout the state. As part of the department’s continuing effort to be a good neighbor, the agency surveys tracts of land that are held in public trust to ascertain legal boundaries. The Massengill Conservation Area was surveyed by a private survey company in 2008, and this resulted in property line adjustments with three landowners. Typically, neighboring landowners are notified that a survey will be conducted and are involved in the process and results. Communication with neighboring landowners is a priority for the Department of Conservation; unfortunately, in this particular instance the department could have done a better job. The department asks private surveyors to contact adjacent landowners prior to a survey, but the responsibility to ensure adequate communication ultimately rests with the department. As a result, procedures to improve communication with neighboring landowners will be implemented. In this instance, neighboring landowners received written notification of survey results in November 2008, but none responded until July 2009. At that time, landowners were contacted and invited to meet on the area to discuss the survey. Only one landowner chose to attend that meeting. Department of Conservation staff are continuing efforts to contact all landowners to review the survey results and listen to any comments or concerns they may have. Land surveys are a long standing process used to identify property boundaries between parcels of land, and the Department of Conservation abides by those legal findings. In this instance, survey results showed the actual property line would transfer approximately 17 to 18 acres to public ownership. Most often, surveys verify existing property lines as correct but in other instances surveys have resulted in land being transferred from the Department of Conservation to private ownership (neighboring landowners) or conveyed to the public trust, (Missouri Department of Conservation). In several instances the past few years, land has been conveyed from the Department of Conservation to our neighbors as a result of an updated survey. Missouri Department of Conservation staff are professionals and the department only accepts land transactions from willing sellers and donors. Local staff have indicated Massengill was not badgered to donate additional land to the department. The Department of Conservation promotes openness, honesty and transparency in every forestry, fisheries, wildlife management decision and business process. A small parking lot and camping area have been developed to help Missourians utilize the area. In addition, a small field road was created to encourage public use and assist with management activities on the area. The Massengill Conservation Area continues to be managed in a “natural state” as Massengill requested in his donation. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 38 of 42 Public comments, including criticism concerning department actions are welcomed. The Department of Conservation works hard to manage the fish, forest and wildlife resources of the state, strives to be a good neighbor to private landowners who border conservation areas and is always willing to listen to citizen conservationists throughout the state. If you wish to share your thoughts on any wildlife management issue, please contact our Joplin or Springfield offices, give the Department a call at 573-751-4115 or e-mail the agency at Ombudsman@mdc.mo.gov. Tim D. Ripperger is the assistant director of the Missouri Department of Conservation. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 39 of 42 Missourinet Health care overhaul passes without Missouri support by Brent Martin on November 9, 2009 in Health & Medicine, Politics & Government A health care overhaul has passed the House in Washington without much help from Missouri’s Congressional delegation. Democratic leaders in the House were able to convince enough reluctant Democrats to vote in favor of the measure to squeeze out a 220-215 vote and send the massive bill to the Senate. The vote came Saturday evening after President Obama delivered a pep talk to Democrats, urging them to “answer the call of history” and approve the trillion-dollar package. Missouri Republicans Roy Blunt, Jo Ann Emerson, Sam Graves, Todd Akin and Blaine Luetkemeyer all voted against the measure. Democrat Ike Skelton also voted against it. Democrats Emanuel Cleaver, Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan voted in favor. Only one Republican in the House voted in favor of the measure. “It’s families and patients who will suffer most under this government takeover of health care. This bill costs more than $1 trillion, increases premium costs, puts a bureaucrat between you and your doctor, and pays for most of it with Medicare cuts and job-killing tax hikes,” southwest Missouri Congressman Blunt said in a written statement. Demoicrat Russ Carnahan of St. Louis saw it differently. “After years of effort, months of debate and listening to the ideas and concerns of people throughout Missouri, momentum is on the side of the American people and health insurance reform,” said Carnahan in a written statement issued after Saturday’s vote. “Today we are one step closer to enacting health insurance reform that controls costs, provides choice and competition, and emphasizes wellness, prevention and shared responsibility.” The House version of health care legislation would require every individual to obtain health insurance. It would require nearly all businesses to provide health coverage for workers or face a health care tax. Medicaid would expand. It contains a public option in which people could get federal subsidies to buy insurance in the private sector or join a new government-run insurance plan. Democrats say the plan will cover workers who currently don’t receive any health care benefits. House leadership scheduled a rare Saturday of work in which debate began early and stretched out to 12 hours. Republicans harshly criticized the 1,990-page bill as a government takeover of health care and a budget buster which would cost jobs. The bill is expected to cost $1.05 trillion over the next decade. The House, on a 176-258 vote, rejected a Republican alternative. The key to the Democratic victory was a compromise on abortion. Party leaders agreed to hold a vote on an amendment, offered by anti-abortion Democrats, which would explicitly bar the public plan from cover the procedure. The amendment passed on a 240-194 vote, removing an obstacle that threatened to derail the bill. The House bill is complex. It would require private insurance companies to accept people with pre-existing conditions. Private insurers would have to justify proposed premium increases to regulators and would be required to keep adult children younger than 27 on their parents’ family policies. The bill seeks to close the so- called donut hole in Medicare prescription drug coverage by 2019. High-risk insurance pools would be available for the uninsured. Unemployed workers would be allowed to keep COBRA benefits until the public plan and insurance exchanges begin in 2013. Under the plan, a new insurance system would be created in four years. Businesses with payrolls exceeding half a million dollars would be required to offer workers insurance coverage or pay a fine of as much as 8% of News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 40 of 42 payroll. Individuals would either buy insurance or pay a fine of as much as 2.5% of their income. States would have to extend Medicaid coverage to as many as 15 million additional people. Paying for the package is complicated. Medicare would be cut by more than $400 billion over the next ten years. A 5.4% surcharge would be added to the income tax of individuals making half a million dollars a year, $1 million for families. Missouri Missing helps in searches, Olten case by Jessica Machetta on November 9, 2009 in Crime & Courts The group Missouri Missing helps raise awareness about the nearly 13 hundred people missing in our state. The two founders of Missouri Missing — Marianne Asher Chapman and Peggy Florence — formed the group after finding limited community resources when their daughters went missing. Florence’s daughter, Jasmine Haslag, was in her late twenties when she went missing more than two years ago. Asher Chapman’s daughter, Michelle Angela Yarnell, “Angie,” has been gone for about six years now. She was also in her twenties. Her husband has allegedly admitted to murdering her, but Acher Chapman says her body’s never been found and so she still considers her missing. Asher Chapman says the group assisted in the recent Elizabeth Olten case in Central Missouri. She says Missouri Missing printed and distributed hundreds of flyers and buttons with Olten’s photo — as they do in other searches for missing children and adults — and they help families with food and by offering emotional support. She says each missing person case reminds her that her own daughter has never been found. Little Elizabeth Olten was found murdered two days after she disappeared. Asher Chapman says if she was still missing, Missouri Missing would still be searching. The court will decide Nov. 18 whether the 15-year-old suspect in this case will be tried as an adult. Asher Chapman says resources are improving, such a DNA center in Texas that keeps family members’ DNA on file. That way when an unidentified body is found, their DNA can be run through the system to find possible family members. The Missouri Highway Patrol has recently expanded their Web site on Missing Persons. There are nearly 1,300 people — children and adults — missing in the state. The patrol’s Web site offers an interactive map, photos, statistics and more. Missouri Ethics Commission teaches campaigns how to keep and report records by Steve Walsh on November 8, 2009 in Politics & Government The Missouri Ethics Commission has begun offering campaign finance record-keeping classes to candidates and campaign personnel. The first of the classes was held last week in Jefferson City, with two more sessions set for next month in the capital city, and regional classes being put together for early in the new year. Ethics Commission Executive Director Julie Allen says most people involved in politics want to follow the rules and report accurately to the Commission, but they sometimes have difficulty understanding the rule. “Most of us that keep records want to know, ‘How do we do it? What’s the right way to do it? And if we do have reporting requirements what are the right ways to report?” said Allen in an interview with the Missourinet.” And, sometimes the law can be very technical. So, at the Commission, our job is to help break that being technical to being understandable.” News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 41 of 42 Allen compares running a campaign to running a business. “They’re taking money in and they’re spending money,” said Allen. “And just like a business there are ways to keep those records, both that are required by law, specifically, and also ways to keep their records so that they will know and be able to easily show that this is the money and this is the money that I’ve received and this is the money that I’ve spent. And then just take that and use that for the reports they have to file with us.” The information offered covers a campaign committee from beginning to end. “It’s really just the whole process, starting from when you first start and open your bank account all the way through to even if the committee ends,” said Allen. “It’s answering all of those questions from the beginning of the life of a committee to the end of that life of that committee.” The Commission is also developing a web training guide on record keeping and reporting which will allow people to learn the ins and outs of electoral requirements from the comfort of their homes or offices. The Commission urges interested individuals to check the MEC web site from time to time for further details. Public defenders await Supreme Court ruling by Brent Martin on November 8, 2009 in Crime & Courts Public defenders throughout Missouri have more than a passing interest in a couple of cases being considered by the State Supreme Court. In the two cases, the Supreme Court is deciding whether the Public Defender Commission can create regulations excluding certain cases from its services in an effort to manage the caseload of state public defenders. Public Defender Deputy Director Cat Kelly says the commission seeks to restrict cases that fit the jurisdiction, such as the rule excluding probation revocation cases in Boone County. “If it’s a jurisdiction where there aren’t many probation revocation cases, getting out of those cases isn’t really going to provide much caseload relief to lawyers so that may not be the selection there,” Kelly says. In a case from St. Francois County, the public defender refused to represent a defendant who had previously hired a private attorney. The attorney was paid $9,000, but quit representing the individual when he sought a jury trial. Kelly won’t try to guess the outcome of the cases based on the judge’s questions during oral argument. “But I think it was clear from the questions the judges are struggling with the same issue that the trial judges, that the public defender has been struggling with for a long time,” says Kelly. “The problem is clear. What is the solution? There are no good solutions.” The Public Defender Commission has requested more money from the legislature so that it can hire more lawyers to handle a staggering caseload. A special legislative committee considered options in 2006. The General Assembly approved a bill this year that would have allowed the Public Defender Commission to set maximum caseload standards and establish waiting lists. Misdemeanor would be allowed to move through the system without a public defender if the prosecutor wasn’t seeking incarceration. Governor Nixon vetoed the bill. Kelly argues that public defenders need relief as well as protection. She points out public defenders are in a more vulnerable position than others in the judicial system. “Our lawyers have their license on the line every single day. They have no official immunity, unlike judges, unlike prosecutors. They have no official immunity,” Kelly says. “They are personally liable for malpractice, for not doing on every one of these cases what should be done.” She says the commission’s regulations attempt to solve the problem. Public defenders in Missouri handle as many as 300 cases at a time, twice the maximum recommended by a judicial study. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: firstname.lastname@example.org Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , N o v e m b e r 9 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 42 of 42 USA TODAY MISSOURI NEWS MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9 --Jefferson City — As term limits bear down, two state lawmakers have resigned from office within the past two months to accept positions with more long-term potential. The departures of Reps. Dennis Wood, R-Kimberling City, and Edward Wildberger, D-St. Joseph, will result in special elections in February. News Clips online: www.senate.mo.gov/snc — Subscribe via: email@example.com Missouri Senate online: www.senate.mo.gov — Senate Communications online: www.senate.mo.gov/newsroom
"Nov 9_ 2009 - Missouri State Senate"