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The stimulus starts in Missouri
   The ink wasn't even dry on the president's signature.
   Not a single federal stimulus dollar has even left Washington.
   But Missouri immediately claimed bragging rights today for kicking off the first economic recovery act project
in the nation today.
  Gov. Jay Nixon and other officials gathered at the Osage River Bridge near Tuscumbia on Route 17 today to
begin the $8.5 million bridge replacement project. They waited until just after President Obama signed the bill in
Denver.
 Missouri will use state funds, then reimburse its coffers once federal stimulus dollars start flowing, according to
Sally Oxenhandler, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Transportation.
  She said the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials verified Missouri’s first-in-
the-nation claim.
Submitted by David Goldstein KC STAR PRIME BUZZ BLOG




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Stimulus money causes dilemma
Turning down funds could be tough for Republicans concerned about overspending .
Chad Livengood
News-Leader

Jefferson City -- Republican state legislators know that how they treat the billions in federal aid coming to
Missouri from President Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus bill could make or break their political fortunes.
Rejecting the money could symbolically show voters that Missouri isn't going to put up with runaway spending in
Washington, D.C.
But it also could have political repercussions with voters who might find it foolish to turn down free money.
With Missouri bracing to get, by one estimate, at least $4.4 billion for roads, education, Medicaid health care and
filling budget deficits, some members in the majority party are reluctant to reject the cash outright.
"It's really difficult to turn down, and I think they know that," said state Sen. Norma Champion, R-Springfield,
referring to the Obama administration and Democratic- controlled Congress.
"If we turn it down, we don't gain anything," Champion said. "And that's the dilemma."
But some Republicans see the stimulus bill, the largest spending bill in U.S. history, as emboldening the GOP in
its defense of small-government and fiscally conservative values.
"The voters in my area would be very happy if we just rejected the money," said House Majority Floor Steven
Tilley, R-Perryville. "I think it's a great opportunity to stand up for the principles of our party."
Tilley's southeast Missouri constituents are apparently not on the same page as Rep. Sara Lampe's 138th
District constituents in the center of Springfield.
"My constituents say, 'why in the world would we turn away federal dollars that may be the bridge we need '" to
balance the budget, said Lampe, a member of the House Budget Committee.
Lampe said rejecting the federal dollars would mean the money would just go to another state.
"We're already a donor state on Medicaid," Lampe said, referring to Missouri's tougher eligibility standards. "Why
do we need to be a donor state on a recovery plan?"
House Republicans have said they will not accept Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's plan to spend $809 million of the
stimulus money plugging holes in the budget and putting 62,000 Missourians on government health care.
Tilley described Nixon's proposed spending plan as a "political budget" aimed at fulfilling campaign promises of
restoring Medicaid for thousands of Missourians who were thrown off the rolls by the Blunt administration.
The GOP members want to see the stimulus money dedicated to one-time expenses, such as infrastructure
projects or a one-time tax rebate for Missouri families.
House Speaker Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said his caucus does not want to use stimulus money to shore up a
budget deficit or pay for year-to-year expenses.
"They're not inclined to support any ongoing funding because they don't want to be caught having to fire or get
rid of projects in the third year," Richard said Monday. "Now, whatever ongoing is, if they change their mind, we
ought to talk about."
But Richard appears to have taken both sides of this issue.



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In a recent interview with the Kansas City Star, Richard indicated using stimulus money for education and K-12
schools would be fine, but using it to expand Medicaid would not.
"Some ongoing expenses I might take a look at, some I won't," Richard told The Star. "I'm not going to expand
welfare."
And that softened stance is starkly different from Richard's message to the GOP faithful two weeks ago at the
Greene County Republican Party's Lincoln Day event when he first suggested Missouri reject the billions in
borrowed money.
"We could do that," Richard said Feb. 7 in Springfield, after suggesting the legislature "just send it on back."
One thing Republicans haven't suggested is how they would fill an estimated half-billion-dollar hole in the budget
next year without the stimulus money.
Tilley said the appropriations committees are sifting through state department budgets to see if there's any fat
that can be trimmed.
Despite the clamoring in the Capitol, Nixon is forging ahead with his proposed budget, spokesman Jack Cardetti
said.
Nixon will hold a press conference this afternoon in the Capitol to outline his plans to spend the stimulus money.
"Tomorrow, the governor is going to lay out a plan to use this opportunity to create jobs both in the short term
and to transform Missouri's economy for the 21st century," Cardetti said Tuesday.
Additional Facts
Work under way

The first southwest Missouri project using federal stimulus money involves creating passing and turn lanes along a 26-mile
stretch of U.S. 60 between Republic and Monett.
Construction will begin in two months, cost $8.7 million and employ 200 workers, a spokesman for the contractor,
Journagan Construction, said during a press conference Tuesday.
State transportation officials said Missouri's first stimulus project involves replacing a highway bridge crossing the Osage
River at Tuscumbia. It will cost $8.5 million.
Missouri will receive more than $640 million for road, bridge, air, rail, transit, waterway and pedestrian projects, according to
MoDOT.
The projects are estimated to create 14,000 jobs and have a $2.4 billion impact on the state's economy




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State awaits infusion
Attached strings bother senators.
COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE By Terry Ganey
Tuesday, February 17, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon and Missouri Transportation Department Director Pete Rahn planned to
mark President Barack Obama’s signing of the federal stimulus bill this afternoon with an event on the Osage
River bridge near Tuscumbia.
Once the federal funds begin flowing to Missouri, the bridge would be replaced by tapping some of the $641
million the state expects to receive for road and bridge projects.
But if the stimulus is like a gift horse, some state senators are prepared to look in its mouth. Sen. Scott Rupp, R-
Wentzville, said there was a possibility lawmakers would consider not accepting all the stimulus funding due
Missouri — about $4 billion — if there were too many strings attached.
―We have a lot of work to do determining whether this is something we even want to get involved with,‖ said
Rupp, who is chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Oversight of the Federal Stimulus Plan.
The staff of the National Conference of State Legislatures briefed the committee yesterday on intricacies of the
federal package.
The session left some senators wondering whether Missouri would have to foot the bill two years from now for
the cost of federal programs boosted by stimulus spending. Others began exploring whether the federal money
could be shifted to replace state general revenue in Missouri’s budget, freeing up state dollars for construction
projects.
State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said it made more sense to him to spend stimulus dollars on construction
projects rather than ongoing programs that could not be sustained after two years.
―Do we want to hire thousands of teachers and then lay them off in 24 months?‖ Schaefer asked.
He wants to figure out a way of using the federal stimulus money to free up state funds for construction projects
that were supposed to be financed from the sale of student loans. That includes $31.2 million for a new Ellis
Fischel Cancer Center at the University of Missouri.
When Nixon presented his budget to lawmakers last month, he proposed using $809 million in stimulus funds to
balance the state’s books.
That money would come from an increase in the federal contribution to the state’s Medicaid program.
The federal government now contributes 63 percent toward the cost of the health care program for the poor.
Under the stimulus plan, that allocation would be increased by 7 percent.
Lawmakers want to hear more from Nixon’s budget experts to determine whether the final stimulus bill would
produce the numbers that the governor predicted.
Some lawmakers want to segregate the federal money once it comes to Missouri. The Senate Appropriations
Committee was to consider a bill that would create two separate funds in the state treasury to receive and retain
stimulus funds.
―We want to do everything in our power to use money coming down on one-time expenses,‖ Rupp said. ―We
can’t use one-time money for ongoing expenses. How do we go about working through the strings that have
been attached so that we don’t end up hanging ourselves by all the strings that are dangling?‖



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Making History With Stimulus Plan
TUSCUMBIA - Missouri was the first state to use money from the federal economic stimulus bill for a local
project Tuesday.
The Missouri Department of Transportation began construction on the Osage River Bridge on State Route 17
just minutes after President Obama signed the economic stimulus bill in Denver Tuesday.
And it was a good thing Congress passed the bill.
"Had we not had a stimulus bill passed by Congress, this project would not be on our construction plans,"
MoDOT Director Pete Rahn said. "The stimulus bill is funding work in Missouri that would otherwise not be taking
place."
The Osage River Bridge was originally built in 1933. The bridge is currently 20 feet wide.
But with this new project, officials plan to construct a new bridge to the west of the existing bridge. The new
bridge will be 28 feet wide, which will allow for two 11 feet lanes, each with 3 feet of shoulder.
The Osage River Bridge project will create 250 new jobs for Missourians.
Officials say it means a lot to be the first state to use the economic stimulus money.
"That's why we all came down here today," Gov. Jay Nixon said. "To send a signal, not only to Missouri, but also
to America and the rest of the world, that Missouri is back on the way."
Construction on the bridge is expected to finish in 2010.
Komu-tv Reported by: Kasey Breda




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Area interstate project among first in
country to reap fed stimulus funds
ST. JOSEPH NEWS-PRESS by Alyson E. Raletz
Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Drivers on Interstate 35 near Lathrop are in for a less bumpy commute.
Construction started Tuesday on I-35 in Clinton County courtesy of the federal economic recovery package
recently approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama, according to the Missouri Department
of Transportation.
The package is helping to fund $14.6 million for the resurfacing of the interstate’s northbound and southbound
lanes.
But the Northwest Missouri road project isn’t the only one in the state that has the backing of the federal funds.
MoDOT officials today touted that the first economic recovery project in the United States started this afternon in
Miller County on Missouri Route 17, just moments after President Obama signed the package.
That $8.5 million project will replace the Osage River Bridge near Tuscumbia, Mo.
―Missouri will receive approximately $637 million for road and bridge projects and an estimated $150 million to
address air, rail, transit, waterway and pedestrian projects throughout the state,‖ a MoDOT news release stated.
―That amount of work will create an estimated 14,000 jobs and have an estimated $2.4 billion impact on the
state’s economy.‖
MoDOT also has identified two projects in Atchison County it may fund with the stimulus funds in the next 180
days.
The Missouri River Bridge at Brownville, Neb., on Missouri Route 136 is up for $9 million in painting and repairs,
along with a new deck.
The $4.5 million construction of a new Welcome Center on Interstate 29 at Rock Port also may capture the
federal funds.
No specific money is available for port projects, but the department is looking to fund $1.3 million in truck staging
area and access improvements to the St. Joseph Regional Port, as well.
For a complete list of the department’s projects that are ready to go once the state receives the stimulus money,
click here.




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Schools have plan for stimulus
Money could buy new high school.
COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE By Janese Heavin
Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Columbia Public Schools administrators want to use federal stimulus dollars to help build a new high school.
The district has been in touch with federal lawmakers indicating an interest in funds for the construction project
and other capital improvements, interim Superintendent Jim Ritter said.
―We could get‖ federal ―money for the new high school, especially since we haven’t started that project,‖ he said.
Voters in 2007 approved a $60 million bond package that included $20 million to build the first phase of a new
high school in northeast Columbia.
The district plans to come back to voters for a second $60 million bond package in 2011 and a third in 2013 to
complete the school and make other building improvements.
―We have additional projects, too,‖ Ritter said. ―Air-conditioning at eight schools; we would consider using
stimulus funds for that. We have roofing issues throughout the district. There are a number of projects we could
use construction funds for.‖
Ritter isn’t sure how much money Columbia Public Schools will receive from the federal stimulus plan, nor does
he know when the dollars might start trickling in.
―They haven’t made any commitment to us at all,‖ he said.
Ritter last year indicated the district might consider combining the two future bond issues after some complained
the plan is too complicated. This morning, he said the ballot schedule remains on the table for now.
He and other school district administrators yesterday got some advice from a consulting company about how to
get voters to pass future bond and tax issues, even in a lackluster economy: Be vague with details about how
new revenues will be spent, Rick Nobles of Patron Insights said during a Missouri School Boards’ Association
forum in Jefferson City.
Rather than telling voters that bond money will add six classes, for instance, tell them the funding will ease
overcrowding, he said.
―Patrons want to hear less‖ because they’re concerned about other things, the consultant said said. ―You don’t
want to belabor people to death with details.‖




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Stimulus impact: 69,000 Mo. jobs, 148,000 Ill. jobs
St. Louis Business Journal - by Kelsey Volkmann

President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion federal stimulus package into law in Denver on Tuesday.

The legislation will create or save 69,000 jobs in Missouri and 148,000 jobs in Illinois, according to figures
the White House released.

Missouri will receive at least $10.33 billion and Illinois will get at least $22.74 billion as their slices of the
economic recovery package, according to estimates from the liberal think tank, the Center for
American Progress.

The White House estimates the package, which includes billions in funding for infrastructure, education,
tax breaks, unemployed workers and state aid, will create or save 3.5 million jobs nationwide.

Included in the package is $71 billion for clean energy programs, $87 billion for Medicaid, $8.4 billion for
transit projects, $8 billion for high-speed rail and a State Stabilization Fund to help states and local
governments avoid budget cuts. The measure also earmarks $39.5 billion for education.

But many Republican lawmakers and some economists have questioned whether the package will effectively
jumpstart the economy in time to reverse the recession and actually deliver the number of jobs supporters
promise.

Moments after Obama signed the stimulus bill, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon kicked off construction at the
Route 17 bridge over the Osage River in Tuscumbia, Mo., one of the first economic recovery initiatives in the
nation.

“During these difficult economic times, too many Missourians are out of work, and too many families are
struggling to make ends meet," said Nixon, a Democrat. "The federal recovery bill is a tremendous
opportunity to jumpstart economic growth and create new jobs in Missouri. By investing in job training and
education, enhancing our infrastructure and embracing science and technology, we will get Missourians
back to work over the short run and forever transform our economy."




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Mo. bill would allow online military
voting
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
By LEE LOGAN
Associated Press Writer
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) Military members and their families living overseas would be able to vote online
under a proposal by a former St. Louis County election official.
Rep. John Diehl, the former St. Louis County elections chairman, said spotty mail service, especially in combat
areas, effectively disenfranchises many members of the military.
''Mail service, especially mail service in the military, is not exactly the model of efficiency,'' the Republican from
Town and Country said Tuesday.
Diehl said between 50,000 and 60,000 military and civilian voters from Missouri live overseas. In the 2006
election, roughly 7,700 requested absentee ballots and about 3,300 of those were cast.
The House Elections Commission heard testimony on the bill Tuesday but did not vote on it.
''What we are doing is depriving these ladies and gentlemen, who are fighting for our country, the right to vote,''
said committee chairman Rep. Bill Deeken, R-Jefferson City, who previously oversaw elections as the Cole
County clerk.
Diehl said he hopes to implement the system for military voters by 2010. He said he supports a pilot program to
ensure the system is reliable.
But some committee members were wary.
''If you seriously have concerns about administering it, then I don't want to offer it to anybody,'' said Rep. Beth
Low, D-Kansas City. ''I don't want to lose anyone's vote.''
Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, questioned why other Americans living abroad, such as military contractors or
those working for humanitarian organizations, would not be able to vote online.
''They're contributing less to democracy?'' he asked.
Diehl said he intends for the program to be expanded to all voters living abroad in future years.
The proposal differs from one supported by Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, who supports
allowing election officials to e-mail or fax ballots to military members.
Diehl said those methods might not be secure and could waive a soldier's right to a secret ballot.
Currently, service members can e-mail or fax their ballots to local election officials but must receive their ballot in
the mail first.
Rich Lamb, Carnahan's executive deputy secretary of state, told the panel he didn't know enough about online
voting to support or oppose it. But he said 32 other states allow e-mailed ballots for military members and 18
allow more time after Election Day for their ballots to arrive in the mail.
Diehl said the bill, which he acknowledged lacked specific guidelines, would be fleshed out in the next week.
Military voting is HB613 and HB649
On the Net:
Legislature: http://www.moga.mo.gov




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With spring votes looming, new election board
members will hold key to fairness
By Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter
Posted 11 a.m. Tues., Feb. 17 - Just weeks before voters in St. Louis and St. Louis County go to the polls, Gov.
Jay Nixon is making changes in the boards that oversee the region's elections.
Last Thursday, Nixon nominated one member -- and removed another -- on the St. Louis County Election Board,
which runs the largest election-related operation in the state.
Nixon says that in the next few days he expects to announce more appointments to that four-person board -- and
its counterparts in the city of St. Louis and across the state.
All of those nominees must be confirmed by the state Senate. The governor explained that his aim is to have his
newly assembled election boards "in place and functioning" for this spring's elections.
Most Missouri jurisdictions, including St. Louis County, will next hold elections in April. But a few -- notably, the
city of St. Louis -- will have one on March 3.
Still, on the surface, Nixon's move to put his stamp quickly on the six urban and suburban election boards under
his control may seem to be of the inside-baseball variety that attracts little public interest or attention.
But in fact, few other actions by Missouri's governor have as much direct impact on the state's residents and
would-be voters
The boards oversee staffs of dozens of paid employees -- who by law must be equally divided between the two
major parties. And on Election Day, those staffs in turn supervise hundreds of volunteer crews, also equally
divided by party, who are paid less than $100 apiece to run the polling places for 13 hours straight.
As a rule, though, the public focuses on the election boards and their operations only when they make the news.
In the last decade, that attention has been pretty often. And it's usually negative.
Last fall, the St. Louis County board came under fire over the debacle in Velda City, where too-few voting
machines led to waits of six hours or more. The board blamed the local polling-place workers, who didn't install
all the assigned machines to have more room for their food table.
Some Democrats also continue to point to long polling-place lines at various predominantly Democratic precincts
in the county last November as evidence of possible voter-suppression efforts by the Republican-controlled
board. The board denied the accusations.
Meanwhile, Republicans note a long history of GOP tangles with urban election boards, especially in the city of
St. Louis, over attempted fraudulent registrations, including that of a dog. City election officials reply that it was
their staffs who uncovered the bogus registration cards.
The presidential election in 2000 touched off a Justice Department lawsuit against the city of St. Louis because
flawed voter lists at the polls prompted an undetermined number of legitimately registered people to be turned
away at the polls. The Republican Party went to court that election night to halt a Democratic effort keep polls
open an extra three hours because of the city chaos.
In all the cases, it was the election board commissioners -- who hold the unpaid posts at the pleasure of the
governor -- who took the heat. By law, the four-person board must be made up of an equal number of
Republicans and Democrats. The chairman is always of the same party as the governor, while the board
secretary must be a member of the opposing party.
Looking ahead to 2010
Nixon's choices are beginning to attract a lot of behind-the-scenes attention largely because those new boards
will get election operations in place for the next major statewide election in November 2010.


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Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, who is the state's highest election official, already has announced plans to
run for the U.S. Senate that year. Republicans privately acknowledge that they hope to highlight what they view
as Carnahan's missteps in the election process since she took office in 2005.
The secretary of state oversees voting procedures but has no power over the individual election jurisdictions in
the state. Neither does the governor in the case of 100 counties, where the county clerks oversee elections.
But for decades, state law mandates that the governor call the election shots in six urban or suburban counties.
Besides St. Louis and St. Louis County, the other election boards are in Kansas City and the surrounding
counties of Jackson, Platte and Clay.
"I think these are critically important appointments,'' said state Republican Party executive director Jared
Craighead. "I don't expect to be consulted, but I do expect Gov. Nixon to appoint professionals who will take this
job seriously."
The commissioners usually have political ties, as do the top members of their paid staffs. County Republican
elections director Joseph Goeke, for example, is a retired judge. He ran the board's staff until Nixon took office.
Now, Democratic elections director Joseph Donahue is officially in charge.
Donahue says he's heard nothing about any of Nixon's plans for the Election Board or its staff. "We're just
continuing to operate the way we always do,'' Donahue said.
Nixon's first nominee to the county Election Board fit the traditional model. He's Richard H. Kellett, president of
the North County Labor Club and a retired pipefitter. Kellett also has served more than a decade on the East-
West Gateway Coordinating Council. His nephew is a prominent trial lawyer, Timothy Kellett.
If confirmed by the Senate, Richard Kellett will replace corporate lawyer John Fox Arnold, a prominent
Republican who has been chairman of the Election Board since he was named last June by then-Gov. Matt
Blunt.
Nixon's aides say that Kellett won't be named chairman of the St. Louis County Election Board. That means the
as-yet-unnamed second Democrat will hold that title.
Reached while on vacation Monday, Richard Kellett, 74, said he had first been approached about the Election
Board post a month ago. He's been told that the Senate is expected to take up his nomination later this month.
Kellett says he has no preconceived notions about what he'd like to do as an election board commissioner. And
he's received no suggestions from Nixon's staff.
Slay a fan of city Election Board
In the city of St. Louis, Mayor Francis Slay -- a Democrat -- is a big fan of the Republican-controlled Election
Board and its top employees: GOP elections director Scott Leiendecker and Democrat Matt Potter.
As a result, Slay hopes to see no changes by Nixon in the board's operations until after the March 3 primary.
Chief of staff Jeff Rainford, who has taken a leave from the mayor's office to run Slay's campaign, says the
mayor's support for the city Election Board has nothing to do with the fact that he's on the ballot March 3, in his
quest for a third term.
Rainford noted with some pride that in recent elections, the city's polling places have operated smoothly, with
few complaints from voters. Ballots citywide have been tallied swiftly, with the final results usually announced
well before those in St. Louis County.
"That didn't used to be the case,'' Rainford said. "The St. Louis Election Board used to be a national
embarrassment and a total mess. Now, it's not."
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it,'' Rainford concluded. "That's our position."




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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Zweifel: Remove Interest Cap On State
Bank Investments
State Treasurer Clint Zweifel is calling on lawmakers to increase eligibility in the state's Linked Deposit Program,
to reinvest $1 billion dollars statewide.
***
Zweifel's plan would increase eligibility in Linked Deposit and increase the amount of state funds invested in
Missouri community banks.
"I am looking forward to talking about Invest in Missouri with all legislative leaders, so that we can start putting
investments back into Missouri as soon as possible," Zweifel said Tuesday.
The Linked Deposit Program is designed to place State funds with community banks at below-market rates so
the community bank can issue loans to borrowers at a reduced rate. Loan savings are usually 2 to 3 percent to
the borrower, according to the Treasurer's office. The program, which has a statutory $720 million cap on it, is
about 30-percent utilized currently.
Zweifel's plan would streamline the application process and reduce obstacles for program eligibility.
Current state law actually includes a disincentive, discouraging the state from placing deposits in community
banks, according to Zweifel. "Missouri is one of two states in the nation, and the State Government is the only
government entity in Missouri, which caps the interest rate taxpayers receive when their funds are invested in
community banks," Zweifel said. "By removing the cap, and combining with the Missouri Linked Deposit
Program, our office can reinvest $1 billion in Missouri communities."
Zweifel said a changing the interest-rate cap would result in an additional $10 million dollars coming back to
taxpayers.


Posted by David Catanese KY3-TV




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New plan will use banks to spur economy
The Associated Press

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel outlined a plan Tuesday to pump hundreds of millions of state dollars into Missouri
banks as a way to help spur the economy.
Zweifel said his "Invest in Missouri" initiative would route more money through Missouri banks by making it more
profitable for the state to deposit money with them and by expanding the pool of businesses that could receive
low-interest loans from them.
"The economy is in difficult shape and Missourians need our help," said Zweifel, a former Democratic state
lawmaker who took office as treasurer last month.
His proposal would need legislative approval.
Missouri already operates a program under which it deposits money into banks at below-market interest rates so
that they can offer reduced-rate loans for certain business and agricultural projects. The linked-deposit program
began in the 1980s and was expanded in 2004.
But Zweifel said it remains "severely underutilized." Although the program allows up to $720 million in linked
deposits to banks, less than $230 million currently is being used, the treasurer's office said.
Zweifel proposed several ways to expand eligibility, including by enlarging the definition of a qualifying small
business from 25 employees to 100 employees. He also wants to make the program available for the first time to
local governments for public works projects and to individuals for alternative energy projects.
Missouri currently has $552 million in time deposits in community banks. If lawmakers remove the interest-rate
cap, the treasurer's office said it could afford to immediately put an additional $250 million in community banks,
giving the banks more cash while also earning more money for the state.
In other legislative news Tuesday, military members and their families living overseas would be able to vote
online under a proposal by a former St. Louis County election official.
Rep. John Diehl, the former St. Louis County elections chairman, said spotty mail service, especially in combat
areas, effectively disenfranchises many members of the military.
"Mail service, especially mail service in the military, is not exactly the model of efficiency," the Republican from
Town and Country said Tuesday.
Diehl said between 50,000 and 60,000 military and civilian voters from Missouri live overseas. In the 2006
election, roughly 7,700 requested absentee ballots and about 3,300 of those were cast.
The House Elections Commission heard testimony on the bill Tuesday but did not vote on it.
"What we are doing is depriving these ladies and gentlemen, who are fighting for our country, the right to vote,"
said committee chairman Rep. Bill Deeken, R-Jefferson City, who previously oversaw elections as the Cole
County clerk.
Diehl said he hopes to implement the system for military voters by 2010. He said he supports a pilot program to
ensure the system is reliable. But some committee members were wary.
"If you seriously have concerns about administering it, then I don't want to offer it to anybody," said Rep. Beth
Low, D-Kansas City. "I don't want to lose anyone's vote."




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Senators urge tax credit reform
Some lawmakers question "picking winners and losers."
Chad Livengood
News-Leader

Jefferson City -- Gov. Jay Nixon's plan to sign job creation legislation next month may not happen unless the bill
contains serious reforms to tax credits, lawmakers warned Tuesday.
Some state senators are holding up economic development legislation to debate the value of handing out tax
dollars to businesses and individuals through tax credits.
"We have become drunk on tax credits," Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, said Tuesday on the Senate floor.
Nixon, a Democrat, has called on lawmakers to pass a $100 million bill that would expand the state's Quality
Jobs Act. It would provide tax credits to businesses that hire new employees, pay them above a county's
average wage and give them health insurance.
But some GOP senators cautioned against rushing legislation to Nixon just to look like they're doing something
to help the economy.
Without reforms to rein in millions of dollars in tax credits awarded each year, Senate Majority Leader Kevin
Engler said it's unlikely the bill will arrive on Nixon's desk by mid-March .
"I'd like the economy to be great by spring break, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen," said Engler, R-
Farmington.
The cost of the bill has spurred debate about whether Missourians are getting the most bang for their buck with
tax credits, which are essentially a government subsidy of a business or individual.
Missouri taxpayers may provide up to $700 million in tax credits this year, senators said.
During debate Tuesday, a small group of fiscally conservative senators called for major reforms to the way state
government hands tax dollars to special interest groups armed with high-paid lobbyists.
Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, an ardent opponent of tax credits, said the GOP-controlled legislature's
appetite for carving tax credits into law is a direct result of heavy influence by lobbyists.
"We've let the Gucci suits and the alligator shoes tell us what does and does not create jobs," Crowell said,
referring to the attire of some lobbyists.
Senators were debating Senate Bill 45, which contains the same provisions as House Bill 191, the economic
development and job creation bill the House passed two weeks ago.
Tax incentives in the bill include historic rehabilitation tax credits for fixing up old buildings and a sales tax
exemption on equipment and utilities for companies that put their computer servers and data centers in
underground storage areas formerly used for mining.
The Mountain Data Center, an underground storage facility in Branson, is lobbying for the sales tax exemption to
lure a Fortune 100 company to Taney County.
Senators also are scrutinizing rehabilitation tax credits for historic buildings. Since being created in 1998, the
cost of that program has ballooned from $24,650 to an estimated $190 million this year, according to the
Missouri Department of Economic Development.
"That program's hitting warp speed," Crowell said.


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Crowell introduced numerous amendments intended to force a vote on nearly every line item tax credit and
incentive in the bill. No vote was taken on the bill or any of Crowell's amendments.
"We are picking winners and losers every day in Jefferson City," Crowell said. "Why should a guy who owns a lot
of old mines be sales tax exempt as opposed to a guy who owns a bicycle shop in Cape Girardeau?"
Crowell proposed all tax credits go through the appropriations process so they have to compete for tax dollars
with health care, education, prisons and other areas of the budget.
Sen. David Pearce, who is sponsoring the legislation, said the state must act now to help the beleaguered
economy.
"What's the option? Doing nothing?" Pearce asked Crowell in a heated debate.
Pearce, R-Warrensburg, later told Crowell: "Our state needs a shot in the arm. I guess your option is to let things
go."
Crowell disputed Pearce's claim that the bill would create an estimated 30,000 jobs, saying, "it's very
disingenuous to call this a jobs bill."
"I will bet my house against your house that this bill will not create 30,000 jobs," Crowell told Pearce.
Pearce didn't take Crowell up on the bet.




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Mo. lawmakers try to rein in tax credit programs
By Virginia Young
POST-DISPATCHJEFFERSON CITY BUREAU CHIEF
02/18/2009


JEFFERSON CITY — "I am a recovering tax credit addict."
Sen. Matt Bartle used those words in jest Tuesday, but he was serious about his point — that state tax credits
are out of control.
Bartle, R-Lee's Summit, teamed with six other Republican senators to slow down a jobs bill pushed by Gov. Jay
Nixon, a Democrat. The critics said they won't let the bill pass until it reins in what they consider runaway tax
credit programs.
Missouri gives out more than $600 million a year in tax credits. Beneficiaries range from farmers and historic
preservationists to filmmakers and housing developers.
Bartle said Missouri and neighboring states keep upping the ante, trying to outdo each other. But the game
never ends, draining money from other vital services, he said.
"We're almost operating as if tax credits were money from God, created in heaven," Bartle said.
At issue was a $90 million package that would beef up subsidies for employers who add or retain jobs that pay at
least the county's average wage. New tax breaks would go to data storage businesses in underground mines
and investors in high-tech firms, among others.
Nixon wants the bill on his desk by March 12.
Supporters, led by Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, said the measure would create up to 30,000 jobs,
primarily by doubling the tax credits authorized under the state's "Quality Jobs" program.
Critics portrayed the bill as a grabbag of "designer tax credits" for special interests. They said they needed time
to rework it to ensure that the Legislature keeps a handle on tax dollars.
"I'm tired of fighting the Gucci suits and alligator shoes" of lobbyists pressing for the bill, said Sen. Jason Crowell,
R-Cape Girardeau.
Critics said groups receiving tax credits end up with privileged status because they need not fight each year for
scarce state appropriations. Instead, they receive off-budget certificates that can be used to reduce state taxes
or sold for cash.
Much of the criticism revolves around the rapidly growing historic preservation program. Its cost went from $2.5
million in redeemed credits in 1999 to $133 million in 2007.
In the first seven months of this fiscal year, the Missouri Department of Economic Development has approved
more than $190 million in historic preservation credits, said Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah. He said no other
state spends more than $14 million to rehab old buildings.
"There are a growing number of members of this body that believe we have become drunk on tax credits," Lager
said.
But each program has strong supporters. Historic preservationists, for example, have geared up to fight any
reductions in that credit.
Under current law, eligible projects receive credits worth 25 percent of the costs of rehabilitating historic
buildings. The Senate bill would reduce the credit to 20 percent of the cost.




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Jerry Schlichter, a St. Louis attorney who helped write the law, said in an interview Tuesday that Missouri's
historic credit is "a national model" that has produced dividends.
According to Washington economist Donovan Rypkema, the state credit created 40,000 jobs, according to
Schlichter. It also encourages urban development rather than costly suburban sprawl, he said.
"It's the most successful economic development program in the state, by far," Schlichter said.
Pearce, the jobs bill's sponsor, said he would work with critics to find a compromise, but the economy needs a
jump-start quickly.
"It's safe to say seven people have some concerns," Pearce said. "I do want to know, 'Where's their plan?'"
The jobs bills are SB45 and HB191.




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Lager among GOP senators pushing tax credit reform
State Senate considering job creation bill
ST. JOSEPH NEWS-PRESS by Alyson E. Raletz
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon’s plan to rejuvenate the state’s economy hit a roadblock Tuesday.
Mr. Nixon fully endorsed a job creation bill the Missouri House of Representatives passed 141-19 about two
weeks ago that expands one of the state’s most popular tax incentive programs for big businesses.
But when the Senate called up its own version for debate Tuesday, a group of Republicans spoke out against
the bill, calling for tax credit reform before moving on with the bill.
―I do not believe that government creates jobs,‖ said Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, one of a handful of critics.
The state redeemed roughly $507.55 million in tax credits from June 2007 to July 2008 (fiscal year 2008),
according to the Joint Committee on Tax Policy. The committee estimates that more than $606.81 million will be
redeemed during fiscal year 2009.
Mr. Lager warned that a continued rate would wreak havoc on the state budget, which already is becoming
strapped during the economic downturn.
―I wish we could do away with every tax credit,‖ Mr. Lager said. ―Unfortunately, in good times, things happen that
need to be reformed in tougher times.‖
At issue is SB 45, which would eliminate the Department of Economic Development’s annual $60 million cap on
the Missouri Quality Jobs program, which offers tax credits to companies that pay their employees at or above
the average county wage and offer health benefits, among other requirements. The bill also includes a slew of
other measures, including the creation of a new qualified research expenses tax credit, which could benefit
companies in Northwest Missouri’s Animal Health Corridor.
Mr. Lager, the chairman of the Joint Committee on Tax Policy and a longtime opponent of tax credits, joined
Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit, and others in delaying debate
Tuesday until meaningful tax credit reform is attached to the bill.
Mr. Crowell drafted amendments that strip out nearly every component of the bill. He called for tax credits, which
now are mostly disbursed by the Department of Economic Development, to instead fall under the state’s budget,
or appropriations, process so legislative leaders could offer more oversight.
He also is seeking to put restrictions on the Missouri Development Finance Board, which in December voted to
issue $25 million in tax credits to the Kansas City Chiefs to help attract the summer training camp to St. Joseph.
Mr. Bartle, who described himself as a ―recovering tax credit addict,‖ also said a meaningful cap is needed on all
existing tax credits, which he said unfairly pick the winners and losers of the marketplace. He compared the
government’s issuance of tax credits to the government’s issuance of social subsidies.
―We Republicans have been hard on the welfare culture. … Our party has been incredibly hypocritical,‖ he said.
―Both are receiving government money. Both have built a level of dependency.‖
The bill was set aside to be debated at a future date.
Senate President Pro Tem Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, said he supported raising the caps on Quality Jobs.
―I also believe there are reforms to make in tax credit programs,‖ Mr. Shields said.
Instead of moving tax credits to the legislative appropriations process, he’d rather see House and Senate budget
leaders sit on the Missouri Development Finance Board so the credits can be issued while the Legislature is out
of session.
Mr. Nixon has challenged lawmakers to send the jobs bill to his desk to sign into law by mid-March, which Mr.
Shields said is still possible. Senators likely will internally discuss what reforms should occur before bringing
either SB 45 or the House version back up for debate.



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Missouri GOP scrutinizes tax credits in job-creation plan
COLUMBIA MISSOURIAN By Valerie Insinna
February 17, 2009 | 8:34 p.m. CST
 JEFFERSON CITY – A job-creation plan endorsed by Gov. Jay Nixon ran into opposition from a group of
Republican state senators during session Tuesday.
Although the bill is being sponsored by a fellow Republican, other GOP senators questioned whether tax credits
specified in it would achieve the intended results of job creation and an expanded Missouri economy.
"We have become drunk on tax credits," said Sen. Brad Lager, R-Maryville.
"We're switching over to the philosophy of Leona Helmsley when it comes to our tax credit policy," said Sen.
Luann Ridgeway, R-Smithville. "Taxes are for the little people, is what Leona said. Missouri doesn't need to be
fashioning our tax credit policy on the basis of a known felon and tax cheat."
A section of the bill would double the cap on the Quality Jobs Act, which issues tax credits for
business expansion, from $60 million to $120 million.
The bill passed though the House amid complaints from some Democrats that the bill was not a bipartisan effort
and did not include amendments that would have increased accountability for government assistance.
Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, said the bill, which he sponsored, could create 30,000 jobs.
"We are not a job generator, but what we do and what our task is, is to create a climate so that our state's people
can create jobs," he said.
Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, challenged those figures and said he would bet his house that the bill
would not create 30,000 jobs.
"You say that it might create 30,000 jobs. It might do this," he said. "I know of one thing we're actually certain it
would do, and that is that you're spending over $100 million of hard-earned taxpayer money, and I want to know
what we're going to get from it. What is the return on the investment?"
Crowell said the bill favored special interests, citing three tax credits within the bill that would benefit mines. He
said the bill needed to include small businesses and force tax credits to go through the appropriations process.
"We are picking winners and losers everyday in Jefferson City," he said. "Why should a guy that owns a lot of old
mines be sales tax exempt as opposed to a guy in Cape Girardeau who owns a bicycle shop?"
Pearce challenged Crowell's arguments.
"What's the option, doing nothing?" Pearce asked. "Our unemployment level is 7.6 percent. We're losing jobs.
Our state needs a shot in the arm."
But Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Jackson County, said increasing tax credits has become a national game in which states
compete against one other.
"No sooner do we get it (the job creation bill) passed and Kansas rushes off and they make their program richer,
and Arkansas goes and makes theirs richer," he said. "And guess what? Next year, we're back where we
started."
Bartle said the state should give tax breaks to all businesses so they can spend moneyas they see fit, rather
than giving tax credits to a select few.
"We would be sending a signal to all businesses: we're staying out of your business," he said.
Ridgeway said the majority of her constituents would not benefit from what she called designer tax credits
included in the bill that serve special interest groups and not Missourians.
"They belong to the people who can afford the lobbyists, they belong to the people who can afford accountants,
they belong to the people who afford lawyers," she said.



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Ameren officials at reactor hearing: We're willing to compromise
COLUMBIA MISSOURIAN - By Emily Coleman
February 17, 2009 | 9:14 p.m. CST
JEFFERSON CITY – AmerenUE officials indicated willingness to compromise on the company's rate plan for
financing a new nuclear plant after facing criticism at the second legislative hearing on the issue in two weeks on
Tuesday.
Members of the state agency that regulates utilities also questioned Ameren officials.
Public Service Commission member Jeff Davis told the House Utilities Committee that if a second facility is to be
built in Callaway County, the current law – which prohibits utility companies from recouping costs associated with
construction before the plant is finished – will have to be repealed.
However, Davis also said, "I'm not endorsing the way that Ameren has conducted themselves in proposing this
piece of legislation. I think they need to be a lot more up front with you and with the people of the state of
Missouri, and a little bit of humility could go a long way in a time when you're seeking to raise people's rates 15
(percent), 20 (percent), maybe as much as 40 percent in the next few years."
Ameren CEO Thomas Voss testified in a Senate committee hearing last week that rates would increase 10
percent to 12 percent during the construction phase of the plant and would stabilize or decrease once Callaway
II is operational.
Public Service Commission Chairman Robert Clayton expressed concern that the bill would not allow adequate
time for the commission to review whether costs proposed by Ameren for the plant's construction are prudent.
The bill would create time restrictions as short as 10 days on some of the actions and decisions that can be
made by the commission.
One section of the bill drew attention because it seemed to preclude judicial review of some commission
decisions involving the utility. It states, "No court of this state shall have jurisdiction to hear or determine any
issue, case, or controversy concerning any matter which was or could have been determined in a proceeding
before the commission."
Rep. Jake Zimmerman, D-St. Louis County, said he found parts of the bill "repugnant" and "unconstitutional."
A delegation of Ameren officials said it is more than willing to revise the language of the bill if the intent is not
what would actually occur.
In response to criticism voiced last week that the bill lacks consumer protection items, Ameren attorney Tom
Byrne referenced different consumer protections he said the bill provides.
Byrne said it gives the utility-regulating commission the final decision on whether costs are prudent and even on
whether the project makes good economic sense. He added that the commission would be given detailed, semi-
annual reports and could perform audits whenever it deems that necessary.
Some, such as Ameren's chief executive, have hailed the bill as an effective job-creation measure.
At last week's Senate hearing, Voss said expansion of the Callaway County nuclear site would create 12,000
jobs during construction and as many as 4,000 jobs upon completion. Five hundred employees would work at
the plant, Voss added.
On Tuesday, former state Rep. Ed Robb likened construction on Callaway II to "rebuilding Interstate 70 across
the entire state of Missouri."




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Environmental lobbyists, in turn, questioned whether rate increases would actually create new jobs for
Missourians or make financial decisions more difficult for existing businesses by raising utility payments.
Kathleen Logan-Smith, a representative with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, said many of the jobs
created might not be staffed by current Missouri residents.
To that argument, state Rep. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis, countered, "I've worked on these jobs. They do have road
crews of engineers. They do have road crews of skilled craftsmen, but they're one to probably maybe every 10 to
20 of the workers that live here in Missouri. ... You are saying that the folks are coming from outside of this state
when the fact of the matter is many of these people in this room, I've worked with them in this plant, and
they've all lived within a 200-mile area of that plant."




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Private colleges disagree with proposed aid change
Didi Tang
News-Leader

Laura Gaska wanted to study architecture, but her choices in Missouri were limited to private universities.
A state scholarship program that pays more for private college education helped Gaska, 29, enroll at Drury
University. "It's really saving me," she said of the $4,600 grant from the Access Missouri Financial Assistance
Program.
But she may see a big dent in her grant next year.
Gov. Jay Nixon wants to reduce Access Missouri grants to students at private colleges by as much as $1,750
per student per year. He proposed infusing $2.5 million into the program but equalizing scholarship amounts
between private and public institutions.
"The governor wants to make sure the taxpayer-paid scholarships are used on equal basis between the public
school and universities," said Scott Holste, Nixon's spokesman.
On Tuesday, state Sens. Kurt Schaefer, R.-Columbia and David Pearce, R.-Warrensburg, introduced Senate Bill
390 to modify the scholarship program.
The proposal has irked Missouri's private colleges, including Drury , Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar and
the College of the Ozarks. They argue that the cuts would hurt students financially and hamper their ability to
choose the best-suited schools.
Students at Evangel University don't receive Access Missouri scholarships because the university has not signed
a participation agreement with the state.
Established in 2007 under Gov. Matt Blunt, Access Missouri is a need-based financial aid program. This year, it
provides $95.8 million in college scholarship aid to 42,244 Missouri students, officials said.
Those going to private colleges now receive up to $4,600 each year, while students at public universities get no
more than $2,150. That's because private colleges usually cost more .
"Basically the program was set up to make a even playing field between private and public schools," said Brad
Gamble, SBU's financial aid director, noting that about 30 percent of students get the money.
SB 390 proposes that Access Missouri scholarships be capped at $2,850 with a higher minimum of $1,500,
whether students attend public or private colleges. Those going to community colleges would still receive up to
$1,000, as they do now.
"Well, taxpayers' money really shouldn't be used as an incentive to draw students away to attend private
universities as opposed to public universities, as it is now," Holste said.
In a news release, Schaefer and Pearce, co-sponsors of SB 390, said the changes would make college more
affordable to more Missouri students.
Elizabeth Andrews, a spokeswoman for the College of the Ozarks, said a third of students there receive the
grants. "When public schools are receiving state funding per student that private college don't get, it's clearly
unfair."
C of O doesn't charge tuition, and losses in Access Missouri scholarships would require it to secure more
donations and dip into its endowment during a distressed economy, Andrews said.
At Drury, 1,087 students -- about 24 percent -- benefit from Access Missouri.


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Drury President Todd Parnell said that by paying out more to students at private colleges, Access Missouri
affords choices in higher education, especially when public universities are out of question.
For example, with no architecture program at Missouri's public universities, private schools are the only options
for students who wish to study in the field but don't want to leave the state, Parnell said.
Drury's Cabool, Ava and Thayer campuses also see more students on the scholarships, Parnell said.
"We have campuses located in economically challenged parts of southwest Missouri," he said. "...We should not
take the money out of the pockets of those who need it the most."




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Schaefer, Pearce follow Nixon in trying
to change Access Missouri
By Roseann Moring
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Senators Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, and David Pearce, R-Warrensburg have sponsored a bill that would
change how Access Missouri scholarships work.
The bill, SB 390, would make the maximum scholarship the same for all four-year schools, regardless of whether
they are public or private.
Right now, private school students who qualify get between $2,000 and $4,600. The bill wouldput them in line
with public school students, who get between $1,500 and $2850. This would go into effect in the 2010 school
year
Schaefer said he doesn’t know how many people this will affect.
Gov. Jay Nixon has also proposed this measure.
Update: See higher ed reporter Kavita Kumar’s post about this here.




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Families testify in support of autism funding
COLUMBIA MISSOURIAN By Rebecca Beitsch
February 17, 2009 | 10:21 p.m. CST
JEFFERSON CITY – More than a dozen parents of autistic children spoke before the Senate Small Business
Committee on Tuesday to urge support of a measure that would require limited health care coverage for autism.
But one committee member argued the bill doesn't go far enough.
The bill would give families up to $72,000 per year to cover behavioral therapies for children with autism and
requires that coverage continue until age 21.
Under the current bill, only about 40 percent of those with autistic children would be covered. Sen. Scott Rupp,
R-Lincoln, said those who work for small businesses would not qualify under the bill, which only mandates
coverage of autism with certain types of insurance plans.
Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, questioned supporters about whether the bill goes far enough.
"We're going to feel good just by giving it to a few? I'm not subscribing to that," Crowell said. He asked if autism
advocates were really satisfied with a bill that he said wouldn't provide coverage to even half of the existing
population in need.
Two mothers wearing homemade shirts with ironed-on images of their autistic children said they came to testify
in support of the bill even though they would not be covered under the bill. The two women said they would look
for new jobs if it meant getting coverage for their children.
Lorri Unumb, a senior policy adviser with Autism Speaks and mother of an autistic child, said she would vouch
for any effort to cover autistic children under insurance.
"It's like this," Unumb said. "If there were 10 people in a sinking ship, and there were only three life jackets,
would you hold onto the life jackets because you didn't have enough for all 10 people?"
Crowell later said: "What I'm saying is, if we're going to do this, let's do this. I don't want to dislocate my shoulder
while trying to pat myself on the back. I don't want to play games with people when only a small sliver of them
are actually getting what they want."
Many of those testifying were focused not on the 60 percent who would not be covered under the bill, but rather
on the need for applied behavior bnalysis therapy, more popularly known as ABA, which is covered under the
bill.
Jennifer Gray, a witness from Lee's Summit, said that ABA therapy would have cost her family $100 an hour.
Many of the families testifying said they had difficulty paying bills out of pocket, and a few were considering filing
for bankruptcy.
The witnesses who testified stressed the importance of getting ABA therapy for their children in order to develop
into productive, tax-paying citizens.
"It is my utmost hope that my child may get to pay taxes someday," Unumb said, choking back tears.




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Missouri cell phone restrictions bill gets tepid reception
COLUMBIA MISSOURIAN -By Michael Bushnell
February 17, 2009 | 6:03 p.m. CST
JEFFERSON CITY – Despite four recent cell-phone-related traffic fatalities in Missouri, several state
representatives said a bill restricting hand-held cell phone usage while driving will likely not be passed into law
this session.
The House Public Safety Committee heard testimony Tuesday in favor of the bill from its sponsor, Rep. Joe
Smith, R-St. Charles, who has been pushing for similar legislation for the past five years. The bill has never
made it out of committee, and Smith said this was the first time any of his bills had even come before a
committee.
Smith said the bill would place a $20 first-time fine on any non-commercial driver caught using a cell phone
without a hands-free device. He said he personally uses a hands-free device and has nearly been in multiple
accidents caused by a driver on a cell phone.
"There are several situations where I was driving, and the person to my left or my right was on a cell phone, and
they moved over, and if I hadn't stopped I would have been nailed," Smith said. "If they had both hands on the
wheels, they could pay attention to what's around them, their mirrors and the road."
Two well-publicized accidents in the past year in St. Louis County brought new attention to the hazards of driving
while holding a cell phone. Last July, news reports stated that a truck driver was distracted by a text message
when he drove his trailer into the back of 10 cars stalled in traffic on Interstate 64, killing three and injuring 10
more. In January, a man in Eureka fell off his all-terrain vehicle while reading a text message, but his two year-
old son remained on board. The ATV crashed into a tree, killing the child.
The bill would excuse two-way radio use by commercial truck drivers, Smith said, because he has found that any
bill without that exception is politically untenable. It would also excuse drivers who use their phones in an
emergency.
No committee members or witnesses spoke on behalf of the bill. While there were no witnesses against the
legislation, one lawmaker said he did not support Smith's bill in the middle of the hearing.
After Smith offered to attempt amending the legislation to cover commercial drivers as well, Rep. Michael
Corcoran, D-St. Ann, said, "Don't rewrite it on my count because I don't support your bill at all."
Smith's Republican colleagues did not appear receptive to the bill, either. Rep. Bryan Stevenson, R-Webb City,
expressed displeasure, calling the legislation another example of the government intruding upon residents'
liberties.
"My general rule of thumb is, I am generally opposed to anything that is a further government intrusion into
personal freedoms," he said. "There has to be a compelling, overriding interest in order for the government to
intrude on individual rights and individual freedoms. I think restricting people from using cell phones in their
vehicle doesn't meet that test."
Stevenson said driving while engaging in other distracting behaviors such as eating or drinking coffee can be just
as dangerous.
Corcoran said cell phone legislation is introduced every year and dies because it is hard to enforce and many
legislators view it as too much government encroachment. He did not dispute that driving while holding a phone
is dangerous, but he echoed Stevenson's concern that the bill is unfair because it only singles out one activity.




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"The bill has been around several years," he said. "There's obviously a problem, but how you criminalize one
distraction over all others is unfair."
Corcoran said he would bet that at this time next year, Missourians will still be able to use their cell phones
without a hands-free device. He said it is highly unlikely the House will take a vote on Smith's bill unless it is
attached to another bill as an amendment. It doesn't help, Corcoran said, that Smith has tried to get this bill
through previously to no avail.
"The fact that he has had the bill for a few years and not been moving it all hasn't helped," Corcoran said. "I
would say the bill has a slim chance to make it out of committee. I'd say it has a slim to no chance at all to make
it to the floor."




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Monday, February 16, 2009

House To Take Up Spanking Bill
Protecting teachers who use spanking to discipline their students is a major provision in the first education bill
the House will take up Tuesday.
***
Rep. Maynard Wallace is the sponsor of HB 96.
It passed out of committee 13-0.
***
Supporters say that these measures will make it possible for school employees to focus on teaching without
worrying about litigation. But Rep. Sara Lampe said there may be a move to add an amendment to not allow
spanking or any type of corporal punishment.
That could spark a battle over "local control."
The bill "expands the reporting of acts of violence to all teachers."
And Also: "expands employee imunity from correctly following discipline policies, to following all policies."
In October 2007, the Texas County prosecutor said he could not charge a teacher for bruising an 11-year-old
because current state law says spanking is not abuse.
Posted by David Catanese KY3-TV




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Munzlinger to take on Shoemyer?
Rep. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, filed papers with the Missouri Ethics Commission to raise money for a
challenge against Sen. Wes Shoemyer, D-Clarence.

The filing doesn't mean the northeast Missouri representative will challenge Shoemyer next year, but it does
perhaps place him in the category of potential Republican challengers. Rep. Steve Hobbs, R-Mexico, is term-
limited and could also challenge Shoemyer as well.

Shoemyer won a narrow contest against then-Rep. Bob Behnen, R-Kirksville, in 2006. Although it was a pick-up
for the Democrats, it was also an incredibly expensive and nasty contest. Next year's battle could be one of the
higher-profile contests for a Missouri Senate seat..

CAPITOL CALLING-ROSENBAUM




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Longtime state school board member
heads search panel
By Virginia Young
Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY — Thomas R. Davis of Kansas City will lead the search for a commissioner of elementary
and secondary education to replace the late D. Kent King.
The State Board of Education asked Davis to chair the search. Davis served on the board for 20 years.
The board chooses the commissioner, who will be a member of Gov. Jay Nixon’s Cabinet. Davis said he had
met with Nixon to discuss the search, but Nixon didn’t suggest any candidates.
―He’s absolutely supportive. It’s really very refreshing,‖ Davis said.
The governor did offer to use his powers of persuasion if the search panel needs help getting a candidate to take
the state job.
Nixon has a personal connection to the department. Since adoption of the 1945 state constitution, there have
only been four commissioners of education. The first one was Hubert Wheeler, the late father of Nixon’s wife,
Georganne Wheeler Nixon.
Davis said other members of the search committee will be named Friday. He was in the Capitol on Tuesday to
attend a hearing on a bill requiring insurers to cover treatment for autism. His grandson was diagnosed with the
disorder.




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Graves pushes to continue six-day mail
delivery
ST. JOSEPH NEWS-PRESS by Ken Newton
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rep. Sam Graves has taken the congressional lead in pushing the U.S. Postal Service to continue its six-day
mail delivery service.
While postal officials warn of huge operating losses resulting from declining mail volume and last year’s high gas
prices, the Republican lawmaker called the current delivery schedule ―an essential service.‖
The Northwest Missouri representative has introduced legislation that would express ―the sense of the House‖
about maintaining a six-day schedule that began in 1912. Any reduction, Mr. Graves said, would serve a
particular hardship on a largely agricultural district like the one he represents.
―I believe that any cutback on postal delivery would disproportionately hurt rural areas,‖ he said in a statement.
House leaders referred the proposed resolution to the chamber’s Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, Democrats Nick Rahall of West Virginia and Zoe Lofgren of California, and
Republican Chris Smith of New Jersey, joined the Graves bill in co-sponsorship.
The resolution claims working families depend on the postal service for the timely delivery of paychecks. It also
contends a curtailed schedule might create mail back-ups that could actually escalate costs because of
increased overtime.
Also, ―Social Security is the primary or sole source of income for many senior citizens, and any delay in the
delivery of their Social Security checks would make it difficult for them to purchase even essential items, such as
food and medicine,‖ the resolution reads.
In testimony before a congressional subcommittee late last month, Postmaster General John E. Potter said the
postal service could experience a net loss of $6 billion this fiscal year, despite sweeping efforts to cut costs.
Contributing factors were the high cost of fueling 220,000 postal vehicles and mail volume expected to decline
12 billion to 15 billion pieces this fiscal year from the last.
―It is possible that the cost of six-day delivery may simply prove to be unaffordable,‖ Mr. Potter told the
subcommittee.
To curtail the schedule, Congress would have to remove a provision in its annual postal service appropriation
that calls for six-day delivery. That stipulation has been in place since 1983.




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Trial begins for ex-lawmaker in hit-and-
run case
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) A trial begins for former Missouri Rep. Brad Robinson, who is accused of leaving the scene
of an accident after hitting a pedestrian.
Emergency crews were called early New Year's Day 2008 and told a man was lying on the roadway in Bonne
Terre, about 60 miles south of St. Louis. The victim, Donald Marler of Desloge, was injured but recovered.
Officials say a high school's surveillance camera captured Robinson and his wife switching places in a pickup
truck before Tara Robinson told police that she had been driving.
Robinson is having a bench trial in St. Louis County, where the case is being heard on a change of venue. The
42-year-old Democrat announced in May that he was not seeking re-election. A phone message was left for him
seeking comment.




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Maida Coleman submits signatures, files as
independent candidate for St. Louis mayor
By Robert Joiner, Beacon staff
Posted 12:10 p.m. Tues., Feb. 17 - Maida Coleman filed as an independent candidate for mayor of St. Louis
this morning, turning in 1,000 signatures and promising better days ahead in St. Louis if she wins the general
election on April 7. She needs 526 verified signatures to be placed on the ballot.
City election board officials say they may know later today whether Coleman, a former state senator, submitted
enough valid signatures to qualify for a spot on the ballot. They also report receiving inquiries from others about
filing as independent candidates, but added that no others had filed Tuesday morning. The deadline for filing is 5
p.m. Tuesday.
Initially, Coleman had planned to file as a Democrat, but she decided to go the independent route after learning
that another candidate with her last name -- Denise Watson-Wesley Coleman -- already had filed.
In an interview on Tuesday, Coleman didn't mention the Democratic primary but talked about winning the
general election. She acknowledged that running as an independent can be a challenge in a city where most
voters are Democrats but said she was confident she would be able to sway enough voters to win.
She also announced an open house Saturday at her campaign headquarters, 1700 South Tucker Boulevard,
from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for voters to meet her and discuss the campaign.
"I'm looking forward to the outcome of this election on April 7," Coleman said. "I'm really concerned about the
sagging economy and will be very involved with finding ways to help people remain gainfully employed. My
priority would be to help citizens of St. Louis survive the hard times we are dealing with."
She said little about incumbent Mayor Francis Slay, except to make an indirect reference to reports that Slay's
campaign had hired an organization to check into the backgrounds of some who might run against him.
"We don't need a bully running the city," Coleman said.
Coleman said she had met informally with some ward leaders but hadn't sought any endorsements.
"My main focus is to let people know I am running and know what I stand for. I'm running as an independent so
some will be hesitant to outright endorse me. But that doesn't mean they won't support me. I feel confident about
winning this election."




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EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor
Legislature fiddling as Missouri staggers
POST-DISPATCH By Editorial Board
Ron Richard, the Republican speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives, has suggested that Missouri
take its share of the $787 billion federal stimulus package signed into law Tuesday and just ―send it on back‖ to
Washington.
Apparently things are going so well in Joplin and the rest of the 129th House district that Mr. Richard represents
that he’d rather give back the dough than see it used to ―expand welfare.‖
The data suggest otherwise. In December 2007, 3,711 people in the Joplin area were unemployed. Twelve
months later, the number had risen to 4,717. According to estimates released by the White House on Tuesday,
the stimulus plan will create 8,000 jobs in Missouri’s 7th congressional district. Next to Springfield, Joplin is the
biggest city in the district, and some of its 1,006 newly unemployed people probably would prefer a paycheck.
But if Mr. Richard doesn’t want Joplin to get its share, it’s OK with us if he sends it back. Of course, this might
disappoint city leaders in Joplin, who put together a wish list for stimulus spending. Sorry, folks. No $150 million
highway bypass for you. No new reservoir for you. No building renovations at Missouri Southern State University
for you.
You students at Missouri Southern, no tax cuts or Pell Grant increases for you. You, Luke Smith, the 19-old-year
student who told the Joplin Globe that you wished you could afford something to eat except ramen noodles and
bologna sandwiches: No milk and cereal for you. Suck it up.
Why, things could get so bad that people in Joplin might cut back on bowling, and there goes the business at
Fourth Street Bowl. But you won’t hear the owner complain. Ron Richard, when he’s not guiding the
deliberations of the Missouri House, runs the Fourth Street lanes and four other bowling houses.
In November, the people of Missouri, in their ineffable wisdom, chose to leave the Legislature in Republican
hands, and House Republicans voted to put a small businessman who runs bowling lanes in charge.
And why not? Bowing is a blue-collar sport, a sociable pastime the whole family can enjoy. Folks get together
with friends, have a few beers. You’d think a bowling guy would have some empathy for folks.
Apparently not. The year’s legislative session features the same old pettiness, inflated egos, narrow minds and
kowtowing to special interests that have become a tradition.
• Legislators and lobbyists wander the halls, talking about special-interest bills. As Tony Messenger of the Post-
Dispatch reported Monday, at least 50 former Missouri legislators now lobby the Legislature. We may be 47th in
state support for higher education, but we’re fifth in the number of legislators-turned-lobbyists.
• The House burned up a couple of days debating a resolution opposing a law that Congress hasn’t even taken
up. In the course of that debate, which concerns restricting state rules on abortion, Rep. Bryan Stevenson, R-
Webb City, inveighed against the ―War of Northern Aggression.‖ He later apologized, saying he had no idea that
was what slavery supporters called the Civil War.
• State Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, led a weeklong war against Gov. Jay Nixon’s appointment of St. Louis
lawyer Linda Martinez to head the state Department of Economic Development. Mr. Rupp said he was upset that
Ms. Martinez led a legal challenge to the city of Valley Park’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigrants. But it



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turned out only that his feelings were hurt when Ms. Martinez failed to treat him with the proper obeisance. ―I’m
feeling majorly, majorly slighted,‖ Mr. Rupp said.
• Mr. Richard refused to appoint Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford, D-St. Louis, to the House Commitee on Children
and Families, despite her outstanding record on children’s issues. Could it be that Ms. Mott Oxford is one of two
openly gay members of the Legislature? Or worse, could she be against bowling?
―At the end of the day, I am in charge,‖ Mr. Richard said.
Too bad. Missouri is being majorly, majorly slighted.




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Too many conflicts at the Public Service
Commission
POST-DISPATCH By Editorial Board

Missouri Public Service Commissioner Jeff Davis is a walking conflict of interest. Since 2005, he’s been involved
in four incidents that raise questions about his objectivity and that of the utility regulatory body on which he
serves.
In a tearful 2007 interview with the Post-Dispatch editorial board, Mr. Davis promised to ―change the way I do
business.‖
He has not. Two of the four incidents have come to light since that interview. The most recent, involving a 17.5
percent rate hike request filed by Kansas City Power & Light, occurred just last month.
Last week, lawyers for large industrial customers of the utility filed a motion asking Mr. Davis to remove himself
from the case. That’s not enough. His pattern of scoffing at the rules demands that he step down or be fired.
Evidence in utility rate cases is supposed to be introduced during public hearings. All parties — utilities, the
Office of Public Counsel, which represents ratepayers, and attorneys for large industrial electric customers —
are supposed to have a chance to ask questions about the evidence or testimony or object to it.
But on Feb. 3, Mr. Davis asked the PSC staff, which is a party to the KCP&L rate case, for information about the
utility’s 2007 earnings.
That’s crucial to deciding the case. But because accounting rules are very complex — governing, for example,
what expenses can be charged to the regulated utility and what must be charged to its for-profit holding
company — it’s also a contentious issue.
Consumer advocates in Kansas, where the utility filed a similar rate case, have objected to $1 million in
spending charged to the regulated utility. It includes money for golf outings, amusement park admissions and
tickets to Kansas City Chiefs and Royals games.
If those are accepted as legitimate expenses, they would be built into the rates and charged to utility customers.
It’s inconceivable that the same issue won’t come up in the Missouri rate case. That is why any testimony about
the utility’s earnings should have been presented during a regular hearing with all the parties present.
Instead, figures that came from just one party were distributed by Mr. Davis to other commissioners.
Mr. Davis disclosed his request for information, and the response, in a legal filing called an ex parte notice. Such
notices are supposed to document inadvertent communication between commissioners and someone who’s not
involved in the case, as when an angry rate payer calls to object about a proposed rate hike.
But the KCP&L earnings request wasn’t inadvertent. Nor did it originate with someone who didn’t know better.
That makes it much more serious.
Any commissioner who’s served as long as Mr. Davis — he was appointed in 2004 and served as chairman from
2005 until last month — should know better. Indeed, just last year, he wrote a report to then-Gov. Matt Blunt and
the Legislature on the very rule he now is accused of violating.
Mr. Davis is paid $105,000 a year to be objective. His continued inability to follow the rules makes him unfit to
serve. Gov. Jay Nixon should launch an investigation. He or the Legislature can remove Mr. Davis from office.
Citizens must be confident of the PSC’s objectivity. Right now, that confidence is not justified.




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Execution pause, review are overdue
Rep. Bill Deeken

COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE                Tuesday, February 17, 2009

For the past several years I have sponsored legislation that would impose a moratorium on executions in
Missouri while a commission does a complete study of the death penalty system in our state. This might seem a
strange action for a person who, in principle, supports the death penalty. But I believe this legislation is
absolutely necessary in Missouri.
Since 1989, Missouri has executed 66 people, the fourth-most of any state. Legislation returning the death
penalty to Missouri law was enacted more than 30 years ago. Since then, Missouri has not had a comprehensive
official review of the state’s death penalty system. With a punishment as final as death, it’s long past time state
officials take a pause to thoroughly examine our system of taking a life.
A death penalty moratorium is important because there is fear that an innocent person could be executed.
Although there is much to be proud of in our criminal justice system, it is still a human system. Mistakes can be
and have been made when it comes to the death penalty. Nationally, 129 people who were convicted and
sentenced to death since 1973 have been exonerated. This includes three men in Missouri — Clarence Dexter,
Eric Clemmons and Joe Amrine — who had their death sentences removed when evidence of their innocence
came to light.
Legitimate concerns have been raised with our state’s application of the death penalty. A Columbia Law School
study in 2000 revealed that one-third of Missouri’s death sentences were later reversed because of errors. A few
individuals currently living under a death sentence in Missouri have raised credible claims of innocence.
Although I don’t know whether their claims are valid, the execution of even one innocent person destroys the
integrity of the system.
How do innocent people get sentenced to death? An examination of wrongful convictions reveals common
threads: mistaken eyewitness identification, forced confessions, jailhouse snitches, poor legal representation,
faulty evidence and misconduct by police and prosecutors. Many of these problems existed in the Illinois criminal
justice system when Gov. George Ryan halted executions in 2000 after 13 death row exonerations.
A commission examined their death penalty system and recommended numerous reforms to prevent wrongful
convictions. Some of these recommendations were adopted into law. Surely, we in Missouri also deserve to
have the best possible criminal justice system we can create.
If we instituted a moratorium, a similar commission would examine all aspects of the death penalty as
administered in the state, including the evidence used to obtain a homicide conviction, the experience level of
attorneys, resources available to counsel, characteristics of those who receive a death sentence, the cost of the
death penalty, criteria used by prosecutors in seeking the death penalty and the interests of the victims’ families.
The commission would report its findings and make recommendations to the General Assembly and the
governor.
Regardless of one’s position on the death penalty, all people want a fair and just criminal justice system.
Missourians are no different.
Although surveys indicate majority support in principle for capital punishment, 60 percent of Missourians support
a three-year moratorium and study of the state’s death penalty (Center for Social Sciences and Public Policy
Research, Missouri State University, 2004). In addition, 300 Missouri church groups, businesses and civic
organizations have signed resolutions calling for a moratorium on executions while a study takes place. The



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2008 moratorium legislation had bipartisan support with 58 co-sponsors (14 Republicans, 44 Democrats).
Hopefully, we’ll have more co-sponsors in the 2009 session.
Our state currently requires cars to be inspected for safety every two years. And just as we wouldn’t inspect our
cars while driving them, we shouldn’t examine our death penalty while executions continue. Missouri should take
a pause in executions and do a thorough examination of how we use capital punishment. Justice demands no
less.
Bill Deeken, a Republican from Jefferson City, represents the 114th District in the Missouri House.




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Missourinet

Nixon says Missouri must be ready to spend federal money
Tuesday, February 17, 2009, 2:23 PM
By Brent Martin

Governor Nixon said today that Missouri must be ready to use an economic development tool made available to
the state by Congress.
Nixon spoke with Capitol reporters after addressing the Missouri School Boards Association meeting at the
Capital Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City. Nixon acknowledged that the $787 billion economic stimulus package
approved by Congress and signed into law by President Obama is daunting for anyone trying to read through it
and comprehend it all.
"Well, first of all, it's a complicated process," Nixon said, "but what we're going to receive is an opportunity to get
Missourians back to work."
Nixon's staff is pouring over the bill, attempting to understand its impact on Missouri. The bill contains a
combination of spending, aid and tax cuts designed to jump start a stalled and faltering economy. The bill
contains $87 billion to help states meet the rising cost of Medicaid. At one time, the package promised massive
help for states with budgets sinking deep into the red. The help remains, but was drastically cut during
negotiations. The final deal cut $25 billion from the proposed state fiscal stabilization fund, reduced spending to
extend health insurance for the unemployed and eliminated approximately $16 billion from a line item for school
construction.
Nixon is hoping that Missouri might squeeze a bit more out of the stimulus package if it is prepared to spend
right away.
"The states that do that the best, the states that invest in human capital, the states that use those resources to
jump start their economy will get a better benefit than states that don't," Nixon stated, noting that the bill contains
competitive grants and "use it or lose it" provisions.
The Missouri Department of Transportation is ready to use federal money. The State Transportation Commission
awarded a contract as soon as President Obama signed the legislation. The $8.5 million Osage River Bridge
project at Tuscumbia is believed to be the first transportation project in the nation being built with federal
stimulus money.
Some state lawmakers have stated Missouri shouldn't use one-time money for on-going expenses. They say that
accepting the stimulus money might simply postpone the inevitable and make the budget hole worse in two
years.
Nixon countered that the downturn in the economy has increased the state's social costs, from increased
Medicaid expenditures to sending out more unemployment checks. Nixon said a stronger economy will cut those
expenses and raise tax revenue flowing to the state.
"I'm not trying to think, right now, two and a half years from now what a budget might look like starting July 1 of
2011 or 2012," Nixon told reporters, "I have 219,000 Missourians out of work. My job is to get them back to work
and get them back to work as fast as we can."




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Program would extend low-interest loans to businesses, individuals,
farms and municipalities
Tuesday, February 17, 2009, 10:06 PM
By Jessica Machetta

The State Treasurer's Office wants to expand a program that makes low-interest loans available to small
businesses, individuals and local governments.
State Treasurer Clint Zweifel has unveiled his "Invest in Missouri" plan, which he says would reinvest an
estimated one billion dollars in communities and return $10 million to Missouri taxpayers.
Through the Missouri Linked Deposit program, the Treasurer's Office deposits money into community banks at
below-market-rate interest, allowing the bank to pass along that savings to borrowers -- small businesses and
farms -- at 2 percent or 3 percent interest.
Zweifel says the program has a cap of $720 million -- and only about 40 percent of that's being utilized.
His changes to the plan would speed up the approval process, extend the loans to municipalities for public works
projects and remove the caps for small businesses.
The change in statute would require legislative approval. Zweifel says he's working with leaders in the General
Assembly to make that happen.
Click here to view the State Treasurer's complete INVEST IN MISSOURI Initiatives.
Click the audio icon to hear Zweifel talk about the program.

Jobs bill fight shapes up in senate
Tuesday, February 17, 2009, 10:01 PM
By Bob Priddy

The jobs bill that has flown through the House appears to be headed for a battle in the state senate.
A handful of senators are questioning whether cutting the state's tax revenue really does pay off in jobs. Tax
credits let companies escape paying some of their taxes to the state. Presumably, that money is plowed into the
business to create employment.
Expanding a tax credit program to help companies expand and hire more workers is a key part of the economic
development bill. Senate sponsor David Pearce of Warrensburg says the original Quality Jobs law has created
22-thousand new jobs. But Cape Girardeau Senator Jason Crowell says the real figure is three-thousand.
Pearce says the proposed expansion of Quality Jobs could produce as many as 30-thousand new jobs. Crowell
is incredulous. He tells Pearce, "That is such a...disingenuous statement...You have no idea...There is no
empirical data whatsoever...that you're going to create jobs."
Pearce says about twenty percent of the bill is aimed at small business---which Crowell says creates about 70
percent of new jobs. He attacks the bill for using 80 percent of its job-creation efforts on big businesses that only
create 30 percent of the jobs.
Crowell also has attacked a provision giving tax breaks the owner of "a lot of old mines" be sales tax exempt
when a Cape Girardeau bicycle shop is not. Pearce says that's "a good question" for which he has no answer.
He also cannot answer Crowell's question about how many jobs would be created by the mine owner.
Crowell has introduced a more than a dozen amendments that could strip almost every tax credit out of the bill,
setting the stage for a lengthy debate that could exert considerable pressure on Pearce to make major changes
in the way the state would use tax credits for job creation.




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The bill is a major priority of Governor Nixon and legislative leaders, who hope to finish work on it before
lawmakers leave on their Spring break about three weeks from now.


Nixon says public education must expand to meet new economy
Tuesday, February 17, 2009, 7:00 PM
By Brent Martin

Governor Nixon told and education groups that he's fully committed to public education and committed to re-
shaping Missouri's educational system into one that prepares young people for a changing economy.
Nixon reiterated his pledge to fully fund public schools in the coming budget, saying that's non-negotiable. He
told the Missouri School Boards' Association the concept of public school must expand.
"I also think we need to have greater investment in early childhood education; Parents as Teachers, First Steps
and many other programs of that nature, making sure that kids are ready to learn when they get to school that
first time," Nixon told the group gathered at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City.
Nixon said he supports expanding the alternative school system to remove disruptive students from the regular
classroom.
The group applauded when Nixon stated that fully funding the Foundation Formula, the state's system for
funding public schools, was non-negotiable, but probably applauded the loudest when Nixon stated that he
would fight any form of school voucher system.
Then, the governor raised the stakes. He said the concept of vouchers had been introduced in state funding of
college scholarships. Nixon claimed that Access Missouri provided more money for students attending private
colleges than those attending public colleges. He pledges to equalize the distribution of scholarship funds
through Access Missouri.
The state has been moving to make a stronger connection among the various levels of education. Nixon says
that the connection from Kindergarten through college must be strengthened, because the changing global
economy now demands more than a high school diploma.
"In the new economy, a high school degree or a GED is not going to be enough to compete for some of the
newer jobs we're going to see out there," Nixon stated. "So, I think that as part of the public education
continuum, supporting opportunities beyond high school are very, very important."
And, with a nod to the association, Nixon said what will keep public schools strong is not what happens in the
legislature, but by the tools provided school boards to truly exercise local control.

Senate committee hears this year's effort to repeal helmet law
Tuesday, February 17, 2009, 6:33 PM
By Steve Walsh

The annual effort to repeal Missouri's helmet law for motorcycle riders is underway with a Senate committee
considering a bill - SB 27 - sponsored by Senator Luann Ridgeway (R-Smithville). Under the proposal, only
those 21 years of age or older would be allowed to shed the helmet.
During testimony, Ridgeway told the panel it's a matter of choice, insisting Missourians should be allowed to
make those choices without interference from what she calls a "nanny state" affecting one segment of society -
motorcycle riders.
Ridgeway says if the real goal is to save lives and prevent injuries, Missourians should be forced to wear
protective headgear in automobiles.




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"The number one cause of head injuries in the state of Missouri is automobile accidents," said Ridgeway, "So we
should all, under that theory, if it is the gold standard, should have to wear helmets inside a passenger
automobile. Now we all know that is ludicrous."
Kate Downey a brain injury specialist at the University of Missouri's Rusk Rehabilitation Center in Columbia,
offered a different view. She points out it is not just death from head injuries that must be considered, it is brain
damage.
"When people sometimes don't wear their helmets they're kind of at the infantile level," testified Downey.
"Someone has to clean them up when they've moved their bowels or bladder and someone has to move them
every two hours to prevent bed sores that can eventually kill them."
The hearing ended with the panel taking no vote on the bill.




               On the Web :        www.senate.mo.gov/sencom – Telephone : (573) 751-3824
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USA TODAY MISSOURI NEWS
Wednesday, February 18
Jefferson City - Gov. Nixon appointed the former Pike County sheriff to a spot on the state Board of Probation
and Parole. Democrat Jimmie Lee Wells served as sheriff from 1989 through 2008. Wells' term on the parole
board is to run until February 2015.

Tuesday, February 17
Fayette - An ordinance that bans getting new pit bulls and requires all dogs to be registered goes into effect here
today. The rules limit each home to three canines unless owners have already registered them. Current pit bull
owners will have to show proof of $100,000 of liability insurance and muzzle their dogs when walking them.

Monday, February 16
Joplin - An apartment linked to bank robbers BonnieParker and Clyde Barrow has been nominated for the
National Register of Historic Places. A Missouri preservation council approved the nomination, which will be
forwarded to Washington, D.C. Two police officers died in the April 1933 confrontation with the infamous couple.




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