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Senator details road funds plan
Bill taps growth in general revenue.
By JASON ROSENBAUM of the Tribune’s staff
Published Friday, January 18, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY - A St. Louis County state senator has proposed a constitutional amendment that would
direct some annual growth in state revenues to building and maintaining roads, highways and bridges.
Sen. John Loudon, R-Chesterfield, wants to boost the amount of money going to the Missouri Department of
Transportation by 10 percent of the growth of general revenue.
Loudon projects $36 million worth of funding would go into MoDOT‘s coffers in fiscal year 2010. If general
revenue continued to increase by roughly 4.5 percent and additional money was generated by the economic
stimulus spurred by constructing roads, Loudon estimated the plan would send $1.3 billion a year to MoDOT by
fiscal year 2030.
"I encourage my colleagues in the State Senate and House to get behind this measure so we can send it to a
vote of the people to increase the investment we need to make in our transportation infrastructure while not
increasing taxes one penny," Loudon said in a statement.
Mike Reid, an aide to Loudon, said the proposal is not meant to target specific road projects.
MoDOT director Pete Rahn has warned that funding for his agency is set to fall "off a cliff," from $1.2 billion to
about $569 million in 2010. That‘s the year when the state will start repaying bonds that are funding current
projects. Rahn also noted that the National Highway Trust Fund will go into a deficit soon, which could decrease
federal money for states‘ highways by one-third.
Money used to pay for state highway improvements primarily comes from Amendment 3, a ballot initiative
approved by voters in 2004 that shifted half the proceeds from the state vehicle sales tax to MoDOT. The ballot
item also created a fund to make payments for bonds.
That predicament has caused lawmakers to scramble for ways to make up for the shortfall. Rep. Neal St. Onge,
R-Ellisville, for example, proposed raising vehicle license fees, fuel taxes and sales taxes over a six-year period.
Most of the money - about $3.6 billion - would convert Interstate 70 into four lanes in each direction, with special
lanes for truck traffic.
But such tax increases are viewed as untenable, especially in an election year. Loudon said his plan is attractive
because it doesn‘t ask voters to raise taxes. It would, however, draw from a pool of money used to pay for
services such as schools and mental health services. Roads are now funded with fuel, vehicle and license tag
fees.
Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, chairman of the Missouri state Senate Transportation Committee, said Loudon‘s
plan is one of many ideas "in the toolbox" to deal with transportation funding situation.
"We‘re trying to get the debate started, so when you talk about the various solutions, maybe" you could "come
up with that perfect solution," Stouffer said, who in the past also proposed a sales tax increase to pay for
highway construction.
Kevin Keith, MoDOT‘s chief engineer, said the idea is worth considering. "As you all know, we‘re facing a budget
crisis in transportation in 2010," Keith said. "We applaud his leadership of putting a solution on the table."




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Legislators, Blunt seek biodiesel mandate
Saturday, January 19, 2008
By Matt Sanders ~ Southeast Missourian
Missouri's biodiesel producers may soon get a guaranteed market for their product.
Under a proposal similar to the state's 10 percent ethanol mandate that took effect Jan. 1, Gov. Matt Blunt and
some legislators are pushing for a biodiesel standard.
In his State of the State address Tuesday night, Blunt lent his support to the creation of a 5 percent statewide
biodiesel standard. And a bill being heard by the Missouri Senate Agriculture, Conservation, Parks and Natural
Resources Committee would require all diesel fuel terminals in the state to seek a 5 percent biodiesel blend by
2010. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Stouffer, sponsored by Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, isn't based on Blunt's
recommendations, said Blunt spokeswoman Jessica Robinson.
But the bill shares the same 5 percent standard Blunt is seeking.
The proposed law would also tighten regulation of biodiesel by developing standards to improve the fuel's cold-
weather performance and requiring state biodiesel producers to get national accreditation from the National
Biodiesel Accreditation Program.
Provisions for making sure biodiesel won't gel in cold weather are important to any discussion of a biodiesel
standard, said Jim Hope, manager of the Co-Op Service Center in Jackson, an area diesel distributor.
Biodiesel gels at a higher temperature than standard diesel. But Adam Buckalew, spokesman for the Missouri
Soybean Association, said standard fuel additives already used to prevent conventional diesel from gelling can
be used with similar results in biodiesel and biodiesel blends.
The center currently sells diesel with a 2 percent biodiesel blend in the summer.
"We already have a 10 percent ethanol standard, and that's not causing a problem," Hope said.
Tim Hutchcraft, plant manager at Global Fuels LLC in Dexter, Mo., said his company has no difficulty selling its
biodiesel product right now, but the standard would provide more economic security by providing a guaranteed
market.
Since opening last April, Global Fuels has produced about 2 million gallons of biodiesel.
"Not being in business for very long, it takes awhile to see what the market's going to do," Hutchcraft said of the
benefit of having a guaranteed market.
Global Fuels is in the process of receiving its accreditation, a process that requires more extensive sampling and
testing of the plant's product and extensive documentation of those results.
Hutchcraft said the accreditation process does take time but not so much as to cause an extreme burden on
producers.
Biodiesel currently produced in the state already meets international standards for quality, said Ronald Hayes,
manager of the fuel quality program for the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Those fuels are tested regularly
through surprise inspections and self-submitted samples sent to the state for testing.
Missouri Soybean Association spokesman Adam Buckalew said the implementation of a biodiesel standard will
create a guaranteed market for 60 million gallons of biodiesel in the state. Biodiesel production in Missouri is
expected to reach at least 125 million gallons by 2008, according to the association.
The association's executive director, Dale Ludwig, said under the current market climate, some oil companies
have policies that biodiesel can't be sold at stations selling their fuel, limiting the places where biodiesel and
blends are available.
Another aspect of the Senate bill and of Blunt's recommendations is that distributors wouldn't have to sell
biodiesel blends if their price goes higher than that of conventional diesel.




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Judge affirms holding Missouri campaign-finance
hardship hearings in secret
By JASON NOBLE
The Star‘s Jefferson City correspondent
JEFFERSON CITY | A Cole County judge on Friday denied a motion to prevent the Missouri Ethics Commission
from holding campaign-finance hardship hearings in secret.
Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem‘s decision allows the commission to continue as planned with closed-session
hearings next week.
―Based upon the ruling today, we‘ll proceed on our due course,‖ said Robert Connor, commission executive
director.
Rep. Margaret Donnelly, a St. Louis County Democrat and candidate for attorney general, sued last month to
make the hearings public.
Friday‘s defeat, in which the judge denied a preliminary injunction, is Donnelly‘s second in the case. Earlier,
Beetem denied a temporary restraining order to prevent the commission from closing the hearings.
―I‘m disappointed that the judge ruled that the hearings can proceed behind closed doors,‖ Donnelly said in a
statement. ―Missourians deserve open government, and I will never stop fighting for that.‖
In denying the preliminary injunction, Beetem set a hearing for Feb. 1 to determine further action in the case.
Reached by phone, Donnelly said she would continue her fight in court and also explore changing Missouri‘s
Sunshine Law to further open commission proceedings.
―When there are decisions to be made based on court decisions or how to proceed under the law, I think those
are properly made in open session,‖ Donnelly said.
The commission hearings will determine whether candidates who accepted campaign donations over reinstated
limits can keep the money by claiming hardship.
More than 160 candidates, including Gov. Matt Blunt and his challenger, Attorney General Jay Nixon, accepted
excess contributions between Jan. 1, 2007, when a law removing the limits went into effect, and July 19, when
the state Supreme Court struck down the law.
Twenty-eight candidates have filed for the hardship exemption, but their identities remain unknown.
Blunt and Nixon have pledged to return excess contributions.
The commission‘s hearings are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday and Jan. 31.
The hardship claims will be processed in the same manner as a complaint investigation, in which the
commission will consider the case in secret and then release a public report later.




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Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction to
Stop Ethics Commission Closed Hearings
Friday, January 18, 2008, 5:02 PM
MISSOURINET - By Steve Walsh

A judge in Jefferson City has ruled against a request for a preliminary injunction to stop the Missouri Ethics
Commission from holding closed door hearings on so-called hardship cases stemming from a State Supreme
Court ruling striking down a campaign finance law and reinstating contribution limits.
Candidates who received money in excess of the limits are required to return the over-the-limit money, and
those who claim hardship in doing so are entitled to hearings before the Commission.
State Representative Margaret Donnelly (D-St. Louis), a Democratic candidate for Attorney General, had gone to
court in an effort to force the Commission to hold the hearings out in the open. But Cole County Circuit Judge
Jon Beetem has refused to comply. Donnelly's challenge is not over, but this is certainly a setback. She says she
will continue to pursue the case in court or in the General Assembly with a legislative effort to have such
hearings covered by Missouri's Sunshine Law.




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Ethics Commission may conduct closed
meetings
Judge: Secret hearing OK for candidates seeking exemptions.
David A. Lieb
The Associated Press


Jefferson City — A judge gave the go-ahead Friday for the Missouri Ethics Commission to hold closed-door
hearings for candidates seeking an exemption from refunding large campaign contributions.
State Rep. Margaret Donnelly, a Democratic attorney general candidate, had sought a preliminary injunction
preventing the secret hearings, which are scheduled to occur in the next two weeks.
But Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem rejected her request. The judge said the Ethics Commission is
following its normal enforcement process for alleged campaign finance violations.
The lawsuit is part of the aftermath of a July decision by the Missouri Supreme Court re-imposing the state's
campaign contribution limits after a six-and-a-half-month window of unlimited fundraising.
Most politicians are returning donations received during that time that were above the retroactively reinstated
limits of $1,275 for statewide offices, $650 for Senate races and $325 for House races.
But under an August followup decision, the Supreme Court also laid out a scenario in which candidates could be
exempt from refunds if they relied on the law in place at the time to raise money and would now face a hardship
in returning it.
In response to questions raised in Donnelly's lawsuit, the Ethics Commission revealed that 28 candidates have
sought hardship exemptions from returning their over-the-limit contributions.
Closed hearings for those candidates are scheduled to occur next Wednesday and Thursday and on Jan. 31.
The Ethics Commission is treating those hardship requests as a defense to one of its traditional investigations of
campaign finance violations. Those hearings are closed under state law.




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Infrastructure the talk of legislative priority meeting
By Deanna Wheeler/Lake Sun Leader

LAKE OF THE OZARKS - Chambers of commerce and citizen groups representing all three lake counties
presented their lists of priorities to state legislators Thursday evening.
One of the recurring themes was infrastructure.
Lake of the Ozarks Transportation Council chairman Jim Herfurth opened the presentations with a rundown of
LOTC's work to lay the groundwork for creating a Transportation Development District to levy a voter-approved
sales tax.
The money generated would be used to enter into a cost-share agreement with MoDOT to help fund a new
Route 5 North.
But first, Herfurth said the language of a new bill, Senate Bill 22, needs to be changed.
Passed in last year's legislative session, the bill allows all property owners within a TDD to vote regardless of
whether or not they're registered voters. Votes are also based on the amount of acreage owned.
Herfurth said he will not be able to take the TDD to a vote of the people until the bill is changed. He's asking
legislators to amend it to only include registered voters.
And with groundbreaking set to happen later this year, Bill Kuhlow, president of the Horseshoe Bend
Development Group, updated the crowd on the Horseshoe Bend Parkway extension and the Bagnell Dam Strip
revitalization effort.
Constant new development is the way we continue to attract new people and visitors to the area, he explained.
But first, the area needs the infrastructure, including roads, sewers, etc, to support the new development.
Infrastructure is necessary for things to build up on, he said.
Charged with promoting all this new development is Jim Divincen, director of the Tri-County Lodging
Association.
With a ballot issue coming up that asks voters to approve a 2-percent increase in the lodging tax, Divincen
explained the added money would mean Lake of the Ozarks would continue to be competitive with other tourist
destinations.
One of the first priorities would be to use the money for capital improvements, he said, to build sports fields so
the area could host competitive tournaments, such as the Show-Me Games.
Other uses would be for more advertising, hiring more staff and possibly entering into a regional partnership for a
jet carrier.
He also stressed the need for bigger and safer roadways to bring tourists to the area and noted all the work
Herfurth has undertaken.
Infrastructure has little to do with Water Patrol Col. Rad Talbert's job. Instead, during his presentation, he
focused on the increased safety at the lake.
He said the Lake of the Ozarks Water Safety Coalition has been working to get out the message of practicing
safe boating versus using enforcement to make people aware of different dangers.
One marketing tool uses coasters with 'Think Before You Sink' stamped on them.
Talbert said the coasters were handed out at different restaurants on the water so people would hopefully get the
message to not drink and drive.


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Either way, he said the Water Patrol will continue to push the .08 BAC bill in legislature. The bill mirrors the
highway law.
Boating accidents across the state have reached a 20-year low, but that's all the more reason to push the law,
he said.
We want to continue pushing accidents and fatalities down, he said, noting the same law on the highways wasn't
bumped back up to .10 after a year with fewer vehicle accidents.
He said Water Patrol will also continue to push what he calls the 30-300 rule to cut down on wake damage.
That bill would require any vessel over 30 feet to idle 300 feet out from any dock. The current law only requires
100 feet.
State legislators seemed responsive to the presentations.
Dr. Wayne Cooper said it is always a lot easier to come to a meeting and learn concisely what people feel are
the important issues.




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Blunt announces three initiatives to
strengthen Missouri’s farm economy
By VICTORIA SIZEMORE LONG
KC STAR
Grain markets were closed Monday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, but other developments
continue to draw attention in the agricultural community.
Gov. Matt Blunt earlier this month announced three farming initiatives to help strengthen Missouri‘s agricultural
economy.
Blunt said he would establish Dairy Parlor Renovation Grants to help producers at older dairies with the costs of
renovation.
He also announced his support to enhance infrastructure to support agriculture through a recommendation of $4
million in new funding for Port Authority capital improvement projects.
He also disclosed plans for the Farm Legacy Exchange Program to help match beginning farmers with farmers
nearing retirement. The idea is to help form a working relationship and to transition farming responsibilities from
existing farmers to beginning farmers.
Immigration reform
The American Farm Bureau Federation is speaking up on key changes that agriculture needs from
immigration reform.
Patrick O‘Brien, an economist with the group, said the farm work force has stabilized at about 3 million workers.
That includes 2 million farm family workers and 1 million hired workers.
Attracting and holding 1 million American hired workers is virtually impossible even with employment alternatives
and workers. At the group‘s recent 89th annual convention in New Orleans, O‘Brien outlined three major points
the agricultural community needs from immigration reform:
•A simplified guest worker program that supplies 500,000 to 750,000 legal migrant and stationary foreign
workers for agriculture on a reliable, recurring basis.
•An effective guest worker wage set at the prevailing market wage.
•A compromise with labor rights groups on the treatment of guest workers that allows the program to work and
farmers to operate.
Farm Bureau works through its grassroots organization at local, county, state, national and international levels to
enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities.
For more information about the group, go to www.fb.org.




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Five Star for Pre-School?
Monday, January 21, 2008, 10:01 PM
MISSOURINET - By Bob Priddy

We have five-star ratings for restaurants and hotels. How about for early childhood education centers? The
Missouri legislature has been asked to create the ratings system.
St. Joseph Senator Charlie Shields wants state accreditation of centers that educate Missouri children younger
than five...with increased requirements for staffing and staff training as each new level is reached. He thinks it
will cost eight million dollars a year to run the program.
The state has been running some pilot projects of the Quality Rating System. Project Director Kyle Matchell with
the Mid-America Council in Kansas City says almost two thirds of the centers tested have improved by at least
one star.
But critics such as Senator Scott Rupp of St. Charles say the ratings system will only drive up costs for the
schools and the families that use them---and that means the state will have to increase its child care subsidy.
The end result, he says, is that Shields' eight-million dollar program will become a fifty-million dollar program--all
because government decided to get into the certification business.
Some providers have told a Senate committee the test projects at their center have made things a lot better.
Others complain the requirements for increased certification are onerous, invasive, and too expensive.




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Steelman, Clinton hint at hot news on
tap for Tuesday
By Jo Mannies
01/21/2008 7:13 pm
State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, a Republican from Rolla, has some GOP activists in knots as they ponder her
plans for a major press conference at noon Tuesday.
Said the release, sent out Friday:
―Please join Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman as she makes an important campaign announcement
from the kitchen table of her childhood home. Sarah will be joined by her family and parents. Serving as State
Treasurer, Sarah has worked to invest in Missourians and their future…‖
The event is at the home of John and Jackie Hearne, 1913 W Main Street, in Jefferson City.
Is Steelman announcing her re-election? Is she ―pulling a McCaskill‖ and challenging Gov. Matt Blunt, a fellow
Republican?
Is she announcing who she‘s supporting for president?
Also intriquing: the release came from the consulting firm of Jeff Roe, arguably Missouri‘s most bare-knuckled
Republican operative.
Meanwhile, the Missouri campaign operation of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., also plans a major
announcement at the presidential contender‘s offices in Kansas City and St. Louis. U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver,
D-Kansas City, is slated to be on hand at the Kansas City locale.
Clinton state director Rachel Storch, a state legislator from St. Louis, is headlining the local announcement.
 (Note that Mayor Francis Slay, arguably Clinton‘s most prominent local supporter, will not be present. He
wasn‘t visible at Clinton‘s rally in Florissant, either, although one source says that Slay was at the event, but kept
a low-profile.
Could Clinton be affected by Slay‘s conflict with some African-Americans, as a result of his ouster of city Fire
Chief Sherman George?)




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Blunt, Nixon fuel battle over ‘political'
offices
JEFFERSON CITY NEWS TRIBUNE - By Bob Watson

As the November elections to choose Missouri's next governor gets closer, some people are complaining that
potential candidates are using their state offices for political purposes.
For example, the state Constitution requires the governor to give an annual ―State of the State‖ address to
lawmakers.
During his speech last Tuesday, Gov. Matt Blunt, a Republican, drew distinctions between his administration's
work and what he has called ―the failed policies‖ of the previous administration under Democratic Gov. Bob
Holden.
Blunt legally can serve another term, but has not said, yet, whether he'll run for a second four years in office -
even as his campaign committee continues raising money and sending out news releases pointing out Blunt's
accomplishments while questioning Attorney General Jay Nixon's work and statements.
Most observers expect Nixon to win the Aug. 5 Democratic Primary and be Blunt's opponent in the Nov. 8
general election.
At one point in his 49-minute speech, Blunt said: ―When the old way failed the people, Missourians issued their
mandate for a new direction.
―We took a wrecked state budget and delivered consecutive surpluses.
―We took a job climate that was causing entrepreneurs and employers to flee our state and turned it into a
climate welcoming new jobs - nearly 90,000 in just three years.‖
But Nixon said Tuesday night, in a pre-recorded, Democratic Party response to Blunt's speech: ―At a time when
our economy is in peril, why aren't we keeping pace with our neighboring states on job creation and economic
development? These questions are disturbing when we hear the Republicans talk about having extra money. ...
―Make no mistake. The money sitting in the state's bank account (is) there because this Governor failed to fund
the priorities that would move Missouri forward.‖
Within hours of Nixon's nine-minute ―response‖ to Blunt's speech, the governor's office issued two, separate
news releases about it.
In the first, Blunt said: ―It is my job to report to the people of Missouri on how the changes we are making are
working for the best interests of Missouri.
―It is Jay Nixon's job to gripe about our success in terms that serve his interests and the interests of his political
campaign.‖
The second governor's office release listed a dozen quotes from Nixon's remarks that were labeled as ―Jay
Nixon's Fiction,‖ followed by the administration's ―Facts.‖
Scott Holste, who's been Nixon's attorney general's office spokesman for years, told the News Tribune last
week: ―As a long-time state employee, I am troubled by the governor's continued use of his taxpayer-funded
press office and Web site to make political accusations.‖
But Jessica Robinson, Blunt's spokeswoman, told the News Tribune: ―It is wholly appropriate for a public official
to correct inaccurate statements, claims and assertions.‖
Holste's comments came before this weekend's news reports that the governor's office staff had directed state
employees on which camera shots to take during the statewide broadcast of the State of the State address -


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shots that showed Republican lawmakers' enthusiastic support for Blunt's remarks, while not showing Democrats
mostly sitting quietly during the 63 interruptions of applause, including 25 standing ovations.
The news stories noted the televised speech was produced with state equipment and staff, and state
government paid for an hour of satellite time to provide a live broadcast for Missouri TV stations that chose to
carry it - including Mid-Missouri stations KRCG-TV and KOMU-TV.
Robinson told the Columbia Daily Tribune that the broadcast accurately showed what was going on during the
speech.




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Political conflict keeps Missouri ethanol plant from
incentives
By DAVID A. LIEB
Associated Press Writer

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A potential conflict of interest involving a congressman's wife, the governor's
brother and a state legislator has kept a new $82 million ethanol plant from receiving a valuable state financing
incentive.
If the politicians, or their relatives, don't sell their shares soon, the hundreds of other investors in Show Me
Ethanol LLC could be forced to shoulder millions of dollars of additional interest to pay off the plant's loan.
Show Me Ethanol, which is on track to open this spring, received conditional approval 15 months ago from State
Treasurer Sarah Steelman to benefit from a program in which banks offer below-market interest rates.
But that condition required Show Me Ethanol to comply with Steelman's strict conflict-of-interest policy for its
investors. No incentives can be given if the company has even a single investor who is a lawmaker, statewide
elected official, state department director or a parent, sibling, spouse or child of any of those officials.
So far, Show Me Ethanol has been unable to comply.
That's because its investors include state Rep. John Quinn, R-Chillicothe; his wife, Mary; and Andy Blunt, the
brother of Republican Gov. Matt Blunt. Also invested in the plant is Lesley Graves, the wife of U.S. Rep. Sam
Graves, R-Mo.
The treasurer's policy doesn't specifically list Missouri's federal lawmakers as prohibited investors, but Steelman
has interpreted her policy so that it does.
The Graves family was unaware its investment could pose a potentially costly conflict for Show Me Ethanol until
contacted last month by The Associated Press, said the congressman's spokesman, Jason Klindt. As a result,
Lesley Graves now plans to sell her investment, Klindt said.
"She didn't want Show Me to be held to some sort of different standards just because she was an investor,"
Klindt said.
The Quinns and Andy Blunt are still holding on to their shares, though they told the AP they would consider
selling if Steelman remains steadfast and the company needs them to do so.
Steelman insists no exceptions to her policy will be made.
"This is the taxpayers' money, and I don't think it's right for legislators or elected officials to be able to access that
benefit, which helps them directly profit," said Steelman, a Republican.
The treasurer's BIG Missouri program deposits state money in Missouri banks at interest rates up to 3
percentage points lower than the typical deposit rate. That reduced rate then must be passed on to the entity
receiving the loan. With Steelman's backing, legislators expanded the list of qualifying borrowers in 2005 to
include ethanol plants and other value-added agriculture facilities.
So far, no ethanol plant has benefited. Show Me Ethanol is the only one to even apply.




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Other companies have been scared away from the state program by Steelman's strict policy, said Gary Clark,
the senior market development director for the Missouri Corn Growers Association, who works with groups
seeking to open new ethanol plants.
If its politically connected investors sold their shares, Show Me Ethanol could save about $6 million in interest
over 10 years by participating in the treasurer's program, said Dave Durham, a northern Missouri farmer who is
chairman of Show Me Ethanol's board of directors.
But Durham is frustrated that Steelman has neither budged nor explicitly assured Show Me Ethanol it will get the
cheap bank loan if the Quinns and Blunt sell their shares.
"The reality of the matter is there are not a lot of farmers," Durham said, "and a lot of legislators are farmers, and
they're big supporters of (the ethanol) business and they want to be a part of it."
Quinn believes the treasurer's office should relax its policy, perhaps allowing up to 5 percent of investors to have
political connections. Because Show Me Ethanol has more than 700 investors, Quinn would not have to sell his
shares under such a standard.
"I think she has basically carried it to the extreme," Quinn said.
The treasurer's program is just one of several Missouri incentives for ethanol. The state also offers an income
tax credit for farmers who invest in ethanol plants and provides the facilities up to $15.6 million in production-
based subsidies over their first five years of operation.
The Department of Agriculture has no conflict-of-interest policy for the production subsidies. Its conflict-of-
interest prohibition for the tax credits applies only if a lawmaker, statewide official, department director or an
immediate family member owns more than 10 percent of the company.
"We haven't even come close to anyone being at that 10 percent level," said Tony Stafford, executive director of
the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority, which administers the tax credits.
Farmers who invested in Show Me Ethanol received their individual tax credits last July, Stafford said.
The Corn Growers group contends there is no difference between legislator-farmers receiving ethanol incentives
and legislator-doctors getting paid under the state's Medicaid program.
But Steelman believes the wrong message would be sent if even one public official were to benefit from her
ethanol incentive program.
"We need to make it clear to the taxpayers of this state that their money is being invested wisely and we're not
investing it in elected officials," Steelman said.




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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What Is Sarah Steelman Doing Today?
A) Announce she's running for Governor
B) Announce she's endorsing Sen. John McCain
C) Neither of the above
The buzz is on.
Calls from a well-connected KY3 News anchor to the Steelman family Monday couldn't even produce a hint.
All we know is that Republican State Treasurer Sarah Steelman is holding a noon news conference from the
kitchen table of her childhood home in Jefferson with her family and parents.
Jo Mannies, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, notes her press release came from Republican operative Jeff Roe.
Roe seems to be aligned with Republican candidate Mike Huckabee, so it would be odd if a presidential
endorsement came directly from his office. Also, why surround yourself with your family and parents to announce
your support for Sen. John McCain.
That seems far too intimate . . .
This must be something personal. If you were going to mount an inner-party challenge for Governor, this seems
like it would be the year to do it.
A source also says Steelman didn't attend the Governor's State of the State address last week.
But really? This political year couldn't get turned upside down any more . . .
Could it?


Posted by David Catanese –KY3-TV




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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Steelman returns more than $10,000 to
voucher supporters
Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman returned $11,175 in excess campaign contributions to two top
educational voucher supporters, according to her quarterly disclosure report filed earlier this month with the
Missouri Ethics Commission.
Ms. Steelman returned $8,725 to Charles Norval Sharpe's CNS Corporation and $2,450 to retired billionaire Rex
Sinquefield.
The biggest amount Ms. Steelman returned, $23,725, went to Central Bancompany.
POSTED BY RANDY-THE TURNER REPORT BLOG




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Bill Would Give Tax Break to Private
School Parents
By Susan Miller ,Washington Missourian Staff Writer


Parents who homeschool their children or opt for private education would be reimbursed the amount of
property taxes they pay to their public school district under new legislation proposed.
The bill was given two thumbs down by Washington School District Superintendent Dr. Scott Huddleston.
"This is really just another form of a voucher or tuition tax credit and it would hurt public education," Huddleston
said.
However, St. Francis Borgia Regional High School Principal Dr. Brad Heger said anything that could help out
parents with expenses is a good thing.
"I've been on both sides of public and private education and I appreciate both," said Heger, who joined Borgia
this year after 33 years in the Ladue School District.
State Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O'Fallon, one of the co-sponsors of HB 1316, also known as the "Parents Bill of
Rights," said the plan would create some fairness for those parents who are already meeting their obligation to
the community by spending money on education.
Although public schools might see an initial drop in revenue, Davis told the Columbia Tribune she believes it
would benefit school districts by reducing enrollment.
Huddleston disagrees, saying it would take the movement of a lot of kids for any school to see any savings and
would lower the playing field for public schools.
He also pointed out that many parents, particularly those with kids in poor, urban school districts, probably
wouldn't be able to take advantage of it because the cost of private school would still be too high for them to
afford.
"I don't how many people would make the change here," he said. "I think we have two excellent school systems."
Huddleston said the bill will face staunch opposition from public school leaders and lobbying groups.
Brent Ghan, spokesman for the Missouri School Boards' Association, said everyone has an obligation to support
public schools and education for the vast majority of kids who attend them.
Paying school taxes is no different from paying taxes for other services that not everyone uses, Ghan said.
The Show-Me Institute, a St. Louis-based research and educational institute, this week released a study on the
fiscal effects of a tuition tax credit program in Missouri.
The study finds such a program would benefit the state by providing low-income families with additional
education choices.
Justin Hauke, Show-Me Institute policy analyst and co-author of the study, says Missourians would be
encouraged to earn tax breaks by contributing to organizations that would pool the money to provide options to
low-income families.
Hauke calls the proposal a win-win situation in which taxpayers get a chance to target their dollars to help low-
income families, and it allows those families to send their children to better-performing schools. He adds the
state benefits because limited tax dollars could be spent among fewer students, thanks to some students leaving
the public school system.



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Jetton considers elimination of property
tax for cars
House Speaker Rod Jetton's newsletter discussed last week a host of recommendations brought forward by a
commission looking at property tax regulations in the Show Me State.
This week, Jetton discussed a bill that would gradually eliminate personal property taxes on some vehicles:
I am mentioning the burden that personal property tax lays on Missourians today because there is a bill that has
been filed in the House that would do away with all personal property tax on qualified motor vehicles. HB 1377
has been filed by Representative Portwood and it would gradually reduce, and then finally eliminate, all personal
property taxes on certain vehicles by 2012. The vehicles that this legislation would remove the tax on would be
your basic car and truck, in other words tractors, semi trailers, deliver vans are not included. However, HB 1377
does include eliminating the tax on recreational vehicles in addition to cars and trucks.
Click on the link below to read the whole newsletter.
For the past few months now I have been talking to you about the need to reform property taxes in Missouri. Last
week I told you about my promise to do all I can to take action on this important issue during this year's session.
For this week I want to talk about an aspect of property taxes that is not mentioned much, but is still a large part
of the problem, personal property taxes on motor vehicles.
Usually when people talk about property taxes they mean residential property taxes, basically the tax on your
home. These taxes account for half of all property taxes in the state and the continued increase on the assessed
valuation of people's homes are the prime driver of the skyrocketing increase in property taxes over the past few
years. However, the often overlooked personal property taxes on motor vehicles account for roughly 12% of all
property taxes in the state. 12% out of the around $6 billion in total collected property taxes in 2007 is quite a lot
of money.
The property tax on motor vehicles is also the one form of property tax that affects nearly every Missouri family.
Not every person owns their own home or farm, many Missourians are renters, but almost every family has at
least car or truck in it. That means any changes to the property tax on motor vehicles would immediately and
directly affect all of Missouri.
I am mentioning the burden that personal property tax lays on Missourians today because there is a bill that has
been filed in the House that would do away with all personal property tax on qualified motor vehicles. HB 1377
has been filed by Representative Portwood and it would gradually reduce, and then finally eliminate, all personal
property taxes on certain vehicles by 2012. The vehicles that this legislation would remove the tax on would be
your basic car and truck, in other words tractors, semi trailers, deliver vans are not included. However, HB 1377
does include eliminating the tax on recreational vehicles in addition to cars and trucks.
When the General Assembly looks at the issue of property tax reform this session I think that is important for us
not to forget to look at removing the property tax on motor vehicles. This type of tax cut would provide immediate
help to nearly all Missouri families because nearly every family has a car or truck. With gas prices at all time
highs Missourians could use that extra income to help pay for the cost of using their car or truck.
The personal property tax on motor vehicles is only one aspect of the property tax problem, but I think it is an
often overlooked one. When the General Assembly looks at reforming the property tax system I want them to
study all aspects of property taxes. This includes the tax on owning your car or truck. I can assure you that this
issue will be taken into consideration as we work to lessen the property tax burden on all Missourians.
As always, if you have any questions on this or any other issue, I can be reached at 573-751-5912 in my
Jefferson City office, or through the mail at: Speaker Rod Jetton, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO, 65102. Also,
you can reach me through email at rod.jetton@house.mo.gov.
Posted by Jason Rosenbaum COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE BLOG




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Proposal would raise lawsuit fees to fund sheriffs'
offices
By CHRIS BLANK --Associated Press Writer
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A Senate committee studying county sheriffs recommends charging people
higher court fees to boost deputy sheriff pay. The money would go to the Missouri Sheriffs' Association to decide
what departments would receive the extra cash.
The proposal is one of several ideas designed to get more money to sheriffs' departments, particularly those in
rural areas often hurting from low populations and tax bases.
The committee's report also called for counties to get more money from the state for housing inmates wanted on
state charges. Currently, sheriffs' departments get $21.25 per day. The committee says that should be bumped
by $1.25 to $22.50. That would be included in the state budget.
A bill already has been filed to increase deputy sheriff pay. That would be done by adding an extra $10 fee to
court orders such as subpoenas and civil summons. Sheriffs' departments already can charge $20 for a
summons and $10 for a subpoena.
The money from the extra fee would be funneled through the state treasury to the Missouri Sheriffs' Association.
The trade group would then be responsible for deciding what individual departments need help to supplement
pay.
Platte County Associate Circuit Judge Gary Witt, who testified on behalf of the Missouri Judicial Conference,
said state court fees already add up to about $300. He warned fees are often higher than the fines for the
offense.
Sen. John Griesheimer, who led the Senate committee, told The Sedalia Democrat that lawmakers have a duty
to increase lagging officer pay because officers are the ones responsible for enforcing lawmakers' decisions.
"We've got a problem out there that we need to solve," said Griesheimer, R-Washington.
Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs from counties throughout the state told the Senate panel that many sparsely
populated, rural counties struggle to fund their departments. One deputy, who is a supervisor in his department,
told the committee that he makes $28,400 and it would cost him $650 per month if he were to pay for full health
insurance for his children.
The Missouri Deputy Sheriffs' Association reported that the average salary for deputies is $22,262.
Many departments also require deputies to pay for their own equipment and training. For departments in
northern Missouri, that means competition with Iowa, where average pay is closer to $30,000, according to the
Senate committee report.
Griesheimer's committee met four times to craft the salary and reimbursement proposals, including visits to
sheriffs' departments in rural northeastern and southeastern Missouri.
---
Deputy sheriffs' pay is SB935
On the Net:
Legislature: http://www.moga.mo.gov




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Hubbard in the House -- the State
House!
JEFFERSON CITY | The halls of the Capitol are pretty quiet on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.
The rotunda, though, is jumping. A group called the Citizen Commission on Human Rights has packed the
central space with no fewer than eight flat-panel TVs and 185 feet of six-foot-tall, full-color displays, all of them
blasting the practice of psychiatry.
The exhibit‘s title captures its subtlety: “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death.”
The display boards cover everything from Nazi-era eugenics to the Columbine school shooting and blame
psychiatry at every turn.
They also have plenty of handy charts and graphic photos.
One board, titled ―Destroying Creativity‖ lists a who‘s who of celebrities supposedly felled by the scourge of
psychiatry, among them Ernest Hemingway (after he worked for The Star), Charlie Parker, Stevie Nicks and
Marilyn Monroe. Another, titled ―Hooking the World on Drugs,‖ displays a flow chart diagramming ―the
incestuous relationship between psychiatry and pharma.‖
The videos feature new clips, dramatic voice-overs and testimonials from talking heads on the practice‘s
deficiencies.
―There‘s no way to prove mental disorders exist, because they don‘t,‖ explained Jeff Griffin, the commission‘s
affable executive director for the West United States. What doctors classify as mental illnesses are actually life‘s
normal and natural ―ups and downs.‖
The practice of psychiatry is a purely financial endeavor, Griffin said. He went on to call the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-IV, a ―billing bible.‖
The commission, exhibit workers readily disclosed, has its foundations in — wait for it — the Church of
Scientology.
Despite this, Tom Cruise was no where to be found.
This year is the group's second at the Capitol, a prime location because of its proximity to lawmakers, Griffin
said.
―If you take away government funding in mental health, the industry will automatically clean itself up,‖ he said,
noting helpfully that there was no psychiatry in poor countries because there was no money to fund it.
The commission has offices in St. Louis and Wichita and may soon be moving to Kansas City, Griffin said. This
particular exhibit will be in Jefferson City through tomorrow and then move on to Topeka, where it will be on
display Friday through Monday.
Given the holiday, traffic through the exhibit was light, and very few state employees — much less legislators —
were around.
Acknowledging that, Griffin said he hoped tourists who came through would take it upon themselves to tell their
legislators what they‘d learned on their trip to the Capitol.
This reporter, for one, sure hopes they do.
Submitted by Jason Noble   KC STAR PRIME BUZZ BLOG




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Abortion opponents find reasons to cheer on 35th
anniversary of Roe v. Wade
By DIANE CARROLL
The Kansas City Star
The two sides in the nation‘s debate on abortion will mark today‘s 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade with their
usual rallies and speeches.
But this year, there are signs that not all is the same on the national or local level:
•The newly configured U.S. Supreme Court rejected a legal challenge in April to the federal Partial-Birth Abortion
Ban Act, allowing the law to go into effect for the first time since it was signed by President Bush in 2003. Some
abortion-rights supporters fear the landmark ruling is the first step toward overturning the 1973 law legalizing
abortion.
•Grand juries seated through citizen petitions are investigating Planned Parenthood of Overland Park and
abortion provider George Tiller of Wichita.
•A new national study from the Guttmacher Institute shows abortions have dropped to their lowest level since
1974.
Abortion opponents are pleased with what they see.
―It‘s been a long fight and a very hard-fought fight on both sides,‖ said Mary Kay Culp, executive director of
Kansans for Life. ―So I am encouraged, but I‘m always cautious‖ about predicting what the future holds.
ProKanDo Director Julie Burkhart, whose group supports abortion rights, finds the high court ruling and the
grand jury investigations disheartening.
―Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land and has been for 35 years,‖ Burkhart said, ―but we have seen a constant
chipping away‖ by abortion opponents.
The partial-birth abortion ban sets the stage for Roe v. Wade to be overturned, she said, or at least stripped of
many of its protections. The ruling lacks an exception to protect a woman‘s health, according to its interpretation
by Roe v. Wade supporters.
But the president of Missouri Right to Life sees the Supreme Court ruling as a great victory for abortion
opponents. ―It‘s something we‘ve been working on for many years,‖ President Pam Fichter said.
Fichter said she thinks the long debate over partial-birth abortion has helped shift public opinion away from
―abortion on demand.‖
―We do see the abortion numbers falling, but there is still a lot of work to be done,‖ she said.
Meanwhile, a Springfield, Ill., group that opposes abortion is gathering signatures to place a measure on the
November ballot in Missouri. It would include additional restrictions on abortions.
Fichter said her organization has not yet taken a position on that effort.
•••
In Kansas, Burkhart and the Kansas organizer for the National Organization for Women say the chipping away of
reproductive rights is obvious in Sedgwick and Johnson counties, where grand juries are in session.
NOW organizer Marla Patrick of Lindsborg, Kan., said abortion opponents have taken an ―antiquated‖ Kansas
law that allows citizens to seat grand juries and used it to harass Tiller and Planned Parenthood.
Abortion opponents have put a lot of roadblocks in Kansas and elsewhere, Patrick said, but she does not think
they will succeed in criminalizing abortion.




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―I think the voters and people here in Kansas time and time again have made it very clear that they support a
woman‘s right to choose,‖ Patrick said.
The citizens petition drive to seat the Tiller grand jury — which convened this month — was led by Kansans for
Life.
Culp said she sees the grand jury as ―a wonderful tool‖ but one that would not have been necessary if elected
officials had enforced the law.
The drive to seat the Johnson County grand jury was led by three groups that oppose abortion, including
Operation Rescue, headquartered in Wichita.
The groups allege that Planned Parenthood is violating state abortion laws in a variety of ways. Planned
Parenthood says the charges are baseless.
The grand jury has been meeting twice a week since it convened in mid-December. Its investigation is secret. To
date, no information has been released about its progress.
Also in Johnson County, District Attorney Phill Kline in October filed a 107-count criminal complaint against
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and its Comprehensive Health clinic. It alleges that the
Overland Park clinic performed illegal late-term abortions in 2003 and falsified, forged and failed to maintain
related records.
Planned Parenthood‘s president and its attorneys maintain the charges are politically motivated. Kline began his
investigation of Planned Parenthood after taking over as Kansas attorney general and continued it after
becoming district attorney a year ago.
Kline was scheduled to be in Washington today participating in Blogs For Life, according to the Family Research
Council, which is sponsoring the event.
Kline was expected to join other ―prominent conservative voices,‖ the council said in a statement, all speaking
live with bloggers from the council‘s Washington‘s headquarters.
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, who helped lead the citizens drive to seat Johnson County‘s grand
jury, said Monday that the picture of abortion is much different today than it was in the early 1990s.
―Honestly, the pro-life movement has never been sitting in a better position to win this battle,‖ Newman said.
•••
The national reduction in abortions is welcomed by both sides.
The Guttmacher Institute issued a report last week that said the national abortion rate declined in 2005 to 19.4
abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. That‘s the lowest level since 1974, when the rate was 19.3, according
to the institute, which works to advance reproductive health.
The decline continued a downward trend, which started after the abortion rate peaked at 29.3 in 1981, according
to the institute‘s census of U.S. abortion providers.
The number of abortions declined as well, to a total of 1.2 million in 2005, 25 percent below the all-time high of
1.6 million abortions in 1990.
Despite the decline, slightly more than one in five pregnancies ended in abortion in 2005, Guttmacher Institute
President Sharon Camp said in a statement.
Behind virtually every abortion is an unintended pregnancy, Camp said, ―so we must redouble our efforts toward
prevention through better access to contraception.‖
The National Right to Life organization welcomed the decline but offered a different analysis. In a statement, the
national organization suggested the decline may be due to changing attitudes toward abortion.



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Checking bridge safety
By Brandon Cone
BRANSON DAILY NEWS Staff Writer
Missouri transportation officials are doing everything they can to prevent a bridge collapse similar to the one that
happened in Minneapolis in August of last year.
The Missouri Department of Transportation will be conducting a special inspection of the 232 truss bridges,
similar to the Minneapolis Interstate 35-W bridge, in the state‘s highway system.
MoDOT Director Pete Rahn said the inspections are being done in light of the release of a federal report earlier
this week, citing gusset plates as the probable cause of the Minneapolis bridge collapse.
―Knowing what likely caused the Minneapolis bridge collapse is a big help to us, and I appreciate the quick work
of the federal officials involved,‖ Rahn said.
The findings of the federal report over the Interstate 35-W bridge found that the half-inch steel gusset plates
used to connect the beams of a bridge's frame were half the thickness that was actually needed.
MoDOT‘s inspection will focus on all of the bridges‘ support components, including gusset plates. Officials
estimate that the average age of the 232 bridges is 67 years old.
―We‘re not expecting to find anything,‖ MoDOT spokesman Jeff Briggs said. ―We already do regular inspections
of all of our brides, and we‘re confident our bridges have been designed to handle the amount of traffic that
passes over them each day.
―We just want to check the equipment that was used when the bridges were built.‖
Six Tri-Lakes Area bridges will be receiving the inspection treatment, four in Taney County and two in Stone
County.
The four Taney County bridges include the bridge crossing over Table Rock Lake on Missouri 86, the bridge
over Bull Shoals Lake on East Missouri 76, the bridge over Swan Creek on U.S. 160 and U.S. 160 bridge over
Beaver Creek.
In Stone County, the Missouri 13 bridge over Table Rock Lake and the Missouri 248 bridge over Railey Creek
will be getting the inspection treatment.
Rahn agreed with Briggs that officials didn‘t expect to find any issues with the bridges during the inspection
process, adding, ―But we need to double-check and make sure all our truss bridges are safe, because we cannot
let what happened in Minnesota happen here in Missouri.‖




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Americans abroad can now vote online
By JESSICA BERNSTEIN-WAX
Associated Press Writer

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- This year, for the first time, expatriate Democrats can cast their ballots on the Internet in a
presidential primary for people living outside the United States.
Democrats Abroad, an official branch of the party representing overseas voters, will hold its first global
presidential preference primary from Feb. 5 to 12, with ex-pats selecting the candidate of their choice by Internet
as well as fax, mail and in-person at polling places in more than 100 countries.
Democrats Abroad is particularly proud of the online voting option - which provides a new alternative to the usual
process of voting from overseas, a system made difficult by complicated voter registration paperwork, early
deadlines and unreliable foreign mail service.
"The online system is incredibly secure: That was one of our biggest goals," said Lindsey Reynolds, executive
director of Democrats Abroad. "And it does allow access to folks who ordinarily wouldn't get to participate."
U.S. citizens wanting to vote online must join Democrats Abroad before Feb. 1 and indicate their preference to
vote by Internet instead of in the local primaries wherever they last lived in the United States. They must promise
not to vote twice for president, but can still participate in non-presidential local elections.
Members get a personal identification number from Everyone Counts Inc., the San Diego-based company
running the online election. They can then use the number to log in and cast their ballots.
Their votes will be represented at the August Democratic National Convention by 22 delegates, who according to
party rules get half a vote each for a total of 11. That's more than U.S. territories get, but fewer than the least
populous states, Wyoming and Alaska, which get 18 delegate votes each.
Everyone Counts has been building elections software for a decade, running the British Labor Party's online
voting since 2000 and other British elections since 2003, chief executive officer Lori Steele said.
Online voting may give absentee voters more assurance that their ballots are being counted, since confirmation
is not available in some counties. The Everyone Counts software even lets voters print out a receipt, unlike most
electronic voting machines now in use in many states.
"We've had no security breaches. We do constant monitoring," Steele said. Online voting "provides really a
higher standard of security than is available in any other kind of system, including paper."
Steele said a number of U.S. states had contacted her company to inquire about online voting for the 2008
presidential election.
"There are many, many states in the U.S. that would like to be offering this to their expatriate voters, their military
voters and their disabled voters," Steele said.
But online voting has been slowed by a lack of funding for pilot programs. In a floor speech this month, Sen.
Evan Bayh, D-Ind., pushed for the distribution of money already approved under the Help America Vote Act so
that states can improve ex-pat voting before the general election.
Some 6 million Americans living abroad are eligible to vote in U.S. elections, but only a fraction do so. Until
recently, the only option was to mail absentee ballot request forms to the last U.S. county of residence, then wait
in hopes that shaky mail systems would deliver the ballots in time to vote.




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The system is so unreliable that of 992,034 ballots requested from overseas for the 2006 general election, only
330,000 were cast or counted, and 70 percent of those not counted were returned to elections officials as
undeliverable, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission found.
In 2004, Juliet Lambert took her Oregon ballot to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, where drop service is
available because of Mexico's notoriously undependable mail.
"I had to go through security to drop off my ballot, and I remember thinking I really must want to vote," said
Lambert, a 37-year-old caterer who works with Democrats Abroad in Mexico. "I think it can be really daunting for
people."
This year, Lambert is voting by Internet, "because it's easier, and I'm always online anyway."
Republicans Abroad has operated independently of the Republican Party since 2003, and therefore can't hold in-
person or Internet votes abroad. But it is organizing to get more overseas Republicans registered back home
before the primaries, Executive Director Cynthia Dillon said.
Republican votes from overseas could be more decisive because even small margins can make a difference in
their winner-take-all state primaries. The Democrats divide primary votes proportionally, assigning delegates
according to each leading candidate's share.
"In the Republican primary, the overseas vote could actually have a bigger impact: That vote could be the tipping
vote, so to speak, that decides an election in a close race," said Steven Hill, an elections expert who directs the
New America Foundation's Political Reform Program.
With so many states having moved up their primary dates, overseas voters should hurry up and register no
matter how they plan on voting, Hill said. "These compressed timetables really make it difficult."




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Possible shortage of election judges
worries counties
ST. JOSEPH NEWS-PRESS -by Ray Scherer
Monday, January 21, 2008
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — County clerks are worried about a possible shortage of election judges that could hamper
the effectiveness of this year‘s polls.
The clerks, however, are optimistic they can compensate for the loss of veteran judges by recruiting youths to
manage the tallies at voting booths.
Livingston County Clerk Kelly Christopher said she recently succeeded in rallying several more election judges
to assist her office this year.
―Things are looking better,‖ Ms. Christopher said. ―We could always use more. We‘ll have enough for February
(presidential primary on the 5th).‖
It‘s important for the election staff to rely on substitutes who can fill in for judges who take vacations or are
otherwise unavailable. The sufficient resources will allow the clerk‘s office to have more flexibility in assigning
judges to various polling places throughout the county, Ms. Christopher said.
―I‘m just constantly recruiting,‖ she said.
Longtime judges are beginning to leave their posts at a time when the 2002 Help America Vote Act continues to
take effect, she said. The federal act is introducing new technology, such as touch-screen voting, and more
forms of voter identification to eliminate chances for error or fraud.
Yet it‘s not a circumstance unique to Livingston County, Ms. Christopher stressed. ―I think this is a problem
statewide,‖ she said.
DeKalb County Clerk Mary Berry agrees, but also anticipates no problem with securing judges for next month‘s
primary. ―Finding them to work consistently, it‘s hard,‖ she said of election judges.
The demands mandated by HAVA are another reason for the thinning ranks, Mrs. Berry noted. ―We‘ve had some
quit because they don‘t like the equipment,‖ she said.
Buchanan County Clerk Pat Conway said he still awaits replies to inquiry letters sent to potential election judges.
―We‘re looking OK right now,‖ he said.
A reduction of the county‘s precincts from 58 to 36 helps, Mr. Conway said.
Turnover of election judges has increased, he said, with February likely to suffer the consequences because of
the chances for winter weather. He cited HAVA as another factor because of the added duty of scrutinizing
voters.
Recruitment on the Missouri Western State University campus is one possible solution that would add a younger
generation of poll workers during the crucial election August and November elections, according to Mr. Conway.




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Group urges caution in fight against
illegal immigration
JEFFERSON CITY NEWS-TRIBUNE - By Bob Watson

A Washington, D.C.-based group is urging state governors not to mandate the use of E-Verify, a federal
employment system used to identify illegal immigrants. Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt supports legislation mandating
public employers to use E-Verify.
―The new law would apply to counties, cities, school districts, and any other public entity,‖ according to a Dec. 17
governor's office news release. ―E-Verify is free to use and only takes a few minutes. The law will help ensure
Missourians' hard earned tax dollars support only legal workers.‖
The Washington group, called the ―Human Resource Initiative for a Legal Workforce, sent letters to governors
last week that said: ―E-Verify utilizes the Social Security database, which has a 4.1 percent error rate. If all U.S.
employers were to use the system, as many as six million U.S. citizens and legal residents could be denied
employment due to bureaucratic error.‖
E-Verify has been recently mandated by legislative action in Arizona and by executive order in Minnesota. The
Arizona law has been challenged in the courts.
The Human Resource Initiative, or HRI, group said the data-base's ―error rate for legal foreign-born workers is
estimated to be as high as 10 percent - opening the door to increased discrimination based on national origin.‖
In addition, the group said, ―E-Verify is unable to detect document fraud and identity theft, leaving employers
vulnerable to sanctions through no fault of their own.‖
Instead of implementing policies on a state-by-state basis, the national group urged the governors to ―advocate
to your state's Congressional delegation the need for a state-of-the-art federal electronic employment verification
system that can curtail identity theft and help ensure that only authorized workers are added to U.S. payrolls.‖
Blunt's office told the News Tribune: ―Governor Blunt's tough directives to fight illegal immigration in Missouri are
in part a result of Washington's failure to act.
―He has urged members of the General Assembly to require stronger employment verification; to punish those
who knowingly hire illegals; and to protect from undue penalty those whose failures occur in good faith.‖
During his State of the State address last Tuesday, Blunt told Missouri lawmakers: ―Illegal immigration makes a
travesty of the rule of law.
―It undermines wages for Missourians. It imposes huge costs on taxpayers for public services.‖
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon, Blunt's expected opponent in the November gubernatorial election, said
last month the state's efforts to curb illegal immigration should start with penalizing businesses that hire illegal
workers, then permanently shutting down those that repeatedly do so.
―It is the lure of a job that attracts undocumented workers to our state,‖ Nixon said in a statement. ―Getting tough
on the employers who use undocumented workers to gain an unfair advantage over their law-abiding
competitors must be a top priority.‖




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Fending off lawsuits part of the
initiative petition challenge in Mo.
By CHRIS BLANK/The Associated Press
January 20, 2008 | 6:37 p.m. CST
JEFFERSON CITY — So you‘re sick of waiting for the legislature to take up your pet project. No problem, you
can do it yourself, just make sure you have lots of organization, plenty of support and more than a few C-notes.
Oh, don‘t forget a good lawyer.
A century ago, Missouri joined several states in allowing citizens to skip over their elected officials and put
proposals for new laws and constitutional amendments directly on the ballot for fellow voters.

Ballot measures challenged in past two elections

Lawsuits challenging ballot summaries and cost estimates have followed most initiative petitions filed in
Missouri for the 2006 and 2008 elections. This year, a state judge raised eyebrows when he rewrote a
summary for an affirmative action ballot measure. Here are the ballot measures that have been challenged in
the two most recent elections.

2008

ABORTION

Planned Parenthood sued to prevent a petition that the group said would block most abortions. The sponsoring
organization also challenged the ballot summary and state auditor‘s cost estimate.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Petition sponsor Tim Asher sued to edit the ballot summary. Two critics challenged the ballot summary and
cost estimate. A state judge rewrote the summary but rejected the counterclaim.

STEM CELLS

An initiative petition to redefine human cloning after voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing
embryonic stem cell research prompted lawsuits from those who sponsored the petition and those who
supported the initial amendment. Cures Without Cloning said the ballot language written by the secretary of
state for its new initiative was inflammatory.

2006

EMINENT DOMAIN




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There were several petitions circulated and three lawsuits. The Missouri Municipal League, the St. Louis
Development Corp. and the Tax Increment Finance Commission of Kansas City challenged the ballot summary
and cost estimate of a measure to restrict the taking of private property. A state judge upheld the summary but
ordered the state auditor to recalculate the cost. Patrick Tuohey, who sponsored that petition, later sued after
the secretary of state invalidated some signatures. A state appellate court sided with the secretary of state.

GOVERNMENT SPENDING

A former director of the state Public Safety and Corrections departments challenged the ballot language and
cost estimate. A judge ordered a new cost estimate. Missourians in Charge, which sponsored the proposal,
also unsuccessfully challenged invalidated signatures.

STEM CELLS

Missourians Against Human Cloning sued unsuccessfully to get the ballot summary changed for a proposed
constitutional amendment allowing embryonic stem cell research.

TOBACCO TAX

Committee for a Healthy Future got the state Supreme Court to put on the ballot a petition to increase the state
cigarette tax. The secretary of state had calculated that the petition was 274 signatures short.


--The Associated Press

But bypassing the legislature means getting lots of support — about 90,000 signatures — letting the secretary of
state write what will actually appear on the ballot and allowing the state auditor to add up what the changes will
cost.
And that‘s where the lawyers have come in, especially during the most recent elections.
In 2006, there were more lawsuits than proposals actually making the ballot. In advance of the November
elections, about one lawsuit has been filed so far for every two initiative petitions approved for circulation. And in
some cases, supporters and critics have found themselves in court simultaneously arguing that descriptions are
biased toward the other side.
―It seems that if you don‘t get your way, the American way is to sue someone,‖ said political scientist George
Connor of Missouri State University. That tendency, he said, eventually could make initiative petitions less
attractive and more infrequent.
It‘s not that no one has ever challenged an initiative petition or part of the process in getting one on the ballot.
But in 2006 and heading into this year‘s election, nearly every citizen-led ballot measure that made the ballot or
stood a reasonable chance of getting there has been greeted with a lawsuit.
According to records from the secretary of state and attorney general offices, eight lawsuits were filed in 2006
alone. Yet from 2000 to 2004, just three lawsuits were filed — one for each election.
Until this month, none of the lawsuits had successfully challenged a ballot summary describing the initiative.



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But after wading through competing lawsuits from supporters and opponents of an initiative banning most
government affirmative action programs, Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan rewrote the ballot
language.
It was a move that raised eyebrows because judges have generally allowed the secretary of state wiggle room to
summarize the often complicated initiative petitions. Alex Bartlett, a veteran Jefferson City attorney who has
been involved with initiative petitions for about three decades, said Callahan‘s ruling was the first time he could
remember a judge rewriting ballot language.
To win a court challenge, someone must convince a judge that the ballot summary is insufficient or unfair.
―It‘s a way to get something changed, but the test is very, very, very tough,‖ Bartlett said.
If it‘s so hard to get the courts to change the ballot language, why all the lawsuits?
It‘s a relatively cheap yet effective method for groups to oppose an initiative without having to buy TV
commercials or develop a statewide grass-roots operation, Connor said.
Lawsuits can also delay the gathering of petition signatures by supporters, making it more difficult for them to
turn in enough names by the May 3 deadline.
For example, sponsors of the petition rewritten by Callahan had been waiting for the legal challenges to clear
before collecting signatures. Ward Connerly, who is leading a national effort to approve similar constitutional
amendments in four other states, said he thinks critics are using legal challenges and a misleading ballot
summary to stall.
One of the groups involved in recent ballot lawsuits is the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures. That group
steered passage of a constitutional amendment allowing embryonic stem cell research in 2006 and this year is
opposing an initiative that would ban a certain type of stem cell research.
―One of the tactics for those who want to block an initiative is the courts,‖ said Donn Rubin, chairman of the
coalition.
The threat of a lawsuit also adds another hurdle for the Missourian or group ready to sidestep the politicians and
take an issue directly to voters.
Because turning ballot measures into courtroom dramas can mean more scrutiny over the language, it might turn
a ―citizens‖ petition into an effort too expensive for anyone but an organized group.
―It‘s more conflicted, more contentious and therefore more expensive,‖ Connor said.




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Pandering seasons the legislative process
ST. JOSEPH NEWS PRESS -by Steve Booher
Monday, January 21, 2008
We‘ve reached the level in politics when no issue, no matter how ridiculous, no question, no matter how moot,
won‘t be addressed by politicians seeking to score brownie points with voters.
A few weeks ago, Gov. Matt Blunt announced he wanted to make it a crime for illegal aliens to obtain a driver‘s
license in Missouri. Nevermind that it‘s already against the law. Gov. Blunt just wants to make it really, really
illegal.
So with all the hysteria following Major League Baseball‘s steroid scandal, you know it wouldn‘t be long before a
politician tried to get some mileage out of it.
Enter Missouri Sen. Matt Bartle.
Mr. Bartle is a conservative Republican from Lee‘s Summit. In the past, he‘s taken on a wide variety of issues,
everything from stem cell research to preserving Missourians‘ rights to hunt and fish. In many cases, Mr. Bartle
has assumed positions that are popular with his conservative constituents. Last week, he reached for more low-
hanging fruit when he introduced legislation that would require school districts to randomly test student athletes
for steroids.
Oooh, steroids! The modern-day plague of professional athletics! Yes, steroids, the body-altering substance that
makes an athlete bigger, stronger and faster. In the past, steroids were known to cause raging acne, huge mood
swings and shrink your testicles to the size of snow peas. Thankfully today, advanced chemistry has eliminated
those embarrassing side effects.
It‘s a given that steroid use is a problem in professional sports, except maybe on the PGA Tour (although, have
you seen the gun show when Tiger Woods pulls out the driver?). It may afflict college athletics as well, although
no one really knows how widespread.
And, drilling even deeper, Florida and Texas are two states that have high school steroid policies. But I don‘t get
where steroid use is a problem in Missouri, at least not in our corner of the state. I‘m familiar with many coaches
in Northwest Missouri and I‘ve never heard a rumor, news tip or off-the-record comment about high school
athletes using them.
Perhaps Mr. Bartle just wants to head off a problem he sees looming on the horizon. OK, but there‘s a few things
the state needs to figure out before issuing a blanket mandate that requires random testing.
First, what happens when an athlete donates a sample for a steroid test and it comes back positive for
marijuana? Or cocaine? Are we prepared to deal with this?
Also, are we going to single out athletes? Why don‘t we test the marching band? (OK, line up … today we‘re
randomly testing the tuba players and half the woodwinds …)
Who pays for all this random testing? Gosh, I bet taxpayers will.
I make fun, but I do understand some of Mr. Bartle‘s concern. Athletes are bigger and stronger these days —
and strength and size are big advantages in some sports.
Remember Olympic weightlifter Wes Barnett? People forget that Wes was one of the best basketball players in
St. Joseph when he played at Benton High School. It‘s hard to imagine a muscle-bound power lifter would have
the quickness and flexibility to play basketball, but Wes‘ sheer strength made him formidable. He was simply the
strongest player on the court. Good luck moving him out of the paint or wrenching a rebound away from his iron
grip.




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Wes, mainly because of his strength, was good enough to attract scholarship offers from at least a handful of
colleges. So, yes, superior size and strength can be a huge advantage in sports. But it‘s tough to believe that
coaches are willing to allow — or even encourage — the use of steroids to improve players‘ performance. I just
don‘t think it happens all that often, if ever.
I suspect that Mr. Bartle noticed the media furor over the Major League Baseball scandal and decided that he
could probably score some easy points with voters by opposing that which is reprehensible. Besides, Gov. Blunt
already beat him to the punch on that licenses for illegal aliens thing.
Tell you what, Mr. Bartle, why don‘t we do this: Talk to the Missouri State High School Athletic Association and
have them assign someone on that staff to field and investigate reports of steroid use by high school athletes. If
we discover our high schools have a ‗roid epidemic, then let‘s institute your random testing plan.
But how about in the meantime we fix a few highways, replace a few bridges, build a few new college buildings
and give our school districts some extra money? That‘s the best way to win the hearts and minds of potential
voters.




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Federal earmarks to religious group raise constitutional
concerns
By DAVID GOLDSTEIN
The Star‘s Washington correspondent
WASHINGTON | Sens. Sam Brownback and Kit Bond used earmarks last year to direct about $1 million to an
area group ―empowering the un-churched urban poor for the kingdom of Christ.‖
On the surface, the taxpayer-supported appropriations for World Impact Inc. raise constitutional questions about
the separation of church and state.
―Are we using the state to fund the church?‖ asked Steve Ellis, the vice president of Taxpayers for Common
Sense, a Washington-based nonpartisan group that scrutinizes federal spending.
Lawmakers, in general, say such earmarks help meet social needs.
Brownback, a Kansas Republican, and Bond, a Missouri Republican, note that World Impact does a lot of good
for the urban poor in the region, with wanting to create an outreach and education center in St. Louis and
running a ranch in central Kansas that is used as a ―Christian training center for inner-city young men ages 18-
25.‖
World Impact operates programs in several other states and received nearly $2 million in earmarks in the 2008
spending bill, according to a report last fall in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper.
―It is often religious organizations with a calling to serve the poor … that meet the needs in inner-city areas,‖ said
Shana Marchio, a spokeswoman for Bond. ―They‘re on the ground and dedicated to improving their own
neighborhoods.‖
Brownback declined to comment.
Earmarks are spending projects that are dropped into the federal budget with little or no scrutiny by lawmakers
who are eager to send money back home. Until last year, when Congress felt political pressure to shed some
sunlight, lawmakers could slip earmarks into bills anonymously.
Now each earmark must carry the name of its sponsor. The number of earmarks in the 2008 budget is down
about 25 percent from 2007.
Marchio and other defenders of the earmarks said that although World Impact has an evangelical mission, the
money would go to nuts-and-bolts types of projects.
World Impact President Keith Phillips wrote in an e-mail that the group ―understands the federal guidelines and
follows both the spirit and letter and their intent. We are faith-based, but federal funds will be kept separate from
our faith programs.‖
Bond originally wanted $750,000 for World Impact to expand and renovate its St. Louis headquarters and create
an outreach and education center. U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, a St. Louis Democrat, inserted his own $50,000
earmark. Eventually, the total was trimmed to $562,000 for the former YWCA in a neighborhood where crime,
unemployment and out-of-wedlock births are high.
Brownback earmarked $850,000 to renovate the group‘s Morning Star Ranch in Florence, Kan., and U.S. Rep.
Jerry Moran, a Hays Republican, set aside $50,000 more. In the end, that money was whittled to $600,000.
―They learn how to gain and maintain employment and return to their cities to be productive, involved citizens,‖
Phillips wrote. ―Many former gang members, addicts and delinquents have had their lives turned around here.‖
The issue comes down to segregating government funds from activities related to the group‘s spiritual mission.


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―If the money is to renovate a building that is then used for a religious missionary purpose, that violates the
Constitution,‖ said Robert Tuttle, an analyst for the Roundtable on Religion & Social Welfare Policy at the State
University of New York in Albany. Tuttle would not specifically comment on the World Impact earmark.
Earmarks to religious groups that perform social work are not unusual.
Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, got money for the Lutheran Settlement House. Sen. Daniel
Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat, directed money to Catholic Charities. Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Charles
Schumer of New York helped a Community Church of Christ Youth Center, and Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland
Democrat, aided a Jewish Foundation Group Home.
Closer to home, Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, set aside $300,000 to build a new kitchen and dining
hall for Youthville, a Dodge City foster-care program operated by the United Methodist Church.
The final budget bill cut his earmark to $210,000. Moran directed $100,000 to the project.
Another Kansas Republican, U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, asked for $300,000 for a Youthville adoption and trauma
resource center in Wichita. Youthville has a state contract for foster-care services in Sedgwick County.
Earmarks are controversial enough on their own without a debate over religion. In 1996, the budget contained
3,000 congressional earmarks.
The 2008 spending bill passed last month had more than 9,000 earmarks totaling $23 billion, which raised
eyebrows over such items as the $200,000 for a Pennsylvania hunting and fishing museum.
The church-state controversy flared up last fall, when Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, tried to add a
$100,000 earmark to further the teaching of creationism in public schools but backed off in the face of
complaints. The religious purpose of Vitter‘s earmark was an easier call than most.
―Religious organizations can get money, but it‘s hard for us to tell if they‘ve really separated out their religion,‖
said Dena Sher, the state legislative counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
―It‘s supposed to be secular. You just never know.‖




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Plans are under way to extend Katy
Trail to KC area
By BILL GRAHAM
The Kansas City Star
Missouri‘s cross-state Katy Trail is on track to reach
the Kansas City area‘s southeast corner, and trail
builders are planning to connect the hiking and biking
route to downtown.
But there are obstacles, trail planners say, and
reaching the city‘s edge will be easier than building
the final segments through urban neighborhoods.
―The Katy Trail is one of our major trail goals,‖ said
Shannon Jaax, a project manager for Kansas City‘s
citywide trail planning. ―It‘s been one of our most
popular trail requests at public meetings.‖
The 225-mile Katy Trail runs from St. Charles to
Clinton, Mo., mostly on abandoned rail bed converted
for public use under a federal rails-to-trails program
that preserves rail right of way.
But a longtime goal is extending it on both ends from
the Kaw River mouth in Kansas City to the
Mississippi River near St. Louis, with links to other
trail systems in both metro areas.
A key component recently was added when a
Reynolds County Circuit judge approved a $180
million settlement for the collapse of AmerenUE‘s
Taum Sauk reservoir in 2005. Much of that
settlement involves damage repairs near the utility‘s
reservoir site in eastern Missouri.
But the settlement also allows the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to extend the Katy Trail from
Windsor, Mo., to Pleasant Hill on rail right of way controlled by AmerenUE. The utility also paid $18 million to
help build the trail.
Approval of the settlement was key, said Sue Holst, a state parks spokeswoman.
―That gives us the go-ahead,‖ she said.
Surveying the right of way and double-checking land title agreements are the next steps, Holst said. Some brush
clearing could begin in the spring.
But that trail will not be on top of the graded rail bed, which AmerenUE reserved for future railroad use. The rail
line has not been abandoned. Instead, the trail will be built adjacent to the right of way. Trail planners must figure
out river and highway crossings without using existing bridges. Plus, fiber-optic cables are buried in the right of
way.
Holst said state officials think the trail segment can be built despite those obstacles. They also think that by using
state park crews that are familiar with trail construction, they can keep the cost close to $18 million.



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But for Kansas City, Lee‘s Summit and other cities working to bring the Katy Trail northwest from Pleasant Hill,
right-of-way acquisition and construction could be trickier, planners say.
Trail backers have long coveted a segment of the same unused rail line that runs from Pleasant Hill to an area
near the Truman Sports Complex. From there, the trail could use the Blue River Valley and streets to reach
existing downtown trails.
But that segment is controlled by the Union Pacific railroad. Although unused, it has never been abandoned, said
Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis. The railroad has received several inquiries about the right of way, but no
definitive discussions have ensued, Davis said.
Officials also are looking at other options in case that line is not available, Jaax said.
One idea would be to develop a trail route through Lee‘s Summit to Longview Lake, and then head west, said
Steve Rhodes, a Mid-America Regional Council trail planner.
The Missouri Department of Transportation is building a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 71 in the Grandview
Triangle area, Rhodes said. A highway crossing there could lead the trail west to the Blue River Valley, where
Jackson County and Kansas City control much of the right of way and already have trails built or planned.
Also, a trail built upstream in the Blue River corridor could provide a link to trail systems in Johnson County.
Downstream links could be made to Independence. Links also are planned to the Northland.
But trail planners are not planning on bicycles pedaling on the Katy Trail from downtown to Longview Lake
anytime soon.
―It will be several years at the current pace to bring it in,‖ Rhodes said. ―But we hope with the announcement of
the Katy coming to Pleasant Hill, we‘ll see some renewed energy for it.‖




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Dialing for Dollars
ARCH CITY CHRONICLE
Rep. Jeff Harris was working the crowd and greeting voters who packed into the Carpenters' Hall this morning to
hear former-Senator John Edwards, currently looking for his first win in the race for the Democratic nomination.
Harris wouldn't say if he were endorsing Edwards, only that the Democrats will win in November with any of the
three front-running candidates. Harris said he was a representative for Edwards on the 2004 Convention Rules
Committee.
When asked about his fundraising in comparison to one of his rivals in the race for the Attorney General, State
Senator Chris Koster, Harris said he has to dial up a few more numbers.
"I make a call to 1,200 supporters when Koster makes one call," said Harris. "He calls Rex [Sinquefield]."
Though Koster had quite the haul this quarter, raising nearly $220k, none of the recent donations appear to
come from Sinquefield's notorious swarm of campaign finance committees, just a mix of committees, individuals
and companies. Sinquefield's committees opened the taps last quarter, however, and funneled nearly $100k to
Koster.
Following the submission of campaign finance reports due earlier this month, Harris released an email saying he
raised nearly $144k from 1,200 supporters in 66 of Missouri's 114 counties. Harris added that it showed his
state-wide support.
Rex Sinquefield, a financial whiz who made a fortune in investments, has returned to Missouri and gotten into
politics in a big way. The billionaire free-marketeer founded an economic think tank to study and promote issues
like school vouchers, tax reduction and the elimination of for-profit eminent domain.
Sinquefield's largess has mostly benefited Republicans bank accounts, but he has also supported (handsomely)
those Democrats who support his issues, including St. Louis State Rep. Rodney Hubbard, St. Louis Mayor
Francis Slay and the Republican-turned-Democrat State Senator Koster.
Besides Sinquefield, Koster's campaign has soaked up a lot of the money in the campaign; receiving the
endorsement and financial support from many labor organizations.
Though he only recently turned in his Republican Party card, Koster has supported union issues in his
historically Democratic district; support the unions are obviously repaying with interest.
Unlike other endorsements, union support comes with finances and workers. Koster's pickup of many of those
endorsements directly impacts the campaigns of his rivals, Harris and State Rep. Margaret Donnelly.




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Government feed puts GOP spin on telecast of speech
By TERRY GANEY of the Tribune’s staff
Published Saturday, January 19, 2008

If you watched Gov. Matt Blunt‘s televised State of the State speech, you might believe everyone in the House
enthusiastically endorsed the governor‘s remarks.
That‘s because the television feed that stations across the state
used was supplied by the Missouri government, and the camera
angles and scene selections were made with the help of the
governor‘s press aide, Jessica Robinson.
TV viewers saw only appreciative Republicans applauding the
Republican governor with standing ovations. The event was
shown from the Republicans‘ side of the chamber. Democrats,
who were much more subdued, did not make it to the prime-time
screen.
Mid-Missouri televisions stations KOMU-TV in Columbia and
KRCG-TV in Jefferson City fielded complaints from a few viewers
who were sharp-eyed enough to realize they were being shown                     Nick King photos
only the Republicans‘ reactions. KRCG-TV‘s Kermit Miller made
                                                                                Gov. Matt Blunt, above, delivers his State of the State
an on-air clarification during a Wednesday night newscast,                      address Tuesday. Broadcasts of the prime-time
explaining that the speech was provided by the state and not                    speech by state government-owned equipment
KRCG-TV. He said the station should have alerted viewers to                     featured images of Republican legislators but not
that.                                                                           Democratic lawmakers. Below, clockwise from top
                                                                                left, Democratic Reps. Steve Hodges of East Prairie,
"Certainly we had no control over that feed and no control over                 Rebecca McClanahan of Kirksville, Margaret Donnelly
the fact of what viewers saw was one view of how the speech                     of St. Louis and Martin Rucker of St. Joseph remain
                                                                                straight-faced during the State of the State address
was reacted to in the hall," said Gregg Palermo, KRCG-TV news                   Tuesday.
director. "I think moving forward we are going to do a better job
on the front end telling people that this is in the information
behind what you are seeing."
KOMU-TV broadcast the same feed but frequently added a
superimposed explanation that the broadcast was produced by
state government. Still, at least one viewer e-mailed a complaint
that a "wide-angle lens" should have covered the entire House.
"They were concerned that it only showed one half of the
chamber, which I kind of noticed myself from home," said Randy
Reeves, KOMU-TV managing editor.
The speech was broadcast with state equipment and staff.
Robinson stood beside a director to alert him to "cutaway" shots
when Blunt paused for applause. Viewers saw Blunt applauded
about 60 times, including 25 standing ovations.
Republicans control the House chamber 89-70 with four vacancies. The floor is divided roughly in half, with
Republicans on one side and the Democrats on the other.




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Robinson said the broadcast accurately portrayed what took place. She said the cameras were positioned to
photograph the two guests introduced by Blunt. She said Democrats could not be photographed from the same
positions because two flags in the House press gallery were in the way.
"The governor‘s speech is the focus of the broadcast, and the special guests were prominent features, and we
wanted to show the special guests," Robinson said.
Governors use the address to set the session‘s agenda and tout their performance. Blunt has elevated the
event‘s exposure, delivering it during prime time. Previous governors gave the speech during the day and
received less coverage.
Attorney General Jay Nixon, a Democrat and Blunt‘s likely opponent in this year‘s governor‘s race, gave a
response to the address in a pre-recorded performance provided by the Democratic Party.
Robinson said the governor‘s office pays for the production and broadcast of the State of the State address and
also buys an hour of satellite time to broadcast it live.
The State of the Union address delivered by President George W. Bush is covered and distributed by a pool of
television networks, said a White House spokeswoman.
House Minority Floor Leader Paul LeVota, D-Independence, said Democrats applauded the governor and his
wife three or four times and rose to their feet to clap when Blunt said he wouldn‘t rest until he restored health
care for everyone.
"It was kind of a campaign event, and the fact that only part of the audience was shown indicates more of that,"
LeVota said. "I‘m not that concerned about it. A governor can say things in an election, but people are going to
base their decision on performance."




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Blunt introduces early education
funding proposal in Ashland
COLUMBIA MISSOURIAN - By AJA J. JUNIOR
January 19, 2008 | 5:47 p.m. CST

ASHLAND — Gov. Matt Blunt began his statewide tour Friday morning to promote his recommended $1.2 billion
increase for education in Ashland.
Blunt spoke to teachers, parents and staff briefly at Southern Boone County Primary School about his education
initiatives. His funding proposal includes a $2 million increase for the Parents as Teachers program for the next
fiscal year.
―Parents as Teachers ensures all children to have a chance at success,‖ Blunt said.
Parents as Teachers allows ―parent educators‖ to work with families in development and education of children
from prenatal stages to kindergarten. Parent educators visit families‘ homes every six weeks to talk about
development milestones that children should — or could — be experiencing, said Scott Salmons, principal of
Southern Boone County Primary School.
The program offers information on many topics, including nutrition and discipline. In addition, the school provides
a resource classroom for parents to drop off their children so they can play with others in the program..
The program is free and available to parents in every Missouri school district.
―We are very proud of our school district and what we have to offer here at Southern Boone,‖ said Sherry Traub,
one of three parent educators who attended the conference.
Traub said the extra money for the program would boost services for families.
In the past, services for the 3- to 5-year-old program have been limited because of a lack of funds. Now parent
educators hope the increased-funding proposal will allow more services for the age group.
―The ultimate goal is to have the 3- to 5-year-old program look exactly the same as the birth to 3-year-old
program,‖ Traub said.
Kimberly Jett of Ashland has two daughters, 3-year-old Emma and 6-month-old Kalli. Jett, who has participated
in the program for three years, said that since Emma turned 3 she has been limited to only three visits with a
parent educator in one year.
Kalli, on the other hand, still is able to enjoy a personal visit every six weeks.
―I dislike that their visits are limited to three times a year now,‖ Jett said. ―I enjoy the visits because it‘s good to
hear things she‘s (Emma) doing and could be doing.‖
Jett hopes the funding would increase the number of personal visits for her and Emma.
―I used to be an educator,‖ said Jett, who is now a stay-at-home mom. ―It‘s important from Day One to have
education be a part of children‘s lives.‖




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Blunt outlines plan to reduce uninsured
by 200,000
By Kia Stacy
BRANSON DAILY NEWS Staff Writer
Following his State of the State Address, Gov. Matt Blunt is traveling Missouri to outline his health care plan to
reduce the number of uninsured Missourians by nearly 200,000. Visiting health care facilities around the state,
Blunt is discussing Insure Missouri, his health care plan to use funding that already exists within the health care
system to help Missourians purchase their own personal health insurance.
―My plan makes health insurance more affordable for working Missourians by relying on the proven values of
work, personal responsibility and free enterprise,‖ Blunt said. ―Once fully implemented, Insure Missouri will offer
access to care for nearly 200,000 Missourians. This new direction has us on a path to affordable coverage for
all.‖
The governor has called for Insure Missouri to be implemented in three phases and will give Missourians a
choice among competing plans. Planning for Phase 1 is already under way.
Phase 1 is estimated to bring coverage to about 54,500 Missourians by working with parents and caregivers with
children in the home with incomes up to 100 percent of poverty.
Under Insure Missouri, families will make a contribution that is affordable based on their income.
Phase 2 will extend coverage to 120 percent of poverty for working parents and other working adults who are not
Medicare eligible with income levels set by the General Assembly. Phase 2 is projected to cover an additional
56,000 working Missourians.
Phase 3 will make health care more affordable for small business owners and their employees.
Blunt is funding his proposal using primarily existing resources. Insure Missouri is not a big government program
and requires limited general revenue that will never exceed $46.8 million.
Insure Missouri uses $350 million already available in the health care system and redirects it to help low-income
people purchase their own health insurance.
For more information about Insure Missouri, visit www.insuremissouri.org.




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Inmates seek more detail on
executioners
By Jeremy Kohler
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
01/20/2008

This is a corrected version of a story that ran online earlier:
Lawyers for five death row inmates are pressing Missouri to provide more detail about members of its execution
team after a Post-Dispatch investigation revealed that one was a convicted stalker.
The lawyers are willing to accept anonymous depositions keeping the executioners' names out of court records,
they said.
In papers filed last week in federal court in Kansas City, the lawyers said the executioner's criminal record,
detailed in a front-page story Jan. 13, raises questions about his "temperament and suitability" to help with
executions.
The newspaper reported that David L. Pinkley, a licensed practical nurse then on probation, worked on Missouri
executions and was permitted to join a federal team that executed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in
Indiana in 2001.
Pinkley, originally charged with felonies for allegedly stalking and damaging the property of a man who had a
relationship with his estranged wife, pleaded no contest to misdemeanors and received a suspended imposition
of sentence. That cleared his record once he served two years on probation.
State and federal prison officials knew this background, according to internal Missouri Division of Probation and
Parole memos obtained by the paper.
Those circumstances raise questions about the state's screening procedures and desire to have qualified
executioners, claimed lawyers for convicted killers Reginald Clemons, Richard Clay, Jeffrey Ferguson, Roderick
Nunley and Michael Taylor.
Attorneys in Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon's office, which represents the Department of Corrections, have
argued against giving the death row appellants more than general information about execution team members.
State lawyers have invoked a Missouri state law, enacted last year, protecting the identities of current or former
executioners, and making it easier for them to seek civil damages if their names are exposed.
Lawyers for the condemned have argued that their right to information in a federal suit supersedes state law. In
last week's filing, they argued that they should not have to rely on the news media for disclosures about
executioners' backgrounds.
John Fougere, a spokesman for Nixon's office, said, "The issues raised in this motion will be dealt with in the
ongoing litigation with the Department of Corrections."
The death penalty is on hold in 35 states and in the federal system while the U.S. Supreme Court considers
arguments in a Kentucky lethal-injection case. The court is weighing arguments that the injection could inflict
extreme pain, in violation of the Eighth Amendment freedom from cruel and unusual punishment.
In interviews after the Post-Dispatch story, three St. Louis-area legislators on a committee that oversees the
Department of Corrections criticized the agency for letting a probationer work at executions.
The legislators, Sen. Maida Coleman, D-St. Louis; Sen. Harry Kennedy, D-St. Louis; and Rep. Belinda Harris, D-
Hillsboro, said they would raise questions within the committee, which has the authority to investigate the
department and compel testimony from officials.



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But the chairman of the committee said he did not think there would be any official inquiry.
"If I would have proof that maybe the board of nursing took disciplinary action on this person, I think it might be a
different situation," said Rep. Mark Bruns, R-Jefferson City. "Given the limited information I have on it right now, I
don't think it would be prudent for the committee to launch an investigation into it."
A check of the nurse's license record showed no discipline.
Other members of the committee, which consists of six senators and six representatives, either said they had not
read the Post-Dispatch story or did not return a reporter's calls and e-mails.
Harris questioned the need for the state law protecting executioners' identities, and said the newspaper's
findings alerted her to a problem.
"I go to Bonne Terre all the time" to inspect the prison there, Harris said. "I never knew that there was a person
on the execution team who had committed these violent acts."
When the Legislature passed a law protecting executioners' names, "this is not what legislators had in mind,"
she said.
She noted that the Department of Corrections had made it seem that anonymity for executioners was necessary
to ensure it could attract and retain people qualified for the job. But in comments to the Post-Dispatch, agency
Director Larry Crawford said its story in July 2006 identifying another execution team member had actually
helped the state recruit executioners.
Harris said Crawford's comments contradicted his justification for seeking the law.




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Property tax relief on the way?
Legislature to take close look at issues
ST. JOSEPH NEWS-PRESS -by Alyson Raletz
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Proposals to curb high property assessments are going through the roof of the Missouri Legislature this election
year.
Citizens are crying for tax relief and legislators scrambling to come up with solutions, with some as severe as an
all-out freeze on all real property valuations and tax rates.
―What I‘m hearing is: ‗I can‘t sell my house, but the value it‘s assessed at is getting higher,‘‖ said Rep. Jason
Brown, R-Platte City, co-sponsor of a House resolution that would put the freeze before voters.
A St. Joseph Democrat plans on adding to the list of solutions with a bill that targets senior citizens. Rep. Martin
Rucker said he plans on filing legislation that would freeze property tax assessments for Missourians age 62 and
older with certain income restrictions.
―While I understand property taxes are going up for everybody, I think it affects seniors more than anyone,‖ Mr.
Rucker said. ―When you‘re drawing Social Security and on a fixed income, it‘s hard.‖
Companies are feeling the pressure, too.
In a local example, Triumph Foods in October appealed its property tax assessment. Buchanan County valued
the pork processing facility at $38 million. Triumph put the value at $27 million in a document filed with the State
Tax Commission. The difference translates to a $12.2 million assessed valuation by the county. Triumph claims
it should be only $8.6 million. The county‘s values typically are lower than actual market values. The appeal still
is in the works.
Buchanan County Assessor Scot Van Meter, who hasn‘t re-assessed residential properties since 2005, said that
by law he will have to update assessments in 2009.
―It‘s a double-edged sword,‖ Mr. Van Meter said. ―We‘re mandated to raise those to market value. But the levies
haven‘t rolled back enough to offset the increases that people actually realize on tax bills. There shouldn‘t be an
increase.‖
Mr. Van Meter said assessors statewide are supporting Senate President Pro Tem Mike Gibbons‘ SB 711, which
requires all political subdivisions to roll back its tax rates in reassessment years.
―Looking at the numbers, it‘s really not a county issue,‖ Buchanan County Clerk Pat Conway told the News-
Press.
Between 1997 and 2007, Buchanan County‘s levy roughly doubled, from $.03 per $100 of assessed valuation in
1997 to $.0628 in 2007. In 2007, commissioners rolled back the levy to $.0628 per $100 of assessed valuation,
down from $.0720 in 2005 and 2006.
In the past 10 years, the St. Joseph School District has raised its tax levy by $1.02 per $100 of assessed
valuation. The school district in 2007 rolled back its levy to $3.93 per $100 of assessed valuation, down from
$3.98 in 2006. In 1997, the levy was $2.91.
The city of St. Joseph stands out as one of the only local taxing entities that now has a lower tax levy than it did
a decade ago. The city last year rolled back its levy to $1.1534 per $100 of assessed valuation, down from
$1.1517 in 2006. The 1997 levy was $1.37.
SB 711 also requires counties to notify taxpayers of property assessment increases and to give them a tax
liability estimate for the coming year by Feb. 15.




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During a Friday conference call between the Buchanan County Commission, City Manager Vince Capell and
other various city officials, Mr. Conway expressed concerns over the bill, saying it would cost the city at least
$25,000 to send out the notices, not counting staff time.
He also noted that the estimates wouldn‘t be accurate since they wouldn‘t include any outcomes from spring and
fall elections.
Mr. Conway‘s solution is for the state to give more authority to the state auditor and then not allow the clerk to
certify a tax rate higher than what she approves.
Commissioners participated in the scheduled conference call at 11 a.m. Friday at the end of a commission
meeting. The call wasn‘t included on the commission‘s agenda.




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Blunt wants more funding for the arts
POST-DISPATCH - 01/20/2008

Gov. Matt Blunt has proposed nearly doubling funding for the arts and cultural organizations in Missouri. Blunt
recommends $14.6 million to fund the Missouri Arts Council, an increase of almost $7 million.
Blunt has increased arts funding every year he has served a governor. He says the arts improve the economy as
well as the education of Missouri children.
Blunt's recommendation is welcome news by arts organizations, who witnessed state arts funding plummet in
the mid-1990s.
"Many valuable arts organizations and programs would not have survived but for his commitment to support the
arts," said Janette M. Lohman, president of Missouri Citizens for the Arts, an advocacy group. "This is a fabulous
investment that will reap great returns in the form of economic development and tourism."
Last year, the Missouri Arts Council distributed about $6 million to more than 200 nonprofit arts groups, including
dozens of St. Louis organizations large and small such as the St. Louis Symphony ($187,000), Show-Me Sound
Organization ($20,000) and Dance St. Louis ($23,000). (DTK)




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'Truthiness' comes to Missouri in wake of State of
State address
   Here is the Missouri Capitol Notebook column scheduled to run in The Star's Monday editions.
  By KIT WAGAR
  The Star’s Jefferson City correspondent
  JEFFERSON CITY – Missourians got a strong dose last week of what comedian Stephen Colbert calls
―Truthiness‖ in the wake of Republican Gov. Matt Blunt’s State of the State address.
  In the Democratic response to the governor‘s speech, Attorney General Jay Nixon scoffed at the progress
Blunt claimed the state had made under his guidance.
  Not satisfied to let his remarks stand their merits, Blunt went after Nixon, who is running against Blunt this
year. Within five hours of his speech, Blunt had issued two written statements, ripping Nixon.
  The exchange was fascinating in the way that the two candidates often talked past each other, enabling them
to reach the opposite conclusions from similar sets of facts.
 Example 1: In his speech, Nixon said Missouri‘s unemployment rate ―is now among the nation‘s highest and
we‘re not keeping pace with our border states in creating new jobs.‖
  Blunt called Nixon‘s statement fiction.
  ―Missouri has created more jobs than 5 of the 9 surrounding states under Gov. Blunt‘s leadership…,‖ Blunt‘s
statement said. ―The average unemployment over the past three years is a full half a percent less than the
average unemployment of the last three years of the previous administration.‖
  But the facts support Nixon – not to mention Blunt‘s staff‘s miscount of the eight states that border Missouri.
(―Apparently Missouri is doing so well that they had to create another surrounding state,‖ one Democratic wit
noted.)
  Blunt‘s response merely continues his bashing of former Gov. Bob Holden, who had to contend with a
recession and the worst revenue situation in 70 years. Blunt‘s statement also ignores Nixon‘s point.
  Missouri‘s unemployment rate in December was 5.5 percent, tied for 38th worst in the nation, the Bureau of
Labor Statistics reported. Nebraska (3.2), Iowa (4.0), Kansas (4.4), Oklahoma (4.5) and Tennessee (5.3) all
have better job pictures than Missouri.
  Illinois is tied with Missouri. Only Kentucky and Arkansas, at 5.7 and 5.9 percent, respectively, have
unemployment rates higher than Missouri‘s among surrounding states.
  Example 2: ―Today, we are investing a smaller percentage of the state budget in schools than we did when
this Governor took office,‖ Nixon asserted.
   Blunt, who calls schools his top priority, bristled at that criticism. ―Gov. Blunt for the first time in the state‘s
history has recommended more than $3 billion to elementary and secondary education, and Gov. Blunt for the
first time in the state‘s history has recommended more than $1 billion in general revenue to higher education,‖
Blunt fired back.
  Nixon based his statement on the 2004 budget, which is unfair because Blunt didn‘t take office until 2005. But
even using the correct figures, Nixon is right. While state aid to schools has risen under Blunt, spending on
interest groups has risen much faster.




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  Fees paid to doctors and other medical providers skyrocketed. Subsidies for ethanol makers and developers
shot up. Expenses for health care, employee salaries and a building spree, mostly for college campuses,
boosted overall spending.
  In addition, Blunt supported a rewrite of the state‘s aid formula to reduce the amount the state was obligated to
send to local schools.
  In 2005, the state spent 35.4 percent of its general revenues on schools. By this year, the governor‘s
recommendations had dropped that total to 34.6 percent. The percentage spent from all state funds excluding
federal money fell from 28.7 percent in 2005 to 27.8 percent in Blunt‘s 2008 recommendation.
  Example 3: ―Why is it that when our college football team was ranked number one in the nation, our state
ranked dead last in funding for our colleges and universities,‖ Nixon said.
  A nice turn of phrase, but Nixon was reaching on that one. Asked about Nixon‘s statement, Democratic officials
conceded that Nixon did not mean Missouri spent less on higher education than much smaller states. Rather, he
meant that ―the increase in funding for higher education from 2005 to 2007 was the smallest percentage
increase in the nation.‖
 But even Blunt acknowledged that his record isn‘t exactly stellar regarding higher education.
 ―Missouri is not ranked last in funding for our colleges and universities,…‖ Blunt‘s response said. ―Missouri has
moved past seven states for increased investments in colleges and universities over the last two years.‖




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Blunt tours career center, touts proposed
increases in education funding
By Lindy Bavolek ~ Southeast Missourian
Gov. Matt Blunt crisscrossed the state Friday, stopping in Cape Girardeau to tout increases in education funding
he is recommending, including $121 million for the state's funding formula.
This is third time Blunt has spoken in Cape Girardeau in about a month, as he prepares to seek re-election in
November.
Before his speech, Blunt toured the Career and Technology Center, visiting Teresa Compton's "Careers in
Health" class to have his blood pressure taken by a student. It was 104 over 58, "really good," Compton said.
State Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, introduced Blunt, and later explained how the district's removal
from the classification as "hold harmless" has benefited Cape Girardeau schools.
The district received an additional $480,000 after the funding formula change; previously funding had been
essentially frozen for more than a decade due to a high local property tax base.
"The fact that hold harmless was eliminated on his watch is an accomplishment of which he can be very proud,"
Dr. Mike Cowan, principal of Central High School, said after the news conference. "And that's coming from a
liberal Democrat," he joked.
Blunt is calling for an additional $2 million for the Parents as Teachers program and is recommending about
$750,000 to train teachers to lead Advanced Placement courses.
Next year, Central High School will offer AP Spanish, French, human geography and American history, bringing
the number of AP courses from 11 to 15.
Cowan said that existing staff will teach the courses but teachers will go through a week of training this summer.
He said AP training was already something provided in the past.
Blunt said his funding recommendations will allow the Career and Technology Center to offer "Lead the Way"
classes next year, curriculum that exposes students to the engineering field.
Rich Payne, director of the center, said he is applying for a grant that would provide for the program.
Prior to the conference, Payne said he plans to speak to the Senate and House appropriations committees next
week about funding for vocational education.
"As the governor has increased funding for K to 12 education, that has allowed sending schools to send more
students to the career center," he said. However, at the same time, state "funding that supports career and
technology education has flatlined."
In fiscal year 2008, the governor recommended $76.4 million in funding for vocational and adult education. This
year, he recommended $72.6 million.
When asked about why his recommendation decreased, he paused and said, "That's a good question," before
asking for a reporter's business card to respond later.
Jessica Robinson, Blunt's spokeswoman, said later that while appropriations have gone down in the past, there
has been no real change in actual expenditures, and that Blunt's recommendation is a closer match to what
expenditures tend to be. She said the difference in appropriations and expenditures could be tied to timing
differences with federal money allocated.
Blunt said he supports increases in teacher pay but said the decision of how to allocate money is "best made by
school boards."
House Speaker Rod Jetton has said he will introduce a bill to raise the minimum salary of first-year teachers
from $23,000 to $31,000.
Dr. Steve Trautwein, school board president, said afterward he was "pleased to hear what the governor said"
about local control over salaries.



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   Editorials. . .
Missing the Point?
WASHINGTON MISSOURIAN - 01/21/2008


Sen. John Griesheimer is a seasoned and hardened political veteran and what people say about him isn't going
to cause brusies to last that long.
Some school officials in his district are upset because of what he said about the current reassessment and
property tax issue. Sen. Griesheimer said the public schools are the biggest benefactors of property taxes.
In Franklin County, more than 70 percent of all the property taxes go to the public school districts.
It's the same in most other counties in the state.
"Why isn't anyone complaining about the schools not rolling back their levies.
Nobody's making that argument. I'm not trying to be critical of schools, but let's face it, that's where the problem
is," Griesheimer told The Missourian. That upset school officials, with the general response that the districts are
complying with the law in rolling back their levies. That is true and their rollbacks are approved by the state
auditor's office.
The point that was missed was that some school districts should roll back their levies even beyond what the law
provides to bring relief to property taxpayers.
That's what Griesheimer was talking about.
Of course, the answer by school officials to that undoubtedly would be that they can't afford to and the
educational programs would suffer.
Never mind that the taxpayers are suffering!
We have wealthy and poor school districts.
The wealthy ones could afford to drop their levies lower than what the rollback law provides.
It should be obvious to everybody by now that the rollback law is faulty and we hope lawmakers address that
issue in this session.
With reassessment every two years, and the faulty rollback law, property owners are being taxed at too high of a
rate.
It can't go on and on with property owners paying more every two years.
There has to be a limit, a ceiling, particularly for people on fixed incomes.
Property values are dropping due to less demand because of a tightening of credit and the crash of subprime
loans.
Will our 2008 valuations reflect this if present conditions prevail? Because the rollback law is not working, Sen.
Griesheimer said there is an issue with school districts not rolling back their rates even more than the law
provides.



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That's the point he was trying to make.
At the same time, some blame can be pointed to state lawmakers who have permited this situation to fester.
Griesheimer has always supported education and he is well aware of where the rules are made.
Local boards of education, with the advice of their appointed officials, make the rules as to dropping levies even
lower than the rollback law provides.
To blame it all on the state is telling only part of the tax story.




                     On the Web :       www.senate.mo.gov/sencom – Telephone : (573) 751-3824
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Transportation as a Priority?
WASHINGTON MISSOURIAN
From what we've been reading about lawmakers' priorities in the 2008 session of the Missouri General
Assembly, transportation has hardly been mentioned.
It lags behind listed priorities of health care and insurance for it, the property tax and reassessment issue,
immigration and education.
Perhaps it is because this is an election year and lawmakers don't want to talk about raising taxes for
transportation, which is inevitable.
They prefer to talk about lowering property taxes, which should be a priority.
No quarrel with that. It's just that transportation seems to be a nonissue for 2008 and that's ducking a
responsibility by lawmakers. No state agency is more of a "whipping boy" than MoDOT, the Missouri Department
of Transportation.
It is criticized for just about everything it does, or doesn't do, of course.
The agency for years has urged additional funding to give people the roads and bridges they want, most of
which are needed.
However, the agency still is playing "catch-up" in its maintenance and most available resources are eaten up in
keeping what we have. Additional taxes on heavy users of roads and bridges in the state are justified but the
trucking lobby is powerful and lawmakers have bowed to its pressure.
For some reason motorists in this state find toll roads or bridges distasteful.
However, residents in other states have learned to live with them and even like them.
How many complaints have you heard about the toll bridge at the Lake of the Ozarks? Toll roads and bridges
are a method to get improvements now rather than waiting 10 or 20 years when funds might be available.
Missourians could live with a couple of "toll" improvements. MoDOT currently has embarked on the massive
Highway 40 (or Interstate 64) project in St. Louis County. That's the biggest project ever by MoDOT.
The agency took a pre-construction beating on that due to the long periods of shutdowns planned.
However, the startup so far has gone smoothly, according to reports, and motorists are finding they can survive
by using detours.
Most of the criticism about the project directed at MoDOT and its director, Pete Rahn, was not justified.
The truth is that MoDOT is doing a good job with what resources it has but rarely is it given the recognition it
deserves. About the only way to speed needed projects is cost-sharing, such as Washington is doing on
Highway 100 and what the county is doing on Highway 50. Transportation in general in Missouri is not given the
priority it should have.




                     On the Web :      www.senate.mo.gov/sencom – Telephone : (573) 751-3824
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Along King Drive
POST-DISPATCH - 01/21/2008


"If a friend calls you on the telephone and says they're lost on Martin Luther King Boulevard and they want to
know what they should do, the best response is . . . 'RUN!' I don't care where you live in America, if you're on
Martin Luther King Boulevard, there's some violence going on."
— Chris Rock


The view from the office window is of the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive and Raymond R. Tucker
Boulevard. Ray Tucker was mayor between 1953 and 1965, and in most ways a good one. But those were the
years when white flight began to empty the city.
Elsewhere in America in those years, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, whose birthday is celebrated today,
was leading a movement that changed America. In psychic terms, the St. Louis region today is still at the
intersection of King and Tucker — a conservative place that changes slowly, when it changes at all. The place
and the pace frustrate many of us, but the frustration of the area's black residents may well be greater.
In the years after Dr. King's assassination, 40 years ago this April, more than 650 U.S. cities and towns renamed
a street in his honor. As the brilliant black comedian Chris Rock has suggested, most of these streets were in
very tough parts of town. When the city of St. Louis renamed Franklin Avenue and Easton avenues (they diverge
in midtown) in honor of Dr. King in 1972, it wasn't much of an honor. Run-down row houses at its eastern end
gradually gave way to struggling businesses and commercial strips as you moved west.
Things got worse over the next 20 years. White flight continued. Parts of King Drive bisected a part of town so
crime-ridden city cops called it "The Hole." The city spent most of its redevelopment dollars on magic-bullet
projects downtown on the theory that jobs and money would trickle down to its poorest residents.
Census data showed that housing patterns made St. Louis one of the most segregated metro areas in America.
The St. Louis Public Schools, the key factor in creating a brighter future for young people, went from mediocre to
awful. Blacks began fleeing the city, too, but following traditional housing patterns, many headed for northern
suburbs as whites headed for the southern ones.
But in the 1990s, things began to get a little better along King Drive and elsewhere as well. Not great, but better.
Today, the eastern end of King Drive is given over to new warehouses and light-industrial uses and even a few
newly restored loft apartment buildings. As you head west toward Grand Avenue, "The Hole" is gone, replaced
by new churches and church-sponsored housing, some market-rate housing, both new and rehabbed, and even
a shopping center developed by the intrepid Jim Koman.
West of Grand, King Drive reverts to junk yards, vacant lots and grim boarded-up commercial strips, with Killark
Electric the only thriving business in sight. Things start to pick up again between Kingshighway and Goodfellow.
The city is putting in sidewalks, hoping to jump-start a commercial area for new housing, some of it quite
splendid, in the west end. There's progress here, but there's still a long way to go.
So, too, is there progress, but not enough, in the city and region at large. Although the region still is hugely
segregated — the fourth-most segregated metro region in the country by the latest Census-based study — the
city elected two African-American mayors in the 1990s. A black man now is county executive in St. Louis
County. A black U.S. senator from neighboring Illinois is among the leading contenders for president of the
United States.




                    On the Web :      www.senate.mo.gov/sencom – Telephone : (573) 751-3824
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Yet old wounds fester. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois still must debate Dr. King's legacy with a white rival. In St.
Louis, a white mayor replaced the black chief of the racially roiled city fire department, angering some members
of the African-American political community and testing not how good a black man has to be to be hired, but how
recalcitrant he must be to be fired. In response, a white former mayor, Vincent C. Schoemehl, has begun
meeting with a group of black and white leaders to confront racial divisions. One man getting his job back won't
mean success; increased opportunities for thousands of black workers will.
City schools remain a reproach to St. Louisans of every race. Having helped nurture a black and white middle
class of teachers and administrators, they failed generations of black and white kids. The 30,000 who are left are
disproportionately poor and African-American. If they don't get a chance, all the progress on the streets in St.
Louis won't mean a thing.




                   On the Web :      www.senate.mo.gov/sencom – Telephone : (573) 751-3824
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Voter ID
Yes or no?
By HENRY J. WATERS III, Publisher, Columbia Daily Tribune
Published Sunday, January 20, 2008

The constitutional struggle over voter photo identification has reached the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court
majority indicates it might uphold Indiana‘s law, deemed the toughest in the country.
If the court does this, it will contradict the Missouri Supreme Court, which in 2006 threw out a similar law passed
here in Missouri.
Generally, Democrats, such as Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and Boone County Clerk Wendy
Noren, oppose more stringent photo requirements, saying the added burden of proof falls most heavily on poor
and uneducated people and will interfere with their right to vote. Republicans favor the tougher laws to avoid
unauthorized voting.
These debaters ask why and why not. Why impose the extra burden when not enough evidence of fraud exists
to warrant it? Why not provide more security and integrity for elections when no good evidence shows a photo ID
requirement interferes with voting?
Carnahan made the case against a new law by reporting not the slightest indication of improper voting in earlier
statewide elections. Noren would make the same case.
But on the facing page today, MU Professor Jeff Milyo reports his study of the Indiana law shows no interference
with voter participation.
So with no hard evidence either way, and if the U.S. Supreme Court does validate the Indiana law, the issue will
become entirely political, meaning many legislatures, like our own, will revisit the issue. The arguments put forth
by Carnahan and Noren will weigh against the findings of Milyo‘s research, leaving the final decision to individual
instinct and partisan persuasion.
This political calculation is at the bottom of the issue, after all. Republicans wanted tighter rules because they
believed Democrats stuffed ballot boxes in recent elections. Democrats fight the extra requirements thinking they
are designed to disproportionately discourage Democrats.
An objective observer might say it makes no sense to add to the burden of voting, no matter how slightly, unless
a problem can be shown. However, the observer also might think if the burden is indeed slight, why not make the
electoral process that much more credible?
I believe if I were a member of the state legislature, I would vote against new requirements just because we don‘t
need to add to the state civil code. Based on the evidence, I would not be concerned with voter rights one way or
the other. Given the probable leaning of the legislative body in the foreseeable future, I probably would be in the
minority.




                    On the Web :        www.senate.mo.gov/sencom – Telephone : (573) 751-3824
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Proposed bill will undermine academic
freedom in Missouri
STUDENT LIFE-STUDENT NEWSPAPER-WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY -By: Staff Editorial
This legislative session, state representative Jane Cunningham is trying to introduce a bill, known as the "Emily
Brooker Higher Education Sunshine Act," that would effectively undermine academic freedom in Missouri public
colleges and Universities.
Missouri House Bill 1315 purports to promote intellectual diversity by "requiring each public institution to report
annually to the general assembly detailing the steps the institution is taking to ensure intellectual diversity and
the free exchange of ideas."
This sounds good on the surface, but the bill defines "intellectual diversity" as "the diversity of ideas that provides
the foundation of a learning environment that exposes students to a variety of political, ideological, religious and
other perspectives, when such perspectives relate to the subject matter being taught or issues being discussed."
"Free exchange of ideas" means "intellectual pluralism and students' right to learn in an environment that
exposes them to new knowledge, different perspectives, competing ideas and alternative claims of truth."
Essentially, this bill would require professors to teach all alternative perspectives to the material they present. A
course on human evolution, for example, would need to legitimately advocate the ideas of creationism and
intelligent design, a course on climate change would also need to argue against climate change, and a course in
queer theory would need to give a platform to biblical arguments against homosexuality.
The bill also stipulates that public universities must establish and publicize procedures that allow students to
report violations of policy.
Enforcing this bill not only blatantly undermines academic freedom, but it is not hard to imagine a wide range of
negative effects beginning with teachers choosing not to teach any controversial subject for fear of violating the
policy (which could affect the decision of whether or not they receive tenure) to actually disallowing entire
subjects to be taught based on the fact that there are too many opposing viewpoints to cover equally.
Even if it were possible for professors to ensure they would not violate this policy, it would still have an extremely
detrimental effect on education based on the fact that some basic truths deserve more weight and study than
their opposing viewpoints. As experts in their respective fields, professors and not politicians should be allowed
to make that determination and structure their courses in ways that cater to their knowledge about what is
important for students to learn in a given area. That is, after all, a large part of what the University hires them to
do.
Forcing professors to give equal weight to opposing viewpoints forces them to ignore and discount facts and
evidence that suggest one viewpoint is more correct than another. Allowing people to have and discuss their
own opinions is perfectly reasonable, but forcing professors to give equal weight and legitimacy to all opinions
renders logic irrelevant and legitimizes all opinions simply because they exist. The fact that an opinion exists
does not make that opinion valid and we should not force professors to pretend that it is. It makes a mockery of
academics and undermines the pursuit of knowledge.
While this bill has been filed, it has not yet been assigned a committee hearing, which means now is the best
time to act to kill this bill. Though Washington University is not a public university, in the interest of higher
education in Missouri, the University should publicly denounce the bill the way the University has taken positions
on other issues like stem cell research. Passing this bill would seriously undermine academia in Missouri, a
move that would certainly eventually affect overall exchange of ideas in Missouri and eventually be felt by
Washington University.
We have a significant interest in being a University in a state that respects academics. The motto of our school,
"Per Veritatem Vis," tells us we gain "strength through truth." We cannot stand by while the state legislature
threatens to take logic from our state's professors and truth from our academic community.



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Missouri's spending
SE MISSOURIAN - Sunday, January 20, 2008
The Missouri Legislature is back in session, and it's an election year. This is a combination that means we will be
hearing a great deal about ways to spend our tax dollars. Already Gov. Matt Blunt and various legislators have
suggested funding increases for anti-smoking campaigns, saving dairy farmers, highways, public schools and
colleges, expanded MO Health Net coverage, the Department of Corrections and higher Medicaid
reimbursement to doctors -- just in the last week or so.
Missouri has managed to operate with a surplus since Gov. Matt Blunt took office, and some of the proposed
increased spending would dip into those reserves. But the economic future is uncertain. Let's hope everyone in
government is looking at the budget process with the understanding that those reserves might be needed to
maintain existing programs.
The legislature has until May to make a final determination on the budget. By then we should have a clearer
picture of where the economy is heading.




                   On the Web :      www.senate.mo.gov/sencom – Telephone : (573) 751-3824
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For hire: Executioner
POST-DISPATCH - 01/20/2008


In the grim history of capital punishment is this curious footnote: Executioners used to become celebrities as
they traveled from jurisdiction to jurisdiction to practice their specialized trade.
Albert Pierrepoint, for example, was Great Britain's last official executioner, credited (if such is the word) with
hanging 433 men and 17 women, including 200 Nazi war criminals, in a 24-year career. The story goes that the
condemned traitor John Amery turned to him on the gallows at London's Wandsworth Prison in 1945 and said,
"Mr Pierrepoint, I've always wanted to meet you. Though not, of course, under these circumstances!"
We in the United States have tried to make capital punishment more detached. With our faith in technology, we
have built machines — gas chambers, electric chairs, lethal injection chambers — in a futile effort to make the
process more antiseptic and "humane." And in recent years, we have tended to keep private the names of those
who actually tripped the levers, threw the switches and pushed the plungers.
The irony is that no machine does the job as efficiently as specialists like Albert Pierrepoint, who would precisely
measure the drop and adjust the noose so that necks snapped and death was instantaneous. Although our
machines have tried to take the guesswork and uncertainty out of capital punishment, they are subject to what
we might clinically describe as operator error.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about the three-drug lethal injection protocol. It has
to be done precisely, lest it cause excruciating pain that could violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition against
cruel and unusual punishment.
Which brings us to the ironic case of David L. Pinkley. As Jeremy Kohler of the Post-Dispatch reported last
Sunday, Mr. Pinkley is a licensed practical nurse at a hospital in Farmington. He also is a member of Missouri's
lethal injection team, and in 2001 he was hired by the federal prison system to assist in the execution by lethal
injection of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber.
The alarming part of the story involves Mr. Pinkley's criminal record. Before he could leave Missouri for the
federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., where McVeigh was to be executed, Mr. Pinkley needed permission from his
probation officer. At the time, he was on probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor counts of stalking
and tampering with property — reduced charges that resulted from bargaining down the felonies with which he
originally was charged. Missouri prison officials were aware of these facts.
Also on the federal execution team was Dr. Alan Doerhoff, a Jefferson City surgeon who took part in 54
executions in Missouri. In 2006, Post-Dispatch stories by Mr. Kohler identified Dr. Doerhoff as the mysterious
"John Doe 1" who, under cloak of anonymity, had testified in a federal court challenge to Missouri's lethal
injection system. Dr. Doerhoff admitted he was dyslexic, "not good with numbers" and sometimes devised
aspects of execution procedures as he went along. He also had been sued for malpractice at least 20 times, had
had privileges revoked at two hospitals and had been reprimanded by the state Board of Healing Arts.
The federal prison system did not have that information when it hired him. All the feds knew was that he was a
doctor willing to do the job, even though the American Medical Association's Code of Ethics says doctors should
not participate in executions. And they knew that Mr. Pinkley was a nurse experienced in execution processes.
Indeed, paperwork filed by probation officers for Mr. Pinkley suggested that he told them he actually would
administer the lethal injection to McVeigh.
Good help is hard to find. Dr. Doerhoff and Mr. Pinkley were throwbacks to the Albert Pierrepoint days: itinerant
executioners hired, ostensibly, for their expertise. But unlike Mr. Pierrepoint, their names were supposed to
remain private because, after all, we are civilized people.



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The Post-Dispatch decided to disclose Dr. Doerhoff's identity in 2006 because questions about his competence
struck to the heart of the constitutional issue about the lethal injection process.
The Missouri Legislature responded by enacting a law that allows members of execution teams whose names
are made public to file lawsuits seeking civil judgments against any making the disclosure, including fines. The
Legislature argued that anonymity is needed to protect executioners from the retribution of associates of the
condemned inmates — even though police, prosecutors and judges receive no such protection.
The senior executives of the newspaper decided to disclose Mr. Pinkley's name on Sunday, notwithstanding the
recently enacted law, because his background is crucial to the public's understanding of how the death penalty is
administered in the name of the people of Missouri. That the state would employ someone on probation for
stalking to conduct executions and then seek to keep his identity secret suggests a measure of deception that
subverts the public interest, rather than serving it.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule this spring on the constitutionality of the current three-drug lethal injection
process. Until then, capital punishment in the United States effectively is on hold, the 3,350 inmates on death
row locked safely away in maximum-security prisons. The nation is no less safe. We should leave it like that.




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Governor bypasses legislators
SPRINGFIELD NEWS-LEADER
Gov. Matt Blunt wants to make sure that all state e-mails produced by the executive branch are saved for at
least seven years.
How can we not applaud that decision?
A few short months ago, we requested such an e-mail and found out from the governor's former chief of staff that
the e-mail had been deleted. In fact, we found out, that was standard operating procedure. What ensued was a
statewide discussion that is ongoing about e-mail retention and Sunshine Law. The very government attorney
who told us the e-mail we asked for didn't any longer exist is now suing the governor and others as a result of
the controversy.
So when Blunt said he wanted to implement a fail-safe plan to protect all e-mails under the control of the
executive branch, we thought that was a good idea. So what if he wouldn't admit his past failures in this regard?
It was a step in the right direction.
And when Blunt's staff told him the process could cost up to $2 million, we didn't blink.
But now we're rubbing our eyes in dismay over the governor's inability to understand the checks and balances
that make our government tick. Blunt has unilaterally ordered implementation of this new system, using money
from a governor's reserve account, without seeking any legislative approval. Keep in mind, this is a legislative
body controlled by the governor's party, a General Assembly that has been overly friendly to the governor's
proposals.
So while we stand and cheer at the governor's change of heart on how he views e-mails, we can't help but ask
him once again to stop trying to bypass the legislative process. He thought he could do that a couple of years
ago with his scheme to sell student loan assets, and his error delayed the proposal for nearly two years. He's
done the same thing with his Insure Missouri proposal, and now skeptical House Republicans (not to mention
angry Democrats) are questioning whether they'll provide the funding.
And now he's trying the same end run with the e-mail protection system. We understand the governor's desire to
ignore any questions over the e-mail issue that has dogged his administration for months, but it's not the
governor's job to unilaterally decide public policy and determine funding.
In fact, that's the very thing the governor warned taxpayers about in his state of the state address when he said
Missourians should fear judge-ordered tax hikes, even though no state judge in Missouri has ever done such a
thing. The governor made it clear it's the job of the legislature to approve funding increases.
Well, he should follow that advice and put forward a budget proposal for his e-mail retention system. Besides the
fact that the legislature should be approving the money, there's also the age-old truism that a little debate makes
proposals stronger. Blunt, for instance, doesn't propose that the e-mail retention system also save e-mails used
by lawmakers on private accounts, and yet the governor sometimes uses his "mattblunt.com" account for the
state's business. We know this because in a response to a recent Sunshine Law request, the governor's office
provided several e-mails from mattblunt.com, including some from the governor himself. So if taxpayers are
going to spend $2 million on accountability, shouldn't there actually be accountability?
We think in principle the governor's idea is a good one. We don't think the money proposed is outrageous.
But the proposal needs work, and the legislature must approve the money.




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NEWS FROM THE MISSOURINET
KC Minuteman Member Resigns From Park Board
Tuesday, January 22, 2008, 8:19 AM
By Bob Priddy

Controversial Kansas City Park Board member Frances Semler has resigned after months of attacks because
she belongs to the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. That's a group known for fighting illegal immigration.
Mayor Mark Funkhouser's refusal to ask for her resignation has cost the city two major conventions. The
Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Hispanic group LaRaza have cancelled plans to meet in
Kansas City.

Five Star for Pre-School?
Monday, January 21, 2008, 10:01 PM
By Bob Priddy

We have five-star ratings for restaurants and hotels. How about for early childhood education centers? The
Missouri legislature has been asked to create the ratings system.
St. Joseph Senator Charlie Shields wants state accreditation of centers that educate Missouri children younger
than five...with increased requirements for staffing and staff training as each new level is reached. He thinks it
will cost eight million dollars a year to run the program.
The state has been running some pilot projects of the Quality Rating System. Project Director Kyle Matchell with
the Mid-America Council in Kansas City says almost two thirds of the centers tested have improved by at least
one star.
But critics such as Senator Scott Rupp of St. Charles say the ratings system will only drive up costs for the
schools and the families that use them---and that means the state will have to increase its child care subsidy.
The end result, he says, is that Shields' eight-million dollar program will become a fifty-million dollar program--all
because government decided to get into the certification business.
Some providers have told a Senate committee the test projects at their center have made things a lot better.
Others complain the requirements for increased certification are onerous, invasive, and too expensive.

A New Johnson's Shut-Ins Coming Soon
Monday, January 21, 2008, 10:00 PM
By Brent Martin

Expect a rejuvenated Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park now that the legal issues have been resolved. Natural
Resources Department Director Doyle Childers says the settlement with AmerenUE will clear the way for a new
Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, while remembering December 14th, 2005 when a billion gallons of water broke
free from the Taum Saulk Reservoir, down Proffit Mountain and into the park.
Childers says the re-opened park will include interpretive signs explaining the disaster. A scar down Proffit
Mountain will remain visible.
The flood swept away the superintendent's house. Jerry Toops, his wife and three children, have recovered from
their injuries. The family reached their own settlement with Ameren. Its terms have not been disclosed. The
superintendent's residence will be rebuilt, but not at the same location. All that was left of the old house was the
foundation which has been filled in.



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Surveys of visitors convinced the State Natural Resources Department to move the campground. Childers says
about 70% of the visitors admitted that they would be nervous if the campground were rebuilt at the same
location. It will be rebuilt, only it will be rebuilt a mile away at Goggins Mountain. Childers says adjustments were
made by DNR to allay any such fears.
Childers says the state reached the best settlement it could to not only rebuild Johnson's Shut-Ins, but to
develop a new park on the Current River on the east side of the state and to extend the Katy Trail to Kansas City
on the west side of the state. It says all of that will provide compensation for the damages done to the state park
system.

Healthcare Transformation Committee Working Aggressive Schedule
in Search of Solutions
Monday, January 21, 2008, 6:50 PM
By Steve Walsh

The 2008 session of the General Assembly is in its early stages but a special committee set up to look for
healthcare solutions is already in full swing. The House Special Committee on Healthcare Transformation has
held a series of hearings and has more scheduled this week.
Representative Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph), the Chair of the Committee, says many people benefit if healthcare
is made available and affordable to those who do not currently have coverage. Many people who lack health
insurance know they will not be turned away if they go to hospital emergency rooms. Emergency room costs are
very high and are borne by taxpayers and the insured whose premiums or co-pays rise to compensate for what
amounts to free treatment given the uninsured.
Schaaf believes some solutions can be found before the end of the legislative session. He adds Governor Matt
Blunt's Insure Missouri proposal is one of the ideas worth studying, though he has expressed his concerns about
the cost and fact the proposal was not first run by the Legislature.

Petition for In-Home Health Care
Sunday, January 20, 2008, 10:01 PM
By Bob Priddy

You soon might be asked to sign a petition for a group that wants to plug a gap in Missouri's healthcare services
for elderly people who want to stay in their homes.
The state health department helps low-income people pay for their in-home care. But they have to choose their
providers. The Department provides lists of providers after doing background checks on them.
But Missourians for Quality Home Care says there's no organization that can help people easily match
caregivers with those needing help.
Campaign organizer Alphonso Mayfield says the petition asks for the public to vote on establishing that special
clearinghouse service--a Quality Home Care Council. He says the council will help make sure caregivers are
available to meet those needs.
Mayfield knows the campaign is off to a very late start. It faces a May deadline to get 95-thousand signatures if it
hopes to put the issue on the ballot. He says the group is trying the petition campaign instead of asking the
legislature to set up the council because a ballot issue will carry the weight of broad public approval.




                      On the Web :      www.senate.mo.gov/sencom – Telephone : (573) 751-3824
               M ISSOURI SENATE      – Office of Communications

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USA TODAY In Missouri
Tuesday, January 22
Jefferson City - A Senate committee studying county sheriffs has recommended charging people higher court
fees to boost deputy sheriff pay. The proposal is one of several designed to get more money to sheriffs'
departments, particularly those in rural areas often hurting from low populations and tax bases.

Monday, January 21
Kansas City - Federal investigators blame city officials for the loss in 2006 of 26 IRS computer tapes containing
taxpayer information. In a heavily redacted report obtained by The Kansas City Star through a Freedom of
Information Act request, the Treasury Department says Kansas City failed to follow "proper safeguards." The
tapes haven't been found.




                   On the Web :      www.senate.mo.gov/sencom – Telephone : (573) 751-3824

								
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