2008 Democratic Platform 2Nd Amendment - DOC

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Lawsuit challenges limit on fees for
By Virginia Young

JEFFERSON CITY — A Virginia-based company that stands to make money from Missouri's drivers license
records system is challenging a law capping how much the state can charge for copies of the database.
The company, BearingPoint, contends the fee limit is unconstitutional because it was added to a bill dealing with
property taxes. The constitution requires that bills cover a single subject that is clearly expressed in the title.
One of the top priorities last session, the bill would require cities, school districts and other entities to roll back
their tax rates when property values soar. It is slated to take effect Aug. 28.
The suit, filed in Cole County Circuit Court, seeks to throw out the drivers license provision but would leave the
rest of the bill intact. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Mike Gibbons, R-Kirkwood, said Thursday that he was confident the
property tax changes were not threatened by the suit.
The disputed part of the bill caps the fee for bulk purchases of Department of Revenue records at a half-penny
per record, or about $22,500 for the drivers license database.
Legislators approved that provision in May to reverse the agency's decision to raise the rate to $7 per record, or
$28 million for the database. Critics said those fees would violate the Sunshine Law, put data-collection
companies out of business and raise auto insurance rates.
Under a state contract, BearingPoint was supposed to keep $1 of every $7-per-record fee. The company was
hired to develop a $50 million Web-based system for drivers license and motor vehicle records.
But in June, Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan threw out the $7 fee for bulk purchases. Callahan said
it violated the Sunshine Law, which limits fees for public records to the cost of copies, staff time and
David Griffith, a spokesman for the department, said Thursday that the agency is not appealing Callahan's ruling.
Thus, the rate for bulk purchase has reverted to the old rates, for example, $2,035 for the drivers license
database, or .0003 cents per record.
Chuck Hatfield, a lawyer for BearingPoint, said the company wanted to preserve the department's "right to make
a determination about the true costs of production of these records, whatever that may be."

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

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Governor Candidates Differ on Earnings
Tax Repeal
Steve Bell - KCUR News

KANSAS CITY, MO (2008-08-01) Like about 25 percent of major American cities, Kansas City and St. Louis
have their own income tax - the Earnings Tax. The state legislature passed the law allowing the cities to tax
income in the late 1940's.
Gubernatorial candidate Sarah Steelman says the tax is stifling the economies of the two cities. She would
repeal the tax, counting on an economic boost for the cities as former taxpayers spend what would have gone to
city coffers. Steelman adds, "And I think it's a better way, a better approach than always taxing people,
especially at a time when Missouri families are hurting and can always use the money. "
Steelman would phase out the tax over a five or six year period and work with the cities on solving any
temporary shortfall. She also comments that the cities could probably trim some wasteful spending to make up a
good part of the shortfall until new economic gains kick in.
Steelman doesn't specify what alternate revenue sources she has in mind, but says she draws ideas from
conservative think-tank The Show Me Institute in St. Louis. MU economics professor Joseph Haslag has done
most of their earnings tax research.
Haslag would replace the Kansas City E-Tax with a new 6.7 percent tax on the assessed value of land, but not
on anything built on it. Haslag says because you can't move a plot of land, a land tax wouldn't drive residents or
businesses to the suburbs or other cities.
Haslag says his studies of cities with earnings taxes show that the higher the tax the lower the city's income
compared with that of its suburbs.
State Treasurer Steelman's opponent, Congressman Kenny Hulsof says he is familiar with Haslag's study, but
he is not willing to endorse repealing the earnings tax. Hulshof says though, as a conservative he is always
looking for counterproductive taxes that can be eliminated. He believes the earnings taxes probably do
discourage economic development, then adds, "But it is not sufficient for me to tell you, 'Oh, yes, I'm for the
repeal,' but not offer you anything substantive, then, as a solution for those revenues."
St. Louis mayor Francis Slay has said he would be interested in a practical way to end the earnings tax. Kansas
City officials were not at all enthusiastic. City council budget chair Deb Herman summed up the repeal idea in
one word: "Devastating."
Herman says the earnings tax provides almost half of the money in the city's general fund. She is also skeptical
about getting voters to support any new tax if it is repealed, especially a land tax. And she objects to the fact that
a land tax would put the full burden of regional city amenities like Bartle Hall and Liberty Memorial on the
shoulders of Kansas Citians. "I've always believed the earnings tax is kind-of our regional tax." she says.
Herman also notes recent failed attempts to get suburban voters to tax themselves for center-city services like
Union Station and light rail. She says Kansas City leaders would fight hard to keep the E-Tax.
State Senator Matt Bartle of Lee's Summit, on the other hand, says the repeal idea is popular elsewhere. Bartle
opines: "Kansas City would fight it tooth and nail but all over the state there would be support for this, and
certainly I represent a district of people that pay that tax and don't like paying that tax. I know it would be popular
in places like Lee's Summit and Blue Springs."
Sarah Steelman promises E-Tax repeal on page one of her web site platform. Opponent Kenny Hulshof says for
the foreseeable future the tax should remain in place. Election returns from places like Lee's Summit, Raytown,
St. Charles and Clayton should tell us how suburban Missouri voters stand.

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

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Missouri ruling backs institutionalization of violent
sexual predators
The Star’s Jefferson City correspondent
JEFFERSON CITY | A violent sexual predator may be institutionalized upon release from prison even if his
incarceration was not for a violent sex offense, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The court’s 5-2 decision upheld a Cass County Circuit Court ruling in the case of Jackie L. Holtcamp.
He was committed to the state’s Sex Offender Treatment Center in 2004 following his release from prison for
statutory sodomy.
The law allows state officials to sue to have a soon-to-be-released sex offender committed to the program if they
can prove the offender is a ―sexually violent predator.‖
According to the law, Holtcamp could be classified as a sexually violent predator because of a 1983 conviction
for attempted rape in Pettis County and the likelihood that he would offend again, but not the 1999 Johnson
County, Mo., second-degree statutory sodomy charge for which he was most recently imprisoned.
The case before the Supreme Court turned on whether the state could commit an offender who was in jail for a
crime other than the one that classified him as a sexually violent predator.
Yes it could, the court ruled.
―The original conviction for a sexually violent offense acts as an anchor around which other pieces of evidence
may be cemented,‖ the court said. ―It is appropriate for the state to evaluate accumulated evidence of anti-social
character traits along with the current mental state of an inmate and then initiate proceedings under the law
when the person is incarcerated for an unrelated crime.‖
The attorney general’s office, which argued the case before the Supreme Court, applauded the decision.
―We are pleased that the court’s opinion adopted the attorney general’s argument and expanded the reach of our
sexually violent predator statute,‖ said John Fougere, a spokesman for Attorney General Jay Nixon.
Judges Richard Teitelman and Michael Wolff disagreed with the findings of the majority.
Interpreting the sex offender law so broadly effectively limits individuals’ liberty, Teitelman wrote in a dissent,
something earlier case law has sought to avoid.
―Given the fundamental liberty interests involved in this case, any statutory ambiguity should be resolved in favor
of the preservation of liberty,‖ he wrote.
The Sex Offender Treatment Program is administered by the Missouri Department of Mental Health. Offenders
are held at a secure facility and not allowed to leave unless they are no longer a threat to offend again.
The program has involved about 150 people since its inception in 1999, said Bob Bax, a spokesman for the
Department of Mental Health. None has been released.

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

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Missouri Supreme Court moves ahead
with filling vacancy
The Missouri Supreme Court on Thursday announced demographic information on applicants for the seat
recently vacated by Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr.
But if you’re looking for insight, you’re likely to be disappointed.
Five women and 18 men applied for the vacancy. Six are minorities. Six work in the private sector, 16 work in the
public sector and one works in both.
The mean age is 53.5.
That’s all we know for now, although the full applications of three finalists will be released later this month.

KC STAR| Jason Noble,

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

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Following Limbaugh: 23 apply for
Missouri’s top court vacancy
By Tony Messenger

Twenty-three people have thrown their hats in the ring to join Missouri’s Supreme Court. The court has a
vacancy because Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr., was appointed by President Bush to the federal bench. The court
today released basic demographic information about the applicants. Here’s a look at the applicant pool:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Pursuant to Rule 10.28(d), the Appellate Judicial Commission announces the
following demographic information relating to applicants for the vacancy on the Supreme Court of Missouri
created by the departure of Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr., who is being appointed as a judge of the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri:
There are 23 applicants for the vacancy. Five of these applicants are women, and 18 are men. There are six
minority applicants and 17 non-minority applicants. Six applicants work in the private sector, 16 work in the
public sector and one works in both. The applicants’ mean age is 53.5.

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

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Earmarks remain an issue in Congress
By Deirdre Shesgreen

WASHINGTON — It's spending season in Washington, as lawmakers lard up on projects and roll out press
releases touting their success in snagging earmarks for their home states.
"Bond secures more than $7 million in federal funds for Missouri farmers," blared a release from Missouri's
senior U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo.
Among the projects: $735,000 for the National Center for Soybean Biotechnology at the University of Missouri in
Columbia and $630,000 for a virtual plant database at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
But Bond and several other area lawmakers aren't as forthcoming about the projects for which they failed to
procure money, despite increasing public pressure to disclose their full wish lists.
Each year, House and Senate members must submit earmark requests — provisions to direct money to certain
projects — to the congressional spending committees, which then decide which projects will receive the funding.
Under new transparency rules, the earmarks that win committee approval become public, along with the
sponsoring lawmaker's name. In the House, the intended beneficiary of the earmark is also disclosed.
But watchdog groups say the process is still shrouded in secrecy, with no real public scrutiny of how the winners
are picked.
In past years, congressional leaders and members of the House and Senate appropriations committees, such as
Bond and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., have won significantly more earmark funding than other members.
Lawmakers facing tough re-election battles have also fared well.
Open-government groups are pressing members of Congress to disclose their entire request lists, something all
area representatives except Durbin refused to do.
"When a lawmaker submits their requests, they are literally signing on the dotted line that they think this is a
good use of taxpayer funds," said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a fiscal watchdog
group. "Constituents have a right to know what their lawmakers think our tax dollars should be spent on."
Durbin released his entire request list for 177 projects totaling more than $1 billion to the Post-Dispatch. His
office said the list will be posted on his website today.
Constituents will be able to see "what I'm asking for and why I'm asking for it," Durbin said. "Each one of them I
think is defensible."
Durbin's biggest single request is $370 million for three C40D aircraft for Scott Air Force Base.
Other requests include $12 million for new aircraft for the 183rd Air National Guard Wing in Springfield and $2.8
million for the Olin Corp. in East Alton to study the effectiveness of copper surfaces in killing bacteria, a tool
Durbin said could be used to reduce infections in military hospitals.
But Durbin is in the minority when it comes to full disclosure. Taxpayers for Common Sense and another open-
government group, the Sunlight Foundation, have been canvassing congressional offices to see who will post
their requests online. So far, at least 76 lawmakers have done so, another dozen or so have released a list to the
media, and an increasing number have said they will forgo earmarks all together.
Among area lawmakers, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has declined to seek any earmarks, criticizing the
process as influenced more by political muscle than merit. Earlier this year, as the issue became a hot topic in

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

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the presidential race, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., the presumptive Democratic nominee, also decided to forgo
earmarks. His GOP rival, John McCain, a longtime critic of earmarks, also does not request such funding.
But most area lawmakers staunchly defend earmarks.
And, aside from Durbin, many also say that keeping their requests under wraps until the spending committees
make decisions is good policy and smart politics. Disclosing them too early would cause unnecessary bickering
among home-state interests, area lawmakers said.
"It gets communities upset with each other," said Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, a member of the
powerful House Appropriations Committee.
A second factor for keeping the list private until committee approval: "I don't want to embarrass somebody
because the chairman of the committee didn't pick their request," Emerson said, in comments echoed by others.
A spokesman for Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, initially said the congressman would release a full list, but
then he apparently decided against it. "As in previous years, we will post all earmarks … that are actually
funded," Clay said in a statement.
Bond, in a statement, said that winning committee approval is a key check in the process and projects should
only become public after that step.
Critics say those arguments aren't convincing. They say lawmakers want to keep the process under wraps so
constituents don't know how hard they push a certain project.
"They don't want to be held accountable for the decisions they make," said Bill Allison of the Sunlight
Foundation. "When legislation is introduced, it's not kept secret," even if it has no chance of passage, he noted.
He and others said that requiring disclosure of all requests would make lawmakers more careful about what, and
how much, they ask for.
Some local earmarks are already public — those that have won initial committee approval. In the half-dozen or
so bills approved by House or Senate appropriations committees so far, St. Louis area lawmakers have secured
millions of dollars in funding for specific local projects.
The funding provisions run the gamut. Among the items:
— Bond secured $10.8 million for a mine detection training facility and military canine unit at Fort Leonard Wood
in the military construction spending bill. He got $3.75 million for St. Louis flood protection and $2.6 million for
the Missouri River Levee System in an energy and water bill.
— Durbin got $3 million for Illinois bike and pedestrian trails (he had asked for $5 million) and $310,000 for the
Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in East St. Louis to expand its youth job training and placement services (he had
asked for $500,000).
— Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, got $500,000 for improvements at the Ste. Genevieve Levee and $70,000
for the Academy of Science in St. Louis for a program that connects students with working scientists.
— Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country, got $175,000 for SSM St. Clare Health Center for an electronic records
initiative and $150,000 for facilities and equipment at Thrive St. Louis, a Christian group that provides counseling
on "healthy decisions about sex, pregnancy, and relationships," according to its website.

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

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MO GOP throws down gun gauntlet
STL TODAY =-By Adam Jadhav

Missouri Republican Party spokeswoman Tina Hervey just sent out an e-mail calling on all Democrat candidates
to clarify their positions on the 2nd Amendment and the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that struck down a
Washington, D.C. handgun ban and declared an individual right to gun ownership. Hervey asks for all candidates
to e-mail here – tina@mogop.org – with a ―press release‖ explaining their position. ―Let the games begin,‖ she
writes.Whether any Democrats play ball remains to be seen. Candidates may very well try to dismiss this ―game‖
as nothing more than a political stunt. On the other hand, Missouri is a pretty gun-friendly state, and voters might
be interested. Hervey’s blunt e-mail argues that many Democrats who praised the high court’s ruling are flip-
floppers. And those who have stayed silent are just embarrassed by their own position. Her words:
―For those who publicly praised the Supreme Court’s decision, like Jay Nixon, who was once praised by former
President Clinton for supporting his anti-Second Amendment agenda that included the Brady Bill and the
controversial assault weapons ban –are we to understand that now he is committed to do everything possible to
protect Missourians’ Second Amendment rights?‖―And for those who continue to remain curiously silent, are they
hiding their Clinton-era gun control advocacy in an effort to have their cake and eat it too by hoping that by being
silent they will not isolate the Democrat base or generate laughter from conservative and independent voters
who know the real truth?‖
Anyone who does take Hervey up on her challenge can feel free to copy Political Fix as well. For that matter,
we’d welcome Republican candidates on this topic as well.

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

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Middle schools stand out
By Valerie Schremp Hahn and Kevin Crowe

Middle schools, long the awkward in-between schools of public education, have been the shining stars of
Missouri state standardized tests.
Students in grades six, seven and eight are improving in both math and reading in every grade tested in the past
two years, according to Missouri Assessment Program test data released today.
The data also show a decline in elementary scores, after recent improvements. High school students improved
scores in math but not in communication arts.
State officials can't give clear reasons for the changes, but they are thrilled at the middle school results. Closely
assessing students, organizing schools into teams, and giving extra help to struggling students may play a
Stan Johnson, assistant commissioner for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education,
said increased testing gives teachers more data to analyze to make sure students are learning.
In 2006, Missouri began testing students every year in math and communication arts instead of every few years.
"It's certainly true schools have more information on kids," Johnson said. "That does drive instruction."
Still, school officials say middle schools aren't cold, instruction-driven places. Adults may recall their middle
school experience, more likely in a junior high, as clumsy and painful. While hormones haven't changed, the
system embracing those students has, with more districts having switched to a middle school model focused on
nurturing young adolescents through an awkward time.
"I look at them and I tell them, you are the center of your universe right now," said Mary Ann Goldberg, principal
of Wydown Middle School, one of the top MAP performers in the area. "We are orbiting around you to help you.
If you think it's all about you, it is all about you."
Goldberg said the teachers don't teach to the MAP test, they teach for the test. All year, they encourage students
to use critical thinking skills, and have students reflect and write in every subject, even gym class.
Wydown, like most other middle schools nowadays, practices team teaching, where students in each grade are
divided into smaller groups who see the same teachers for core subjects. They form a "family unit" of sorts that
helps students feel connected to fellow students and their teachers. Nationwide, elementary school scores are
improving faster than middle schools and high schools. Middle school historically has been a time when student
performance gets worse — attendance declines, suspensions increase and test scores go down, said Dan
French, executive director of the Center for Collaborative Education, based in Boston.
"Hopefully, Missouri is the beginning of a positive trend upwards," French said.
French's center also houses Turning Points, a program that focuses on improving learning, teaching and
assessment in more than 80 schools in 16 states. One of the better performing middle schools on this year's
MAP was Wentzville South, which is part of the Turning Points program.
The upcoming school year is the first Hancock Place Middle School students will be divided into teams. While
those students still didn't make state MAP score averages, they can still boast some of the most improved
scores of the region. Just 27 percent of students passed the MAP in 2006, but this year, 42 percent did.
"I'm not surprised that our kids achieved, because I know they can do it," school principal Scott Wilkerson said.

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

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If there's one buzzword Wilkerson and other middle school administrators are crediting over and over again, it's
assessment. Schools are increasingly checking with students to see if they've learned what is taught, and they
look closely at the results. These checks might come in the form of quick questions at the end of class, monthly
online tests, textbook chapter tests, or other standardized tests. Middle school math and literacy specialists,
something new to many buildings, work closely with teachers to improve their methods and work closely with
students who need extra help.
Critics say additional testing comes at the expense of teaching actual content, and schools have to constantly
balance time to meet all student needs — and prepare them for tests.
Linda Lelonek is principal of Parkway West Middle School, one of the top-performing schools in the region. The
district has its own student data reporting system that teachers can access to see how kids are doing. "You
spend less time getting to know that student at the beginning of the year," she said. "The student comes to you
with a lot of information."
Ladue Middle School students were among one of the top performers in the area. Administrators there study test
dataand give extra help to struggling students. Of course, students get to take credit as well, said Joan Oakley,
an assistant superintendent. "The joy of middle school kids," said Oakley, "is they still have that passion and
enthusiasm that anything is possible."
Among other results from the MAP scores:
— Seven of 10 charter schools performed worse on math tests than St. Louis Public Schools; eight of 10
performed worse in communication arts.
— With the exception of fifth grade communication arts scores, which stayed even, all grades and subjects
tested in elementary school declined last year. That was a reversal from the prior year, when scores were
generally up.
— Schools statewide were successful in reducing the percentage of students performing in the lowest category
in nearly all grades.
St. Louis Public Schools had some of the worst scores in the state, but three of its middle schools — Stevens,
Long, and Bunche International — posted some of the most improved scores in the area. "We're going to find out
why those increases occurred, and work our tails off to replicate," board president Rick Sullivan said.
David Hunn and Jessica Bock of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

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

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Gibbons Running Unopposed In Aug. 5
Four Democrats vying for attorney general post running spirited campaigns

August 01, 2008

Kirkwood native Michael Gibbons, who served on the local city council before representing the area in Jefferson
City, will make his first run for statewide office. His bid for the attorney general post will be decided in the Nov. 4
general election.
However, Republican state Senate President Pro Tem Gibbons will not know which Democrat he will face in
November until after Tuesday’s Aug. 5 primary. Democrats seeking the attorney general post for Missouri are:
Chris Koster, Margaret Donnelly, Jeff Harris and Molly Williams.
Gibbons, who served on Kirkwood’s city council from 1986 to 1982, has since served in both the House and the
Senate in Jefferson City. He touts a long record of working on behalf of children, small business, healthcare and
public safety.
Gibbons points to legislative accomplishments aimed at jailing sexual predators, protecting the developmentally
disabled and elderly, tough laws on the production of methamphetamine and laws to protect Missouri consumers
from identity theft.
Sen. Gibbons practices law at Stinson, Morrison, Hecker LLP in St. Louis. Before, he practiced law for 20 years
alongside his father, Michael Gibbons, in Kirkwood.
Democrats vying for the attorney general post have run spirited campaigns:
Chris Koster serves in the state Senate, where he represents Missouri’s 31st District counties of Cass, Johnson,
Bates and Vernon. During his time in the General Assembly, Koster played key roles in debates over stem cell
research, which he supports, tort reform, and the elimination of Medicaid fraud.
Additionally, in 2006 Koster promoted legislation in the Senate to dramatically overhaul Missouri’s eminent
domain laws. A Republican who switched to the Democratic side, Koster has taken some heat from both sides of
the aisle. He recently got a key endorsement from St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, who
emphasized Koster’s law enforcement experience and support of police and prosecutors.
Margaret Donnelly, a state representative from Richmond Heights is a lawyer who specializes in family law and
has been a leading voice in the statehouse on children’s issues. According to Donnelly, she would emphasize
child support enforcement, the Sunshine Law, consumer protection and prosecution of Medicaid fraud as
attorney general.
She also said she would crack down on frauds against senior citizens, with a special eye on the reverse-
mortgage market. At a recent press conference, Donnelly said she would establish a fugitive unit within the
attorney general’s office to work with local authorities to track sexual offenders who violate parole or who do not
register as offenders.
Jeff Harris, minority leader in the Missouri House, has led the opposition to Gov. Matt Blunt’s health care cuts,
which he said has hurt more than 100,000 Missourians. Harris has represented part of his hometown of
Columbia in the Missouri House since 2002 winning election with two-thirds of the vote.

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

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Before being elected to the House, Harris served as an assistant state attorney general working with Attorney
General Jay Nixon. He also worked as a field organizer on Congressman Dick Gephardt’s 1988 presidential
Harris is a strong proponent of Missouri’s No Call program and has supported legislation to expand the No Call
program to prohibit calls made on behalf of politicians. He also has sponsored consumer protection bills to to
make it more difficult to raise utility rates.
As attorney general, Harris said he will aggressively fight for Missouri consumers, for safeguards for senior
citizens, for environmental protection in the state and for enforcement of minimum wage and prevailing wage
laws to ensure that Missourians are fairly compensated.
Molly Williams, a Kansas City social-studies teacher and political unknown, has thus far run a low-key campaign.
She began her legal career in the attorney general’s office in 1985 and has practiced in state, county and
municipal government, and in private practice for 22 years.
She is proud of her teaching career, and emphasized that she is a lawyer and a teacher, not a politician. She is
not soliciting or accepting political contributions. According to Williams, she is dedicated to restoring ethical
government to Missouri. Williams attended college at the University of Missouri-Columbia and received her law
degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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

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EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor
Fuel funding
SEMISSOURIAN - Friday, August 1, 2008
Anyone who wonders what effect pricing has on consumers can see the impact at just about every retail outlet.
And as sales go down, so does sales tax revenue, which is a percentage of each dollar spent on taxable items.
When it comes to motor fuel, the equation changes. Both Missouri's and the federal government's tax on
gasoline and diesel fuel are fixed at a set rate for each gallon sold. So as the price at the pump goes up, fuel tax
revenue only goes up if more gallons are sold. But in the face of recent increases in the cost of gasoline and
diesel fuel, motorists have been purchasing fewer gallons.
The federal fuel tax is 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents a gallon for diesel fuel. The Missouri fuel
tax is 17 cents a gallon for both gasoline and diesel fuel.
High fuel prices are definitely affecting driving habits. Missouri's fuel consumption dropped 3 percent in June,
compared to June 2007. Fuel tax revenue has declined too.
For Missouri, this makes the funding of future highway projects all the less certain. Some officials have estimated
the state faces as much as $1 billion in highway needs in the coming years. How to pay for that is a big question,
and the drop in the gallons of fuel being purchased adds more pressure.
This issue is one elected officials should be addressing before the coming highway funding crunch gets out of

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

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ST. JOSEPH NEWS-PRESS - Friday, August 1, 2008
Finally, some relief.
That must be the thought of many cash-strapped parents and students as they welcome the arrival of Missouri’s
annual three-day sales tax holiday.
From 12:01 this morning until midnight Sunday, families get a break on a broad array of items that loosely fall
under the heading of ―back-to-school supplies.‖ Clothing, shoes, classroom supplies, textbooks, calculators and
both laptop and desktop computers make the list. Handbags, jewelry, sports gear and phones do not.
The state is waiving its 4.225 percent sales tax, and many counties and communities are joining in by forgoing
their local taxes.
In Northwest Missouri, both St. Joseph and Buchanan County will waive their sales taxes. These regional
entities will continue to levy theirs: the counties of Clinton, Grundy, Harrison, Livingston and Mercer, and the
cities of Cameron, Grant City, Pattonsburg, Platte City, Savannah, Skidmore and Trenton.
No doubt, the state and the partnering communities are giving up at least several million dollars total in tax
revenue. Those tax dollars could have been funneled into any one of several important needs.
But it’s worth noting that financial strains of the last several months make nearly every working family in Missouri
a needy family, in some way. Who has not cut back on discretionary spending? Seen net-pay-after-pumping take
a dive? And what about those prices in the produce aisle?
As public policy, the sales tax holiday is wildly popular. And the best news is that it comes at a time when
families need it most — and when retailers already are competing for business with aggressive back-to-school
A family with children in kindergarten through 12th grade can expect, on average, to spend $594.24 getting
ready for the new school year, according to the National Retail Federation. If the waived tax rate is 7.5 percent,
that amounts to $45 in savings.
That is money best left in the parents’ pockets.

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

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Middle school gains highlight MAP test scorecard
Friday, August 1, 2008, 12:01 AM
By Steve Walsh

Results of the annual Missouri Assessment Program, or MAP tests, have been released by the Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). And, Assistant Commissioner for the Division of School
Improvement Stan Johnson reports big gains have been made in proficiency in mathematics and communication
arts at the middle school level from 2007 to 2008.
There is cause for concern at the elementary school level where scores in grades 3, 4, and 5 do not reflect the
growth that was hoped for. In fact, there was actually a decline. Johnson says there is a mixed bag of results at
the high school level with some good news in mathematics and some not so good news with communication arts
These are the last MAP results at the high school level. There will not be a MAP test administered in the next
school in math and communication arts at the high school level. It will be replaced by end of course exams.
Grades 3 through 8 will still administer those MAP tests.
MAP district and building information is available at the Department's website - http://www.dese.mo.gov/

First tobacco free campus celebrates five years
Thursday, July 31, 2008, 10:15 PM
By Aurora Meyer

Today marks five years since one Missouri Community College went completely smoke free and since then
Ozarks Technical Community College has helped other schools across the state and country become completely
tobacco free too.
OTC was the first campus ever to go completely smoke free. Getting all faculty, staff and employees to comply
with the policy was a matter of changing the way officials treated violators, said The Center of Excellence for
Tobacco-Free Campus Policy director, Ty Patterson.
"Part of the problem with the old approaches that have been taken is this enforcement idea of hammering
people," he said. "Our approach has been do not demonize the tobacco user, ever. Do not approach them in a
harsh way. Be understanding."
Patterson travels across the country advising campuses on how to become completely tobacco free. OTC also
hosts an annual workshop for higher education officials interested in learning how to make their campus tobacco

What do these people really stand for? Some have told us
Thursday, July 31, 2008, 10:01 PM
By Bob Priddy

Voters looking for the straight stuff on many of the candidates for office in next Tuesday's primary have a place
to look.
Project Vote Smart is a national non-profit organization that collects voting records, tracks campaign
contributions, and assembles ratings on many candidates from various special interest groups. A printed "Voter's

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

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Self Defense Manual" is just out. But Project Vote Smart's web page contains even more information, including
information from a Political Courage Test that probes candidates' positions on numerous issues.
Vote Smart spokesman Brandon Horton says a lot of candidates, however, do a disservice to voters by refusing
to reveal their positions.
He says some political parties are telling candidates not to reveal their positions---because information about
what they stand for can be used against them.
If you want to see which Missouri candidates are willing to tell you what they stand for, check our Missourinet
website for a link to the information on the Project Vote Smart website.
The Project Vote Smart home page is at http://www.votesmart.org/

Springfield police taze man twice
Thursday, July 31, 2008, 11:31 AM
By Aurora Meyer

Springfield police said a man, likely on meth, fought with officers in a bar parking lot. Officer Grant Story said it
all started when police pulled over two men for littering.
Both of the men in the car had warrants. The driver cooperated with police, but the passenger tried to run
away. Story said as the man fought with officers, they tased him. After the first tazing, the man told officers he'd
play nice, but instead whipped around and yanked the tazer probes out. That's when officers tried to taze him a
second time, but that taze missed and the man continued fighting. They eventually did gain control.
"However it was after a long struggle and led to a lot of bumps and scrapes on the part of our officers," Story
said. "They eventually got him into handcuffs and got his feet shackled so he could no longer kick them and
punch them which is what he was doing during the fight."
Story said officers also found drugs with the men. They are testing it to see if it is meth.

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

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Friday, August 1
Springfield - Greene County Judge Tom Mountjoy sentenced lawyer Carlos Romious of Kansas City to 120 days
in jail for "rude and angry" demeanor. Mountjoy filed a judgment of contempt saying Romious asked the judge
whether he was a pedophile; told him, "Don't hold your breath," when he was ordered to appear in court the next
morning; and threw court documents on the floor and stepped on them.

Thursday, July 31
Rolla - A woman in Dent County sued the University of Missouri system and World Wrestling Entertainment over
injuries she suffered at a pro wrestling event. Twyla Riley fell from bleachers when a railing gave way at the
Missouri University of Science and Technology campus here during the Smackdown Wrestlemania Revenge
event in May 2007. Riley's back, head and neck were injured, the lawsuit said.

Wednesday, July 30
Rock Port - Physical education teacher and coach Lee Rucker of Tarkio was arrested and charged with first-
degree child molestation and sexual misconduct involving a child under 14, authorities said. He is also charged
with furnishing pornographic material to a minor. Rucker teaches P.E. in the Tarkio R-1 School District and
coaches girls' and boys' basketball at the middle school and high school levels.

Tuesday, July 29
Clayton - A mother was sentenced to 15 years in prison in connection with the death of her 2-year-old son.
Lasha Roberts of Florissant was sentenced after entering an Alford plea, conceding the state had sufficient
evidence to convict her of second-degree murder. Investigators said toddler Jonathan Cooper died of blunt head

Monday, July 28
Jefferson City - The attorney general's office accused a funeral home of improperly handling bodies, including
storing one in an electrical room for 10 months without being embalmed or refrigerated. Authorities filed a lawsuit
in Boone County against Warren Funeral Chapel Inc., and its operators, seeking civil fines and an order barring
the company or its owners from operating.

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

Description: 2008 Democratic Platform 2Nd Amendment document sample