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Missouri Senate reviews bill to prohibit
use of false diplomas
Thursday, February 26, 2009 | 6:17 p.m. CST
COLUMBIA — The Missouri Senate is weighing a bill to stop the use of false diplomas, a million-dollar industry
that has touched MU and other campuses around the state, along with surrounding communities.
State Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Jackson County, is sponsoring a bill that would make it illegal to use or try to use a
false diploma for any purpose.
It would make this type of fraud illegal for the first time in Missouri.
―A lot of things that we do are immoral but not exactly illegal,‖ said Todd Scott, a member of Bartle‘s legislative
Zora Aubuchon, assistant commissioner for the state Department of Higher Education, said the law could be
used as a tool to prosecute and assign consequences for fraudulent use of diplomas.
Currently, it is difficult to fit the offense into a category, such as fraud, making it nearly impossible to convict
anyone, she said. If the bill is passed, falsifying a diploma would be a class C misdemeanor.
The bill is now before the state Senate, and Bartle‘s office foresees no problem with its passage.
―We think it deserves broad bipartisan support,‖ said Kathy Love, public information officer for the state Higher
Education Department. ―It is kind of a no-brainer. People work very hard to get their college credentials, and it
devalues honest people‘s efforts.‖
Aubuchon also said the problem is far larger than people realize.
―Some estimates say that the sale of fake degrees exceeded $200 million in 2001 and could now be a billion-
dollar industry with as many as a million customers,‖ Aubuchon said.
The consumers of these ―diploma mills‖ might be closer to home than one would think.
Aubuchon said people are using false diplomas in all career paths, but also in sensitive jobs, such as education
and medicine.
―It poses a danger to society,‖ Love said. ―It threatens the fabric of having qualified people in the professions we
have come to expect.‖
Another challenge is tracking those who have lied about their credentials.
―Most of the people who are using phony diplomas probably have not been detected,‖ Aubuchon said.
It is only when organizations attempt to confirm the information that the universities become aware their
credentials are being used. For those familiar with the system, such as MU registrar Brenda Selman, it is easy to
notice the differences.
―Businesses or other schools send them to us when they are attempting to verify an individual‘s degree, and the
diploma is what the individual has presented to them as proof of graduation,‖ she said.
―Usually, they look significantly different than our diplomas, such as being printed in a landscape format when
ours are vertical.‖
The state Higher Education Department reports that Lindenwood University, St. Charles Community College,
Saint Louis University and MU have documented cases of citizens attempting to use a college diploma

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erroneously. The department brought the issue to Bartle‘s attention, and they have been working on the bill since
late last year.
This bill, numbered SB182, was heard in the Senate Education Committee and is now being added into a larger
crime bill, which is currently under discussion. The wider bill includes a variety of offenses, such as sex offenses
and livestock theft, among others.
Missouri would not be the first state with a fake diploma law. Other states, including Illinois, Maine, North Dakota
and Texas, have already outlawed fake diplomas.
―We want to send a signal statewide that using a phony diploma is not tolerated in Missouri,‖ Aubuchon said.

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Officials not so keen on four-day school
By Jeff Schmucker
Maryville Daily Forum
Thu Feb 26, 2009, 06:02 PM CST
Maryville, Mo. - Area school officials remain skeptical of the academic benefits of a four-day school week as
lawmakers continue to debate the matter at the state level.
Earlier this week, Missouri House members approved a bill by a vote of 98-62 that would give local school
districts the option of reducing the school week to four days while lengthening the school day by little more than
an hour.
The result would be 32 fewer days of instruction time each year, from 174 days to 142, while the number of
instruction hours would remain the same.
The bill still needs approval by the Missouri Senate.
State Rep. Mike Thomson, R-Maryville, said the measure would make the four-day week an option — not
mandatory for school districts — as an option to save on transportation and utilities, among other areas.
―If this was a measure to make the four-day school week mandatory, I wouldn't support it,‖ Thomson said. ―But
for those districts that are really facing budget problems, at least this gives them another option."
Nodaway County superintendents interviewed for this story agreed they like that lawmakers are giving them
more options to save money, while leaving it up to local officials to decide whether reducing the school week is a
good option.
But even if the bill does pass, it doesn't mean students can look forward to a possible three-day weekend
anytime soon.
Terry Hutchings, superintendent of South Nodaway Co. R-IV, said he's been studying the possibility of reducing
school days for years.
Although it would be an effective cost-cutting measure, there are too many doubts about how it would affect
students academically.
―Especially for the younger age children, I think a shorter school week could have negative ramifications,‖
Hutchings said. ―I don't think those students are old enough to spend more time in a day at school just to
eliminate a full day out of the week.‖
Superintendents Karma Coleman, of Nodaway-Holt R-VII, Jeff Mehlenbacher, of Northeast Nodaway Co. R-V,
Hutchings and John Zeliff, assistant superintendent of Maryville R-II, also agree reducing the school week could
have negative effects on student achievement.
Coleman said having an extra day away from school would likely make it difficult for students to retain what
they've learned in the classroom. Mehlenbacher also echoed concerns by some lawmakers about parents
having to pay for child care or make other changes to accommodate the extra day children wouldn't be in school.
Essentially, before district officials would consider reducing the school week, they'd have to see a model of how
the four-day school week could be used to benefit academics.
―You look at the school calendar we have in place now –– that's the result of a lot of changes made over time,‖
Zeliff said. ―So this four-day week could evolve overtime into something used to benefit academic achievement
and enhance student learning.
―We just have to wait and see.‖
To learn more about this bill, titled HB242, or to track it, go to

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Bill to Invest $1 Billion Dollars Back into Missouri
Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 @06:13pm

(Springfield, MO) -- Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel made a stop in Springfield Thursday morning to discuss new
legislation called Invest in Missouri.
The bill was introduced to the House on Wednesday. The plan will focus on creating and retaining good jobs,
increasing tax returns and reinvesting one billion dollars in communities throughout the state.
A second part of the plan will remove the cap on what taxpayers can earn on their deposits in banks. This will
return between $10 to $15 million to tax payers each year.
Zweifel says the best part is the plan will not cost you a penny.
"This plan has no cost to the tax payers. It focuses simply on job creation and community investment. We can
invest one billion dollars additionally inside the state of Missouri and do the right thing for tax payers. We're just
going to use a competitive marketplace to they get the best return possible." says Zweifel.
If the bill passes into law, Zweifel says $250 million can be re-invested back into the state immediately.

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Mo. lawmakers back "predictable"
property tax
Marshall Griffin, KWMU

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (2009-02-26) Missouri House and Senate members are co-sponsoring bills that would
create a "predictable" property tax for homeowners.
The legislation would limit tax assessments for homeowners to either two percent or the rate of inflation,
whichever is less.
Republican Jane Cunningham of Chesterfield is sponsoring the bill in the Senate.
"Several (people) have told me that their property taxes exceed the mortgage payments they actually had to buy
the home...some are trying to sell their homes and can't even sell them," Cunningham said.
The bill would also allow homeowners to get second appraisals from the private sector if they disagree with their
county assessor's appraisal.
Critics include Penny Rector with the Missouri Council of School Administrators. She says the bill could cut too
deep into the amount of revenue collected for schools, fire districts, and other public services.
"If we have less money coming in at the local level, then that burden is shifted back to the state, and (it) certainly
would be very difficult for the state at this time to have that shift occur if our (current) financial condition in the
state were to continue," Rector said.
Rector suggests that capping appraisals at two percent or the rate of inflation could conflict with a provision in
the Missouri Constitution that requires property to be assessed on its true value.
If passed, the new appraisal guidelines would only apply to homeowners, not commercial property.
Last year, lawmakers passed a bill that mandates rollbacks of property tax rates during reassessment years.

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$223 million in federal stimulus flows to
Missouri -- and into a brand new fund
JEFFERSON CITY | Gov. Jay Nixon moved forward on a plan still working through the legislature to sequester
federal stimulus funds in separate bank accounts to better track their use in the state budget.
The order comes just as the first round of federal dollars — a whopping $223 million — flows into the state
Nixon ordered the creation of two new funds within the state budget, one to catch funds meant for budget
stabilization, the other for dollars aimed at stimulating the economy.
In the legislature, bills creating identical funds moved forward in both the House and Senate today. Lawmakers
expect to have one such bill on the governor‘s desk within days.
Isolating the federal money in specific funds will help with transparency, Nixon and legislative leaders said in a
statement, as lawmakers will have to appropriate the money from that fund to the places it will actually be spent.
―Transparency and accountability will be first and foremost when using these funds to create jobs and transform
our economy, and that starts with the very first dollar,‖ Nixon said. ―We have worked with Sen. Nodler, Sen. Bray
and Rep. Icet to establish a procedure for identifying these funds as they arrive, and segregating them so there
will be clear accountability when they are used.‖
Sen. Gary Nodler, a Joplin Republican, and Rep. Allen Icet, a St. Louis County Republican, are the Senate and
House budget leaders. Sen. Joan Bray, of St. Louis, is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations
In another move to improve transparency, Nixon has added a feature to his federal stimulus Web site to allow
visitors to see what money has come into the state and how it was spent.
The Web site is .
Submitted by Jason Noble KC STAR PRIME BUZZ BLOG

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Missouri receives first stimulus payment
St. Louis Business Journal

Missouri received its first payment of $223 million Thursday from the $787 billion federal economic stimulus
The money came from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and was deposited in the
state‘s Federal Budget Stabilization Fund, one of two new funds the state created to keep the stimulus money
separate and accounted for. The second fund is called the Federal Stimulus Fund.
The newly created funds track the money to make sure it‘s spent the way it was intended and that it isn‘t
allocated for ongoing programs or projects that make the state dependent on federal funds, lawmakers have
Gov. Jay Nixon and his administration said they thought it was important that these transparency measures be
implemented before the funds begin to arrive, even though the General Assembly has not finished its work on
the legislation to create the two separate accounts.
The money received Thursday represents an increase of 8.05 percent in the federal reimbursement percentage
for Missouri‘s Medicaid expenditures, as applied to the state‘s actual expenditures for October 2008 through
February, Nixon‘s office said.

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Clay: Obama will ‘call you out’ on
stimulus spending
By Bill Lambrecht
Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — When members of Congressional Black Caucus visited the White House this afternoon, it
wasn‘t entirely clear how it would go.
As a senator even before running for president, Barack Obama was not especially close to the caucus.
Members used to complain that their fast-rising fellow African American wouldn‘t raise money for their
When Obama declared his White House ambitions, some in the caucus cast their lots with Hillary Clinton,
believing either that she would be a better candidate or that Obama didn‘t have a prayer of getting elected.
Maybe both.
Finally, after Obama issued invitations to a lot of other congressional groups, it was the black caucus‘s turn this
afternoon to meet with the president at the White House. How‘d it turn out? Pretty good, according to Rep.
William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis.
―He thanked everybody for their help on the stimulus and for their help in his campaign,‖ Clay said afterward.
Of 42 black caucus members, 39 showed up. Notable in his absence was Illinois Sen. Roland Burris — under
pressure by many of his Democratic colleagues to quit and told by the White House a few days ago to think hard
about his options.
From Clay‘s account, it sounded like the discussion centered on the big-ticket matters of the day — stimulus and
health-care reform.
―Just like he told the mayors, he said he will call you out if there is some hint that you are not spending the
money the way it was intended,‖ Clay said.
That was a reference to a White House promise yesterday to publicize any accounts of state or local officials
misspending those billions of dollars.
Clay had hoped to talk about the Census given his role as chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees
the count. They didn‘t get around to it.
Clay said they did talk about a few issues that have been overlooked too long in the black community as well as
in the populace at large: nutrition; childhood obesitiy; and the need for proper exercise. Obama told them that
First Lady Michelle Obama would take the lead on those issues.
There was some complaining, too. Clay said that Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., told Obama he worried that the
president‘s anti-global warming proposals ―could put a burden on our constituents.‖
Those hard feelings left over from the campaign? ―I think it‘s pretty much patched up,‖ Clay said, ―but I‘m not
sure things will ever be resolved.‖

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Missouri House votes to cut tax on business assets
Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press
updated 6:58 a.m. CT, Thurs., Feb. 26, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri House gave first-round approval to legislation eliminating a tax on assets
of small corporations.
Since 1917, Missouri has charged a franchise tax on corporations' assets, inventory and property, although the
state has been gradually reducing the tax rate and exempting smaller businesses.
The franchise tax is levied on any corporation worth at least $1 million. The House measure would exempt
corporations worth $10 million or less.
Proponents say lowering the tax burden could help spur the economy. At least one lawmaker said that simply
cutting the franchise tax is bad policy but that she would support it this year because of the dire economic times.
The franchise tax is one of the state's oldest levies and was enacted less than a month before the corporate
income tax and two years before an individual income tax.
Sponsoring Rep. Mike Sutherland, who has proposed a similar repeal in the past, described the franchise tax as
an unfair "double tax" because companies also pay an income tax on their earnings.
Sutherland, R-Warrenton, called it "a tax just for the privilege of paying more taxes."
But critics argued the legislation was little more than a giveaway to businesses and questioned the potential
economic impact of reducing the tax.
Rep. J.C. Kuessner said some corporations avoid paying incomes taxes, leaving the franchise tax as the only
one those businesses must pay. He said eliminating the tax would reduce the state's revenues, potentially
creating a hardship for Missourians.
"Someone else is going to have to pick up the slack," said Kuessner, D-Eminence.
The House legislation was endorsed 143-17 Wednesday and takes another vote before moving to the Senate.
The only members voting against the measure were Democrats.
Legislative staff estimated that excusing some corporations from the franchise tax would cost the state $7.2
million to $12.2 million per year. That estimate uses corporate tax data from 2006 to calculate that Missouri
would collect $79 million from the franchise levy in 2009. That would drop to $72 million in 2010 if the legislation

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Missouri, Kansas schools await details on stimulus funds
The Kansas City Star
Big auto companies, banks and highways aren‘t the only ones getting federal dollars to rescue the crippled
economy. Add Kansas and Missouri public schools to the list.
But it‘s still unclear whether they can spend those dollars in the classrooms, where they‘re needed most.
That question is most urgent in Kansas, which is considering cuts of more than 10 percent to public schools for
the next academic year.
Parents and teachers are wondering if the stimulus dollars will be enough to keep the wolf from the schoolhouse
door this fall, but superintendents don‘t think it will.
―We‘re appreciative of any money we‘ll get from this stimulus package,‖ said Tom Trigg, Blue Valley
superintendent. ―Right now, we don‘t know how much that‘s going to be or what strings are attached.‖
Kansas schools are in line to receive an estimated $576 million in new federal education money from the
stimulus package.
Missouri could receive an estimated $1.2 billion. Because few, if any, state education cuts are planned, the
Show-Me State may have more flexibility in how to spend the money.
Lawmakers are exploring whether Missouri could inject some of the stimulus into the existing education budget
and perhaps divert state funds toward short-term projects — in or outside of education — that would not create a
long-term obligation, said Sen. Scott Rupp, a Republican who is leading a committee that is exploring stimulus
―We want to spend on one-time capital expenses throughout the system,‖ he said.
Nationwide, the economic recovery package includes $141 billion for public schools and higher education.
The stimulus package will provide Kansas schools with more than $200 million for special education programs
and for schools with high poverty enrollments. In addition, the governor will get to distribute $367 million in
budget stabilization money to public schools and state colleges and universities.
Trigg and other superintendents say one string attached to federal money — called the local maintenance of
effort rule — could be a big problem unless it is removed temporarily. The rule prevents districts from
supplanting local and state dollars with new federal dollars.
If federal regulators waive the rule, Johnson County schools could keep classroom dollars that otherwise would
have to be transferred to special education programs.
In Missouri, the stimulus dedicates more than $445 million to support K-12 programs that help special education
students or those in high-poverty schools.
Missouri would receive an additional $921 million in budget stabilization funds. At least $753 million of that must
go to public schools or state colleges and universities to stave off cuts.
Missouri, because it already had planned to limit education cuts, probably would have opportunities to filter some
stabilization funds into school districts in addition to the $445 million in dedicated funds.
The Kansas City district and Kansas City charter schools, which serve by far the largest number of high-poverty
students and students with special education needs, stand to receive more than $25 million in earmarked funds.
Schools are eager for the federal boost, administrators say. But they wonder about the details, fearful of making
any long-term commitments.

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―We have to look at this as one-time money,‖ said Independence‘s superintendent, Jim Hinson. ―Will the stimulus
package prevent layoffs or allow us to hire new positions? The answer is no.‖
Sen. John Vratil, a Leawood Republican and a member of the Kansas Senate‘s budget committee, said he is
worried that schools could face a new fiscal crisis in two years if all the stimulus money has been spent and the
economy has not recovered.
―It‘s there for one or two years, and then it‘s gone,‖ Vratil said. ―If we‘ve spent that money for ongoing purposes,
then we‘ve got a bigger hole.‖
In Kansas, education professionals fear that school budgets could fall to 2002 levels if the stimulus money isn‘t
used to address the state‘s $800 million deficit, according to Mark Desetti, a lobbyist for the Kansas chapter of
the National Education Association.
Desetti said schools in some rural counties account for 25 percent or more of the work force.
―A 10 percent cut will shut some schools down,‖ he said.

Some estimates
Kansas and Missouri schools will get a share of $141 billion in federal stimulus money for education. Here are
estimates of how much each state is going to get for education, as well as amounts for some area school
The governors of each state will determine how much budget stabilization money will go to public schools and
what portion higher education will get.
School district totals represent estimated dollars for special education programs and Title I, high-poverty schools.
State total: $576 million
Budget stabilization fund: $367 million
Title I (high poverty schools): $92.9 million
Special education:
$106.9 million
Special education preschool grants:
$4.5 million
Technology grants:
$4.5 million
Kansas districts
(Special education programs and Title I only)
•Shawnee Mission:
$7.7 million
•Olathe: $6.3 million
•Blue Valley: $4 million
•Kansas City, Kan.:
$15.6 million
State total: $1.2 billion
Budget stabilization fund: $753 million
Title I (high-poverty schools): $195.5 million
Special education:
$227.2 million
Special education preschool grants:
$6.4 million

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Technology grants:
$9.8 million
Missouri districts
(Special education programs and Title I only)
•Kansas City and charter schools: $25.2 million
•North Kansas City:
$5.8 million
$3.8 million
•Hickman Mills:
$3.8 million
•Lee‘s Summit: $3.6 million
•Blue Springs: $3.4 million
•Raytown: $3.1 million
•Park Hill: $2.5 million
•Grandview: $2 million
•Liberty: $1.9 million
•Belton: $1.6 million
•Fort Osage: $1.5 million
•Center: $1.3 million
$1.2 million
•Excelsior Springs:
$1 million
Sources: Congressional Research Service, Kansas Department of Education, Missouri Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

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Missouri decides on how to best spend
stimulus money
The money could be used to repair roads and move the State Historical Society.

THE MANEATER - By Amanda Wysocki and Taylor Dankmyer
Published Feb. 27, 2009

Before the state can take advantage of the $4.3 billion it will receive from the federal stimulus plan, lawmakers
have to decide the best way to use the money.
The state received $233 million Thursday, its first installment of that money. Those funds will stay in a special
state account until lawmakers decide the best ways to use the money.
This money has the least restrictions that the state will receive, so it could see wide use.
Gov. Jay Nixon sought the opinions of Missouri residents through a Web site,, where citizens
can submit their proposals for how the stimulus money should be distributed.
The Web site has been up for less than a week, but it has already received more than 1,000 proposals, Nixon
spokesman Scott Holste said.
"The ideas shouldn't just be limited to coming from within the state government," Holste said. "We want to hear
from individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations to put the best ideas forward, create jobs and turn the
economy around."
Nixon has included $809 million in his recommendations for the 2010 fiscal year budget, Holste said. Ultimately,
the General Assembly will have the final say how the money is appropriated.
"The governor laid out his priorities for the next fiscal year in his State of the State address," Holste said.
These priorities include fully funding K-12 education, keeping funding for public two-year and four-year
institutions the same, extending health insurance to more children and using the programs that have been
proven to work to create jobs so more Missourians can get back to work, Holste said.
During his State of the State address, Nixon outlined his budget priorities in light of the stimulus money the state
is expected to receive.
"The ideas in the House are to use the one-time stimulus money to fund one-time projects and to send some of
the money received back to the Missouri taxpayers," House Budget Chairman Allen Icet said. "As you can tell
both concepts need a lot of work to develop the details."
Columbia area representatives are also fighting to make sure Columbia gets its piece of the stimulus money.
Columbia Rep. Chris Kelly is the ranking Democrat on the budget committee. The budget committee will draft
the bills on how to appropriate the money from the stimulus package to projects across the state.
"We'll get pretty serious about that next week," Kelly said. "I don't know when we'll get done, but we'll get serious
about working through the bills in budget next week."
Kelly said the committee has already worked on the emergency and supplemental bill and will begin floor work
on the regular budget in the next week.
Kelly said several projects on the university campus would be extremely vital to economic development in the

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Some of these projects include the state cancer hospital and maintenance at Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center,
as well as other buildings on the campus.
"The university needs a lot of repair and maintenance," Kelly said.
The stimulus could also support projects at the MU Life Science Business Incubator, a facility off of Providence
Road where businesses can go to get help with research for various projects.
"If we fund that, there is a greater chance of economic success, which will benefit the state," Kelly said.
Kelly also noted the road improvements at U.S. 63 could be very important for economic development.
Another of Columbia's state representatives, Mary Still, is also very interested in how the bill can impact projects
in Columbia.
"This bill was tailor-made for Columbia," Still said.
Still said there are questions as to how the distribution process will happen.
She said other possibilities are for science and technology grants, Medicaid reimbursements and a new
historical society building. Right now, the historical society is located in Ellis Library.
"The historical building in Ellis Library is a place with incredible resources and potential," Still said. "If we can get
that figured out and take some stimulus money for that, it would be a win-win project."
This project would help to restore art that needs to be protected and would also free up space in Ellis.
Still also said it would be ideal to use some of the money for maintenance to roads and buildings on campus.
She referenced comments by UM system President Gary Forsee when he said the campus could have safety
issues if maintenance delays continue.
Federal stimulus plan draws criticism
When it comes to the economic stimulus plan, Roxanne Kueser, a junior marketing student, is skeptical.
"I don't think it's a very good idea," Kueser said. "Money doesn't mean anything to anyone anymore. It is just
numbers. I don't think it is going to work as well as the government planned."
Across the country $780 billion will be distributed to help boost the U.S. economy. The new law combines tax
cuts with extensive spending on infrastructure relief, with a specific emphasis on state spending.
The federal government will fund the stimulus plan by borrowing money, which could worsen the country's
budget deficit, but President Barack Obama and supporters of the plan say it will also create new jobs and, in the
long run, aid the struggling economy.
States have requested funding for a variety of projects. Proposed projects include street repairs, low-income
housing construction, home weatherization and public safety measures.
With those projects come thousands of jobs that could help bolster the country's struggling economy.
Since the passage of the stimulus package there has been criticism from both sides of the aisle. Few people
have recommended alternative suggestions that could practically work.
When it comes to what exactly the government should do to fix the economy, though, Kueser is unsure.
"I honestly couldn't tell you," Kueser said.
Karen Schnatterly, assistant professor in the Trulaske College of Business, is also skeptical about the federal
stimulus plan.

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"The people who got us into this mess are the people who will be getting us out," she said. "It's like asking us to
grade our own papers or tests."
Schnatterly said that even if Missouri and the rest of the country fare well, this economic downturn has serious
implications worldwide.
"The recession is a global problem," Schnatterly said. "If the U.S. invests to pull out of it, and other countries are
not, we are spitting into the wind."
Columbia hopes new projects create jobs from stimulus funds
Last year, when the U.S. House and Senate first began to discuss a possible stimulus bill, the U.S. Conference
of Mayors was asked to come up with a list of projects that were shovel-ready, or ready to go, in their cities.
The result: almost 19,000 individual projects in 779 cities across the country.
Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman said the mayors' report was not a wish list. Instead, it measured projects that
could qualify with this money.
"We all have to remember they are not just sending money out to the state," Hindman said. "They are sending us
money to create jobs. They are trying to meet a national emergency to create jobs and create a sustainable
Columbia developing projects according to the rules and guidelines of federal agencies, assistant city manager
Hertwig Hopkins said. Many of these guidelines have not been released.
"The projects are all vital to the city and we're going to be submitting requests wherever dollars are available,"
Hopkins said. "Most of the money is coming through state agencies, which don't yet have directions as to what
the rules are going to be."
The city has been monitoring the stimulus package since it was first discussed back in October and November,
Hopkins said.
"When the applications come forth and we're given the go ahead, we'll be ready to go," Hopkins said.
Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe is excited about several of the potential projects for Columbia,
particularly the possibility of a new farmer's market pavilion to be built near the Columbia Activity and Recreation
Center. This project would create 40 additional jobs.
"It's sort of a security issue in terms of producing food close to your locality and healthy foods," Hoppe said. "In
terms of economic growth, people look at a community and if they don't have a farmer's market, they aren't
considered a full-service community."
Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala also said he was excited about the potential for a new farmer's market.
"If that happens, that would be really good for the city," Skala said.
Another of the bigger projects for Columbia is the construction of a railroad overpass near U.S. 63. The
estimated cost of the project is $9 million.
Hindman said the railroad crossing was dangerous because there had been numerous accidents at the stop.
Special carriers, such as school buses and gas tankers, must stop at the crossing regardless of an approaching
train. Last year, there was a three-car collision, and in 2007 a motorist died when his car ran into the back of a
stopped gasoline truck. Skala said he is enthusiastic about this traffic safety project as the railroad crossing site
in question falls within the boundaries of his ward.
Hindman emphasized that Columbia would receive only minimal control over any transportation funds the city
received because the state department of transportation was deciding what the priorities were around the state.

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Every year the city gets community development block grants that can be used for affordable housing, anti-
poverty programs and infrastructure development, among other projects. The grants are geared towards low-
and moderate-income communities.
"We're expecting them to waive that requirement in connection to the stimulus," Hindman said.
There will be some money allocated to Columbia Regional Airport as well. Hindman said extending or replacing
the main runway was one of their priorities. "The runway is getting to be 50 years old," he said. "We want it for
bigger airplanes, and the old runway cannot handle the weight of these new heavy planes. If we were really
fortunate we might be able to get that."
Essential Air Service, a government program, currently subsidizes the airport.
Other projects Hoppe said she was excited about were the weatherization of public buildings, the purchase of
nine new city buses, addition of low-income public housing, crime prevention measures and increase of Pell
"The stimulus bill requires that cities follow a specific formula and some of the funding is competitive beyond
that," Skala said. "The devil is going to be in the details."
Hoppe said the city is well prepared to deal with the requirements to obtain federal funding.
"The city is really well-organized and we're used to meeting requirements for different federal projects, so we're
in good shape on being able to start the projects," Hoppe said.
While the economic picture has been bleak elsewhere, Hoppe said Columbia is in a good place.
"The city has a 16 percent reserve fund," Hoppe said. "We've saved money in the good years so that we can
have a cushion for tough years."

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Nixon withholding $3.7 million for tourism advertising

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon's administration is withholding $3.7 million from the Division of Tourism as
part of a $261 million plan to balance this year's budget.
That's according to R.B. "Bob" Smith III, the interim director of the Division of Tourism.
Smith presented his division's annual 2008 report to a joint House and Senate tourism committee this morning in
the House Lounge.
For the 2009 fiscal year, lawmakers appropriated $23.7 million.
But last month, Nixon had to cut $3.7 million, which tourism officials would typically use for print, radio and
television advertising in late spring and early summer months, Smith said.
"When we recieved a cut, that's where it came —straight out of advertising," Smith told the committee.
Despite the withholding, tourism officials are making due, Smith said.
"We've not killed the cow," he said.
Smith said the governor has recommended tourism funding be restored to $23.7 million for the 2010 fiscal year,
which begins July 1.
Under a withhold program, the Division of Tourism could get some of the money back if the projected deficit is
not as bad as expected, Smith said.
But officials are doubtful the economy and tax revenue will rebound in the next couple of months.
If the Division of Tourism were to get money restored, it would have to be by April 1 so advertising contracts
could put in place for the summer months, Smith said.
As part of the Division of Tourism's annual report, the agency details the economic impact tourism has on the
Tourism in southwest Missouri was a $1.6 billion boost to the economy, creating 44,096 jobs and generating
$18.9 million in local property, lodging and entertainment taxes, according to the report.
Greene County beat out Taney County — home of Branson, Missouri's entertainment capitol — by generating
$521 million in economic impact from tourism. Taney County racked in $461 million, followed by $160 million in
Jasper County and $143 million in Stone County, according to the report.
Tourism-related industries employed 16,584 people in Greene County and 10,612 people in Taney County,
according to the Missouri Division of Employment Security and a University of Missouri-Columbia study.
Southwest Missouri as a region finished second to the northwest region, which experienced a $2.5 billion
economic impact, according to the report.

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Treasurer touts legislation to expand
jobs, investment
JOPLIN GLOBE - By Susan Redden

Missouri‘s new state treasurer came to Joplin on Thursday to boost proposed legislation he said would increase
state revenues and jobs.
Clint Zweifel, who took office in January, said a bill introduced this week would remove the cap that restricts the
amount that can be earned on state money invested in community banks.
He said the measure also would expand the guidelines for the Missouri Linked Deposit Program to make more
small businesses eligible for loans through the state program.
―These are changes that will help at a time when unemployment is up and the economy is hurting,‖ Zweifel said.
Under current state law, money invested by the state in Missouri‘s community banks can receive a return equal
only to the rate of the Treasury bond yield, which currently is as low as two-tenths of a percent. Zweifel said
removing the cap would allow the state to receive a yield closer to the rates offered by banks to an individual,
business or other government entity, currently about 2 percent.
―Only two states in the nation have this restriction,‖ he said. ―Without it, my office can place another $250 million
in Missouri banks and make $10 million for the taxpayer. In this economic climate, we need it.‖
Zweifel said the legislation also would expand eligibility guidelines for the Missouri Linked Deposit Program,
which places state funds in community banks at below-market rates, so the banks can issue loans to borrowers
at a reduced rate. He said state law allows about $720 million to be used in the program, but only about $260
million is being used ―because there are so many hurdles to the program.‖
He said the legislation he is pushing would raise small-business eligibility standards for the program to 100 full-
time workers, from the current 25, and relax some other requirements.
Zweifel visited the Botany Shop, which was selected as an example of a business that might benefit from the
program changes.
Though there are no immediate plans in that regard, Michele Vandever, manager of the business, said she
favors efforts to make the program more available to businesses.
―The way the economy is now, I‘m glad it‘s available,‖ she said.
The effort also brought praise from Rob O‘Brian, president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. He said
the legislation, if passed, would ―enhance a currently underutilized economic-development tool aimed at small
House bill
The legislation labeled Invest in Missouri has been introduced as House Bill 883 by state Rep. Tim Flook, R-
Liberty, chairman of the House Job Creation and Economic Development Committee.

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Students protest new legislation on
scholarship money distribution
By Kermit Miller
Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 6:02 a.m.
FULTON -- A legislative proposal to change the distribution of needs-based scholarship money prompted a
protest rally Monday at Westminster College.
About 950 students attend the liberal arts school in Fulton. One-fourth of them receive financial assistance from
the state through the Access Missouri Scholarship Program.
"Without the funding from Access Missouri, as well as the other financial aid I receive, I wouldn't be in school,"
said Alicia Gibbs, a Westminster Student.
Students receiving the needs-based money are a bit panicked.
"I might even have to find another college to attend and I really don't want that,‖ said Clark Robert, another
Westminster Student. ―I feel at home here."
Bills pending before the legislature would take money away from students enrolled in private schools and give it
to students enrolled in public schools. Some students say that threatens not only their success in college, but
also their rights.
"A private school may not be for everyone, but, likewise, a public school might not be for everyone," said
Westminster Student Gina Campagna.
―All our parents are taxpayers and we should be able to receive the same benefits," said Westminster student
Lacey McFadden.
Westminster administrators say the re-allocation is shortsighted.
They say taxpayers actually get more for their investment in student scholarships from private schools.
―It saves the state money because the state doesn't then have to subsidize the institution as well,‖ said Dean of
Students John Comerford. ―Westminster doesn't get subsidized by this award. It's the students who do and the
students get to choose the college that is right for them."
Comerford said Missouri's public universities could never handle the load if all Access Missouri students from
private schools suddenly transferred.

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Senator advocates giving student curator the vote
Thursday, February 26, 2009

Correction appended
JEFFERSON CITY — If University of Missouri System lobbyists thought they had driven a stake through the
heart of the concept of a voting student member of the Board of Curators, they were wrong.
Last year Gov. Matt Blunt vetoed a bill giving a student curator voting rights, and the General Assembly failed to
override his action. But last night on the Senate floor, the voting student curator came back to life in the form of
an amendment offered to a bill dealing with the makeup of the nine-member panel that governs the four-campus
The Senate took no action on the amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeff Smith, D-St. Louis, who said students
deserve a voice and vote in university governance. The curators now have a 10th non-voting member who is a
―The students are those most directly affected by policies, and they should have the chance to weigh in on those
policies,‖ Smith said.
Smith‘s amendment would make the student curator one of the nine curators appointed by the governor. The
student curator would be able to vote on any matter coming before the board, including the hiring and firing of
university leaders.
The student member would be prohibited from voting on hiring and retention of faculty and staff — an attempt to
avoid conflicts of interest. Smith offered his amendment to legislation sponsored by Sen. David Pearce, R-
Warrensburg, that would give the governor power to appoint two curators from the same congressional district.
Under existing law, the governor appoints one curator from each of Missouri‘s nine congressional districts.
Pearce‘s bill is designed to deal with the possible loss of a congressional district after the 2010 census. Pearce
said Smith‘s amendment created all kinds of problems, including one of continuity. He noted that the student
curator would serve only two years on the board, not enough time to get up to speed on issues. Other curators
are appointed for six-year terms. ―We operate best when we have a lay board, a group of people reflecting all
walks of life, a broad spectrum,‖ Pearce said. ―When you start picking and choosing who should be on the Board
of Curators, we are going in the wrong direction.‖
The board is on record opposing a voting student curator. No other public university governing board in Missouri
has a voting student member.
Former state Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, was a champion of the voting student curator concept, but he
lost a re-election bid in November. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House but has not advanced.
This page has been modified to reflect the following correction
SECOND THOUGHTS: Thursday, February 26, 2009
The quote at the end of the story was mistakenly attributed to Sen. Jeff Smith. It was Sen. David Pearce who
said, ―We operate best when we have a lay board, a group of people reflecting all walks of life, a broad
spectrum,‖ Smith said. ―When you start picking and choosing who should be on the Board of Curators, we are
going in the wrong direction.‖

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Nixon says wrong time to let electric
rates go up for power plant construction
By Associated Press

9:36 AM CST, February 27, 2009

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says he doesn't think a law should be changed this year to help
AmerenUE build a second nuclear power plant.
Nixon, a Democrat, told St. Louis radio station KMOX that, given the recession, it's a bad time to let heating and
cooling bills rise for an uncertain construction project.
Missouri utilities currently must wait until a new power plant is online before charging electric customers for the
cost of building it. The Legislature is considering a bill that would let them charge for the capital costs during
St. Louis-based AmerenUE has filed an application to build and operate a second mid-Missouri nuclear power
plant but hasn't yet decided whether to go forward.

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Group lobbies for choice in providers
Current network system confining, advocates argue.
Kathleen O'Dell News-Leader

About 50 patients and physicians packed a public meeting Thursday night to protest the penalty they pay to see
each other.
In Springfield, patients with private insurance must see only doctors at CoxHealth or at St. John's Health System
because of contracts between the health systems and insurance companies. Go "out of network," and it costs
They expressed their frustrations and desire for a new law at a meeting sponsored by MUCH, or Missourians
United for Choice in Health Care.
With them was state Rep. Rob Schaaf, St. Joseph, who is sponsoring a bill to give all Missouri patients more
freedom to choose their doctors, and giving physicians more freedom to treat patients who choose them.
Schaaf said House Speaker Ron Richards has so far prevented his HB 303 from getting assigned to a
committee, a necessary step for it to move forward.
He encouraged those attending to lobby Richards to assign it to a committee, but beyond that to push for an
initiative petition so all Missourians can have a say on the issue.
HB 303 has at least 80 bipartisan cosponsors in the Missouri House of Representatives; area sponsors include
State Reps. Shane Schoeller, R-Willard; Dr. Ray Weter, R-Nixa; and Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville.
About 20 states have some form of "patient/ physician choice" law, but there is debate in medical literature about
whether doing away with "exclusive contracts" in favor of open access raises or lowers patient costs.
"This town -- you are totally locked up between Cox and St. John's. Doesn't that make you angry?" Schaaf asked
the group. "...Everybody in this room would like to choose their own doctor."
Cox and St. John's officials counter that they can keep costs low with health plan contracts that offer discounts in
exchange for large groups of patients who seek care there.
Testimony on Thursday from one surgeon drew gasps in the audience.
Dr. Mike Grillot, an independent orthopedic surgeon who is in the Cox network, said that while on call that night,
he was summoned to see a boy with a broken finger. But the boy's insured parent is a Cox employee, and the
family would have a $3,000 deductible to be treated by Grillot.
The reason: Grillot's orthopedic group is considered a "tier 3 provider" by Cox because the group competes with
Ferrell-Duncan Clinic surgeons who are aligned with Cox, Grillot said.
The result: The boy must return today and see a preferred surgeon to get his finger set so his family doesn't
have the high deductible, Grillot said.
Sharon Boehme said both her parents have chronic health problems and were settled with physicians and
medications in one health system. Then their insurance plan changed, steering them to the other Springfield
system, where they had to get new doctors and new medicines -- that system doesn't "use" those drugs, she
"Three years later, they're back to the original health care system. That is not a good situation."
MUCH President Holly Cuoco told the group another meeting likely will be scheduled next month to continue
organizing backing the patient- choice effort.
"This may not be a 2009 issue; we may have to gain more momentum" before it goes to a vote, she said.
For more information, go to the Web site: info@ , or call 839-2233.

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Republicans' proposal would cap
homeowner property taxes
By LEE LOGAN/The Associated Press
February 26, 2009 | 6:31 p.m. CST
JEFFERSON CITY — A group of Republican lawmakers proposed Thursday to limit increases in property tax
assessments as a way to give relief to Missouri homeowners.
Their legislation would prohibit the assessed value of homes from rising by more than 2 percent or the rate of
inflation, whichever is less.
The bill also would allow homeowners to hire private appraisers to assess their homes if they do not agree with
the county assessor's appraisal. Taxes would be based off the private appraisal if the homeowner so chooses.
Supporters say astronomical property tax bills are forcing people from their homes.
"Escalating property assessments and taxes, if not controlled, can turn that dream into a nightmare," said
sponsoring Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield.
Missouri has more than 2,700 entities that levy property taxes, including school districts, cities, counties, fire and
ambulance districts, libraries, public hospitals and others. Property owners pay taxes to each of those based on
the assessed value of their homes, buildings or land.
The bill would only affect residential assessments, not agricultural or commercial property.
Critics, including school districts, argue the legislation would severely decrease tax revenues during a time of
rising costs.
Brent Gahn, spokesman for the Missouri School Boards' Association, said the bill would create "very, very
serious budget problems for districts."
"As long as we're reliant on property taxes for a significant part of our school funding, school districts must be
able to benefit from that source," he said.
Cunningham said school districts and other entities would still get a 2 percent increase and could request a tax
increase by a vote of the people.
Under the bill, the increase in the assessed value of homes would be capped until the homes are sold, when
reassessments then could result in larger increases. Assessments could remain capped if homes are passed on
to a child or grandchild. Homeowners age 55 and older also could retain a property assessment cap when
buying and selling homes.
Cunningham said the legislation also is intended to allow homeowners to make improvements without increasing
the assessed value of their homes.
The bill would not take effect unless voters approve a corresponding constitutional amendment, which would
have to be referred to the ballot by lawmakers.
Last year, lawmakers passed a bill requiring local government entities to reduce their tax rates when assessed
property values rise significantly.
Last year's measure also gives homeowners greater warning of impending tax hikes, allowing more time to
either appeal or save money to pay the bill. County assessors must provide people notices by June 15 of
increased property values and the projected taxes they will owe. That requirement begins this year for large
counties but not until 2011 for smaller ones.

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Assessor overhaul proposed
By Roseann Moring
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

JEFFERSON CITY — Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, held a press conference today about a bill that
would overhaul the way home property value is assessed in Missouri.
If the bill passed, houses would be assessed at the time of the purchase, then every year the tax would go up
two percent or the consumer price index, whichever is less.
Cunningham and other lawmakers pointed to problems with St. Louis area assessments as the impetus for this
―We have citizens that are literally being taxed out of their homes,‖ Cunningham said.
The bill also has some provisions for people over 55, such as they could transfer the property to children or
grandchildren without another evaluation.
The bill would also ―streamline‖ the appeal process — people who don‘t like the assessor‘s evaluation would be
able to go to a state-certified appraisor, whose decision would trump the assessor‘s.
―I think this is going to be the most popular bill in this building,‖ Cunningham said.
Rep. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, sponsored an almost identical bill in the House of Representatives.
―I would invite Missourians to imagine a Missouri where the assessor would never again come into your home,‖
he said.
The bills are SB 99 and HB 888.

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Mo. House passes 4-day school week
Marshall Griffin, KWMU JEFFERSON CITY, MO (2009-02-26)
The Missouri House has passed a bill that would allow school districts to switch to four-day weeks.
The bill was sponsored by State Representative Gayle Kingery (R, Poplar Bluff). He told fellow House members
that allowing four-day weeks will enable poorer school districts to save money on operational costs.
"This has been proven effective in 17 states that are currently doing has been a good tool, and all we want
to do is offer this tool as an alternative to some districts that might be struggling," Kingery said.
Critics, including State Representative Will Krause (R, Raytown), said it would make life harder for both kids and
"On Fridays, what are those kids going to do? We don't know...I mean, it's (possible) that they could be at could be a latch-key situation where a parent that can't afford child care lets their child stay at home
unattended all day on that extra day when they're having to go to work," Krause said.
Other opponents said the longer school days required by a shorter week would cause kids to get home after
The legislation passed easily, 101-60, with support and opposition on both sides of the aisle. It now goes to the
Missouri Senate.

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Stay-at-home-dads take offense to
scholarship just for moms
By Roseann Moring
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

JEFFERSON CITY –I‘ve gotten two e-mails regarding a story about a bill that would give a scholarship for stay-
at-home moms but not dads.
The bill is HB498 sponsored by Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O‘Fallon.
Here are excerpts from each of the e-mails.
I recently became aware of Cynthia Davis‘s house bill 498 which Establishes the Full-time Mother Scholarship
Bonus Program to provide an education scholarship for tuition and books for any mother who has chosen to stay
home to raise a child 15 years of age or younger‖.
Since mentioning this in the at-home dad newsletter, the response has been strong from at-home dads who are
not included in the bill. I have urged the dads in my network across the country to write to write her regarding
their opinion.
From an open letter from Peter Baylies of The At-Home Dad Network to Davis
It seems that Ms. Davis has sponsored a bill that will provide a yearly tax credit for stay at home mothers. While
I applaud her recognition that parents who stay at home deserve compensation, she has left out what I feel is a
key component of this bill. It has come to my attention that she specifically wants to exclude stay at home
fathers because we are ―not good nurturers‖ and we are unequipped to give birth or breastfeed. Those are her
sole arguments for the exclusion. I feel this deserves to be brought to the attention of the St. Louis area, as I
have received lots of encouragement from friends and family to not only e-mail members of State Government
but to make the local press aware of this as well. While I don‘t know many personally, I believe there are many
stay at home fathers in this area, and I think they need to be made aware of this legislation. Such discriminatory
legislation needs to be brought to the attention of the community as well.
From Joe Akers of Oakville

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Mo. senators back quicker towing for
broken cars
Thursday, February 26, 2009
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) Missouri motorists could have to more quickly move their broken vehicles off the
shoulders of roads or risk getting them towed.
Senators endorsed legislation Thursday that shortens the time abandoned cars can remain on the side of rural
Current law gives motorists 10 hours on urban highways and 48 hours on rural roads. A bill by Republican Sen.
Bill Stouffer, of Napton, would allow vehicles to be towed from the side of any state road after being abandoned
for 10 hours.
The Missouri Department of Transportation says 314 crashes and 13 fatalities in the past four years have
involved vehicles abandoned on the shoulders of interstates 44 and 70.
The legislation needs another Senate vote to move to the House.

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Mo. towing bill debate hijacked; driving and texting,
House vs. Senate and St. Louis Metropolitan Towing
By Roseann Moring
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

JEFFERSON CITY — The Senate today discussed a bill from Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, that would decrease
the amount of time that cars can sit on the side of rural freeways and highways before the cars get towed.
Sen. Tim Green, D-Spanish Lakes, said the bill could help towing companies like the St. Louis company
accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from the city.
Stouffer said he hopes the House of Representatives will fix the problem.
―You are standing on the floor telling me a bill is going to get corrected in the House?‖ Green said. ―Senator
please tell me I did not hear that.‖
―The rest of the time we‘re on the Senate floor, if you say, ‗we‘re going to fix it in the House,‘ I‘m not going to be
as polite,‖ he added.
Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Crystal City, tried to attach an amendment that would prevent texting while driving, but
before we could see a vote, President Pro Tem Charlie Shields ruled that texting isn‘t within the scope of
highway towing.

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Wildberger no longer mulling state fire
marshal post
ST. JOSEPH NEWS-PRESS by Alyson E. Raletz
Thursday, February 26, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A St. Joseph Democrat took himself out of the running to serve as the next Missouri
state fire marshal.
Rep. Ed Wildberger, D-St. Joseph, said Thursday he told Missouri Department of Public Safety Director John
Britt that he no longer wished to be considered for the post because he wanted to complete his two year-term as
a state representative, which ends in 2010.
"I asked people to elect me, to come down here for two years and I have an obligation to serve out the end of my
term," he said. "I don't think it's right to walk out on them for another job."
Mr. Wildberger said last week staff of Gov. Jay Nixon had approached him about possibly replacing Randy Cole,
the current state fire marshal who earns $79,119 a year. But Mr. Wildberger, a former St. Joseph firefighter, said
he instead advocated for the governor to retain Mr. Cole, a friend and colleague.
The decision frees Mr. Wildberger up to pursue the 34th Senatorial District seat, which the term-limited Sen.
Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, now occupies, in the 2010 election. Mr. Wildberger didn‘t announce intentions to
run for the office, as he and Rep. Martin Rucker, D-St. Joseph, are deciding which one of the two will formally
put in a bid, but Mr. Wildberger did offer: ―When I finish this term, I‘ll have to be looking for a job — so ...‖
For more background on early activity surrounding the Senate race, check out Sunday's story.

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State official tries to calm tense Mid-Mo
Thursday, February 26, 2009

If University of Missouri Health Care does not agree to hire a ―grand majority‖ of Mid-Missouri Mental Health
Center employees in a proposed takeover of the facility, a high-level state mental health official told employees
today that would be a deal-breaker.
―If they say they don‘t want the grand majority of you, this deal won‘t go through,‖ said Joe Parks, state director
of comprehensive psychiatric services for the Department of Mental Health, during a tense forum that drew
about 100 employees to the center‘s gymnasium. He said the welfare of Mid-Mo employees has ―been central to
all of our discussions‖ with the university.
Employees learned Monday in an e-mail from a state official that the university had ―provisionally‖ decided to
pursue taking over operations at Mid-Mo.
Gov. Jay Nixon has proposed $24 million in cuts to the state mental health department and has taken Mid-Mo
out of the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. He has called on MU Health to take over operation of Mid-
Mo primarily because the university would qualify for higher Medicaid reimbursements than the state-run facility
is able to receive.
Mid-Mo now has a 69-bed capacity but closed a 14-bed unit in December in an effort to keep its budget in the
black. The center adjacent to University Hospital has been the only inpatient facility for mental health patients in
Columbia since Boone Hospital Center this summer eliminated 12 beds for mental health patients.
―This is not a done deal,‖ Parks advised the forum. If talks fall through, he said, state mental health officials
would ask that Mid-Mo be funded in the 2010 state budget, a process that would require legislative approval and
the governor‘s signature.
Parks said the main hurdle to MU Health taking over on July 1 is negotiating how to pay for an estimated $20
million in capital improvements proposed for the mental health facility. ―If this is going to work and go forward,
there will be a seamless transition,‖ he said.
That assurance did little to calm the anxiety of many employees who expressed frustration with being kept in the
dark about the proposed transition. Employees said they have learned more about the negotiations and their
possible layoff from local media than from state administrators.
―We are hanging from a 10-foot ledge by our fingertips right now,‖ one employee said, drawing loud applause
from her co-workers. Another employee who said she was in a position to retire urged co-workers to be ―prayed
up and geared up‖ for the possibility of being unemployed. Another staff member asked, ―What‘s the incentive for
all of us to not just jump ship?‖
None of the workers who spoke out at the forum identified themselves by name.
State mental health officials said that if MU Health decides to take over local inpatient mental health services, all
190 Mid-Mo employees would be laid off and forced to reapply with the university for positions.
―We think most, if not all,‖ current employees will end up being university staff, Parks said. ―That‘s what we‘re
trying to arrange. We‘re going to do everything we can to keep you all employed.‖
Parks said employees not retained by the university, especially those nearing retirement, would be offered job
opportunities at other state facilities, possibly in Fulton, Farmington or St. Louis.

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Employees also expressed concern whether MU Health would be committed to a long-term agreement to
provide inpatient mental health care. The university took over local outpatient mental health treatment eight
years ago, only to later sell that service to Burrell Behavioral Health.
Parks said negotiators have not determined how many inpatient beds the university would offer.
Tammy Hand, a ward clerk for 13 years, said moving to find another job is not reasonable. She added that many
employees are apprehensive about going ―on the record‖ with local journalists out of fear of ―retaliation‖ by either
state mental health officials or the university.
Parks said he hopes to hear in a week or two whether the university accepts the plan.

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EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor
True motives revealed in plan to
manipulate Missouri courts
POST-DISPATCH By Editorial Board
Enemies of an independent judiciary in Missouri are at it again. Measures have been filed in the Missouri House
and Senate seeking to gut the state‘s non-partisan judicial appointment process and render it little more than a
political sham.
The state‘s current system — the so-called Missouri Plan approved in 1940 — is celebrated and emulated
nationally. Nominating commissions of citizens, practicing lawyers and an appellate court judge review
applications of candidates for seats on the state‘s appellate courts and for trial judge positions in metropolitan
areas. The committees choose panels of three candidates, from which the governor appoints one to fill the
This year‘s legislative initiative is much like one defeated last year. It would stack nominating committees with
gubernatorial appointees and subject them to partisan tests in the state Senate. Merit selection further would be
diluted by requirements that the governor receive panels of five candidates rather than three.
The governor could reject all of them and demand another panel of five, in hopes that at least one candidate
would be more ideologically appealing.
The legislative resolutions, which, if approved, would go before voters for approval, are sponsored by
lawmakers who have made careers by trying to undermine the judicial system. Among them are state Sens. Jim
Lembke, R-Lemay, and Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield.
Mr. Lembke is infamous for his single-minded effort as a House member last year to dismantle the non-partisan
judicial appointment plan. He also crusaded to end the career of a judge who had the temerity to rule against
friends of a former GOP state senator in a child custody matter.
Also as a House member, Ms. Cunningham tried to strip the courts of the power to rule on the constitutionality of
legislation. She sponsored legislation that would have prohibited judges from ruling on matters related to taxes.
What‘s different this time is how supporters of the measure have revealed their true motives — are about
manipulating, not reforming. the judicial system.
The Federalist Society, a national organization of conservative lawyers, long has attempted to undermine
Missouri‘s system of appointing judges. Leonard Leo, a senior Federalist Society official, for example, called
former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt ―a coward‖ because, in 2007, he appointed Patricia Breckenridge, a widely
respected jurist with a moderate judicial philosophy, to the state Supreme Court. She was one of three
candidates, and the only Republican, on the panel submitted to Mr. Blunt by the nominating commission.
Now the Federalist Society‘s national public relations firm — the same firm that promoted Swiftboat Veterans for
Truth — is beating the drum for the current effort to undermine the Missouri Plan. Last week, the firm was touting
a recent Missouri Supreme Court decision that turned back a challenge to pro-business amendments to the
state‘s worker compensation system.

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The amendments make it considerably more difficult for workers to be compensated for workplace injuries. It
short, it‘s the kind of decision the pro-business Federalist Society loves.
The news release coyly notes how ―some . . .speculate that the outcome is a result of the attention (the) Missouri
Plan debate has drawn to the Supreme Court.‖
Thus are the motives of the reformers revealed: If you threaten and batter judges and degrade the system with
bogus reforms, you might just scare courts into ruling your way.

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Our opinion: Prison cutback puzzles
ST. JOSEPH NEWS-PRESS Friday, February 27, 2009

Officials with the Missouri Department of Corrections have done a poor job explaining why they thought it
necessary to cut funding for the GED program at the Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in
St. Joseph.
News-Press reports recount the unsatisfactory statements of a spokeswoman that agencies ―have to do more
with less in many areas, including offender education‖ and that ending a contract with Missouri Western State
University was the ―most efficient way to achieve immediate and significant savings‖ while ―affecting as few
offenders as possible.‖
Dr. Gordon Mapley, dean of the Western Institute, appears on the right track when he speculates it was easier
for Corrections to cancel a contract with the institute and its nine instructors than it was to lay off its own
department employees. The cut will save about $600,000 a year, but that savings comes at a price.
In the last fiscal year, 141 inmates at the local prison received their high school equivalency diploma through
General Educational Development tests. Others were progressing toward their GEDs. Chad Elifrits, education
director, said the program has been ―at or near the top of the 15 schools in the state in the number of GED
graduates we produce every month, every quarter, every year.‖
Mr. Elifrits makes a strong case for the local program. And nationwide, there is a large amount of data showing
how education helps both inmates and society, by preparing the inmates to lead productive lives once they are
released. Given that, our community deserves some answers:
Is our GED program in fact a highly regarded and cost-effective program relative to the 14 others in the state?
What alternatives were weighed and rejected when this cut was decided? What assurances do we have that
inmates, both locally and statewide, will have the same access to this program in the future?

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Twitter by twits not aiding minority
THE MANEATER By Nate Kennedy
Published Feb. 27, 2009

Because of my impending deadline I had to write a paper and take two tests in the preceding 36 hours, I'm
phoning, er, e-mailing this one in.
Its purpose is more for entertainment than to make a point, but I am taking a jab at conservative columnist
Michelle Malkin and the other crazy right-wingers like her.
On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama addressed Congress in his non-State of the Union. As had occurred
during most debates during the election, there was a multitude of live blogging and Twittering going on during
the address. Even some members of Congress were doing it.
On Twitter I'm following a lot of news outlets, blogs, pundits and politicos. One of them is Michelle Malkin. She is
terrible. Read her live Twitter feed:
"Obama speech Cliff Notes: Economy sux. Bush's fault. Don't worry, be happy. Hope more. Spend more.
Goodnite. #tcot"
The first couple tweets are about how boring the president will be. It doesn't matter that he's about to outline his
policy goals for the next two years in detail -- she doesn't care and has written him off.
"Oh, look. It's the Botox twins -- Biden and Pelosi. My forehead aches just looking at them. #tcot"
"Fashion notes: Michelle O in sleeveless eggplant purple. Pelosi in puke green pajamas. Hillary in fuschia suit."
Malkin now becomes a fashion critic, and makes personal attacks.
"Babs Boxer rubbing up on Obama. Ew. Hillary and Obama kiss. Double Ew. #tcot"
What, is she in first grade and scared of cooties?
"Dear Leader intro's Michelle Obama, who is VERY proud of America right now."
"Obama blames lenders for stupid people buying more houses than they could afford. ACORN applauds. #tcot"
Now she's recycling attacks from 2008 and calling Obama a communist.
"Jill Biden looks worried that Joe might doze off. #tcot"
Here, she's confusing Joe Biden for John McCain.
"Is that a Snuggie (Pelosi's) wearing? Didn't know they came in puke green #tcot"
OK, I'll admit, Snuggie jokes are in right now.
"Teleprompter glitch? Obama sounded like Porky Pig there for a moment. Abbaduh Greensburg Texas Kansas
Texas abbaduh abbaduh. #tcot"
Here, she makes fun of the one stumble in Obama's speech as if it matters when the economy has failed.
"This lingering autograph session w/lawmakers treating Obama like Brad Pitt is ridiculous."
This is another "Obama is a celebrity" attack from 2008.

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To sum it up, Malkin and her cronies aren't helping the political dialogue at all with this nonsense. Be
constructive, please. Propose ideas. Work with us. Thanks.
Of course, some will argue that Malkin doesn't officially represent the Republican Party, so now I will pick on
Louisiana Gov. Bobby "Kenneth the Page" Jindal's rebuttal, "America can do anything!"
In the beginning Gov. Jindal tells us that his heritage is just like Obama's. Then he keeps saying America can do
anything, but he criticizes Obama for making the same message just with different priorities. After that he
criticizes a volcano monitoring system that saved thousands of American lives, and a provision in the stimulus
for a magical, magnetic levitation lift between L.A. and Las Vegas that doesn't actually exist, according to CNN's
Rick Sanchez:
"There is no rail line from Vegas to Disneyworld, why does he say that?"
I'll end with one of Senator McCaskill's tweets from Feb. 23:
"Great quote: 'The majority has to be inclusive. The minority needs to be constructive.'"

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Why not investigate Kenny Hulshof?
February 26, 2009 | 12:30 p.m. CST
We have several matters to chew on this week, so let's get started.
First, a question: Is anybody investigating Kenny Hulshof? You know why I ask. Judge Richard Callahan, himself
no bleeding heart friend of criminal defendants, castigated Kenny last week in the ruling that set free a guy
Kenny had prosecuted 15 years ago for a murder the man almost certainly didn't commit. Judge Callahan ruled
that Kenny, then an assistant attorney general specializing in murder prosecutions, had concealed evidence and
lied in his summation to the jury.
The defendant belatedly walked free and said he held no animus toward the man who had cost him half his life
in prison. But it strikes me that the Callahan ruling requires some follow-up. The judge didn't use these words,
but his conclusion says to a layman that the prosecutor, later our congressman and a candidate to be our
governor, violated at least the ethics of the profession and maybe even broke the law.
Shouldn't there be a penalty for that? Shouldn't somebody be looking into it, at least? To try to find out, I called
the Missouri Bar Association. A nice lady there referred me to an office I'd never heard of, the Office of Chief
Disciplinary Counsel. The equally nice lady who answered the phone there told me that the office investigates
complaints of ethics violations. It doesn't initiate investigations on its own. Of course, she couldn't tell me of any
pending investigations. Those are confidential. Only if the counsel decides discipline is warranted is anything
said out loud.
If I were Kenny, and my conduct had been criticized as seriously as his was, I think I'd seek an investigation to
clear myself — if I were really confident I'd done nothing wrong. Wouldn't you? And if I were a lawyer on the
losing side, told I'd been cheated, I'd certainly file a complaint. Maybe we'll learn more some day, and maybe we
Speaking of learning, we learned last week that the Columbia City Council and the School Board both have hired
outsiders to lead our cops and our schools. We can only hope they made the right choices. I've noted previously
that neither body has an impressive track record when it comes to bringing strangers into these jobs. It'll be a
while before we know whether this time they got it right, or whether what we're seeing is another triumph of hope
over experience.
At least Chris Belcher, who'll be our next school superintendent, had been to town before. He earned his
doctorate at MU. Unlike previous outsiders hired into this job, he has actual experience as a superintendent. The
new chief, a lifelong Texan and an alum of Sam Houston State, will have a steeper learning curve. Let's wish
them well.
Speaking of newbies, our new governor is off to a strong start, it seems to me. Remember how the Republicans
in the legislature complained that he was basing his budget on the uncertain arrival of unwelcome federal
stimulus dollars? Well, it turns out that Gov. Nixon was being, you should pardon the expression, conservative.
We're getting more from the feds than he counted on.
So not only is that bridge near Tuscumbia going to be rebuilt, there's reason to expect that the state can keep its
half of the bargain struck by the governor and UM System President Gary Forsee -- holding both the state
appropriation and tuition at this year's levels. That would be a rare piece of good news all around, if the
Republican-led General Assembly lets it happen. You might want to speak nicely to Sen. Gary Nodler and Rep.
Allen Icet. You can bet President Forsee is.

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And, finally, speaking of President Forsee, he gave what struck me as a generally applause-worthy performance
a week ago in Jesse Auditorium. From my seat in the middle of the audience, I heard only a couple of missed
It would have been useful, for example, if he had explained what alternatives to requiring a new employee
contribution to the pension plan were considered and why they were dismissed. That may have been the best
choice, but we employees won't be able to judge unless we're told more about the rejected options.
His worst answer, I thought, was to the question from a faculty member about benefits for domestic partners.
The response was unresponsive. A progressive record at Sprint just isn't relevant to action, or inaction, at the
university. Surely it's time to recognize that this is the 21st century, even in Missouri.
Still with me? Good. Next week there'll be a quiz.
George Kennedy is a former managing editor at the Missourian and professor emeritus at the
Missouri School of Journalism.

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Need for college aid extends beyond
public or private school division
By R. Alton Lacey


The Bryant family of south St. Louis is living proof that Access Missouri, a state program that helps Missouri's
neediest students to afford a college education, works for Missouri's working families. Jessica, Lydia and Mark --
three of the Bryants' seven siblings, attend Missouri Baptist University; the oldest sibling, Matthew, graduated
last year. They all have received generous merit-based institutional aid and student loans to pay for their
However, if it were not for the $2,300 a semester that Access Missouri provides each of the Bryant students,
their quest for a college education would be nearly impossible.
"This literally could mean the difference between being able to go to school here or not," said Jessica, a senior
who holds a 4.0 GPA like her younger sister. "This program has been such a blessing for my family."
Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing to slash the maximum grant for students at independent colleges by 37 percent.
Such a move would have an immediate and devastating effect on thousands of students who depend on these
In the current economic crisis, all of Missouri's higher education institutions are facing tough budgetary
decisions. Public institutions have seen state budget appropriations shrink. Independent institutions have been
hurt by declining endowments and donor funds. Even though I serve an independent institution, I strongly
support additional operating funds for the public colleges and universities.
I also recognize the importance of having a robust public and independent sector. However, changes in the only
need-based program funded by the state should not come at the expense of Missouri's neediest students
whether they attend an independent or public institution.
Two years ago, a cross section of financial aid professionals from private and public institutions, the state
Legislature and the Coordinating Board of Higher Education formed Access Missouri to help more Missourians,
like the Bryant family, afford to go to college. The size of the grants was determined after careful analysis and
deliberate research and was agreed upon by all the parties.
Several factors entered into the equitable decision to make larger grants available to students at independent
institutions. These included family need, sources of funding available only to public schools such as merit-based
funds and grants from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, graduation rates, service to minority and
first-generation students and a host of other factors. For two years, the program has worked better than
expected. More than 40,000 students have been awarded Access Missouri grants.
The independent colleges and universities of Missouri provide an enormous public good without direct state
appropriations to the institutions. It is estimated that it would cost the state more than $700 million to educate the
students now in public institutions, exclusive of capital costs. The 28 independent colleges have an economic
impact on the state in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Contrary to what some may believe, the students who
attend these institutions are some of the neediest in Missouri, with families of those students having an average
adjusted gross income of $1,500 less than those attending a four-year public institution. Though independent
colleges typically charge more in tuition, which is their major source of revenue, they also provide millions in
institutional aid, which makes the actual cost very comparable to many public colleges without much cost to

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taxpayers. The four-year graduation rate at independent colleges is 40 percent, compared to 22 percent at public
colleges, which means students enter the workforce and become taxpayers themselves more quickly.
Particularly in this economic climate, it is not good public policy to take away resources that are empowering
college students in need to become future leaders of our state. Jessica, Lydia and Mark Bryant are determined
to see their dream of a college education come to fruition like their brother's did last spring, a realization that was
made possible, in part, by Access Missouri.
R. Alton Lacey is president of Missouri Baptist University.

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Grain elevator fraud case could prompt changes to state law
Thursday, February 26, 2009, 6:25 PM
By Brent Martin

An emerging investigation into whether a central-Missouri grain elevator defrauded hundreds of farmers prompts
a leader in the House to propose changes to state law.
Losses to area farmers have been estimated at $15 million, but Rep. Brian Munzlinger (R-Williamstown) says no
one can be certain on the total loss, because many farmers operated with the T. J. Gieseker Farms and Trucking
on a handshake. Munzlinger says farmers cannot claim grain without a ticket, which many don't have.
Farmers might eventually receive only pennies on the dollar. The State Agriculture Department has seized
Gieseker's assets, which seems to total only about $100,000 worth of grain and a bit more than half a million
dollars in the bank. A routine audit first hinted at trouble with the grain elevator located east of Mexico. It
disclosed that the elevator owed more than $1.3 million for grain allegedly stored in its bins.
An informal meeting arranged by the State Agriculture Department was held on Wednesday. About 250 farmers
attended. Department officials are trying to assure farmers the grain elevator will be subjected to a thorough
Munzlinger says the case worries him. He points out the financial crisis this will cause won't be confined to
farmers. Munzlinger says implement dealers have told of contracts for new equipment being cancelled, because
farmers had relied on the sale of grain stored in Martinsburg to pay for the tractors, combines and other
equipment ordered.
The case discloses weakness in state law, says Munzlinger. He would like to see the bond requirements from
grain elevators raised. He adds that Missouri needs to consider creation of an indemnity fund to make farmers
whole when grain elevators fold. Munzlinger says such funds have worked in other states.
Both the Audrain County prosecutor and the State Attorney General are considering criminal charges.

Chris Newbrough, KXEO contributed to this report.

Property assessment reform returns
Thursday, February 26, 2009, 6:14 PM
By Bob Priddy

An effort to stop regular reassessment of homes is being renewed in the legislature.
Senator Jane Cunningham of Chesterfield could not get enough interest in this idea last year to even get a
hearing on it when she was in the House. She's renewing her effort to freeze all real property at its 2006
assessed value or at the purchase price paid if this proposal becomes law.
She calls Missouri's present property assessment system "predatory," and says escalating property
assessments and taxes, if not controlled, can turn the dream of homeownership into a nightmare.
Cunningham and her supporters would let taxing district such as school systems increase property valuations by
two percent or the cost of living, whichever is less. She says school districts that would fall behind if the cost of
living is more than two percent would have to get voter approval to keep from falling behind.
Cunningham is already a little ahead of last year. Her bill will get a Senate hearing next week.

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House and Senate supporters claim to have bipartisan support although the only lawmakers discussing the plan
at a Capitol news conference were Republicans.
A similar bill has been introduced in the House, but it's been introduced late and the main hope for supporters
will be with Cunningham's proposal.

Here are links to the bills:

Missouri tourism ad budget scaled back
Thursday, February 26, 2009, 5:42 PM
By Jessica Machetta

Most states are cutting tourism funding in the face of budget shortfalls, and Missouri's no exception. Governor
Nixon is calling for a $3.5 million decrease for the Division of Tourism.
The State Tourism Director told a joint hearing of the House and Senate tourism committees that marketing
efforts will be scaled back. The June issue of Midwest Living would be dropped. Advertising in Chicago would be
cut by nearly a million dollars. Magazine inserts and TV ads would be reduced.
Rep. Dennis Wood (R-Kimberling City), who represents the Branson area, says he's not happy about the cuts,
but is optimistic that tourism numbers will hold strong.
Wood is urging the Governor to restore the cuts since marketing is vital to bringing in tourism dollars, but says he
does not want the state to go into debt and he understands cuts have to be made to balance the budget.
Wood says Missouri's tourism industry supports more than 300,000 employees. Wood says it's important to
remember that we'll still be spending more to market tourism this year than ever before -- about $20 million.

Senate committee considers state EITC
Thursday, February 26, 2009, 3:25 PM
By Steve Walsh
A Senate committee is considering a SB 105 proposal to create a state version of the federal Earned Income
Tax Credit, which would provide funds for low income Missouri workers.
Senator Jolie Justus (D-Kansas City) sponsors the EITC idea, which has been in existence at the federal level
since 1975. To qualify for the program, a recipient must work for a refundable credit at 20 percent of the federal
EITC. Justus acknowledges this idea comes with a huge price tag - a fiscal note of $171-million, but she is
interested in working with other Senators to bring down that number.
During the hearing, Senator Chuck Purgason (R-Caulfield) expressed concerns that this is little more than
redistribution of wealth.
"You're basically taxing people at a rate," asked Purgason. "And redistributing it back to people that don't pay
taxes, is that correct?"
He was assured, by Justus, that recipients must work and do pay taxes.
Purgason then narrowed his question: "They would apply for taxes, but they would actually receive back from the
state more than they paid in."
Justus responded, "That could happen. Yes."
The hearing ended with the panel taking no vote on the legislation.

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                              C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r W e d n e s d a y , J a n u a r y 1 4 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 43 of 43

Friday, February 27
Cape Girardeau - Twenty-six people face drug-related charges after arrests in a roundup in southeast Missouri.
The Missouri Drug Task Force said most of the arrests involved methamphetamine, marijuana or cocaine. Many
of the suspects are from Cape Girardeau, others from surrounding towns. They range in age from 21 to 52,
authorities said.

Thursday, February 26
Jefferson City - A Senate committee rejected legislation to ban automated cameras to catch red-light runners.
About 30 Missouri cities now use the cameras, which snap digital photos. The Transportation Committee voted
8-2 to reject the camera ban.

Wednesday, February 25
Jefferson City - The state Supreme Court upheld the means by which Missouri adopted its execution
procedures. The case was brought by 17 condemned inmates, claiming the state's execution protocol for lethal
injection was invalid because it was not adopted as an official rule by the state Department of Corrections.

Tuesday, February 24
St. Joseph - A man was sentenced to life in prison in the death of his girlfriend's infant daughter. Steven Zorn,
30, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder two days into his first-degree murder trial last month for the death of
5-week-old Cora Jean Lockhart in January 2008. Prosecutors said Zorn beat, punched, shook and sat on her
when she would not stop crying.

Monday, February 23
Joplin - A boy accused of firing a rifle inside a school has a court hearing Friday to consider his competency to
assist in his own defense. The boy was 13 in October 2006 when he fired one shot at the ceiling and allegedly
tried to shoot the principal of Memorial Middle School. No one was injured.

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