MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 1 of 110 OSAMA BIN LADEN IS DEAD, 'JUSTICE HAS BEEN DONE,' OBAMA REPORTS TO NATION By News organizations and Beacon staff Updated 7:30 am Mon., 5.2.11 American forces, acting on intelligence, launched a ―targeted assault‖ that killed Bin Laden in Pakistan. The Al Qaeda leader responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks has eluded the U.S. for nearly a decade. The president said: ―...we can say that justice has been done.‖ Bin Laden's body was buried at sea. | New York Times Click through to see more links and reaction from St. Louis area members of Congress. Bin Laden's life: Born to riches, he led 'holy war' with ruthless terrorist network. | Washington Post World reaction ranges from relief to promises of revenge. | AP Crowds celebrate outside the White House and at Ground Zero in New York. | New York Times Video of Obama's address to the nation. | CNN (Photo from Wikipedia) How the bin Laden news spread online. | New York Times St. Louis area officials respond with thanks Reported by Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter, and Robert Koenig, Beacon Washington correspondent: St. Louis area members of Congress issued statements welcoming the news, thanking the troops and saying Bin Laden's death would serve as a warning to America's enemies. But the officials also called for continued vigilance and warned that the death does not mean the end of the fight against terrorism. Here are statements from current and former officials: Ike Skelton, former U.S. representative from Lexington, Mo., and former head of the House Armed Services Committee: ―On 9/11, I went to the Pentagon while the fires were still burning and witnessed the destruction brought about by Osama bin Laden and his fellow international criminals. Now Osama bin Laden‘s death should have a chilling effect on other al Quaeda members because they must know they are next. It makes me proud, humbled and awed to know the last thing Osama bin Laden saw on this Earth was a trained, armed, ready and willing member of the United States military. God bless America.‖ U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.: "I was advised by Vice President Biden this Sunday evening that Osama bin Laden has been killed. Though this is not the end of the threat of terrorism, it is a clear warning to our enemies that when they threaten and kill Americans, they will be pursued and held accountable. Our nation owes a great debt of gratitude to our intelligence community and military for pursuing this manhunt for almost ten years and successfully eliminating the most high profile terrorist on earth. Those who believed bin Laden and his network were invincible will now awaken to a new reality." U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.: ―Osama bin Laden‘s death is a major victory for America. This development is the culmination of the sacrifices and dedication from our brave troops and intelligence professionals. After nearly a decade, it also brings a MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 2 of 110 great measure of justice and closure for all Americans who lost loved ones as a result of the brutal attacks against our nation on 9/11. While this does not mean the end of our fight against global terrorism, bin Laden‘s death is a major blow to al-Qaeda and the terrorist organizations that he financed.‖ U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.: ―After a long and very bad chapter of world history, Osama Bin Laden is dead and justice delivered. Thank you to all of our intelligence and military personnel who have served and sacrificed to protect our freedoms and ensure our security." U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis: "After 10 long years, we finally have justice. Thanks go to our brave troops who even now are fighting and dying to protect us. "Though justice is served, the road to lasting peace and security is long. I look forward to working with our allies in the months ahead to achieve that goal." U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country: ―America was not expecting the infamous attack on September 11th. Numerous times America has sustained surprise attacks, and as the result of such attacks has proven to be a formidable opponent refusing to bend to tyranny. ―Our men and women in the armed services deserve tremendous credit for their tenacity, professionalism and courage in taking the battle to our enemy. ―The death of Osama bin Laden will stand as a warning to would be enemies of our country and as a fitting conclusion to the criminal mind behind the infamous and cowardly attacks of September 11th.‖ U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth: ―This is a historic success in the war against terror, but the battle continues, and we must remain vigilant. The Middle East is a volatile region and it is critical that we continue to fight those who would do harm to Americans at home and abroad. This is a victory for our military and intelligence personnel who put their lives on the line every day to protect our citizens. This is also a day to remember those we lost on 9/11, and those who gave their lives in the ongoing battle against worldwide terrorism since that fateful day.‖ MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 3 of 110 U.S. House staffers from Missouri got raises in 2010 5 increased pay while 4 reduced staff salaries. 11:00 PM, May. 1, 2011 Written by Elizabeth Bewley Gannett Washington Bureau Spending on House staff salaries This chart shows how much each representative spent on staff salaries in 2010 and 2009, and the percentage change. » Akin; $1,040,512; $1,081,765; -3.8 percent » Blunt; $1,105,238; $1,120,818; -1.4 percent » Carnahan; $934,439; $969,881; -3.7 percent » Clay; $1,121,552; $1,089,481; 2.9 percent » Cleaver; $990,111; $923,213; 7.3 percent » Emerson; $1,053,036; $994,717; 5.9 percent » Graves; $885,545; $908,376; -2.5 percent » Luetkemeyer; $875,084; $830,408; 5.4 percent » Skelton; $1,165,303; $1,127,293; 3.4 percent » Totals; $9,170,820; $9,045,952 WASHINGTON -- Five of Missouri's nine U.S. House members spent more on staff salaries last year than in 2009, even as national and state unemployment rates continue to top 9 percent. Missouri's House delegation raised staff salaries by $124,868 in 2010, even as four members -- including then-Rep. Roy Blunt, the Springfield Republican elected to the Senate in November -- cut such spending. The delegation's total of $9.17 million in spending on staff salaries in 2010, based on data from the Washington watchdog group LegiStorm, represents a 1.4 percent increase over the 2009 figure of $9.04 million. Overall, returning House members spent $19 million more on their staffs in 2010 than in 2009, an increase of almost 5 percent, according to a Detroit Free Press analysis. Democrat Ike Skelton, who lost in November to Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler, was the delegation's top salary spender in 2010, paying staffers a total $1.2 million. Skelton also spent more per staffer -- $66,589 -- than any other member of the delegation in 2010. Republican Rep. Sam Graves of Tarkio spent less per staffer than any other Missouri representative. His staffers earned an average $40,715 last year. Similar data for the Senate was unavailable. Of the 435 members of the House, 330 spent more in 2010 than in 2009. Most of those members were Democrats, who were in the majority last year. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 4 of 110 Among Missouri's House delegation, Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City gave his employees the biggest pay bump, spending $66,898 more on salaries in 2010 than in 2009 --a 7 percent increase. Cleaver's spokeswoman, Mary Petrovic, said the congressman added staff after he was elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus in November. She said Cleaver still spends less on staff than some other members of Missouri's delegation. "The congressman does believe he's made responsible choices with funds and with paying his staff," Petrovic said. The second-highest increase in staff-related spending among Missouri delegation members was in the office of Jo Ann Emerson of Cape Girardeau, who spent $58,319 more in 2010 -- an increase of nearly 6 percent. House Speaker John Boehner has ordered his GOP colleagues to cut overall office spending by 5 percent cut this year, but each member can decide how to make that happen. Spending less on printing or mail, for instance, could free up money for staff salaries. Four Missouri representatives -- Blunt, Todd Akin, Russ Carnahan and Sam Graves -- spent less on staff salaries in 2010. Blunt cut spending 1.4 percent, but the $1.11 million he spent on staff was second only to Skelton and Democratic Rep. WilliamClay. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 5 of 110 General orders pipes at Bird Point levee loaded with blasting agent Monday, May 2, 2011 By Scott Moyers ~ Southeast Missourian Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh calls them "decision points," and after the two he made Sunday there's only one left: whether to blow the Birds Point levee to relieve the swollen Mississippi River and assist residents who are fighting back historic floodwaters. Walsh, president of the Mississippi River Commission, on Sunday directed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers crews to move barges of explosives across the river to Missouri and load the pipes with the blasting agents that, if detonated, would send water flowing over more than 130,000 acres in Mississippi County. The order came about 3:30 p.m. Sunday and corps officials said loading the pipes with the "slurry" -- a liquid mix of aluminum powder and sodium perchlorate -- would take about 20 hours, meaning the work should be completed by noon today. Walsh said he would review the situation continuously as conditions change. The next step, and the final one, would be to activate the floodway by artificially breaching the levee. The final decision to activate the floodway has not been made, the corps said. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon held a news conference Sunday evening after touring the Birds Point levee area with Walsh. Nixon said his first priority, if the corps moves forward with its plans to intentionally blow the levee, is safety. "We're not happy about what's going to occur here, none of us are, but if it's going to be done we're going to do it safely, in an orderly fashion, and we're going to do our best to defend it and we're in it for the long haul," he said. Nixon pledged state aid to the residents of Mississippi County and others in Southeast Missouri affected by flooding, including Sikeston and Morehouse. "While this is a dramatic step that will be occurring, most probably here, it's important to know we have folks working, backing up emergency responders, ready to assist," Nixon said. About an inch and a half of rain was dumped on the region Saturday night and weather forecasters were calling for 3 to 5 inches of rain by Tuesday. The Birds Point New Madrid Floodway plan calls for activation at 61 feet and rising on the Cairo gauge, and it topped 60 Sunday afternoon. According to the National Weather Service, the gauge at Cairo was at 60.33 at 9 p.m. Sunday. The Ohio is predicted to hit 61.3 -- above the 61 feed needed to activate the flood plan -- Tuesday. Corps spokeswoman Lisa Coghlan said Walsh opted to pump the slurry into the pipes due to the fast elevation of floodwaters. "Gen. Walsh will make another determination [today] and, if he says so, we'll be ready to go," she said. Still, at a news conference Sunday at the Cape Girardeau Regional Port Authority in Scott City, Walsh said blowing the levee was not a foregone conclusion. He flew over the region with Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 6 of 110 Walsh said he suspected that the corps would have to operate the Bonnet Carre Spillway, a similar flood control operation in the Lower Mississippi Valley near St. Charles Parish in Louisiana. They may even have to activate the Morganza Spillway in east-central Louisiana as well, he said. "[Saturday] night we hit a historic event," he said. "That's when the Cairo gauge went to 59.69. Before that, the highest ever was 59.5. That's a record high at the Cairo gauge." Walsh said he's still watching forecasts, stresses on an already deluged flood-protection system and will keep the safety of his crews in mind before making a decision to blow the levee. He said he is concerned about sand boil problems in Cairo as well as similar problems further downriver. But, as of now he said, the system is sound and would withstand the pressures of activating the floodway. "We've been able to stabilize areas that have been degrading, because of the hard work of volunteers and the National Guard," he said. "But we need to be vigilant and continue to do what we're doing -- walking and driving the levees to see if there's any other impacts we have to get to." Dams holding water upstream, such as those at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, are at capacity. More water may have to be released so those flood-protections don't fail and that would only add to the problem here, he said. If Walsh decides to activate the levee, he said, he would let the governors of Missouri and Illinois know immediately, and he's already been in daily conversations with them. He hoped to give the public a 24-hour notice, but he stopped short of promising that. Emerson said at the news conference she was still hopeful that the levee would not have to be breached. Farmers who live in the spillway have said it would cost them financially as well as do irreparable damage to the land. A corps agricultural economists has estimated the impact would top $300 million, though he said not blowing the levee could cost more than $1 billion. "I'm fortunately not the person who makes this decision," Emerson said. "I think these people know what my decision would be. But I'm also not an engineer." Southeast Missourian writer Melissa Miller contributed to this report. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 7 of 110 Corps begins loading explosive charges at Birds Point levee By Robert Koenig, Beacon Washington correspondent Updated 10:22 pm Sun., 5.1.11 The Army Corps of Engineers began loading explosive charges along the Birds Point levee late Sunday after the U.S. Supreme Court declined a last-minute request by Missouri Attorney Gen. Chris Koster to block the use of the floodway that would swamp 130,000 acres of farmland. While he emphasized that a final decision had not yet been made on breaching the levee, Maj. Gen. Michael J. Walsh, president of the Mississippi River Commission, ordered the corps to start loading explosives into access wells and pipes in a 2-mile segment of the levee -- a process that will take about 20 hours. The final decision could be made as early as Monday to detonate the charges and "activate" the floodway by breaching the levee. Across the river, Illinois State Police said that most of Cairo's population of about 2,800 had obeyed a mandatory evacuation order as the rain-swollen Ohio River inched upward toward the 60-foot level on the gauge. As of Sunday afternoon, about 100 people were reported to have stayed in Cairo, even though floodwaters had started to seep into parts of the town under the earthen levees through "sand boils." As southeast Missouri and southern Illinois braced for more rain Sunday night, the Ohio River had surpassed record levels at Cairo and corps officials warned that the Lower Mississippi River -- the segment of the river from Cairo south to New Orleans -- was nearing a flood that would test the corps' flood structures put in place after the devastating Great Flood of 1927. "The 'Project Flood' is upon us," warned Walsh in a statement Sunday. "This is the flood that engineers envisioned following the 1927 flood. It is testing the system like never before." Walsh, who will make the decision on whether to activate the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway, talked Sunday with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and briefed U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and U.S. Rep. JoAnn Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau. Nixon, Blunt travel to the Bootheel Nixon was traveling to Mississippi County today to view the situation and talk to some of the floodway residents who have been evacuated. He said in an interview that more than 700 National Guard troops had been deployed to the area to help with the evacuations and protect vacant properties. Saying his message to about 200 evacuated floodway residents was to "maintain calm," Nixon said the Guard would make sure that the floodway property was as secure as possible. "None of us wants to see a levee blown," he said, but he conceded that it may be unavoidable because the Ohio and Mississippi rivers are at high flood stages. Nixon said Walsh told him that he had taken the next step by "moving the explosives to the Missouri side" of the Mississippi, but had not made a final decision on whether to blow the levee. That decision will depend on river and flood conditions, corps officials said Sunday. After his meetings with corps officials and local residents in Mississippi County, Blunt traveled to St. Louis. Blunt said in an interview that the farmers in the affected areas stand to lose as much as $100 million in lost crops if the levee is blown up and the farmland flooded. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 8 of 110 Blunt said the farmers also won't qualify for any federal reimbursement, or any insurance coverage, because the levee would have been intentionally broken. If the levee remains intact, and water flows over the top, the farmers then will qualify for payments from the federal flood insurance program, Blunt said. The senator emphasized the farmers recognized that their farmland had always had a federal easement, for just such a likelihood as what is facing them now. "I would prefer that it not be breached," Blunt said of the levee. Even if the floodwaters top the levee, he said, the structure would remain largely intact and would not have to be rebuilt, costing millions of dollars. But Blunt emphasized that he was not criticizing the corps of engineers, which he said was facing a dilemma with no pleasant choices. supreme Court decline koster's appeal Koster said Sunday that he has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review Saturday's ruling from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis that denied the state's request to block the corps from blasting the Birds Point levee. "Although we acknowledge Missouri finds itself in a very challenging legal situation before the Supreme Court, I want to make sure we exhaust all potential legal remedies and ask every possible court to review the plan proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers," Koster said in a statement. "In light of the devastation faced by the citizens of Mississippi County -- devastation that will persist in the area for years to come -- it is the responsibility of this office to pursue every possible avenue of legal review." But Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, without comment, denied Missouri's request to block the corps' plan, according to the Associated Press. Alito is the justice who deals with emergency requests from Missouri and other states in the federal 8th Circuit. A few hours after Koster's statement, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan accused her Missouri counterpart of making "yet another unfortunate and legally unjustified attempt" at keeping federal authorities from protecting Illinoisans. Madigan pledged Sunday to "fight this effort every step of the way." Walsh watching flood levels As rain poured down in parts of the Ohio and lower Mississippi valleys, the corps' Walsh -- operating out of a temporary office in Sikeston -- was closely monitoring flood levels. In a statement Sunday, he said that the final decision had not been made yet on whether to breach the Birds Point levee and operate the floodway. However, the statement said that "should flood pressures increase, it may be necessary to move to the next step in the Floodway Operations Plan." The purpose of the 35-mile-long Birds Point-New Madrid floodway is to "lower flood stages and pressure on the entire system" -- and, in theory, to help minimize damage and save lives downstream -- when the Lower Mississippi reaches historic flood levels. The Mississippi River watershed, the world's third largest, covers more than 1.24 million square miles and drains 41 percent of the continental United States. Beacon political reporter Jo Mannies contributed information for this article. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 9 of 110 Analysis: Tax change could affect Mo. budget By WES DUPLANTIER Associated Press JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- As Missouri's legislative session enters its final weeks and lawmakers work out the details of the state's $23 billion budget for next year, at least one factor in the state's finances is being left out. A change in the federal tax code now means Missouri could miss out on as much as $190 million in revenue over the current budget year and the next one that starts July 1. The federal tax changes affect Missouri's budget because the state's tax laws are linked, or "coupled," to federal tax rules for business purchases. Congress in December extended the federal income tax rates of the last decade and changed part of the federal tax law that governs businesses' new capital investments in equipment and machinery. Since 2008, businesses could deduct 50 percent of the cost of those investments in the year that they made the purchase. The remaining value of the purchase could be deducted over the next several years. After the end of 2010, businesses were to no longer be allowed to deduct half the cost of those investments in a single year. However, Congress renewed permission to do that and increased how much businesses could deduct for the purchases they make this year. Nick Johnson, a researcher for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, estimated that Missouri could lose $190 million because of the federal tax change. Johnson said 17 other states also stand to lose revenue. Johnson said Congress made the changes because it wanted to help the economy by encouraging businesses to buy new equipment and then use the savings to produce more. He said that might happen, but he doesn't think the increased economic activity will generate enough tax revenue to offset what states will lose. "Any of that growth pales in comparison to the direct impact of the legislation," he said. Because Missouri's tax laws are coupled to the federal tax statutes, businesses will be able to claim similar deductions on tax returns they file with the state, which means Missouri could collect less tax revenue than it otherwise would have. And that could affect the state budget lawmakers are working on. House members and senators were to begin negotiations Monday to finalize the more than $23 billion state operating budget for the 2012 fiscal year that starts July 1. Lawmakers must approve a state spending plan by the end of this week. Linda Luebbering, budget director for Gov. Jay Nixon, has said budget planners did not include the potential for lost revenue from the federal tax change in their estimate of tax collections for the next budget year. She said the state cannot know how much businesses will spend in new equipment, which makes it difficult to say how much revenue the state would be missing out on. "We did not show a specific reduction in revenue because of that provision, because of other offsetting provisions," she said. "It really depends on how businesses react to it." Republican Rep. Andrew Koenig, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and owner of a paint company, said the deductions might spur businesses to purchase more needed equipment this year, as Congress is hoping it will, rather than waiting until future years when they would be able to deduct less. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 10 of 110 Luebbering said the revenue estimate lawmakers use to plan the budget is adjusted based on many factors, including the performance of the state's economy. Although no proposals to de-couple Missouri's business taxes have come before lawmakers this year, some advocates say legislators now should consider it. Tom Kruckemeyer, an economist with the Missouri Budget Project, said the state was in a similar position in the early 2000s when the federal government used a similar tax tactic to help a sputtering economy during an economic downturn. The Missouri Budget Project is a nonprofit group that analyzes how fiscal policies affect low- and middle-income families. In the early 2000s, Missouri suspended businesses' ability to take advantage of the federal accelerated depreciation provisions on state taxes for one year only, then reverted back to following the federal law. Kruckemeyer said making a more permanent change could help head off future lost tax collections. "The current business climate is pretty favorable," he said. "It's our belief that the state isn't in a position to be forgoing future revenue." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 11 of 110 May 2, 5:01 AM EDT Budget, vetoed bills on Mo. Legislature's agenda JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri lawmakers must wrap up work on the state's budget this week. Their agenda also will include some work they already thought they had completed. The House and Senate face a Friday deadline to send the state's $23 billion budget to Gov. Jay Nixon. The governor also has returned two bills to legislators with his veto mark. That means lawmakers could try to override his decision or craft a new version. One of those vetoed bills would redraw the state's congressional districts based on the 2010 census. The other would have made it harder for fired employees to win workplace discrimination lawsuits. Other items still on the Legislature's agenda include an overhaul of the state's tax incentives and a requirement that voters show photo identification. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 12 of 110 Tax credits for elderly, historic preservation may be sacrificed f or China hub By Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter, and Jason Rosenbaum Posted 10:47 pm Sun., 5.1.11 St. Louis area political and civic leaders, Republican and Democrat, are ecstatic that the Missouri General Assembly appears on the verge of approving $360 million in state tax credits to help Lambert St. Louis International Airport become a cargo hub for goods coming from and going to the People's Republic of China. But the tax credits do have a cost -- which will be footed, at least in the state Senate version, by cuts or outright repeal of other credits helping the elderly, self-employed and those seeking to restore historic structures. The state Senate could take a final vote as soon as Monday on proposals that would end the state's tax credit for low-income elderly renters as well as the state tax credit for self-employed people who buy their own health insurance. The measure also would put a $75 million-a-year lid on historic tax credits that have been employed extensively to renovate buildings in downtown St. Louis. Annual historic tax credits now approach $140 million a year. A Senate spokeswoman said the cuts are part of a broad-ranging economic development package to reduce the state's array of tax credits by $1.5 billion over 15 years. The cuts are even deeper to pay for the $360 million aid for the China hub, which the bill calls the Aerotropolis Trade Incentive and Tax Credit Act. The $360 million is divided mainly into two parts. One provides tax breaks for so-called "freight forwarders,'' to promote transportation between Chicago and St. Louis, while the second part would offer incentives for firms that build facilities within 50 milles of Lambert to engage in foreign trade. The China hub aid has won the support of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Chamber president and chief executive Dan Mehan said in a statement that "all of the pieces that are coming together this year have the potential to bring an entirely new industry into our state and create jobs for generations to come." "This investment will open the door for Missouri employers to markets of millions in Asia, South America, Africa and Europe, while creating thousands of new jobs for Missourians here at home," Mehan said State Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, has been the chief driver of the effort to create China hub incentives. He calls the effort a "huge opportunity to change the trajectory of our economy." Schmitt said the Senate bill no longer contains proposals for income-tax breaks. But he is happy with the final version and believes it provides the right incentives to help St. Louis' effort to become a major Midwest player in trade with China. "At the end of the day, it's about seizing an opportunity that's right in front of us to be an international cargo hub and to have the infrastructure necessary for it to be sustainable long-term," Schmitt said. Some longtime critics of the state's broad array of tax credits -- such as Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah -- had threatened to block the China hub incentives unless there were cuts elsewhere. A leading critic -- state Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau -- cited the 2010 legislative battle over tax credits to preserve and expand a Ford automobile plant in suburban Kansas City. He linked that effort to the state government's action -- with legislative approval -- to revamp and reduce the pension program for state workers. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 13 of 110 "I think that precedent has carried over," Crowell said. "One of my big concerns is that whenever an economic development bill is pushed and moved forward, no one wants to look at what we've done in the past. But by saying we want new stuff, you're tacitly admitting that the old stuff isn't working." Crowell said he likely wouldn't have supported the China hub incentives, if it weren't for the bill's overall reduction in state tax credits. "Finally we are shifting the paradigm to say, 'You know what, we're not only going to look at the new stuff that you're talking about, but we're going to look at the old stuff,' " Crowell added. "We're going to reallocate existing resources that also result in a net savings to the taxpayers because in this new paradigm of the economy and this new paradigm of state government and this paradigm of personal budgets, you have to do more with less." State Sen. Chuck Purgason, R-Caulfield, said he was particularly pleased that the Senate's version caps the historic preservation tax credit. "We fought for a long time to get the cap on it," Purgason said. "Two years, three years ago we struggled to get $150 million (a year) cap on it. And to go from $150 million to $75 million is pretty huge." Back in St. Louis, Richard C.D. Fleming, president and chief executive of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association, said he was thrilled with the proposed China hub incentives. He contended that the "Aerotropolis" plan could help establish the St. Louis region as a major trade destination. Fleming predicted that the incentives could produce thousands of construction and trade-related jobs over the next few years. Fleming also is pleased with another provision of the economic development bill -- the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act -- which seeks to attract technology and science jobs to the state. Fleming also is a fan of the historic preservation tax credit, saying that it has been a "critical tool" for reinvestment in St. Louis and throughout the state. He said his group will be monitoring the proposed cuts to the program. He added that he recognizes compromises are necessary to get the China hub aid. "There's a legitimate issue of striking a balance in terms of overall obligations to the state and predictability, in a budgeting sense," Fleming said. "The governor's commission recommended a number of specifics. There is a particular number in the Senate bill. The House clearly is going to have its point of view on what that correct number is." House Speaker Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, already is indicating that he may press for changes when the Senate bill gets to his chamber. Tilley said he plans to closely examine the legislation to weigh the negative and positive aspects of the bill. The speaker indicated that he may not go along with some of the provisions eliminating or restricting certain types of state tax credits. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 14 of 110 Missouri may sell excess property to help budget By DAVID A. LIEB | Associated Press STLtoday.com | Posted: Monday, May 2, 2011 12:20 am JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Some prime prison-front property in Missouri may soon be hitting the marketplace - available, for the right price, to anyone looking for a little extra land for crops, livestock or even a home. Legislation poised for passage in the final two weeks of the annual legislative session would grant authority to Gov. Jay Nixon's administration to sell more than 1,000 acres of state property - much of it near prisons. Although the final price would be determined by the willingness of people to pay for the land, the state Office of Administration estimates the deals could generate $3.6 million, which could go toward the state's general revenues to help balance the budget. Sen. Jim Lembke, chairman of the Senate Governmental Accountability Committee which has been looking for cost savings in government, said the legislation is a product of a request he made to the state's facilities management division. "I had charged the department to identify either excess property we have, or property that is maybe not at its best and highest use, that may be better if it was in the private sector and it was on the tax rolls," said Lembke, R-St. Louis. The list of properties identified for potential sale includes agricultural land around prisons in Audrain, Buchanan, Callaway, Cole, Cooper, Livingston, Moniteau, Nodaway, Randolph, St. Francois, St. Louis, Texas and Washington counties. It also includes what's described as a warden's house near the Boonville Correctional Center and residential property near the Farmington Correctional Center and the Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in St. Joseph. All told, the potential for-sale list includes about 50 property tracts, the largest of which is 125 acres of agricultural land at the Algoa Correctional Center in Jefferson City. The list also includes several sites described as potential industrial areas - about 19 acres near the Boonville prison, 15 acres near the St. Joseph facility and 10 acres near the Potosi Correctional Center. Among the nonprison properties potentially for sale is a National Guard armory in Centertown in central Missouri. The amount of property available around state prisons varies. But even with the potential sales, the Department of Corrections said it will try to maintain a buffer of about 200 feet beyond the prisons' perimeter roads. The state Senate endorsed the land-sale legislation last week, then sent it to a committee that reviews cost estimates of bills. A final Senate and House vote is needed to send the legislation to the governor. --- Property sale bill is HB137. Online: Legislature: http://www.moga.mo.gov MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 15 of 110 May 1, 3:02 PM EDT Mo. school combines education, welfare help By HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- New help is coming to struggling families through a school in one of the poorest, crime-ridden neighborhoods in Kansas City. An office that serves welfare recipients opened at King/Weeks Elementary School - part of a national push for schools to provide a range of social services beyond education. The Washington-based Coalition for Community Schools has advocated the approach, which has been employed in schools from Evansville, Ind., to the Portland, Ore., area. In Chicago, for instance, community schools work with partner agencies to develop after-school and weekend programming for children and adults. Services such as onsite medical and dental care also are provided. In Kansas City, King/Weeks is located in the 64130 area code, which The Kansas City Star profiled two years ago as the home to more convicted murderers than any other ZIP code in Missouri. It also has the highest population in Kansas City of residents receiving assistance under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Almost 840 families receive the financial help in 64130 and the neighboring 64127 zip codes, said Brent Schondelmeyer, a spokesman for the nonprofit Local Investment Commission. Many of the issues in the community are magnified in the area, everything from foreclosures to unemployment. "If it's generally true, it's more true there," Schondelmeyer said. The Local Investment Commission, which already offers after-school care at King/Weeks, is behind the effort to open a welfare assistance officer at the school. The nonprofit's LINCWorks offices help welfare recipients get training and work experience as well as address employment barriers such as a lack of child care. But until now, none of those offices have been located in schools. The area, with all its challenges, seemed a perfect place to try out the concept. "We have a strong commitment to saying, 'We should move these services so they are as close as possible to where people live and that they're as accessible as possible and that it feels comfortable and it feels familiar,'" Schondelmeyer said. "That's the whole underlying idea." In the past three week, about 25 people have come through the office, said principal Philomina Harshaw. "Sometimes going outside the community can be threatening when you know you need to start over," Harshaw said. "The fact that it is such a warm and inviting area and is not threatening, that is important whether you need help with an interview, an application, writing a resume or just looking for a job." Schondelmeyer said combining education and social work services also eases transportation obstacles because many parents are at the school anyway picking up and dropping off their children. The benefits, he said, can extend far beyond the participants. "The whole idea is if you can create stable families who stay connected to schools, then they will commit to neighborhoods and then you create stable neighborhoods," Schondelmeyer said. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 16 of 110 Nixon vetoes business-backed employment law changes Monday, May 2, 2011 Melissa Miller SOUTHEAST MISSOURIAN During a ceremony on the steps of the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis on Friday, Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed changes to the state's employment laws that business groups said would improve the state's business climate. Senate Bill 188 was part of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Fix the Six agenda designed to spur economic development within the state. Advocates said the bill would bring Missouri in line with the federal Civil Rights Act and cap damages in employment discrimination lawsuits. "Missouri businesses cannot move the state forward and recover from recession without modest protections from frivolous lawsuits and the constant barrage of trial lawyers filing lawsuits hoping for a big payoff," said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber in a statement Friday. "Missouri must change the litigation environment to encourage businesses to invest and stay in Missouri or else we risk being labeled as an anti-employer state." Under Missouri's Human Rights Act, discrimination must be a contributing factor in the case for an employer to be liable. Federal law sets a higher standard, saying discrimination must be the motivating factor. "Senate Bill 188 would undermine key provisions of the Missouri Human Rights Act, rolling back decades of progress in protecting civil rights," Gov. Nixon said in a press release Friday. "The bill would make it harder to prove discrimination in the workplace, and would throw new hurdles in the path of those whose rights have been violated. That is unacceptable, and it stops here." It is possible, Nixon's veto could be overridden by legislators in these final two weeks of the legislative session. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 17 of 110 "Stand up for Farmers" rally draws hundreds to capitol Posted: Monday, May 2, 2011 6:00 am By Jim Hamilton Buffalo Reflex At 5 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, April 20, the south lawn of the Missouri Capitol teemed with nearly 1,300 pro-agriculture supporters. The rally, organized by Missouri Farmers Care, focused on the joint effort of Gov. Jay Nixon, legislative leaders, agriculture advocates and animal welfare experts to craft a ―Missouri Solution‖ for the problems caused by Proposition B. ―Today, hundreds of Missourians traveled to the Capitol to let their leaders know that Missourians won‘t stand idly by as big-money, special interests attack our farm families,‖ explained Don Nikodim, chair of Missouri Farmers Care. ―That‘s why Senate Bill 133 and the Missouri Solution are so important. We have to protect agriculture from radical groups like HSUS (Humane Society of the United States).‖ The highlight of the rally came when Jon Hagler, head of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, announced Gov. Nixon‘s support for a Missouri Solution that will fix Proposition B. The result of an agreement between Missouri‘s agriculture community and local animal welfare advocates, the solution will ensure that dogs and puppies receive the treatment and care they deserve, while preserving Missouri jobs and protecting Missouri farmers. ―We‘re proud that Gov. Nixon is standing with us against radical outside interests like HSUS,‖ Nikodim said. ―The Missouri Solution is a clear example of what can happen when we all work together. Missouri‘s farmers, pet providers and animal welfare experts all support this agreement that eliminates cruelty while protecting our homes, farms and jobs.‖ The proposal will complement Senate Bill 133, sponsored by Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, which improves enforcement of current animal cruelty laws, strengthens standards for animal shelters, cracks down on unlicensed breeders and removes controversial provisions hidden in Proposition B that threatened animal agriculture in Missouri. Also speaking at the event were; House Speaker Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, Senate Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R- Dexter, Parson, Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, veterinarian Dr. Alan Wessler and local farmer Chris Chinn. The event was emceed by Missouri Farmers Care chair, Don Nikodim. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 18 of 110 As Amtrak celebrates 40th birthday, Missouri's rail service has got back on track By Kathie Sutin, special to the Beacon Posted 7:29 pm Sun., 5.1.11 As Amtrak, the nation's passenger railroad service, turned 40 on Sunday, it had reason to celebrate. Earlier this month the company announced it had achieved 17 straight months of growth. Amtrak recorded its best March ever with more than 2.6 million passengers. And -- barring disruptions due to this spring's weather -- officials are hoping April will be the 18th. Earlier this month Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman told a House Appropriations committee that ridership has grown more than 36 percent since 2000 and that he expects the trend to continue and even accelerate as gas prices continue to rise. "Our only restriction will be the available capacity," he said. In Missouri, Amtrak is also on an upswing -- although it took a rebranding campaign, an infusion of social media activity, and new partnerships with cities along the route, not to mention rising gas prices, to push the train out of the cellar and back on track. Missouri's road back Amtrak operates national passenger train routes across the country, but in Missouri -- as in 14 other states -- the legislature contracts with Amtrak to provide passenger rail service within its borders. Missouri transportation officials had to change perceptions about Amtrak. Through the Missouri Department of Transportation, the state pays Amtrak about $8.5 million each year to run twice daily passenger service between St. Louis and Kansas City on tracks owned by Union Pacific Railroad. "If the state didn't set aside funds to pay for the train, we would not have Amtrak service," Lamons said. "I don't think a lot of people know that." Two years ago Amtrak's record of service between St. Louis and Kansas City was dismal. On one occasion the train's on-time record dipped to 55 percent. "Our on-time performance was atrocious," said Lisa Lamons, railroad operations manager with the Missouri Department of Transportation's Multimodal Operations Division. "It was hit or miss. We got tons of complaints on it." Not surprisingly, ridership was plummeting. Then officials started examining why trains were chronically late so they could find solutions. They knew, for example, that in areas with a single track, passenger trains had to wait on a sidetrack until freight trains passed. One such bottleneck occurred west of California, Mo., where traffic narrowed to a single track along a 25-mile stretch. The sidetrack was not long enough for freight trains that had grown longer over the years, Lamons said. With state and federal money, a new 9,000-foot railroad sidetrack was constructed at the California bottleneck. When it opened in late 2009, the sidetrack added capacity and significantly reduced delays on the route. Even before the project was completed, though, the passenger trains' on-time record was improving. From 79 percent in December 2008, the passenger line hit a record high of 96 percent the next month with a stellar 100 percent over Thanksgiving weekend in 2009, the first week the new sidetrack was open, Lamons said. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 19 of 110 Lamons decided to shift marketing gears. "I had to change perception, and changing perception is like changing somebody's reality," she said. "It's very, very hard to do because one negative perception wipes out 10 positive things." New name, new image MoDOT had already launched a search for a new name for the train. The winning name -- Missouri River Runner -- announced in January 2009 opened the door to giving the route a fresh new image. "We did a whole name change, sort of a brand change," Lamons said. Lamons then turned to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to give the rebranded route exposure to new audiences to build ridership. "It was all in the timing. Gas prices at that time were high, and they were rising," she said. "That was on our side. And on-time performance started creeping up." MoDOT also upgraded its website. "We really went full-out trying to reach as many people as we could letting them know (the train) is an alternative," Lamons said. "They found it's inexpensive and a fun way to take a trip." Since MoDOT has no budget for marketing -- "We're lucky if we have enough money to run the train," she says -- Lamons asked if she could work more closely with Amtrak's marketing people. Amtrak agreed. The result: new promos such as "Catch a Game, Catch a Train," a contest that highlighted how easy it is to take a train to a ball game to encourage people to do so. Lamons visited tourism offices and the mayors of towns served by Amtrak asking for their help in getting people excited about visiting places in Missouri. The recession also helped the cause. "People were trying to save their money," she said. "They weren't taking big family vacations." The campaign to take in-state vacations gained steam. The real barometer of success came last month when Amtrak doubled the number of cars on the River Runner route to accommodate greater demand. "That's a big thing for us to add train cars," Lamons said. 'Supersizing' the train While adding cars was a "big thing" for Missouri, it's nothing out of the ordinary for Amtrak which adds or subtracts trains across the country as needed, said Marc Magliari, Amtrak media relations manager. By looking at reservations and inquiries to the website, Amtrak officials know how trains are selling, he said. "That's also how we price them," he added. Keeping an eye on demand allows Amtrak to increase or decrease the size of a train as needed. "We know Friday is pretty busy," Magliari said. "We know Tuesdays aren't as busy so we try to size the train appropriately." Amtrak is constantly monitoring how trains are selling and pooling equipment, he said. That's why the Texas Eagle might have extra cars between Chicago and St. Louis but not when the train continues to Fort Worth. "One of the things that happens with trains that can't happen with other modes (of transportation) is you can add or subtract capacity without adding lots of additional cost," Magliari said. "You can't make a bus bigger and you can't make plane bigger but you can make a train bigger or smaller depending on demand." So at certain times of the year, like spring break when demand is heavy, Amtrak "supersizes" the train, he said. Amtrak's flexibility means the company can make those changes even though "spring break" is a moveable event. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 20 of 110 "If it's spring break time in Michigan, and it's not spring break time in Missouri, after fulfilling our contract requirements with Missouri, we can upsize the train to Michigan," he said. "Capacity is always shifting within the limited equipment pool we have." Amtrak ticket prices Like other forms of public transportation, train fares don't cover all of the costs of operation, Brian Weiler, multimodal director for MoDOT, said. But increased ticket revenue, thanks to more passengers and a 5-10 percent fare increase last year, means the program probably won't need more than the $8.5 million appropriation the legislation gave it last year. Weiler is hopeful ridership will grow even more as Amtrak adds amenities to the trains. "Our goal is to try to grow the revenue as much as possible to keep the state's cost as absolutely low as possible," he said. "We've kind of turned that corner where we're generating enough ticket revenue that we're holding our own." Like airline prices, Amtrak fares vary widely; buying earlier usually gives you a better price. Here are some sample one-way fares. Upgrades to business class or a sleeping car are additional. St. Louis-Kansas City: $28-$65 St. Louis-Chicago: $24-$66 St. Louis-Orlando: $210-$457 via Chicago and Washington, D.C. St. Louis-Whitefish, Mont. (near Glacier National Park): $179-$411 via Chicago St Louis-Williams Junction, Ariz. (near the Grand Canyon): $164-$331 via Kansas City Even with a 5-to-10 percent fare increase last year, ticket prices remain attractive, Weiler said. "We still think it's a very good bargain especially with increased gas prices," he added. But how do Amtrak ticket prices compare with other transportation? That depends on the yardstick you use, Magliari said. Using the IRS mile reimbursement rate for 275 miles between St. Louis and Chicago, the train compares favorably with driving, he said. "And that's before you add on the cost of parking at $15-20 a day and, depending on what route you take, tolls," he added. "The fact is that for most people on most days, if they're traveling as one or two people, we are very competitive with both air and driving." Magliari discounts competition from Johnny-come-lately buses offering service between places like St. Louis and Chicago at bargain basement rates but with less flexibility and no stations. One of the new carriers only books over the internet, giving the passenger only one way to pay, he said. "They don't provide any place for you to wait -- except the curb." He admits Amtrak is "not at that price point" and adds: "But despite the existence of those kinds of carriers, our ridership continues to grow. The fact is we have added frequencies; they have reduced frequencies." Amtrak actually takes a 20 percent of the market of those who fly or take the train between Chicago and St. Louis. And that's with only five trains a day and more flights than that number leaving from Lambert daily, Magliari said. "As we get that number of trains up, we'll take more market share," Magliari said. Merlin Weber of DeSoto is a happy Amtrak passenger who takes the train from Kirkwood to Lee's Summit a few times a year to visit her son who lives in Blue Springs. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 21 of 110 She used to drive but after her husband died a few years ago her son talked her into taking the train. She loves it. "I can doze, I can read, I can relax," she said. "It's convenient, and unless they raise the prices, it's cheaper to ride the train than to fill the gas tank." An added perk is that she can get a pass from the station allowing her to park in Kirkwood without charge or being towed. And, for any riders, the ability to book a train almost a full year in advance means that passengers can lock a ticket in at current prices. "If you want to, say, travel at Thanksgiving, you have no idea what your gasoline is going to cost you at Thanksgiving," Magliari said. "But you could buy an Amtrak ticket right now for travel on Nov. 23 and know exactly what it's going to cost you to go to Grandma's house at Thanksgiving." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 22 of 110 Wildwood becomes Missouri's 31st city to ban over-the-counter Pseudoephedrine by Mark Schnyder KMOV.com Posted on April 29, 2011 at 5:53 PM Effective Friday, you now need a prescription to get Sudafed or Claiatin-D in Wildwood. All part of the goal to rid Missouri of it's meth problem... one of the worst in the nation. News 4 was in Washington, Missouri in Franklin county back in July 2009 when it became the first city in the state to require a prescription for those common cold drugs containing the key ingredient to make meth. Franklin County Sergeant Jason Grellner is on a crusade to make this a state-wide ban but the state legislature isn't interested. "The minute you make it (Sudafed) a prescription drug, you control the manufacturing of meth, but I can't get the state legislature in Missouri to listen and understand that," Grellner told us a while back. But local governments, like Wildwood are listening. But the ban won't be 100% effective until 100% of the state is on board. For instance, right now people in Wildwood can go down the road to Ellisville or Ballwin and get Sudafed without a prescription. But city councils in those cities are looking into instituting the same ordinance. Sgt. Grellner says taking pseudoephedrine off the table could rid Missouri of meth. "It's like trying to make chocolate chip cookies without chocolate chips," Grellner told me once. "You can't do it." Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 23 of 110 Crowell and Local Control ARCH CITY CHRONICLE by dave | Sun, 05/01/2011 - 7:36am Sen. Jason Crowell is said to be opposed to St. Louis City‘s local control campaign. He doesn‘t have a problem with the local control itself. Rather his beef is against the collective bargaining compromise. Of course that‘s what brought the Police Officers Association on board. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 24 of 110 May 1, 2011 Susan Redden: Governor vetoes redistricting plan By Susan Redden Globe Staff Writer JOPLIN, Mo. — A congressional redistricting map approved by the General Assembly has been vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon. Nixon announced the veto Saturday and said he made the decision because the map ―does not adequately protect the interests of all Missourians.‖ The Democratic governor also said he made the action expeditiously to give lawmakers the opportunity during the current legislative session to pass legislation with ―appropriate‖ congressional district boundaries. The session ends May 13, and Republican leaders of both chambers apparently will spend some time counting potential votes to see if there are enough for a veto override. They point out that without an override or an alternative passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor, the question of drawing the boundaries probably will end up in the courts. The redistricting is to divide the state into eight congressional districts, eliminating one district since the state‘s population did not keep up with the population growth nationwide as measured in the 2010 census. The objections focus on changes that would merge two traditionally Democratic congressional districts into the same St. Louis district, essentially eliminating the district currently represented by 3rd District Rep. Russ Carnahan. The least change in boundaries came in the 7th District; population growth from 2000 to 2010 was greatest in the southwest part of the state. Local connections Renewable Environmental Solutions may be gearing up to resume operations in Carthage, but state Rep. Tom Flanigan‘s bill to increase state controls on such operations has stalled, at least for this legislative session. Flanigan‘s bill would have increased state penalties on industries that repeatedly violate state odor standards, which was the case with an earlier RES operation in his hometown. There has been no action on the bill since a committee hearing in February. A similar bill introduced by Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, also has not advanced. Luckily, test runs by RES have not generated any complaints to date, officials have said. Another bill with local connections would add Jasper, Newton and Dade counties to a list of counties authorized to adopt abatement ordinances in connection with the condition of property. While the measure allows counties to impose stricter rules on junkyards and similar operations, it adds protections for agricultural interests if they become of the focus of nuisance complaints. It specifies that nothing in the measure authorizes a county to adopt nuisance abatement ordinances relating to agricultural structures or operations. It also says: ―If a defendant in a private nuisance case where the nuisance is alleged to emanate from property used for crop or animal production purposes demonstrates a good faith effort to abate a condition that is determined to constitute a nuisance, then the nuisance shall be deemed to be not capable of abatement. Substantial compliance with a court order regarding such property shall constitute such a good faith effort as a matter of law.‖ The measure has been passed and sent to the governor. Also passed last week was a bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, that specifies that a prior or persistent offender convicted of an intoxication-related offense must perform a specified number of hours of community service as an alternative to jail time. A measure sponsored by Flanigan that would offer amnesty on some penalties and interest on unpaid taxes in an effort to collect more delinquent tax payments is advancing, and is scheduled for a public hearing today. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 25 of 110 Posted on Sun, May. 01, 2011 Bill to limit factory farms’ liability faces possible veto By KAREN DILLON The Kansas City Star The clock is ticking for Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri to decide whether to veto a bill that would restrict property owners from suing factory farms that pollute and create extreme odors. Nixon has until Tuesday to decide what to do with the controversial legislation. A campaign against the bill reached a higher pitch last month after it passed easily enough that Sen. Brad Lager, a Savannah Republican, called it veto-proof. The vote was 110-45, just one more than the 109 votes needed for an override. But some Democrats who voted yes promised to switch if the governor vetoed it. In two weeks, Nixon‘s office received about 1,000 letters, emails and calls running about 6-to-1 in support of a veto, said Scott Holste, a spokesman for the governor. Also, in two days last week, a petition drive by bill opponents got 400 signatures. ―It is a nonpartisan issue,‖ said Tim Gibbons of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, a nonprofit working for small farmers. ―Out in the countryside, everyone is opposing this. The ‗suits‘ walking around down in Jefferson City lobbying for this, they are not representing farmers, that‘s for sure.‖ On one side, bill supporters say factory farms are being slammed unfairly by costly nuisance lawsuits filed because of their odors and pollution. ―This is a legitimate debate about what is the future of agriculture in our state. No industry, not even agriculture, can sustain unlimited lawsuits over the long run,‖ Lager said. ―The General Assembly in 2005 created medical liability limit because doctors were leaving our state. We created reasonable agricultural limits so we could continue to be a state that has a prosperous agricultural industry.‖ The other side contends the bill would effectively thwart neighbors from threats against their land, such as pollution. The bill would limit court awards to no more than the value of the plaintiff‘s property instead of considering the damage to quality of life. It also would require a plaintiff to file a lawsuit to get compensation — so much of any legal remedy could be eaten by legal costs. ―The only fear (factory farms) have are the lawsuits,‖ said Jim Rydell, a bill opponent from southwest Missouri. ―That‘s the only thing that makes them clean up their act. If they take away this power, Missouri is going to become a cesspool.‖ Since 2007, juries have awarded $18.6 million in cases where corporate farms have moved into a farming community and created a nuisance. Most of that has been paid by Premium Standard Farms. Another trial began last week in Henry County involving Synergy, a multistate hog operation with ties to Swift & Co. ―For the long-term economic health of agriculture,‖ Lager said, ―this is very dangerous for our state, and it has to be fixed.‖ MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 26 of 110 Rep. Casey Guernsey, a Bethany Republican who sponsored the bill, said he had not spoken to Nixon but is encouraged by the governor‘s actions on the ―puppy mill‖ law. Nixon, he said, appears to be in tune with rural interests. Nixon last week signed a compromise bill overturning a voter initiative to correct rampant problems with breeding outfits. Rep. Joe Fallert, a Ste. Genevieve Democrat, said he would be one of the legislators to change his vote. ―I made a bad vote,‖ Fallert said. ―I didn‘t intend to vote that way. When I realized what I did, I was really upset.‖ Rep. Steve Hodges, an East Prairie Democrat, said: ―If the governor vetoes, and it is taken up in veto session, I will probably vote in support of the governor.‖ MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 27 of 110 Deadline looms for restoring water permit fees in Missouri By IAN CUMMINGS The Kansas City Star Clean water costs money, and Missouri has fallen behind on its bills. The Department of Natural Resources, which is responsible for regulating water quality in the state, has not collected fees for water permits in four months. The law authorizing the department to collect the fees expired Dec. 31, and state legislators did not pass an extension. They have until May 13, the deadline for passing bills, to restore the fees. Business projects require the permits when they expand and produce new sources of wastewater, and in fiscal 2010 those fees amounted to $4 million — about 27 percent — of the department‘s water program budget, said Renee Bungart, spokeswoman for the department. Ken Midkiff, a Sierra Club official and an author on water quality who lives in Columbia, said the department was inadequately funded even before the fee expiration. ―That was just adding insult to injury,‖ he said Missouri Sen. Brad Lager, a Savannah Republican, said he expects that a bill moving from the House to the Senate will pass and restore the water fees through Sept. 1, 2013. It includes an emergency clause, which means it would take effect immediately. The department has continued to operate normally, Bungart said, because two-thirds of the fiscal year‘s fees had been collected before they expired, and federal funds made up the balance. But she said that if legislators do not restore them, the department will have to ―explore other options.‖ The Environmental Protection Agency delegates some authority over enforcement of water quality standards to the states. Since 2007, people in Iowa, Vermont and Maryland have grown so displeased with their state agencies that they have petitioned the EPA to take back some of those responsibilities. Midkiff said that this kind of petition is a measure of last resort. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 28 of 110 Mo. Gov. says state cut energy use by 5.5 percent JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says state agencies have reduced their energy use by 5.5 percent in the two years since he ordered government to be more energy-efficient. Nixon's administration says agencies have cut their consumption of electricity by about 3 percent - enough to power 1,300 households for one year. Agencies' use of propane and natural gas is down about 15 percent over the two-year span. Nixon signed an executive order in 2009 requiring state agencies to use less energy. The state Office of Administration has responded by upgrading lighting, replacing windows in a state office building and adjusting thermostats. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 29 of 110 Earth Day at the Capitol KRCG-TV by Kermit Miller Posted: 04.30.2011 at 8:27 PM JEFFERSON CITY, MO -- A Mid-Missouri fifth grader and a permanently disabled bird stepped into the spotlight Friday at the state capitol. The 17th annual Department of Natural Resources Earth Day Program brought hundreds of youngsters to the capitol grounds to learn about conservation and the environment. The program is a hands-on lesson about plants, animals, natural resources, energy, and other aspects of the environment. The kids don't remember a world where pollution got so bad, rivers could catch fire or the air became so foul, people were told to stay in their homes. Sara Parker Pauley, Missouri DNR Director said, "I have to be honest with you. Things got pretty bad before they started getting better. But they did start getting better...". Kids learn by getting involved and every year, there is a contest to name the theme for the event. Henley, Missouri's adeline forester won a hundred dollars for coming up with "little changes, big results". "The little changes in life that we do...like reduce, reuse, recycle ...make a big impact ...a big result...", Adeline Forester, Slogan Contest Winner told us. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 30 of 110 New Direction for Animal Welfare MISSOURI RURALIST Two bills are better than one when it comes to fixing Proposition B. Last week, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill 113, a bill that provides revisions for the dog breeding regulations. Soon after, the Missouri General Assembly took up and passed Governor Nixon's "Missouri Solution" proposal in Senate Bill 161. Together, the two bills will strengthen enforcement of animal cruelty laws in Missouri, enhance animal treatment standards at rescue shelters and protect farmers and ranchers from radical animal rights extremists, according to Missouri Farmers Care coalition. "The voters of Missouri should be very proud of their government for working together to find a solution that will uphold the will of the people and protect the future of our state," said Don Nikodim, chair of Missouri Farmers Care. "Together, Senate Bill 113 and Senate Bill 161 will ensure that voters get what they demanded. Dogs and puppies are protected from abuse and neglect. And our farm families will be protected from efforts to sabotage animal agriculture by radical animal rights groups like PETA and HSUS." Blake Hurst, president of Missouri Farm Bureau, also commended the governor and Missouri General Assembly for "their diligence and hard work in approving meaningful legislation to reform the state's dog breeding laws." Hurst added that reputable dog breeders in the state should also be commended for stepping forward and agreeing to changes in their industry. "No doubt, the bills approved into law will strengthen the enforcement of the state's animal cruelty laws and preserve the voters' intent to better regulate Missouri's dog breeding industry," he said. Governor Jay Nixon brought together a varied coalition of agriculture advocates, dog breeders and animal welfare experts to craft his Missouri Solution. Groups such as the Missouri Humane Society, Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation and the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association joined Missouri Farmers Care in backing SB 161. "This was truly an unprecedented joint effort by everyone involved," Nikodim said. "But it would never have been possible without the efforts of leaders like Governor Nixon, Senator Mike Parson, Representative Tom Loehner, House Speaker Steve Tilley and Senate Pro Tem Rob Mayer. I want to make sure they know just how much Missouri's farm families appreciate their hard work to protect our way of life." Despite the support of animal welfare experts and advocates in Missouri, national animal rights group HSUS, the activist organization that helped bankroll Proposition B, have refused to join the bi-partisan agreement. "It's no surprise that HSUS refuses to work towards a reasonable solution on this issue," Nikodim noted. "For them, this was never about actually protecting dogs and puppies. HSUS designed Prop B as a Trojan horse to deceive Missouri voters and attack our farm families. Thanks to Governor Nixon and the legislature, we have revealed the HSUS scheme and dealt their agenda a serious setback. HSUS won't fool us ever again." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 31 of 110 MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 32 of 110 Nixon vetoes congressional redistricting map By Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter Updated 5:50 pm Sat., 4.30.11 Gov. Jay Nixon on Saturday was true to his word, vetoing the congressional redistricting map sent to him by the General Assembly. Nixon's action came less than 24 hours after he had said publicly that he planned a quick decision -- rather than stringing the matter out. By law, he could have waited until May 12. In an attempt to sound concilatory, the governor said in his veto letter that he hopes lawmakers will send him a better map before their session adjourns on May 13. Wrote Nixon: ―I am hopeful that in the next two weeks the Legislature can produce a map that will reflect a better representation for all regions of the state, and deliver it to my desk." But legislators also can attempt to override his action, with a two-thirds vote in each chamber. If the General Assembly fails to override the governor, or draft a revised map acceptable to him before the session ends, the boundary-drawing task shifts to the state‘s appellate judges. Leaders of the GOP-controlled General Assembly have been wrangling for months over new boundary lines for the state's remaining eight congressional districts, reaching a compromise agreement only last Wednesday. The vote in the House was 13 short of the number needed for an override, while the state Senate's pro-map vote was four more than the number needed. At a news conference Friday in St. Louis to discuss various issues, Nixon promised to quickly delve into the redistricting debate. For months, he has said little. He said Friday that he planned to spend the weekend focusing on the issue. "It‘s on a quick time frame,‘‘ Nixon said. "We‘re not going to drag this out." The fact that he issued his veto Saturday morning indicates that Nixon quickly collected enough information -- including, perhaps, promises from top Democrats that they could block an override vote. Nixon did say Friday that he believed that the state should have a congressional-boundary map "that reflects the state‘‘ and its closely divided politics. The map approved by the legislative sets up six Republican districts and two Democratic districts, doing away with the St. Louis area district now represented by Democrat Russ Carnahan. The state currently has six Republicans in the U.S. House and three Democrats. The state is losing a seat because its population growth lagged behind several other states. Carnahan told a town hall in his district Thursday night that he has asked Nixon to veto the map. Carnahan said it was too pro-Republican and unfair to the St. Louis area. On Saturday, Carnahan issued a statement lauding Nixon's action: ―...There is no question that the map that was vetoed today was a partisan gerrymander that would have been bad for the entire state of Missouri. It sliced and diced the St. Louis region – the economic engine of the state – dividing communities of interest and weakening Missouri‘s representation in Washington. ―This veto will provide an opportunity for a map that is better for the people and businesses of this state - one that is more representative of Missouri‘s political balance and does not divide communities, counties andregions. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 33 of 110 The state House vote in favor of the General Assembly‘s final map included several Democrats who are in the urban 1st District now represented by U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr., D-St. Louis. He has not publicly voiced any major objections to the General Assembly‘s treatment of his district in the new map. To override the governor, Republicans in the Missouri House will need at least three Democrats to cross over; so far, most of the crossovers have been legislators in Clay's district. Clay and Nixon are old friends, and some Democrats say privately that Nixon wouldn't veto the map unless Clay promised to support that decision. But one of those state House Democrats in the 1st District -- state Rep. Karla May , D-St. Louis -- said in an interview Friday that she won‘t vote to override the governor should he decide to veto the map. May has voted for various versions of the Republican House map, but was absent for Wednesday‘s final House vote. "I‘m going to stand with the Democrats,‘‘ said May, adding that she might have stuck with her party earlier if Democrats had acted sooner in circulating alternative maps to the GOP-drawn one approved by the legislature. May recalled, "We got four Democratic maps on the morning" of the April 22 vote in the House on a now- defunct "compromise'' map crafted by House Republicans. May said she had voted for the GOP version because "it put my (1st) district in a positive position." But since looking more closely at the Democratic alternatives, May said, "I believe the judges will draw a fairer map." State Sen. Robin Wright-Jones, D-St. Louis and an ally of Carnahan and Clay, said Friday it was unclear if the outnumbered Democrats could garner enough discipline, especially in the House, to block an override vote. Said Wright-Jones, who was a member of the Senate redistricting committee: "The numbers needed to sustain a veto are a moving target." Three Democrats voted for the final GOP-backed map approved Wednesday: state Reps. Jamilah Nasheed and Penny Hubbard, D-St. Louis, and Michael Brown, D-Kansas City. (As mentioned, May was absent) Hubbard told the Post-Dispatch earlier this week that she would vote to override a Nixon veto. Nasheed said in an interview Friday that she also will vote to override the governor, if he vetoes the map. "I supported it in the beginning and I'll support it at the end," she said. But some other Democrats already are applying pressure. On Thursday, several proposed maps were circulated during the first session of the commission charged with drawing new boundary lines for Missouri‘s 163 state House districts. At least one of those maps -- the one pictured--put Hubbard and Nasheed in the same House district. Nasheed said she's aware of that legislative map, but added that she's confident the final map won't toss her and Hubbard together. "At the end of the day, African-Americans shouldn't lose a (state House) district in the city of St. Louis,'' she said, adding that a lawsuit would likely be filed if that occurs. If the congressional redistricting spawned spirited battles among Republicans, the battles over state House and Senate boundary lines may engulf Democrats. And the two fights may end up linked. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 34 of 110 Apr 30, 8:44 PM EDT Mo. gov. vetoes congressional redistricting map By CHRIS BLANK Associated Press JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon rejected a proposed congressional redistricting map on Saturday and urged lawmakers to come up with a new plan that better represents "all regions of the state" within two weeks. Nixon, a Democrat, said in his veto letter that the U.S. House map approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature last week "does not adequately protect the interests of all Missourians." He said he quickly made his decision to allow lawmakers time to try again before the legislative session ends May 13. The redistricting legislation would have merged two Democratic congressmen into the same St. Louis district to help consolidate Missouri's nine current congressional districts into eight. Missouri lost a U.S. House seat after the 2010 census because the state's 7 percent population growth failed to keep pace with the rest of the nation. The new map also must account for population shifts within the state, including an exodus from St. Louis to its outer suburbs. Republican legislative leaders had urged Nixon to consider signing the map and said Saturday that they would seek to override the governor's veto. Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer said he would like to attempt to override the veto but has not yet discussed it with other senators since Nixon rejected the map. "We think it's a fair and equitable map," said Mayer, R-Dexter. "The boundaries are drawn in a way that the areas in the boundaries are pretty harmonious and have similar types of characteristics." Lawmakers would need a two-thirds vote to override Nixon's veto. The Senate exceeded that margin when it approved the map last week. In the House, where a veto override attempt would begin, 13 legislators who didn't vote for the measure or voted against it would have to back it to override the veto. Six Republicans and three Democrats were absent and didn't vote on the map last week. If lawmakers do not override the veto and do not develop an alternative that Nixon signs, Missouri's congressional districts are likely to be redrawn by the courts. Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley said he had hoped Nixon would sign the map and that he now would need to start collecting votes. Tilley said an override attempt would be different from the vote last week because there aren't competing redistricting proposals to consider. "Now, we have a choice between the bill or the courts," said Tilley, R-Perryville. Missouri House Minority Leader Mike Talboy said that the map was "slanted" and praised Nixon's rejection Saturday. Three Democrats voted for the redistricting map last week, and Talboy, D-Kansas City, said he was not aware of others who changed their minds and now support it. Under the plan Nixon vetoed, the city of St. Louis would have been put entirely into the 1st Congressional District now held by Democrat William Lacy Clay. The city currently is split with the 3rd District represented by Democrat Russ Carnahan. Carnahan's district would have been essentially eliminated and divided among Clay's district; the suburban St. Louis district held by Republican Todd Akin; an overhauled district held by Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer of central Missouri; and the southeastern Missouri seat held by Republican Jo Ann Emerson. Jefferson County, near St. Louis, would have been split into the districts of Akin, Emerson and Luetkemeyer. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 35 of 110 Carnahan said Saturday that Nixon's veto was a victory for Missourians because it offered an opportunity to draw a new map focused more on "respecting the needs and concerns of families and businesses than on consolidating political power." "There is no question that the map that was vetoed today was a partisan gerrymander that would have been bad for the entire state of Missouri," Carnahan said. "It sliced and diced the St. Louis region - the economic engine of the state - dividing communities of interest and weakening Missouri's representation in Washington." Elsewhere, the congressional map rejected Saturday would have extended the Kansas City district of Democrat Emanuel Cleaver farther east to pick up several rural counties while a swath of Jackson County would have been carved out and added to the district of Republican Sam Graves whose district would have spread across the northern half of the state. Southwest Missouri, currently represented by freshman Republican Billy Long, would see the least change, because its population grew faster than most regions of the state. -- Redistricting is HB193. Online: Nixon: http://www.gov.mo.gov Legislature: http:/http://www.moga.mo.gov MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 36 of 110 Governor vetoes redistricting bill BY JAKE WAGMAN • STLtoday.com | Posted: Sunday, May 1, 2011 12:16 am ST. LOUIS • Gov. Jay Nixon on Saturday vetoed a Republican-brokered proposal to reconfigure the state's congressional districts, setting up a race against the clock as the legislative session winds to an end. Politically, it's little surprise that Nixon, a Democrat, nixed a map that would have likely cost his party a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. But if the governor and Republican leadership in the state Legislature don't agree on a map before lawmakers go home in two weeks, then drawing the new boundaries could fall to the courts. In his veto letter, Nixon said he was rejecting the map because it "does not adequately protect the interests of all Missourians." "I have taken this action expeditiously in order to provide the General Assembly the opportunity to pass legislation with appropriate congressional district boundaries," Nixon wrote. Because the U.S. Census showed Missouri growing at a slower rate than the rest of the nation, the state must shed a congressional seat. The process of drawing a new map that reflects eight districts instead of nine falls to the Missouri Legislature, which Republicans control. On Wednesday, the state House and Senate passed a map that axes the seat of U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, merging much of his district with the one currently held by another St. Louis Democrat, U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay. In a statement Saturday, Carnahan applauded Nixon's veto, saying the rejected map would have 'sliced and diced the St. Louis region." The map would have given members of Congress from southeast and central Missouri a greater share of the St. Louis area, assigning them parts of St. Charles and Jefferson counties. Nixon is from Jefferson County and may be sensitive to a proposal that dilutes the county's influence. That plan, however, is scrapped, unless Republicans can engineer an override of Nixon's veto. While Republicans in the Senate have the numbers to do so, the House stands about a dozen votes shy of pushing the previously approved map through despite the governor's objection. What happens next is between Nixon and Republicans in the Legislature. If the governor and lawmakers do not a agree on a map by May 13, Nixon can reconvene lawmakers in a special session, though the governor's Saturday veto letter suggested he would like to see action on a new proposal this session. Should legislators fail to forge a compromise — or an override — the courts would be next in line for the task. State Rep. John Diehl, R-Town and Country, chairman of the House redistricting committee, said he likely would ask Nixon to explain any specific objections to the GOP map. Diehl said that garnering an override is not as daunting as the numbers would suggest. Legislators, he said, would be amenable to overruling the governor to avoid a handoff to the courts. "You're also going for certainty," Diehl said, "instead of the uncertainty of what a map may bring if it goes to court." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 37 of 110 Diehl's Senate counterpart, state Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, predicted that the veto would not bring Republicans back to the drawing table. "The map that we passed, I think, is a very good map," Rupp said. "I don't see any reason to go back and start over just because Gov. Nixon doesn't like it." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 38 of 110 Posted on Sat, Apr. 30, 2011 There’s no limit on hypocrisy when it comes to nation’s debt By DAVE HELLING The Kansas City Star It‘s time once again in Washington to debate an increase in the nation‘s debt ceiling, so let‘s listen in. ―America‘s debt weakens us domestically and internationally,‖ proclaims one well-known politician, announcing his vote against a higher limit. Bad move, the other side insists. Voting against the debt increase could ―plunge the world economy back into recession.‖ President Barack Obama, meet Sen. Barack Obama. He made both statements, one in 2006 when voting against a higher debt level, the other just two weeks ago while urging Congress to approve putting more money on the country‘s credit card. Upset at the double-talk? Get ready for more, congressional observers predict, from both Democrats and Republicans. That‘s because a bitter argument over increasing the debt ceiling is next on Washington‘s to-do list. The U.S. is expected to hit its current debt limit of $14,294,000,000,000 (that‘s almost $14.3 trillion for those losing count of the zeros) between now and the Fourth of July. No one knows exactly what will happen if the government rejects a debt limit increase before then, potentially defaulting on its obligations. Higher borrowing costs, severe cuts in some spending, and delayed payments for some bills are considered likely. But there is near universal agreement on the politics of the debt limit debate: It may set a new standard for hypocrisy in a city already famous for it. ―There is no more ridiculous spectacle in Washington than watching the two sides line up to vote on the debt limit,‖ said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan deficit reduction lobbying group. ―All they do is switch talking points. The majority reads one and the minority reads another.‖ And that hypocrisy could threaten the nation‘s long-term fiscal health, said Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, who has studied Congress for decades. ―You‘re playing around with guns that have live ammunition in them,‖ Ornstein said. ―It‘s one thing if you‘re going to use inflammatory rhetoric or play hypocritical political games over Social Security or Medicare or the health care plan…When you‘re playing with the debt limit that could send us into a depression, that‘s beyond irresponsible.‖ Most members of Congress disagree with that characterization. They argue the debt ceiling extension is an important policy matter that deserves and will get their full attention when the debt limit debate begins, perhaps as early as this week. But they also admit to a certain flexibility when it comes to actually casting votes on the debt. Like Obama, almost every member of the Kansas City area‘s congressional delegation was for raising the debt limit before they were against it, or the other way around. Flip flop flip MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 39 of 110 Congress has raised the debt ceiling 10 times since 2002, according to the Congressional Research Service. In that time, Missouri incumbents Roy Blunt, Sam Graves, and Claire McCaskill have voted for and against different debt limit increase measures, either as stand-alone bills or as part of other legislation. Kansas Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts also have flip-flopped on the issue, as did Dennis Moore, Karen McCarthy, Kit Bond and Sam Brownback when they were in Washington. Blunt, now a senator, says he‘s leaning against a higher debt limit in 2011. Times have changed, he says, since he voted in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2008 for bills that added almost $5 trillion to the nation‘s debt ceiling. ―We were adding to the debt in all those years, but nothing like the amount we‘re adding to the debt now,‖ Blunt explained. Roberts backed five debt increases during the George W. Bush presidency. He hasn‘t decided how he‘ll vote this time. ―We really made an effort to get the debt down (in the Bush years),‖ the Kansas Republican said. Ornstein, however, thinks there‘s a better explanation for all the contradictory votes. ―The single biggest most powerful predictor of this vote is which party holds the presidency,‖ he said. U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Kansas City Democrat, has voted for every debt limit increase he‘s faced in Congress. In that time, though, his party has controlled either the House or the White House, or both. Now that Republicans control the House? Cleaver may flip to the other side. ―I understand the dangers of not raising it,‖ Cleaver said. ―But many of the individuals on the other side of the aisle would like for the Democrats to carry the day, so they can vote no and maintain the high ground with the Tea Party. That troubles me.‖ Kansas GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder will soon cast his first vote on the debt ceiling (although the recently passed GOP budget plan he supported includes higher borrowing authority for years to come.) Yoder, too, is undecided, as are many other Republican freshmen. But he isn‘t worried about voting one way this year and another way sometime down the road. ―We didn‘t run up this deficit and debt,‖ Yoder said. ―We‘re asking for Washington to change its ways, and we‘re not going to go along to get along.‖ Yoder said that Republicans will insist on tough spending reductions before they‘ll support a debt ceiling hike, and even some Democrats are now talking about attaching deficit reduction to a debt limit increase. That tactic, too, is common. In 2004, Democrats tried to require Congress to pay for any new spending programs as part of the debt-raising bill. But majority Republicans rejected that approach — known as Pay-Go — because they said it would lead to higher taxes. So far, the White House has fought against any plan to link the debt ceiling with specific deficit-reducing proposals. ―Explicitly linking or holding hostage the absolute necessity of raising the debt ceiling to any other piece of legislation and declaring that we‘ll tank the U.S. economy and perhaps the global economy if we don‘t get this specific thing that we want, I think is a dangerous and unprecedented thing to do,‖ Obama spokesman Jay Carney said last week. Debt ceiling needed? Ironically, all of the political posturing may have had the effect of canceling any partisan benefit from the vote. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 40 of 110 Missouri Republicans, for example, recently accused McCaskill, a Democrat, of debt-ceiling hypocrisy; she was a no vote during the Bush presidency, but a likely yes vote now that Obama‘s in charge. That GOP criticism, however, softened after Blunt‘s contradictory votes on the debt ceiling were publicized. The confused political impact of debt-ceiling votes has convinced some to recommend ending the debt ceiling altogether. It was first imposed in 1917, and has been extended dozens of times since then. Under old House rules, the debt ceiling was automatically raised as part of budget resolutions — a rule Republicans voted to end when they took control of the House last January. Senators typically vote on stand- alone debt increase measures. While some observers concede that debt-ceiling hypocrisy may be unavoidable, they worry the posturing could eventually make it more difficult to find a deeper compromise on spending and taxes. ―It‘s a good thing the two parties are using the debt limit to get at these more fundamental issues,‖ Bixby noted. ―But what we‘re debating here is whether or not we‘re going to pay our bills.‖ Debt ceiling increase measures since 1993 Date President Raised to April 1993 Clinton $4.37 trillion August 1993 Clinton $4.9 trillion March 1996 Clinton $5.5 trillion August 1997 Clinton $5.95 trillion June 2002 Bush $6.4 trillion May 2003 Bush $7.384 trillion Nov. 2004 Bush $8.184 trillion March 2006 Bush $8.965 trillion Sept. 2007 Bush $9.815 trillion July 2008 Bush $10.615 trillion Oct. 2008 Bush $11.315 trillion Feb. 2009 Obama $12.104 trillion Dec. 2009 Obama $12.394 trillion Feb. 2010 Obama $14.294 trillion MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 41 of 110 McCaskill staff hosts ‘Table Talk’ By Tony Brown MARYVILLE DAILY FORUM Posted Apr 29, 2011 @ 08:04 AM Maryville, Mo. — A handful of citizens, including Northwest Missouri State University Provost Doug Dunham, turned out for a "Kitchen Table Talk" session Thursday with staff members from the office of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. Dunham was at the meeting to make sure word got back to McCaskill about a couple of issues facing higher education: possible reductions for Pell Grants, a federal program that provides need-based tuition assistance to college students, and U.S. Department of Education regulations governing multi-state on-line education initiatives. In the budget deal passed by Congress earlier this month, the Pell Grant system retained its maximum $5,550 award, but additional funding for summer courses could be in danger next year in a bid by Republicans to trim $35 billion in Pell funding over the next decade. Dunham told McCaskill's northwest Missouri Field Representative Greg Razer that Pell reductions would seriously compromise Missouri's goal of making some form of post-secondary education available to at least 60 percent of its high school graduates. The provost, who serves as Northwest's chief academic officer, said reduced federal student aid would hit colleges and universities especially hard in a time of continued state cuts. Budget proposals in the General Assembly this year have included higher education reductions of 7 percent in the House of Representatives and 4.8 percent in the Senate. The lower figure, Dunham said, would force Northwest to trim $2.2 million from $80 million in projected "general and education" spending and reduce state aid to the university to around $30 million. With regard to on-line courses and degree programs, Dunham said he has been told the U.S. Department of Education may start enforcing regulations already on the books that could prevent universities from offering electronic classes in states where they have not been approved. Razer said the regulations are intended to keep for-profit, distance-learning businesses from offering courses and degrees that lack an acceptable level of academic rigor. However, an unintended consequence might be that traditional colleges and universities would have to obtain an official blessing from education bureaucracies in several states. Gaining such approvals for programs like Northwest's online master's degree in geographic information science, which serves students who live all over the country, would be "hugely expensive," Dunham said. He added that reputable colleges and universities must already earn widely accepted regional accreditations meant to ensure both rigor and instructional quality, and that forcing institutions to go through a similar process state-by-state would be fiscally prohibitive while creating unrealistic demands on staff. Also speaking during the meeting were several residents voicing opposition to McCaskill's support of federal health care reforms proposed and ultimately signed into law by President Barack Obama. Razer responded that he understood an apparent majority of Missourians oppose the new health care law, but added that McCaskill is willing to stake re-election to a second term in an attempt to provide affordable health care to millions Americans who currently lack coverage. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 42 of 110 "Claire feels that elected officials should do what they believe is right and not just focus on what will get them re-elected," Razer said. "She believes that (the new health care law) is so much better than what we had that she's willing to get sent home for supporting it." Razer also defended his boss' opposition to a number of Republican-backed budget cuts, which he said unfairly target education and infrastructure, especially in rural communities. He said the proposed GOP reductions focus on only a small slice of the budget pie while leaving many areas, especially defense spending, largely unscathed. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 43 of 110 Morehouse flooding exacerbated by state-built levee to save U.S. 60 Sunday, May 1, 2011 By Scott Moyers ~ Southeast Missourian MOREHOUSE, Mo. -- The floodwaters crept into Scottie Parks' home as he slept. He woke up and put his feet into 6 inches of it. "Now it's throughout my entire house," said Parks, the assistant fire chief. "It's ruined. We've lost everything." Morehouse, a community of about 1,000 people, is about six miles from Sikeston in New Madrid County. Its leaders and residents were up in arms Saturday about a state decision to build a levee Thursday along U.S. 60 that has exacerbated their flood problem. The western part of Morehouse, which runs along the Little River Drainage District, is underwater. Roads are closed, people have evacuated and more than half of the town's homes are waist-deep in water. Mayor Pete Leija met with U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, a Cape Girardeau Republican, Saturday afternoon to complain that the Missouri Department of Transportation's decision to build the levee came without warning. "We got no notice," Leija said. "None. I did not get a call from any individual. They built the levee Thursday during the night at midnight. We didn't even have a chance. That berm caused our water to go up six inches real quick. We had homes that were within an inch of going under." Flooding was already taking place, he said, as the waters from the Little River -- basically a big drainage ditch - - overflowed its already meager banks. But MoDOT's decision made a bad situation worse, he said, and left the community in "quite a fix." Bill Robison, the department's Southeast District planning manager, said that the levee was built to save U.S. 60. The levee that was built Thursday night has held anywhere from 8 to 10 inches from going over the highway, Robison said. "That water jeopardized Route 60 such to where it would have had to close down," Robison said. "We had to weigh the difference between keeping 60 open. That decision was made at the top at the state level, and SEMA was involved. That route had to be kept open for emergency services." The department had been in contact with Morehouse officials throughout the week about other flood issues, but he did not know if they had been notified about building the levee. "I don't know that we specifically involved them in that decision," Robison said. But Leija said they're left picking up the pieces. Several residents, including those at a senior housing development, have been left homeless. Those seniors are staying at a nearby church, though Emerson put the mayor in touch with the Red Cross, which was working to get them shelter. "The water is just swallowing us up," Leija said. "It's hitting that berm, going along the highway and circling the town. They've basically created a big bowl around us." Dan Jennings is a farmer who lives in Sikeston, but he has a 5,000-acre farm in Morehouse, where he grew up. A good portion of that farm is now underwater. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 44 of 110 "It did get the highway open, I don't question that," Jennings said. "And it helped everybody south of us. But more than half of the homes here are under water. Nobody has given us a good explanation of what's happened." George Kruse has lived in Morehouse for two years. While the water hasn't gotten into his home, he's watched many of his friends struggle. "The western end of town is just destroyed," he said. And he blames the earthen berm. "It was just a dam and backed all the water right in town," he said. "They chose the highway over people, and that's not right, to my way of thinking." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 45 of 110 Corps general orders barges in position for possible Birds Point levee breach Sunday, May 1, 2011 By Scott Moyers ~ Southeast Missourian SIKESTON, Mo. -- With the rains returning and the flood gauge at Cairo, Ill., expected to match all-time highs by Monday, Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh gave the order Saturday to move barges carrying 250 tons of explosives to Wickliffe, Ky., putting them in position to blow the Birds Point levee in Mississippi County. But Walsh said at a news conference Saturday afternoon he has yet to decide whether he will activate the plan that would inundate 132,000 acres of farmland in Mississippi and New Madrid counties. "No decision has been made," said Walsh, president of the Mississippi River Commission and commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division. "It's not time-phased, it's condition-phased." And moving the barges is not even an indicator that he's more strongly considering blowing the levee, which would relieve pressure from the swollen Mississippi River by diverting its waters to 132,000 acres of farmland in Mississippi and New Madrid counties. It was the next step to prepare for that contingency, which was precipitated by the Cairo gauge of 59.19 feet, which is just below the all-time high of 59.5 feet, a level that is expected at Cairo by Monday or Tuesday, Walsh said. Three to four inches of rain was also expected to be dumped on an already soaked Southeast Missouri within the next two to three days, forecasters said. Several other decisions would have to be made in the process before he would give the order to activate the floodway, he said. The next step would be to position the barges along the Birds Point levee, followed by an order to charge the pipes and then the final order to activate the plan to create holes in levee, making inflow and outflow spots that Walsh said would lower river waters at Cairo by 3 to 4 feet. "So there are still a lot of decision points as we move forward," Walsh said. Walsh, who is the only person who can make the decision, said if he does opt to blow the levee, it would likely be only the first such levee breach. Three other floodways are situated between here and Louisiana and he's had conversations with communities there and those also may require breaching. "This is an event that may use all the resources that we have to control this level of flooding we have in the system," Walsh said. Water in new places On Saturday, Walsh and other corps officers flew from his offices at Vicksburg, Miss., over flooded areas before stopping at Sikeston. "There is water in places where we hadn't ever, ever seen it before," Walsh said. "This is certainly a fight of the human dimension. We know the price being paid is high. As I flew over, I saw a number of structures and facilities underwater and people evacuating." Also problematic, he said, is that other levees and flood-control systems along the Mississippi are being stressed by the heavy rains and high floodwaters. He said part of the system that's "not behaving in the way that we thought." Those issues include underseepage, which occurs when water seeps under earthen levees and hurts their structural integrity. He said they also came across the largest sand boil, the movement of sand under a levee, they'd ever come across during a visit to Cairo Saturday. They have been putting in sand berms to try to combat those problems up and down the river, he said. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 46 of 110 "The Mississippi River tributary system has never been under this type of pressure before," Walsh said. "There's different places of it that's beginning to degrade. We're putting people in those positions and flood- fighting them until they become stabilized." The corps has also managed to hold back some of the water. Maj. Gen. John Peabody, commander of the corps' Great Lakes and Ohio River Division and fellow commission member, said dams at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley have been holding back water that normally flows into the river. But on Saturday, pool levels rose to record highs, he said. When those pools get to 375 feet, water can't be held back anymore, he said, for fear of losing those flood- control projects from overtopping. On Thursday, Peabody took the unprecedented step of ordering all the districts of the Ohio River Basin to start holding back water at all reservoirs. Walsh said those efforts have made about 1 1/2 feet of difference at the gauge at Cairo. 'Every asset we have' Fellow Mississippi River Commission member R.D. James, a self-employed farmer from New Madrid, also spoke to the group at the news conference, which included several area farmers as well. "Folks, this is the largest flood any of us will see in our history, I hope," James said. "But you can rest assured that every asset we have are working to try to prevent using the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway. That may come, that may have to be executed. But they're holding off and doing everything they can." Mississippi County Sheriff Keith Moore said that the floodway had been successfully evacuated. Moore, who was born and raised in Mississippi County, said this is the worst conditions he's ever seen. He also hopes the corps doesn't have to blow the levee. "We really don't want it breached," he said. "But if it's to save lives, that's a different story. We're just doing the best we can with everything that's happened." Glenn Ault, a Mississippi County farmer who owns about 6,000 acres within the Birds Point Levee spillway, said he would like to see a natural overflow rather than a breach of the levee at Birds Point. "We won't have near the damage in the floodway and loss of land and ability to raise crops and loss of infrastructure, bridges and all that stuff with a natural overtopping," he said. Ault said the farmers in Mississippi County consider the risks of the floodwaters for residents of Cairo and do not want to see anyone's life in danger. "I don't want to reign Cairo, but I don't want them to reign me either," he said. Staff writer Rebecca Rolwing contributed to this report. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 47 of 110 No official decision has been made to blast levee Posted: Apr 30, 2011 3:39 PM CDT Updated: May 01, 2011 9:48 AM CDT Heartland News SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh, President of the Mississippi River Commission with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, says no official decision has been made to enact the Bird's Point-New Madrid Floodway plan and blast the Bird's Point levee. But the Maj. Gen. says they are one step closer to a decision as the barge carrying explosives was stationed in Hickman and moved to Wickliffe. He announced the decision at a press conference in Sikeston on Saturday afternoon around 5 p.m. The plan calls for the operation of the floodway though explosives, only when stages reach 58 feet at Cairo with a forecast of stages to exceed 60 feet. The Mississippi River system has never been under this kind of pressure before, according to the Corps. The plan is to explode two sections to the south 24-hours after blasting one to the north. "We will give as much notice as possible," says the Corps of Engineers. They say it may be "less than 24 hours." They are stressing that every asset and tool is being used to keep from having to blow the levee The spillway is already evacuated. People there were ordered to leave around 4 p.m. Friday. No one has been allowed back in. The blast will send water in thousands of acres of farmland. Around 100 homes are in the spillway affecting about 300 residents. General Peabody with the Corps out of Cincinnati says this is "a historic floodfight," and said "Folks this is the largest flood we'll see in our history, I hope." "We could win or lose the fight by inches." He also said that local authorities would cover evacuations if that time would come. Stay with kfvs12.com and Heartland News for the very latest on this developing story. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 48 of 110 Mississippi County government: Levee breach would come at huge cost Sunday, May 1, 2011 By Scott Welton ~ Standard Democrat CHARLESTON, Mo. -- Covering the local share of the cost to deal with infrastructure damage from backwater flooding will be tough for Mississippi County. A breach at Birds Point would be devastating. "Over the last four or five days, all the new business is the water," Commissioner Steve Jones said during their regular weekly meeting Thursday. Commissioners approved reimbursing Danny Harris, county emergency management director, for time spent operating the county emergency operation center at Charleston City Hall to make up for wages lost from his regular job. "He opened it Monday afternoon in Charleston," Jones said. County Clerk Junior DeLay said the county needs to document all equipment, material and overtime expenses related to flooding. Based on other recent disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse 75 percent, the State Emergency Management Agency will reimburse 10 percent and the remaining 15 percent must be "absorbed by the county," DeLay said. Damage estimates at this point are "a shot in the dark," he said. "When everything's under water, you can't see it." "We do have lot of roads under water," said Richard Wallace, county road and bridge superintendent. He estimated 10 percent of the county's roads were under water, most of those being gravel roads. Commissioners advised Sheriff Keith Moore to document any additional overtime or fuel expenses for patrols in the spillway for public safety activities related to flooding for possible reimbursement as well. DeLay said if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does breach the levee at Birds Point, he doesn't know how the county could possibly come up with its 15 percent for all the infrastructure, such as roads and ditches, that would be damaged. The backwater flooding is bad enough, commissioners said, but the water with a current from a breach at Birds Point would cause even more damage to infrastructure. The Corps has still not announced a decision to breach the levee. County Surveyor Martin Lucas said he feels the Mississippi River is "not going to go to 60 feet" and that if it does, it won't remain at that stage as long as some hydrology reports are predicting He said it is "almost unheard of" for a crest to last for 10 days. "It might go 2-3 days," Lucas said. County officials were perplexed by Corps officials announcing they would first breach the levee at Birds Point and then at the southern end of the floodplain, however. "That might have been a mistake," Jones said. "He could have just made a misstatement." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 49 of 110 Commissioner Robert Jackson said it was his understanding that the plan had always been to blow the south end first to let in the backwater and take some pressure off of the system and then blow the north end. Hydrology is "not an exact science," Presiding Commissioner Carlin Bennett said. "It all hinges on Saturday night-Sunday storms," Jones said. According to the 2010 census, there are 75 homesteads with 233 people in the floodway within Mississippi County, DeLay said. Almost all of those have been evacuated from the area, according to county officials. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 50 of 110 Lawmakers working out budget differences Written by Roseann Moring News-Leader 11:00 PM, Apr. 30, 2011| JEFFERSON CITY -- The General Assembly begins final discussions on the state's $23 billion budget this week, and the decisions will have huge consequences for the Ozarks area. Both the House and the Senate have passed a version of next year's budget, and they've scheduled a committee hearing for 10 a.m. Monday to work out the differences. Five senators and five representatives will meet. Depending on what private deals they've made, the hearing could last a short time or several hours, and negotiations could continue afterward. After that, the budget goes back to each chamber for final approval. It must be passed by Friday, according to the state Constitution. The House version of the bill contains a 7 percent cut for higher education institutions, and the Senate reduced that cut to 4.8 percent. Missouri State University President James Cofer visited the Capitol this week, in part to encourage legislators to support the lower reduction. The Senate stipulated that the difference go toward lowering students' out-of-pocket costs. "We prefer the Senate version," Cofer said. Under that bill, Missouri State University would receive about $1.8 million more from the state. The Senate version of the bill also includes a $20 million increase to K-12 transportation money, which goes primarily to busing. This could mean more buses or routes, so students closer to the school could now take the bus. Rep. Sara Lampe, D-Springfield, is a member of the conference committee and the ranking House Democrat on the Budget Committee. She said her focus will be on education money, and she hopes to vote to keep as much education funding in the budget as possible. Other major decision items: » The Senate version contains a cut to the county assessment fund, which would mean a reduction of about $60,000 to Greene County. County Budget Director Jeff Reinold said that combined with cuts in recent years would mean the county receives $300,000 less annually for assessment than it did a few years ago. This could mean that the county assessor will lose one or more of its 28 staff members, he said. The Greene County assessor's office budget is about $1.9 million now, and $460,000 comes from the state. » The House version contains $2 million for a program that would allow the University of Missouri-Kansas City's pharmacy school to open a satellite location at MSU. Proponents say this would lead to a much-needed increase in pharmacists in southwest Missouri. » The House included cuts to statewide elected officials' offices and the legislature as well as the chef in the governor's mansion. The Senate bill restored all those cuts except the ones to the House's budget. The Senate budget also adds $300,000 to the state auditor's budget and $250,000 in travel money to the governor's budget. » The Senate included $12 million more than the House for Missouri lottery advertising. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 51 of 110 Lampe and other Democrats said the process in the House went exceptionally smoothly, which she attributed to Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, and his good working relationship with Democrats. But in the Senate, much of the discussion has been hung up on some senators' objections to the acceptance of federal money. Those objections could resurface later this session when senators hear a bill that accepts more federal money for this year's budget. But the objections did not hold up next year's budget proposals. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 52 of 110 Seniors’ drug plan on the line Jennifer Gordon St. Joseph News-Press POSTED: 10:42 pm CDT April 30, 2011 Thanks to the Missouri RX program, John Elifritis doesn‘t have to choose between his prescriptions and his budget Whether he faces a Sophie‘s Choice decision on Aug. 29 rests with the Missouri Senate. As state lawmakers prepare next year‘s budget, they‘ll weigh the state‘s $20 million Medicare prescription drug assistance plan against other social programs and education funding. Currently, the plan helps 3,627 seniors in Buchanan County, 11,781 in the 18 counties of Northwest Missouri, and 212,000 seniors statewide. MoRX provides a 50 percent discount on Medicare Part D medications that fall in the coverage gap and 50 percent off coverage-gap deductibles. In order to qualify, an individual‘s annual income must be under $21,660 and couples‘ incomes must be less than $29,140. Mr. Elifritis takes 14 medications in the morning and 10 at night. Third-party sources that help fill the donut hole cost too much to be of service to him. Should the program not be extended, Mr. Elifritis knows his choice. ―I couldn‘t do it. Some of my medications I‘d have to quit taking because I couldn‘t afford it,‖ the Oregon, Mo., man said. His decision concerns Northwest Missouri Area Agency on Aging Executive Director Rebecca Flaherty, because should the bill not pass, Mr. Elifritis wouldn‘t be the only one to make that choice. ―If people don‘t take their medications, they end up back in hospitals. They end up part of that rotating cycle in emergency rooms ... and back in nursing homes before they need to be,‖ the Albany-based director said. With MoRX on the chopping block, other area seniors worry about their safety net. Datha Dillon enrolled in MoRX when she enrolled in Medicare Part D. Right now, she only has one prescription, but she likes knowing the extra insurance is available when needed. Karen Merritt‘s MoRX came in handy during a sudden illness. Without the program, her medications would have been $103. She shaved $83 off the sticker price. ―Any extra help I can get, I really appreciate,‖ she said. A provision to extend the program for five years passed the Missouri House on April 26. Outcomes look less promising in the Senate. Sen. Jason Crowell proposed a three-year MoRX extension bill in the Senate, but the bill has stalled. Sen. Rob Schaaf said in order for the program‘s sunset to be extended, it will have to get into the budget and avoid a Senate filibuster. ―The thing is that the federal health law kind of does a lot of what the MoRX program does. It fills in a big chunk of that,‖ he said in a phone call from the capitol. ―I hate to see (MoRX) not remain in place. A more reasonable approach would be to extend it one year to see what effect the national health care law has on the utilization of it.‖ Given the success of the program, state Rep. Pat Conway feels more confident about the Senate putting the extension into the budget, which the Senate must vote on Friday. ―I think they will. I think it‘s been a proven program,‖ he said. Until the ―donut hole‖ fully closes in 2020, however, seniors will still need help with their prescriptions, Ms. Flaherty points out. The programs cover different medications and work in conjunction with each other. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 53 of 110 For Ms. Flaherty, MoRX‘s future only adds to another legislative hit to seniors, the proposed $1.4 million cut to the home-delivered meal budget. ―I know that cuts need to be made,‖ she said. ―I know that it‘s important to balance the budget. But I always go back to the fact that if we don‘t care for our most vulnerable, what kind of future do we have?‖ MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 54 of 110 House Set to Debate Bill on Prescription Pseudoephedrine Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2011 4:30 pm | Updated: 1:56 pm, Fri Apr 29, 2011. By Jason Rosenbaum, Missourian Correspondent The Missouri House is expected to debate legislation next week requiring a prescription to procure pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient needed to make methamphetamine commonly found in cold and allergy medicines. House Majority Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said on Thursday the House will take up Rep. Dave Schatz‘s legislation early next week. The bill is backed by many law enforcement officials across the state, including Detective Sgt. Jason Grellner of the Franklin County Sheriff‘s Department who has spearheaded an effort that has led to more than 30 municipalities and counties to adopt the requirement. It also has the backing of Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster. Schatz, R-Sullivan, said other states – such as Oregon and Mississippi – have seen dramatic reductions in meth-related incidents after the requirement went into effect. ―We have to do something to address this problem,‖ Schatz said, noting that Missouri has led the nation in meth production for years. ―So what has worked? Prescription only has worked. That has combated these meth labs in Oregon and Mississippi and got the results. And so that‘s why we said these are the steps we need to take.‖ Two other members of Franklin County‘s state House delegation — Reps. Scott Dieckhaus, R-Washington, and Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair — also told The Missourian they support Schatz‘s legislation. ―I‘m a huge supporter, a cosponsor,‖ said Dieckhaus, adding that Washington was the first community in the state to place the requirement on local pharmacies. ―Philosophically, it‘s probably not something I would support on its face. But when I look at the results that Oregon and Mississippi and other states are starting to have, it‘s something that I think we need to do,‖ Dieckhaus said. ―Even if it is an inconvenience, I think it‘s something we need to do to end the problem,‖ he added. Hinson said the requirement may feature an expiration date so that lawmakers can study the results. He added he doesn‘t feel that the requirement will be an inconvenience to people. ―Are we going to stop meth in the state of Missouri? No. People are still going to consume it,‖ Hinson said. ―But our intent is to stop the meth labs in the state of Missouri and small children being exposed to these situations.‖ Nieves, Curtman Have Reservations But opponents say requiring prescriptions will make it more difficult for people with allergies or colds to get relief. Joy Krieger of Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America‘s St. Louis chapter told the Associated Press that the requirement could make medications more expensive or force people to seek emergency room treatment if they lack insurance. Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, said in an interview that he too has issues with the proposal. He said he is ―very slow to change the law in a certain way that it causes a person to no longer be able to do what they can currently do.‖ MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 55 of 110 ―I can also see the concerns of the law enforcement people … concerning this whole thing,‖ Nieves said. ―So what I‘ve said is if or when my district overwhelmingly favors changing Sudafed to prescription only, then I will reluctantly and kicking-and-screamingly vote yes – if that time ever comes.‖ And Nieves said the preliminary results from a constituent survey showed that residents are basically split on the issue. ―The simple formula is — no matter what we‘re talking about — will this law stop people from doing something they are currently able to do,‖ Nieves said. ―If the answer to that is yes, then unless we‘re talking about some crime, I‘m always going to err on the side of protecting personal liberty and not changing the law.‖ Another area lawmaker with reservations is Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific. He told The Missourian he has mixed feelings about the proposal, partly because the drug is so widely used. Curtman added he is still examining the proposal and could support the requirement if it‘s not a serious obstacle to obtain the drug for legitimate reasons. ―I think this is a problem we need to tackle from multiple angles and government may have a role to play in it, but maybe not to the extent by… requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine,‖ Curtman said. Schatz said that only the dry capsules would be affected by this proposal, which means that liquid and gel- capped medicine will still be available. And Jones said the fact that some forms of the drug could still be available over the counter could make the proposal more amenable to House members. ―I wasn‘t a big fan of the bill originally, but I felt he (Schatz) was taking it out of the stores,‖ Jones said. ―Now if we‘re just trying to take care of the product that the people who make meth use — because apparently the evidence is out they‘re not able to use the liquid gels or the soft gels — you know maybe that‘s a bill with a totally different flavor to it.‖ Getting to a Vote There‘s roughly two weeks left in the General Assembly‘s legislative session, and bills that haven‘t passed one chamber often have a slim chance of making it the governor‘s desk. And even if the bill had made it through the House, it could face a filibuster in the Missouri Senate. Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, told The Riverfront Times earlier in the year that he would ―talk until this bill dies — or until my legs give out.‖ But Schatz said he‘s confident the House will not only debate his proposal – they‘ll vote on it as well. ―There‘s very little time left in the game, we‘re in fourth down — we don‘t give up,‖ Schatz said. ―We‘re not going to quit. There‘s still time for a Hail Mary. You never know how this issue could go with it. We could be able to amend it to a Senate bill.‖ ―Obviously what I want to do is get this issue debated on the floor and get a vote in the House,‖ he added. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 56 of 110 St. Louis attorney at helm of Chinese air cargo deal BY TIM LOGAN • STLtoday.com | Posted: Sunday, May 1, 2011 9:30 am To a remarkable degree, one of the biggest economic development projects in the St. Louis region hinges on one man: Steve Stone. Through a mix of professional and personal connections, along with a healthy dose of political savvy, the veteran Clayton real estate lawyer sits at the center of the region's three-year bid to turn Lambert-St. Louis International Airport into a hub for Chinese air cargo. A partner in the firm Stone, Leyton and Gershman, he has long held close ties to Paul McKee, who controls about 700 acres around Lambert. Several years ago, they hatched the plan to bring the Chinese to St. Louis. Since then, Stone's deep knowledge of the project has helped him add most of the effort's other key players to his client list. His firm now works for the Midwest China Hub Commission, and he is registered to lobby on the hub for the Regional Chamber and Growth Association. In February, he signed on with the city of St. Louis to draft the Aerotropolis legislation, which contains the $360 million tax credit package Stone and others now say is essential to the effort. So he represents nearly every side of the deal in St. Louis — and he sits at the negotiating table with the Chinese. A consummate insider and the son of local attorney Sidney Stone, the attorney, 63, has had a quiet hand in many of the region's big economic development efforts, from early riverboat casino projects to McKee's WingHaven, the $750 million residential and commercial development in St. Charles, and NorthPark, the massive business park in north St. Louis County. Clients describe him as brilliant and note his rare knack for deal-making. They say he can articulate both a big vision and the nitty-gritty details that make it work. Connected as he may be, Stone keeps a low profile. He declined to be interviewed for this story, citing the ongoing debate in the Missouri Legislature over the Aerotropolis bill and a desire "not to get out in front of" his clients. But his centrality to the cargo project highlights the tightknit world of development in St. Louis, where everyone knows everyone else and relationships twist back over decades. It also highlights a paradox of playing in a global economy where deals span continents but can often hinge on just a handful of personal relationships. After all, none of this would be happening — St. Louis probably wouldn't even be talking with the Chinese right now — if not for one early Cold War-era twist of fate: Jack Perry went to China. Perry was a British exporter who helped lead the first Western trade mission to China in 1952. At the time, this was no small thing. China had just become Communist. The Korean War was raging. But Perry and 47 colleagues — the so-called "icebreakers" — traveled to Beijing and forged ties that led to deals to sell grain and copper, machines and medicine to the Chinese. The St. Louis connection? Perry was cousins with Stone's mother and worked closely with Stone's father. Perry's son Stephen went into the family business, and became a major player in British-Chinese trade in his own right. As a young man he also spent a lot of time in St. Louis, visiting his family here. Fast forward a half-century, to 2007, when Steve Stone, by then a veteran St. Louis real estate lawyer working for McKee, put together his client and his British relative. Then the three of them set out to pitch the Chinese — and St. Louis leaders — that an underused airport in "the center of the center" of the United States could once again be a gateway to the Midwest. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 57 of 110 It has taken three and a half years already, and even the first phase is not yet done. China Cargo Airlines is negotiating with Lambert to start flights. And Lambert and local business leaders are watching negotiations in the Missouri Senate over what kind of incentive package they will have to offer. Stone has been there every step of the way. Even if the tax package passes, it would be just one step of many in achieving the grand vision of Stone and others, who envision the cargo flights spurring large swaths of related transportation and warehousing development in the region. The hopes for this year are much more moderate, mainly getting one Chinese airline to commit to perhaps three flights a week in Lambert. Meanwhile, airports from Denver to Detroit are trying to lure international cargo and boost development. And regions around the nation are trying to forge trade ties of all kinds with China's booming economy. 'WHO SENT YOU?' Stone's connections at home go way back. He was born in St. Louis in 1947. He went to Northwestern University, then law school at Washington University. He started practicing in the early 1970s. Tall, bald and lean, Stone will sit quietly in a meeting while his clients make their case, perhaps scribbling a few notes. But at some point, he'll open up with an urgency, launching into an extended discourse connecting a half-dozen dots on some big idea like the course of Sino-U.S. trade over the coming decades. Colleagues sometimes roll their eyes — one business leader recently said he's "like a wind-up toy, he just keeps going" — but they generally agree he's one of the smartest guys in the room. When local political and business leaders formed the Midwest China Hub Commission in January 2009, one of their first acts was to hire Stone at $15,000 a month. Not as its attorney, stressed hub commission chairman Mike Jones. That would raise too many potential conflicts between the commission and McKee. The commission hired him as an expert it can tap for ideas on how to make the project work — and for his connections. Stone has "a unique and sometimes profound insight into real estate and real estate finance," Jones said. "Plus, without Steve, we don't have Perry. Without Perry, we don't have the Chinese." Perry, too, through his London Export Corp., is on the commission's payroll, earning $450,000 a year to provide his expertise and open doors in Beijing. The St. Louis visits by Chinese ambassadors and trade ministers and investment groups over the past three years stem from Perry's relationships, and they are essential, Jones said, to making this sort of project work. "It's really kind of the old-fashioned 'who sent you?' That's ultimately the way deals are put together," he said. "They only get put together if they make financial sense. But they only get to that point if people trust each other." Of course, it's not just Beijing where doors need opening. Stone has a long track record in state and local politics. Twenty years ago, he was a development adviser to then-mayor Freeman Bosley, Jr., helping shape intricate development deals. More recently, he played a key role in creating the Distressed Areas Land Assemblage Tax Credit, the $95 million state program McKee used to help recoup land-buying costs for his NorthSide project. He knows how to craft a deal that makes sense for all sides, said Richard Fleming, president of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association. "He has one of the most brilliant and facile minds I've ever seen on that combination of public policy and economic development," Fleming said. "He's got a very unique mix of skills." PURCHASING POWER He also has a lot of political connections. In the past three years, Stone, Leyton and Gershman has donated just under $500,000 to state and local political campaigns, according to the Missouri Ethics Commission. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 58 of 110 Everyone from Mayor Francis Slay ($82,500) to Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder ($30,000) to Democratic groups in St. Louis' 5th Ward, where NorthSide is centered ($10,300). In a written statement, Stone said he donates to "pro- economic growth" and "pro-jobs" candidates, regardless of party. Any Jefferson City juice those donations may have bought will come in handy in the last two weeks of the legislative session, as lawmakers balance the Aerotropolis bill against other tax credit programs and a tough state budget picture. Last month, Stone registered to lobby for the bill on behalf of the RCGA, Lambert and the city. He's working on an as-needed basis for the RCGA, said Fleming, to help legislators understand the complex bill. And the city's paying him up to $100,000 to actually write the legislation — a fee comparable to what it would pay any other attorney for similar work, said Jeff Rainford, chief of staff to Mayor Francis Slay. In an earlier interview, Stone said there was no conflict between his job as lawyer to McKee and his job as consultant to the city — with whom McKee is negotiating on other projects such as NorthSide. While McKee stands to benefit from the Aerotropolis credits, so do many other people, Stone noted, and given how much McKee controls right around Lambert, it would have been impossible not to include him. "Paul McKee's land would have been in the plan whether I was the scrivener or I wasn't the scrivener," he said. "Now he has competition he didn't have before." As for why the city hired Stone, instead of any of the region's many other experts in development law, to help make this huge project happen, the reason is simple. "He knows this," Rainford said. "It's all in his brain." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 59 of 110 MoDOT, truckers weigh in on heavier rigs 11:41 PM, Apr. 30, 2011 | SPRINGFIELD NEWS-LEADER Columnists Wes Johnson That big rig looming in your rear view mirror might eventually be 8.5 tons heavier, under a proposal now working its way through Congress. Lawmakers are debating whether to let trucks weigh up to 97,000 pounds instead of the current 80,000-pound limit. It's a complicated issue, and even those in the trucking industry are divided about whether it's a good idea. Consumer safety groups have voiced concerns about allowing heavier trucks on U.S. highways. The proposal, if approved, would require truck operators who want to haul bigger loads to add a third axle to the tractor or the trailer. A third axle spreads the extra weight over a larger footprint. It also adds a third braking mechanism to stop super-heavy loads. Because heavier trucks would potentially cause more damage to highways, the Missouri Department of Transportation opposes the 97,000-pound limit -- unless the federal government gives more money to states for highway maintenance. "MoDOT is aware of the importance of trucking commerce, and we do all we can to help businesses keep rolling," said MoDOT spokesman Bob Edwards. "But we also must be able to keep the highway system in good condition." Mayor Jim O'Neal, who owns O&S Trucking in Springfield, said the issue has been so contentious that he doubts anything will emerge from Congress anytime soon. He said the American Trucking Association, based in Arlington, Va., has endorsed the higher 97,000-ton limit. But the Truckload Carriers Association wants a lower limit -- 88,000 pounds -- a weight that wouldn't require a costly additional axle or extra reinforcements in trailers. Adding a third axle would cost more than $5,000 per vehicle, a cost that some trucking companies don't want to bear. "Many in the trucking business oppose it because they don't want their equipment rendered obsolete by companies that move to haul bigger loads," he said. "But as fuel gets more expensive and highways get more crowded, it becomes a productivity issue. A 97,000- pound limit lets you haul more freight with fewer trucks." Tom Crawford, president of the Missouri Truckers Association, said his organization hasn't yet taken a position on the 97,000-pound limit. "Some of the smaller companies are saying, 'don't do that, I can't compete'," he said. There's also the public's concern about the safety of putting heavier trucks on the highway. "Yes, they're a bigger truck to stop," Crawford said. "You can't just suspend the laws of physics." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 60 of 110 But he said the trucking industry has tested the braking efficiency of trucks with an extra axle. "It actually results in a safer stopping distance," he said. Chris Burruss, president of the Truckload Carriers Association based in Alexandria, Va., said he's not convinced higher truck weights would result in a competitive disadvantage for most truckers. "There's a small percentage of steel haulers who think it's a good idea, but the vast majority of haulers are not in support of it." Burruss said truckers who want to haul extra-heavy loads already can get permits to do so, although there is an extra cost for the permit. "I don't see this proposal going anywhere in Washington," he said. "It's too controversial. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 61 of 110 April 30, 2011 Communities gear up to battle closure of highway offices By Wally Kennedy Globe Staff Writer JOPLIN, Mo. — Wagons are being circled in Joplin, Macon and Willow Springs to save district offices operated in those communities by the Missouri Department of Transportation. On Wednesday, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission will receive a report from Kevin Keith, director of the department, suggesting ways the department can become smaller and save money. For their part, department officials have issued no statement confirming the possibility that closing those district offices has been discussed or that closing them will be referenced in the director‘s report. But some of the opponents of the closures firmly believe that the cost-cutting measures will be presented to the commission on Wednesday. ―It‘s a fact that in a senior management meeting the closure of the three district offices was on the agenda for discussion. It was discussed,‘‘ said Wendell Bailey, a resident of Willow Springs who has helped mount a campaign to save the district office in Willow Springs from closure. ―I tried to nail them down as to a recommendation, but I could not find that out. But it was discussed. That‘s a fact.‘‘ For more on this story, pick up a copy of Sunday‘s Joplin Globe or register for here for our e-Edition at www.joplinglobe.com. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 62 of 110 Getting Paid ARCH CITY CHRONICLE by dave | Sat, 04/30/2011 - 1:30pm Rep. Jamilah Nasheed pulled in $5,000 from the Citizens for a Stronger St. Louis campaign according to their April filing. The committee was the vehicle to keep the city‘s earning tax. According to the report, Nasheed was paid for ―strategic campaign oversight.‖ MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 63 of 110 Posted on Fri, Apr. 29, 2011 A house divided stands inside Missouri politics By STEVE KRASKE The Kansas City Star Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders went to bed Thursday convinced that the new boundary line drawn this week between Missouri‘s 5th and 6th congressional districts ran right up the stairway of his Independence home. He would make his morning toast in the 6th, then eat it in the 5th. ―I kiss my kids good night in one congressional district, walk down the hall and sleep in another,‖ he said. ―It‘s about that odd.‖ It was all pretty disconcerting for an elected official who is said to have thought about running for Congress one day — in the Democratic-leaning 5th District, which also includes much of Kansas City. Emanuel Cleaver holds the seat now. The 6th District? That‘s GOP country and a seat held by six-term incumbent Sam Graves. Then shortly before 2 p.m. Friday came word from number-crunchers that despite what it looks like on Google Earth, Sanders‘ two-story suburban home is just a wee bit west of the new district line. That makes Sanders a proud 5th District resident — by exactly 372 inches. ―It‘s obviously bizarre,‖ he said. The boundary lines shifted in recent days as lawmakers raced to meet a Wednesday deadline to send the new map — required every decade to reflect shifts in population — to Gov. Jay Nixon. The previous line was several hundred feet to the southeast. The lines ―should be consistent with someone‘s property lines,‖ explained Missouri Rep. John Diehl, a Town and Country Republican who headed the House redistricting panel. Also, experts say, a house must be within a single census block — and blocks cannot be split between congressional districts. Sanders‘ block is in the 5th, so that‘s his district. Sanders still sounded skeptical Friday afternoon, though he was confident that because his bedroom is on the west side of the house, he‘s a bona fide 5th District resident. ―That‘s the standard that‘s been used in the past,‖ he said, referring to the old political adage of where you sleep is where you live. But at least Sanders has found a conversation starter for his next house party. ―Someone may want to see exactly where the line is.‖ MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 64 of 110 With gas prices rising, officials search for reasons and possible solutions By Robert Koenig, Beacon Washington correspondent Posted 10:20 am Fri., 4.29.11 WASHINGTON - As gasoline prices continued to rise this week — averaging about $3.88 a gallon in the St. Louis area on Friday — federal officials and lawmakers scrambled to assess blame for the increases and find ways to stabilize prices at the pump. President Barack Obama has asked the Justice Department to investigate possible price-gouging or fraud in oil markets. Congress is preparing to vote on proposals to expand oil drilling and scale back tax breaks for the oil industry. And a number of lawmakers, including Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., are pushing for legislative action on "boutique fuels" and other fronts. But gasoline supply experts and many economists contend that the main underlying reasons for this year's gas price increases — instability in the oil-rich Middle East and North Africa, coupled with a decline in the value of the U.S. dollar and a steady increase in the worldwide demand for oil — won't be easily and swiftly solved. In the meantime, the American Automobile Association's Daily Fuel Gauge Report says gas price increases are continuing. The average price for regular gas in the St. Louis area hit $3.88 a gallon on Friday — climbing slowly toward the local record of $3.98 on July 14, 2008, according to Michael J. Right, AAA Missouri's vice president for public affairs. "Prices are continuing to trend upward," he said. The federal government's Energy Information Administration reported that the average price of regular gasoline this week was $3.88 a gallon, up by about a dollar from a year ago. The average price in the Midwest was $3.90 a gallon, but a gallon cost well over $4 in California, Hawaii, Alaska and parts of Illinois. Over the last two years, the average American household's motor fuel expenses are up 76 percent, according to a study by the Oil Price Information Service Missouri ranked 23rd highest among states in the percentage of household income spent on gasoline — 7.9 percent — while Illinois households spent about 5.6 percent of their income on fuel. A recent Washington Post/ABC News survey reported that 7 in 10 respondents said that higher gas prices had caused financial strain on their families; 44 percent said they were driving less because of those prices. However, the typical respondent who has not yet cut back on driving said gas prices would have to reach $5 a gallon before they would significantly change their driving habits. "Missourians are hurting right now with high gas prices," said U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, in a statement Thursday to the Beacon. "We need to ensure that speculators aren't manipulating the market for their own profit, but the solution to our foreign oil addiction does not lie with quick fixes or window-dressing." Price gouging in oil markets? Are profiteers using the current international uneasiness about oil supplies as an excuse to raise prices at the pump? It's a logical question with no easy answer. In a speech last week, Obama said, "There's no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away." But he backed "responsible oil production at home" and directed Attorney General Eric H. Holder to probe reports of gasoline price-gouging. Obama said the goal was to "root out any cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices -- and that includes the role of traders and speculators." If you have a story to share about how you are coping with the rising fuel prices, please respond through our Public Insight Network. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 65 of 110 The St. Louis Beacon, in partnership with KETC/Channel 9, uses this journalism tool to help us solicit knowledge and insight from people who become sources through the Network. Click here to share your insights. There is no doubt that speculation plays a role in international oil prices — as well as the prices of most other commodities — but experts say it is unclear whether there has been any illegal collusion to manipulate the price of oil illegally. "Sometimes people try to intertwine the word 'speculation' — which is part of every economic market we operate in — with [price] 'manipulation,' which is totally illegal and should be punished. There is a major difference," said Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association. Drevna told the Beacon that uncertainty about future Middle East oil supplies has increased oil prices, but so has the drop in the U.S. dollar's value. "We're looking at the lowest value of the dollar in three years," he said. "There's little wonder that investors are out there buying gold and silver and ... speculating on crude oil futures. And that's driving up the price of crude" — even though the oil supply has been adequate. While some critics have blamed refiners and distributors for taking advantage of oil costs to burn consumers, Drevna said U.S. refiners "are doing everything we can to trim costs and prevent a total pass-through [of crude oil price hikes] on to the consumer." In this year's first quarter, he said, the "average retail price of gas has risen 58 cents a gallon while, on a comparative basis, the average cost of crude [oil] has risen 65 cents a gallon." Seeking to link the general dissatisfaction over Big Oil with the need to tackle the federal budget crisis, Obama also has called for scaling back tax credits used by oil companies. "These folks don't need further incentives by getting a better deal than the mom-and-pop shop down the street when they do their taxes," Obama said. "Instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy sources, let's invest in tomorrow's." There is no doubt that big oil companies are faring well. On Thursday, Exxon Mobil Corp. -- the largest U.S. oil company -- announced first-quarter profits of $10.7 billion, an increase of 69 percent compared with the same period last year. It was the fifth consecutive quarter of Exxon earnings increases. Earlier in the day, Royal Dutch Shell -- the parent of Shell Oil -- reported a 30 percent increase in profit for the first quarter. Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate and House, following Obama's lead, will seek a vote as early as next week to end or scale back the $4 billion in tax incentives that oil companies receive. They argue that the tax breaks are subsidies, while the companies regard them as incentives for more oil exploration and production. While diverting such subsidies to greener energy might help in the long term, most observers don't think such tax changes — even if Congress would enact them — would have an impact on current gasoline prices. One opponent of such measures is Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, who chairs a panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He told the Beacon on Thursday that "gas prices are high because of our reliance on imported crude oil in a destabilized world market. That increases the risk factor, which influences commodity traders." Shimkus, who says House Republicans plan to bring up a vote soon on legislation to lessen barriers to U.S. oil exploration and drilling, asserts that the best way to lower gas prices "is more development of oil and gas in the United States and Canada." But Carnahan and others contend that the most logical long-term solution would be shifting to new energy technologies that would lessen the demand for oil. "The only long-term solution to our dependence on resources that come from unstable and unfriendly parts of the world is investing in new energy technology here at home, using whatever means are at our disposal," he said. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 66 of 110 Do 'boutique blends' increase gas prices? Another factor that some contend is exacerbating gas prices at the pump is the prevalence of so-called "boutique fuels" in St. Louis and other areas. A boutique fuel is a unique fuel blend demanded by a state or local air pollution agency and approved by EPA as part of an implementation plan to help meet national air quality standards. This month, Blunt and Kirk gave a joint presentation on the U.S. Senate floor describing an amendment they plan to push that aims to reduce the number of specialized fuel blends. In doing so, they contend, it might help lower gas prices in some areas, especially in times of shortages. "In Missouri, you buy one kind of gas in St. Louis, another blend of fuel in the Kansas City area and a third blend in-between," said Blunt. He said the amendment would cap the number of boutique blends and also allow the president to suspend the requirements for such blends if the supply is disrupted. "If fuel is $4 a gallon, something has to give [because] it impacts the entire economy," Blunt said. "This [amendment] would help solve that problem. Kirk, pointing to a U.S. map placing the 17 different fuel blends — as shown in the EPA's 2006 "Boutique Fuels Report" — said "we have created an incredible [gas] price rigidity in the system ... We should not have 17 different sub-markets with the ability to charge the American driving public higher prices than would otherwise be the case." Blunt says 38 senators back his amendment, which is supported by interest groups such as the Association for Convenience and Petroleum Retailing, which represents the nation's 117,000 convenience stores that sell fuel. The group argues that "the proliferation of boutique fuels has significantly deteriorated the efficiency of the domestic motor fuels distribution system." But others say that capping boutique fuels won't have much of an impact on gas prices at the pump — and environmental groups say eliminating such blends would hurt clean air quality. An energy bill approved in 2005 already limited the future growth of new boutique fuels and gave the EPA some authority "to waive boutique fuel requirements when necessary to help alleviate unexpected supply disruptions." Drevna of the refiners' association told the Beacon that he did not think boutique fuels are having much of an impact on gasoline prices, and will have even less of an impact "as we go to cleaner and cleaner gasolines and blends with ethanol all over the country." He said boutique fuels originally were developed as "a cheaper alternative" for communities that did not want to switch to reformulated gasoline to comply with Clean Air standards. "On average, boutique fuels were always cheaper" than such reformulated gas, he said -- other than at times of emergency or temporary shortages. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 67 of 110 Claire McCaskill's vote makes children suffer from asthma, ad claims THE PITCH By Ben Palosaari, Fri., Apr. 29 2011 @ 11:57AM Golly, lobbying groups are going after politicians early this year. And Sen. Claire McCaskill, who, according to most sources, is vulnerable in her 2012 re-election bid, has found herself targeted by the League of Women Voters. Earlier this month, McCaskill voted for an amendment to a bill that would restrict the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to limit greenhouse gases. The League, which is nonpartisan but has supported environmental protection for decades, is going after McCaskill with a stark new ad (watch it after the jump) that basically says the senator's vote is the reason a little girl is stuck inside with a breathing machine. Roll Call reports that League president Elisabeth MacNamara called out McCaskill and Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown in a statement. "Air pollution is a life or death issue," she said, according the site. "Senators Brown and McCaskill cast dangerous votes that put public health at risk." Interestingly, according to the League's pollution advocacy site, Sen. Roy Blunt was given $1,215,832 in "polluter contributions" compared with McCaskill's $111,250, and Blunt voted for even harsher EPA restrictions. But, presumably because he's not up for re-election next year, Blunt gets a pass on the "it's your fault children are sick" ads. And no cheap shots about Planegate? Come on, League of Women Voters! Those private jets surely pollute a ton. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 68 of 110 League of Women Voters airing TV ads criticizing McCaskill By Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter Posted 10:30 am Fri., 4.29.11 U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has been getting hit regularly with attacks, most of them launched by Republican groups or rivals. But today, she's the target of a new TV ad campaign launched by ---the League of Women Voters? The league has announced that it has "launched a seven-figure television ad campaign calling public attention to the votes by Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass, and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., earlier this month to block new air pollution standards. The accountability ads call on both senators to 'protect the people, not the polluters.' " (Click here to view the ad.) "Air pollution is a life or death issue. Sens. Brown and McCaskill cast dangerous votes that put public health at risk," said Elisabeth MacNamara, national president of the League of Women Voters, in a statement. "In 2010, according to the EPA, the Clean Air Act saved the lives of 160,000 adults and 230 infants. Clean Air Act protections also prevented 130,000 non-fatal heart attacks, 86,000 emergency room visits, and 1.7 million acute asthma attacks that year alone. Voting to block clean air standards is bad for America and deadly for many Americans." The vote in question took place on April 6, on amendment by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) to, as Roll Call explains, "suspend any action by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act regarding carbon dioxide or methane for two years, except in respect to auto emissions." The League notes that the vote came just days after "the American Medical Association warned doctors that increased levels of carbon dioxide, ozone, and other greenhouse gas pollutants make chronic conditions like heart disease and asthma worse." In an interview, MacNamara acknowledged that the League -- more widely known for hosting nonpartisan debates -- rarely runs TV ads attacking a public official. The last time was in 2009, she said, when it ran ads criticizing health-care votes cast by U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. The TV ads running in Missouri and Massachusetts, she said, are part of a "three-pronged approach'' that also include an internet site -- known as a "micro-site" -- highlighting the disparaged votes. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 69 of 110 Cairo, Ill., argues for its life in levee breach plan; others protest BY STEPHEN DEERE • STLtoday.com | Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2011 12:10 am CAIRO, ILL. • This city was once the stuff of literary references, blues lyrics and steamboat culture. Today Cairo is a dilapidated intersection of two rivers and three states, marked by poverty and decay. Now — as floodwater rises around it — the town has become the center of a debate. Why save a dying town? That's the question residents of Mississippi County in Missouri asked this week as some were being evacuated from a floodway. The Army Corps of Engineers is poised to blast a hole in a Missouri levee and let the Mississippi fill 132,000 acres to prevent Cairo from being swamped. For Rosie Burns, the city's payroll clerk, the answer is simple: "There are people here. They'll be homeless." The town's staunchest supporters acknowledge it's a place many of its 3,000 residents want to escape, with its weed-choked sidewalks, burned-out buildings and vacant lots. Still, they say the choice to spare the city and others around it by blowing up a levee farther south and flooding Missouri farmland should be easy. It's human lives versus crops. "I think they've waited too long," said George Bell, who runs a cemetery, trophy award store and a memorial monument business in Cairo. "I can understand why they are concerned for their farms," said Stephen Hurt, who was helping load a relative's belongings into a moving truck. "But this is a community." Flooding nearly half of Mississippi County has been part of the Army Corps of Engineers' contingency plan since 1928, but this week it sparked an interstate legal battle in federal court between Missouri and Illinois. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. found the corps' plan to breach the Birds Point levee appropriate to ensure navigation and flood control along the still-rising Mississippi. The river's crest at the Cairo flood wall could reach 60.5 feet — a foot above its 1937 record high — by Tuesday and stay at that level several days before slowly retreating, according to the National Weather Service office in Paducah, Ky. Cairo's wall protects the town up to 64 feet, but there's concern that a lingering crest could put extra pressure on the wall and on earthen levees protecting other parts of the city. Jim Pogue, the region's Army Corps spokesman, said the agency remained "in a wait-and-see stage" Friday, with twin barges loaded with explosives docked six hours downriver from the Birds Point levee. Pogue said corps engineers would meet this morning and determine whether to go ahead with the plan or to hold off another day. On Friday, Cairo Mayor Judson Childs was urging residents to voluntarily leave the city as water began seeping through the ground in different areas. The post office had closed; so had the bank. Outside City Hall, a bus waited to evacuate to people to a shelter in Ullin, Ill., 20 miles north. A work crew from the state prison in Tamms was filling sandbags in the parking lot of the NAPA Auto Parts store to plug a sand boil near one of the three levees that surround the town. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 70 of 110 In the southern part of town, Commercial Avenue was blocked with concrete barricades because of a large sinkhole. An Illinois Army National Guardsman walking near the hole dropped as his foot crashed through the asphalt. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin toured Cairo on Friday afternoon with local and state politicians. Durbin held a news conference at the base of a sand boil that had flooded hundreds of yards of vacant land. Water trickled over a wall of sandbags while he spoke. "If this is going to turn out to be a battle of lawyers on both sides of the river, then a lot of innocent people could be harmed," Durbin said. "Most of us believe this city is worth saving." The city at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers was once a valuable hub for river transport at a fort commanded by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War, and Mark Twain referenced Cairo in his "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." In the 1920s, the city's population peaked with 15,000 residents. It became a flash point in the civil rights movement when black residents boycotted white businesses in the struggle over segregation. Residents said the city had been in decline ever since, as businesses left and people fled in search of jobs. "Our most important asset, our youth, have left the community," Bell said. Over the past few years, arson has become a defining characteristic of the city's landscape. "It's spooky," remarked Robin Hinton, a machinist from Karnak, Ill., about 25 miles northeast. Hinton hadn't seen Cairo since he was in high school in 1970s. He had come on his day off to see the dying city that had pitted two states against one another. "It's kind of a ghost town," he said. The Associated Press contributed to this report. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 71 of 110 KRASKE: The week Peter Kinder wants to forget -- forever Steve Kraske. KC STAR Peter Kinder surely looked into the mirror at some point last week and questioned the wisdom of his birth. Because Missouri‘s lieutenant governor, the presumed Republican candidate for governor next year against incumbent Jay Nixon, had a lousy, no good, very bad week — one in which he stepped all over himself so many times that he looked like a footprint exhibit at the FBI academy. At week‘s end, he wasn‘t talking about it. Who could blame him? He might have made things worse. Let‘s take it day-by-day: Monday: At about 4 a.m. Monday, a bad guy stole Kinder‘s 2009 Ford Flex from outside his Cape Girardeau home. (It didn‘t take a master thief: The keys were in the ignition and the car doors unlocked.) The thief and a sidekick later drove the car out of town and, using two cans of gasoline, set it on fire and char- broiled it Whopper-style. Later that day, Kinder spoke at a naturalization ceremony. Scott Moyers, a reporter at the Southeast Missourian where Kinder once worked as associate publisher, wrote that Kinder was articulate ―as always‖ and may have even gotten emotional. It‘s easy to do at naturalization ceremonies. Then Kinder ―veered off course‖ by questioning whether President Barack Obama is a believer in American exceptionalism, Moyers said. That‘s the notion that the United States has special character given its status as a free, democratic nation. All presidents ―until the current one‖ were believers, Kinder said. Obama‘s ―own statements have cast some doubt on the matter.‖ Kinder might have picked a better time and place to unload, Moyers said. ―There‘s a time and a place for everything,‖ he said. ―This wasn‘t it.‖ Tuesday: Kinder announced that he‘ll repay the state $52,000 out of his own pocket for more than 300 hotel stays in the St. Louis area that he had billed to taxpayers. The Post-Dispatch questioned whether those hotel stays had been appropriate, given that those stays coincided with Tea Party rallies, charity galas hosted by campaign contributors, and the wedding of a political friend, among other events. Kinder had originally vowed to repay about $35,000 out of his campaign funds. The decision to pay more raised questions as to what Kinder based the new figure on. Also Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel dismissed Kinder‘s challenge of the new federal health care law. Said Sippel: The state may have standing to test the law but, as an individual, Kinder did not. Responded Kinder, ―Today Judge Sippel has slammed federal courthouse doors in the face of Missourians.‖ Wednesday: News reports indicate that Kinder‘s assertion that chunks of his personal calendar had been chewed up by state computers was inaccurate. Turns out that Kinder‘s schedule, valuable in determining what state business justified all those hotel stays, were archived in the Capitol. Kinder‘s office had assumed that because it couldn‘t access the items from its computers that the entire schedule was lost. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 72 of 110 Kinder‘s office shot back that making the calendar public will cost thousands and take weeks. Also Wednesday, Kinder again injected politics into state business, tweeting that at an emergency meeting about southeast Missouri flooding, he bumped into Major Gen. Michael Walsh of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. That‘s the same man, Kinder said, that (Democratic) Sen. Barbara Boxer had once ―so shamefully dressed down‖ because Walsh addressed her as ―ma‘am‖ instead of ―senator.‖ ―I apologized to him on behalf of all Americans for Sen. Boxer‘s truly disgraceful stunt. Now we are off to Mississippi County…‖ Thursday: The AP and The Star report, ―The Missouri auditor‘s office said Thursday that it will review whether Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder properly calculated a $52,320 check he wrote to the state to cover potentially questionable travel reimbursements.‖ Friday: I wrote this column. Politicians bounce back from bad weeks all the time. But Kinder‘s raised questions about just how ready he is for the campaign ahead. In governor‘s races, the stakes are big and the pitches come high and tight. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 73 of 110 SHOWDOWN LOOMS OVER STIMULUS FUNDS BILL Posted: Friday, April 29, 2011 3:00 pm | Updated: 1:54 pm, Fri Apr 29, 2011. By Jason Rosenbaum, Missourian Correspondent A showdown could be looming over legislation reappropriating money for numerous projects funded with federal stimulus dollars. The bill in question extends the authority of state departments to spend roughly $538 million, much of which is derived from federal stimulus dollars. Among other things, the bill contains $170.13 million aimed at weatherization and energy efficiency, $49.95 million for bolstering wastewater infrastructure and roughly $14.12 million for expanding health care information technology. ―The purpose of it is to make sure that those projects that have already been decided upon as beneficial public projects get completed,‖ said Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia. ―Some of them depending on where they are in the process during reauthorization could be halfway finished. They could be just starting, they could be anywhere in between.‖ The House approved the legislation without much debate on Thursday. But the matter could become controversial when it comes to the Senate. That‘s because a pledge to cut money out of that measure prompted several senators — including Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington — to end a filibuster of a bill extending federal unemployment benefits with stimulus money. Nieves said in an interview on Tuesday that cutting the money is about reducing Missouri‘s dependency on the federal government. ―And I know a lot of people don‘t agree… but that‘s just my personal philosophy that stimulus dollars that come from the federal government to a state are very similar to welfare,‖ Nieves said. ―And every time we as a state put out our hand and receive stimulus dollars, we‘re just putting ourselves in a position to become more and more dependent on federal government.‖ But reducing the bill by $250 million could be challenging. Some Republican lawmakers — such as Schaefer and House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey, R-Clay County — have said they were not part of any deal to cut money out of the bill. Nieves said the players involved in the budget debate are still negotiating about what exactly to cut from the bill. One thing that could put proponents of cutting the bill in a better position, he said, is if the cuts are made before the legislation makes it to the floor. That, he said, ―puts us in a better position to not have any shenanigans turn things around at the last minute.‖ But Nieves said his optimism that ―the number is going to be $250 million is waning.‖ ―I think you‘re looking at a minimum of $150 million and a maximum of $250 million,‖ Nieves said. ―It‘s like I said on the floor the other day concerning a different issue — I‘ve lost in my life more than I won. I‘m going to keep fighting for my position and do everything I can.‖ Schaefer said there would be different consequences to cutting a project out of a bill. For instance, he said if a project hadn‘t been started yet and it was removed from the legislation, then it would not take shape. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 74 of 110 ―Taking it farther down the continuum, if that project is started, you could potentially have projects that are a quarter of the way through, half way through, maybe almost completely finished and then appropriation goes away and the project can‘t be finished,‖ Schaefer said. Whether or not legislators will come to an agreement, Nieves said, is unknown at this point. But he added targeting the reappropriations bill was the most realistic approach to opposing federal stimulus dollars, as opposed to trying to block the state‘s operating budget. ―I try to enter into battles where I have some glimmer of hope of winning,‖ Nieves said. ―The fight for the stimulus dollars that are in HB18 is the battle that there is the possibility we can win. Trying to filibuster the entire budget is a battle that is beyond David and Goliath.‖ MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 75 of 110 Posted on Fri, Apr. 29, 2011 Nixon vetoes worker bias bill JEFFERSON CITY | Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday vetoed legislation that would have weakened legal protections for Missouri workers claiming discrimination on the job. In a veto ceremony in St. Louis, Nixon, a Democrat, said the bill undermines the Missouri Human Rights Act and would have ―rolled back decades of progress‖ on civil rights. ―The bill would make it harder to prove discrimination in the workplace and would throw new hurdles in the path of those whose rights have been violated,‖ he said. ―That is unacceptable, and it stops here.‖ The bill passed by wide margins in the Republican-dominated House and Senate. Lawmakers could override the governor‘s veto with two-thirds majorities in both chambers. The bill passed the Senate with such a majority, but not the House. Under the legislation, workers suing an employer for discrimination would have had to prove discrimination was a ―motivating‖ factor in an illegal action by their employers. Currently, workers need to prove discrimination is merely a ―contributing‖ factor. It also would have given employers more leeway in firing workers who reported instances of workplace misconduct and capped damage awards in discrimination and whistleblower cases. Business groups that supported the measure argued it would have made Missouri more attractive to employers. KC STAR | Jason Noble MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 76 of 110 Nixon vetoes changes to Human Rights Act By Jo Mannies, Beacon Political Reporter Updated 5:10 pm Fri., 4.29.11 Declaring that "all people are entitled to equal protection under the law," Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon stood in front of St. Louis' historic Old Courthouse -- made famous by the Dred Scott slave trial -- to veto a bill that would have altered the state's anti-discrimination laws and made it harder to sue. "Its ugliness is unmistakable in any light, in any angle," Nixon said, touching off rousing applause from an audience made up, in part, of people representing those who he said would have been hurt by SB 188: minorities, the disabled, women and the elderly. The bill that would have changed Missouri's Human Rights Act, he said, sought to roll back "decades of progress in protecting civil rights. The bill would make it harder to prove discrimination in the workplace and would throw new hurdles in the paths of those whose rights have been violated" "That is unseemly," the governor said. "It is not who we are. It stops here." The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry accused Nixon of engaging in "a political stunt" and misrepresenting the bill's provisions and intentions. "Today's bill-vetoing event at the St. Louis Courthouse was a continuation of the charade,'' said chamber chief executive Dan Mehan in a statement. The veto was Nixon's first during this legislative session, and he called on allies "to make your voices heard in the halls of the Capitol" and prevent an override by the Missouri House and Senate. "You are the people who have marched and sacrificed and stood up for the mistreated," Nixon said, referring to his audience of activists and like-minded public officials. Nixon cited several specific cases of people who had successfully sued under the state's Human Rights Act, which he lauded as a document that is "much much more than words on paper. It's a living covenant and a call to action." The act's provisions made it "so that people with disabilities could lead full and independent lives," he said, and "so little girls can reach the same dreams as little boys." The act was "under attack," he said, because it was successful in fighting injustice. He singled out the work of various local activists, living and deceased, such as Max Starkloff, the disabled founder of Paraquad; former Lt. Gov. Harriett Woods and former Rep. Sue Shear, who fought for women's rights; and civil rights activists Minnie Liddell, Norman Seay and Frankie Freeman. Nixon took exception to the bill's supporters, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who said the measure would end "frivolous lawsuits" and would put Missouri anti-discrimination statutes more in line with federal laws. In a detailed document circulated at the news conference, Nixon laid out a number of examples where he said that SB 188 would have make Missouri's law much weaker than those in Washington. Among other things in the bill, he cited: Restrictions against punitive damages in housing-discrimination cases; Limits on the rights to a jury trial; MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 77 of 110 Limited the rights of seasonal workers; Provisions that he said could jeopardize federal funding for the Missouri Human Rights Commission. "Protecting human rights is not a matter of politics," added Nixon, who is running for re-election in 2012. "It's a matter of principle." But Chamber President Dan Mehan said, "Simply put, the legislation would have made Missouri's employment law mirror that of the federal Civil Rights Act, like the majority of states in our nation. ... Missouri laws are so unfairly skewed that employers are unable to adequately defend themselves against even the most frivolous claims. Missouri businesses cannot move the state forward and recover from recession without modest protections from frivolous lawsuits and the constant barrage of trial lawyers filing lawsuits hoping for a big payoff... "Missouri courts have eroded the law to the point that Missouri holds the distinction of some of the lowest standards for discrimination lawsuits in the nation," Mehan continued. "In Missouri courts, the employer is guilty until proven innocent. Today’s veto and orchestrated, inflammatory event sends the wrong message to the business community." Nixon's choice of the Old Courthouse as the backdrop for his veto-signing did send a political message, as well as one of policy. Nixon garnered standing ovations from the leaders of various civil-rights and social activists groups who have at times contended that he has been too accommodating in recent legislative and governmental battles -- many of them unsuccessful -- to expand state spending on social services and health care. In fact, he made a point during a news conference after his speech in noting that he has tried "to work collaboratively with business across the state." Nixon cited, for example, his recent signing of a bill that phases out Missouri's business franchise tax. But in the case of SB 188, he said, "this bill was wrong for a number of reasons. ... You're not going to build the economy by going backward on individual rights." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 78 of 110 Jay Nixon vetoes employment BY JASON HANCOCK STLtoday.com | Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2011 12:20 am ST. LOUIS • Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a bill Friday that would have made it more difficult to prove discrimination cases against former employers. Then he all but eliminated any chance of compromise on the issue, saying he would "not cede one inch of ground." The measure is one of six legislative priorities the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has lobbied lawmakers to pass this year. It would have required workers who claim discrimination in wrongful termination lawsuits to prove that bias was a "motivating" factor. The current standard requires them to prove only that it was a "contributing" factor. It would also have lowered the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in an employment discrimination case. In addition, the bill contains language to protect businesses facing lawsuits by fired whistle-blowers unless it is clear the fired employee alerted authorities to an illegal act. That proposal has been pushed by business groups for several years as a result of a 2003 lawsuit against Clayton-based Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co. Nixon said the legislation would have rolled back decades of progress in protecting civil rights. "Protecting human rights is not a matter of politics," Nixon said while standing in front of the St. Louis courthouse where Dred Scott sued unsuccessfully for his freedom from slavery in the 1850s. "It is a matter of principle. That is why I will veto Senate Bill 188." The bill faced opposition from many groups, including the AARP, the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League. Nixon urged organizations and individuals opposing the measure to "lock arms" to help ensure his veto is not overturned. Richard AuBuchon, general counsel for the Missouri chamber, said the chances that something could be worked out before the legislative session ended that the governor would be willing to sign, were slim. "The governor hasn't talked to us about what he'd like to see in the bill," AuBuchon said. "And this issue isn't new. He knows what's in it." Daniel Mehan, Missouri chamber president, said opponents of the bill had made public statements that were misleading about what it actually would do. It was designed to put the state in line with federal law, reduce frivolous lawsuits and ensure more timely and fair resolution for legitimate discrimination cases, he said. Norma Collins, advocacy director for the AARP, said the bill would have simply made it easier to discriminate. "It absolutely would make it easier," she said. "We're going to work hard to fight against any override attempt, if it happens, because we just can't let this bill become law." The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, said the Senate would attempt to override the governor's veto, although he isn't sure the effort will get enough traction in the House to succeed. House Speaker Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, said he would look at whether the chamber could secure the two- thirds majority required to overturn the governor's decision. The employee discrimination bill passed the House on a 93-63 vote. An override would need 109 votes. It passed the Senate on a 25-9 vote. Jake Wagman of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report from St. Louis. Jason Hancock reported from Jefferson City. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 79 of 110 Nixon vetoes workplace discrimination bill Workers would have had to meet a higher standard in lawsuits. 11:00 PM, Apr. 29, 2011 | Written by Wes Duplantier The Associated Press JEFFERSON CITY -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Friday that would have changed the legal standard workers must meet when they file discrimination lawsuits against former employers. Nixon said the measure would have undermined the Missouri Human Rights Act and rolled back decades of civil rights progress. "The bill would make it harder to prove discrimination in the workplace, and would throw new hurdles in the path of those whose rights have been violated," the governor said in prepared remarks. "That is unacceptable, and it stops here." Members of Springfield's Mayor's Commission on Human Rights were in attendance for Nixon's veto Friday. "It would set back the advancement of civil rights," George Davis, chair of the mayor's commission, said of SB 188. "We are very pleased to stop it." The mayor's commission now is urging the public to prevent a possible override of the veto. "The MCHR maintains that the restructuring of the Missouri Human Rights Act is a dangerous endeavor, which weakens hard-won protections for Missouri citizens and is an ineffective way of promoting business in Missouri, ..." a written statement reads. "Reversing hard-fought human rights laws, which were passed during the Civil Rights movement, may be good for big business, but do Missourians really want to take a step backwards one-half of a century to accomplish this?" Davis asked the legislators to work with local communities in addressing the employer-employee relationship. He said it hurts the area for local lawmakers to support the bill. "You know, for the city that is constantly working on diversity and inclusion, I feel this is a black eye in our area," Davis said. "It will not be accepted or tolerated." Lawmakers approved the bill earlier this month, with supporters saying it would benefit the state's economy. The legislation would have required workers who claim discrimination in wrongful firing lawsuits to prove that bias was a "motivating" factor, not just a "contributing" factor, as is now the case. It also would have limited punitive damages, ranging from $50,000 to $300,000, depending on the size of the company. Similar limits would have applied to whistleblowers who report incidents of discrimination to state authorities, if they sued their employer for retaliating against them. The measure would have prohibited any punitive damages from being awarded in suits that involve government agencies. It also would have excluded individuals from liability, meaning that suits could only be brought against the employer. The legislature had taken up the issue as one of six pro-business changes that the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry and various other business groups had endorsed. The chamber said the measure would have simply aligned state law with federal statutes. The group said that would have given businesses MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 80 of 110 more certainty about whether they could be sued or not, which would have led to the creation of more jobs in the state. Chamber president Daniel Mehan said earlier this week that the state could risk being labeled "anti-employer" if Nixon opposed the legislation. Nixon disputed that notion Friday, saying the bill would have given businesses less incentive to prevent discrimination, which he said would do nothing to create jobs. "To thrive in a global economy and uphold these values that we share, Missouri must be a state that continues to move forward -- not backward -- when it comes to civil rights and equal opportunity," he said. In a letter detailing his veto, Nixon said the legislation is "characterized by an overarching lack of accountability" for acts of discrimination. As the measure moved through the legislature, Nixon received several dozen letters about the legislation from businesses urging him to sign the measure and from civil rights groups pressing him to reject it. In one letter, Nimrod Chapel Jr., the president of the Jefferson City chapter of the NAACP, likened the legislation to a form of "Jim Crow era laws." Lawmakers could override Nixon's veto if two-thirds of the House and Senate vote to do so. In the Senate, where the measure was backed by a veto-proof majority, President Pro Team Rob Mayer indicated this past week that the measure could be taken up again before the end of the legislative session. He said it would help companies be better informed when making legal decisions. "We believe that this bill helps create harmony across the board" for businesses, said Mayer, R-Dexter. But the measure cleared the House with just 93 supporters, 16 short of the majority necessary to override the governor. Republicans, who largely supported the bill, would need all of their caucus and four Democrats to support an override vote, something House Minority Leader Mike Talboy said he doubted would happen. "I anticipate it being very close, if not more Democrats voting to uphold the veto," said Talboy, D-Kansas City. Workplace discrimination is SB188. Online: Legislature: http://moga.mo.gov MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 81 of 110 OFFICIAL PROCLAMATION: APRIL 29, 2011 IS STAND AGAINST RACISM DAY ST. JOSEPH NEWS PRESS Reported by: William Seay The proclamation came at 10:15 am: "By virtue of the authority vested in me as the mayor of the city of St. Joseph, I do hereby proclaim Friday, April 29, 2011, as Stand Against Racism Day in St. Joseph, Missouri," said Deputy St. Joseph Mayor Byron Myers. St. Joseph's YWCA has always stood against racism, but now there's an official day for it. And those who came out in support say racism nowadays is evolving. "People are a little bit more covert. You don't see as many overt acts of racism reported. But it's still alive and well in our society so you can't escape it," said attendee Tay Triggs, who also works with Multicultural Education at Missouri Western State University. Pam Tyler, who organized the Stand Against Racism is encouraged by the support. "It makes me feel wonderful. All the St. Joe public high schools signed up…they're doing stands today. And I hope that it continues to grow each year," Tyler said. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon proclaimed the day Stand Against Racism day too. Those in attendance say that it's more than just coming to an event and agreeing with proclamations: "We do these kinds of things…we gather and we have these proclamations. We say what we believe. But how do we follow it up? And that's the important part," Triggs said. "It's something that some people will have to work at every day. Everyone's beliefs may be different, but it's something we can work toward changing," said Tyler. 35 separate locations gathered in support of Stand Against Racism day in St. Joseph. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 82 of 110 Posted on Fri, Apr. 29, 2011 Missouri instructors say they were threatened after posting of misleading video By MARÁ ROSE WILLIAMS The Kansas City Star A University of Missouri-Kansas City labor studies professor says she‘s been bombarded by ―ugly e-mails and scary telephone calls‖ since a political website posted what school officials say was a doctored video suggesting she supports union violence. In response, UMKC has posted uniformed police — and others in civilian clothes — in and around Judy Ancel‘s classroom, said university spokesman John Austin. A second instructor shown in the video, Don Giljum, said he has received two death threats since Monday, when the video appeared on Andrew Breitbart‘s Big Government site. Giljum has since resigned as adjunct professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The Internet video purports to show the professors advocating violence while team-teaching — by videoconference — a class on labor, politics and society. But in a statement released Thursday, UMKC provost Gail Hackett said the video was edited and rearranged to depict their statements ―in an inaccurate and distorted manner.‖ Ancel said that in one snippet, ―Giljum‘s clothing changes midsentence.‖ Breitbart did not respond today to e-mails seeking comment. His posting, however, prompted a number of threatening comments on the Big Government site. One responder talked about buying ammo and added, ―I won‘t shoot first, but I do expect to shoot last.‖ Ancel, who directs UMKC‘s Institute for Labor Studies, issued a statement this morning. ―My students and I are outraged at Mr. Breitbart‘s invasion of our classroom and his attempts to intimidate us and my colleagues at the university,‖ she wrote. Later, Ancel said she was speaking for herself, not the university. Ancel said comments made by the instructors over several days were snipped, moved and pasted together so they appeared to endorse violence. ―This is in fact the opposite of the position both instructors took in class,‖ Ancel said. The class, a collaboration between UMKC and UMSL, is regularly recorded as a reference for students. The video is posted on a closed-circuit university bulletin board and requires a student‘s or instructor‘s password to access. Ancel has halted further video recording of the class. She and Giljum said they believe a student may have helped Big Government gain access to the recorded lecture. Ancel said any examination of labor history would be incomplete without looking at union violence, and she gave examples of how those discussions were altered. In Breitbart‘s version, she is shown telling her students, ―Violence is a tactic, and it‘s to be used when it‘s the appropriate tactic.‖ MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 83 of 110 In reality, she said, students were discussing nonviolence after watching a film on the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers‘ strike and the assassination of Martin Luther King. ―I said, ‗One guy in the film said violence is a tactic, and it‘s to be used when it‘s the appropriate tactic.‘ … Breitbart took out the part about me saying ‗one guy in the film.‘ His editing has literally put words in my mouth that were not mine,‖ Ancel said. Giljum‘s resignation came after 10 years of teaching at the St. Louis campus, where administrators declined to give details on why Giljum left. ―We are very limited in what we can or will say in response to individual personnel issues,‖ spokesman Bob Samples said. ―Mr. Giljum offered to resign, and UMSL accepted his resignation.‖ But Giljum said administrators asked him to resign, cancel his last class and leave immediately. ―I did not want to,‖ he said. Giljum said he‘s confident his students would confirm he didn‘t promote violence. ―If they say I did, then I owe them all a huge apology because I failed as a teacher.‖ Giljum was scheduled to retire Sunday as business manager for Operating Engineers Local 148 but opted to leave Thursday. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 84 of 110 Apr 29, 7:40 PM EDT KC university supports lecturer in video flap ALAN SCHER ZAGIER KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- University of Missouri-Kansas City officials say they're standing behind a labor studies professor whose lecture comments about union agitation tactics have created an Internet stir among conservative commentators. Video clips on conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website show professor Judy Ancel seemingly endorsing violence as a union tactic during a recent class. UMKC Provost Gail Hackett pledged support for the academic freedom of the school's professors and said videos posted on Breitbart's site rely on "selective editing" and are presented in "an inaccurate and distorted manner." A campus review of 18 hours of unedited video continues, Hackett said in a statement released late Thursday. Breitbart was at the center of two video controversies in recent years - one that led to the firing of a U.S. Agriculture Department employee over an edited video of what appeared to be a racist remark, and another that embarrassed the community group ACORN when workers were shown counseling actors posing as a prostitute and pimp. In the Kansas City video incident, Ancel says she was paraphrasing a statement made in a documentary shown in class about the 1968 Memphis garbage workers' strike and Martin Luther King's assassination. Ancel, director of the university's Institute for Labor Studies, called the Breitbart video "part of a broad agenda to weaken unions." The professor called the Internet images "chop shop manufactured videos" and suggested that public dissemination of the edited lectures - obtained from a university website available only to students enrolled in the class - is a possible violation of federal privacy laws. Hackett raised similar concerns. "This kind of attach has an enormously chilling effect," she said. The edited videos also featured comments about union tactics from Don Giljum, an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis who helped Ancel teach the class. Giljum, a former union business manager who represented workers at utility Ameren Corp., resigned this week. Giljum did not return a phone call by the AP seeking comment Friday. Breitbart, when reached by the AP, declined comment but referred a reporter to a posting on his website. The posting attributed to someone writing under the name "Insurgent Visuals" accuses Ancel of distorting a quote from the film. The posting also features a video clip from the documentary apparently shown in Ancel's class in which a former Memphis sanitation worker discusses "nonviolence as a tactic," not violence. "Ancel cannot deny that she and Giljum were discussing violent tactics - and in Giljum's case, recalling his personal experience in using fear and intimidation," according to the posting on Breitbart's site. Breitbart is best known for disseminating an edited video that showed a U.S. Agriculture Department employee making what appeared to be racist remarks. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 85 of 110 Shirley Sherrod, who is black, was fired from her job as Georgia state rural development director in July 2010 after the video surfaced. She is seen telling a local NAACP group that she was initially reluctant to help a white farmer save his farm more than two decades ago, long before she worked for USDA. Missing from the clip was the rest of the speech, which was meant as a lesson in racial healing. Sherrod told the crowd she eventually realized her mistake and helped the farmer save his farm. She has since filed a lawsuit against Breitbart. Breitbart's websites also featured a 2009 hidden-camera sting video that brought embarrassment to the community group ACORN. The videos show ACORN staffers offering advice on taxes and other issues to actors posing as a prostitute and pimp. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 86 of 110 Health care reform and you KTVO-TV by Ela Soroka Posted: 04.29.2011 at 1:40 PM KIRKSVILLE, MO. -- The Missouri Foundation for Health held a town hall meeting Thursday night at A.T. Still University to discuss how the health care reform is impacting Missourians. Health policy analyst Thomas McAuliffe says a lot of Americans are against the health care reform simply because they don't fully understand what it entails. "The biggest misconception about it is that it's going to bankrupt our country and that it's going to cost so much more money to get Missourians and Americans more health insurance," McAuliffe said. "The fact of the matter is that we are already paying so much for health insurance. What we pay for health insurance is paying for the uninsured and the under insured and this law tries to even that out so that all of us will have access to affordable health insurance." McAuliffe also says another reason many people don't understand the bill is simply because its too long, the actual bill is about 250 pages long. Portions of the law kicked in last year, but the most important part of the bill won't take place until the year 2014. "The first part of the law started last year in 2010 and will be implemented until 2018. But the really big portion of the law kicks-in in 2014, that's when all Americans will have to have health insurance," McAuliffe said. "That's when these market places or exchanges will be up and running and those are possibly the most important, that's where small businesses and individuals who can't currently purchase insurance will be able to go to a market place and purchase insurance." So the question is how will the government keep track and on who has health insurance and who doesn't? "Everyone's W2 forms and their tax forms will have a section showing what their employer pays or what they pay for insurance and that will be reported to the IRS," said McAuliffe. If you don't have health insurance by then you could face a fine. The first year you will be slapped with a $95 fine, the fine will go up in price every year you don't carry health insurance. If you would like to learn more about the health care reform of if you have any questions you would like McAuliffe to answer you can click here for Cover Missouri's website. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 87 of 110 Narcotics Detective Outlines Meth Lab Warning Signs Posted: Friday, April 29, 2011 6:00 pm | Updated: 1:56 pm, Fri Apr 29, 2011. By Paul Hackbarth, Missourian Staff Writer Covers on windows, surveillance cameras and neighbors awake at odd hours are some of the possible signs of a methamphetamine lab, according to the head of the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit. Detective Sgt. Jason Grellner, unit leader, spoke to about 45 people Tuesday evening during an educational forum at Washington‘s city hall about things they can do to help law enforcement agencies curb the meth problem in the area. ―As police we‘re naturally suspicious, so if it‘s suspicious to you as citizens, it‘s really suspicious to us,‖ Grellner said. ―When you as neighbors and community leaders find something, it‘s off the radar for us.‖ When asked what meth smells likes, Grellner said the odor is hard to describe, noting that one-pot or shake- and-bake labs do not have much of a smell. During the process of making meth, anhydrous ammonia is produced. Grellner said sometimes the ammonia or ether, an ingredient used to make meth, can be smelled. Sometimes meth cooks will filter the drug through activated charcoal. Deputies also have seen crushed crackers, kitty litter and other materials used for filtering purposes. Grellner said meth causes users to stay awake, so ―if you see your neighbor awake at odd hours or there is a lot of traffic to and from their house,‖ it might be a meth lab, Grellner said. Other signs include trash bags or other types of covers over windows and heavy-duty locks on homes or garages where labs may be located. Additionally, Grellner said about every meth lab he has visited had surveillance cameras on the property. ―Be alert. Know what‘s going on in your community and call the police,‖ he said, adding that tips can be made anonymously. During the presentation, Grellner showed ingredients commonly used to manufacture meth. The ingredients used in one-pot labs, which can produce about 2 grams of meth, can fit inside of a toaster box, as Grellner demonstrated. The ingredients include fish aquarium tubing, sulfuric acid, salt, cold packs, empty soda and water bottles, a funnel, coffee filters, drain cleaners, ether, lithium batteries, aluminum foil and a box of cold tablets containing pseudoephedrine. Many of the ingredients are dangerous and extremely flammable, Grellner said, noting that is why many labs are the sources of fires. Grellner also spoke about the CHEM (Companies Helping Eliminate Meth) program, which was started in the late 1990s in partnership with The Missourian. The program teaches retailers about what items in their stores can be purchased and used to manufacture meth. ―We want information from retailers to look for things being sold together that could be used to make meth,‖ he said, adding that retailers also should look for a pattern of people buying certain items repeatedly. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 88 of 110 If cashiers or employees suspect the items may be used to make meth, they are encouraged to get a list of items purchased, the purchaser‘s name and address if possible from a check or credit card, a physical description of the buyer and a vehicle description and license plate number, if possible. That information should be given to a manager who can pass it on to law enforcement. ―Waiting two to three hours can mean the difference between cold tablets and meth,‖ Grellner said. ―Information can lead to an investigation which can lead to an arrest which can lead to the end of the problem.‖ In addition, he suggested contacting state Sen. Brian Nieves, who Grellner said is against a statewide proposal requiring prescriptions for products containing pseudoephedrine. Nieves said the requirement goes against personal rights. ―But there are so many other rights that are violated by the right to make meth,‖ Grellner said. Washington was the first community in the nation to adopt an ordinance making items with pseudoephedrine available by prescription only. Similar ordinances have been adopted across the state. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 89 of 110 Ameren Missouri disputes property tax bill By Taylor Muller KIRKSVILLE DAILY EXPRESS Posted Apr 28, 2011 @ 12:28 PM Last update Apr 28, 2011 @ 12:31 PM Kirksville, Mo. — Ameren Missouri is protesting its statewide property tax assessment, leading locally to the temporary holding of about a third of a million in tax dollars normally distributed to schools, health care providers and other taxing entities. Utility company Ameren Missouri is protesting its state-assessed property value for 2010 in the 63-county area it serves in Missouri, including St. Louis. While the utility company fully paid its state- and locally-assessed property tax bills, a portion of those funds are being held pending a decision by the State Tax Commission. According to Lisa Manzo, Ameren Missouri Communications executive, ―It is in the best interest of our customers and shareholders that Ameren Missouri not overpay our taxes.‖ She said in an e-mail that the State Tax Commission had ―failed to provide support on how they came up with their proposed higher value for 2010 that drove the property tax we paid.‖ Maureen Monaghan, hearing officer with the State Tax Commission, reported Ameren Missouri was assessed a total state value of $1,225,649,535 in 2010, up more than $40 million from $1,184,857,180 in 2009. She said property tax rates vary from county to county depending on the amount of state- and locally-assessed property, but Ameren Missouri is billed about 7 percent of its state-assessed value for its annual tax bill. The state property tax assessment includes actual property, vehicles and any equipment or facility used in transmitting or generating power that is not locally assessed. Monaghan said the disagreement is similar to when a personal property owner disputes their assessed value and tax bill. For Adair County, it means Ameren Missouri paid its total tax bill of $998,604.96, however, it filed a protest on about one-third of those taxes, stating it believed the assessment was inaccurate and the utility was being over-billed. That protest leaves about $335,000 in a dedicated, interest-bearing account with the Adair County collector until the State Tax Commission issues a decision. Those funds are earmarked for several local taxing entities, with the bulk going toward the school districts in the county, primarily the Kirksville R-III district. Adair County Collector David Erwin said the funds would likely be distributed – either partially back to Ameren Missouri or to the taxing entities – once a decision is reached, which could take years. The State Tax Commission will be charged with hearing Ameren Missouri‘s evidence as well as state assessments, with the discovery period currently underway. ―Because of how complicated the properties are it can take awhile to value and hold hearings and then the appeal process,‖ Monaghan said. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 90 of 110 She pointed out how in personal property assessment, similar to the state assessment, subjective judgements can vary an item‘s value significantly. Until an agreement is reached, the county‘s taxing entities – including the La Plata and Adair nursing homes, the county library, health department, SB40, La Plata Fire District and cities of Kirksville, Novinger, Brashear and Village of Gibbs, as well as the Kirksville R-III, Adair Counties R-I and R-II and La Plata school districts – have a revenue hole where Ameren‘s protested tax dollars would have been. ―It‘s not a matter of pay nothing, even if the court rules in favor of Ameren there will likely just be a reduction in what they pay,‖ Kirksville R-III Superintendent Patrick Williams told the board of education earlier this week. Ameren‘s tax protest means about $200,000 of the taxes being held by the county collector is earmarked for the Kirksville R-III school district. Williams said the district had been told to expect the funds in the next few years, however, the lack of disbursement does affect the district‘s budget. ―It‘s money we had planned for but won‘t be seeing for awhile,‖ said Assistant Superintendent Jane Schaper. The district recently announced $500,000 in budget reductions, eliminating positions as it attempts to address falling state revenues. Ameren, meanwhile, has filed for a $263 million rate increase that if approved would increase the average customer‘s bill by $9 a month. Schaper reported to the board that increased federal revenue and local tax collection had helped make up for the utility‘s expected tax dollars. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 91 of 110 PSC: Ameren should refund customers $17M St. Louis Business Journal - by Kelsey Volkmann Date: Thursday, April 28, 2011, 5:05pm CDT Electric customers of Ameren Missouri should receive a $17.1 million refund, regulators said Thursday. The Missouri Public Service Commission said it determined that certain Ameren Missouri power sales agreements with American Electric Power Operating Cos. and to Wabash Valley Power Association Inc. from March 2009 to September 2009 should be considered as off-system sales, and that revenue should be flowed through the company‘s Fuel Adjustment Clause. Regulators said Ameren Missouri should not have excluded revenue derived from its power sales agreements with AEP and Wabash from off-system sales revenue when calculating the rates charged under its fuel adjustment clause. The commission‘s vote was 3 to 2. Commissioners Jeff Davis and Terry Jarrett are expected to file dissents in the case. "We are extremely disappointed in the decision of the majority of the commissioners," said Rita Holmes-Bobo, an Ameren spokeswoman. "We believe that the sales of power to American Electric Power and Wabash, like the sales of power to Noranda Aluminum which they replaced, were properly excluded from the fuel adjustment clause. We are reviewing the order and considering our legal options." Ameren Missouri had said the power sales to AEP and Wabash did not fall under the definition of off-system sales under the FAC. Ameren Missouri further contended that these contracts were intended to replace the loss of power sales to its largest customer, Noranda Aluminum, due to the ice storm that struck southeast Missouri in January 2009, disrupting Noranda‘s operations for an extended period of time. Based upon its review, the PSC staff had alleged that Ameren Missouri was "imprudent for not including all costs and revenues associated with certain sales to AEP and Wabash." St. Louis-based Ameren Missouri provides electric service to approximately 1.2 million customers in Missouri. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 92 of 110 U.S. Attorney: Feds Could Challenge Missouri Anti-Sharia Legislation RIVERFRONT TIMES By John H. Tucker, Fri., Apr. 29 2011 @ 11:00AM U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri Richard Callahan visited the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis last night to address the fears and frustrations of Muslim Americans who worry they are being racially profiled and wiretapped -- and to assure them that the Missouri Legislature's attempts to ban Sharia law from being considered in state courts here could face Constitutional challenges. Seated in front of a large Muslim audience during a town hall-style meeting at the Ballwin mosque, Callahan anchored a panel that included fellow federal attorneys (one of whom was Muslim American), as well as three members of the FBI. The tenor of the night was polite and respectful, but several members of the crowd expressed anger over what they perceive to be rising trends of Islamophobia in America over the past couple years, citing people burning the Koran and communities banning mosques as examples. "There is a worse kind of Muslim hatred recently," said Adil Imdad, one of the event's organizers. "Especially in the last two years, Islamophobia and fear-mongering have been spreading like wildfire, and it's causing a lot of stress for our youth." The problem is now hitting a little closer to home, said Imdad, pointing to three bills currently circulating through the state legislature that seek to limit Sharia law (Islamic law) in Missouri courts. Sharia law could come into play in rulings considering child custody or prisoner rights for Muslims. As we've reported, the bills have become a source of controversy. Callahan responded by hinting that, should anti-Sharia legislation get passed by the Missouri Legislature, it could be overturned by the federal courts. "The Department of Justice has a good history of challenging laws passed by state legislatures," he said. "If some laws are passed, I think you will see challenges by the federal government on the constitutionality of them." Audience members also pressed Callahan to respond to instances of being detained and questioned on return trips to America. They asked why the media doesn't seem to cover hate crimes against Muslims, whether their phones are being tapped, and why women wearing hijabs seem to receive automatic pat-downs from TSA agents at airports. "We come back to the United States and become personae non gratae," said an audience member, addressing the FBI representatives on the stage. "We are detained endlessly for the stamps on our passports." Zia Faruqui, the Muslim American attorney on the panel, spoke to the crowd using several Arabic phrases, encouraging them to avoid hiding. He defended the justice system, citing 50 prosecutions in recent years against people charged with anti-Muslim crimes. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 93 of 110 Former State Rep. El-Amin released from prison BY JAKE WAGMAN • STLtoday.com | Posted: Friday, April 29, 2011 10:30 am ST. LOUIS • After more than a year as a guest of the U.S. government, former Missouri State Rep. T.D. El- Amin is out of prison. The former Democratic state representative from St. Louis reported to federal prison last year after he pleaded guilty to soliciting and accepting a bribe. El-Amin, 40, was released last Friday after serving most of an 18-month sentence at the federal prison camp in Montgomery, Ala. He's been transfered to a halfway house in St. Louis, where he's scheduled to stay until June. After that, El- Amin's sentence calls for two years of probation. El-Amin was one of three St. Louis area lawmakers in 2009 who left office amid trouble with the federal authorities. His was the most basic example of standard political corruption: El-Amin took cash bribes from a gas station that was covertly cooperating with the FBI. Since pleading guilty, El-Amin has been paying his restitution bill -- $2,100, the amount of the bribe -- in $25 increments to the court. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 94 of 110 Big tobacco prevails in St. Louis lawsuit by hospitals BY VALERIE SCHREMP HAHN STLtoday.com | Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2011 12:05 am ST. LOUIS • Big tobacco companies prevailed Friday in a sweep of verdicts against hospitals seeking to recoup the costs of treating smokers' diseases. The nationally watched City of St. Louis v. American Tobacco, which took 13 years to come to trial in St. Louis Circuit Court, sought more than $455 million — plus punitive damages —from six tobacco companies on behalf of 37 hospitals, most of them local and regional operations across Missouri. Verdict forms were signed by nine of 12 jurors, the minimum required in a Missouri civil case. The jury met for about 20 minutes Friday, starting its seventh day of deliberations, before delivering the decisions. It took Circuit Judge Michael David about an hour to read the verdicts on all the counts; the jury had been given 1,035 separate instructions. "I'm just numb. I'm not shocked," said hospital attorney Kenneth Brostron. He will consult with his clients about whether to appeal. "It really was a case of David versus Goliath," he said. Ken Parsigian, an attorney for tobacco company Philip Morris, said, "The jury here found that ordinary cigarettes are not defective and not negligently manufactured, and that's what this case was all about." David Wallace, who represented British-American Tobacco, said that if the hospitals had won, it would have opened the door to accusing various industries of making dangerous products. "Where do we draw the line?" he asked. The hospitals claimed that cigarette companies knowingly delivered an "unreasonably dangerous" product that burdened health providers with costs of treating smoking-related patients who had no insurance and did not pay their bills. The defense said that the hospitals tried to play on jurors' emotions, and that the nonpaying patients represented only a "tiny fraction" of the hospitals' business. Defense lawyers also noted that cigarettes were legal to make and sell. The suit got further than about 160 similar cases around the country that for various reasons never reached trial. The St. Louis case, which opened in January, took about 2 1/2 months to present, less than half the time anticipated. Some jurors stayed behind Friday to enjoy a birthday cake the jury brought for bailiff William Cowley, and to share their thoughts with lawyers. One juror, Victoria Reed, an accountant for the city of St. Louis, said the initial vote was 7-4 in favor of the tobacco companies, with one undecided. She said it eventually settled at 8-4, until a woman who favored the hospitals said she was tired of deliberating and changed her vote, making the minimum of nine. Reed, who would not give her age, had sided with the hospitals, saying she felt the plaintiffs met the burden to prove it was "likely" they had been damaged by the tobacco companies. "They didn't ask, 'Was it 100 percent they were damaged?' " Reed said. "They asked if it was likely." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 95 of 110 Juror Bessie Thomas, 58, voted in favor of the tobacco companies, saying the hospitals didn't present enough evidence that they were damaged. "We're not letting the tobacco companies off the hook," she said, adding that she felt it was the fair decision. James Burton, 81, who voted for the hospitals, said he had a tough time convincing others to see his side. "The reason I couldn't sway them is hospitals, when you look at the bottom line, make a lot of money." Clifford Douglas, director of the University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network, said that while tobacco companies still win most claims against them, this was a big victory in light of the tide that turned somewhat when the industry settled a suit by 48 states for $206 billion in 1998. "It is one more skirmish in a decades-long battle that the public is generally but slowly winning against tobacco," Douglas said. "This proves again that the companies are enormously powerful. They're very well- lawyered. They're the best money can buy. They are going to win some." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 96 of 110 Elk reintroduction delayed for further testing Sunday, May 1, 2011 Missouri News Horizon JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The reintroduction of elk to the state of Missouri has been delayed so extended health tests can be completed. The herd of elk, which was scheduled to be released at Peck Ranch Conservation Area this weekend, being held to an undetermined date while testing is completed on one of the animals in the herd whose initial tests were termed "inconclusive." The elk are currently being held in Kentucky while they wait to be brought into the state. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 97 of 110 Grandson of FDR shares his insights on leadership 11:00 PM, Apr. 29, 2011 Written by Didi Tang News-Leader Despite his brilliant speeches, President Barack Obama has failed to connect with Americans the way Franklin D. Roosevelt did, said Curtis Roosevelt, grandson of the U.S. president who led the country from 1933 to 1945. "It comes down to political leadership," said Roosevelt, who visited Drury University on Friday and shared with students a draft of his essay that compares the first two years of the Obama presidency to those of his grandfather's. "It's great. He knows what he's talking about, and all makes sense," said Drury student Peter Jones after Roosevelt's hourlong conversation with students. "I really, really enjoyed it," student Tyler Squires said. "I think he has a lot of insight. He knows the inner workings of government." Roosevelt started his presentation by contrasting the Democrats' debacle in the mid-term elections last November with FDR's substantial gains in his first mid-term election in 1934, even though the economic situations were similar. Americans felt FDR was "with them," but Obama has failed to elicit the same feeling, Roosevelt said. He told Drury students FDR was direct and blunt in criticizing Wall Street, while Obama has not made clear where he stands, especially what he is against. "Apparently, he and his advisers think that by showing strong support for the very institutions that caused our Great Recession will move Mr. Obama politically 'to the center.' Will it?" Roosevelt wrote. While FDR's programs directly aided people who were unemployed, Obama and his advisers didn't understand the massive bailouts of the auto industry and the banking system must go hand in hand with programs that directly help those suffering severely from economic woes, Roosevelt remarked. He said his grandfather managed to keep power in his hands, while Obama accepted a large and cumbersome staff that effectively deprived him of exercising presidential leadership. Obama avoided criticism of the Bush administration and did not challenge the business community, Roosevelt said. "(Obama) has thus deprived himself of making plain who was responsible for the Great Recession that we were then mired in. How foolish -- politically speaking. "The result of all this was that the legacy President Obama received from the Bush administration shortly became his own." Roosevelt touched on the president's confidence, noting Obama is relatively thin in political experience. "He relies too much on advisers, both economic and military," Roosevelt said. In his draft essay, Roosevelt wrote his grandfather was known for his political instinct. "I expect this is not just an innate instinct, but also the product of many political bruises and failures," the grandson wrote. "Franklin Roosevelt learned from his experiences, and not just in an intellectual way; they nourished his instinct." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 98 of 110 On Friday, Roosevelt discussed the climate of fear in U.S. politics and that there is no solid analysis to indicate the real level of threat to the country. "The analysis is in the interest of CIA. It is in the interest of the military," Roosevelt said. When he traveled behind the Iron Curtain, he realized the perception of the Soviet threat was "much larger than life," Roosevelt said. Later, he told the News-Leader the Bush administration cultivated fear after 9/11. "It caught on," he said. He noted generals and admirals have gained more influence over U.S. politics, as the public is more likely to hear from them instead of civilian leaders such as secretaries of the Army or the Navy. Obama has broadened the power of the military and CIA, Roosevelt said. "I think he's responsible for being swallowed up by the Washington atmosphere and dynamics," Roosevelt said. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 99 of 110 EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor Curators Schaefer to the rescue By Henry J. Waters III Saturday, April 30, 2011 More than three months ago, Gov. Jay Nixon nominated Columbia attorney Craig Van Matre and Cassville attorney Donald Cupps to the University of Missouri Board of Curators, but their confirmations are being held up in the Senate by President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, who wants something from the governor. ―I need to talk with the governor about some things,‖ Mayer said. ―Some little, small matters,‖ he added. Precisely what Mayer wants is not clear. Nobody objects to Van Matre and Cupps. The holdup involves opposition to Nixon‘s nomination of Springfield attorney Tom Strong to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, which is opposed by Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia. Completing the tit-for-tat, Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, Strong‘s hometown, is opposing the curator nominations in retaliation for Schaefer‘s opposition to Strong. Schaefer and others remain angry over Nixon‘s appointment of Strong in the 1990s to represent the state in the massive national settlement with tobacco companies, for which Strong‘s cadre of lawyers received a huge payday. Strong was close to then-Attorney General Nixon and presumably a Democrat. Now Nixon appoints Strong as an ―independent‖ to the coordinating board, a designation Schaefer and others question but Dixon defends. While the political warriors fight over Strong, Van Matre and Cupps remain stuck on the sidelines. Though it will be a hard swallow, Schaefer must give up the fight to end the stalemate. I objected to the tobacco settlement deal with Strong, but the blame for that visits on Nixon, not Strong. Nixon had the power to grant the contract. Strong was the petitioner wanting the pay day. More to the point today, all the appointments in question are reasonable. By any political designation, Strong is qualified to sit on the coordinating board, and certainly Van Matre is qualified for the board of curators. From what I know, so is Cupps. Having made their points, Schaefer, Mayer, Dixon and anyone else involved in the mud wrestle should give up and make these appointments happen. Only a few days remain for them to do so in the current legislative session lest the nominees risk permanent disqualification for the jobs they seek. If not confirmed, they are prohibited from ever being nominated for those positions. Nixon could withdraw their nominations and then name them on an interim basis, but that‘s no way to skin this cat. Seemingly, it all starts with Schaefer, who must make a compromise he won‘t like but is necessary for the greater good. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 100 of 110 Editorial: Combination of China Hub, tax credit reform is a winner By the Editorial Board STLtoday.com | Posted: Sunday, May 1, 2011 12:00 am The Missouri Senate this week placed a bet on the future of St. Louis. By giving initial approval to a bill that would create tax incentives meant to turn Lambert-St. Louis International Airport into a freight hub for goods from China and all over the world, the Legislature is taking a calculated gamble. "If this works," said State Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, "I don't think the St. Louis region looks like what it looks like today." The China Hub concept, now part of House Bill 116, would offer about $360 million in incentives over 15 years to freight forwarders, manufacturers and warehouse companies to encourage them to use Lambert — and the entire region — as a hub for worldwide freight traffic. Much of that traffic now goes to Chicago, but there is a need for new routes. St. Louis makes sense because of its central geography and Lambert's capacity for growth. If the project works , it will rev the St. Louis region's economic engine, bringing development to and around the airport and potentially filling voids created in Fenton and Hazelwood when automakers Chrysler and Ford left town. For the concept to gain final passage before the session ends May 13, it will have to survive a rough gauntlet. The Senate's version now will have to be approved by the House, where, in each of the past several years, various new tax credit proposals intended to bring jobs to the state have been approved, only to die in the Senate. There, a group of conservative senators has sought to rein in ever-growing tax credit programs, which cost the state upward of $500 million in revenue per year. The Senate reformers make a good argument: Why should corporations and developers continue to receive hundreds of millions of guaranteed government handouts while education funding and other social programs suffer from budget cuts? Last week, the reformers and the business community found a way to divide the pot. Mr. Schmitt worked with fellow Republicans Chuck Purgason, Brad Lager, Jason Crowell and others to craft a compromise. Some tax credit programs will be capped and others will be eliminated in favor of new programs. Parts of the bill mirror recommendations made by Gov. Jay Nixon's tax credit commission last year. Every tax credit program will have to prove its worth every few years. Key to the compromise was the willingness of at least some developers and business leaders in St. Louis to drop opposition to a $75 million annual cap on historic redevelopment tax credits. The money saved by the cap will help pay for both the China Hub program and a new tax credit to help encourage high-tech business growth in the state. The bill is imperfect. The House should delete a section that allows Mr. Nixon to offer upfront cash to businesses in economic development deals. That consolidates too much power in the executive branch. As Mr. Nixon said when he signed the puppy mill compromise: "Everybody here gave up a little. That's really, really important on a whole lot of issues." MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 101 of 110 Indeed, that's how the Senate forged this important compromise. Taxpayers will be protected as the state hedges its bets in other tax incentive programs, making sure that new programs are offset by cutting older programs that might not be as effective or important as they once were. That give-and-take will allow the state to save $1.5 billion over 15 years. The savings comes at the expense of some popular programs, including a rental tax credit for senior citizens. But the compromise attempts to target the state's investments to those programs that promise the greatest return on investment. If lawmakers show the discipline to put some of the savings back into education and social programs, then there is hope that last week's action can be a down payment on new prosperity for St. Louis and the rest of Missouri. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 102 of 110 Puppy Mills — Everybody Happy? WASHINGTON MISSOURIAN Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2011 6:32 pm | Updated: 2:05 pm, Fri Apr 29, 2011. The Missouri Senate and House passed the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act and Gov. Jay Nixon immediately signed the legislation this past week. SB 161 regulates puppy mills in the state and is a reform measure to correct what were deemed as unacceptable regulations in a bill passed earlier. The Humane Society of Missouri declared that the new regulations are a victory for ―all dogs living in the state‘s commercial breeding facilities.‖ Gov. Nixon has committed to adding $1.1 million to the Department of Agriculture‘s budget for more inspectors and veterinarians to ensure breeders are complying with the provisions in the new law. The new law overturns an initiative passed by state voters last November. The new law wipes out most of the voter-approved Prop B. After much debate in the General Assembly, the governor proposed an alternative regulatory structure. It won approval. The law passed by voters was considered too strict and even unenforceable by opponents. The main provisions are contained in another story in this issue. It‘s a solid measure and gives ample protection to dogs. Among the arguments for retaining the 2010 law was that the Legislature and governor should not overturn a law that was enacted by voters. The governor‘s answer to that was that it was action by the voters that was the force that was necessary to make the changes. ―Their votes did matter,‖ the governor said. Not everybody will be happy but the fact that the Humane Society is satisfied with the new law means something. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 103 of 110 4/29/2011 12:26:00 PM Nuclear razzle-dazzle not in public interest EDITORIAL WARRENSBURG DAILY STAR-JOURNAL Jack Miles Editor What if a person who wants a new house went to a builder who demanded payment before, during and forever after construction? Anyone with common sense would run from that arrangement. The nuclear site permit bill before the Missouri Senate sounded like a similar arrangement. Under Senate Bill 48, a consortium of energy companies, including Ameren Missouri, wanted to charge $45 million to customers to launch work on another nuclear power plant in Missouri. Up until this session, Missourians had what they considered a fair and sacrosanct law - energy producers cannot charge customers for an energy plant until that plant produces energy. But in Missouri, where laws are made to be broken by lawmakers, many legislators worked against the energy law. Changing state laws to "make them better" follows a template Missouri legislators have used successfully in recent years and days. When they reject a voter-approved law, lawmakers offer a little razzle-dazzle - they decide what they want to change, tell the public the changes are better than what voters passed, and then adopt the changes. The General Assembly applied razzle-dazzle earlier this year when they killed the 50- breeder dog limit in the voter-approved puppy mill law. Lawmakers, flaccid before the public voted in November, came to life. They developed a "compromise" between what puppy mill owners wanted and what voters approved, but voters had no say in the so-called compromise. The bill because law Wednesday. In the case of SB48, the razzle-dazzle result would have been that utility companies could have sunk their fangs into consumers' wallets today for a service not coming until tomorrow - something most consumers find ridiculous. The Fair Energy Rate Action Fund group states, "Seventy-seven percent of Missouri voters think that energy companies should pay for the costs of developing a new nuclear power plant rather than ratepayers, and 73 percent agree that keeping electric bills low is more important than developing nuclear power. These results confirm what we have been hearing across the state: regardless of support for the concept of nuclear energy, Missouri ratepayers don't want to pay for it." SB48, after passing the House, appeared likely to pass in the Senate, too, and likely would have but for a procedural mistake - the main bill contained items unrelated to the nuclear power plant pay issue. As a result, passage this year is unlikely. But next year is another matter. Despite Japan's tragedy, nuclear waste storage issues and the fact that renewables offer the safest long-term energy option, nuclear energy may be the best energy source available to Missourians for now. But rather than change laws to suit the prevailing political winds blown by lobbyists in Jefferson City, lawmakers in both parties should remember they are not elected by lobbyists, but by voters, and should take the nuclear option to them. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 104 of 110 Fix flawed petition process ST. JOSEPH NEWS-PRESS Our Opinion Rarely do we advocate for lawmakers to make more laws, but in the interest of rural Missouri we‘ll make an exception. As reported this week, the Missouri House has passed a proposed constitutional amendment — by a vote of 144-4 — that would change one of the rules for citizens to get questions placed on the statewide ballot. Current law requires petition carriers who seek to propose an amendment to the Missouri Constitution to get signatures from 8 percent of the legal voters in each of two-thirds of the Congressional districts. In practical terms, that means petitions must be circulated in only six of the nine districts. Similarly, the law states ballot issues that stop short of attempting to amend the Constitution require signatures from 5 percent of the legal voters — again, from only six of the nine districts. The House legislation would lower the percentage of signatures required — to 5.25 percent for constitutional questions and 3.25 percent for referendum issues. But it would require that percentage from each Congressional district, not just some of them. There are important reasons for this change. First, since Missouri is dropping from nine to eight seats in Congress, ―two-thirds‖ no longer makes sense as a standard. Something needs to be done before the 2012 elections. Second, the new Congressional district lines awaiting the governor‘s sign-off place one-third of the state — the rural northern third — in the 6th District. It‘s hard for us to imagine a fair standard that says ballot issues of any description can get launched and possibly gain momentum for passage with no one in our third of the state being asked what they think of the idea. The House proposal now goes to the Senate, where it must fight for attention in the waning days of the legislative session. Whatever the two houses agree on still would need to be approved by voters. It‘s unlikely this proposal will get through the Senate without debate and changes. House proponents should listen to efforts at compromise, but guard against anything that sells out rural voters. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 105 of 110 Posted on Fri, Apr. 29, 2011 The Star’s editorial | Capitol Watch: Bogged down in dogs and feral hogs Howdy, neighbors ―My constituents are upset,‖ said Missouri Rep. Joe Aull, and one can see why. Aull represents Saline and Lafayette counties, rural communities east of Kansas City that, along with Ray County, were placed in the 5th Congressional District in the map that the state legislature approved this week. Though those counties are inclined to vote Democratic, they have little else in common with the urban heart of Kansas City, which makes up the bulk of the oddly shaped district now represented by Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat. The new map puts heavily Republican areas in eastern Jackson County into the 6th Congressional District, now represented by Republican Sam Graves. Aull, a Democrat, and a few other legislators argued that placing all of Jackson County and a sliver of the Northland into the 5th District would make for a compact, politically diverse district and better serve residents and democracy. They‘re right about that. Now we‘ll see if either Gov. Jay Nixon or a court thinks the same way. Those were the days In a bleak year, Kansas Democrats didn‘t have many bright moments. So it is understandable that when GOP Rep. Virgil Peck of Tyro made a colossal blunder and compared undocumented workers to feral hogs and suggested shooting them from helicopters, they latched on to this bit of Republican weakness. But it is time to let go. House Democrats are pushing for the Legislature to officially condemn Peck, saying he has brought shame on the institution. Inappropriate as Peck‘s outburst was, Kansas has much bigger issues. Peck has apologized, and he will be judged by the voters during his next campaign. As tough as it might be to pass on a bit of low hanging fruit, Democrats should get back to trying to win arguments and votes in the House — or at least losing them gracefully. Sleeping dogs don‘t lie Who says Missouri government can‘t move speedily? In short order on Wednesday, Nixon signed a bill that dismantled a voter-approved law and then signed another bill — after it breezed through the House and then the Senate — that overrode the first bill. By the end of the day, Nixon‘s signature was on the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act, and the great puppy mill controversy had been temporarily put to rest. These intricate gyrations negated a public vote in November that placed tough restrictions on dog breeders. The ―Missouri solution,‖ as the governor happily called his compromise bill, provides resources for better enforcement of dog breeders and calls for less confining conditions for the dogs over time. But it will still allow breeders to accumulate large numbers of dogs, stack them in cages and breed dogs with no rest between cycles. The national animal welfare groups that financed the initiative petition drive are weighing legal and political options. Voter ID demands MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 106 of 110 Missouri is working hard to join Kansas and the other states that seek to undercut voting rights by requiring photo identifications at the polls. A final vote in the House and a Senate vote to clean up a minor detail are all that is needed to put the issue on the ballot. Having had a similar law declared unconstitutional, lawmakers want voters to enshrine their wrong thinking by passing a constitutional amendment. The arguments are well established. Proponents say official photo IDs are needed to prevent voter fraud. But verifiable instances of voter fraud are rare. Meanwhile, the restrictions would make voting much harder for hundreds of elderly and disabled Missourians, not to mention students and legal immigrants. Among other problems, the bill under consideration confers undue authority on election judges to determine whether the signature on an ID card matches a would-be voter‘s signature at the polls. The bill calls for advance voting, which would be a positive step. But advance voting would be subject to the legislature and governor finding money to get it started — an iffy proposition in these austere times. The faint hope of more convenient voting would be vastly outweighed by the obstacles this bill presents. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 107 of 110 Peter Kinder irresponsibly sides with Breitbart KC STAR Barb Shelly Peter Kinder has had a very bad week, what with his car getting stolen and torched, a federal judge throwing out his sloppy health care lawsuit, and the Missouri auditor‘s office caving in to pressure to review his travel expenses. Seeking solace, the star-crossed lieutenant governor has rushed into the consoling embrace of Missouri‘s tea party contingent, which is bolstering his wounded ego by applauding his irresponsible statements regarding an Internet hit job on two University of Missouri instructors. Perhaps hoping to distract the public from his own troubles, Kinder is on a tear about videos that appear to show Judy Ancel at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Don Giljam, a lecturer at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, advocating violence as part of the union movement. The videos were aired on a Web site published by Andrew Breitbart, who‘s has made waves by airing other deceptively edited videos that make people appear to be saying something they‘re not. In fact, that‘s the case with the University of Missouri videos. Discussing the history of violence in the labor movement is not the same as endorsing it. (See more about the videos and a response by Ancel and a UMKC official in this post.) A wiser politician would look at Breitbart‘s videos skeptically, but not Kinder. He has embraced them wholeheartedly, calling for investigations and hinting that the University of Missouri system‘s state funding might be in jeopardy. On a radio talk show today, Kinder blustered nonsensically that there could be nothing wrong with the edited videos, since 60 Minutes edits all its videos. He accuses the instructors of being from the ―pro-Communist left,‖ and calls the union-based Jobs with Justice group a ―pro-Communist, hard left, radical organization.‖ In fact, Kinder leaves the impression that he equates the entire union movement with Communism. The lieutenant governor‘s car isn‘t the only thing that‘s turned out to be incendiary this week. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 108 of 110 MISSOURINET Aerotropolis: a key to economic growth in eastern Missouri? by Bob Priddy on May 1, 2011 A new book called Aerotropolis suggests airports are a significant part of global trade and major drivers of local economic development. Senator Eric Schmitt of Kirkwood has read the book and believes the development of manufacturing, distribution, and storage systems within fifty miles of Lambert-St. Louis Airport will create such an aerotropolis. ―Businesses and jobs are to be located around those places,‖ says, noting there are more businesses located around Chicago‘s O‘Hare Field than there are in downtown Chicago. Schmitt says the under-used airport coupled with large amounts of space for development–such as vacant auto plants–make St. Louis an ideal place to develop an Aerotropolis and to re-establish the city as an international trade hub. He thinks the development area would send ripples throughout Missouri. Schmitt has gotten tax incentives for development of a St. Louis Aerotopolis in a major tax credit overhaul bill passed by the Senate. The possibilities of an Aerotropolis now rest with the House. Nixon vetoes congressional redistricting bill by Bob Priddy on April 30, 2011 Governor Nixon has vetoed the congressional redistricting plan approved last week by the legislature. Nixon says the map ―does not adequately protect the interests of all Missourians.‖ He urges the legislature to send him a new redistricting plan ―with appropriate congressional district boundaries.‖ Legislative leaders have indicated they‘ll try to override the veto. If they fail to do so they have two weeks left in this legislative session to come up with a new plan. Decision to blow levee still hangs in the balance by Jessica Machetta on April 30, 2011 Southern Missouri has gotten 473 percent of its annual average rainfall, says the Weather Channel. Major flooding continues in the Mid-Mississippi and Lower Ohio Valleys. In some locations, river levels are either reaching record levels, or are at levels not seen since the 1930s. Rain continues today and is expected to continue. The Mississippi River Commission is holding a news conference right now to discuss whether it will blow out portions of the Birds Point Levee in Southeast Missouri. The Joint Information Center says on its Facebook page that rumors are circulating that operation of the floodway is imminent and this is not correct. The Memphis District Army Corps of Engineers says barges have been directed to move to Wickliffe, Kentucky and hold there. The Joint Information Center‘s Facebook Page is at http://t.co/PIBSiMC. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 109 of 110 Army Corps on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/MemphisDistrict. The Ozarks Red Cross is trying to match lost pets to owners who have evacuated flood zones. They are posting photos on Twitter, trying to see if pet owners will see them and claim them. Southeast Missouri fights natural flooding, braces for possible man- made flooding by Brent Martin on April 29, 2011 Southeast Missouri has been fighting natural flooding for days. Soon, it might have to cope with man-made flooding. A federal judge has given the Army Corps of Engineers the authority to blow a two-mile-wide hole in the Birds- Point New Madrid Levee to relieve pressure on the swollen Mississippi River and avert flooding of Cairo, Illinois. The state has appealed the ruling. Floodwaters already cover hundreds of thousands of acres of prime farmland in southeastern Missouri after 15-to-20 inches of rain saturated the region. ―It‘s a very dangerous time,‖ University of Missouri Business Specialist David Reinbott is in Scott County, immediately to the north of Mississippi County. Reinbott says residents are anxious. ―Everybody‘s on edge. It‘s something; we‘re not sure what‘s going to happen here.‖ For now, residents prepare for the worst. The Mississippi County Sheriff has ordered a mandatory evacuation of the Birds-Point spillway. Residents and livestock are being moved out of about 100 homes and dozens of farms. A break in the levee could swamp as much as 133,000 acres of land in the county. The Corps hasn‘t made a decision on whether to follow through with its plan. It has stated that it will breach the levee if the river reaches 61 feet at Cairo. It is near that level now. Explosives have been moved in place. In addition, a flood warning has been issued for parts of Barry County, Stone County, and Taney County in Southwestern Missouri. These are all areas affected by the continued release of water from Beaver Lake and Table Rock Dam by the Corps of Engineers. The resulting rise in water levels along Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo will most likely lead to flooding along roadways and some residences in the area, and possibly at Branson Landing. The Corps expects the high water release to continue through the weekend. While flash flooding is not expected, all those with property and other interests should take precautions. MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS D AILY N EWS C LIPS C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r M o n d a y , M a y 2 , 2 0 1 1 -- Page 110 of 110 USA TODAY MISSOURI NEWS MONDAY, MAY 2 -- Jefferson City — Legislation poised for passage in the final two weeks of the annual legislative session would grant authority to Democratic Gov. Nixon's administration to sell more than 1,000 acres of state property — much of it near prisons. The deals could generate $3.6 million.
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