Loan Mismanagement

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Heated debate expected over health
care funding
Marshall Griffin, KWMU

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (2008-05-06) Missouri lawmakers on Wednesday are scheduled to debate the amount
of money to be spent next year on health care for the poor, elderly, and disabled.
The 2009 state budget allocates nearly $6.8 billion for Missouri HealthNet, Governor Blunt's program that
replaces Medicaid. The state is spending $6.4 billion this year.
House Minority Floor Leader Paul LeVota (D, Independence) says, though, the old Medicaid system was better
funded.
"Every dollar we would put into it, we would get $1.52 from the federal government...but instead, the majority in
the Republican Party does not want to do that," LeVota said.
But House Budget Chair Allen Icet (R, Wildwood) says they're working to increase access to medical services
that were cut three years ago.
He uses dentists as an example.
"Well, it's a great program, but if you can't get in to see a dentist, what good is it? And with these bills, we'll get
the dentist reimbursement around 50% of the usual customary, so hopefully more Missouri dentists will actually
see a Medicaid patient, so that the people who are currently on the rolls can actually get service," Icet said.
Icet expects the debate in the Missouri House to get heated before the final vote is taken later today.




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Lawmakers criticize huge increase in
rates to provide driving data
By Virginia Young
POST-DISPATCHJEFFERSON CITY BUREAU CHIEF
05/07/2008
JEFFERSON CITY — In a testy hearing Tuesday, legislators challenged a state agency's recent 460 percent
increase in fees to provide drivers license and motor vehicle records.
Critics said the fees — $7 per record, up from $1.25 — bypassed the Legislature, may violate the Sunshine Law,
could put data-collection companies out of business and could raise auto insurance rates.
Department of Revenue Director Omar Davis held his ground. He said the fees were needed to pay for a new
$50 million computer system.
But one legislator vowed to pass a law to halt the fees. Rep. Shannon Cooper, R-Clinton, said that if the
department didn't rescind the increase, he would "draft something right now and poke it on every bill out there"
as an amendment.
"We've got nine days left," Cooper said. "We can pass something to stop you."
Davis said that the Revenue Department's current computer system was 30 years old, and that the state must
summon state retirees when it broke down.
Davis said the agency didn't ask the Legislature to provide general tax revenue for the new computer system
because "we knew the answer would be no."
He touted the fees as a way to update the equipment without spending tax money. Individuals will have to pay
$7 to get their driving records. But most of the money will come from vendors, which buy the data to resell to
insurance companies and others doing background checks.
Some newspapers have bought the entire drivers license database to research stories on public safety. But Jean
Maneke, a lawyer for the Missouri Press Association, said the media couldn't afford to buy the database at $7 a
record, which would cost $28 million.
Before the change, companies paid $2,035 for the entire database, or .0003 cents per record.
Maneke contended that the new fees were higher than permitted under the Sunshine Law. The law says the
state cannot charge more for public records than it costs to locate and copy them.
Davis said the records weren't public records, because under state and federal law, they were available only to
certain entities.
He said he was still compiling how much it actually cost to provide the records. He expects to have the
information gathered in seven to 10 days — about the time the legislative session ends.
Davis denied being secretive about the changes.
"This is absolutely not something the department has hid the ball on or tried to pull the wool over anybody in this
building," he said.
Davis said the state advertised for bids last fall and hired BearingPoint of McLean, Va., to design the new
database. The company is developing a web-based system that will provide 24-hour access for authorized
users. He said BearingPoint would get to keep $1 of every $7-per-record fee.




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That prompted Cooper to conclude that "somebody — and it stands to be BearingPoint — would make a
fortune." He asked who had lobbied for BearingPoint, but Davis said he had no idea.
Larry Case of the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents said consumers would be the big losers because the
increase would result in "a tax on every driver who purchases insurance. I can guarantee you, this is going to be
passed back to consumers."
Davis said that eight companies purchased the entire database now but that he didn't expect any of them to buy
it for $28 million.
R.L. Polk & Co. is one of those companies. The firm has used the title and registration data to compile vehicle
history reports for its CARFAX Service. Car buyers pay $30 to use the database for 30 days.
The firm said that with the increase, it would owe Missouri $42 million more than what it pays for data from all 50
states and Canada combined.
Instead, the company won't update its Missouri data, said Timothy Sowton, regional director of government
relations. That means Missourians may not receive notices on automobile recalls, he said.




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Driver's insurance rates could rise
Fee increase would hit big companies hard
ST. JOSEPH NEWS PRESS - by Alyson E. Raletz
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Insurance companies are threatening higher rates because of a fee increase on
Missouri driver records.
Large research firms for years have been able to access the driving records of more than 4 million Missourians
for less than 1 cent each — $.0003 — from the Department of Revenue.
As of May 1, however, that fee jumped to $7 per record to offset the costs of upgrades to its computer system,
parts of which date back to the 1970s.
So, what used to cost an individual about $1.25 to access his or her own driving records, perhaps in light of a
driving-while-intoxicated citation, now costs that Missourian $7.
And what used to cost roughly $2,035 for firms, like LexisNexis, to purchase a database of all the drivers, now
costs closer to $28 million. The department has instituted no bulk pricing, which has the entities that routinely
make the requests up in arms.
For example, Carfax Inc.’s information retrieval service located in Columbia makes weekly queries.
―This decision puts R. L. Polk and Carfax out of business in Missouri,‖ Tim Souton of R. L. Polk & Co., which
represents Carfax, said Tuesday during a legislative hearing.
Insurance and other companies often buy the information to determine rates and credit scores. The increase will
cause an overall $15 million to $20 million hike in rates as a result, a representative of the Concerned Insurance
Coalition warned.
The chairman of a joint committee on tax policy, Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, called the hearing Tuesday to
receive public input on the already-instated increase and to hear an explanation from a reluctant Omar Davis,
revenue director.
Mr. Davis had written Mr. Lager prior to Tuesday, asking him to close or cancel the meeting because he believed
his testimony would be used in pending lawsuits over the new fees.
―Tell us about the tax increase,‖ Mr. Lager said to Mr. Davis, who challenged the committee’s authority to call
him to testify since it was a fee increase, not a tax increase.
―As you can tell, (he’s) not overly excited about being here,‖ Mr. Lager said to the committee before reading the
committee’s duties from state statute, which directs the committee to study proposed tax policy as it relates to
―the collection and administration of state and local taxes and fees.‖
Mr. Davis said the department needs the fees to create a new system to better manage the records for requests
and to make it easier for the Missouri State Highway Patrol to access them. The aged system is made up of
about 23 different systems. The state wants to roll them all into one.
But an attorney for the Missouri Press Association, Jean Maneke, argued Tuesday that under the Missouri
Sunshine Law, the state can’t charge more than what is required for copying records — not for what it costs to
produce them.
Mr. Davis disagreed, saying the driver’s records were exempt from the Sunshine Law. He dubbed the hearing as
―ludicrous in my opinion ... basically telling state government how to operate.‖
Rep. Shannon Cooper, R-Clinton, pledged to file legislation that would reverse the fee increase after hearing
concerns from Carfax and other entities.


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Mr. Lager encouraged compromise.
―We want him to be able to do the database and get him out of the ’70s, and we don’t want to put any companies
out of business,‖ the Savannah Republican said.
Mr. Davis later told reporters the hearing was an exercise of political theater.
―There is no middle ground,‖ he said. ―People here just don’t want to pay ... These are private companies that
make a profit off of Missouri drivers’ records.‖




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Higher fees for Missouri motor vehicle and driver
records anger insurance companies
By JASON NOBLE
The Star’s Jefferson City correspondent
JEFFERSON CITY | A new fee structure for Missouri motor vehicle and driver records has insurance companies
enraged and a lawmaker promising action in the waning days of the legislative session.
The state Department of Revenue on May 1 raised the fee to $7 per record and has said it would not provide a
bulk discount to companies that use the data for things such as calculating insurance rates. That means
companies now must pay about $28 million for the entire database.
―A week ago to provide the file cost less than a quarter of a penny per record and now it costs 300,000 percent
more than that,‖ said Tim Sowton, regional director for government relations for R. L. Polk & Co., parent
company of Carfax. ―We cannot survive absorbing that kind of cost increase.‖
Before the first of the month, the companies paid a little more than $2,000 for the state’s entire database of
about 4 million records. Some of the companies purchased the updated database on a weekly or monthly basis.
The change could put some companies out of business in Missouri and lead to higher insurance rates for
everyone, officials said Tuesday at a legislative committee hearing.
Insurance companies use the data to set rates for people based on their driving records. Without the personal
records, the higher costs of insuring troubled drivers would be shouldered by everyone, industry officials said.
The data is also used to enhance vehicle histories provided to people and businesses by companies like Carfax,
and as a factor in the calculation of credit scores.
Media groups also oppose the new fees, arguing the records should be available through the state’s Sunshine
Law. The records are not available to the public, although people can get their records.
Department of Revenue Director Omar Davis defended the decision to increase the fee against withering
questioning from lawmakers.
The increase was necessary to account for the true cost of maintaining the database and to pay for a new and
more integrated system, he said. The current system uses more than 20 disparate databases, some of which are
decades old. The new database will cost tens of millions of dollars over several years and must be paid through
fees for access to the data, he said.
Other states charge similar or higher per-record fees, Davis said. Opponents of the new pricing system,
however, countered that most other states allow for reduced bulk prices and charge an average of 2 cents per
record when the entire database is purchased.
Lawmakers generally were not receptive to Davis’ position.
Rep. Shannon Cooper, a Clinton Republican, asked Davis what his plans were for scaling back the fee for bulk
buyers, and threatened to introduce a legislative fix if the department didn’t lower the cost.
―Don’t make me go upstairs and get Tucker,‖ Cooper said, referring to a staffer who would help draft legislation.
After the hearing, Cooper said he hoped the department would find a way to lower the fee long enough to open
conversation with affected business groups. If not, he said he would spend the next eight days — the final eight
of the legislative session — trying to cut the cost through statute.
―Obviously this will hurt a lot of people if we don’t slow down,‖ he said.




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Telecom Bill Raises Controversy
CALIFORNIA - The Missouri House passed a controversial telecommunications bill on Monday.
This large and complex bill would decrease government control over the telecom industry. Supporters said it will
force phone companies to expand their high speed internet coverage to more rural Missourians. Opponents
believe their phone bills might take a hit.
"I'm very concerned about the possibilities of rate increases, particularly in rural Missouri," said Democratic Rep.
Jake Zimmerman of Olivette.
"I disagree with that because you can't predict with the price of anything unless you control the prices," said
supporter of the bill, Republican Rep. Joe Smith of St. Charles.
Prices hit home in a rural area like Moniteau County.
"As far as I'm concerned my phone bill is just way out of whack, it's just unbelievable," said California resident
John Boldt.
Boldt said he needs a phone to keep in touch with his son but really cannot handle price hikes. Expanded
Internet coverage may lead to price hikes and price hikes might leave some mid-Missourians with nowhere to
turn.
As for the rate increase, it depends on who you talk to. Supporters said the rate increase will not go up at all.
Critics said it will, but they don't know how much.


Reported by: Dan Moret-KOMU-TV




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Missouri Senate passes higher
education budget
Marshall Griffin, KWMU


JEFFERSON CITY, MO (2008-05-06) The Missouri Senate has approved a 7% increase in spending for the
state's higher education system.
Missouri will spend over $1.2 billion next year to fund universities, community colleges and various
administrative costs.
The bill also includes the controversial move to expand eligibility for Access Missouri scholarships to students
whose parents earn up to $200,000 a year.
State Senator Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) defends the increase.
"Sometimes when you're dealing with a higher amount of income, you have to take (into) consideration the tax
responsibility of that family...we wanted as many students to have the opportunity to secure scholarship money
to attend higher education institutions, and we believe that the measure that passed will do that," Mayer said.
State Senator Joan Bray (D, St. Louis) was disappointed with the increase in Access Missouri eligibility, but still
voted "yes."
"You have to look at the total bill, and in fact we are giving our institutions of higher education (a) 4.2% increase,
each of the campuses, so that's a positive," Bray said.
The bill passed the State House last night (Monday), so it now goes to Governor Matt Blunt for his signature.
Earlier today, the Missouri Senate also passed the $5.3 billion budget for K-12 schools. It, too, is on its way to
the governor's desk.
Blunt is not expected to sign any of the budget bills until next month.




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Proposal threatens student curator vote
THE MANEATER - By Elliot Njus

May 6, 2008

Student leaders from the UM system campuses sent statements to Jefferson City to save a bill that would put a
voting student on the system’s governing board.
Craig Stevenson, Associated Students of the University of Missouri legislative director, said representatives have
expressed interest in adding a sunset clause to the bill, which was approved by the House Rules Committee on
Monday. It passed out of the House Higher Education Committee on Thursday in a 4-3 vote.
―Our concern with that is if we put a sunset clause in the bill this late in the game, that it won’t get passed in the
Senate,‖ Stevenson said.
If the bill isn’t approved May 16, the end of the legislative term, it would have to be proposed again next term.
The sunset clause would require the bill be reauthorized after a period of time.
Student body presidents from the four UM system campuses and the Missouri Students Association Senate sent
statements to Jefferson City explaining why they would support amending the bill next session if it were passed
in the Senate as written.
Stevenson said ASUM, a UM system student lobbying group, would lobby on behalf of the sunset clause next
semester. He believes passing the bill this session is possible because ASUM would be working with the same
representatives next session.
―I’m hopeful that they will address it, and I believe that the representatives will appreciate the quick responses by
the student government organizations,‖ he said.
MSA Senate Speaker Jonathan Mays called a Saturday meeting to propose a recommendation to the House
supporting the bill as it was passed by the Senate.
―We’re trying to find a way to take advantage of the progress ASUM has made this year,‖ he said. ―They’ve been
working for 12 years to get a voting student curator on the board of curators, and they’re closer than they’ve ever
been before.‖
Senate voted via e-mail to support the resolution. During the meeting Saturday, Mays said the recommendation
had to pass by Monday.
―Because this is being proposed on the house floor so late in the game, we don’t have many options here if we
want to take advantage of any of the progress that’s been made this year,‖ he said.
Stevenson said some members of the Board of Curators had contacted representatives on the House Higher
Education Committee to speak against the bill after the committee’s hearing.
A version of bill has been proposed in every legislative session for 12 years, but this year it included language
that would resolve a conflict between the Missouri Constitution and the Missouri Revised Statutes.
The bill would replace the ninth position on the board, required by the Missouri Constitution, with a student
member. The Missouri Revised Statutes require that no two curators come from one congressional district.
Missouri has nine, but is expected to lose one after redistricting in 2010.




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Lawmakers approve parolee funding for
computers
STL TODAY - By: Lee Logan

As budget negotiations are wrapping up this week, senators briefly discussed the issue of using about $12.5
million in monthly fees paid by parolees for new computer equipment at the state Department of Corrections.
The funding would pay for two projects at the department: $10 million for a revamped database that stores
inmate information and $2.5 million for tablet PCs for parole officers.
The money comes from the inmate revolving fund, which is paid into by parolees and earmarked for their
treatment. Parolees are required to pay $30 a month while they are on parole.
Today, Sen. Rita Days, D-Bel-Nor, expressed concern about the budget item.
―We want to make sure that the programs for the people who are on probation are not jeopardized,‖ she said.
The revolving fund ―is to be used for them. What do the computers do to help them?‖
Sen. Gary Nodler, the Senate budget czar, said the computers ―indirectly‖ benefit parolees by increasing the
efficiency of parole officers, thus giving them more time out in the field.
Officials at the corrections department have also called for a new database – the old ―green screen‖ system hails
from the ’80s and does not have reliable tech support.
Parolee advocates say the computers only marginally help inmates and should be paid for with general state
funding because it helps the department as a whole.
Days said she supports further oversight of the computer projects, in order to measure the efficiency gains at the
corrections department.
Both the House and the Senate today approved this portion of the budget. Work continues on the rest of the
nearly $23 billion spending plan. Legislators must wrap up the budget by Friday.




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Traveling comedy show comes to House
Rules hearing
STL TODAY - By Tony Messenger
Speaker of the House Rod Jetton has great timing.
Maybe it was purely coincidental, maybe not, but Monday afternoon during a House Rules Committee hearing
Jetton popped his head in the door right as committee chairman Shannon Cooper, R-Clinton, was about to
discuss, however briefly, the village law repeal. (SB 765 sponsored by Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mt. Vernon).
Jetton, of course, has been the target of those who want the law repealed because of his involvement in it
passing last year. (Jetton denies he was responsible for inserting the provision that helps his buddy developer
Robert Plaster).
So Jetton, with a sheepish smile on his face, tells Cooper to hurry things up a bit because there’s a Republican
caucus meeting going on. Cooper, noting that SB765 now has a ―whole lot of stuff in it‖ passed the bill through
his committee. But he made it clear that the 911-tax that was tacked on will get removed on the House floor,
should the bill come up for debate.
Jetton wasn’t the only one with a sense of timing in the meeting. While in the process of passing SB778, which
would encourage sixth-grade girls to receive the HPV virus shots, Cooper asked: ―This won’t encourage kids to
have sex, will it?‖
Shot back Rep. Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City: ―Not any more than hormones will.‖




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Bill lets pharmacies appeal audits
Springfield pharmacy owner testifies about $13,000 mistake.
Chad Livengood and Kathleen O'Dell
News-Leader

Jefferson City -- When an insurance company audited Dan's Discount Drug Mart in Springfield last month, the
auditors combed through doctor prescription notes.
They found one script that was misdated by the doctor. The physician wrote April 1, 2007, when the date was
really May 1, 2007.
The doctor's mistake could cost the North Kansas Expressway pharmacy $13,000. The insurance company has
demanded its money back, even though the doctor has said she made a mistake.
"Because of that, they said it's not a valid script and they want to take all of the money back, which is $13,000 for
three medicines for a one-month supply," said Jim Montgomery, co-owner of Dan's Discount Drug Mart.
Legislation heard by the Senate Health and Mental Health Committee on Tuesday would give pharmacies the
ability to appeal the audit decisions of insurance companies. Montgomery was in Jefferson City to testify in favor
of the legislation, House Bill 1332.
Currently, pharmacies have no recourse in audits conducted by insurance companies they have contracts with,
said Rep. David Sater, a pharmacist who is sponsoring the bill.
"It's common sense language that allows pharmacies to deal with the audit in a fair and equitable way," said
Sater, a Republican whose district includes parts of Barry and Stone counties.
The legislation drew considerable opposition from lobbyists of insurance companies who said the auditing of
independent pharmacies is a contractual matter the legislature has no business getting involved in.
Pharmacies under investigation for fraud, willful misrepresentation or abuse would not be protected under the
bill. But some opponents sought to characterize it that way.
David Root, a lobbyist for Medco Health Solutions, said the bill "would force" insurance companies to continue
making payments for prescriptions to pharmacies facing an audit investigation, "thus creating a system where
the criminal activity is protected."
Montgomery said he's not opposed to audits of prescriptions his pharmacy fills for insured customers. But he
wants the ability to show proof of clerical and spelling errors.
Insurance industry lobbyists testified audits are a random process designed to save customers money and
detect fraud.
"They're looking for a needle in a haystack, and boom, they made $13,000," Montgomery said.
The bill, originally dubbed the Pharmacy Audit Bill of Rights, has had other health care-related legislation tacked
on. On April 10, the House approved the legislation 126-19. The Senate Health and Mental Health Committee
could vote on the bill later this week, said Sen. Chuck Purgason, the panel's chair.
The bill also contains a provision giving doctors the ability to override an insurance provider when the carrier
declines to pay for a prescription not designated in the patient's plan.
This provision is backed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Missouri.
"This is a very critical issue for people with mental illness," Sherry Fischer, director of operations for NAMI
Missouri, said in an interview. "This (decision) should be left up to the person's doctor. If the doctor says the


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patient is very stable and he does not want to switch them to a cheaper, older drug just because it's cheaper,
they shouldn't have to."
Insurance industry lobbyists said this typically occurs with taxpayer-funded Medicaid and Medicare Part D
because they're administered by a third party that has no control over what drugs are covered under the plans.
Tracey Joyce, a legislative aide in Jefferson City, testified that the $100 medicine St. Louis-based insurer
Expresscripts didn't want to pay for resulted in a $14,000 hospital stay in 2006.
The company required her to use a step-down drug that is not supposed to be taken by patients with a history of
a bleeding disorder. Despite Joyce's history of a bleeding ulcer, the company required the step-down drug.
Three months later, Joyce was in the hospital and being treated for six ulcers. Expresscripts then required
another step-down drug for ulcer treatment.
In the end, Joyce said, she and her doctor went through the whole list of step-down drugs until the only one left
was the one that worked in the first place -- Celebrex.
One lobbyist testified that the bill's language would allow an employer to be notified of changes in an employee's
medication, potentially violating HIPAA -- the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
"Since when does your employer get to know what medication you're on?" asked Larry Rohrbach, a lobbyist for
Coventry Health Care in Kansas City and Group Health Plan of St. Louis.




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Bills advance local projects
Funding includes Ellis Fischel plans.
By JASON ROSENBAUM of the Tribune’s staff
Published Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Missouri Senate approved budget items yesterday to build several facilities in Columbia, including an item
that reauthorizes millions of dollars for the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center.
One budget bill that includes nearly $76 million worth of planning and capital improvements for the state includes
several items of relevance to Columbia:
● Roughly $5.3 million for the public schools’ Columbia Career Center expansion and corresponding vocational
and technical programs.
● About $5 million for planning, design, renovation, construction and purchase of a facility for the Thompson
Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the University of Missouri.
● About $600,000 for the planning and design of a new State Historical Society of Missouri building.
● About $2 million for planning, design, renovation and improvements at Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station
facilities.
That bill passed the Senate yesterday 30-4 and needs another vote from the House to go to the governor.
Another bill passed by the Missouri Senate yesterday reappropriated about $31.2 million for the Ellis Fischel
Cancer Center. Funding for the project - which was derived from a plan that uses proceeds from the sale of
loans from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority for capital projects - won approval in a supplemental
budget bill in January
Senate Appropriations Chairman Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, said additional legislation is necesary because the
money has not been transferred to the university, and that’s because construction hasn’t begun.
"As projects are built and developed by the institutions, then they’re paid on a reimbursable basis," Nodler said.
Sen. John Loudon, R-Chesterfield, threatened to block the bill because of opposition by Sen. Chuck Graham, D-
Columbia, to Loudon’s bill to expand the practice of midwifery. Loudon said the move was meant to strike at a
project in Graham’s district.
"Let’s just say when you have a lot of questions about one guy’s bill, you’re inviting him to ask questions about
yours," Loudon said.
Graham said Loudon’s bill has little chance of passing with only a couple of weeks left in the legislative session.
"It’s silly of Sen. Loudon to hold that entire state budget up over his issue," Graham said. "He had an opportunity
last week when I was gone on Thursday to be able to pass it; he couldn’t get it passed without me here. He’s just
flailing away in his last two weeks here."
Loudon ultimately backed down yesterday afternoon, and the Senate unanimously approved the legislation,
including the Ellis Fischel funding.
It awaits Gov. Matt Blunt’s signature.




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Money raised to help pupils switch
schools
By David Hunn
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
05/06/2008
ST. LOUIS — A Catholic education foundation is looking to give 600 city school students up to $2,000 each year
to move into private and parochial education this fall.
The Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation has gathered $12 million — six times last year's offering — to
cover nine years of scholarships that aim to steer poor students away from the troubled St. Louis public district
and into city private schools.
"That's good for Lutheran schools," said Chuck Conover, president of St. Louis's Lutheran Elementary School
Association. "The impact for faith-based nonpublic schools could be huge."
Foundation leaders hope to boost enrollment at city parochial and private schools in the process, many of which
are struggling to fill empty desks.
Students in kindergarten through fourth grade can apply to 18 Catholic schools, six Lutheran schools, six
Christian schools and at least four private schools.
The scholarships will follow them through eighth grade.
While no Catholic schools are scheduled to close before this coming year, such scholarships could help delay or
prevent closings down the road, said George Henry, superintendent of Catholic education at the St. Louis
Archdiocese.
The foundation, part of the archdiocese, has raised money for parochial school scholarships for nearly two
decades, Henry said.
But this is the first time a local agency has raised this much for scholarships to so many different private schools,
he said.
The foundation piloted the program last year, said board member and campaign chair Kevin M. Short. It offered
a similar scholarship to 75 kindergartners, but only for Catholic schools.
Just four donors — the Lay Family Foundation, the Sinquefield Family Foundation, Eugene and Evie Williams,
and local technology company Emerson — gave all $12 million.
Some leaders say the program has already made a difference.
Maureen DePriest, principal of St. Frances Cabrini Academy in Benton Park, said four families enrolled this year
with help from the pilot program.
The families were working hard, she said — a waitress, an office worker, a gas station attendant. Three were
single moms, and would have been hard-pressed to enroll their children without the scholarships.
Jessica Lewis said she didn't want her son Christopher Scott, 6, to go to the local public school. But she didn't
see many options.
Now she loves St. Frances.
"It's like a community," she said. "I don't worry about sending him to school, and him being away from me."
To be eligible, students must be new to private schools. Families must make less than the cap for federal free-
and reduced-price meals, or roughly $32,500 for a family of three this fall.
They may also be required to commit to paying $500 for the year.
Interested families can apply online at privateschoolscholarships.org; or call 1-866-466-0007.




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Blunt lawsuit gets first House floor
mention
STL TODAY - By Tony Messenger
As reported by my colleague Jo Mannies on the Mother Ship the Blunt administration has been sued by
attorneys investigating the alleged destruction of e-mails in the governor’s office. The lawsuit alleges that
employees in the Office of Administration stood up to attempts by the governor’s office to get them to erase
backup tapes.
This morning on the House floor, during debate over the Office of Administration budget, Democrat Jeff Harris
of Columbia, who is running for attorney general, took a moment to commend the OA employees who allegedly
stood up to the governor’s office.
Meanwhile, at a news conference to announce her intention to make a variety of tax cuts if she’s elected
governor, state Treasurer Sarah Steelman said it would be inappropriate for her to comment on the lawsuit.




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Blunt to Nixon on email fight: Show me
your backup tapes
By Jo Mannies
Gov. Matt Blunt’s staff targeted Attorney General Jay Nixon’s office, in a not-too-subtle attempt to broaden the
controversy over the preservation of state emails.
Blunt chief of staff Trish Vincent blasted Nixon in a statement today, saying that he’s been resisting the turning
over of his staff e-mails and backup tapes sought by the governor in an open-records request made in March.
The statement comes a day after an independent investigation team set up by Nixon filed suit against the
governor, alleging that current or former members of the governor’s administration had destroyed e-mails and
ordered the destruction of backup tapes.
Said Vincent in Blunt’s counter punch:
 ―Governor Blunt issued a directive on November 15, 2007, to save all e-mails in the governor’s office including
every e-mail backup tape that existed under the old disaster recovery system,‖ Vincent said in the statement.
―The governor’s directive was followed and every e-mail backup tape available since August 28, 2007, has been
retained.
  ―Given Attorney General Nixon’s grandstanding and legal antics on the issue of e-mail we would assume he
has retained all of his e-mail backup tapes so now we are asking him to produce every e-mail backup tape he
and his office has retained. We are also asking that he submit every tape created since August 28, 2007, as
soon as possible and others may follow.
   ―Jay Nixon’s refusal to join with Governor Blunt and save all e-mails is disturbing as is his refusal to join the
new e-mail retention and retrieval system that Governor Blunt is creating.‖
Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said that the attorney general’s office already has sent over copies of the state-
mandated document-retention schedule for Nixon’s office (the latest version dates from 2007) and ―thousands of
pages of documents to the state Republican Party (an earlier Sunshine request) and the governor’s office.‖
Holste said that more documents will be given to the governor’s office in the coming days and weeks. He noted
that that governor’s Sunshine request was for documents going back to 2005, in some cases.




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Missouri revenue collections up 2.2.%
St. Louis Business Journal - by Matt Allen

Missouri's net general revenue collections increased by 2.2 percent for the 2008 fiscal year-to-date compared
with the prior year.
Revenue collections through April totaled $6.45 billion, up from $6.31 billion in the same period last year,
according to Missouri Commissioner of Administration Larry Schepker. The increase comes despite a decline in
net general revenue collections for April. Collections dropped 9.8 percent from $1.13 billion during April 2007 to
$1.02 billion during last month.
Schepker said in a statement that net collections were disappointing in April as individual income tax payments
were not as strong as anticipated. There will be more taxes filed though as the tax filing deadline was extended
to May 19 for any residents and businesses of the 35 counties in Missouri, including Franklin, Jefferson, St.
Louis and Washington counties, that were declared disaster areas due to the recent storms and flooding.
For the fiscal year through April: sales and use tax collections totaled $1.65 billion, down 0.9 percent from $1.66
billion the prior year; individual income tax collections totaled $5.01 billion, up 4.8 percent from $4.78 billion a
year earlier; corporate income and franchise tax collections decreased 0.2 percent for the year, from $502.7
million last year to $201.6 million this year; all other collections increased 2.1 percent from a year earlier from
$391.0 million to $399.3 million; and refunds were up 8.3 percent from $1.02 billion to $1.11 billion.




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Lack of money won't halt Missouri e-
mail archive system
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) Gov. Matt Blunt's administration is forging ahead with a plan to archive state e-
mails even though lawmakers have not approved money to run it.
Blunt relied on existing money in January while ordering the installation of a permanent e-mail retention system.
But the budget being considered Tuesday by lawmakers does not include the $500,000 Blunt requested to
operate the e-mail archive starting in July.
Blunt's administration commissioner says officials will find money to operate the e-mail archive anyway.
The budget consideration comes a day after Blunt was sued by investigators appointed by Attorney General Jay
Nixon. That suit claims Blunt or his deputies tried to order the destruction of the state's current backup e-mail
tapes.




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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Blunt Now Seeks Nixon's Back-Up Tapes
FLASHBACK VIDEO: "I don't believe there's been an intentional violation . . ." -- Gov. Matt Blunt on
March 13, 2008
UPDATED 5:40 P.M. In the heat of a lawsuit targeting himself and several of his top staff, Gov. Matt Blunt's
office is pressuring Attorney General Jay Nixon for all of his office's e-mail backup tapes.
Blunt Chief of Staff Trish Vincent said the Governor has saved every e-mail backup tape available since August
28th 2007.
―Given Attorney General Nixon’s grandstanding and legal antics on the issue of e-mail we would assume he has
retained all of his e-mail backup tapes so now we are asking him to produce every e-mail backup tape he and
his office has retained. We are also asking that he submit every tape created since August 28, 2007, as soon as
possible and others may follow," Vincent said.
―Jay Nixon’s refusal to join with Governor Blunt and save all e-mails is disturbing as is his refusal to join the new
e-mail retention and retrieval system that Governor Blunt is creating,‖ she added.
Nixon has said that his office is complying with requests for thousands of documents, but that it takes time. He
has declined to sign on to Blunt's policy of saving all e-mails forever.
Reaction continues to flow in over the lawsuit filed in a Cole County court yesterday that claims that Gov. Matt
Blunt or his top staff ordered the destruction of e-mails. The Blunt administration is calling the suit political
because the investigators filing the suit were appointed by Democratic rival Attorney General Jay Nixon.
Spokesperson Jessica Robinson told the Kansas City Star, "Now that this issue is in litigation, we're not going to
provide daily running commentary."
We dug up the last opportunity we asked Gov. Blunt about the Sunshine Law. You can watch what he said
above.
Unsurprisingly, The Missouri Democratic Party called the allegations in the lawsuit serious.
"Nobody in Missouri is above the law, and that certainly includes Gov. Blunt,‖ said Jack Cardetti, Missouri
Democratic Party spokesman, in a statement. ―The Governor has a responsibility to tell the people of Missouri
whether he or members of his staff ordered these tapes to be erased. These are serious allegations and the
public’s trust is at stake.‖
Scott Eckersley, the former Blunt administration attorney, who claims he was fired because he raised questions
about the e-mail policy tells the KY3 Political Notebook that this lawsuit vindicates his position.
"I think the thing probably speaks for itself. It's nice to not be the only one out there saying this. The allegations
are so specific, it's going to be hard for them to just say it's political," Eckersley said. "Anyone that's been paying
attention to this would have to see that my name's been cleared," Eckersley said.
He added that it was "too bad" he had to continue to pursue a lawsuit. "Everyone would be better to just start
telling the truth. It's embarrassing," Eckersley said Tuesday.
By Tuesday afternoon, the Blunt administration announced it had sent its own letter to Attorney General Jay
Nixon about his office's refusal to produce documents requested by Blunt's office.
Blunt's letter to Nixon "asked why they continue their obstructive stance to this request by producing multiple
copies of the same document and thousands of non-responsive documents that among other things relate to the
functioning of microwaves in Nixon’s office, the quality of the burgers and fries at Mike’s Corner Pocket and Six
Flags discount coupons. Especially troubling is Nixon’s failure to produce any evidence that his office had an e-
mail policy prior to this January 1, 2008."
Posted by David Catanese –KY3-TV



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Lawyers set strategies in Blunt offices e-mail case
By KIT WAGAR
The Star’s Jefferson City correspondent
JEFFERSON CITY | A day after investigators sued Gov. Matt Blunt to obtain thousands of e-mail records to and
from the governor’s staff, lawyers for both sides on Tuesday provided a glimpse into their strategies.
On one side is Chet Pleban, legal counsel for the independent investigative team appointed by Attorney General
Jay Nixon. Investigators are trying to determine whether Blunt and his staff violated the law by destroying public
records that might document politically embarrassing activities.
Pleban sees Blunt’s refusal to provide documents as further violations of the state’s public records laws. He has
asked the court to take possession of the backup computer tapes that contain many of the e-mails, or to order
Blunt to turn the records over to investigators.
―We work for the same government they do,‖ Pleban said. ―If there is a dispute whether something is a public
record, the court can decide. … So far, the only thing they have shared is 2,700 pages of nonsense that include
(the chief of staff’s) birthday wishes to people. They’ve given us nothing of any substance.‖
On the other side is John Holstein, a former judge of the Missouri Supreme Court who was hired to defend Blunt.
Holstein sees a constitutional struggle over the right of the governor to maintain control of his records, and to
repel the notion that one elected official can investigate another.
The request for records of the governor’s office, Holstein said, is unprecedented. He denied that the attorney
general had the power to ask another officeholder to turn over records.
―The records of the governor’s office are charged to the possession of the governor,‖ Holstein said. ―If the
governor starts turning those over to other agencies, then the ability to protect the safety, confidentiality and
privacy of those documents is lost.‖
Holstein’s constitutional approach has the advantage of creating long-running litigation that would likely outlast
Blunt and Nixon, whose terms end next January.
The lawsuit Pleban filed this week described alleged efforts by Blunt’s staff to get state computer technicians to
have backup tapes of the governor’s e-mail records overwritten with other data. Two information technology
supervisors refused, citing government policy to preserve the tapes when they are subject to requests under the
state Sunshine Law.
But answers to big questions remain elusive: What is in the thousands of e-mail messages sent from 43
computers in the governor’s office throughout 2007 that prompted the governor to effectively refuse to turn over
the documents to the news media or to investigators?
And could the contents of those e-mail messages have had any connection to Blunt’s sudden announcement
last January that he would not seek re-election after raising nearly $10 million for his campaign?
Holstein scoffed at the idea that the e-mail messages contained a smoking gun involving the governor or his
staff.
―Demanding all e-mails for a year because one record might have been deleted that may or may not have been
a public record is a huge waste of resources,‖ Holstein said. ―I think 99 percent of them will be about Aunt Tilley’s
pumpkin pie recipe and somebody probably told a dirty joke or two.‖
Pleban said the suit was filed only after months of stonewalling by the governor’s office. State law puts no limits
on the attorney general’s power to investigate violations of the law, he said.
Pleban’s suit also questions the governor’s actions. It notes that when investigators requested documents
relating to the handling of public records, Holstein cited every exemption in the Sunshine Law. One response
said some of the documents couldn’t be released because they might involve the purchase of real estate, the
state militia or school expulsion.




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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Contact: Jessica Robinson, 573-751-0290




 Gov. Blunt's Office Seeks E-Mails and E-Mail
  Back-up Tapes From State Representative
      JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Matt Blunt’s office is seeking e-mails and e-mail backup tapes
from a state representative who has purported to be a champion of Missouri’s Sunshine Act. The
governor’s office today issued an open records request to State Rep. Jeff Harris of Columbia
seeking e-mails, e-mail back-up tapes and other public documents from the lawmaker.
       “Representative Harris has claimed to be a strong advocate for the Sunshine Act and open
government so we hope and expect he will demonstrate this commitment by providing the
information we have requested in this open records request,” said Gov. Matt Blunt’s Chief of Staff
Trish Vincent.
      Pursuant to Chapter 610, RSMo., the governor's office is requesting copies or the
opportunity to inspect the following:
      Every e-mail sent to or from the e-mail address “jeff.harris@house.mo.gov” since January
       2003;
      Copies of all e-mail back-up tapes or other storage mechanism for the e-mail address
       “jeff.harris@house.mo.gov” since January 2003;
      Every document created on a state of Missouri owned computer assigned to Rep. Jeff Harris
       or a member of his staff since January 2003; and
      Every document received by Rep. Jeff Harris or a member of his staff pursuant to law or in
       connection with their official duties since January 2003.
      In the open records request, Ms. Vincent noted that some members of the Missouri House
of Representatives may have taken the position that the Sunshine Act does not apply to them.
       “I am confident that you will agree the act applies to you,” Ms. Vincent said in a letter to
Rep. Harris. “I hope I can count on you to take every necessary step to ensure that this request
is met with a full and complete response.”




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   Editorials. . .
E-mail fiasco proves keeping secrets was top priority
By MIKE HENDRICKS
The Kansas City Star
If the allegations in a new lawsuit are true, two midlevel Jeff City bureaucrats deserve some kind of award.
Even though they feared they’d be fired for refusing a direct order from Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt or his top aides,
the two men balked when told to destroy e-mail backup tapes in violation of state laws.
Which tells you that at least someone in Missouri’s capital is looking out for the people’s interests.
As for all the governor’s men, let’s put it this way: Public disclosure wasn’t priority No. 1 with the Blunt
administration, as we learn with each new legal filing in the e-mail fiasco.
In true Nixonian fashion (as in Richard Nixon), the focus was and continues to be self-preservation.
What secret Blunt and his top aides want to protect, we still don’t know. But keeping it from becoming public was
and continues to be all-important.
Even if that meant at one point trying to ruin the reputation of a once-loyal staffer, Scott Eckersley, who had the
bad judgment of suggesting that government e-mails were public records and shouldn’t be destroyed.
Even if it meant ignoring that advice (after firing Eckersley) by ordering the Office of Administration to break the
law by destroying the e-mail backup tapes.
Even if it means continuing to stonewall an independent investigation that Blunt alleges is politically motivated —
a rationale that has far less credence than it might have had in the beginning.
After all, Blunt is no longer running for re-election, which was itself a strange development that may or may not
have been tied to the e-mail controversy.
Or as Alice said, it just gets curiouser and curiouser.
Just what is Blunt trying to hide by refusing to turn over the e-mail tapes that those two bureaucrats refused to
destroy?
Certainly not the fact that his administration engaged in a cover-up of something. That we’ve known for months.
This week’s revelations only provided more damning detail.
No, there must be something else. What is so damaging in those internal e-mails that Blunt would continue to
resist producing the records long after that made any political sense?
Blunt and his aides have consistently refused to comment. However, it might help to remember how this all
started.
It was a message that Blunt’s former chief of staff, Ed Martin, sent to political supporters from his state e-mail
account at 9:23 on the night of Aug. 20, 2007.
In that e-mail, Martin advised anti-abortion activists on ways to undermine a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood
against a new state abortion law.




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We know this because a copy of that e-mail fell into the hands of a now former columnist for the Springfield
News-Leader. The writer, Tony Messenger, said it smacked of Martin conducting illegal political activity with
state resources.
He requested more e-mails under the state’s Sunshine Law, which set in motion the cover-up that continues to
this day.
What is Blunt’s motivation for refusing to clear this up?
I can see where the cover-up itself would have been damaging to his re-election chances. The issue would have
kept coming up.
But why remain dug in now?
Is there something in those e-mails that might ruin Blunt’s chances of resuming his political career at some
point?
The only other alternative I can think of is stubbornness — that Blunt sees this legal battle as a proxy for the
political contest he and Attorney General Jay Nixon might have waged had Blunt not backed out so
unexpectedly in January.
I don’t think the Boy Governor is that self-destructive, given all the speculation it has caused.




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Courts should closely examine allegations about
Blunt e-mail
To prevent potentially damaging records from becoming public, Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt’s office allegedly
ordered copies of government e-mails destroyed. That’s the centerpiece of troubling allegations in a lawsuit filed
by an independent team that investigated Blunt’s office.
The e-mail files were saved, the lawsuit contends, only because two computer technology employees refused to
follow orders. The e-mails were on tapes that copy e-mails from computers in the governor’s office several times
a day.
It’s unclear from the lawsuit whether Blunt or a deputy allegedly ordered the e-mails destroyed.
What’s on the tapes has not been disclosed. However, the contents appear to pertain to records requested by
journalists who were investigating tips that the governor’s office improperly used state computers for political
business.
Mel Fisher, former head of the Missouri Highway Patrol, is heading the investigative team, which was appointed
by Attorney General Jay Nixon.
The probe began after Nixon received a tip from an administration insider that attempts had been made to
destroy records, the lawsuit contends.
Blunt contends that Nixon’s investigation is politically motivated. The governor also has accused Nixon of
neglecting to have a policy in the past for retaining e-mails in the attorney general’s office. Nixon, a Democrat, is
running for governor. He was Blunt’s likely general election opponent before the Republican governor
announced in January that he would not seek another term.
A former lawyer in Blunt’s office, Scott Eckersley, advised the governor’s staff that e-mails are public documents
and must be retained by law.
But Eckersley was fired shortly after recommending that the office preserve e-mail documents.
The lawsuit filed in Cole County Circuit Court by Fisher seeks to force Blunt’s office to produce the e-mail
records for the investigative team.
Requirements that records and documents be retained are essential to the public’s right to know whether
government officials and agencies are conducting only public business on government-paid work time. The
allegations in this lawsuit deserve careful attention by the court.

KC STAR




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Wednesday's editorial: Troubling
charges about Gov. Blunt
To prevent potentially damaging records from becoming public, Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt’s office
allegedly ordered copies of government e-mails destroyed.''
That’s the centerpiece of troubling allegations in a lawsuit filed by an independent team that
investigated Blunt’s office.
The e-mail files were saved, the lawsuit contends, only because two computer technology employees
refused to follow orders. The e-mails were on tapes that copy e-mails from computers in the governor’s
office several times a day.
It’s unclear from the lawsuit whether Blunt or a deputy allegedly ordered the e -mails destroyed.
What’s on the tapes has not been disclosed. However, the contents appear to pertain to records
requested by journalists who were investigating tips that the governor’s office improperly used state
computers for political business.
Mel Fisher, former head of the Missouri Highway Patrol, is heading the investigative team, which was
appointed by Attorney General Jay Nixon.
The probe began after Nixon received a tip from an administration insider that attempts had been made
to destroy records, the lawsuit contends.
Blunt contends that Nixon’s investigation is politically motivated. The governor also has accused Nixon
of neglecting to have a policy in the past for retaining e-mails in the attorney general’s office. Nixon, a
Democrat, is running for governor. He was Blunt’s likely general election opponent before the
Republican governor announced in January that he would not seek another te rm.
A former lawyer in Blunt’s office, Scott Eckersley, advised the governor’s staff that e-mails are public
documents and must be retained by law.
But Eckersley was fired shortly after recommending that the office preserve e -mail documents.
The lawsuit filed in Cole County Circuit Court by Fisher seeks to force Blunt’s office to produce the e -
mail records for the investigative team.
Requirements that records and documents be retained are essential to the public’s right to know
whether government officials and agencies are conducting only public business on government -paid
work time. The allegations in this lawsuit deserve careful attention by the court.
KC STAR -Submitted by Laura_Scott




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Recognize state workers with combined
salary increase
A salary increase also is a form of recognition.
Missouri's state workers were celebrated last week with a day held in their honor.
State Employee Recognition Day, hosted by the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, was an enjoyable
event. Awards were bestowed and about 60 area merchants set up booths offering food, fun and prizes.
But neither the chamber nor retailers can offer recognition to state workers in the form of a salary adjustment for
a job well done. That authority is vested in legislative and executive branches of the government served by state
employees.
The Legislature and Gov. Matt Blunt this year authorized a 3 percent raise for state employees.
Although no raise should be overlooked, we believe lawmakers missed a chance to couple a percentage
increase with a flat-rate merit hike.
The House this year supported a flat $1,056 pay raise. The Senate insisted on the 3 percent increase supported
by the governor.
How does a merit increase differ from a flat amount?
With a percentage increase, higher-paid employee receive a greater amount than lower-paid workers. With a flat
amount, all employees receive an equal amount.
The case can be made that higher-paid employees should receive a better salary increase to reward their
longevity and experience.
A case also can be made, however, that lower-paid employees often perform more intense labor on the front
lines, and frequently display the energy and enthusiasm of relatively new workers.
State government in the past has acknowledged both schools of thought by combining a percentage with a flat
merit amount to reward productivity.
We believe that combination is a more accurate way to recognize the quantity and quality of a state employee's
efforts on behalf of taxpayers.
Although the budget must be completed by 6 p.m. Friday, surely there's time to revisit the issue and give state
employees the benefits they have earned and deserve.
JEFFERSON CITY NEWS TRIBUNE




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Wednesday editorial: The undead
STL TODAY - By: Editorial Board

Eight days remain in the current session of the Missouri Legislature, and a sense of desperation seems to have
taken hold among the Legislature’s Republican leaders. This could be the final gasp of the Republican
revolution.
Should Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon be elected governor in November — and he’s got a lead in polls
and fundraising over both challengers for the GOP nomination — he’d be far less cooperative with legislative
leaders than Republican Gov. Matt Blunt has been for the last four years.
At the top of the conservatives’ wish list is House Joint Resolution 70, sponsored by Rep. Allen Icet, R-
Wildwood. Described as a ―taxpayer bill of rights‖ or ―Hancock on steroids,‖ HJR 70 would limit growth of state
tax revenue. It has passed the House and awaits action in the Senate. If it passes there, it would need voter
approval in November.
The 1980 Hancock Amendment limits the amount of tax revenue the state can collect. HJR 70 creates a formula
that limits revenue growth to about 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent a year. Growth beyond that would be restricted by
a reduction in the state income tax rate.
With state tax collections down because of the national economic climate, that wouldn’t be a problem this year.
But when times are good, the state wouldn’t be able to improve or expand services. After a similar lid went into
effect in Colorado in 1992, that state saw dramatic reductions in school and higher education funding. Colorado
ranks last among the 50 states in average teacher salaries and has the highest percentage of uninsured children
(32 percent) of any state. Colorado voters loosened the restrictions in 2005.
Also staging a return from the grave is HJR 48, which would require voter identification. On April 28, the U.S.
Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, putting voter ID back in play in several states, including Missouri.
If HJR 48 is approved, voters would decide — probably in August — whether voters in future elections would
have to present photo ID cards at the polls.
The House will take it up this week with debate limited to 150 minutes to prevent Democrats from talking it to
death and impeding other legislation. The House probably will pass it and send it to the Senate, where
Democrats could talk it death.
To cut off debate, GOP leaders would have employ a rarely used parliamentary procedure known as ―calling the
previous question,‖ which they are reluctant to do because they might need Democrats’ help next year.
An extended filibuster would be useful if it kept some bad bills from coming to a vote: A threat to cut six judges’
slots from the St. Louis Circuit Court and allot them to other counties; a bill to indemnify owners of billboards
along Interstate 70 if the signs are torn down for highway reconstruction; a bill to allow psychologists to prescribe
drugs; and a bill to require applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to be screened for illegal
drugs.
Also pending is SB 991, from Sen. John Loudon, R-Chesterfield. The bill would designate the ice cream cone as
Missouri’s official state dessert. All things considered, the people of Missouri would be better off if the Legislature
spent the next eight days on just that one.




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Petitions
Beware of easy conclusions
By HENRY J. WATERS III, Publisher, Columbia Daily Tribune
Published Tuesday, May 6, 2008

After being accosted several times by intrusive people wielding clipboards, an average citizen trying to enter the
public library or pass the post office might be ready to impose some sort of law against such harassment.
But remember, the right to petition government is protected in constitutions. Upon more sober thought, few of us
would want to abandon that hallowed right, but in that same thinking session we might decide initiative
petitioning can get out of hand, particularly if we live in the state of California, where lawmaking from the streets
reaches overwhelming proportions. On some election days, Californians face scores of issues generated without
the help of elected representatives.
Here in Missouri, no fewer than five petition campaigns have just wrapped up. Most or all used hired signature
collectors working for out-of-state firms that collect such names for a fee. Some civil science observers think this
is vaguely improper. Laws to restrict the practice routinely appear on legislative agendas, but for the same
reason campaign finance restrictions are hard to pass, limitations on petitioning fail to make the grade. Chances
are a law outlawing the use of commercial signature gatherers would be found unconstitutional, regardless of
where the firms are headquartered. It’s that darn First Amendment again.
Some laws are in place justified to keep the peace. Petition hustlers can’t gather in groups and fight each other.
They can’t unduly interfere with solicited passers-by. But basically they must be left alone on public property or
where permitted on private property to do their thing. It’s the American Way.
We could make petitioning less promising by increasing the number of signatures required - currently between
86,000 and 95,000 to enact a state law and 140,000 to 150,000 to put an item on an election ballot to amend the
state constitution - but watch out. These thresholds must not be too high lest they interfere with our right to enact
laws by the initiative process, so chances are no change will be made.
As election day nears, we will analyze the legal implications of the successful petition campaigns. For now the
intent here is to remind us all why petition campaigns are legitimate exercises in democracy even though we
sometimes wish the clipboard carriers would leave us alone.




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Editorial: Student voice has weight
THE MANEATER - May 6, 2008

We editorialized against the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative a few issues ago: we hoped people would continue to
educate themselves, and when the time came for the issue to get on the ballot, it would not receive the
appropriate number of signatures on the petition. We’re pleased that what we hoped to be actually came to
fruition.
But the positive effect is much bigger than just the failure of an unjust initiative to gain support. Students have
again proven themselves to be a driving political force, and one to be reckoned with. We wanted something, we
activated in droves and though it would be hard to pin the initiative’s lack of support solely on student efforts, we
can at least say we helped substantially. There was a concentrated effort on the part of students to organize
education and protests involving the bill. We are so glad to see our peers step up for what’s right, and to see the
overwhelming effectiveness of their actions.
So what’s next? Students, don’t let this momentum slip away. There are upcoming contests in November, such
as the presidential election, that are going to need your continued efforts to legitimize the student vote. It’s never
too early to get informed and involved.




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Editorial: Pass 'student curator' bill now
THE MANEATER - May 6, 2008

For 12 years, the UM system’s students have struggled for a voice and a vote for the student representative to
the system’s governing board.
Now that we’ve finally convinced the Missouri House Higher Education committee and Senate to agree, we
aren’t about to let an amendment proposed this late in the legislative game negate all effort that has been
dedicated to the cause. Revisions can be made in the next legislative session — but right now, we’re asking
legislators to pass the bill as is.
For months, the Associated Students of the University of Missouri have been lobbying to pass a bill to give the
student curator a vote in 2012 and therefore force the Board of Curators to make the student opinion a concrete
factor in decision-making. Recently a concern that the bill will be amended on the House floor with the addition of
a ―sunset clause‖ and consequently returned to Senate has surfaced. If the amendment passes and the bill has
to go back to Senate, there will not be sufficient time before the end of this legislative session, and the bill will die
as a result.
The Missouri Constitution states the Board of Curators must have nine members, one from each Congressional
District, and the Missouri Revised Statutes requires only one curator come from each congressional district. The
voting student curator bill states that if Missouri loses a congressional district in the 2010 census, a student will
hold the last seat when the districts are revised in 2012.
We insist a current student can provide much greater insight into the needs of students in the UM system than
another proposed alternative, an out-of-state graduate who is far removed from university life and the needs of
Missouri students. The bill must be passed right now, before the 2010 census and while the Senate and the
Higher House Education committee are already in favor.
For 12 years students have pressed legislators to pass the bill, and year after year efforts have failed. This year,
though, is different. The bill passed through Senate on April 3 and the Missouri House Higher Education
committee on May 1, and all that’s left is a successful House vote and the governor’s signature, assuming the bill
is not amended. In the past, similar bills have been passed by the House only to die in the Senate. But this year,
the student curator stars have aligned.
The terms of the amendment aren’t unreasonable. The change to the bill would be the addition of a sunset
clause, or expiration date, for the voting student curator bill. Although we’d rather be assured a permanent vote
for the student curator, it’s a compromise we’re willing to make to ensure we obtain the voting privilege.
But we have to ask why the sunset clause proposal is happening so late in the process, especially when
members of ASUM brought up the possibility of such a clause much earlier in the legislative session when there
would have been time to amend the bill and still let it pass. Whether it’s a deliberate attempt to keep the bill from
passing or simply a result of laziness or incompetence toward proposing amendments in a timely manner, the
timing is unreasonable and simply unacceptable.
We are asking legislators to postpone revisions until the next legislative session, after the bill has already passed
through the House. Amending it now and therefore killing the bill would waste the time, energy and efforts of
students and legislators who have worked hard to get the bill to where it is.
We as students have done all we can to earn a say in decisions made concerning our education, and we’re
almost there. What we need is your help as legislators to ensure that the bill passes in this legislative term.




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MOHELA board fleeced students
Greer’s words ring hollow in light of facts.
By JOHN KOFFMAN
Published Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ever wonder where the profits from student loans go? John Greer knows. Greer was appointed to the Missouri
Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) board by Gov. Mel Carnahan in 1993. During his 13 years on the
MOHELA board, millions of dollars in student loan assets were spent on expensive real estate, sweetheart
pension plans, cars, luxury resorts, 12-week vacation packages, excessive bonuses and expensive
entertainment that included - among other things - a magic show.
The party was over when Gov. Matt Blunt announced his plan to reinvest some of MOHELA’s assets in Missouri
colleges and universities, a move that eventually helped expose the mismanagement of the loan agency and
lack of oversight by Greer and others. But now Greer is attempting to put on a magic show of his own with
commentary published in this newspaper in which he masquerades as a fiscal disciplinarian of the loan agency.
The facts tell us a different story.
When quasi-government agencies exist without scrutiny or good oversight, bad things happen. MOHELA is no
exception. And the clear failure of Greer and others to provide this oversight was recently exposed by the state
auditor’s office.
To start, an audit found that in late 2000, MOHELA entered into an $11 million contract to build an 81,993-
square-foot office building on prime west St. Louis County real estate. Rather than issue a competitive bid for the
work to keep costs down, MOHELA approved a no-bid contract.
How was the contractor selected? MOHELA has no records.
Until recently, MOHELA had no formal procurement policy, and millions of dollars were spent for various
services without competitive proposals. MOHELA also allowed a contractor to submit two bids and perform
construction work on the project in violation of state law. All of this under the watchful eyes of Greer and the
MOHELA board.
Additionally, MOHELA spent more than $400,000 for "architectural services" for its new building, also without a
competitive bid.
Then, after moving into the new building, MOHELA wasted $1.25 million in lease payments for a building it no
longer needed. Records show MOHELA spent $69,600 per month, plus utility costs, to store old office furniture
and equipment. Hardly a wise use of student loan assets.
It gets worse.
According to the audit, MOHELA has paid or is on the hook for $2.3 million in severance benefits to four former
executives who either resigned or whose employment was terminated. The audit found these severance
packages to be excessive and not an appropriate use of money. If that were not enough, between 2001 and
2004, five MOHELA executives received annual performance bonuses totaling almost $1.5 million.
Other excessive expenditures for MOHELA executives include 12 weeks of paid vacation and personal days with
a provision allowing any unused time off to be converted to cash. More than $146,000 in car payments and car
allowances was spent for five executives. More than $46,000 was expended on annual retreats at luxury resorts.
Holiday bonuses and gift cards for employees totaled more than $688,000. And at least $28,716 was expended
on annual employee holiday parties that included $2,741 for "drink tickets," $575 for a disc jockey and $500 for a
magic show.




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We invite Greer to read the audit and take credit for his incredible oversight. As a MOHELA board member
during the years examined by the auditor, Greer was in a position to stop this mismanagement with some
honest-to-goodness oversight. For whatever reason, he and the other board members allowed MOHELA’s
assets to be raided and mismanaged.
Now Greer wants Missourians to believe he is committed to MOHELA’s "core mission of enhancing access to
higher education for all eligible Missouri students." With the support of Attorney General Jay Nixon, he excoriates
Gov. Blunt for reinvesting student loan assets in our students, colleges and universities instead of the old way of
spending these same assets on perks, parties and pensions for well-paid executives.
Under Blunt’s innovative plan, $335 million from MOHELA will go toward the creation of world-class education
centers for Missouri students and the promotion of learning, innovation and technology that will help secure
Missouri’s role as a higher education leader. Now, student loan assets are being reinvested in our students, not
golden parachutes for a handful of loan authority executives.
It is true MOHELA and other loan authorities around the country are struggling because of the national credit
crisis. But these struggles are in no way related to the governor’s Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative, as Greer
asserts.
The governor’s plan caused MOHELA to sell certain non-Missouri loans at the peak of the market, resulting in a
windfall for the state and its higher education institutions and an $800 million reduction in MOHELA’s financial
exposure.
It is time for Greer to move beyond political posturing and to account for the mismanagement that occurred while
he was a MOHELA board member. His false accusations merely redirect the light on the fleecing of students and
taxpayers that occurred on his watch.


John Koffman is a former chairman of the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education and a former member of the
Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority.




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Legislative limit on courts should be rejected
By DOUGLAS E. ABRAMS
Special to The Star
What would you do if the tax assessor overcharges you but denies a partial refund? Or if the city causes a flood
on your land? Or if state workers destroy your garage?
Ever since Missouri achieved statehood in 1821, the state constitution has guaranteed citizens the right to
challenge government actions in court. A measure pending in the legislature would drastically limit this basic
right.
House Joint Resolution 41 would prohibit courts from ordering state or local government entities to reimburse
citizens unless the General Assembly first allows reimbursement in legislation signed by the governor.
Missouri would become the only state with such a prohibition, which would close courthouse doors in an
estimated 3,000 cases each year.
The resolution provides that ―no court shall order … any … officer of the state or any political subdivision … to …
expend public funds except as expressly approved by legislation …‖
Supporters say Missourians must amend the state constitution to prevent courts from ordering tax increases.
The truth that Kansas City attorney C. Patrick McLarney and I realize is that the constitution already provides
that only the legislature, not the courts, may impose taxes.
Regardless of the anti-tax rhetoric, HJR 41 would achieve its destructive outcome by upsetting two fundamental
constitutional guarantees: the ―open-courts‖ right and the ―separation of powers‖ doctrine.
These are not legal technicalities.
In 1821, Missouri’s first constitution specified that ―courts of justice ought to be open to every person, and certain
remedy afforded for every injury.‖
The people strengthened this mandate in the constitution of 1875, which guaranteed that ―the courts of justice
shall be open to every person …‖ This strong language — ―shall,‖ not ―ought to be‖ — remains unchanged.
Separation of powers is as old as the United States itself, and as old as Missouri. When the Framers drafted the
U.S. Constitution in 1787, we became the first modern nation to create a republic with three separate co-equal
branches of government: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.
In a poll conducted in December, 73 percent of Missourians said that ―Missouri judges should be independent of
elected officials like the governor and the legislature to ensure judges make decisions based only on the law and
the constitution.‖
With HJR 41, Missouri would enable the executive and legislative branches to deny courts authority to hold
government accountable.
This would not hurt the courts or judges or lawyers. The real losers each year would be thousands of
Missourians, shut out of the courts they support with their hard-earned tax dollars.
Douglas E. Abrams is a professor at the MU School of Law. He lives in Columbia




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Bill would protect Missouri businesses
from silly lawsuits
SE MISSOURIAN OP-ED - Tuesday, May 6, 2008
By David Overfelt
As the Missouri Legislature quickly approaches adjournment for another session, one critical piece of legislation
dedicated to improving both the business climate and judicial climate continues to be held hostage. House Bill
2241, introduced by state Rep. Bryan Stevenson in the House Judicial Committee, would seek to curb frivolous
lawsuits that threaten to run small businesses out of Missouri and cost taxpayers millions while knotting up the
court system.
We like to say that retailing is the business of business. Manufacturing, transportation, marketing and wholesale
all exist to support the final level of retail sales to customers nationwide. That's why retailing is so vital to all
business and all customers throughout Missouri.
As president of the Missouri Retailers Association, I understand that a successful retail industry depends on
integrity, solid customer service, and responsible business practices. That's why the Missouri Retailers
Association has joined with more than 20 other businesses and associations from across Missouri to support HB
2241. We call ourselves the Missouri Justice Alliance, and you may have heard or seen our advertisements over
the past week.
We feel strongly that more needs to be done to protect Missouri businesses from out of control lawsuits that lack
merit but are heavy with greed. HB 2241 would seek to limit lawsuit awards to actual damages. What does that
mean? It means that when wronged, consumers would be awarded sums equal to those lost. Why is this
important? Chances are you heard about a family dry-cleaner in Washington, D.C., which lost a customer's pair
of pants. The customer sued his dry-cleaner for $67 million dollars. For a pair of pants!
Ridiculous, you say? Won't happen in Missouri? Wrong. The ways our laws are currently written open the door to
these types of frivolous lawsuits. That's why we have started the Missouri Justice Alliance: to bring about
awareness of the threat that faces Missouri businesses and why something needs to be changed now, before a
lawsuit that cripples a small business, costs the taxpayers dearly and ties up our courts makes headline news.
Even though the plaintiff, a sitting judge, in the dry-cleaner case was not awarded $67 million, or even $54
million as he later reduced his lawsuit (how gracious of him), the cost to the family dry-cleaner is devastating. it
racked up $70,000 in legal bills. It was forced to close one of its two dry-cleaning stores. Retirement savings
were drained. Add the sleepless nights and emotional stress and it's easy to see how one frivolous lawsuit cost a
hard-working family nearly everything it worked for its whole life.
Let's not wait until a similar, tragic story happens right here to a neighbor, friend or family member. We, through
the Missouri Legislature, have the ability to ensure no hard-working, law-abiding business owner in Missouri
faces a similar fate. Join with the Missouri Retailers Association and the Missouri Justice Alliance to encourage
legislators to support passage of HB 2241.
Contact Representative Stevenson to thank him for introducing this forward-looking legislation. You can visit
www.MissouriJusticeAllaince.org to learn more about our group and find contact information to contact those on
the House Judicial Committee and urge them to get this good legislation moving before it's too late.

David Overfelt is the president of the Missouri Retailers Association in Jefferson City, Mo.




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NEWS FROM THE MISSOURINET
Steelman unveils $200-million tax relief proposal
Tuesday, May 6, 2008, 2:11 PM
By Steve Walsh

Republican gubernatorial candidate Sarah Steelman has taken the wraps off a proposal to provide nearly $200-
million in tax relief to Missourians.
There are several components to the plan. Among them is a call to increase the personal exemption from $2,100
to $2,625 for single tax filers and $4,200 to $5,250 for married filers. Steelman is also calling for an increase in
the dependent child exemption from $1,200 to $2,100 to help offset increasing costs to families. In addition,
Steelman wants to raise the exemption on family dependent seniors 65 and older from $1,000 to $2,100.
Steelman is also pledging that as Governor she would form a Missouri Tax Code Review Commission within her
first 100 days in office to conduct a thorough review of taxes being paid by Missourians.

Senate says "kill horses."
Tuesday, May 6, 2008, 10:01 PM
By Bob Priddy

Some animal-rights activists who have bombarded the state senate with opposition to a resolution generate little
for their efforts but resentment.
Senator Wes Shoemyer, a cattle farmer from Clarence, wants to tell Congress to keep supporting horse
processing in the united states and to offer incentives to create horse processing plants. He says the federal
suspension of horse slaughtering is the most impractical thing he says he's ever seen.
Horse-lovers throughout the nation have buried Senators such as Joan Bray with messages of opposition. Bray,
a St. Louis animal activist herself, says somebody has misrepresented this issue throughout the country. She
says 7,000 messages have jammed her e-mail and have "totally screwed up" her e-mail system. She says her
staff has been busy fielding calls from people as far away as Massachusetts who don't know what the resolution
says.
Supporters of the resolution maintain the federal suspension of slaughtering sentences horses to a far uglier
death because many will be neglected and starved by owners who can no longer afford to keep them when the
horse gets old and its health declines.
The senate, irritated at the barrage of message it's been getting, has voted 28-5 to send its message to
Congress.
Concurrent resolutions such as SCR 35 seldom make any kind of an impression in Washington. But Shoemyer
says other states are passing similar resolutions which might put some muscle behind the message.

Senate debates quarter-per-month cell phone fee
Tuesday, May 6, 2008, 9:25 PM
By Steve Walsh

An amendment to a local government bill (HB 1711) would ask Missourians to say yes or no to a proposal to add
a quarter to the cost of cell phone bills to pay for 911 service. But the amendment has run into some opposition
in the Senate.




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Among those expressing concern is Senator Jason Crowell (R-Cape Girardeau) who doesn't like the idea of
what he sees as a tax increase - and adds it is especially inappropriate to provide more money for jurisdictions
he feels are not doing a very good job of handling communications now.
The amendment put forward by Senator John Griesheimer (R-Washington) is part of a much larger bill that is
currently stalled in the House. The day ended with no vote having been taken on Griesheimer's amendment. The
bill could come up again today.


Call it VOIP, call it deregulation, it's going to the governor
Tuesday, May 6, 2008, 8:25 PM
By Brent Martin

Non-traditional telephone service, less regulation of traditional phone companies and a hope for more
competition are all wrapped up in a telecommunications bill heading to the governor.
House sponsor, Rep. Ed Emery (R-Lamar), brought HB 1779 to the floor after the Senate made minor changes.
It often is referred to as the VOIP bill. VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol which basically translates
into getting telephone service over the Internet, primarily from cable companies. The bill intends to even the
playing field by ridding phone companies of some regulation. It adjusts the role the Public Service Commission
plays in regulating the industry.
Though the bill sails to passage in the House on a 121-to-26 vote, some members express concern that
deregulation will move too quickly and that telephone rates, especially in the rural Missouri, will rise.


Churchill's legacy in Fulton continues
Tuesday, May 6, 2008, 5:42 PM
By Jon Allison

The list of star visits to the Churchill Memorial in Fulton, Missouri got Longer today with the former British Prime
Minister John Major's visit to the museum, the fourth British prime minister to do so. Major is in Missouri for
several reasons, one of which is to be the fourth recipient of the Churchill Medal. His time in Fulton will also be
spent speaking to the students at Westminster College in Fulton, something Major says he does often.
"Primarily, I'd like to listen to them, engage them in dialogue, and answer their questions… and I have to tell you
it's a very good generation," said Major, "If you go around the world I think you find a huge degree of interest
amongst the best of young people everywhere as to what is happening in a world that is changing more rapidly
than any we've seen at any stage in the past."
Major was able to tour the museum just before he spoke to the media, and remarked on how much he loved it,
and thought it was an excellent portrayal of Churchill's entire life. The memorial is across the street from the
gymnasium where Churchill delievered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech. Major called Churchill's span of life
"unmatched" by anyone in history.
When asked about the current state of relations between the United States and Great Britain, Major said the
relationship is strong.
"I think the relationship is very secure," said Major, "and it isn't a relationship based on emotion; it's a relationship
based on a hard-headed assessment of what is happening in the world, and upon a generally similar view of
how the world works. And so, the relationship has survived with Republican presidents and Labor prime
ministers, with conservative prime ministers and Democratic presidents… It has endured, and I expect it to do
so."
Fulton is the first of two stops in Missouri for Major, the second being St. Louis this evening.




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USA TODAY In Missouri
Wednesday, May 7
Perryville - Perry County deputies arrested 20 people after concluding a months-long drug investigation. Those
arrested are accused of selling drugs - ranging from small amounts of marijuana to cocaine and
methamphetamine - to undercover operatives in the county. Authorities said a few of the people arrested were
charged with selling the drugs near schools. St. Louis - A newborn baby is in satisfactory condition a day after
being found in a trash bin. The baby boy was discovered about 9 p.m. Monday by Wesley Falker as he prepared
to dispose of yard waste. The child was taken to St. Louis Children's Hospital. Police are searching for suspects.

Tuesday, May 6
St. Louis - The former CEO of a St. Louis-based company was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his role in a
fraudulent investment scheme affecting more than 400 people. Andre Mitchell, former chief executive of Global
Power Global Wealth, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering in federal
court in February. Officials say the scheme paid investors with funds from other clients, rather than from
legitimate investments.

Monday, May 5
Springfield - A nursing home here was cited after investigators determined workers had not adequately
addressed the needs of a patient who died. The facility, Christian Health Care: Springfield East, received the
state's most severe non-compliance citation after an investigation into the death on Feb. 17. The report said the
home failed to provide "appropriate nursing interventions."




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

				
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