|2014 Capitol Reports and Press Releases (Archived)
| January » February » March » April » May » June » July » August » September
CAPITOL REPORT - January 13, 2014. Well the 2014 Missouri Legislature Session has officially begun without a lot of fanfare. The session was opened for business at high noon on Wednesday, January 8th.
On Wednesday morning, I attended the Missouri Baptist Convention Annual Prayer Breakfast at Concord Baptist Church in Jefferson City. On Thursday morning, I attended the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast where the quest speaker was Hal Donaldson, founder and CEO of Convoy of Hope from Springfield, MO. He gave a personal message of his life and how he was called to begin reaching out and helping others. Bottom line was: Love Your Neighbors As Yourself. The spiritual food we received at those two prayer breakfasts was much more important than the physical food.
The first public gathering at the Capitol was several hundred concerned Missourians who have a high priority to give working Missourians the “Freedom to Work.” This may very well be on the 2014 ballot. If the citizens of Missouri vote to have “Freedom to Work,” Missouri will be the 25th state in the nation to give workers this freedom.
In his opening remarks, Speaker Tim Jones outlined some of his priorities for the upcoming session using his “4 G’s” – Growth and Opportunities, Guaranteeing Access To a Great Education, Generating Reliable Energy and Infrastructure, and Guarding and Protecting Missouri Values.” Speaker Jones hopes these issues will guide legislation coming out of the Republican led House.
I am excited to be back in Jefferson City and roll up my sleeves and get back to work. I am honored to serve and be the voice of the citizens of the 125th District. I plan to support all issues that are for the greater good of all Missourians.
CAPITOL REPORT - January 16, 2014. My In District activities started this week attending the memorial service for a true patriot, Dick Keifer. He was a lifelong resident of Osceola and left a legacy. He will be missed, but not forgotten.
Then Monday afternoon I spent two hours in a John Deere Gator with a rancher in Hickory County. We were looking at fences and property lines that have issues with adverse possession. In Missouri there are two fence laws; some counties have the local option and some are under the general fence laws. There is a lot of gray area and misunderstanding of Missouri Fence Laws.
On Monday afternoon I attended the ground breaking ceremony of the Osceola Hwy 13 and 82 overpass bridge. The interchange project will begin the week of January 13th. The completion date is set for November 1, 2014. The $7 million project includes a new Route 82 bridge which will carry traffic over Route 13 and new ramps connecting Route 13 to Route 82. The project also will relocate Business Route 13’s intersection with Route 82 west of its current location and relocate a connection road’s access to Route 82 on the east side of the interchange.
Most of the work in Jefferson City this week was House Bills being presented in committees. The joint meeting of the Agri-Business and Agriculture Policy Committees discussed a line item from the budget entitled Biodiesel Incentive Program presented by Blue Sun, a biodiesel plant in St. Joseph, Missouri. Blue Sun specializes in identifying promising technologies in renewable fuels and taking them to commercial reality. The process at the St. Joe refinery produces very high quality biodiesel, which is even further improved by the state-of-the-art distillation system installed last year at the refinery. The Blue Sun St. Joe plant is a 30 million gallon per year facility.
On Thursday I presented HB 1178 to the Local Government Committee. It would establish a formula for the counties and small towns in the Truman Lake area to distribute and share in the PILT (Paid In Lieu of Taxes) Funds that come from the federal government. It was good to have concerned citizens from Osceola and Deepwater to witness in support of HB 1178.
CAPITOL REPORT - January 23, 2014. My In District activities last week began at the Old Bus Station Coffee Caucus in Osceola. I like to stay in touch with my constituents and one of the best ways is early morning coffee gatherings throughout the district. I then went to Osceola Public Schools and presented Laura Guffy a resolution plaque to honor her achievement of the American Farmer FFA Degree.
Advisor Kim Wheeler, Laura Guffy, State Rep. Warren Love, Superintendent Aaron Bennett.
I then visited Osceola City Hall and got a lease agreement, photographs, and maps of the 400 plus acres that is owned by the Federal Corp of Engineer within the city limits. I then presented this information to the Committee Chairman of Small Government. This should answer all the questions that came up when I presented HB 1178 last week. It appears this bill has a 100% committee support and will become a consent bill. The purpose is to give the counties of St. Clair and Henry a formula to distribute and share PILT Funds from the Federal Government to the cities of Osceola and Deepwater.
On Saturday I attended the Governor’s Conference on Agriculture in Kansas City. I had an opportunity to meet and get acquainted with Tony Benz, the Legislative Liaison on Agriculture Issues, and Richard Fordyce our newly appointed Agriculture Director. Both are new and I’m looking forward to working with them closely as I serve on the Agriculture Policy Committee.
My work at the Capitol was mostly committee meetings. I presented HB 1225 to the Small Business Committee. This bill changes the definition of “last known address” to be a postal address or an electronic mail address and “public sale” to include a sale conducted online at a publicly assessable website. When a rental agreement contains a limit on the value of property stored in an occupant’s space, that value is deemed to be the maximum value of the stored property and the maximum value of the liability of the owner for a claim for loss or damage to the stored property. It also allows the owner of a storage facility to treat a vehicle, watercraft, or trailer as an abandoned vehicle and have it towed from the storage facility. The owner of the storage facility is not liable for any damages to the abandoned vehicle once the tower takes possession of the property.
There was a little fanfare this week as the House and Senate held Joint Sessions to hear the State of the State Address by our Governor. We also heard, Chief Justice Mary Russell present the State of the Judiciary Address.
Just prior to leaving the Capitol this afternoon I dealt with two issues that came up. First issue deals with the new construction of sidewalks in Appleton City. I spoke with Mayor Stephanie Donnohue regarding the two buildings which can not be removed due to being classified as historical buildings. I talked to Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources State Historic Preservation Office about getting the buildings released by his agency prior to the construction of the sidewalks. Second issue deals with the ongoing problems that all the retired employees of the former Unitog, Cintas and Elbeco companies are having with filing for their retirement benefits. I contacted the New York agency who handles the retirement benefits.
Visitors at the Capitol this week were Tammy Lawler and Erica Crawford from the Benton County Health Department. Also Superintendent Aaron Bennett from Osceola Public Schools.
CAPITOL REPORT - January 30, 2014. PROPANE PANIC has been the HOT TOPIC in a very cold climate this past week. Most of the discussion at public events, and my office contacts, have been about the shortage and high price increases in the home heating fuel used by many in our district. There have been reports of prices above $5.00 per gallon. However, by Thursday the supplies had been replenished enough that prices had edged back down in the mid $3.00 range.
It appears that a combination of events have caused this: 1) exports of U.S. produced propane is 4 times higher this year than last year; 2) a more than normal amount being used for grain drying; 3) widespread cold temperatures even as far as the deep south have caused increased usage.
I want to “Tip my Hat” to Senator Parson for immediately getting on this issue. He is carrying the flag and filed Senate Resolution 1168 urging the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the dramatic spike in propane prices. The resolution also urges the department to investigate the price disparity of propane among storage facilities and the supply shortage available to consumers.
My district activity began last Friday by attending the fourth Friday coffee with the El Dorado Springs Chamber. I then attended a dinner luncheon with the Osceola Chamber. On my way back to the Capitol on Monday, I stopped by the Boring Drug coffee caucus in Warsaw.
Monday, at noon I presented HB 1306 to the House Workforce Development Committee. This bill was very similar to one I presented last year. It would allow all but eight counties and the City of St. Louis to use competitive bidding instead of the state prevailing wage on all public work projects.
Monday evening I attended a fish fry along with several other legislators that serve on the House Agriculture Committee. Our host was the Department of Natural Resources director. This event gave us a good opportunity to get acquainted and develop relationships. Our new Director of Agriculture is Richard Fordyce and of DNR is Sarah Parker Pauley.
On Tuesday, I presented HB 1141 to the House Transportation Committee. This bill would name U.S. Highway 54 the “Discover More on Route 54.” The plan is to bring more attention, awareness, and tourism travel across our great state of Missouri. I want to say a great big thank you to Dan Robinson, Manager of the Lucas Oil Speedway at Wheatland. Dan witnessed in support of HB 1141.
My visitors this week included Marie Payne Bowman and Hollis Hensley from Warsaw, representing Katy Trail and Harbor Village; Scott Crouch from Hermitage, representing Ozarks Community Health Center; and Julie Engeman from Appleton City, representing West Central.
CAPITOL REPORT - February 6, 2014. The House Chamber at our State Capitol remained rather quiet this week, but the committees are buzzing with activity.
The Appropriation Committee on Revenue, Transportation, and Economic Development that I sit on are having hearings by each agency on their 2015 budget request and the Governor’s recommendations. The bottom line is, our Governor’s proposed $310 million increase in state spending is probably not going to happen because his estimated 5.2% of economic growth is not happening. That fact was reflected in Missouri’s sales-tax collections in January, down 9.6 percent compared to January 2013 – almost mirroring the overall drop for the month. January’s poor showing, which comes after several months of slower growth, has contributed to the lower-than expected general-revenue collection for the current fiscal year. It’s now up only 0.7 percent compared to the revenue collected at the same point in 2013.
I have already had the privilege of presenting four bills to committee:
HB 1141 Designates U.S. Highway 54 the “Discover More on Route 54 Highway.”
HB 1178 Would require a share of the Federal PILT payment to be shared with cities within a county.
Both HB 1141 and HB 1178 have been voted Do Pass out of Committee – Consent.
HB 1225 Modifies provisions relating to self-service storage facilities. However, it leaves the requirement of publishing a notice in a local newspaper in the event of selling repossessed contents. This bill was scheduled to possibly be voted out of Committee on Wednesday, but the hearing was cancelled due to the bad weather.
HB 1306 Changes the laws regarding the prevailing hourly rate of wages. A public hearing has been held, but bill not currently on the Calendar.
This week I filed two additional bills:
HB 1727 Prohibits any state agency from excluding any specific species of livestock through the agricultural or environmental permitting process.
HB 1728 Will require County Commissions and County Health Boards to be together in agreement on all ordinances, regulations, and fees that they may choose to adopt according to state statute 192.300. The reason for this bill is that several counties have had health boards make local ordinances and regulations without the County Commission’s approval.
On my way to the Capitol Monday I visited with the Benton County Commissioners and had a telephone conference with Hickory and St. Clair County Commissioners about the state noxious weed laws. Last summer this became a big concern because of the problem with thistles. Currently, they are all covered with ice and snow, but the concern will arise again once the Spring growing season begins, which we all hope is soon! We’ve agreed at this time to leave the current statute as it is.
My district activity included presenting resolution plaques honoring Jesse Mackeprang and DeKota Norris from Appleton City High School for achievement of earning the American Farmer FFA Degree. I also met with Mayor Stephanie Donnohue about getting a release to remove two buildings through Appleton City’s demolition grant. I also had the pleasure of presenting a Missouri and U.S. flag to the Lowry City Municipal building.
My only visitor from our home district this week that braved the snowy winter weather, was my wife Marla. She came to help celebrate my 64th birthday!!
CAPITOL REPORT - February 13, 2014. As I write this week is report, I’m joining many other legislators at the Capitol in wearing a red shirt and tie. It’s in observance of National Wear Red Day to bring awareness of the fight against heart disease in women. It also reminds me that I need to remember my wife Marla on Valentine’s Day.
My In-District activity takes place on Fridays. This past Friday I was in touch with Hickory county folks. I started my morning at the Hermitage coffee shop, then traveled to the Bulls Eye Coffee Caucus at Preston, and traveled U.S. Highway 54 back to the McCarty Senior Center for dinner. Then on Saturday evening, Marla and I attended the Osceola basketball tournament play offs. The teams playing from the 125th district were Appleton City, Hermitage, Lakeland, Osceola, and Weaubleau. It was a packed house and lasted until nearly midnight with the Osceola boys and Weaubleau girls winning the championship games.
The House started working on bills that have moved through committee this week. Some of them are:
The House of Representatives approved HJR 48, which Representative Sheila Solon sponsored. This bill is a proposed change to our Missouri Constitution, and would provide a new funding source for our veterans’ homes, cemeteries and veterans outreach programs. If approved by voters, the amendment would require the State Lottery Commission to develop and sell a Veterans Lottery Ticket by July 2015. The funds raised through the sale of this would be completely dedicated to the Veterans’ Commission Capital Improvement Trust Fund. “This is the least that we can do for our veterans who have done so much for all of us so that we can enjoy our freedom.”
House Approves Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (HB 1133)
This bill would create a state database to monitor and track the purchases of prescription drugs, and was approved by the House this week. This legislation would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to develop and maintain the database. Pharmacies would have to submit relevant information to the database, related to the sale of prescription drugs. This includes the date of sale, the drug’s quantity, and the identity of patient, doctor and pharmacy. The bill would require all submitted information to be confidential, and makes it a misdemeanor crime to wrongly disclose the information.
House Approves Conscience Protection Act for Medical Workers (HB 1430)
This piece of legislation is meant to protect medical professionals from being pressured into performing procedures that violate their religious or moral beliefs. If approved by the Senate and signed into law by the Governor, the bill would protect medical workers from being fired, suspended or demoted for refusing to participate in medical procedures that do not reflect their moral beliefs. Those supporting its passage also point out that the bill would not allow medical professionals to withhold emergency treatment needed to save the life of a patient.
Visitors to the Capitol this week included several of our retired teachers. I appreciate them keeping me informed on educational issues. I also was visited by Teresa & Cara Smith. Teresa does the website design for the www.discover54.com plus my personal website at www.warrenlove.com.
CAPITOL REPORT - February 20, 2014. On Saturday the 15th, I had the pleasure of meeting and greeting Benton Countians at the Warsaw Chamber Expo. Most of our discussions centered on the upcoming opportunity for voters to support Missouri farm families. The Missouri Farming Rights Amendment will protect the hard working Missouri farm families who dedicate their lives to feeding our families; saving thousands of Missouri jobs and ensuring our families continue to have access to quality food at the grocery stores. This simple constitutional amendment is supported by farmer-led agriculture organizations and family farmers and will protect Missouri’s #1 industry and help protect Missouri from out-of-state special interests. Informational public meetings are being planned in several areas:
• February 20, 2014 – 6:30 p.m. Stockton Christian Church, 703 West Street, Hwy 32, Stockton, MO (Cedar)
• April 3, 2014 – time TBA Osceola High School-Commons Area (St. Clair County)
At the Capitol on Tuesday, I presented my HB 1727 to the Agriculture Policy Committee:
HB 1727 prohibits any state agency from excluding any species of livestock from processing through the agricultural or environmental permitting process if the processing facility is qualified to process meat for human consumption and interstate commerce and meets all United States Department of Agriculture standards for processing livestock.
I had David Rains from Gallatin, Missouri as a witness in favor of my bill. He own and operates Rains Natural Meats, a facility that is approved by the USDA to process equine animals. Others testifying in support were the Missouri Farm Bureau, Cattlemen’s Association, and Pork Producers. I had only one person testify in opposition to HB 1727; an extreme animal rights activist. The bill passed out of committee by unanimous vote.
The House passed these two bills this week.
The first bill (HB 1253) would implement a 50 percent deduction for Missouri business income. It would also cut corporate income tax from 6.25 percent to 3.125 percent over a five-year period. State revenues would have to remain above the level they were at in 2012 for these tax savings to be phased in. This bill would reduce the tax burden on Missouri businesses by nearly $350 million per year.
The second bill (HB 1295) would implement a reduction of the individual income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.3 percent over a period of 7 years. For individuals who earn less than $20,000 annually, it increases the current deduction from $2,100 to $3,100. In addition, this bill includes the business income tax deduction. In order to protect education funding, the legislation also requires revenues to increase by $150 million annually. The bill specifies that through the revenue increase, $60 million would go to public schools and $30 million to higher education in each year. Overall, this bill is estimated to produce a tax savings for Missourians of more than $700 million annually.
It is important to note that the Missouri Senate is working on its own version of a tax cut. In addition, the governor has announced that he will support a one-half percent tax cut to the individual income tax rate, but only if certain conditions are met. These conditions include that our education funding formula be fully funded, that revenues increase by at least $200 million each year.
Since the weather has moderated, we had several visitors come to the Capitol including a delegation from Cedar County Extension made up of Patrick Davis-Beef Specialist, John & Susie Rummel, and Mark Beason. From Pittsburg representing home-schooling was Lila Jenkins and daughter Lorna. Representing schools from the district were Superintendent Aaron Bennett of Osceola and Michelle McLerran-Morgan from the Warsaw School Board.
It was also a pleasure to receive a personal thank you from Brian Maddux who dropped by to let me know how much he appreciated my recent House Resolution plaque to honor his daughter Brandi Maddux from Warsaw for earning the prestigious American Farmer FFA Degree. I also want to “tip my hat” to all FFA members in the district as we’ve just completed the observance of National FFA Week.
CAPITOL REPORT - February 27, 2014. Friday’s are my “In-District Day”. This week my activities started at the Wheatland 4th grade elementary class. I presented the Show-Me State Booklets about Missouri government history. I then had the pleasure of presenting resolution plaques to five Skyline members and one Weaubleau FFA member for achieving the prestigious American Farmer Degree. I also visited the City Hall in Osceola to discuss grants that are being applied for. These grants would help in the construction of a boat ramp access into Truman Lake and possible sidewalk and walking trails. On Monday the “Discover More on Route 54” committee met at Collins and discussed promotion plans for 2014. I encourage everyone to check out our website at www.discover54.com.
House Members Approve Voter ID Legislation (HJR 47 and HB 1073)
If these bills go further in the legislative process, they would require that voters show photo identification before casting their ballots.
My HB 1141 would name U.S. Hwy. 54, which runs across Missouri, the “Discover More on Route 54” Highway. This bill passed through the House by a vote of 142 Yes; 1 No. It now moves to the Senate where Senator Mike Parson plans to be the handler.
I presented my HB 1728 to the Local Government Committee. This bill would take the gray area out of State Statute 192.300. This statute allows the county commissioners and county Health Boards of several counties to make rules, regulations, ordinances, and charge reasonable fees. However, this statute is interpreted by some to allow Health Boards to amend or change the ordinances and fees or start new fees without approval of county commissioners. I believe county commissioners should be in agreement with county health boards when changes are made or new ordinances or fees are changed. If that were not so, then my question would be why were county commissioners included in statute 192.300? Several farm organizations witnessed in favor. The Rural Crisis Center witnessed against. The sad thing is they are also against the Freedom to Farm Amendment to our Constitution that Missouri voters will get to vote on this November. I am all for keeping local control by clarifying that statute 192.300 means both commissioners and health boards be “together in agreement.”
My first visitors this week were the St. Clair County Farm Bureau delegation.
Other visitors this week included: From Appleton City representing West Central Community Action Agency; Kelly Knipp and Chasity Florido, and Mark Sabala from Hermitage. Truman State University visited the Capitol and I had the pleasure of visiting with Ben Salmon from Hermitage. Visiting from Heritage Bank in El Dorado Springs was Todd Leonard representing Missouri bankers and the “Discover More on Highway 54” Project.
We had a very impressive traveling exhibit of the Civil War visiting the Capitol this week, presented by Jay & Jackie Roberts dressed in period clothing. The highlight of the week was walking in the cool, crisp air to the Secretary of State building to file for re-election to represent the 125th District and be the voice of the citizens and continue to “Ride for the Brand.”
NEWS RELEASE - March 3, 2014. Rep. Warren D. Love, a Republican, filed for re-election to represent Hickory, St. Clair and parts of Benton and Cedar counties (District 125). He was elected to his first two-year term in November 2012.
In addition to his legislative duties, Rep. Love is a rancher, restaurant owner, and carpenter-contractor. Rep. Love had a 20 year career of Sales and Sales Management with MoorMan Mfg. Company.
Rep. Love is a member of several organizations including: Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, National Rifle Association, Masonic Lodge, Freedom of Road Riders, and Gideons International. He is a member of Hopewell Baptist Church near Quincy
A 1968 graduate of Osceola High, Rep. Love attended University of Central Missouri at Warrensburg and Metro Jr. College in Kansas City, KS.
Born February 3, 1950, in Osceola, Rep. Love resides in Iconium with his wife, Marla. They have four children: Elizabeth, Anna, Charles, and John, and 9 grandchildren.
CAPITOL REPORT - March 6, 2014. My In-District day started at the “4th Friday Chamber Coffee” in El Dorado Springs. I “Tip My Hat” to Shannon & Associates for hosting this month’s event.
I spent the morning in El Dorado Springs discussing issues with Administrator Jana Witt at Cedar County Memorial Hospital and City Manager Bruce Rogers. Next, I had lunch with the Osceola Community Chamber, the Osceola Senior class was our host. I then discussed education issues with Osceola School Superintendent Aron Bennett. I also dropped by the St. Clair County Library and discussed grants with the director.
On Saturday, I had the privilege to present a House Resolution to honor Tristen Andrews for earning the rank of Eagle Scout with Boy Scout Troop 34 at Warsaw.
Most District basketball finals were being held Saturday. Our family attended the District Tournament at Osceola. The boys championship between the Osceola Indians and Skyline Tigers was a real barn burner. The Indians led the whole game until the last few seconds when the Tigers made a sweeping 3 point shot and won the game 72-71. The Skyline boys and girls team will advance to sectionals. The Lady Bulldogs from El Dorado Springs also advance to sectionals. Best wishes to all teams from District 125 that are still in the play-offs.
On my way to the Capitol on Monday I visited with Benton and St. Clair County Commissions and discussed current issues. Wednesday was “Go Blue Day” to bring awareness to colon cancer. My wardrobe for the day was blue slacks, shirt, and neck scarf, however I wore a gray coat. The simple reason being I don’t own a blue coat for the same reason that Harry Truman’s mama didn’t want him wearing the blue coat.
One of the most important tasks we face each legislative session is the budget. This week, House Budget Chairman Rick Stream unveiled a proposed spending plan that would take funding for K-12 education to record levels, provide a significant funding boost to all public universities and community colleges, and dramatically increase financial assistance to Missouri students who seek a college education in the state.
The substitute versions of the House appropriations bills introduced by Stream include a $278 million increase for the school foundation formula, which would make the K-12 education budget the largest in state history. Stream noted that $122 million of the increase would come from General Revenue with another $156 million from a Surplus Revenue Fund. Stream has filed legislation that would deposit any revenues above the estimates agreed upon by the House and Senate into the Surplus Revenue Fund with the stipulation that the funds be used for education and one-time projects.
Stream’s budget proposal contains an additional $20 million for the Access Missouri Scholarship Program, which represents a 20 percent funding increase, and an additional $6.7 million for the A+ Scholarship Program, which will fully fund the program. Stream’s plan also would provide for the largest expansion of the Bright Flight Scholarship Program in state history. The plan would add a new forgivable loan program that would be available to students scoring in the top 5th percentiles on the ACT or SAT. The loans would cover all tuition and fees at any public university in Missouri and would be forgiven for students who stay and work in Missouri upon graduation.
“One of the most important components to growing our economy is having a dedicated, educated workforce. To grow that workforce we need to keep more of our best and brightest here in Missouri after graduation,” said Stream, R-Kirkwood. “
House Floor activity this week included HB 1496, sponsored by Rep. Reiboldt, which would allow all beef producers in Missouri to vote on adding 50 cents to the current $1.00 per head check off which has been in existence since 1988. If Missouri Beef Producers pass the proposal, any producer who doesn’t want to participate can request a refund. The beef check off is used for promotion and education and administered by the Beef Industry Council.
My visitors this week included John & Pam Carleton from Warsaw, and their grandson Trenton Marema from Columbia. John is a patient advocate with the Midwest Hemophilia Association.
CAPITOL REPORT - March 13, 2014. Early Friday morning, March 7th, I headed west to Appleton City. I always enjoy the 20 mile drive from Lowry City to Appleton City across what is the best row crop farm ground in our district. The fields are empty and barren just waiting for Spring planting to begin. I delivered two flags to the Appleton City school and visited with Mayor Stephanie Donnohue. We still are waiting on Missouri State Historical Preservation to give the green light to move forward on the demolition grant. That evening I had the privilege of presenting House Resolutions to three Eagle Scouts of Troop 437 at Lowry City.
House legislation this week that would impact our district 125 included HB 1573 which changes the laws regarding funding for emergency 911 services, and the administration of those funds.
1) Administering and authorizing grants and loans to counties that demonstrate a commitment to improving 911. The purpose of grants from the Missouri 911 Service Trust Fund include:
(a) Implementation of 911 services in counties currently without service;
b) Promotion of consolidation where appropriate;
(c) Mapping and addressing all county locations.
(2) MONTHLY FEE FOR EACH DEVICE CAPABLE OF CONTACTING 911
The bill changes the name of the Wireless Service Provider Enhanced 911 Service Fund to the Missouri 911 Service Trust Fund. Counties are authorized to impose, upon voter approval, a monthly fee not to exceed $1.50 per device on any device capable of contacting 911 solely for the purpose of funding 911 service in the county. All revenue from this fee will be deposited into the Missouri 911 Service Trust Fund to be remitted monthly by the Director of the Department of Revenue to the county commission who will control the funds unless it has established an elected board to administer the funds.
(3) Any third classification county that does not have a public agency as defined in Section 190.300 must either:
(a) Enter into a shared services agreement for providing emergency telephone services with a public agency that provides emergency telephone service; or
(b) Form an emergency telephone services district with any adjoining county that has a public agency that provides emergency telephone service. When a district is formed, the county commissioners of each county within the district will govern. Each county in the district will submit the fee proposal to the voters.
Status of 911 in Missouri:
- 17 counties do not have 911 addressing (for example, they may still use rural routes and box numbers.)
- An additional 18 counties are without Phase 2 (enhanced wireless capabilities to locate a cell phone caller during a 911 call.)
- 49 counties currently use wireline surcharges to fund 911.
- Funding is rapidly decreasing as fewer people have wired phone service.
Three counties without 911; Cedar, Hickory, and St. Clair are in District 125. I testified on the House Floor in favor.
Another bill that took up a lot of floor debate was HB 1557 which would change the laws on red light traffic cameras. Currently, municipalities can issue traffic tickets based on a photo of a license plate which will result in a fine plus points on a driver’s license. It seems this has just become a source of revenue instead of a safety measure. This is what I said, “I don’t have a dog in this fight because I live in a county without a traffic light. However, if we did have a traffic light I don’t think our citizens would tolerate a red light camera.” So I voted no.
My visitors at the Capitol this week included a group from State Fair Community College; Dr. Joanna Anderson, SFCC President; Ron Wineinger,Trustee; Patty Wood,Trustee; and Gary Noland, SFCC Board President.
The House currently stands adjourned for Spring Break. I plan to do some much needed Spring ranch work, plant some Walnut trees along with spending time in our district. Will continue to “Ride For The Brand.”
CAPITOL REPORT - March 25, 2014. March Madness has started at the Capitol. The second half of the 2014 session has begun after a week off for Spring Break.
One of the biggest events in our district began on March 15th with the opening of Spoonbill snagging season. It’s very evident that tourism and recreation is a large part of our economy. Just notice the pickups and fishing boats passing to and fro. The crappie on the Pomme de Terre, Spoonbill on the Osage Arm, and Catfish on the Grand Arm of the Truman Lake are the main attractions. By the time this report makes the papers the hunters will be out after the turkey gobblers.
While on Spring Break, I attended several benefits for civic organizations and made welcome the R-Bar Roadhouse, a new restaurant opening on the south bank of the Osage in Warsaw.
On the way to the Capitol on Monday, I visited with the Hickory County Commissioners. They were meeting with Representatives from MoDOT. Discussion was the upcoming renovation of the Highway 254 bridge just south of Hermitage that is set to begin in September. We also discussed my HB 1728 which will clarify the role of county commissioners and county health departments in making ordinances and reasonable fees at the county level. Another issue that came up was the amount of fraud that occurs with food stamp card usage. I shared that HB 1280, a bill I co-sponsored, would require a photo I.D. on the food stamp card, and is moving through the legislature.
In legislative action this week: We debated HCS HB 1302, the wood burning bill which would allow Missourians the freedom to continue using wood to heat their homes. The Federal EPA is trying to mandate unreasonable regulations on the use of wood as a fuel. It’s hard to imagine that environmentalists want to make emission standards so strict that a wood burning stove would become unaffordable for Missourians. I supported this bill and it passed the House and now goes over to the Senate.
We also took up and debated HB 1642 which requires the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to provide a clear and concise rule for defining “independent contractor” and a procedure for changing an individual’s classification from an independent contractor to an employee. My good friend Representative McGaugh offered House Amendment No. 1 which would have removed the mandate that small construction companies and individual building tradesmen with less than five employees have to purchase Workman’s Comp Insurance. It became obvious that the trial lawyers and insurance lobby outnumbered about five of us in the construction business. One of the biggest concerns I hear from the local tradesmen in our district is that the high cost of mandated Workman’s Comp Insurance is a heavy burden and they may quit the construction trade if they don’t get some relief. We lost support of the Amendment by a 2 to 1 vote. However, we have started a process that we will continue next year.
My HB 1225, which modified provisions relating to self-serving storage facilities, was third read and passed through the House this week. This bill simply updated the statutes that apply to storage rental building. It will allow electronic mail and website communication between the lessor and lessee.
This week, the Missouri House of Representatives heard 13 budget bills and passed a balanced and fiscally responsible budget that contains the largest education budget in the state’s history, funds Medicaid reforms, and increases appropriations for business development while limiting wasteful spending.
I had the honor this week to present the Statewide Outstanding Youth Prevention Award to Paul Derks, a senior at Warsaw R-9. This prestigious award is given by Missouri’s Youth Adult Alliance (MYAA) and honors youth that have made a commitment and significant contribution to prevent underage drinking and substance use in their communities.
Visitors at the Capitol this week were Gerry & Cynthia Smith from Warsaw and Larry Pursley from Cedar County representing the Silver haired Legislators. Kristen M. O’Neal, Wheatland; Lila and Ben Jenkins, Pittsburg; my daughter Anna “Love” Crusha; plus the highlight of Thursday afternoon was a visit by the 4th grade class from Appleton City Schools.
CAPITOL REPORT - April 4, 2014. While driving 45 miles across District 125 to attend the 4th Friday El Dorado Springs Chamber Coffee, I noticed Spring time is getting close. The wheat is starting to green up and the farmers are doing a lot of preparation fieldwork for planting. I saw several deer and turkey in the Low Foggy Valleys and it reminds me that agriculture and recreation/tourism are the two biggest industries in our state. Deer and turkey hunting are big business in Missouri. About 155,000 turkey hunters spend more than $125 million each year on travel, food, lodging and hunting equipment. In all, the economic impact of turkey hunting in Missouri is more than $248 million annually and supports more than 2,300 jobs. Over 520,000 deer hunters spend more than $750 million each year directly related to deer hunting in Missouri, which generates more than $1 billion in overall business activity in Missouri annually and supports more than 11,000 jobs.
A very good crowd gathered for coffee at Travis & Melanie Farran’s Shelter Insurance Office. I then met with members of the Listan School Community Youth Center and discussed grants and surplus state equipment that could help education and recreation for the youth. Also, through a tip from the Sun Newspaper editor and the city manager of El Dorado Springs, I found out that State Statute 110.010 does not include the security of public funds for ambulance districts such as it does for school, sewer, water, and fire protection districts. So, Representative Sue Entlicher and myself will be sponsoring HB 2216 to bring this statute up to date.
At noon on Friday, I attended the Osceola Chamber luncheon. Daniel Wisner, a 7th generation local young farmer presented an excellent slide presentation on the “Freedom To Farm Amendment” that will be on the November ballot. Voters will be asked to put his important freedom into our state constitution.
On my way to the Capitol on Monday, I conferenced with the Administration of the Bothwell Hospital Clinic in Warsaw. We discussed the pros and cons of Missouri accepting the Medicaid Expansion. Then arriving at the Capitol, I sat in on study group on this issue. It’s currently being adopted in several states, but so far not in Missouri.
I get several e-mails daily, some are for the Medicaid expansion and some are against. I polled this issue in our District in October and it was; 55% against, 24% in favor, and 16% undecided. This was brought up in the Senate this week. It became very controversial and was laid aside. However, if it comes to the House side, I will keep an open mind and try to do what is best for the Greater Good of all Missourians.
One of the big labor issues being considered this year, HB 1770, is allowing Missouri voters the opportunity to vote on becoming a Freedom to Work state. Freedom to Work is about giving workers the choice to determine whether or not they want to pay union dues. Our Founders envisioned a country where people were protected from the tyranny of the majority. This legislation does not take away anyone’s right to join and pay dues to a union; it simply protects individuals who do not find union representation in their best interest. Freedom of association is fundamental to our liberty.
Some people consider Freedom To Work to be anti-Union, however it isn’t anti-union. It isn’t pro-union. Worker freedom is pro-worker. It is worth noting, though, that union membership has risen in Freedom to Work states compared to forced-unionism states. According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2011 to 2012 worker freedom states had an overall increase of 39,000 union members while non-right-to-work states lost 390,000, a 3.4 percent decrease. Between 2011 and 2012, Oklahoma – a bordering Freedom to Work state – added 21,000 union members. Over the same time period, Missouri lost 51,000 union members. Inaction in our economy is the number one threat to unions, not worker freedom. I polled this issue in our District in October and it was; 81% in favor, 12% against, and 6% undecided.
The House passed HB 1235 & HB1214 which will allow trucks hauling livestock and agricultural products to haul 5,500 more pounds which will comply with our border states of Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa where the meat processing plants are located. This is equivalent to five head of finish cattle or 22 head of market hogs. This is especially important to agriculture, our number one industry.
Visitors to the Capitol this week included: The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association; Keith Stevens, Polk County; Sam Crawford, Benton County; Dean Hawkins, St. Clair County; and Carl Bettles, Bates County.
Other visitors included Sheriff Dean “Leon” Dwerlkotte from Cedar County, and Paula Rodabaugh and four St. Clair County FFA students.
A very big surprise was Lawrence & Connie Shuey from Barry County. Brother Shuey was Pastor of First Baptist Church in Osceola and performed Marla and my wedding ceremony in 1972.
CAPITOL REPORT - April 10, 2014. On my way to Jefferson City this week, I stopped by the Hickory County Health Department. The County Health Sanatorium and I discussed my HB 1728, which will clarify that County Commissioners and County Health Boards are “together in agreement” on new ordinances or fee increases according to State Statute 192.300.
Upon arriving at the Capitol, I attended a meeting of the Missouri bicycle and Pedestrian Federation. They meet each year and invite legislators to ride bicycles a six mile ride from the Capitol to the Katy Trail. It looked a little rainy and I was a little out of shape, so I elected not to ride with them this year. However, I did speak briefly on HJR 68, the Transportation Bill, that will allow Missouri citizens to vote for a 1 cent sales tax to support transportation. As outlined in HJR 68, 10% of funds are set aside for cities/counties. These city/county funds can be used for “transportation system purposes and uses.” The remaining 90% of funds set aside for MoDOT can be used for state road fund or transportation system purposes and uses defined this way:
Section 30 (e) 4. The term “transportation system purposes and uses” shall include authority for the commission, any county or any city to plan, locate, establish, acquire, construct, maintain, control, operate, develop, and fund public transportation facilities such as, but not limited to, aviation, mass transportation, transportation for elderly and handicapped persons, railroads, ports, waterborne commerce, intermodal connections, bicycle, and pedestrian improvements. In other words HJR 68 is a whole lot more than a tax to support roads and bridges so I spoke against an amendment to this bill that would strip all funding for bicycle lanes or community trails from the proposal. Tourism and recreation is the 2nd largest part of our economy and thousands of Missourians do not own or operate vehicles or pay a gas tax or license fee. I believe it’s only fair that for them to get full value of supporting a 1 cent sales tax, they should at least receive some funding for all different types of transportation as listed above including bicycle and pedestrian improvements. This bill ended up passing without bicycles being taken off. I support this Resolution to allow the citizens of Missouri to vote on this very important issue. However, I personally do not think the voters will pass it on the ballot in November.
The House spent most of Tuesday hammering out a compromise on HB 1490, the Common Core Curriculum bill. The reality is this education reform came down to the states from the Federal Government. It also had federal funds with strings attached. The Governor and DESE accepted the Common Core Curriculum without the Legislature and Missouri citizens knowing much about it. Now that the “horse is out of the barn,” it’s hard to get him back in. Keeping all sides of the discussion in mind, we approved legislation on the floor this week that would create a committee to extensively study the Common Core standards and to develop our own Missouri-based assessment standards. Originally the bill was designed to prevent the standards from being implemented in Missouri, but as we weighed all of the factors and took into consideration that many school districts had already spent money to put the standards into place, we opted for a different approach. The end result is a bill that would give our state the flexibility to use all or parts of the Common Core standards if they prove to be effective, or to go an entirely different route with our own set of standards. An amendment was added to assign a fourteen member work group that must be convened by October 1, 2014, made up of educators, legislators, and citizens that will review and reform according to the needs of our state. Four members of this group will be parents of currently enrolled students in grades kindergarten through twelve. Two of these parents will be appointed by the Speaker of the House, and two of these parents will be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
On Wednesday at high noon, the House started debating HB 1770. This is a groundbreaking step toward true worker freedom for Missourians. The first vote passed 78 to 68. The “Worker Freedom” bill has begun in the House and plans are to approve and send to the Senate, and then to a vote by the people on the August ballot.
It was my pleasure along with Rep. Sue Entlicher and Sen. Mike Parson to host the El Dorado Springs High School Lady Bulldogs at the Capitol this week. The Lady Bulldogs won the state championship in their first ever trip to the Class 3 Final Four on March 15th at the Mizzou Arena in Columbia. They were introduced in both the House and Senate and presented with resolutions to honor their accomplishment.
Other visitors included Giselle Campos and Chaney Housh from El Dorado Springs, along with American History teacher Darrin Griffin, who visited the Capitol for Sophomore Pilgrimage.
CAPITOL REPORT - April 17, 2014. Our Missouri weather is like a yo-yo! In a span of three days we have Spring, Summer and a grip of Winter still hanging on. On the good side, we have finally been blessed with some much needed rain. While driving across the district on Friday, I noticed several farmers were planting corn.
While in Appleton City having breakfast at the Blue Inn, the discussion was centered around Medicaid Expansion and what it would mean to the three small rural hospitals at Appleton City, El Dorado Springs, and Osceola. I receive several e- mails daily at my Capitol office on this subject. Some are for the Medicaid expansion and some are against. I polled this issue in our District in October of 2013 and the results were; 55% against, 24% in favor, and 16% undecided. This legislation must be brought up in the Senate first and the talk is that it may not happen. However, if it does and comes to the House side, I will keep an open mind and try to do what is best for the Greater Good of all Missourians.
Friday afternoon I was given a tour of the Lakeland School by Dr. Steve Ritter. The patrons of the Lakeland district have just voted to extend bonding that will allow some much needed roof improvements, plus entry way security doors. I also was impressed to find out the plans and goals of several students who are participating with State Fair Community College in Sedalia. They are earning college credits along with high school credits. Some students are taking advantage of the A+ Program which Lakeland has recently started offering. I also spent two hours with a High School and Junior High government classes sharing about our Missouri State Government.
On arriving at the Capitol Monday, I was asked by the State and County Commission Association to discuss and answer questions about my HB 1728. This bill would require Commissioners and Health Boards to be together in agreement on new ordinances and permit fees. Several County Commissioners are seeing County Health Departments charging non-for-profit organizations like Lions, Optimists, and churches a permit fee; plus in several counties, families can’t even cook food in their own kitchens and bring to pot luck fundraisers. One County Commissioner testified that their Health Department was inspecting and charging an inspection fee on swimming pools. Other counties are using Statute 192.300 to regulate and make ordinances on livestock operations. I am having very favorable support from many county commissions, but there are a few county commissions that do not want both local government agencies to be in agreement. This HB1728 has been voted out of the House Rules Committee and should come to the House floor next week.
On Tuesday morning in our Capitol Commission Bible Study, and at the opening of House Session, we were privileged to hear personal testimony and be entertained by gospel singing from seven young men. These men were once troubled young boys with changed lives representing the Agape Boarding School in Stockton.
The “Big Bill” of the week was SB 509, a revenue accelerator for our state. This legislation would cut the top income tax rate from 6% to 5.5% in 10% portions over a period of years depending on a trigger of $150 million per year increase to General Revenue. Actually the fastest this could happen is over a five year time frame. This is not an extreme tax reduction, so as to guarantee certainty for our General Revenue fund and protect our education funding. It will also increase the deduction that is allowed for small businesses which file as individuals to 25%, meaning you can exempt 25% of your small businesses income from your earning. This act increases the exemption by $500 for individuals with a Missouri adjusted income of less than $20,000. Over time, this will return hundreds of millions to taxpayers – money which they can keep in the bank, reinvest in their businesses, or use otherwise as they see fit. SB 509 is now in the Governor’s hands. Does he support small business and growing the economy? We shall see.
Visitors for the week included Melissa Chaney, a SBU student from Weaubleau. Also visiting was a delegation from On My Own, Inc. representing Bates, Cedar, Hickory, St. Clair, and Vernon counties.
On a lighter side, once again our “Rowdy Roosters” softball team, sponsored by Missouri Farmers Care, played in the Annual Legislative Softball Tournament to benefit the Samaritan Center. Our team is bi-partisan and consists of rural and urban legislators. This helps build relationships and team work.
We are currently adjourned for Easter break. I plan to spend time this weekend with my family and extend a wish to all believers to have a blessed celebration of the resurrection.
CAPITOL REPORT - April 25, 2014. Easter weekend at Love Ranch centered around church and family activities. Marla and I welcomed all the children and grandchildren for a couple of days of fishing in our farm pond, riding the pony, and planting garden. Also, some fence work and turning the cattle out on new grass.
I also attended two meetings; one was the annual Katy Trail Community Health meeting in Warsaw. Another was at Osceola where Hannah Wheeler, the 8th grade daughter of Steve & Kim Wheeler presented a presentation about the “Freedom To Farm” amendment. This amendment to our State Constitution will be voted on by all Missourians. This year it will help preserve and protect farmers rights to raise meat, milk, eggs, grain, and fiber for future generations. This is very important because of special interest and animal rights organizations that want to limit or completely take these rights away with unnecessary rules and regulations.
SB 491 was the “big bill” of the week. It revises the criminal code and has been vetted for over 3 years in the legislature. This bill promotes public safety. Habitual drunk drivers will be treated as dangerous felons. This bill strengthens the laws protecting children. The restructuring of misdemeanor charges will make a difference in how individuals are charged and will be beneficial to our justice system. This was due to the leadership and long hard work of Representative Stanley Cox, supported by Representative Chris Kelly. The Governor has already declared he would veto SB 491 because it is too lengthy. However, it appears from the strong bi-partisan support it will be overrode.
I had the pleasure of introducing Mike & Cleta Clark to the Missouri House this week. They represented Lowry City at the annual Rural Water Association meeting in Jefferson City. For the second time in four years Lowry City has the honor of winning “Best Tasting Water in Missouri.”
On Wednesday evening I attended a banquet hosted by the Missouri Collector’s Association. All four Collectors from District 125 were in attendance. I enjoyed visiting with Donna Hart, Benton County, Joan Haines, Cedar County, Karen Stokes, Hickory County, and Sharon Foster, St. Clair County.
CAPITOL REPORT - May 1, 2014. My in-district Friday started early at the 4th Friday Chamber Coffee in El Dorado Springs. Then I attended the Osceola Chamber luncheon at the Sugar Foot B-B-Q. During the afternoon, I presented a Missouri History and Government program to the 4th grade class at Osceola. Marla and I then attended a fundraiser supper at the Osceola Senior Center.
While at the Senior Center, several concerned citizens asked me to attend the informational meeting Monday evening, April 28th. There seems to be a lot of confusion and discontent about the progress being made on constructing the new St. Clair County Senior Center building. I was unable to attend because of my duties of being in session at the Capitol. However, I have been, and will continue to conference and stay in touch with the Attorney General’s office about this matter.
On Tuesday, the House debated SCS SB 526. This act requires the Division of Workers’ Compensation to develop and maintain a workers’ compensation claims database that is accessible to potential employers during a pre-hire period and searchable by an employee’s name and social security number. Employers are required to obtain written consent from the potential employee to acquire records and are barred from compelling or coercing a potential employee to provide consent or require consent as a condition of employment.
My good friend and fellow legislator, Joe Don McGaugh offered an amendment (much like we tried back during March) to allow small contractors and construction tradesmen with less than three employees to opt out of being mandated to purchase Workmans’ Compensation Insurance. Once again, I spoke on the floor in favor. We failed on a 2 to 1 margin. Once again, I want to remind everyone that one of the biggest concerns I hear from the local tradesmen in our district is that the high cost of mandated Workmans’ Compensation Insurance is a heavy burden and they may quit the construction trade if they don’t get some relief. In looking ahead, it appears that we might gain support in allowing tradesmen to opt out by providing a small construction liability waiver for work rendered. This is a work in progress that will continue into the next legislative session.
A “hot button” issue that became a concern for retired teachers was an amendment added on the House side to SB 672, a bill sponsored by Senator Mike Parson to assist small Missouri counties dealing with the issue of full-time county prosecutors. It passed the Senate by a vote of 31-1. The amendment regarding pension funds was added during a committee hearing in the House of Representatives. The amendment would have mandated Missouri pension funds to invest a minimum amount of their money in MO based capital venture companies. I received many e-mails and phone calls from retired teachers voicing their concern with this new language, and I appreciated the heads up. We were able to strip that language from SB 672 on the House floor this week.
My HB 1728, which would clarify that County Commissioners and County Health Boards must be together in agreement on local ordinances and fees, had extensive floor debate and was laid over. Here’s the bottom line; about half of the county’s commissioners want to be involved in new ordinances and fees and half of them don’t. Most of the counties that don’t are using Statute 192.300 to control livestock operations and charge permit fees on church and non-for-profit organizations holding fundraising events like pancake breakfasts and chili suppers. The good news that came out of this debate is HB 1100, sponsored by Rep. Lyndall Fraker, had language that allows a non-profit organization to prepare food in a private home or other area for distribution to the end consumer at a charitable fundraising event. The non-profit organization may inform the consumer by placing a clearly visible placard at the serving location that states the food was prepared in a kitchen that is not subject to regulation and inspection by the regulatory authority. Nothing in the bill would prohibit the department or local health agency from conducting an investigation of a foodborne disease or outbreak. This was amended to SB 525 and has been sent to the Governor.
I enjoyed visiting with the Osceola 4th grade class and teacher Kim Watson at the Capitol this week!
CAPITOL REPORT - May 8, 2014. “Boy Howdy” It’s been so hot this week it seems Mother Nature skipped Spring and fast forwarded right into Summer!
I spent my in-district Friday making constituent phone calls then got some much needed ranch work done. Saturday morning it was off to the community of Edwards where three high school seniors from that area were each presented a $500 scholarship. While visiting with the students I learned that one plans to attend State Fair Community College in Sedalia, and two plan to attend Ozark Technical in Springfield. My “Hats Off” to the fundraising efforts of the fine folks at Edwards. They were also hosting a breakfast/brunch that my wife Marla and I attended and enjoyed very much.
On my way to the Capitol on Monday, I stopped in Hermitage and I had a quick conference with the Hickory County Health Department and County Commissioners.
Upon arriving at the Capitol, lawmaking was heating up even more than the summer like temperatures. It was all about SB 509 that the Missouri House passed and sent to the Governor’s desk. Governor Jay Nixon wasted no time decrying and vetoing it. Here are the facts: Senate Bill 509 would cut the individual income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent and phase in a 25 percent deduction on an individual’s business income. SB 509 has additional reductions for low-income Missourians earning less than $20,000. It provides them an additional $500 income exemption. The changes would not take effect until 2017 and only if Missouri’s net general revenue rises by $150 million above the highest level across the previous three years. The end result will be at least an additional $750 million in revenues before the full $620 million tax cut is in place. Every worker in the state and many small businesses would benefit from the first broad-based tax relief in nearly 100 years.
First, it is especially troubling to see Gov. Nixon successfully framing the issue in the media as a tax cut for “lobbyists and lawyers.” What about the farmers, barbers, service station owners, veterinarians, carpenters and thousands of other categories. This is a big boost for small businesses that hire eight out of ten Missouri workers. What about the factory workers, truck drivers, nurses, teachers and other hard working Missourians who would benefit by keeping more of their paychecks? Why doesn’t he mention these taxpayers when talking about the bill? No matter what the spin from the Governor’s mansion, this bill is not a handout to the rich. It’s a hand-up to the middle class and for the greater good of all Missourians. Our hope is that allowing our industrious small employers to keep more of their income will allow them to grow their businesses and create more good paying jobs.
Even more deceiving is the Governor’s line that this legislation is an attack on education and would cut education funding. How can the Governor say education will receive less funding when simple math shows the opposite? The Governor ignored that Missouri’s constitution requires that 25% of state revenues go to education, that education spending is currently higher at 33% of revenue, and that Republican budgets have increased school spending every year since 2003. The fact is, the current budget has $5.9 billion total appropriated for K-12. This includes $278 million new money appropriated, which is the largest increase to the Foundation Formula in the history of Missouri.
This is how the veto override played out. On Monday evening the Senate debated the bill for less than 30 minutes before overriding the veto on a 23-8 vote. Then on Tuesday morning, under strong leadership of Speaker Tim Jones and Majority Leader John Diehl, the entire Republican caucus voted in favor of the override with the help of one Democrat, Keith English. The final vote was 109-46.
The week ended by completing our one constitutional duty of passing a balanced budget. The budget came in at just under $26.4 billion.
I would like to remind everyone that Sunday, May 11th is Mother’s Day. Take time to pay tribute to the special women in your life.
Visitors this week included former Senator Delbert Scott from Lowry City.
I had the pleasure of meeting Julie Crouch, MO Beef Queen accompanied by her mother Beth Crouch.
Also visiting the Capitol this week was Heath Daulton from Nevada, and my wife Marla.
CAPITOL REPOT - May 16, 2014. My Friday In-District day started at the Boring Drug Coffee Caucus in Warsaw. Then I gave a History/Government presentation to the 4th graders at Warsaw South School. While driving the on and off ramps from 65 Highway, I noticed the medians needed mowing out so as to prevent sprouts from getting to big to mow. So I contacted Darin Hamelink, Area Engineer with MoDOT Southwest District about their mowing policies. He assured me that the highway entrances in Warsaw would be mowed in preparation for Jubilee Days.
On Saturday I drove up to Higginsville and met with two other State Representatives and two members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. We discussed the current policy and care taking of the cemetery at the Confederate Memorial State Historic Site. The site was once home to the Confederate Soldiers Home of Missouri, which provided comfort and refuge to 1,600 War veterans and their families for nearly 60 years. At its height, the home annually cared for more than 380 veterans and their families, and the property consisted of 30 buildings, a thriving farm and dairy, and a memorial park. The “comrades,” as the veterans commonly referred to one another, were minor celebrities in the state and were often visited by political candidates. Future president Harry S. Truman was a card carrying member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and visited the home on at least two occasions, as did presidential hopeful William Jennings Bryan. Another supporter of the Memorial Park was U.S. Congressman Ike Skelton. Today, visitors can visit the restored chapel and the Confederate cemetery, as well as three other historic buildings. The last veteran buried in that cemetery was Johnny Graves, a private in General Joseph Shelby’s army. On May 8, 1950, Graves, the last surviving Missouri Confederate veteran, passed away at the Missouri Confederate Home at the grand age of 108. He was buried alongside 803 veterans, wives, and children, a full 53 years after the passing of the first resident.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored and neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day.
Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans mission is to tell true history, which is not always politically correct, to protect the good name and honor the legacy of their ancestors. Memorial Day is the proper time to place the various flags that these veterans served under on their gravesites. As we visit and walk thru the cemeteries to decorate the grave sites, let’s especially remember those fallen soldiers who gave their all to defend our Liberty and Freedoms.
Saturday afternoon I presented a House Resolution to Mayor John Neuenschwander and Water Superintendent Mike Clark of Lowry City. It recognized the recent honor of winning the “Best Tasting Water in the State of Missouri.”
That evening, Marla & I attended the Lighthouse Gala at El Dorado Springs. The Lighthouse Children’s Theatre is a seven-year old non-profit organization dedicated to providing children 3-17 opportunities in the fine arts while gaining confidence and poise and attaining the skills necessary to participate in main stage production on and off the stage. The Lighthouse seeks to nurture children to believe in themselves as they discover who they are and their vast potential to this world.
In a recent survey of our district, I included a question about the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission proposing a 1-cent sales tax for 10 years earmarked for transportation. The results indicated that 57% agreed and 25% did not. There was a 12% undecided vote. HJR 68 sponsored by Rep. Dave Hinson, which proposes a constitutional amendment imposing a .75% increase in the state sales and use tax for 10 years to be used for transportation purposes, was brought to a vote in the Missouri House this week. I voted to allow the citizens of Missouri to vote on this proposal in November. HJR 68 was Truly Agreed and Finally Passed with a vote of 105-43.
In Floor Action, my HB 1225, which modified provisions relating to self-serving storage facilities, was Truly Agreed and Finally Passed this week. This bill simply updated the statutes that apply to storage rental building. It will allow electronic mail and website communication between the lessor and lessee.
As I write this Capitol Report, we are in the final hours of this legislative session. We will continue to discuss and finalize legislation today and I will submit a few more Capitol Reports in the coming weeks. Also, I will be sending out a 125thDistrict Directory in the coming months that will include an End of Session Report outlining several key pieces of legislation.
CAPITOL REPORT - May 23, 2014. My finale end of Session Report will be a basic summary of the 2014 Legislative session. Our Speaker of the House Tim Jones has done a very good job. This is how he summed it up:
"The year began as we outlined our bold, aggressive 4G Agenda designed to promote growth and opportunity; to guarantee a great education for our young people; to ensure our state continues to generate affordable and abundant energy; and to guard and protect the values important to Missouri families. As we brought this session to a close, I was proud to see my colleagues had worked together so diligently to check most of our priorities off the list and send them to the governor.
This session was highlighted by our veto override of historic tax cut legislation that will allow Missouri families and businesses to keep more of their hard-earned dollars. We were able to pass a fiscally responsible balanced budget that will take education funding to record levels and to secure passage of a school transfer bill that is truly landmark education reform that will give kids in struggling districts a chance and a choice to receive a great education.
Also this year, we approved a bill that will protect our coal-fired power plants that produce most of our electrical power from overly-burdensome EPA regulations. And with the hard work of many of my colleagues were able to move a comprehensive and much-needed update to our state’s criminal code to the governor’s desk.
This year we also took action to give Missourians better access to potentially life-saving and life-altering treatments. We approved legislation that will make oral chemotherapy treatments more affordable; a bill that will give terminally ill patients access to investigational medicines; and a bill that will make CBD Oil available to Missourians suffering from epilepsy.
Of course, we also took a strong step forward in protecting the lives of the unborn by passing legislation to require potential mothers to take additional time to consider their decision before having an abortion.
These are just some of the many major agenda items we were able to work together to pass. We know the governor may have objections to some of these items, but I think we have made it clear with last year’s historic veto session and this year’s battle on the tax cut that we are ready to stand together to override even more of his misguided vetoes if he chooses to stand in the way of some of the reasonable solutions we have put forward.
This session was a great one for all Missourians, and I am thrilled to bring my career in the House to a close with such a productive session that will promote growth and opportunity throughout our state."
As we enter the interim period I will continue to do my constituent work along with the good help of my Assistant Debbie Poire in Jefferson City. I will also stay in touch with County & City Leaders. Also the reality of being in the position of a State Representative is we seek re- election every two years and this is an election year. I encourage everyone to study the candidates and the ballot issues and go vote. I will continue to, “Ride for the Brand.”
PRESS RELEASE- May 29, 2014. Rep. Warren D. Love Honored with the “Freshman Legislator of the Year Award”
Jefferson City – To honor and recognize the efforts of Rep. Warren D. Love, R- Osceola, MO for his work this year on sponsoring HB 1141, “Discover More on Route 54” Highway, Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives Tim Jones, awarded him the Freshman Legislator of the Year Award for Tourism.
“I firmly believe actions speak louder than words and as an elected official, those actions are crucial to the well-being of our constituents. I commend Representative Love on his actions regarding tourism showing firsthand that he demonstrates leadership for the people of his district,” said Speaker Jones.
Representative Love sponsored HB 1141 which will name US highway 54 the “Discover More on Route 54” Highway. This Federal Highway enters our state from the east at Louisiana, Missouri on the Mississippi River and then runs southwest across our great state into Kansas and on to El Paso, Texas. The plan is to draw awareness to this highway, which should increase tourism and economic growth. Quite often while serving on Appropriations for Transportation and Economic Development Committee, I point out that tourism is the 2nd biggest industry in our state. While agriculture is number one, I compare agriculture and tourism to the two best milk cows in the herd and if we want these two cows to give more milk, we need to take good care of them and feed them more. We did manage to get a little more feed to tourism by appropriating $8.5 million increase in the 2015 budget.
“I believe we accomplished a lot this year in the House of Representatives and I look forward to next year’s legislative session in January 2015.”
If you would like to be added to the e-mail list to receive our Capitol Reports, you can e-mail me at email@example.com or call the Capitol office at (573) 751-4065 and talk to Debbie Poire, my Legislative Assistant.
PRESS RELEASE - June 14, 2014. In recent days I have been asked by many of my constituents why they haven't received their income tax refund?
Here us the best answer I can give according to what our Majority Floor Leader John Diehl has to say about the situation.
"JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – House Majority Leader John J. Diehl, Jr.today stood in defense of the more than 260,000 Missourians still awaiting their tax refunds by calling on Governor Nixon to act immediately to issue the refund checks. Diehl said that, while revenues have not grown at the overly optimistic rate pushed by the governor, the state has the funds necessary to refund the more than $115 million still owed to Missouri taxpayers.
"Missourians in all parts of the state are frustrated in not having received a refund of their tax dollars in a timely fashion. Hardworking Missourians have paid their taxes on time but the governor has continued to delay payment of refunds. It is time to return these tax dollars that rightfully belong to the people. State budgeting should not be based on money the state does not have the right to retain,” said Diehl, R-Town and Country.
Diehl added, “State budgeting is about making difficult decisions. If the governor is required to withhold money in order to meet state budgeting obligations, he should do so. We should not be withholding money from our citizens who, in many cases, rely upon tax refunds in order to make car payments, tuition payments for their children, or monthly rent or mortgage payments. I am calling on the governor to immediately make tax refunds available to those Missourians who are entitled to them.”
Diehl also repeated his desire for the governor to work with the House and Senate to assist efforts to create low-tax, pro-growth initiatives. Diehl said that the state’s economy and, more importantly, Missouri’s small businesses and their employees would greatly benefit from many of the initiatives the governor has vetoed."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 9, 2014. JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Missouri State Representative Warren Love (R-Osceola) released the following statement following Governor Jay Nixon’s approval of omnibus legislation that renames several portions of highways in Missouri:
“I am pleased that the governor has approved the highway-naming bill. U.S. Highway 54 enters from the East at Louisiana, Missouri at the Mississippi River and runs Southwesterly across the entire state in route to El Paso, Texas. This route is attractive to many tourists traveling through Missouri because it is not an Interstate Highway. The plan is to bring more awareness to the highway and the small towns and state parks along the route which should add growth of revenue to tourism and recreation; the second largest contributor to Missouri’s economy.”
The original language for renaming Highway 54, “Discover More on Route 54,” was introduced by Love in House Bill 1141, which passed the Missouri House of Representatives by a near-unanimous vote. Upon arrival in the Missouri Senate, HB 1141 was combined with several similar bills and added onto House Bill 1866, sponsored by fellow state representative Dave Schatz.
PRESS RELEASE - August 11, 2014.
My Fellow Missourians, During the past month I have been contacted by several of the Public Library Directors in District 125. They are very concerned about a shortfall in state funding. In researching this issue, I found that on June 24, 2014, Governor Jay Nixon signed the 2015 Missouri state budget, and at that time withheld several general revenue line items that directly impact public libraries. The withheld funds include $3.5 million in state aid funding that goes directly to public libraries and $3.1 million in the REAL (Remote Electronic Access for Library) appropriation which assists libraries in obtaining high-speed Internet connectivity. Users of the library rely on the Internet to pay taxes, apply for jobs, participate in distance learning, take college exams, and other vital activities.
In addition to the withheld funds, the governor also vetoed a portion of A&E tax funds that were to be portioned out to libraries. These funds are used by public libraries to purchase library materials, such as books, audio materials and e-books. While the vetoed funds can be overridden by the legislature in September, withheld funds must be released by the governor.
The St. Clair County Library, in Osceola, is facing a projected loss for Fiscal Year 2015 of $30,000. I contacted other library districts in the area with similar revenue shortfalls. The Boonslick Library District consists of Benton, Cooper, and Pettis counties. According to their Director Linda Allcorn they face a loss of approximately $80,000. The Hickory County Library was $22,000. Cedar County projects a loss of over $12,000. This is a big hardship to the libraries because the governor has essentially cut all the state funding that libraries receive and they are currently operating on a very tight budget.
As your State Representative, I encourage loyal patrons to contact the governor’s office and ask that these funds be restored. Public libraries don’t have lobbyists or action groups pleading their case. Our local citizens must let Governor Nixon know how much they rely on Internet access at the library.
Contact Governor Nixon at:
Address: P.O. Box 720, Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone: (573) 751-3222
CAPITOL REPORT - September 15, 2014. Veto Session began at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 10th, and turned into a marathon with the legislature overriding the Governor’s vetoes. We worked straight through for sixteen hours and adjourned at 3:00 a.m. Thursday morning.
The Governor’s vetoes clearly demonstrate his misplaced priorities. He and his agencies continued to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on organizational memberships and out-of –state travel, but he vetoed funding for forensic exams for abused children and better medical care for kids in foster care. If Nixon believed he had to restrict funding for some of these services, he had two choices. He could veto programs and remove them from the budget entirely, or withhold the money to release later if revenues improved. By vetoing the programs, Nixon signaled his refusal to fund them even if money became available.
The General Assembly proudly supported vital services for Missourians by overriding Nixon’s vetoes on 47 budget line items, including:
$2.5 million for an intensive reading instruction program for kids in failing school districts
$150,000 for the Bright Futures Program that empowers communities to meet the needs of their children
$1.45 million to provide forensic exams for physically abused children
$1.3 million for programs to help children with Autism
$948,381 for a Medicaid waiver for individuals with brain injuries
$125,000 for services for Missourians with Alzheimer’s
$400,000 for the Area Agencies on Aging to provide home delivered meals to Missouri seniors
$500,000 to provide assistance to victims of sexual assault
$5.2 million for services to Missourians with asthma
$500,000 for the Alternatives to Abortion Program
$455,000 for Missouri’s 22 Centers for Independent Living
$500,000 in state aid for sheltered workshops
$200,000 to provide dental care to developmentally disabled young people
$191,400 to enhance and expand newborn screening services
These are just a few of the many items we voted to immediately fund. Our hope is that the governor will now comply with our votes rather than use his withholding authority to continue to deny these funds to the programs that will use them to help Missourians who need and deserve our assistance.
In addition to the budget line items, the following are some of the ten bills also overridden:
HB 1307 – Increases the waiting period for an abortion after consultation with a doctor to 72 hours from 24 hours.
SB 593 - Allows towns with fewer than 1,000 people to cancel elections when the number of candidates filing equals the number of vacancies to be filled.
SB 727 – Exempts farmers’ market vendors from sales tax if their sales are below $25,000 per year. It also creates a pilot program for matching food stamp benefits spent at farmers’ markets and loosens restrictions on food stamps for people with drug felony convictions.
SB 841 – Bans the sale of nicotine vapor devices to people younger than 18 and prohibits the state from regulating and taxing them as tobacco products.
HB 1132 – Increases the maximum annual tax credits for donations to maternity homes and pregnancy resource centers from $2 million to $2.5 million.
My plan until the next session is to do constituent work and work with the local communities helping with their top priority projects. I need to continue developing support promoting the Discover More on Route 54 project.
If you would like to be added to the e-mail list to receive our Capitol Reports, you can e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Capitol office at (573) 751-4065 and talk to Debbie Poire, my Legislative Assistant.