Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Statement from Lt. Governor Kinder on the Resignation of Senator Jeff Smith


SPRINGFIELD – Lt. Governor Peter Kinder released the following statement today on
the announced resignation of state Sen. Jeff Smith:
"I am saddened to learn of guilty plea entered by my friend Sen. Jeff Smith.
"Over that past few years, we have worked together on a number of educational
initiatives and other legislation to benefit the urban core in St. Louis.
"In keeping with the teaching contained in the 25th chapter of the Book of Mathew, I will
stand by my friend during this dark time for him and his family. While I do not condone
the actions that resulted in today's plea, his bipartisan record prior to the incident speaks
for itself. Sen. Smith worked hard to create a better future for his neighbors in St. Louis,
and I hope his legislative career is remembered in that manner."
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Jack Goodman Capital Report -"Senator Goodman’s Legislation Becomes Law"


August 28 is the day most bills passed by the Missouri Legislature and signed by the Governor are officially enacted into law. As we approach the enactment date, I will review some of the bills I was privileged to help advance this year.



Of the more than 500 Senate bills introduced this year, 36 Senate bills were signed and 12 were vetoed. One hundred and three House bills were signed into law and 11 were vetoed (11 budget bills also contain line-item vetoes).



Here is a list of the legislation, signed into law, which I either sponsored in the Senate or handled in the Senate for a colleague in the House:



* Senate Bill 36 – This legislation increases the maximum sentence for forcibly raping or sodomizing a child younger than 12 years old to life in prison with no possibility of parole, probation or release - ever. Before we passed this law, these deviants could become eligible for parole after serving 30 years of a life sentence. That was simply wrong. Any person who violently rapes a child should receive the maximum punishment the state can give, and we need to do everything in our power to prevent any child from becoming the second victim of such an offender. I am tremendously grateful to Rep. Jay Wasson for handling this bill in the House after it passed the Senate.



* House Bill 919 - This legislation was sponsored in the House by Rep. Marilyn Ruestman and is an expansion of a bill I handled in 2006 (HB 1827) with Rep. Jay Wasson. The earlier bill allowed small businesses in Missouri to pool together and insure their employees as one large group, thereby greatly reducing their premiums. This bill has made insurance more affordable for many Missouri employers who are now providing coverage for their employees. When Representative Ruestman asked me to help her pass a bill to give sole proprietorships the ability to join such pools, I was somewhat skeptical about its chances for success. Any insurance reform bill, even those that are conservative and based on free market principles, face an uphill battle in the General Assembly. I am pleased that Rep. Ruestman and I were able to pass this bill through our respective chambers. This will bring Missouri’s smallest businesses an alternative to unaffordable or government run healthcare.



* House Bill 83 – This bill changes the laws regarding travel club membership contracts. House Bill 83 adds even more consumer protection to the travel club legislation that I sponsored in 2006. It protects consumers by giving them the right to cancel a membership contract with a travel club even if they use some of the membership benefits during the three-day rescission period. Rep. Dennis Wood and I worked together to pass this bill through our respective chambers.



* House Bill 205 – This legislation, sponsored in the House by Rep. Mike Parson, prohibits the sale of any cigarette in Missouri that has not been tested, certified and marked that it has met certain fire safety standards, such as being self-extinguishing if not puffed. Unfortunately, many house fires across Missouri are started every year by unattended cigarettes. This was tragically illustrated by an apartment fire in my district just this year. Many other states already require self-extinguishing cigarettes. I certainly believe that Missourians are worthy of the same protections.



* Senate Bill 154 – This bill authorizes non-for-profit sewer companies to accept and run sewer and domestic water services. Many subdivisions and real estate developments are created with their own sewer or water systems. Often, as time passes, no one in the development wants to run the sewer or water system anymore. Under this bill, the property owners' association, or whoever owns the system assets can them convey them to a local not-for-profit sewer company, as long as the service area does not overlap with a municipality. Over the long haul this will help to ensure that sewer companies are run by competent and qualified individuals. This, in turn, will help our lakes and streams remain clean for recreation and tourism in the Ozarks. I am grateful to Rep. Maynard Wallace for his help in getting this legislation through the House.



Original language from several other bills I sponsored was amended on to other bills that eventually received the governor’s signature. For instance, language from my Senate Bill 155, which requires the Missouri Accountability Portal to provide the public with information relating to state contracts and tax credit issuance, was included in HB 191, which was passed and signed by the Governor.



Also, language from my Senate Bills 221 and 402 was added to HB 62, the omnibus crime bill. This language expands the crime of resisting or arrest to include an arrest for a warrant issued by a court or a probation and parole officer. It also expands the crime of tampering with a judicial officer to protect our prosecutors who are on the front line making sure criminals are put behind bars where they belong.



This year, in your General Assembly, we worked to make Missouri more free of government interference, more safe from those who prey on the weak and helpless, and more open and accountable to people that elect us. Although we did not accomplish everything we wanted to further these objectives, I think the balance sheet will show it was still a successful year.



I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve you in the Missouri Senate, and am optimistic about what we accomplish together in the future!

New Missouri State Highway Map Available



JEFFERSON CITY - The latest edition of one of the state's most popular publications, the state highway map, is hot off the press and available to the public at no charge.  

           The 2010-2012 map shows the addition of about 90 miles of four-lane highway to the state's system. The recently opened Avenue of the Saints corridor, a 550-mile four-lane highway connecting St. Paul, Minn. and St. Louis, Mo., is another new addition to the map.  An aerial view of a refurbished stretch of Interstate 44 west of Ft. Leonard Wood graces the map's cover.

"The photo tells the story of the improving condition of Missouri's highways," MoDOT Director Pete Rahn said.  "I used to hear from people that they could tell when they entered Missouri because the roads were so bad.  Now I hear that they know when they enter Missouri because the roads get better."

           In addition to charting Missouri's 33,685-mile highway system, the map notes major rivers, lakes, forests, state parks and historic sites.  It also helps travelers find hospitals, airports, Amtrak stations, and colleges and universities.      

           Other helpful bits of information include easy-to-locate emergency telephone numbers, reminders about some of Missouri's traffic laws and contact information for the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Missouri Department of Transportation district offices.

           "We want to make sure you get where you're going quickly and safely, and the map is one of the tools we provide to make that happen," Rahn said.

Maps are available at MoDOT offices, highway rest areas, visitor centers, the Missouri Division of Tourism and many other state offices.  Copies can be requested by visiting MoDOT's Web site, http://www.modot.org/, or by calling toll-free 1-888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636).  To view a collection of historic maps, visit http://www.modot.org/historicmaps.

Sidebar:  State Map Fun Facts

·        The first Missouri road map, so far as State Highway Commission files reveal, was put out in 1851 by the federal government.  Primary consideration was given to steamboat travel.

·        The first road map put out by the State of Missouri was in 1918.  The map was printed in black and white with no photos.

·        25,000 copies of the 1924 map were printed, and the supply was quickly used up.  That's compared to the five million printed this year.

·        To cover printing costs, the department sold the early maps to any individual, firm or company at cost, then allowed them to resell the maps for 25 cents to "make a fair profit."

·        There are two versions of the 1939 map.  The maps have the same cover, but carry different information on the back.

·        The 1942 and 1944 maps have the same cover.

·        There was no map printed in 1943 because of World War II.

·        The 1966 map caused a bit of a stir because the cover features two women in shorts.

·        A special map was printed in 2004 to commemorate the Lewis and Clark bicentennial.

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Missouri Secretary of State Reminds Non-profits of August 31 Annual Report Filing Deadline

Carnahan Reminds Non-profits of August 31 Annual Report Filing Deadline
from Secretary of State News

Jefferson City, MO - Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today reminded
Missouri non-profit organizations and businesses that their annual
reports are due to be filed in her office by August 31, 2009.

State law requires that if an annual report is not received by the
Secretary of State's office by August 31, a $5 late fee is assessed.
In addition, failure to file the annual report by November 30, 2009,
will result in the business being administratively dissolved under
Missouri law.

Carnahan encourages all officers, directors or members of non-profit
organizations and businesses to remind their organizations to file by
the August 31 due date.

"We are doing all we can to cut red tape and make these filings more
convenient for Missouri businesses," said Carnahan. "I encourage
organizations and businesses to file their reports as soon as possible
and to save time and money by filing online."

Non-profit businesses and associations can save money by filing their
annual reports online at
https://www.sos.mo.gov/BusinessEntity/annualreport/reportstart.asp.
The fee for online filings is $10.

Alternatively, they can access and print an annual report form on the
Secretary of State's web site at
http://www.sos.mo.gov/business/corporations/generalInfo.asp#annualreports.
Non-profits
should mail their annual reports to the Corporations
Division, P.O. Box 778, Jefferson City, MO 65102. The fee for paper
filings is $15.

Non-profit corporations that have filed articles of incorporation in
2009 are not required to file an annual report until August 31, 2010.

Organizations and businesses without access to a computer or the
Internet can call the Corporations Division toll-free at (866)
223-6535 to request a paper copy of the form. Questions related to
annual report filings should be directed to the Corporations Division
of the Secretary of State's office.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today - by Missouri State Senator Jack Goodman


Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

As a new school year rapidly approaches and Missouri families shift our focus from summer break to back-to-school preparations, it seems timely to address some of the education reforms Missouri lawmakers accomplished this session. Every year, lawmakers debate measures designed to equip our students to thrive in a rapidly changing world. As lawmakers, we have the responsibility to ensure the quality of public education through appropriate funding and through legislation addressing new concerns and obstacles.

Unfortunately, even though most lawmakers share the goal of providing a high-caliber education for the children of Missouri, we often disagree about how to achieve that goal. Consequently, education bills often get caught up in rhetoric and controversy, to the detriment of our young people. This year, after nearly a decade without any large education reforms, we were finally able to pass a comprehensive bill — Senate Bill 291.

I was pleased that SB 291 included provisions to expand the use of virtual classrooms in Missouri schools and provide funding for school districts and charter schools to create new virtual school programs, building on the state’s current virtual school. In 2006, I sponsored and passed SB 912, which established Missouri’s Virtual School. This important legislation enabled students to access daily lesson plans via the internet that teach the same concepts being learned by other public school students in that grade level. The bill also allowed gifted students to take advanced courses not offered in their districts. Additionally, those homebound for medical reasons could utilize the virtual school to receive an uninterrupted education. I am excited that the virtual school’s success has been recognized with expansion and additional resources.

Some of the other key provisions of SB 291 provide as follows:

  • All new revenue resulting from the gaming measure passed by the voters last November shall be placed in the Classroom Trust Fund and distributed to schools on a per-pupil basis.
  • Each public school will develop standards for teaching by June 30, 2010. The teaching standards will center on students’ success in the learning process and the teacher’s knowledge of the content, level of preparation, ability to manage students, and the teacher’s degree of professionalism.
  • Local school districts have the option to establish a four-day school week. The option would require the vote of a majority of the local school board members.
  • The P-20 Council, a private, not-for-profit entity on behalf of the state, is created to develop a more efficient and effective education system to better prepare students for entering the workforce.
  • The Missouri Senior Cadets Program is created to provide opportunities for 12th graders in public schools to mentor kindergarten through eighth grade students.
  • The School Flex Program is created to allow eligible students to work part-time and still pursue a timely graduation from high school.
  • The Persistence to Graduation Fund is created with an established procedure for school districts to apply for grants to implement drop-out prevention strategies.
  • "The Parents' Bill of Rights" is created to inform parents of children with an individualized education program of their educational rights under law.
  • Students in elementary schools shall participate in moderate physical activity (beginning 2010-2011) for an average of 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes per day.
  • Districts hammered by inclement weather will only be required to make up a total of 10 school days.

This year's bill is just one step in the ongoing effort to strengthen the educational opportunities available to Missouri children. We must never become lax in our search for new and innovative ways to equip today’s young people to become tomorrow’s leaders. I look forward to discussions on how we can improve our schools even more in the coming year.

State Releases July 2009 General Revenue Report

Missouri Office of Administration - Press Release  

 

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering announced today that July 2009 net general revenue collections declined 7.5 percent compared to July 2008, from $507.2 million last year to $469.1 million this year.  July is the first month of Fiscal Year 2010.

 

 

GROSS COLLECTIONS BY TAX TYPE

 

Sales and use tax collections

 

  • Decreased 9.5 percent from $156.4 million last year to $141.6 million this year.

 

Individual income tax collections

 

  • Decreased 5.9 percent from $346.3 million last year to $325.9 million this year.

 

Corporate income and corporate franchise tax collections

 

  • Increased 28.4 percent from $17.8 million last year to $22.9 million this year.

 

All other collections

 

  • Decreased 7.6 percent from $26.7 million last year to $24.7 million this year.

 

Refunds

 

  • Increased 14.7 percent from $40.1 million last year to $46.0 million this year.

Green to Lead Missouri's Supplier and Workforce Diversity Office

Missouri Office of Administration Press Release

Alan Green, Director of OSWD

JEFFERSON CITY - Office of Administration Commissioner Kelvin Simmons announced that Alan Green has assumed the role of director for the Office of Supplier and Workforce Diversity (OSWD) within the Office of Administration. Green will be responsible for managing the OSWD staff and programs in developing best practices for Missouri small business growth programs.

Green comes to the Office of Administration from St. Louis County Public Works where he worked on various projects that included neighborhood preservation, minority business participation and other community initiatives. Green's work experience includes the St. Louis County Executive Office, where he served as the liaison to various county boards and assisted not-for-profit organizations and social service agencies.  Green says he is looking for the challenges that face minority- and woman-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs).  His office also will focus attention on the challenges that confront disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs).  The goal is to promote a diverse workforce which would strengthen Missouri's economic future.

Green will work with Missouri stakeholders and interested individuals in drafting a new executive order that would address equal opportunity for minority-owned businesses and employment opportunities in state government.  Green will serve on the Personnel Advisory Board (PAB), Minority Business Advocacy Commission, Contract and Compliance Committee and other committees as assigned. 

Green has a MBA from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., and an additional 39 hours toward a master's in Management and Development of Human Resources from National Louis University, Evanston, Ill.

The Office of Supplier and Workforce Diversity (OSWD) exists to promote a diversified workforce within state government and to assist women and minorities in developing opportunities to contract with the state, economically empowering traditionally underserved communities and improving the overall fiscal vitality of the State of Missouri.

Twenty-three youth delegates participated in the 2009 Missouri Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities

August 14, 2009 by Missouri Office of Administration

The staff and student delegates of the 2009 Missouri Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (MYLF) pose for a picture with Governor Nixon, Representative Jeff Grisamore, and Representative Sara Lampe's Legislative Staff Kelly Schultz. The 23 student delegates represented the following counties:  Benton, Callaway, Cape Girardeau, Cass, Cole, Jackson, Johnson, Platte, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, St. Louis City, Ste. Genevieve.

The staff and student delegates of the 2009 Missouri Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (MYLF) pose for a picture with Governor Nixon, Representative Jeff Grisamore, and Representative Sara Lampe's Legislative Staff Kelly Schultz. The 23 student delegates represented the following counties: Benton, Callaway, Cape Girardeau, Cass, Cole, Jackson, Johnson, Platte, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, St. Louis City, Ste. Genevieve.

Jefferson City- The Governor's Council on Disability's seventh annual Missouri Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (MYLF) was held July 26-29, 2009 at the University of Missouri in Columbia.  MYLF is the only statewide leadership forum for high school students, ages 16-21, with a disability. The twenty-three youth delegates were selected through a statewide competition.

The youth delegates learned about career development and leadership skills that provide a successful transition into post secondary education/employment.  The outcome is to become positive role models for others in their schools and communities. Some topics addressed at MYLF were the high unemployment rate among people with disabilities, interacting with local human resource professionals about resume writing, social networking and interviewing skills.   Youth delegates had the opportunity to interact with mentors and staff who are successful adults with disabilities that share similar challenges.

As part of the legislative advocacy training, delegates participated in a mock legislative session at the State Capitol in Jefferson City with Representative Jeff Grisamore and Representative Sara Lampe's legislative staff Kelly Schultz.  A special highlight of this year's legislative training was a surprise visit with Governor Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon.

For more information, photos and videos about the MYLF, please visit our website at www.disabilityinfo.mo.gov/gcd/2009ylf.shtml.

To nominate a student from your local community for the 2010 MYLF, please contact the Missouri Governor's Council on Disability, PO Box 1668, Jefferson City, MO 65102.