Monday, September 21, 2009

Carnahan Wraps Up JP Morgan Auction Rate Securities Case

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan Release

Missouri investors received more than $28 Million in returned savings

Jefferson City, Missouri - Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced
today that her office finalized a consent order with JP Morgan Chase &
Co., returning more than $28 million in frozen savings to Missouri
investors. JP Morgan is the seventh major firm to sign an agreement
with Carnahan's office regarding auction rate securities, bringing the
total amount returned to Missourians to over two billion dollars. Not
all firms have repaid their clients, however, and Carnahan is fighting
for those left without access to investments promised to be safe and
"same as ash."

The consent order signed today covers Missouri individual and small
business clients and was completed by JP Morgan earlier this year. The
Missouri Investor Education and Protection Fund, used for educational
initiatives across the state, will also receive an $86,000 payment
from the firm.

"I am pleased that JP Morgan has joined nearly two dozen firms
nationwide doing the right thing for their investors. The failure of
other firms to do the same is inexcusable," Carnahan said.
"Missourians with frozen savings cannot continue to wait. These
companies must be held accountable, and I will continue to pursue
resolutions that put investors first and give them access to their
savings as promised."

Carnahan has proven willing to take action where investors' interests
are not being promoted. After broker Stifel, Nicolaus and Company
failed to agree to an adequate repurchase plan, Carnahan filed a civil
enforcement action against Stifel in March for violations of state
securities laws. Stifel has since announced a drawn-out buyback plan,
but it will leave tens of millions of dollars for repurchase until the
summer of 2012.

In the coming months, the Securities Division in Carnahan's office
will finalize settlements and repurchases with several other firms. In
addition, the Securities Division has active investigations into the
auction rate securities activities of several other brokers, and
expects to announce formal actions or resolutions in many of those
matters before the end of the year.

For more information regarding investments and fraud protection, visit
the Secretary of State's online Missouri Investor Protection Center at
www.MissouriSafeSavings.com or call the toll free Investor Protection
Hotline at 1-800-721-7996.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Jack Goodman Capital Report -"Veto Session"

This week the halls of the Capitol were once again full of lawmakers returning to Jefferson City for the Legislature’s annual veto session on Sept. 16. Veto session, which is required by the state constitution, is a meeting of the general Assembly to determine if we wish to override any vetoes the Governor issued on legislation passed during the year’s legislative session.



This year, the Governor vetoed 12 Senate bills, 11 House bills and multiple line items in many of the budget bills. While one motion was made in the House, none of these vetoes were successfully overridden. Veto overrides are a rare occurrence, with none taking place since 2003, when legislators voted to overturn three of the Governor’s vetoes. Those overrides allowed Missourians to carry concealed weapons, protecting our Second Amendment right to bear arms, and enacted pro-life provisions to protect the unborn.



This year, lower-than-anticipated state revenues led the Governor to formally veto $105 million in spending from the fiscal year 2010 budget, which took effect July. The Governor also restricted an additional $325 million in spending until revenue improves, and more recently, restricted another $60 million as it became clear that deeper cuts would be needed to ensure Missouri continues to meet its obligations. While we all understand the need for fiscal restraint, there were several vetoes and withholds that clearly hurt programs, services and tools without dramatically improving the state’s financial standing.



One example is the Governor’s recent cuts to tourism funding. Many of us were shocked when the Governor withheld $7 million from the state’s Tourism Commission’s $24 million budget. These funds are invested wisely by the Tourism Commission to advertise and promote all parts of Missouri - and it’s effective. Every dollar spent on tourism advertising creates a $48 return for Missouri’s economy. One of the ways government can encourage job growth is by promoting a good business environment. When we invest funds to advertise all the great reasons to visit our state, people respond. In fact, one recent study found that nearly half of the people that visit Branson come from over 300 miles away. Cutting over 30% from tourism funding directly and negatively affects the families, small businesses, and regional employers that depend on the Tourism Commission to market our state, and does not significantly improve the state’s financial standing.



A needed law enforcement tool affected by the governor’s budget cuts is the pseudoephedrine sales tracking system implemented at pharmacies across the state. Last year, the Legislature passed a bill (SB 724) that requires pharmacies in Missouri to electronically track the sale of pseudoephedrine products (a key ingredient in methamphetamine), an upgrade from the previously required paper log. Current laws limit the amount of pseudoephedrine individuals can purchase on a daily and monthly basis, and require that they submit identification when buying a product that contains pseudoephedrine. However, these laws can be difficult to enforce without some type of electronic database to cross-reference purchase logs at multiple stores.



Senate Bill 724 has since been enacted into law, but the updated system has yet to be funded. Lawmakers originally budgeted almost $900,000 for the system in the FY 2010 spending plan, but the Governor vetoed $275,000 of that allowance, leaving less than $612,000 for the upgrade. Though the system could likely be implemented with the remaining funds, the Missouri Health Department is hesitant to pursue the transition with such an uncertain funding future. Some officials have estimated an initial cost of $800,000 with an additional $500,000 each year for up-keep.



We know that meth continues to be a serious problem in our state, and not just for addicts and producers. Meth has been linked to everything from random violent attacks to burglary. This year, lawmakers recognized the importance of equipping law enforcement with the necessary tools to stop the production and sale of this devastating drug. Missouri law enforcement already does a great job busting meth labs and distribution networks, but as we step up enforcement, criminals will continue to develop new strategies for avoiding the law. We must remain committed to fighting the proliferation of meth — including eventually implementing an electronic pseudoephedrine tracking system. $275,000 will not balance the budget, but without this critical funding Missouri is a more dangerous place to live.



The Legislature takes its responsibility to create a yearly budget very seriously. Determining the amount of funding each state department should receive is an extremely intricate task that sometimes borders on the impossible—especially in a budget year where revenues are so uncertain. As we begin to look forward to next year, it is apparent that difficult decisions will need to be made. I just hope in the future Governor Nixon can finds ways to balance the budget by trimming unnecessary growth in entitlement spending, and eliminating inefficient government programs and bureaucracy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Missouri businesses, individuals honored at Governor’s Conference on Economic Development

Missouri Department of Economic Development

JEFFERSON CITY – Several Missouri businesses and individuals were honored recently at the 2009 Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in St. Louis.

The Director’s Redevelopment Award was presented to Branson Landing, Branson, for urban revitalization, environmental improvement, creation of civic space, and economic productivity.

Georganna Beachboard, Jefferson City, was the recipient of the Missouri Women’s Council’s Award of Distinction.

Acceleration, LLC, Lee’s Summit, was honored with the Small Business Award.

Pycior & Co’s, Lee’s Summit, captured the Governor’s Community Project of the Year Award for the Hartley Block Revitalization project.

ProEnergy Services, Sedalia, was the recipient of the Governor’s Project of the Year Award

Allen Filters, Inc., Springfield, received the Exporter of the Year Award for outstanding export performance in manufactured products and/or services.

Boeing Company and St. Louis Community College, both of St. Louis, received the Director’s Innovative Industry Training Award for their Pre-Employment Training Project.

Divergence, Inc., St. Louis, was presented with the Governor’s Technology Company of the Year Award.

Metro Medical Equipment & Supply, Inc., St. Louis, received the Governor’s Minority Business Award.

Dick Oldenburg, Washington, was the recipient of the Director’s Career Service in Economic Development Award winner.

Missouri Department of Economic Development Releases Job Report Unemployment down tow-tenths of a percent

Missouri Department of Economic Development Release
JEFFERSON CITY– The Missouri unemployment rate increased by two-tenths of a point in August on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to data released today by the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED).

Missouri’s unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent, as the state’s nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 6,700 jobs following a small increase in July. On a not-seasonally-adjusted basis, the rate was 9.4 percent. For comparison, the August U.S. unemployment rates were 9.7 seasonally-adjusted and 9.6 not-seasonally adjusted.

Durable goods manufacturing employment dropped by 3,500 for the month after an increase by the same amount in July, making employment for this industry category at approximately the same levels seen in May and June. Construction employment fell by 1,600, while administrative and support sectors shed 2,300 jobs. Leisure and hospitality employment was down by 1,400 as businesses in those sectors started to wind down summer employment earlier than usual. The major exceptions to the employment decreases were in health care and social assistance (+1,400) and local government, where an early beginning of the school year helped push employment up past 3,500.

In Missouri’s metropolitan areas, payroll employment was down in Kansas City and St. Louis but little changed in other areas. In the Kansas City area, small decreases were spread through a number of industries including government totaling approximately 3,200 jobs. In St. Louis, motor vehicle manufacturing and leisure and hospitality dominated the decreases, which totaled approximately 1,300 jobs.

Independence Woman dies of H1N1 Flu 24 year-old-woman becomes second Missouri victim of new virus

Missouri Department of Health

An Independence woman became the second Missouri resident to die as a result of the H1N1 flu, state health officials said Thursday.

The 24-year-old woman died Wednesday night, several days after she was hospitalized with flu symptoms. A private laboratory confirmed that the woman was positive for the H1N1 virus, which is commonly referred to as swine flu.

Margaret Donnelly, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, expressed sorrow that the illness had claimed another life.

“Our hearts go out to this woman’s family and friends,” Donnelly said. “This is further evidence that, while most people experience only mild symptoms from the H1N1 virus, this flu is dangerous and can even be deadly.”

The H1N1 flu has been confirmed in nearly 400 Missouri residents since the virus emerged in the United States last April. But health officials say the true number of flu cases is much higher because most people recover without treatment and without being tested.

Nationwide, the H1N1 virus has been blamed for more than 600 deaths and has sickened at least 44,000 people. The first Missouri death attributed to the H1N1 flu came last May when a 44-year-old St. Louis County man became ill after vacationing in Mexico, where the virus was first detected.

State health officials said they would be working with the Independence Health Department to determine whether further investigation is needed.

Donnelly said the serious nature of the woman’s illness underscored the need for people to take basic steps to limit the spread of the flu and to get vaccinated when the H1N1 vaccine becomes available in mid-October.

“The more people who get vaccinated, the fewer people there are to catch the virus and the fewer there are spreading the flu to others,” Donnelly said. “Getting a flu shot is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your family and your community.”

Studies have also shown that the some of the simplest methods for avoiding the flu are also the most effective. The best weapon: soap and water. Frequent hand washing has shown to virtually eliminate the virus.

People should also cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of their elbows – not their bare hands. They should also avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth because that is how the virus often enters the body.

People should stay home when they are sick to avoid passing the flu to others. People caring for a person with the flu should try to maintain a distance of at least three to six feet to keep from inhaling the virus produced when the person coughs.

For more information on ways to limit the spread of flu at home, in school or in the workplace, go to the state health department’s Web site at http://www.dhss.mo.gov/BT_Response/_H1N1Flu.html.

Chris Koster and seven other Attorneys General to meet with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in Washington, D.C., tomorrow

Attorney General's Office Release
--Attorney General to meet with federal officials to outline Missouri's efforts to pursue mortgage-relief fraud--

Jefferson City -- Attorney General Chris Koster will meet with both Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner and Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington, D.C., tomorrow to discuss Missouri's efforts to pursue businesses engaged in mortgage fraud. Geithner and Holder invited Koster and several other Attorneys General from around the nation to meet with them to discuss the problem and possible solutions. Also present at Thursday's meeting will be HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and FTC Chair Jon Liebowitz.

The officials invited Koster for his role as part of a multi-state task force addressing the issue of mortgage fraud. In addition to Koster, the Attorneys General from Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina and Rhode Island will be present.

In July, Koster testified before the United States Senate on steps Missouri is taking to address foreclosure-relief and debt-settlement scams in Missouri, and what Congress could do to address the issue nationwide. Koster recommended Congress pass a law similar to Missouri's ban on up-front fees for these types of businesses. Koster said the ban on up-front fees is one of the state's most valuable tools for cracking down on businesses engaged in mortgage-relief fraud, and is important to consumers in recognizing when a business is not legitimate.

In April Koster announced a "zero tolerance" campaign against mortgage fraud, and since that time his office has filed suit against seven businesses and has a number of other mortgage fraud investigations underway.

Carnahan Announces Program on Missouri's Cookbook Heritage

Jefferson City, MO - Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today announced a program highlighting Missouri's cookbook heritage. The program will be held at the Missouri State Archives, a division of her office, on Thursday, September 24, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. Authors Carol and John Fisher will be discussing their new book, Pot Roast, Politics, and Ants in the Pantry: Missouri's Cookbook Heritage.

For almost 200 years, Missouri's cookbooks have helped readers serve up tasty dishes, but these publications also provide history lessons, document changing food tastes, and demonstrate the cultural diversity of the state.

In Pot Roast, Politics, and Ants in the Pantry, Carol and John Fisher draw from more than 150 publications to reveal Missouri's cookbook heritage and deliver a generous sampling of recipes. The authors review manuscript cookbooks from 1821 St. Louis, then progress through the years and around the state before arriving at today's online recipes. Along the way, they dish out servings of kitchen medicine, household hints, and cookbook literature, providing a smorgasbord of reading pleasure for cookbook collectors, chefs, and historians.

The Missouri State Archives is the official repository for state documents of permanent historic value, and is located at 600 West Main Street in Jefferson City. All programs at the Archives are free of charge and open to the public, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information on this and other programming at the Archives, contact Emily Luker,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lee’s Summit Middle School Instructor is Missouri’s New Teacher

Lee's Summit Middle School Instructor is

Missouri's New Teacher of the Year by Missouri Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

A Lee's Summit teacher who "brings the world to her students" and
helps them connect world history to their own lives has been selected
as Missouri's Teacher of the Year for 2009-10, state education
officials announced today.

Susanne Mitko, is beginning her sixth year of teaching seventh-grade
social studies at Bernard Campbell Middle School in the Lee's Summit
School District and has taught for a total of 18 years. She was
selected yesterday after a personal interview with a nine-member
selection committee appointed by the Department of Elementary and
Secondary Education.

In her current assignment, Ms. Mitko teaches the history of the
Eastern Hemisphere, from Stone Age time to AD 1500, with a special
emphasis on world religions and cultures. She works with a wide range
of students, from those with special needs to those preparing for
International Baccalaureate studies.

"I am part salesman, part thespian and part cheerleader as I strive to
spark my students' interests and engage them in the world. Social
studies is the vehicle through which I teach children about our world
and prepare them for their futures," she wrote in her Teacher of the
Year application.

She shares her personal travel experiences with students – including a
trip to China – and helps them gain perspective from other cultures.
She uses current issues and world events to help students appreciate
the impact of geography, culture and politics on history.

Ms. Mitko also likes to grab students' interest with real-world
problems and issues. For example, she described the activities in her
recent "Heroes" project: "Students research a problem in Sub-Saharan
Africa, find examples of individuals making a difference and then
develop a call to action for the school community. Students not only
learn about a problem, but create solutions and become more empowered
by their positive impact on the situation."

Mitko tutors struggling students in after-school help sessions, and
she mentors new and aspiring teachers. She earned her master's degree
at Avila University in Kansas City (1998) and has maintained her
relationship with Avila as an adjunct instructor for both graduate and
undergraduate students.

Mitko's colleagues describe her as a creative instructor who
constantly finds imaginative ways to spark her students' interest in
learning ancient history – and who takes time to learn each of her
student's unique needs and strengths.

Her principal, Dr. Vicki Porter, observed that Mitko "sets clear
goals, communicates high expectations, employs positive reinforcement,
demonstrates enthusiasm, personalizes instruction and encourages
student response. Susanne turns routine classroom topics into
exciting adventures."

Before joining the Lee's Summit School District, Ms. Mitko taught at
Father Flanagan's Boys' Town in Omaha, Neb., for one year and at the
Visitation School in Kansas City for 12 years.

She began college with the goal of becoming a lawyer, but shifted
direction and chose to become a teacher. She earned her bachelor's
degree in 1985 and her education degree in 1987 at the University of
Missouri-Kansas City.

The State Board of Education will honor Ms. Mitko and the five state
finalists in the Teacher of the Year program at a Nov. 16 banquet in
Jefferson City. Each teacher will receive cash awards and other
prizes.

The Missouri Teacher of the Year program is conducted by the
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education with major funding
provided by the Boeing Company, St. Louis. Ms. Mitko automatically
becomes Missouri's candidate for the National Teacher of the Year
program, sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Missouri Governor Appoints Katie Steele Danner as Interim Economic Development Director

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Press Release from Gov. Nixon on resignation of Department of Economic Development Director Linda Martinez

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon today issued the following statement upon the resignation of Linda Martinez, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development:

"Today, I accepted the resignation of Linda Martinez as director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

"I appreciate the work Linda has done over the first eight months of this administration. Her efforts to create jobs and to give the department increased economic development tools, including the successful passage of a bi-partisan jobs bill, will continue to pay dividends to the people of Missouri. I wish her success in her return to private practice, where she will continue to be an asset to this state.

"It is clear that we need to take our effort to create jobs to the next level. To that end, I have started a Show-Me Business Tour to meet with business leaders across the state to hear about the opportunities and challenges facing their companies.

"There is much work to be done to attract more businesses to Missouri and put more of our citizens back to work. We will immediately begin a search for a new director. During the search process, Deputy Director Katie Steele Danner will be the interim director of the department."

Friday, September 11, 2009

USDA Predicts Missouri will have record Soybean Crop

Record Soybean Production Forecast
(USDA Release)

(COLUMBIA, MO) - "Even with temperatures cooler than normal, farmer expectations of yield improved from last month" said Gene Danekas, Director, USDA-Missouri Agricultural Statistics. "Based on conditions as of September 1, Missouri farmers are on track to produce a record soybean crop and the third largest corn crop.”

Based on conditions as of September 1, Missouri corn yield per harvested acre is forecast at 151 bushels, 7 bushels above a year ago and 5 bushels per acre above the August 1 estimate. Production is forecast at 453 million bushels. If realized, this production would be 19 percent above a year ago and up 3 percent from the August 1 forecast. This would be the third largest Missouri corn crop on record. Acres for harvest for grain are forecast at 3.00 million acres, up 13 percent from 2008 but unchanged from the August 1 estimate.

Soybean yield in Missouri is forecast at 42 bushels per acre, 4 bushels above 2008 and 2 bushels above the August 1 estimate. Production is forecast at 224.7 million bushels, 18 percent above 2008 and 5 percent above August 1. This would be the largest Missouri soybean crop on record. Harvested acres are expected to total 5.35 million acres, 6 percent above last year but unchanged from the August 1 forecast.

Cotton planted acres in Missouri are estimated at 275,000 acres, down 10 percent from last year and the August 1 estimate. This would be the lowest planted level since 1990. Producers expect to harvest 263,000 acres, 13 percent below last year and 8 percent below the August 1 estimate. A record yield of 1132 pounds per acre is forecasted. The resulting 620,000 480-pound bales would be 11 percent below last year and 2 percent below the August 1 estimate. A yield of 6,800 pounds per acre is forecast for Missouri rice, 180 pounds per acre above last year, and unchanged from the August 1 estimate. If realized, this would result in a production of 13.5 million hundredweight, 3 percent above last year and the August 1 estimate. Long grain rice planted acres are estimated at 198,000 acres while harvested acres are forecast at 196,000 acres. Medium grain rice planted and harvested acres are expected to be 3,000 acres, 1,000 more acres than was planted and harvested last year. A yield of 86 bushels per acre is expected for Missouri sorghum for grain which would result in a production of 4.73 million bushels, 39 percent below 2008 but unchanged from the August 1 estimate. Sorghum to be harvested for grain is forecast at 55,000 acres, 31 percent below last year but unchanged from August 1. Missouri summer potato planted acres are estimated at 7,300 acres, up 100 acres from 2008 and 300 acres above the July 1 estimate. Harvested acres are forecast at 7,000 acres, up 500 acres from a year earlier and 300 acres above the July 1 estimate. Production is forecast at 2.03 million cwt., 64 percent above last year but 5 percent below the previous estimate on July 1. Yield is forecast at 290 cwt. per acre, 100 cwt. above last year but 30 cwt. below the August 1 estimate.

United States Crops

U.S. Corn production is forecast at 13.0 billion bushels, up 2 percent from last month and 7 percent higher than 2008. Based on conditions as of September 1, yields are expected to average 161.9 bushels per acre, up 2.4 bushels from August and 8.0 bushels above last year. If realized, this will be the highest yield on record and production will be the second largest, behind 2007.

Soybean production in the U.S. is forecast at a record high 3.25 billion bushels, up 1 percent from the August forecast and up 10 percent from last year. Based on September 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 42.3 bushels per acre, up 0.6 bushel from last month and up 2.7 bushels from 2008. If realized, this will be the third highest yield on record.

U.S. All Cotton production is forecast at 13.4 million 480-pound bales, up 2 percent from last month and up 5 percent from last year. Upland cotton production is forecast at 13.1 million 480-pound bales, up 2 percent from last month and up 6 percent from last year. U.S. Rice production is forecast at 219 million cwt, up 4 percent from the August forecast and up 7 percent from last year. Based on administrative data, planted area is revised to 3.13 million acres, up 4 percent from the June estimate and up 4 percent from 2008. Area for harvest is expected to total 3.10 million acres, up 3 percent from August and up 4 percent from 2008. As of September 1, the U.S. yield is forecast at 7,051 pounds per acre, up 12 pounds from the previous month’s forecast and 205 pounds above the 2008 average yield of 6,846 pounds per acre. If realized, this will be the second highest U.S. yield on record. U.S. Sorghum production is forecast at 390 million bushels, up 2 percent from last month but down 18 percent from last year. Expected area for harvest as grain is forecast at 5.95 million acres, unchanged from August but down 18 percent from 2008. Based on September 1 conditions, yield is forecast at 65.5 bushels per acre, up 1.5 bushels from August and up 0.5 bushel from last year. U.S. production of Summer Potatoes is forecast at 14.7 million cwt, up 1 percent from the July forecast and 7 percent above 2008. Harvested area is estimated at 42,500 acres, unchanged from the July forecast but 6 percent below last year. Average yield is forecast at 346 cwt per acre, up 5 cwt from July and up 40 cwt from 2008.

Missouri Gubernatorial Appointment of Dennis Wood to Presiding Commissioner

Gov. Nixon appoints state Rep. Dennis Wood as Stone County presiding commissioner

More Coverage on Branson, Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon today announced he has appointed state Rep. Dennis Wood, of Kimberling City, to serve as presiding commissioner of Stone County. Former Stone County Presiding Commissioner George Cutbirth resigned from that position this summer, leading to the appointment by the Governor. Wood, age 64, has resigned his position as representative for House District 62 in order to serve as the new presiding commissioner.

"Dennis Wood has been a strong representative for his constituents in Stone and Taney counties, and I appreciate how he has reached across the aisle on several issues important to people he represents," Gov. Nixon said. "I know he will bring a similar approach of hard work to his new position of presiding commissioner."

"I thank Gov. Nixon for this appointment, and for the work we have done together across party lines during my time in the House and his time as Governor and as Attorney General," Wood said. "I appreciate the Governor continuing his bipartisanship with this appointment, and I pledge to serve the people of Stone County to the best of my ability as presiding commissioner."

Wood, a realtor, was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2002 and was re-elected three times.

The Governor has called a special election to fill the vacant House seat for Feb. 2, 2010.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Secretary of State Release on Court Reform Petition

Initiative Petition Relating to Repealing the Nonpartisan Court Plan Approved for Circulation for 2010 Ballot

Jefferson City, Missouri - Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced today that a new initiative petition met state standards for circulation. The petition would amend the Missouri Constitution relating to the repeal of the nonpartisan court plan.

The ballot title for the petition relating to the repeal of the nonpartisan court plan reads:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to repeal the current nonpartisan court plan for the selection of judges of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Courts in St. Louis City and Jackson, Platte, Clay, St. Louis, and Greene Counties and to create a new method of selecting such judges through appointment by the Governor with advice and consent of the Missouri Senate?

It is estimated this proposal will have annual costs of $121,802 - $129,543 and one-time costs of $5,660 to state governmental entities. It is estimated this proposal will have no costs or savings to local governmental entities.

The petition relating to the repeal of the nonpartisan court plan was submitted by James Harris with the group Better Courts for Missouri, PO Box 1524, Jefferson City, MO 65102, (573) 761-7875.

Before any constitutional changes can be brought before Missouri voters in the November 2010 election, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to eight (8) percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts.

Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2010 ballot are due to the Secretary of State's office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 2, 2010.

Before circulating petitions, state law requires that groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the Secretary of State and Attorney General. The Secretary of State then prepares a summary statement of no more than 100 words and the State Auditor prepares a fiscal impact statement, both of which are subject to the approval of the Attorney General. When both statements are approved, they become the official ballot title.

MODOT Responds to NAACP

MoDOT Explains Federal Law on Disadvantaged Business Enterprises

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Transportation today issued an explanation of federal laws applying to the award of transportation projects to minority- and women-owned businesses. Under federal law there is no distinction between minority- or women-owned businesses. Both are considered one group under the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program.

DBE goals set on federal-aid projects must be fulfilled by either DBE certified minority- or women-owned businesses that are ready, willing and able to complete transportation-related work. A DBE firm must do transportation-related work to be factored into the set aside for a project DBE goal. The goals are established as percentages of the total project dollars going to DBE firms and under federal regulations are not split out into minority- or women-owned categories.

"We appreciate the frustration of the NAACP, but MoDOT is performing exactly as required by the federal regulations established for the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program," MoDOT Director Pete Rahn said. "Efforts to change the requirements of the program need to be directed toward Congress since they are established in federal law."

Rahn also stated that, while many early stimulus projects have been in rural areas, there are no limitations to minority contractors working outside of their immediate location. Every transportation project is an opportunity for minority contractors to bid on regardless of where the work is located. MoDOT makes extensive efforts to ensure minority businesses know about contracting opportunities throughout the state and that they have the best possible chance at winning contracts.

MoDOT sends DBE contractors a list of bidding opportunities every month. Additionally, information about getting transportation-related contracts is available on MoDOT's External Civil Rights program website.

At the same time, the department conducts a statewide Supportive Services program to assist DBE businesses, including minority-owned, with business plans, bidding, estimating and networking with other contractors.

"We share the goal of increasing minority participation in transportation contracting," Rahn said. "We make every effort to assist minority contractors with bidding on projects. Ultimately, however, it is a competitive environment where the work goes to the lowest bidder."

Jack Goodman Capital Report Economic Development that Works

This week the Governor kicked off his conference on economic development in St. Louis. Every year, this conference is held to bring economic development and business community leaders together from around the state, and to recognize the outstanding achievements individuals have made to the state’s economic well-being. With unemployment creeping to 10 percent, it does not take long to look around and see the tremendous need for a revitalized approach to economic development. Nearly everyone has been personally affected by the recent economic downturn or knows someone who is out of work and struggling to make ends meet.



Missouri has a strong and well-diversified economy. Manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare make substantial contributions to the gross domestic product of our state, but there is one area of economic activity that often gets overlooked — tourism. The 2007 Missouri Economic Report estimated that tourism created more than $8 billion of total economic activity and employed nearly 300,000 people in the State of Missouri. By anybody’s standards that represents a huge part of our economy.



It is clear that tourism works for Missouri, which is why so many of us were shocked when the Governor withheld $7 million from the state Tourism Commission’s $24 million budget. These funds are invested wisely by the Tourism Commission to advertise and promote all parts of Missouri — and it’s effective. Every dollar spent on tourism advertising creates a $48 return for Missouri’s economy. Just to illustrate this impact, it has been estimated that every year more than seven million people come to Branson alone to spend their hard-earned dollars on family vacations and getaways. Of these, 47 percent come from more than 300 miles away! Many of these are out-of-state visitors who would probably not have made the decision to vacation in Missouri without seeing an advertisement.



I applaud the Governor for his dedication to hosting a conference designed to promote Missouri’s economic well-being. But all the conferences in the world will not solve a backward approach to economic development. Government should promote job growth by eliminating unnecessary regulatory burdens, reducing taxes, and promoting a good business environment. In Missouri, that means taking every opportunity to tell people all the great reasons to visit our state (and spend money while they are here). That’s why cutting more than 30 percent from tourism funding directly and negatively affects the families, small businesses, and regional employers that depend on the Tourism Commission to market our state.



Governor Nixon should begin his approach to economic development by sticking with what works. Funding withheld from the Missouri Tourism Commission should be restored immediately so the economy of Southwest Missouri can continue to be a vital part of the economic engine that keeps Missourians working.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Missouri Supreme Court upholds school funding formula AP

JEFFERSON CITY | Missouri's school-funding formula was upheld Tuesday
by the state Supreme Court against a long-running challenge that
claimed schools have been shortchanged and treated unfairly.

The high court's decision affirms a 2007 ruling by a Cole County judge
in a case brought by fewer than half of Missouri's 523 public school
districts. The schools that sued claimed the state fails to spend
enough money on schools and distributes that money inequitably, at
least partly because of a flawed local property-tax system.

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that education is not a fundamental
right under either the federal or state constitution's
equal-protection clauses. Thus, "there is no constitutional basis for
implying an equal per-pupil spending requirement," the court said.

During arguments in May, an attorney for a school coalition called the
Committee for Educational Equality had said the claims of inadequate
funding hinged on a vague constitutional provision.

That constitutional section states: "A general diffusion of knowledge
and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and
liberties of the people, the general assembly shall establish and
maintain free public schools" for people up to age 21.

The Supreme Court said Tuesday that the phrase "diffusion of
knowledge" is merely an introductory clause that "is purely
aspirational in nature" and does not add to a separate constitutional
requirement that 25 percent of state revenues go to public schools.
The state has met that threshold, the court said.

School districts originally sued the state in January 2004. The next
year, Missouri lawmakers changed the school-funding formula so it is
linked less to local property values and taxes and more to a per-pupil
spending target. Although some schools dropped out of the lawsuit,
most pressed ahead with the lawsuit.

The legal battle cost more than $6 million, most of which was financed
by either the public school districts or the state.

Posted on Tue, Sep. 01, 2009 03:15 PM

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Kansas City Area Records PotentialOzone Violations

 

Volume 37-284

Contact: Susanne C. Medley

(For immediate release)

573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, AUG. 28, 2009 -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources air quality monitor recorded high concentrations of ground-level ozone in the Kansas City area on Aug. 25. These concentrations have the potential to place the area in violation of the federal ozone standard.

High concentrations of ozone are considered unhealthy and can cause problems for those with existing heart or respiratory conditions, or even healthy individuals spending extended periods of time outdoors. In the general population, an elevated ozone level can lead to irritation of the eyes, nose and throat and make breathing difficult.

The Department recorded the high readings at the Trimble monitor, located in Clinton County, one of five Missouri ozone monitors located in the Kansas City area. Once those readings are validated, this will be the second monitor in the region in violation of the federal ozone standard based on the last three years of monitoring data. The Department also recorded high readings at the Rocky Creek monitor, located in Clay County, earlier this summer. These high readings are of particular concern not only because of the area's continued failure to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone, but also because of the negative impacts to public health.

Effectively reducing ozone precursors, such as oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds, are necessary to protect air quality in Missouri. That is why community-wide voluntary actions can play a role in reducing air pollution. These voluntary efforts include industries using best management practices, homeowners and businesses delaying lawn maintenance, and citizens using mass transportation on high ozone days. Other actions, like "stopping at the click" when refueling vehicles or refueling later in the evening and early in the morning before the rush-hour, can also help reduce the formation of ground-level ozone. The fumes that escape during these activities play a major role in establishing the necessary conditions for ozone to form. Because exhaust emissions are greater during the rush-hours, any attempts to prevent emissions during these hours will make a difference.

Aside from costly emission controls on equipment, industries can take steps toward "greening" their operation in a variety of ways. Some of these steps include being aware of consumption and making goals to consume less energy. Setting concrete goals to reduce utility bills by 2 percent or office supply expenses by 15 percent can save companies money and protect air quality. These goals protect air quality by reducing the harmful emissions that are derived from coal-fired power plants that produce our energy and the vehicle emissions that are produced when office supplies are delivered. Turning off lights, computers and appliances when not in use and buying Energy Star appliances are other options that help reduce energy consumption. Finally, encouraging and organizing company carpools can reduce harmful emissions by removing unnecessary vehicles from the road.

Ozone season begins April 1 and ends Oct. 31. Throughout the season, 20 monitors across Missouri record ground-level ozone levels. Ground-level ozone is produced when volatile organic compounds mix with oxides of nitrogen on warm, sunny days with little or no wind. Man-made sources of volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen include power plants, automobiles and trucks and other business and industries.

Ozone monitoring data is available from the Missouri Air Quality Data System on the Department's Web site at www.dnr.mo.gov/AQDS/index.do. For more information on ozone, call the Department's Air Pollution Control Program at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-4817.

###



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AG Koster Applauds Supreme Court Ruling on School Funding Formula

 

Jefferson City, MO. -- Attorney General Chris Koster today applauded the decision by the Missouri Supreme Court to uphold the state's method of funding public schools. In a 7-0 decision, the Court agreed with the Attorney General's argument that the Missouri foundation formula for schools is constitutional.

"I applaud the Supreme Court's ruling upholding our school funding formula," Koster said. "In 2005, the Legislature worked hard to devise a formula that would be as fair as possible to Missouri school children. Now it is time to put our focus back on education rather than litigation."


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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Children's Division's 38th Circuit Meets Accreditation Standards


The 38th Circuit joins 43 other circuits and the state's Central Administration and Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline in meeting accreditation standards.

Ozark — The Missouri Department of Social Services today announced that the 38th Circuit of the Children's Division has been found in compliance with the standards for accreditation by the Council on Accreditation (COA). The 38th Circuit includes Christian and Taney Counties.

"I want to congratulate staff in the 38th Circuit for their hard work and tremendous dedication to reach these national, best practice standards," said Paula Neese, Children's Division Director. "In meeting these standards the 38th Circuit staff helps maximize our efforts to achieve favorable outcomes for the children and families that we serve."

The COA is an international, independent, not-for-profit accrediting body that evaluates behavioral health care and social service programs. Its strict accrediting process reviews all aspects of an organization based on national standards of best practices.

A panel of COA reviewers found the 38th Circuit to be in compliance with each of the major categories for more than 800 standards that an agency must follow to be accredited. The local office met rigorous standards in adoption services, foster and kinship care services, child protection services and family-centered casework, as well as organization and management standards in general areas such as ethical practice, financial management and organizational integrity.

"Each local jurisdiction will go through a similar process of strengthening their practices as the division works toward a goal of having Missouri's entire state child welfare system obtain accreditation. Accreditation makes us a more professional organization, enabling us to meet the incredible demands placed on the child welfare system as we work with communities to protect Missouri's children. This process is making us a better child welfare organization," Neese said.

The state's child protection system is organized around Missouri's 45 judicial circuits. The 38th Circuit joins 43 other circuits and the state's Central Administration and Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline in meeting accreditation standards. The Children's Division expects to be fully accredited by fall.


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Branson Nature Center Meeting


Second meeting on facility set for September 3
A second public meeting to discuss the possible development of a nature center in
Branson will be held Thursday, September 3, from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at the Branson
Convention Center in the Fall Creek Room. The first meeting was held in March where
Branson Board of Alderman, community leaders, representatives from the state's
Congressional delegation, state officials and county commissioners were presented the nature
center facility opportunity by city staff and representatives from the Wildcat Glades Joplin,
Missouri.
The proposed nature center would be located on four acres at the corner of Highway 76
and Fall Creek Road. The proposed facility would also serve as the entrance to the existing
130 acre Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area that features hiking trails, an observation deck
overlooking Lake Taneycomo and over 300 historic hand lain stone steps that descend to the
lake.
The purpose of the September 3 meeting is to further discuss funding mechanisms,
educational benefits, and energy saving methods used in "green" buildings. Also, Great River
Engineering of Springfield will present a possible design of the facility.
A core group of city staff, community leaders, state officials, county commissioners, and
representatives from the state's Congressional delegation have once again been invited to be a
part of this discussion. The Branson Board of Aldermen invites citizens to this meeting as well
as them to contact aldermen with suggestions, comments and ideas for the proposed nature
facility.
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Department of Agriculture Director Asks State Auditor to Review Grain Industry Practices


Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Jon Hagler has asked Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee to begin an advisory review of the department's Grain Regulatory Service's current practices and offer her staff's guidance on standard auditing procedures.

"This year, Missouri has been faced with the two largest grain failures in state history along with farmers facing economic challenges across all sectors. Our Grain Regulatory staff has done a tremendous job uncovering irregularities and assisting farmers across Missouri with filing claims and answering questions during their times of need," said Dr. Hagler. "Auditor Montee and her staff have the expertise to thoroughly review and recommend additional tools we may need to protect farm families."

The Department of Agriculture has logged over 1500 hours this year on grain insolvencies. On Feb. 9, Danny Froman of Gallatin Grain Company voluntarily surrendered his Missouri Grain Warehouse and Grain Dealer licenses to the Department of Agriculture after a walk-through inspection. In a separate case, on Feb. 20 following an inspection resulting from a competitor's complaint, Cathy Gieseker of T.J. Gieseker Farms and Trucking's grain dealer's license was suspended. In both cases, the Department of Agriculture accepted claims from farmers affected and have conducted administrative hearings to determine the validity and payout of each claim.

In the past 22 years, farmers have been impacted by 36 grain insolvencies resulting in the loss of $3.3 million. This year alone, Missouri farm families have lost over $30 million between the cases in Gallatin and Martinsburg.

Missouri's Grain Regulatory Services program protects the public's interest by licensing, bonding and auditing grain warehouses and grain dealers to ensure financially sound grain markets for Missouri's farmers to store and merchandise their grain. Grain depositors or sellers experiencing difficulty receiving payment or redelivery of their grain may contact the program at (57....

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Longtime public works director retiring Larry VanGilder served Branson 33 years

City of Branson Press Release
When 21-year old Larry VanGilder was hired as a plant operator at the
Branson wastewater treatment plant in 1976, the public works department
had nine employees, the city's population was 2,175 and the Branson city
limits ended at what is now the Veterans Memorial Museum on West
Highway 76.
Now, 33 years later and serving as the city's public works director
since 1983, VanGilder is retiring effective January 8, 2010.
"It's been a great opportunity to serve the Branson community in this
way. However, I feel there are other opportunities where I can serve," said
VanGilder. "It's time to close this chapter of my life and see what the next
chapter brings. My sincere appreciation and thanks to the city of Branson for all the support it has given
to me all these years."
VanGilder headed the largest department in the city with 68 employees, and he is the longestserving
public works director in the city's history.
VanGilder is proud of the major projects he spearheaded during his 26 years as public works
director during the biggest growth years in Branson's history. They include:
 Construction and two expansions of the Compton Drive Wastewater Treatment Plant
 Constructing a second water and wastewater treatment facility on Fall Creek Road.
 Installing phosphorus removal equipment on wastewater treatment plants; the first Missouri
city to do so.
 Installing sewer services all the way to Table Rock Dam where the city limits now extend
 Establishing a recycle center in Branson
 Installing curb and guttering in neighborhoods
 Constructing the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area trails.
VanGilder's experience landed him on several local and state public works' boards. He served
12 years on the Missouri State Solid Waste Advisory Board --two of those years as chairman. He spent
eight years as chairman of the Region N Solid Waste District and also served on the Taney County Sewer
Board for five years.
VanGilder said his biggest accomplishment was managing the growth of the city, especially
during the 1990s and keeping up with the water and wastewater systems.
"We had so much new construction in the early 1990s and businesses wanting to connect to our
sewer system that we considered a moratorium on construction until we could expand our only
wastewater plant at that time," he said. "However, we were able to expand the plant and add new
customers without much interruption. We built new water and wastewater plants in 1995 and 1996
thanks to the tourism tax passed by voters."
He has worked for seven city administrators and numerous mayors and boards of aldermen
throughout his Branson career and feels that he has always maintained a good relationship.
"My years in Branson have been a very rewarding experience," VanGilder said. "It's also been
good for my family to have a stable upbringing in one city."
As public works director, VanGilder worked the closest with city engineer David Miller who
credits VanGilder for helping him accomplish all of the capital projects in the city.
"Larry's knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the Branson infrastructure is amazing,"
said Miller. "He is a walking encyclopedia of information on everything that has been built in Branson."
Miller said VanGilder's relationship with his employees and citizens was more than just
professional.
"When any employee or citizen that he knew was hospitalized or ill, they could always depend
on Larry stopping by to see how they were doing and offer to help in any way possible," said Miller
After leaving the city in January, VanGilder wants to hook up his camper and winter in Arizona.
He also plans to spend more time with aging parents in Lamar, Missouri, his hometown.
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Carnahan Announces State Fair Mock Election Results Show That Missouri Favors the Mule

Jefferson City, MO - Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced today that Missourians chose the Mule as their favorite state symbol in the Biennial Mock Election sponsored by the Secretary of State's Office at the 2009 Missouri State Fair.

More than 700 fairgoers were able to become more familiar with one of the most commonly used voting machines while choosing from the 26 Missouri state symbols.

"We were encouraged by the number of people that brought their family and friends to our booth just to vote," Carnahan said. "It was great to see children and adults learning about the election machines we use in Missouri."

Fairgoers selected the mule, with 20% of the vote followed by the Flowering Dogwood, Missouri's state tree with 13% of the vote and the Bluebird, Missouri's state bird, with 11% of the vote. Traditionally, the state fair mock elections serve as a way to keep Missourians involved in the voting process during a down time in the election cycle.

The official election results out of 736 votes cast were: Great Seal 68, Square Dance 14, Mule 149, State Flag 32, Crinoid 8, Galena 3, Mozarkite 8, Flowering Dogwood 99, Paddlefish 22, Missouri Waltz 29, Fox Trotting Horse 59, Hypsibema Missouriensis "Duck Billed Dinosaur" 14, Bluebird 82, White Hawthorn 7, Honeybee 9, Fiddle 11, Black Walnut 5, Channel Catfish 22, Norton/Cynthian Grape 2, North American Bullfrog 5, Ice Cream Cone 47, Crayfish 6, Big Bluestem Grass 4, Three-toed Box Turtle 12, City of Adrian-Purple Martin Capitol 0, Bobwhite Quail 19.


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Sickle cell screening has improved the health of hundreds of Missouri children

For Immediate Release:
September 1, 2009

Contact:
Kit Wagar
Office of Public Information
573...

Sickle cell screening has improved the health of hundreds of Missouri children
September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

A state law requiring all newborn babies in Missouri to be tested for sickle cell disease has helped improve the health of hundreds of children since the state's screening program began 20 years ago.

Sickle cell disease is the most common health disorder identified by newborn screening tests. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the effects of the disease, which can include recurrent pain, serious infections and early death.

Each year, about 40 babies in Missouri are identified with some form of sickle cell disease.

"Screening for sickle cell disease allows care to begin during a baby's first few months of life," said Nancy Althouse-Hill, who manages the state health department's sickle cell program. "Early treatment is the key to helping a child with sickle cell disease live a longer, healthier life."

September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, and the state health department is encouraging Missourians to learn more about the disease, an inherited blood disorder that is a major public health problem in the United States.

 Sickle cell disease is one of the most common genetic disorders in the United States, affecting more than 70,000 people – primarily African-Americans. The disease is also found in people who trace their ancestry to South and Central America, the Middle East, India, Italy, Greece, and Turkey.

In Missouri, one in 400 African-American babies is affected by sickle cell disease. More than 50,000 Missourians have the sickle cell trait; they do not have the disease but are carriers of the sickle gene. When both parents have sickle cell trait there is a 25 percent chance with each pregnancy that their child will have sickle cell disease. 
 
Sickle cell disease causes red blood cells to function abnormally, becoming rigid and curving into a sickle-like shape. The sickle-shaped cells have difficulty passing through tiny blood vessels, resulting in painful blockages that prevent oxygen and nutrients in the blood from reaching organs and tissues. The blockages can result in tissue damage, severe recurrent pain, stroke, organ damage and other serious medical complications. 

There is no universal cure for sickle cell disease, but early detection, new treatments and preventive therapies have improved the life expectancy and quality of life for people with the disease.

Sickle cell screening is part of Missouri's Newborn Screening Program, which tests for 67 serious and often life-threatening health conditions. The screening involves taking a small blood sample, usually before a newborn leaves the hospital.

Observance of National Sickle Cell Awareness Month began in 1975. The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America Inc. and its member organizations began holding events throughout the month to bring attention to the disease at national and local levels. September officially became National Sickle Cell Awareness Month in 1983 when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution introduced by the Congressional Black Caucus. 

Since its official recognition, the month has been dedicated to events that raise awareness and understanding about the disease. 

The state health department's Sickle Cell Anemia Program provides information to the public and health care providers. It also offers screening, referral, counseling and follow-up services to Missourians at risk for sickle cell disease.  Additional information about the program can be found at www.dhss.mo.gov/SickleCell/.

 


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Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster Recovers $22 Million from Pfizer

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster's Office Release

AG Koster announces all-time high in Missouri's Medicaid fraud recovery

--announces additional $22 million recovery from Pfizer today--

Jefferson City, Mo. -- Attorney General Chris Koster announced today that Missouri will receive $22 million as part of the largest nationwide Medicaid fraud settlement in history. This recovery adds to Missouri's record-breaking year for Medicaid fraud recovery. The Attorney General's Medicaid fraud unit has collected more than $75 million since January 1, 2009, on behalf of Missouri's Medicaid system.

Koster said today's nationwide settlement is with the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, and its subsidiaries. Missouri, in conjunction with the United States Justice Department and other Attorneys General, alleged that Pfizer and its subsidiaries paid kickbacks and engaged in off-labeling marketing campaigns that improperly promoted numerous drugs that Pfizer manufactures.

"Pharmaceutical companies are a critical player in Missouri's health-care system, and like every other part of the system these companies must play by the rules," Koster said. "Today's collection of $22 million for Missouri shows why it is so important to our state to stay focused on Medicaid fraud."

So far in 2009, the Attorney General's office has collected more than $75 million in Medicaid fraud recovery, an all-time record for Missouri. The previous high total was $33,589,281.17 in calendar year 2008.

Koster said Pfizer will pay the states and the federal government a total of $1 billion in civil damages and penalties to compensate Medicaid, Medicare, and various federal healthcare programs for harm suffered as a result of its conduct.

In addition, Pharmacia & Upjohn Company, Inc., a Pfizer subsidiary, has agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and to pay a criminal fine and forfeiture of $1.3 billion. The criminal component of the agreement centers on the illegal marketing and promotion of Bextra, an anti-inflammatory drug that Pfizer pulled from the market in 2005. Because of the illegal promotion, Pharmacia & Upjohn Company, Inc. has agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation of the FDCA for misbranding the drug with the intent to defraud or mislead.

The states and federal government alleged that Pfizer, the largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in the world, engaged in a pattern of unlawful marketing activity to promote multiple drugs for certain uses which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had not approved. While it is not illegal for a physician to prescribe a drug for an unapproved use, federal law prohibits a manufacturer from promoting a drug for uses not approved by the FDA. This promotional activity by Pfizer included:

  • Marketing Bextra for conditions and dosages other than those for which it was approved;
  • Promoting the use of the antipsychotic drug Geodon for a variety of off-label conditions such as attention deficit disorder, autism, dementia and depression for patients that included children and adolescents;
  • Selling the pain medication Lyrica for unapproved conditions;
  • Making false representations about the safety and efficacy of Zyvox, an antibiotic only approved to treat certain drug resistant infections.

In addition, Pfizer is alleged to have paid illegal remuneration to health care professionals to induce them to promote and prescribe Bextra, Geodon, Lyrica, Zyvox, Aricept, Celebrex, Lipitor, Norvasc, Relpax, Viagra, Zithromax, Zoloft and Zyrtec. These payments allegedly took many forms, including entertainment, cash, travel and meals. Federal law prohibits payment of anything of value in exchange for the prescribing of a product paid for by a federal health care program.

As a condition of the settlement, Pfizer will enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, which will closely monitor the company's future marketing and sales practices.


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State Launches New Web site to Promote 2010 Census

Missouri Office of Administration Release

The state's Complete Count Committee unveiled a new Web site today to draw attention to the upcoming census. The new site,  www.oa.mo.gov/mocensus provides information for the public. The site contains information about the importance of the census, what it means for Missouri and how to get involved.

 

Gov. Nixon established the Missouri Complete Count committee and has authorized the Office of Administration (OA), under Commissioner Kelvin Simmons direction, to heighten awareness of the 2010 census. The 26-member committee is comprised of community leaders from across the state that will be working together to ensure every Missourian is counted in the 2010 Census.

 

OA Commissioner Kelvin Simmons chairs the committee.  It is estimated that Missouri could lose $1.3 million over the next decade for every 100 citizens not counted in the 2010 census. The state also could lose a Congressional seat.  

 

According to Simmons, "this Web site provides all the information that Missourians will need about the census. It is critically important that everyone in Missouri is counted. This effort is an example of the state working with private entities to achieve our goal of counting everyone living in the state."

 

The committee members will devise the best ways to reach Missouri's hard-to-count populations and to educate all Missourians about the census. "We are looking to community members to carry the message that the census is easy, safe and important," said Dennis Johnson, director of the Kansas City regional office, which includes Missouri and five other states.

 

"More than $300 billion in federal spending is distributed to state and local governments, community organizations and health care providers every year based on census data."

 

The Web site includes sample census questionnaires, fact sheets and information on how to form local complete count committees. Existing local committees are asked to log on to the state site and list their information.  Those local committees also can list their events on the state committee's Web site.  Additionally, citizens can sign up to work on subcommittees of the statewide committee.  

 

For more information, please check out the new Web site, www.oa.mo.gov/mocensus. 


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