Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ed Martin Enters Missouri Attorney General Race

Ed Martin Posted the Following on Facebook moments ago:

Today, I am asking for your support as Missouri's next Attorney General. I want to restore the Attorney General's office to one that respects the rule of law and represents a check on state government, not a checkmark for liberal politics and policies like ObamaCare. Our current Attorney General Chris Koster has acted as President Obama's lawyer, not the people's Attorney General.

Over the past three years, I’ve watched President Obama and the federal government impose their will on we the people of Missouri beginning with ObamaCare. We Missourians voted to stop ObamaCare, yet Attorney General Koster recently stated publicly that, ‘the act of the Legislature to create the exchange is not compelling a person, employer or healthcare provider to participate in a health exchange’ (Kansas City Business Journal). However, once the exchanges are set up, the government can penalize those who choose not to purchase health care. In addition, Koster has failed to lead on issues affecting both our state and nation like job creation, illegal immigration, and voter fraud.

Our Missouri Constitution describes the rights that we naturally possess and that out state government and our state officials MUST protect. This includes private property, economic liberty and individualism. As our state officials have stopped protecting our rights - and in fact joining the federal government in limiting them - our state has faltered. As Attorney General, I will relentlessly fight to protect our rights and will face off against anyone - public or private - until they yield.

All the best,

Ed

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Missouri Education Commissioner Recognizes Role of State Board

Education Commissioner Recognizes Role of State Board

Jan 22-28 is School Board Recognition Week



Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro today recognized the State Board of Education for its commitment to public schools in Missouri.

The State Board is responsible for a wide range of programs from preschool to adult education.

Nicastro's remarks precede Missouri School Board Recognition Week January 22-28, when communities and schools across the state recognize the contributions of school board members.

"Good governance is essential to public education, and that extends to our State Board of Education," Nicastro said. "State Board members are called upon to deal with a multitude of issues affecting schools throughout the state, and they work together diligently to decide what is best for the children of Missouri."

Board members are appointed by the governor to serve staggered, eight-year terms. No more than four members can be of the same political party, and no more than one member can live in the same county or congressional district.

"Our Board members — with their varied backgrounds and experiences — bring a wealth of knowledge to Missouri's public school system," Nicastro said.

The Board is responsible for setting policies for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, defining academic standards and assessment requirements for public schools, and accrediting local school districts.

The Board also sets standards and approves courses and professional programs for teachers and school administrators at Missouri's public and private higher education institutions.

Current members of the State Board of Education are:

Peter F. Herschend, Branson, president
Rev. Stan Archie, Kansas City, vice-president
Deborah L. Demien, Wentzville
Michael W. Jones, St. Louis
J. Michael Ponder, Cape Girardeau
Sybl Slaughter, Lebanon
Russell C. Still, Columbia

Monday, January 16, 2012

Missouri Lt. Governor Kinder urges day of service to commemorate King'slegacy

Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder Press Releases

January 12, 2012

Lt. Governor Kinder urges day of service to commemorate King'slegacy

JEFFERSON CITY – Lt. Governor Peter Kinder is encouraging all Missourians to participate in a day of service to their communities in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 16.
"The example of Dr. King, his vision and his work across this nation remain a constant reminder of a life filled with purpose,” Kinder said. “It is my hope that Dr. King’s extraordinary example will continue to be a model for all people in the spirit of service to our neighbors.

On Monday, Kinder will attend a humanitarian luncheon at noon at the Salvation Army in his hometown of Cape Girardeau. Attendees are asked to donate canned goods, nonperishable items, toiletries and school supplies for local food pantries and other agencies.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed into law legislation that created Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in commemoration of the civil rights leader’s birth on Jan. 15. In 1994, Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act designating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national day of volunteer service, and in 1995, Congress began encouraging Americans to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by serving their neighbors and communities.

This is the 10th year Missouri lawmakers also will break the legislative session on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As President Pro Tem of the Missouri Senate, Kinder and then-Speaker of the House Catherine Hanaway made the change to commemorate King. Although that motion failed, Kinder said Tuesday "this effort is not over."

"This day is not just a holiday from work; it's a day to reflect on Dr. King’s dream and how we might continue what he sought in his stead," Kinder said. “At the heart of Dr. King’s work, the ideals of public service and self sacrifice became the foundation of his hope for our nation."
Last year, hundreds of thousands of Americans marked the 25th anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday by joining with their neighbors to address pressing social and economic problems in their communities.

More than 40 years after his death, America still faces many of the same challenges Dr. King faced during his lifetime – poverty, hunger, illiteracy, youth violence and a dropout crisis. Organizations throughout the country are using the MLK Day of Service to engage volunteers to address these challenges, both on the holiday and throughout the year.

"We must remember from where we have come, and with that, acknowledge how far yet we have to go," Kinder added. “Together, we will continue to further the efforts started by Dr. King. We will continue work to lay the foundations of peace, liberty and justice for those who are oppressed. Dr. King was a true and genuine inspiration for all, and his legacy is to be emulated, as he hoped for a better nation brought about by diligence, open minds and strong spirits."

Attorney General Koster files criminal charges in Medicaid fraud case

Press Release Missouri Attorney General's Office

Jefferson City, Mo.— Attorney General Chris Koster said today Medicaid recipient Carolyn Koenig, 50, and three of her former in-home personal care attendants – Casie Koenig, 32; Melinda Alterauge, 47; and Alethea Stemick, 30 – have been charged with various counts of Medicaid Fraud and Stealing by Deceit for their involvement in a scheme that defrauded Missouri’s Medicaid system. The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is assisting Texas County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Anderson in the prosecutions.

Koster said his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit led the investigation after a personal care company that supervised Carolyn Koenig’s services and employed some of her attendants reported its suspicions of fraud to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Greene County Sheriff’s Department.

The investigation revealed that Koenig and her attendants caused Medicaid to be fraudulently billed almost $13,000 between 2009 and 2011 for personal care services that were not actually provided.

The defendants face multiple felony and other charges for submitting falsified timesheets to Medicaid providers.

As in all criminal cases, the charges against the defendants are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Gov. Nixon outlines Missouri Works strategy during visit to St. Louis chemical manufacturer

Missouri Works will attract more next-generation jobs, enhance skills of Missouri's workforce; strategy is Governor's top legislative priority for 2012

OVERLAND, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon was at Jost Chemical Co. in St. Louis County today to discuss Missouri Works, a comprehensive strategy to create career opportunities for Missourians in the new economy. Building on the blueprint developed by the Missouri Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth, Missouri Works will:

Gov. Nixon outlines Missouri Works strategy at Jost Chemical Co.

Gov. Jay Nixon visited Jost Chemical Co. in St. Louis County on Jan. 13, 2012 to discuss Missouri Works, a comprehensive strategy to create career opportunities for Missourians in the new economy.

  • Attract next-generation automotive supplier jobs to Missouri;
  • Expand Missouri exports to create jobs;
  • Train more workers for high-tech careers;
  • Hire more Missouri military veterans;
  • Jumpstart job-creation in science and technology;
  • Target high-growth industries identified by the Strategic Initiative; and
  • Create jobs in rural communities

"My top priority for 2012 is to create jobs to get Missourians working and keep our economy moving forward," said Gov. Nixon, who just returned from Detroit on Thursday, where he met with top officials from Ford, GM and leading automotive suppliers. "Missouri Works gives several concrete steps we can take right now to attract new employers to Missouri, create career opportunities, and keep our economy growing. There's not a day to lose when it comes to creating jobs and growing our economy, and I look forward to working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to implement this bold strategy as quickly as possible to get Missourians back to work."

Missouri Works builds on the foundation established by the Missouri Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth. Launched in May 2010, the Strategic Initiative engaged 600 business, education and labor leaders from across Missouri to develop a blueprint to transform the state's economy. Missouri Works will put that blueprint into action immediately.

The key pillars of Missouri Works are:

  • Attract next-generation automotive supplier jobs to Missouri

With Ford and GM both making historic investments to create more than 3,200 new jobs in Missouri, Gov. Nixon's strategy capitalizes on this landmark opportunity to attract new automotive suppliers to Missouri and help existing suppliers grow. Automotive suppliers are located in every corner of Missouri, including many in the St. Louis region. But as Ford and GM prepare to manufacture new products in Kansas City and Wentzville, Missouri has an unprecedented opportunity to help existing suppliers grow and bring thousands of new jobs to our state. Missouri Works will provide an extra jolt to grow and attract suppliers during this critical transformation of the auto industry. During his trip to Detroit this week, Gov. Nixon met with top executives from Ford and GM and some of the leading automotive suppliers to discuss how to bring more jobs and investment to Missouri.

  • Expand Missouri exports to create jobs

Expanding Missouri exports to other countries has been a top priority for Gov. Nixon from Day One. Missouri exports were up $1.2 billion in the first three quarters of 2011, on top of 35 percent growth in 2010. Some of Missouri's largest exports include chemicals, electrical components, and copper and other alloys. Last October, Gov. Nixon led a delegation of more than 60 Missouri business and agricultural leaders to China to close a series of agreements to sell $4.6 billion in Missouri goods to Chinese consumers - increasing Missouri's exports to China by more than $1 billion over the next three years. Under Missouri Works, the state of Missouri will establish a virtual "one-stop shop" for Missouri entrepreneurs who want to establish or expand their export business, providing seamless assistance and resources from across state government. Missouri Works also will establish an International Exports Coordinator within the Missouri Department of Agriculture and commit resources to open Missouri export offices in China, Southeast Asia and South America.

  • Train more workers for high-tech careers

Missouri Works calls for continued investment in worker training, especially in computers, technology and other skills that are vital for modern manufacturing careers. Last year, Gov. Nixon's budget increased the state's investment in the Customized Training Program by 50 percent. This positive investment provided training opportunities for 35,669 Missourians at 310 different businesses, including Jost Chemical. Missouri Works sustains that record level of investment.

  • Hire more Missouri military veterans

From his first day in office, Gov. Nixon has been committed to making Missouri a great place for veterans to live. In 2009, the Governor signed legislation to phase out Missouri state taxes on military retirement income gradually by 2016. In 2010, Gov. Nixon launched Show-Me Heroes, an initiative to encourage Missouri employers to reach out to, recruit and interview military veterans for job openings. Jost Chemical is one of the Missouri employers to make that commitment. To date, Show-Me Heroes has helped secure employment nearly 1,000 veterans. The Missouri Works strategy will expand the mission of Show-Me Heroes to provide on-the-job training opportunities for recently separated veterans, including National Guard and reserve personnel and active-duty personnel who recently left the service.

  • Jumpstart job-creation in science and technology jobs

Last year, leaders on both sides of the aisle worked together to pass the landmark Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, or MOSIRA. This act establishes a fund to help create careers in high-tech, high-growth industries. To jumpstart the vital work of this fund, Gov. Nixon will recommend an immediate investment of $4 million to help high-tech business create jobs. These funds will be invested through the Missouri Technology Corporation as loans or other investments in emerging high-tech businesses.

  • Target high-growth industries

The Strategic Initiative identified seven targeted industries ripe for growth and expansion in Missouri: advanced manufacturing; energy solutions; bioscience; health sciences and services; information technology; financial and professional services; and transportation and logistics. Under Missouri Works, Missouri's existing economic incentives will be focused on these targeted industries, ensuring that the state is investing in high-growth businesses that will create career opportunities for Missourians.

  • Create jobs in rural communities

Missouri Works also includes incentives to support job-creation in rural Missouri. These performance-based incentives are conditioned on strict job-creation requirements.

Gov. Nixon will provide more information about Missouri Works and his other legislative priorities during his State of the State Address at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17.

The Governor's visit to Jost Chemical Co. underscored the importance of Missouri's job training initiatives. Since being founded in 1985 as a manufacturer of high-purity, inorganic and organometallic salts for food and for pharmaceutical and nutritional products, Jost Chemical has expanded several times and continues to grow. This fiscal year, Gov. Nixon's administration has approved $40,000 in training assistance through the Missouri Customized Training Program to enhance the skills of Jost Chemical's workforce. Jost Chemical is using the state assistance to train in such areas as foundational chemistry and process instrumentation, among other areas.

Missouri added 10,900 new manufacturing jobs in the first 11 months of 2011. The unemployment rate in Missouri is now at its lowest point in 34 months, and groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are pointing to Missouri as a top state for business growth and expansion.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Department of Agriculture Expands Recall of Meat from Lafayette County Business


Press Release Missouri Department of Agriculture January 12, 2012

Department of Agriculture Expands Recall of Meat from Lafayette County Business

Last week's meat recall at Alma, Mo. based Alma Meats has been expanded to include an additional product as a result of Missouri Department of Agriculture's Meat and Poultry Inspection Program and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Service's ongoing investigation. The business is recalling an additional 137 pounds of cooked meat and has withdrawn from the state inspection program.
The expanded recall includes 137.22 pounds of Cooked Head Sausage. The recalled product was produced Sept. 15, 2011 and labeled Lot # 1085211.
As part of the ongoing investigation, officials uncovered records indicating that the cooked head sausage may not have been properly cooled to ensure food safety during processing. The product was distributed locally within Lafayette County and to two retail outlets, 4-K Cheese and Meat in Cole Camp, Mo. and The Cheese Store in Sweet Springs, Mo.
Alma Meats withdrew from the state inspection program Jan. 5, 2012, indicating that they would no longer be processing meat under inspection for retail or wholesale distribution. Withdrawing from the inspection program does not affect the business' ability to continue performing custom exempt processing for livestock owners.
On Jan. 4, 2012, members of the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Meat and Poultry Inspection Program uncovered records indicating that the business sold meat to consumers that had been improperly handled and was not inspected. As a result, cooked-meat processing for retail and wholesale Alma Meats in Alma, Mo. was halted and the Lafayette County meat processor recalled approximately 320 pounds of meat, including summer sausage, snack sticks, beef jerky and roast pork.
Individuals who have conducted business with Alma Meats as well as those who purchased Alma Farm Fresh Meats-labeled products should carefully examine all items processed by the facility. Individuals should return any unused portion to the business at 100 North County Road in Alma.
Anyone concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

Quality Counts" Report Gives State Grades, International Perspectives


January 12, 2012
"Quality Counts" Report Gives State Grades, International Perspectives
A national report card released today gave Missouri an overall score of C-minus across six educational policy and performance categories.
The 16th annual edition of Education Week’s “Quality Counts” report provides state scores and letter grades based on the categories: chance for success; K-12 achievement; standards, assessments, and accountability; the teaching profession; school finance; and transitions and alignment.

The majority of states received overall grades of C or lower, while Maryland earned a B-plus and honors as the top-ranked state for the fourth year in a row. The nation as a whole again earned a C in this year’s report.

Missouri made gains over last year in the category of standards, assessments and accountability, rising from a C-minus to a C-plus. The chance for success category remained steady at a C-plus. The area that declined the most in the state’s report was in the analysis of school finance, dropping from a B-minus to a C-minus, reflecting a decline in spending equity indicators due in large part to the inability of the state to adequately fund the school foundation formula.

Major themes explored in Quality Counts 2012 include international comparisons, teaching, immigration, community and preparing for competitiveness in a global, 21st century economy.
The special, international perspectives theme examines how the world’s public education systems are influencing policy and practices within states. For example, the report reveals Missouri is one of 29 states that include international comparisons to align student preparation with the demands of a global economy. High-performing education systems around the world are effectually creating a cross-fertilization of “best practices."

“Ideas for improving public education are not limited to high-achieving states in the northeast or Shanghai, China,” said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro. “This report confirms that more states are learning from innovative and useful practices being developed locally and around the world as we strive to provide our students with a world-class education system.”
For more information, visit www.edweek.org.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Assistance Available to Missouri Farmers Seeking Organic Certification

Missouri Department of Agriculture - Organic Certification Assistance For Missouri Farmers (Press Release)

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has funding available to assist Missouri farmers and food processors working to obtain or renew their business' organic certification. Through the USDA Organic Certification Cost Share Program, producers who complete the process in 2012, as well as those who received certification in 2011, may be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of their certification expenses.

"The Organic Certification Cost Share Program is one of the many outstanding tools the Department of Agriculture makes available to our producers as we move Missouri agriculture forward," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "The number of participants in this program has more than tripled as our state's farmers and processors find opportunities to build their businesses through organic certification."

Through its Ag Business Development Division, the Department has participated in the Organic Certification Cost Share Program since the USDA launched the program three years ago. Since that launch, the number of Missouri businesses certified through the USDA National Organic Program has grown to include over 200 producers and processors.

As a result of that growth, Missouri received a 40 percent increase in available funding for the 2012 program from the USDA. The funds will be used to reimburse producers and processors for 75 percent of their certification costs, up to $750 for each type of certification.

To participate in the program, businesses must obtain or renew their organic certification, complete an application and document their certification costs between Oct. 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2011 for the 2011 award year, or between Oct. 1, 2011 and Sept. 30 of this year for the 2012 program. Applications for the cost share funds are available online and must be submitted to the Department no later than Sept. 30, 2012. Producers will be reimbursed in the order their applications are received until funds are exhausted or the eligibility period ends, whichever comes first.

To find certified organic producers in Missouri and their products, visit AgriMisouri.com. To learn more about the organic cost-share program or the Missouri Department of Agriculture, visit mda.mo.gov.

Missouri Legislative Report (Missourinet): post special session rift between House, Senate healed (AUDIO)

Leadership: post special session rift between House, Senate healed (AUDIO):

The relationship between leadership in the House and the Senate collapsed along with the special legislative session last year. At one point in late October, Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer (R-Dexter) said he had not spoken to House Speaker Steven Tilley (R-Perryville) in three weeks, while Tilley went so far as to say Mayer had “lied” to him about the status of a deal on legislation.




Senate President Pro-Tem Rob Mayer (left) and House Speaker Steven Tilley pictures courtesy, Missouri Senate and Missouri House of Repsresentatives


The situation left many wondering if the two ends of the Capital would be able to work together in the regular session that just began last week. Cooperation between chambers and parties is key as lawmakers take on a budget with an estimated $500 million dollar gap between revenue and expenditures.




Representative Tilley says things are getting off on a good foot. “It’s well documented we had our difficulties last year and I’ll take the blame my part of that. I had a great dinner with the President Pro Tem of the Senate. I know our Majority Leader (Tim Jones, R-Eureka) has had numerous visits with the Majority Leader of the Senate (Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles) and we want to start off on a good note, and I told Rob (Mayer) that I want to focus on areas where we agree and let’s stay away from areas where we disagree.” Tilley says he hopes there will be time at the end of the session for areas where the two disagree.


Senator Mayer says he holds no animosity about what unfolded last year. “This is a tough business and sometimes things don’t work out, and you have to put all that behind you to go forward to get some things done for the people of Missouri, so I hold no ill feelings about the House or the leadership there and look forward to working with them this year.”


Representative Tim Jones picture courtesy, Missouri House of Representatives


Representative Jones talked about appearing together with Senator Dempsey “in front of several groups over the last several months…I will tell you we had no arguments together in public. We actually spoke about common themes and principles and even common specific legislation.”



Representative Mike Talboy picture courtesy, Missouri House of Representatives


Jones says he hopes the Senate as a whole is on board with its leadership, which he says plans to pick three or four key topics to attempt to address early in the session. “I hope that there’s not any individual agendas over there that are simply thinking of themselves and not of the state as a whole. I do truly believe that there are a majority of senators that want to work with a majority of the House and actually move and pass some significant legislation that will help the state as a whole.”



The top Democrat in the House, Minority Leader Mike Talboy (D-Kansas City) says for his part, he has a good relationship with Representative Tilley and Senators Mayer and Dempsey, “so I don’t necessarily have the issues but then again I’m also not in the same position that Steve is and I realize that there are some disagreements that when you’re in charge you have to sit at the table and be able to do some things.”

 

Talboy adds “I can’t speak for what their relationship’s like but, we’ll see.”

 

AUDIO:  Mike Lear reports – 1 minute

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Carnahan Halts Unregistered Commodities Trading Operation in Lee’s Summit

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's Office (Press Release)

– Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today announced an enforcement action against Richard Joseph Gumerman concerning misuse of investor funds through his Lee’s Summit, Missouri, business.

According to the cease-and-desist order issued by officials in Carnahan’s Securities Division, Gumerman, who was not registered to offer or sell securities in Missouri, sold investments in a commodities trading fund through his business, Gumerman Trading Company (GTC), since 1990, leaving investors with more than $700,000 in losses.  The Securities Division received nine investor complaints concerning Gumerman in November 2011. 

According to the order, Gumerman guaranteed investors that they would not lose money and they could withdraw the funds they invested at any time.

“Before trusting someone with their savings, Missourians should check out the legitimacy of both the investment and the person offering it,” Carnahan said. “One phone call to the Securities Division could potentially protect a lifetime’s worth of savings.”

The order states that Gumerman failed to disclose to investors that he had only traded commodities for one year in a personal account and lost money in that account. He also allegedly failed to tell investors that he “borrowed” several hundred thousand dollars from the GTC bank account for personal expenses.

Specifically, it is alleged that Gumerman paid approximately $10,000 to three waitresses at a Hooters restaurant and one clerk at another retail store that included payments for the purchase of a car, furniture and clothing. Gumerman also allegedly used investor funds to pay expenses for his engineering business and rent for an apartment. 

The order alleges that at least 12 investors in Missouri and Pennsylvania invested more than $948,000. At least $724,000 has not been repaid. One investor is currently 91 years old. The cease-and-desist order alleges that Gumerman sold unregistered securities and committed securities fraud by failing to disclose to investors how their funds would be spent.

Gumerman faces up to $75,000 in penalties and costs and restitution of over $700,000. Gumerman has 30 days to request a hearing. The Securities Division is cooperating with other governmental agencies regarding this matter.

For more information regarding investments and fraud protection, or for information regarding a company or representative, visit the secretary of state’s online Investor Protection Center at www.MissouriInvestorProtection.gov or call the toll-free Investor Protection Hotline at 1-800-721-7996.

Ballot Initiative St. Louis Cigarette Tax (Initiative Petition Relating to Local Taxes on Cigarettes or Tobacco Products Approved for Circulation for 2012 Ballot)

– Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today announced that an initiative petition relating to local taxes on cigarettes or tobacco products has met state standards for circulation.

The ballot title for the petition reads:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
  • allow voters in counties and the City of St. Louis to set and control local taxes on cigarettes or tobacco products within their county or city; and
  • use the proceeds of such taxes for local job creation, health care, public education, reduction and prevention of tobacco use, or other uses specifically approved by such local voters?
This proposal has no fiscal impact (change in costs, savings, or revenues) for state and local governmental entities as it will only enact enabling legislation allowing the establishment of local tobacco taxes that may or may not be submitted to and approved by voters.
The petition, which seeks to amend Article X of the Missouri Constitution, was submitted by Mr. Mark Reading, 2604 Lakeland Dr., Jefferson City, MO 65109.
Before any constitutional changes can be brought before Missouri voters in the November 2012 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 2012 ballot are due to the Secretary of State’s office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 6, 2012.
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.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Gov. Nixon appoints former Missouri State Congressman Luke Scavuzzo as new First District Associate Commissioner for Cass County

Governor Jay Nixon's Office (Press Release)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon today appointed Luke A. Scavuzzo, of Harrisonville, as the new First District Associate Commissioner for Cass County. The Associate Commissioner position became vacant with the resignation of Commissioner W.J. "Bill" Cook, which took effect today.


Scavuzzo, a Democrat, served two terms representing District 124 in the Missouri House of Representatives from 2007 to 2010, and for several years, was the owner and operator of Scavuzzo's Price Chopper grocery store in Harrisonville. He is a long-time resident of the community, graduating from Harrisonville High School before attending Benedictine College.

"Cass County has been one of Missouri's fastest growing counties over the past decade, growing by more than 20 percent," Gov. Nixon said. "It's important to have someone experienced in government and small business in the leadership position of commissioner, and Luke Scavuzzo fits that description. I am confident he will ably serve the people of Cass County on the County Commission."

Gov. Nixon makes board and commission appointments

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office Released January 4, 2012
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon yesterday afternoon (Jan. 3) made appointments to 14 boards and commissions. The appointees will be subject to confirmation by the Missouri Senate, with the exception of those named to the Missouri Technology Corporation. The appointees, along with their boards and hometowns, are:
  • Clean Water Commission (John Cowherd - Mount Vernon)
  • Coordinating Board for Higher Education (Brian Fogle - Springfield)
  • Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents (Christine Chadwick - St. Louis)
  • Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (James Avery Jr. - St. Louis)
  • Missouri Development Finance Board (Bradley G. Gregory - Bolivar)
  • Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (Melanie R. Rippetoe - Vinita Park)
  • Missouri State University Board of Governors (Beverly Miller - Lebanon)
  • Missouri Technology Corporation (Elizabeth Canuteson - Liberty, David D. Kerr - Ballwin)
  • Northwest Missouri State University Board of Regents (Robert Dowis - Conception)
  • Platte County Election Board (Dr. James Dallas Everett - Platte City, Marvin Ferguson - Parkville)
  • Regional Convention Center and Sports Complex Authority (James F. Shrewsbury - St. Louis)
  • State Fair Commission (Sherry Jones - Dawn, Kevin Roberts - Hillsboro)
  • Truman State University (Student member) (Michael J. Bushur - Lee's Summit)
  • University of Missouri Board of Curators (Student member) (Amy G. Johnson - Kansas City) 

Clean Water Commission

The Governor has appointed John Cowherd (R), of Mount Vernon, to the Clean Water Commission.  The seven-member Clean Water Commission adopts regulations and policies to carry out planning, monitoring, permitting, enforcement, and grant assistance activities to carry out the objectives of the Clean Water Law; hears and resolves appeals of permits and staff decisions; and directs the use of state construction grant and loan funds.
Cowherd is an attorney who operates a private practice in Mount Vernon and also is a bar examiner for the Missouri Supreme Court Board of Bar Examiners. He obtained both his bachelor science degree in agricultural economics and his law degree from the University of Missouri. The Governor has appointed Cowherd for a term ending April 12, 2014.

Coordinating Board for Higher Education

The Governor has appointed Brian Fogle (D), of Springfield, to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. The nine-member board oversees the activities of the Missouri Department of Higher Education, which serves as the administrative arm of the board.
Fogle is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, and previously served as director of community development for Great Southern Bank and in several positions with the banking industry in southwest Missouri for more than 20 years. The Governor has appointed him for a term ending June 27, 2012.

Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents

The Governor has appointed Christine Chadwick (I), of St. Louis, to the Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents. The seven-member Board of Regents develops governance policy and provides oversight of the university administration and operation.
Chadwick is the founding executive director of FOCUS St. Louis, a non-profit organization that works to develop leaders who work to influence policy and promote community connections. She currently serves on the boards of several local organizations including the United Way, the Urban League and St. Louis University High School. The Governor has appointed her for a term ending July 7, 2016.

Labor and Industrial Relations Commission

The Governor has appointed James Avery Jr. (R), of St. Louis, to the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission. The commission reviews administrative appeals of workers' compensation, unemployment compensation, crime victims' compensation and tort victims' compensation cases, and also conducts evidentiary hearings pertaining to prevailing wage objections to the general and annual wage orders.
Avery is currently the chairman of the State Board of Mediation, and formerly represented the 95th District in the Missouri House of Representatives from 2002 to 2008. He is a veteran of the Marines and currently is a company commander in the Missouri National Guard. Avery was deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Governor has appointed him for a term ending June 27, 2016.

Missouri Development Finance Board

The Governor has appointed Bradley G. Gregory (R), of Bolivar, to the Missouri Development Finance Board. The board administers a range of financing programs for Missouri business, local governments and state agencies; issues taxable or tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds or notes; and provides market rate or low-interest loans and grants to political subdivisions to fund public infrastructure improvements.
Gregory is the president and CEO of the Bank of Bolivar, a bank he helped start in 1997, and has been in the banking industry since 1978. He serves on the boards of Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar and its foundation, as well on the board of the Missouri Bankers Association and the Bolivar Parks and Recreation Committee. The Governor has appointed Gregory for a term ending Sept. 14, 2015.

Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority

The Governor has appointed Melanie R. Rippetoe, of Vinita Park, to the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority. The mission of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority is to eliminate barriers for students so they can access higher education.
Rippetoe holds a masters degree in urban planning and real estate development from Saint Louis University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She currently serves as the code enforcement officer for the city of Maryland Heights. The Governor has appointed Rippetoe for a term ending Oct. 22, 2015.

Missouri State University Board of Governors

The Governor has appointed Beverly Miller (D), of Lebanon, to the Missouri State University Board of Governors. The Board of Governors possesses full power and authority to adopt all needful rules and regulations for the guidance and supervision of the university.
Miller, a graduate of Missouri State University with a degree in education, taught social studies in secondary schools in Lebanon and Kansas City, as well as in the sociology departments at Missouri State and Drury universities. She has served as director of the Lebanon office of the American Red Cross and on the board of the Greater Ozarks American Red Cross. The Governor has appointed her for a term ending Jan. 1, 2015.

Missouri Technology Corporation

The Governor has appointed Elizabeth Canuteson, of Liberty; and David D. Kerr, of Ballwin, to the Missouri Technology Corporation. The purpose of the corporation includes finding better ways for Missouri businesses to work with universities to solve the businesses' technical problems; bringing increased research funding to universities for life sciences, information technology and advanced manufacturing; and creating and managing a system to bring new technologies and ideas effectively into the consumer marketplace to create new jobs and help businesses grow.
Canuteson is the regional vice president of external affairs for AT&T, who holds a bachelor of arts degree in speech communication from Truman State University. The Governor has appointed her for a term ending Oct. 1, 2015.
Kerr is the immediate past director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, a position he held from 2009 to the end of 2011. He was the secretary of commerce for the state of Kansas, and was president of AT&T Kansas from 2003 to 2007. The Governor has appointed Kerr for a term ending Oct. 1, 2015.

Northwest Missouri State University Board of Regents

The Governor has appointed Robert Dowis (D), of Conception, to the Northwest Missouri State University Board of Regents. The board develops policy and has responsibility for sound resource management of the university, and determines general, educational and financial policies.
Dowis holds a bachelors degree in secondary education and a masters in education from Northwest Missouri State University, and is currently the superintendent of Jefferson C-123 schools in Conception Junction. Dowis has more than 35 years' experience as an educator in Missouri that includes several years at Tarkio College and Tarkio Academy. The Governor has appointed him for a term ending Jan. 1, 2017.

Platte County Election Board

The Governor has appointed James Dallas Everett (D), of Platte City; and Marvin Ferguson (R), of Parkville, to the Platte County Election Board. The board oversees and directs elections in a non-partisan manner, providing direction for voting entities and procedures to assure that a fair and honest election is held for the residents of Platte County.
Dr. Everett, who holds his doctorate in education from the University of Missouri, is retired from serving as an administrator at Metropolitan Community College; he previously was on the faculty of the Platte County R-III School District. The Governor has appointed him for a term ending Jan. 11, 2015.
Ferguson has practiced law in North Kansas City for more than 30 years and obtained his law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is an Army veteran who has served on the Parkville Board of Aldermen since 1971 and who also has served on numerous civic and local governmental boards. The Governor has appointed him for a term ending Jan. 11, 2013.

St. Louis Regional Convention Center and Sports Complex Authority

The Governor has appointed James F. Shrewsbury (D), of St. Louis, to the St. Louis Regional Convention Center and Sports Complex Authority. The authority oversees financing, design and construction of the domed stadium/convention center expansion and administers annual Preservation Funding in accordance with state statute, by-laws and bond indentures.
Shrewsbury is an attorney in private practice in St. Louis who served on the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen from 1983 to 2007, including as aldermanic president from 2002 to 2007. The Governor has appointed him for a term ending May 31, 2016.

State Fair Commission

The Governor has appointed Sherry Jones (R), of Dawn; and Kevin Roberts (D), of Hillsboro, to the State Fair Commission. The commission oversees the operation of the Missouri State Fair and is responsible for the selection and supervision of the fair director.
Jones and her husband have a corn, wheat and soybean farm in Livingston County and also have a cow/calf operation. She has served on the Missouri Farm Bureau Board of Directors and is the current president of the Livingston County Farm Bureau Board. The Governor has appointed her for a term ending Dec. 29, 2014.
Roberts is an attorney in private practice in Hillsboro who obtained his law degree from the University of Missouri. He served as president of the Hillsboro R-III Board of Education, and serves on the board of directors for both Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and the Jefferson County YMCA. The Governor has appointed him for a term ending Dec. 29, 2014.

Truman State University Board of Governors

The Governor has appointed Michael J. Bushur, of Lee's Summit, as the student member of the Truman State University Board of Governors. The board is the highest policy-making body of the university.
Bushur, a sophomore majoring in psychology and economics, is a member of the University Conduct Board and also serves as regulations chair of the Funds Allotment Council. The Governor has appointed Bushur for a term ending Jan. 1, 2014.

University of Missouri Board of Curators

The Governor has appointed Amy G. Johnson, of Kansas City, as the student member of the University of Missouri Board of Curators. The board of curators oversees the operation of the four-campus University of Missouri System.
Johnson is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City majoring in biology. She is a member of the School of Biological Sciences Student Affairs Action Group and the Student Government Association constitution committee, and is editor of the school's undergraduate research journal. The Governor has appointed her for a term ending Jan. 1, 2014.

Joplin pastor uses Governor’s Prayer Breakfast to say ‘thank you’ (AUDIO)

Joplin pastor uses Governor’s Prayer Breakfast to say ‘thank you’ (AUDIO):

A pastor from Joplin says the support that as followed the devastating May 22 tornado is one of the state’s “finest hours.”


Pastor Randy Gariss of College Heights Christian Church keynotes the 2012 Governor's Prayer Breakfast.


Some will remember College Heights Christian Church pastor Randy Gariss for presiding over an internationally televised memorial service a week after that tornado, attended by President Barack Obama and Governor Jay Nixon. Gariss was the keynote speaker at the annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, Thursday morning.


He used the opportunity to express gratitude to all those who have come to his community’s aid in the last seven months.


“I don’t know where you say ‘thank you.’ I don’t know what crowd…this is the most appropriate place I know of. By the thousands you came. You came in ones and twos and you came as families in pickups and SUVs and you came as busload after busload. We looked up and there you were. I don’t know how you got there so quick. You were right beside us and you stayed. A great movie with a director and music in the background could not do justice for what it was like to see you.”


Life now in Joplin is a mixed bag, says Gariss. People who have relationships and connections in the town are faring the best. “The individuals that are struggling the most are the individuals that were renters, didn’t own or perhaps didn’t have extended family in town, perhaps a little more the broken families. If they didn’t already have pretty strong relationship ties it’s still a hard winter for them.”


Gariss says what people who have not been to Joplin since the tornado need to understand is difficult to relate. “I would say that it would be that sense of deep, abiding loss and fear. That you think life has sort of a normal pace to it, normal elements you can handle, and the rug entirely comes (out from under you). Even individuals that are building back, they’re afraid of that next rug. They find a great terror about when’s it going to happen again…not necessarily that thing but the next thing.” Gariss says Joplin’s counseling centers are full of people trying to figure out how to handle fear.


He says there is a flip side, however. “There are individuals who will tell you they’ve never had deeper friendships than they have now. We can live isolated until you have a crisis. The one experience now is that you watch, people hug each other…I watched two men stand there to be the John Waynes holding and hugging and talking to each other that have never ever before. Friendships are deeper.”


AUDIO: Listen to Pastor Randy Gariss’ keynote address from the 2012 Governor’s Prayer Breakfast – 27 minutes

Missouri Legislative Session Begins (Video)




video
Missouri Legislative session begins (Video)

State tax collections lagging; reduction talks begin (AUDIO)

State tax collections lagging; reduction talks begin (AUDIO):
(Courtesy: MissouriNet)

Some concerns are starting to come from the state budget office that funding for services and institutions will fall millions of dollars short by the end of this fiscal year. Some early discussions of cuts or withholdings have started.


Halfway through the fiscal year, the state is collecting slightly more taxes than it was a year ago. But a Christmas bump didn’t happen.. In fact, sales taxes were down four percent from December, 2010–a month that was 13 percent under 2009′s figure. Corporate tax collections are down ten percent.


So far, total state tax collections are up only 1.2 percent and losing ground..State budget director Linda Luebbering says tax collections need to grow by about four percent for the rest of the fiscal year for the state to hit budget targets based on a 2.7 percent revenue growth. . .


Tax collections peak in the last quarter of the fiscal year, driven by income tax collections in April. And with unemployment going down, income taxes are expected to go up. But there are concerns they won’t go up enough.


Luebbering says she and the governor have been talking regularly but they have not identified specifically will be done if enough taxes don’t come in to pay all the bills.


AUDIO: Luebbering interview 8:15 mp3