Saturday, January 19, 2019

Links to top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts for the week provided

The 10 most visited posts from the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries are listed below with links to each.

The Turner Report

1. Probable cause: Joplin man threatened to kill 302 S. Connor murder victim one week earlier

2. Federal grand jury indicts Joplin woman, Galena man on meth trafficking charges

3. Joplin man pleads guilty to assaulting, kidnapping man because he was in National Guard

4. Galena man indicted for meth trafficking had 20-year prison sentence commuted in 2017 by President Obama

5. Joplin R-8 Board accepts two teacher retirements, one resignation, hires two teachers

6. No liquidation for Sears, chairman wins bankruptcy auction

7. Claire McCaskill signs on with NBC, MSNBC

8. Joplin man pleads guilty to murdering three-year-old Jonathan Munoz-Bilbrey

9. Ben Baker co-sponsors pro-gun and anti-abortion bills, assigned to education committee

10. Jasper woman charged with felony tampering with a witness in child molestation case bound over for trial

Inside Joplin

1. Police: Carthage man arrested for child abuse after breaking five-year-old daughter's leg

2. Warrant issued for arrest of Joplin man charged with first degree murder for death at 3rd and Connor

3. Jasper County Sheriff's Office searches for missing teen

4. Joplin motorcyclist killed crashing into tree in Carterville

5. Joplin resident, four Carthage residents injured, two seriously, in head-on collision on 66 near Duquesne

6. Three arrested on drug trafficking, child endangerment charges following SWAT team raid at Carthage home

7. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

8. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

9. Carthage Police: Do you know this person?

10. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Shawn Rockers

2. Mickey Boles

3. Lisa Matthews

4. Dustin Vermillion

5. Tim Yates

6. Susan David

7. Corey McPeak

8. Mary Crane

9. Bobbie Henry

10. Michael David

Jason Smith: New house Democratic leadership doesn't support defending innocent life

Life is precious. It’s fragile, vulnerable, and must be protected. When our founding fathers established a new, free land, they wrote that our God-given rights would be protected in the United States of America. And the most crucial of these rights is the right to life.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States ventured to Washington, D.C. this week and marched to defend the most essential of our human rights. I was impressed and inspired by the thousands of young people of the pro-life generation who took to the streets and visited lawmakers to defend vulnerable, innocent lives.

It was great to see so many people celebrating each individual life as a gift from God and unique in this world. Since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, nearly 61 million unique lives have been extinguished and never given the chance to experience this great land or fulfill their Creator’s plans for them. 61 million. That’s more people than the entire population of Missouri and its eight neighboring states combined.

We fight for life because every life is a gift. At the Options for Women Banquet for Life in Ste. Genevieve last spring, I had the opportunity to sit with Abby Johnson. 

You may recognize her name from the upcoming movie about her life, called “Unplanned.” Abby dedicated her life to helping vulnerable women, and this led to her working at an abortion clinic and eventually rising through the ranks to become a clinic director. That all changed when she assisted with an ultrasound-guided abortion and witnessed in horror as a 13-week baby fought for and ultimately lost its life. She has now dedicated her life to educating the public on pro-life issues and protecting the unborn. Her story is powerful, and shows how important it is that we defend those who can’t defend themselves.

While this week reminded the world that Americans support defending innocent life, it was also a reminder that the new Democrat leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives doesn’t support that vision. 

This is the first year that I’ve been in the U.S. House that we didn’t pass a single piece of pro-life legislation around the March for Life. In years past we’ve passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and other bills that would save lives and protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain. 

Unfortunately, one of Speaker Pelosi’s first acts as Speaker this month was to pass a bill that would send millions of American taxpayer dollars overseas to fund abortions in other countries.

Regardless of the new leadership in the U.S. House, I’m going to stand strong and continue to defend innocent life and protect hardworking Missourians’ tax dollars from going to policies they don’t agree with and undermine the right to life. I will continue to recognize life’s beginning at conception and fight for the most vulnerable, innocent life in our country. This includes pushing my bill, the No Abortion Bonds Act, which will close a loophole in the tax code which allows abortion clinics to be built and subsidized with taxpayer dollars. And I will continue to advocate for adoption services and pregnancy resource clinics that support mothers who have an unplanned pregnancy.

Life is vulnerable, and so is the right to it. Thank you to everyone who made the journey to our nation’s Capital this week to defend our God-given right to life and protect the most vulnerable in our country.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Billy Long: I will work with my colleagues and President Trump to fight human trafficking

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

As much as the media likes to portray Congress as Republican vs. Democrat, there are a number of areas where we agree and can come together for the common good. One of those areas is the fight against human trafficking. Since just before Christmas, President Trump has signed several bills into law that combat this heinous crime both domestically and internationally.

This billion-dollar industry affects every part of the world. According to the most recent estimates, there are nearly 25 million victims of human trafficking internationally, with 25 percent of those victims being children. It’s the third largest crime industry in the world, right behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking. These devastating numbers are just a glimpse of this horrific tragedy.

Sadly, the numbers in the U.S. are just as devastating. According to the State Department, anywhere between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked in the U.S. each year. In 2018 alone, more than 5,000 cases were reported to the National Human Trafficking hotline, with 72 of those cases coming from my home state of Missouri.

Thanks to our work in Congress from both sides of the aisle, the fight to end this egregious practice isn’t going away. We are doing our best to combat this scourge. Over the last two months we’ve seen a number of bills signed into law, including S. 1862, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, S. 1311, the Abolish Human Trafficking Act, H.R. 2200, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act and S. 1312, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

All four bills work to increase protections and programs for both victims and survivors while also establishing new prevention, prosecution and collaboration methods to ensure that those responsible for these heinous crimes are brought to justice. While the majority of these bills focus on combating human trafficking at home, S. 1862 works to combat human trafficking abroad. Specifically, this bill will strengthen the criteria to ensure countries are meeting minimum standards to help eradicate this crime. The criteria includes a country’s ability and willingness to prohibit, prosecute and punish human traffickers.

All four bills were a step in the right direction, but there is still more work that needs to be done. I look forward to working with my colleagues in a bipartisan fashion. along with President Trump, as we continue the fight against human trafficking.

Hartzler: What is the holdup on wall funding- Trump is only asking for $5.7 billion

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

This week, I led a group of my Congressional colleagues in what is known as a Special Order - an opportunity to speak out on an issue of great importance to the American people for an hour on the House floor after votes. The topic was border security.

We are on the 28th day of a partial government shutdown over the question of whether Americans’ security is at risk because of the gaps on our southern border.

The simple answer to this question is yes: we are all at risk because of the increased flow of illegal drugs coming across the border, the trafficking of innocent women and children migrants by greedy coyotes and multinational crime cartels, and the violent crimes enacted by some unvetted immigrants entering our country illegally.

The problem is real. In 2018, Customs & Border Patrol intercepted enough cocaine to fill 141 one-ton pick-up trucks and 3.25 tons of heroin. The amount of drugs not caught is tremendous and plaguing our communities. Ninety percent of the heroin in our country today comes illegally across our border. This is contributing to the opioid crisis that is killing 130 Americans a day. This has got to STOP!

Additionally, innocent people are being killed by criminals who come across our border illegally. California Police Officer Ronil Singh went on duty on Christmas night after celebrating the holiday with his family, and he was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant at a 1 a.m. traffic stop just a few hours later. What’s especially heartbreaking is that Officer Singh was an immigrant who came here the right way - he came here legally. Legal immigration is what we should be promoting; not enabling lawbreakers to harm those who follow our laws.

Our open border not only causes criminal activity in the United States, it also exacerbates crime outside our borders when people try to migrate here. 

Knowledge about our inadequate border security tempts immigrants to come here whatever way possible - which includes, for some people, sending their minor child with a stranger in hopes of them being smuggled safely into the United States. 

In December 2018 alone, over 20,000 minors were smuggled into the United States, and heartbreakingly, these children are subject to all kinds of assault, dehydration, and sexual violence along the way. 

Additionally, according to Doctors Without Borders, over 30% of women who make the trek to our southern border are sexually assaulted on their journey. If we had a secure border, migrants - including innocent women and children - would not be incentivized to come here illegally on such a risk-laden and dangerous journey. 

At this point, the President and Democrat leaders in Congress have not come to an agreement to reopen the government while providing border security, even though Senate Democrats (including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer) supported a bill in 2006 to build 700 miles of fencing with $40 billion.

In comparison, President Trump is only asking for $5.7 billion, the amount the experts on the border - our Customs & Border Patrol officials - have said is needed this year.

I am committed to working to find a solution to reopen our government, while also securing our border to stop the flow of illegal drugs into our communities. I think now is the time to pass comprehensive immigration reform that fixes our broken immigration laws to encourage legal immigration while also providing needed security at the border, including the building of a wall. We can do both and we should do both.

Carthage man accused of breaking five-year-old daughter's leg pleads not guilty, bond reduction denied

A Carthage man pleaded not guilty to a felony child abuse charge during a video arraignment Thursday in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Judge Joseph Hensley rejected the request of Lance Christopher Breeding, 27, to have his bond reduced from $50,000 cash only and appointed a public defender.

A Carthage Police Department news release said Breeding's five-year-old daughter had to have surgery on the broken leg and that her abuse also included severe bruising on her back, buttocks and legs.

Breeding told officers he spanked the girl for disobeying him, then pushed her into a room causing her to hit her dresser when she failed to clean her room.

When she sat on the floor, he kicked her and told her to get up, according to the news release.

Sears chairman wins bankruptcy auction bid, Joplin Northpark Mall store to remain open for now

The Sears store at Joplin's Northpark Mall and the other approximately 450 stores in the U. S. will not be liquidated.

Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert's bid of $5.2 billion won the bankruptcy auction, it was announced Thursday.

Only one obstacle remains.

There remains a chance the deal could fall apart, as it still must be documented and approved by a US bankruptcy judge.

A hearing to approve the sale is scheduled for Feb. 1 and, if successful, the transaction is expected to close on or about Feb. 8, Sears said.

Lampert’s only challenger in the auction was Sears itself, and how much it would reap in a sale of its businesses and assets in pieces, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Kelley offers descriptions, links to bills she has filed in House of Representatives

(From Rep. Ann Kelley, R-Lamar)

My goal with the legislation I have filed is to fix problems for our citizens. Many of these bills have been brought to me by people in our district that need help. If you would like to track any of the bills, click on the bill number and it will take you to the page.

HB205: Requires insurance companies to cover hearing aids

HB207: Allows Missouri driver’s license applicants to elect to have a medical alert notation placed on the person’s driver’s license

HB221: Modifies provisions relating to the A+ schools program

HB222: Establishes a statewide hearing aid distribution program

HB281: Allows school districts to implement alternative instruction plans to avoid make-up days

HB364: Modifies provisions relating to tax deduction for educator expenses

HB418: Allows first responders to display local government license plates containing the words “emergency responder” on personal motor vehicles when responding to calls

HB421: Exempts certain property acquired during the marriage from marital property

HB464: Requires each local school district and charter school to have on file policy for reading success plans for certain students

HB556: Re-establishes the Motorist Insurance Identification Database Program to verify compliance with motor vehicle financial responsibility requirements and changes the laws regarding towing of certain vehicles

HB590: Bars certain professionals and entities from being held liable for damages resulting from any lawfully conducted body cavity search

Emery offers thoughts on governor's State of the State message

(From Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar)

This was our first full legislative week, and the legislative process is under way for the historic 100th General Assembly. The Capitol building is still largely enshrouded with weatherproof fabric due to the restoration operation underway. All the new legislators have been sworn in, and we gathered this week in joint session for the governor’s State of the State Address.

Sometimes I forget just how quickly work ramps up once we are officially back in Jefferson City. Even though there is little work that can be done on the floor of the Senate this early in the session, meetings with colleagues, constituents and advocates have begun in earnest. The week has been packed, but productive.

The governor’s State of the State Address was Wednesday afternoon and, as I was leaving the House chamber to return to the Senate, a reporter intervened and asked me what I thought of the speech.

My response was that I thought the governor said all the right things. His follow-up question was about the governor’s talk about $350 million of state debt (bonding) being proposed. I didn’t claim to support everything in the governor’s message, but I do believe that the issues he discussed are important and deserve full and honest consideration.

Three of the most significant commitments the governor made were to 1) not increase taxes, 2) “fundamentally restructure state government” (which I hope means to reduce the size and reach of the government bureaucracy) and 3) curb Medicaid costs. Medicaid costs currently constitute a third of the state budget, and that number seems to grow every year. It is already threatening education, infrastructure and public safety. Former Speaker of the House Todd Richardson has been given the task of reigning in Medicaid, which may only be possible with divine intervention. Please put him by name on your prayer list if you have one. If you don’t, this may be a good time to start one.

The governor spoke at length about education, and even though his focus was on workforce development, industry certification and career education, he appeared to understand the unacceptable level of proficiency in reading and math coming out of elementary and high school education. There were also comments about legal reforms needed in our courts and about essential prison re-entry programs. Just last year, Missouri was facing the possible need for two new prisons, but recent reductions in the prison population have actually allowed the closure of a prison. With some needed reforms, that trend could continue.

I expect the full text of the governor’s remarks are online if you care to search for them. If you have opinions about the governor’s comments, please feel free to contact my office.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

White named to committees, prefiles four bills

(From Sen. Bill White, R-Joplin)

Last week marked the start of the 2019 legislative session, where I was among a class of 17 newly elected senators taking the oath of office to serve in Missouri Senate. For some of us, it was the first time, and for others this ceremony marked the beginning of their last term in the Missouri Senate. I look forward to working with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to pass meaningful legislation.

Following the swearing in ceremony, I took time to celebrate with family, friends and supporters. It was certainly a wonderful occasion to celebrate, knowing that I have been blessed with the opportunity to return to the Missouri State Capitol and continue the work of the people.

As a freshman senator, I was appointed to seven committees including the Veterans and Military Affairs committee where I will serve as the chairman. I was also appointed to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. This committee monitors the actions of the Legislature based on the Missouri Revisor of Statutes as they relate to state agencies across Missouri. As a lawyer, I am truly honored to serve on this committee with my colleagues from the Missouri Senate and the Missouri House of Representatives. I understand the importance of ensuring that the policies held by our agencies and boards are up to date, practical and relevant to their daily operations.

In addition, I was also appointed to the following committees: General Laws, Judiciary, Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence; Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect; Health and Pensions; and Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment.

Prior to the start of the 100th General Assembly, I filed four of the 233 prefiled bills and 50 resolutions in the que for this legislative session.

The first bill is Senate Bill 65, which states that punitive damages will only be awarded in a lawsuit if the plaintiff proves through clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause or acted with a deliberate disregard for the safety of others. The bill also applies to health care providers who intentionally cause damage or demonstrate malicious conduct.

Another piece of legislation I filed was Senate Bill 67. This bill specifies that persons providing emergency medical services, in certain instances, shall only be liable for gross negligence damages in a potential lawsuit.

Senate Bill 234, specifies that hearing tests shall not be required for commercial driver’s license (CDL) applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing. It also provides a process by which CDL applicants with disabilities can request testing accommodations for the written and driving tests. This bill would eliminate an initial barrier an applicant with a hearing impairment may have previously encountered.

Senate Bill 235 would require health insurance policies to provide coverage for hearing instruments and related services for enrollees under the age of 18. This legislation would provide one hearing aid for each ear every 36 months and include selection and adjustment services. This proposal increases the level of access and affordability of hearing instruments to families with children under the age of 18.

The last proposal is Senate Bill 237. This bill would modify post-conviction treatment programs, allowing the Department of Corrections to place a person on probation into a community based cognitive behavioral intervention program as appropriate.

Despite it still being early in the legislative session, I am determined to carry these important bills across the finish line. I am honored to have the trust and support of my constituents across the 32nd Senatorial District, and I will continue to stand up for the issues that matter most to the residents of Newton, Dade and Jasper counties.

Ben Baker co-sponsors pro-gun and anti-abortion bills, assigned to Education Committee

(From Rep. Ben Baker, R-Neosho)

I’m wrapping up the first full week of session here in Jefferson City and wanted to highlight a few things quickly for everyone back home. It has been a flurry of activity here as we begin the 2019 session. It is very humbling and quite an honor to get the opportunity to serve as we begin the 100th General Assembly.

The buzz of the week here has been what committee assignments we would receive and hearing the tone from Governor Parson as to his priorities outlined in the State of the State address on Wednesday afternoon.

I was appointed to three committees by Speaker Haahr and received word on Tuesday as to those assignments. Workforce Development, Elementary and Secondary Education, and Downsizing State Government. All three committee assignments I am pleased with and really look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work especially in those areas.

In the State of the State Address, Governor Parson communicated that his priorities this session are workforce development and infrastructure. Being that workforce development is a top priority for me as well, I’m excited about working on issues that will provide a better educated and prepared workforce for Missouri.

I have one bill that is pre-filed and that is HB267 which allows a school district to offer an elective social studies course on the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible, or the New Testament of the Bible. The course will include the contents, history, literary style and structure, and influences on society.

I have co-sponsored two bills so far and that is HB258 which limits what is known as “gun free zones” and HB126, which prohibits a physician to perform an abortion on a pregnant woman without first performing a fetal heartbeat detection test.

With that, I hope you have a great weekend and God Bless!