Thursday, January 16, 2020

Carthage R-9 Board to consider resolution calling for bond issue, recognize state football champions

Graves: This has been a great week for trade deals

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

China has been cheating us for years. They’ve unfairly subsidized businesses in order to shut down American competition, they’ve stolen our technology, and quite frankly, our money too. And, all this time, they’ve gotten a free pass because no President has had the guts to stand up to Communist China. That all changed with President Trump.

To fight back, President Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese products to force their government back to the negotiating table.

I’m no fan of tariffs, but I’m also no fan of getting ripped off by China. Unfortunately, instead of owning up for decades of lying and cheating, the Chinese government decided to target American farmers.

In the meantime, we were finally able to secure a much better trade deal with Mexico and Canada—America’s two largest trading partners. I was proud to support the USMCA when it passed the House in December. It just passed the Senate today and now awaits President Trump’s signature. That agreement helped force the Chinese back to the table, for fear of getting shut out of the American market.

As a result, President Trump was able to negotiate and sign “phase one” of a trade deal with China. In the deal, they agreed to purchase $32 billion of American agricultural products, including pork, soybeans, and wheat. China also agreed to lift rules that limited the import of other farm products like meat, poultry, dairy, and animal feed. Much-needed patent protections were also secured to keep the Chinese from cheating American businesses.

Together, these deals are projected to have more than a $200 billion impact on the American economy—that’s huge not just for our farmers, but for all Americans. However, there’s still work that needs to be done. President Trump is negotiating “phase two” of the trade deal with China that addresses additional issues, like protecting our communities from illegal Chinese-made fentanyl and stopping cyber-theft by the Chinese.

With the approval of USMCA and the phase one trade deal with China, many farmers across North Missouri breathed a sigh of relief. It’s been a long road to get here, but I’m glad we’re finally getting these deals completed. President Trump promised to get better trade deals done—and he’s delivering on that promise.

Parson praises Trump's success on USMCA and China trade deals

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, Missouri Governor Mike Parson joined with Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn, and Director of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon to applaud the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which comes one day after the landmark phase one trade deal with China.

“President Trump, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue have locked-in two historic trade deals that will benefit American farmers, workers, and small business owners,” Governor Parson said.

“Mexico and Canada are our top two trading partners, and as a farmer and small business owner, I know the importance of expanding trade while also ensuring that you’re getting the best deal possible. The USMCA has something for everyone, from manufacturing to agriculture. I applaud the Senate on completing their work on this agreement in such a short window of time.”

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement promises to inject $68 billion into the American economy while also creating an additional 176,000 jobs through economic growth in many industries, specifically manufacturing and agriculture.

For the first time in history, small and medium-sized enterprises are included in the agreement with the hope for additional trade and investment opportunities. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, thousands of small and medium-sized businesses exported a combined $126 billion to Canada and Mexico in 2016.

“The bi-partisan passage of the USMCA is great news for Missouri farmers, small businesses, and manufacturers,” Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe said. “I am grateful to President Trump and members of Missouri’s federal delegation who worked diligently to make this a reality.”

History has shown that when trade agreements favor agriculture and create a level playing field for buyers and sellers, agriculture thrives. The USMCA will also maintain zero tariffs on agriculture products traded between the United States and Mexico and will open new opportunities for dairy, poultry, egg, and wheat producers in the Canadian market.

“In a short two-day time span, Missouri agriculture has a path forward with three of our top five trading partners,” Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn said. “For those of us in agriculture, these trade deals bring with them so much more than just the purchase agreements. Agriculture is stronger today because of the consistent commitment to provisions that protect agriculture technology, grow our market access, and provide regulatory consistency moving forward.”

“The passage of USMCA is positive news for Missouri businesses,” Director of Economic Development Rob Dixon said. “Canada and Mexico are Missouri’s top two trade partners, and strengthening those relationships helps grow Missouri exports.”

Creve Couer Democrat: It is perplexing that Gov. Parson refuses to support Medicaid expansion

(From Sen. Jill Schlupp, D-Creve Couer)

This was our first full week of session. Committee hearings have begun and already there is a feeling of excitement and hope mixed with the realities of a supermajority whose priorities are not always in alignment with mine. So, we are off, yet again, to an interesting start.

Wednesday, the Governor delivered his "State of the State" address.

It is perplexing that the Governor announced he will refuse to support healthcare access for low income Missourians through the expansion of Medicaid.

It is disappointing that he will undermine Clean Missouri which was passed by the people to put an end to political gerrymandering. 

 It is disturbing that the Governor is backtracking on common sense gun reform laws.

Now begins the review of the Governor's proposed budget. Details will be examined closely as the budget moves through the House and then Senate chambers. As we work through session, we will provide updates on budget priorities as they are reflected by those making initial decisions about where your tax dollars will be spent. 

My staff and I always come in ready to work and to positively impact change. We will continue to stand up and fight for the people I represent and the betterment of our state. We stand ready to address the challenges and opportunities that this new session brings.

This weekend, we remember and join in the celebrations of the birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His legacy of bringing civil rights and social justice to the fore continues to inspire me.         

Deaton calls on Missouri House to condemn vote to impeach President Trump

(From Rep. Dirk Deaton, R-Noel)

State Representative Dirk Deaton is calling on the members of the Missouri House of Representatives to condemn the House’s vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

In a resolution filed this week, Rep. Deaton put forth House Concurrent Resolution 75, which would ask the body to condemn the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump.

Furthermore, it asks to United States Senate to either dismiss the Articles of Impeachment or expeditiously acquit President Trump. 

The legislation describes the impeachment proceeding as a biased and politically charged attempt to impede President Trump and influence the upcoming 2020 election. 

“This impeachment sham is political charade that Democrats have deployed to discredit the President, attempt to hurt his re-election, and further divide the country. Speaker Pelosi should be ashamed to have advanced these nonsensical Articles of Impeachment without a single Republican vote and with several Democrats voting against them as well,” Deaton, R-Noel, said. 

“It’s clear that these proceedings were nothing more than a political hit job, and the U.S. Senate should do the right thing and exonerate President Trump of these baseless charges so that our country might move on and continue working to put America first by keeping our nation, economy, and families strong.”

Agenda posted for Joplin City Council meeting

6:00 PM

Call To Order

Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America

Roll Call




Joplin High School Student Council (JHS STUCO) To Present An Update To City Council On Joplin High School Events.


Retirement Resolution To Recognzie Mary Anne Phillips, Recycling Coordinator


Finalization Of Consent Agenda


Reports And Communications


Citizen Requests And Petitions


Public Hearings


Consent Agenda


Minutes Of The January 6, 2020 City Council Meeting

  1. MINS. JAN. 6.PDF


AN ORDINANCE providing to vacate approximately 90 feet of a 10-foot-wide utility easement and approximately 185 feet of a 10-foot-wide utility easement running East/West located in the 2300 block of the East side of S. Wisconsin Ave.
  1. CB2019-285.PDF


AN ORDINANCE providing for the vacation of approximately 440 feet of a 20-foot-wide utility easement, and 115 feet of a 15-foot-wide storm sewer and public utility easement located in the 1700 block of the South side of W 26th Street in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.
  1. CB2019-286.PDF


AN ORDINANCE providing the vacation for a public street located 150 feet of S. McCoy Ave., approximately 150 feet South of the intersection of S. McCoy Ave. and W. 4th St. in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.
  1. CB2019-288.PDF


AN ORDINANCE establishing grades and accepting the Final Plat of Hal’s Subdivision located at NW Corner of W 26th St. & S. Roosevelt Ave. in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.
  1. CB2019-289.PDF


AN ORDINANCE authorizing the City of Joplin, Missouri (“City”), a municipal corporation, to enter into an agreement with Joplin Schools (“District”), a political subdivision and public school district of the State of Missouri, for the purpose of providing a school resource officer program between City and District; and authorizing the Interim City Manager to execute said agreements by and on behalf of the City of Joplin.
  1. CB2020-600.PDF



Ordinances - Emergency



AN ORDINANCE approving the City of Joplin to enter into a Cost Share Agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission; authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.


AN ORDINANCE approving the City of Joplin to enter into a construction agreement with B-3 Contractors, in the amount of Two Hundred Seventeen Thousand Six Hundred Fifty-Seven and 35/100 dollars ($217,657.35) for construction of the NID IV Sidewalk 2019 Project; and authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.


AN ORDINANCE authorizing the City of Joplin to enter into an agreement with Mid America Fire Apparatus Inc., a Missouri Corporation, for the purpose of purchasing one (1) new and unused E-One Typhoon HP75 with rear-mount aerial for the not to exceed price of Nine-Hundred Eight Thousand Five-Hundred Eighty-Eight Dollars and No Cents ($908,588.00); authorizing the Interim City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; amending the Annual Budget of the City of Joplin for the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 as adopted by Ordinance 2019-166 on October 21, 2019; and, containing an emergency clause.

Ordinances - First Reading



AN ORDINANCE authorizing the City of Joplin to enter into a first amendment to memorandum of understanding with the Wildcat Glades Friends Group, a Missouri Nonprofit Corporation (“Friends Group”) for the purpose of establishing responsibilities in maintaining and operating Wildcat Park; and authorizing the Interim City Manager to execute said memorandum of understanding by and on behalf of the City of Joplin.

Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading


Unfinished Business


New Business


News From Public Information Officer Lynn Onstot


Vote To Go Into Closed Session, Which Shall Pertain To The Hiring, Firing, Disciplining, Or Promotion Of An Employee Or Particular Employees Of A Governmental Body Involving Personal Information; As Set Forth In Section 610.021(3) RSMo, As Amended, 2019. This Meeting, Record, And Vote To Be Closed To The Extent Provided By Law. The City Council Shall Adjourn At The End Of The Session.

DeVos announces actions that will increase federal funding for faith-based schools, offer protection for school prayer

(From the U. S. Department of Education)

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the Department of Education is taking several concrete actions to protect religious liberty and ensure the Department is acting in accordance with the First Amendment.

The Department announced a proposed rule ensuring the equal treatment and constitutional rights of religious organizations and faith-based institutions, as well as First Amendment freedoms owed to students on campus. 

As directed by Congress, the agency will also release updated guidance regarding constitutionally protected prayer in schools.

"Our actions today will protect the constitutional rights of students, teachers, and faith-based institutions," said Secretary DeVos. "The Department's efforts will level the playing field between religious and non-religious organizations competing for federal grants, as well as protect First Amendment freedoms on campus and the religious liberty of faith-based institutions. 

I proudly share President Trump's commitment to religious freedom and the First Amendment."

The Department's rule addresses five general areas of importance to religious organizations, faith-based institutions, and their students. 

First, along with several other agencies, the Department's proposed rule seeks to implement President Trump's Executive Order 13831, Executive Order on the Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative. 

 The proposed rule would ensure that religious and non-religious organizations are treated equally by the federal government and that organizations are not discriminated against simply because they are religious in nature, removing unequal, burdensome regulatory requirements imposed by the Obama administration. 

The proposed rule would ensure that the Department's direct grant programs and state-administered formula grant programs are implemented in a manner consistent with religious liberty protections in federal law, including the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Second, student organizations, including faith-based student organizations, play an important role at public institutions of higher education. Their First Amendment rights, including the freedom of association, must also be protected. 

Accordingly, the proposed regulations require that, as a material condition of a direct grant or a subgrant from a state-administered formula grant program, a public institution of higher education not deny to a faith-based student organization any of the rights, benefits, or privileges otherwise afforded to non-faith-based student organizations.

Third, the Department proposes to amend regulations governing the Strengthening Institutions Program, the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, the Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program, and the Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions Program of the Higher Education Act. 

The proposed revisions address constitutional concerns about the prohibition to use development grants for activities or services if they merely relate to "sectarian instruction" and "religious worship." 

The proposed regulations prohibit use of such grants for activities or services that constitute religious instruction, religious worship, or proselytization consistent with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and other federal laws. 

The Department also proposes to amend the definition of a "school or department of divinity" in a manner that is more consistent with the First Amendment and other federal laws.

Fourth, in its proposed rule, the Department also seeks to clarify how an educational institution may demonstrate that it is controlled by a religious organization for purposes of Title IX. 

Neither Title IX nor its regulations define what it means for a school to be "controlled by a religious organization." 

Over the years, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has posted on its website several internal memoranda on this question. Because these OCR memoranda constitute only non-binding, non-regulatory guidance, the Department desires to engage in notice and comment rulemaking on this issue and to obtain the views of the public in crafting an appropriate final regulation.

Fifth, to implement Executive Order 13864, Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities, the Department also proposes regulations to ensure public institutions of higher education that receive federal research or education grants comply with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as a material condition of a direct grant or a subgrant from a state-administered formula grant program. 

The Department also proposes regulations to ensure that private institutions of higher education that receive federal research or education grants comply with their stated institutional policies regarding freedom of speech, including academic freedom. 

Because state and federal courts remain the best arbiters of alleged violations of First Amendment freedoms, the Department proposes to determine that a public institution has not complied with the First Amendment only if there is a final, non-default judgment by a state or federal court that the public institution or an employee of the public institution, acting in his or her official capacity, violated the First Amendment. 

Similarly, the Department proposes to determine that a private institution has not complied with its stated institutional policies regarding freedom of speech only if there is a final, non-default judgment by a state or federal court that the private institution violated the institutional policy.

In a separate action, for the first time since 2003, the Department will also issue today updated guidance on constitutionally protected prayer in public elementary and secondary schools. 

The Department is required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, to update this guidance every two years. 

The guidance explains the ESEA's requirement that states report which local educational agencies have not certified that they do not have any policy that prevents, or otherwise denies participation in, constitutionally protected prayer. 

The ESEA also requires states to report complaints against a local educational agency that allegedly denies a person, including a student or employee, the right to engage in constitutionally protected prayer. 

The guidance clarifies that the ESEA requires states to provide a clear process for students, parents, and teachers to report violations of their right to pray. Under the ESEA, states must fulfill these reporting requirements by November 1 of each year.

Billy Long on impeachment managers: They hate President Trump, so they are unable to be objective

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

Rep. Billy Long (MO-07) released the following statement on the appointment of the impeachment trial managers:

After 28 days, the House finally voted on a resolution appointing and authorizing managers for the impeachment trial of President Trump. 

"I voted against this resolution because I believe that the managers named by Speaker Pelosi have repeatedly demonstrated their hatred for President Trump and are therefore unable to be objective. 

In the months leading up to impeachment and all throughout the hearings, Speaker Pelosi and her cohorts insisted that this was an ‘urgent’ matter, yet these articles have collected dust on her desk for nearly a month. 

In an effort to justify her actions, the speaker has claimed that she wanted to ensure that the trial was ‘fair’ which is incredibly ironic given the highly-partisan witch hunt House Democrats led. 

For the past few months, House Democrats have attempted to remove a duly-elected president from office by any means necessary, and the American people are understandably sick of it. 

It is time for the American people to hear all of the evidence House Democrats previously withheld, and I am confident that Leader McConnell will give them that opportunity by conducting a fair and transparent trial.”

Ed Emery: The freedom to believe

(From Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar)

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.” – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president, author of the Declaration of Independence and the man responsible for the largest single expansion of the American landscape is buried at his home in Virginia.

His original tombstone, however, sits on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia – the marker that stands at Jefferson’s Monticello estate is a replica. Thousands of students pass the stone obelisk near the historic columns of the MU Quadrangle every week, but few realize its significance or bother to read the words inscribed on its face.

It’s a shame the marker doesn’t garner more attention, for it is a remarkable reminder of our nation’s history and ideals. Jefferson designed the monument himself and left strict instructions regarding his epitaph. 

This man of endless accomplishment wanted to be remembered for just three things: his role in founding the University of Virginia, his authorship of the Declaration of Independence and one other document, the “Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom.”

Since 1993, Americans have set aside Jan. 16 as National Religious Freedom Day, in honor of Jefferson’s seminal defense of religious freedom. First drafted in 1777 and ratified by the Virginia legislature on Jan. 16, 1786, the document ended the era of the Church of England as the sole sanctioned faith in Virginia and declared that all men were “free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.” 

This document is the precursor to the Bill of Rights’ establishment clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . ”

Taken in total, Jefferson’s views on religion are complex, but one thing is clear. Jefferson considered faith an essential element of liberty and the American experience. 

His writings often refer to a higher power and a greater moral authority that guides our lives. He described the practice of faith as a natural right of mankind. 

The Declaration of Independence leaves no doubt as to the importance Jefferson placed on faith: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” Jefferson could not have been more direct if he had instead written, “In the beginning, God . . . ”

National Religious Freedom Day offers a powerful reminder of the role of faith in our lives, both public and private. On this day, we honor the inseparability of faith and liberty. When you unravel the thread of faith in America, you unravel the fabric of freedom. Can any of us honestly look at the decline of civility in our nation during the past few decades and not see a nation that has lost touch with faith?

In writing the statute that inspired National Religious Freedom Day, Jefferson was not arguing for the removal of religion from public life or for mandating its practice, but rather that man could and should follow his own conscience. 

We pause on this day not to say people should believe as we believe, but rather that religion and faith are essential to a free and civilized society. Jefferson may not have warmed the church pew often, but history confirms he firmly believed we should be guided by a moral compass.

Social scientists tell us that Americans are increasingly disconnected from faith. With each passing year, greater numbers of people describe themselves as non-believers, or at least unaffiliated with any religion. And what is the result? 

It is a coarser society – one in which civility and decency have been supplanted by increasing hatred and animosity. There is a direct correlation between the loss of faith in America and the increased strife and hatred we observe.

Hatred is freedom’s worst enemy, but faith inspires civility and reduces animosity. I believe our society today is ever-more intolerant of faith and religion. Those of us who believe faith is the answer to society’s ills must confront this challenge head on. We do so the same way we live – by holding onto our faith, and sharing it when we can.

Jan. 16 has been set aside as National Religious Freedom Day to celebrate the faith foundation to the character of our nation. Let’s take this day to ensure that faith, God, prayer, the Bible and its teachings continue to shape America’s future, promote freedom and reduce the animosity, hatred and incivility that is far too common today. Pray for our leaders, and for the healing of our nation.

Ben Baker whines about overwhelmingly negative response to his library bill

Ben Baker's whining again.

Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with a local politician whining, especially when he is as good at it as Ben Baker, who has developed his responses to any criticism at all into a fine whine for the ages.

His latest display of Charlie Brown Syndrome (why's everybody always picking on me) came after the Turner Report publicized a bill the Neosho Republican filed last week in the Missouri House of Representatives calling for special parental oversight committees to be mandated at public libraries to determine what materials are appropriate for children.

Under Baker's bill, HB 2044, the committee would be selected by those who attend a public meeting and its decisions could not be reversed by publicly elected library boards or by boards appointed by publicly elected officials.

The bill also calls for fines and/or possible imprisonment for librarians or employees who violate its provisions.

Since the Turner Report posted information about the bill and a link to it, local television stations have reported on it and on Tuesday, this latest legislation from the pride of Newton County achieved national recognition in the Washington Post.

The response to Baker's bill, both locally and nationally, has been mostly been negative and comes from people who have the ability to put two and two together and have it add up to four.

So poor, put upon Ben Baker, who cannot understand why people would not love a bill that was created after he consulted with his most valued constituents during a meeting in front of his mirror, responded on Facebook:

The hypocrisy of the left astounds me. I introduce a bill allowing local parental oversight of sexual content and events at libraries available to minors. The media go crazy and falsely claim I want to ban books and censor literature. I get called a Nazi and a fascist pig (and other names I can’t mention here) for trying to protect our children. Another State Rep introduces a bill to MANDATE LGBTQ curriculum in our public schools and the media loves it and thinks it’s a great idea. Unbelievable.

Baker linked to an article about a bill proposed by Rep. Martha Stevens, D-Columbia.

And I will admit, I see Baker's point.

If a Columbia Democrat is allowed to propose a crackpot bill, then why can't Ben Baker?

We don't need a mandated curriculum about LGBT history any more than we need the elective Bible classes proposed in bills Baker has filed during his first two years in the legislature.

I am not going to compare Ben Baker to a Nazi or call him a Fascist pig. I will simply point out that these committees consisting of like-minded individuals could make the same decisions made in school districts and in public libraries across the United States- decisions that have removed books such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the Harry Potter series from the shelves.

In other words, any small group of people can make sure they attend one public meeting and wrest control of decisions on all material that will be made available to children. That could be material about sex, it could be material like Huckleberry Finn or To Kill a Mockingbird that have the use of a racial epithet that is not used in polite society or it could be materials that offer positive stories about Christianity.

It all depends on who shows up for that one meeting.

I will concede that the left is irrevocably opposed to Ben Baker's library legislation, using Ben Baker's definition of the left, which is anyone who disagrees with Ben Baker.

And if that's the case, a lot of people on the right are on the left.