Sunday, May 31, 2009

Natural Disaster selected for Boomtown Days Battle of the Bands

In the spirit of trying new things, our group, Natural Disaster, signed up for the Joplin Boomtown Days Battle of the Bands competition and was selected as one of the nine bands to perform beginning 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 12, at Landreth Park. This comes from the Boomtown Days website:

Nine regional bands have been selected to perform Friday night at Boomtown Days.

Almost Higher (rock) - Joplin

Watershed (alt. rock) - Neosho

Bright Young Things (rock) - Carterville

Me Like Bees (probably rock...probably) - Joplin

Sensational Showmen (60's, 70's R&B, rock, Chicago covers, 9 piece horn band) - Joplin

Natural Disaster (rock, country, oldies) - Granby

Offset Sunset (indie, accoustic, pop) - Webb City

River James Band (christian blues, classic rock) - Neosho

Velvet Poker Dogs (rock, R & B) - Joplin

When I started checking out the other bands on the internet, I was surprised to discover the first band on the list, Almost Higher, features one of my eighth grade students, Nate Brummer, as vocalist, as well as two former students. I began worrying about just how much older Natural Disaster is than the rest of the competitors, but it appears that two other groups are roughly in our age range.

I will post more information when it becomes available.


Natural Disaster's next performance will be next Saturday, June 6, 4 to 5:15 p.m. at Central Park in Carthage for the annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

EN Charitable Foundation Barbecue a success

Thanks to those who attended the East Newton Charitable Foundation kickoff barbecue Saturday night in the high school parking lot.

The food was good and Natural Disaster and DeWayne Bowman (pictured) provided entertainment. The Foundation will be helping improve the quality of education for all children in the East Newton School District.

Skillicorn widow: Nixon wanted Skillicorn's family to suffer

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch printed an op-ed piece by executed killer Dennis Skillicorn's widow this week in which she rakes Gov. Jay Nixon over the coals for not granting clemency to her husband. Paula Skillicorn was a Kansas City Star reporter who met and fell in love with Skillicorn while covering his case:

Nixon punished my husband for murders outside Nixon's jurisdiction. Dennis already had served time for one and had been sentenced to life without parole for the two in Arizona. Although he never killed anyone, Dennis always accepted responsibility for his role in those tragic deaths, and he sincerely expressed his remorse and sadness for the victims every day.

The governor's words and actions show he wanted Dennis Skillicorn's family — law-abiding, hard-working taxpayers — to suffer dearly for the sake of "justice." As a result, Dennis no longer is serving his punishment; his family is.

Nixon does not care that Dennis intervened on many occasions to prevent violence among inmates or toward correctional officers. He does not value the fact that when Dennis and other hospice workers changed soiled diapers and cleaned up the vomit of dying men, it freed prison hospital staff for other work. His efforts to help children of incarcerated parents avoid their parents' mistakes appear to be a waste of time — in the governor's opinion.

I hope the Post-Dispatch offers the same amount of space to the family members of those who lost their lives because of Skillicorn's actions.

Area representatives prefer Goodman over Nodler

Three Joplin-area state representatives prefer Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, to Joplin's own Gary Nodler for Seventh District Congressman, according to an article in the Saturday Joplin Globe.

Representatives Ed Emery, R-Lamar, Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, and Kevin Wilson, R-Neosho, are supporting Goodman, according to the article:

During a press conference at a Joplin hotel, Goodman said he had already enlisted the support of several dozen state and local officials representing areas in the district, including Rep. Kevin Wilson, R-Neosho; Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin; and Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar.

Wilson introduced Goodman on Friday as “the next congressman from the 7th District” and “a very good friend of mine” before hailing Goodman’s “quiet leadership” in the state Legislature and his commitment to “family values.”

“We need to have leaders in Washington, D.C., that understand the average citizen in the United States,” Wilson said.

When asked for comment about Goodman’s endorsements in a Friday phone interview, Nodler said: “I am not going to comment on competitors’ campaigns at all.”

I wonder what this means. Is Jack Goodman that attractive a candidate (and perhaps he is), or do Emery, Wilson, and Mrs. Ruestman have a problem stomaching the idea of Gary Nodler in Congress?

Nodler: Bond told me to do it

The $25 million forgivable loan to Joplin's Eagle-Picher was not Gary Nodler's idea, an article in today's Columbia Tribune indicates. Kit Bond made him do it.

Nodler told the newspaper that Bond called him seven times asking him to insert the Eagle-Picher earmark, as well as one for Kokam America, Inc. of Lee's Summit. Of course, Nodler insists these were not earmarks:

Nodler said Bond had called him seven times in one day to discuss the projects.

“Six times he missed connecting with me, but on the seventh call he made contact and discussed those at length,” Nodler said. “In the case of the battery manufacturers, he talked about the size of the federal investment that had already been made and what he believes to be the national interests moving forward in this area. It’s not only vital to the economic interests of the state but vital to the interests of the nation as a whole. He also voiced support for the China hub.”

“When I put together the Senate substitute, I just added those two provisions into that substitute,” Nodler added.

Nodler definition of earmark disputed

Chad Livengood's article in today's Springfield News-Leader examines Sen. Gary Nodler's statement that his efforts to land a $25 million benefit for Eagle-Picher was not an earmark. In fact, Livengood not only examines Nodler's statement, but rips it apart:

"If that's his understanding of earmarks, then he really should not be a member of Congress because he has a lot of learning to do about what an earmark is," said David Williams, vice president of policy for Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington, D.C. watchdog that tracks pork-barrel spending in Congress.

Williams said defining an earmark "has nothing to do with where it's added" in the legislative process. Any request above and beyond what the executive branch requests is an earmark, he said.

Williams likened the $25 million for Eagle-Picher to corporate welfare. Nodler says the tax dollars could help the firm generate hundreds of new jobs for southwest Missouri.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cable industry funneled $6,870 to Nodler federal account in 2006

Federal Election Commission records show that only a few months after killing a Senate bill that was heavily opposed by the cable industry, Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, received $6,870 from cable interests, much of which went directly to Nodler to repay money he loaned himself during a past Congressional campaign.

When SB 816 threatened the Missouri cable industry in 2006, it was former cable operator Nodler who rode in like a white knight and staved off the AT&T proposal, which would have allowed the company to have a statewide franchise for internet television service.

In a "Nodler's Notes" dated March 9, 2006, Nodler stated his case:

During the course of debate on a bill considered by the Senate this week, somehow the goal to preempt authority for municipalities to issue local franchise for the use of their own right-of-way was euphemistically buried under a false claim of increasing marketplace competition. Senate Bill 816 would allow certain telephone companies to be granted a statewide franchise for providing video services. Proponents of the measure claim that cable consumers in Missouri would have more options when it comes to receiving computer-based television services.

This bill would permit AT&T to establish delivery footprints of their own choosing within cities and deny services to citizens at will. It’s as if a trash hauler were given a contract to provide services to a city, but would only pick up trash at certain houses while leaving piles of garbage at others, or if a water company would supply water to some houses and cut off the flow of water to others.

A competitive free market is necessary, but the need for competition is not what is at issue here, contrary to what the bill’s supporters claim. No one is arguing whether competition should exist, but those who oppose the bill assert that the way competition would be facilitated under this legislation is cause for concern. The problem isn’t with the customers AT&T might choose to serve, but with those to whom they deny those services. The language of the bill, which I deem to be purposefully vague, builds a preferential and protective shield around these companies so they can’t be sued for willful discrimination.

For cable and satellite companies to operate in cities, they must abide by certain regulations called franchise agreements. These agreements were established to give cities oversight in ensuring that all neighborhoods receive equitable service by requiring cable companies to offer service wherever feasible. Because the contracts are nonexclusive, any prospective provider, including phone companies, can operate under the same conditions applying to other providers.

But AT&T is begging for preferential treatment and not wanting to follow local franchising regulations to enter the cable market with a proposed fiber- optics system. The telecommunications giant plans to only offer this Internet- meets-television service to select urban areas. If AT&T can sidestep the local franchising agreements, it will gain statewide reign of the cable industry, meaning the company can go wherever it chooses, extend whatever services it chooses, and at whatever price it chooses.

Cable TV customers are concerned about the rising price of cable. Costs are not driven by the local cable TV providers, but rather by companies that provide programming to cable TV systems. The legislation would allow AT&T or any other company to vertically integrate the satellite TV market. Program providers would gain greater control over delivery systems. Over time, this would push cable rates even higher.

Passage of SB 816 would not only rip away local control, but it would also hurt local funding. Although telephone companies would still have to pay the franchise fee of 5 percent of their annual gross revenue, the money would not go directly to the cities as it does now.

I am all for increasing competition in the name of the consumers, but I want AT&T and other telephone companies to compete in the same market and on the same playing field as the cable and satellite companies. SB 816 dismisses these telecommunications entities from having to follow good business practices, disrespects the sovereignty of municipalities and discriminates against consumers.

The fact remains that nothing is stopping AT&T and other telephone companies from going to the municipalities where they offer phone service and negotiating a local franchise agreement to enter into the cable-television market. If what AT&T is proposing to bring to consumers is of high enough quality and offered with reasonable fairness, then the product should have no problem entering the market as the current law stands. But because their actions indicate otherwise, we owe it to Missouri consumers to not honor AT&T’s request for special treatment.

Though it was widely acknowledged that Nodler killed SB 816, the first indication would be that it netted him little in the way of political contributions from the powerful telecommunications industry. Missouri Ethics Commission records show only a $650 contribution (maximum at that time) from Missouri Cable PAC on Aug. 10.

The real money, $6,870 worth, was contributed that same month to the Nodler for Congress committee, according to Federal Election Commission records.

On Aug. 6, 2006, the federal committee received the following contributions:

-$500 from John Bardgett, lobbyist for the Missouri Cable Telecommunications Association

-$500 from Gary Burton, also a lobbyist for the Missouri Cable Telecommunications Association

-$500 from Roger Ponder, president of the Kansas City division for Time-Warner Cable

-$600 from Henry Bradley, listed for his position with St. Joseph News Press & Gazette, but who also is CEO of NPG Cable in St. Joseph

-$300 from James Gleason, Galaxy Cablevision, Sikeston

-$220 from Charlotte McClure, Cable One, Joplin

-$250 from Jennifer Baugh, Columbia

-$1,000 from Greg Harrison, Missouri Cable Telecommunications executive

Only Ms. McClure and Harrison were listed with their cable affiliations. Bardgett and Burton were listed as "consultant" while the others were all listed only as "executive" with no mention of an employer.

Three days earlier, Nodler's congressional committee picked up a $1,000 contribution from the Time Warner PAC.

The telecommunications contributions ended Aug. 29 with the biggest one, $2,000 from Comcast.

The Nodler congressional committee's report, filed Oct. 5, 2006, with the FEC, shows no contributions other than the %6,870 from cable interests.

It appears that the money received by the Nodler committee was used as part of a $7,450 payment which went directly into Nodler's personal bank account to repay a loan he made to his committee during a previous congressional run.

The FEC filing shows the payment was made Aug. 19, 2006, to Gary Nodler, 309 Morgan Court, Joplin, MO. 64801. The treasuer of Nodler's congressional committee is his wife, Joncee Nodler.

Friday, May 29, 2009

GateHouse Media New England cutting salaries

In a cost-cutting move, GateHouse Media New England has announced it will cut salaries by 7 to 15 percent:

The average pay cut would be 7.75 percent. If the reduction lasts through the end of 2009, it would have the effect of an average pay cut of 4.5 percent for the full year.

Rick Daniels, CEO of GateHouse Media New England, said the broad pay cut was a necessary step to ensure the Needham-based publishing group, a division of GateHouse Media Inc. of Fairport, N.Y., will remain profitable in the face of steeper-than-expected advertising declines.

“We know what happens to newspapers who are no longer cash-flow positive, and we’re committed to not let that happen,” Daniels said. “We understand this is a sacrifice for our employees, and a serious one. But we think, in light of keeping this company stable and strong, that it’s one worth making.”

I have no information that anything like this is being considered for area GateHouse Media newspapers, including The Carthage Press, Neosho Daily News, and Pittsburg Morning Sun. Anyone with information, send me an e-mail, or leave a comment.

Nodler: I have the toughest job in the General Assembly

As Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, announced his candidacy, the Modesty Express hit the ground running. Nodler let people know that he, not any of the other 33 senators or 163 members of the House of Representatives, has the toughest job in the General Assembly:

"No position in the Missouri General Assembly is more demanding than the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee."

My guess that those who have listened to the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee would consider that to be far more demanding.

Nodler stressing experience this time around

Don't think of Gary Nodler as a two-time loser as he heads into his third effort to be elected to Congress.

The Joplin Republican tells KY3's Dave Catanese that experience is the difference, pretty much indicating that he has been around the block and one of his chief primary opponents, Sen Jack Goodman R-Mount Vernon, is just a babe in the woods when it comes to politics:

"Jack's a fine guy. He has obviously less experience. Has a different type of record in the Senate."

Just about every answer Nodler makes stresses his experience. Prepare to get tired of this word by the end of the month and ready to throw up every time you hear it over the next 15 months.

Nodler headed for additional scrutiny this time around

If Gary Nodler is truly the level-headed public servant he and his followers claim he is, he should get the chance to prove it over the next 15 months.

Nodler's first two efforts to be elected to Congress were thwarted by Mel Hancock and Roy Blunt, but the Joplin Republican did not fall under anywhere near the scrutiny he will face this time around. In the first place, he has become more of a public figure during his tenure in the Senate and has an eight-year record which will be examined and re-examined by his opponents and the media.

Nodler also has stronger opponents than he has had during his elections to the Senate, and more may be on their way.

Plus, there are more media outlets which will be writing about him, including the KY3 Political Notebook, Joplin Globe blogger Joe Hadsall, the tireless Chad Livengood of the Springfield News-Leader, Democratic Party blogs like Fired Up Missouri, which followed up Nodler's announcement with a post, noting what seemed to be arrogant answers by Nodler to questions from Livengood and KY3's Dave Catanese.

The senator's temper is going to be sorely tested during this campaign.

Globe preserves historical document- text of Nodler announcement speech

For those who believe in collecting historical documents, send a thank you to the Joplin Globe. The Globe has printed the text of the announcement Thursday by Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, that he is seeking the Seventh District Congressional seat currently held by Roy Blunt.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nodler running for Congress

Gary Nodler did not surprise anyone today with his announcement that he is running for the Seventh District Congressional seat currently held by Roy Blunt.

The Joplin Republican introduced his candidacy today with campaign stops in Springfield and Joplin:

“We need a candidate that not only reflects our moral values, but also understands our economic and global challenges,” Nodler said in Springfield, where he was introduced by Missouri House Speaker Ron Richard, R-Joplin.

“The expansion of federal power and federal spending represented by the Obama administration and the ultra liberal Congress must be resisted,” Nodler added.

My final Diamond students graduate

The last of the students I taught at Diamond Middle School graduated Sunday

Among those graduates were two who were there to support me during the Diamond R-4 Board of Education meeting in which I was placed on an unpaid leave of absence in July 2003, Rikki Jump and Ashley Nickolaisen.

I talked about the class, particularly about the speech Rikki, just barely out of sixth grade at that time, made at that meeting on a Facebook post over the weekend.

East Newton Foundation Barbecue information featured in NDN article

Neosho Daily News reporter Todd Higdon provides information on the newly-formed East Newton Charitable Foundation in an article posted Wednesday:

(Foundation Vice President Delmar) Hunke reemphasizes the mission statement.

“The purpose of the foundation is basically to raise money for education. This is not for athletics, for the FFA, or band or any specific group, it is something that will benefit all the students in the district,” he said. “It is more geared toward education in the classroom. Also, it is set up to bring awareness to the patrons of the district, as far as some of the needs of the district. Hopefully, we can get some corporate sponsors and some funds from people that. This is a venue that they can give to and they can take it off of their taxes… and help the district.”

According to foundation organizers, meetings are held the third Monday of the every month in the Camerer-Faules Administration Building on the East Newton High School campus. For more information on the upcoming barbecue, contact either Hunke at 638-5398 or Alan Cook, president, at 472-7747.

Natural Disaster opening for DeWayne Bowman at EN Foundation Barbecue

(The following is my column for this week's Newton County News.)

One of my favorite stores to visit in Joplin during the 1970s and early 1980s was the Discount Record Shop, which if memory serves me correctly was around 15th and Main.

As you walked into the store, you found yourself surrounded by albums from every musical genre. In one corner, you would see Merle Haggard, George Jones, and Marty Robbins, while another side would have the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five and those young upstarts, the BeeGees. Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles were in another section, while another was devoted to performers like Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman.

I always walked past the albums, took a left and went to the bin of bargain 45’s. For a quarter apiece (and less than that on sale days) I loaded up on all of my favorite songs, adding onto a collection that now numbers more than 1,200.

On one Saturday morning, I came across some records I had not expected to find, all by Joplin-area performers. I found Max Brown’s version of “Beautiful Sunday,” “Another Day,” by Charlotte and Woody Edmonds, and a record with which I was already familiar, “Rolling Stone,” by DeWayne Bowman.

When I was attending Triway Elementary and Junior High, I heard that record many times, since one of my classmates was DeWayne’s younger brother Denny.

I plunked down cash and bought those records, as well as a few others.

The Discount Record Shop is long gone, a victim of changing technology (and dwindling revenue), but happily, DeWayne Bowman is still with us entertaining, and those who would like to see him will have the opportunity this Saturday night at the kickoff barbecue for the East Newton Charitable Foundation, which starts at 5 p.m. on the west parking lot at the high school.

Entertainment is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. with our band, Natural Disaster, which consists of Richard Taylor, Stark City, vocals and rhythm guitar; Charlie Brown, Granby, lead guitar; Tracy Minear, Granby, bass; Tony Marsh, Joplin, and me doing vocals.

After our performance, which should last about an hour, DeWayne will perform until about 8:30 p.m.

There is no charge for the barbecue or entertainment for patrons of the East Newton School District, and East Newton alumni.

Those who cannot be there and want to make a contribution to help the foundation, which is designed to provide funding for projects throughout the school district can make out a check or money order to East Newton Charitable Foundation, c/o Mark Knight, 13701 Shetland Road, Stark City, MO. 64866.

For more information, contact Alan Cook, 417-472-7747 or Delmar Hunke, 417-638-5398.

I hope to see some of you there.

Joplin Business Journal liquidating equipment

The Joplin Business Journal, Asay Publishing's recently deceased publication, is getting rid of its equipment, according to an online advertisement.

Nodler announcement set for today

We find out for sure today if Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, will be a candidate for the Seventh District Congressional seat currently held by Roy Blunt.

All indications are live coverage will not be offered by CNN, Fox News Channel, or MSNBC. I haven't been able to get this confirmed, but reportedly Comedy Central is interested.

Funeral services scheduled for Nevada murder victims

The Joplin Globe has the lowdown on funeral services for Annie Reed, 18, and Kylie Leyva, 14, Nevada, who were stabbed to death Sunday:

Services for Annie E. Reed, 18, will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Ferry Funeral Home in Nevada, with the Rev. Dennis Painter presiding. Visitation at the funeral home began Wednesday and will continue until the services on Friday.

Contributions may be made to Vernon County People for Pets in the Reed’s name through the funeral home.

A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday at Ferry Funeral Home for 14-year-old Kylie M. Leyva, who would have turned 15 on Wednesday. Pastor David Rorabaugh will preside at the service. The funeral home said Leyva’s family would be receiving friends at the funeral home up until the hour of service.

Memorial contributions to a trust fund in the Leyva girl’s name may be sent to the funeral home.

The article also includes an update on Garrett Mason, 17, who is charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Message to Dave Pylant: Learn how to pronounce baseball players' names

During the two decades in which I covered area high school sports, nothing bothered me more than announcers who did not take a few moments to ask visiting coaches how to pronounce the names of players. Names are important to people and I winced each time I heard one of those names mangled.

Spending just a brief amount of time getting the proper pronunciations seemed to be a matter of simple courtesy, as well as a method of making sure the job was done correctly.

I have been reminded of those times in recent days as I have watched KOAM's Dave Pylant mangle the names of St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals during recent days. Since part of his job every day is showing highlights for the Cardinals' and Royals' games, it makes sense that he should learn to pronounce the name.

I have listened to his repeated mispronunciation of Cardinal second baseman Skip Schumacher's name for weeks, but Pylant outdid himself a few moments ago.

Not only did he once again mispronounce Schumacher's name, but he mispronounced the name of Cardinal outfield Nick Stavinoha and even the name of Kansas City Royals' ace Zach Greinke, who is the early favorite for the Cy Young Award.

I have always enjoyed Pylant's work on the morning show, but these recent mispronunciations are becoming a habit.

And the baseball follies were topped off by Pylant's co-anchor, Tawyna Bach, channeling President George W. Bush and pronouncing nuclear as if it were nukular.

Former Diamond High School Principal Rupp dead at 78

Former Diamond High School Principal Charles Rupp died Monday at age 78.

Rupp was principal at Diamond from 1965 to 1985. I remember how kind he was to me when I did my student teaching at Diamond in the spring of 1981.

Obituary information can be found here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ozarks First: Nevada schools in shock over double mruder

Two Nevada High School students are stabbed to death and a third is charged with the crime. Six NHS students have died this year. As you can imagine, the school is in turmoil and Ozarks First, the website for KOLR and KSFX has an update:

Counselors and social workers are at Nevada High School to talk to teachers and students. This is the sixth time a student has been killed in the district this year. A car crash took the lives of the others.

The superintendent, Dr. David Stephens, says this is a difficult time for the school district and the community.

"We have students who, we've had a loss of life of students, and we have another student who was involved in that, allegedly, in some way. There's a lot of confusion among our kids," says Dr. Stephens.

Pitch blog offers profile of teen accused in Nevada slayings

Plog, Pitch Weekly's blog, has some insight into accused killer Garrett Mason, 17, Nevada, taken form Mason's MySpace site:

Mason writes that he hates reading and doesn't watch much TV but when he does, he watches MTV. He doesn't have many heroes but likes his family "prity mutch ... expecially my dad he is my bigist hearo!!" Mason's spelling, not ours.

Under movies, he writes:
i like thriling movies, creepy movies, rocky,jackass #2 and 1 the both good i also like action movies well any thang that is good and can catch my attention witch is not hard.

Nodler's either running or he's sending the media his biography for nothing

He has to be running.

Why else would Gary Nodler schedule two appearances Thursday, one in Springfield, and one in Joplin to announce whether he will seek the Seventh District Congressional seat currently held by Roy Blunt?

Why else would his news release include his biography?.

I am sure the media will be there to handle this non-event (and I probably will mention something on this blog), as Nodler, who will immediately become the most recognizable name in the race (and this is supposed to be good for his candidacy?)

Following is the text of the news release:

Senator Gary Nodler (R-MO, 32 District) will be making an announcement concerning his decision whether or not to seek the office of United States Representative in the 7th Congressional District on Thursday, May 28. Following the Senator’s remarks, he will answer questions from attendees and the media.

Two separate public meetings are scheduled. The first public meeting will be at Discovery Center of Springfield located at 438 East St. Louis Street in Springfield at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 28.

The second public meeting will be at The Continental Banquet Center located at Granny Schaffer, 2802 Range Line in Joplin at 2:30 p.m., also on Thursday, May 28.

Senator Nodler is Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and represents the 32nd Senatorial District which includes Dade, Jasper and Newton Counties. He and his wife Joncee reside in Joplin.

And the text of his biography:

Senator Gary Nodler was born on Aug. 10, 1950, and grew up in Neosho, MO. He graduated from Neosho High School in 1968 and from Missouri Southern State University in 1972 with a B.A. in Political Science. He was presented an Honorary Doctor of Education Degree from Missouri Western State University in 2007.

Gary has been married to the former Joncee Edwards of Neosho since 1974. They have a son, Justin, and a granddaughter, Rachel. Gary and Joncee reside in Joplin. Joncee served the Joplin Public Schools as a highly respected and effective classroom teacher and is still actively working to improve education at the local, state and national levels. She and Gary have a deep appreciation and understanding of our public and private education systems.
Gary is an active member of the American Legion having served in the United States Army and the Missouri National Guard.
He was Congressman Gene Taylor’s district staff director from 1973 until the Congressman retired in 1988.
President Bush appointed Senator Nodler to serve as Regional Administrator for the United States Small Business Administration in 1989, a post he held until Bush left office in January of 1993. In 1991, he was appointed to serve as a member of the Rural Economic Policy Working Group, a cabinet-level working group of the Economic Policy Council at The White House. Senator Nodler also served as the President's advisor to the Council on Rural America.
In 1997, Nodler was appointed to a shared staff position working with Senator Kit Bond, Senator John Ashcroft and Congressman Roy Blunt on matters relating to small business and federal procurement.
As president and owner of SoMo Cable, Inc., Senator Nodler built and operated the cable television system in Seneca, Mo. He also owned and operated a consulting business that worked with Midwest Paging Systems, Lucky Strike Fishing Lures, Hookup Corp. and Leggett and Platt.
Senator Nodler’s affiliations include: the National Association of Retired Federal Employees; the National Rifle Association; the Farm Bureau; the Joplin Rotary Club; the Spiva Center for the Arts and the Joplin Historical Society.
He served as Executive Director of the Monett Chamber of Commerce for three years. During his work at the Monett Chamber, he was recognized for his continuing efforts to create more jobs and a favorable business environment in Lawrence and Barry Counties.
The Senator is an active member of the First United Methodist Church where he has served as a past-president of the Methodist Men's club, chairman of the Administrative Board and a Trustee.
In November of 2002, Gary Nodler won election as a Republican to the Missouri Senate, representing the 32nd District, which includes Dade, Jasper and Newton counties. He was re-elected in 2006 to another four-year term.
Awards Presented to Senator Nodler:
➢ The Laborers’ Union of Missouri
Missouri Laborers’ “Legislator of the Year” Award, 2003
➢ Missouri Southern State University Outstanding Alumnus, 2003
➢ Missouri Association for Career and Technical Education - 2005 Missouri ACTE Legislative Recognition Award, 2005
➢ Missouri Community College Association Distinguished Legislator Award, 2005
➢ Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry "100% For Jobs" Award, 2005
➢ American Institute of Architects Appreciation Award, 2006
➢ The Missouri Bar’s 2007 Legislative Award, September 2007
➢ Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, October 2007
➢ Missouri Society of Professional Engineers Legislator of Year Award, 2007
➢ Missouri Chamber of Commerce & Industry Spirit of Enterprise Award, 2007
➢ St. Louis Business Journal Legislative Award, 2008
Senator Nodler’s committee assignments include:
➢ Appropriations, Chairman
➢ Education
➢ Pensions, Veterans' Affairs and General Laws
➢ Joint Committee on Capital Improvements and Leases Oversight, Chairman
➢ Joint Committee on Education
➢ Joint Committee on Government Accountability
➢ Joint Committee on Legislative Research, Vice Chairman
➢ Joint Committee on the Life Sciences
➢ Joint Committee on Missouri Investment Trust Board of Trustees
➢ Joint Committee on MO Health Net
➢ State Records Commission
➢ Second State Capitol Commission
➢ Senate Select Committee on MoHealth Net Provider Rate Equalization, Chairman
Senator Nodler’s other appointments include:
➢ Commission on the Future of Higher Education, 2003
➢ National Advisory Council of the Small Business Administration, 2003
➢ Subcommittee on Competition and Privatization − Chairman, 2003-2004
➢ Second State Capitol Commission, Vice-Chairman, 2005
➢ Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board, 2005
➢ Joint Interim Committee on Investments in Higher Education and Savings Program, 2005
➢ Midwestern Higher Education Compact, 2005
➢ Senate Interim Committee on the Costs of a College Education, Chairman

KOAM, KODE offer solid packages without in-person courtroom coverage

KOAM and KODE did not let Judge Neal Quitno's decision to prohibit cameras in the courtroom keep them from turning in solid reports on the arraignment of 17-year-old Garrett Mason or their 6 p.m. newscasts. Mason is accused of stabbing Anne Reed, 18, and Kylie Leyva, 14, of Nevada Monday.

Both stations opened the newscast with the arraignment story. KODE's coverage featured interviews with Vernon County Prosecuting Attorney Lynn Ewing, while KOAM opened with Mason's perp walk, including a woman shouting at Mason, "Do you see what you've done, you loser? I hope you rot in hell!"

Accused Nevada killer on probation for drug charges

Garrett Mason, 17, Nevada, charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action in connection with the stabbing deaths of teens Anne Reed, 18, and Kylie Leyva, 14, is no stranger to trouble with the law.

Vernon County Circuit Court records indicate that at the time of the murders, Mason was on probation for two misdemeanor drug charges possession of marijuana and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia. He was given a suspended sentence March 30 and placed on two years probation with the stipulation that he attend a drug abuse program.

No cameras in courtroom for arraignment in Nevada slayings

When accused double-murderer Garrett Mason, 17, Nevada, was arraigned today in Vernon County Circuit Court and entered a not guilty plea, the media covered it the old fashioned way, thanks to Judge Neal Quitno.

Quitno barred cameras from his courtroom. The choice is left up to the preference of individual judges. Court records indicate Quitno will reconsider the request for future hearings.

The next hearing in the case, a pre-trial conference, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 11.

While I have seen examples of poorly done courtroom coverage on television stations (primarily from the cable news networks, who sprinkle in supposedly knowledgeable expert analysis with clips), the local stations who are requesting coverage have offered responsible coverage

Cameras in the courtroom have long since passed the experimental stage. From the local courts to the U. S. Supreme Court, cameras do have a place in the courtroom.

KC Star finally turns focus on Drummond, Skillicorn's murder victim

It's just one story, but the Kansas City Star has belatedly written about murder victim Richard Drummond of Excelsior Springs, after months of writing about Drummond's killer, Dennis Skillicorn, who was put to death last week:

In their first media interview ever, the Drummonds gathered last week around a dining room table sprinkled with photo albums at the home of oldest daughter Robin in Prairie Village.

They recalled games of hide-and-go-seek. They laughed at memories of vacations, how their dad would hoist Holly onto his shoulders when hiking the mountains, even though she was 9 and not so light.

The girls were ages 13 to 20 when the man Kansas City would come to know as the “Good Samaritan” disappeared. He was found days later shot in the woods near Higginsville, Mo.

The inclusion of the gratuitous aside about it being the first interview granted by the family does not let the Star off the hook for its overemphasis on the killer rather than the victim. Even if the family did not talk, there were other people in Excelsior Springs who would have gladly told the newspaper about Richard Drummond.

Sadly, Mr. Drummons's name was not even mentioned in some of the coverage offered by the Star and other media, while a considerable amount of time was spent talking about how Skillicorn had changed his life since being sentenced to death row.

KY3 Blog: Nodler has top name recognition in 7th District race

If Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, jumps into the Seventh District Congressional race as expected Thursday, he already has an advantage according to a poll which is noted in Dave Catanese's KY3 Blog:

Last month, a private poll showed Nodler carrying the highest name identification in the 7th District.

And that's supposed to be an advantage for Nodler? What is that old saying about familiarity?

EN Foundation Barbecue set for Saturday

A quick reminder: The kickoff barbecue for the East Newton Charitable Foundation is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday in the west parking lot at the high school.

The event is free for East Newton alumni or patrons. Serving will begin at 5 p.m. with entertainment beginning at 6:30 p.m. with our group, Natural Disaster, followed at 7:30 p..m. by DeWayne Bowman.

Those who cannot attend and want to make a contribution to help the foundation, which is designed to provide funding for projects throughout the school district can make out a check or money order to:

East Newton Charitable Foundation
c/o Mark Knight
13701 Shetland Road
Stark City, Missouri 64866

For more information contact: Alan Cook 417-472-7747 or Delmar Hunke 417-638-5398.

Hope to see some of you there.

Is that all there is?

Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, will announce Thursday whether he will take a shot at the Seventh District Congressional seat currently held by Roy Blunt, according to Joplin Globe political reporter Joe Hadsall's blog:

If Nodler announces, he will join a race that includes Republicans Mo. Sen. Jack Goodman, auctioneer Billy Long and Greene County Prosecutor Darrell Moore

Talk about choices. That brings to mind the title of Peggy Lee's 1969 hit, "Is That All There Is"?

A dangerous way of thinking

A thought or two as we wait to see if Gov. Jay Nixon will sign the bill repealing the requirement that those over 21 wear helmets while operating motorcycles:

What in the world were our legislators thinking? With all of the different areas in ehich government invades our lives, and the one they pick to take on is the requirement that motorcyclists wear helmets? What's next? If requiring helmets is such a horrible thing, then can it be just a matter of time before seatbelts are targeted.

Are we never going to see effective laws against the use of cellphones and texting while driving because we are invading a driver's right to put himself and other drivers at risk by engaging in foolhardy behavior.

I have been a critic of the mindset that "if it saves just one life it's worth it," that legislators drag out every time there is a law infringing on what they consider to be someone's liberty. These restrictions, however, are not just a matter of saving one life. They save hundreds, perhaps thousands.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The children will know

Over the weekend, I have been going through boxes of old newspaper clippings, letters, and all kinds of the type of memorabilia a person collects over the decades. I found the following article, which I wrote for the Oct. 19, 1992, Carthage Press, covering the first visit to Carthage of the Moving Wall, a replica of the Vietnam Memorial.I thought it would be fitting for Memorial Day. It was a sidebar to the coverage of the event:

It took a little bit of imagination and a little more effort for the preschooler to figure you could go up the slide. Everyone else was headed in the opposite direction, so there were a few obstacles in her way. But once she crawled her way to the top, it didn't matter.


Some sat silently Saturday as opening ceremonies commemorating the Central Park display of the Moving Wall, Vietnam Veterans Memorial were about to begin.

Some stood in the back, also waiting patiently.

Many people walked along the wall, searching for names of loved ones who left to defend their country and never returned.

Some, like the children on the slide, didn't pay attention at all.


"My husband's brother was killed in Vietnam," the woman said, her husband standing beside her.

"What's his name?" her friend asked.

The woman said the name and continued looking at the black wall. "It should be here somewhere."

"There it is." The three stood silently, staring at the name.


"What are those names?" the four-year-old asked his mother, referring to the listing of the 58,175 men and women who died or are listed as missing in action from the war in Southeast Asia.

"All those people died," she said, then she noticed that her son was leaning against the aluminum panels of the wall. "Get off it!" she scolded.

"I know," he said. "It's bigger than I am."


As Steve Mason, national poet laureate of Vietnam Veterans of America, was midway into his speech, his words were clearly affecting a man standing in the back of the crowd.

The pony-tailed Army veteran's hands were shaking as Mason spoke of friends he had known..friends who would remain forever 19 or 20 years old.

His hand, which was holding an informational brochure about the Moving Wall, began shaking. His wife put her arm around his waist. "It's all right," she said.

A few feet from him, a Vietnam veteran sat in a wheelchair, a result of his stint in Southeast Asia. He did not look at the speaker. He methodically chewed gum, occasionally blowing a tiny, pink bubble.

He was not watching the speaker, but he was taking in every word.

As Mason concluded his speech, the pony-tailed veteran took a handkerchief from his back pocket and brushed a tear from his cheek, then he his wife and most of the others in Central Park headed for the Moving Wall, for the laying of the wreath.

"What are they doing, Mama?" a young child asked. The mother explained. The boy took his mother's hand, then reached over grabbed his sister and took her hand as the bugler played "Taps."


As the ceremony ended, many gravitated toward the wall, again showing their respect and affection for those who made the highest sacrifices for their country.

The pony-tailed veteran headed in the other direction, his arms around his wife.

The children continued playing on the slide. That was what the men whose names are on the wall would have wanted...for the children to be happy and for them to be free.

"We'll never outlive or outgrow Vietnam" Steve Mason said.

Someday the children will know.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Neosho Forums offers capital punishment discussion

I didn't know what i was starting when I posted a link on Neosho Forums to one of my stories on the execution of convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn.

What followed is an interesting discussion on capital punishment. It's worth checking out.

Happy birthday, Michelle Brooks!

I'm a little over two hours late with this, but happy birthday to my favorite feature writer, Michelle Brooks of the Jefferson City News Tribune.

Michelle, the former Michelle Dixon, received her start in journalism writing about Lockwood High School sports and activities back in the early '90s.

At the News Tribune, she has excelled in writing features that delve into areas newspapers should be covering, but aren't. She has done award-winning work with her coverage on military families, religion, and historic preservation.

I tried hard to get her to come back to The Press during my final years there, but she was always able to resist my efforts, something for which Jefferson City readers can be grateful.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Four more from Natural Disaster

Just so the friendly bloggers at the Joplin Globe don't have to go through withdrawal pains, I am posting four videos from Natural Disaster's April 25 performance at the East Newton Reunion:

Turner Report on Twitter

I have been keeping it fairly low profile, but I have been on Twitter for the past few months. Many of the items have simply been pointing readers to the longer posts on this blog, but I am starting to branch out a little, and will increase my output during the summer months.

My Twitter address is

NDN publisher's blog apparently discontinued

While there is still a link to it on the Neosho Daily News website, it appears Publisher Rick Rogers' blog, "What I'm Talking About," has been discontinued.

The blog, much ballyhooed when it began and occupying a prime spot at the top of the Daily's homepage, had not been updated since Feb. 16.

The message that pops up when the link is clicked says, "Sorry, the blog at has been removed. The address is not available for new blogs."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Post-Dispatch cuts 39 jobs

Economic woes continue to plague the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Post-Dispatch owner Lee Enterprises trimmed 39 jobs from the newspaper, including 36 in the circulation department. No newsroom personnel were downsized in this latest cut.

Corcoran asks for, receives another postponement for DWI hearing

The first hearing in the DWI case of Rep. Michael Corcoran, D-St. Ann, scheduled for Thursday in St. Louis County Circuit Court, was postponed until July 2. This is the second time the hearing has been postponed. both times at Corcoran's request, according to court records.

The hearing was originally scheduled for April 23.

The same thing happened with a hearing to determine whether Corcoran should be allowed to keep his driver's license. Initially, that hearing was scheduled for April 30, but has been postponed to July 29 at Corcoran's request.

Corcoran's license was automatically taken away following the Feb. 6 DWI arrest, but he received a stay and has been allowed to continue driving.

News accounts of his arrest indicate Corcoran was stopped by the Missouri Highway Patrol for weaving on I-70. Corcoran refused a breathalyzer test. In addition to the DWI charge, he is charged with failure to drive in a single lane, and failure to signal.

Koster: An execution every month expected

The execution of convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn Wednesday morning may be the first of many, according to Attorney General Chris Koster:

"The death penalty structure has been closed down in the State of Missouri for about three years because of federal challenges to the manner in which the death penalty was carried out," said Koster. "Those federal hurdles have now been cleared. Skillicorn's execution, this week, was the first of many that I think we're going to begin to deal with now in Missouri."

Another execution has been scheduled for next month, and Koster thinks this is what we can expect from now on.

"My guess is that for the near future," said Koster. "We will see one execution probably every month as these individuals come up in the court system."

Free barbecue planned for East Newton Charitable Foundation kickoff

A free barbecue to kick off the newly-formed East Newton Charitable Foundation will be held 5:30 p.. Saturday, May 30, in the west parking lot at East Newton High School.

Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Our band, Natural Disaster, will open the entertainment at 6:30 p.m., followed by Dewayne Bowman at 7:30 p.m.

Donations to the foundation will be accepted.

The Foundation will provide money to help the entire East Newton School District. The event is open to East Newton patrons and alumni.

Davis explain why pro-life legislation failed in 2009

In her latest capital report, Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O-Fallon, explains why pro-life legislation faltered during the 2009 legislative session. In her report, she offers the statement that "64 percent of all women who obtain abortions didn't want one. They were either threatened, were misinformed, or didn't know there were any other options available."

Now I have always been pro-life, but I am curious as to where these statistics come from and no source is cited in Mrs. Davis' report. Here is the complete report:

Some people say we should be satisfied in life with half-a-loaf. But when the issue itself is protecting innocent life, it is ludicrous to ask if we would mind compromising our basic core values. Yet that is exactly what some members of the Missouri Senate asked their colleagues in the Missouri House to do in their rush to reach an “accommodation” with Planned Parenthood and other anti-life advocates.

Have you ever purchased a car from a dealer? After doing our research, finding just the right car, feeling the optimism and the hope of trading up, we put down a deposit and made arrangements to pick up the new one. When the day arrived we discovered the car was in an accident. Someone took it out for a test drive and damaged it. How would you feel if the dealer said you are still forced to buy it? That is what happened to the Pro-Life bill this year. It was damaged and no longer acceptable. The House simply could not offer the citizens of Missouri a bill that had been wrecked by the Senate.

The Pro-Life bill was significant because it addressed the root cause of abortion. It is appalling that 64 percent of all women who obtain abortions didn't want one. They were either threatened, were misinformed or didn’t know there were any other options available. We can sympathize with these women who in a crisis or under duress feel pressured to make an irreversible decision causing deep regrets later. This practice needs to stop and the bill I introduced this year went to the very heart of this issue.

This bill easily passed the House with broad support and should have passed the Senate as well. A close examination of the facts is essential to understanding why, despite large majorities of legislators in both chambers of both parties who claim to be Pro-Life, the Missouri Legislature failed to pass this important bill.

Here are the facts:

Ø Since this was my bill and since I chair the committee which was assigned this bill, I made it my priority to get our part done as quickly as possible. I pre-filed this on the first day bills could be filed, had a public hearing on it as soon as it was assigned to my committee and passed it out of our committee the first chance we had to vote on it. The House approved this bill and put it in possession of the Senate on March 11th.

Ø The Senate chose to not begin full debate until the last week of session, two months after receiving the bill from the House. This added to the congestion of an overstuffed week.

Ø On Wednesday, May 13th around midnight, the senators offered a substitute bill containing fatal flaws that would put women at a disadvantage even worse than where we are today. All but seven senators voted for it, but most had no opportunity to scrutinize it before voting, especially since it was a late night deal.

Ø Among the devastating provisions were bad public policies, loopholes and no forethought for the effect lawsuits would have on implementation in addition to the deletion of the anti-coercion language altogether.

Ø When the House convened on Thursday, May 14th we asked the Senate to grant us a conference so that we could work out the differences. I was appointed by the speaker to serve on that conference committee and was ready to work with our senate colleagues so we could get something positive accomplished for the women of Missouri. The House was willing to accept any positive amendments that added to the bill, but we weren’t prepared to see it gutted to appease Planned Parenthood and other anti-life advocates.

Ø As we waited around for the conference to convene, we were informed that the Senate “refused” to grant the House a conference. The reason? The Pro-Life Senators cut a deal with the anti-life Senators and they had no desire to work with the House, even though the House is the side that found the “time bomb” embedded in the bill. That time-bomb said that in three years the Pro-Life informed consent legislation we previously put into law would go away without any regard to pending litigation. Why would the Missouri Senate want to risk getting rid of our current informed consent laws?

Ø By Friday, the last day of session we had no other choice but to ask the Senate to take up and pass the original bill that passed out of the House. The Senate refused.

On Friday I went over to the senate to see if we could reason with the senators. While many said they would vote to take up and pass the House bill, not one of them, let me repeat for emphasis, not one senator was willing to make that motion. To the contrary, a motion that was made was to reject the House bill. That vote passed by a voice vote so no senators would go on record of killing a major pro-life initiative. Furthermore, the floor leader told me if the House did not pass the Senate version with the poisoned pill in it, he would not be bringing up any Pro-Life bills next year.

I am saddened that some of these elected officials act like they are doing Pro-Life advocates a great favor by bringing up Pro-Life legislation. They should be doing this for their constituents and out of their personal convictions. Perhaps the senators were so distracted with other issues, they didn’t notice the destructive details embedded into the substitute bill. Regardless of their reasons, the bottom line is that we do not have any additional protections for our women for yet another year now.

Over 11,000 abortions are done every year right here in Missouri. That means thousands more women will have to undergo unwanted abortions because the senators:

Didn’t have time to take up the bill earlier,
Allowed Planned Parenthood and anti-life advocates a major role in writing the Senate substitute,
Refused to grant the Missouri House a conference to work out our differences,
Refused to make a simple procedural motion to take up the House version for a vote on the last day of the session.

Given that 64% of these abortions are unwanted, that brings the two year total to nearly 16,000 women who have been needlessly harmed because of the senate’s hard headedness and failure to pass this bill. Theoretically, since both the House Members and the Senators represent the same constituents, can anybody explain why we would have any philosophical distinctions when it comes to how to represent the interests of our citizens? When the senatorial fraternity interferes with the process of crafting good public policies, something is awry.

The very day the senate devastated our Pro-Life bill, a Gallop Poll report came out showing the majority of Americans are in fact Pro-Life. That number is even greater in Missouri. However, with this bill, I believe even those who do not typically call themselves Pro-Life could support this bill because it is giving women more assistance, knowledge and power. Many other Pro-Life bills add requirements to the abortion clinics or focus on protecting the baby. This bill was distinctive in that it addressed the needs specific to the women involved. Everybody should be pro-women regardless of where they fall on other elements of the issue.

For a Pro-Life agenda to move forward in Missouri, it is vital that citizens be informed about what their elected representatives in the Missouri General Assembly are doing. There must be accountability. They must demand that Pro-Life legislation is passed rather than secretly scuttled or traded for other votes. There is an old saying that in matters of fashion you can bend, but that in matters of conscience you must stand like a rock. Calling one’s self Pro-Life, should not be a matter of political fashion to be put on at election time and discarded in the State Capitol.

Do not despair. Sometimes we may wonder if we are making a difference. The answer is “Yes!” You are making a difference just by becoming informed and making others aware. We all have our own parts to play in order to get this bill over the finish line next year. Contact your senators and let them know how important it is to help Missouri women. As long as we live in a country with a constitutional republic form of government and freedom of speech, we can all contribute to the public policy debates.

Nodler, Goodman among senators backing Blunt for U. S. Senate

KY3 Notebook reports the Roy Blunt campaign has issued a list of state senators supporting Blunt's candidacy for U. S. Senate.

The list includes Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, and Delbert Scott, R-Lowry City.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Skillicorn letter read at Springfield vigil

The Springfield News-Leader reports a letter from Dennis Skillicorn was read at a vigil in Springfield Wednesday night shortly before the convicted killer was execut

Despite news that Gov. Jay Nixon had denied clemency for Skillicorn, the letter ended on an upbeat note: "The good news is I know God will continue to work miracles and change people from the inside out."

Lamar Catholic Church arson suspect bound over for trial

John Franklin Manco, Lamar, was bound over for trial Tuesday after waiving his preliminary hearing in Barton County Circuit Court on two charges of burglary and single counts of arson and tampering in connection with the Feb. 6 burning of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Lamar:

But his father, Joe Manco, said after the proceeding Tuesday that he believes his son is protecting other accomplices who may have played a part in the break-in.

Joe Manco said his son is “keeping his mouth shut” about the incident.

“My son’s a big boy. He’s a stand-up guy,” he said, acknowledging that he has no proof of such involvement other than his son’s word. “He knows he’s going to prison, but he’s not going to prison as a snitch.”

While the elder Manco alleges that law enforcement have not have followed up on additional perpetrators, Lamar police Chief Ronald Hager reiterated Tuesday that Manco is the sole suspect in the Feb. 8 arson that destroyed the 104-year-old church.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Death penalty advocate: An eye for an eye

In this video, aired before the 12:30 a.m. execution of Dennis Skillicorn gives an overview of the case, as well as putting a face on the victim, Richard Drummond.

The sentiment listed in the headline for this post, is given by a woman whose relative was murdered, though not by Skillicorn:

Skillicorn executed

News outlets are reporting that convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn has been executed.

According to KTVI in St. Louis:

Missouri has carried out its first execution in nearly four years, putting Dennis Skillicorn to death for the killing of a good Samaritan businessman. Skillicorn received an injection shortly before 12:30 a.m. Wednesday at the prison in Bonne Terre and died about 10 minutes later. He was 49.

Sadly, KTVI does not even report in that story that the good Samaritan businessman's name was Richard Drummond, though Drummons's name is mentioned in an accompanying story about the anti-death penalty vigil.

AP Photo

Efforts to save Skillicorn fail; execution should be happening

If things went according to schedule, convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn should be drawing his final breath in the next few moments.

Skillicorn's efforts to receive a stay of execution during the final hours were rejected by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, federal court judges, and state court judges.

Gov. Jay Nixon also rejected Skillicorn's request for clemency.

Alito rejects Skillicorn request for stay of execution

With only two hours left before convicted Dennis Skillicorn is executed, another longshot hope fell short.

U. S. Supreme Courr Justice Samuel Alito denied Skillicorn's request for a stay of execution. The following message was placed on the Supreme Court website moments ago:

The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied.

Alito also rejected Skillicorn's requests for a writ of certiorari and a writ of habeas corpus.

Corcoran DWI hearing set for Thursday

A 9 a.m. Thursday hearing is scheduled in the DWI case against Rep. Michael Corcoran, D-St. Ann. The hearing was originally scheduled for April 23 in St. Louis County Circuit Court, but was postponed at Corcoran's request until after the Missouri legislative session ended.

The same thing happened with a hearing to determine whether Corcoran should be allowed to keep his driver's license. Initially, that hearing was scheduled for April 30, but has been postponed to July 29 at Corcoran's request.

A scheduled hearing Thursday on whether Rep. Michael Corcoran, D-St. Ann, should be allowed to keep his driver's license was pushed back to July 29.

Corcoran's license was automatically taken away following the Feb. 6 DWI arrest, but he received a stay and has been allowed to continue driving.

News accounts of his arrest indicate Corcoran was stopped by the Missouri Highway Patrol for weaving on I-70. Corcoran refused a breathalyzer test. In addition to the DWI charge, he is charged with failure to drive in a single lane, and failure to signal.

Nixon denies clemency for Skillicorn, asks Missourians to remember victims

Gov. Jay Nixon will not grant clemency to convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn, who is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. Nixon released the following statement:

Early this morning, I received from my counsel a final briefing on the petition for clemency from Dennis Skillicorn, which has been reviewed in detail. After careful deliberation, I have denied this petition.

As Governor, this is a power and a process I do not take lightly, particularly in capital punishment cases. Each instance involves a very specific set of facts, which must be considered on its own.

At the time he murdered Richard Drummond, Dennis Skillicorn was out on parole for another murder in Missouri. The jury that recommended the death sentence for Dennis Skillicorn took that previous murder conviction into consideration as an aggravating circumstance. The jury also took into account during the sentencing phase the fact that Richard Drummond was kidnapped and robbed before he was murdered.

After more than a decade of legal challenges, both the conviction and the death sentence of Dennis Skillicorn have held up under extensive judicial review by the state and federal courts.

The two murders for which Dennis Skillicorn was convicted in Missouri are not his only murder convictions. He also received life sentences after pleading guilty to murdering an Arizona couple in 1994, a few days after the Drummond murder.

These factors were taken into consideration in the clemency process and played a significant role in my decision. The jury that convicted Dennis Skillicorn determined that he deserved the most severe punishment under Missouri law, and my decision on clemency upholds the jury’s action.

Finally, I ask that Missourians remember Dennis Skillicorn’s victims at this time – Richard Drummond, Joseph and Charlene Babcock, and Wendell Howell – and keep their families and friends in their thoughts and prayers.

Federal judges denies Skillicorn's request for injunction

In a decision handed down this morning, U. S. District Court Judge Nanette Laughrey denied convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn's request for a preliminary injunction which would delay his execution. Skillicorn is scheduled to be put to death at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

The request was made as part of an appeal filed by Skillicorn and other death row inmates challenging the state's death protocol. Judge Laughrey's opinion includes the following passage:

While the Court does not doubt that Plaintiffs' claims are brought in good faith and while there may be a slight possibility that Plaintiffs will prevail, that possibility does not reach the "significant" level required for the entry of a stay. "One cannot establish a
likelihood of success in attacking a death-penalty procedure when the theory of success has yet to succeed in a considerable number of cases . . ." Workman v. Bredesen, 486 F.3d 896, 906 (6th Cir. 2007) (vacating the district court's grant of a stay of execution in a § 1983 case challenging lethal injection protocol). More importantly, Plaintiffs have not convinced the Court by the force of their logic that there is any reasonable possibility that they will succeed on the merits of their claim, which necessarily requires a showing that Missouri law is preempted by the CSA or FDCA or is otherwise in violation of them. This factor weighs
against granting Skillicorn’s motion.


While the Court does not doubt that all attorneys involved in the litigation surrounding Skillicorn's execution have made extraordinary efforts to present all relevant issues in a timely fashion, Skillicorn's claim as argued by his counsel will not allow for consideration of those issues absent a stay. Other similar cases and the statutory bases for Plaintiffs' claims have been available to Plaintiffs for some time. Skillicorn's litigation of habeas and other collateral claims did not serve as a bar to his filing of this claim for declaratory relief.
Plaintiffs' motion was filed just over seventy-two hours before Skillicorn's scheduled execution date. He cannot overcome the strong presumption against granting a stay.

Skillicorn is being allowed to file an emergency appeal of Judge Laughrey's decision.

Skillicorn appeal submitted to Alito

Three separate appeals on behalf of convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn are in the hands of U. S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Skillicorn, 49, is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, for his role in the 1994 murder of Richard Drummond. He will be the first person executed in Missouri since 2005.

The Supreme Court docket indicates Skillicorn's lawyer, Kent E. Gipson, Kansas City, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus Monday, and also applied to Justice Alito for a stay of execution. A separate attempt is being made on an effort by Skillicorn and other Missouri death row prisoners to have Gov. Jay Nixon removed as the person who decides if clemency will be granted since Nixon, in his previous role as attorney general, fought for their execution.

Remembering another execution

Barring a last minute reprieve, convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn has less than 17 hours to live.

Of course, there is still a chance he will receive clemency from Gov. Jay Nixon or somehow he will strike pay dirt with one of his many appeals in state and federal courts, but as the hours pass, the odds of that happening are increasingly unlikely.

Almost 13 years ago, August 21, 1996, The Carthage Press and its sister publication, The Lamar Press, offered in-person coverage of the execution of another killer, Richard Oxford, one of two men who murdered Harold and Melba Wampler of Carthage.

Over the past few days, I have criticized the media, particularly the Kansas City Star for its coverage of the impending Skillicorn execution, noting that Skillicorn's victim, Richard Drummond, was barely mentioned in most accounts, and while we have received story after story about the remarkable change that Skillicorn has undergone during his time in prison, we have learned almost nothing about the innocent victim.

In August 1996, I sent my best feature writer, Amy Lamb, a graduate of Lamar High School and the University of Missouri School of Journalism, to Potosi to cover Richard Oxford's execution. While I wasn't able to lay my hands on Amy's news coverage of the execution, I did find the column she wrote, which ran in the Aug. 29, 1996, Lamar Press:

POTOSI- Two guards stand in the outdoor courtyard outside the visiting room at the Potosi Correctional Center, both huddled around their radios. It's just after midnight Wednesday.

Soon after I walk outside where they are, they turn up the volume.

"So do they radio you guys when it's all over?" I ask.

"No. You hear the whole thing as it's happening," said the guard next to me.

I got a little closer and asked, "Where are they now?"

"They're in the second stage," he said.

"What's that?"

"It's the second drug."

Pancronium bromide. It stops the respiratory system. It's 12:04 a.m.

"Begin phase three," comes the calm female voice over the radio.

Potassium chloride. It stops the heart. It's 12:)5 a.m.

:it's extremely quiet now as I look at the guards and out over the concrete wall where my Diet Pepsi is resting. There's no movement anywhere.

A third guard had come out a few minutes earlier. He was manning the metal detector inside the doorway.

Now, the mouthpiece to his headset is pushed up. He leans against the wall in a corner of the concrete courtyard inside the prison.

He just stands there, staring at his watch through his glasses, concentrating on the seconds ticking by. The bright lights from around the prison yard illuminate the night, shining brightly off the security fences and coiled razor wire behind him.

"Operation complete."

It's 12:06 a.m. Richard Oxford is dead.

Four minutes and it was all over.

I was the only media person who covered the execution who wasn't a state's witness. The others had arranged to be witnesses before Oxford's previous June 12 execution date, and I didn't know until last week that I was going to get to Potosi this time.

The family of Harold and Melba Wampler, who Oxford was convicted of killing, came up to the visiting room, which served as a press room tonight, soon after the execution.

They were quiet and looked thoughtful. They had just watched a man die. The man who killed their mother and father, the man who shot them in the head and left them in the trunk of their car.

The man who laughed and smiled in the courtroom during his trial. The man who had raped and sodomized many times before. The man who had a criminal background spanning more than 20 years and had escaped from prison.

The man who laughed at their family with his dying breath.

This was not an easy time for them. But it brought closure.

Many of the family members who were there, Jeff Wampler of Carthage, Brenda Cornell of Lamar, Greg Wampler of Jasper, Pam Tague of Spokane, Wash., and their cousin, Dee Wampler, a Springfield defense attorney, wished it could have been more severe.

Brenda Cornell said something last week that really made me think when she talked about her parents' deaths.

"One of them had to be shot first. The other had to hear those shots," she said.

That has to be one of the most horrible things I can think of.

I'm not even married yet, but to think about witnessing my fiance's brutal murder, that is sheer torture.

And to be locked in a trunk, bound and gagged, and hear and see some lunatic escaped convict put a bullet into the head of your spouse of so many years- I can't think of anything worse.

"He should've been locked in the trunk of a car and have to go 130 miles bound and gagged and lying there with someone he loves, wondering what's going to happen," said son Jeff Wampler.

Richard Oxford knew he was going to die, but he put himself in the situation. He put himself on death row. He blamed his behavior on a life of drug and alcohol abuse that stemmed from a lousy childhood.

Millions of children have not so perfect childhoods, but you have to choose which course you take. One course can take you out of it, and the other just leads you farther down a path of your own destruction.

Or to death row.

No mention of Skillicorn victim on Excelsior Springs newspaper website

Richard Drummond, the Good Samaritan who made the mistake of offering help to three killers, including Dennis Skillicorn, has been a seeming afterthought in coverage of Skillicorn's impending execution, but at least he has been mentioned.

An examination of the website of Richard Drummond's hometown newspaper, the Excelsior Springs Standard, shows no mention of Drummond or Skillicorn.

Impending Skillicorn execution subject of New York Times article

Lawyers for convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn have appealed his case to the U. S. Supreme Court, according to an article in today's New York Times.

The nation's highest court has already rejected a Skillicorn appeal.

The Times article again concentrates on Skillicorn, almost to the exclusion of his victim, Excelsior Springs businessman Richard Drummond. The article includes this passage about Skillicorn:

People here are deeply split over Mr. Skillicorn. His supporters say that while he participated in robbing Mr. Drummond and was convicted of murder, another man (now also awaiting execution) was the one who fired the gun that killed Mr. Drummond. They point to Mr. Skillicorn’s work in prison leading a hospice program, editing a magazine for death row inmates, and, in the view of even some prison workers, helping to create a calmer, safer atmosphere behind bars.

“He is not the one who actually killed the person, and that just says to me: ‘Whoa! Let’s take a step back,’ ” said State Representative Steven Tilley, the Republican leader. “Look, I’m not soft on crime, but we can’t redo this once we’ve executed this person,” Mr. Tilley said, adding that he has been a supporter of the death penalty, but fears it is flawed as it is being carried out.

One difference in the Times article, as compared to those which have been published by the Kansas City Star, is it offers coverage of those who favor Skillicorn's execution:

But State Representative Bob Nance of Excelsior Springs, the community not far from Kansas City where Mr. Drummond had lived, said Mr. Skillicorn “should hardly be held up as a poster child for what’s wrong with the death penalty.”

Mr. Skillicorn was implicated for his involvement in other murders — though never, he says, as the gunman. He was convicted of second-degree murder in a 1979 burglary with accomplices in which a farmer was killed. And in the days after Mr. Drummond’s death, he and his accomplice went on a cross- country spree and, the authorities say, his accomplice shot and killed an Arizona couple. Mr. Skillicorn pleaded guilty to murder in that case.

“When we look back on our lives, it is the sum of all the stories,” Mr. Nance said, “and frankly, it’s hard to believe someone would be at the wrong place at the wrong time so many different times.”

Supreme Court to hear Contrad Black case

The U. S. Supreme Court decided Monday to review the conviction of former Hollinger CEO Contrad Black. Black received a 6 1/2 year prison sentence after being convicted of mail fraud and obstruction of justice:

The decision to review the Black case will involve the court in an evolving controversy about how mail and wire fraud laws have been expanded by a provision covering deprivation of the "right to honest services." The provision has made it easier for prosecutors to convict public officials, but the lower courts are divided about how it relates to private employers.

Hollinger at one time owned The Carthage Press and Neosho Daily News.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What about Richard Drummond?

While convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn has become the cause du jour for what some would label the left-wing media, you very rarely hear about Skillicorn's victim, Richard Drummond, and that, not Skillicorn's impending execution is the real tragedy.

We have read story after story and heard one news report after another about the miraculous change that has taken place in Skillicorn since he was convicted and placed on death row in 1994 for Drummond's murder. We hear about Skillicorn's prison ministry and how he has selflessly helped others these past 15 years.

Reporters are able to interview Skillicorn and those who know him and put a human face on the death penalty. Meanwhile Mr. Drummond has become an afterthought, casually mentioned as the Good Samaritan who stopped to help Skillicorn and two other men and was murdered...if he is mentioned at all.

This was touched on by Kansas City Star columnist Mike Hendricks Sunday, but only as far as this brief passage is concerned:

His fine points are little mentioned these days. About all we hear of him is that he was a Good Samaritan — an Excelsior Springs businessman who offered to help Skillicorn and two of his druggie pals when their car broke down on Interstate 70 one day in August 1994.

And for that kindness, Drummond, 47, was kidnapped, robbed and marched into the woods near Higginsville, Mo. It was there that one of the men, Allen Nicklasson, fired two bullets into Drummond’s brain.

And that's it. The rest of the column, despite Hendricks; premise, is about Skillicorn.

When the media is making out a man to be a martyr, and that is exactly what the Kansas City Star and other publications have done, it needs to provide a sobering balance to the equation. The crime needs to be explained each time, and the victim needs to be more than just a name. Richard Drummond was a human being with a life, a family, and a job. Why have we never been told about this? He came from Excelsior Springs. Can't just one Kansas City Star reporter pick up a telephone and call people in Excelsior Springs to get a full picture of who Richard Drummond was? Perhaps the people who might have made such calls were the victims of some of the Star's recent firings.

And while we are at it, has anyone from the Star actually read through the court records? In legal briefs, Skillicorn's attorneys claimed their client was victimized by the court's refusal to allow a potential witness to testify. Yet this same potential witness told authorities that Skillicorn, portrayed relentlessly in the media as "a follower" who never dreamed that that Allan Nicklasson would murder Mr. Drummond, was actually a cold, calculating "manipulator" who decided early that he would pin all of the blame on Nicklasson.

I have never been a fan of the death penalty, but I am less of a fan of reporting that attempts to manipulate the facts, excluding many of them, in order to make a political point, in this case, that capital punishment is wrong.

These continued attempts to portray Dennis Skillicorn as some shining knight behind bars, being wrongly sentenced to death for a murder committed by another man, make a mockery out of the truth, and are a slap in the face to those who loved RIchard Drummond.

Between now and 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, we will be inundated with information about the impending death of Dennis Skillicorn. Let's not forget, however, that Skillicorn and his companions have lived 15 years longer than they allowed Richard Drummond to live.

Who is going to speak for this man who can no longer speak for himself.

Sadly, it won't be the Kansas City Star or the rest of the traditional media.

No stay for SKillicorn, execution still set for 12:01 a.m. Wednesday

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn's request for a stay today.

The one-page order rejected Skillicorn's attempt to file a second habeas corpus petition, and motions for him to file as a pauper and to appoint a lawyer, in addition to rejecting the stay of execution.

Skillicorn is scheduled to be executed 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Sports Radio leaving Joplin?

The Missouri Radio Message Board notes that Zimmer Radio's 1230 AM, KZYM, is dropping its sports format as of Aug. 3, and becoming yet another talk radio station, complete with Dave Ramsay, Laura Ingraham, and Dennis Miller.

I hate to see Joplin without a sports talk format, but if Dennis Miller is moving from Zimmer's KZRG to the sister station, it would sure be nice to have local programming like Mark Kinsley's Afternoon Newswatch restored.

Now with KQYX 1450 also having a talk format, we will have three in Joplin.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Attorneys: Skillicorn is innocent!

In a last-ditch, desperation attempt to save their client, lawyers for convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn filed a habeas corpus request with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday, claiming Skillicorn is innocent.

"(Skillicorn) is actually innocent of the crime of first degree murder for which he was convicted and sentenced to death," the petition said. It also claims the trial court erred when it excluded "co-defendant Allen Nicklasson's confession." Nicklasson has also been sentenced to death.

The petition also claims the prosecutor should not have been allowed to introduce evidence "of a murder in Mexico as aggravating evidence due to the fact there was no evidence that any such murder had taken place."

Skillicorn's attorneys claim that "a properly instructed jury would have acquitted (Skillicorn) of first degree murder."

The lawyers are asking for a stay of execution.

Skillicorn is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Nodler: Term limits killed heath bill

Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, blamed term limits for the defeat of a health bill which was approved by the Senate, but failed in the House:

Dozens of House members elected in 2002 will be turned out of office after next year, and many are jockeying for position to run for soon-to-be vacant Senate seats. It helped create an atmosphere that was more partisan than ever.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, described the situation this way: Five or six House members might live in a state Senate district where a Senate seat is becoming vacant.

“That has the inevitable effect that members move more toward their ideologically pure party position in pursuit of the nomination for that state Senate seat,” Nodler said. “That results in having a more partisan environment in the House of Representatives because of this pressure to establish your credentials for your Senate run.

“And I think in that sense it’s destructive,” he added.

Nodler did not identify how this affected individuals. But he said the House vote on a funding bill that included Gov. Jay Nixon’s plan to add 35,000 poor adults to the state’s Medicaid health care system provided an example of term limits’ affect on policy.

Globe: Department of Social Services investigating Rita Hunter

Veteran Joplin Globe reporter Susan Redden has shined in recent months with her continued coverage, including scoop after scoop, of the controversies surrounding former Jasper County Public Administrator Rita Hunter. In today's edition, Ms. Redden reveals the state's Department of Social Services has begun an investigation into Mrs. Hunter's conduct:

The probe by the state department’s Division of Legal Services started recently, according to Arleasha Mays, department spokeswoman.

“They are in the initial stages of an investigation, but there will be no details until it is complete,” Mays said.

Hunter, who served one term, left office at the end of the year. An investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, under the direction of the Missouri attorney general’s office, also is under way. Financial records of the office are being audited as part of the investigation.

State officials will not answer questions about what elements of the administrator’s office are being probed. Mays said the division’s legal services unit “investigates everything from welfare fraud, to abuse involving MoHealthNet and fraud and abuse in general, and provides legal support to all our programs.”

The article includes a recap of the information Ms. Redden uncovered for previous articles.

Kansas City Star profiles Skillicorn's "two lives"

Barring a last-minute reprieve, convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn has only three days to live.

Today's Kansas City Star includes a profile of the "two lives" of Skilicorn, the life that led him to death row, and the life he has forged since going to prison:

But friends and supporters say the Dennis Skillicorn sentenced in 1996 to die — a drug-abusing burglar convicted of participating in four murders — no longer exists.

Instead, they call him a leader, respected by both the corrections staff and other inmates, and a peacemaker whose good deeds transcend penitentiary walls.

“I know he’s not the same man who came into prison,” said Bill Henry, a volunteer who has worked with Skillicorn for years in a Christian-based group. “The good things he’s done you can’t even count.”

For Skillicorn, prison deeds are all he can do to make amends for a life of crime.

“If I had three lifetimes, I know I can’t repay society for the things I’ve done,” he said in a recent phone interview. “But I think we have a responsibility to build up what we once tore down with our criminal behavior.”

Lamar Board in apparent Sunshine Law violation

Unless I am missing something, the Lamar R-1 Board of Education violated the Sunshine law during its last meeting.

The Lamar Democrat's account of the story indicates the board went into closed session and when it emerged, it voted to give Superintendent Dennis Wilson an extra week of vacation in lieu of a pay increase. The Sunshine Law permits boards to meet in closed session to discuss hiring, firing, promoting, or discipline.

Wilson had already been hired. There is no talk of firing him; in fact, from all appearances the board has been happy with Wilson's performance. He is not being promoted; he is already the top dog.

And you certainly don't discipline someone by providing him with an extra week of vacation, even if he is not going to get a salary increase.

This is a discussion that should have been held in open session. School boards and city councils make the mistake of assuming that anything involving "personnel" can be discussed behind closed doors. Not only are boards limited in what they can discuss, but the law does not mandate that they go into closed session even to discuss hiring, firing, promoting, or disciplining. It only says boards "may" do so.

Schweich says Blunt is running a smear campaign

Former U. S. ambassador to Afghanistan Thomas Schweich has not even entered the race for U. S. Senate, but he is already accusing Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, the Republican front runner of mounting a smear campaign against him:

I am flattered that Roy Blunt is so concerned about me that he has launched a vintage Washington-style smear campaign against me before I have even decided whether to run. It underscores the need for our party to go in a new direction in this Senate race, demonstrates how vulnerable Blunt is feeling in light of the recent polls showing him being handily defeated by Robin Carnahan, and makes me more likely to run.

Schweich was referring to the release of information that he voted for Claire McCaskill when she was running for state auditor. Schweich noted a long list of Republican candidates who he had supported dating back to his campaigning for Kit Bond when he Schweich was 11 years old.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Education bill passes

In a dramatic reversal of events from earlier in the week, the Missouri House passed the omnibus education bill Thursday by a vote of 110-46. Earlier in the week, the bill had failed by a 116-43 margin.

Rep. Maynard Wallace talks about the bill in this clip from the House website.

Following the bill's passage in the House, it returned to the Senate, which approved it, and it has been sent to the governor's office. To show you how unwieldy this bill is, this is just the summary:

HCS#2/SS/SB 291 – This act modifies provisions relating to education.

ADDITIONAL GENERAL ELECTION DAY IN NOVEMBER 2009: This act provides that the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2009 will be a general election day for the purpose of allowing school districts to incur debt. (Section 115.121)

STUDY ON OPEN ENROLLMENT OF STUDENTS BETWEEN SCHOOL DISTRICTS: The Joint Committee on Education must study the issue of open enrollment of public school students across school district boundary lines. It must submit a report of its findings, and any recommendations for legislative action to the General Assembly, by December 31, 2009. (Section 160.254)

USE OF SECLUSION ROOMS: This act requires school district discipline policies to prohibit confining a student in an unattended, locked space except for an emergency situation while awaiting the arrival of law enforcement personnel. By July 1, 2011, each school district must adopt a written policy that addresses the use of restrictive behavioral interventions as a form of discipline or behavior management technique, as described in the act. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must develop a model policy by July 1, 2010 in cooperation with associations, organizations, agencies, and individuals with specialized expertise in behavior management.

This provision identical to a provision contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009) and is similar to SB 445 (2009). (Section 160.263)

MISSOURI SENIOR CADETS PROGRAM: This act creates the Missouri Senior Cadets Program, which will provide opportunities for twelfth graders in public school to mentor kindergarten through eighth grade students as described in the act. Participating students must be Missouri residents attending a Missouri high school, maintain a 3.0 GPA and plan to attend college. Twelfth graders who donate ten hours per week during the academic year will receive one elective credit that may be used to fulfill graduation requirements. If a student attends a public college or university located in Missouri after participating in the program, subject to appropriation, the state will provide a reimbursement in the amount of three credit hours per semester for up to four years. The provisions of this section will expire in six years unless reauthorized.

These provisions are similar to SB 78 (2009), SB 1013 (2008) and SB 921 (2006). (Section 160.375)

CHARTER SCHOOLS: When the Department retains and remits certain funds to the sponsor of a charter school, the sponsor must make an appropriate determination of the following: it must expend no less than 90% of its sponsorship funds in support of its charter school sponsorship program, or as a direct investment in the sponsored schools; have fair procedures and rigorous criteria for its application process and grant charters only to developers who show capacity for establishing and operating a quality charter school; negotiates charter school contracts that clearly articulate the rights and responsibilities of each party as described in the act; conducts contract oversight; and designs and implements a transparent and rigorous process to make merit-based renewal decisions.

Current law provides that a charter school sponsor may revoke a charter if the charter school commits certain acts. This act provides that a charter school sponsor shall revoke a charter, or take other appropriate remedial action, which may include placing the charter school on probationary status if the charter school commits certain acts.

Current law requires charter schools to maintain a surety bond based on the school's cash flow. This act would allow charter schools to maintain an insurance policy in the amount of $500,000 or more to provide coverage in the event of employee theft.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will commission a study comparing the performance of charter school students with an equivalent group of district students representing an equivalent demographic and geographic population that will be conducted by the Joint Committee on Education. The study will examine charter schools' impact on the constituents of the district in which they serve by using a contractor through a proposal process. The study must include an analysis of the administrative and instructional practices of each charter school and include findings on best practices that lend themselves to replication or incorporation in other schools. The Joint Committee on Education must coordinate the request for proposal process with individuals representing charter schools and the districts in which the charter schools are located.

The student performance assessment must include, but may not be limited to: MAP test performance; student re-enrollment rates; educator, parent, and student satisfaction data; graduation rates; and performance of students enrolled in the same public school for three or more consecutive years.

These provisions are substantially similar to provisions contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009) and similar to provisions also contained in SB 64 (2009) and SB 1078 (2009). (Sections 160.400, 160.405, 160.410)

SCHOOL FLEX PROGRAM: This act establishes the School Flex Program to allow eligible students to pursue a timely graduation from high school. The program is available for eleventh and twelfth graders who have been identified by their principal and parent or guardian. Students must attend school a minimum of two instructional hours per school day within their school district of residence; pursue a timely graduation; provide evidence of college or technical career education enrollment and attendance, or proof of employment and labor that is aligned with the student's career academic plan; refrain from being expelled or suspended; pursue course and credit requirements for a diploma; and maintain a 95% attendance rate.

Students participating in the program will be considered full-time students of the school district and be counted in the school's average daily attendance for state aid purposes.

Participating school districts must submit an annual report to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Department must report annually to the Joint Committee on Education on the program's effectiveness.

This act also changes the requirement for compulsory attendance age for school districts, except for the St. Louis City School District. Current law defines the compulsory attendance age as sixteen. This act changes that to successful completion of sixteen credits toward high school graduation.

These provisions are identical to provisions also contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009). (Sections 160.011, 160.539, 167.031)

P-20 COUNCIL: This act allows the Governor to establish the "P-20 Council" as a private-not-for profit corporation on behalf of the state. The purpose of the P-20 Council will be to create a more efficient and effective education system to more adequately prepare students for entering the workforce and will be reflected in the articles of incorporation and bylaws.

The Council's board of directors will consist of thirteen members, including the Director of the Department of Economic Development, the Commissioner of Higher Education, the Chairperson of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, the President of the State Board of Education, the Chairperson of the Coordinating Board of Early Childhood, and the Commissioner of Education as well as seven members appointed by the Governor as described in the act.

The Council may receive and borrow money, enter into contracts, and spend money for activities appropriate to its purpose. Duties of the Council may include: studying the potential for a state-coordinated economic and educational policy; determining where obstacles make state support of certain programs difficult; creating programs; and exploring ways to better align academic content. The Council must submit an annual report to the Governor and General Assembly containing information about its operations.

Any debts incurred by the Council will not be considered debt of the state. The Council is subject to an annual audit by the State Auditor and the Council must pay for the cost.

This act allows the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Department of Higher Education to contract with the Council for activities described in the act.

This act repeals the statute requiring the Commissioner of Higher Education, the Chair of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, the Commissioner of Education, the President of the State Board of Education, and the Director of the Department of Economic Development to meet and discuss ways to create a more efficient and effective education system.

These sections are identical to SB 344 (2009) and SB 1221 (2008). (Sections 160.730, 160.800, 160.805, 160.810, 160.815 & 160.820)

PERSISTENCE TO GRADUATION FUND: This act creates the Persistence to Graduation Fund. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will establish a procedure for school districts to apply for grants to implement drop-out prevention strategies. Grants may be available to school districts that have at least sixty percent of students eligible for a free and reduced lunch. Grants will be awarded for one to five consecutive years. Upon expiration, a school district may apply for an extension. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must give preferences to school districts that propose a holistic approach to drop-out prevention as described in the act. The Department may stop payments to a district if it determines that the district is misusing funds or if the district's program is deemed ineffectual. The Department must provide written notice thirty days prior to cessation of funds. The Department must report annually to the General Assembly the recipients and amount of grants and data for the preceding five years for each recipient district.

This section is substantially similar to SB 116 (2009) and SB 1128 (2008). (Section 160.950)

PUBLIC ACCESS TO EDUCATION MATERIALS AND RECORDS: This act requires the State Board of Education to provide seven days' written notice to members of board meetings. It also changes from four, to three, the number of members needed to request a meeting of the board. Any business that comes before the board must be made available by free electronic record at least seven business days prior to any meeting. All records of decision, votes, exhibits, or outcomes must be available by free electronic media within forty-eight hours of the conclusion of a meeting. any materials prepared for board members must be delivered to the members at least five days before the meeting. (Section 161.072)

This act requires the Commissioner of Education to study and evaluate the progress, or lack thereof, in achieving instructional goals, and make these findings available by free public electronic media. (Section 161.122)

Current law requires that public and nonpublic high schools report certain information about students age sixteen and older who drop out of school to the state literacy hotline. This act requires that records and reports based upon the school reports be made available by free electronic record on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's website on the first business day of each month. Identifying information of individual students must be excluded. This provision is identical to SB 576 (2009). (Section 167.275)

TEACHING STANDARDS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Each public school must develop standards for teaching by June 30, 2010, including charter schools operated by the board of a school district. The teaching standards must include: having students actively participate and be successful in the learning process; forms of assessment to monitor and manage student learning; having the teacher be prepared and knowledgeable of content and maintain students' on-task behavior; having the teacher be current on instructional knowledge and explore changes in teaching behavior; and having the teacher act as a responsible professional in the mission of the school. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education may provide assistance to public schools in developing these standards upon request.

This provision is similar a provision contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009) and HCS/SB 55 (2009) and is similar to SB 60 (2009) and SB 1273 (2008). (Section 161.380)

VOLUNTEER AND PARENTS INCENTIVE PROGRAM: This act creates the Volunteer and Parents Incentive Program, to be implemented and administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Under the program, the Department will provide a reimbursement to parents or volunteers who donate time at certain schools. To be eligible, individuals must donate time at a school in a district that is unaccredited or provisionally accredited, or has a population of at least 50% at risk students as described in the act. Subject to appropriation, for every one hundred hours donated by a volunteer or parent, the department will provide him or her with a reimbursement for the cost of three credit hours at a public institution of higher learning located in Missouri. The reimbursement cannot exceed $500 every two years. If a participating school district becomes classified as accredited, it may continue to participate in the program for an additional two years.

The provisions of this section will expire in six years unless reauthorized.

These provisions are substantially similar to SB 76 (2009) and SB 1014 (2008).

PARENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS: This act requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to produce "The Parents' Bill of Rights," to inform parents of children with an individualized education program of their educational rights under federal and state law by January 1, 2010. The publication must state it does not confer any right or rights beyond those conferred by federal or state law. In addition, the publication must state that it is only for informational purposes. The publication must contain ten points of information, which are described in the act. The department must ensure that the content is consistent with legal interpretations of existing federal and state law and provides equitable treatment of all disability groups and interests. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must post a copy of it on its website.

Each school district must provide a copy of "The Parents' Bill of Rights" upon determining that a student qualifies for an individualized education program and at any such time as a school district is required under state or federal law to provide the parent or parents with notice of procedural safeguards.

The department must review and revise the content of the publication as necessary to ensure the content accurately summarizes the current federal and state law.

This provision is identical to a provision contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009) and is similar to SCS/SB 175 (2009). (Section 161.850)

OPERATION OF A SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE BOARD OF A LAPSED SCHOOL DISTRICT: This act modifies the law regarding the operations of a special administrative board when a school district's corporate organization has lapsed after having been classified as unaccredited. Current law provides for three members on a special administrative board, one of whom will be a professional administrator and act as chair. This act allows the State Board of Education to appoint additional members. In addition, the State Board of Education may set a final term of office for any special administrative board member, after which a successor member must be elected by the school district as described in the act. If the State Board of Education appoints a successor member to replace the special administrative board's chair, the current members of the special administrative board may appoint a superintendent of schools and contract for his or her services. The State Board of Education may set a date on which the school district will return to local governance.

This provision is identical to SCS/HB 659 (2009) and a provision contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009) and HCS/SB 55 (2009) and is substantially similar to SB 443 (2009).

SCHOOL DISTRICT RECORDS: This act allows school districts to maintain permanent records in a digital or electronic format. School districts must follow the manufacturer's guidelines, suggestions, and recommendations when using digital or electronic storage media and must not use them beyond the manufacturer suggested or recommended period of time.

This provision is identical to SB 55 (2009), SB 925 (2008), and a provision contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009). (Section 162.204)

BLUE SPRINGS SCHOOL DISTRICT AND SCHOOL OFFICERS: The Blue Springs school board may authorize and commission school officers to enforce laws relating to crimes committed on school premises, at school activities, and on school buses as described in the act. All school officers must be licensed peace officers. School officers must abide by school board policies and coordinate with the superintendent, or the superintendent's designee. Any crimes involving a sexual offense or any felony involving the threat or use of force will remain under the authority of the local jurisdiction.

This provision is identical to a provision contained in HCS/HB 96 (2009). (Section 162.215)

CHANGE IN SCHOOL DISTRICT BOUNDARY LINES: Under current law, when a board of arbitration is appointed to determine whether to modify the boundary lines between school districts, the board must base its decision, in part, on the presence of actual educational harm to children, due to a significant difference in time involved in transporting them. This act defines significant difference in the time involved in transporting students as a difference of forty-five minutes or more per trip in travel time. In addition, travel time is defined as the period of time required to transport a pupil from the pupil's place of residence or other designated pickup point to the site of the pupil educational placement.

This act also repeals the requirement that a board of arbitration approve a proposed boundary change when the potential receiving district has obtained a score consistent with "accredited" on its most recent annual performance report and the potential sending district has obtained a score consistent with "unaccredited" on its most recent annual performance report.

This provision is identical to a provision also contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009). (Section 162.431)

VACANCIES ON THE KANSAS CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF EDUCATION: A vacancy that occurs on the school board of the Kansas City School District will be filled by special election instead of by appointment by board members. There will be a special election if a vacancy occurs more than six months prior to the next general municipal election. The State Board of Education is responsible for ordering a special election when a vacancy occurs. If a vacancy occurs less than six months prior to the next general municipal election, the vacancy will be filled at the next general municipal election.

This provision is identical to SCS/SB 253 (2009) and is similar to a provision contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009). (Section 162.492)

MISSOURI PRESCHOOL PLUS GRANT PROGRAM: This act creates the Missouri Preschool Plus Grant Program as a pilot program within the Missouri Preschool Project. The program will serve up to 1250 students with preschool services and will be administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in collaboration with the Coordinating Board for Early Childhood. School districts that are classified as unaccredited and non-sectarian community-based organizations located within such school districts may receive grants. Grants run for three years and are renewable. At least fifty percent of the placements must be offered through non-sectarian community-based organizations. Children who are one or two years away from kindergarten entry may participate in the program. Children of active duty military personnel will receive admission preference.

If a school district becomes classified as provisionally accredited or accredited, it may complete the length of an existing grant and be eligible for one additional renewal for three years. The program must comply with current early childhood standards. Community-based organization grantees may employ teachers with at least an associate's degree provided they show they are on the path to obtaining a bachelor's degree within five years. School districts and non-sectarian community-based organizations must collect short-term and long-term data about student performance where feasible. The Department must make a good faith effort to collect long-term student performance data as required in the act for students who attend non-public schools.

The Department will accept applications in a competitive bid process to begin implementing the program in the 2010-2011 school year. The program will be funded through general appropriations and will not be funded through money from the Gaming Commission Fund. The grants awarded under this section are subject to appropriation.

The provisions of this section will expire in six years unless reauthorized.

This section is identical to SB 314 (2009) and is similar to a provision contained in SS/SCS/SB 726 (2008) and is similar to SB 779 (2008) and a provision contained in SB 690 (2007). (Section 162.1168)

VIRTUAL COURSES FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND CHARTER SCHOOLS: This act provides that school districts that offer virtual courses to resident students who are enrolled in the school district shall receive state school funding. School districts may offer virtual courses through technological methods as described in the act that could take place outside of the regular school district facility. In addition, school districts may develop a virtual program for any grade level. Charter schools may also offer virtual courses for students enrolled in the charter school and receive state funding, as described in the act. Nothing in the act will preclude a private, parochial, or home school student residing within a school district offering virtual courses from enrolling in the school district for purposes of participating in virtual courses.

For purposes of calculation and distribution of funding, attendance of a student enrolled in a district virtual class will equal, upon course completion, ninety-four percent of the hours of attendance for such class delivered in the non-virtual program. Course completion will be calculated in two increments, fifty percent completion and one hundred percent. State funding will be distributed at the fifty percent increment and one hundred percent increment in an amount equal to forty-seven percent of hours of attendance possible for such course delivered in the non-virtual program of the school.

Any special school district must count any student's completion of a virtual course or program in the same manner as the district counts the completion of any other course or program.

School districts and charter schools must ensure that courses purchased from outside vendors are aligned with the Show-Me curriculum standards and comply with state requirements for teacher certification. A school district or charter school that offers virtual courses or develops virtual courses or a virtual program must ensure that they comply with various standards, as described in the act. A school district or charter school may contract with multiple providers of virtual courses or virtual programs, provided they meet all criteria for virtual courses or virtual programs under this section.

This section is identical to a provision also contained in HCS/SB 55 (2009) and HCS/SB 79 (2009). (Section 162.1250)

EDUCATION FUNDING: This act modifies the elementary and secondary education funding formula. It removes from the calculation of the state adequacy target the inclusion of the gaming revenues from the repeal of the loss limits. This becomes effective July 1, 2009.

Beginning on July 1, 2010, the moneys derived from the passage of Proposition A will be deposited into the Classroom Trust Fund and distributed to school districts in that manner.

Current law provides that current operating expenditures shall include, in part, any increases in state funding subsequent to fiscal year 2005, not to exceed 5%, per recalculation, of state revenue, received by a district in the 2004-2005 school year. This act removes the 5% limit on increases in state funding per recalculation. This becomes effective July 1, 2010.

This act modifies the definition of "special education pupil count." Special education pupil count now includes the number of public school students with a services plan. This becomes effective July 1, 2009.

This act eliminates, after the 2008-2009 school year, the penalty on a school district that experiences a decrease in summer school average daily attendance of more than 35% from the 2005-2006 summer school average daily attendance. This becomes effective July 1, 2009.

For the 2010-2011 school year and beyond, all proceeds a school district receives from the Classroom Trust Fund in excess of the amount it received in the 2009-2010 school year must be placed to the credit of the school district's teachers' and incidental funds. This becomes effective July 1, 2009.

This act repeals the Schools First Elementary and Secondary Education Improvement Fund on July 1, 2010 and modifies the audit that will be conducted by the State Auditor, which becomes effective July 1, 2009.

These provisions are substantially similar to SCS/SBs 453 & 24 (2009) and are similar to provisions also contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009) and HCS/SB 55 (2009). (Sections 160.534, 163.011, 163.031, 163.043, 313.775, 313.778, 313.822)

RECALCULATION OF STATE AID FOR RIVERVIEW GARDENS SCHOOL DISTRICT: This act requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to recalculate the state school aid for the Riverview Gardens School District to correct an error by the district in placing funds received by the state for school aid for fiscal year 2006 in the incidental fund, rather than the capital projects fund. The sum of the amounts due to the school district after recalculation for fiscal years 2007-2010 will be divided and distributed to the school district in equal amounts in fiscal years 2010-2013.

This provision is identical to SCS/SB 117 (2009) and is substantially similar to SB 888 (2008), SB 522 (2007) and HB 698 (2007) and is similar to a provision contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009) and HCS/SB 55 (2009) and is similar to HCS/HB 542 (2009). (Section 163.095)

FOSTER CARE EDUCATION BILL OF RIGHTS: This act establishes the "Foster Care Education Bill of Rights." Each school district must designate a staff person to be an educational liaison for foster care children. This liaison would assist with proper educational placements, transferring between schools, ensuring transfer of grades and credits, requesting school records, and submitting school records that have been requested.

A child placing agency will promote educational stability for foster care children when making placements. A foster care child may continue to attend his or her school of origin pending resolution of a dispute. Each school district must accept for credit any full or partial course work satisfactorily completed by a pupil while attending certain schools. A pupil who completes the graduation requirements of his or her school district of residence while under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court will receive a diploma.

If a foster care pupil is absent from school because of a change in placement by the court or child placing agency, or because of a verified court appearance or related court-ordered activity, the pupil's grades and credits will be calculated as of the date the pupil left school. Such absence will not result in a lowering of the pupil's grades.

Subject to federal law, school districts are authorized to permit access of pupil school records to a child placing agency for the purpose of fulfilling educational case management responsibilities required by the juvenile officer or by law and to assist with the school transfer or placement of a pupil.

Each child who is in foster care or who is placed in a licensed residential care facility is entitled to a full school day of education unless the school district determines that fewer hours are warranted. A full school day is defined as six hours under the guidance and direction of teachers in the education process for children in foster care or for children placed for treatment in a licensed residential care facility by the Department of Social Services.

For children placed for treatment in a licensed residential care facility by the Department of Social Services, the Commissioner of Education, or his or her designee, will be an ombudsman to assist the family support team and school district. The ombudsman will have the final decision over discrepancies regarding school day length. A full school day of education will be provided pending the ombudsman's final decision.

These provisions are identical to SCS/SB 96 (2009) and are similar to SB 1000 (2008) and SB 630 (2007). These provisions are identical to provisions contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009). (Sections 167.018, 167.019, 210.1050).

EDUCATIONAL SERVICES PROVIDED BY A SCHOOL DISTRICT OR SPECIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT: This act adds children who temporarily reside in a children's hospital for rendering health care services to children under the age of eighteen for more than three days to the children for whom a school district or special school district is responsible for making payments for services to a serving school district. (Section 167.126)

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY REQUIREMENTS: Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, school districts must ensure that students in elementary schools participate in moderate physical activity, as described in the act, for the entire school year for an average of 150 minutes per week, or thirty minutes per day. Students with disabilities must participate to the extent appropriate. Middle school students may, at the school's discretion, participate in at least 225 minutes of physical activity per week.

Elementary school students must be provided a minimum of one recess period of twenty minutes per day, which may be incorporated into the lunch period.

The Commissioner of Education must annually select for the recognition of students, schools, and school districts that are considered to have achieved improvement in fitness.

A school district may meet any of these requirements above the state minimum physical education requirement by additional physical education instruction or other activities approved by the individual school district under the direction of any certificated teacher or administrator or other school employee under the supervision of a certificated teacher or administrator.

This provision is identical to a provision contained in HCS/SB 55 (2009) and HCS/SB 79 (2009) and is similar to a provision contained in HCS/HB 509 (2009). (Section 167.720)

TEACHER CERTIFICATION: This act creates a method of obtaining teacher certification from the State Board of Education for individuals to teach in the areas of banking or financial responsibility. Individuals must have a bachelor's degree or higher degree and professional experience suitable to provide a basis to teach in such areas. An individual must have received a passing score for the designated exit examination.

The holder of such a certificate is exempt from the Teacher Tenure Act. School districts will have decision-making authority on whether to hire individuals holding such a certificate.

If the holder of such a certificate is employed less than full-time, he or she must complete an amount of professional development in proportion to his or her time teaching in the classroom, rather than complete the standard thirty hour requirement.

These provisions are identical to SB 233 (2009) and HB 1874 (2008). (Section 168.021)

EMPLOYEE BACKGROUND CHECKS AND FINGERPRINT RECORDS: An employee background check and fingerprint record is good for one year and transferable from district to district or to a private or parochial school. A teacher's change in certification will not affect the transferability of records.

This provision is identical to a provision contained in SCS/HCS/HB 96 (2009). (Section 168.133)

ELIMINATION OF TENURE PROTECTIONS FOR NON-CERTIFIED EMPLOYEES IN ST. LOUIS CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT: Current law provides that non-certified employees in the St. Louis City School District may earn tenure protection. This act eliminates tenure protection for employees hired after August 28, 2009.

This provision is identical to a provision also contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009). (Section 168.251)

TEACHER CHOICE COMPENSATION PACKAGE: This act creates the "Teacher Choice Compensation Package" for the St. Louis City School District to permit performance-based salary stipends, upon the decision of a teacher, to reward teachers for objectively demonstrated superior performance. It also creates the Teacher Choice Compensation Fund in the State Treasury. The General Assembly must annually appropriate $5 million to the fund.

A teacher must give up his or her right to a permanent appointment for the duration of his or her employment with the school district to participate in the Teacher Choice Compensation Package. If a teacher chooses to no longer participate in the Compensation Package, he or she may not resume permanent teacher status with the district. Teachers will qualify annually in October.

Stipends will be offered in increments of five thousand dollars, up to fifteen thousand dollars but must not exceed fifty percent of a teacher's base salary as described in the act. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will make a payment to the district in the amount of the stipend, which will be delivered as a lump sum in January following the October qualification. If funds are insufficient, the Department may prorate payments.

The Teacher Choice Compensation Package will be open to every person employed by the St. Louis City School District regardless of certification status, provided the other requirements are satisfied. Stipends will be prorated for part-time employees and will be forfeited for any teacher dismissed for cause.

Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, teachers who opt out of their permanent contract may be eligible based on the following: student scores on a value-added test instrument as described in the act, evaluations by principals or other administrators, evaluations by parents, and evaluations by students. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must develop or identify model instruments for use by school districts, which may also use or develop their own instruments.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must develop criteria for determining eligibility for stipend increments. Test-scores will be given more weight than evaluations. The level of scores required must take into account classroom demographics.

These provisions are similar to SB 42 (2009). (Sections 168.221, 168.745, 168.747, 168.749, 168.750).

SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL SERVICES PROGRAMMING: Equipment and educational materials necessary for participation in supplemental educational services programming will not be deemed an incentive for purposes of compliance with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's rules and regulations for supplemental educational services provider certification. In addition, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must not prohibit providers of supplemental and educational services from allowing students to retain equipment, including computers, used by them upon successful completion of supplemental and educational services.

This provision is identical to a provision contained in HCS/SB 55 (2009) and is similar to a provision also contained in SCS/HCS/HB 1722 (2008). (Section 170.400)

FOUR-DAY SCHOOL WEEK: This act allows school boards to establish a four-day school week instead of a five-day school week by the adoption a resolution by a majority vote of board members. Any school district that does so must file a calendar with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. A minimum term for a school district adopting a four-day school week includes 142 days and 1044 hours of pupil attendance. A school district that adopts a four-day school week and subsequently meets at least two fewer performance standards on its annual performance report over a two year period must revert to a five-day school week. If the school district then meets the same number of performance standards it had met prior to adopting the four-day school week, it can resume a four-day school week.

Current law requires a school district to make up the first six days of school lost or canceled due to inclement weather and half the number of days lost of canceled in excess of six days. This act provides that such make-up will occur if necessary to ensure that the district's students will attend a minimum of 142 days and a minimum of 1044 hours for the school year. School districts that adopt a four-day school week may schedule make-up days on Friday.

These provisions are identical to provisions contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009) and are substantially similar to HCS/HB 242 (2009), SB 345 (2009) and HB 1534 (2008). (Sections 160.011, 160.041, 171.029, 171.031, 171.033)

SCHOOL MAKE-UP DAYS RESULTING FROM INCLEMENT WEATHER: Current law requires school districts to make up the first six days of school lost or canceled due to inclement weather and half the number of days lost or canceled in excess of six days. This act creates an exception for the 2008-2009 school year and subsequent school years. School districts may only have to make up a total of ten school days.

This provision is identical to a provision contained in HCS/SB 79 (2009) and is similar to HB 682 (2009). (Section 171.033)

SCHOOL BOARDS AND AGREEMENTS WITH CERTAIN POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS: This act authorizes any school board to enter into an agreement with the county in which the school district is located, or a city, town, or village that is wholly or partially located within the boundaries of the school district to acquire, construct, improve, extend, repair, remodel, or finance sites, buildings, facilities, furnishings, and equipment for the school district's educational purposes. An agreement may provide for the present or future acquisition of an ownership in the facilities, including joint ventures.

This section is identical to SB 325 (2009) and similar to SB 1191 (2008)and HB 1735 (2008). (Section 177.088)

STUDY OF GOVERNANCE IN KANSAS CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT: The Joint Committee on Education must study the issue of governance in the Kansas City School District during the legislative interim through December 31, 2009. The Joint Committee must prepare a report and submit it to the General Assembly with any recommendations for legislative action. (Section 1)

This act contains different effective dates (Sections B and C)




While the compromise ended up nailing an effort to increase A+ funding, which allows students to attend Missouri community colleges free of charge, it did get rid of Sen. Jane Cunningham's efforts to prevent teachers from communicating with students through social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.