Sunday, May 30, 2010

Natural Disaster to perform Saturday in Carthage

Our band,  Natural Disaster, shown here in a 2008 performance, will perform 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life at Central Park in Carthage.

This is our fifth year in a row to play at this event. Hope to see you there.

Government asks for delay in trial of Anderson Guest House owner

Because of the unavailability of a key witness, the government has asked for a postponement of the trial of former Anderson Guest House owner Robert Dupont. The request, filed this week in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, asks that the trial be pushed back from July 12 to Sept. 20.

Dupont and his lawyer have no objections, according to the filing.

Charges were filed against Dupont and his wife following a November 2006 fire at the Anderson Guest House, in which 11 people were killed.

The Duponts were charged with defrauding the federal government after an investigation into the November 2006 fire that destroyed the Anderson Guest House and killed 11 people.

Dupont is accused of hiding his control of the Anderson Guest House, defrauding the government, and money laundering.

An affidavit signed by Special Agent Peter H. Blackburn of the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health of Human Services said Dupont was executive director of Guest House facilities from 1993 through 2006, including the time following his 2002 conviction for Medicaid and Medicare fraud.
Facilities owned by Dupont, according to the affidavit, included the Anderson Guest House, Carl Junction Guest House, Carthage Guest House, Guest House I in Joplin, Guest House 2 in Joplin, Guest House 3 in Joplin, Lamar Guest House, and St. Louis Guest House. Apparently, the government missed the Springfield Guest House.

According to the affidavit, "Robert J. Dupont was owner and president of Guest Houses of Missouri. Inc., a for-profit corporation Dupont created in January 2000" that operated the Guest Houses in Anderson, Joplin, Carl Junction, and Carthage.

"On June 15, 2000, Dupont was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States relating to billings he caused to be submitted on behalf of Butler Guest House, Lamar Guest House, and St. Louis Guest House. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States on Feb. 13, 2002, and was sentenced on Feb. 21, 2003, t0 21 months federal imprisonment. The offense to which Dupont pleaded guilty involved his conspiracy with others to conceal his ownership and control of a company that submitted billings to Medicare and Medicaid." Because of this, the affidavit said, Dupont was excluded from participation in any federal health program, including Missouri Medicaid.

"During March 2002, shortly after Dupont's guilty plea but prior to his sentencing, Dupont formed a new corporation, Joplin River of Life Ministries that began assuming operational control over the residential care facilities," the affidavit said. "On April 10, 2002, Guest Houses of Missouri, Inc. notified the Division of Medical Services, the agency which administers Missouri's Medicaid program that as of May 1, 2002, Joplin River of Life Ministries was taking over the operation of the residential care facilities formerly operated by Guest Houses of Missouri, Inc."

The affidavit continues, "On or about April 15, 2002, JROL submitted applications to the Department of Health and Senior Services for licenses to operate long-term care facilities specifically Anderson Guest House, Carl Junction Guest House, Guest House 2, and Guest House 3." Robert Dupont and his wife Laverne were listed as owners and landlords and Robert Dupont was listed on the Joplin River of Life Ministries board.

On July 31, 2002, the company applied to participate as a Missouri Medicaid personal care provider and was approved.

"On March 19, 2003, prior to Dupont's surrender on March 21, 2003, to begin serving his federal sentence, Dupont convened and oversaw a Joplin River of Life Ministries board meeting in which he announced the employment of Laverne Dupont, his wife, as the incoming executive director of JROL and corporate documents after that date list her as executive director," according to the affidavit.

Dupont was released to a halfway house in August 2004 and completed his sentence the following month. "In contravention of state and federal law, Dupont resumed the operation and control of JROL upon his release from prison," the affidavit said. "In day to day operation of the facilities, Dupont makes unilateral hiring decisions, terminates employees, directs staffing levels, and unilaterally decides whether to accept potential residents referred to local hospitals. Dupont has prohibited facility managers from seeking decision making authority from Laverne Dupont, his wife and the individual listed as executive director of JROL, and threatened to terminate employees who fail to seek his authorization for decisions."

The affidavit concludes, "During an interview conducted on Nov. 28, 2006 (following the Anderson Guest House fire) Dupont denied any control over Joplin River of Life Ministries and asserted that he was an uncompensated employee. However, W-2, wage and tax statements filed by JROL indicate that Dupont received a salary in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005."

Aug. 10 jury trial set for Stella man accused of raping, murdering nine-year-old stepdaughter

An Aug. 10 jury trial has been scheduled in Pulaski County for David Wesley Spears, the man accused of raping and murdering his nine-year-old stepdaughter, Rowan Ford, on Nov. 3, 2007. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Spears confessed to Newton County deputies, with the following taken from the statement:

Deputy: “Just for clarity, in this statement you told me that you, David Spears, and Chris Collings both had intercourse with Rowan Ford at that time. Then Chris handed you a white cord that you placed around Rowan's neck and strangled her. Is that correct?"
Spears: “Yes, yes.”
Deputy: “Is there anything else you would like to add to this statement?”
Spears: “I did it."

Miss Ford was a fourth grader at Triway Elementary School.

The other man accused in the brutal rape and murder, Chris Collings of Wheaton, whose trial is scheduled for early in 2011. The state is seeking the death penalty for both men.

Blue Cross Blue Shield contributes $10,000 to Richard

Speaker of the House Ron Richard, R-Joplin, who has a long record of large contributions from the insurance industry added another big one Friday.

A 48-hour report filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission indicates Blue Cross Blue Shield contributed $10,000 to Richard's campaign. Richard, who is prevented by term limits from running for another term in the House, is unopposed in his race for the 32nd District Senate seat currently held by Gary Nodler.

Nodler: Reflecting on Memorial Day

In his latest report, Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, a candidate for Seventh District Congress, reflects on Memorial Day:

On May 31, many families will gather for picnics, barbeques, and other celebrations of summer, but it is important that we remember the reason for Memorial Day — to reflect and be thankful for the sacrifices of our service men and women.  The day is set aside to recognize our fallen heroes and keep their memories strong. 
Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and was first called Decoration Day.  May 30, 1868 marked the first celebration of Decoration Day, which was designed to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers.  This first observance included the participation of 5,000 individuals, who decorated the graves of 20,000 soldiers with flowers and ribbons.
Communities throughout the nation continued to take the time to observe Decoration Day, holding ceremonies and taking time to honor their fallen heroes.  In 1917, the United States first joined the global stage when President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany in order to “...make the world safe for democracy, and fight this war to end all wars.”  America lost more than 130,000 soldiers, and the nation’s shared loss led communities to set time aside to honor all of those who had died in all of America’s wars.  Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971. 
Memorial Day is set aside to recognize the fallen service men and women of every generation, from the earliest fighters to those who are serving today.  It is our most solemn holiday, one designed to give us the opportunity to reflect on those who gave everything to protect our freedom.  All across America, people gather to pay tribute to those who gave their lives for their nation’s freedom. 
I hope you will join me this Memorial Day to take the time to remember the service men and women who do not return home to their families, as well as supporting our troops who are fighting today. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hartzler: Defeat on Don't Ask, Don't Tell vote shows Skelton's weakness

Challenger Vicky Hartzler has an interesting take on this week's vote on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. She says the fact that Skelton's opposition to the repeal was unsuccessful proves his weakness:

Republican congressional candidate Vicky Hartzler said U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton’s loss Thursday on a high profile gay lobby issue shows his weakness as a protector of the armed services.
Hartzler said, “I thought he was a student and admirer of military history.  Why doesn’t he deploy some of those strategies on behalf of the troops and protect the military readiness of the greatest fighting force in the world?  Where’s the trench warfare?  Where’s storming the hill?  Putting up his token resistance to the Pelosi-led repeal of DADT is a make or break issue for our national security.
“I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that he managed to lose, since this is his pattern with Nancy Pelosi.  He repeatedly votes for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, gives her the gavel, lets her ramrod her liberal agenda, yet acts surprised and regretful when liberal issues pass.  As with today’s critical vote, he is powerless to win important battles when needed most.  American’s future military strength and national security will be compromised by his failure today.
“Ike Skelton votes with Pelosi’s radical San Francisco agenda more than 90 percent of the time. On the rare occasions when he takes a Fourth District position, he manages to lose, as he lost today on the Obama-Pelosi plan to use the wartime military for a gay lobbying experiment.  
Hartzler said today’s House vote is an ominous sign of things to come: “He can’t protect the troops from Pelosi’s radical social agenda. When deep liberal cuts for national security come to get money for social programs like ObamaCare, if Mr. Skelton is present to complain, Pelosi and Obama will do what they did today: walk over him like he doesn’t exist. 

KSPR: Kanakuk keeping eye on employees after Pete Newman scandal

In one of the few reports following up on Kanakuk since Pete Newman's arrest and guilty plea on sex charges involving teen boys, Kanakuk officials tell KSPR in Springfield they are paying extra attention to the people whom they hire.

"We've learned some things.  We've learned how important it is to understand the possibility of abuse, and the fact we need to be aware of the signs of abuse," said Julie Coxie with Kanakuk Kamps.
She says the camp is also working to make sure future employees don't slip through the cracks. "We require references.  We do a background check with a reputable company.  They do a national criminal background check," said Coxie.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ruestman continues to preach on evils of federal government

In her latest Ruestman Report, Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, continues her attacks on that unbearable ogre, the federal government:
The issue of states’ rights seems to be a continual battle.  The national radical progressive agenda has put every state on notice as individual and state rights are quickly being diminished.
The strongest example of this is the national health care plan passed by the Democrat majority in Congress in February.  It is appalling that the federal government wants to mandate you to purchase health insurance.  This bill also infringes on your right to privacy as the federal government is now going to be aware of medical decisions you make and the cost of your insurance and treatment.
Beyond all that, this bill was originally estimated to cost approximately $940 billion.  This is a staggering number when you take into account our national debt, which will soon be $13 TRILLION.  Worse yet, the Congressional Budget Office recently announced their original estimates were short by $115 billion!  This is a fine example of how inefficient government programs are.  In April, Alan Greenspan was quoted as saying that the consequences were “severe” if the CBO estimates were wrong.
In the General Assembly we felt the issue was of such consequence that it should be decided by the voters.  Congress seems to have ignored the cry of Americans in our state and nationwide to leave our health care alone forcing us to act on the state level.  House Bill 1764, which is going to a vote of the people on the August 3rd primary ballot, prohibits any person, employer or health care provider from being compelled to participate in a health care system.
In addition to the above clause, it protects your right to pay directly for lawful health care and providers can accept payment from any individual without being subject to fines or penalties.  If passed, the purchase or sale of private health insurance could not be prohibited by any law.
This bill is essential to protecting the free enterprise in health care.  We know the government doesn’t run any program well (remember Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae?).  Why would we trust it with something so personal and important to our well-being?
On August 3rd I encourage you to support this measure and protect our liberties in Missouri.

Kim Frencken named most inspirational teacher at East Middle School

I don't normally throw East Middle School news in on The Turner Report site, but since I have many readers in the East Newton area, I thought I would share the news that Mrs. Kim (Lowe) Frencken, a longtime faculty member at East (formerly South) Middle School and an East Newton High School graduate, was named Most Inspirational Faculty member today.

The following story was posted today on our Journalism Club website, the East Middle School Roundabout:

Sixth grade block teacher Mrs. Kim Frencken was named Most Inspirational Teacher at East Middle School during the Awards Assembly/Talent Show today. The award was presented by her former student, eighth grader Taryn Parker, who wrote the paper nominating Mrs. Frencken for the honor. Mrs. Frencken is the first teacher at East Middle School to receive the honor, which began three years ago at the old South Middle School. Previous winners at South were Mr. Rocky Biggers, Ms. Kathy Weaver, and Ms. Debbie Moore.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Emerson explains immigration checkoff bill

Under legislation introduced by Eighth District Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, employers would have to vouch that their workers are legal. She explained the bill in her latest newsletter:

On May 13, I introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would that would require employers to check off on the legal status of the workers they employ.  Falsifying a tax record is a serious crime, punishable as a felony, substantially increasing the opportunity to prosecute employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens.
 We have to remove the biggest incentive to illegal immigration – a paying job.  Not only do illegal workers displace Americans who really want to do these construction and service jobs, but they are ignoring federal immigration laws.  In order to get serious about the illegal immigration problem, we have to start enforcing laws that deter the hiring of undocumented workers.
 This legislation is designed to enable prosecutors to go after companies with felony charges for perjury on tax forms rather than depending on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
 This is a bigger problem in many ways than securing the border.  We have communities in Southern Missouri where illegal workforces are a problem.  When they get picked up or get into trouble, they simply move on to another community in another county or another state.  We have to dry up the jobs, dry up the money, and partner that effort with stricter enforcement of the immigration laws already on our books.
 American businesses have an obligation every time they hire someone to check identification, Social Security numbers or work visas.  Ignoring that responsibility hurts our communities and it hurts our economy.  Ultimately it hurts our country.  Under my bill, prosecutors can pursue felony charges in these cases.  We have to break the impasse between an illegal workforce of millions in the U.S. and lightly-enforced federal laws against hiring undocumented workers.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cynthia Davis: Sexual promiscuity raping the taxpayers

Rep. Cynthia Davis is not thrilled with the so-called "Promiscuous Partner Bill," which slipped through the legislature during the last week of the session:
While I feel very positive about the legislative accomplishments of this session, one of the most worthless bills that survived the legislative process will become law.  There’s an old expression that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The last day of session the legislature sent a bill to the governor’s desk that is like putting a band-aid on a gun shot wound and does nothing to actually solve the problem.  The root cause of many public healthcare issues stems from sexual promiscuity.  The cost for living an immoral lifestyle has an economic impact on our state, which ultimately costs the taxpayers. 
Some call this the “Doggie Bag” bill or the “Promiscuous Partner” bill.  It is about “buy one, get one free” drugs to treat two sexually transmitted diseases. HB 1375 allows doctors to give out extra prescriptions to the sexual partner(s) who are too low to even show up at a free STD clinic and get their own prescription.  The state may pay for both the doctor visit and the drugs.  When this bill came through my Healthcare Policy Committee, I was successful in adding an amendment that would at least require the anonymous person to fill out a “health history” form.  This would disclose any known allergies.  The senate stripped this provision out of the bill.
Attempting to remove more natural consequences yet, the senators added another section to the bill requiring the state to produce a brochure encouraging parents to get their children the HPV vaccine.  This is a vaccine for another STD.  Were it for people being responsible, faithful and moral, this would not have been a topic of discussion!  So the state’s answer is to push the drug company’s remedies so that people can get worse diseases that will not be cured with a simple pill or shot.  There is no drug ever made that can fix a broken heart or a broken conscience.
During the debate I argued that this vaccine has had some negative reactions and questioned why we are involving the state in part of the marketing strategy for private “For-Profit” companies.  If the drug companies want to sell more vaccines, they ought to be the ones promoting their products, not the government.  This is one difference between free markets and socialistic governments.
Why should the government be involved in promoting something that may harm our citizens? Follow this link to read an article on HPV vaccine deaths:  safety-analysis
Good public policy is about standing up for what is right, not what is “politically popular”.  Several other Representatives joined me in voting against this bill. Tom Dempsey from St. Charles also deserves credit for being one of seven Senators who did not support this bill.  However the majority of the General Assembly passed it.

So what is the ounce of cure?  The only real hope is for parents to teach their children the benefits of chastity.

Wisdom to be on KZRG Thursday morning

Jeff Wisdom, a Republican candidate for Seventh District Congress, will be on KZRG Morning News Watch 7:40 a.m. Thursday.

Wisdom is an instructor at Ozark Technical College and is an Iraq veteran.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Koster fights back against Westboro Baptist Church

In a trial brief submitted today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Attorney General Chris Koster defended Missouri's law preventing protesting at funerals. Shirley Phelps-Roeper, sister of Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps was awarded an injunction which has permitted the protests, most of which take place at soldiers' funerals, to continue until her lawsuit against the state has been decided. Church members say they protest at the funerals because of the United States' increasing tolerance of gays.

Koster says the case involves no First Amendment issues because the church's followers employ so-called "fighting words" and not political speech:

The record shows, and State defendants anticipate the evidence at trial will show, that these types of provoking signs are “sound bites” designed to provoke and play no essential part in the exposition of ideas. See plaintiff’s deposition at 75:12 (“sound bites”). In fact, plaintiff describes in her deposition how she and other church members decide which signs to bring to a particular protest: “Well, when I went to the Catholic high school this morning, I made absolutely certain that I had priests rape boys, and Pope in hell, and the Pope is lying.”
Plaintiff’s deposition at p. 55:18-21; see also plaintiff’s deposition at p. 55:24 – 56:5 (“We have thousands of signs, but they fall under categories. We have military signs. We have government signs. We have individuals, like when we’re going to picket Elton John. I’ve got a couple of his signs. No joke. Elton John and Billy Joel did a series of concerts this year, and we caught them in Tulsa, in Chicago, in Des Moines. You understand?”).

Koster says the church members' conduct "is not entitled to First Amendment protection at all."

The brief also claims that Missouri's law merely creates a buffer zone around the funeral, something which has been approved by the courts for other situations, such as the protection of workers at health care clinics.

The brief notes that Missouri has an interest in maintaining the sanctity of funerals:

The State has a significant interest in preserving and protecting the sanctity and dignity of memorial and funeral services, as well as protecting the privacy of family and friends of the deceased during a time of mourning and distress. 

The state's arguments for summary judgment will be presented during a June 7  hearing in Kansas City.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kanakuk scandal has escaped national radar, local scrutiny

Imagine the reaction of the national news media if a public school teacher had a long history of having sex with students, claiming victims in several states.
And what if, after the authorities finally caught on to this predator, school officials did not do anything for months to let parents know that this man had been teaching their children, and those children may very well be his victims.

Add a few salacious details into the mix, such as hot tub incidents and naked Truth or Dare and the story would be a staple on all of the cable news programs and every media outlet from the New York Times to the National Enquirer.

If such a thing happened, the nation would be outraged and rightfully so; headline-hungry legislators would jump on the opportunity to take advantage of the situation, filing bills to stop the “epidemic” (and yes, they would call it an epidemic) of sexual predators in the classroom.

After all, public schools, if you believe those who are seeking to destroy them, are a cesspool.

But when the situation happens with the director of a Christian youth sports camp, run by a man connected to the politically powerful Focus on the Family organization, the cry for reform is non-existent.

For the past several months, I have written about Pete Newman, former director of Branson, Missouri-based Kanakuk Kamps, who pleaded guilty April 30 to two counts of statutory sodomy in the first degree, three counts of statutory sodomy in the second degree, and three counts of enticement of a child. All of the crimes involved underage boys.

Newman has also been charged in Colorado with sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.

Other states are also considering filing charges against Newman.

Meanwhile, Kanakuk Kamps, has managed to sail through virtually unscathed, thanks to a complicit media, and an ultra-conservative Missouri legislature whose outrage against predators seems limited to the handful who somehow to manage to land in public schools.

Kanakuk officials waited for months after firing Newman to tell prospective campers (or kampers as they call them) about what had happened.

Shortly after Newman’s arrest, Kanakuk owner Joe White wrote to families who might be considering sending their children to camp:
Because you are an important part of the Kanakuk family, we wanted to make you aware that earlier today, the Taney County Missouri prosecutor filed a four-count criminal complaint against our former employee, Pete Newman. As you may know, Pete Newman was employed at K-Kountry. The prosecutor’s criminal charges allege that Pete engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior with adolescent boys, including some who had been Kanakuk Kampers.
When we became aware of this situation we took immediate action, terminating Pete Newman’s employment. Since that time, we have been working closely with the affected families and appropriate authorities. We reported what we knew to investigators and stayed in contact throughout the process, providing whatever assistance we could. We have also offered our assistance to the impacted families. Our fervent prayers are with those who have been impacted. We look forward to the completion of the legal process to ensure that justice is served.

Since I broke the news about Newman’s arrest on The Turner Report, I have received thousands of comments from readers, many of whom noted that Kanakuk officials had been warned on numerous occasions about Newman and had, in fact, had discussions with him about his unseemly behavior. But even after Newman was fired, it took months before White wrote his letter to Kanakuk families.

Local media has written about Newman and Kanakuk, but only sparingly. Not much of a fuss was made when a judge closed an early hearing, a decision that was contrary to Missouri law. Only a few questions were asked of Kanakuk officials about any steps they were making to ensure that no more predators would be turned loose on campers, and after that, there were no follow-up stories. As far as I can determine, the arrest was never mentioned in the hallowed halls of the Missouri Legislature.
And no wonder, considering that Joe White is connected to some of the most powerful forces in the conservative movement. He has been a regular speaker for Focus on the Family, with that organization’s former director James Dobson praising White’s connection with young people as part of the publicity for one of White’s 16 books.
White has contributed thousands of dollars to the Republican Party.

Next month, Pete Newman will be sentenced and it will not be long before the incident is totally out of the minds of the public. It is hard to believe that no one has an interest in making sure that Kanakuk and other youth camp facilities are standing guard against those who would take advantage of the defenseless.

Apparently, the attention of legislators and the media can only become focused when predators have a license to teach in public schools.


Turner Report author Randy Turner's latest book, Newspaper Days, can be ordered at this link.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Humphreys nears half a million in contributions to Show Me Better Courts

David Humphreys of TAMKO in Joplin continued to bankroll the effort to abolish Missouri's much-praised judge selection method Thursday, contributing another $75,000 to Show Me Better Courts, according to Missouri Ethics Commission records.

This brings the total Humphreys has contributed to the cause to $475,000, Ethics Commission records indicate.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cleaver: Financial reform bill is far from perfect

In his latest EC from DC column, Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver says the financial reform plan passed this week is far from perfect:

Despite the efforts of 3,000-plus lobbyists — that is 5 lobbyists for every Member of Congress— and $1.3 billion spent by 850 banks to kill financial regulatory reform legislation, yesterday the Senate finally joined the House in taking a significant step forward in preventing a repeat of our recent economic collapse. 

The bill is far from perfect, and I hope that the Conference Committee that will now reconcile the House and Senate versions will be televised as Chairman Frank has asked. Differences between the chambers should be ironed out in the light of day. I am sure that after spending over a billion dollars lobbying so far, the pressure the financial industry and their lobbyists will place on the conferees will be immense. We must continue to be vigilant so the American people get a final bill that is both effective and responsible. After months of hearings and debate, we are close to having a bill that holds Wall Street accountable and secures stability in our financial markets. If the provisions hold, for the first time we will have: 
  • A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to watch out for the average citizen in our country when they are abused by a financial market place that tries to take advantage of them on home mortgages and credit cards.
  • Transparency and accountability for derivatives with mandatory clearing and exchange trading.
  • A system in place, so that when a giant company fails, it fails, its management is fired, its shareholders and creditors are wiped out, and never again will taxpayers be forced to bail them out.
  • An advance warning system, so somebody is on the lookout for the next big problem in the economy before it’s too late to do anything about it.
The bottom line is this: for far too long Wall Street has played fast and loose with money that was not theirs. Behind every single dollar traded or leveraged on the market floor, there is a family who invested to pay for a new home, save for their child’s education or have a more comfortable retirement. This is not Wall Street’s or the big banks’ money — it has always been yours. It is high time they started treating you, and your hard-earned money, with respect.

Hartzler: Skelton/Pelosi plan will bankrupt America

Former Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a candidate for the Fourth District Congressional seat currently held by Democrat Ike Skelton, continued her attacks on Skelton in her latest news release:

 GOP congressional candidate Vicky Hartzler said today the ongoing collapse of budget-writing in Congress is a frightening confession of failure by Ike Skelton, a three-decade incumbent, and of Nancy Pelosi's leadership in Congress. 
Hartzler said: "Unemployment just rose to 9.9 percent, a tragedy for millions of our families. The April budget deficit was the highest ever posted for the month, at $83 billion, and four times more than April 2009. Now, this very day, Mr. Skelton's liberal House is running from its single most basic duty, to write the annual budget to operate the United States government.

"Mr. Skelton's fiscal policy is the most irresponsible thing I've seen in government at any level. It is ruining this nation's finances and will ruin the future for our children and grandchildren. Mr. Skelton voted with Nancy Pelosi every step of the way for Obama economics. President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Skelton decided to spend money we don't have, to spend it as fast as humanly possible, and to keep spending until the printing presses blow up. Their plan for the national debt is to keep borrowing more and more money from countries like China. Their plan for taxes is to increase them to European levels, starting with the national energy tax. Ike Skelton voted ‘Yes’ for every chapter in this tragedy. 

 "That's the Skelton-Pelosi plan for a bankrupt America. Now, the Pelosi House can't meet the schedule for the budget. Mr. Skelton's bosses say they're working on it. Guess where? Behind closed doors.

 "When I taught personal family finance as a teacher at Belton High School, I gave students the same basic economic principles every family, business, farm, and ranch adhere to:

§  Start with a budget. If you don't have a budget, nothing else will work.
§  Don’t spend more money than you have.
§  Plan and save.  You can't buy things just because you would like to have them.
§  Live within your means.  If you're living on bank loans or credit cards, you're insolvent, and you have to get control of your spending, immediately.
 “My students got it.  Washington needs to follow suit.  It’s elementary.  Developing the budget is the first duty of Congress.  It is a plan for the allocation of our scarce resources to ensure the people of our country have appropriate funding for vital government roles such as national defense and security.  As my students understood, you cannot run a household without knowing how to spend your money.  And while Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Skelton do not seem to agree with me, I believe you cannot run the operations of the most powerful nation in the world without one.
 "If Mr. Skelton is in the House in January 2011, he will vote to keep Nancy Pelosi in power. He has voted for Speaker Pelosi every single time in four Congresses. He will do it again. I will vote to fire this Speaker and put a conservative in charge. The out-of-control federal budget is a national emergency. Most of us in the Fourth District know this. It is time for a change—the kind that will restore fiscal responsibility to our nation’s finances and safeguard our children’s future."

Cynthia Davis: Women should not be used as playthings or animals

Legislation that regulates sexually-oriented businesses and adds restrictions to abortion shows respect for women, Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O'Fallon says in her latest report:

Every session there is at least one bad bill that passes, and I drive home feeling like a volley ball player right after someone spiked the ball over the net. However, this year we had two great accomplishments that will benefit women in our state: one is a pro-life bill and the other a pro-decency bill.  When you think about it, both have a common thread: treating women with the dignity.
 Ever since I was on the O’Fallon board of Aldermen I have had an interest in protecting our community from unscrupulous businesses seeking to make a profit off of shady practices that hurt our families, depreciate our property values and increase crime.  When we had a “smut-promoting” business come to our city, I began studying how we could curtail this industry.  After significant grassroots support and about six months of public debate over the issue, the new city ordinance passed with a 5-3 vote and is still in effect today.  Just having this on the books is a steel girder in making O’Fallon one of the nicest places to live.  However, even in the midst of this odyssey, I knew we were relying heavily on whatever help the state would allow.  Now that I am in my last session in the Missouri House, seeing the passage of this bill that I co-sponsored is one of my greatest accomplishments. Even if you like sexually oriented businesses, I don’t know anyone who wants one right next to their home or business.
 Last I checked all the representatives were either Republicans or Democrats.  Imagine my surprise when all those who were against the bill suddenly turned into Libertarians!  The Republican Party has historically been the party that supported morality, decency, promoted family strengthening policies and fought slavery. 
 The sexually oriented business industry is another type of slavery.  Slavery was rooted in the belief that some people are commodities to be used, not human beings made in the image of God to be respected.  This industry exploits women by creating and legitimizing an industry that encourages the degradation of women.  The men who patronize this industry do not love and honor these women.  They are using them and abusing them.  This is degrading to everybody.  The same legislators who are against abortion and prostitution should be against this for the same reasons.  This hurts all of us.
 A few years ago my family went on a vacation.  My husband was tired and asked me to drive while he took a nap.  When the gas tank was getting low, I pulled off the highway in Fort Wayne, Indiana and noticed that the gas station was next to a sexually oriented business.  When I took into account our surroundings, I pulled back onto the highway and decided to buy my gas elsewhere rather than to support a city that encourages sexual perversion.  With all the focus on relieving our budget shortfall, why would we want to harm our tourism industry by making it easier for these types of businesses that are tarnishing our public image?
 We ought to consider our perception of women.  Having women compromise their dignity is harmful to our gender.  Women deserve to be treated with respect.  Women are human beings and should not be used like playthings or animals.  We must consider the message sent to all the women in Missouri when siding with an industry where women are harmed far more than men.  When the legislators vote to protect us, it elevates our entire state.

Stouffer addresses legislative record on education

In his latest report, Sen. Bill Stouffer, a candidate for the GOP Fourth District Congressional nomination addresses education legislation that passed during the 2010 session:

This year may be remembered as the toughest in state history in terms of the budget. However, we were able to ensure Missouri’s classrooms continue to receive the same amount of funding as last year.
 Summer School: Part of the General Assembly’s challenge this year was finding what parts of education are absolutely necessary at this time.House Bill 1543 is a measure that addresses education funding, including summer school. Over the past few decades the scope of summer school has widened to include instruction outside core subjects. Under a former provision of this bill, state funding would have been limited to the core subjects.
 Teacher Retirement: This issue received a lot of talk outside the Capitol this year. However, insidethe Capitol, it was not discussed at all. Senate Bill 714 addresses state employee retirement. Nowhere in this bill are teachers mentioned. However, many fear that in future years, it could. To be clear, there will be absolutely no changes to teacher retirement this year. In addition, it appears reforms to retirement of any kind this year will not become law.
 How to Fund Education: This year we will be able to fund classrooms at the same level next year as we are this year, although it is less than what districts expected. However, the legislature did make cuts outside of education, in order to pass a balanced budget. In addition, some “hold harmless” schools are not affected by most budget increases or decreases for varying reasons. This will also be reviewed.
 Career Ladder: Currently, teachers are paid for work they complete outside of the classroom at the end of the school year. Some were considering not paying teachers for work already completed. Instead, the teachers were paid for the work completed, but the program will not be funded for the next year and until the state’s revenues improve.
 Parents as Teachers (PAT): Due to budget constraints, PAT was reformed to keep the program in existence. This will mean some folks will have to pay a small fee to continue to have teachers work with them at home. Parents As Teachers has proven itself to work to prevent education recovery costs later in a child’s life.
 Higher Education: Access Missouri, a program that provides scholarships that are particularly important to our students in small private colleges, will remain intact. In the future, the scholarship amounts will change to be the same for students in both public and private schools.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nodler terms 2010 legislative session as successful

In his latest report, Sen. Gary Nodler describes the just-completed legislative session as a successful one:

The 2010 legislative session concluded on May 14 with a flurry of activity. More than 1,800 bills and resolutions were introduced during the 2010 legislative session, but just 32 Senate bills and 74 House bills were passed by the Legislature and sent to the governor.  Still, several priority pieces of legislation were completed in the final days of the session.
Expanding Informed Consent
I am proud to be a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 793, legislation that contains provisions that modify Missouri’s informed consent requirements.  The bill makes sure that pregnant women receive information and have time to process their options when considering an abortion.  Provisions include, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion being performed, providing information on the emotional and physical risks of the procedure and the physiological characteristics of an unborn child at two-week gestational increments.  The woman must also be provided with the gestational age of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed and must be given an opportunity to view, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, an active ultrasound of the unborn child and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child, if the heartbeat is audible.  This is an important pro-life measure that will protect the unborn in our state. 
A Better Lending Environment
Another measure that passed this session was my Senate Concurrent Resolution 33.  The resolution discourages the federal government from continuing to harshly regulate our community banks.  Small business owners throughout the country are being turned down because federal regulators are discouraging banks from making loans.  It puts our small business owners in a bind because they are unable to expand or hire new employees without having cash on hand.  SCR 33 encourages Congress to give local banks the right tools to start lending again and makes Missouri’s support for better access to credit clear.
Protecting Our Outdoor Resources  
Senate Concurrent Resolution 55, which passed during the final hours of session, encourages the federal government to voice support for recreational fishing.  In June 2009, the President created the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, which was charged with drafting a national ocean policy and developing a framework for marine spatial planning for conserving and managing national waterways.  Concerns arose when preliminary interim reports omitted responsibly regulated recreational fishing as a key activity for national waterways.  SCR 55 urges the President to include recreational fishing and boating as national priorities in the final report and to ensure and promote recreational fishing.
Strengthening Auto Insurance Laws
A measure I drafted to protect Missouri drivers was included in Senate Bill 583 this year.  The legislation was motivated by a Jasper county resident who was hit by an Oklahoma driver in Joplin. The driver, who caused serious damage in the accident, was uninsured, but based on current law, police could not cite the out-of-state driver.  The provision that was passed by the Legislature requires non-residents to adhere to the financial responsibility laws of their state of residence and gives law enforcement officials the ability to take action.  We need to make sure that uninsured drivers, regardless of their residency, are held responsible in Missouri.
Just like any other legislative session, this one was filled with challenges, but I am pleased with the success of these measures.  A full list of truly agreed bills is available online by clicking here, and I will continue to highlight these and other bills that will improve our state throughout the interim in these weekly reports.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

July 6 preliminary hearing set for Dadeville mayor

A 1:30 p.m. July 6 preliminary hearing has been set in Dade County Circuit Court for Dadeville Mayor James Toler, who is charged with possession of child pornography.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ruestman: Call the governor and tell him you don't want sex in your community

In her latest Ruestman Report, outgoing Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, praises the passage of legislation curbing sexually-oriented businesses and urges constituents to call the governor and encourage him to sign the bill:

Session is over!  Of all my eight sessions in the Missouri House, this had to have been the most unusual one.  It was a much calmer, subdued session in large part due to the budget shortfall.  Beyond the budget we were able to pass a few key pieces of legislation that will help to improve the state.  I plan to discuss these issues in the coming weeks, but I want to start with one of the most important problems we were able to address this session.
Locally, we’ve been faced with the many negative side-effects of the adult industry and the stores that cater to that unsavory market.  Anyone who’s traveled I-44 to Springfield knows exactly what kind of businesses I’m referring to.  It is unfortunate that in our conservative corner of the state we are forced to deal with the many bad issues resulting from pornography.
We were able to pass legislation this session to address the worst effects of these places.  Senate Bills 586 and 617, handled by our own Southwest Representative, Ed Emery, are intended to stop the bad behavior and unsavory activities occurring in these businesses.
Some of the tenants of these bills are as follows:
  • Restricts locating a sexually-oriented business to beyond 1000 feet from a preexisting school, house of worship, daycare, public library, public park or private residence.
  • Nudity with contact to patrons is not allowed.  Employees must remain on a stage that is at least six feet from customers and 18 inches off the floor.
  • Sexually-oriented businesses cannot be open between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.
  • Requires employees to have an unobstructed view of patrons.  Closed doors many times accommodate illegal behavior.
The negative effects of these businesses are numerous, but it is not uncommon to see increased sexual and violent crimes in areas where they are located.  The property values of those living within close proximity usually plummet.
This bill is now headed to the governor to be signed into law.  It is important for our community and the state.  He knows we expect him to sign this bill.  I encourage you to contact his office to let him know you support these bills being signed into law.  His office may be reached by visiting or by calling 573-751-3222.

"To Sir With Love" revisited

One of my favorite movies of all time is the 1967 Sidney Poitier film, “To Sir With Love.”
The movie has always been a favorite of teachers. In it, Poitier, a first-year teacher, is thrown into a classroom of students just a few months away from graduating high school and entering the real world.

These are the rejects from other schools, Poitier’s character, Mark Thackeray, is told by the principal. And worse yet, the school permits no type of punishment.

And when Poitier enters the classroom, the students are unruly and uncivilized. So naturally, all he has to do to quiet them down is clap his hands.

All he has to do to civilize them is to throw away their textbooks and have them start treating each other with civility.

And by the end of approximately an hour and 40 minutes, these previously incorrigible teens are shining examples of the miracles that can be achieved by one teacher who cares.

I love the movie, but despite its roots in a non-fiction book, it is far away from reality as “Avatar” or Harry Potter.

Several weeks ago, when the Central Falls, Rhode Island, superintendent fired the entire high school faculty, President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praised the board for backing that decision, citing its courage.
Every teacher was given the ax because of low test scores at the poverty-ridden school, everyone from those who have given up, and with the battles they were facing at that school, I am sure there were a few of the Mark Thackerays of Central Falls who went the extra mile to give their students the help they needed to cope in the outside world.

The story has a semi-happy ending. All of the teachers have been rehired after the union reached an agreement with the superintendent. From today’s Boston Globe:

Under the agreement, which is expected to receive final approval next Tuesday by the Board of Trustees, teachers will be required to work an additional 30 minutes a day, devote 90 minutes after school every week to planning, and submit to rigorous evaluation to retain their jobs after the 2010-11 school year.
The teachers will also eat lunch with students one day per week, attend five to 10 days of professional development every summer, and accept a staffing policy that eliminates strict seniority. The high school principal will be replaced..
“We will not have persistently low-achieving schools in our state; we will not have it,’’ said state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist. “We are incredibly serious about this reform effort.’’
It is amazing how the word “reform” falls trippingly off the tongue of the people who are doing the most to damage public education.

Politicians are demanding reform, business leaders say the only reform that will straighten out public schools is to follow a business model- the same business model that led this country into its current economic crisis.

A careful examination of these so-called “reform” measures leads to an accurate perception that they are heavily weighted toward one side of the issue. The reforms are based on the idea, carefully cultivated by those who want to destroy public education, that 100 percent of the problem lies with classroom teachers.

In “To Sir With Love,” Mark Thackeray dealt with students who, despite all initial appearances, wanted to learn. I can guarantee you that is not what the Central Falls High School teachers see in their classrooms.

Diligent, hard-working students are mixed with juvenile delinquents who do not care how much class time they cost with their disruptive behavior or how much their antics affect the learning of those around them.

Many of the children are products of broken homes and come from environments that include criminal activity, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. By the time they arrive at school, they have learned all the real-life lessons they care to know, and do not see why or how school should be relevant to them.

Does that mean there will be no success stories in schools located in areas where there are high poverty rates and soaring crime levels?

Not at all. In every school, whether it be Central Falls High School in Rhode Island, or East Middle School in Joplin, Missouri, where I teach, there are Mark Thackerays who go the extra mile, who do everything they can to to reach the seemingly unreachable student.

I have seen the success stories, but I have also lamented, along with my fellow teachers, the ones who fell through the cracks, the ones we thought we could reach, but somehow our efforts fell short.

As I examined the Central Falls plan, I saw nothing that would address the primary issues that affect learning. Each of Central Falls’ teachers will have to be interviewed by the school’s “leadership team.”

It is a shame that leadership team is not holding sessions with the children and their parents, the ones who hold the key to building the foundation for a strong education.

“To Sir With Love” could never happen in today’s environment. With the emphasis on standardized test results and educational “reform,” the Mark Thackerays of this world, the ones who struggle valiantly to reach as many so-called unreachable children as they can, no longer have a place in our schools.

And the children are the ones who will pay the price.

Hearing set today for Dadeville mayor on child porn charge

A 1 p.m. pre-trial conference has been scheduled today in Dade County Circuit Court for Dadeville Mayor James Toler, who faces a charge of possession of child pornography.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hartzler: ObamaCare is a bad buy at any price

In a news release issued today, Vicky Hartzler, a candidate for Fourth District Congress, ripped into incumbent Ike Skelton's support of the federal  health care package:

When Democrat Congressman Ike Skelton was helping Nancy Pelosi cram ObamaCare down our throats (, the backers of government-run medicine promised a price tag below $1 trillion.
Republican congressional candidate Vicky Hartzler is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge 34-year House member Skelton.
Hartzler today called “false!” on the claimed price tag, citing a revised Congressional Budget Office estimate reported by ABC. (
Hartzler said: “Government-controlled health care is a bad buy at any price. The now-admitted cost overrun of government-run healthcare is $115 billion. Mr. Skelton is directly culpable in cramming ObamaCare down our throats. On March 18, with the final forced passage vote in the House fast approaching, Republicans and more than two dozen Democrats teamed up against Nancy Pelosi’s plan to impose passage prior to Easter break on rules to be dictated by the Speaker. Skelton voted with Pelosi and against the plain will of the Fourth District. His vote was typical Washington double-dealing and double-talk: help it happen while claiming otherwise.  Just because Nancy Pelosi changed her strategy and allowed a vote on the final passage of the bill does not negate the fact that he helped her when she needed him.  His vote once again shows how he sides with Nancy Pelosi--not his district.  Our district deserves better.
“As a lockstep Pelosi vote, Skelton has voted for and supported Obama’s radical and destructive economic policies every step of the way. He voted for Obama’s disastrous budget deficits, the vast spending spree that is ruining this nation’s finances, the horrifying increases in the national debt, and the biggest tax increase in American history, the job-killing national energy tax.
“On ObamaCare, when Pelosi’s cram-it-down plan was challenged, Skelton could have stood up for the Fourth District, to block this horrible bill. Instead, he voted with Nancy Pelosi, just like he does more than 90% of the time.
“One Missouri newspaper ‘explained’ Skelton’s willing-accomplice vote for government-run health care ( as his ‘special obligation’ to his political party.
“If I am elected, my obligation will be to the people of our district, where we pay too many job-killing taxes already, where we understand the government needs to stop the ruinous spending, and where the uncompromising will for immediate change runs strong and true.
“As for ObamaCare, I will vote to repeal this ill-conceived bill with its increased costs to health care, anti-job tax increases and huge Medicare cuts for seniors, and work to replace it with common sense changes to empower consumers and lower costs such as full competition for insurance companies, lawsuit reform, transparency in pricing, and increased access to health care for all patients.”

Zimmerman: Legislature dropped the ball on ethics reform

From the tone of his letter to supporters, Rep. Jake Zimmerman, D-Olivette, was not particularly thrilled with the "ethics" legislation package that passed Friday and who can blame him?

We've reached the end of Missouri's regular legislative session.As always, I wanted to drop a brief note to share a few thoughts, now that we have a moment to take a deep breath and reflect.
For me personally, it's been an unusually successful session. Two bills I sponsored reached the Governor's desk (one is about protecting Social Security numbers from needless disclosure, and the other should save the state some money by streamlining administration of a scholarship program). As ever, I also had a lot to say about consumer protection, and I helped strip nasty anti-consumer provisions from several bills. My fingerprints are on a few other good things, such as access reform that should help lower our phone rates and some innovative new strategies to get more children health coverage.
In spite of those personal victories, it's been a bittersweet year. The budget is awful: key priorities were badly hurt, difficult choices weren't made, and our community will suffer. Worse, the budget is still out of balance because my colleagues weren't willing to make the really tough choices, leaving more pain to come at the hands of the Governor. Meanwhile, partisan bickering squandered opportunities to enact needed reforms and strengthen our economic development tools.
Most painfully, the legislature dropped the ball on ethics reform. Anyone who knows me knows this has been my fight for a long time. This year, it finally became "sexy" and I was hopeful that a strong, bipartisan ethics bill would finally pass. I was honored to be the lead sponsor of Governor Nixon's ethics package in the House, and I really thought we'd get it done. Instead, after a partisan hijacking, my colleagues passed what one Republican legislator called "ethics lite."There are still no campaign finance limits, no ban on becoming a lobbyist immediately after leaving the legislature, and no ban on receiving"consulting" payments as kickbacks from one's legislative colleagues.
So, as always: we take the good with the bad. I'm glad for my own modest victories, and encouraged that we finally had a serious conversation about ethics reform. 
I'll be sharing more thoughts in the days ahead as the Governor signs some of these bills into law and then there's November to look forward to, and a vigorous campaign ahead. (I have not one but TWO opponents this year!) For now, I'm sleeping off the exhaustion and mostly just glad to be back in St. Louis County.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Another Natural Disaster video

Since thousands have requested, here is another Natural Disaster video. (Thousands of people telling me not to do something isn't going to stop me). This is a performance of the Beatles' "Please Please Me" from our concert at the Nov. 21, 2009, benefit in the East Middle School auditorium:

Tim Jones: We passed a strong, aggressive ethics package

Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka, says the House passed a "strong, aggressive" ethics package Friday:

Tilley: We will have more ethics reform in 2011

House Majority Leader Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, prior to the passing of ethics legislation  said more reform is on the way for next year.

LeVota: This is a watered down ethics reform bill

In the final press conference of the 2010 legislative session, Minority Leader Paul LeVota, D-Independence, ripped into Republicans for bogging down the calendar with a neverending series of non-binding resolutions and he disputed Republicans' assertion that no one could call the ethics reform bill a watered down bill:

Richard: We balanced the budget without raising taxes

Speaker of the House Ron Richard credited the House with holding the line this year by balancing the budget without raising taxes.

During a wide-ranging press conference following the conclusion of the 2010 legislative session Friday, Richard said House members had many good ideas, but were trumped by the nation's economic problems:

Democrats: Ethics legislation a small step forward

The ethics reform package passed Friday was not the grand reform package promised by legislators on both sides of the aisle before the current session, but Missouri Democrats, in a news release, say it is "a small step forward":

The House of Representatives today voted 153-5 to grant final passage to ethics reform legislation that strengthens state law in several areas but fails to include important reforms championed by House Democrats, such as reinstating campaign contribution limits and prohibiting lawmakers from doing paid political work. 
The final version of SB 844, which the Senate passed 32-1, was stripped of dozens of controversial provisions that House Republicans had loaded it up with, such as requiring Missourians who attempt to contact lawmakers other than their own to register as lobbyists and imposing stringent identification requirements designed to disenfranchise voters.
“Passage of this bill serves as a resounding repudiation of the sham ethics legislation House Republicans attempted to foist upon Missourians under the guise of reform,” said House Minority Leader Paul LeVota, D-Independence. “Although this bill leaves several vital reforms unaccomplished, it is a modest improvement over existing law. However, in the universe of possibilities, this is nowhere near the best bill that could have passed.”

The House version of SB 844 resulted in uniform statewide criticism of House Republicans. The Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal called the House version “a perversion of ethics,” while The Kansas Star said it “set a new bar for skullduggery and cynicism” and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch dubbed it the “Omnibus Bad Idea Act of 2010.”
Unfortunately, key reforms didn’t make it into the final bill. One would have outlawed the practice of lawmakers simultaneously running political consulting businesses, a practice that creates inherent conflicts of interest when a lawmaker/consultant can control the fate of his client’s legislation. Another called for imposing a waiting period before lawmakers who leave the General Assembly can become lobbyists. And most importantly, the bill fails to reinstate campaigns contribution limits, which were originally imposed by Missouri voters but repealed by Republican lawmakers in 2008.
“This bill is a small step forward, but much remains to be done to improve accountability and integrity in state government,” said Assistant House Minority Leader J.C. Kuessner, D-Eminence.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Kander issues statement on passing of ethics legislation

Rep. Jason Kander, D-Kansas City, issued the following statement concerning the passing of ethics legislation today:

This bill represents an improvement over current law, but I will not declare victory over corruption when we have merely tip-toed into the fight. I voted today to limit political money laundering, outlaw the obstruction of ethics investigations, and expand the powers of the Missouri ethics commission.
However, I’m disappointed that we missed an important opportunity to restore campaign contribution limits, to prohibit lawmakers from working as political consultants for one another, to close the revolving door between legislators and lobbyists, or to disclose potential conflicts of interest. That is why I whole-heartedly support the comprehensive, bipartisan ethics bill passed by the Speaker’s special committee on ethics. As I said when I filed a bipartisan proposal last year, my bill alone cannot tackle the ever-evolving and wide-ranging problem of public corruption.
There is lots of work remaining. I will continue my efforts to advance true, comprehensive ethics reform to a vote in the next legislative session.