Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Billy Long on State of the Union: As always, President Trump showed his desire to tackle issues in a bipartisan fashion

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long:

Congressman Billy Long's statement after President Trump's State of the Union address.

President Trump made clear that 2018 will be a year of action,” said Rep. Long. 

“2018 will be the year of building up our infrastructure, protecting our borders, rebuilding our military and continuing to strengthen our economy. 

As always, President Trump highlighted his desire to tackle these issues in a bipartisan fashion that brings both sides together for the good of our nation. I look forward to working with the president on these pressing issues facing our country. His words tonight were both encouraging and forward-lookin

Graves: Trump's priorities will make North Missouri a safer and more prosperous place to live

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

This week I was honored to attend President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address to the nation. Every day I’m able to serve Missouri is a blessing and I am committed to helping North Missourians and Americans across the country lead productive and fulfilling lives.

Nationwide, we are starting to see many positive changes. After the passage of tax reform, we have seen over three million workers reap the benefits of bonuses, pay raises, and improved employee benefits. Best of all, most middle-class Americans should have bigger paychecks as soon as next month due to their tax liability going down.

2017 was a record year for our economy and this is only the beginning.

Since taking office, President Trump has reinvigorated and stimulated our economy with record-setting stock market growth, which bodes well for pensions across the board, a declining unemployment rate, and steady GDP growth.

During President Trump's State of the Union speech, he emphasized his plan for a "strong, safe and secure America". I was pleased to hear he is making border security and infrastructure two key focal points for our future.

While our country is made great because of immigration, we must also ensure that those who come here do so legally. Any plan for immigration reform simply will not be effective until we first devise and implement a plan to safely secure our border.

A wall is not the only answer to our immigration problem. But having a President in office that will enforce our existing laws is a good place to start.

Another top priority that requires our immediate attention is the status of our nation’s infrastructure.

Infrastructure is a major driver of our nation’s economy and 2018 presents a great opportunity for us to push the throttle on our economic growth and advance a comprehensive infrastructure package.

As Chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, I look forward to working with President Trump and my fellow colleagues to improve the infrastructure of today and build for the infrastructure of tomorrow.

In my conversations with Republicans, Independents, and Democrats across the Sixth District, we rarely disagree on objectives. We all want opportunity, good-paying jobs, rising incomes, a safe and secure country, and all the freedoms that are guaranteed by our Constitution.

Making our country safe, strong and secure will require bipartisan support and collaboration across the aisle. Improving our infrastructure and securing our border are not partisan issues. As we look towards the future, I’m optimistic that we can, and will, come together to enact President Trump's legislative priorities to further strengthen the state of our union and continue to make North Missouri a safer and more prosperous place to live.

Trial date set for former Neosho substitute teacher's lawsuit against Decker, R-5 District

A September 10 trial date has been scheduled at U. S. District Court in Springfield for a lawsuit filed by a former Neosho R-5 substitute teacher who claims she was fired after saying in two classes that she did not support the district's bond issue to build a new junior high school.

Dee-Anna Marcoux is suing the district, Superintendent Dan Decker, Penmac Staffing Services and Nancy Kenney of Penmac.

In her lawsuit, which was filed in February in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Marcoux says she had only answered students who questioned her about whether she supported the bond issue and that she had told them she did not, but they would have to make up their own minds.

During that same time period, the petition says, district teachers and staff were wearing yellow t-shirts that said, "Building Neosho's Future- It's Time," and that a student sent an e-mail to all students using the district server saying, "It has been a fun run trying to get yes votes," and thanking students who supported the bond issue.

After that, the petition claims, Decker called her into his office and accused her of insubordination and of telling students "not to vote for the bond issue."

It was not long after that she was removed from Neosho schools' substitute list and her employer, Penmac Staffing Services, removed her from the automated system, AESOP, used by school districts, including Neosho, to staff substitute teachers.

Marcoux claims her First Amendment right to freedom of speech was violated, that she suffered lost wages and emotional distress.

Former North Middle School teacher to remain behind bars while awaiting trial on child porn, sexual exploitation of a minor charges

Former North Middle School reading teacher Amanda Schweitzer will remain behind bars while awaiting trial on federal child pornography and sexual exploitation of a minor charges.

U. S. District Court Judge David P. Rush denied Schweitzer bond during a 32-minute hearing held Tuesday in Springfield.

Prosecutors argued Schweitzer should remain behind bars because of the type of depraved behavior they allege she committed while sexually stalking underage boys.

In the motion for the detention hearing, the prosecution provided details of Schweitzer sending obscene text messages, including a nude photo showing her performing a sex act with a toy, having sex with a 13-year-old student on two occasions and nibbling on another boy's ear lobe during class.

Previous posts

Court document: Former North Middle School teacher told 13-year-old boy he was hot and she wanted him

New lawsuit against Joplin R-8 claims North Middle School teacher involved in sexual misconduct with three children on school grounds

Mother's claim in lawsuit: North Middle School teacher groomed my son and had sex with him

Court document: Former North Middle School teacher beaten in jail while awaiting trial on felony statutory rape charges

Newton County files kidnapping, rape, sodomy charges against North Middle School teacher

Probable cause statement: North Middle School teacher, 37, had sex with 13-year-old boy

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Hartzler: Trump offered vision of optimism in State of the Union

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler made the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s 2018 State of the Union address:

“Tonight the President offered a vision of an America on the move, full of optimism and potential. Unlike other State of the Union addresses where the rhetoric did not match reality, indicators across the board demonstrate that we are experiencing a growing economy, increasing employment, and significant advances in the war against ISIS. This past year we have seen businesses grow and hire new workers because of an unprecedented roll back of burdensome regulations, and this renewed confidence in the economy has led to a record setting stock market that benefits millions of Americans.

“The historic tax reform that Congress passed and the President signed into law at the end of 2017 will further encourage this growth and improve Missourians’ quality of life. I support the President’s goal of rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and am particularly excited to see progress on rural broadband. An astonishing 61% of Missourians do not have access to broadband internet, and without it, my constituents are deprived of significant opportunities.

“I was also pleased to see the President tackle our nation’s opioid epidemic in his speech tonight. Tragically, twenty-five percent of foster children in Missouri are in foster care because their parents abuse drugs. It’s time to turn the tide on this fast-spreading disease that threatens our families and loved-ones, and the President showed his commitment tonight to doing just that.

“Also, as the President recognized in his speech, we still have work to do to rebuild our military. For years our men and women in uniform have been going without and it is taking its toll. I know the President recognizes this problem, and I applaud him for advocating for an increased budget for our armed forces.

“I remain encouraged by the progress our country is making in the economy and in re-establishing ourselves as a world leader. There is still much to be done, but I am thankful we are well on the road to a safe, strong, and proud America.”

Today, I lost a lot of friends

Earlier today, I took a few hours to do a task I have been dreading, but I knew had to be done.

As the Turner Report and the Inside Joplin blogs have increased readership, the increases have been reflected in the number of Facebook friends I have.

The number has increased through the Joplin Tornado coverage, then the coverage of the fall of C. J. Huff and the departure of Mike Woolston, Mark Rohr and Wallace Bajjali. Another spike came with the 2016 coverage of Ace Mohr and some scandals surrounding Dean Dankelson.

The last few months with the murders of Jayda Kyle and Jonathan Munoz-Bilbrey and the arrest of a Newton County deputy on felony child abuse charges have pushed my number of Facebook friends dangerously close to Facebook's limit of 5,000.

So today, I began unfriending people.

At first, I was going to get rid of everyone who did not have a photo, but that would have sent Mom packing and I was uncomfortable with that prospect. My older sistcr Vicki also does not have a picture with her account and neither do a couple of my friends from Lamar, former Fire Chief Bill Rawlings, who always comments on my Facebook page when I write about the St. Louis Cardinals in the summer and Dorothy Parks, who was the typesetter and a fountain of knowledge about Lamar and a stickler for accuracy when I was sports editor of the Democrat in 1978.

Those people stayed, but nearly everyone else without a photo was unfriended.

I also got rid of most of the businesses and all of the duplicate pages for people who for some reason abandoned their earlier Facebook pages, but never got rid of them.

I eliminated a person I saw who had only one friend. I felt guilty about that since I was costing this woman her only friend, but something tells me this was not a legitimate Faceb fiook page anyway.

A number of politicians bit the dust, though I kept every one of them who had actually talked with me in the past. For the sake of their reputations, I will not reveal their names.

The most difficult ones to unfriend were people who did not deserve such treatment, people who once were part of my life, but who are no longer with us.

As I unfriended them, I had fond memories of my former students Shelby Shumaker and Brendan Garrett.

T. J. Bowman was the second student I met when I began my first teaching job in the fall of 1999 at Diamond Middle School (his sister Maggie was the first). He was one of a group of eighth grade boys who came over to my trailer classroom during the lunch period every day to watch black-and-white reruns of The Andy Griffith Show on KODE, the only station the old television could receive.

Ryan Baker wrote an extremely thoughtful letter to me when budget cuts ended that job in Diamond at the end of the 2002-2003 school year. He was in my class in seventh and eighth grade.

J. R. Polen was in my first and second hour classes (writing one hour, reading the other) during my first year at South Middle School in 2003.

None of them remained on my friends list when I was done. It was not easy.

Nor was it easy to see the names of so many others who were Facebook friends of mine, but who have died since I opened my account in 2008.

-John Wagaman helped me open my checking account at Barton County State Bank in 1982. The bank has been through several name changes since then, it is now U. S. Bank, but I still have the acccount. John also served his country proudly during World War II.

-Robin Robbins was two years ahead of me at East Newton High School and was an old friend from Newtonia.

-Mike Camerer played Sir Evelyn Oakleigh in the East Newton High School 1973 performance of the musical "Anything Goes." I played Moonface Martin, Public Enemy No. 13. Mike was a good friend for years and was that rarity- a Democrat in Newton County.

-I remembered the conversations I had on football sidelines with Levi Morrow, who covered games for the Lamar Democrat while I was covering them for the Carthage Press.

-One of my favorite lawyers, Jim Spradling, who always had time for a reporter and was a colorful State Senate candidate losing a close one to Marvin Singleton.

-When I was umpiring at Granby, I always appreciated Tom Channel, a solid defensive catcher who never let a ball get through him and hit the umpire.

-My East Newton Class of 1974 classmates Sherry Sappington, Debbie Joel Edmonds and Penny Williams were on the list. I had great memories of all three of them.

-Michael Jarrett, Ellen Gamble, Darrell Robertson, Shirley Lambert- all gone much too soon.

And now no longer on my Facebook friends list.

My friends list is now below 4,500, meaning I should have at least a few months before I have to repeat the process. I hate to even think of what steps I will have to take the next time.

Hopefully, there won't be many that will unfriend because they are no longer with us. It was nice to relive the memories I had of some wonderful people, but my Facebook page sure seems empty without them.

(Note: I have corrected this post. For some reason, I wrote Shirley Gollhofer's name when I meant to write Shirley Lambert. Shirley Gollhofer is thankfully still with us.)

St. Louis Democrat: Greitens sex scandal to be front and center as revenge porn bill is discussed

(From Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis)

The scandal surrounding Governor Greitens continues on with potential House & Senate investigations as the St. Louis Circuit Attorney continues with her own Attorney General directed investigation of the governor.

A timely bill, we heard HB1558, the "Revenge Photo" bill last week in my Crime Prevention and Public Safety committee. We also heard this legislation last year late in session - which would create a new crime of nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images. We expect to vote the bill this week out of committee and send it to the House calendar for full debate. I fully expect the Governor's scandal to be a prime part of the discussion, based on allegations that he threatened to blackmail a private sexual image taken without consent.

In addition, our yearly "Prevention Harassment in the WorkPlace" trainings for legislators and staff kicked off last week. I attended one of the mandatory training sessions which included several comical videos from Saturday Night Live and the movie, "Legally Blonde", highlighting inappropriate gender workplace behavior.

I was perturbed (but not surprised) to see several male legislators laughing inattentively throughout the session taught by a St. Louis female attorney, clearly not understanding the seriousness of workplace sexual harassment that most of us females have experienced.

Afterwards, I heard a male legislator explaining that he told his female legislative assistant that he was never going to be alone with her, travel in a car with her or walk out of the Capitol with her. Obviously, he woudn't have given a male staffer or intern that same directive. I was disgusted that his solution to prevent harassment in the Capital was to take the "Vice President Pence Approach" to never be alone with a female.

In this heightened national #MeToo movement, why can't we legislators and staff figure out how to simply treat each other professionally?

Or are women not people too in the Capital?


Today I filed my final bills - bringing my total to 30 in my last year of office. As usual, my focus remains on reproductive rights, gun violence prevention, pay equity and racial justice. The next step in the legislative process is bill referral to committees and then possibly a public hearing with the permission of the committee chair. However, as a minority caucus member, most of our bills are referred (mandated by Missouri Constitution) to a committe on the very last day of session.



Last week my Children and Families Committee advanced HB1383 sponsored by Rep. Rocky Miller. (R-Osage Beach). This bill would require a two parent notification of a minor seeking abortion, which on it's face might sound reasonable.

However, every major medical organization is in opposition because of the potential danger a minor might face in seeking both parents notification, especially in abusive and incestuous situations. Numerous medical professionals testified against the bill in the public hearing focused on child abuse - taking time from their classes and patients to drive to Jefferson City.

These "Rock Stars" did their best to convince committee members that putting teens in additional danger is harmful policy, particularly Dr. Mia Henderson, a pediatric resident with numerous medical degrees (second from left) who testified for over 45 minutes. We were aghast when Rep. Mike Moon questioned her knowledge of biology although Dr. Henderson mentioned she has a PhD in molecular biology. HB1383 passed out of committee on a party line vote and is headed to the House floor for debate.

When legislators REFUSE to consider medical expertise or even believe in science, how on earth can we pass good policy?

Watch President Trump's State of the Union Address live

Monday, January 29, 2018

Greitens outlines tax cut plan

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

Governor Eric Greitens announced the details of his plan to cut taxes for working families and win more jobs for Missouri.

"This tax plan puts working families first, and it's a better deal for all Missourians because it rewards businesses for hiring people in Missouri," said Governor Greitens.

"For 380,000 working-class Missourians, this plan would cut taxes to $0.00. This plan cuts taxes for 97% of all Missouri taxpayers. It will help us win new businesses, and stop chasing jobs out of Missouri.

This is a bold and responsible plan. We believe it is the most well-researched, thoughtful state tax reform effort in America, and I'm proud to lay it out for you in detail. I'm looking forward to working with the legislature and people across our state to get tax relief for Missouri families."

The Governor is traveling to Macon, Palmyra, Jackson, Springfield, Joplin, and Kansas City in a series of stops to promote these tax cuts for working families.

The plan results in tax cuts for 97% of Missouri taxpayers, as a result of bold rate cuts to personal income taxes and the implementation of the "Workers First" tax cut. It also increases our ability to win jobs for Missouri workers by improving Missouri's corporate tax environment.

In summary, this plan would:

1. Cut the top personal income tax rate from 5.9% to 5.3%.

2. Implement a "Workers First" tax cut, a non-refundable credit against tax liability equal to 20% of the federal earned income tax credit.

3. Cut the corporate income tax rate from 6.25% to 4.25%.

4. Eliminate certain unnecessary tax breaks and close loopholes to make this tax reform effort revenue-neutral.

The combined effect of those moves results in the following:

- Tax cut for 97% of all Missouri taxpayers.

- Tax burden eliminated for 380,000 working-class Missourians.

- The 2nd lowest corporate income tax rate in the country, of states that have a corporate income tax.

In order to responsibly achieve these results, Missouri should eliminate or alter some tax breaks that are outdated, unfair, or unnecessary, and close loopholes in the tax code. This tax plan boldly cuts taxes for nearly every Missouri taxpayer and dramatically improves Missouri's tax environment for businesses. It is also revenue-neutral according to an analysis from the Department of Revenue. By eliminating these breaks and closing these loopholes, Missouri families and businesses will see a tax cut and Missouri's budget will not be unduly burdened. The alterations to tax breaks and loopholes are laid out in detail in this document.


In order to gauge the impact of this plan on Missouri families, the Department of Revenue ran 7,000 different scenarios through our tax system and measured the results of this plan on each. Based on those scenarios, 97% of all Missouri taxpayers would see a tax cut. The greatest results are for working-class families: 380,000 Missourians will see their tax bill reduced to $0.00. Some examples are highlighted below:

Married Parents of Two making $30,000:

Current taxes due: $348

Proposed taxes due: $0

Tax Cut: $348 or 100%

Single Parent of Two making $30,000:

Current taxes due: $788

Proposed taxes due: $153

Tax Cut: $635 or 80.59%

Married Parents of Two making $40,000:

Current taxes due: $920

Proposed taxes due: $449

Tax Cut: $471 or 51.24%

Married Couple with no children making $48,000:

Current taxes due: $1,620

Proposed taxes due: $1,514

Tax Cut: $106 or 6.53%

Married Parents of Two making $150,000:

Current taxes due: $6,917

Proposed taxes due: $6,716

Tax Cut: $201 or 2.91%

Details of the Working Families Tax Relief Plan

Personal Income Tax Rate Reduction: This tax plan reduces the top personal income tax rate from 5.9% to 5.3%.

Missouri's current individual income tax rates were implemented in 1971, when the average wage in the United States was slightly over $6,400. Any Missourian who earns more than $9,072 annually is in the top income tax bracket. This tax rate cut would affect nearly every Missouri taxpayer. By going from 5.9% to 5.3%, we are cutting the personal income tax rate paid by most Missourians by 10%.

"Workers First" Tax Cut: This tax plan implements a "Workers First" tax cut, based on the earned income tax credit model, to maximize tax cuts for working-class families.

The federal government and many states provide an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) which offsets some regressive effects of tax policy while encouraging individuals to find jobs-rather than rely on the welfare system. The Tax Reduction Act of 1975 introduced the EITC at the federal level and was expanded by President Reagan in 1986.

At the federal level, the EITC serves as a refundable tax credit for working families. In order to qualify for the program, individuals are required to participate in the workforce and the greatest rewards go to low-income working parents. The EITC can supplement income, but unlike many other programs designed to benefit low-income citizens, it incentivizes work. The credit awarded also decreases as taxable income increases-unlike other government programs that sharply cut off benefits at a certain income level. It is regarded by researchers across the political spectrum as one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in the United States.

To be eligible, single filers must make less than $15,310 (no children), $40,402 (one child), $45,898 (two children), or $49,298 (three or more children) while joint filers must collectively make less than $21,000 (no children), $46,102 (one child), $51,598 (two children), or $54,998 (three or more children). Maximum federal credits for these families are: $6,444 (three or more children), $5,728 (two qualifying children) $3,468 (one child), or $520 (no children). The actual credit varies as the taxpayer's income interacts with the number of children, but in general the credit grows until it reaches its peak at about $25,000 for single filers and $30,000 for joint filers.

Using the EITC model, to ensure that the greatest benefits go to working families, Missouri should implement the Workers First tax cut. This would serve as a non-refundable credit against tax liability at 20% of the allowed federal EITC. In simple terms, a person who is eligible for the federal EITC would also get an amount equal to 20% of their federal EITC off of their state tax bill. This would allow lower-income workers to increase their take-home pay and make Missouri's tax system more favorable for working families.

Corporate Income Tax Rate Reduction: This tax plan would cut the corporate income tax rate in Missouri from 6.25% to 4.25%.

Missouri currently requires a 6.25% flat tax on all corporate income. This makes us approximately middle of the road in terms of corporate taxation relative to our peer states. 44 other states have corporate income taxes. Four other states have a different way of taxing corporations, known as the gross receipts tax. Of the 44 states with a corporate income tax, 17 states currently have a top rate that is more competitive than Missouri's.

Lowering the corporate tax rate to 4.25% would give Missouri the second-lowest corporate income tax rate in the country among states that have a corporate income tax. It would make Missouri's corporate tax environment one of the five best in the country.

For most businesses, corporate tax environment is among the first considerations when deciding where to invest. Many factors contribute to the final decision, but unless the corporate tax environment is competitive the state is not even considered. Missouri is currently losing jobs to states with more favorable corporate tax environments and needs to improve to stay competitive. This change in the corporate tax rate can be a major selling point as Missouri competes for jobs.

Changes in Missouri's Tax System to Achieve Revenue-Neutral Tax Reform:

In order to cut taxes in a way that is fiscally sound, maintains our state's AAA credit rating, and does not burden our children with debt, our team has worked hard to develop a tax cut plan that is revenue-neutral. 97% of Missouri taxpayers will see a tax cut. Businesses will see a lower rate and more favorable corporate tax environment. At the same time, by eliminating special breaks and loopholes in Missouri's tax system, we can find alternative ways to ensure that Missouri's revenue stays steady. Rather than have a few businesses or corporations get a break, we should lower the rate for all Missouri taxpayers. The following recommended changes in Missouri's tax system would offset the revenue lost by lowering taxes on families and businesses. The result is revenue-neutral tax reform that cuts taxes for Missourians without breaking our budget.

Eliminating Timely Filing Discounts:

Missouri currently offers a 2% discount to businesses for filing withholding taxes on time. Missouri is one of the only states in the country to provide an uncapped discount as high as 2% to vendors for filing sales taxes on time.

At one time in history, it was a great difficulty for businesses to manually calculate and send their sales tax to state and local governments. This discount was intended to factor those difficulties into the tax collection system, and reward those who paid their taxes on time. Today, with modern technology, paying taxes on time is the norm, not the exception.

In effect, Missouri's tax system rewards businesses for doing what they are required to do by state law. Families do not see a similar discount for following the law, and the issue that this attempts to address is not relevant in today's modern economy. These discounts complicate the tax code and offer no competitive advantage to Missouri. The Withholding Tax Timely Filing Discount and Vendor Timely Filing Discount should be eliminated, in favor of a simple reduction in tax rates.

Single Sales Factor Apportionment:

Today, Missouri is one of the few states in the country that allows all multistate corporations to pick and choose how to calculate their taxable income. The unintended result of our system: Missouri collects drastically lower revenues and multistate companies have an incentive not to hire more Missouri workers or invest in more Missouri property.

For corporations that do business in multiple states, each state has to determine what portion of a corporation's total income they will tax. The two predominant methods of corporate income apportionment are three-factor apportionment and single-factor apportionment (also referred to as Single Sales Factor).

Under a three-factor system, states combine three ratios: in-state capital/total capital, in-state payroll/total payroll, and in-state sales/total sales. The resulting ratio is the percentage of total corporate income that the state would tax. Contrarily, under Single Sales Factor, the percentage of a corporation's income that is taxable is the ratio of in-state sales/total sales.

Missouri currently allows all corporations to choose either three-factor apportionment, Single Sales Factor, or a modified single factor apportionment. Missouri is the only state in the country that does this.

Right now, multistate corporations that invest and hire workers in other states-outside of Missouri--can be rewarded and pay less in Missouri taxes than if they had invested and hired workers in Missouri.

Therefore, we should require all corporations to use Single Sales Factor. This will not only simplify our tax code, it will also incentivize hiring and investment in Missouri, instead of paying companies to invest in our neighbors.

Federal Income Tax Deductions:

Right now, corporations in Missouri may deduct 50% of their federal corporate income tax from their state corporate income tax. Only a handful of other states offer a similar deduction, as most states realize that a lower tax rate offers a greater competitive advantage than a deduction. Missouri is also one of only five states to allow individual taxpayers to deduct federal income tax paid from state taxable income. More than half of the total benefit of this deduction goes to the richest fifth of Missouri taxpayers.

These deductions add complexity to the tax code, preventing Missouri from collecting income tax in the most efficient manner possible. Repealing the state corporate income tax deduction would simplify the tax code by eliminating a step in tax preparation. It would also help Missouri to responsibly lower the corporate tax rate, which will prove to be a greater advantage to businesses and help Missouri win more jobs.

The federal individual income tax deduction should be altered to reduce the complexity of Missouri's tax code and in favor of lower individual income tax rates. Rather than simply eliminating this deduction, it should be phased out as income rises, to ensure that working class families receive the greatest possible net tax cut. Under this plan, the deduction would phase out as follows:

Taxpayers with Missouri adjusted gross income of up to $25,000 may claim 100% of the deduction;

Taxpayers with Missouri adjusted gross income of up to $50,000 may claim 75% of the deduction;

Taxpayers with Missouri adjusted gross income of up to $100,000 may claim 30% of the deduction;

Taxpayers with Missouri adjusted gross income of up to $150,000 may claim 10% of the deduction;

Taxpayers with Missouri adjusted gross income of over $150,000 may not claim any deduction.

Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement:

Every state in the nation that collects sales and use tax is limited by the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota. In Quill, the Supreme Court held that states may not collect use tax from remote sellers who do not have a physical presence in that state. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states lost an estimated $23.3 billion in 2012 from not being able to collect use tax on out-of-state online and catalog purchases. Specifically, Missouri lost an estimated $210.7 million due to uncollected use tax on remote purchases during that same timeframe.

Since then, internet sales have continued to grow. Many states are looking for new and proper ways to collect tax on remote sellers who sell into their states. Some states are challenging Quill in state and federal court. Some are changing their reporting requirements. Some are waiting for Congress to act.

Some states have addressed the problem by entering into a multi-state agreement called the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement. The website of the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board notes, "The Agreement minimizes costs and administrative burdens of tracking retailers that collect sales tax, particularly retailers operating in multiple states." The Agreement: "encourages 'remote sellers' selling over the Internet and by mail order to collect tax on sales to customers living in the Streamlined states. It levels the playing field so that local 'brick-and-mortar' stores and remote sellers operate under the same rules."

Twenty-four states fully comply with the Agreement, including six of Missouri's neighboring states.

Right now, out-of-state retailers who sell their products on-line into Missouri have an unfair advantage over Missouri retailers. Missouri should join the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement to realize revenue from remote sellers and level the playing field for local Missouri retailers.

Nancy Hughes: When I don't like my neighbor

“The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:14 (NIV)

“Wow, Mom. Looks like someone left a special “gift” for you on the porch,” my daughter exclaimed as she left for work. “Special” was not the word I would have used as I looked at the heap of dog poop that was piled up on the welcome mat at my door.

We followed the trail of remnants of the “gift” and saw it went down my drive and across the street into the yard of . . . my neighbor.

It had started a year before when she and her family had moved across the road from me in the country and her very large unfriendly dog began roaming the neighborhood, chasing cattle and neighbors in a two-mile radius. He especially disliked me and sensing my fear, would sit in my yard and wait for me to open my door.

If I walked outside, it would follow me, bumping me with its nose and growling. I began driving my car to the mailbox just a few yards from my house and decided against future neighborhood walks. I tried to ignore the situation until the day the dog chased my daughter and cornered her on my back deck.

I called my neighbor, explaining what had happened but received no sympathy. “You are doing something to make him not like you,” she replied. “It’s your problem, not mine. Dogs are supposed to run loose in the country and that’s what mine is going to do.”

I hung up the phone, crying. And prayed. Well, sort of.

I admit my prayers were more like “Make her move, Lord” to “Help the dog to get lost and never come back.” But my heart – and my prayers – slowly began to change as I realized that for her to be so bitter and angry, she must be hurting inside for some reason that had nothing to do with me.

After several weeks of being fearful that either I or a member of my family would be attacked and bitten, I received a phone call. “Someone convinced your neighbor to give her dog away this evening,” the man said. “I know you have had a lot of problems. We all have. Hopefully this will take care of it.” Thank you, Lord!

Then the next morning, I was the recipient of the “gift” outside my front door.

Have you been there? The neighbor who will never be neighborly? Every attempt you make to be friendly is dropkicked into next Tuesday? Kindness met with contempt? I do understand.

And yet, God tells me that I am to love my neighbor, no matter what. No conditions like “as long as she loves me” or “until she does something I don’t like.” And He doesn’t suggest that I love her; He commands that I do.

Just as my neighbor’s actions had to do with her heart, MY reaction to what she was doing had to do with mine. And I needed to be like Jesus – no matter the outcome.

The relationship with my neighbor never improved. She and her family moved away a few months after that incident.

But I learned an important lesson from the Lord: love your neighbor and pray for your neighbor, no matter what. Even when there is poop on your welcome mat.

Father, please help me to love my neighbor and to see her through your eyes of love. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Have you ever lived by a neighbor like the one in today’s devotion?
When situations became tough, what was your first response – compassion and kindness or glares and harsh comments? Did you pray?


Journal today’s power verses and the names of your neighbors and pray for them.
If you find yourself having issues with a neighbor, go back to your journal and remind yourself of the love Jesus wants you to have for her.

Power Verses

Galatians 5:14 (NIV) “The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Romans 13:10 (NIV) “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Mark 12:31 (NIV) “. . . Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Matthew 7:12 (NIV) “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Luke 6:27 (NIV) “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing and information about her books, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)

Kim Frencken: Some thoughts on fidget spinners

Okay. I'm a little behind.

I had my first experience with fidget spinners.

I was mesmerized! The student was focused. In fact none of the students were distracted.
But I was completely fascinated with the rapid spinning motion. Needless to say, I stopped talking and listening as I was drawn in the whirl.

So... that's a fidget spinner!? That's how they work. Now, I'm not so sheltered that I haven't seen pictures, but this was my first up-close-experience with one in action. It is as if I've had a fidget spinner magnet installed in me. I am now seeing them everywhere. Maybe I'm just more observant. Maybe I'm just paying more attention. And, did you know that there is more than one way to spin them? Amazing!

So this is the "evil" invention that is driving everyone crazy? This small piece of triangular plastic is single handedly destroying education? Oh, I can see how they could cause a classroom disruption. I mean look at how they "disrupted" me, but create chaos? I can see where a fidget spinner would be a detriment to the educational process, just like stress balls, wobbly seats, or phones. I can imagine how a classroom full of them could erupt into competition.

And... I'd be right in the center of it. Lesson totally forgotten. Precious instructional minutes lost. But on the positive side ... relationships could be built on a common interest and a new skill would be learned. Then we'd have to put them aside until our next fidget spinner break-out. Yes, there will be those who will try to have them out all the time and to disrupt class. Those students will always find a way and a means. But there won't always be fidget spinners.

I think I'll go buy a fidget spinner of my own!

(For more of Kim Frencken's writing and information about her educational products, check out her blog Chocolate For the Teacher)

Preliminary hearing set for accused killer of three-year-old Jonathan Munoz-Bilbrey

A 9 a.m. Thursday preliminary hearing is scheduled in Jasper County Circuit Court for Leonard Valdez, 21, Joplin, who is charged with second degree murder and felony child abuse in connection with the November 12 death of three-year-old Jonathan Munoz-Bilbrey.

The three-year-old was taken to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City after he suffered brain injuries, facial bruising and a laceration at his home at 1502 S. Michigan Avenue November 10.

The probable cause statement indicates Valdez was the only person supervising the boy at the time the injuries occurred.

The boy died 22 days after the Joplin Police Department arrested Valdez for domestic assault at the same address, 1502 S. Michigan Avenue, where police say the child abuse took place. The victim was the boy's mother, Natasha Michelle Bilbrey, 22, according to the JPD incident report.

Court document: Former North Middle School teacher told 13-year-old he was hot and she wanted him

The assistant U. S. Attorney prosecuting former North Middle School reading teacher Amanda Schweitzer on child pornography and child sexual exploitation charges wants her to remain behind bars while awaiting trial.

According to a motion for a detention hearing filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri,

The motion details predatory behavior by Schweitzer, including performing oral sex and having sexual intercourse with 13-year-old boy, one of her students, texting him to tell him he was "hot" and "she wanted him," sending him a nude photo of herself with a purple sex toy and asking him to send her a photo of his penis.

The 13-year-old, referred to as John Doe 1 in the court documents, was not the only one Schweitzer approached, according to the motion.

She sent nude photos of herself to two other boys, both 14 years old, the motion said. Schweizer sent one of the boys a message, apparently trying to flatter him by asking if he was 18 yet.

After that, the defendant tried to add him on Snapchat, but he blocked her. The defendant also messaged him to see if he wanted to go to a concert. John Doe 2 stated the defendant would nibble on his ear lobe during class, pretending she was whispering in his ear.

John Doe 1 showed the messages from the Schweitzer and her nude photographs to John Doe 3, according to the detention motion.

John Doe 3 said he also saw some messages between John Doe 1 and the defendant, and in one of the messages, the defendant commented on how large John Doe 1’s penis was in a photograph. On John Doe 1’s phone, images of the defendant’s exposing her breast were located. There was also one image with the defendant with a dark colored dildo in her mouth. On the defendant’s phone, multiple images of her exposing her breast were located. 

Schweitzer was initially arrested by the Joplin Police Department after the mothers of the boys discovered that Schweitzer was sending nude photographs to their sons' Instagram accounts.

During interviews at the Children's Advocacy Center in Joplin, John Doe 1 revealed that his first sexual encounter with Schweitzer took place during spring break when she "drove him to the river in a white four-door car."

The second incident took place on March 29, 2017, at Schweitzer's home.

Schweitzer is currently behind bars pending the detention hearing.

Schweitzer is scheduled to stand trial in April in Jasper County Circuit Court on statutory rape charges..

Nevada minister pleads guilty to Social Security fraud

(From the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri)

A Nevada, Mo., pastor pleaded guilty in federal court today to fraudulently receiving more than $90,000 in Social Security disability benefits.

Dennis Engelbrecht, 58, of Nevada, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the theft of government money.

Engelbrecht admitted that he was employed as a pastor at Pentecostal Assembly of God Church in Nevada, Mo., while receiving disability benefits over an approximately four-year period. Engelbrecht did not report his work activity to the Social Security Administration, as required.

Although Engelbrecht was paid $650 per week by the church, he received a total of $87,705 in disability payments from February 2011 to May 2015. Additionally, his son received a total of $3,220 in auxiliary benefits to which he was not entitled. (Because Engelbrecht was not entitled to benefits, his son was not entitled to auxiliary benefits.)

Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Engelbrecht must pay restitution to the government of $90,925.

Engelbrecht has worked as a pastor since 2000. His first application for disability benefits in 2009 was denied, but a second application was approved in 2011. Engelbrecht did not report any current employment on either application.

Under federal statutes, Engelbrecht is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General.

Noel sex offender pleads guilty to child sexual exploitation, weapons charge

(From the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri)

A Noel, Mo., sex offender pleaded guilty in federal court today to charges related to child sexual exploitation and illegally possessing firearms.

Raymond Adair, 58, of Noel, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to one count of traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual conduct and one count of being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of firearms.

Adair, a registered sex offender, was previously convicted in Colorado of attempted second-degree kidnapping of a minor and two counts of indecent exposure to a minor.

By pleading guilty today, Adair admitted that he traveled from Missouri to Arkansas on May 9, 2016, to engage in illicit sexual conduct. Bentonville, Ark., police officers received two separate complaints on that day of Adair exposing himself to children walking home from school. One of the children was walking home from a school bus stop, according to the plea agreement, and investigators obtained images of Adair’s vehicle from the school bus’s surveillance cameras.

On May 11, 2016, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Adair’s residence and he was arrested. During the search, officers found an AR-15 rifle, a Marlin rifle, a Ruger rifle, and approximately 12 and a half pounds of marijuana.

Under federal statutes, Adair is subject to a sentence of up to 70 years in federal prison without parole. Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Adair must pay a fine of $150,000. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Bentonville, Ark., Police Department and the McDonald County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Jalen Vaden to Jayda Kyle's father: I pray that you know I didn't do this to her

In a five-page letter written and mailed from the Jasper County Jail, Jalen Vaden poured his heart out to the father of the three-year-old girl he is charged with murdering.

Though the probable cause statement submitted by the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office says Vaden confessed to committing the abuse that led to Jayda Kyle's death, the letter to Mac Kyle, obtained and verified by the Turner Report, tells a different story.

"I've prayed for you everyday since I got to this hell hole," Vaden said. "I pray that you know I didn't do this to J."

 Vaden expresses his admiration for Kyle, who was someone he looked up to when he attended Webb City schools, according to the letter. Kyle was a star athlete and a black role model in a heavily white community, who offered Vaden strongly-worded advice on avoiding drugs after a mutual friend died.

Much of the letter was spent detailing to Kyle how much Jayda and her brother loved their father.

"Here you are again, blessing my life because you made two of the most beautiful kids I ever laid eyes on."

Those children told Jalen stories of being with their father, he wrote and in return, he recounted the memories he had of Mac Kyle. "I'd tell them about watching you play sports. They always wanted to hear more and more. There isn't a bad thing anyone could say about you to them."

Jalen wrote about how being with Mac Kyle's children and his own son had turned him into a better person.

"They were teaching me way more than I thought I was teaching them. They softened my heart and showed me what real love is."

In the conclusion to his letter, Vaden told Kyle, "I pray for your peace and strength. I don't want to pretend like I know you so well, but the thing I do know, I know you've been through a lot in life to say the absolute very least. I have no words, nor are there any."

Vaden said he knew each day was a challenge for Kyle, but that he had to "keep pushing' for his other child. "He needs you more than ever now."

Vaden added, "Those babies were my life and I have you to thank for that."

Previous posts

Family of accused Jayda Kyle murderer suspects outside manipulation as SMB, GoFundMe shut down accounts

Explosive court documents claim Jayda Kyle's mother turned her death into a social media event

Jayda Kyle's mother to answer questions under oath; defense to add Judd McPherson as a witness

Dankelson refuses to recuse from Jayda Kyle murder case, says he does not have a close relationship with Judd McPherson

Jalen Vaden's lawyer asks for change of judge, cites Dankelson's close relationship with Judd McPherson

Jalen Vaden bond decision delayed, preliminary hearing waived
Accused killer of Jayda Kyle to waive preliminary hearing
Bond motion filed for accused killer of three-year-old Jayda Kyle

Jasper County Sheriff: We are still investigating Jayda Kyle's death

Children's Division documents: Grandfather attempting to manipulate Jayda Kyle murder investigation

Juvenile Office documents: Jayda Kyle suffered bleeding from brain, severely torn retina, probably already brain dead when she arrived in K. C.

Some thoughts on the Joplin Globe's article on the Jayda Kyle murder investigation

Probable cause: Carl Junction man abused three-year-old, left her on the floor bloody, unconscious

Jayda Kyle obituary

Ace Mohr pleads guilty, admits "I sold heroin"

Ace Mohr, 24, Carthage, pleaded guilty Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court to two possession with intent to distribute drugs, including heroin and receiving stolen property.

Judge David Mouton ordered a pre-sentence report and scheduled sentencing for 1 p.m. March 5.

According to the terms of his plea agreement with the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office, Mohr cannot be sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for each of the possession with intent charges and five years for receiving stolen property with the sentences to run concurrently.

As part of the deal, the prosecuting attorney's office will dismiss the other pending charges against Mohr.

Mohr, who was represented by attorneys Brian Glades and Jonathan Pierce, will also be required to pay $1,075 in restitution.

On the plea form, Mohr wrote, (I) sold heroin to CI (confidential informant).

The sale took place January 29, 2015 and the confidential informant worked for the Jasper County Sheriff's Office, according to court records.

Mohr also pleaded guilty on possession with intent to distribute for an arrest made February 16, 2015, by the Carthage Police Department.

The crime was detailed in a probable cause statement written by Officer Justin Butler, who had originally arrested Mohr for driving while intoxicated:

While handcuffed to a bench in the booking room, Mohr removed a plastic baggie containing 138 grams of cocaine from his right shoe. I seized the substance from his person.

While speaking to Mohr, I discovered a plastic baggie containing two grams of methamphetamine inside his mouth unedr his tongue. After discovering the meth, I removed Mohr's left sock and located two more plastic baggies containing 60 Alprazolan, schedule four pills and one unknown blue pill.

Mohr's other guilty plea came in connection with a September 3, 2016 arrest for receiving stolen property.

The Joplin Police Department arrested him at Ernie Williamson Music, 925 South Range Line Road, with guitars stolen from a Newton County church and drug paraphernalia, according to the probable cause statement.
(Ernie Williamson photo of arrest is shown at left)

Two of the three possession charges against Mohr in connection with the February 16, 2015 Carthage Police Department arrest will be dropped under the terms of the plea agreement, as well as possession charges filed against Mohr in connection with the following cases:

-A July 19, 2016 arrest by Webb City police officers who were responding to a trespassing call

"Just prior to putting handcuffs on him, I saw him reach into his right pocket and throw a small white object," Officer Alex Bickett wrote in the probable cause statement. "I heard it hit another object and roll across the ground."

The object turned out to be crystal meth, Bickett said. Another officer found marijuana in a container on Mohr's key chain, the statement indicates.

-An April 27, 2016 Jasper County Sheriff's Office arrest while Mohr was under surveillance

Carthage Police Detective Chad Allison and Jasper County Detective Ed Bailey saw a Dodge minivan pull into the driveway, according to Bailey's probable cause statement.

As we exited the vehicle and identified ourselves as police, Mohr exited the van and began to run around the front of (it). As Mohr moved, I saw him throw two syringes to the ground at the front of the van, along with his keys.

When asked if he had any other syringes, Mohr replied, "No, only those two."

During a search of Mohr's person after he was detained, Allison located a portion of a pill wrapped in foil paper in a package of cigarettes found in Mohr's right front pants pocket. When asked what it was, Mohr said, "It's a Dilaudid. Mohr admitted to using Dilaudid intravenously.

Another Carthage Police Department possession arrest

Court records indicate the Carthage Police arrested Mohr December 30, 2015, on marijuana possession charges.

Former Prosecuting Attorney Dankelson dropped two armed robbery charges and failed to file another against Mohr

When the Joplin Police Department arrested Mohr for an armed robbery at 7th and Moffet August 30, 2016, it was the third time he had been charged with that crime.

While the JPD recommended robbery, armed criminal action and possession of a controlled substance against Mohr, Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney Dean Dankelson elected not to file any charges.

No court records remain of Mohr's first two armed robbery arrests.

Mohr and two other men were charged with an October 4, 2015, robbery of a man staying at the Guest House Motel in Carthage. Carthage Police alleged that Mohr held the man down on the bed at knife point, while the other two men searched for valuables.

Dankelson dropped the charges after the victim failed to show for a preliminary hearing, even though the prosecuting attorney had a sworn affidavit from a Carthage police officer saying that one of Mohr's accomplices admitted the three men had committed the crime.

Charges were also dropped on an earlier armed robbery. Carthage Police arrested Mohr after he allegedly opened the front passenger door of a car at the Sonic Drive-In on November 22, 2013, slid in beside the driver and robbed him at gunpoint.

Preliminary hearing scheduled for Joplin man charged with beating his 10-year-old son, threatening to shoot his children

A 10 a.m. March 1 preliminary hearing has been scheduled in Jasper County Circuit Court for Hossam Amin, 35, Joplin, who is accused of beating his 10-year-old son September 13.

According to the probable cause statement, the 10-year-old's sister Joplin police officers that the beating occurred after Amin learned that the boy had said a bad word at school two days earlier and had lied to him about it.

Amin "kicked (the boy) in the stomach, hit (him) several times and used a phone charger to hit (him) which resulted in bruising on his back," according to the probable cause statement, which also indicated that in the past Amin had pointed a loaded gun at his children "threatening to shoot them and used a taser on all three of them."

Amin was charged with felony child abuse and is free after posting a $5,000 bond.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

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

Turner Report readers continued to follow the Jayda Kyle murder case this week with the top five posts and six of the top seven detailing different developments.

The Turner Report's live coverage of the Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting, courtesy of Jet HD, cracked the top 10. likely due to the board's decision to combine sports at the three middle schools, along with Ron Lankford's detailed accounting of the shape of the district's finances.

The posts and links to them are provided below:

The Turner Report

1. Explosive court documents claim Jayda Kyle's mother turned her death into a social media event

2. Family of accused Jayda Kyle murderer suspects outside manipulation as as SMB, GoFundMe accounts shut down

3. Jayda Kyle's mother to answer questions under oath, defense to add Judd McPherson as a witness

4. Dankelson refuses to recuse from Jayda Kyle murder case, says he does not have a close relationship with Judd McPherson

5. Some thoughts on the Joplin Globe's article on the Jayda Kyle murder investigation

6. Department of Justice issues official news release on former North Middle School reading teacher's child pornography indictment

7. Jalen Vaden's judge asks for change of judge, cites Dankelson's close relationship with Judd McPherson

8. Watch Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting live

9. Federal grand jury indicts former Joplin R-8 teacher for sexual exploitation of a minor, transmitting obscene material

10. Joplin R-8 Board extends Superintendent Melinda Moss' contract through 2021

Inside Joplin

1. Jasper Police: Tell us if you see this man behind the wheel

2. Joplin Police Department addresses rumors on arrest at 626 S. Jackson

3. Shoplifters nabbed at 7th Street Wal-Mart, charged with felony stealing, woman has five bags of meth

4. Highway Patrol Arrests January 25-26

5. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

6. Asbury pedestrian struck by vehicle, killed near state line, investigation continues

7. Joplin Police: Alcohol involved in fatality crash at 50th and Main

8. Jasper County Dissolutions of Marriage

9. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests

10. Golden City man rushed to area hospital after apparent suicide attempt

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Camille Doerge

2. Adam Tripp

3, Eddie Parker

4 Shannon Bartlett

5. Ka Ying Lee

6. Marcy Massie

7. Holdyn Harnar

8. Mavrick Osman

9. Bill Luke

10. Clistine Bartkoski

Friday, January 26, 2018

Joplin R-8 Board extends Superintendent Melinda Moss' contract through 2021

During a closed session following Tuesday's meeting, the Joplin R-8 Board of Education extended Superintendent Melinda Moss' contract through the 2021 year.

Moss will receive an average of whatever pay increase district teachers receive when that determination is made later in the year.

The board hired Moss in November 2016 to replace C. J. Huff, who "retired" in 2015 and was replaced by Norm Ridder for two years on an interim basis.

Moss, the former superintendent of the Harrison, Arkansas School District, began her duties April 1.

The board unanimously approved the following hirings, retirements and resignations:

Substitutes: Courtney Adrian, Eliot Ballard, Shelby Campbell, Audrey Goetz, Tylan Harris, Teresa Madison, Ashley Pearce, Brandy Salwasser, John Seal, Denzil Thomas, John Vaughn, Madison Willey, Courtney Williams, Tiffanie Yeakey, and Caleb Frakes.

Retirements: Brenda Clark, Teresa Taylor, and Karla Theilen.

: Kimberly Kester, Rebecka Bornhoft, Jordan Daniel, and Mary Mowdy.

The board voted 6-0 to hire the following classified employees with board member Deborah Gould leaving the meeting during the presentation by H. R. Director Ashley Jones and not participating in the vote:

Heather Amato, Anna Busby, Kristin Clark, Mark Feagins, Kelsey Gould, Deborah Harryman, Jason Hutchcraft, Rachel Jack, Jamey McKeel, Danielle McNew, Amand Salgado, Brandy Salwasser, Andrea Schemet, Calvin Sigars, Sydney Stever, Judy Stoll, Julia Thomas, Kathleen Trentham, Caroline Underwood, Domitila Villanueva, Kelly White

The board declared the Duquesne Elementary School building and trailers at Jefferson Elementary surplus and authorized them for sale.

Previous Posts

Billy Long: It was a great first year- President Trump doesn't just talk, he delivers

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

On January 20, 2017, President Trump was sworn into office and became the 45th president of the United States. We’re only a year into his presidency, and President Trump has already delivered on numerous promises, including improving our economy, cutting regulations and holding our government accountable. As one of his first supporters, I knew even before day one that unlike other candidates, President Trump was going to do a lot more than just talk – he was going to deliver.

Under President Trump, the U.S. economy is booming. This momentum has created more jobs and lowered our national unemployment rate. In 2017, more than 2 million jobs were added to the economy and as of December, the unemployment rate was at 4.1 percent, which is the lowest it’s been in years. However, jobs added to the economy and the unemployment rate aren’t the only areas of our economy in which President Trump is having success. Last year, both the House and the Senate passed H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This bill, which was signed into law, provides $5.5 trillion in tax cuts, with 60 percent of those tax cuts going to families. So far, the results have only been positive with more than 2.6 million people getting pay raises or bonuses from their employers.

But taxes aren’t the only thing going down, so are regulations. So far in 2017, President Trump cut, delayed or streamlined over 1,500 regulations resulting in savings of $8.1 billion. These rules and regulations, which cause more harm than good, cost money and hinder job growth. After taking office, President Trump signed a Presidential Order stating for every new regulation, two must be eliminated. However, he eliminated even more than that. In 2017, for every new regulation there were 22 deregulatory actions.

Similar to the economy and overregulation, government accountability was also put on the backburner by previous administrations. From the get-go, President Trump made a promise to the American people that their tax dollars would be spent wisely, and the government would be held accountable for its promises. So far, he’s kept his word by ending abusive practices implemented by past administrations and nominating strong, conservative judges.

The administration has set out to have an even better 2018, which I have no doubt it will be. I look forward to this trend continuing over the coming years. The American people deserve a government that works for them rather than against them. President Trump is doing just that.

Kansas City Democrat: Greitens did not deny taking nude photo of his mistress

(From House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City)

Missouri's public colleges and universities would endure deep funding cuts for the second year in a row under the $28.75 billion state operating budget Republican Gov. Eric Greitens proposed on Jan. 22 for the 2019 fiscal year. Under the governor's plan, appropriations for public colleges and universities in FY 2019, which begins July 1, would be lower than they were in FY 1998 - more than two decades ago.

Greitens' higher education budget calls for an additional $68 million in cuts from two- and four-year institutions while making permanent in the upcoming budget an additional $36 million cut he unilaterally imposed for the current fiscal year, for a total reduction of $104 million from FY 2018 appropriated levels.

On K-12 education funding, during the current fiscal year lawmakers were able to claim to have fully funded the statutory formula for distributing state money to local public school districts for the first time in decades. The claim of full funding, however, was largely an illusion since to achieve it the Republican-controlled General Assembly first had to rewrite the law to reduce the cost of claiming full funding by $400 million.

But even the illusion of full funding of public schools hasn't lasted long as Greitens proposed providing only about half the $99 million that would be needed under the rewritten formula to claim full funding in FY 2019. Greitens also recommended making permanent for next year $13 million of a $15 million cut to local districts' student transportation costs that he unilaterally imposed for the current fiscal year.

The governor is constitutionally required to present lawmakers with a proposed spending for the upcoming fiscal year, but his recommendations aren't binding on lawmakers, who are expected to modify or reject many of the governor's proposals. The legislature must pass the various appropriations bills that make up the state budget no later than May 11.

Greitens' budget announcement during a news conference in his Capitol office marked his first public appearance since admitting on Jan. 10 to an extramarital affair in 2015 before becoming governor.

Until a pair of interviews with select media outlets two days earlier, Greitens hadn't personally addressed allegations that he had threated to blackmail his former mistress with a nude photograph he had taken of her. In those interviews, he said there was no attempted blackmail but avoided giving "yes" or "no" answers as to whether he photographed the woman in a state of undress.

Greitens was repeatedly asked about the issue during the budget news conference and couched his words carefully, saying, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "There was no photograph for blackmail. There was no threat of using a photograph for blackmail." He did not, however, deny taking a photograph.

Family of accused Jayda Kyle murderer suspects outside manipulation as SMB, GoFundMe accounts shut down

The family of Jalen Vaden, 22, Carl Junction, the man charged with the murder of three-year-old Jayda Kyle, suspects manipulation by someone powerful as their efforts to raise money for his defense have been shut down.

The latest instance came Wednesday when Southwest Missouri Bank closed the "Vaden Truth Fund."

The account was not a new one at SMB, but a retitled savings account belonging to Quianna Beaver-Vaden, Jalen Vaden's sister.

Bank officials closed the account Tuesday without telling Vaden, who found out when she tried to access it that evening.

SMB Executive Vice President Craig Tankersley explained his reasoning the next morning when Vaden met with him, according to a recording of the meeting obtained by the Turner Report.

"We're going to have to close your account," Tankersley told her. "Unfortunately, with all of the controversy that's surrounding this case, the bank can't be a part of that."

Tankersley then lectured her about the way she publicized her account.

"You guys posted on Facebook- our address, information- and you didn't have permission to do that. It's causing us problems with the rest of our customer base."

The recording indicates Tankersley was asked whether the interference was coming from Jayda Kyle's maternal grandfather attorney Judd McPherson.

He did not respond to the question.

When Vaden asked why she was not notified, Tankersley said the bank was in the process of doing that by sending her a certified letter with a cashier's check covering the amount of money that was in the account. The letter was going out later that day meaning the account would have been closed for two days before Vaden was officially notified.

Tankersley told Vaden she was welcome to try to find another institution to handle her account, but warned her, "You may have trouble getting that account with any other bank."

The Turner Report has learned that the Vaden Truth Fund is not the only SMB account to be closed because of the controversy. A number of the bank's clients closed their accounts after word of bank officials' decision to close the Vaden account circulated on social media.

The closure of the SMB account is not the first problem the Vaden family has encountered while trying to establish a fund to pay for legal expenses.

A GoFundMe account was shut down after complaints that the account was violating a GoFundMe regulation that prohibits the crowdfunding source from being used to raise money for legal expenses.

The money that had been raised was returned to those who contributed it.

Though GoFundMe's rules prohibit that type of account, many of GoFundMe's accounts have been used expressly for that purpose, including an account that was established last year to pay the legal fees of any of the women who accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment if he followed through on his threat to sue all of them and the most successful GoFundMe fundraiser of all time, the recent effort to raise money to defray legal costs for victims in the MeToo cases.

In social media postings, while no evidence has been provided to indicate McPherson or anyone else as the person or persons responsible for the closing of the SMB and GoFundMe accounts, there is a widespread belief that someone powerful is manipulating the system.

Previous posts

Explosive court documents claim Jayda Kyle's mother turned her death into a social media event

Jayda Kyle's mother to answer questions under oath; defense to add Judd McPherson as a witness

Dankelson refuses to recuse from Jayda Kyle murder case, says he does not have a close relationship with Judd McPherson

Jalen Vaden's lawyer asks for change of judge, cites Dankelson's close relationship with Judd McPherson

Jalen Vaden bond decision delayed, preliminary hearing waived
Accused killer of Jayda Kyle to waive preliminary hearing
Bond motion filed for accused killer of three-year-old Jayda Kyle

Jasper County Sheriff: We are still investigating Jayda Kyle's death

Children's Division documents: Grandfather attempting to manipulate Jayda Kyle murder investigation

Juvenile Office documents: Jayda Kyle suffered bleeding from brain, severely torn retina, probably already brain dead when she arrived in K. C.

Some thoughts on the Joplin Globe's article on the Jayda Kyle murder investigation

Probable cause: Carl Junction man abused three-year-old, left her on the floor bloody, unconscious

Jayda Kyle obituary