Press | Ed Emery for State Senate 31

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The Oligarchy Speaks on Marriage

Posted by on July 9, 2015 in Capitol Reports, Recent | 0 comments

The Oligarchy Speaks on Marriage

“When absolutes are denied, there is no basis for truth; the absence of truth leaves only opinion; in a world of opinions, the tyrant wins.”               Anonymous

Freedom is greatest for those with the greatest power. America’s founders intended for the greatest power to rest with the people. Their writings make it clear that it was not their intention for an unelected oligarchy of nine to rule with unrestrained power. Last month, five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) bullied their way past federalism and the separation of church and state in the latest attempt to crush both with their statist gavel. Thirty states had previously defined marriage as between a man and a woman, and since the opinion, governors and legislatures across the U.S. have declared their intentions to protect their states from the anti-religious Supreme Court decision. Missouri’s governor, on the other hand, has declared his full support of the reprobate opinion. Elections really do matter!

The gradual demise of any moral restraint or even the legitimacy of moral values has introduced this nation to a political no man’s land where there are no moral absolutes and hence no right and wrong – only opinion. Marriage was not conceived, designed, nor imposed by the state, but it has suddenly been discovered by five judges in the U. S. Constitution. They even discovered its definition secretly coded therein. These five jurists, whose oath to support the constitution took second place, intend to impose their existential creativity upon fifty sovereign states from which they supposedly derive their jurisdiction. By their hand, federalism has been cast aside in favor of a social agenda. What happened to a “nation of laws, not of men?”

The violation of separation of church and state by this opinion was unprecedented. An institution which has always been the jurisdiction of the church was hijacked and neutered. Heretofore pledged to the propagation and benefit of children, these five elitists decreed it to the pleasure of adults. Apparently, marriage is no longer about the children. The state can no more redefine marriage than it can redefine death or birth. We make laws to accommodate all three and to describe any agreed-upon legal status, but their inherent character is beyond the reach of the state. Contracts are the legitimate jurisdiction of the state. However, marriage is not a contract but a divine relationship.

Had federalism prevailed, the SCOTUS would have acknowledged the absences of any constitutional status for marriage and would have left jurisdiction to the states. Some states would have taken the same reprobate approach as the SCOTUS and would have seen the exodus of those most offended by the redefinition of marriage and the immigration of same-sex proponents. In due time, populations would be affected as some states enjoyed increased birth rates while others declined. Prosperity would be affected and some public policies would be validated while others would not. Absolutes really do exist even if denied. Even if morality is ignored and all is left to mathematics, economics, anatomy, physiology, and nature, federalism and liberty eventually sort out the good from the bad; it takes time but absolutes prevail. The only way to implement and sustain bad public policy is by the mandatory hand of government via king, dictator, or oligarchy.

Several states have already begun attempts to mitigate the harmful effects of this unconstitutional SCOTUS opinion. The Missouri legislature must seek out the most effective ways to protect religious freedoms and the principles of righteousness, but we will need your prayers and divine intervention to get it right. As Justice Thomas wrote in his minority opinion: “This distortion of our Constitution not only ignores the text, it inverts the relationship between the individual and the state in our Republic.” The question we must ask is whether this violation of their oath to support the Constitution of the United States justifies impeachment of five Supreme Court judges. I believe it should.

Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.

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The Value of Life

Posted by on June 11, 2015 in Capitol Reports, Recent | 0 comments

The Value of Life

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” –  Moses

Since the deadly Roe v. Wade Supreme Court opinion of 1973, nearly 58 million babies have been mechanically or chemically killed in the womb. Most Missourians take life seriously and believe it their duty to defend these most vulnerable human beings – an obligation growing out of their acknowledgement of the sanctity of innocent human life. There is also that sense of personal responsibility to counsel or assist mothers who find themselves in a desperate situation without the resources and education they feel they need. There is that deeply held understanding that every life is priceless intrinsically, not just because of its utility.

On the heels of a successful legislative override of a pro-life bill requiring a 72-hour waiting period last September, this session continued with an emphasis on life. There was the creation of a more reliable funding source for those laboring to reduce the number of abortions in Missouri and to provide for women who find themselves in desperate circumstances.

In April, the Legislature passed a budget that secured funding for services for pregnant women at risk for abortion, as well as $2.6 million to fully fund the Missouri Alternatives to Abortion Program. Those funds will help support the state’s maternity homes and pregnancy resource centers. There was also additional funding for Show-Me-Healthy Babies, a program that ensures low-income unborn children receive adequate health care through the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. Until societal norms return to the conviction that individuals and families are better caregivers than governments, these programs may help prevent aborted children by clarifying to expectant mothers that they do not face life alone.

As part of the General Assembly’s efforts to reform welfare this past session, we added a provision that will guarantee about $4.34 million in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds to promote healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood. The bill was originally vetoed by the governor, but the Legislature overrode his veto in early May. Many of those provisions will take effect next year, making Missouri one of the states with the largest funding commitments to abortion alternatives. Senator David Sater, R-Cassville, and his staff deserve much of the credit for this advance in pro-life funding.

According to the Department of Health and Senior Services, from 2009 – 2013 abortion rates in Missouri have continued to decrease. There have been significant increases in the number of maternity homes and pregnancy resource centers in the Show-Me State as well, and no new abortion facilities have surfaced. Missouri has one of the lowest abortion rates in the nation.

Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.

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Public School Retirement System

Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Capitol Reports, Recent, Updates | 0 comments

Public School Retirement System

As the 2015 legislation session is drawing to a close, there are several issues that remain in the legislative process. One issue receiving multiple inquiries deals with a segment of Missouri’s public pensions. Over the last decade, due to the turbulent investment environment, public pension issues have gained increased attention across the country. Missouri’s public pensions have had a more positive experience than many others across the country and for that we are all thankful.

 

A public pension provision moving through the Missouri Legislature this session deals with the permanent extension of the 2.55 percent benefit multiplier for public school teachers or administrators with 31 or more years of service within PSRS (Public School Retirement System of Missouri). PSRS is a defined-benefit pension plan providing lifetime pension benefits for most public school teachers in Missouri. It is based on the following formula:

  • The average of the highest three consecutive years of a teacher’s salary multiplied by a Benefit Multiplier (2.5 percent under normal provisions) multiplied by the teachers years of Service.

 

The bill before the General Assembly this session permanently extends a “bonus” program for teachers and administrators with 31 or more years of service. This program expired July 1, 2014 and an extension is being heavily lobbied for by the teachers’ unions. There is, however, the rest of the story:

  • The 2.55 percent bonus program was enacted in 2001 under HB 660 which was a public school pension package with a cost to taxpayers of $595 million in pension liabilities. When originally passed, this provision was set to expire in 2008.
  • When reauthorized in 2007 under SB 406, the 2.55 percent bonus program was extended to 2013 at a cost to taxpayers of $25.4 million in plan liabilities.
  • When extended for one additional year in 2013 under SB 17, the 2.55 percent bonus program cost taxpayers an additional $16 million in plan liabilities.

In the General Assembly, we are now charged with the policy decision of permanently extending the 2.55 percent bonus program for public school teachers and administrators with 31 or more years of service which is now reported to produce a savings of $69.9 million in pension liabilities. Reducing pension liability is a positive endeavor, no doubt about it. The dramatic difference between multiple reports of cost associated with this bonus program and now a savings gives me pause for concern. I also find it in conflict with projections that in 1994 the average service of a teacher was 33 years without any kind of retirement incentive while the average service for new 2013 PSRS retirees is 23.2 years.

 

First, let me be clear, Missouri’s teachers are charged with one of the highest callings – cultivating our most precious blessing and resource: our children. Those that choose this honorable occupation have my highest respect. However, there are multiple concerns I share with a number of my Senate colleagues who, like me, are reluctant to endorse this proposal.

 

There appear to be two perspectives relative to the extension of this bonus program. One is that the retirement system actually becomes more solvent with the passage of this proposal according to PSRS actuarial professionals. Another perspective surrounds the individual school districts. As this bonus program works to keep long term teachers in the profession, some school districts, including Raymore-Peculiar in my district, have offered retirement incentives to move longer term, higher compensated teachers off of payroll as a budget savings measure. Through these kinds of measures school boards can create career opportunities for a new generation of teachers, lower personnel expenses, and free up budgetary resources.

 

There have been conversations at the Capitol as to whether it is better to keep long term experienced teachers on payroll or whether “burned out” teachers should be monetarily incented to stay in the classroom. No one seems to have a final answer to that discussion because each individual educator and situation is unique. The General Assembly over the last several decades has worked to craft a rewarding retirement package for Missouri teachers, and Missouri has one of the nation’s best. I believe teachers who want to continue teaching our children will do so without a bonus program. I am concerned about projected savings of a legislative proposal that is built on actuarial assumptions including an assumed annual investment return of at least 8 percent. Missouri’s taxpayers, along with the teachers, contribute the cost of providing these retirement benefits. Should assumptions such as investment returns not perform as assumed, a loss is experienced and must be made up by the taxpayers and teachers.

 

While Senate concerns and resistance with continuing this bonus program is not popular with teachers, it is important to consider all stakeholders, not just those with the most to gain, when considering legislative proposals. Missouri taxpayers must have a seat at the table in any proposal that exposes them to increasing risk or liability.

 

Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.

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Trading Away our Future: The Medicaid Expansion Debate

Posted by on April 3, 2015 in Capitol Reports, Recent, Updates | 0 comments

Trading Away our Future: The Medicaid Expansion Debate

“Bad ideas are not removed by assassination but by exposing them to evidence and reason.” –Anonymous

The contrast in world views or at least political philosophy was front and center Tuesday night when an amendment was offered to expand Medicaid under pressure from Obamacare supporters. The amendment failed on a party-line vote of 25 to 9. The nature and content of debate as well as the party-line vote revealed the sharp contrast in party perspectives regarding government accountability, national debt, and the importance of considering the long term consequences of public policy decisions.

The contrast of positions was occasionally punctuated by the question of whose numbers and analyses were most accurate, but the contest more often was between fiscal realities versus emotion. Those of us declaring that Medicaid expansion was already happening by around $300 million annually and that expansion would potentially bankrupt the state and heavily penalize education funding were labeled as heartless and uncaring. If we pointed to the constitutional mandate to balance the budget, we were accused of having no regard for the poor and uninsured.

Concern is mounting that entitlement spending is growing such that for several years any increase in state revenue is immediately consumed by the growth in welfare-program demands. For example, last year’s revenue growth was approximately 2 percent greater than anticipated, but that entire amount – and then some – was required to balance the growth of Medicaid spending.

It is difficult to reverse your position when it is rooted primarily in emotion. Additionally, a counter argument based on financial history, budgets, and forecasts may never overcome a point of emotion. One is an argument about how government can take better care of people; the other is an argument about how the taxpayer will pay for it. From the vote count, after the lengthy debate, it appears the practical argument won out, and we will not be expanding Medicaid in Missouri.

On a lighter note, the Missouri Conservation Department has asked me to inform constituents that a number of outdoor activities are scheduled in or near the 31stSenatorial District. The following link can connect you to information on two Kid’s Fishing Days, Hunter Education Classes, and a pond management workshop: http://mdc.mo.gov/events

Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.

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Liberty is Choice

Posted by on March 3, 2015 in Capitol Reports, Recent | 0 comments

Liberty is Choice

“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”  — Samuel Adams

Much of last week was applied to the “perfection” of Senate Bill 1, the so-called School Transfer Bill. Senate Bill 1 will receive one more vote in the Senate, the third-read vote, and then will move to the Missouri House for further consideration. A similar House bill,House Bill 42, has already passed the Missouri House and is awaiting a Senate hearing. Both bills address the pressing need to provide students a path out of failing schools. The bills will offer new options to parents who, regarding their children’s opportunity to learn and succeed, feel hopeless and helpless.

New options for student learning include transferring within their district to schools that are succeeding, the expanded use of charter schools, and the availability of virtual schools. Senate Bill 1 also addresses the tragedy of “social promotion” – passing students to the next grade level, ready or not. The results of social promotion can include graduating seniors that can’t read or even make change. There are additional details and provisions in the two education bills, and of course the bills will likely be further refined throughout the process as one or both make their way to the governor’s desk. Fundamentally, SB 1 is about giving parents and student’s choice; liberty is choice.

By now you have heard about the tragic death of State Auditor Tom Schweich last Thursday. A large group of us attended a memorial service in St. Louis on Tuesday, March 3. Besides the unspeakable grief for his wife and children, Missouri has lost a brilliant statesman and incredibly effective auditor. Please pray for Tom’s family and all who mourn his passing.

Monday, March 2, included a coordinated trip to Fort Leonard Wood for 23 state senators, a large number of House members, as well as statewide elected officials and federal legislators. The purpose of our visit was to support the incredible community, business, and state effort to win military support for keeping Fort Leonard Wood at its present staffing and mission level. Military budget cuts and base reductions are threatening thousands of military and support jobs in Pulaski and surrounding counties. Nearly 2,000 local citizens and military personnel attended the public hearing in support of the fort.  I have not attended any of the other 20-plus meetings in support of other bases, but the public support and the information provided could not have been more compelling. Now it is up to the military.

Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.

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Public Perception

Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Capitol Reports, Recent | 0 comments

Public Perception
“We must look at the lens through which we see the world, as well as the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.” 
― Stephen R. Covey

 

We have recorded and tallied responses from a total of 2,326 constituents who returned my recent survey. The most responses (2,294) were received in reply to the question of whether a student should be able to transfer to another district if one better fits their needs. Of those, 68 percent agreed that they should, with 38 percent disagreeing. The lowest number of replies (1,628) came from the question of how Missouri should fund any increase in Medicaid. Medicaid expansion was rejected by 68 percent against the 24 percent in favor, and, if expanded, funding by increasing taxes was preferred by 33 percent; 16 percent of respondents favored cuts in education funding; and 40 percent selected neither but without agreement on another approach. Possibly the reason for the low number of responses on Medicaid funding was the nearly 3 to 1 opposition to any expansion.

Most survey questions supplied five possible choices: strongly agree, somewhat agree, no opinion, somewhat disagree, and strongly disagree. Combining the for and against positions produced the following results:

  • Eliminating the state income tax
    49 percent for – 39 percent against
  • Right-to-Work
    75 percent for – 21 percent against
  • Option to transfer to private school
    76 percent for – 18 percent against
  • Assigning a letter grade to school buildings
    72 percent for – 18 percent against
  • Eliminating teacher tenure
    76 percent for – 22 percent against.

Much has been made of the 76 percent no vote on Amendment 3 last November, but survey results would suggest that was not a vote in support of tenure.

The other two questions asked whether Missouri entitlements were too high – 48 percent; too low – 15 percent; or about right – 37 percent; and who should be in control of choices regarding a child’s education? Parents, by 77 percent, were selected as the right place for control of education choices with local school boards coming in second at 16 percent. The full survey results will be posted soon on my Senate website. Thank you to all who took time to complete the survey and those who sent additional comments. The survey confirms that we do not all agree on everything, but there was significant agreement on some of the most controversial issues.

Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. We welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.

Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge

Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Capitol Reports, Recent | 0 comments

Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge

“The schools are teaching what I ought and I what the schools ought.” –  Don Warren, parent and engineer

An aphorism frequently repeated to our children was – “Pick your path; determine your destination.” We wanted them to know intuitively that their direction is more important than their location, their worldview more important than their circumstance. If you are lost, knowing where you are is not nearly as crucial as knowing what direction to go to be un-lost: to get where you want to be. Understanding and wisdom are about direction. There are many capable teachers of knowledge, fewer who are able to impart understanding and fewer still that should be trusted to impart wisdom. Wisdom is like the absolute of North, South, East and West; understanding knows which direction is home, and knowledge is able to read the compass.

An individual’s worldview is immeasurably important to their choices, their reputation, and their direction; there is no winning argument to the contrary. That’s the reason I enjoy attending theEducation Policy Conference (EPC), offered annually in St. Louis, MO. Last week’s Capitol Report was inspired by the content of the EPC as is the Capitol Report this week. The quotation above from the remarks of Don Warren, one of the EPC presenters, grows out of his passion for truth in education and the love of a father of three small children.

One EPC session this year addressed the ongoing battle to fight nationalization of public school curriculum via Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Collectivists and central planners are drawn to CCSS as a deceptively subtle conduit toward a clearly illegal government take-over of public and private schools. From “progressive” math to endless testing, to massive data collecting, and the expungement of Christianity, the pattern developing is the one described by Don Warren:“The schools are teaching what I ought and I what the schools ought.” In other words, the schools are high jacking the development of a worldview by imposing one that is government-approved but sabotaging learning by convolution. It is not the job of government schools to promote worldviews in competition with parents. Conversely, it is the task of those schools to teach accurate history and science, math and language arts, and to clearly differentiate fact and opinion.

In 2014, Missouri passed House Bill 1490 to fight back against the illegal and unconstitutional implementation of CCSS that had already begun in Missouri public schools. Eight teams are working to develop Missouri Standards for Missouri schools. The teams file written reports monthly and presents periodically to the State Board of Education. Possibly the most significant weakness in the Missouri plan is that the standards developed by these eight teams must be approved by the State Board. If the Board approves the Missouri-developed standards, tests will be developed for those standards.

In other states there have been attempts to rebrand CCSS to deceive students and parents into accepting nationalized standards and curriculum. Parents are finding creative ways to fight back. In Cedarburg, WI cries to the local school board for relief from unfair testing standards fell on deaf ears. A concerned parent invited other families to opt-out of the standardized test in response. Under No-Child-Left-Behind, school districts must have a testing participation rate of 95 percent to qualify for federal grant money. By threatening to opt-out of testing, a small group of determined parents was able to persuade the board to reconsider. Others are using social media to consolidate and synchronize their opposition to CCSS. These parents are not giving up no matter how tyrannical the opposition. They actually believe they are responsible for what and how their children learn.

The 2016 Education Policy Conference will be in St. Louis the last weekend of January; some of you might want to make plans to attend next year’s event.

Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.

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Public Discourse

Posted by on February 6, 2015 in Capitol Reports, Recent | 0 comments

Public Discourse

Former U.S. Congresswoman Michelle Bachman reminded a crowd at the 26th annual Constitutional Coalition’s Educational Policy Conference (EPC) held in St. Louis that, “We must allow open debate that seeks the truth rather than allow untruths to become fact simply due to their lack of political correctness.  Topics that threaten the freedom of the American people are simply brushed aside for the simple fact that a small group of people have dictated that these topics are not politically correct.”  This de facto encroachment has slowly eroded the First Amendment rights of the public by shaming them into silence.

Our Founding Fathers believed the freedom of expression to be so important they incorporated it into the Bill of Rights.  But there are some who seek to limit freedom of speech.  They have not been so brazen as to flat out deny that right to the American people but have instead adopted a covert war on words.

George Orwell, in his book Nineteen Eighty-Four, wrote of censors removing any language that would threaten the regime.  Some might say changing the meaning of words is a work of fantasy or a problem that happens elsewhere but not in the United States. However, this could not be further from the truth.  The transformation of words is happening now.  Words like “free”, “diversity”, and “greed” no longer have the same meaning they did a generation ago.  This was the theme addressed by Daniel Hannan, a Member of European Parliament and author, during his lecture at the EPC.

“Free” in this country used to mean the ability to assemble, to believe in your own religion, and to form your own opinions.  Freedom now means entitlements; free access to healthcare, free food, free housing, free utilities, free childcare, and free money, all provided by the government by way of the taxpayer.  Genuine freedom is the opportunity to seek a life outside the bondage of governmental programs.  Conversely hard work and struggle are no longer indicators of character and virtue, but now have negative social stigmas.  The American Dream once rested in the promise of reward from hard work but has come to mean dependence on government via the social welfare system.

The word “diversity” has come to be applied to race, creed, and gender, but seldom to ideas. The intrinsic value of diversity appears when people with different backgrounds and experiences profit from open debate.  Different perspectives allow us to solve complex issues and generate positive outcomes by looking at problems from different vantage points.  I often learn the most through civil discourse from those with whom I disagree.

“Greed” is another example of a devolving lexicon.  Greed was once used to describe those who seek, unethically or illegally, to take money from those who have earned it. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.  The left uses greed to describe those who have been diligent their entire lives, saved, scrimped, and suffered to achieve a status of financial independence.  Many of these successful people started out with little but took the initiative to seek a better life and to realize the American dream.

The good news is the public forum is alive.  Mark Twain famously wrote, “I never let my schooling get in the way of my education.” We live in an age that has never been more connected.  Learn and grow as a citizen, husband, wife, mother, father, or friend. Engage those around you at the dinner table, at work, in the checkout line at the grocery store.  Approach difficult subjects with an open mind to uncover truth and possibly find common ground.  In many cases, you might be surprised that you want the same things.

Do not cower beneath the threat of political correctness.  Do not let society dictate what can and cannot be discussed.  This is the foundation of our democratic republic, the ability of the electorate to openly debate any issue.  Yes, there are some helpful limits, some even divine.  James, the Apostle, warns us to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”  The apostle Paul counseled his friends to speak truth in love.  When confined by such wisdom, honest debate can be a treasured friend.

Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.

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Expanding Medicaid Piecemeal

Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Capitol Reports, Recent | 0 comments

Expanding Medicaid Piecemeal

“Humanity is tormented once again by an age-old issue—is man to live in dignity and freedom under God or be enslaved—are men in government to serve, or are they to master, their fellow men?” — Erick Erickson

One of the most conspicuous and egregious characteristics of slavery is dependency. Senate Bill 287 was introduced the week of Jan. 19, proposing to expand Medicaid incrementally. It has been the contention of some of my Senate colleagues and myself that there are market-driven health care solutions far superior to any proposed solution that expands government’s size and power. Price transparency for providers, the sale of insurance across state borders, reduction of government mandates and barriers to entry, and even special initiatives like Project ECHO hold promise for improving health care solutions and reducing costs without expanding government.

As you would expect, introducing market-driven solutions will change the balance of power within any industry, and changes in the balance of power draw opposition from those whose power is threatened or reduced. It doesn’t matter whether the power is over the consumer or over the market, those who have it will fight to keep it. Usually, those who are already empowered benefit the most from more government intervention. The taxpayers and consumers almost always lose, even though improving their lot is trumpeted to promote whatever the new program or expansion may be.

In my opinion, SB 287 seeks to expand Medicaid by reducing veterans to a “special interest group.” It separates out veterans – whether alive or not – from the general population and exempts them and their families from existing Medicaid eligibility requirements. The way I see it, the Constitutional values for which they fought is compromised by such a carve-out. Looking at those who are promoting SB 287 would suggest that the greater agenda may not be to honor the veterans as much as to exploit the honor we hold for them in order to begin the unpopular expansion of Medicaid in accordance with the Obamacare mandates. Someone once said: “It is not as important where we are as where we are headed.” I think I do not like either where SB 287 is, or where it is headed.

Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.

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Reports from Your Government

Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Capitol Reports, Recent | 0 comments

Reports from Your Government

I think the currency of leadership is transparency. You’ve got to be truthful. I don’t think you should be vulnerable every day, but there are moments where you’ve got to share your soul and conscience with people and show them who you are, and not be afraid of it.

— Howard  Shultz

Last week included three reports from branches of the state and federal governments. The President’s State of the Union address from Washington D.C.; the State of the State Address from Missouri’s governor; and the State of the Judiciary address from Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary R. Russell. Both of the State addresses are presented annually to a joint session of the Missouri Legislature. As you know, the two chief executives are elected while the Supreme Court Justices are appointed. It was interesting that only one of the three reports mentioned came anywhere close to Mr. Shultz’s description of leadership. Out of the three addresses, the sole example of leadership was from Chief Justice Mary R. Russell.

Does it surprise you as much as it did me that the branch of state government that showed genuine leadership was the one that Federalist 78 describes as the weakest of the three because it had, as Alexander Hamilton put it, “no influence over either the sword or the purse, …It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment.” That is why the judiciary properly issues opinions rather than rulings.

Judge Russell and I may sometimes disagree over judicial opinions, but her lucidity, sincerity, and personal integrity are never in question. As Missouri’s top judicial officer, Judge Russell has already done much to assess and improve access to the courts across Missouri. Her remarks expressed an ongoing, personal commitment to justice and a determination to make the courts more accessible and easier to navigate – even from your home computer. Judge Russell’s candor and straightforward presentation of her vision for Missouri courts was a refreshing contrast to the two executive branch reports offered earlier in the week.

After the governor’s speech the night of Jan. 21, a legislative colleague remarked how similar it was to the State of the Union Address the night before. Their observation was of countless platitudes and promises of government handouts without detail about the path or payee. There were also frequent rebukes to the majority party, who had been heavily preferred in the November election, for their policies on things like Medicaid expansion. I like the governor, personally, but had to agree.

I was disappointed in the vague generalities of panacea, amply distributed but without direction for their achievement. The governor’s budget proposal for 2014 has been off by approximately $800,000,000, and I fear the 2015 budget proposal may be worse. The governor’s description of Medicaid funding was a glaring violation of Mr. Schultz’s principles of leadership quoted above.

The governor has either been seriously misinformed, or he deliberately misinformed his constituents. He suggested that millions of Missouri’s taxpayer dollars would be lost to other states. Medicaid is, in fact, a need-based program which means that Missouri’s decline of Federal debt (there are no more federal dollars) will not go to another state but simply will not be spent and therefore will not be laid at the feet of your children.  The most positive part of the governor’s speech was his commitment to work more closely with the Legislature. We have already seen evidence of that as we deal with education issues, so I hope it continues.

Finally, regarding the State of the Union Address on the night of Jan. 20, that address sounded more like a community organizer than a president. Faced with the most Republican Congress of his presidency and a glaring rejection of his policies in the November election, the president’s remarks sounded ideologically resolute. It was what I expected, but not what I had hoped for. The speech was consistent with his pseudo title of the “imperial president.”

Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.

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Paid for by Citizens for Ed Emery - Rex Rector, Treasurer