Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Saturday, April 22, 2006

JMO4Rep Update - April 21, 2006

Constituents, Allies, and Supporters,

Due to the "Easter Break" the General Assembly had a shorter than usual and very intense week. The highlight for me was Wednesday's executive session for the Special Committee on Energy and Environment on which I serve. My office has been flooded with calls from members of Missouri Votes Conservation, the Sierra Club, and other environmental groups, thanking me for the role I played in stopping a polluter protection clause from being included in the House Committee substitute for a Senate

Mark Fogal, executive director of Missouri Votes Conservation, was kind enough to call me "the hero of the day" in an e-mail announcement sent to MVC members. You can read about the issue at stake on their website:

I lose on so many issues, that it was fantastic to have a win for a change! Still we'll have to remain vigilant, as I've already learned that many bad ideas pop up as amendments during the final weeks of the Legislative Session. (May 12 is the final day.)

The State Workers Union and AFSCME did a great job testifying in support of my case loads standards bill on April 13. Please consider sending a letter, e-mail, or fax to members of the Health Policy Committee in support of HB 2073. The bill is an attempt to hold state officials accountable around whether we are staffing key jobs at the departments of social services, health and senior services, and mental health adequately. Workers who are carrying 2-3 times more cases than one human being can handle should not be punished for their failure to accomplish the impossible. We have constant turnover in low-paying state jobs because of the lack of respect employees feel. It's time we address this situation!

Rep. John Bowman and a wide range of labor groups did a fine job presenting the bill to raise minimum wage on Wednesday, April 19. I am co-sponsor of this legislation. The Chamber of Commerce was the only group to testify against this needed raise in pay.

On April 13, House Republicans announced their latest plan, HB 1022, for allocating the proceeds from the proposed sale of Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority assets. On April 18, the House Budget Committee by a 19-6 vote approved a modified version of the bill that, among other changes, drops the prison funding and shifts most of it to retire existing higher education debt. I oppose the sale of MOHELA, and I also oppose the sale of any portion of its assets without a thorough analysis. This is yet another one time fix for our failure to adequately fund higher education. Instead we need progressive income tax reform that is equitable, adequate, and sustainable. Please consider writing a letter to the editor of your local Missouri newspaper or any of Missouri's major dailies opposing the sale of MOHELA or its assets.

The Kansas City Star reported in its April 15 edition that federal authorities are investigating the process by which the Blunt administration awarded the contracts to run Missouri’s 182 license fee offices to political supporters. The story says Bud Cummins, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, is handling the
investigation. The paper previously reported on April 13 that the FBI is also probing lobbying practices in the Missouri Capitol. At a news conference on April 19, Blunt cast doubt on the existence of the reported investigations and said neither he nor anyone in his administration had been contacted by federal authorities, but I have assurances from trustworthy folks that the investigations are definitely happening.
There's a lot in government that needs cleaned up, and I am committed to taking my broom to Jefferson City every week until we get the job done.
Hopefully the electorate of Missouri will help us get the job done in
November by choosing well among the candidates. We have some great Democrats running, and I believe we'll take back quite a few seats from the GOP majority.

Keep working for justice. Keep speaking the truth. Build community where
you are.