Friends, Constituents, and Allies,
It is hard to believe that more than a month of the 2007 Legislative Session is
already gone. I have been very busy both in Jefferson City and at home in
the 59th District. I have toured elementary schools, researched and filed
legislation, helped to present workshops on taxation and on healthcare cuts,
and much more during the past five weeks.
Here are some of the recent highlights:
Floor Debate: The week of February 5-8 was especially demanding for me
on the House floor as bills about Medicaid fraud, food stamps, and food
pantries were debated. Because of my background as an anti-poverty
advocate, I was part of the Democratic debate team for these bills. I offered
three amendments, and one passed. That amendment barred providers
(health insurance companies, drug companies, doctors, etc.) convicted of
Medicaid fraud from participating in the Medicaid program again. In truth,
I believe in rehabilitation and second chances for just about everyone, but
I wished to make a point that justice should be equal between poor people
and better off people. Welfare programs ban poor people from food stamps,
cash aid, etc. for life if convicted of fraud. As long as those laws stand, wealthy
persons and entitites should have to live by the same rules.
You can read about the debate on the Medicaid fraud bill at these
Kansas City Star weblinks:
Named Ranking Democrat: I have been named "ranking member" on the
Special Committee on Energy and Environment by Democratic leadership.
It is an honor to be trusted with this duty. My responsibilities include keeping
the Democratic caucus informed about all bills heard in our committee that
reach the floor for debate.
Bills Filed: I have filed the following bills as well as co-sponsoring numerous
other bills. You can find the full list at:
Authorizes a state individual income tax credit equal to a percentage of any
earned income tax credit claimed by the taxpayer on the individual's federal
income tax return
Prohibits transportation industry-related persons with conflicts of interest from
serving on the Regional Taxicab Commission and establishes a 10-member
Changes the laws regarding actions for damages for conduct or speech at
public hearings or meetings by including actions that cause money damages
Requires the development of caseload standards for the Department of Health
and Senior Services and the Department of Mental Health as well as
expanding protections on previous caseload standards for the
Department of Social Services
Establishes lower permissible and desirable class sizes than currently exist
in administrative rules for St. Louis School District and districts in
St. Louis County
Urges the United States government to not escalate its involvement in Iraq or
increase troop levels
Urges Congress to enact the United States National Health Insurance Act I will be
filing additional legislation in coming days, including bills to create a utility
stabilization pilot for low-income families and a progressive income tax overhaul.
Other news from the State Capitol ---
Infighting among GOP Leaders: On Feb. 5, House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill,
held a news conference in Cape Girardeau to explain his removal of State Rep. Scott
Lipke, R-Jackson, as chairman of the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety
Committee. According to the Southeast Missourian newspaper, Jetton stripped Lipke of
his chairmanship as punishment for a provision of Jessica’s Law, a measure the
General Assembly passed last year to impose tougher penalties on sex offenders.
The disputed provision repealed the statute that made consensual same-sex sex a
crime. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled such laws unconstitutional in 2003 so the law on
Missouri's books had been unenforceable for some time.
Jetton accused Lipke of acting "in a very deceitful way" in repealing the provision
and said Republican House members "no longer trusted him." Lipke noted the repeal was
contained in nearly every version of the bill. He said summaries he provided
lawmakers, prosecutors and judges clearly referenced the repeal. Law enforcement
groups have expressed disappointed in Jetton’s decision to oust Lipke as committee
chairman. In my opinion, it is Speaker Jetton who has lost the respect of GOP members
in this very public battle.
Jetton Tax Cut Termed Unconstitutional: A bill championed by Jetton to cut taxes for
certain retirees is unconstitutional under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, the St.
Louis Post-Dispatch reported in a Feb. 7 story.
HB 444 sponsored by Jetton would eliminate state income taxes on Social Security
benefits and pension benefits for retired teachers and others retirees who do not
collect Social Security. In a 1989 ruling, the Supreme Court barred state from taxing
some public pensions while exempting others. Prior to that decision, Missouri had
taxed federal and private pensions but exempted state and local pensions from
After the ruling, Missouri was forced to issue tax refunds to federal retirees. The
General Assembly then changed state law to tax all public pensions equally. Although
it sounds reasonable on the surface to take all taxes off Social Security, a deeper
analysis of Jetton's bill shows that 98% of the tax relief in it would go to the
wealthiest 38% of Social Security recipients. My view is that taxation should be
based on the AMOUNT of income, not the TYPE.
MOHELA: On Feb.7, the Senate Education Committee voted 6-4 along party lines to strip
six projects from the list of those to be governor’s proposed sale of Missouri Higher
Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) assets. Among the rejected projects is the crown
jewel of the governor’s plan -- the new life sciences building at the University of
Missouri Columbia. The other removed projects are a research facility at Harris-Stowe
State University, an emerging technologies center at the University of Missouri-St.
Louis, business incubators and the UM campuses in Columbia and Kansas City and a
health science center in Kansas City.
The projects ostensibly were removed to mollify opponents of stem cell research. The
rejected projects are all in districts represented by Democrats. Projects in
Republican districts were unaffected. As the MOHELA debate continues, my focus is on
insisting that a truly independent analysis be conducted before any deal is made,
because MOHELA assets should not be sold if doing so would make it less possible for
MO college students to get affordable educational loans.
Shenandoah School Receives Piano Lab Grant: I was excited to see the new piano lab at
Shenandoah School during my Feb. 8 tour. Congratulations to Principal Wayne and her
If you want to reach me during Legislative Session, call me at the numbers below. I
am generally in the state capitol from mid-day Monday until mid-day Thursday
As we head into Mardi Gras season, just this reminder: If you come to Soulard to
party and venture over into Benton Park, don't park on my lawn
Stay warm. Drive safely. Wishing you good health and happiness.
Jeanette Mott Oxford
State Representative - 59th MO House District
673-751-4567 (office); 314-775-8940 (cell)
2910 Lemp, St. Louis, MO 63118