Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Sunday, May 04, 2008

JMO4Rep Update - May 2008

Friends, Constituents, and Allies,

Only ten days left in the 2008 Legislative Session - we adjourn at 6 p.m. on May 16. At this stage of the Legislative Session, I feel like I'm playing the guard position in a basketball game - arms constantly up, trying to block bad legislation. Unfortunately very few bills that I rate worthwhile are getting through, but the good news is that many bad bills also have not yet passed, and the clock is ticking. As of April 21, of the 1336 House bills that were introduced this year, only seven had made it through both the House and Senate to gain "truly agreed to and finally passed" status so the governor can sign them into law.

Sometimes I label the bills that come before us as "the good, the bad, and the ugly." There actually are a few positive bills that I'm hoping may make it through the process before our May 16 deadline. One is an omnibus family services bill that includes new protections for victims of date rape, plus some helpful changes in foster parent rules. Another is an omnibus energy & environment package with several good components related to energy efficiency. After Legislative Session ends, I'll send out a wrap up on the most significant legislation passed this session.

One of the most disgusting political tricks I have ever seen happened on April 30. While debating a bill to eliminate corporate taxes, a series of bogus amendments were offered that promised to restore Medicaid coverage to the 180,000 people who have been cut off since 2005. The mechanism to do so was a tax increase that borrowed some of the language from my own tax reform bill (House Bill 2131), but without the refundable tax credit portions that lower tax burden for about 60% of Missourians. It quickly became apparent that this was a purely political maneuver intended to secure a roll call vote that could become ammunition in negative campaign ads. Those who voted yes could be accused of voting for a tax increase; those who voted no could be accused of voting against restoring health coverage to persons on Medicaid.

I was outraged that a topic as serious as the Medicaid cuts could be turned into a shabby political trick. I grilled Rep. Muschany and Rep. Hunter about their amendments and then delivered a shaky, but heart-felt speech. You can read more about this appalling political game and access a link to my speech and several others at the Missouri Association for Social Welfare website:

By Missouri Constitution we have to complete the budget bills by this Friday (May 9). I will be voting no on most of the budget bills that come before us. I am especially disappointed that budget negotiators have opted to give state employees a 3-percent raise for the upcoming fiscal year, a position proposed by the governor and supported by the Senate. The House of Representatives had instead wanted to give employees a flat raise of $1,056, which would have put more money in the pockets of lower-paid state employees and given smaller raises to higher-paid workers. Under the 3-percent plan, an employee making $100,000 will get a $3,000 raise while an employee earning $20,000 will get a $600 raise. State employee groups had urged budget negotiators to accept the House position, which House Democrats successfully passed through the chamber earlier this year after several years of trying. (This was an amendment I offered in 2007 that failed by only a vote or two.)

Surrounding Our Schools with Care Update
Principal Terry Houston of Roosevelt High School has been named "Principal of the Year" by the St. Louis Association of Secondary School Principals. He also received that designation from Teach for America earlier this year. What a blessing he and his team have been at Roosevelt!

Read all about it at:

In addition, Dr. Alice F. Roach, principal of Carnahan High School of the Future, has won the 2008 MetLife Foundation Ambassadors In Education Award. The national award recognizes the most collaborative public school principals in twenty-five cities across the country. With the honor, she earns a $5,000 grant for her school. Congratulations, Dr. Roach and Carnahan HS!

On April 17 I attended the Special Administrative Board meeting of St. Louis Public Schools to present a courtesy resolution from Speaker of the House Rod Jetton and all ten St. Louis City members of the House of Representatives (as well as a similar resolution from all three City senators which I presented on behalf of Sen. Maida Coleman). The courtesy resolution was in honor of the great success of the SLPS Million Minutes by March reading initiative. Beginning in January, students in the St. Louis Public Schools were challenged to read a minimum of twenty minutes outside of the classroom each day. In addition, guest readers were invited in (ministers, grandparents, etc. - legislators too - I enjoyed reading at Shenandoah and Meramec elementary schools in January as part of the campaign). As a result, students at the elementary, middle and high school levels surpassed all goals by reading a grand total of 5,852,829 minutes! I am pleased that Shenandoah, one of my 59th district schools, had the second highest total of minutes among Cluster One schools.

Graduation dates are just around the corner, and these ceremonies offer a wonderful opportunity for us to go applaud our graduates and shake the hands of teachers and principals and all school-related personnel to say thanks for the hard work so many do. To see the full list of graduation dates and places, go to:

Fall Elections Update: We Need Stacey Newman in the House!

I have been featuring some of the most important House races in recent newsletters, especially ones where Democrats can win a seat from Republicans so that my party gains control of the Missouri House in 2009.

I will continue this feature in the future, but today I wanted to urge your support for Stacey Newman, a progressive woman who is running to succeed the spectacular Rep. Margaret Donnelly in House District 73.

Stacey is a dynamic community activist who has fought long and hard for a better quality of life in our neighborhoods. She fought against the NRA, testifying and lobbying the Missouri state legislature against concealed weapons legislation for over three years. She serves as the executive director of the Missouri Women’s Coalition, a statewide political action committee which recruits progressive candidates and lobbies for women’s reproductive choices, pay equity and the Equal Rights Amendment. In addition, she is the spokesperson for “Blunt’s War on Women”, a coalition of over twenty labor, religious and women’s organizations – fighting Gov. Blunt’s attacks on birth control. To contribute to Stacey's campaign or to volunteer to canvass door-to-door, phonebank, prepare a mailing, or help in other ways, go to:

P.S. As many of you know, Rep. Donnelly is trying to move up. She is running for Attorney General, and I have endorsed her - Read more about her AG race at:

Closing Thoughts
I recently read a quote that summarizes something I have found to be true about much legislation in Jefferson City: "For every complex problem, there is a simple solution.....and it is generally wrong." If you would like to follow the floor action in the final 10 days of session, listen in at: or read about each day's action at: