Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Friday, July 11, 2008

JMO4Rep Update - Birthday Edition 2008

Friends, Allies, and Constituents,

This issue of my electronic newsletter will feature a few state and federal government updates, SOS Care news, some announcements from political campaigns in this very important August primary season (less than a month to that election!), and an invitation to celebrate my birthday with me. (I'll be 54 on July 16, but the party is July 20. Hope you'll come.)


The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) has again missed a scheduled payment to the state that was required by a 2007 law championed by Gov. Matt Blunt that diverts some of the agency’s assets to the state to pay for capital improvement projects at public colleges and universities. MOHELA’s board of directors cited the continuing financial difficulties the agency has experienced since being forced to shift some of its assets to the state starting last fall. I voted against Blunt's MOHELA plan because of fears that it would damage the quality of this program that has helped Missourians get low-interest loans for higher education.


Gov. Matt Blunt has signed into law the $22.4 billion state operating budget for the 2009 fiscal year, which began July 1. This year’s budget increases overall spending by nearly $1 billion over the previous year. Blunt signed 12 of the 13 bills that make up the budget on June 27 before signing the last measure on June 30. The budget includes a $121.3 million increase in direct state aid to local school, which falls in the normal range of increases public education receives each year. It also includes a $43 million increase for public colleges and universities, but the boost fails to restore total funding to these institutions to the FY 2002 level, which was the high-water mark for higher education funding. The budget did not restore the cuts to health care the governor and Republican-controlled General Assembly instituted in 2005.

Initial estimates show the state ended FY 2008 with a $50 million surplus. Revenue collections for the year grew by 3.7 percent, slightly higher than the 3.1 percent growth the budget was based on.


In a 6-2 decision, the Missouri Supreme Court on June 24 upheld a provision of a 2007 law that legalized lay midwifery. A lower court last year invalidated the provision because it was unrelated to the subject of the larger bill in violation of the Missouri Constitution. The Supreme Court, however, sidestepped the constitutional issue by declaring that the Missouri State Medical Association and other groups that challenged the law had no legal standing to sue. I am a co-sponsor of legislation to
legalize midwifery by certified professional midwives, but I was still surprised by the court's decision. As one analyst of the decision wrote: "Under the majority’s rationale, it isn't clear that anyone would have standing to challenge the law."


In its first definitive decision on the right to bear arms in history, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 ruled 5-4 that the Second Amendment guarantees individual Americans the right to keep guns in their homes for self defense. The ruling overturns a 1976 District of Columbia law that banned possession of handguns and allowed residents to keep rifles or shotguns in their homes only if the weapons are registered, unloaded and either disassembled or equipped with a trigger lock.

The Second Amendment says: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Gun control advocates have long maintained the Second Amendment provides only a collective right to bear arms in connection with state militias, while gun rights supporters have pointed to the phrase "the right of the people" as a proof of individual gun ownership rights.


On June 16 a bill was signed into law that will prohibit electric or gas companies from disconnecting service to delinquent customers when the temperature is expected to rise above 95 degrees or the heat index is expected to exceed 105 degrees within 24 hours. The so-called "hot weather rule" will be the summertime counterpart to the long-standing "cold weather rule" that bars utilities from shutting off service during the winter when temperatures drop below 30 degrees. Senate Minority Leader Maida Coleman, D-St. Louis, is the bill’s sponsor.

Even though I support lifesaving utility disconnection moratoria such as the hot and cold weather rules, I voted no on the bill because of a different component. An amendment added to the bill seeks to allow Aquila Inc. to keep operating a power plant it illegally constructed in Cass County. Various state courts have ruled several times that Aquila must dismantle the facility because it never received the required legal authorization to build it. Local residents have been fiercely opposed to the plant. The bill would allow the Missouri Public Service Commission to retroactively approve the facility. It is unclear, however, if this portion of the bill could withstand a court challenge.


Good news from Roosevelt High School - Both the Boys Chess Team and the Girls Chess Team took first place in the District Chess Tournament.
Congratulations, Roosevelt students!

Request from Roosevelt High School - 100 white three-inch three-ring binders are needed for the AVID program. AVID (Achievement Via Individual Determination) prepares the "middle track" student for college and provides them with tools to accelerate his/her academic success. All course materials are filed in these binders. Please let me know whether you can furnish all 100 or some portion thereof. E-mail or call 314-775-8940.

Best wishes to Dr. Diana Bourisaw - On July 8, I attended the meeting of the elected school board for St. Louis Public Schools at Gateway Middle School in order to express my appreciation to Dr. Bourisaw for her fine work as superintendent of schools. The feedback from the schools in my district has been very positive, and I am very sad to see Dr. Bourisaw leave. It is important that we continue the forward momentum that she has created by keeping an open door, listening to a wide variety of voices, and putting high quality leaders into key positions.

Coming in the next installment of SOS Care Update - a wish list from Kottmeyer Big Picture School and the fall football schedule for Roosevelt HS, plus back-to-school fair announcements. (If you have an announcement in support of public schools, please submit it to me at jmo4rep AT


Robin Wright-Jones - 100% Progressive and Our Best Choice in Senate District 5: It is very important to have a Missouri Senator for District 5 with whom I can partner to achieve good results for the 59th House District and for the state of Missouri. I ask for your help in electing Robin Wright-Jones to the Missouri Senate. I have served with Robin and with her opponent for four years, and my experience of them leads me to offer my enthusiastic endorsement to Robin. One of the main reasons is that I trust her to be a strong advocate for public education, and so do others. She has received the endorsement of the Missouri State Teachers Association, the Missouri National Education Association, the St. Louis Teachers & School Related Personnel, and Dr. Diana Bourisaw. Robin also recently received the endorsement of PROMO PAC, MO's statewide LGBT civil rights political action committee. PROMO PAC is having a canvas for her and a fundraiser as follows:

PROMO Canvas Date for Robin Wright-Jones
Saturday, July 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Meet at Wright-Jones for Senate headquarters, 2400 S. Jefferson

Fundraiser on July 20, 6-8 p.m.
(same date as my birthday party - see below- but drop in on both!)
Call for location - 314-862-4900

Other ways you can help Robin:

- Pro-Vote Canvas Date
Union Blitz, Saturday, July 19
9:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Meet at Pro-Vote Office on Pershing, call 314-531-2288 for directions

- Send financial contributions to:
Wright-Jones for Senate
P. O. Box 78815
St. Louis, MO 63178

- Yard signs: If you live in Senate 5, let me know if you'll display a yard sign, and I'll have one delivered.

James Trout is another candidate that I have endorsed. Here is an announcement from his campaign:
Fundraising Party,
Thursday, July 17,
6:30-8:30 p.m.,
at the Popper Residence (home of the director of "Can Mr.
Smith Get to Washington Anymore?"),
238 S. Gore Avenue, Webster Groves,
MO 63119.
For directions or more information: Terri Williams,
314-898-6329, james AT

Other campaign announcements:
I have not endorsed in the following races, but these candidates have asked me to announce their events. I try to spread the word for all Democratic candidates who request such assistance unless I have endorsed a different candidate in that race.
- Angie Bingaman, Volunteer Coordinator for Byron DeLear's campaign in the 2nd Congressional District has asked me to announce that they need volunteers from 10am-9pm M-F and then Saturdays from 10-5. Volunteers make phone calls, knock on doors and other various tasks around the office. The office is located at 14368 Manchester Road in Ballwin, Missouri 63011. Find out more at

- Another 2nd Congressional District Candidate, Bill Haas, asks for your help, and invites you to view these campaign videos:
- Labor-sponsored fundraiser for April Harris, candidate in the 63rd House District at the Cat's Meow, 2600 S. 11th Street in Soulard, Saturday, July 19, starting at 5:30 p.m. For more information, call Damon Jones, 314-809-6766.


Jeanette Mott Oxford

State Representative, District 59

Help make JMO’s birthday wish come true.
Celebrate Jeanette’s 54th birthday &
enjoy a magnificent Nepalese, Indian, and Korean buffet
at Everest Café and Bar
4145 Manchester
St. Louis, MO 63110

Sunday, July 20, 2008
5:30-7:30 p.m.

A benefit for the House Democratic Campaign Committee

Suggested contribution levels -
$25 – Candle Lighters
$50 – Cake Icers
$100 – Confetti Throwers
$300 and up – Champagne Toasters

RSVP by July 18

If unable to attend, birthday cards and contributions may be sent to:
MO House Democratic Campaign Committee
P.O. Box 2235, Jefferson City, MO 65102