Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Saturday, April 04, 2009

JMO4Rep Update - Early April Edition

Friends, Constituents, and Allies,

I recently wrote you with concerns about deep cuts that were being proposed in the state budget. The budget debate (in fact the whole budget process) in the House was a big disappointment. To read a fairly detailed summary of amendments passed in the budget debate, go to the Citizens for Missouri's Children website:

This Kansas City Star article also offers a good summary:

But related to the "Meals on Wheels" restoration, a shoddy political trick was involved. The Warrensburg Daily Star Journal carried a story about that:

The budget-making process has gone downhill during the almost 20 years that I have been closely watching Missouri politics. I blogged about this on Show Me Progress if you'd like to learn more:

Your chance to help: The good news is that the Senate is at work on the budget, and it appears they have tossed out the House budget and are using federal recovery dollars to make sure Missouri's needs are met during these challenging economic times. You can help make sure the Senate passes a much better budget than the House passed by attending a rally on Sunday, April 5. Here are the details:

Stop the Bleeding - Start the Healing - A Rally for a Compassionate Missouri Budget
Sunday, April 5, 2 p.m.
Old St. Louis Courthouse, 11 N. 4th Street
Bring your cell phone and bring band-aids!
For more information, call Stacey Sickler at 314-570-5505.

If you are not able to attend the rally, please write or call Senate leadership:

Senator Charlie Shields, President of the Senate: (573) 751-9476,
Senator Gary Nodler, Chair Senate Appropriations Committee: (573)

Let them know that you are thankful that they are using federal recovery dollars to meet the emergency needs of Missouri's families during this crucial time. Ask them to restore funding for the health, mental health, and social services programs that were cut by the House of Representatives.

In Other News from the State Capital

House Passes End to Fee Office Patronage: By a 143-4 vote, the House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to end political patronage in the awarding of contracts to run Missouri’s 183 driver and vehicle license fee offices. House Democrats have made ending fee office patronage a top legislative priority since 2005, but this is the first year such legislation has even been debated by the Republican-controlled House. Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who replaced a Republican governor who had expanded the patronage system, voluntarily began dismantling it upon
taking office in January. Nixon ordered the Department of Revenue to award the contracts through a competitive bidding process. The contracts traditionally had been given to political supporters of whoever was governor. HB 381 codifies thoaw changes. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Committee Endorses $700 Million Bonding Plan for Missouri's Public Colleges and Universities: A House committee on March 31 unanimously approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would authorize the state to sell $700 million in bonds to finance construction projects at Missouri’s public colleges and universities. If the measure wins final passage by the General Assembly, it would be subject to approval by Missouri voters. HJR 32 is sponsored by state Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia. A previous voter-approved bond issue is scheduled to be paid off in 2011, freeing up about $39 million a year that could go towards a new bond issue. Under the Missouri Constitution, a vote on the measure would by default be set for November 2010. However, the governor could set the election date as early as August of this year.

1.5 Million Missourians Without Insurance for Some Period of 2007-08: A new report says that 1.5 million Missourians – nearly one-third of state residents under age 65 – lacked health insurance at some point during 2007 and 2008. Of that group, 72 percent were uninsured for six months or more during that period. The report by Families USA, a health care advocacy group, was based on information from the U.S.
Census Bureau and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Senate Backs Health Care for Low-Income Citizens: The Missouri Senate on April 1 granted first-round approval to legislation that would restore state health care coverage to about 35,000 low-income Missourians. The plan is similar is similar to one put forth by Gov. Jay Nixon but differs in its implementation. Both the Nixon and Senate plans would provide coverage to working parents who earn up to 50 percent of the federal poverty level, $9,155 a year for a single parent with two children.
Missouri’s Medicaid program currently covers only those making no more than 20 percent of the federal poverty level, or $3,700 a year.

While Nixon’s plan would provide coverage through the existing Medicaid program, HB 306 sponsored by state Sen. Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, would create a new program call Show-Me Health Coverage, which would provide different benefits. Both plans would be funded through a voluntary tax on hospitals. The Missouri Hospital Association has agreed to the tax in regard to the Nixon plan, which Republicans in the House of Representatives recently rejected.

House Votes to Eliminate Governor's Power to Fill Vacancies: Vacancies in most statewide elected offices would be filled through special elections instead of gubernatorial appointment under a bill the House of Representatives passed 94-63 on April 2. HB 681 sponsored by state Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, is seen as an attempt to prevent Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon from appointing Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s replacement should she win the 2010 U.S. Senate race. Carnahan’s term as secretary of state ends in January 2013.

Oddly only male representatives chose to debate the bill, and it was one of the loudiest, rowdiest debates of all I've experienced in my five years in office. I reflected on this in a blog at Show Me Progress if you're interested:

Equality News

Iowa Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Marriage Equality: The decision in the case of Varnum v. Brien, overturned the state’s 10-year-old law defining a “valid” marriage as only “between a male and female,” ruling that it violates the Iowa Constitution’s guarantees of equal treatment and due process. This makes Iowa the fourth state, after Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California, to grant marriage equality on the basis of judicial review and the first Midwestern state to recognize the fundamental right of same sex couples to marry. (Last November Californians narrowly voted to re-establish a ban on same sex marriage with the passage of Proposition 8.) Congratulations to Iowa, and a big thank you to all who worked for progress there.

PROMO Lobby Day Successful: It was great to see so many friends at the PROMO Lobby Day on April 25. More than 200 advocates came to the Capitol to speak with legislators about the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Act. It was good to have visits from Will Roth and Sherrill Wayland and to see Alan Easton, Nathan Gerth and many other friends and acquaintances.

St. Joseph Legislator Claims Democrats Are Trying to Bring Back Slavery:
In one of the most racially insensitive (and historically inaccurate) speeches I have ever heard, Rep. Rob Schaaf compared subsidizing health care premiums for families making 200-300% of the federal poverty level to slavery. You can hear the whole infuriating thing at:

P.S. In case you are unfamiliar with the federal poverty level, it is based on an outdated formula from almost half a century ago that is no longer accurate. It uses only the cost of food for computation, not other living costs. Families at 200-300% of the poverty level are not affluent by any means, and, depending on special needs in their families (a child with a disability, unusually high housing costs, etc.), they may truly not be able to afford a co-pay for children's insurance.

Surrounding Our Schools with Care Update

Scholarships for Young Women Graduating High School: Don't forget the approaching April 15 deadline to apply for a scholarship from Women Legislators of Missouri. Young women graduating high school this year may apply for a $500 scholarship, Please send request for details to One scholarship will be awarded in each of Missouri's nine Congressional districts.

School Board Election on April 7: I have briefing sheets available on the three candidates I have endorsed, so write me if you want to know more about -
Chad Beffa
Emile Bradford-Taylor
Rebecca Rogers
VOTE on April 7

April 7 Election for St. Louis City Mayor, Comptroller, Aldermen (in odd numbered wards): St. Louis City voters have the opportunity to vote for Mayor, Comptroller and half of the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday, April 7.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Don't forget to exercise your voice as a citizen. A full list of candidates is available at:

As I shared last time, I have endorsed Maida Coleman for Mayor, and I also was pleased to cast my vote for Darlene Green when I voted absentee last week. I think Ms. Green has done an excellent job as Comptroller.

The St. Louis American has also endorsed Coleman for mayor. You may read
that endorsement at:

In case you don't have time to read it all, here is a central paragraph: Former state Senator Maida Coleman has weathered far more personal and political adversity than Francis Slay has imagined, and she has remained principled, resilient and – most importantly, in comparison to the incumbent – open to cooperation and shared vision. She has shown a willingness to lead when other elected officials with the power to win votes capitulated in fear from a well-funded incumbent whose political
organization is known to punish disloyalty. Rather than join the uncritical, self-serving support of a seriously flawed incumbent, the Coleman candidacy holds Slay’s feet to the fire. We are impressed that she has done so against great odds – Slay has a 200 to 1 fundraising advantage and was able to claim the Democratic Party’s nomination.

You may also be interested in this article about two recent public meetings where Slay and Coleman appeared together - finally:


COBRA Workshop: Small business owners may want to attend a 90-minute workshop about new COBRA provisions. (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides for premium assistance for health benefits under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, commonly called COBRA.) Advisors will be onsite to address your specific questions following the session. Space will be allocated on a
first come, first serve basis. Please act quickly to reserve your spot! Workshop and materials provided are free of charge. Visitors must have a valid picture ID and enter through the security checkpoint in the main lobby. ID badges must be worn at all times while in the building. There is parking available around the building and in the immediate vicinity surrounding the building.

The workshop is on April 14, 2009 at noon at the U.S. Dept. of Labor office at 1222 Spruce Street (the auditorium in Room 2.206). To register, call: 816-285-1840.

Chicken and Dumplings Dinner: You are invited to a yummy chicken and dumplings dinner on Saturday, April 25, 5:30-7 p.m. The event is in the fellowship hall at Epiphany United Church of Christ, 2911 McNair, in Benton Park. Tickets are $10 at the door or $9 for those who make an advance reservation by calling 314-772-0263 (or who buy a ticket in advance - I have them for sale).

Proceeds help us with building repairs and other essential costs for our ministry of hospitality and justice-making. Epiphany participates in the following covenants: Just Peace; Open and Affirming; Whole Earth. If you can't attend and want to help anyway, mail your check made out to Epiphany UCC to my address below and I will offer the tickets you purchase to families who come to the food pantry at our church (Joint
Neighborhood Ministry).

4th annual Easter Eggstravaganza: Saturday, April 11, 11:00 - 2:00 at the Community Garden on the corner of Ohio and Crittenden. Enjoy an Easter Egg Hunt, Cupcake Walk, Spring Tattoos, prizes, lunch and photos with the EASTER BUNNY. This event is for children up to age 10. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Linda Hennigh of Benton Park West Neighborhood Association still needs a few volunteers to help the kids with hot dogs and hamburgers and to pass out prizes. Call her at 314-771-2161.
AmerenUE Business Energy Efficiency Program: AmerenUE is offering $42 million in financial assistance for businesses making energy efficiency improvements on existing facilities by purchasing energy efficient equipment, modernizing facilities, or making industrial process improvements. The incentive should not exceed 50% of the total approved project cost. Maximum annual incentive per individual site is $250,000. Maximum annual incentive per individual customer is $500,000.

To obtain the incentive, AmerenUE customers must submit an incentive application with required documentation by completing a form found at where details are also available.

You may also get information by calling 866-941-7299.

Until Next Time

Today (April 3) would have been my father's 98th birthday. (It is also my parent's wedding anniversary.) I remember Mom and Dad fondly today andthank them for all they taught me.

Wishing you blessings as you journey into Spring, whether by way of Passover, Lent, Easter, or other spiritual experiences.