Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

JMO4Rep Update - Primary Election 2010 Edition - Don't Forget to Vote on Aug. 3

Friends, Allies, and Constituents,

With the recent end of the Special Session called by Gov. Nixon and an important primary election approaching, this seemed like a good time to update friends, allies, and constituents (and some of you are all three!). I hope you will find the following information helpful.

Summary of Special Session, 2010

After a more than 20-hour filibuster ended in the Senate, the General Assembly brought the 2010 Special Session to a close on July 14 by granting final passage to separate bills that will provide tax incentives for the Ford Motor Co. and make changes to the state employee pension system. Gov. Jay Nixon called lawmakers back to the Capitol for a rare summer session and hoped that it would take a few days, but many twists and turns kept us in session for three weeks (although most of the House only had to be in Jefferson City for three days of that three weeks, saving taxpayers a considerable sum.)

The outcome of the session remained in doubt almost to the end when Sen. Chuck Purgason, R-Caulfield, led a filibuster of the Ford bill that began at around 12:30 p.m. on July 13 and continued nonstop until 9 a.m. the next day. (For an interesting and really detailed description of a fillibuster, see: .) Purgason previously had stalled the bill for nearly two weeks in a committee he chairs. Senate President Pro Tem Charlie Shields ultimately removed Purgason as chairman (at least temporarily) to allow the bill to advance to the full Senate.The Ford bill, HB 2, will provide up to $150 million in tax breaks over 10 years to Ford and its Missouri-based suppliers if the company agrees not to shutter its Claycomo assembly plant. Ford hasn’t yet committed to keeping the plant open. (Economic packages provided to two St. Louis area auto plants ultimately did not keep them open.)

The pension changes include requiring new state workers to pay 4 percent of their salaries toward their retirement, boosting their standard retirement age from 62 to 67 and doubling the vesting period needed to collect state retirement benefits from five years of service to 10 years. Elected officials who take office starting in 2011, however, will get a better deal than rank-and-file employees. Although the standard retirement age for elected officials will jump from 55 to 62, the vesting periods will remain at six years for lawmakers and four years for statewide elected officials.

I voted no on both of these measures. I expressed my reasons on the Ford bill in a letter to the editor that appeared in several state newspapers. Here's a link to one version:

Regarding the pensions: 1) Missouri’s state workers are the lowest paid in the nation; until we deal with that travesty, I can't see weakening the pension system, one of the only enticements we have to keep good workers; 2) elected officials should not be favored by pension rules that are more generous than those for other state workers; and 3) the erosion of pension benefits in private enterprise should be questioned and challenged instead of reinforced by weakening public pensions.

Legislation I Proposed Signed Into Law

On July 13, Gov. Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill 583 into law. This is an omnibus insurance bill containing several provisions, including requiring a refund of unearned premiums for Medicare supplement and long-term care policies to be returned to the consumer; allowing a person enrolled in a health benefit plan to receive materials from the managed care entity or HMO in printed or electronic form; and requiring health insurance policies to include coverage for adopted children on the same basis as other dependents of the enrollee. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Norma Champion (R-Springfield) and handled in the House by Rep. Steve Hobbs (R-Mexico).
The portion of the bill about adopted children is language I had drafted in 2009 and filed as House Bill 611. Since I am in the minority party, I was unable to get a hearing that year, but in 2010, I recruited Rep. Therese Sander, a GOP colleague, to be lead sponsor instead of me. Rep. Sander is a strong advocate for adoption, so I was sure this bill would be attractive to her. We got the bill through the House by Spring Break by a vote of 145-0. Unfortunately a controversial amendment was added in the Senate killing Rep. Sander's bill, but each of us found legislative colleagues who would amend our language onto other bills, and we successfully got it on three bills by Session's end. SB 583 was one that was "truly agreed and finally passed" fortunately and that the governor signed.
Ultimately this is a story about citizen advocates doing a great job bringing their concerns to an elected official. I sponsored the bill because my constituents, the Fricks, had been denied coverage for their adopted daughter Olive. You can read about/watch their story by following this link:

Surrounding Our Schools With Care Update
Back-to-School Fair

On Saturday, July 31st, from 9:00am until 1:00p.m., the St. Louis Public School District will host its annual Back-To-School Fair at the Chaifetz Arena, #1 Compton Ave. Admission is FREE, and backpacks filled with school supplies will be distributed to students on a first come first serve basis. The District’s English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) division will offer support for non-English speaking families.
In addition, the Fair will feature more than 90 vendor booths providing various services such as:
· School registration
· Free and/or reduced lunch applications and support
· Notary services
· Transportation enrollment and support
· Health information
· Adult Education and Afterschool program information and enrollment
· Head Start school readiness program information
· Student haircuts
· Children’s activities, door prizes, free entertainment, and refreshments
The St. Louis Public School (SLPS) District is offering this extra effort to help students and parents prepare for the first day of classes, Monday, August 16th. This is essential given the overwhelming number of SLPS students who receive free and reduced price lunches due to living in poverty. The District is also providing information about programs and services being offered for the 2010-2011 school year. This year’s Back to School Fair is sponsored in part by HealthCare USA. For more information please visit or call (314) 345-2520.

Vote Yes on Proposition S

After much study and review, $300 million in facility needs have been identified for the St. Louis Public School system. As a first step toward improving academic performance, ensuring a safe environment, and promoting healthy lifestyles for students, $155 million of these needs are being bundled into a bond referendum identified as Proposition S on the ballot. Now is a good time to consider such a proposal because the federal recovery package allows school districts to finance improvements at zero or near-zero interest rates, giving school districts more "bang for the buck" than at any time in recent history. Therefore, SLPS would be able to fund the $155 million in the current draft of their facilities plan without raising its tax rate.
Also of importance is the economic activity that would be generated locally by the proposed improvements, including union jobs! It has been estimated that Proposition S would create 3100 construction jobs in the City of St. Louis:

Proposition S plans include: providing every student with access to computers, educational technology and up-to-date software; modernizing electrical service to accommodate classroom technology; adding pre-K classrooms and expanding the gifted student program; renovating and upgrading libraries, science labs, auditoriums, restrooms, and cafeterias; continuing removal of lead paint and other hazardous materials and installation of safe and energy efficient windows; repairing and replacing roofs to eliminate leaks and mold; improving security with lighting, cameras, and alarm systems; upgrading fire safety equipment; replacing 60-year-old kitchen equipment to facilitate serving hot, nutritious meals; and making playgrounds safer.
For more information about the facilities improvement plan, go to and click on the FACTS logo or call 314-345-4694.

Recommendations for August 3 Primary Elections

In addition to the important Prop S vote described above, there are other important issues and electoral races on the Aug. 3 primary ballot. I ask those in the 59th district to give me a vote of confidence in the Democratic primary. If you would like a yard sign, write or call 314-771-8882. I'm into recycling, so display your Oxford for Representative sign now and then put it away out of the weather until mid-October when it will be time to get it back out for the November General Election.

I recommend a NO vote on Proposition C. This is a very deceptive ballot initiative that falsely promises to help overturn the federal healthcare legislation passed earlier this year. Federal law trumps state laws, so Proposition C is not likely to have any impact in the end other than to continue playing politics with healthcare. I personally think it was a good idea to pass federal reform to address problems like persons being excluded for pre-existing conditions, the "doughnut hole" that hurts seniors on their prescription costs, etc. The old insurance system does not deserve praise or defense. For fact sheets about Prop C that you can share with others, go to:

Electing more progressives to office is a cause near and dear to my heart. Please let your friends in other districts know about the candidates endorsed by these two groups of which I am a member -----
Harriett's List - (while at that website, please take a moment to light a candle on the birthday cake in memory of Harriett Woods, former MO Lt. Governor and a great advocate for progressive women in office. Harriett had the courage to endorse me in 2000, and she has been a great inspiration to me and so many others.)

PROMO-PAC (the political arm of PROMO, Missouri's statewide citizens advocacy group that fights for LGBT equality) -

I would like to especially draw your attention to two St. Louis City colleagues, Rep. James Morris (District 58) and Rep. Hope Whitehead (District 57). Both have Democratic primaries unfortunately despite the fact that they have fought hard for our City.

Here's more about Rep. Morris - and about Rep. Whitehead - I hope you will consider donating to their campaigns, door-knocking, phone-banking, and/or letting your friends in those districts know that Morris and Whitehead deserve their votes.


National Alliance on Mental Illness-NAMI St. Louis is holding a FREE half-day workshop on Saturday, July 31, 2010 at Greater Grace Church (Room 112) located at 3690 Pershall Road, Ferguson, MO 63135 from 8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. for families and caregivers of individuals who have a diagnosis of Schizophrenia and/or Schizo-affective Disorder. This workshop will educate families about these illnesses and provide new communications techniques, coping skills and problem management of these challenges. If you have a loved-one with one of theses illnesses, you will leave with a better understanding of how to manage a better life for yourself and your family member. Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to Joyce at 314.962.4670 if you plan to attend or for more information.