January 22, 2015    9th Edition
Happy New Year one and all!
Thank you everyone for answering my surveys. The information is a great resource for me. I use the statistics to help guide me in making decisions on issues.

I know many of you had problems with the online version and I do apologize. I was told two years ago this was a great system used by the Office of Administration for our benefit. It has yet to work well and this was my third attempt. Surveys are still coming in and must be hand entered, so I too wish the system would work as I only have one staff member.

And it begins!

On January 9th I was sworn in for my second term as your State Representative. It was an emotional moment to be standing at my desk in the wonderful, historic House Chamber and repeating the oath of office. It is quite the responsibility to represent 36,000 — 37,000 people, awesome in the very real sense of the word, and at the same time humbling to think about where you are and what you need to do. It is a very serious business; however one must be careful to not take themselves too seriously. The anger and frustration at what we are unable to do can easily become difficult to handle and one can cause one to become totally ineffective.
Committee Assignments
The committee structure for the house has been reorganized this year. In the past Appropriations Committees reported to the Budget Committee. All other bills passed through the Rules committee and then to the House. Now we have 42 standing committees; with each one reporting bills to one of 13 select committees prior to being heard in the House. That is a total of 55 committees!

I'm beginning this term by serving on two Select Committees:
  • Social Services — oversees Children and Families, Health, Mental Health Policy and Veterans
  • Agriculture — oversees Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
And two Standing Committees that will report bills to them:
  • Children and Families (ranking member) — reporting bills to the Social Services Select Committee
  • Conservation and Natural Resources — reporting bills to the Agriculture Select Committee
I still sit on the Sub-Committee on Child Abuse Reporting and Investigating as well.

In addition, I have also been elected to serve as Chair of The Missouri Children's Services Commission.

Over 500 bills have been introduced thus far, and I don't know which ones will be assigned to committee or gain priority. I will let you know more when things become more clear.
Save the Date!

Insurance Marketplace Forum
  • Learn about options for you to sign up before the Feb. 15 Deadline
  • Determine whether you qualify for financial assistance
  • Get your free flu shot* and free blood pressure screening
Maryland Heights Community Center
2344 McKelvey Road, 63043
Saturday, January 31st 10-11:30 AM

More details to follow in a subsequent email.

* Walgreens will be providing free flu shots (flu shots are free if the individual is uninsured if you're insured please bring your insurance card — the shot should be covered by insurance). Mercy Hospital will be providing free blood pressure screenings.
My office
I am still in my same office as last year, room 103BB. Many of you have talked with my Legislative Aide Glenda over the past two years. Her grandchildren have moved closer to Jeff City and she has made the decision to retire so she can have more time with them and spend more time at her lake house. I am very sorry to see her go.

I did get lucky and found Donna Carter who began working for me January 1st. She is an experienced Legislative Aide and I am sure you will all like her too.

If you visit the Capitol, drop by and visit. Let us know in advance, and we can arrange the regular tour for you as well take you to the Whisper Gallery; and if you are really brave we can climb up to the top of the dome and look over the city and the river from the top.
Holiday Honor

I was asked to participate and light a candle on the menorah at the Governor's mansion in honor of the third day of Chanukah. Judge Richard B. Teitelman of the Missouri Supreme Court, Captain Mendy Stern, US Army Chaplin, Fort Leonard Wood and I lit the candles at the ceremony.

Governor Nixon was presented with a special yarmulke bearing the state seal on one side and The Governor on the other side.

Pictured at right: First Lady Georganne Nixon, myself, Judge Teitelman, Captain Stern

Continual Learning

Oh, the places I go to learn more about what is happening in and nearby our district and how they relate to state issues.
World Wide Technology — West Port

Did you know that one of the most successful information technology companies in the world is located within the 71st district? World Wide Technology (WWT) is an award-winning systems integrator linking together different computing systems and software applications physically or functionally, to act as a coordinated whole.

I was among a group of legislators that toured WWT's headquarters in West Port. We learned about what is being referred to as Smart Cities. Smart Cities use digital technologies to enhance performance and wellbeing, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens. Key smart sectors include transport, energy, health care, water and waste. A smart city should be able to respond faster to city and global challenges than one with a simple 'transactional' relationship with its citizens.

From its beginnings in 1990, WWT has grown into a powerhouse systems integrator with more than $6 billion in annual revenue (71st on Forbes Largest Private Companies list) and more than 2,700 employees throughout the world. WWT is ranked #34 on FORTUNE's 100 Best Companies to Work For list.
Alzheimer's Association — Olivette

At the Alzheimer's Association Care & Conquer Conference, Dr. John C. Morris of BJC gave a very informative talk explaining how Alzheimer's affects the brain cells. Using the PET scan one can follow the loss of brain cells over time. We still do not have any treatment to slow the progression much less stop or cure the disease. However, the research is indicating a relationship between genes in our DNA and the probability of one developing the disease. The more we learn about cause and probability the better our ability to treat or prevent the disease. Progress is very slow but is indeed progressing.

If you need information, or you're caring for someone with Alzheimer's call 800-272-3900.
DeVry/Chamberlain — West Port

I toured the DeVry/Chamberlain campus at West Port and was very impressed. DeVry is a satellite location and offers Associate and Bachelors degrees in business and management. It is a very small and personal campus, with small classes providing personal attention. Chamberlain is a school of nursing offering nursing courses in conjunction with DeVry to award BSN and MSN degrees. The facilities offer the full set of smart mannequins, which can simulate various patient situations. They can have heart attacks, deliver babies, pass out, bleed, and much more including talk with the student nurses. It is as close as one can get without having an actual person.
Olympiad Gymnastics — West Port

Olympiad Gymnastics is a competitive gymnastics school, once again a visit to West Port. I watched girls from age 4 or 5 up to 18+ working and learning on the various skills from simple exercises to some very difficult work on the uneven parallel bars. They were all very physically active and very fit. It is good to see a large group of young people in motion, and in good physical condition.
The Brain Injury Support Group — West Port

At a meeting with the Brain Injury Support Group, a number of victims of traumatic brain injuries shared their stories with a group of legislators. Most included hopes of recovery back to a self supporting life. We also learned these types of injuries more often than not require a good deal of therapy. The problem is that after one's insurance runs out there is a waiting list for therapy; and the current wait time is 451 days. With little or limited use a lot of destructive atrophy can occur in any muscle or organ in those 451 days. Imagine the effects on the brain under those conditions. I find it an embarrassment that we as a state cannot do a better job in this area.
St. Louis Area Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (COCAN) — Olivette

COCAN is an umbrella organization of almost 40 different service providers. They invited legislators to a round table discussion addressing issues they work with in dealing with state departments, ways we all might be able to help, as well as success stories.
Drummond Elementary School — St. Ann

Drummond Elementary School is a unique public school in the Pattonville School District. Students living within the elementary school attendance area are in grade levels K-5, like every other elementary school. But in most other schools, all students in a given grade are subject to the same basic teaching materials.

At Drummond each grade level offers work for 3 different levels in each area of study. Students at Level 1 are students working at or above grade level. Level 2 students are about 1 year behind and Level 3 students are 2 or more years behind. If you have a 3rd grade student who is reading above 3rd grade, but just is lost when it comes to math, that student can be in a Level 1 reading classroom and a level 2 or 3 classroom for math.

The idea is to work with students at a level at which they can learn. Good readers are not always good mathematicians, and vice versa. This allows educators the opportunity to give greater attention to student strengths and weaknesses, without ignoring other students with dissimilar needs. Parents and student are aware of the level in which the student is placed and are given information as to what needs to be accomplished to reach the next level. For levels 2 and 3 it is expected they learn and grow more with this type of attention and have a chance to catch up with expectations for their age. Our current system can leave too many students behind.
As always

Thank you for your support, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent you in Jefferson City.

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Paid for by Friends of Sue Meredith, Pam Crowley — Treasurer