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September 14, 2015    13th Edition
Hello everyone!
Generally I love summer but this year it was extremely wet and then very hot. Hopefully next summer when I come knocking on your door it will be dry and warm, but not hot.
Veto Session
On September 16th, the Legislature will reconvene for the 2015 Veto Session. Governor Nixon vetoed 18 of the 117 non-appropriations bills passed during the 2015 Legislative session. This session has only lasted 1 day in my last two years and I expect it to be the same this year.
Bills which are vetoed by the Governor are then re-considered by the chamber in which the bill originated for override. (Senate bills to the Senate and House bills to the House)
Votes during Veto Session are not actually for or against a bill, but for or against the motion to override the Governor's veto. In order to override the Governor's veto, the motion to override must have two thirds of the full membership of both the House and Senate, otherwise the motion does not pass and the bill dies. 109 is two thirds of the full membership of the House. 23 votes are needed to pass an override motion in the Senate.
If the motion to override a veto has 109 or more override votes in the House and 23 or more votes in the Senate, the bill will become law regardless of the Governor's veto.
If the motion to override gets 108 votes or less in the House or 22 or more votes in the Senate, the veto is sustained and the bill dies.
House Bill 150
  There is a new twist this year, a situation for which there is no precedent.
  HB 150 reduces the maximum number of weeks one can collect unemployment from 20 to as low as 13 weeks based on the unemployment rate of the whole state. The bill passed the House originally with 88 votes in favor and 68 opposed. The Senate also passed the bill with a vote of 21-8. The Governor vetoed the bill prior the end of the regular session. The bill came back to the House (as it originated in the House) where an attempt to override the veto was made. The voting was held open for quite some time while the "whips" worked to get enough votes to override the veto. The motion finally got 109 votes and with a good deal of fanfare was passed over to the Senate on May 12th. As a measure of the oddities that marked the final week of the session, the Senate adjourned early on May 16, without taking any action.
  No one knows if the bill can (1) just be voted on in the Senate, (2) must be approved in both Houses as full action was not completed during the regular session or (3) is already dead. I am hoping it is dead. The bill is unfair to those who live in counties with fewer employment opportunities and is the shortest time of any state in the country.
House Bill 116
  The BIG issue, or at least the one getting a lot of attention, is the so-called "Right to Work" bill, HB 116. This bill passed the House with only 92 votes, 17 votes short of the votes needed to override the veto. The biggest problem with the bill is it makes it a crime to negotiate a labor contract. That can mean jail time as well as fines. Then there is the issue of business owners being subject to unlimited civil liability. It may not even come to the floor. Then again maybe it will.
All vetoed bills are read into the record, and generally the majority party decides which of those will be subject to a motion to override.
I'll keep you informed
As soon as veto session is complete we will be sending out a mailing to the voters in the district bringing everyone up to date on what happened to the bills vetoed by the Governor. This should arrive in early October. It is a bulk mailing so I will not know when it will arrive in your mailbox.
Moving on… in the Jefferson City office (actually the only office)

Kathy Licklider
my new Legislative Aide
I need to apologize to anyone who tried to reach my office and did not get a response. My assistant Donna was dealing with some very serious health issues and has now retired. After she left I found quite a few phone messages, emails and notes and I do not know if my responses were sent or not. If you sent one of the messages that went unanswered I do apologize and if you would please inquire again you will get an answer.
I would like to introduce my new Legislative Assistant, Kathy Licklider. Kathy has a deep knowledge of the legislature and loves digging into the bills and laws. She has a wealth of experience, and really knows how to read and understand our statutes. Best of all, she gets my humor.

You can learn more about her through this article in the January edition of Mid-Missouri's HER magazine.

I am very excited to be working with Kathy.
Thank you for those of you attending our district talk with the representative from MoDOT. While we all love the more efficient cars it is a problem in that our gas tax is $.17 per gallon (one of the lowest in the nation) and this efficiency has reduced income for MoDOT to a point of not being able to keep up the maintenance on our roads and bridges, much less do any new projects. Yes, you will see some new projects, but they were planned and begun prior to this shortage of funds.
As 2016 is an election year it is doubtful the legislature will propose any new taxes or increases. This is quickly becoming a big problem particularly outstate. One example is a bridge being closed and the detour to get over the creek is 31 miles one way. People seem to be more aware of an issue if it is in their own backyard.
This summer I seem to be visiting Jefferson City more often than in the past.
Once a month I travel to Jefferson City to attend the meetings of the Joint Committee on Childhood Abuse and Neglect. So far we are hearing presentations from the various entities such as: judges, children's division workers, Children's Advocates, Deputy Juvenile Officers, Court Appointed Special Advocates, etc. We are learning what is currently in place and what we can do to improve the system when a child is abused or neglected and looking for prevention possibilities.
As Chair of the Children' Services Commission, I chair bi-monthly meetings of this commission. This is not a standing or select committee of the House or a Joint Committee with the Senate. The commission is a statutory commission, which means it exists as a legal entity and in this case is not under the House, Senate or Governor. It is an independent commission charged with overseeing issues dealing with children, seeking to help define and refine how children's issues are managed to be in the best interest of the child. Members of the commission include the department heads from Social Services, Elementary and Secondary Education, Higher Education, Mental Health, Health, Youth Services, Corrections, Labor, 2 members of the House and 2 from the Senate, judges, and pediatricians. One of the goals is to reduce the duplication of services and make sure the services offered are the best. Some areas are very uneven, such as foster care. We have some very good foster parents and others who could use some possible (maybe even significant) improvement. We are still reorganizing and should be ready to be a productive viable resource by the end of this year.
So many places to go and things to do and learn about.
Did you know…
I was pleased and flattered to be invited to participate in a Think Tank Session to discuss ideas on the design and development of the social areas of the new Covenant House development being built on the Jewish Community Center property. This housing is open to all applicants and offers some assistance for those who qualify (it is not a faith-based community).
The NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community), has expanded and I was able to participate in two of their activities. This is a program to help those of us over the age of 65 to stay in our homes as we age, also known as aging in place.

Check out the map below to learn if you might live within the boundaries of the NORC, for more information you can visit their website or contact:

Karen Berry-Elbert at 314-442-3859

Foster Kids
The Foster Care and Adoptive Alliance runs the Re-Fresh clothing store for foster and adopted children. They also have prom dresses for graduating seniors (a.k.a. their Cinderella Program).
One of their newer initiatives is called Extreme Recruitment, which finds family members for children being taken into foster care; providing kinship homes for the children rather than a totally unknown family. Although half of all foster kids wait in custody for one to five years, Extreme Recruitment aims for a match in 12 to 20 weeks; instead of finding “forever families” for 40% of the children they work with, as the agency did before 2008, Extreme Recruitment finds families for 70%. Training and visitations are still in place; the child is still under guardianship of the State, but they stay in one home. Using investigators, they find anywhere from 20 to over 100 kin of the child. It is truly amazing and now there are two more pilot programs in the state. You can learn more from this fascinating story in Time Magazine
Governor's Council on Disabilities Missouri Youth Forum
This marks the third year that I have participated in the Governor's Council on Disabilities Missouri Youth Forum. I spent a day in the Capitol assisting teenagers with disabilities hold a mock hearing and legislative session in the House. Patience has its rewards if you wait long enough for the teen to get their thoughts together and express their ideas. They are as much fun as non-disabled teens, with the same goals, fears, aspirations and sense of humor. They are given a role to play such as committee chair or member, House Speaker etc. They are always a little intimidated at first, but once they warm up, they often get into some lively (and noteworthy) debates.
As always

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

Enjoy the fall season. Keep in touch and give me your thoughts on potential town hall topics.

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