Last Week In Review
LAST WEEK – JANUARY 4-6
Tuesday – January 4th, 2011
2011 Legislative Academy – What a turn out!
Special thanks to Joan Langenberg, President of Missouri Eagle Forum for heading up this very popular and successful educational forum.
Tuesday morning we started our annual Legislative Academy with record attendance. We ran around all morning changing rooms, rearranging chairs… counting chairs and going to get more chairs. With just over a 140 people by the grace of God we were able to fit everyone into one hearing room – but not without a lot of last minute adjustments.
We are proud to annually co-sponsor this event with Missouri Eagle Forum, Concerned Women for America of Missouri, and Families for Home Education.
Wednesday – January 5th, 2011
Wednesday morning began with the annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast marked with a well planned program and a packed crowd.
Mid-Morning Missouri experienced a new event in contemporary history… A Consent of the Governed Rally. With a list of speakers, participants rallied around the grand theme that we are the people from whom political power resonates (of course all power comes from the one and only True King as all power and authority is granted by the Lord) and without our corporate consent, representative government has no ultimate authority.
12 Noon: Swearing in ceremonies… Inaugural ball…
All 163 House members and 17 of the 34 State Senators elected last November 2nd were sworn into office on the first official day of the 96th General Assembly (first regular session).
Elections of leadership positions in the House and Senate…. Opening speeches…
Speaker of the House, Representative Steven Tilley’s Inaugural Address – –
Newly elected Speaker of the House Steven Tilley (district 106; St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve & Perry counties), delivered his Inaugural Address on Tuesday. The galleries where all packed out with the friends and families of the House members, and it was very encouraging to see the amount of family support that was present. Speaker Tilley’s address has given us a glimpse at what we should be expecting from the House of Representatives this legislative session. He included not only an outline of his top legislative priorities, but a very personal glimpse into several pivotal points in his life that helped to shape his life and career.
Tilley made it very clear from the beginning that his intentions as speaker is NOT to simply maintain the status quo, nor is it to keep operations the same as under past leadership. But rather to chart his own course if you will, and re-define not only his own leadership roll but also the roll of the minority party as well. To demonstrate that he truly means to refine House operations, his office had released committee chairmanships a month before the session started, and full committee assignments before the legislative session began. Tilley is very passionate about his role, and humbled by the opportunity to lead the republican majority. Paraphrasing from the Gospel of Luke in his address, “when someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required…” what a challenge. The people have given the Republican Party the chance to lead our state, and Speaker Tilley has challenged the Legislature to lead by example.
Five key points outlined his legislative priorities in the “Show Me Solutions Initiative.”
A pledge to the people of Missouri to force our government to live within its means- and “hold the line on taxes, period.” Well said, Mr. Speaker.
Job creation. The condition of our economy has dominated the political landscape… as well it should. With the volume of revenues that are down Tilley’s call for job creation is more than your typical politicians cry to make their district more stable. Rather he truly understands the impact that a 9% unemployment rate means on our families. Keeping parents and household providers working to support their families and keeping them off of government programs is truly a pro-family priority.
Accountability for the government. Consistency in its programs, and common sense approach to the application and development of our laws. Specifically in law enforcement, where the Speaker called for legislation to address the issue of human trafficking, and sexual trafficking. This had already been a priority of ours and we welcome the support of Speaker Tilley and his colleagues.
Education. “I have asked my education chairman to not focus on what’s best for administrators, to not focus on what’s best for teachers unions, but to focus on what is best for our children’s education. Therefore, we need to pass teacher tenure reform that will reward good teachers and provide greater local control to school districts. We also need to strongly consider adopting policies to address social promotion. We are doing our children an injustice by merely passing them along if they can’t meet the minimum standards.” Regardless of where you may live in out great state, you are abdicating you Biblical mandate to love your neighbor, if you simply ignore the thousands of public school students who fall between the cracks of the system. It is very important to note that the term “education reform” as used by Missouri’s legislative leadership, is totally opposite of what progressive democrats in the U.S. Congress mean by the term. In Washington’s top-down social engineering it means more government experimentation and control, in Jefferson City it means more parental empowerment and flexibility for families and students!
Healthcare. Showing his dedication to the party’s roots, Speaker Tilley announced his plan to use free market concepts to increase quality and access to healthcare. He also had this to say: “Missourians are interested in helping someone out of a bad situation, but Missourians have no interest in funding a bad habit. That is why we need to pass drug testing on welfare recipients.” Once again, Speaker Tilley hit the nail on the head.
In closing out his address the speaker raised the bar one last time, by challenging the Missouri house to pass 75% of priority legislation in the first 50 days.
For any of you who did not notice, the Speaker’s top priorities did not include a shout out to the pro-life front. But this doesn’t upset me, because past actions are the best indicator of future activity. As majority floor leader Representative Tilley didn’t hide his pro-life views. In fact he made sure that prolife legislation didn’t lose its place on the house calendar to other issues, and did everything within his power to see to its swift passage. So I feel very confident that this issue will NOT fall to the way side, and I urge you to have confidence in the passion that he has brought with him to this new leadership role. His ideology could perhaps be best summed up in one of his closing quotes- “I am convinced government should NOT be the SOLUTION to every problem….but as legislators we should try everything in our power to make sure government is NOT the PROBLEM either.”
Speaker Pro Tem Representative Shane Schoeller’s Inaugural Address – –
State Representative Shane Schoeller was officially elected to serve as the House of Representatives new Speaker Pro Tem on Tuesday, making him the second in command. He opened his inaugural address by asking the body to “please allow me to pause for a moment and give tribute to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who, without a doubt, has granted me the opportunity to stand here now, to Him I say thank you.”
The Speaker Pro Tem of the house did not place his main focus on the economic issues that loom over the state and budget. Instead his main point was to remind the house that all the political power that they wield in the state comes from the people, and their responsibility to honor the faith that has been placed in them.
He went on mention several other points. The need to defend businesses against the temptation to tax and regulate, and to fend off the concerns of the education bureaucracy.
Pro Tem Schoeller was also the only member of leadership who mentioned the abortion issue saying, “I would be remiss if I did not also affirm our sacred duty as a state to protect the vulnerable and indefensible. I will never apologize for the duty we have as a state to protect those who cannot protect themselves, whether born or unborn… As we work to strengthen laws that protect life in the halls of this capitol I challenge this body, each community and each faith based organization to be even more vigilant in upholding the sacredness of life and the individual beauty given to us all by our Creator. In doing so we will foster the culture of life necessary to truly protect the unborn. It is not in the letter of the law that we will ever see abortions cease to occur, but rather in the spirit of our culture. We must choose to help mothers in unexpected pregnancies so that they are given every opportunity to bring their little one to full term. Changes in the law will be meaningless until life is held to be so sacred that willfully choosing to end it becomes unthinkable… we will foster the culture of life necessary to truly protect the unborn.”
Speaker Pro Tem Schoeller also highlighted the need to address child abuse, calling on Governor Nixon to work with the legislature on reforms.
I think the new Speaker Pro Tem’s philosophy could be summed up when he said “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Get the government out of the way so he can catch his own fish, and he will feed himself for a lifetime.”
Senate President Pro Tem, Senator Rob Mayer’s Inaugural Address – –
Senator Rob Mayer will be serving as the new President Pro Tem in the Senate. In his address he noted the profound change in senate culture, as the “Senate Lions” have faded their passing has left new opportunities for the 19 senators who have been in the senate for less than two years. (Less than half have more than two years experience – an unplanned cost of term limits!)
Economics was again the main theme, and rightly so. Missouri is facing very bleak budget times- but let’s not forget that it was Senator Mayer who attributed the swift passage of last year’s budget to the power of prayer. So as he leads the senate into a budget year with an additional $300-$500 million dollar shortfall, let us not forget our roles to lift not only the new President Pro Tem up in prayer, but the Legislature as a whole.
Sharing from his own experiences and hardships, Senator Mayer reflected on the personal value that employment brings. There are many different aspects to spawning job growth and creation. Beyond just tax code adjustments and tax breaks; closing loopholes and complicated personal lawsuits can cripple or kill otherwise thriving businesses.
Another important part of employment is education. Senate Pro- Tem Mayer has extended a pledge to “the entire education spectrum.” From K through 12, school funding at the same levels as last year will be difficult, and he has called on the Governor to work with the legislature to help rather than cut funding to programs such as the ACCESS Missouri scholarships and virtual schools programs.
He sees the “Rebooting Government” program as a long term tool to aide in identifying and eliminating spending waste. By soliciting suggestions and finding creative solutions to retrofit the institutional bureaucracy Senator Mayer hopes to continue re-engineering our state. By doing more with what we already have, and holding our state accountable to the tax payers, Senator Mayer is dedicated to meeting the funding issues head on.
While Senator Mayer’s address was void of pro-life promises, he has personally also already introduced valuable pro-life legislation! We should all rest confident that the absence of his commentary on this issue is simply due to the high profile nature of the budget issue. After all, the Senator personally sponsored the last pro-life bill that came through the senate, and the value of the unborn is near and dear to his heart. We have high expectations that he will pursue his current legislation just as vigorously as in the past.
Hearkening back to Reagan, Mayer closed by saying “with preparation, cooperation and hard work I believe we can secure a promising future for the people of Missouri. A future Missouri that is full of opportunity. A future Missouri where the American Dream is again alive and well. And a future Missouri where families can thrive. As President Reagan said in 1984, ‘In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal; America’s is.’ I believe the same is true for Missouri today. Knowing that all 33 of us share these goals, I again find myself hopeful.”
Well Senator Mayer, I think you will find that there are a lot more than just 33 Senators who are dedicated to securing the future of our state, and we stand with you to this end.
Thursday – January 6th, 2011
Thursday morning began with the annual Prayer and Commissioning Service for the elected members of Missouri’s State government, agency heads, our State Court System, and all their staff and families. Thanks especially to Concord Baptist church in Jefferson City for allowing the free use of your facilities for the past seven years, as well as providing breakfast for all!
Following brief sessions in the House and Senate, lawmakers new and old headed home for the weekend. Starting back Monday afternoon, January 10th, with the ceremonies over, everyone will be focused on the work ahead.
Missouri Supreme Court Actions Regarding Death Sentences
This week we saw two actions from Missouri’s Supreme Court:
First was the rejection of a stay of execution of Richard D. Clay who is scheduled to be executed after 16 years of incarceration and court maneuvers for his part in a premeditated killing. The wife of the murdered man and her extramarital lover helped plan the murder. Clay’s execution is scheduled for January 12th, 2011.
Second was an execution date set for Mr. Martin Link who was apprehended four days after the rape and murder of an eleven year old school girl. Physical evidence tying him to this horrendous crime has held him in prison for the past 15 years of appeals. Link’s execution is set to occur on February 9th, 2011.
Please be in prayer for these men, their families, and the many men and women charged with the responsibilities of these executions. They, and we, will all face eternity after being ultimately judged by a righteous God who offers us all the Grace and Salvation that can only be found in the blood of Jesus Christ, our Savior. No matter what your position on the death penalty may be – we are all sinners in need of His grace. Our sin has separated us from the relationship we were created to have with our Creator, God. It is only through personal repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our substitute on the cross that we can be restored to the kind of relationship He wants for each of us, both here on earth at this time and for eternity. God is merciful and will accept any true and heartfelt prayer for forgiveness, He stands ready to receive you and desires that you accept what He has done on your behalf!
Next Week Expectations
House Committee on Rules
Chair: Diehl, John – (Rep-87) Vice Chair: Funderburk, Doug-(Rep-12)
Monday, January 10, 2011 – Upon Afternoon Adjournment – House Hearing Room 6
Public Hearings will be conducted for HR 39 — FEDERAL HEALTH CARE LAW
Sponsor: Franz, Ward (Rep-151) Co-Sponsor: Jones, Timothy (Rep-089)
Calls on the Attorney General to file an independent lawsuit or join 20 the state attorneys general in their lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care reform legislation.
An Executive Session may follow.
Wayne Pacelle of HSUS will be at our Missouri State Capitol next Wednesday, January 12th, to meet with some Senators about Prop B. He is scheduled to be there just before noon.
We are asking for any of you who wish to visit the capitol for a lobby day for animal owners and agriculture that day to do so. MoFed will be there as well as MPBA and PPA officers and members.
Please dress in business attire, conduct yourselves professionally, do not be threatening in any manner, and politely tell your story to your elected Senator and Representative. Anyone who would like to go to the capitol that day is invited to meet with us at 10:00 a.m. in the capitol basement near the cafeteria.
Both the House and Senate will spend the next five months debating the future of our state and the freedoms which in large part frame our culture for generations to come.
As in the past twenty-six years Missouri Family Network will be there to work with the 163 Representatives and 34 Senators – reminding them that what they do, or fail to do, can have a tremendous impact on the Families of this Great State.
Please be in regular prayer for us as we face issue after issue, day in and day out. Pray that we may have grace in the eyes of lawmakers as we strive to help them understand the pro-family perspectives related to the hundreds of bills before them.