News

November 10th, 2017

Nominate the Best of the Best of Carthage

by Neely Myers – Membership Director

In January, the Chamber will be shining the spotlight on the best of Carthage. It’s not too early to save the date for the annual Chamber Banquet on Friday, January 19th at the auditorium of the CMC Campus. We will celebrate with a Kentucky Derby theme and honor the year’s most triumphant ladies and gentlemen of the community. We will be presenting awards to outstanding teachers, business leaders, volunteers, and community members, as well as thanking our leadership and members for their support in 2017.

Most important right now though, we need your nominations for Citizen of the Year, Emerging Leader of the Year, Small Business of the Year and Spotlight Award by the end of this month, Thursday, November 30th. You can pick up the nomination form at the Chamber of Commerce, between 8:30 and 5 or download them from carthagechamber.com. You might be thinking who should I nominate? Here’s a little information to get you thinking.

The Citizen of the Year Award will be presented to an individual who has had a tremendous impact on the Carthage community.  Persons nominated for this award must:
• Be a current Carthage resident
• Actively volunteer with various organizations or events
• Show pride in Carthage
• Be highly regarded in the community
• Contribute to the overall well-being of Carthage
• Be dedicated to improving the lives of others in Carthage

The Emerging Leader of the Year Award is presented to one Chamber member each year in recognition of those who further their career path or begin a new career path.

The Small Business of the Year Award will be presented to a local business that has presented a positive image and has been a vibrant entity within the Carthage business community. Recipient must be a Chamber member in good standing and have fewer than 50 employees.

The Spotlight Award will be presented to a local business that enhanced the business community in Carthage in 2017 through improvements or expansions to their business location.

Additional information about the nomination process can be found on the nomination form. Help Carthage find and honor the very best in business by nominating your outstanding candidate in each category by November 30! We are also accepting Golden Key nominations through November 27th so make sure to have your student write in, or write in yourself, to tell us who the very best teacher in Carthage is, and what it is that makes them the best!

View Press Release (PDF)

September 26th, 2017

Leggett & Platt unveils bronze in honor of Harry M. Cornell, Jr.

Watch the ceremony here.

September 19th, 2017

5 FAQ Maple Leaf Questions

5 FAQ Maple Leaf Questions
From inside the bottle it’s not always easy to know for sure what Carthaginians and visitors know for certain, and what may be new information that we assumed everyone knew. And you know what they say about assuming right………? So, since we are up to our eyeballs in the excitement of Maple Leaf, here are answers to the top 5 most frequently asked questions about the festival.
1. Question 1 – Where do I park?
There are eight public parking lots near the Historic Carthage Square. They are located at 2nd & Lyon, 2nd and Howard, 3rd and Lincoln, 3rd and Lyon, just South of 3rd and Lincoln, 3rd and Maple, 4th and Howard, 4th and Maple, 5th and Grant, and 5th and Maple. Most of the free, city owned parking lots are handicapped accessible and a handicapped only reserved lot is available at 6th and Grant. Please be aware that if you park on private property, you may run the risk of having your vehicle towed. The parking map is located in the official festival brochure. Pick up your copy today at the Carthage Chamber of Commerce, 402 S. Garrison.
2. Question 2 – Where is the nearest ATM?
There are three ATM locations within 2-3 blocks of the Square. UMB Bank located on the East side of the square has an ATM on the back side of their branch. Hometown Bank is located 2 blocks North of the square on Central and Maple. Southwest Missouri Bank is located 2 blocks West of the square at 4th and Maple. There are also Arvest Bank, Heritage State Bank, Simmons Bank, and U.S. Bank branches located throughout town for your convenience. If you’d like to avoid the hustle and hassle of taking time away from the festival to get cash, consider bringing it with you on festival day!
3. Question 3 – Where are the bathrooms?
There will be lots of public porti-potties available on festival day. Porti-potties will be located at 3rd and Main, 3rd and Grant, 4th and Main, 4th and Grant, between Main and Grand on 4th (handicapped and diaper changing units also available), 6th and Grant (handicapped units also available), Chestnut and Grant, Grand and Howard,13th and Grand, Grand and Macon, Grand just North of Centennial, and Fulton and Centennial. Public restrooms are also available in the Courthouse, at the Police Department, and First United Methodist Church.
4. Question 4 – Where do I get the festival shirts?
Festival shirts are available for pre-sale at Race Brothers Farm & Home Supply, 2309 Fairlawn. Short sleeved t-shirts are $14.99, long sleeved are $19.99 and hooded sweatshirts are $29.99. If you can’t make it to Race Brothers before festival day, don’t fret. T-shirts will be available for sale on festival day at the Southwest corner of the square.
5. Question 5 – What if I get a boo boo, my kiddo wanders off, or I need a place to change a diaper or am a nursing mommy?
Mercy Carthage will host a tent on the South Courthouse lawn, providing basic first aid and paper bracelets for kiddos on which parents can write their phone number in case they are separated. Additionally, MOPS and MOMSnext will have a tent on the North Courthouse lawn with areas for diaper changing and private spaces for nursing.
Log on to carthagemapleleaf.com for a full calendar of events. Happy festival season!

September 18th, 2017

Maple Leaf Pageant Changes

As with everything, change is inevitable and usually for the better. A recent change to the Maple Leaf pageant structure is just such a change. You may be asking, Maple Leaf already, but it will be here before we know it and we don’t want to surprise our pageant lovers. Full pageant application packets including rules, regulations, deadlines, and requirements are available on carthagemapleleaf.com but the quick snapshot of dates, times, and ages for each pageant looks like the following:

• Baby Pageant to be held Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. 0-12 months of age, boys and girls, $5 entry fee.

• Toddler Pageant to be held Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. 13-up to 24 months of age, boys and girls, $5 entry fee. If your child has had their 2nd birthday on or before September 30, they will compete as a Little Miss or Mister.

• Little Miss and Little Mister Pageants to be held Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. 2 years of age through 1st grade, boys and girls, $15 entry fee.

• Princess and Prince Pageant to be held Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. Grade 2-grade 8, boys and girls, $15 entry fee.

• Queen Pageant to be held Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.  Grades 9-12, girls only, $50 sponsorship fee.

Trisha Swoveland is the Chair of the Maple Leaf pageants ages 2- Maple Leaf Queen. She says of the changes: There are 2 reasons that I decided to change the ages on the Little Miss and Mister and Princess pageants and delete the Jr. Miss title.  Last year for the 50th Anniversary of the Maple Leaf Festival, we decided to add a special category, Maple Leaf Prince, for young men up through the 8th grade.  This went over very well so we decided to keep it this year.  Because we added that category last year we deleted the Jr. Miss title and expanded the age range for the Princess title.  However, that left a huge age division for the Prince and Princess of K-8th grade.  Little Miss and Mister was 2 years to 4 years.  So, we decided to divide them a little more evenly this year.  The Little Miss and Mister pageant is now aged 2 years through 1st grade.  And the Prince and Princess pageant is 2nd grade through 8th grade.

Call the Chamber of Commerce for more information, 417-358-2373.
 

September 18th, 2017

Maple Leaf is SO Close!

From where I sit, I can see the tops of the Police Department trees starting to change colors. That means fall and THAT means Maple Leaf is right around the corner. By now, unless there is some secret underground bunker that festival news can’t penetrate, most everyone in the area has heard of the Maple Leaf Festival. Hopefully, you probably know that the parade, art and craft show, car show, and fair food all fall on the third Saturday of October. And you probably even know that after the morning and early afternoon festivities, the marching band festival will celebrate their first year’s competition in the brand NEW R-9 Sports Complex, BUT, did you know that there are events running throughout the month of October (and even the day before the calendar flips to October) with some big events happening in the week before, and on, the big day?


Are you a chocolate lover? What a silly question. Who doesn’t love chocolate?!? Join the Carthage Senior Healthcare Alliance on Saturday, September 30, 4-7 PM at the Fair Acres Family YMCA for “Everything Chocolate through the Decades”. For only $10 per person, $5 for seniors and military, you will get your fill of gourmet chocolate tasting. All proceeds will benefit the Carthage Senior Citizen Center and Local Meals on Wheels.


The Powers Museum is introducing what promises to be a fascinating, informational look at several historical sites around town with the Carthage History Sampler Program & Mini Walk. Enjoy a slide program on the Digital Carthage Project and a brief walking tour of selected sites from the library to the historic Carthage Square on Saturday, October 14 at 10:30 AM. Call 237-0456 for more information.


Maple Leaf is bringing the circus back after many years off. The Kelly Miller Brothers Circus will perform two shows at 4:30 and 7:30 on Tuesday, October 17th. If that’s not enough family fun for you and your littles, the carnival is also back after a VERY enthusiastic reception at last year’s festival. Wednesday-Saturday the 18th-21st, check out the rides, attractions, and traditional carnival midway at Fair Acres Park.


The Maple Leaf Quilt Show has a new location and new look. Stop by Game On at 4th and Maple between Noon-5 after the parade on Saturday, October 21 to enjoy an exhibit of quilts ranging from antique to modern, nature to sports, wildlife to babies, and so much more.
Of course, these are just a drop in the giant, overflowing bucket of the many goings on that you will want to take advantage of during festival season. Log on to carthagemapleleaf.com to get a full calendar of events. Happy festival season!

September 18th, 2017

Buy Your Maple Leaf Tickets Before It’s Too Late

Our ticket boxes are full to overflowing with Maple Leaf event pre-sale tickets and have we got some deals for you!

Tickets for the 3rd annual Carthage Historic Preservation Lobster Boil are only $60 per person and you can only get them until October 1st. The boil is scheduled for Saturday, October 7th, 4:30-8. Located on the lawn of the stunning Historic Phelps House your plate will be teeming with succulent Maine lobster, sweet Alaskan crab legs, and tender gulf shrimp accompanied by vinaigrette coleslaw, corn on the cob, twice baked potatoes, garlic bread, iced tea, lemonade, and a great dessert buffet. If you don’t love seafood, you can substitute an Argentinian style grilled flank steak AND Cherry’s will be on hand providing a cash bar. Dine al fresco with a lovely live music soundtrack and raise money to preserve the oldest house in Carthage. Now that’s a win-win!

After a couple years break, the circus is back in town. The Kelly Miller Circus, “America’s One Ring Wonder”, will perform two shows on Tuesday, October 17th at 4:30 and 7. Started in 1938 by Obert Miller and his sons, Kelly and Dory, the Al G. Kelly Miller Brothers Circus, now known simply as Kelly Miller, has entertained millions of American and Canadian citizens while establishing itself in the fabric and history of the American Tented Circus. The Kelly Miller Circus has gathered a galaxy of stars from many nations, as well as an exotic display of animals, enhanced them with beautiful theatrical lighting and lively circus music for a performance to warm the hearts of young and old alike. Tickets are only $6 for kids under 12 and $12 for adults in advance but will be $8 and $16 at the gate so don’t delay, buy today!

After last year’s rave reviews, the Maple Leaf Carnival is back. Located once again behind the Fair Acres family YMCA, Pride Amusements is providing even more fun, more rides, and more to see and do this year. Wednesday-Saturday the 18th-21st, check out the rides, attractions, and traditional carnival midway at Fair Acres Park. Arm bands are ONLY $16 if you purchase them in advance but you can only get them at the Chamber, 402 S. Garrison, until 4 PM on Friday, October 13th. That’s a savings of $4 per armband Wednesday and Thursday and an incredible savings of $9 over gate purchase on Friday and Saturday!!!

One of the hottest Maple Leaf tickets in town each year are the Three Minutes of Fame Lip Sync Competition tickets and I can’t imagine this year will be any different. Tickets are only $1 and ONLY 700 tickets are available. When they’re gone they’re gone, so come see us today and buy tickets for the whole family. You do not want to miss the hilarity of our local folks, dressed in their finest, silliest, and most outrageous, singing along with hits from today and yesterday. You’ll want to start saving your voice early to cheer for your favorites.

Bring your checkbook, your debit card, or your piggy bank and get your tickets today!

September 18th, 2017

You Knock Our Socks Off Chamber Member of the Month nomination form

Nominate your favorite Carthage business today!

View Press Release (PDF)

August 8th, 2017

Save the Date for the 2018 Chamber Annual Banquet

SAVE THE DATE
Chamber Annual Banquet
Friday, January 19, 2018

Sign up NOW to be a sponsor for the 2018 Chamber Annual Banquet (Friday, January 19).  We are offering an extensive menu of sponsorship options, so don’t miss out on these marketing opportunities!  Sponsorships begin at just $200!  

Past sponsors will have first rights to their previous sponsorship until November 1 only.  All sponsorships will become first-come first-served after November 1.  Final sponsor deadline is December 18.  Table and individual reservations will be accepted until January 11.

To pledge your sponsorship, contact Mary Jo at 358-2373 or mjlittle@carthagechamber.com.

View Press Release (PDF)

August 4th, 2017

Business Flood Assessment May 2017

Linked below is a survey from the Dept of Economic Development.  They are looking for any businesses affected by the May 2017 flood and in need of assistance.

May2017BizFloodDoc_Final.pdf

August 4th, 2017

Maple Leaf 2017 Grand Marshal Chosen

The Maple Leaf committee has selected Bill Haughawout as the 2017 MaBill_Haughawout.JPGple Leaf Grand Marshal.

Nominations read in part “He is 95 and active. He is a Navy veteran born and raised in Carthage.” “Bill is an outstanding Carthage guy!” “He has lived in Carthage his entire life. He was the owner of Uke’s Tire and Sporting Goods which was a fine Carthage business. He served his community by being an officer of Rotary Club, Park Board, Carthage Historic Preservation, and Chamber of Commerce.” “Bill is a one of a kind man, native of Carthage, proud to live here, and served in the Navy to protect his country, the people he loves, and the place he grew up.”

Maple Leaf Chair Jeanine Poe added “Every year we receive so many nominations of such deserving, beloved, and respected community members who have made significant contributions to Carthage throughout their lives. It’s always a difficult choice and this year we are proud to celebrate and honor Bill Haughawout with the title of Grand Marshal!” Each year the Maple Leaf Grand Marshal leads the Maple Leaf Parade and participates in many other Maple Leaf events.

July 24th, 2017

August 8, 2017 Ballot Issue: Out-of-State Vehicle Sales Tax Continuation FAQs

Is this a new tax? No. The City of Carthage currently collects this Sales Tax and has been collecting it for many years. The question is on the ballot only as a result of the Missouri Supreme Court decision and the State Legislature’s fix that followed. If the question is not placed on the ballot by November 2018, the tax would cease to be collected beginning March 1, 2019.

How does the tax affect me? The tax only applies to you if you purchase a motor vehicle, trailer, boat or outboard motor from out-of-state or from other than a licensed Missouri dealer. Similar purchases from licensed Missouri dealers made in-state are subject to the local Sales Tax regardless of the vote on this ballot question.

Why is it important for Carthage to continue collecting this tax? The existence of the tax creates a level playing field for Carthage and other Missouri dealerships. If the existing tax were to end, Missouri dealerships would be at a competitive disadvantage with out-of-state dealerships, which would no longer be required to collect the City tax. This encourages residents to make purchases from out-of-state businesses, which do not create local jobs or reinvest in our community.

How much money will the City of Carthage lose if this is not collected? The City would lose approximately $63,000 to $70,000 annually if the Sales Tax is not collected on out-of-state purchases of titled property. These dollars currently provide funding for city services such as street repair, police and fire protection, and parks services.

How does the ballot question read? The question reads as follows:
Shall the City of Carthage continue applying and collecting the local sales tax on the titling of motor vehicles, trailers, boats, and outboard motors that were purchased from a source other than a licensed Missouri dealer? Disapproval of this measure will result in a reduction of local revenue to provide for vital services for the City of Carthage and it will place Missouri dealers of motor vehicles, outboard motors, boats and trailers at a competitive disadvantage to non-Missouri dealers of motor vehicles, outboard motors, boats and trailers.
YES × NO ×

What does it take to pass this measure? A simple majority of the voters will decide this issue.
A Yes vote means:
There will be no increase to your existing taxes and no change to City revenue. All motor vehicles, regardless of method or location of purchase, will be subject to City Sales Tax. Missouri licensed dealers will be placed on a level playing field with non-licensed dealers.
A No vote means:
Vehicles purchased through a source other than a Missouri licensed dealer will still be subject to State taxes. The City will no longer receive taxes on these purchases, resulting in a reduction of approximately $63,000 to $70,000 annually. In-state dealerships will be at a competitive disadvantage with non-licensed dealers.

Who Supports the Ballot Initiative?
Carthage Chamber of Commerce
Missouri Association of Counties
Carthage Economic Development
United for Missouri
Missouri Chamber of Commerce Missouri Municipal League
Missouri Auto Dealers Association

View Press Release (PDF)

July 20th, 2017

Chamber Golf Scramble REGISTER NOW!

Golfers, mark your calendars for Friday, September 15! The Chamber will host its 2017 Golf Scramble at the Carthage Municipal Golf Course. The event will kick off with a cookout and check-in at 11:30, a shot-gun start at 12:30 p.m., include 18 rounds of play along with contests and goodies, and will conclude with cash prizes.

Sponsorships start at $100, teams of 4 are just $300, and signups are now open!! NEW THIS YEAR…an exclusive Spotlight Sponsorship for $500 which includes a team registration and your company’s logo on EVERY tee (a $2100 value)! This one is first-come, first reserved. Deadline for sponsor and team signups is September 8, but don’t wait…register TODAY!
Thanks to Heritage State Bank for providing and preparing lunch and thanks to all our volunteers.

For info, call Mary Jo at 417-358-2373.

View Press Release (PDF)

July 11th, 2017

NOT A New Tax!!! (Part 2)

Carthage voters will have the opportunity on August 8, 2017 to decide whether or not the City will continue its collection of local Sales Tax on vehicle purchases from out-of-state vendors or from private individuals.  

For almost 50 years, residents have paid City Sales Tax on vehicles purchased in another state or from a private individual when they licensed the vehicle.  Those tax revenues went to the City to help pay for essential City services funded by those Sales Taxes, including street maintenance and improvements, police, fire and parks & recreation services. 

However, in 2012, the Missouri Supreme Court handed down a decision (Street v. the Director of Revenue) which determined that out-of-state or private purchases were exempt from the local Sales Tax.  In 2016, the Missouri Legislature provided temporary relief from this tax loophole, allowing cities to continue to collect the local Sales Tax on these vehicle purchases but also requiring cities to seek voter approval to continue the tax by November of 2018.

Carthage officials stress that this is not a new tax but just a continuation of something that has gone on for decades, which applies only to those who choose to purchase a vehicle from another individual or from an out-of-state dealer.

If the continuation of the collection is turned down by local voters, (that is, if voters do not agree the City should continue collecting the Sales Tax) the measure would no longer allow an important funding source to continue to support City services.    If not allowed to continue, City Staff estimates the City could lose $70,000 or more annually.  They say the loss will likely increase in future years as costs increase.    To maintain the present level of City services, the City needs to retain the Sales Tax on these purchases.  The City also said that Sales Tax, the major source of funding for General Fund services, ended fiscal 2017 a little over 8% ($196,200) below the same level of collections in fiscal 2016.  If this additional amount were to be lost, the drop in Sales Tax revenue in the General Fund would be about 10%. 

In addition to the revenues which the City would lose if the tax is discontinued, Carthage auto dealers would be placed at a competitive disadvantage to out-of-state businesses.  Out-of-state auto dealers do not have to charge the City Sales Tax on vehicle purchases while local purchases would.  Keeping those sales local would not only generate tax dollars for the city, it would help local businesses who create local jobs and reinvest in the community.  Further, the State would still continue to collect its share (4.225%) of sales of vehicles in or out of state.  

According to the Missouri Municipal League (MML), as of March 2017, there have been 196 municipalities across Missouri that have received voter approval for the continuation of the local Sales Tax on out-of-state vehicle purchases. 

The Carthage Chamber of Commerce supports to continue collection of the of local Sales Tax on vehicle purchases from out-of-state vendors or from private individuals. Vote YES August 8th.

View Press Release (PDF)

July 5th, 2017

FEMA Private Sector Advisory

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to individuals and families in 27 Missouri counties to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding from April 28, 2017 to May 11, 2017.

The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Bollinger, Butler, Carter, Douglas, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Howell, Jasper, Jefferson, Madison, Maries, McDonald, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Pemiscot, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, St. Louis, Stone, Taney, and Texas counties.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Please see “Press Release” for additional information.

Register with FEMA as Soon as Possible

The Federal Emergency Management Agency urges residents of the 27 Missouri counties designated in the federal major disaster declaration to register with the agency without delay. Registration is easy:
• Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov.
• Use the FEMA app for smartphones.
• Call 800-621-FEMA (3362) between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. CST. Multilingual registration assistance is available. People who use 711 or Video Relay Services may call 800-621-FEMA (3362). Those who use TTY may call 800-462-7585.

Eligible homeowners and renters may be able to receive money for disaster expenses not covered by insurance to help pay for basic home repairs, temporary rental assistance and other needs such as replacing personal property. FEMA Individual Assistance is grant money that does not have to be repaid.

“Don’t wait for a Disaster Recovery Center to open in your area,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Parker. “Register now so we can start the application process and determine whether you qualify for assistance.”

Please see DR-4317-Missouri disaster page for additional information.

Recovery Centers Open in Missouri

The centers offer in-person support to individuals and businesses in any of the 27 counties included in the
Missouri federal disaster declaration for flooding and severe storms that occurred between April 28 and May
11, 2017.

Recovery specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Small Business
Administration (SBA) and other agencies will be at the center to discuss assistance and to help anyone who
needs information or assistance filing an application.

Disaster survivors may visit any of the centers for assistance. Locations of recovery centers and hours may be
found online at www.fema.gov/DRC or visit the State of Missouri’s Recovery Website at
https://recovery.mo.gov/ for updated information.

FEMA_Private_Sector_Advisory_001-4317-MO.pdf

FEMA_Private_Sector_Advisory_004-4317-MO.pdf

NR_016_What_to_Expect_in_the_FEMA_Registration_Process.pdf

DR-4317-MO_Registration_Flyer.pdf

June 13th, 2017

NOT A New Tax!!

In January of 2012, the Missouri Supreme Court issued the “Street Decision” creating a loophole in the Missouri sales tax laws allowing vehicles purchased out of state or from an individual to be excluded from the local sales tax.  In 2013, the Missouri Legislature provided municipalities with temporary relief from the tax loophole.  The legislature re-imposed the local sales tax on out-of-state vehicle purchases along with person-to-person sales, but required that cities must receive voter approval to keep the loophole closed by November of 2018, or the City’s portion of the tax will terminate.

In summary, this is what it means to Carthage:
• Carthage residents currently pay city sales tax and on vehicles bought out of state when we license them
• A 2012 change in the interpretation of the law changed everything. Now voters must approve continuing the motor vehicle sale tax 
• Carthage relies on these tax dollars for basic services like street and sewer maintenance and police and fire protection
• Carthage depends on this important revenue source which in the past is approximately $63,000 to $75,000 annually
• Carthage auto dealers will be at a competitive disadvantage to out-of-state businesses, who don’t charge sales tax on our vehicle purchases. These out of state businesses don’t create local jobs or reinvest in our community. It’s not wise that tax breaks encourage Carthage residents to leave Missouri to make large purchases. 
• If the voters do not approve continuing the sales tax on motor vehicle sales, private vehicle sales will no longer be subject to the local sales taxes, however the state sales tax will still apply

On Tuesday, August 8, 2017, the voters of Carthage will have the opportunity to vote on this issue.  It is important for all citizens in Carthage that the City continue to collect this revenue.  The Chamber supports to continue application of the local sales tax to the titling of motor vehicles, trailers, boats, and outboard motors that are subject to state sales tax under section 144.020 and purchased from a source other than a licensed Missouri dealer.

View Press Release (PDF)

June 13th, 2017

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Newsletter 06/13/17

Last week I asked a very simple question. Will Senate Republican leaders hold any public hearings on their healthcare overhaul?

That shouldn't be a hard question to answer—any legislation that will impact one-sixth of our country's economy, and determine whether costs go up or down, and whether folks who've been sick before can get health insurance, needs an open, transparent debate. But that's not what you're getting from Republican leaders in Congress. You're getting backroom deals, out of the public eye.

WATCH NOW: "Will we have a hearing on the healthcare proposal?"

Missourians' healthcare shouldn't be decided in a secret backroom deal.

The current healthcare law isn't perfect and needs fixing, and that's why I've always pushed for improvements (like my recent bill to let Missourians in counties without a provider on the individual market buy the same insurance as Congress): READ MORE: Springfield News-Leader

But the solution isn't an overhaul cobbled together in a secret backroom deal—with no public Senate hearings or bipartisan amendment process—that, by all accounts, will hike costs for older Americans and gut protections for folks who've been sick before and have a preexisting health condition.

If you don't want your access to healthcare decided behind-closed-doors, make your voice heard on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #NoBackRoomDeals.

READ MORE: Business Insider

Thank you,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

June 13th, 2017

Disaster Assistance

The Federal Emergency Management Agency urges residents of 27 Missouri counties designated in the federal major disaster declaration to register with the agency without delay. Registration is easy:
• Go online to DisasterAssistance.gov.
• Use the FEMA app for smartphones.
• Call 800-621-3362 between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. CST. Multilingual registration assistance is available. People who use 711 or Video Relay Services may call 800-621-3362. Those who use TTY may call 800-462-7585. 
Eligible homeowners and renters may be able to receive money for disaster expenses not covered by insurance to help pay for basic home repairs, temporary rental assistance and other needs such as replacing personal property. FEMA Individual Assistance is grant money that does not have to be repaid.
“Don’t wait for a Disaster Recovery Center to open in your area,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Parker. “Register now so we can start the application process and determine whether you qualify for assistance.”
Filing an insurance claim does not start the FEMA registration process. Neither does registering with the American Red Cross or other agencies. To be considered for FEMA grant assistance, applicants must register directly with FEMA. Even if they have insurance coverage, FEMA might be able to assist with disaster expenses that aren’t covered by insurance.
Twenty-seven counties affected by the April 28-May 11 flooding have been designated for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program– Bollinger, Butler, Carter, Douglas, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Howell, Jasper, Jefferson, Madison, Maries, McDonald, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Pemiscot, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, St. Louis, Stone, Taney, and Texas.
Missourians who have critical unmet needs are encouraged to call United Way 2-1-1, which can provide access to other assistance provided by voluntary agencies, faith-based organizations and state agencies. Those who have already called 2-1-1 for help with disaster recovery needs still need to register separately with FEMA.
After registering with FEMA, all businesses and most residents will be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA provides federal low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters impacted by this disaster. SBA disaster loans are to help pay for disaster repair or replacement costs not fully covered by insurance or other sources. In addition, for small businesses and most nonprofit organizations SBA disaster loans can help meet disaster-caused working capital needs. There is no cost or obligation to apply to SBA.
Homeowners and renters should apply to SBA, even if they are not sure if they will need or want a loan. If SBA cannot approve their application, in most cases SBA refers them to FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program for possible additional assistance
SBA representatives are at all of the Disaster Recovery Centers to help each applicant apply. Applicants may also apply to on line at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela, contact SBA for additional information at 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call 800-877-8339.

Getting_Disaster_Assistance_from_SBA.pdf

Release date:
June 10, 2017

Release Number:
NR-005

Last Updated:

June 10, 2017

View Press Release (PDF)

June 9th, 2017

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Newsletter 06/09/17

Missouri may not be a border state, but we all know we're less safe if our border isn't secure.

That's why I wanted to make sure you saw this, because it's a big win in my fight to protect Missouri families. The U.S. House just passed a bipartisan bill I'm cosponsoring that will strengthen border security by filling open positions with qualified veterans and experienced law enforcement officials.

I've been proud to work with my Republican and Democratic colleagues—including Senator John McCain, who serves with me on the Homeland Security and Armed Services committees—to pass this commonsense solution to keep our communities safe.

Working together, we passed this through the Homeland Security committee, which I lead alongside Republican Senator Ron Johnson, and I hope to see it head to the President's desk for final passage very soon.

Learn more about the bipartisan Boots on the Border bill, and share on Facebook and Twitter.

All the best,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

June 1st, 2017

Sign Up NOW For Maple Leaf Pageants

Baby Pageant to be held Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. 0-12 months of age, boys and girls, $5 entry fee.

Toddler Pageant to be held Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. 13 up to 24 months of age, boys and girls, $5 entry fee.

Little Miss and Little Mister Pageants to be held Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. 2-year-olds through 1st grade, boys and girls, $15 entry fee.

Princess and Prince Pageants to be held Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. Grades 2-8, boys and girls, $15 entry fee.

Queen Pageant to be held Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. Grades 9th-12th, girls only, $50 sponsorship fee.

All listed ages/grades are as of October 1, 2017. All applications must be signed by a custodial parent or legal guardian. No exceptions. Applications for all pageants may be found at www.carthagemapleleaf.com or may be picked up at the Chamber office, 402 S. Garrison.

Please see applications for specific rules, requirements, deadlines, and regulations for each pageant.

For more information, contact Mary Jo at the Carthage Chamber of Commerce, 417-358-2373 or mjlittle@carthagechamber.com.

View Press Release (PDF)

May 27th, 2017

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Newsletter 5/27/17

On Monday, we as a country honor every American Soldier, Airman, Sailor, and Marine who has paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation. We commemorate men and women who share an unbreakable bond with centuries of Americans before them—men and women to whom we owe our very way of life.

As we head into the holiday weekend—and families and friends gather for barbeques and children run to pools—I join with all Missourians in saluting those who have died, those who still serve, and those families across the country who bear the burden of distance or loss.

It is in their honor—and for me and my family, in honor of my dad who served in World War II—that we must continue to fight on behalf of our servicemen and women, our wounded warriors, and our veterans. It was with great pride this week that I announced my office is now accepting applications for the Class of 2022 at U.S. Service Academies.

Helping Missouri students who want to attend some of our country's most prestigious institutions to serve our country means an awful lot to me, and it means an awful lot to the future of our country.

I wish you all a safe Memorial Day weekend.

With deepest gratitude,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

May 26th, 2017

Maple Leaf Parade Applications Now Available

Maple Leaf parade applications and regulations are now available. Festival Chairperson Jeanine Poe says “Every year, we see more traditional, bigger, more ambitious float designs and we anticipate this year being no different. Our theme is Carthage: 175 Years so we are excited to see your interpretations of Carthage history, Maple Leaf history, and YOUR company’s history represented in your float.”

If you aren’t sure where to find traditional float elements, the Chamber of Commerce has a list of resources to get you started. Poe continued “Each year, entries look more and more like the classic floats that so many remember from their childhoods and we think this will be the best year yet. We have so much fun with the classic float elements and decorations that the Maple Leaf Car Show Committee has once again pledged a generous cash prize to the best traditional float entry”.

Forms are available online at www.carthagemapleleaf.com or in the lobby of the Chamber, 402 S. Garrison. For more information, please contact Mary Jo Little at mjlittle@carthagechamber.com or 358-2373.

May 17th, 2017

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Newsletter 5/17/17

When we hear the word terrorism, we almost never think farms. We don't think about the possibility of a deliberate mass food contamination. We don't think about the danger of a major disease outbreak in the agricultural sector.

But we should.

As a leader of the Senate's Homeland Security Committee, I want to make sure our country is prepared for all possible threats to our nation's security, that's why I've teamed up with my Republican colleague and Kansas neighbor Senator Pat Roberts to introduce an agro-terrorism prevention bill. Our legislation would address the threat of agro-terrorism and help to make sure that the food that winds up on Missourians' dinner tables is safe to eat.

Our state has almost 100,000 farms spread across more than 28 million acres. We have an agriculture industry that generates $88.4 billion each year for the state's economy, and Missouri is a top-10 producer of rice, corn, cotton, sorghum, and soybeans in the country... and it's potentially at risk.

In 2002, an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in the United Kingdom led to the slaughter of 6 million animals and an economic loss estimated between $10 and $20 billion. In 1997, an outbreak in Taiwan led to the killing of 4 million hogs and an economic hit of $7 billion. And just last year, 400,000 birds had to be euthanized at 10 Indiana poultry farms due to a bird flu outbreak.

National security experts have warned that the same could happen here and with even greater consequences—which is why we need to be prepared. Missouri is home to nearly 100,000 farms, and the agriculture industry employs hundreds of thousands of Missourians. We've got to be prepared for threats to farmers and ranchers in order to protect our state and our national security as a whole. And that's exactly what our new legislation would achieve.

Help me spread the word online! Share on Twitter and Facebook, because protecting our farmland has never been more important.

All the best,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

April 29th, 2017

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 4/29/17

This week Congress is back in session, and we've got a lot of work to do.

I spent a lot of time hearing directly from folks across Missouri during my statewide town hall tour earlier this month, and one thing is clear: Missourians are tired of elected officials ignoring their responsibilities. Whether it's holding public town halls with constituents... or following through on promises to protect Missourians' healthcare, schools, retirement, and jobs... or keeping the government's lights on with an operating budget—you have the right to expect better.

When my mom was alive, she would sometimes travel with me to these events. From her time on the Columbia, Missouri city council, she was always a big believer than when you're in public service, you should never be afraid to let people chew on you—and I took that to heart.

I've made public town halls a cornerstone of my time in the Senate and the ones I held two weeks ago took me to rural communities throughout the state—and most of what I heard from folks had nothing to do with partisan politics.

I heard about the impact of the opioid epidemic on small towns in Missouri and how families are scared of losing their healthcare.

READ NOW: McCaskill focuses on opioid crisis at Rolla town hall

I heard from veterans who have seen great progress in improving our state's VA services, and still others who need our help.

I heard from students, teachers and parents who were concerned about the future of our state's public schools, and from retirees and community leaders on the impact of proposed budget cuts to senior services.

Thousands of Missourians were able to share their thoughts directly and in-person, and every conversation I had, every question I was asked, informs what I do as your Senator. I'm planning more town halls this year that will take me to even more communities, because there's simply no substitute for face-to-face conversations between constituents and their elected officials. I owe every single Missourian my time and respect, and I plan to make good on that fundamental responsibility.

Click HERE to see more photos from my town halls across the state.

I hope to see you (in-person) very, very soon.

All the best,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

April 11th, 2017

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Newsletter 4/11/17

Last week, I was proud to take to the Senate floor with my Missouri colleague, Senator Roy Blunt, to mark the Senate's bipartisan 85–12 approval of our bill to bring the historic Delta Queen back to Missouri.
WATCH VIDEO

Getting the Delta Queen sailing again will bring an infusion of jobs and economic growth to Jefferson County, and will allow tourists to once again enjoy the rich history and heritage of an iconic Missouri landmark.

But before she can set sail, the Delta Queen will need support in the U.S. House... and I hope she gets it. Built in the 1920's, the Delta Queen has carried thousands of passengers through the tributaries of the Mississippi River, and served as a naval ship during World War II. Due to its historic nature, it had long been exempted from certain congressional regulations imposed on passenger vessels—but those exemptions expired in 2008. My bill with Senator Blunt would restore the long-standing exemption, while ensuring that the steamboat complies with federal safety law requirements.

READ MORE in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

All the best,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

April 6th, 2017

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Newsletter 4/6/17

My office has been receiving so much feedback, that we've extended the deadline for this cycle of the Veterans Customer Satisfaction Program to Sunday (April 9). If you're a veteran who has received care at a Missouri VA facility, please share your experiences using the confidential forms found on my website at: www.mccaskill.senate.gov/vcsp

Your feedback is crucial in helping me hold the VA accountable to the men and women who have served our country.

All the best,

Claire

P.S. Did you see my recent letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis urging him to hire a permanent director for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency? I want to make sure that our hard won efforts to bring home America's lost or fallen soldiers don't fall to the wayside because of bureaucratic nonsense. Our military families deserve better.

View Press Release (PDF)

March 30th, 2017

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Newsletter 3/30/17

I wanted to make sure you saw the big news. On Tuesday I launched a wide-ranging investigation into the companies that manufacture America's top-five prescription opioid products.

WATCH this short video on my new opioid investigation

All across our state, and across the country, communities are being devastated by the opioid crisis—and based on past evidence, we have reason to believe that some pharmaceutical companies may have intentionally misled the public and played a role in creating the epidemic to boost their bottom lines.

Investigations are a long process and we have a lot of work ahead of us—but this week we got the ball rolling with letters to Purdue, Johnson & Johnson, Insys, Mylan, and Depomed, asking for information on the sales, marketing, and education strategies they use to promote opioid prescription and use.

READ NOW: The Senate may finally try to hold big pharma accountable for the opioid epidemic

Good oversight and investigations can sometimes make a bigger difference in our lives than a new bill or legislation can—and as this investigation moves along, I'll make sure to keep you up-to-date every step of the way.

Learn more about my investigation at www.mccaskill.senate.gov/opioid-investigation.

All the best

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

March 24th, 2017

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 3/24/17

I hear it all the time; "With Republicans controlling the House, Senate and White House you should be getting more done. Why can't you push the President's agenda through?" The answer is simple: the Senate has what some consider an arcane rule that must gain 60 votes for cloture. What that means is that the Senate must have 60 votes to break a filibuster in order for a bill to pass. This is why we are using reconciliation to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The reconciliation process was part of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, which sets out a list of procedures that allow House and Senate committees to produce legislation that can later be passed by a simple majority in the Senate. Since being enacted, policymakers have used reconciliation for 20 budget bills. The last time it was used was in 2016 to repeal key areas of Obamacare, although the legislation was vetoed by President Obama.

The reconciliation process allows for quick and easy movement of a bill. In order to begin the process, both the House and the Senate must first pass a budget resolution that includes reconciliation instructions. This budget resolution can be passed by a simple majority in the Senate needing only 51 votes rather than the 60 votes required to break a filibuster. Once the reconciliation bill goes to the Senate it is limited to only 20 hours of debate and requires, just like the budget resolution, only a simple majority to pass.

What’s unique about the Senate’s process is the Byrd Rule, which was also part of the Budget Act. This rule blocks any provision in a reconciliation bill that does not directly impact taxes and spending. To put it simply, it means that the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) can only include policies that deal directly with budgetary items, such as spending and revenue.

This is why our approach to reforming health care includes three phases: 1) repeal and replace Obamacare through the reconciliation process; 2) remove burdensome regulations under the direction of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price which Obamacare gave the secretary of HHS the latitude to do; 3) enact additional free-market reforms that cannot be included in the reconciliation process, such as medical liability reform and allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines. The third phase will require bipartisan cooperation as it will need to meet the 60-vote threshold.

While it may be confusing to some, this is the only way to get this legislation passed, signed by the President and enacted into law. So when you hear that repealing and replacing Obamacare is being done in three phases, I hope this helps better explain why.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong.  You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

March 24th, 2017

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Newsletter 3/24/17

I've got some veterans-related news I want to share with you.

First—the deadline for my Veterans Customer Satisfaction Program is just around the corner (April 3). If you are a Missouri veteran who has received care at Missouri VA facilities, consider participating in my confidential survey. Your feedback helps me fight on behalf of veterans for the benefits they've earned.

Second—for any veterans who live in or visit Kansas City, you can now access the city's public transportation for free thanks to a three-year donation from the Kansas City AFL-CIO. I'm so proud of the generosity of our workers and the commitment of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to do right by our veterans and their families. Missouri is just an amazing state. I'm also pushing legislation that would offer veterans discounted access to the National Park System. This benefit currently exists for active-duty military, and I think it's just common sense that we'd offer the same to our vets who bravely served.

Third—my offices are always buzzing with Missourians coming to address their concerns, but meeting with veterans and veterans organizations will always be one of the most cherished aspects of my job. My dad was a World War II veteran, and getting a chance to talk to Missouri veterans and learn how I can serve them makes me proud because I know it'd make my dad proud.

This week, I met with a Joplin veteran who is the Southwest Missouri Chapter Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart to discuss the importance of making sure our veterans receive the honor and recognition they deserve.

And recently, I sat down with veterans from American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars to discuss veterans' access to healthcare and benefits—which I then discussed with representatives of Missouri's VA system as well.

Finally, I was honored to find out that American Legion Post 99 was awarding me a Citation for Meritorious Service for my work on expanding service at the Salem, Missouri, Veterans Clinic. I was touched by the gesture and truly appreciative-but make no mistake, it's the members of organizations like American Legion and VFW—Missouri's veterans—that really deserve our praise and gratitude.

Thank you,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

March 19th, 2017

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Newsletter 3/19/17

The best way to strengthen America's economy is to support the creation of good-paying jobs, and that's been a big focus of my work in the Senate.

Last week I was told that I'm being honored with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce "Spirit of Enterprise" award for my ongoing work to protect Missouri's small businesses and industries and support in-state job creation—but truth be told, this award really belongs to the hardworking men and women of our state who make Missouri a leader in so many economic sectors.

Finding commonsense ways to boost job opportunities is one of the reasons Missourians sent me to the Senate, and the only way to do that is to reach across the aisle and break through partisan gridlock.

That's why in 2015, I worked with my friend and colleague, Republican Senator Rob Portman, to pass legislation which sped up the federal permitting process for complex infrastructure projects that private industry faces. Last year, I testified before the International Trade Commission on behalf of Missouri manufacturers and helped to level the playing field for our state's steel pipe and tube industry. And as we move forward in this new Congress, I'm going to be just as committed to protecting and advancing our small businesses and manufacturers.

Learn more about my work www.mccaskill.senate.gov/jobs

All the best,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

March 17th, 2017

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 3/17/17

Recently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its report on the budgetary and coverage impacts of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The potential ramifications studied by the CBO include how many individuals may lose coverage under the new system, how insurance premiums may be impacted nationwide, and the effects of the legislation on taxes and the deficit.

Though there has been a lot of “noise” surrounding the release of this report, it’s important to not only understand what is in the report, but also the purpose of the CBO, its history and how it reaches its conclusions.

The CBO was first established in 1974 and began operating on February 24, 1975, when the first director, Alice Rivlin, was appointed. The CBO’s primary objective is to provide budgetary analysis, in a nonpartisan fashion, for both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The CBO not only supports the House and the Senate by analyzing budgetary legislation, it also aims to provide the general public with a better understanding of the financial impacts of major legislation under consideration by Congress.

Even though the CBO is a vital resource in understanding the financial impacts of bills, it’s important to approach each analysis with caution. In 2013, the CBO estimated that Obamacare would cover 24 million people by 2016. Last year, just a little over 10 million Americans were covered by the exchange. A number much lower than what the CBO predicted.

In the recently-released CBO report on the effects of AHCA, they estimate that over the next 10 years roughly 24 million individuals would lose their health coverage. However, it is important to note the difference between “losing insurance” and choosing not to purchase it. By eliminating the individual mandate to purchase health coverage, the AHCA is putting choice back in the hands of the consumer.

Along with lifting the burden of the individual mandate, the CBO found that the Republican health care bill will lower premiums by 10 percent, reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion and make the first meaningful entitlement reforms in decades, saving taxpayers $880 billion. At the same time, the proposed health care bill will increase health insurance choices for individuals, who currently under the Obamacare exchanges have the option of one possible plan in 84% of Missouri counties.

Increasing choices and lowering premiums were top priorities for Republicans when drafting the AHCA. Certain aspects of the CBO report’s findings are encouraging, but there is still more work to be done. The AHCA is the first step in reforming our health care system and untangling the mess that Obamacare has made. I look forward to continuing to work on this bill with my colleagues and getting the best possible deal for the American people.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report," by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

 

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March 16th, 2017

Missouri State Senator Ron Richard “Capitol Report” 3/16/17

The Missouri Senate has wrapped up its first half of the 2017 legislative session. To say it has been a productive few months is putting it mildly. The Senate has already passed legislation that will put an end to union-only Project Labor Agreements, reform our civil judicial system, prevent the Department of Revenue from collecting unfair taxes on our consumers and businesses, and help combat the growing prescription drug abuse epidemic. Of course, our biggest achievement this session was making Missouri the 28th Right to Work state, ending forced unionism and helping to create a more competitive business climate. While I am proud of what we have already accomplished, there is much more to be done, including passing a fiscally responsible budget.

The Senate spent a considerable amount of time this week discussing three House measures, with House Bill 251 kicking off floor debate. Also known as the Paycheck Protection bill, this legislation requires public labor organizations to obtain annual consent from an employee before withholding fees from the employee’s paycheck or using any collected fees or dues for political purposes. The act also stipulates that labor organizations must make their financial records available to the employee they represent, in an electronic searchable format. House Bill 251 ensures Missouri’s public union employees are in control of their hard-earned money and are made aware of what political activities their dollars are supporting.

The Senate then moved to House Bill 153, which modifies provisions relating to expert witness testimony. Missouri is one of only a handful of states that has not adopted the updated Daubert Standard, which provides a rule of evidence regarding the admissibility of expert witness testimony during legal proceedings. It also helps ensure that only those individuals who are truly expert witnesses may provide expert witness testimony. Considering expert witnesses have the ability to significantly influence the outcome of cases, it is troubling to know our current statute makes it all too easy for “junk science” to be admitted as testimony. House Bill 153 will allow judges to act as gatekeepers so that juries are not subjected to irrelevant or unreliable testimony. The measure does exclude legal actions in family court, juvenile court and probate court, as well as all other actions or proceedings where there is no right to a jury trial.

Our failure to adopt the updated Daubert Standard has had the unfortunate side effect of calling negative attention to our judicial system and is one of the reasons the American Tort Reform Association recently ranked the City of St. Louis as the “biggest judicial hellhole” in the country. Missouri has clearly fallen behind in this area, and it is well past time we get back on track. House Bill 153 has been passed out of both chambers and should be arriving on the governor’s desk shortly. If it is signed into law, Missouri will become the 43rd state to adopt a standard similar to Daubert. 

The Senate also gave its approval to House Bill 662 to address the misuse of herbicides that has caused devastating crop damage in certain areas throughout the state, particularly in southeast Missouri. Recent reports have surfaced showing some farmers are using an “off label” brand of herbicide for weed control, which is drifting to others farms and causing extensive crop and tree damage. Currently, there is no statute to allow the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) to recover costs for investigating these reports. And even if there was and they found evidence of wrongdoing, we do not have a strong penalty on the books. Essentially, the state has no ability to stop individuals from using the “off label” brand.

Also on its way to the governor, HB 662 grants MDA the authority to investigate complaints of the use of Dicamba, impose fines on those who continue to use it and even revoke certain licenses and permits. With planting season just around the corner, it is imperative to protect our state’s No. 1 industry from any further damage.

Today, the Senate approved Senate Bill 10, a major job training initiative that will help attract new business opportunities to the Show-Me State and encourage existing businesses to expand their operations. Specifically, this measure will make the Missouri Works Training program more user-friendly for businesses that need to train or retrain their employees. While a great program, it is too complicated and cumbersome of a system to navigate in its current form, involving redirecting withholding taxes and onerous reporting requirements. This has the practical effect of discouraging many businesses from taking advantage of it, especially our small and medium-size businesses.

Senate Bill 10 will gradually move us to a system where the Department of Economic Development can provide our community and technical colleges with up-front funding from general revenue appropriations to cover the costs of businesses’ job training projects. For every year the Legislature appropriates more money for job training, a business will be able to reduce the amount of withholding tax they are required to collect. Senate Bill 10 also allows the DED to partner with other entities to advertise, market and promote the Missouri Works Training program.

Job training programs provide workers with enhanced skillsets and attract and retain employers and working families in our communities. Senate Bill 10 appropriately balances incentives with demand to encourage economic growth, and I look forward to seeing it signed into law.

Finally, I was very pleased to meet with representatives of the VOYCE Long Term Care Ombudsman Program at the Capitol this week. These incredible men and women provide advocacy services to the 22,000 individuals who reside in more than 300 skilled nursing, assisted living and residential care communities in Greater St. Louis and northeast Missouri. According to the VOYCE website, more than 50 percent of these individuals have no one to advocate on their behalf.

View Press Release (PDF)

March 10th, 2017

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 3/10/17

I am often asked by constituents what role staff plays in my office. Below is a list of each position in my D.C. office and what the role involves.

Chief of Staff: Joe Lillis
The primary role of a Chief of Staff is to make sure that the office is running smoothly while also having an active role in policy objectives and strategies to execute those policy objectives. Along with those responsibilities, a Chief of Staff manages both the D.C. and district office staffs, oversees the office budget and works with me on long-term legislative plans.
Joe Lillis has been my Chief of Staff since I first became a Representative. Previously he worked in Representative Lynn Westmoreland’s office as his Legislative Director.

Legislative Director: Pete Stehouwer
A Legislative Director’s job is to oversee the legislative staff, which includes Legislative Assistants and Legislative Correspondents. While also overseeing the legislative staff, a Legislative Director serves as my lead policy advisor by helping formulate positions on a variety of legislative issues.
Pete Stehouwer began his time in my office as a Senior Legislative Assistant. Shortly after, he was promoted to Legislative Director. Pete serves as my staffer for my role on the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health. He also is responsible for tax, trade, appropriations, commerce, and budget issues.

Press Secretary: Hannah Smith
The role of a Press Secretary is to manage press-related activities while also acting as my spokesperson. In addition to these duties, a press secretary is responsible for monitoring social media and drafting press releases and media advisories.
Hannah Smith, from Webb City, Mo., graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she majored in journalism. Hannah was the Staff Assistant in my office before becoming Press Secretary.

Scheduler: Drew McDowell
The primary role of a Scheduler is to manage and maintain my DC office schedule, which includes booking flights to and from Springfield, votes, hearings and meetings. Along with those responsibilities, the Scheduler acts as a liaison for me. He is responsible for making sure the rest of the staff is aware of what my schedule involves.
Drew McDowell joined the office as my Scheduler. He previously worked for Representative Renee Ellmers as her Scheduler and Executive Assistant.

Legislative Assistant: Ben Elleson and Tanner Warbinton
A Legislative Assistant’s role is to advise me on a variety of policy related issues. This includes drafting policy memos, meeting with constituents and different stakeholders, writing legislation, as well as staffing me for my role on the Energy & Commerce Committee.
Ben Elleson, a graduate of Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., started in my office as a Staff Assistant, then moved to scheduler, and shortly after was promoted to Legislative Assistant. Ben serves as my staffer for the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. He also is responsible for education, labor, immigration, judiciary, and transportation issues.
Tanner Warbinton, another Webb City, Mo. native, graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Missouri Southern State University and later got his master’s degree from Missouri State University. He also began his career in my office as a Staff Assistant and was later promoted to a Legislative Assistant. Tanner serves as my staffer for the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, and he is also responsible for international relations, armed services, veterans, homeland security, financial services, interior and agriculture issues.

Legislative Correspondent: Ross Olchyk
The role of a Legislative Correspondent is to respond to all constituent mail, phone calls and emails. Before responding to inquiries, a Legislative Correspondent must first consult the legislative staff and me.
Ross Olchyk joined my staff in May of 2016 as a Legislative Correspondent. In January Ross became responsible for certain issues, which include science, space, technology, pro-life issues, Social Security and postal issues.

Staff Assistant: Ashley Bailey
A Staff Assistant is the face of the office. They greet visitors, answer phone calls, respond to some constituent requests depending on the issue, provide tours of the U.S. Capitol and assist constituents with other tours Including the White House during their visits to Washington.
Ashley Bailey recently joined our office as a Staff Assistant. Ashley is from Mt. Vernon, Mo., and is a Missouri State University graduate. Prior to coming to Washington, D.C., Ashley worked in my district office as an intern in Springfield, Mo.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report," by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

March 10th, 2017

Missouri State Senator Ron Richard “Capitol Report” 3/10/17

Legislative News

The Senate began its 10th week of session focusing on legislation that will further reform workers’ compensation laws in Missouri. When an employee is injured on the job, workers’ compensation benefits are there to cover medical expenses and provide compensation for lost wages. These benefits are meant to be temporary, created to help an employee get through the recovery process and back to work if possible.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Greer v. Sysco Foods has made it possible for temporary disability benefits to continue almost indefinitely, without the employee ever transitioning to permanent disability. This situation is not only costly for employers, but it also means both parties face prolonged periods of uncertainty. By creating a clear point in time when temporary disability benefit payments end and permanent disability payments begin, we can make our workers’ compensation laws more business-friendly and attract new investment to our state.

Under Senate Bill 66, an injured worker will only be eligible to receive temporary total and temporary partial disability benefits until he or she reaches “maximum medical improvement,” or MMI. Maximum medical improvement is defined as the point at which an injured worker’s medical condition has stabilized and can no longer reasonably improve, as determined by the employer’s physician within a reasonable degree of medical certainty. The maximum amount of time an injured employee can receive temporary total disability benefits is 400 weeks, even if the employee has reached MMI but is unable to return to work.   

Claimants will still have the opportunity to receive a second opinion from a physician of their choosing, but they must do so in a timely manner. For all compromise settlements offered after an employee has reached MMI, he or she will have 12 months to obtain a second opinion. Extenuating circumstances, as determined by an administrative law judge, can allow for an extension of this time limit. Employers may waive these provisions without stating a reason.

In addition to passing SB 66, the Senate also approved legislation that will make it easier for business and industry to take advantage of “Chapter 100” bonds — also known as Industrial Development Revenue bonds. Named for the chapter of Missouri statutes that authorizes them, Chapter 100 bonds are the state’s oldest form of economic development. Chapter 100 allows a private company to utilize a local government’s tax exempt status in several ways in order to save costs on property taxes or the purchase of construction and equipment.

Since Chapter 100 projects were first formalized in Missouri’s 1947 Constitution, changes in statute regarding eligible projects have created a great deal of confusion — so much so that businesses are being forced to hire a team of lawyers to determine project eligibility. The time and expense involved in accessing these bonds has discouraged companies from using them. Senate Bill 11 will eliminate confusion surrounding Chapter 100 projects, making it easier for businesses to take advantage of this great resource and invest in Missouri’s economy.

Finally, the Senate is also considering a measure (Senate Bill 29) that would save taxpayers money by eliminating prevailing wage laws in the state for maintenance work. Prevailing wage is essentially a minimum wage paid to construction workers who work on state projects. Prevailing wage rates are set by the Department of Labor and vary from county to county.

Missouri is a very diverse state, and what it costs to repair or maintain a school building in Kansas City is not the same as what it costs in southwest Missouri. As it stands now, our rural municipalities are subject to the prevailing wage standards for urban areas. Unsurprisingly, repealing Missouri’s prevailing wage law is one of the main requests we get from rural community leaders. As far as economic development, this is one of the most important labor reforms we can pass. Senate Bill 29 has been heard in committee and is awaiting debate on the Senate floor.

Finally, I was very pleased to meet with members of Crowder College and East Newton’s Youth Changing Youth Coalition at the Capitol on Wednesday.

View Press Release (PDF)

March 8th, 2017

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Newsletter 3/8/17

"Dear Mr. Secretary, you are cordially invited to meet with Missouri's retired Teamsters about their disappearing pensions."
That was my message to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin this week, because a pension is a promise—and I'm going to make sure he follows through on his promise to me to meet the hardworking folks that'll be hurt most by the government's failure to follow through on pensions.

WATCH: Sec. Mnuchin promising to meet with MO retirees

32,000 Missourians who are part of the Central States Pension Fund are at risk of losing their pensions. If no action is taken, the Fund will be out of money in less than 10 years—and that is simply unacceptable. Ensuring Missourians who worked hard and played by the rules receive the benefits they're owed is a real priority for me, and one I won't stop fighting for. That's why I was the only member of Missouri's congressional delegation—in the House or Senate—to vote against the legislation that would have allowed for cuts to the pensions promised by the Central States Pension Fund.

Read more about my letter and why fulfilling our promise to Missourians who have spent their life paying into this system is so important:
KANSAS CITY STAR: Sen. Claire McCaskill invites Trump's Treasury secretary to meet retired Teamsters

I bet that if Mr. Mnuchin takes some time to meet with these folks, he'll see decisions about pensions isn't some numbers game—in fact, I'm hoping he'll see it's not a game at all. It's people's lives and hard-earned retirements at stake, and I'm not going to stop until these men and women get the benefits they were promised. I've been beating this drum for years and I'm not stopping now.

PHOTO: Hearing from Central States Pension Fund retirees in Hillsboro, MO

All the best,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

March 3rd, 2017

U.S. Representative Billy Long’s “Short Report” 3/3/17

President Trump’s speech to a Joint Session of Congress was both unifying and encouraging. After 8 years of overregulation, a weak national security and a failing health care system, I am confident that the coming years will be much different. Trump laid out an optimistic vision for the nation that will allow for a strong national security, quality education, a free market health care system and an economy that works for the people.

Van Jones, a long-time critic of Trump, even had kind words to say following the President’s speech and the moving moment when Trump spoke to the widow of fallen Navy Seal, William “Ryan” Owens.

With just a little over a month in office, Trump has eased the burden of regulation on small businesses, kept his promise on making national security remains a top priority and continues to push for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

President Trump understands that the people deserve choices when it comes to health insurance. Instead of the government “mandating” that every American buy what the government says is “quality” health insurance, he understands the importance of making sure it should be up to the people. He called on Congress to act quickly, and as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, that is what I intend to do.

Along with making sure that the American people have access to high quality health insurance, the president made a point to address that education is “the civil rights issue of our time.” He began to tell the story of Denisha Merriweather who failed the third grade twice. Now, after having access to system that works for her rather than against her, she not only graduated high school and college, but later this year she will get her masters degree in social work.

Every child deserves access to an education that provides them the tools needed to be successful in the 21st century. With continual federal overreach in education as we have had in the past, I am confident that Trump will make good on his promise and give power back to both the state and local districts.

Finally, Trump not only talked about having a strong military, but making sure that those men and women are taken care of. As Trump said the other night, “Our veterans have delivered for this nation – and now we must deliver fort them.”

I look forward to working with President Trump in the coming years and I’m confident that effective change will take place that will have a positive and lasting impact on this great nation.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report," by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

March 3rd, 2017

Create the Official Maple Leaf Artwork Featuring the Theme – Carthage: 175 Years

Planning for the 51st Annual Maple Leaf Festival, hosted by the Carthage Chamber of Commerce, is underway. This year’s theme will be Carthage: 175 Years. Committee Chair Jeanine Poe says “Carthage has a quartoseptcentennial’s worth of history, stories, and celebrations. We are excited to see not only how our business community and community will celebrate 175 years of Carthage history, but also share in their birthdays, anniversaries, and significant moments as well!”.

The planning committee is now accepting entries for the Maple Leaf Artwork Contest to select the official graphic design for the festival. The committee looks forward to artwork and float entries depicting this year’s theme. The selected art will be included in all coordinating marketing, including the official brochure, festival shirts and web marketing, for the annual city celebration set for October 2017 in Carthage. Parade entries, booth vendors, event contestants, and other Maple Leaf Festival participants are encouraged to incorporate the theme into all parts of this year’s festivities.

Guidelines for submitting artwork:
- Submitted artwork must be no larger than 11” X 17”.
- Digital artwork is accepted (JPEG and PDF format only with a minimum output of 600 dpi).
- Non-digital pieces must be submitted on white paper (no 3-D images, sculptures or animated entries will be accepted).
- For maximum reproduction quality, vivid colors are encouraged. A limited color version will be developed with artist input for garment printing.
- All entries should incorporate images representing Carthage, the Maple Leaf Festival and this year’s theme.
- Winning entries become the property of the Carthage Chamber of Commerce.

All entries must be received by the Chamber office by 5 p.m. on Monday, April 3rd, 2017. For more information, contact Mary Jo at the Carthage Chamber of Commerce, 417-358-2373 or mjlittle@carthagechamber.com.

View Press Release (PDF)

March 2nd, 2017

Missouri State Senator Ron Richard “Capitol Report” 3/2/17

Legislative News

State senators spent the first two days of session this week debating legislation that will discourage frivolous lawsuits against Missouri’s employers and restore balance to our discrimination laws. After a combined 17 hours of floor debate and numerous discussions that took place off the Senate floor, a compromise was reached, and the Senate gave its approval to Senate Bill 43.

Currently, under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), an employee only has to prove that race, religion or another protected trait was a contributing factor in their employer’s decision to discriminate. By requiring such a low standard of proof, Missouri’s business community has repeatedly been exposed to costly and time-consuming frivolous lawsuits. If SB 43 is signed into law, employees will have to meet a higher standard by demonstrating that their protected status was a motivating factor in their termination or discrimination, not simply a contributing factor. As part of a compromise, language requiring an employee to prove their protected class was the sole reason they were fired or discriminated against was removed.

Language prohibiting state employees and employees of political subdivisions from being awarded punitive damages in MHRA cases was also dropped. Finally, the caps on punitive damages for the largest employers — those with more than 500 employees — was raised from $300,000 to $500,000.

Senate Bill 43 will help curb judicial overreach and restore fairness to Missouri’s discrimination laws. By ensuring our laws work for both the employer and the employee, we will create a more balanced legal system and a business environment that attracts and retains job creators. I am proud of how members on both sides of the aisle worked together to get SB 43 to a place where it was more palatable to its opponents yet still maintained its original integrity. Senate Bill 43 has one more hurdle to clear in the Senate before it can make its way to the House. 

Also this week, the Senate passed several Consent bills, which are non-controversial in nature and do not increase or decrease net expenditures or revenue of the state by more than $100,000. In addition, Consent bills cannot increase an existing civil or criminal penalty or create a new civil or criminal penalty.

Senate Bill 217 expands a current tax credit of up to $2,500 for donated food or cash to a local food pantry in a taxpayer’s area of residence to include donations to local soup kitchens or homeless shelters.

We also passed Senate Bill 252. Under current law, corporations and associations owned and operated by religious or sectarian groups are exempted from the MHRA. Senate Bill 252 also exempts corporations or associations owned or operated by religious or sectarian organizations.

Finally, I was happy to welcome members from the Jasper County 4-H club to the Capitol on Tuesday.

The Importance of Public Notices

Public_Notices.jpg

View Press Release (PDF)

February 24th, 2017

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 2/24/17

President Donald Trump recently nominated Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, to replace late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Mr. Gorsuch is a man who has had a long history of interpreting the Constitution as it was intended by our founding fathers.

Mr. Gorsuch is a graduate of Columbia, Harvard and Oxford. After law school, he worked at a law firm in Washington, D.C., the Department of Justice and clerked for two Supreme Court Justices, Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. His resume is quite impressive, but it is his commitment to upholding the Constitution and his commitment to justice that make him deserving of a seat on the Supreme Court.

Mr. Gorsuch is an excellent choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who also interpreted the Constitution as the framers intended it, and not what he or society wanted it to be. An example of this is Mr. Gorsuch’s record on the Second Amendment. Throughout his time as a judge, Mr. Gorsuch has been a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.

Another example of his commitment to upholding the Constitution is his dedication to religious freedom. In the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, Judge Gorsuch sided in favor of religious rights by ruling against an Obamacare provision that required companies to provide coverage for certain contraceptives despite their religious beliefs. The Supreme Court sided with Judge Gorsuch’s opinion and struck down the provision.

This is a man who has consistently been respectful of the Constitution and its intended purpose. Neil Gorsuch will make an excellent Supreme Court Justice. I am sure if my colleagues in the Senate to take the time to talk with him and listen to him he will be easily confirmed.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s successor should be one that holds the same strong conservative values as the late Justice and Mr. Gorsuch is such a person.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

February 23rd, 2017

Missouri State Senator Ron Richard “Capitol Report” 2/23/17

State senators spent a considerable amount of time this week debating two important issues: our state workers’ compensation laws and compliance with the federal REAL ID Act. Earlier today, the Senate approved legislation that will reform Missouri’s workers’ compensation system by carefully balancing the need to protect injured workers with the need to keep our business community and job creation efforts intact.

The Missouri Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Templemire v. W&M Welding opened up Missouri employers to greater lawsuit liability under workers’ compensation laws. The ruling broke with almost 30 years of case law that required employees who were injured on the job to prove their workers’ compensation claim was the “exclusive factor” for their firing. Since Templemire, in order to win a wrongful discharge lawsuit, injured employees only have to prove their workers’ compensation claim was a “contributing factor” in their firing. By significantly lowering the standard of proof, the Supreme Court made it easier for anyone with a prior workers’ compensation claim to file a lawsuit against their employers.

Senate Bill 113 will restore the original standard of proof in workers’ compensation discrimination cases. Additionally, it stipulates that workers’ compensation payments will be reduced by 50 percent if the injured employee tests positive for illegal drugs, alcohol or non-prescribed drugs within 24 hours of the incident; an administrative law judge may determine if there were mitigating circumstances on a case-by-case basis. It also stipulates that an employee who voluntarily quits their job after the employer has made medically compliant work available cannot receive temporary disability benefits. Finally, it provides that claimants may agree to a full and final workers’ compensation resolution that cannot be reopened.

Our laws and our judges should not favor one party over another. Unfortunately, the extreme decisions handed down by Missouri courts over the last decade has eroded the balance of our workers’ compensation system — so much so that many employers have started practicing more defensive business judgements because of the fear of retaliation. While it is absolutely essential that we protect injured workers, we must also ensure Missouri businesses are not being unnecessarily harmed by frivolous lawsuits. Senate Bill 113 provides a much-needed check on judicial activism in the area of workers’ compensation while maintaining adequate protections and remedies for workers who are injured on the job.

After the 2001 terrorist attacks, the 9/11 Commission recommended to the federal government that they set minimum standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. In response, Congress passed the REAL ID Act of 2005. The Act requires states to scan and retain source documentation, such as a birth certificate, of their citizens. Due to privacy concerns, about half of states chose not to comply. In 2009, the Missouri General Assembly passed legislation banning the Department of Revenue (DOR) from complying with the REAL ID Act.

On Jan. 22, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security will implement the next phase of the Act, which requires all passengers to present a REAL ID-compliant license before they are allowed to board domestic flights. Without legislative action, Missourians will be required to present an alternative form of acceptable ID, such as a U.S. passport, to board their flights. 

While lawmakers’ concerns over privacy and federal overreach have not gone away, we do not want to see our constituents inconvenienced. This week, the Senate took up Senate Bills 37 and 244, which allows the DOR to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and IDs if applicants prefer to have one. This legislation strikes an important balance by giving Missourians the option of being REAL ID-compliant but not forcing them to do so.

For more detailed information about the REAL ID Act, please visit the DHS website at www.dhs.gov. You may also view the phased enforcement plan by clicking here.

Finally, Missouri 4-H youth leaders came to the Capitol this week for the 2017 4-H Legislative Academy. This annual, three-day event provides unique learning opportunities for promising 4-H youth leaders and participants, so they can attain skills in legislative advocacy. I was very pleased to present delegate Hannah Rockers with a resolution commemorating the occasion. A student at Carthage High School in Jasper County, Hannah has been an involved member of 4-H for the past 10 years.

Contact Me
I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2173. You may write to me at Senator Ron Richard, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, 201 W. Capitol Ave., Rm. 326, Jefferson City, MO 65101; email me at ron.richard@senate.mo.gov or visit me on the Web at www.senate.mo.gov/richard.

View Press Release (PDF)

February 22nd, 2017

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Newsletter 2/22/17

I need your help.

We’ve made great progress in recent years to improve services at VA facilities across Missouri, but there are still too many Missouri veterans and their families waiting for help that is long overdue.

Share this e-mail with anyone you know who can help me spread the word—I need Missouri veterans to give me honest and candid feedback about their experiences at VA centers, so that I can hold the VA accountable for following through on their promises.

All surveys are confidential and very helpful to me, since my staff and I use the information collected when we advocate on behalf of veterans and their families throughout Missouri and in Washington.

There are six weeks left before the deadline. If you’re a veteran, take the survey now. If you know a veteran, send this e-mail to them today.

Heartfelt thanks,

Claire

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February 17th, 2017

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Newsletter 2/17/17

Imagine discovering a photo of your missing son or daughter on Backpage, a website known for selling sex. Imagine the cold fear of realizing your child has been trafficked and likely sold for sex. And then imagine that the website facilitating the sale of your underage child isn’t going to do a single thing about it.
That’s exactly the terror that Kubiiki Pride and her family lived through, and as a mother, I can’t even fathom her pain.

WATCH NOW: Leading the Fight Against Online Sex Trafficking

Last month, Kubiiki travelled to Washington and testified before the Senate about what it was like to be the mother of a trafficked child. What it was like to approach Backpage about removing the ad selling her 14-year-old daughter and being told they wouldn’t unless she could somehow prove that the underage girl in the pictures was hers. What it was like to “buy time” with her daughter in a desperate attempt to save her.
Kubiiki’s testimony was so brave, and it was part of an historic victory against child sex trafficking.

READ OUR REPORT: Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking

For years, my Republican colleague, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, and I had been pressing Backpage for proof that they weren’t facilitating the sale of children. Asking for documents that could show they were taking appropriate steps to prevent this tragedy, that they weren’t complicit in these crimes.
They wouldn’t.
They ignored our legal subpoena.
They ignored the order of a federal judge,
• Before finally… finally, having to turn over those documents after we fought them all the way to the Supreme Court.
Let me tell you, it was very clear why they didn’t want us to get our hands on those documents.
We saw a conversation over email discussing how many child exploitation reports Backpage could afford reporting each day to make sure its monthly totals weren’t too high. We reviewed documents exposing an automatic filter that would remove “problematic” words from posts—words like Lolita, teen, amber alert—before posting the ad anyway. And we learned that Backpage employees at all levels—from moderators to the company’s own CEO—were acutely aware of the illegal activity happening on the site.
This case shows why oversight is SO important. These bipartisan investigations have been my bread and butter since before arriving in the Senate because they have the power to force change, and alter laws and policy. I’m incredibly proud of the report Senator Portman and I released because I’m confident that the information we uncovered will help people around the country and in our very own communities… people just like Kubiiki.

Her fight, and the fight of parents across the country, can be seen in the new documentary, I Am Jane Doe. The film tracks the legal battle against Backpage from courtrooms in St. Louis, Seattle, and Boston, all the way to my hearing room in Washington and the Supreme Court.

I will never stop fighting for those without a voice and for those
who need us most. Learn more about our investigation at www.mccaskill.senate.gov/backpage and help me spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.

All the best,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

February 17th, 2017

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 2/17/17

One of my primary responsibilities as a Congressman, and something I am very honored to do, is to make sure that the men and women who serve our country are taken care of and get the care and treatment they deserve. Last December, I voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2017. This legislation funds the critical programs in the Department of Defense to ensure the military has the strength it needs to carry out its mission of protecting our country.

The NDAA provides $619 billion for national defense, which is $9 billion more than President Obama’s budget request. The additional $9 billion will help close the readiness gap, which will stop the drawdown of the military, rebuild our military and make sure that our troops have the most up-to-date resources and tools when carrying out missions.

Not only does the NDAA go above and beyond what former President Obama requested, it continues to prohibit transferring of Guantanamo Bay detainees to American soil and helps combat sexual assault in the military. Finally, this piece of legislation gives our troops a pay raise, something that was long overdue.

My first priority is making sure that that my constituents are safe, and by voting in favor of this bill, I am reassured it will accomplish just that. Not only does this legislation help our men and women in uniform, but it ensures those who do not serve are also taken care of.
With significant bipartisan support, the NDAA passed the House by a vote of 375-14, the Senate by a vote of 92-7 and signed into law by the President.

With so much talk about gridlock in Washington, there are still many issues my colleagues and I can work with each other on, and that includes making sure our military has the resources it needs to protect our country.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

February 16th, 2017

Missouri State Senator Ron Richard “Capitol Report” 2/16/17

LEGISLATIVE NEWS

State senators addressed a wide range of issues during this seventh week of session. We spent several days discussing a tort reform measure that will help reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits bogging down Missouri courts. Senate Bill 45 seeks to modify state laws regarding arbitration agreements between employers and at-will employees.

Arbitration is an alternative form of dispute resolution that occurs outside of the court system and is often used in the workplace. Compared to traditional litigation, it is generally faster and more cost-effective. Since arbitration proceedings are usually held in private, they also maintain the confidentiality of both parties. Despite being endorsed by the U.S. Supreme Court, Missouri courts have repeatedly struck down employment arbitration agreements. Perfected by the Senate on Wednesday, SB 45 will codify the value of arbitration in Missouri law and help standardize the process.

On Tuesday, we passed Senate Bill 108 to grant reemployment rights to Missouri employees who are members of the National Guard of another state and are called up for active state duty. The legislation also applies to members of any reserve component of the Armed Forces called to active duty. Under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, members of the Army or Air National Guard are provided employment protection when they must leave their civilian job for federal National Guard service. Unfortunately, the Act does not apply when a National Guard member must be away from their job because of state service. Individual states have to pass their own laws in order for National Guard members to gain reemployment rights after active state duty. So far, 28 states grant reemployment rights to National Guard members after active state service.

In 2011, the Legislature passed the organ donor tax checkoff measure, allowing Missouri taxpayers to make a financial contribution when completing their income tax form. All contributions go to the state’s organ donor fund, which is currently set to expire Aug. 28, 2017. According to organdonor.gov, there are more than 119,000 men, women and children on the national transplant waiting list — 3,606,335 of them are Missourians. The organ donor tax checkoff offers Missouri citizens an easy opportunity to make a small contribution and help save the life of someone who is currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. The Senate voted this week to pass Senate Bill 248, repealing the organ donor fund’s expiration date.

We also passed legislation pertaining to suicide awareness and prevention programs in Missouri’s higher education institutions. Although college is often an exciting time in a young person’s life, it has the potential to be incredibly challenging as well. Leaving the comforts of home, the pressure of making good grades, money challenges and having to make new friends can quickly become overwhelming and lead to depression, even thoughts of suicide. The rates of depression and suicide are even higher for medical students. Clearly, more action needs to be taken on our college campuses to help prevent our young people from getting to the point where they feel like they have no one to talk to, nowhere to turn and no other alternative.

Senate Bill 52 requires each Missouri public higher education institution to develop and implement a policy to advise students and staff on suicide prevention programs available on and off campus. Each school will be required to provide all incoming students with information about the depression and suicide prevention resources available to them. The policy shall also advise students, faculty and staff of the proper procedures for identifying and addressing the needs of students exhibiting suicidal tendencies or behavior and require training where appropriate. Senate Bill 52 specifically addresses the need to bring more awareness to the prevalence of depression and other mental health issues among medical school students.

Finally, a provision of law allowing counties to decrease their annual budgets expired on July 1, 2016. Specifically, the law permitted counties to decrease their annual budgets twice during any fiscal year in which they experienced a decline in revenue of at least two percent. Passed by the Senate this week, Senate Bill 95 simply extends the expiration date to July 1, 2027.

Contact Me
I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2173. You may write to me at Senator Ron Richard, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, 201 W. Capitol Ave., Rm. 326, Jefferson City, MO 65101; email me at ron.richard@senate.mo.gov or visit me on the Web at www.senate.mo.gov/richard.

View Press Release (PDF)

February 10th, 2017

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 2/10/17

Reforming our tax code may be taxing and tedious but it must be done. I receive numerous complaints from my constituents and business owners demanding a fairer and simpler tax system. We need a tax code that stops raiding hardworking American taxpayer’s paychecks and ensures they are able to keep more of their own money. A unique concept in Washington, D.C.

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Since then, our country has changed dramatically, but yet we continue to use an outdated tax system. That needs to change. Today, the Federal tax laws fill 70,000 pages. Families with children in college have to go through almost 100 pages of IRS instructions to figure out what tax benefits could help them pay for already high tuition rates. Requiring these hardworking individuals to go through hundreds and sometimes even thousands of pages is ridiculous. Especially when I know there is a better alternative.

It’s no wonder individuals use software or professionals to prepare their tax returns.

As a Congressman, I have continually supported bills that would reform our tax code. When I first came to office, I supported and cosponsored the Pathway to Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act. This legislation would have consolidated the individual income tax brackets into no more than two brackets, reduce the corporate rate and repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax. Finally, it would have changed the “worldwide” system of taxation to “territorial.”

In 2015, I supported the House passage of the Death Tax Repeal Act. This legislation would have repealed the estate tax, which is known as the “death tax.” Individuals who plan to leave their estates to their children and grandchildren should not have to worry about the government taxing life savings or ruining their plans to improve the lives of their families. The “death tax” hits small business owners and family farms the hardest.

Action needs to be taken on tax reform and I plan to continue to support legislation that will do just that. Our job in Washington isn’t to make Missourians lives harder, it’s to make them easier. Our broken tax code does not accomplish that and needs to be changed.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

February 9th, 2017

Missouri Senator Ron Richard “Capitol Report” 02/09/17

LEGISLATIVE NEWS

To say it has been a big week for labor reform in Missouri is an understatement. On Monday, the governor signed Senate Bill 19 into law, officially making Missouri the 28th Right to Work state. This was years in the making, and I believe it will lead to great things for the Show-Me State and exciting opportunities for our citizens. That same day, my Senate colleagues and I began debating another important labor reform measure — Senate Bill 182, which will END THE DISCRIMINATORY AND UNFAIR PRACTICES OF PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS (PLAS).

MISSOURI Taxpayers deserve the best product for the best cost, but PLAs drive up the cost of construction by effectively ensuring that all work on a public project is completed by union contractors or non-union contractors who will yield to union demands. PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS place unreasonable terms and conditions to limit fair competition. They are not equitable to all contractors, and they are a detriment to the free market.

If signed into law, SB 182 will remove the current 50 percent state funding threshold for political subdivisions and labor agreements and prohibit bidders from entering into those types of agreements. It will also ensure all contractors get a chance to bid on a project. By eliminating union-only PLAs, we will open the door to private sector bidding on government construction projects and encourage more responsible stewardship of taxpayer money.

In other news, a considerable number of Missouri’s more than 200 public boards and commissions currently have vacancies that the governor is trying to fill. From managing our state’s universities to advocating on behalf of our children and seniors, the men and women who serve on these boards and commissions are essential to the myriad functions of state government.

Every one of us has the ability to serve our state in some capacity, but many people are unaware of what opportunities are out there. If you are interested in serving the State of Missouri on a board or commission, I encourage you to review the Missouri Boards and Commissions website at www.boards.mo.gov. You may also contact Josh Foster in my office for more details (573-522-7972 or josh.foster@senate.mo.gov).

View Press Release (PDF)

February 7th, 2017

Promote Your October Event to Thousands

If you have an event you’d like to promote to up to 20,000 residents and visitors during the month of October, list your event in the official 2017 Maple Leaf Festival brochure.

The deadline for completed applications AND fees are due no later Friday, March 31st in order to be considered for the 2017 Maple Leaf Festival brochure. Applications will be reviewed by the Maple Leaf Committee upon completion and not all applications may be accepted.


A promotional fee of $50 for events sponsored by Chamber members and $100 for events sponsored by non-Chamber members is required for each submitted event. These fees help defray the costs of printing 20,000 brochures and maintaining an online events calendar. Events submitted without the fee will NOT be published in the Maple Leaf Festival brochure.


You may download the application below, request a copy of the application via fax or e-mail, or pick one up at the Carthage Chamber, 402 S. Garrison. For more information, please contact Mary Jo at 417-358-2373 or mjlittle@carthagechamber.com.

View Press Release (PDF)

February 3rd, 2017

U.S. Representative Billy Long’s “Short Report” 02/03/17

On January 27, 2017, thousands of men and women came to Washington, D.C. to support the March for Life. This event is held each year to raise awareness and advocate for the unborn lives taken by abortion. The first rally was held on January 22, 1974, one year after the Roe v. Wadedecision. Since then, the March for Life has taken place each year, and will continue to take place, until Roe v. Wade is overturned.

That same week, the House of Representatives took an important step in our pro-life agenda by voting to make the Hyde Amendment permanent. The Hyde Amendment helps prevent taxpayer money from being used for abortions, except to save the life of the mother, or in the case of rape or incest.

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act passed the House by a vote of 238-183. This legislation would not only make the Hyde Amendment permanent, along with any other legislation that prohibits funding of abortions government-wide. This bill would also ensure that the Affordable Care Act is held to the same standard.

I've always made it a priority to support legislation that saves lives and that’s why I voted in favor of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. In 1973 when the Supreme Court said it was legal to kill an unborn child I didn't agree then and I still don't.

The American people have spoken, and as a Congressman, I listened. According to the Marist Institute for Public Opinion Polling, 62 percent of the American people agree, the government should not use taxpayer money to fund abortions. Through some current governmental funding policies, the government is only incentivizing abortion.

45 percent of individuals who identify as pro-choice even agree that taxpayer money should not be funding abortions. Most consider abortion a partisan issue, but when it comes to taxpayer funding, both Republicans and Democrats are much more likely to agree. According to the same poll, 44 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of Republicans don’t agree with taxpayer funded abortions.

It’s time to stop playing partisan politics and realize that a majority of Americans agree on this issue. It’s never okay to be political when human lives are at stake. I will continue to work and support pro-life legislation. Someone needs to fight for those that can't fight for themselves.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

February 3rd, 2017

Maple Leaf Theme Sought


Entries for the 51st annual Maple Leaf Festival theme contest are being accepted by the Carthage Chamber of Commerce. Submissions for this year’s contest will be accepted through Tuesday, February 28th at the Chamber Office. Submissions must be in writing and can be brought to the Chamber office, 402 S Garrison, or e-mailed to mjlittle@carthagechamber.com.

Those wishing to submit a theme entry should provide their theme suggestion, their name, address, daytime telephone number, and email. Entries received after 5:00 p.m. February 28th will not be considered.

The winning entry becomes the sole property of the Carthage Chamber of Commerce and the Maple Leaf Festival and will be used on all promotional materials.

February 2nd, 2017

Missouri Senator Ron Richard’s “Capitol Report” 02/02/17

LEGISLATIVE NEWS

The Senate continued working this week to make Missouri a more business-friendly state and improve our legal climate. The most notable success came on Thursday, when the Legislature sent Senate Bill 19 to the governor’s desk. Upon the governor’s signature, Missouri will become the 28th Right to Work state, ending forced unionism and helping to create a more competitive business climate.

Right to Work is an issue I have been working on for close to 16 years, with many coming before me who worked on it even longer. We have not just been fighting for more jobs. We have been fighting simply for the chance to be considered by companies looking to relocate. Regardless of what you may think of Right to Work, I believe today’s success sends a message to the people outside of our state, looking inward, that Missouri is serious about transforming the way it does business.

On a personal note, today has certainly been one of the great highlights of my career — if nothing else happens, I will still be pleased. While I wish we could have passed Right to Work 15 years ago, I have to say this day has certainly been worth waiting for. The governor called on his way back from southwest Missouri to offer his congratulations to both chambers, and I look forward to seeing SB 19 signed into law within the coming week.

Also on Thursday, the Senate gave its approval to legislation that aims to restore fairness to personal injury litigation and reduce the cost of insurance for doctors and businesses. Senate Bill 31 modifies provisions relating to the collateral source rule and provides that parties may introduce evidence of the actual cost, rather than the value, of the medical care rendered. Missouri lawmakers passed identical legislation last year, which was vetoed by the governor.

In 2005, the General Assembly passed a comprehensive tort reform bill that, among other things, aimed to fairly compensate injured parties for their medical expenses. The intent was always to allow an injured party to recover the actual cost of their medical bills, or the true dollar amount they paid. However, in 2010, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in Deck V. Teasley that the 2005 tort bill allowed plaintiffs to introduce evidence of the total amount they were billed, not just the amount that was actually paid. Over the years, this has resulted in plaintiffs trying to recover compensation for medical expenses they were never required to pay. To complicate matters, juries do not always see the actual cost a plaintiff paid; they only see
the full-billed amount and often award “phantom damages” as a result.

Very simply, SB 31 establishes that the appropriate recovery for medical expenses is the actual amount paid, not the value. This legislation ensures injured parties will be compensated for their out-of-pocket medical costs while restoring fairness to personal injury litigation. Furthermore, SB 31 does not affect a plaintiff’s ability to recover other forms of damages such as pain and suffering and lost wages. By reducing the cost of insurance for Missouri doctors and businesses, health care providers will be able to pass those cost savings on to consumers. More importantly, it increases our ability to attract top-rated physicians to the Show-Me State. 

The Senate also voted this week to perfect Senate Bill 16. This legislation seeks to roll back government overreach by exempting delivery charges from sales and use taxes. Historically, sales and use tax has never been applied to delivery fees in Missouri. Then, in January 2015, the Supreme Court of Missouri ruled in Alberici Constructors, Inc. v. Director of Revenue that charges for delivery of a rented crane are subject to tax because the parties intended for delivery of the crane to be part of the crane rental. The court’s ruling effectively opened the door for taxes to be applied to delivery charges. As a result of this change, the DOR sent a letter to Missouri business owners notifying them that they may have to start collecting and remitting tax on delivery charges.

Simply by sending the letter, the DOR was able to start collecting this new tax. Unfortunately, although unsurprisingly, this latest move by the DOR has led to a considerable amount of confusion for Missouri’s business community, who do not know if they should start collecting a tax that has yet to be uniformly applied or collected. Senate Bill 16 will put into statute the rule that was previously used by the DOR to determine how delivery charges are taxed. In doing so, it will protect Missouri business owners — especially our small business owners — from another egregious attempt by the DOR to generate revenue at their expense.

And last but certainly not least, I was happy to welcome a number of area students to the Capitol this week. Brandon Jordon and Deven Kimsey were visiting as part of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America’s legislative shadowing program. FCCLA is a national career and technical student organization that provides personal growth and leadership development opportunities.

Also this week, the Senate recognized several students who are currently participating in the state Historical Society’s premier educational program, National History Day in Missouri. This innovative program lets students in grades six through 12 explore the past in a creative, hands-on way. They become experts on a historical subject of their choosing while conducting extensive research to produce a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance or website.

Statewide, more than 3,000 students participate each year. Nearly 600 compete in the state contest at the University of Missouri in Columbia, and top finishers advance to represent the Show-Me State in the Kenneth E. Behring National Contest in the D.C. area. In my district, I am proud to say Nian Wheeler of Joplin High School and Grace Carter of College Heights Christian School are currently participating in this year’s contest.

View Press Release (PDF)

January 27th, 2017

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 1/27/17

Over the years, outgoing presidential administrations have pushed through last-minute rules that Congress can do little or nothing about. These rules are costly and have a significant negative impact on our economy. Since 2009, the estimated costs of these arbitrary regulations reached almost $2 trillion. The unelected bureaucrats in Washington aren’t the ones paying for the additional costs, hardworking American taxpayers are the ones who are paying for them.

I have talked with many small business owners in Missouri’s 7th Congressional District and their main concern is overregulation. The federal register boasts over 89,500 federal regulations, many of them outdated and ineffective. In the last year alone, over 4,000 regulations were working their way through the federal bureaucracy. Recently, President Donald Trump spoke with business leaders and said he is confident he can cut regulations by 75 percent, a comment that is a breath of fresh air to businesses everywhere.

My colleagues and I have made it one of our top priorities over the years to pass legislation that makes sure outgoing presidential administrations, regardless of their political party, can’t pass last minute rules and regulations that Congress cannot address. That’s why already this year I have supported bills such as the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017 and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act.

The Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017 would put in place a rapid-response method for Congress to undo last-minute rules from an outgoing administration. It would not require a minimum or maximum number of ‘midnight rules’ the Congressional Review Act can disapprove and would allow for Congress to group regulations together to overturn quickly in one single vote rather than making a potentially large number of tedious single votes.

The REINS Act requires agencies to submit any major regulations to Congress for approval, while also allowing for a quick up or down vote on the major rules within 70 legislative days. It also guarantees that any major regulation submitted to Congress must first be approved before going into effect.

A ‘major rule’ is any rule that will have an annual impact on the economy of $100 million or more, adds a significant increase in price or cost on consumers, individual industries or government agencies and negatively impacts competition, employment, investment, productivity and innovation.

The Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017 and the REINS Act both create more accountability and ensure constituents have their voices heard. I’m confident that with the new administration and a unified Republican government, we will begin to weaken the federal government’s oppressive regulatory state on hardworking American taxpayers.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Longand my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report," by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

January 26th, 2017

Missouri Senator Ron Richard’s “Capitol Report” 1/26/17

LEGISLATIVE NEWS

Three weeks ago, I stated in my first column that reform was the name of the game for the 2017 session. While the Senate is diligently working to address tort reform and regulatory reform, today we took a major step forward in the area of labor reform. Just a few hours ago, state senators voted to make Missouri the 28th Right to Work state by passing Senate Bill 19 to end forced unionism and help create a more competitive business climate.

Besides the advantages of increased jobs and economic growth, Right to Work is the single biggest policy that can help protect a worker’s freedom to choose whether a union works for them. Organized labor’s chief selling point has always been that union representatives are able to negotiate the best possible deal for workers, but time has shown us that is not always the case. Right to Work laws hold unions accountable and encourage them to work hard to represent the best interests of their members. They benefit businesses, employees, the employees’ families and even the unions themselves.

It is also important to keep in mind that Right to Work, or workers’ choice laws, do not dissolve unions — the only thing they do is prevent forced unionism. Research confirms that in Right to Work states, unions pay more attention to their members. This has actually led to increased union participation in many cases. Senate Bill 19 does include a grandfather clause in order to protect Missouri from the threat of a future lawsuit. The clause allows currents contracts to remain in effect until they expire; once expired, they cannot be renewed. The clause will not affect any new business coming into the state.

In order for the Show-Me State to be competitive with our surrounding states, we must foster a better environment for our communities, businesses and Missouri families. By allowing workers’ choice, we are cultivating a free and fair environment in our state. While SB 19 must still go through the same legislative process on the House side, I am proud of how hard everyone worked in order to quickly move this important initiative through the Senate.

In other news, Missouri’s attorney general announced Jan. 19 that Missouri has joined 12 other states in suing the Obama Administration over burdensome regulations pertaining to coal mines. The suit, Ohio et al v. Department of Interior, alleges that regulations issues by the DOI’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement on Dec. 20, 2016, seriously overstep their authority and violate federal law. To add insult to injury, the agency aimed to make the rule effective on the eve of the former president’s last day in office — Jan. 19, 2017.

In his announcement, Missouri’s attorney general said: “The Obama Administration has no authority to issue these regulations. They will drive up the cost of energy for Missouri families and hurt Missouri workers … These draconian regulations by the Obama Administration are exactly the kind of federal overreach that is holding Missouri’s economy back.”

I absolutely agree with our new attorney general, and I greatly appreciate his efforts to stand up for Missouri families and against another gross display of federal overreach and secretive midnight regulations. The hardworking people of our state, and our entire country, deserve better.

View Press Release (PDF)

January 20th, 2017

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 1/20/17

In 1976, Congress created the Congressional Award for young Americans between the ages of 14 to 23 years old to encourage America's youth to get involved in their local communities. The Congressional Award is a private-public partnership that receives all of its funding from the private sector. This award is forward looking - instead of recognizing past achievements, it requires applicants to set goals for helping out their local communities.

However, if an individual is a member of an organization such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or KEY Club, the activities they participate in can count towards whichever level they are working towards.

The Congressional Award has six different levels that an individual can work towards. Each level depends on the length of service in their local communities. For example, a bronze certificate requires 30 hours of voluntary public service, while the gold medal requires an individual completes 400 hours of voluntary public service.

To be considered for the Congressional Award, an individual must set goals in the required four program categories: volunteer public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition/exploration. The type of award an individual receives is based on what the individual accomplishes and the amount of time the individual spends on each category.

Regardless of an individual's background, anyone has the opportunity to earn the Congressional Award. Unlike many other awards, the Congressional Award does not set a minimum grade point average.

Missouri is one of the few lucky states that have a Congressional Award council. Each Congressman appoints two council members to help with more direct constituent engagement and outreach. Within each congressional office there is also a liaison to flag any issues there might be regarding an individual trying to work towards The Congressional Award.

Since its foundation, individuals participating in the Congressional Award program have completed over 7 million hours of public service, which has created a lasting impact for local communities. Missouri's 7th Congressional District has had nine individuals achieve the Gold medal. Currently there are seven individuals working towards a silver medal and one working towards a gold medal.

I encourage everyone who qualifies to participate in the Congressional Award to help our local community. If interested, more information can be found at http://congressionalaward.org/.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report," by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

January 19th, 2017

Missouri Senator Ron Richard’s “Capitol Report” 1/19/17

State lawmakers gathered in the House chamber Tuesday evening for the governor’s first State of the State address. The governor spoke for about 40 minutes, during which time he laid out his legislative priorities for 2017. At the top — enacting meaningful tort and labor reform and creating stable, well-paying jobs for our citizens. I am pleased to say bOTH CHAMBERS ARE ALREADY HARD AT WORK ADVANCING LEGISLATION THAT COMPLEMENTS THE GOVERNOR’S AGENDA.

THE Senate Committee on General Laws VOTED TO SEND TWO LABOR REFORM BILLS TO THE FLOOR FOR DEBATE: Senate Bill 19 will make Missouri the next Right to Work state, while Senate Bill 21 will enact Paycheck Protection. The House has moved even faster on Right to Work; earlier today, it overwhelming passed House Bill 91, which is identical to the Senate version. While Missouri’s future status as a Right to Work state is not yet a done deal, it certainly looks more promising than it has in a long time, and I hope to see a bill on the governor’s desk very soon.

IN ADDITION TO RIGHT TO WORK, THE GOVERNOR ALSO CALLED FOR AN END TO THE DISCRIMINATORY AND UNFAIR PRACTICES OF PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS (PLAS). MISSOURI Taxpayers deserve the best product for the best cost, but PLAs drive up the cost of construction by effectively excluding nonunion contractors and their skilled employees from building projects paid for by their own community’s tax dollars. Oftentimes, PLAs place unreasonable terms and conditions to limit fair competition. They are not equitable to all contractors, and they are a detriment to the free market. If signed into law, Senate Bill 182 would prohibit PLAs.

Of course, labor reform is just one part of the equation when it comes to promoting job growth and economic development. We also need to address our legal climate. During his speech, the governor talked about the need for serious tort reform, stating that “our judicial system is broken, and the trial lawyers have broken it…” On Tuesday, I presented Senate Bill 5 to the Committee on Government Reform. This legislation modifies several provisions relating to tort actions, such as unlawful merchandising practices, class actions, venue and products liability.

At its core, SB 5 is about making it more difficult for trial attorneys to bring forth frivolous lawsuits, which force Missouri businesses to waste valuable time and money defending meritless claims. Those costs eventually get passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices. By passing substantive tort reform, we can finally shed Missouri’s ranking as the “No. 1 judicial hellhole” in the country and become a state that is truly open for business.

As I have previously stated, our new governor’s determination to transform the way Missouri does business is a refreshing change after eight years of failed economic policies and stagnant job growth. This truly is a new era in Missouri. I support the governor’s proposals, and I look forward to working with his administration as we build a better, stronger Missouri.

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January 13th, 2017

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 1/13/17

In 2016 there were 135 law enforcement fatalities. According to the 2016 Law Enforcement Fatalities Report, that was a 10 percent increase from the previous year and the highest number of fatalities since 2011. Of the 135 officers that died, 64 of them were killed by gunfire with 21 of them being the result of an ambush-style attack.

Such statistics is a sobering reminder of the risk that law enforcement officials make to protect the safety of us all.

Earlier this year, news broke of a picture hanging in the U.S. Capitol depicting police officers as pigs. Police officers in my district brought it to my attention and I later brought attention to the issue during a GOP Conference meeting. My colleagues and I were outraged.

Each day our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line for their communities, sometimes walking into situations knowing little of what to expect. Hanging paintings of pigs in police uniforms in the U.S. Capitol, of all places, is shameful. Our law enforcement officers deserve our utmost respect.

January 9, 2017, marked National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. I thought it was appropriate to take this time to once again thank our law enforcement for the hard work that they do. I want the men and women in uniform to know that I support them and will do all that I can to make sure that they are treated with the respect that they deserve.

The national dialogue regarding law enforcement over the past few years has been disheartening. Officers have been talked about as if they are the problem rather than the solution. I refuse to accept this as the new normal.

Each morning law enforcement officers wake up, put on their uniform and say goodbye to their loved ones. They go to work each day not knowing what exactly the next call will be, who they will encounter or what they will face.

135 law enforcement fatalities are 135 too many. They each had families and dreams and they were willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of all of us. I encourage everyone to let an officer know you care about them and that you appreciate what they do in often challenging circumstances. I will continue to voice my support for both local and state efforts that support our law enforcement as well as support legislation at the federal level that supports our law enforcement. It’s the right thing to do and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do so every day.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Longand my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report,” by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

January 12th, 2017

Missouri Senator Ron Richard’s “Capitol Report 1/12/17”

ON MONDAY, JAN. 9, STATE LAWMAKERS AND STATEWIDE ELECTED OFFICIALS, MEMBERS OF MISSOURI’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION, OUR STATE SUPREME COURT JUDGES, A HOST OF MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM, AND THOUSANDS OF MISSOURIANS DESCENDED ON THE SOUTH LAWN OF OUR MAGNIFICENT CAPITOL FOR THE INAUGURAL FESTIVITIES.

SEN. RON RICHARD PRESIDES OVER THE INAUGURAL CEREMONY OF MISSOURI’S NEW GOVERNOR AND STATEWIDE OFFICE HOLDERS ON THE SOUTH STEPS OF THE MISSOURI CAPITOL ON MONDAY, JAN. 9.

AS SENATE PRESIDENT PRO TEM, IT WAS MY DISTINCT HONOR AND PRIVILEGE TO CALL A JOINT ASSEMBLY OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO ORDER AND PRESIDE OVER THE INAUGURAL CEREMONY. AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF THE UNITED STATES AND MISSOURI FLAGS, MISSOURI SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE PATRICIA BRECKENRIDGE ADMINISTERED THE OATH OF OFFICE TO THE SHOW-ME STATE’S 56TH GOVERNOR AND OUR NEWLY ELECTED STATEWIDE OFFICE HOLDERS.

EVEN THE CHILLY JANUARY WEATHER COULD NOT DIMINISH THE FEELING OF HOPE AND EXCITEMENT IN THE AIR AS THE GOVERNOR TOOK TO THE PODIUM TO DELIVER HIS INAUGURAL ADDRESS. HE GAVE AN INSPIRATIONAL SPEECH THAT SET THE TONE FOR HIS COMING YEARS IN MISSOURI’S HIGHEST OFFICE. I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING ALONGSIDE HIS ADMINISTRATION IN THE DAYS, WEEKS AND MONTHS AHEAD AS WE BUILD A BETTER, STRONGER MISSOURI.

CAPPING OFF THE DAY’S EVENTS WAS THE GOVERNOR’S BALL, WHICH WAS HELD IN THE CAPITOL ROTUNDA. It was a great evening, and I felt truly fortunate to have my family and so many friends and colleagues gathered together in celebration of this next chapter in our state’s history. Of course, all good parties must come to an end, and it was back to work on Tuesday.

Over 300 bills have been filed and are starting to make their way through the legislative process. The first measures were heard in their respective committees this week, with the most notable being two labor reform bills. Senate Bill 19 will make Missouri the next Right to Work state, while Senate Bill 21 will enact Paycheck Protection. The Senate majority caucus has stated its commitment to TRANSFORMING MISSOURI INTO A PRO-WORKER, PRO-TRANSPARENCY AND PRO-TAXPAYER ENVIRONMENT THIS SESSION, AND THESE MEASURES ARE A PART OF THAT LARGER PLAN.

AS A REMINDER, THE GOVERNOR WILL DELIVER HIS FIRST STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS ON TUESDAY EVENING, JAN. 17. DURING THE JOINT SESSION, HE WILL LAY OUT HIS LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES AND RELEASE HIS BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE UPCOMING FISCAL YEAR. YOU MAY FIND THE LIVE AUDIO OF THE SPEECH ON THE MISSOURI HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WEBSITE AT www.house.mo.gov.

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January 9th, 2017

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 1/9/16

It's a new Congress, and every single elected official in the House and Senate has a lot of work ahead of them in order to serve the families and communities they represent.

I wanted to make sure you knew that I've taken over as the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee. It's an incredibly important committee—tasked with doing everything we can to protect Americans—as well as eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in government agencies-and I'll be using my leadership role to keep Missouri safe and hold government accountable.

Make sure you don't miss a thing from the Homeland Security Committee. Follow us online for hearing updates, video, and breaking news:
Twitter  |  Facebook  |  YouTube  |  Medium  |

I'm also a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, because maintaining Missouri's leadership in America's defense and serving those who serve our nation is not just my job, it's my honor. Just last week, I joined the Committee's Chairman, Republican Senator John McCain, to question America's top cybersecurity officers and defend our men and woman in the intelligence community from damaging and undeserved disparagement.

WATCH NOW: Questioning Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

This week, I'll be leading a Senate hearing with Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio to keep up our bipartisan fight to protect kids from online sex trafficking. You'll be able to watch the hearing LIVE once it starts at: www.hsgac.senate.gov/subcommittees/investigations/hearings/backpagecoms-knowing-facilitation-of-online-sex-trafficking

There's a lot going on, and it's all important. Know that I'm fighting for you.

All the best,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

January 6th, 2017

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 01/06/17

On the eve of Hanukkah, the Obama administration abstained from voting on a United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlement construction. By not vetoing the resolution, the administration allowed the one-sided resolution to pass. Israel faces numerous security concerns from the instability in the Middle East, and the message that was sent from the United States only serves to weaken our relationship.

That’s why I voted in favor of a House Resolution that would reject the anti-Israel UN resolution that was passed in December. Since 1972 the United States has vetoed 42 anti-Israel UN resolutions. The House Resolution that was passed opposes the UN Security Council anti-Israel resolution, calls for a repeal of the resolution and highlights how the Obama administration went against longstanding U.S. policy that has continually protected Israel from one-sided UN resolutions. Finally, it warns that any future anti-Israel resolutions should be rejected.

The last 8 years have been challenging. I have watched the Obama administration sit on its hands as Israel continues to be bullied by the international community. I look forward to having a president who stands by Israel, our only democratic ally in the region, and sees it as a friend rather than a burden.

As Israel continues to be our strongest strategic, military and economic ally in the Middle East, the United States needs to remain on the right side of history and support our strongest ally. The United States must continually express its support for the people of Israel. I believe that on January 20, 2017, when President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office, Israel will finally have the friend and ally it deserves.

As the 115th Congress begins, I will continue to support legislation that strengthens our relationship with Israel. With a new Congress and a new administration, I am confident that Israel will once again see the United States as a strong ally it can count on.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong.  You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visitinghttps://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

January 5th, 2017

Missouri Senator Ron Richard’s “Capitol Report 01/05/17”

THE FIRST REGULAR SESSION OF THE 99TH MISSOURI GENERAL ASSEMBLY OFFICIALLY BEGAN AT NOON ON WEDNESDAY. THE HONORABLE PATRICIA BRECKENRIDGE, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE MISSOURI SUPREME COURT, WAS ON HAND TO SWEAR IN 12 RE-ELECTED SENATORS AND FIVE NEWLY ELECTED SENATORS. OUR NEW SENATORS BRING WITH THEM FRESH PERSPECTIVES AND IDEAS ON HOW TO TACKLE THE TOUGH ISSUES WE FACE, AND I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH EACH OF THEM.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE, WEDNESDAY WAS PARTICULARLY SIGNIFICANT FOR ME, AS I WAS SWORN IN FOR THE SECOND AND FINAL TIME AS PRESIDENT PRO TEM OF THE MISSOURI SENATE. I WAS HONORED TO HAVE MY LONGTIME FRIEND, JUDGE DAN SCOTT OF THE MISSOURI COURT OF APPEALS, SOUTHERN DISTRICT, ADMINISTER THE OATH OF OFFICE, WHILE MY WIFE, PATTY, HELD THE BIBLE. I WANT TO THANK MY SENATE COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE FOR THEIR CONTINUED SUPPORT AND FOR ENTRUSTING ME TO LEAD FOR ANOTHER TWO YEARS.

REFORM IS THE NAME OF THE GAME FOR THE 2017 SESSION — LABOR REFORM, TORT REFORM, REGULATORY REFORM AND EDUCATION REFORM. AFTER EIGHT YEARS OF BEING AT ODDS WITH THE GOVERNOR, WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE GIFT OF NEW LIFE. WITH OUR NEW GOVERNOR-ELECT, THE MISSOURI LEGISLATURE NOW HAS THE UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO TRANSFORM THE SHOW-ME STATE INTO A PRO-WORKER, PRO-TRANSPARENCY AND PRO-TAXPAYER ENVIRONMENT.

IN THE COMING WEEKS AND MONTHS, WE ARE GOING TO WORK ON CREATING JOBS, MORE JOB TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES AND A SMALLER, BETTER GOVERNMENT. WE ARE GOING TO PUSH LEGISLATION TO REFORM MISSOURI’S LEGAL CLIMATE SO THAT IT IS FAIR AND STRUCTURED TO ATTRACT, RATHER THAN DISCOURAGE, INVESTMENT IN OUR STATE. WE ARE ALSO GOING TO CUT HARMFUL RED TAPE AND WORK TO END GOVERNMENT OVERREACH.

IF WE CAN BRING ALL OF THESE ISSUES TOGETHER — ISSUES THAT WILL PROMOTE AND ENCOURAGE ECONOMIC GROWTH — WE WILL ACHIEVE THE “MISSOURI MIRACLE.” WE WILL BRING INVESTMENT BACK INTO OUR COMMUNITIES, AND WE WILL FINALLY BE ABLE TO MAKE MISSOURI A PRO-WORKER STATE, RIPE WITH HIGH-SKILLED MANUFACTURING JOBS.

WE CERTAINLY HAVE A LOT TO DO, BUT I AM CONFIDENT THAT BY THE END OF THIS SESSION, WE WILL HAVE PASSED LEGISLATION THAT IS GOING TO FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE THE WAY MISSOURI DOES BUSINESS. AS ALWAYS, IT CONTINUES TO BE A PRIVILEGE SERVING THE RESIDENTS OF THE 32ND SENATE DISTRICT. I will continue to keep you updated on legislative news as session progresses.

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January 3rd, 2017

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 01/03/17

As we open a new Congress today, there's one thing I want to make sure you know: I'm working for you every single day. And I'm going to keep fighting as hard as I know how to achieve concrete results for Missourians, because it matters.

It matters when veterans suddenly have improved access to healthcare because of expanded access to VA services.

It matters when children are pulled out of the clutches of trafficking because of increased scrutiny of online business practices.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYOBjxhvzyA&feature=youtu.be 

It matters when our brave men and women in uniform can seek help after sexual assault, without fear of retaliation, because elected officials from across the aisle said, "Enough."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVkcVYqJ5NM&feature=youtu.be 

And it matters when my office can work with a Missouri family whose father has been mistreated by the VA system, and it leads to a congressional investigation and new legislation that could help WWII veterans across the country.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0CXEv0BYlM&feature=youtu.be 

Those are just a few of the many successes we had in 2016—and I'm ready for more.

See more highlights of Missouri's 2016 victories with my 16 in '16 review.

Fighting for Missourians is the honor of a lifetime, and as we hit the ground running in 2017, I wanted you to hear directly from me that I'll be on your side every step of the way.

Hello, 2017. Let's get down to work.

All the best,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

December 30th, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 12/30/16

As 2016 comes to a close, a new era begins. On January 3rd a new Congress will be sworn in. Our nation's 115th Congress begins on that day and a new presidential administration will take office January 20. With Republicans controlling the House, Senate and now the White House, a unified Republican government will set an aggressive conservative agenda.

As President-elect Donald Trump has said, some of his top priorities would be our health care system and immigration.

Ever since the Affordable Care Act was passed in March of 2010, it has continually let the American people down. With premiums continuing to rise, hardworking Americans are being hit the hardest. In late October, the Show-Me Institute released a study that showed premiums rising for rural Missourians the most. With Missouri’s 7th Congressional District being predominately rural, this will hurt my constituents most.

Republicans will keep their promise and repeal this disastrous law. First we will start with the repeal resolution. The repeal resolution is a budget resolution that will allow for a repeal and stable transition between the old and new law. Within the repeal resolution will be reconciliation instructions. Reconciliation instructions allow for certain committees to produce legislation that can later be passed by a simple majority in the Senate.

Both the Senate and the House must pass the repeal resolution in order to move forward to the second step which would be reconciliation process.

The new law will reflect what Republicans believe is missing in the current law: more choices, more control and lower costs.

Though health care will be an important part of Republican's agenda in the 115th Congress, immigration will be as well. Ever since I became a Congressman the debate on immigration has continued to become more polarized. With our national security at risk, I have no doubt that President-elect Donald Trump will keep his promise and do all he can to protect our borders and country.

For the past eight years we have failed to enforce our immigration laws. The current administration has taken it upon itself to bypass Congress and use executive actions to set immigration policy. Starting in January, things will change. We will no longer use power of the pen to get things done. We will bring about reform through the legislative process with the president signing bills into law.

Though many legislative goals were accomplished during the 114th Congress like the 21st Century Cures Act, I know the 115thCongress with the House, Senate and White House being controlled by Republicans will be even better. It’s time to make America great again.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong.  You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visitinghttps://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

December 23rd, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 12/23/16

At times congress is portrayed as Republican v. Democrat, but even in a partisan environment we can still find areas of agreement to advance important legislation. During the 114th Congress my colleagues and I have passed several transformative bills that will go on to help millions of people. I worked hard to make sure that the people of Missouri’s 7th Congressional District and the American people got the best deal possible.

Two of the most recent examples of this would be the 21st Century Cures Act and the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. Both of these bills had overwhelming bipartisan support.

The 21st Century Cures Act, which was led by Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) of the Energy and Commerce Committee, is a bill that will impact medical research for many years to come by addressing the 10,000 unknown diseases, with 7,000 of those unknown diseases being classified as rare.

Within this bill is a provision of mine that would allow further communication between drug manufacturers and health care professionals. After three years of bipartisan work on this bill, it was finally signed into law this December. This bill was very personal to me because I know what it’s like to have a loved one affected by a heartbreaking disease.

The WIIN Act, which was also signed into law this December,is a comprehensive water resources infrastructure bill that includes language that both Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and I worked on that involved the Table Rock Lake Shoreline Management Plan. After talking with constituents, it was clear to me that their voices weren’t being heard and something needed to be done. The language added within the bill would halt the plan by two years, lift the moratorium on issuing permits for new and existing docks and extend the public comment period.

The 114th Congress also worked hard to ensure our manufacturers have a level playing field to compete. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, which was passed in December of 2015, strengthened the enforcement of our trade laws and set parameters to future trade deals that ensure our importation laws will not be changed. This legislation included Customs and Border Protection tariff evasion policy changes that I’ve been fighting for ever since I came to Congress.

Though 114th Congress has come to an end, I look forward to the work that my colleagues and I can accomplish in the 115th Congress. We’ve had a successful two years, and I know the next two can be even better.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong.  You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

December 16th, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 12/16/16

January 20, 2017, will mark a new era for energy. For the first time in 8 years, we will have a pro-energy president who believes in an all-of-the-above approach to solving some of the energy challenges we are facing in the 21st century.

Though advances in technology have increased U.S. oil and gas production, we are still not a country that is utilizing all of its potential. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Energy and Power Subcommittee, I have seen firsthand the importance of an all-of-the-above approach to energy independence. Unfortunately, we have relied too much on buying oil from other countries than relying on our own natural resources.

The Keystone XL Pipeline and Dakota Access Pipeline are recent examples of our president's policies hindering energy and job growth.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy, the Keystone XL Pipeline would have created 20,000 manufacturing and construction jobs, and for Missouri specifically, those numbers would have been 576 jobs by 2015 and 1,015 jobs by 2020. Along with creating jobs, the pipeline would have also increased personal income by $6.5 billion for American workers during the span of the project.

Even after being aware of the benefits and knowing that there would be little to no effect on carbon dioxide emissions, the President was swayed by private interests and politics rather than doing what was right.

On November 18, 2016, the Obama administration released its five-year plan for offshore oil and natural gas lease sales. It once again proved that the President would rather enact last minute rules and regulations than go through Congress. This plan listed the Arctic as off limits for both oil and natural gas lease sales.

With the Arctic being resource-rich, it's unacceptable to cut off any chance of exploring economic possibilities that could increase jobs and advance our goal of energy independence.

I will continue to fight for an all-of-the-above approach to energy. With President-elect Donald Trump taking office in January, I know the United States will once again be the pro-energy and job growth country it once was.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

December 16th, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 12/15/16

That's the question Americans should always be asking their members of Congress—who are you fighting for?

For the record, here's who I'm fighting for...

Billy Hull. He's a retired coal miner with nearly 30 years working at the Peabody Coal Power Mine near Montrose, Missouri, who wrote me a letter earlier this year:

"My Wife and I, married 59 years fall under the Patriot Coal Companies Voluntary Employees Beneficial Association (VEBA.). My wife Earlene is a 2 time cancer survivor and I suffered a stroke in 2012. If we lose our benefits it will be hard for us to afford our medicine cost. Due to the bankruptcy of both Peabody Coal Co. and the Patriot Coal Company the Patriot VEBA fund will be exhausted in late 2016 leaving us without pension and healthcare benefits..."

Mr. Hull isn't alone. He's one of thousands of retired coal miners and their widows whose pensions and healthcare—promised to them decades ago—are in jeopardy. They were made a promise and, through no fault of their own, are about to have the rug pulled out from under them. A handful of my colleagues and I have been trying to fix this crisis for months, with our bipartisan Miners Protection Act. And I figured we'd have some big-time help from President-elect Donald Trump, who's vowed to help these miners.

But instead of seizing the last chance Congress had to fix the problem this year, U.S. House Republicans put a temporary bandage on these miners' benefits and then left town for their Christmas vacations. Meanwhile, retired miners, widows, and their families across Missouri are left in limbo. I don't know who these U.S. House Republicans are fighting for, but it's not working Americans.

Our own Harry Truman—whose Senate seat I hold today—made a promise to these coal miners when he was President. I'm fighting to keep his promise. And I'm fighting for Missouri's working families.

Watch my 5-minute speech on the Senate Floor and help me make sure Missouri's retired miners and their widows are protected by sharing on Facebook and Twitter.

All the best,

Claire

P.S. This debate reminds me of a fight in Congress exactly two years ago. Back then, Congress approved a sprawling, $1 trillion spending package—and tucked into that "omnibus" bill was a provision allowing for deep cuts to retiree benefits for 32,000 Missourians participating in the Central States Pension Plan. I was the only member of Missouri's Congressional delegation to vote against it, and today I'm backing legislation to undo that law. Then and now, I'm fighting for Missouri's working families.

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December 9th, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 12/9/16

In November, I voted in favor of making sure that the American people remain protected from Iran’s threatening behavior by voting for the reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act. Following the House’s vote, the Senate also voted in favor of reauthorizing the sanctions. Both the House and the Senate had overwhelming bipartisan support for this bill.

On a regular basis I receive calls from constituents who share their concerns about Washington’s weak response towards Iran.

With the Obama administration's Iran Nuclear deal, it makes reauthorizing these sanctions even more important.

This bill provides the authority to “snap-back” sanctions on Iran’s energy industry if they rush toward a nuclear weapon, it allows the legislative branch to have the final say on when Iran would get permanent sanctions relief and it extends the Iran Sanctions Act for another 10 years.

Though the bill does not affect the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, it allows us to make sure that Iran is being held accountable for their actions. That includes any human rights abuses, state sponsored terrorism or failing to hold up their end of the deal regarding their nuclear weapons program that was agreed to during the JCPOA negations.

Failing to hold up their end of the deal would allow the United States to “snap-back” the sanctions that were once in place before the disastrous JCPOA deal.

If the president vetoes this bill, the sanctions currently in place would expire at the end of the year. This would send a message to the world that the United States condones the immoral behavior of Iran in the Middle East as well as further the damage already done by the Obama administration’s deal.

With a new Congress and new administration, reauthorizing these sanctions will be a fresh start for President-elect Donald Trump to combat Iran’s belligerent actions that have continued to threaten national security all across the world.

To put it simply, reauthorizing these sanctions will be an important tool to keep the Iran regime in check.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

December 8th, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 12/8/16

I'm going to get to the bottom of this.

According to a Washington Post exposé published this week, the Pentagon buried a report that exposed $125 billion of waste in their budget:

"Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results."

If true, this is unacceptable—and today I told the Department of Defense that I want a full copy of this study, along with any background data.

The American people deserve to know if—while some in Congress were busy debating cuts to vital services, furloughing employees, and threatening working peoples' pensions—the Department of Defense knew it could be saving the American people billions and billions of dollars... and did nothing.

I'm going to get to the bottom of this, you have my word.

Claire

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December 6th, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 12/6/16

I've spent years making sure that Missouri's manufacturers can compete on a level playing field... which is why I'm so disappointed that U.S. House Republicans are trying to send American tax dollars abroad, instead of investing here at home.

READ my letter to House and Senate Leadership on the importance of #BuyAmerica

Under a bipartisan #BuyAmerica provision—which was passed by the Senate in a water infrastructure bill, and supported by Senate Republicans and President-elect Trump—taxpayer funded infrastructure projects would employ American workers and use American iron and steel, boosting American jobs and supporting American business.

But U.S. House Republicans are pushing to remove those protections, allowing foreign companies to get government business instead.
Claires_Newsletter_photo_120616.jpg
I can't for the life of me figure out why the U.S. House refuses to get onboard and buy and hire American—but I'm fighting to restore these provisions and pass them into law.

Thank you,

Claire

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December 2nd, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 12/2/16

On November 25th, news broke that Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro had died. While many Cuban Americans rejoiced about the death of a man who had caused them and many of their loved one’s pain, President Obama responded with one of the most deplorable responses the Leader of the Free World could give.

Growing up during the time Fidel Castro took power, I saw from the start the devastating effects his dictatorship had on the Cuban people. For further edification one only has to speak to some of my colleagues who were forced to flee his rule with their families as youngsters.

Our neighbor to the north, Canada, also gave a disgraceful response regarding the death of Fidel Castro. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went a step further to outright praise the Cuban dictator. He said that even his “detractors” understood his “dedication and love for the Cuban people,” as well as saying that he made “significant improvements to the education and health care.” 

I for one was not mourning Fidel Castro’s death. This man and the Castro regime have been constant human rights violators prohibiting free speech, free press and free and fair elections. They are also guilty of jailing, beating and executing many who speak out against them. 

President Obama was right when he said the Cuban people have a “friend and partner in the United States.” But that friend and partner shouldn't be one that continues to turn their backs on a country that oppresses its people. The United States needs to be a friend and partner who stands up to a dictatorship that has deprived its people, for far too long, basic human rights.

As President-elect Donald Trump said, “If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate the deal.”  That is true leadership from a man who understands that you don’t negotiate with dictators, like Fidel Castro’s brother, Raul Castro, who is the current “president” of Cuba appointed by Fidel Castro himself. 

The Cuban people deserve a chance to live in a democracy and all the freedoms that come with that. They have been denied all of those things for far too long.
Though the death of Fidel Castro was celebrated by many, it does not mean freedom for the Cuban people. Sadly, there is still much more work that needs to be done.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

December 2nd, 2016

2016 Small Business Award Finalists Named

Previous Small Business of the Year award recipients have announced the top three finalists for the 2016 award. Small businesses make up a huge part of every community’s economy.  The same is true for Carthage, and the Chamber of Commerce will thank one exceptional small business in January when they present the Small Business of the Year Award. 

The Small Business of the Year Award will be presented to a local business that has presented a positive image and has been a vibrant entity within the Carthage business community. The recipient must be a Chamber member in good standing and have fewer than 50 employees. This year’s finalists are Boomer BBQ and Catering, Fair Acres Family YMCA, and The Lunch Boxtruck. Congratulations and thank you for helping make Carthage great.

For further information about the Carthage Chamber or upcoming Chamber events, contact the Chamber office at 358-2373.

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November 28th, 2016

Humanitarian of the Year Award Nominations due by December 31

Submit Nomination To:  Humanitarian Award c/o McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation, P.O. Box 734 or 2427 Fairlawn Drive, Carthage, MO  64836.   If you have any questions, please call Beth Simmons at 417-313-5048 or you may email completed form to: beth.simmons@mbhfoundation.com

Deadline:   December 31, 2016

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November 25th, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 11/25/16

On May 22, 2015, I cosponsored a piece of legislation that I knew would have a huge impact not only on Missouri’s 7th Congressional District, but on medical research for many years to come by taking aim at the thousands of rare disease that still do not have cures. This bill is known as the 21st Century Cures Act.

This piece of legislation passed the House on July 10, 2015, with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The 21st Century Cures Act would have numerous positive impacts on society, some of those being: removing barriers that would allow an increase in research collaboration, identifying diseases earlier through more personalized medicine, modernizing clinical trials, increasing incentives for those who develop drugs for rare diseases and creating jobs at home. Finally, it would reduce the deficit by over $500 million.

This bill won’t just help those affected by diseases, but the American public as a whole. In the early 1950s polio was having a significant impact in America, infecting more than 20,000 people and killing 3,000 people in a single year. Soon after, a vaccine was found for polio that essentially eliminated the disease. Estimates have shown that the United States saved $800 billion since finding a cure.

That’s just one instance of a vaccine not only helping those infected by the disease, but those not affected as well.

This legislation didn’t come from Washington insiders, it came from talking with people all across the country and hearing stories from people who have had loved ones affected by rare diseases that still don’t have a cure. This bill would cut through all of the bureaucratic red tape and allow for real innovation.

21st Century Cures has the potential to have a significant impact on the United States and could save millions of lives.
My hope is that this bill will be taken up by the Senate, passed and on the president’s desk by the end of this session.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

November 24th, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 11/24/16

As families across Missouri gather around their tables today to give thanks, I wanted to take a moment to thank you. Being a Senator from the Show-me State is the greatest honor, and I take very seriously the responsibility Missourians have entrusted in me.

I wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and I look forward to serving Missouri in the years to come.

All the best,

Claire

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November 18th, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report” 11/18/16

Recently I was saddened to learn a buddy of mine, who I competed against regularly in bass fishing tournaments several years ago, had to have his leg amputated due to diabetes which had been diagnosed in June of 2000. He hadn't realized he had cut his foot, which later became infected. When the infection continued to spread, despite steps taken to stop the spreading, his doctor had no choice but to amputate his leg.

As of 2012, the American Diabetes Association reported that 9.3 percent of Americans have diabetes, which is over 29 million people, and each year 1.4 million people will be diagnosed. According to the Center for Disease Control, that percentage is much higher for people in southwest Missouri. Only one of the 10 counties in Missouri's 7th Congressional District is below the national average.

November marks National Diabetes Awareness month and it's my hope that during this month I not only raise awareness, but I also make sure Congress does the same. Diabetes is a serious condition that can't be taken lightly.

Just recently, the Joplin Globe reported on a story about a man who had been dealing with diabetes for 16 years. He had a scratch on his ankle that didn't seem to be going away. As time passed, it only grew worse. Finally, he went to Mercy Hyperbaric and Wound Care in Joplin to see if they could do anything. After six weeks of hyperbaric treatments, his wound was completely gone. Without this treatment, the end result might have been much different, possibly requiring the amputation of his foot. Diabetes has a number of additional effects on the body that need to be monitored.

In August I had the opportunity to talk with members of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, an organization dedicated to funding type 1 diabetes research. Additionally, I spoke with constituents and their families who shared their stories about living with type 1 diabetes. The stories once again confirmed to me that fighting for this cause, whether it be type 1 or type 2 diabetes, is so important.

Diabetes still remains the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Diabetes Association, as of 2013, the cost of diabetes in the United States reached $245 billion. If you break it down even further, those with diabetes end up paying 2.3 times more on medical expenditures than those who are not diagnosed with diabetes.

This condition deserves far more attention than just one month of bringing awareness to the issue. As a Congressman, I will continue to stay committed to holding both myself and my colleagues accountable to making sure this issue gets the attention it deserves. I will also continue to travel all across Missouri's 7th District listening to stories and finding out new ways I can help those affected by this condition.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

November 18th, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 11/17/16

Yesterday, just days after Donald Trump was elected with a promise to "drain the swamp," Republican leadership in the U.S. House held a closed-door meeting to try to bring back congressional earmarks.

Earmarks—provisions that send your tax dollars to Washington for politicians' pet projects—were temporarily banned in 2011 after I worked with colleagues in both parties to stop them. Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and I are still working today to pass our bipartisan Earmark Elimination Act, which would make that ban permanent.

Read my message to House GOP on Medium

I've always opposed earmarks. I've never requested an earmark.
And I won't let us go backwards.

That's why I called on House Leadership and our Missouri delegation to reject yesterday's vote. And while I was glad to see Speaker Ryan step up at the last minute to stop the vote, that earmark ban was almost overturned. Behind closed doors. Without any public debate. This fight isn't over. The Speaker has promised to revisit the issue early next year but I can't for the life of me figure out why they thought it was a good idea to begin with.

READ: Kansas City Star: ‘Drain the swamp?' Claire McCaskill already has her doubts

Congress is a more accountable and transparent institution for having gotten rid of earmarks—and the U.S. House leadership's attempt yesterday to bring them back without public discussion or a vote is unacceptable.

I have made rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse a cornerstone of my work in the Senate, and I'm not giving up now.

Learn more about my fight to improve government accountability and transparency at mccaskill.senate.gov/spending.

All the best,

Claire

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November 11th, 2016

U.S. Representative Billy Long’s “Short Report” 11/11/16

Just because we can never adequately pay our debt of gratitude to our Veteran heroes doesn't mean we shouldn't try. This November 11 we celebrate Veterans Day to honor the brave men and women who have served to defend our country. It is a time honored tradition that traces its roots to World War I.
November 11 is a significant day because on November 11, 1918, World War I officially ended. However, Congress didn't officially recognize the end of World War I until June 4, 1926. The original purpose of Veterans Day was to allow for a celebration involving parades and public meetings.

As time passed, Armistice Day turned into Veterans Day. On May 13, 1938, an Act in Congress was approved that made November 11 of each year a legal holiday that was for the purpose of celebrating world peace and veterans of World War I. As more time passed, on June 1, 1954, November 11 finally became known as Veterans Day. This day would not just recognize veterans in World War I, but all veterans. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed H.R. 7786 that officially changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

Veterans Day isn't just another day off. It's a day to honor those who have served and thank them for their service. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice, while some came back with injuries sustained during their time in the military.

As a Congressman, I am grateful for the hard work and sacrifice of the men and women who served our country and their families. I have consistently supported legislation that holds our government accountable to all veterans.

Just as recently as 2015 I cosponsored a piece of legislation that would allow veterans who live 40 miles from a Veterans Affairs (VA) health care facility to go to non-VA facilities for their health care. In 2016, I voted in favor of legislation that would ensure that veterans are cared for at VA hospitals and hold the VA accountable for its actions.

Those are just a few of the most recent examples of making sure that we are holding up our end of the deal for veterans. Even though Veterans Day is one day a year, it's important that we not only thank them on November 11, but each and every day.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long andmyTwitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

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October 31st, 2016

Sign up NOW for the 2016 Carthage Christmas Parade

It is time once again to make plans for the Carthage Christmas Parade.  Carthage SkillsUSA would like to invite you to join us for the 44
th annual Carthage Christmas Parade. The Carthage Christmas Parade will be held Monday, December 5, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. The theme this year is “Lights,
Camera, Action, Christmas!”

SkillsUSA is a youth organization, made up of high school students who are enrolled in classes at the Carthage Technical Center. These classes cover a
wide range of interests such as Health Sciences, Robotics, Multi-Media, Computer Maintenance, Carpentry, Drafting, Fire Science, Criminal Justice
and Precision Machining. Our students and advisors know it is important to give back to the community that has been so good to them. With that
thought in mind, we are proud to sponsor this year’s parade. SkillsUSA has been part of the Carthage Christmas Parade since the beginning. As it
states in the SkillsUSA creed, “We believe in the dignity of hard work and the American way of life.” The Christmas parade has been a long standing
tradition in Carthage and the Carthage SkillsUSA Chapter is proud to be part of this event.

The parade will follow the same route as in years past. The route will originate at the corner of Chestnut and Main (in front of the First Christian Church). Proceed north on Main, circle the beautiful Carthage Square, then head back south on Grant street to end at Chestnut and Grant (tennis courts behind the Junior High School). The route encompasses a distance of approximately one mile.

Trophies will be awarded to first place winners in each category IMMEDIATELY following the parade on the steps of the First Christian Church (parade starting point). As we have done in the past, we will also present trophies for Mayor’s Choice, Director's Choice, and Best Use of Lights. Reminder – your entry must be decorated for the season. Judging WILL NOT take place before the parade but it will occur somewhere around the Carthage square.

Reminders;

Entry fee for all businesses and/or commercial entries will be $30 dollars. Thank you for your support.

As a safety precaution, the Carthage Police Department has ruled that “treat” items MAY NOT be tossed from moving units to spectators along the parade route. Additional participants walking beside your unit may HAND OUT candy or gifts. PLEASE observe this safety measure and help prevent children from darting into the path of moving parade units. By not following this instruction we may be forced to ban the distribution of candy at future parades.

The Carthage Fire Department and SkillsUSA will provide us with a "real" Santa as the parade finale. We ask that you portray Mrs.
Santa, the elves, Frosty, Wise Men, Shepherds, etc. instead. Please allow us only one Santa.

We are excited about the 2016 Carthage Christmas Parade ~~ "Lights, Camera, Action, Christmas!” ~~ and ask you to complete the enclosed entry form and return as soon as possible. Entry Deadline is Wednesday, November 16, 2016. If you would like to enter electronically please email me at the address below and I will send you and entry form via email. 

If you have questions, please use the contact information listed below. We hope you can participate by “creating” a special Christmas memory. You will receive a confirmation letter the week following Thanksgiving indicating your place in the line-up along with any additional information. Also, if Carthage R-9 Schools are closed due to inclement weather on the day of the parade, the parade will be postponed one week.

Sincerely,

Mark Sponaugle, SkillsUSA Advisor

Email sponauglem@carthagetigers.org

School Phone 417-359-7026
Home Phone 417-358-8863
Fax 417-359-7098

Carthage Technical Center ~ South 
1100 East Airport Drive, Carthage, MO

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October 28th, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report 10/28/16”

Each year I have the honor of proposing a slate of names of men and women of Missouri’s 7th Congressional District who I think would be a great asset to one of the five United States Military Academies: The U.S. Military Academy, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, Merchant Marine Academy and Coast Guard Academy. However, this process can be confusing.

First, if either a man or women wants to be interviewed for the process, he or she must first visit their Representative’s or Senator’s website and visit the section where it explains the requirements as well as the process to apply for academy nominations. Though each office has their own specific deadlines, the military academies each have their own deadlines as well. That’s important to note when wanting to apply.

Each applicant must be at least 17 years of age by July 1 of the year of admission, but still not have passed their 23rd birthday. The applicant must also be a United States citizen, unmarried, not pregnant and have no legal obligation to support children or other dependents.

If you are eligible, then you may apply.

Though the deadline this year has passed, which was October 14, I encourage individuals to prepare and start the application process early.

If interested, an applicant must contact my office in Springfield to ask to receive the application packet for the process or download it online and print it off. Once receiving the packet, the applicant would fill it out and return it to the office by the application deadline.

Each applicant will be interviewed by a board I convene of local Missouri 7 Congressional District community leaders and from there I will decide who I would like to submit as part of my slate to each of the academies. That is usually done by the end of December.

During the time between the interviews and the submitting of slates, that is where the process can be a little confusing for the applicants. Each Congressman is allowed 5 students per academy. That includes an entering freshman and a leaving senior. Though I submit a slate of up to 10 individuals that does not mean each is nominated. The academy will choose a nominee based on the slate I have submitted.

The process is both competitive and sometimes confusing, but those who are nominated have the opportunity to be part of some of the most prestigious post-secondary institutions in the world.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Longand my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

October 22nd, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 10/22/16

Crumbling infrastructure is beneath us. Literally.

Whether you're on your way to work, school, or the grocery store, deteriorating and congested roads and bridges impact us every day. That is why I'm glad to tell you that because of legislation I championed in Congress, Missouri is putting $73 million to work for infrastructure improvements across the state. And the best part? The money is being pulled from previously funded, political pet projects that I helped ban—making sure that your taxpayer dollars are really and truly serving you.

KY3: McCaskill Frees Up Money for Missouri Roads

To see how these funds will be used in your community, click one of the following links:
Central Missouri
Kansas City area
Northeast Missouri
Southeast Missouri
Southwest Missouri
St. Louis area
Learn more about my efforts to cut wasteful government spending at www.mccaskill.senate.gov/spending.

All the best,

Claire

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October 21st, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report 10/21/16”

This summer, the Supreme Court of the United States heard United States v. Texas. This case involved the executive actions President Obama took on immigration policy that was later challenged by 26 states, including Texas.

In 2014, Obama expanded his executive actions on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and added a new program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). These programs would have allowed almost 4 million additional undocumented immigrants deportation relief as well as work permits.

With both the U.S. District Court, based in Brownsville, Texas, and the Fifth Circuit Court, they both said that the administration’s request to start implementing the expansion of DACA and implementation of DACA would not be granted. This case later went on to the Supreme Court of the United States, where there was a 4-4 decision. With the decision being a tie, that meant that the lower court’s decision would be upheld.

The Obama administration once again, after the Supreme Court decision this summer, tried to have the case reheard. In October of this year the Supreme Court denied that request.

I applaud the Supreme Court for their decision this summer and for denying the administration’s request to have this case reheard.

We live in a country of laws, not executive actions.

As a Congressman, my main concern is the people of the 7th District of Missouri and their safety. We can’t continue to have the executive branch sidestep the legislative branch by using executive actions. Congress makes the laws, not the other way around.

By the executive branch taking these egregious actions, this only hurts the chances of immigration reform passing and creates distrust between the American people and the government.

I believe we need immigration reform, but allowing these executive actions to stand could set a dangerous precedent and establish an immigration system that does not secure the border and protect the American people.

Securing the border must take place first, but the president doesn’t seem to understand that.

My hope is that eventually the executive actions will be found unconstitutional. We can’t continue to let the executive branch make the laws. A message needs to be sent to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and that message is that Congress will be the ones that take action.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Longand my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

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October 19th, 2016

Golden Key Award Nominations now OPEN

The Chamber of Commerce will recognize four outstanding Carthage teachers with Golden Key Awards at their Annual Banquet in January.  These awards applaud educators who have made significant contributions to their profession.  The community is invited to nominate teachers, administrators, and other staff for these awards.

Awards are given in four categories:
• Early Childhood – Third grade (EC-3)
• Fourth – Sixth grades (4-6)
• Seventh – Eighth grades (7-8)
• Ninth – Twelfth grades (9-12)

The most important consideration for selection of Golden Key Award winners is the nominee’s ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to reach their full potential through the educational process.

Nominees must be a certified teacher, administrator, or other certified staff and instruct at any grade level on a daily basis.  Nominees must be teaching or administering during the current school year in a public or private school within the Carthage community.  Past recipients are ineligible for nomination.

Nomination forms can be downloaded here or are available by contacting the Chamber office.  Nominations must be received by 4:00 p.m. Monday, November 28 to be considered. For further information about the Carthage Chamber or upcoming Chamber events, contact the Chamber office at 358-2373.

October 17th, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 10/7/16

I have another update for you. Just last night, the CEO of Backpage was arrested in Texas for child pimping and other charges.

As law enforcement officials do their job, I'm going to continue fighting for the children who are victimized by online sex trafficking and complete our longstanding investigation into Backpage's business practices.

Read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's update on my Senate investigation

Thank you for being a part of this. If you suspect a child has been trafficked, call 1-800-843-5678 or visit cybertipline.com.
________________________________________
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Last month I told you about our big win in the fight to protect kids from online sex trafficking.

Well if you can believe it, I've got even bigger news for you now.

After the CEO of Backpage — the market leader in commercial-sex advertising — failed to obey a legal subpoena from my bipartisan Senate investigation into online sex trafficking, the company fought our contempt charges all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And this month, the Supreme Court sided with our investigation.

WATCH NOW: Speaking with KTVI about Backpage

Backpage should have been cooperating with us from the beginning, but instead the company has fought our efforts at every step. Backpage now has to hand over documents — and I'm looking forward to discovering what, if anything, it is doing to protect our kids from online sex trafficking.

Learn more about my bipartisan investigation in Backpage's business practices at www.mccaskill.senate.gov/violence.

Thank you,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

October 15th, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 10/15/16

Protecting Missouri's seniors and retirees is one of my biggest priorities. As the leading Democrat on the Senate Special Committee on Aging, I fight every day to make sure that our loved ones are protected from scams, abusive business practices, and government missteps.

That's why—after working closely with the Social Security Administration and city officials—I was glad that I was able to help 70 workers at St. Louis' Lambert Airport keep their Social Security benefits after these employees were suddenly made ineligible last Spring.

WATCH NOW: Airport Police Will Keep Benefits after Leaders Convene in D.C.

This broken promise to Missouri workers was simply unacceptable, which is why I wrote to the Acting Commissioner of Social Security and convened a meeting of all stakeholders on behalf of these men and women:

The agreement we reached with the Social Security Administration is retroactive for current workers, and will protect all future hires too.

I'm proud of this effort, just like I'm proud of Missouri's workforce.
To learn more about my efforts to protect our Show-Me State seniors, visit www. mccaskill.senate.gov/seniors.

All the best,

Claire

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October 14th, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report 10/14/16”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month is a reminder of the many lives lost to this scourge of a disease. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2016 they estimated that there will be 246,660 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women and in the same year, 40,450 women will die from breast cancer. For men, the numbers are much lower, but still alarming. In 2016 they estimated there will be 2,600 new cases of breast cancer for men and that 440 men will die from breast cancer in the same year.

1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer, whereas for men it’s 1 in 30.

However, there is good news. In 2000, breast cancer started decreasing among women. Between 2002 and 2003 it dropped by 7 percent. As for men, the rate of breast cancer has been essentially the same over the last 30 years.

As a Congressman, I have done all that I can to make sure that I and other elected officials continue to put forth legislation that helps reduce cancer, but more specifically breast cancer.

This legislative session I cosponsored a bill, “Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2015,” that would direct the president to establish the Commission to Accelerate the End of Breast Cancer. This commission would be responsible for several different tasks: looking for opportunities in both the private sector and government that would work to end breast cancer, propose opportunities based on their findings to prevent breast cancer and finally, ensure that their efforts are not efforts that are already taking place or have in the past.

Even before this legislative session, I worked to raise awareness for breast cancer as well as cosponsored efforts that would help raise money for the cause.

In 2011, I supported a bill that allowed the U.S. Postal Service, for 4 years, to issue a charity stamp that would raise money for breast cancer research.

This important bill was signed into law.

Though we have hit a few bumps in the road, it doesn’t mean I won’t continue to fight for a cure and legislation that could find or fund that cure. Too many lives and people are affected by this disease to just sit back and ignore it.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visitinghttps://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

October 7th, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report 10/07/16”

40 years ago, 3 years after the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, the Hyde Amendment was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. It outraged me in 1973 as a high school senior to think you could legally stop a beating heart and it still does today.

September 30, marked the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment. This amendment was passed in 1976 to prevent taxpayer money from funding most abortions under certain government funded programs. As expected, the Hyde amendment caused controversy, and was later taken up by the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court upheld the Hyde Amendment with a 5-4 decision.

Though abortion tends to be a hot topic, over the years, through different polling, Americans have continually supported not having taxpayer money fund abortions.

According to the Lozier Institute, more than 2 million lives have been spared because of this amendment. The research also shows that this amendment is one of the most significant factors in decreasing abortions. According to a Marist poll, even among individuals who support abortion, 45 percent of them agree that taxpayer money should not be funding abortions.

The Hyde Amendment does much more than just save taxpayers money from funding something they might not morally believe in, this amendment saves lives.

When the government doesn’t incentivize abortion, abortions are less likely to happen and more lives are saved because of it.

Though the Hyde Amendment is crucial in reducing abortions, it still doesn’t go far enough.

Just as recently as 2015 I cosponsored a bill, H.R. 36, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” that would prohibit any abortions performed after 20 weeks of conception, except in the case of rape or incest. Another piece of legislation I supported was H.R. 7, “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015.” This piece of legislation would prevent federal funds from being used to cover abortions under the Affordable Care Act.

The House approved both of these measures with my support. Sadly, neither one of these bills made it past the U.S. Senate.

Even though these bills are stalled in the Senate, I will continue to support all legislation that helps to decrease abortions and saves lives.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visitinghttps://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

October 6th, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 10/6/16

1,067 The # of Missourians who died of drug overdoses in 2014.
6 The # of times the Missouri State House has failed to take action on the opioid crisis since 2007.

Numbers speak for themselves. More prescription opioids are sold in Missouri than any other Midwestern state, and we have the 7th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the country. In 2010, more than 13,000 Missourians were hospitalized for opioid use.

Get more facts on Missouri's opioid crisis: http://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/imo/media/image/opioid-infographic.png

But despite these facts, our state legislature has refused to implement a statewide prescription drug monitoring program—a commonsense measure that every other state in the country has adopted.

In the absence of action from Jefferson City, I've been fighting to make sure Missouri communities are getting the help they need:

• I recently launched an opioids information and resource page to help Missourians find nearby treatment centers, and to provide healthcare providers and advocates with information on monitoring programs

• I added language to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to ensure regional monitoring programs, like those found in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, have access to federal resources normally reserved for state governments

• I toured the state with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who was appointed by President Obama to lead government efforts on heroin and opioid abuse in America

• And I've held hearings and townhalls with law enforcement, medical professionals, and Missouri families affected by the crisis.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nssuFp9b2Mw&feature=youtu.be

For more information on opioid addiction or abuse, please visit www.mccaskill.senate.gov/opioids.
Missouri communities are shouldering an unnecessary burden because of state inaction, but I won't let them shoulder it alone.

All the best,

Claire

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October 1st, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 10/1/16

If there's one thing I know for sure about Missouri manufacturers, it's this — when they compete on a level playing field, they have what it takes to win.

That's why recently, I jumped at the opportunity to testify on behalf of Missouri companies like Bull Moose Tube Company and EXLTUBE in front of the panel responsible for resolving trade disputes. These two companies — like so many others across the state — represent the best of American-made infrastructure... and it's my job as your Senator to protect them, and the thousands of jobs they create in our state, from unfair trade practices.

Foreign competitors in Korea, Mexico, and Turkey are intentionally — and illegally — taking steps to undercut U.S. prices. And so I was thrilled that after my testimony, the panel voted in a 4–2 vote to protect these Missouri companies and slap those illegally subsidized imports with the appropriate taxes. (Read more in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

This isn't the first time I've gone to bat for Missouri businesses — and it won't be the last

Our manufacturers bolster our economy and create products that make our lives better. When they succeed, we succeed, and I'm going to make sure that happens.

Meeting with Missouri steel pipe and tube manufacturers...

Learn more about my work to protect Missouri jobs and businesses at www.mccaskill.senate.gov/jobs.

All the best,

Claire

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September 30th, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report 9/30/16”

On September 28, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.5303, “Water Resources Development Act of 2016.” This bill was a major piece of legislation focused on harbors, locks, dams, flood protection and other water resources focusing on infrastructure.  The bill passed with my support by a vote of 399-25.

Within this piece of legislation is an amendment I proposed that passed the full House regarding the Table Rock Lake Shoreline Management Plan. The Army Corps of Engineers is currently undertaking a revision of the lake’s Shoreline Management Plan and has in place a moratorium on dock permits to halt development along the lake.

Because of the current moratorium on dock permits, if you own land around Table Rock Lake and want to build a dock, you aren’t able to. If you already have a dock, but the dock is damaged or needs to be updated, you cannot even get a permit to repair it. Individuals around Table Rock Lake have not been able to update their docks for almost two years.

I have met with the community and the Army Corps of Engineers numerous times throughout this process, and the overwhelming consensus from my constituents is that their input is not being taken seriously on an issue that will have far reaching effects on the local economy and for those living on the lake.

Table Rock Lake is one of southwest Missouri’s premier destination spots as well as the home to lots of folks. Not having their voices heard became very frustrating for them and that’s when I knew I owed it to my constituents to lend a hand.

My amendment will accomplish four things: delay the Shoreline Management Plan update by 5 years, lift the moratorium on issuing permits for new or existing docks, extend the public comment period and require a study on the permit fee structure.

My amendment that is in the bill will allow time for those in southwest Missouri to not only have their voices heard and offer recommendations, but give them time to fully understand what the plan does, how it will affect them and what steps need to be taken in order to be fully prepared for the implementation of the updated Shoreline Management Plan.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visitinghttps://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

September 29th, 2016

MFG DAY

For the past three years in early October, the National Association of Manufacturing has partnered with several other manufacturing trade associations to organize Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) events across the country. According to the mfgday.com website, Manufacturing Day gives manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t. By working together during and after MFG DAY, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.

This October 7th event is for job seekers looking for skilled labor positions in our area. The contact for additional information at Leggett and Platt is Jason Gorham, Vice President 417-358-8131.

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September 28th, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 9/28/16

Last month I told you about our big win in the fight to protect kids from online sex trafficking.

Well if you can believe it, I've got even bigger news for you now.

After the CEO of Backpage — the market leader in commercial-sex advertising — failed to obey a legal subpoena from my bipartisan Senate investigation into online sex trafficking, the company fought our contempt charges all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And this month, the Supreme Court sided with our investigation.

WATCH NOW: Speaking with KTVI about Backpage

Backpage should have been cooperating with us from the beginning, but instead the company has fought our efforts at every step. Backpage now has to hand over documents — and I'm looking forward to discovering what, if anything, it is doing to protect our kids from online sex trafficking.

Learn more about my bipartisan investigation in Backpage's business practices at www.mccaskill.senate.gov/violence.

All the best,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

September 23rd, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report 9/23/16”

Last spring, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released a report showing several wrongdoings by the VA hospital in San Diego. This particular VA hospital not only instructed their staff to falsify wait times, but it also cancelled one veteran’s mental health appointments, who later attempted suicide.

In Little Rock, Arkansas, the VA medical center also lied about their wait times. Later, while talking with federal investigators, they lied again about lying. In Pennsylvania, the VA failed to fire a nurse, who admitted to being drunk on call. A VA employee in Louisiana was charged with killing a veteran, but no one was fired. At a San Juan VA hospital, a VA employee continues to remain on the payroll even after participating in an armed robbery.

Those are just a few stories of the VA failing to act on employee misconduct, and that’s why earlier this month I voted in favor of H.R.5620, “VA Accountability First and Appeal Modernization Act of 2016.”

This piece of legislation does a number of things to ensure that veterans are being taken care of and the VA is being held accountable. The bill shortens the time it takes to fire employees from over a year to no more than 77 days, removes the Merit Systems Protection Board, offers protection for whistleblowers, gives the VA secretary the authority to take back bonuses and relocation money from employees who have misbehaved and the authority to reduce executive’s pensions who have been convicted of felonies. Finally, it reforms the appeals process for disability benefits. 

Since the VA scandal broke in 2014, I have made it one of my top priorities in Congress to make sure that veterans are getting the best treatment possible, while also making sure that VA employees face the consequences for not doing their jobs.

In 2014, I voted in favor of H.R.4031, “Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act,” which would have allowed the VA secretary to remove or demote any senior executive. In the same year, I also voted in favor of H.R.3230, “Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014,” which allows action to be taken on the VA employees responsible for abuses of power. H.R.3230 was signed into law in August of 2014. And then in 2015, I voted in favor of H.R.1994, “VA Accountability Act of 2015,” which did a number of things to help make sure that veterans were getting quality care.

If a bill is proposed for the purpose of holding VA officials accountable and making veteran’s lives easier, I will vote in favor of it. I have received too many letters, phone calls and talked with too many veterans and their families to not realize the seriousness of the situation at hand.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

September 21st, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 9/21/16

One of the most important parts of my job is protecting Missourians from predatory, fraudulent, or deceptive scam artists.

After hearing from Missourians upset about their cable and satellite TV experiences, I led an investigation into the industry's customer service and billing practices and released two reports telling the inside story of how companies often mislead and confuse consumers.

I talked about these findings again at a Senate hearing last week, and I wanted to make sure you saw this too, because there are very real ways to lower your monthly cable or satellite bill each month — if you know what to do.

Watch this short video and call your provider to make sure you're not overpaying each month:

For more ways to possibly lower your cable or satellite bill, and to learn more about my investigation, visit mccaskill.senate.gov/payTV.

All the best,

Claire

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September 16th, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 9/16/16

On June 28, 1966, Captain Thomas H. Wolfe was killed in action. 50 years later, much-needed closure may finally be on the way.

Captain Wolfe was a beloved father and family man who, as a young man, took care of his three younger siblings after their father's death.

"Dad died when I was 7 and Tom, who was the oldest, became the leader of the family," his sister recently told the Springfield News-Leader. "My mother depended on him greatly and he rose to the occasion. He was my hero and I never dreamed he would not come home..."

Three months into his deployment, Captain Wolfe was shot down over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the jungles of Laos, and his body was never recovered. As the daughter of a World War II veteran, I can't begin to imagine the heartache Captain Wolfe's family must feel at having never been able to say goodbye and lay their father to rest.

That's why it was so important to me that—after writing a letter to President Obama urging him to make POW/MIA recovery a priority discussion during his recent visit to Laos—the Lao government has committed to increase the size and flexibility of joint recovery operations and help us bring our missing loved ones home.

There are more than 300 missing Americans who have not been brought home from Laos, and many, many more from around the globe. And today, as we recognize National POW/MIA Day, it's important that we remember the countless American families whose deserve closure.

I'm happy to say that a search for Captain Wolfe has finally been scheduled for the Fall, and I hope and pray that through improved relations and agreements like the one we have with Laos, we can continue to bring peace to families across Missouri and the country whose loved ones were lost to faraway places.

All the best,
Claire

P.S. Visit mccaskill.senate.gov to learn more about my work on behalf of POW and MIA servicemen and women.

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September 16th, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report 9/16/16”

Lately, there has been a lot of talk in the news about the health of our current presidential candidates and with all of that talk there has been speculation about what would happen if one of the candidates were to pass away before the election.

Many people have looked to the U.S. Constitution for guidance in such a situation, but that does not directly answer this question; it just explains how both the president and vice president are elected. Even though Article II of the Constitution gives Congress the power to change the day the election is held, the Constitution’s 20th Amendment requires that all congressional terms expire January 3 and presidential terms expire January 20.

For example, if a presidential candidate were to pass away the day before the election, Congress could technically move the date of the election, but as for postponing the election several months, that would not be possible due to terms expiring.

The bodies with the ultimate say are the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The RNC’s 168 members would gather and decide between two options. The first option involves having another Republican National Convention and rounding up all 2, 472 delegates.

The second option is letting the three members representing each state, territory and District of Columbia—a committeeman, committeewoman and state chairman—decide. Unlike the first option, the second choice allows each state to have the same number of votes as it did at the convention, however, not all three individuals have to agree. They are allowed to divide the votes up as well as allow voting by proxy.

The DNC is much different. Their process has only one option and that option involves the DNC members gathering to vote on a replacement. Unlike the RNC, the DNC doesn’t allow for proxy voting and only needs a majority of the members present. The meeting is called by the committee chairman or chairwoman.

The process of each party sounds fairly easy. However, there could be major problems with each system. The main one being that a new candidate means having to change the name on the ballot. If a presidential candidate were to pass away, replacing that name would become challenging and sometimes even impossible due to time constraints.

Even though the name on the ballot might be different, it wouldn’t actually change who the candidate was, even if people voted for the deceased candidate. The Electoral College is still going to vote for the candidate that the particular party chose to replace their candidate.

Thankfully, we haven’t had a situation like this, but if we ever had to replace a presidential candidate, there is a process in place that the two major parties have, though they are fundamentally different approaches.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

September 15th, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 9/15/16

Did you know that waiting to claim Social Security until age 70 can dramatically increase your monthly benefit?

If you didn't, you're not alone—and you may be leaving money on the table.

Yesterday, I shared a new watchdog report that found that most Americans don't know the best time to start claiming Social Security in order to maximize lifetime benefits... and the Social Security Administration is providing incomplete and sometimes inaccurate information

WATCH NOW: Taking the Social Security Administration to task.

As I said in yesterday's hearing, I am going to raise a ruckus until this gets fixed.

Not everyone has the option to wait past the age of 62 to claim Social Security. But everyone does deserve to have the information they need to make the best financial decision for themselves and their families.

Please read the report. You've worked hard for these benefits, and one day they'll need to work hard for you too.

All the best,

Claire

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September 15th, 2016

Missouri State Senator Ron Richard “Capitol Report 09/15/16”

LEGISLATIVE NEWS

Missouri lawmakers returned to Jefferson City this week for the General Assembly’s annual veto session, which began at noon on Wednesday and concluded 10 hours later. In total, the Legislature voted to override 13 vetoed measures. When added to the two bills overridden during the regular session, the final count for the 2016 legislative session comes to 15 veto overrides. A successful veto override requires a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber. After this week’s veto session, Missouri’s governor has now been overridden 96 times during his eight years in office. 

By a vote of 24-6 in the Senate and 112-41 in the House, state legislators overrode the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 656, A COMPREHENSIVE, COMMON-SENSE MEASURE THAT SEEKS TO EXPAND AND strengthen the Second Amendment right of all law-abiding Missourians to keep and bear arms. Among other provisions, SB 656 modifies Missouri’s “duty to retreat” requirements to allow persons not engaged in unlawful activity to use deadly force to protect themselves in public areas as well as on private property. It also enacts “constitutional carry” in Missouri, enabling individuals who are legally allowed to possess a firearm to carry a concealed firearm without having to first obtain a permit. Through SB 656, we are giving law-abiding Missouri citizens the legal right to defend themselves and their families whenever, and wherever, necessary. 

We also voted to override the veto of Senate Bill 1025, which clarifies that instructional classes like dance, gymnastics, karate, aerobics, etc., are exempt from state sales tax. For years now, the Department of Revenue (DOR) has been taking heat from businesses and legislators regarding their tax collection efforts, which many feel exceed the department’s authority. Whether for adults or children, instructional classes provide great opportunities for learning and exercise, and those are two things that should always be encouraged, not discouraged through taxation. Senate Bill 1025 not only protects our small business owners and saves Missouri taxpayers money, but also sends another clear message to the DOR that state lawmakers will continue pushing back against government overreach.

Lawmakers also demonstrated their commitment to bringing greater integrity and fairness to Missouri’s public elections — the cornerstone of our democratic process — by overriding the governor’s veto of House Bill 1631. The measure requires voters to provide a valid photo ID at the polls. Examples of valid IDs include a non-expired Missouri driver’s license or non-expired military license. Voters without a valid ID may vote a regular ballot by signing a statement, under penalty of perjury, attesting they are who they claim to be. If no statement is signed, a voter can still vote provisionally. As part of a compromise to ensure no eligible voter is disenfranchised, the state and all fee offices will be required to provide a free photo ID to any voter who does not possess one and any underlying documents necessary to obtain it.

House Bill 1631 will help prevent in-person voter fraud, ensure Missouri voices are heard and give our citizens confidence in the election process. The measure will only take effect if Missouri voters also approve House Joint Resolution 53 in November.

Other successful overrides from this year’s veto session include:

•         Senate Bill 608, permitting Medicaid providers to charge a missed appointment fee to MO HealthNet participants that must be paid before another appointment can be scheduled with that provider;
•         Senate Bill 641, creating an income tax deduction for Missouri’s agricultural producers who received federal disaster payments to help cover losses from a severe 2012 drought;
•         ¬¬Senate Bill 844, providing that the owner of any livestock that breaks through a fence or trespasses onto another's property is only liable for damages sustained to another's property if the animal owner was negligent; and
•         Senate Bill 994, modifying several provisions relating to alcohol, including the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, liquor sales on a boat and selling alcohol through mobile applications, among others.
For a complete list of all veto overrides, click here or visit the Senate website at www.senate.mo.gov.

Finally, the Missouri Senate sought to honor the history of the Senate by unveiling a brand new Senate President Pro Tem composite in a ceremony held prior to the start of veto session. Featuring the names and pictures of a majority of the nearly 80 Missourians who have led the Senate since 1820, the composite is a way to help make the history of the Missouri Senate come alive. As the current President Pro Tem, I am honored to be counted among those featured on the composite, which will hang outside the office of the Pro Tem at the Missouri State Capitol.

Also unveiled this week was the official portrait of my esteemed friend, former Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey. For 17 years, Sen. Dempsey ably served the residents of St. Charles County. During his time in office, he diligently worked to improve the Show-Me State and make it a great place to live, work and raise a family. Sen. Dempsey has been an inspiration to us all, and it was my great pleasure to honor him and his family by unveiling his portrait for all Missourians to see. His portrait will hang in the Pershing Gallery, in the Hall of the Senate President Pro Tem.

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September 10th, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 9/10/16

An incredibly humble guy and proud veteran of the second World War, my dad taught my siblings and I to show respect to anyone in our nation's uniform. That lesson has always stuck with me and it's a lesson that some leaders in Congress need to learn. After my tour across Missouri last week, I'm committed to making sure they do.

Instead of putting together an honest and transparent budget for our military, Republican leaders in the U.S. House are pulling a slight-of-hand and funneling money into an off-the-books war fund. According to a Capitol Hill newspaper:

"The Defense Department's base budget is subject to caps, but its war-spending account is not—so Republicans have sought to game the system by using overseas money to fund base programs. This year they've gone even further, seeking to fund operations in Afghanistan and Iraq for only half of the next fiscal year. The House budget would shift money from the overseas contingency account to pay for base programs, forcing the next administration to seek supplemental war funds."

Not only is this dishonest, but it's dangerous—because of House Republicans, the Department of Defense is scheduled to run out of war funding halfway through the 2017 fiscal year.

I spent last week visiting our troops at installations across Missouri—including Fort Leonard Wood, Whiteman Air Force Base, Jefferson Barracks, the 139th Airlift Wing, and more—and they deserve better than this risky game of kick-the-can that Republican leaders are playing. Protecting our troops and securing the nation they defend should not be a partisan issue—it should be an American issue. And that's exactly what I have come back to the Senate to tell my colleagues—for my dad, and for every American who's risked their life for our country.

Visit my Security & Defense Tour online portal:
Explore the issues facing Missouri servicemen and women today, as told to me by our boots on-the-ground:

Our military would never lay down arms in the middle fight, and neither can we.
Learn more about my work to strengthen our military and protect Americans at mccaskill.senate.gov/defense.

All the best,

Claire

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September 9th, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report 09/09/16”

It’s been six years since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed, which is also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. On Sept. 8 Gallup announced the results of a poll conducted Aug. 30-31 in which 51% of Americans disapprove of Obamacare while only 44% approve. During my time as a Congressman I have worked hard to dismantle this law, which has not lived up to its hyperbole and promises.

In August I visited and talked with many community leaders in the 7th District, but one stop in particular reminded me once again of the amount of stress this law places on schools and small businesses.

I had the opportunity to speak with members of the Nixa Public School’s Board of Education and district administrators.

After speaking with them it confirmed again why I have been fighting to repeal this law that hurts schools and small businesses.

Two of their most pressing problems with the law were the 30-hour work week and the 26 week break for retired teachers.

The 30-hour work week, which is known as the employer mandate, requires all businesses or organizations with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance to their employees who work more than 30 hours a week. Nixa currently has 921 full-time staff.

The 26 week break is required for educational organizations that are unable to provide health insurance to faculty that recently retired. If ignored, that retired teacher would be seen as a “continuing employee,” which would require them to offer health insurance.

Brenda Rantz, the Executive Director of Finance for the school district and Board of Education Treasurer, pointed out that this is a huge problem as children need consistency in working with teachers and the 30-hour work week prevents that.

Nixa already spends $3.4 million a year on health care for their staff. Having to provide additional health care for substitute teachers who work more than 30 hours a week would add an additional financial burden to the district.

In one year, Nixa can have anywhere between 30 to 40 long-term substitute teachers. With 921 employees already in the district, adding substitute teachers, both long-term and short-term, could increase the number of employees up to 1,200.

Not only does the lack of consistency with substitute teachers play into their predicament, but finding high quality substitute teachers is more challenging. The 26 week break for retired teachers prevents those same teachers from coming back in less than six months. Those are the same teachers who know the students, know the faculty and know how the school operates.

This isn’t the first time I have heard a story like this. I have heard many across our district. These types of stories give me even more motivation to continue to push back against this law and that hurts not only individuals who need health care, but businesses and organizations that provide health care for their employees.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page athttps://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Longand my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

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September 8th, 2016

Get Your Maple Leaf Shirts Now

Commemorative shirts for the 50th Annual Maple Leaf Festival are now available. Visit Race Brothers Farm & Home, 2309 Fairlawn, to view and purchase the 2016 Maple Leaf Festival shirt. Alice Lynn Greenwood, artist and Director at artCentral, submitted the winning design. The artwork features beautiful maple leaves crowning our historic Jasper County Courthouse.

Festival Chair Jeanine Poe says “Alice Lynn’s design is just a perfect representation of our beautiful maple leaves and our historic courthouse. The shirt is so fitting because so many Maple Leaf memories are made on the square with the courthouse as backdrop.”

Shirts are available in short sleeves for $14.99, long sleeve for $19.99, and sweatshirts for $29.99. You can also pick up a tote bag for $14.99 for all your festival day necessities or place orders for special items. Don’t delay! Get your merchandise now for casual Fridays or start your own Maple Leaf Mondays!

For more information, contact Mary Jo at the Carthage Chamber of Commerce, 417-358-2373 or mjlittle@carthagechamber.com.

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September 7th, 2016

Sign Up For Maple Leaf 5K/10K and 3K Color Run

Fair Acres Family YMCA will be hosting the Annual Maple Leaf Race, Saturday, October 8th. This year’s events will include a 3K fun walk/run, and a timed 5K/10K race. Pre-register online at fairacresymca.org or pick up an application at the Fair Acres Family YMCA or the Carthage Chamber. Race begins at 9AM. Early registration by September 28th includes a free t-shirt.
Proceeds from these events go to the YMCA scholarship fund which provides funding for those who may not otherwise be able to afford to participate.

For entry fee pricing or more information, contact the Fair Acres Family YMCA, 417-358-1070.

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September 2nd, 2016

U.S. Senator McCaskill’s Newsletter 9/2/16

As we head into a long weekend and Missourians pack up their cars or hop on a plane to spend time with loved ones, a lot of folks will make decisions about where to go and where to stay based on cost.

They do research, compare rates, and make smart decisions so that their hard-earned dollars are spent wisely.

That's why I introduced legislation earlier this year that would require hotels to disclose the full cost of a customer's stay in their room rate. I'm outraged at the stories I've heard from Missourians about hotels and resorts that tack on hidden fees, which consumers only find out when they go to check out.

According to a new study, U.S. hotels are expected to make a record $2.55 BILLION in fees and surcharges in 2016—at the expense of consumers like you. The worst of these fees are mandatory, not included in the advertised rate, and often cover services that a customer may not have used during their stay, like the pool, gym, business center, or morning newspapers.
↓ READ NOW ↓
"Beware: That In-Room Coffee Just Might Cost You"—New York Times

As you go about your travels this weekend, know that I am fighting for your right to make informed decisions about how you and your family spend your money, both at home and on the road.

Learn more about my work to protect Missouri consumers at mccaskill.senate.gov/consumers.

All the best,

Claire

View Press Release (PDF)

September 2nd, 2016

U.S. Representative Long’s “Short Report 09/02/16”

There are many reasons I support school choice, but the most important one is that it works. On April 29, 2016, I voted in favor of the Scholarship for Opportunity and Results Reauthorization Act (SOAR). This piece of legislation, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a 224-181 vote, reauthorizes the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program to allow parents to have more choice and control over their child’s education – something all parents should have control over. 

School choice works and there are studies and data to back that up. A Johns Hopkins University study found that school choice programs saved local and state taxpayers $444 million from 1990 - 2006. Though saving taxpayer’s money is important, the competitive aspect of school choice incentivizes schools to take important steps to improve and become just as competitive.

The impact this has on student success is undeniable. Students participating in the Opportunity Scholarship Program have a 90 percent graduation rate, compared to an overall graduation rate of 58 percent in D.C.  Additionally, the scholarship program has strong parental and community support, with 85 percent of parents reporting they are happy with their child’s current participating school and 74 percent of community residents supporting the program.

Sadly, that is not the case for Missourians. While many states are passing legislation that allows for different types of school choice options, Missouri has yet to pass legislation that addresses this issue. In 2014, Governor Nixon, for the second year in a row, vetoed school choice legislation in Missouri. Just as recently as 2016, the Missouri General Assembly tried and failed to pass school choice bills.

So why is there so much controversy? Powerful special interests and labor unions seem to think it is okay to dictate where our students, which are often disadvantaged, can and can’t go to school. Instead of looking at the facts and data presented to them, they would much rather fall in line with outdated thinking that is only hurting students.

I believe a good education begins with active, engaged parents that are allowed to make decisions at the local level. As the school year begins, we should all work to give students and families the options they want and deserve. Politics should never get in the way of a great education that each and every child is deserves.

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Longand my Twitter page athttps://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report", by visitinghttps://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.

View Press Release (PDF)

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