News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

Local Leader’s Curious Choice–Why Single Out Our City For Legislation?

clock May 23, 2012 10:13 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 ResWhy would a state representative propose legislation that would only apply to Blue Springs?

I’m talking about trash hauling, an issue the City Council resolved nearly seven months ago. Representative Sheila Solon of Blue Springs tried to attach an amendment to House Bill 701 one day before the 2012 session ended, an amendment that by its narrow demographic definition, out of all of the cities in Missouri, would only apply to Blue Springs. If it’s fair, beneficial and appropriate legislation, shouldn’t it be applicable to more than just one city within the state?

Earlier this year Rep. Solon began discussing a bill to require a vote of the people prior to any change in trash collection mandated by city government. While on the surface this may sound like a protection for residents and for free enterprise, it presents a number of challenges. In Blue Springs, our voter-approved home rule charter assigns the responsibility for these decisions to the City Council, and it is then the duty and obligation of the council to research the issue and seek input from residents and interested parties. The council met those responsibilities in resolving this issue.

Additionally, requiring special elections on specific non-tax issues creates an additional unnecessary expense for our residents. Our council, through recommendations by the mayor’s task force, successfully concluded this issue months ago. While I respect the voice of the voter, our system of government is a republic. We elect people to represent us and make decisions on our behalf. Just as our state government desires autonomy from unfunded federal legislation and mandates, our local government must have the same autonomy from state government.

As I reviewed the proposed amendment, I kept coming back to the same question. Why? What possible explanation would there be for this amendment, focused just on Blue Springs, regarding an issue resolved nearly seven months ago?

Was the decision to file this amendment related to campaign contributions from trash-hauling companies? It’s not unusual for industries to contribute to candidates or representatives in the hopes of having their concern or issue receive a higher level of attention. While most campaign finance reports include contributions from individuals, political action committees and businesses, when you start to see a preponderance of one type of industry, questions emerge as to the motivation for the contributions. Campaign finance reports are available online at mec.mo.gov. See the campaign finance report at http://bit.ly/SolonCF20111015 for details on the contributions that have been made by trash hauling companies or their employees to Rep. Solon.

The amendment to HB 701 was defeated. While I applaud Rep. Solon’s desire to protect the residents of Blue Springs, I disagree with her methods. If more focus was placed on effective and appropriate statewide legislation and less on attempts to micromanage local government and keep campaign contributors happy, the result would be a higher level of success for an elected official who represents a significant portion of our city.


Exciting Development in City

clock February 22, 2012 19:29 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 ResMayor Carson Ross likes to say Blue Springs is a city “on the move,” and it’s obvious throughout our city that his statement is accurate.

With the exceptionally mild winter we’re experiencing, commercial development at Adams Dairy Landing is progressing at a brisk pace. Ulta Beauty is now open and the buildings for TJ-Maxx/Home Goods, Ross Dress for Less and additional lifestyle shops are close to completion.

The city recently began requesting bids on the long anticipated improvements for Woods Chapel Road, continuing to fulfill the promise of redeveloping this important north-south corridor. At the most recent City Council work session, the council agreed to request assistance from the Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation regarding recommendations for a strategic plan to redevelop our Missouri 7 and U.S. 40 corridors. We also agreed to complete the formal review of our city’s comprehensive plan, a review that is significantly overdue and will ensure the city is better prepared for future development efforts.

Not all politics were local last week. I had the great pleasure of going to Jefferson City to talk with our state legislators regarding a variety of issues of interest to our city.

I met with many representatives and senators and experienced a great deal of pride as I frequently heard how well our city is represented by District 54 Rep. Jeanie Lauer. Over and over again her colleagues spoke of what an effective, strong leader she is for Blue Springs. Having worked closely with Jeanie in recent years, this confirmed what I already knew about her dedication to the residents of our city and her genuine concern for the best interest of our community. It’s gratifying to know that others recognize her integrity and sincerity. We are fortunate to have her in Jefferson City!

We began interviewing candidate development teams last week, one of which will partner with the city and University of Missouri for the design and development of the 50,000- to 80,000-square foot Mizzou Center building. The Mizzou Center will focus on research, continuing education and community outreach functions in Missouri Innovation Park and will serve as the anchor tenant for this important project.

The land for the first phase of development in the park is now under control of the city, and we are on track for visible development before the end of the year. The location is just south of Adams Dairy Landing, at the corner of R.D. Mize Road and Adams Dairy Parkway.

Jackson County’s regional rail proposal now includes two potential stops in Blue Springs – one downtown and one at the southern edge of the Innovation Park. These two stops will assist Main Street Alive in downtown redevelopment efforts and help to accelerate the development of Missouri Innovation Park. This proposal is likely to be a November ballot issue in Jackson County.

Blue Springs is “on the move?” Yes, mayor, we certainly are!


Governor Nixon calls special session of General Assembly to create jobs, ensure continued fiscal discipline

clock August 23, 2011 13:20 by author Jeff Quibell

August 22, 2011

Governor Nixon calls special session of General Assembly to create jobs, ensure continued fiscal discipline

Priorities for special session are passing comprehensive jobs package,
reforming tax credit programs to ensure continued fiscal discipline

JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Jay Nixon today called a special session of the Missouri General Assembly to pass a bipartisan jobs package that will foster growth in science and technology industries and expand Missouri exports, along with passing tax credit reform legislation to pay for these additional investments and ensure continued fiscal responsibility.  The special session will begin Sept. 6. 

Gov. Nixon emphasized the importance of accomplishing these priorities as efficiently and effectively as possible to limit the cost of the special session for taxpayers.

“Creating jobs and helping Missouri businesses grow is the top priority for my administration, and we work tirelessly each and every day to do just that,” Gov. Nixon said.  “Because of our relentless efforts, Missouri’s unemployment rate is dropping, we’ve maintained a spotless AAA credit rating, and we’re one of the best states in the nation for business.  Passing this bipartisan jobs package will help us continue to move Missouri’s economy forward and create good jobs for folks all across our state.  I appreciate the work the General Assembly has already done to achieve broad consensus on these priorities, and I look forward to continuing to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle during an efficient, focused and productive session.”

The Governor’s call specifies a number of job-creation priorities the General Assembly will consider during the special session, including:

? Enacting the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) to encourage the growth of science and innovation businesses in the state;

? Enacting the Compete Missouri Initiative to provide additional incentives and benefits to attract and retain businesses, to streamline and update Missouri’s training programs, and to increase the efficiencies of the state’s business development incentives;

? Enacting legislation to increase exports and foreign trade through the development of an international air cargo hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport – a project with the potential to create thousands of construction jobs, and thousands of additional jobs once the hub is operational; and

? Enacting legislation to help construct and develop high-tech data centers.

While enacting these key jobs proposals is critical for continued economic growth in Missouri, Gov. Nixon also said the state must be able to pay for these additional investments, and tax credit reform legislation to ensure continued fiscal discipline must be passed.

“Unlike the folks in Washington, D.C., we balance our budgets here in Missouri each and every year,” Gov. Nixon said.  “We must protect Missouri’s spotless AAA bond rating and keep the state’s fiscal house in order.  That’s why comprehensive tax credit reform is essential.”

Gov. Nixon’s call asks the General Assembly to implement a comprehensive tax credit reform package that will modify or eliminate many tax credit programs that are not producing a substantial return on investment for Missouri taxpayers.  This package is largely based on the work of the expert Bipartisan Tax Credit Review Commission, which issued its final report in November 2010.

In addition to comprehensive tax credit reform, the call also includes provisions to increase the efficiency of the Missouri Department of Revenue’s collections operations, and to authorize a brief “tax amnesty” program in 2012.

Today, Gov. Nixon also reported that damage assessments and recovery efforts in communities affected by the numerous natural disasters this year are ongoing, including Joplin, southeast Missouri, northwest Missouri, Sedalia and St. Louis County.  Once the full extent of the damage is known, Gov. Nixon said he will work with the General Assembly to determine the most effective means of financing recovery and rebuilding efforts.

“Our commitment to the communities affected by tornadoes, floods and other disasters this year is clear: We will help you recover, and we will help you rebuild,” Gov. Nixon said.  “Before we can determine the best method to finance our recovery obligations, we must determine the full extent of the damage.  As we finalize our damage assessments along the Missouri River and in other communities, we will determine the most effective and comprehensive method to finance disaster recovery in every corner of Missouri.  I look forward to working with the General Assembly to make those critical financing decisions once we have completed the assessment process.”

Gov. Nixon will communicate with the General Assembly later this week to provide a detailed update on the status of these damage assessments.

In his call today, Gov. Nixon also asked the General Assembly to take up three additional proposals during the session:

? Enacting legislation moving Missouri’s Presidential primary to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March of each Presidential election year;

? Enacting legislation authorizing the transition of governing the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department from a board of police commissioners to the City of St. Louis; and

? Authorizing tax credits to help attract amateur sporting events to Missouri.

Over the past several weeks, Gov. Nixon’s administration has worked closely with members of the General Assembly to finalize the language for the special session call to ensure that the session will be as efficient and effective as possible.

A copy of Gov. Nixon’s call for the special session is available here.

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Rep. Lauer Announces “Amy Hestir Protection Act” To Become Effective Aug. 28

clock August 17, 2011 15:01 by author Jeff Quibell

NEWS

From the Office of

Representative Jeanie Lauer

54th District

For Immediate Release:

August 15, 2011

              CONTACT: Rep. Jeanie Lauer

573-751-1487

Rep. Lauer Announces “Amy Hestir Protection Act” To Become Effective Aug. 28

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs, wants citizens to be aware that Missouri’s “Amy Hestir Protection Act” or the “Facebook” Law will become effective on Aug. 28.  The law is named after a student who was repeatedly sexually abused by her teacher. The teacher was subsequently hired by numerous school districts before retiring.

One requirement of the new law is that all school districts must adopt policies relating to student-teacher internet communication, and that these policies must be adopted no later than January of 2012. Communication on the internet between students and teachers cannot be exclusive or private, and must be accessible to parents and administrators. New policies may allow communication between teachers and students that is not private, such as a classroom webpage or a teacher’s non-private classroom Facebook page.

"It's important that our state's laws stay up to date with the emerging trends of society,” Rep. Lauer said.  “It's in the best interest of our children that the lines aren't crossed in student-teacher relationships, and this law is an integral precautionary measure in the age of social media.”

The law also requires criminal background checks for teacher applicants, allows school districts to share information with other districts regarding sexual misconduct by their employees, and makes districts liable if they fail to disclose information regarding misconduct upon request by another district.  The bill was supported by the Missouri State Teachers' Association, Missouri National Education Association, Missouri School Boards Association and the American Federation of Teachers of Missouri.

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Rep. Lauer honored with the Freshman Legislator of the Year Award

clock June 12, 2011 10:19 by author Jeff Quibell

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NEWS--

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT: Office of Rep. Jeanie Lauer

54th District

573-751-1487

PR 5-27-2011 pictureRep. Lauer honored with the Freshman Legislator of the Year Award

Jefferson City -- To honor and recognize the efforts of Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R- 54 (Blue Springs), for her work this year on the Committee on Local Government, Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives Steven Tilley, R-Farmington, awarded her the Freshman Legislator of the Year Award for Outstanding Work in Local Government Issues. “I firmly believe actions speak louder than words and as an elected official, those actions are crucial to the well-being of our constituents. I commend Rep. Jeanie Lauer on her actions showing leadership for the people of her district,” said Speaker Tilley.


“Chat with Jeanie” on Saturday, March 26th

clock March 24, 2011 15:25 by author Jeff Quibell

Just to let you know, Rep. Lauer will be having a “Chat with Jeanie” on Saturday, March 26th at Memories on Main 9-10:30am for her Blue Springs constituents.   If you could add it to the paper/send it out to people who would be interested, that would be great. Thank you!

Ashley Reinhardt
Legislative Aide
Representative Jeanie Lauer
District 54

(573) 751-1487