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Speaker Tim Jones Responds to Governor Nixon’s Veto of 72 Hour Abortion Waiting Period Bill

Speaker Tim Jones has issued the following statement in response to Governor Nixon’s veto of HBs 1307 & 1313, a measure which would have extended the waiting period to receive an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours.

“I believe that the most important thing our legislature can do is protect life, and I know that I am not alone in this belief.  HBs 1307 & 1313 passed the House with 111 votes in favor, and 22 Senators gave their support to the measure.  This is a common sense measure to help preserve life, and it is unconscionable for Governor Nixon to veto this bill.  During the coming months, I will be discussing this matter with my colleagues, and we will be revisiting this issue in September during veto session.  Life must be protected, and I will not waver in my commitment to make Missouri one of the safest states in the nation for the unborn.”

Speaker Tim Jones Signs Major Legislation

On Friday, May 30, Speaker Tim Jones signed a number of bills voted Truly Agreed and Finally Passed during the final days of the 2014 legislative session, including the following:

  •          HB1132 – will increase the amount of tax credits available for contributions to pregnancy resource centers, encouraging donations to these organizations;
  •          HB1303 – the Missouri Student Religious Liberties Act, which will protect students’ ability to exercise their First Amendment religious rights;
  •          HB1307 – will change the minimum waiting period for obtaining an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours;
  •          SB635 – a bill to end the “border war” by prohibiting the issuance of incentives to businesses relocating from Kansas, as long as Kansas passes a similar bill; and
  •          SB656 – a firearms omnibus lowering the concealed carry age to 19, preventing housing authorities from barring lessees from possessing guns, and preventing healthcare professionals from asking patients if they own guns, among other items.

“I am proud of the work the Missouri General Assembly did during the 2014 legislative session.  By working together, we were able to pass numerous bills which will help move our state forward and protect Missourians’ rights, including the first tax cut in more than nine decades and a landmark bill to extend the abortion waiting period from 24 hours to 72 hours, among others,” said Speaker Jones.

Tim Jones was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2006 and was elected as Speaker of the House in 2012.  During his time in the House, Tim has become known as a consistent conservative, passing major pieces of conservative legislation including the Missouri Health Care Freedom Act, multiple bills defending our Second Amendment rights, the largest tax cut in Missouri history, and a variety of pro-life measures which have made Missouri one of the safest places in the nation for unborn children.

Speaker Jones currently represents the 110th District, including parts of St. Louis and Franklin Counties.  In addition to his legislative duties, he is an attorney at the Chesterfield law firm of Doster Ullom, LLC.  He and his wife, Suzanne, live in Eureka with their two daughters, Katie and Abby.

Kansas City Star: Republicans Have Much to Show From Missouri Legislative Session

The Kansas City Star has published a piece outlining the conservative measures passed during the 2014 legislative session.  As noted, this was one of the most successful sessions for conservative legislation in recent memory.

Speaker Jones was quoted as saying, “What we’ve learned along the way is that we need to build consensus, collaborate within our own caucus, reach across the aisle and reach across to the Senate.  I’d put this session up there as one of the better ones we’ve seen in a long time.”

You can read the full story at the Kansas City Star’s website.

Associated Press: Missouri Lawmakers Override Veto, Enact Income Tax Cut

On May 6, Speaker Jones led the Republican majority in a successful vote to override Governor Nixon’s veto of a measure implementing the first income tax cut in Missouri for more than 9 decades.

You can read more about this landmark event at the News-Tribune’s website.

Dexter Daily Statesman: House Speaker Chats Up Tax-Cutting Bill During Cape News Conference

On April 28, Speaker Tim Jones, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, and United for Missouri Executive Director Carl Bearden made various stops throughout Missouri to talk about the need for SB509, this session’s landmark tax cut bill.

Coverage of the Cape  Girardeau stop can be viewed at the Dexter Daily Statesman’s website.

Statement from Missouri Speaker of the House Tim Jones

(EUREKA, MO) – Speaker Tim Jones has released the following statement regarding his decision not to run for State Senate:

“I am humbled that when Senator Nieves chose not to run for re-election, so many of my friends and supporters, including Senator Nieves and many of my current and former colleagues in the General Assembly, encouraged me to consider running for the Missouri Senate.

However, after taking the time to discuss this opportunity with my family, I feel that the best course forward is not to enter the race, as doing so would greatly distract from the important work before me.  Instead, I will continue to focus on serving this year as Speaker of the House, passing the conservative legislation that Missouri needs, standing up for our constitutional rights and working to have our voice heard in what could be another historic veto session.  After this important responsibility is completed, I will focus on preparing for a statewide campaign for 2016.

Dave Schatz is a good man and has been a reliable and hard working caucus member.  I wish him all the best as he pursues a new goal in public service.”

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Speaker Tim Jones Selected as Missouri Pachyderm Federation House Legislator of the Year

On Wednesday, the Missouri Pachyderm Federation presented Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones with their House Legislator of the Year award in recognition of his record during the 2013 legislative session.

Recipients for this prestigious award are chosen by the Missouri Pachyderm Federation executive board and the state’s 18 Missouri Pachyderm Club presidents.

Tim Jones was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2006 and was elected as Speaker of the House in 2012.  During his time in the House, Tim has become known as a consistent conservative, passing major pieces of conservative legislation including the Missouri Health Care Freedom Act, multiple bills defending our Second Amendment rights, the largest tax cut in Missouri history, and a variety of pro-life measures which have made Missouri one of the safest places in the nation for unborn children.  In addition to his legislative duties, he is an attorney at the Chesterfield law firm of Doster Ullom, LLC.  He and his wife, Suzanne, live in Eureka with their two daughters, Katie and Abby.

Speaker Tim Jones Announces $908,000 Cash On Hand after $255,000 raised in 4th Quarter of 2013

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – Today, Speaker Tim Jones announced that his campaign raised a total of $255,147.62 during the last quarter of 2013, leaving the campaign with $908,219.42 on hand.  With this strong quarter, Speaker Jones now has more cash on hand than any other Republican candidate for statewide office.

“I want to thank everyone who has helped make this a very successful fundraising quarter.  With help from people and businesses across Missouri, I will be able to accomplish my goal of protecting our Republican majority and continuing to fight for the conservative policy solutions that Missouri needs,” said Jones.

Jones was first elected to the House in November 2006.  He was unanimously elected as Speaker in September 2012 and unanimously reelected as Speaker for the 2013-2014 General Assembly.  Speaker Jones serves as Representative for the 110th District, which includes portions of Franklin and St. Louis Counties.  Jones is an attorney at the Chesterfield law firm of DosterUllom, LLC, and currently resides in Eureka with his wife, Suzanne, and two daughters.

Statement from Speaker Tim Jones on Governor Nixon’s Unrealistic Consensus Revenue Estimate Demands

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – Today, House and Senate appropriations leaders reached an agreement on the consensus revenue estimate for the state’s nearly 25 billion dollar budget, while the Governor – whose staff had initially agreed to the figures – has instead demanded an unreasonably high revenue estimate to support increased government spending.

“It is disturbing that Governor Nixon would choose to politicize what is typically a nonpartisan event and demand an unrealistic revenue estimate to allow him to spend more taxpayer money.  Missouri has lost thousands of jobs since Jay Nixon took office, and median household income is down $1,500.  Unrealistic revenue estimates and increased wasteful government spending would only make things worse by placing an undue burden on taxpayers,” said Speaker Jones.  “Instead of spending more money on bigger government, the House will pass a prudent, common sense, conservative budget.  If revenues are indeed higher than the consensus, the answer is not to randomly spend more money, as Governor Nixon suggests, but to send it back to taxpayers in the form of a much needed tax break.  By exercising fiscal responsibility and common sense, we can ensure a prosperous future for Missouri.”

Speaker Tim Jones to Participate in Town Hall Meeting Regarding Obamacare’s Impact on Missouri

Speaker Tim Jones has announced that he will be taking part in an Obamacare Town Hall Meeting tomorrow, September 17th, at Maryville University in the university auditorium.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the event starts at 7:30 p.m.

The event, which is sponsored by St. Louis’s FM NewsTalk 97.1, will be moderated by Jamie Allman of the “Allman in the Morning Show” and will feature health care insurance broker Vincent K. Blair, practicing physician and radio host Dr. Randy Tobler, and Speaker Jones, discussing the concerns affecting all Missourians brought about by Obamacare.

“Obamacare is weighing heavily on our state, and I look forward to speaking to concerned Missourians about the impact it will have.  I hope that those who want to learn more about this issue will attend tomorrow evening’s town hall, as I know it will be an informative, enlightening experience for all who participate,” said Speaker Jones.

PRESS ADVISORY: Speaker Jones to Visit Fulton Regarding Override of HB253, Income Tax Reform Proposal

(FULTON, MO) – Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., Speaker Tim Jones will visit the Callaway County Republican Central Committee Headquarters to speak about the effort to override HB 253, a bill passed by the Missouri House which would have made several changes to tax laws – including across-the-board tax cuts – in an effort to improve Missouri’s economic climate.

“To override this veto and give Missourians the tax relief they need, I will need help from every legislator to reach the 109-vote threshold.  I know that Representative Jeanie Riddle supports this tax cut, and I thank her for standing with Missourians in support of the override.  She knows that this is a simple choice – either you believe, like she and I do, that Missourians deserve to keep more of their money, or you believe, like Jay Nixon, that expanding big government is more important than common sense tax relief,” said Speaker Jones.

“I need help from the people of mid-Missouri because another legislator who voted for the bill during session, Rep. Ed Schieffer, is on the fence because he is afraid of crossing the party line ahead of a State Senate election.  Voters need to tell Rep. Ed Schieffer that now is the time to show Missouri who he really is – is he someone who can come to the table and support a common-sense tax proposal that had his support during legislative session, or is he someone who will put his party’s ideals before Missourians’ needs?”

Who:               Speaker Tim Jones

What:              Press conference regarding HB253 override effort

When:              Tuesday, August 13, 4:00 p.m.

Where:             Callaway County Republican Central Committee Headquarters

6 W. 5th Street

Fulton, MO

Speaker Tim Jones Comments on President Obama’s Appearance in Warrensburg

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones has issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s appearance in Warrensburg today.

“Our nation would be in a better place if, instead of spending all his time giving speeches filled with unrealized rhetoric about a better America, President Obama would actually work with Republicans to address the enormous problems facing our nation.  Under his leadership, our national debt has soared to $16.7 trillion and median income and wages have continued to plummet.  Even Democrats are running as fast as they can away from the destructive Obamacare law.  It is very telling that the Democrats’ 2016 standard-bearer for Missouri, Chris Koster, will not even be seen with President Obama.  The Obama agenda is so extreme that it is toxic for Koster’s election prospects.  Attorney General Koster might think he can fool Missourians, but all remember that Governor Nixon did the same thing and now, after the election, he is standing united with the Obama agenda.  Instead of hiding, Attorney General Koster should tell Missourians where he stands on the Obama administration’s failed policies.”

Independence Day Greetings from Speaker Tim Jones

On this very important day, we commemorate our nation’s Declaration of Independence and the freedoms and liberties we continue to enjoy.

As we take the time to celebrate this special commemorative holiday with our families and friends, I do hope you will take some time to reflect on our nation’s beginning and how far we have come since that important day 237 years ago.

Our adherence to our founding ideals of independence and democracy has enabled us to grow from a small group of colonies to a strong nation of sovereign states, united in a common purpose, which serves as a shining example of freedom for the rest of the world.

As James Madison so eloquently proclaimed, “The union of these states is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world.”

I wish you all a very safe and happy Independence Day, and may God bless you, your families, your loved one and the United States of America!

Speaker Jones on State Plane Controversy: “Today’s audit results only further confirm the Nixon administration’s misplaced priorities.”

Speaker Tim Jones has released the following statement regarding an audit of the Highway Patrol which found that an analysis of the costs, benefits, and necessity of purchasing an additional, new airplane was not performed before $5.6 million in taxpayer money was expended for the purchase.

“I want to thank Auditor Tom Schweich for exposing the irresponsible and incredible waste incurred by the recent purchase of a luxury airplane to ferry Governor Nixon and his administrative staff on trips back and forth across the nation. Today’s audit results only further confirm the Nixon administration’s misplaced priorities,” said Speaker Jones.

“Our state already owns a fleet of five passenger planes, and not a single day was found on which at least one of those planes was not available for ready use.  This means that $5.6 million in taxpayer funds have been wasted on a brand new airplane which our state did not need – a purchase the Nixon administration has defended. Meanwhile, Governor Nixon completely opposes a tax reduction plan which would return some of our state’s surplus to the pockets of hard-working Missourians.”

Speaker Tim Jones Disappointed by Veto of Landmark Tax Bill

Speaker Tim Jones has released the following statement on Governor Nixon’s veto of HB253, the tax cut bill passed during the 2013 legislative session:

“Amid news that our state is going to be ending the year with $300 million more than budgeted, it is disappointing that Governor Nixon is standing in the way of cutting taxes and giving some of this money back to taxpayers.  Unfortunately, this is yet another example of the Governor’s refusal to lead.”

“With such a large budget surplus, I think the time is right for a tax cut.  Unlike Jay Nixon, I know that tax dollars belong to taxpayers, and I think we should focus on giving some of these dollars back.  However, Governor Nixon hopes that keeping taxes high will allow him to use the money to expand costly social welfare programs and other Democrat priorities which will only increase the burden on taxpayers in the long run.  This bill would have saved hard-working Missouri families $700 million.  Instead of giving Missourians a break, Governor Nixon wants every last taxpayer dollar he can possibly squeeze from the people.  In effect, the Governor’s veto is a back-door tax increase.”

“Nixon has come up with various red herrings as excuses about why he will not sign the bill, but the truth is simple: he doesn’t think taxpayers deserve a break, and he doesn’t care about demonstrating the leadership necessary to put our economy back on the right track.  This bill was an opportunity not only to give relief to so many of Missouri’s working families, but also to give our state the tools to attract family-supporting jobs.  Thousands of jobs have been lost in western Missouri as businesses flock to Kansas to take advantage of massive tax cuts.  Our state has lost 22,765 jobs since the day Governor Nixon took office, and this bill would have given Missouri the common sense tax policies we need to stop the bleeding and rebuild our economy.  Unfortunately, Governor Nixon would rather use the money on his proposed expansion of social welfare programs and other costly liberal policies.”

Follow Along with Speaker Jones’ Tour on YouTube

Speaker Jones has set up a special YouTube channel to showcase videos from his post-session tour across Missouri.  You can view the videos here.

Post-Session Listening Tour

From May 28 through May 31, I will be touring the state to discuss the accomplishments of the 2013 legislative session and priorities for next session.  Tour stops are as follows:

Day 1 – Tuesday, May 28

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Neosho Stop

K & S Wire

300 W. Nelson Street

Neosho, MO 64850

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Joplin Stop

Con-Way Trucking

4701 E. 32nd Street

Joplin, MO 64804

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Carthage Stop

The Mother Road Coffee

325 South Main

Carthage, MO 64836

2:15 PM – 3:00 PM Mt. Vernon Stop

Lawrence County Courthouse

1 East Courthouse Square

Mt. Vernon, MO 65712

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Branson Stop

Chamber Visitors Center

269 State Highway 248

Branson, MO 65616

Day 2—Wednesday, May 29

9:15 AM – 10:00 AM Springfield Breakfast Meet & Greet

Positronic Industries

1325 North Eldon St.

Springfield, MO 65803

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Lebanon Stop

Chamber of Commerce

186 North Adams Avenue

Lebanon, MO 65536

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Osage Beach Stop

Lake Regional Hospital – Doctors’ Coffee

54 Hospital Drive

Osage Beach, MO 65065

Day 3—Thursday, May 30

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM Columbia Stop

REMM

302 Campus View Drive, Suite 203

Columbia, MO 65201

1:30 – 1:55 PM Sedalia Stop

Ivory Grille

317 S. Ohio Ave.

Sedalia, MO 65301

3:00 PM – 3:45 PM Warrensburg Stop

Johnson County Courthouse, County Commission Chamber

300 North Holden Street, Second Floor

Warrensburg, MO 64093

Day 4—Friday, May 31

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM Sikeston Stop

DeWitt Company

905 S. Kingshighway

Sikeston, MO 63801

10:15 AM – 11:00 PM Cape Girardeau Stop

Delta Companies

114 South Silver Springs Road

Cape Girardeau, MO 63703

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM Washington Stop

GH Tool and Mold, Inc.

423 W W Industrial Park Drive

Washington, MO 63090

3:00 – 4:00 PM Union Stop

Dolan Realtors

210 US 50

Union, MO 63084

5:30—Eureka Stop

Speaker Tim Jones Headquarters

137B South Central Ave.

Eureka, MO 63025

Southeast Missourian: Special committee to look into document scanning decision

Story available here:

http://www.semissourian.com/story/1966373.html

Special committee to look into document scanning decision

Monday, May 6, 2013 ~ Updated 11:25 AM

By Erin Ragan ~ Southeast Missourian

Anticipating that investigations into the Missouri Department of Revenue’s scanning and sharing of concealed weapons permits will need to go beyond the length of this year’s legislative session, House Speaker Tim Jones is forming a special committee of legislators, prosecuting attorneys and sheriffs to evaluate if state law was broken during what Republicans call a breach in citizens’ trust of state government.

Jones said Monday his committee will be bipartisan to include Republicans and Democrats, and that the idea for its formation is based upon a committee Gov. Jay Nixon led when he served as attorney general. Nixon’s committee investigated the retention of emails in former governor Matt Blunt’s administration.

“I just feel that after several months we don’t have a resolution and cooperation from the governor’s office,” Jones said Monday. “We are trying to find out historically, whose decision and how far up the chain did it go to begin scanning the information at the Department of Revenue.”

The revenue department’s storing of personal identification documents of concealed weapon permit holders on state computers and giving that information to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who in turn shared a list with a federal Social Security fraud investigator, is already the subject of three investigations, two of which are ongoing in the House and Senate. State Auditor Tom Schweich’s office is also conducting a related audit of the revenue department.

The governor has ordered the revenue department to cease copying concealed weapon permit holders’ information and has denied that the state has participated in efforts to comply with a federal law known as Real ID, which the state government passed a law to opt out of in 2009.

In April, Jones called on Attorney General Chris Koster to launch an additional investigation, but the attorney general has so far declined to do so, citing the subpoena power the current committees have and concerns with the fluidity of the facts surrounding the issue.

The formation of Jones’ new committee would give him subpoena power, the Speaker said Monday.

Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russell Oliver, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Bloomfield, Mo., man challenging the revenue department’s storing and sharing of information, will serve on the committee, according to Jones, and he said he plans to ask several other legislators who have shown interest in the issue to join, including state representatives Todd Richardson, Stanley Cox and Jay Barnes, as well as Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer. Audrain County Sheriff Stuart Miller, Omar Davis, a former counsel and revenue department director, former state representative and retired Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Gary Fuhr and Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Fusselman will also serve on the committee, according to a news release from Jones’ office.

The legislative session ends May 17.

Another goal of the committee, said Jones, will be to discover who allowed different state and federal officials access to information.

“Statements have been made by several individuals, and I believe they are accurate, that it was unlawful access that was being granted. You can’t have just complete open, unfettered access to that database unless its within the scope of criminal activity, and apparently it wasn’t.”

Changes in policy that could be needed will also be a consideration of the committee, Jones said.

Speaker Tim Jones Responds to Release of DHS Letter Exposing Nixon’s Inconsistencies on REAL ID Compliance

Speaker Tim Jones has offered the following response to a letter uncovered today which indicates that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano thanked Governor Nixon for his “efforts to comply with the REAL ID Act of 2005” – a letter sent months after Governor Nixon himself had signed into law a statute banning Missouri from taking part in REAL ID.

“This is very disturbing.  The public’s trust in our state and federal government has been shaken by this scandal, and now we have uncovered yet another inconsistency.  Governor Nixon signed a measure into law barring Missouri from participating in REAL ID, but just months later the Department of Homeland Security sent a letter thanking him for his compliance efforts.  We have been told that there were no REAL ID compliance efforts in place, but this letter indicates that the Nixon administration was indeed attempting to comply in violation of Missouri law.  If they did not intend to comply, why hasn’t the Nixon administration produced a letter in response to Secretary Napolitano’s letter dated March 2010 informing her that Missouri would not be complying with REAL ID?,” said Speaker Jones.

“Governor Nixon needs to stop stonewalling and tell us the truth.  The people of Missouri deserve honest answers about this scandal.  Over the past several weeks, numerous House members have submitted sunshine requests seeking records about the scandal and our colleagues in the Senate have continued to hear testimony in committee regarding this issue.  Unfortunately, those involved in the scandal continue to be evasive, and that is why nearly three weeks ago I asked Attorney General Chris Koster to appoint an independent investigative committee to help investigate this situation.  It is my hope that General Koster will listen to what the people of Missouri have asked, do his job, and appoint an investigative committee help find the answers we need.”

Speaker Jones Addresses DOR Scandal in La Plata – Audio Clips from CentralMOInfo

Today, Speaker Tim Jones spoke to residents of La Plata, MO about the Department of Revenue scandal and attempts to discern the full extent of the problem.  He emphasized that the top priorities are to get the answers Missourians have asked for about the situation and to hold those responsible accountable.

Audio clips from the press conference may be accessed at the CentralMOInfo website.

KY3 Video: Legislative Leaders Want Criminal Investigation

Video is available at the KY3 website.

KOLR 10: Legislators Discuss Department of Revenue Scandal

Story and video available at the KOLR 10 website.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri’s Department of Revenue Director has resigned amid the controversy about the scanning and keeping of personal information.

Brian Long’s resignation comes after the names of thousands of Missourians with conceal carry permits were released to the federal government. The senate has launched an investigation.

According to Governor Jay Nixon’s officer, Brian Long was not asked to step down, but his resignation letter says the recent investigation has taken a tremendous toll on his family life.

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones and Senator Kurt Schaefer made a stop in Springfield Monday to address the Department of Revenue scandal.

A round of applause ensued as Senator Schaefer took the podium.

“This person from social security did not have the ability to do a mass list to profile every Missourian with concealed carry,” says Senator Schaefer.
Senator Schaefer and Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones are trying to get to the bottom of the scandal.

“We believe it’s simply the profiling of Missourians trying to exercise their second amendment rights,” Jones says.

The Missouri Highway Patrol gave a list of more than 160,000 Missourians with concealed carry permits to a federal investigator– something Jones says is against the law and state statute.

“What does putting Missourians back to work have to do with collecting private information and putting it into a federal database? Or allowing the transfer of concealed carry information to be sent to a federal agent working for the social security administration?”

The release of this sensitive information is changing some people’s minds about going forward with obtaining concealed carry permits.

“Now that our information is being released to the national database, I don’t see a reason why I would subject myself to go into a national database,” says Missourian Ben Brixey. “When I just wanted the right to defend myself.”

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott wants his office to be fully in charge.

“We do everything now with the exception of sending a piece of paper to the Department of Revenue to put a stamp on their driver’s license,” says Arnott. “So if we issued a separate permit, it would take the fear away from citizens that information is being shared.”

In the meantime, Senator Schaefer and Speaker Jones are determined to find answers.

“It’s bureaucrats running wild,” says Jones. “They’re doing things behind closed doors. There seems to be a lack of transparency and a general lack of accountability in our state government. It’s concerning all lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”

The Senate is continuing to investigate.

In a press release, Governor Nixon thanked Brian Long for his service and wished him well in his future.

The Department of Revenue’s Deputy Director John Mollenkamp is taking over as acting director.

Joplin Globe: State lawmakers denounce sharing of concealed-gun data

Story available at the Joplin Globe website.

By Susan Redden

CARTHAGE, Mo. — In the wake of revelations that information on Missouri permits had been shared with the federal government, two state lawmakers on Monday said they would prefer changes allowing county sheriffs to issue the certificates for people to carry concealed guns.

House Speaker Tim Jones and Sen. Kurt Schaefer, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, traveled to Carthage to discuss their investigation into the Missouri Department of Revenue’s storage and sharing of private information about state residents.

The probe focuses on a list of state residents with concealed-gun permits, which the two lawmakers say was handed over to federal investigators by workers with the Missouri Department of Revenue. Jones said state law requires that information on who has concealed-gun permits must be kept confidential, and that any request for all that data amounts to “profiling.”

The news conference at the Carthage courthouse attracted about 30 residents, who waited even though the two lawmakers were about 45 minutes late. Several carried signs in support of Missouri’s “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” and some who declined to be identified said they believe the federal government is seeking concealed-gun information so it can take away people’s guns.

One of the sign carriers was Ben Moon, who lives near Carthage. He said there should be very few instances in which a Missouri resident should not be allowed to carry a weapon.

“They should be able to unless they’re convicted of a crime — and not just charged,” he said. “Or they would have to be adjudicated as mentally ill — not just someone who took Prozac for a few months.”

J.D. Whitledge, who owns a gun shop near Reeds and offers training that is required for residents to get a concealed-gun permit, said class numbers have more than doubled in recent months.

“I do feel like people think their rights are being threatened,” he said.

Jasper County Sheriff Randee Kaiser said he was disappointed to learn that concealed-gun information was not being kept confidential. He said applications for the permits are made with sheriffs’ offices, which complete all the steps up to issuing the permits. That is handled by the Department of Revenue.

“I’d be fine with us going ahead and actually issuing the permit,” he said.

“If it was handled by sheriffs’ departments, there would be accountability and transparency,” Schaefer said.

Jones said state law prohibits the information from being stored or shared. He said those responsible for violating the law must be held accountable, adding, “People’s Second Amendment rights are being infringed on.”

The two lawmakers, both Republicans, said actions by the Department of Revenue represent a failure by the administration of Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat.

Jones said no investigation has been mounted by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, also a Democrat. He said he has called on Koster to immediately appoint an investigative commission to “determine the full extent of this scandal.”

He said the attorney general “can step in with broader powers to quickly get the answers we need,” or Senate and House committees can spend the remainder of the session conducting their own investigations.

Applause

THERE WAS APPLAUSE from the crowd in the Carthage courthouse Monday when Rep. Tim Jones and Sen. Kurt Schaefer announced that the director of the Missouri Department of Revenue had resigned.

Speaker Jones Calls for Appointment of Investigative Committee to Find Answers on Concealed Carry Information Scandal

In letter to Attorney General Koster, Speaker Jones urges appointment of committee to investigate sharing of concealed carry information and hold those responsible accountable

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – Today, Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones called on Attorney General Chris Koster to appoint an independent investigative committee to look into allegations surrounding sensitive information that is currently being stored by the Department of Revenue.

These allegations have been intensified after the recent admission by the Highway Patrol that they had requested a list of all Missourians with concealed carry permits from the Department of Revenue and subsequently sent the list to the federal government.  Under Missouri law, the names of those with concealed carry permits are confidential.

“The people of Missouri deserve answers about why the Nixon administration is sharing our private information with the federal government.  We have made it clear that we do not want to participate in REAL ID, nor do we want to be part of some back-door gun registry.  Unfortunately, the Department of Revenue has repeatedly tried to cover up information about what they are doing with the information they are scanning and saving and who has had access to it,” said Jones.

“Now, we have found out that the information was handed over to the federal government in clear violation of state statute.  Those responsible for this must be held accountable, and as our state’s top law enforcement officer, it is Attorney General Koster’s responsibility to do so.  It is my hope that Attorney General Koster will immediately appoint an independent investigative committee to look into this scandal, find answers for the people of Missouri, and hold accountable those responsible for this violation of both the law and the public’s trust.”

A copy of the letter can be found here.

St. Louis Beacon: Jones promises House action if Koster fails to appeal ruling on conscience law

by Jo Mannies

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, is trying to step up the pressure on state Attorney General Chris Koster, when it comes to protecting a state law — now in limbo — that allows employers to avoid providing insurance coverage for certain procedures.

Jones announced Thursday that the state House will consider and pass a resolution next week urging Koster to appeal a St. Louis-based federal judge’s ruling that tossed out a 2012 law allowing employers to exclude insurance coverage for abortions, contraception or sterilization.

Jones, also a lawyer, held a news conference at a pregnancy care center in Springfield, Mo., to lay out his concerns that Koster, a Democrat, might opt not to appeal the ruling.

Koster, a former Republican, has not stated a public position on the law in question — but he has said that he backs abortion rights in general.

The intent of the law, known as SB749, was to allow employers to exclude coverage for procedures that violate their religious or ethical beliefs.  The General Assembly had overruled the veto of Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat and former attorney general, who had raised legal and ethical concerns about the law.

Judge Audrey Fleissig had ruled last week that the law violated the federal coverage mandates in the Affordable Care Act.

Said Jones at the news conference: “The clock is ticking for an appeal to be filed regarding SB749, a bill intended to protect the rights guaranteed to us in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment from being infringed upon by a mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Last week, I submitted a letter to Attorney General Koster urging him to appeal this case on the grounds that the HHS mandate violates both the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and I have yet to receive a response.

“As a result, I will be working with my fellow members of the Missouri House of Representatives to pass a House concurrent resolution urging swift action in defense of our religious liberties. Attorney General Koster’s job is to defend our state laws without prejudice, and I believe he needs to put politics aside and appeal this case.”

Koster said in an interview Wednesday that his office is handling the case using standard procedures before making a decision on any appeal. He confirmed that he had received Jones’ letter, but that the two had not communicated otherwise.

“There are some aspects of Judge Fleissig’s ruling that we have some technical questions about,” Koster said. “The first thing that will probably occur is that sometime in the next week or two weeks, in the very near future, we’re going to ask if Judge Fleissig could clarify a couple things in her ruling. That’s going to be the next thing.”

In response to Jones’ news conference Thursday, Koster spokeswoman Nanci Gonder added, “The federal court’s ruling of March 14 invalidating portions of SB 749 also appears to have created uncertainties related to section 376.1199 and its impact on insurance carriers and individuals. Our next step is to request clarification from the court regarding the intended scope of the ruling.”

At his news conference, Jones – unaware of Koster’s comments – said his concern was that the enforcement of the Affordable Care Acts’ provision is just months away.

“Missouri must push back against this harmful mandate and protect our First Amendment rights,” Jones said.

“Without SB749, numerous Missourians will be forced to either pay massive fines or buy insurance products which violate their religious convictions, and I think this is a clear violation of the freedom of religion. I believe that the judge, who was appointed by President (Barack) Obama, looked at the wrong issue in this case when the constitutional concerns were bypassed in the decision, and I believe our state will be vindicated if this case is appealed and the court is asked to look at the First Amendment concerns with the HHS mandate.”

Original story: https://www.stlbeacon.org/#!/content/30108/jones_koster_contraception_032813

St. Louis Review – Bishops, House speaker urge Mo. attorney general to appeal contraception law

By Jennifer Brinker

The Missouri bishops are among those urging Attorney General Chris Koster to appeal a judge’s order that struck down a state law protecting religious liberties.

In addition, Missouri House Speaker Timothy Jones, R-Eureka, announced at a press conference March 28 in Springfield, Mo., that he has proposed a House Concurrent Resolution urging Koster to defend the law. The bill is HCR 35.

On March 14, St. Louis federal district court Judge Audrey Fleissig struck down portions of a Missouri law protecting the conscience rights of those objecting to paying for contraceptive coverage and abortion-inducing drugs in their health plans. The law was known as SB 749 during the legislative process.

The Missouri Catholic Conference, public policy arm of the state’s bishops, said it was disappointed in Judge Fleissig’s decision, adding that it attacks the conscience rights and religious liberty of all Missouri citizens. Attorney General Koster had defended the law before the court, but Judge Fleissig dismissed those arguments.

In a March 21 letter, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, speaking on behalf of all Missouri bishops, urged Koster to appeal the judge’s decision “with all due haste. No one should be forced to pay for contraceptives and potentially abortion-inducing drugs in violation of their conscience.”

The Archbishop’s letter was accompanied by a statement signed by the Missouri bishops.

SB 749 has had a tumultuous history. Last September, the Missouri General Assembly overturned Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of of the bill and passed a revision to existing Missouri law strengthening those conscience protections. Once it became law, the Missouri insurance industry filed suit against it. Several days later, Judge Fleissig issued an order temporarily blocking enforcement of the law.

The bishops said in their statement that “the revisions to Missouri’s insurance law (SB 749) passed last September respected the fundamental right of both institutions and individuals to exercise their religious convictions in the health care insurance marketplace. Unfortunately, Judge Fleissig’s March 14 decision not only strikes down several of those revisions, but it leaves Missouri law with a contraceptive mandate and no conscience protections. This is unacceptable.”

In a statement, House Speaker Jones said “the clock is ticking for an appeal to be filed regarding SB 749, a bill intended to protect the rights guaranteed to us in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment from being infringed upon by a mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services.”

“Last week, I submitted a letter to Attorney General Koster urging him to appeal this case on the grounds that the HHS mandate violates both the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and I have yet to receive a response,” Jones said in the statement. “As a result, I will be working with my fellow members of the Missouri House of Representatives to pass a House Concurrent Resolution urging swift action in defense of our religious liberties. Attorney General Koster’s job is to defend our state laws without prejudice …”

Meanwhile, 13 attorneys general from across the nation sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on March 26, asking for wider religious exemptions to the HHS mandate that employee health insurance plans cover contraceptives. The attorneys general were from Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

“The proposed regulations selectively address faith and conscience-based objections to a government mandate that requires businesses and nonprofits to pay for insurance coverage for contraception and other reproductive services,” the attorneys general wrote. “They allow a limited few religious nonprofits, such as houses of worship, to avoid the ‘HHS mandate’ altogether.

“The proposed regulations purport to allow a few other religious-affiliated nonprofits, such as Catholic Charities, to avoid paying directly for these reproductive services by requiring the insurance companies that cover the organizations’ employees to provide ‘free’ coverage,” they also wrote. “The proposed regulations provide no exception to the HHS mandate for for-profit business owners who object on conscience grounds.”

Original article published here: http://stlouisreview.com/article/2013-03-28/bishops-house-speaker

Speaker Tim Jones Announces HCR Urging Appeal of Religious Liberties Case

At a press conference held today at the Springfield Pregnancy Care Center, Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones announced that the House would be taking up and passing a House Concurrent Resolution, HCR35, urging Attorney General Chris Koster to appeal a federal court decision invalidating protections for Missourians’ religious liberties.

“The clock is ticking for an appeal to be filed regarding SB749, a bill intended to protect the rights guaranteed to us in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment from being infringed upon by a mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Jones.

“Last week, I submitted a letter to Attorney General Koster urging him to appeal this case on the grounds that the HHS mandate violates both the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and I have yet to receive a response.  As a result, I will be working with my fellow members of the Missouri House of Representatives to pass a House Concurrent Resolution urging swift action in defense of our religious liberties.  Attorney General Koster’s job is to defend our state laws without prejudice, and I believe he needs to put politics aside and appeal this case.”

“Missouri must push back against this harmful mandate and protect our First Amendment rights. Without SB749, numerous Missourians will be forced to either pay massive fines or buy insurance products which violate their religious convictions, and I think this is a clear violation of the freedom of religion. I believe that the judge, who was appointed by President Obama, looked at the wrong issue in this case when the Constitutional concerns were bypassed in the decision, and I believe our state will be vindicated if this case is appealed and the court is asked to look at the First Amendment concerns with the HHS mandate.”

Jones was first elected to the House in November 2006.  He was unanimously elected as Speaker in September 2012.  Speaker Jones serves as Representative for the 110th District, which includes portions of Franklin and St. Louis Counties.  Jones is an attorney at a Chesterfield law firm and currently resides in Eureka with his wife, Suzanne, and two daughters.

Speaker Jones Disagrees with Obamacare Decision by Obama-Appointed Judge, Calls on Attorney General Koster to Immediately Appeal

Speaker Tim Jones has released the following statement regarding Obama-appointed Judge Audrey G. Fleissig’s decision to invalidate the provisions of SB749, a 2012 bill protecting Missourians’ religious beliefs from being interfered with by provisions of the federal healthcare law which requires provision of services like abortion, contraception, or sterilization.

“Missourians’ religious rights under the First Amendment must take precedence over President Obama’s overreaching health care law.  I call on Attorney General Koster to immediately appeal this case and to defend the rights of Missouri citizens by challenging the contraception mandate as unconstitutional.  Missourians need to be protected from mandates that violate their religious beliefs,” said Speaker Jones.

The veto override of SB749 was among Speaker Jones’ first actions as Speaker of the Missouri House.  A letter from Speaker Jones to Attorney General Koster requesting the appeal is available here.

Just last week, the founder of Domino’s Pizza won his bid for a court order to prevent enforcement of the Health and Human Services mandate that forces employers to purchase drugs that cause abortion, in violation of their religious beliefs.  The lawsuit in that case is still pending.

Jones was first elected to the House in November 2006.  He was unanimously elected as Speaker in September 2012 and unanimously reelected as Speaker for the 2013-2014 General Assembly.  Speaker Jones serves as Representative for the 110th District, which includes portions of Franklin and St. Louis Counties.  Jones is an attorney at the Chesterfield law firm of DosterUllom, LLC, and currently resides in Eureka with his wife, Suzanne, and two daughters.

KOAM: Missouri House Speaker Visits Joplin to Discuss Income Tax Cut

Video available here.  Text of original story is printed below.

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones stopped in Joplin on Monday to speak with area business leaders.  Jones has supported a cut in income taxes.

The state senate has already passed a bill that would provide relief from income tax, but increase sales tax.

Jones says this is the first major tax policy reform bill to come out of Missouri since the 1930′s.

“That’s why the levels are so low, they have not been adjusted for inflation, cost of living, nothing, so if you make more than $9,000 in Missouri you are paying what our top rate is,” says Jones.

Across the state line, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has been pushing for an elimination of state income tax and a higher sales tax.

Joplin Globe: House Speaker Emphasizes Business-Friendly Proposals

Original story available here and printed below.

By Susan Redden

Speaker Tim Jones touted the “business friendly” positions of the Missouri House of Representatives on Monday in a gathering of Joplin area business people.

He said lowering personal and corporate income taxes, reinstating medical malpractice caps and revising the prevailing wage requirements are priorities in the legislative session that passed its half-way mark last week.

Reducing income tax in favor of a sales tax would be fairer and make the state more attractive to new employers, Jones told the crowd of about 20 people accommodated by Employer Advantage at the Gryphon Building. Under the current system, Jones said, everyone in Missouri who makes over $9,000 is in the same tax bracket.

“People who can afford to should pay,” he said. “But shifting to more of a consumption-tax would include people who aren’t paying income taxes.”

The proposal he favors, the speaker said, would gradually reduce income taxes and increase state sales tax by 1 percent, with some of the revenue generated specifically earmarked for transportation needs.

To a question about how to avoid a tax that would be regressive on lower-income residents, Jones said food would not be taxed.

Missouri’s conservative policies allowed it to fare better in the recession than some other states, Jones said, noting the state has $250 million more in revenue than last year, adding “and that’s without a tax increase.”

While praising historic preservation tax credits that made possible renovation projects like the Gryphon Building, the speaker said lawmakers are looking to rein in a system that now grants tax credits for about 61 programs.

“These kinds of projects have preserved buildings and revitalized towns, but we need to get the number of programs down to between 20 and 30,” he said.

He said other legislation is being proposed to reinstate caps on medical malpractice awards that were imposed earlier and then thrown out by the courts. He said the absence of limits makes it difficult in areas like Joplin and Kansas City, where physicians can just move to neighboring states where limits are in pace.

Lawmakers also are working to put before voters a bond proposal that would generate revenue for state infrastructure needs without raising taxes. They also are advancing measures that, if passed into law, would remove prevailing wage requirements on school construction projects and on government projects in counties that are not in metropolitan areas of the state such as Kansas City and St. Louis. He praised state Rep. Bill Lant, R-Pineville, who is chairman of the Workforce Development and Workplace Safety committee working on prevailing wage and related proposals. He also cited work by Rep. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, vice chairman of the House budget committee; Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, chairman of the House Agriculture Policy Committee; and Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, chairman of the House Veterans Committee.

To other questions, Jones said he believes the marketplace should set pay rates rather than minimum wage requirements, and said both the Senate and House continue to oppose Gov. Jay Nixon’s recommendation to expand state Medicaid rolls under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Nixon’s proposal would add 300,000 to the state Medicaid plan with the federal government paying all the costs for the first three years. Jones said he and other GOP lawmakers do not believe the federal government can afford to keep its share of the bargain.

157th District seat

Jones said one of the reasons for his trip to Southwest Missouri was for events in support of Mike Moon, Republican candidate for a vacant 157th District seat in the House. Moon will face Democrat Charles Dake in a special election on April 2. Republicans already have veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate.

Missouri House Perfects Paycheck Protection and Prevailing Wage Reform Legislation

Under the leadership of Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, the House took up and gave initial passage to two labor reform measures on Tuesday. “I want all Missourians to have access to high-paying, quality jobs. House Bills 64 and 409 will help make Missouri more competitive in the international economy, ensuring our state will be able to attract and retain jobs,” stated Speaker Jones.

The first was Paycheck Protection, HB64, sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison. “Paycheck Protection helps Missouri workers by empowering them to decide whether or not they want to make political contributions through labor unions. No one should be forced to make compulsory contributions to an organization which will use the funds to support candidates that the worker may not support,” said Speaker Jones.

Additionally, the House passed a second labor reform measure, HB409, sponsored by Rep. Warren Love.  The bill changes prevailing wage calculations in rural areas, helping to ensure a more representative wage rate that will help these counties and school districts save money on projects. Currently, school districts and public entities are forced to pay prevailing wages which are based on the rates paid in urban areas and do not reflect rural parts of the state, increasing costs by up to 20% and putting a serious strain on their budgets. “Prevailing wage reform will help protect taxpayers and struggling school districts,” added Speaker Jones.

Statement from Speaker Tim Jones on Appointment of Former State Representative Shane Schoeller as Executive Director for Missouri Republican Party

“I want to congratulate my good friend and former colleague on being selected to serve the Missouri Republican Party as Executive Director.  It was an honor to work with him in the Missouri House, and I look forward to working with him again in this capacity.  Shane has a great understanding of the importance of a strong grassroots infrastructure, and he will be an asset as we work to strengthen the Missouri Republican Party.”

Speaker Tim Jones Named to National Executive Committee of Republican Legislative Campaign Committee

Speaker Tim Jones has been named to the National Executive Committee of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, an organization founded in November 2002 which is dedicated to electing more Republicans in state legislatures across the nation.

“Being chosen to serve this important organization is a true honor, and I look forward to working with the others who serve the RLCC to support Republican candidates for state legislatures across the nation,” said Jones.  “Ensuring Republican leadership at the state level is of the utmost importance as we look to put our nation back on track to fiscal responsibility and economic success.”

“Speaker Jones is an exceptional leader and we thank him for his commitment and look forward to working with him through this election cycle,” said Republican State Leadership Committee President Chris Jankowski.  “The key to gaining and growing our majorities is furthering the ideals and principles of leaders fighting for what is right like Speaker Jones does in Missouri.”

Republican Response to the State of the State Address

The following is the text of Speaker Tim Jones’ speech in response to the 2013 State of the State Address:

Good evening.  Thank you for joining me.

I am Tim Jones, Speaker of your Missouri House, and it is an honor to speak with you tonight.

Last November, the people of Missouri sent record numbers of Republicans to Jefferson City to govern and to advance an ambitious policy agenda, an agenda focused on strengthening our state’s economy, reforming our education system, and creating opportunity for all Missourians.

Missourians also gave their support to Governor Nixon, a self-proclaimed independent, fiscal conservative who has proudly reaffirmed his intention to work with Republicans to keep tax burdens low, government small, and the bureaucratic red tape  to a minimum.

It was a governor our state rarely saw during his first term in office, but after seeing his newfound approach to governance, I am cautiously optimistic about working with him in the years ahead.

Moments ago, you heard the governor outline his priorities for the upcoming year.

While some of the common ground with Republicans he discussed on the campaign trail is still there, many of his new proposals, ones that would create a bigger, more intrusive government bureaucracy threaten to create a chasm that no amount of bipartisanship can bridge.

And in the past, as in tonight, the Governor has articulated grand concepts but provided little detail.

Many in the legislature, on both sides of the aisle, are concerned about the governor’s pattern of retreating behind rhetoric instead of leading and engaging with us to find solutions.

So I challenge the governor, for the good of all Missourians, to break from his past pattern of ivory tower executive isolation, roll up his sleeves and work with us to find common ground.

I welcome his participation.

In the months ahead, Republican leadership in the House and Senate will work with the governor on the issues the people of Missouri entrusted us to address when they elected us to office.

We have profound differences but we will focus on the places where we may find agreement.

Areas like the critical task of improving our state’s aging and failing infrastructure.

We must work together to make sure our roads and bridges, the essential transportation routes vital to economic development, are maintained, repaired and, when necessary, rebuilt.

We also believe it is important to review the effectiveness of our existing state programs, including Missouri’s 61 tax credit programs.

Many of these programs accomplish a worthwhile goal, but oversight and accountability are required.

We will eliminate the credits that do not work, cap programs at a reasonable level to provide budget certainty, and ensure that taxpayers are protected.

And if the Governor’s leadership is absent, as it has been many times over the past four years, or when the proposals he pushes are radically different from the campaign promises he made, we will not hesitate to use our historic majorities that the people entrusted us with to pursue our agenda to reform and transform our state.

A prime example is the governor’s call to expand the welfare state by adding 300,000 Missourians to the Medicaid roles.

It’s a call that has come courtesy of Obamacare and Washington, D.C.  It’s a call the Republican-led legislature will not answer.

Eight years ago, Republican leadership made the difficult but desperately needed decision to reign in a welfare system that was growing at an unsustainable rate.

It was a decision that saved the state billions of dollars and staved off almost certain bankruptcy.

Today we are faced with a similar decision.

On one side we have a governor and a federal government that believes bigger government is the answer.

They want to take us down a fiscally irresponsible path that will saddle future generations of Missourians with a bill they cannot afford.

It’s a path Republicans will not follow.

Why should we pour billions of dollars of your hard-earned tax money into a broken system? That would defy basic economic sense.

We will not follow the lead of out-of-touch bureaucrats whose reckless spending has pushed our nation to the brink of financial disaster.

Instead, Republican leadership will propose a plan to transform our Medicaid system, to repair a broken system so that it works as intended by providing quality care to the neediest Missourians.

Republicans have always stood for providing opportunity to those who are truly in need.  And that is where your hard earned tax dollars should be spent.

Our commitment is to stay true to the will of the people who have consistently voted with large majorities against the economy-crippling provisions of Obamacare, to find ways to keep the size of government small and to steer our state away from the same kind of fiscal cliff our federal government cannot seem to avoid.

We also call on Governor Nixon to stand in support of the many Missouri hospitals that provide care to the un- and underinsured.

The federal government’s decision to cut the dish payments that reimburse hospitals for the care they offer is one that we must oppose together.

This ploy by the White House to force the hands of states like ours to expand Medicaid must be rejected, and we must develop a Missouri solution that will allow hospitals to continue to provide care, one that doesn’t require a massive expansion of government that Missouri taxpayers simply cannot afford.

Instead of adding more bloat to the bureaucracy, our efforts this year must focus on strengthening Missouri’s economy, a goal that requires both short-term and long-term solutions.

In the short-term, we can improve our business climate and attract new employers and new jobs by making Missouri’s employment law standards comparable to national standards.

Over the past several years, Missouri’s courts have made misguided rulings that have created uncertainty in our legal environment.

The result is that compliance is now more difficult for existing employers, and potential businesses are discouraged from setting up shop in a state where frivolous lawsuits are far too common.

It is time to put Missouri employers on a level playing field with their competitors around the country, to provide certainty in the legal system that allows businesses to focus on growing their businesses, creating jobs rather than worrying about unnecessary lawsuits.

We also must work to protect one of our largest employers in Missouri – the health care industry.

It is critical that we correct a misguided court decision that opens the door for endless lawsuits with unlimited damages, a decision that will drive doctors out of the state, destroy jobs and reduce Missourians’ access to care.

One of our top priorities for this legislative session will be to reform our medical malpractice system so we can close the floodgate of lawsuits that threaten to drive the cost of medical malpractice insurance through the roof and, of course, increase the cost of care.

Last year, Kansas enacted sweeping tax reforms that made their state extremely attractive to business and upheld their medical malpractice protections for their health care industry.

These are the latest shots in what has been a prolonged—and very successful—effort to poach Missouri companies and Missouri jobs—the ongoing economic “border war.”

And if we do not respond to these very real threats, the war could turn into a rout.

So we must immediately review our tax code and enact fiscally-responsible policies that ensure we remain competitive with our neighboring states.

We must also begin to take steps to secure our future.

We must protect our state’s education funding and give parents, teachers, and school boards the tools they need to ensure the Missourians of today are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow

It would be shortsighted and irresponsible for Missouri’s leaders to place the temporary benefits of entitlement funding ahead of lasting benefits of education, yet that is exactly what Governor Nixon has done over the past several years.

With each speech he has made, the governor has promised the people of Missouri that he will put education first.

But as his rhetoric has been replaced with reality, Missourians have seen just how empty his promises are.

Each year it has been the legislature that has shown real leadership on the vital issue of education.

In each of the last three years, we’ve sent the governor budgets that placed an emphasis on funding both K-12 and higher education.

Each year, he has responded by withholding millions of dollars from our schools.

It was last year the governor asked us to take our funding for K-12 education to record levels, which we did.

At the same time, he asked that funding once again be cut for higher education.

The legislature, despite an incredibly difficult budget, made a commitment to not only provide record levels of funding to our elementary and secondary education system, but also to reverse the $106 million cut the governor had proposed for our colleges and universities.

And how did the governor respond to our decision?

By withholding more than $9 million, effectively cutting higher education funding for a third straight year.

And yet, despite his claims that these cuts had to be made to balance the budget, he was able to find nearly $6 million of your tax money to buy a brand new plane.

Pledging your commitment to our children and then failing to support them flies in the face of good governance and leadership.

Missouri children, our future leaders, deserve more.

When it comes to leadership on the issue of education, Governor Nixon has been absent and actively worked against the legislature’s efforts to invest in what he claims is his top priority.

What’s worse, this has happened at a time when Missouri’s two largest school districts are failing, as our universities are struggling to find ways to prepare our young people for the jobs of the future.

Our children, whether they are born in Springfield, St Louis or Sedalia, Kansas City, Camdenton or Cape, Poplar Bluff, Palmyra or anywhere in between, deserve access to the highest quality education.

But our schools will not be able to provide this level of education if their funding is consistently slashed to the bone to fund an ever-increasing, bloated entitlement system full of waste, fraud and abuse.

Our antiquated, overly bureaucratic system is the antithesis of innovation and excellence.

Teachers should be rewarded for their performance and encouraged to boldly engage in the technological innovation that will create the highly-skilled workforce of tomorrow that we so desperately need.

Finally, we must work to ensure that parents are provided the opportunity to be involved in their children’s education.

Education cannot just begin and end at the schoolhouse door.

It must continue at home, and parents should take an active role in ensuring their children are learning what they need to succeed.

This can be accomplished by providing parents more power to intervene in failing school districts and force the necessary changes to ensure access to an effective education.

This year we also must work to improve and better fund our system of mental health.

Families across Missouri and across our great nation continue to mourn the loss of the young people at Sandy Hook Elementary who were so tragically taken from us, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those families who suffered through this difficult time, but the solution to prevent such tragedies from happening again in the future does not involve trampling on the Second Amendment rights of our citizens.

Instead, we must place an emphasis on creating a mental health system that makes care accessible and effective, so that those who might do us harm have the opportunity to receive the kind of help that can put them on a path to triumph rather than tragedy.

You can count on Republicans to develop policy solutions that will protect your children—but also protect your rights as Americans.

You sent us to Jefferson City for results, and Republicans in the General Assembly are committed to leading a government worthy of the citizens it serves.

Whether it is education innovation or labor reform, saving our healthcare industry or balancing our budget with fairness and equity, the truth has no agenda and the challenges before us shall require bold leadership and transformational ideas.

And if our governor is not up to the demands these times require, your General Assembly is prepared to provide the leadership that is so desperately needed.

While our counterparts in DC may believe that government has all the answers and that bigger government is better, here in Missouri we believe that government is not the ruler of the people, it is the people who should rule over their government.  Only then will all the people find the freedom and opportunity that will lead them to prosperity.

In the coming months, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate, and I hope to work successfully with Governor Nixon, to achieve the vision I have outlined this evening—restoring our infrastructure, strengthening our education system, and creating a job-friendly pro-growth business environment.

Together, we can achieve these goals, and create a better future, full of opportunity for all Missourians.

A place where future generations work, raise their families, and are proud to call home.

Thank you for listening this evening.

May God bless you, and may God continue to bless the Great State of Missouri.

Audio Available for Speaker Jones’ Opening Day Address

An audio recording of Speaker Tim Jones’ speech on the first day of the 2013 legislation session can be found at the Missouri House website.  We hope that you will take the time to listen to this address about the plans for the upcoming legislative session.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Jones Elected House Speaker

by Elizabeth Crisp, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, declared today a “historic day” as Republicans returned to the Capitol with a veto-proof majority and a record number of House members.

In a 43-minute address after being unanimously elected to the speaker’s post today, Jones reiterated the “triple E” platform (economic development, energy policy and education reform) that he has spent several weeks promoting across the state.

“As we embark on the 2013 legislative session, we have within our grasp the ability to make our state stronger and more prosperous than it has ever been,” Jones said. “The people of this state sent the largest Republican caucus in the history of the Missouri House in Jefferson City to advance a bold and ambitious policy agenda – one that will mean more and better jobs for those in need of work, innovative solutions to our current and future energy needs and outside-the-box thinking when it comes to reforming a system of education that has far too often failed to meet the needs of our young people.”

Jones said that the state should “work to improve and reform our education system in general.”

“Our two largest school districts are failing,” he said. “We must provide these districts and every other district in our state the tools to ensure that effective teaching, not bureaucracy, is the No. 1 priority.”

He said a key component of his education agenda will be teacher evaluations.

“Hold poor teachers accountable for their actions, while rewarding the overwhelming majority of good and excellent teachers of our children,” he said. “Our antiquated, overly bureaucratic system, must be challenged. It is the antithesis of innovation and excellence.”

Among the economic development priorities, Jones said he wants the state to reform its medical malpractice system, change employment law standards and altering the state’s workers compensation laws and tax credits.

In nominating Jones for the post, Rep, Kathryn Swan, R-Cape Girardeau, called him a “true leader and consensus builder.”

“He has the energy to serve all the people of Missouri well,” she said.

In one of the day’s more combative speeches, Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, after he was unanimously elected to serve as the House speaker pro tem, lambasted the federal government – repeatedly under the term “Washington DC bureaucrats” for being “out of touch with reality.”

“These are perilous times,” said Smith, who is seeking the GOP’s nomination for the 8th District congressional seat. “We will continue to provide Missouri-based solutions to the problems we face as Missourians.”

Democrats, who have seen their strength in the Legislature shrink as the GOP’s numbers have swelled, took a few opportunities

“The minority will be a partner in moving Missouri forward but we will not be silenced,” said Rep. Steve Webb, D-Florrisant. “We want to work with the majority in a constructive way … but we will not stand for anything that does not benefit the people of this state.”

House Minority Leader Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis, borrowed a line from President Franklin D. Roosevelt (or Uncle Ben from “Spiderman”) and warned Republicans that “With great power comes great responsibility.”

“If the Republican majority uses its power poorly – for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many – it will be solely responsible for those actions,” Hummel said.

In one of the day’s more combative speeches, Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, after he was unanimously elected to serve as the House speaker pro tem, lambasted the federal government – repeatedly under the term “Washington DC bureaucrats” for being “out of touch with reality.”

“These are perilous times,” said Smith, who is seeking the GOP’s nomination for the 8th District congressional seat. “We will continue to provide Missouri-based solutions to the problems we face as Missourians.”

Original story can be found here.

St. Joseph News-Press: State Needs Plan to Boost Business

From the December 10, 2012 News-Press Editorial, which can be viewed here:

Missouri and Kansas agree attracting and supporting businesses is important to each state’s economy. The approaches taken, however, are quite different.

Kansas has been particularly aggressive in offering incentives to potential employers. The state also is cutting individual income tax rates and eliminating income taxes for the owners of 191,000 businesses.

The tax cuts, taking effect in January, have prompted some in Missouri, particularly here on the western side, to urge the Show-Me State to get serious about revising its own tax code. The lobbying group Save Missouri Jobs is running ads to encourage legislators to take action rather than risk “a hemorrhage of business and people to Kansas.”

The game of business attraction is even more fickle than the dating scene. Communities are not well served by flamboyant courting practices where contenders vie to offer the most extravagant package of tax breaks and free land. These deals routinely end up attracting companies with a wandering eye that will leave as soon as someone else offers a sweeter deal.

Workers, money and products move so fluidly between Missouri and Kansas, each state succeeds when the other prospers. We encourage our leaders to work together as much as possible to create a favorable business climate in which each state and community can build on its strengths while enabling others to do the same.

In the upcoming legislative session, Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones has identified a priority to improve the state’s regulatory climate to be more favorable to private business. He also is suggesting a leaner, more effective approach to economic development. A push during the last legislative session for an international export hub near St. Louis was a complicated, unproven package that even some supporters couldn’t explain.

The beauty of the Kansas approach is its centerpiece of tax cuts is simple and applies to all businesses. The downside, critics and even some backers say, is it may go too far in cutting tax revenues needed for state operations.

Missouri should, as is being advocated, move quickly to improve its competitive position. This should include studying Kansas’ initiatives and weighing whether tax cuts are needed. It also should include long-overdue reform and caps on our multiple tax credit programs, which drain revenue away from the state budget.

The overall effort must be focused on adopting a strategy that is welcoming and supportive of responsible firms, large or small, who wish to do business in our state. Our future economic health depends on this.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Letter to the Editor – Jones as Speaker is a Good Sign

From the December 1, 2012 issue of the Post-Dispatch:

I’m personally very pleased state Rep. Tim Jones will be serving as speaker of the Missouri House and presiding over a 110-member Republican majority during the upcoming legislative session. Our state is facing serious problems, and I know Speaker Jones will do all he can to solve them.

Jones has served as representative from the West St. Louis County area for six years, and during that time he’s earned the trust of our community, building a reputation as a no-nonsense public servant. As majority leader, he worked to get things done while his colleagues in the Senate were busy trying to see how many quotes they could get in the newspaper by talking all day.

Unlike many in Jefferson City, Jones doesn’t play games; he gets results. We need someone who has the initiative to take the lead and pass real reforms. Gov. Jay Nixon has been “leading from behind” for his entire term of office, and I doubt he’s going to have a change of heart. Having a speaker with Jones’ “can-do” attitude will be a great asset for our state.

Dennis Broadbooks, Wildwood

Original article can be read here.

SPEAKER-ELECT TIM W. JONES RESPONDS TO NIXON VETO OF SB749, RELIGIOUS LIBERTY BILL

PRESS STATEMENT: SPEAKER-ELECT TIM W. JONES RESPONDS TO NIXON VETO OF SB749, RELIGIOUS LIBERTY BILL

(EUREKA, MO) – “It is outrageous that Governor Nixon chose to side with pro-abortion interest groups and President Obama against a measure protecting the constitutional guarantee of religious liberty for Missourians against Obama’s HHS mandate.  Just as I led the effort to pass this bill in the Missouri House of Representatives, I will lead the effort to override Governor Nixon’s veto,” said Jones.

“Unfortunately, this is just the latest decision in a pattern for the Nixon administration.  Time and time again, the Missouri House of Representatives has taken the lead on fighting destructive policies related to Obamacare, only to have Governor Jay Nixon choose to side with President Barack Obama and not the people of our state.  It is my hope that we will address this bill early in veto session and send a message to Governor Nixon by overriding his bad decision.  I have already informed Speaker Tilley of my intent to bring this bill up during veto session, and I look forward to doing so.”

“This bill received bipartisan support in both houses of the Missouri General Assembly, passing 105-33 in the House and 28-6 in the Senate.  The Emergency Clause passed with a vote of 110-35 in the House and 28-6 in the Senate.  The Missouri Catholic Conference, Missouri Right to Life, and numerous other groups supported this commonsense safeguard for our religious liberties, yet Governor Nixon chose to ignore the many voices united in favor of this bill just to appease Washington liberals.”

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Springfield News Leader notes Tim Jones: “‘GOP pit bull’ aims to become next Missouri House speaker”

A member of the state House leadership team who has been described as the “GOP pit bull” wants to be the House speaker in 2013 and ’14.

State House Majority Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka, had long been expected to run for the House’s top position, and he confirmed Tuesday that he plans to do so.

“Yes, I am going to be asking my caucus to elect me as speaker-elect,” he said.

The speaker has a lot of control over the House agenda, assigns committee chairs and can give or take away other perks from members, such as office space.

Jones now controls the House floor calendar as the majority floor leader, another powerful position in state government. That means Jones is in charge of the flow of bills, and he can push legislation through quickly or block it.

In his five years in the General Assembly, he’s helped pass bills that made abortion law stricter and brokered a compromise between health providers and insurance companies that ended with a host of changes aimed at making insurance companies pay claims more quickly.

For the full article, click here: http://www.news-leader.com/article/20110622/NEWS06/106220397/-1/7daysarchives/-GOP-pit-bull-aims-become-next-Missouri-House-speaker

The Case for Health Care Freedom

In a little over a month, Missouri will be the first state in our nation to vote on a referendum on the federal health care law that was passed earlier this year. A measure, known as the “Health Care Freedom Act,” passed the Missouri legislature earlier this year and has been put on the August ballot in Missouri. If approved by voters, the Missouri Health Care Freedom Act would create statutory protections against government mandated insurance and ensure that Missourians continue to possess the ability to make their own health care decisions. In light of the new federal health care laws and all of the weekly bad news that continues to be “discovered” about ObamaCare, Missouri needs these protections.

It is clear that Missourians not only oppose the new federal health care law, but also the individual insurance mandate in the new law that would force individuals to purchase health insurance, or face fines and penalties. Equally troubling for Missourians are the nearly weekly updates from the Congressional Budget Office that show that, instead of reducing the federal deficits, ObamaCare will cost an additional 800 billion dollars over the next ten years. Because of these concerns, a Rasmussen poll released this week showed that a clear majority of Missourians still want the new federal bill repealed. Even though this opposition was made clear in town halls and tea parties, Congress passed the bill against the objections of Americans.

In an effort to protect Missourians from this dangerous encroachment on our freedoms, a bipartisan super majority of state legislators supported the Health Care Freedom Act during the 2010 legislative session. The Act contains two major provisions: protections for Missourians from being forced to purchase health insurance and a prohibition against government fines and penalties for refusing to purchase insurance. This legislation was crafted because Missourians are far more capable of making their own health care decisions than Washington politicians and bureaucrats.

The authority of the federal government to pass legislation that requires the purchase of a private product is highly questionable. While the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution has been used to justify federal regulation of private enterprise, never before in our nation’s history has “inactivity” been regulated. That is, while the active participation in commerce and private enterprise has been regulated by the federal government for years, individuals have never been forced to participate “in” commerce, as the federal health care law would require. This expanded power creates a dangerous precedent for government overreach, and has the potential to dramatically expand the size and scope of government.

Should Missourians pass the Health Care Freedom Act, we would retain the power and freedom to determine our own health care and send a message to the federal government that we have had it with their overreaching and their mandates. If you, like me, have had it with an out of control, out of touch federal government, I encourage you to vote ‘yes’ on Proposition C on August 3.

By: Representative Timothy W. Jones

Employment Law Reform Is Economic Development

By Representative Tim Jones and Senator Brad Lager

For many years, the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), which creates statutory safeguards for employees in employment discrimination and other workplace wrongdoings, was interpreted by state courts in much the same vein as Title VII federal discrimination cases. This created a very balanced system where legitimate discrimination cases were heard and properly adjudicated and the frivolous lawsuits were dismissed.

However, over the last decade, including two weeks ago in the Missouri Supreme Court, the courts in Missouri have made decisions that have profoundly strayed from precedent and created a new body of law not found in Missouri statutes. In a nutshell, what the plaintiff’s bar has been unsuccessful in changing through the legislative process, it has begun to achieve through the judicial process. This trend, if not reversed, will cause long-term harm to the business climate in this state and deter our genuine efforts to attract and retain good-paying, family-supporting jobs.

Consider the following:

* Missouri courts historically (and properly) found no specific right to a jury trial in the Missouri Human Rights Law. For years the plaintiff’s bar routinely pursued legislation to statutorily require jury trials for all employment-related cases. The legislature routinely rejected this requirement. But, the Supreme Court in Diehl v. O’Malley found a right to jury trial for all employment cases, regardless of merit.

* For the first time in a case involving Albacore Holdings, Inc., Missouri courts found that individuals may be held liable in Missouri Human Rights cases. This means that even middle managers can be required to hire a lawyer to defend the legitimate business decisions they make.

* Employees can now claim “whistleblower” protection even in situations where the employer has not violated nor even contemplated violating the law, as the court held in Dunn v. Enterprise.

* In Daugherty v. City of Maryland Heights, the Missouri Supreme Court, by judicial fiat, overturned 40 years of precedent and lessened the burden by which employees must prove they were subject to discrimination from a “motivating” factor to a “contributing” factor, thereby increasing the likelihood of a runaway jury verdict and increasing the cost of settlement.

Consequently, plaintiff attorneys are boasting about filing MHRA cases in state court. One active plaintiff employment lawyer stated, “Employment lawyers who file for employees all want to go to state court…The Missouri Human Rights Act is being interpreted in a way that more broadly benefits employees, and there are strong legal precedents by the Missouri Supreme Court saying summary judgements are inappropriate in discrimination cases and reinforcing rights to a jury trial.”

If we as a state are to remain competitive for job creation, recruitment and retention, the climate for employers must be robust and attractive. Having aggressive and strategic economic development tools at the state and local level can be severely undermined by having a hostile judicial climate toward employers. We do not want to become the next Madison County, Illinois.

This legislative session, we are sponsoring legislation in our respective chambers (HB 1488 and SB 852) that would address many of these issues. Our legislation restores the balance we once had by having the MHRA more closely reflect federal standards where legitimate employment-related issues receive a full vetting and proceed based on their merits.

In these uncertain economic times Missouri should be promoting a business friendly climate. These lawsuits are undermining that climate and hurting our economic development efforts.

Source: St. Louis Business Journal, February 26, 2010