Missouri’s legislative session began two weeks ago and our state representatives and state senators are hard at it. Several of the battles we are fighting are the same ones we were fighting last year. The fight for ethics reform has been joined and is going our way so far. We were the only organization to testify for it.
We stood alone in the Senate Transportation Committee hearing to testify against the Gas Tax Increase while the other side lined up against us. And we were one of only three groups standing up to end local earnings taxes.
Ethics, taxes, and privacy are issues that never go away. The other side will never end their mission to grow government and infringe on individual liberty. Likewise we can never quit.
In Jefferson City OLD is the new NEW.
The House made short work of one of our top priorities: Ethics Reform, swiftly passing four bills with a few more bills on the front burner. We trust Speaker Todd Richardson will take action on the pending lobbyist gift when they gavel in this week. To give credit where credit is due ethics reform has never moved so quickly before. Nor has it had the quality of support from House and Senate Leadership it does this year.
Thank you, Representative Richardson and Senator Ron Richard and your leadership teams for making real ethics reform a priority this year.
Gas Tax Increase
Senator Doug Libla, who’s Senate District we polled on the issue of the gas tax hike, is championing another gas tax increase to fund transportation projects. The majority of his Senate District opposes increasing the gas tax to the tune of63%. Yet he charges forward.
Aside from the fact that Missourians turned down an increase of their sales taxes to pay for transportation projects two years ago and a measure to incrementally raise our gas taxes failing in the legislature last year Senator Libla is charging ahead giving his tax increase an early hearing in the committee he chairs.
One has to ask has Senator Libla thought this through. Unless he knows something that we do not, it is unimaginable that Speaker of the House Representative Todd Richardson will make his members vote on a tax increase in an election year. Similarly, it is hard to see the rationale Senate President Pro Tem Senator Ron Richard would employ to allow a twice defeated transportation tax hike to go to the Senate Floor for debate in 2016. Why then would Doug Libla put Senators Dave Shatz, Bob Dixon,Brian Munzlinger, Gary Romine, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, andS. Kiki Curls in the position of taking a divisive pyrrhic committee vote?
Whatever the outcome we will fight this tax hike. Last week we were the only group to testify against the gas tax increase. We promise to remain vigilant!
Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)
The proposed mandatory government database to house Missourians medical information who takes Schedule 2 through Schedule 4 medications (common medications like OxyContin, Xanax, Soma, and Ritalin) is up for debate again. We believe that you have the right to medical privacy. We believe that your medical record should be your property and we are opposed to a compulsory government database.
Implementing the government database is a big priority for the leftwing. They lament the fact that Missouri is the only state without a Prescription Monitoring Program. President Barack Obama’s White House has a position paper on PDMP. Not surprisingly Obama’s administration supports it. Sometimes it’s good to stand alone. This is one of those times.
Liberal Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is coming to Jefferson City this week to take on drug abuse. Presumably she will make President Obama’s case for PDMP as well.
On Tuesday Sen. McCaskill will hold a hearing in support of PDMP by outlining the problem of drug abuse. The hearing will start Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 9:45 AM in the Governor’s Office Building, 201 W Capitol Ave. #216, Jefferson City, MO 65101.
Reported witnesses (presumably in support of the database) will include Bob Twillman, executive director for the American Academy of Pain Management; State Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston; Dr. Paul Tatum III, an associate professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia; Dr. William Maurice Redden, assistant professor at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine; and Paul Walker, pharmacy benefit manager, Department of Veterans Affairs.
Missouri Alliance for Freedom will be there too.