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Capital Report: The Need for Ethics Reform in Missouri

by State Sen. Brad Lager

There is an inherent trust that exists between the public and their elected officials. It sits at the cornerstone of our democratic process and is necessary to make our representative government function for the good of the people. Once the electorate believes that an official’s integrity has been compromised, whether it has or not, that cornerstone upon which our government is built begins to weaken.

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Capitol Perspectives: Deadly, Devious and Disabling Details

by Phill Brooks

In the weeks before the 2015 legislative session, two issues have emerged as dominant — Ferguson and government ethics. Yet, I wonder whether conflicts over details will be fatal.

For years, I’ve seen well-intentioned efforts by Missouri public officials crash on the shores of details. Think back to last year when legislative leaders expressed pride at pulling together a complex compromise on unaccredited school districts. There was

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PSC Cold Weather Rule Takes Effect

The Missouri Public Service Commission’s Cold Weather Rule, designed to help customers with heat-related utility bills, began on Nov. 1. The rule will remain in effect through March 31, 2015. The Cold Weather Rule has been a part of the commission’s rules and regulations since 1977.

The Cold Weather Rule applies to natural gas and electric utilities under PSC jurisdiction that provide heat-related service. Municipally operated systems, cooperatives and those

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Look Up, Americans

It’s not as bad as you think

by Lee H. Hamilton

We are one glum country.

Trust in the federal government is at historic lows, according to Gallup. More than half of the respondents to an October Rasmussen poll think our best days are behind us. And just a few weeks ago, an NBC/Wall St. Journal poll found that the one thing Americans agree upon whatever their race or circumstances

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New Toll for I-70?

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has asked the transportation commission to study the possibility of adding tolls to Interstate 70, and requested they present the results by the end of the month. Officials say the interstate could be widened to three lanes in each direction from St. Louis to Kansas City. In August, voters decided against a sales tax that would have funded several projects, including the I-70 widening project. There

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Capital Report: Consistent Employment Law in Missouri

by State Sen. Brad Lager

Earlier this year, I wrote about a Missouri Supreme Court decision that overturned 30 years of case law when dealing with Missouri workers compensation claims. This decision further opened the door for excessive and frivolous litigation against Missouri employers while making it even more difficult for employers to remove employees who are not doing their job. Because of this judicial action, lawsuits will go up,

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Capitol Perspectives: Changing News Culture in the Statehouse

by Phill Brooks

I was chastised the other day by two leaders of Missouri’s Senate. They were angry about a critical quote from me in a newspaper story about plans to move the press corps out of their offices just weeks before the start of the legislative session. Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey and Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard argued I should have talked to them before speaking out.

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One Month Left to Apply for SBA Disaster Loans

Daniel Webster, Jr., Acting Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Kansas City District Office, reminded private nonprofit (PNP) organizations of the Dec. 30, 2014, deadline to apply for an SBA federal disaster loan for property damage caused by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that occurred Sept. 9-10, 2014. PNPs that provide essential services of a governmental nature are eligible for assistance.

According to Webster, eligible

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What Lies Ahead

by Lee H. Hamilton

Given all the words and images devoted to the midterm elections over the past few weeks, you’d think the results had told us something vital about the future of the country. In reality, they were just a curtain-raiser. It’s the next few weeks and months that really matter.

The big question, as the old Congress reconvenes and prepares to make way for next year’s version, is

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