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The Way Forward for Congress

by Lee H. Hamilton

There have been encouraging signs on Capitol Hill of late that Congress’s long slide into irrelevance may be slowing.

Agreements on Medicare reimbursements in both houses, and on Iran, No Child Left Behind, Pacific trade and other issues in various committees led last month to a chorus of relieved approval both in Washington and in the press. Less noticed, but equally important, a report from the

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Capitol Perspectives: Legislative Leaders and Term Limits

by Phill Brooks

One of the trends in Missouri’s legislature from term limits has been the growing power of legislative leaders. It’s the exact opposite that had been suggested by some term-limit supporters — that kicking out long-time legislators also would remove leaders who had held dominating power for years. But the resulting large blocks of lawmakers with limited understanding of government history or the legislative process has virtually necessitated

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Join the Fiesta During Nursing Home Week May 11-15

DCNR residents celebrate National Nursing Home Week.

Gallatin Mayor Barb Ballew has issued a proclamation asking the community to come show their appreciation for the nursing home residents at Daviess County Nursing and Rehab, especially during National Nursing Home Week May 11-15. The theme is “Bring on the Fiesta!”

Activities for the week are: Monday – Proclamation and Balloon Release; Tuesday – Piñata and fried ice cream sundaes at 2

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Farmland Productivity Valuation Going Up

New agricultural productivity values took effect on Jan. 1, 2015, according to Daviess County Assessor Betty Harmison. The assessor recently received information about the increase from the State Tax Commission.

The most recent study conducted for the State Tax Commission indicated an increase in productivity values per acre for agricultural and horticultural land. In December of 2013, the State Tax Commission of Missouri proposed the study’s range of productive values

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Protecting Victims of Sexual Assault

by State Rep. Dan Hegeman

Earlier this session, I was contacted by a constituent who was having a difficult time protecting his adopted daughter (a minor) from being contacted by her biological father — the very individual who sexually assaulted her years ago. Though the adoptive father searched for some measure of legal remedy, he was unable to find a satisfactory solution under current state law. What the adoptive father

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Money and Politics: We Need Change Now!

by Lee H. Hamilton

I’ve seen a lot over my decades in politics, and not much alarms me. But I have to be blunt: Money is poisoning our political system.

The people who matter most to a representative democracy — the ordinary voters in whose interests elected politicians are supposed to act — feel as though they’ve become an afterthought in the political process. The tidal wave of money washing

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Budget Sent to the Governor

by State Rep. Dan Hegeman

This week, the Missouri General Assembly completed work on the final version of the state’s budget for Fiscal Year 2016, and it is now on its way to the governor’s desk. The $26 billion budget manages to provide a record level of funding for K-12 public education, while also attempting to address the unsustainable growth of our state social welfare programs.

As I said when

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McCaskill Questions Garnishment of SS for Student Loan Debt

Sen. Claire McCaskill is asking for answers about the controversial policy of garnishing Social Security benefits in order to recoup federal student loan debt.

In a letter to the U.S. Comptroller General, McCaskill, along with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, asked the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study of the effects of Social Security benefit garnishment for senior households, including how such garnishment affects retirement, and how much of each

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Capitol Perspectives: Challenging the Legislature

by Phill Brooks

Missouri’s Republican legislature has laid the groundwork for a classic confrontation with the Democratic governor.

This year, the GOP-dominating legislature sent Gov. Jay Nixon bills he normally would veto including unemployment compensation cuts, welfare cuts and restrictions to his budget powers.

They sent the entire operating budget to Nixon early enough that they can take their veto override votes before the session ends rather than waiting until

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