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Capitol Perspectives: The Lion of the Lobbyists

by Phill Brooks

This past summer, Missouri lost the undisputed lion of our state’s lobbyists – John Britton.

In his prime, Britton was one of the state’s most powerful figures. But there was much more to Britton. He also was a mentor, teacher, friend and adviser to generations of Missouri public leaders.

His funeral was a demonstration of that depth, bringing together past and present government leaders from across decades.

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Capital Report: Balancing MO’s Budget and Its Branches

by State Sen. Brad Lager

Under Missouri’s Constitution, the legislature crafts the state’s annual budget and the executive branch implements that budget. In my opinion, it is the most important duty we undertake each year. The House and Senate budget committees spend hundreds of hours going through each and every line-item so that we have the highest confidence possible that the budget is balanced and our state’s fiscal stability is

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Local Admin Hopes Amendment 3 is a Losing Proposition

A float during Chautauqua urged voters to “Protect Our Local Schools” and “Vote No on Amendment 3.”

Worried that proposed Constitutional Amendment 3 could shift control away from local school districts has prompted a line up of education groups across the state, including teacher unions, school boards, PTAs and school administrators, to rally against it.

The Gallatin R-5 Board of Education has gone on record as opposing the measure by

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Capital Report: The Need for Tort Reform

by State Sen. Brad Lager

Nearly a decade ago, Missouri lawmakers passed one of the most comprehensive tort reform packages in the nation. With the passage of this legislation, which was signed in to law by Gov Matt Blunt, the legislature had taken an important step towards improving the state’s business climate. One component of that legislative package was the limiting of certain punitive damages to fair and reasonable levels.

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Sport Leaders Put Victory Over Decency

by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill

Editor’s note: The following op-ed was published in USA Today on Sept. 17. Besides currently serving Missouri in the U.S. Senate, McCaskill is a former sex crimes prosecutor.

This week was a gut-check moment for big-time sports in this country. A giant mirror has been raised for commissioners, coaches and athletic directors across the country. It is their time to take a hard look at

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Capital Report: The 2014 Veto Session

by State Sen. Brad Lager

Last week, the Missouri General Assembly convened the 2014 veto session. The constitutionally directed session provides the legislature the opportunity to override bills vetoed by the governor. Unlike regular session when a simple majority vote is enough to approve a bill, it takes a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers to overturn a veto. This means any measure that is ultimately overridden requires broad support,

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Capitol Report: Affordable Healthcare Act

U.S. Representative Sam Graves, the House Small Business Committee chairman, released the following statement last Friday after voting in favor of H.R. 3522, the Employee Healthcare Protection Act:

“We all remember President Obama’s promise that if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Unfortunately for the American people, this has turned out to be yet another in a long line of empty promises at

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Capitol Perspectives: He’s No Cato the Younger

by Phill Brooks

Unless he chooses to run for the state Senate in two years, the legislature’s recent veto session may mark the statehouse conclusion for one of the most politically collaborative lawmakers I’ve covered.

He’s Chris Kelly, Columbia’s long-term House Democrat and the legislature’s senior member. His impending departure has led me to think about the stark contrast between Kelly and ancient Rome’s Cato the Younger.

Kelly’s legislative career

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The President and Congress Should Work Together

On military intervention

by Lee H. Hamilton

In his speech last week outlining his plans to use military force against the jihadists of the Islamic State, President Obama gave Congress only passing mention. “I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL,” he said. “But I believe we are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together.”

He’s right, of course. But that’s not the half

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