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Ready for a new session

by State Sen. Dan Hegeman

The 2016 legislative session was a busy and, at times, tense one for members on both sides of the aisle. Through it all, however, we were able to find common ground on several important initiatives.

We passed a trio of ethics reform bills to help restore some of the public’s trust in the public policy process. We were also successful in continuing to push back

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Wishing you a Merry Christmas

by State Sen. Dan Hegeman

The Christmas season is here, a time of joy and thankfulness to be shared with loved ones, a time to observe old traditions, make new memories and reflect on all of life’s blessings. Most importantly, Christmas is a time to celebrate the day Jesus Christ was born and in his honor to embrace the spirit of giving.

Jesus spent his life spreading a message of

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Tackling tort reform

by State Sen. Dan Hegeman

Bringing meaningful tort reform to the Show-Me State has been a goal of business-minded lawmakers for years now.

Although we achieved some success with 2015’s Senate Bill 239, which reinstated caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, much more needs to be accomplished if we are truly going to restore balance to our state’s legal system. That is why the Senate Majority Caucus

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Capitol Perspective: The surprising Christmas spirit of lobbyists

by Phill Brooks

The special interest money handed out by lobbyists into the pockets of government officials in meals, trips and other gifts has become a major issue for Missouri. It definitely will return for the upcoming legislative session in bills to ban lobbyist gifts.

This past  fall, while I was developing an online system for you to track special interest money in Missouri government, I found a different side

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Finding a path for rural Missouri

by State Sen. Dan Hegeman

As a longtime public servant, lifelong farmer and someone who has chosen to live and raise a family in rural northwest Missouri, I am passionate about finding solutions to the problems specifically affecting small, rural communities.

And here in Missouri, just as in much of the country, our rural communities continue to face serious challenges — most notably are declining populations, limited economic opportunities, and

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Capitol Perspectives: Rebooting state government

CapitolPerspectives_WPby Phill Brooks

While political pundits have focused on the reasons for the crushing defeat of Missouri Democrats, I’ve been wondering about something else — the opportunity to “Reboot Government.”

Republicans are maintaining an overwhelming majority in the state legislature and the sweep of statewide offices. Republicans have an opportunity to fundamentally change the very nature of Missouri government.

That thought came to me just a week after the elections

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Capitol Perspectives: Federal investigators going dark

by Phill Brooks

The FBI’s disclosure of the expanded investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server reminded me of the two times I’ve covered statewide candidates who faced federal criminal investigations. How the Justice Department handled those Missouri investigations contrasts with how the FBI has handled the current Clinton situation.

Unlike the Clinton investigation, the Justice Department went dark about ongoing investigations of those two candidates on the Missouri statewide ballot.

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From the Bench: Child abuse, neglect in our five counties

by Judge R. Brent Elliott

 I was among several judges who attended the “Youth Summit” recently held in Trenton. The event was designed to help area youth in foster care transition to independence. It was, to say the least, enlightening.

As of Oct. 1, 2016, the 43rd Judicial Circuit (Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb and Livingston counties) has 186 children placed in the custody of the Missouri Children’s Division. The vast

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Participating in the Electoral Process

by State Sen. Dan Hegeman

Every election that is held, from municipal elections in April to August primaries to the upcoming general election, is an opportunity for citizens to determine how their government is run and who will run it. Unfortunately, history has shown that while we have the right to vote, many of our friends and neighbors simply choose not to trek to the polls on Election Day.

While

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