House of Representatives
Information
Address: Capitol Building
room 103BB
201 West Capitol Ave.
Jefferson City, MO 65101-6806
Phone: 573-751-4183
Fax 573-522-0471
Email: susan.meredith@house.mo.gov
Legislative Assistant: Glenda Blattel

Home:

8 Sunview Ln.
St. Louis, MO 63146
Phone: 314-878-2088
Email scmeredith@gmail.com
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Greetings my friends!

Summer is upon us in a big way. I hope you enjoy the rest of summer and don't get allow the heat to get the best of you. December 2014 marks the conclusion of my first term as your State Representative and I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve you, so much so that I've filed for reelection.

The primary election is Tuesday, August 5th (I am unopposed); with the general election scheduled for Tuesday, November 4th (I have a Republican opponent). There are a number of issues that will be on your ballot in both the primary and the general, and I will have more information about them in another newsletter to come.

In the meantime, here is a little information about what's been going on since my last newsletter.

Legislative Work
By now you should have received my formal End of Session report, however I wanted to share a few additional thoughts about the work of the General Assembly.

The legislative session ended on May 16th with a whirlwind of votes on a variety of bills including eight that featured additional tax cuts for various special interests that would cost state and local governments approximately $776 million a year. The House passed about 58 bills that day. It was fast and there were a lot of what we refer to as Christmas Trees. This is not an official term but when a bill comes through and has a lot of amendments added near the end of session we call them Christmas tree bills. It is a last ditch effort to get bills passed that had not yet made it out of the House.

Personally I see it as a sort of sneaky way to get dubious bills passed. It all happens very fast and I will not vote for a bill unless I feel I know what the bill does and with so many ornaments some are lovely and other are pretty ugly. When that happens I have to vote no in spite of the fact there may be some pretty good stuff in there for the people of the state. It is very much like the one rotten apple that can spoil the bushel.

Governor Nixon has a similar opinion. When he vetoed these bills, he stated that "passing secret, sweetheart deals so that the well-connected can pay less, while asking all Missourians to pay more, reflects priorities that are dangerously out of whack." Thank you Governor Nixon!

We did manage to not pass the paycheck deception or right to work bills, both of which would negatively affect workers' rights. Even if you are not a member of a union, what happens in the union generally also affects those in middle management. If the union gets a percentage raise the non-union often gets the same percent. CEOs are a different story.

Unfortunately a large income tax cut bill did pass. This would reduce state revenues by $800 million per year. This passed at a time when we are currently underfunding schools at a rate of $600 million per year. This bill passed both houses and the Governor vetoed the bill. When it came back for an override or sustain vote it was overridden by only the required vote of 109. All of the Republicans and one Democrat voted to override the veto, making the bill law.

There is an error in the drafting, which I am hoping can be corrected, that will cost the state $4.8 billion a year. This could potentially wipe out ⅔ of the state's revenue by eliminating all taxes on income earned in excess of $9,000 a year starting in 2022. It's another example of sloppy drafting that I have been complaining about for some time now. You can expect this to not be resolved until it is challenged and reviewed by the Missouri Supreme Court. Of course all of us elected prior to 2014 will have been term limited out of office by then. I voted no on this bill all the every step of the way.

Missouri is a low tax state. Various sources (using differing methods of calculation) place Missouri's ranking for individual tax burden at between 34th and 46th in the United States. I know it doesn't seem like it sometimes but when looking outside the state we live in a place where the cost of living is lower than most. I believe we need to spend our funds very carefully and do our best to put our dollars where they will do the most good in the best interest of ALL the people of the state. We don't seem to be doing that. I am of the stubborn opinion that we should not be handing out tax cuts when we are underfunding our schools.
New Committee Assignments
I have been appointed to the Subcommittee on Child Abuse Reporting and Investigating. This is an ongoing committee meeting in the summer and fall. The committee is currently investigating the pay rate of the social workers. Most of these workers do not stay in their positions for very long due to the stress of the jobs and low pay. These are the people who are responsible as guardians for our foster children. They have heavy caseloads working with families in difficult situations.

The Children's Commission also met in June to discuss the State Advocacy program which follows up on hot line calls when someone reports a problem with the system.

Community Activities
Alzheimer's ResearchAlzheimers Awareness

At a breakfast sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association I learned there is a way to diagnose Alzheimer's prior to death. They have also discovered there is a gene marker indicating a propensity for Alzheimer's. As this research continues it may be possible to diagnose very early before symptoms become apparent and therefore begin treatment to help slow the progression of the disease. There is lots of good research going on in this area.
Foster Children
Attended a program on Aging Out programs for foster children who are aging out of the system and helping them learn how to live on their own as responsible adults. This is in conjunction with my volunteer work as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate).
Pattonville SchoolsPattonville

Along with Representative Jill Schupp and Mary Nichols who also represent part of the Pattonville School District we presented Pattonville Superintendent, Dr Fulton, with a Resolution from the Missouri House in recognition of his work in education and for his selection by his peers as a statewide leader in educational innovation.
Advocates for Seniors
Silver Haired Legislature
The Silver Haired Legislature (SHL) is a formally elected body of citizens, 60 years of age and older, that promotes conscientious legislative advocacy for Missouri's older adults. All members are volunteers who serve without pay.

Elections are held every May at local Area Agency on Aging senior centers. Seniors elect three senators and 12 representatives. Following elections, the legislators meet to elect officers and prepare bills for presentation at the statewide conference in the fall. You must be at least 60 years old to be a member. This is a group that works with legislators on issues for our citizens of a certain age.

For more information visit the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services site. You will find a lot of information and opportunities.
OverlandOverland

I rode in the Overland Block Party and Parade Saturday, June 7th. I was delighted to see so many of the Overland residents I had met in 2012 at the Parade.
Paid for by Friends of Sue Meredith, Pam Crowley - Treasurer