Nixon “Leans” Against ‘ Freedom to Farm’ Ballot Question
July 9, 2014

(AP)–Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday he is leaning toward opposing an August ballot measure that would insert a right to farm in the Missouri Constitution, ending his silence on the subject.
The farming amendment was referred to the ballot by Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature, with the support of some Democrats, and has been officially endorsed by the Missouri Republican State Committee.

The proposed amendment states that the right “to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state.”

Several Democratic officials also are supporting it, including Attorney General Chris Koster, who will hold an event today with the group campaigning for the measure.

But Nixon, a Democrat, has remained silent about the measure since he used his constitutional powers to shift the proposed Constitutional Amendment 1 from the November general election to the Aug. 5 primaries. Asked Tuesday about the measure, Nixon said he believes the state constitution already is pretty long.

“I always have a deferral position of unless I really, really am for it, then I’m not for amending the constitution,” Nixon said.

Asked whether that means he opposes the right-to-farm amendment, Nixon responded: “I certainly lean that way.”

Supporters hope amending the constitution could provide a legal shield against efforts by animal welfare groups to restrict particular farming methods or by organic food advocates to prohibit genetically modified crops.

Nixon Rolls Out Mental Health Grants & Plans
December 19, 2013

(AP) – Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday proposed awarding $20 million in grants to Missouri’s colleges and universities to prepare 1,200 more students for employment in mental health.

Nixon said the funding would help the state make up a “critical shortage” of mental health workers. The governor said 104 counties and most of the city of St. Louis have been designated mental health shortage areas by the federal government. In addition, 72 of Missouri’s 114 counties do not have a licensed psychiatrist, while 90 do not have a resident licensed behavioral analyst. Applied behavior analysis is used for treating autism spectrum disorders.

The governor plans to include money for the program in his recommendations’ for next year’s state budget. Lawmakers return to the state Capitol on Jan. 8.

“From teaching a child with autism how to interact with peers, to working with law enforcement to respond to a parent in mental health crisis, these health professionals will build on the work we’ve already done to strengthen communities and make sure Missourians have access to the care they need,” Nixon said in a written statement.

Nixon traveled Wednesday to the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Moberly Area Community College’s center in Columbia. Nixon calls the initiative Caring for Missourians: Mental Health. Nixon in 2009 launched Caring for Missourians to increase the number of graduates in health care fields.

Missouri State Rep Apologizes for Hitler Swipe at Nixon’s Veto Campaign
September 11, 2013

(AP) — A Republican state representative from Sikeston has apologized for comparing Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s support of his decision to veto a state income tax cut to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi propaganda.

Rep. Holly Rehder made the comparison in an email to constituents last week. She issued a statement Monday apologizing to anyone who was “truly offended.”

“My degree is in public relations and one point that was hammered home throughout my study is that `Perception Is Everything,'” Rehder wrote. “This tidbit has been proven for years, if you will remember propaganda served as an important tool to win over the majority of the German public during Adolf Hitler’s rule. I say this to remind you that you simply cannot take one side’s viewpoint and proclaim it as the gospel. It behooves us all to research both sides of a debate before weighing in.”

The 44-year-owner of a cable TV contracting company was elected to her first term in November. Rehder represents parts of Scott and Mississippi counties in southeast Missouri.

The Southeast Missourian reported Tuesday that Rehder plans to vote for an override of Nixon’s veto of House Bill 253 when the Legislature convenes in Jefferson City starting Wednesday.

Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis, called Rehder’s remarks “completely insensitive to those families throughout our state who have been forever altered by this horrific event in world history.”

“I was extremely offended, as were many of my family, of your comparison of opposing policy views to the insanity of the Holocaust,” Newman wrote in a letter to Rehder. Her husband’s grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

In her statement, Rehder said she “would never knowingly hurt someone, nor would I want to distract from the meat of this very important piece of legislation.”

Missouri Highway Patrol Defends Buying New State Airplane
January 31, 2013

(AP) — The head of the Missouri State Highway Patrol defended his agency’s purchase of a $5.6 million plane, telling upset lawmakers Wednesday that the new aircraft was needed because of high demand for flying time from state officials.
Patrol Superintendent Col. Ronald Replogle told the House Budget Committee that the patrol needed another plane for its homicide and drug investigations. He said 70 percent of the old plane’s flying time was devoted to transporting state officials, including Gov. Jay Nixon.
“We have had to turn flights down because we don’t have aircraft available,” Replogle said, adding that the patrol intends to keep its old plane.
Flight records previously provided to The Associated Press by the Highway Patrol show that Nixon used the plane for 220 of its 263 flights from May 2010 until October 2011.
Replogle said the agency’s new nine-passenger King Air 250 would cost about $900 an hour to operate. The old, 1999 model King Air 90C, costs around $650 an hour to operate. Rep. Genise Montecillo, D-St. Louis, said she was upset by the high operating costs and called the plane’s purchase “appalling.”
“It is hard for taxpayers to look at this and not ask questions about what is going on in Jefferson City,” added Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan.
Replogle responded that the new plane was bought at a discounted price. The King Air 250 came with an extended warranty because it was new. Training for the pilots and mechanics also was included in the price.
The committee’s leaders pressed Replogle on why the Legislature was not consulted before the plane was bought. Vice-chairman Rep. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, said not being informed about the plane made it look like the patrol was hiding something.
The fund used by the Highway Patrol to purchase the plane allows for the agency to buy cars, boats and aircraft at its discretion, but Replogle apologized for the lack of communication.
“Hindindsight is 20-20,” he said.
Wednesday’s hearing may not conclude the inquiry into the plane’s purchase. House members requested the new plane’s flight logs and any communication between the patrol and the governor’s office about the purchase. The committee is also asking acting Commissioner of Administration Doug Nelson, who approved the purchase last month, to appear at a hearing.
The plane’s first flight happened Jan. 18 and it has been used several times since, Federal Aviation Administration records show.

Nixon to Reveal Health Care Plans in Kansas City Thursday
November 29, 2012


Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is expected to propose a large expansion to the Missouri Medicaid program during a visit to Kansas City Thursday morning.
According to several reports, Nixon will be calling for an expansion of the Medicaid program that provides much of the health care to low-income Missourians. More than one in five Missourians, about 881,000 people, are now in the program. Nixon may call for an expansion that raises that to about 1 million Missourians.
Nixon’s proposal will be announced Thursday morning at the Truman Medical Center. His office says he plans to make “a major announcement” during his appearance in Kansas City. He’ll then travel to St. Louis and Joplin to make the same announcement.
If he calls for the Medicaid expansion, the just-re-elected Governor sets up a big political argument with Republicans who control the state legislature. Many are very opposed to the plan because of its ties to the federal Affordable Health Care Act, often called ‘Obamacare”. Some also think it’s too costly.
Under that program, the federal government would pick up most of the costs for the first three years of the program. That would be more than $ 8 billion dollars for Missouri.
After the first three years, Missouri’s contributions will rise and the state would be paying around $500 million a year for the program.
Republican leaders in the legislature think it’s too expensive
“The basic conclusion is we cannot afford it”, incoming House Speaker Tim Jones told the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Earlier this week, the Missouri Hospital Association and the Missouri Foundation for Health, said expanding Medicaid under the Health Care Act would provide more than 20,000 new jobs for the state.
Advocates say those new health care jobs would help the economy and offset the state’s costs.