View from the Capitol by State Rep. Ed Schieffer

Ed Schieffer

Hopefully, all of you had a happy and safe New Year and are ready for a prosperous 2013. My prayer for all of you is that we may be healthy and employed. It is my goal as your State Representative to carefully consider all bills that may become laws, and to listen to my constituency and their concerns. Recently there has been a lot of concern expressed to me about safety in our schools, especially after the Newtown, CT shootings. If you have strong feelings about what to do, or what not to do, please contact my office. Most of you know that I taught school for close to thirty years, and that my wife, Maria, is still teaching.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Dec. 24 sent a letter to the superintendents of Missouri’s 520 public school districts informing them of his opposition to Republican legislation that would authorize school administrators and teachers to carry conceal weapons in the classroom without permission of the local school board. State Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, pre-filed the bill, HB 70, following the recent massacre of 20 first graders and six school officials at Shady Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. HB 70 is co-sponsored by 24 other lawmakers, including House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka.

In his letter, Nixon said the state already has “a strong framework of laws to protect students and educators,” including giving local school boards the authority to prohibit guns on campus.

“That is why I have serious concerns about recently introduced legislation that proposes not only to arm teachers, but to do so by taking away the authority of local school districts to keep guns out of classrooms,” Nixon said. “More can and should be done to enhance school safety, but this legislation would put our children at risk and limit the ability of local school districts to keep their schools safe. Putting loaded weapons in classrooms is quite simply the wrong approach to a serious issue that demands careful analysis and thoughtful solutions.”

U.S. District Judge Audry Fleissig on Dec. 14 issued an order blocking enforcement of a new Missouri law that allows employers and insurers to deny women access to birth control under employee health care plans. Fleissig said the state law in is conflict with a provision of the federal Affordable Care Act that requires birth control coverage to be offered to women who want it.

The Republican-controlled Missouri General Assembly enacted the law in September over Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto. The Missouri Insurance Coalition, a state trade group for the insurance industry, brought the lawsuit challenging the statute. Fleissig will hold a hearing on the issue at a later date.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Dec. 26 nominated longtime health care executive Alan O. Freeman as director of the Missouri Department of Social Services. If confirmed by the Senate, Freeman will take over from acting DSS Director Brian Kinkade, who will remain as deputy director.

Freeman is president and chief executive officer of Grace Hill Health Centers, which operates five health care centers and a community health program in St. Louis. He has also held a variety of executive positions at several Missouri hospitals and health care facilities.

As always, I respect your trust and value your advice, comments and questions. Let me know how I may serve you and your family. Please call me at (573) 751-9459, toll free at (855) 285-3781, locally at (636) 299-3270 or (636) 462-7295. If you wish to fax my office, our new number is (573) 522-0441. You may email me at ed.schieffer@house.mo.gov or elected11thmorep@excite.com.

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Posted on Monday, January 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm