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May God bless you - Representative Bill Reiboldt
On September 10, Missouri’s political attention will be focused on the state’s annual Veto Session. This past Legislative Session, Governor Jay Nixon vetoed 33 bills and 116 line items on the appropriation bills. As a comparison, last year he vetoed 29 bills but only four line items. A record 10 bills were overridden at that time. It remains to be seen what will happen this year, but attempts will be made to override many of the vetoes, the majority of which will most likely come from the appropriation line items.
It is hard to understand the governor’s reasoning in vetoing so many of the appropriation bills when he has the authority to withhold the funding if revenues fall short of their projections. Personally, I will be watching several line items very closely. Two are vetoes for Crowder College monies, monies that are important to Crowder and its future plans. (Other community colleges are facing a similar situation.)
Another line item I will be watching affects the Missouri Rehabilitation Center in Mt. Vernon. The governor vetoed $5.2 million of funding, and because of this veto the University of Missouri—which operates the facility—made the decision to close it on October 31. I feel it is important to keep this center open and utilize it in a useful manner as we go into the future. Additional line items the governor chose to veto include an increase in appropriation for Missouri nursing homes, sheltered workshops, and school safety grants.
As a lifelong baseball fan, I was disturbed to learn of the June 16 death of former major leaguer Tony Gwynn from salivary gland cancer, cancer he previously attributed to have been caused by his many years of using smokeless tobacco. At only 54 years old, Gwynn was a member of baseball’s elite Hall of Fame, but his death added him to another group—those whose lives were lost or destroyed by tobacco usage. He claimed to have used the smokeless tobacco product throughout his twenty-year professional ball career and even when he was no longer playing. Tony Gwynn is an example of one who became addicted to nicotine at a relatively young age.
While I don’t know exactly when Gwynn began using tobacco products, statistics show us that many young people begin using it as early as age 11 and become addicted to it by age 14. Usage seems to be steadily increasing in popularity among adolescents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This organization recently published results of a study on nicotine and tobacco research and the relationship between electronic cigarettes and future tobacco use. The bottom line is that teens that use e-cigarettes are twice as likely to transition to conventional tobacco products.
This past Friday I had the opportunity to spend the day with 7th District Congressman Billy Long and Kairat Umarov, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Congressman Long had invited the Ambassador and his staff to visit Southwest Missouri, and they spent two days in our part of the state touring various agriculture facilities, farms, manufacturing firms, and industries, including one in Neosho and one near Carthage. Ambassador Umarov and his staff, one of whom is an agriculture minister from their country, expressed interest in economic development and jobs creation as priorities for their people.
I have to confess that when I joined the group, I really didn’t know anything about Ambassador Umarov and the Republic of Kazakhstan. However, what I did know was from my earlier history and geography classes—the suffix “-stan” on the end of the country’s name had to mean they come from Central Asia or somewhere close to Afghanistan or Pakistan. Kazakhstan is one of five countries in their area whose name ends in “stan” (that means country, nation, or place of) and who were a part of the former Soviet Union. I have since learned a great deal about these people and their country, and much of what I learned is very impressive.