Workforce Standards & Development - Chairman
Property, Casualty, & Life Insurance
Select Committee on Labor & Industrial Relations
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I was in Jefferson City on Monday and Tuesday for my monthly Child abuse and Neglect Joint Committee hearing. On Monday I met with the Juvenile Officers, the Division of Children's Service Director, The Director of Missouri Kids First, and the Office of State Courts Administration. The purpose for the meetings was to solicit their advice and suggestions about how to deal with the recent ruling by the Department of Justice. They found that the current structure of the Juvenile Office lends itself to conflict of interest. We have suspected for a while that this ruling was coming and for this reason we have directed the efforts of the committee to developing a plan to restructure the Juvenile Office in a way that resolves this problem. Our intention from the beginning was to solve the problem while changing as little as possible about the way the Office works. Missouri has been a leader in dealing with abuse and neglect and we certainly don't want to make changes that would hinder future efforts. My approach to the challenge is to involve every stakeholder in making plans to correct the problem. Naturally, no one really likes change, especially when it may affect him or her personally. The Juvenile Officers Association has risen to the occasion. They have spent several months working on a set of standards to be applied statewide that will correct most of the problems without going through the lengthy process of legislation. Every Division has helped them formulate the best plan to correct the problems and by working out their differences as they go, the effort has been much smoother than I would have ever imagined. Now that is not to say that there won't be some differences of opinion before we are finished in December or January, but every problem is solvable if we continue to work together.
Last week I wrote about the failure to pay attention to history and the lessons we could learn. I received an email from a constituent with a copy of a newspaper article from 1970 warning about the repetition of history. The following is a copy of the Communist Rules for Revolution obtained by Allied Forces at Dusseldorf, Germany in May of 1919:
A. Corrupt the young, get them away from religion, get them interested in sex. Make them superficial, destroy their ruggedness.
B. Get control of all means of publicity thereby:
1. Get the peoples minds off their government by focusing their attention on athletics, sexy books and plays and other trivialities.
2. Divide the people into hostile groups by constantly harping on controversial matters of no importance.
3. Destroy the people’s faith in their natural leaders by holding the latter up to contempt, ridicule and obloquy.
4. Always preach true democracy, but seize power as fast and as ruthlessly as possible.
Decisions by educators have been made in a lot of states, including our own, to teach much less history than we used to. The reasons for this are varied but for the most part the answer given is that there is not enough time to teach all the things required today and history is the least important. I fear that we are making a grave mistake. In 1952 a renowned philosopher named George Santayana said, "Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it." I am blessed with five grandchildren that I am able to visit regularly and while I'm dismayed that they are not being taught to write in cursive, I'm appalled that they have very little knowledge of American and World History. I try very hard not to be a conspiracy theorist, but when governments are doing the same things that have led to World Wars in the past doesn't it make sense to question their decisions? How about banking practices that were catastrophic? Wouldn't it be prudent to look at former results before we make huge investments that are very unlikely to return profits? Our government is attempting to confiscate guns from elderly people on the premise that they are unable to handle their finances so they shouldn't be able to own guns. What? Did someone add that to the 2nd amendment when we weren't looking? Gun confiscation of any kind is wrong! This is the kind of stuff that Hitler and Mussolini did.
How about looking at modern history? We are being told today that Global Warming is going to be the death of us but in the mid 70's the "scientific community" was forecasting an imminent ice age. Recent EPA edicts are mandating the cessation of coal-fired power plants. Never mind that we have the cleanest coal burning facilities in the world and are now selling our coal to China and India where they don't even have emission controls. How does that help "Global Warming"? Meanwhile, the best estimates are that electric energy will cost from 2 to 3 times as much in 10 years!
We spent several days last week in St. Louis for our annual Summer Caucus. The purpose of the meeting this year was two fold. Our primary job was to decide which, if any, bills vetoed by the Governor had enough support from the caucus to override in September. This year we had the added responsibility of electing a new floor leader. Our choice was Mike Cierpoit from Kansas City. Mike has been in the Legislature for the past 5 years and has served as assistant floor leader. He will be a real asset to our leadership team. We determined to attempt an override on twelve of the bills.
My HB 116 dealing with Right to Work is without a doubt the most challenging vote. As you can well imagine, there is a lot of pressure on some of the Reps to change their positions. I have been advising those who are talking to the "no" voters to lay out their case for a vote change without doing any of the famous arm-twisting. I think we can accomplish this override vote without endangering anyone's seat and without creating a hostile situation for anyone. I am totally convinced that this is the one thing that can move Missouri from 45th in growth and start competing with our neighboring states for new industry.