The Cheney-Law

Failing KC and St. Louis schools, faux balanced budgets, MO DOT wasting millions, an SOS that won’t clear the dead from the voters roles, attack after attack on our freedoms by the MO Legislature / Federal Government…

…and our precious legislative session time is being used to argue the Cheney-Law… …about whether to let someone hunt after he accidentally kills one of his hunting mates?!?!

Focus people. Focus!

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri senators have endorsed legislation allowing the Conservation Commission to levy tougher penalties on hunters who accidentally kill someone.

The measure would let the commission impose a 10-year suspension of hunting privileges on anyone who accidently kills another person while hunting. Officials already can suspend hunting privileges for up to five years when someone is injured by a weapon in a hunting accident. Commissioners would decide whether to invoke the penalty.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey proposed the tougher penalty after the husband of a constituent was killed in a hunting accident.

Fellow Republican Sen. Jason Crowell objected. He pointed out that motorists are not barred from driving after hurting someone else in an accident.

Senator Crowell should object… …to the time that is being wasted on this measure when so many other issues are stunningly more pressing.  I’m sorry for the loss of Senator Dempsey’s constituent, but let’s not run around making new laws after every tragedy.  Accidents will happen!  They are, by definition, accidents.

We cannot legislate common sense or eternal life.

Missouri Bureaucracy To Increase Taxes On Farmers

Below, Senator Crowell brings to light yet another fiefdom in the Missouri Bureaucracy…

– The Keep-It-Complex-Stupid Tax Commission.  –

…’Eight Categories based on Land Quality blah blah blah’ and ‘Valuation Increase from $985 an Acre to $1,065 an Acre yada yada yada’.

So, just how many people does it take in this tax bureaucracy to track eight categories of land quality and valuation changes per acre?  How about we fire them from the government and hire them into the ‘real’ economy?

The Founders enacted a system by which taxation is distributed equally among the people.  THREE times the Founder’s asserted that taxation be distributed equally among the people.

The Constitution’s references to taxation:

Article I, Section 2, Clause 3:

Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers…

Article I, Section 8, Clause 1:

The Congress shall have power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises…but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States…

Article I, Section 9, Clause 4:

No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

We suspect they felt that method of taxation was best for the States as well, and Missouri needs to follow the Founders’ lead.  The answer is a consumption tax and a Free Market system… …not a bunch of games with a taxpayer funded Missouri State Tax Commission.

Senator Crowell’s Capitol Report:

Attention Southeast Missouri Farmers

What Do YOU Think?

Agriculture is Missouri’s No. 1 industry and the backbone of our state economy. We rank second in the country for number of farms, and agricultural goods are one of our main exports. How Missouri’s farms fare is often tied, or even attributable, to how our state fares.

Agriculture is more than simply an industry in Missouri, though; it’s a way of life, a core part of our state identity.  Families have been farming Southeast Missouri for almost 300 years, and it is my hope they will be given that opportunity for centuries to come.

It is important we foster and protect agriculture in Missouri.  Farming is a volatile business, and farmers are at the mercy of the weather, a constantly shifting market and overhead costs that are rising.

Now, with a decision by the State Tax Commission, they’re facing a tax reassessment.  The State Tax Commission voted in December 2011 to raise assessment values on the most productive farms in Missouri by approving new productivity values, the evaluation of a land’s potential earnings.  Productivity values are used to calculate a farm’s property taxes, so any increase results in higher property taxes for those farmers.

Missouri farmland is split into eight categories based on land quality.  The best quality is grade one, with the worst being grade eight.  The Commission’s decision would increase productivity values on farmland grades one through four by 8 percent, or an average of 18 cents per acre.  A property that produces the most dependable crop yields would see its valuation raise from $985 an acre to $1,065 an acre.

I need you to seriously consider if this is the time to make this type of change.  What do you think?  The economy is still unstable, and production costs have steadily risen in recent years.  Farms all over Missouri continue to struggle.  Last year was particularly devastating, as severe weather flooded farmlands in parts of the state and excessive heat led to rampant drought in others.  More than 100 counties were declared disaster areas.

However, the last time the productivity values on farms were raised was 1995.  And non-farm related property taxes have raised dramatically during the same time period.  There may be a legitimate argument for adjusting these values, considering the commission evaluates them every two years but has not increased the values in 17 years.  In that time, the overall Missouri Net Farm Income has nearly doubled.  And, this value increase will only affect higher-quality land, farms that should, in theory, be doing better than others.

Two years ago the commission sought to increase the productivity values by 29 percent.  I filed a Senate Concurrent Resolution to prevent this from happening, which successfully passed, blocking the increase.  This year, Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, has filed Senate Concurrent Resolution 19, a similar measure that would stop the commission from raising the values this year, 2012.  If the Senate is to block the commission’s decision, though, we must act quickly.  The Legislature must pass the resolution within 60 days to block reassessment.

I am asking for your thoughts on this issue.  It can be easy to get caught up in the swell of data and statistics surrounding an issue, so your opinions mean the most to me; I look forward to hearing from you.

Contact Me

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns.  Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459.  You may write to me at Jason Crowell; Missouri Senate; State Capitol; Jefferson City, MO  65101, or email me at: jcrowell@senate.mo.gov or visit me on the web at http://www.senate.mo.gov/crowell.

Certainly, we don’t want to raise taxes at a time when Missouri’s economy is so fragile, so Senator Crowell and the Missouri Tax Commission should hear a resounding, ‘NO!’

But, let’s also ask Senator Crowell and his fellow legislators to fight at the root of the problem.  Stand up and stop the tax gimmicks.  Rid us of the corrupt Income and Property Tax system in favor of a tax on consumption… …equally distributed among the people.

THAT is social justice.

Then, we won’t need someone sitting in some cubicle calculating categories and productivity values.  If the land is good, it will grow more; it will sell more; it will be taxed more.

If you need a better reason to vote for the Missouri Taxpayer Releief Act, you won’t find one.

MOSIRA: Still Waiting For Reply

On October 8, 2011, I sent the following e-mail to the Missouri Legislature representatives of Cape Girardeau County as well as to the Cape County Tea Party Members:

Greetings to CCTP and to our local MO Representatives!

Attached is a document (here) prepared by a MO Constitutional Lawyer named Ron Calzone in response the passage of the MOSIRA bill in Special Session.  Ron runs a web site mofirst.org.

I am far from an expert on constitutional issues and Missouri Law, but assuming he’s correct, I have a request for our local Senate and House Representatives that receive this e-mail and voted FOR this legislation.

I would ask that in direct reply to this e-mail, or in your weekly Capitol Reports, that you:

  • Discuss why you voted FOR this legislation
  • Refute the unconstitutionality claims made by Mr. Calzone
  • Refute the claim that the legislation allows public funding for embryonic stem cell research and human cloning

I suspect other Libertarians and Conservatives, like me, believe picking winners and losers with our tax dollars is nothing more than crony capitalism and a perversion of the Missouri Constitution.

Thank You!
Brian Bollmann

For the record, the House Members that represent Cape County voted as follows:

  • 157 Donna Lichtenegger – Yea
  • 158 Wayne Wallingford – Nay
  • 159 Billy Pat Wright – Yea
  • 160 Ellen Brandom – Yea

As best I can tell, the Missouri Senate used a voice vote on SB7 and Senator Crowell’s vote is not recorded in the public record.  Pursuant to the e-mail above, I asked him separately about his vote.

Senator Crowell,

It appears that SB7 (MOSIRA) was a voice vote in the Senate?  I assume that means there is no record anywhere?

How did you vote?

As a Missouri resident and voter, I’m disappointed that the people I hire to act on my behalf in the Missouri Legislature would ever be allowed to act (vote) without my ability to review how they acted (voted).  Each vote must be recorded to allow constituents to properly evaluate the performance of their representatives.

The point I am getting to is…

No one on this list of representatives has replied in any way to my request.

If one of the representatives has addressed my questions in their Capitol Report, I’d be glad to attach that reply to this posting.

To that end, I ask you to consider contacting your representative to explain why they voted for taking your tax dollars and giving them to corporations – picking winners and losers by enslaving you to labor for their efforts.

See the Rep Contact Info page on this site for contact information

Missouri Presidential Caucus

UPDATE:

The following question was asked and answered:

How come the March 17 caucus date is not on the election calendar?

The calendar is for election dates that are set in the statutes. The caucus dates are set by the political party and are party run.

We received the following question, among others, regarding a Missouri Caucus versus a Missouri Primary at the Cape County Tea Party (CCTP):

[D]o you have any legal sources who could advise on what effect, if any, the move to the caucus system will have on primary contests below the Presidential level?  Does this mean that other state and federal offices will also have primary contests settled in the caucuses?  That could be interesting.

We sent out a request for information to the member of the CCTP and received very informative responses:

Jason Crowell (Tuesday October 11, 2011)

In my opinion it is being done so the establishment GOP can have more control over the process and the people… ….and of course raise filing fees from 1,000 to 10,000 dollars.

Jason Crowell (Thursday October 13, 2011)

I don’t want to be a caucus state. I am opposed to that. Missouri’s primary has been in February; it was 4 years ago, and in my opinion [should] remain there. Just because the national RNC wants us to do as they say is no reason to change. Especially when other states like Florida, Nevada and Arizona to name just a few refuse to bow to party establishment rules. Lloyd Smith is wrong and just being the establishment’s pet boy so he can stay in a nicer hotel room in Miami. I will not put Missouri second to national RNC rules that make no since; others states won’t follow and put Missouri into a second class status in selecting a president.

Jason Crowell (Friday October 14, 2011)

There was no vote on having Missouri Caucus for the primary election – that was done unilaterally by the Missouri Republican Party and Mr. Lloyd Smith – I oppose the caucus.

As for if we can rescind the decision; I have no power to do so – the republican party of Missouri has said that it is more important to it that the RNC rules are followed than giving Missouri a voice.  The Republican party and, specifically, Mr. Lloyd Smith has said that no matter what in order to ensure that national party boss demands on timing of a Missouri election are followed instead of Missourians voices heard on the matter he and it will not follow the results of the election even if it is held.

How you like that?

Patrick Werner (Monday, October 24, 2011)

The other state and federal races in MO will have their normal primary schedule in Aug separate from how the presidential primary is conducted.

Donna Lichtenegger (Monday, October 24, 2011)

About 10 yrs ago, we had an election that voted in the primaries. We felt that this would encourage more people to be involved in the process. Interestingly enough; many County Clerks have told me that the elections only brought out about 12-13% of the voters. That’s basically the same as when we did Caucus. So although it sounds like we are losing our voice, we really aren’t. If you are a registered Rep or Dem you can go to that caucus in your county on March 17. I you or anyone else would like me to come and speak on this issue I would be happy to do so. This caucus system is ONLY for Presidential –  not any other races. Also, the caucus place and time will be posted in the newspaper and hopefully on the radio news. Hope this info; although brief; is helpful.

Joseph V. Merkler (Monday, October 24, 2011)

Missouri [had] just become a primary state within the last few years. In 1996, I was an alternate delegate to the convention in Springfield, MO. The caucus system was how I became involved in politics. I learned how it works — whoever can get the most people to show up in favor of one candidate or another can control who will get the party nomination. 

Jason Crowell (Monday, October 24, 2011)

The decision to use a caucus this year for the Presidential Primary should not have any effect on other elections.  Missouri Revised Statute Section 115.339 requires candidates for elective office to be nominated at the primary election.  Since the office of the President is not elected by popular vote as state officials and representatives in Congress are, the parties retain control over how its delegates are chosen for that office.  As such, using a caucus instead of a primary for the state and federal offices would probably not constitute a popular vote for those offices and violate both the U.S. Constitution (with respect to federal offices) and state law (with respect to candidates for elective state offices).

Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

 

Crowell: Gets Praise and Blame

The St. Louis Beacon published a long article on Senator Jason Crowell quoted below.  Senator Crowell will come up against the limits for service at the end of his current term, and several parties has asked if your humble blogger thought he was ready to move on to higher office.  I’ve never met Senator Crowell but have exchanged e-mail, so I have no basis to comment.  The fact that he’s still raising money lends credibility to the claim he’s moving on up.

I was particularly impressed with Senator Crowell’s tactic at the beginning of the 2011 Missouri Special Session to filibuster the ‘call’ of the session.  A friend and newly elected Senator, Brian Nieves, was extremely complimentary of his knowledge of Senate rules and methods.

Here is some of the details from the St. Louis Beacon article:

Sen. Jason Crowell may not be a household name to most Missourians.

But the Republican from Cape Girardeau is getting a lot of credit — and blame -— for what passed and what didn’t make it through the Missouri General Assembly’s meandering seven-week special session, which ended today.

Despite avoiding formal leadership positions in the Senate, during his seven years there Crowell has used the strength of his personality, vigorous advocacy of his positions and strategic legislative alliances to shape major issues in Jefferson City. In helping steer the General Assembly’s upper chamber toward making big changes to popular tax credit programs, Crowell was one of the senators who directed the Senate into a mortal collision with the House during the special session.

Whether it’s building a new power plant in Callaway County, redrawing the state’s congressional districts, altering state worker pensions, changing the state’s presidential primary or reshaping its tax credit programs, Crowell is often at the center of the fight and a key player in moving big bills forward.

He’s also adept at killing bills, even ones that seem to have wide-ranging support.

Stalling legislation is common in the Missouri Senate. But other lawmakers and observers say that Crowell has been especially effective. Even his political opponents concede his skills — developed over years of unlikely mentorships, extensive research and seemingly countless legislative battles.

“I will say that Jason Crowell’s a brilliant young man,” said state Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst, R-St. Louis County.

But other House members are especially critical of how Crowell — as well as other senators — can use their positions to become the gatekeepers and decision-makers on big bills.

And detractors wonder aloud whether Crowell, 39, has created a Senate that’s constantly the graveyard for high-profile legislation.

“I don’t think it’s positive,” said Sen. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, who also called Crowell the “smartest guy in the Senate.”

“It’s a byproduct of term limits where you have no repercussions if you’re going to be out of there anyway,” Engler said. “So it’s ‘my way or the highway.’ “

Indeed, Crowell will leave the Senate after 2012. And like many term-limited lawmakers, speculation already abounds about whether he’ll run for higher office. For his part, Crowell said he’s not focused on climbing the political ladder or pleasing potentially helpful interests. And he added, it’s important sometimes for the legislature to slow down to go forward.

“When I sat down with my mom and said, ‘Hey, I want to run for office,’ she said, ‘Just make me one promise — make sure that you can look at yourself in the mirror at the reflection that looks back at you when you stare into the mirror,’” Crowell said. “And you know, that’s what I try to do. I explain everything. Rarely do I say ‘No’. I just say, ‘This is the path to success.’”

The Senate is the place where bills should go to die; unfortunately, calling them legislators makes them think they need to “legislate!”  We’d like to see them remove 5 laws and regulations for each new one they enact!

The “$64 billion question,” Jones said, is why Crowell is doing what he’s doing.

“I have actually asked myself the same thing — what is the endgame? What is the goal? Does he have a higher purpose in this?” Jones said.

Some lawmakers and political observers interviewed by the Beacon agree that coming out against popular tax credit programs, slowing down congressional redistricting and forestalling a massive construction project like Callaway II aren’t exactly ways of moving ahead in Missouri politics. And Crowell, for his part, said he “doesn’t care.”

“It can be Ameren, it can be Lloyd Smith and the Republican Party and [U.S. House Speaker John Boehner] and all the congressional delegates,” Crowell said. “That’s not who I work for. That’s not who sent me to Jeff City.”

Crowell — who told the Southeast Missourian earlier this year that he had made “no concrete decisions” about running for statewide office — said his objections during redistricting “had nothing at all” to do with wanting to run for the 8th Congressional District House seat.

“I have been running from Congress since I turned 20,” Crowell said.

Often, Crowell said, people seeking higher office have to compromise on their principles to get ahead.

“Each and every individual that is elected to office is inevitably put in the position where they have to answer this question: ‘Do you work for the special interests that may help you move up to the higher level?’ ” Crowell said. “You may be just the special interest’s boy in the General Assembly and do everything that you say. And they may very well reward you with a Senate seat, a congressional seat or the governor of the state of Missouri and all the money that comes with it.”

“Do you want to be that person?” Crowell continued. “Or do you want to be the person who was elected by the people that sent you up there, have an honest ongoing dialogue with them and do what you think is right?”

Still, Connor said Crowell may be positioned as an “anti-establishment” figure if the political bug bit in the future.

“He may have a crystal ball. He may have an Ouija board. He may have a Magic 8-Ball,” Connor said. “Maybe his stands on these issues — like tax credits and so on — is the foundation of the future Republican Party and … maybe he is self-interested because he sees where the Republican Party is going to be in five or 10 years.”

In the meantime, Crowell said many of his goals after he’s term-limited out of the Senate are more personal than political. Crowell — who said he let politics “kind of run my life” for past few years — this month married Casey Hertenstein.

“Cape Girardeau’s a town where everyone knows everyone,” said Crowell when asked about how the two met. “The unique thing that happened is we kind of met. She thought I wasn’t completely ugly, thought I wasn’t completely grotesque and I asked her out and she said yes.”

Crowell said he is looking forward to starting a family and figuring out what he “wants to be when he grows up.” As for his lasting legacy as a senator, Crowell said he’s been honored to serve.

“I’ve had 12 years,” Crowell said. “I’m not … some of these other people who think the state of Missouri is going to freaking fall off the map when I’m gone. The state of Missouri made it before, it’s made it in spite of me and it’s going to make it after me.”

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