Feb 07

Proposals to Reform Missouri’s Justice System

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – From Ferguson to Baltimore to Chicago. Accusations of racially-biased law enforcement have been a mainstay of the headlines in the past year and a half. When conflicts between police and protesters erupt, who is to blame and what should change?

State Rep. Shamed Dogan (R) is among the lawmakers pushing for changes to our laws affecting law enforcement. He wants more details in data collection of police encounters with citizens. That information would be used to look for patterns of racial bias in policing. He also wants to see anti-bias training mandated for all law enforcement. Supporters say it’s about improving transparency, accountability and trust in police. They also say the changes push back against racial bias in policing. His critics say they would make a difficult job even harder and blames the wrong people for confrontations.

Also, is it time to reconsider our war on drugs?

Jeff Mizanskey spent over 20 years in prison after this third marijuana-related conviction. His sentence was commuted last year. He’s now a free man and wants Missouri to change laws dealing with Marijuana.

Mizanskey discusses what’s changed between the time he went into prison and when he was released and what he hopes will change in the coming years.

On the web:

Rep. Shamed Dogan

Jeff Mizanskey (Facebook Support Page)


Permanent link to this article: http://missouriviewpoints.com/proposals-to-reform-missouris-justice-system/

Jan 31

Ethics Reform: Real Improvements or Political Spin?

By Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – It’s the hot topic at the State Capitol right now: Ethics Reform.

However, what needs to be reformed? That depends on who you ask.

John Messmer, founder of Missourians for Government Reform wants to see a total ban on gifts from lobbyists to politicians. In fact, the State Legislature is considering that right now. The State House has approved such a ban and the State Senate will consider it next. Messmer also wants to see limits reinstated on campaign contributions to political campaigns.

Former Speaker of the House, Tim Jones, also thinks there is a need for some reforms but reminds us that it’s the public’s job to keep an eye on what those in office are doing. Jones is now the chairman of Missouri Club for Growth. He argues that Missouri has one of the most transparent reporting systems for gifts and campaign contributions in the nation. That requires most gifts and contributions to be disclosed right away and that information is made public through the Missouri Ethics Commission’s website.

Because of that, Jones is not in favor of campaign contribution limits, believing that restricts the freedom of people to support the candidates and causes they want.

Also, should there be a mandatory time lawmakers have to wait before becoming lobbyists once they leave office? Messmer and Jones offer two views on that as well.

On the web:

Missouri Ethics Commission

Missourians for Government Reform

Missouri Club for Growth


Permanent link to this article: http://missouriviewpoints.com/ethics-reform-real-improvements-or-political-spin/

Jan 24

The Missouri Budget Project and Americans for Prosperity Assess The Legislative Session (so far)

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – Just weeks into the 2016 Missouri Legislative Session, lawmakers, media and advocacy/activist groups are already hard at work.

What needs to change at the Capitol? What needs to change in the law?

Those answers depend on who’s being asked.

This week, former State Representative Mike Sutherland explains why he wants to see the Legislature expand Medicaid coverage. The offer, part of the Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”) has been on the table from the federal government for multiple years now. Sutherland is now the Policy Director for the Missouri Budget Project.

He also makes the case for Missouri joining a program that would collect taxes on all online purchases made by Missourians. He also suggests an additional tax credit for mainly low and middle-income Missouri families.

Rachel Payton is the Deputy State Director for Missouri’s branch of Americans for Prosperity. She’s against expanding Medicaid and explains why.

When it comes to transportation, Payton discusses why AFP-MO is not on board with the current proposal to increase the gas tax in the state and thinks there is a better way to come up with the money needed for our roads and infrastructure.

Tax policy is a priority for both organizations and they have very different ideas on what’s best for the state and for Missourians. Get both perspectives on this week’s program.

On the web:

Missouri Budget Project

Americans for Prosperity-MO


Permanent link to this article: http://missouriviewpoints.com/the-missouri-budget-project-and-americans-for-prosperity-assess-the-legislative-session-so-far/

Jan 17

Back to Work at the State Capitol: An Early Update

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – We are less than two weeks into the 2016 Missouri Legislative Session and lawmakers, lobbyists and activists are already hard at work.

Whether it’s progress or political misconduct that’s happening depends on your perspective.

This week, Democratic State Rep. Michael Butler (below, left) and former Republican State Rep. Carl Bearden, who now runs the conservative advocacy group United for Missouri, give us an update on what they expect to happen at the State Capitol this session. They also discuss the impact it all could have on your community, on your money and on your family.

Medicaid expansion is being proposed again. So is what supporters call “Right To Work” legislation. We also discuss suggested reforms regarding law enforcement and business regulation ideas (“including “Ban The Box”).

With 2016 being an elections year, this Legislative Session is certain to be eventful.

On the web:

Rep. Michael Butler

United for Missouri


Permanent link to this article: http://missouriviewpoints.com/back-to-work-at-the-state-capitol-an-early-update/

Jan 10

Meet the Statewide Candidates: Judy Baker (D) and Josh Hawley (R)

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – While the candidates have been criss-crossing the state as part of the campaign trail for months now, the new year brings a sense of urgency to the 2016 elections.

This week, we meet two of those candidates.

Former State Representative Judy Baker wants to succeed Clint Zweifel as State Treasurer (Zweifel cannot run for another term due to term limits). She’s a Democrat who worked for the US Department of Health and Human Services following her work in the Legislature. Baker has also taught at both Columbia College and the University of Missouri.

Republican Josh Hawley hopes to become the state’s next Attorney General. He teaches law at the University of Missouri Law School  in addition to having an active law practice. He was co-counsel on the “Hobby Lobby Case” that challenged part of the Affordable Care Act’s (aka “ObamaCare”) coverage mandates on businesses. That case went to the US Supreme Court and was decided in favor of Hobby Lobby.

On the web:

Judy Baker for State Treasurer

Josh Hawley for Attorney General 

Judy BakerHawley-headshot

Photos courtesy of the candidates’ respective websites

Permanent link to this article: http://missouriviewpoints.com/meet-the-statewide-candidates-judy-baker-d-and-josh-hawley-r/

Jan 03

The 2016 Missouri Legislative Session: A Preview of the Headlines

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – The Missouri State Legislature officially returns to work this week as the Regular Legislative Session begins on Tuesday.

With Republicans holding overwhelming majorities in both chambers, they would seem to have an easy few months ahead of them. Of course, it’s not that simple; some of the debates from 2015 are not settled and are likely to return for another round of debates and voting this year.

Ethics reform, Medicaid expansion, “Right To Work”, highway funding, public school transfers and “Ban The Box” are among the topics expected to make the headlines this year.

This week, Ryan Johnson from the Missouri Alliance for Freedom and former State Representative Jeanette Mott-Oxford from Empower Missouri offer two different perspectives on what’s likely to happen and what should happen when lawmakers reconvene. They also have two different views on how these decisions will impact you and you wallet.

On the web:

Missouri Alliance for Freedom

Empower Missouri

Missouri House of Representatives

Missouri Senate


Permanent link to this article: http://missouriviewpoints.com/the-2016-missouri-legislative-session-a-preview-of-the-headlines/

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