Category Archives: Other

KOMU Interview – Smart Decision 2012

If you’ve got a lot of time to kill. Here’s a 35 minute interview with KOMU on many different issues. The sound could be a little better – and I’ve got a little issue with my hair for much of it, but it’s broad. Unlike others, if you want to know what I think about an issue, all you have to do is ask. I think candidates owe that to voters – and I think it’s the type of leadership voters appreciate.

 

Defending Main Street – Elections are About Choices

This radio ad started today:

Defending Main Street

Hi, this is your state representative Jay Barnes. I’ve worked hard the past two years to stand up for Main Street businesses and communities against unscrupulous Wall Street investment banks. That’s why I sponsored legislation which one national news reporter said was the best in the entire country to reign in the abuses of Wall Street investment banks in small town municipal bonding. It’s also why I’m proud to say I’ve been endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Businesses – the largest organization of small businesses in Missouri.

Unfortunately, Jay’s opponent isn’t too keen on Main Street. He’s a board member of an organization that supports the largest proposed tax increase in Missouri history on small businesses and working families. Worse, he’s worked as a paid lobbyist for a Wall Street bank.

Elections are about choices. On November 6, vote for Jay Barnes, the candidate who stands up for Main Street and small businesses, not the guy who wants to hike your taxes and has been a paid mouthpiece for Wall Street bankers.

Vote Jay Barnes for State Representative on November 6.

Jobs in Mid-Missouri – Elections are About Choices

The following is a new radio ad which started airing today:

Jobs in Mid-Mo (click the link to hear the ad)

Hi, this is your state representative Jay Barnes. I’ve worked hard these past two years to improve our local economy. I was able to double the pay raise state employees received this year, and I’ve fought for legislation which would lead to tens of thousands of new jobs in mid-Missouri. Right now, Missouri has an incredible opportunity to lead the world in production of small modular nuclear reactors – a potential $1.2 trillion industry. And I’ll work to ensure we take full advantage of this opportunity. This legislation was supported by every member of the legislature from mid-Missouri – whether Republican or Democrat – and was supported by our Democratic governor. As your state representative, I’ll continue fighting to create a mid-Missouri energy dynamo leading to tens of thousands of jobs here.

Unfortunately, not everyone’s in favor of tens of thousands of new jobs in mid-Missouri. Jay’s opponent worked as a paid lobbyist for big business interests intent on holding Missouri and the mid-Missouri region back.

Elections are about choices. On November 6, vote for Jay Barnes, a state representative who fights for jobs in mid-Missouri, not the guy who takes money from big business to fight against jobs here.

Vote Jay Barnes for State Representative on November 6.

Touring the State Capitol on C-SPAN

More from C-SPAN’s feature on Jefferson City. This time a video tour of the state capitol: 

Priddy on Missouri’s Economic Growth – or the Lack Thereof

Missouri’s most astute observer of politics and the people who engage in it opines with wit on Missouri’s bad economic report from the federal government. 

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House Passes Huge Jobs Bill – Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act

The House truly agreed and finally passed the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act today by a bi-partisan vote of 94 to 48. I voted in favor of the bill because it has the potential to be a significant source of job growth for our state.

The bill’s goal is to encourage the growth of Missouri-grown technology businesses through investments that do not require any new taxes or budget money currently being directed to state general revenues. Instead, MoSIRA captures a portion of the increased taxes collected from science and innovation professions and businesses and directs it to a fund that will be used to help Missouri researchers commercialize their products.  Kansas has a similar law that has allowed to poach dozens of Missouri companies from the Missouri side of the Kansas City border.

Here are some examples of projects that have been funded in the past by the Missouri Technology Corporation, the existing entity that will be given better tools to help create jobs by this bill:

  • Missouri Plant Science Center in Mexico, Missouri – MTC worked with Mizzou and the city of Mexico to develop a 25,000 square foot manufacturing facility dedicated to health and nutrition products derived from soybeans – a huge crop for our state.
  • Animal Health Workforce Development Training Laboratory in St. Joseph, Missouri – MTC worked with Missouri Western to build the Kit Bond Science and Technology incubator providing students with hands-on training in bio-manufacturing.
  • Missouri Center for Advanced Power Systems Research in Joplin, Missouri – MTC worked with Missouri Southern to create a university-industry partnership on advanced battery development and manufacturing, resulting in what is believed to the first-in-the-nation minor in energy storage and battery technology.
  • SCD Probiotics, LLC in Kansas City, Missouri – MTC worked with the state Department of Economic Development, and local stakeholders in Kansas City to kick-start growth and expansion of SCD Probiotics line of “good bacteria” products for use in agriculture, health, and industry. MTC’s investment, which was leveraged with significant private investment, is expected to result in 62 new jobs for the state of Missouri.

Like anything worth doing, MoSIRA was not absent controversy. One group claimed that MoSIRA could be used to fund unethical stem cell research in our state. I disagree, and voted against that group’s amendment for six reasons:

  • The amendment was unconstitutional because (1) there is clear Missouri case law stating that the legislature cannot bind future legislators, and that’s what this amendment would have done; and (2) the amendment conflicts with Article III, Section 38 of the Missouri Constitution – adopted in 2006 through Amendment 2.  We take an oath to defend the constitution that I take seriously (see my vote on the Facebook bill). I opposed Amendment 2, but we have to recognize that it is now the law of our state. This amendment picks the wrong battleground. The appropriate place for this debate would be with a proposed amendment to our state constitution.
  • The appropriate place for this debate would be with a proposed amendment to our state constitution. The amendment merely referred to another state statute which says the same thing. I believe that other statute is likely unconstitutional because of Article III, Section 38 of the Missouri Constitution.
  • There was a non-severability clause in the amendment which meant that, if the amendment was found unconstitutional (as I believe it is), then the entire bill would have been declared unconstitutional – effectively killing this jobs bill at a time of nine-plus percent unemployment.
  • MoSIRA is not a “research” bill. It is a “commercialization” bill. Thus, there is no real threat of the fund being used for research purposes.
  • The Missouri Technology Corporation has never attempted to fund anything related to unethical stem cell research.
  • Every year the Missouri General Assembly passes budget bills which ban public moneys from being expended for this research. That’s the place where these pro-life amendments are necessary – and constitutional. I voted for it last year, and will vote for it again next year, and every year into the future.

Why I Voted No on the So-Called Facebook Fix

Last week, the Missouri Senate passed the so-called Facebook fix by unanimous vote. This morning, the Missouri House passed the bill by a vote of 139 to 2. I was one of the two. Here’s why:

The current law bans Internet communications, including Facebook, between teachers and students. Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled it unconstitutional last month.  Everyone agreed the law had to be fixed. The right way to fix it would have been to just repeal the law. Instead, the so-called “fix” mandates that each of Missouri’s 529 different school districts adopt a policy of its own on “the use of electronic media” to “prevent improper communications between staff members and students.”

That’s a noble goal. But the devil’s in the details.

First, the vast majority most of the behavior this law attempts to stop is ALREADY illegal.  Elected officials have a tendency to react to bad things that happen in our society with an urge to just, “do something” to prove to the public that we care about the issue. The simple fact is that we can’t legislate immoral and criminal behavior out of our state by passing law after law to make it illegal. Making it criminal one time is enough.

Second, there’s a chance that this “fix” merely trades one unconstitutional state law for hundreds of unconstitutional local school board rules. My concern is for the teachers of this state who, rather than having to fight a single state statute now, may be left to their own devices to take on an unconstitutional rule at the local level. In addition, there’s the very real possibility that the “fix” will result in more litigation against school districts around the state on the same First Amendment issues that caused our state law to be struck as constitutional.

Does all this make me a stick in the mud? Probably. But I believe the First Amendment is the most important of all our constitutional rights, and it’s worth being a stick in the mud to defend the First Amendment rights of all Missourians.

Why I Oppose a No-Standards “Compete Missouri”

KRCG’s Kermit Miller interviewed me yesterday regarding “Compete Missouri,” part of the wide-ranging economic development proposal being considered in Special Session. My thoughts:

I hate cliches. Good writers never use them. But a cliche only becomes a cliche because its usually true. In this case, Lord Action once said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Compete Missouri seeks to consolidate six different economic development programs into one. The problem is that this program would be placed nearly entirely under the discretion of the Department of Economic Development – and hence, one person, the Governor. This would create what I believe to be a dangerous opportunity for corruption or, at the very least, the frequent appearance of corruption in Missouri government.

Major employers in our state frequently give campaign donations to every serious candidate for governor. Inevitably, a company that made a donation to the current or future governor would receive one of these subsides. Then the stories would start. We’ve recently seen this exact scenario play out with the SynCare contract.

Economic development programs should have clear, written rules that aren’t subject to the ability of one company or another to grease the skids with campaign donations or hire the slickest lawyers and lobbyists.

Gov. Nixon has honorable intentions in pushing for Compete Missouri. But the end result would be an invitation to corruption for future governors – Republican or Democrat. Regardless of whether anything corrupt ever occurred, allegations of corruption would loom over many decisions to award subsidies.

Special Session – The Easy Stuff

On today’s agenda: access to the Rainy Day Fund to pay for disaster clean-up costs around the state; moving our primary elections to jump through the hoops required by our national political parties; local control for the St. Louis Police Department; and tax amnesty (meant to raise revenue for the state by encouraging payment of taxes that might otherwise never be collected). I voted yes on all.