Senator Holsman's Legislative Update for April 2, 2013
Senator Holsman serves the 7th Senatorial District of the Missouri Senate, which encompasses part of Jackson County. Click here to view the district map.
In the News this Week
BrightFarms Announces Urban Agriculture Development

Capitol Improvement Legislation Receives Hearing

Partnership for Children Hosts Press Conference

7th District Slate of Governor's Appointments Receives Senate Confirmation

Commerce Committee Hears Net-Metering Legislation

Red Bridge Elementary Visits State Capitol

Industrial Hemp Legislation Heard in General Laws Committee

Henry Bloch Honored at State Capitol

KC Area Firms Receive "Excellence in Business" Awards

Conservation Department Update
Contact Us
Missouri State Capitol Building
201 W. Capitol Ave., Rm. 329
Jefferson City, MO 65101
(573) 751-6607

District Office
P.O. Box 480572
Kansas City, MO 64114
(816) 942-2767

Dear Constituents,

Senator Holsman and Sen. McKenna work on legislation on the floor of the Missouri Senate.
We are now more than halfway through the legislative session and the Missouri Senate has worked diligently on many issues affecting our state. Several pieces of legislation have gained approval from the entire Senate and have been sent over to the House for consideration, and a few have already been sent to the governor's desk for his signature.

Senate Bill 10, dealing with tax credits for amateur sporting events, and SB 20, dealing with the authorization of several benevolent tax credits have passed both chambers. 

Prior to the Legislature's spring break, the Senate gave approval to a bill dealing with tax rates in our state. Once fully phased in, Senate Bill 26, sponsored by Senator Kraus (R-Lee's Summit), would cut revenues to state government by nearly half of a billion dollars by reducing personal income tax 1 percent, 3 percent on corporate income tax, while raising the state sales tax by one half percent.

On its face, SB 26 is a reaction to shortsighted policies that are being implemented in Kansas.

Obligations of a state do not go away with tax cuts. There is a fundamental error with the logic that cuts to state revenues lead to economic prosperity. The statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the U.S. Department of Commerce provide compelling evidence that states that have eliminated income tax do not consistently show greater compound annual economic growth rate than states that tax income. States without income tax make up the revenue with higher sales and property taxes.

Constitutionally, the Missouri government's number one priority is financing the state's public debt. The number two priority is a mandate to fund public education, which has continually gone underfunded according to the state foundation formula. The education formula is underfunded by $420 million this budget cycle, which balloons to $620 million in 2014. We do not have the necessary general revenue to fund transportation that has led us to debate and pass SJR 16 out of the Senate. SJR 16 sends a 1 percent sales tax to a vote of the people to pay for our roads and bridges.

It concerns me that our annual revenue currently falls short of funding our obligations in education, transportation and capital improvements, yet SB 26 actively works to reduce our state revenue by half of a billion dollars. While I support the one cent sales tax for transportation improvements, it is a logical contradiction to place such a measure before our constituents to increase our consumption tax, while at the same time, arguing that we have enough revenue for a half of a billion dollar tax cut.

There are multiple economic development incentive bills which would help offset the effect of Kansas' tax cuts. Those economic development bills address Angel Investments, New Markets tax credits, Star Bonds, the Manufacturing Jobs Act, Data Centers, Freight Forward tax credits and Distressed Land Assemblage tax credits. While no specific piece of legislation will end the economic border war, these efforts represent a measured and responsible approach to encouraging private businesses to relocate to and stay in Missouri without decimating our general revenue.

It is an honor to serve you in our state's Capitol. Please let me know if our office can be of assistance to you or your family. Let us know if you are planning to be in Jefferson City; we always welcome visitors from home.


Jason R. Holsman
State Senator, District 7
Jackson County
(573) 751-6607
BrightFarms Announces 100,000 sq. ft. Greenhouse Construction in Ilus Davis Park 

Rendering of the 100,000 sq. ft. greenhouse at the Berkley Riverfront Development.
BrightFarms, Inc., in partnership with the Port Authority of Kansas City, announced the creation of a 100,000 sq. ft. greenhouse farm to be constructed in the downtown Kansas City, Mo. area. The state-of-the-art, hydroponic greenhouse will grow up to 1 million pounds of local produce per year, including tomatoes, lettuce, and herbs, further propelling Kansas City as a leader in urban agriculture.The farm will be built at the Berkley Riverfront Development, located along the Missouri River. 

After years of preparation, the nearly five-acre site is ready for construction. The farm is part of the larger Port Authority plan for the riverfront, which is one of the largest urban riverfront development sites in the country. The farm will energize the riverfront while dramatically scaling up urban agriculture in Kansas City. It will grow enough crops to meet the fresh vegetable consumption needs of up to 5,000 Kansas City residents, create 25 full-time, green-collar jobs, facilitate over 100 construction jobs, and prevent storm water from going into local waterways. By growing locally, BrightFarms delivers produce that is thousands of miles fresher, more flavorful, and better for the community. 

"In addition to improving our local food security and creating jobs that cannot be outsourced, this project will enhance Kansas City's nationwide reputation as a hub of innovation and one of the most modernizing economies in America," says Senator Holsman. "BrightFarms is not only growing local produce, they are growing our local economy," says Mayor Sylvester "Sly" James. "We are thrilled to welcome BrightFarms to our community, which is rapidly becoming a model of sustainability."

Councilman, 1st District At-Large Scott Wagner, says, "The history of Kansas City is intertwined with the history of U.S. agriculture. BrightFarms' entrance into Kansas City puts our city back on the forefront of 21st century agriculture and we are very excited to be a part of that."

Local, state and federal officials join the BrightFarms leadership in making the announcement in Kansas City.
Missouri's Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II, says, "This farm advances the sustainable redevelopment of our riverfront, our city, and our community, creating green-collar jobs and bolstering the local economy."

"The Kansas City Port Authority and elected officials have been tremendous champions of BrightFarms and have a visionary plan for the future of this city," says BrightFarms CEO Paul Lightfoot. "We can't wait to grow millions of pounds of fresh local produce a year and partner with the most innovative local supermarket."

The idea of urban agriculture is visionary one, seeing local food systems not as they are today but what they can be in the future. The work of organizations like BrightFarms demonstrates that this vision is closer rather than farther from reality. The effort being done by organizations like BrightFarms typifies the recommendations made last year by the Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture.

The result from the Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture produced what is now SB 228, sponsored by Senator Holsman. This piece of legislation is in front of the Agriculture Committee in the Senate, and would provide economic incentives to entrepreneurs to develop blighted pieces of property in our urban core for the purpose of local and sustainable food.

Please contact members of the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee to support passage of SB 228, the Missouri Urban Agriculture Act, in order to encourage future urban agriculture developments in blighted communities across Missouri. 
Legislation on Capitol Improvements Receives Senate Hearing
Senator Holsman presented legislation before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment.  The bill, Senate Bill 299, establishes the Capital Green Program to provide funding for energy efficiency improvements including geothermal, wind, and solar energy resources to certain state buildings. 

The act specifies that the newly created fund on Capital Improvements will be subject to appropriations by the General Assembly, and that other improvements may take place on a private gift basis. 

Read Senate Bill 299 here.  
Partnership for Children Hosts Press Conference at Statehouse
Senator Holsman addresses a press conference on funding for early child education (photo complements of the Missouri Times).
The Kansas City-based, non-profit organization Partnership for Children (PFC) recently hosted a press conference in the Missouri statehouse drawing attention to the need for funding for early childhood services in the state of Missouri. 

Among other discussion points during the conference, legislators highlighted Senate Bill 133, sponsored by Senator Keaveny (D-St. Louis) and co-sponsored by Senator Holsman. This bill would allow school districts to receive state aid for children (ages 3-5) eligible for free and reduced lunch who are participating in a district-operated pre-kindergarten program. 

The PFC was launched in 1991 as a joint initiative of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Heart of America United Way. 

As Missouri's leading children's advocacy agency, PFC works with community and state partners to enact legislation and public policy that positively impacts children and their families. PFC consistently collaborates with others and has launched initiatives to tackle critical issues impacting Missouri's children and youth. PFC is a member organization of Voices for America's Children.

Learn more about the PFC here.
Slate of Gubernatorial Appointments from the 7th District Confirmed by Senate
Several citizens from Missouri's 7th Senatorial District were appointed by the governor to serve the state on boards and commissions. These appointments were subject to approval by the Missouri Senate, and by rule, appointees must be sponsored through  the confirmation process by their home member. 

Senator Holsman recently had the distinction of sponsoring the following individuals: To learn more about the Missouri's Boards and Commissions click here.

Kelley Cramm

Kelley is a mechanical engineer with Henderson Engineers, and was appointed to the Missouri Board of Architects, Professional Engineers, Surveyors and Landscape Architects.

Matthew Dameron 

Matthew is a partner with the law firm Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP, and was recently appointed to serve on the Missouri Development Finance Board.

Michael Rader 

Michael is a partner in the law firm Bartimus Frickleton Robertson & Gorny, and was appointed to serve on the Missouri Brain Injury Advisory Council.

Gregory Mason 

Gregory has an extensive background serving our country in the military, as well as with the state police and was recently appointed to the Board of Governors at Missouri Western State University.

Commerce Committee Hears Bill on Expansion of Missouri's Net-Metering Laws

The Senate's Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee held a hearing on SB 396, filed by Senator Holsman. The measure would expand upon 'net-metering' laws in the state of Missouri. The term 'net-metering' refers to a concept that allows property owners to link their renewable energy systems to the electrical grid, receiving credits for their utility bills for the energy their systems produce. 

The legislation provides certainty to the future of solar installation in Missouri. Solar companies from around the state worked with Kansas City Power & Light, Empire Electric and Ameren UE to advance the interests of Missouri's electric consumers by coming to the table and deciding what was best for all parties going forward.

The Missouri solar industry began in 2007 with the passage of the Easy Connection Act sponsored by Senator Holsman. In 2008, the industry took another step forward with overwhelming (66 percent) statewide approval for Proposition C, Missouri's Clean Energy Initiative — making Missouri one of 29 states to pass renewable energy objectives.

Partial implementation of Prop C through the Solar Rebate Program has created substantial economic benefits generating thousands of solar energy installation and related industry jobs.

"The proposed legislation will benefit the solar industry, utilities and consumers," says Susan Brown, Brightergy principal and MOSEIA vice chair. "Clean, solar energy is of great interest to businesses and homeowners that want energy choice. We have seen our business double in size every year since these laws were passed."   

Some of the provisions include increasing the size of net metered systems from 100 to 200 kilowatts, allowing for annual true-up of excess energy and reducing the time allowed for utilities to approve certain interconnection applications.  

In addition, the rebate afforded to solar installation provided under Prop C will be phased out over a period of five years, coming to a complete phaseout in 2018.

"I am proud to see the dramatic growth in the solar industry over this past six years." said Senator Holsman. "The improved technology and falling costs have helped diversify our electric fuel resources, which is not only good for the economy, but also is a top National Security priority. This legislation will provide market certainty for the industry, utilities and consumers."

The provisions of SB 396 would only apply to service areas in Missouri served by the state's "Investor Owned Utilities" (IOUs), being Kansas City Power & Light, Empire Electric and Ameren UE.

Find the expansion of net metering legislation here.
Red Bridge Elementary Students Visit the Missouri State Capitol
The fourth grade class from Red Bridge Elementary in the Center School District recently made a trip to Jefferson City to tour their state Capitol. The group of 50 school children were introduced as special guests on the Senate Floor, as well as on the House Floor. The group also took tours of the Capitol building, the Missouri Supreme Court, and of the Governor's Mansion. 

The group of school children learned lessons of civic engagement and witnessed their government in action on their day trip to Jefferson City. 

If you are looking to make a trip to Jefferson City and would like to schedule appointments for your group, please visit this link to the Missouri state parks to make reservations.
General Laws Committee Conducts Hearing on Industrial Hemp

Industrial hemp can be manufactured into fibers to make clothing.  
The Senate General Laws committee recently held a hearing on Senate Bill 358, dealing with the topic of "industrial hemp."

The measure, sponsored by Senator Holsman, would remove industrial hemp from the list of those classified as "controlled substances." Industrial hemp is classified as cannabis sativa containing less than one percent of THC, tetrahydrocanibanol, the active ingredient in the street drug marijuana. Industrial hemp can be grown in low grade soil and takes little amounts of water, making it an excellent crop for farmers during times of drought. Industrial hemp can be harvested and manufactured into a number of products including fibers, ethanol, and bio-fuel, as well as paper and plastic products. Data from Canadian industrial hemp farmers indicate a consistent yield of $255.00/acre from a crop of industrial hemp, based on use. 

Industrial hemp can be woven into a variety of rope and netting.
Proponents of the legislation indicated that the bill would allow Missouri farmers to diversify their crop production if they so choose. Those testifying in favor of the bill further indicated that industrial hemp does not have the psychoactive properties of the street drug marijuana, and could only be used for commodity purposes and not for recreational use.   

The measure restricts the ability to grow and cultivate industrial hemp to those citizens who have not previously been convicted of a felony. The hearing in Missouri came just a day before the Kentucky Legislature gave approval to similar legislation. Find the story about the Kentucky bill here.

Find Missouri's industrial hemp legislation here
Henry Bloch Honored at State Capitol

Barbara and Bob Bloch accept a Senate Resolution from Senator Holsman on behalf of Henry R. Bloch in the Thomas Hart Benton Mural room.
Members of the Missouri Arts Council recently made a trip to Jefferson City, both as an effort to educate elected officials on the benefits associated with supporting the arts, as well as to honor fellow Missourians who have given time, attention, and support to the arts community.

One of the honorees was Henry R. Bloch. A household name in the Kansas City area, Henry's leadership and philanthropy have been instrumental in establishing such world class attractions as the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, National World War I Museum, Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Museum of History and Science, and the Kansas City Art Institute. 

Henry R. Bloch was honored for his continuous efforts to support the arts community by the Missouri Arts Council with the prestigious Lifetime  Achievement Award and a resolution from the Missouri Senate. Learn more about the Missouri Arts Council here.  
Kansas City Firm Hufft Projects Honored with Excellence in Business Award

Senator Holsman presents a resolution to Matthew Hufft of Hufft Projects.
Business leaders from the Kansas City area were in Jefferson City recently and were honored with the 2013 Excellence in Business Award from the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers (MO SBTDC) and the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (MO PTAC). The annual awards recognize outstanding achievement in business management, government contracting, job creation and revenue generation by client firms of the two programs. 

Senator Holsman and business leaders from Prier Products Inc.
Matthew Hufft is founder and creative director of Hufft Projects, a world-renowned architectural and design firm in Kansas City.   

Business leaders from Prier Products Inc., a brass plumbing manufacturer located in Grandview, was also one of the 22 recipients of the small business award.  

Learn more about the MO SBTDC and MO PTAC here.
Conservation Department Update

Explore 10 acres of gardens, wetlands, walkways and wildlife that surround the Department of Conservation's Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center building, located near the banks of Brush Creek at Troost in Kauffman Legacy Park. The environmentally friendly building houses information and outreach services of the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Fishing Skills
Location: Discovery Center 
Date: April 20
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Walk-in (all ages). Has it been awhile since you went fishing? Brush up on your fishing skills and possibly learn some new techniques. You can practice casting, baiting a hook and learning to tie a fly in preparation for fishing trips.

Did you know? Missouri is home to 1.1 million anglers.  Fishing recreation contributes $2.1 billion of economic impact to the Missouri economy, supports over 21,000 jobs, and generates well over $122 million in state and local sales tax per year. 

Take a Kid Fishing Day
Location: Discovery Center 
Date: April 20 
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Registration required (ages 5 and up; ages 16-64 must have a valid Missouri fishing license to fish). Are the kids hounding you to take them fishing? Here is your chance to take them fishing and leave the details to us. We'll spend the morning learning basic skills like casting, baiting a hook, using a lure and knot tying. Then, we'll spend the afternoon fishing at a nearby pond. All fishing gear will be provided but you will need your own transportation to the pond. Reserve by April 19.

Did you know? The most popular game fish in Missouri are catfish, with nearly 500,000 anglers pursuing catfish annually.  Crappie and bass are the second and third most popular game fish with approximately 400,000 anglers pursuing each year. The Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City provides thousands of citizens an opportunity to enjoy Missouri's wonderful fish, forest and wildlife resources. 

Learn more about the Discovery Center here.
This newsletter update is a regular publication to keep you informed. I welcome all questions or comments about the content. The information presented is accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of the mailing. Chances are you've received this update because at some point in the past year you have either given me your business card or sent my office an e-mail. All photos are protected under the fair-use clause concerning public comment.
Thank you for reading.