Senator Holsman's Legislative Update for May 23, 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
Five Lessons Learned from the 2013 Session

Senate Confirms Newest Member of the Jackson County Sports Authority

Missouri Urban Agriculture Act Passes General Assembly

Solar Industry Protection Measure Passes General Assembly

Kansas City WWI Museum Legislation Passes General Assembly

Senate Debates Medical Malpractice Caps

Jackson County Drug Court Representatives Visit Capitol

Governor Vetoes Local Use Tax Legislation

Missouri Senate Passes MONA

Jackson County Property Tax Assessments

Check MoDOT Listings Before Travel

Brightergy Solar Makes Renewable Energy Affordable for Local Schools

DNR Assists KC Charter School in Energy Efficiency

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

Constituents and Supporters,

Senator Holsman during debate on the Senate floor.
The 2013 session is complete. It will take time to assess the impact of the truly agreed and finally passed legislation. We, as an Assembly, had some success and we left some issues still undone. Later this month our office will send a complete end of session report, until then, the link at the bottom of this article has a list of TAFP legislation.

As my freshman year in the Senate ends, I've learned a great deal about being a lawmaker. Earlier this session I wrote about the differences between serving in the House and the Senate. The contrast is stark.

In this newsletter I'll share the five lessons I've taken away from my first year, which by all accounts was personally successful. With the help of my staff and colleagues on both sides of the aisle, we delivered my top three priorities to the governor's desk.
  • The Urban Agriculture Act passed in HB 542.
  • The Solar Protection Act passed in HB 142.
  • The establishment of the World War I Memorial Trust Fund passed in SB 252.
There is always work yet to be done, but passing these three bills represents an opportunity to achieve a higher quality of life for Missouri citizens. Energy and food security will be pillars of the 21st century economy as we work toward ecological sustainability. And, honoring the sacrifice of previous generations through the preservation of a world class monument, the World War I Museum in Kansas City reminds us that liberty is not free, but costs born by the names of men and women whom adorn the memorial walls.

Harold "Sam" Myers was a Flight Engineer on the B-36 Bomber during the Vietnam and Korean Wars.
Finally, I want to thank all of my friends, supporters, staff and colleagues for the flowers, condolences and well wishes for my family on the passing of my grandfather Harold Raymond "Sam" Myers. He was a great man who served his country through two wars and his family with a lifetime of love. I would not be in the Missouri Senate if he had not planted the belief as a young child that public service can be a noble profession when you value the interest of others over oneself.

Harold "Sam" Myers was a Flight Engineer on the B-36 Bomber during the Vietnam and Korean Wars.

The timing of his passing caused me to miss two days of session in the second to last week of session. I apologize to my constituents for missing the votes on those two days, including votes on the budget.

Over the summer months I will be setting up meetings with constituents and civic leaders throughout the 7th District working on legislation for next session.

If your business, organization or group would like for me to visit or set up a site tour please respond to this newsletter or contact our office to set up the schedule.

Thank you for reading. Please click here to view a complete listing of all Truly Agreed and Finally Passed legislation from the 2013 session.


Jason R. Holsman
State Senator, District 7
Jackson County
(573) 751-6607
Five Lessons Learned Serving in the Missouri Senate
1. Your input matters — I serve you best when I know how best to serve you

The 7th Senatorial District is a diverse district. From River Market, The Plaza, and Brookside to South Kansas City, Grandview, and Lee's Summit, the 7th District represents a wide range of neighborhoods, businesses, ideas and ideologies. While no elected official will ever be able to make everyone happy, when debating contentious issues in the Senate, it is always good to hear from home. An email, a phone call or a personal visit can help reinforce positions during floor debate.

2. Leadership is action not position — Partisanship is not the controlling factor

The Senate passes legislation as a body based on coalition building and reasoning out the intended and unintended consequences. Any senator in the chamber, from either party, can change minds through floor debate by being prepared and persuasive. For all the undue paid lobbying efforts to influence legislation in the Capitol, the direct action of educating and informing fellow members is the most effective.

3. Keeping your word is everything — A senator's commitment is more valuable than gold, don't just give it away without being certain of what you're buying

We all want to make people happy. Every day, legislators make choices on which side of an issue to take. Inevitably there will be a number of lobbyists, constituents and interest groups who will leverage their relationships to produce the desired vote. Many will try to be the first on an issue to get a commitment. But, there are always two sides to every story, sometimes three and four sides. Legislators who decide where they are before getting all the information often end up between a rock and a hard place.

4. Legislation takes time, but that's the point — Rules and traditions matter

It can be frustrating for advocates and legislators to spend countless hours on a particular issue only to have the measure not pass through the process. Our system of representation was not created for maximum efficiency. It should be difficult to make new laws, any and all proposed changes deserve to be fully vetted openly and with scrutiny.  The Missouri Senate has a long list of rules, formal and informal, which have been preserved assembly after assembly. These rules and traditions help maintain a functional organization that fosters open lines of communication between members representing a diverse range of ideological priorities.

5. Relationships are paramount to the Senate's work on big issues

The Senate is built on mutual respect. There are only 34 of us representing 6 million citizens. During this session, spending personal time outside of the chamber with my colleagues has helped develop genuine friendships on both sides of the aisle.
These relationships are necessary for positive communication opportunities when the tough issues are being deliberated. This session we were able to pass SB 1, providing reform and a path towards solvency for our state's long troubled Second
Injury Fund (SIF). It is my hope that the Senate will be able to tackle issues like medical malpractice, implementation of appropriate economic development tools, and reforming our state's tax credit programs in the 2014 session.
Jackson County Sports Complex Authority Receives Newest Member

Sen. Holsman visits with Aimee Gromowsky, her husband Steve and their children following her confirmation hearing.
On Wednesday, April 24, Sen. Holsman sponsored the appointment of Aimee Gromowsky as a member of the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority during the Missouri Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee hearing. Gromowsky was confirmed by a vote on the Senate floor the following day during morning session.

"It was my pleasure to stand with Aimee before my colleagues and recommend her to the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority," Sen. Holsman said.  "Sporting events in Kansas City are very important to our community's economy. People from across Missouri and the country flock to Kansas City for various sporting events, and not only do we see revenue generated from ticket sales, but people spend their money at local venues, such as restaurants and hotels. The Jackson County Sports Complex Authority is crucial in helping organize sporting events, and I know Aimee will bring valuable skills and a dedicated work ethic to this panel that will help the Kansas City community prosper and thrive."

The Jackson County Sports Complex Authority, among other duties, is responsible for:
  • Planning, constructing, operating, and maintaining a sports stadium field house, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities center, playing fields, parking facilities, and other suitable concessions within Jackson County;
  • Negotiating and performing its obligations as landlord under lease agreements with the Kansas City Royals Baseball Corporation and the Kansas City Chiefs Football Club, Inc.; and
  • Overseeing the maintenance and operation of the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex in a fiscally responsible manner that will allow it to maintain its stature as a premier sports facility in the nation.
Gromowsky is an attorney who operates Gromowsky Law LLC in Kansas City. She has been in private practice in Kansas City since 2002. Prior to that, Gromowsky served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. She earned her law degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Members of many state commissions and boards are appointed by the governor. Gubernatorial appointees then work with their state senator, who serves as a sponsor of the nominee in the confirmation process, which begins before the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee and concludes with a consenting vote by the full Senate.

For more information on Missouri's boards and commissions, please click here.
General Assembly Sends Urban Agriculture Act to Governor for Final Approval

Members of the Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture tour the urban farm at the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, led by Adam Saunders.
The legislation allows local municipalities to incentivize entrepreneurs as growers, processors, or vendors of locally grown food with tax abatement for property taxes, and wholesale water from municipalities where appropriate. The measure made its way through the Senate, receiving a hearing in the Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources Committee where it was voted out without opposition. Testifying in favor of the legislation was Adam Saunders from the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture and Ginger Steinmetz representing the Missouri Conservation Environmental Alliance.

Language incorporating the Missouri Urban Agriculture Act was added to HB 542, which received overwhelming support during debate in both chambers. HB 542 now heads to the governor's desk for final approval before becoming state statute.

Find the Missouri Urban Agriculture Act here.

The Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture hosting its first informational hearing at UMKC in the summer of 2011.
"I am very pleased to see this piece of legislation go to the Governor's desk for final approval," said Sen. Holsman. This legislation will work to improve our food security in the urban core, create jobs that cannot be outsourced, all while providing an opportunity to repurpose unproductive areas of our cities."

The Missouri Urban Agriculture Act has been a three-year project. It started with the idea that we need to begin to address the issues of food security in our urban core. From there the General Assembly created the Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture made up of senators and representatives who conducted hearings in cities all across our state. That committee produced a comprehensive report, with recommendations for state action as to how to move this industry forward. Those recommendations became the foundation of the legislation introduced in the 2012 and 2013 sessions by Sen. Holsman.
Legislation Gives Certainty to Missouri's Solar Installers
In the final week of session, legislation to bring certainty to the solar industry gained final approval from the General Assembly, and moves next to the governor's desk for his signature. Language from SB 396 sponsored by Sen. Holsman, was attached to HB 142 passing through the assembly in the waning hours of the 2013 legislative session. The bill allows protection from vertical integration, or the idea that investor-owned utilities will utilize the entirety of the 1 percent cost cap directed for solar rebates to its customers.

The solar rebate created in 2008 is currently being utilized by solar installation companies all over the state; this bill will ensure that those companies continue to utilize that rebate to grow the industry. The legislation also includes a gradual draw-down of the renewable energy solar rebate to conclude on June 30, 2020, as well as a property tax exemption for solar systems not held for resale (currently implemented in some capacity in 38 other states).

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 Sen. Holsman. In 2008, the industry took another step forward with an overwhelming (66 percent) statewide approval of Proposition C, 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 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."

"I am proud to see the dramatic growth in the solar industry over this past six years." said Sen. 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."

Find House Bill 142 here. 
Legislation to Support Kansas City's World War I Museum Advances for Final Approval
Early in the 2013 legislative session, a bill was filed by Senators Holsman and Curls to help  support the National World War I Museum, located at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City. Construction of Liberty Memorial located at at 100 W. 26th St. in Kansas City, began in 1921 and was completed in 1926.

In 2004 the Museum housed at Liberty Memorial was recognized by the U.S. Congress as the official museum dedicated to World War I, and in 2006, Liberty Memorial was recognized by the Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark. The inscription on the Liberty Memorial Tower reads:


Learn more about Kansas City's Liberty Memorial here.

The sponsored legislation directs a $1 voluntary contribution when renewing license plates to the newly created "World War I Memorial Trust Fund" which will go solely towards funding the mission of the museum in Kansas City.

The language for the World War I Museum is contained in Senate Bill 252, carried by Senator Kraus (R-Lee's Summit). That bill will now go to the governor for final approval.

Find SB 252 here. 
Senate Debates Placing Caps on Medical Malpractice Claims
but Fails to Achieve Final Passage
In the final days of the 2013 legislative session, the state Senate has debated a number of  contentious issues which did not receive final passage. Recently the Senate took up the issue of caps on medical malpractice lawsuits for non-economic damages.

In 2005, the state Legislature instituted a cap for non-economic damages, valued at $350,000. That piece of legislation was signed into law by then-Governor Matt Blunt, after having been previously vetoed by the previous Governor Bob Holden. The term "non-economic damages" generally refers to compensation owed to individuals through a lawsuit that are not easily quantified in terms of dollars and cents.

Our legal system is generally based upon the idea of equity, and trying to make a plaintiff "whole" after some amount of trauma suffered. The idea behind placing a cap on damages for pain and suffering resulting from a claim relating to medical malpractice has to do with creating a business-friendly atmosphere for health practitioners in our state.

The 2005 legislation was ruled unconstitutional and thrown out by the Missouri Supreme Court late last summer in a 4-3 decision. The case presented to the Missouri Supreme Court was a lawsuit involving Deborah Watts of Springfield, Mo., whose son was born with catastrophic brain injuries, as a result of receiving a delayed emergency Cesarean section. A Greene County jury awarded the family a $5 million settlement, but was reduced due to the cap.

The bill debated in the Senate, House Bill 112, was brought up this session in order to address the concerns in the Supreme Court ruling and reinstitute caps in these cases. Debate centered on the need to address the business and legal climate of providing health care in the state of Missouri, while allowing citizens access to the court system so they can be made "whole" after having suffered some trauma due to negligence. This measure lost momentum as legislators were unable to come to the table and agree on a reasonable cap with an established COLA.
Representatives from the Jackson County Drug Court Visit the State Capitol

Representatives from the Jackson County Drug Court pictured with Jackson County Senators Curls, Holsman, Kraus, and LeVota.
After receiving a resolution presented on the floor of the Missouri House, representatives from the Jackson County Drug Court crossed the rotunda to visit with their area senators. The Drug Court has received several commendations recently as well attention in media outlets as they are celebrating their 20th anniversary.

Find a recent Fox4KC news story here.

Jackson County became just the second county in the nation, after Miami-Dade in Florida, to begin operating a Drug Court from which non-violent offenders can "graduate"after going through rehab and receiving other counseling. As it falls under the Law Enforcement wing of COMBAT, Drug Court is operated through the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office and is geared toward helping people begin their sobriety, find employment or enroll as full-time students and become productive members of society. More than 1,200 people have graduated from the Jackson County Drug Court, with more than 96 percent remaining conviction free within five years of their graduation.

To learn more about the Jackson County Drug Court please visit this link.
Governor Vetoes Local Use Tax Legislation
Senate Bill 182 was delivered to the governor for final approval early in April after having  passed both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly. The legislation was brought to the attention of the Missouri Legislature late in 2012 following a Supreme Court decision that struck down the collection of local sales taxes on out-of-state purchases of motor vehicles, trailers, boats, or outboard motors. The Supreme Court decision in Street vs. Director of Revenue, which took effect in March of last year, removed the ability of municipalities to collect their local sales taxes on out-of-state purchases, creating a competitive disadvantage for Missouri dealers operating near state lines. Municipalities operating with a "use tax" were still able to collect those types of taxes under the Street decision.

Senate Bill 182 specified that a sales tax is to be collected for the titling of such property. The rate of tax associated with titling will be the sum of state sales tax and the local sales tax rate in effect at the address of the owner of the property.

Local taxing jurisdictions that have not previously approved a local use tax must put to a vote of the people whether to discontinue collection of sales tax on the titling of motor vehicles purchased from out of state vendors. If such a vote does not occur before November 2016, the jurisdiction must cease collecting those sales taxes.

Governor Nixon vetoed similar legislation in the 2012 legislative session citing constitutional challenges relating to collecting local taxes on out of state purchases.

Find the governor's full statement on the legislation here. 

Find the relevant Street vs. Dept. of Revenue here.

Find Senate Bill 182 here.
Missouri Senate Passes MONA as 2013 Draws to a Close
In the final hour of the 2013 legislative session, the Missouri Senate took up the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act (MONA). The issue was debated in the form of an amendment offered by Senator Jolie Justus, who has sponsored the legislation each year since being elected to the Missouri Senate. The amendment passed through the Missouri Senate by a vote of 19-11, as
nine members of the majority party joined the minority party in supporting the amendment.

Currently in the state of Missouri, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Missourians can be fired from their jobs, denied housing, and refused access to public accommodations and services.

MONA would extend the existing Missouri Human Rights Statute to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories, thereby prohibiting discrimination against the LGBT community.

For more view this article on the MONA legislation from the KC Star.

PROMO, is Missouri's statewide organization that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality.

To learn more about PROMO visit this link. 
Jackson County Property Tax Assessments
As has been discussed in the media, county legislature meetings, and several homeowners association meetings around the 7th District the first round of property tax assessments for residents of Jackson County may contain errors. If you believe that your assessment contains errors there are several steps to address to take.

File an initial "informal appeal"

This process This process can be done online at

You will need your parcel number and pin number which can be found on your assessment
letter. This must be done no later than June 14, 2013.

Appeal to the BOE

Constituents unsatisfied with the results of the informal appeal, may file a formal appeal with the Jackson County Board of Equalization (BOE). You must file this appeal no later than July 8, 2013.

Appeal to the Tax Commission

Constituents still not satisfied with the decision made by the BOE may petition the Missouri State Tax Commission on or before September 30, 2013.

Follow this link to this story in the KC Star regarding recent assessments.
Check MoDOT Listings Before Summer Travel
To help smooth your summer travel planning, the Missouri Department of Transportation offers a list of high-impact work zones.

Although MoDOT's construction budget is about half of what it was two years ago, drivers will encounter significant work zones as MoDOT and its contractors work to best preserve the state's transportation system.

"You'll notice orange signs and messages on roadside boards that provide directions to help you move safely through work zones," said MoDOT State Construction and Maintenance Engineer Dave Ahlvers. In addition to the construction areas on the list, drivers should be aware of smaller, moving operations such as mowing, minor repairs and motorist assistance.

Work zone location information is available up to a week in advance on MoDOT's Traveler Information Map located at or on the free smartphone app available in both Apple and Android app stores. Motorists can also call toll-free to ask questions 24 hours a day: 1-888-ASK MoDOT (888-275-6636).

"When you see MoDOT vehicles using flashing yellow lights, we ask you to move over or slow down significantly," said MoDOT State Maintenance Engineer, Beth Wright. "We appreciate all you can do to help our coworkers make it home safely each day."
Brightergy Solar Makes Renewable Energy Affordable for Local Schools

50kW solar system installed at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City.
Brightergy Solar Solutions located at 1617 Main St. in Kansas City, Mo., has developed a number of financing options for Missouri schools that allow for lower utility bills, while offering classroom curricula to the schools.

Brightergy has installed hundreds of solar systems on residential, commercial, and government buildings. The school program has been extended to the Parkway School District, Kirkwood School District and Washington University in St. Louis County,as well as Rockhurst High School, The Pembroke Hill, and Paseo Academy in Kansas City.

  • Offers a no-up-front cost solar system.
  • Fixed monthly payment.
  • Maintenance free - Brightergy owns the system and handles maintenance  of that unit.
  • Online monitoring - Access to an online system that provides data on the solar system's energy production.

100kW system installed by Brightergy at Paseo Academy.
  • This program is focused on the importance of energy forms and sources consisting of professional development workshops, classroom lessons, and a service learning project.
  • Solar power is more than just an energy saver. It's a conversation starter, providing positive public relations for participating schools.
To learn more about Brightergy Solar Solutions follow this link.
DNR Assists KC Charter School in Energy Efficiency

Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Division of Energy is providing loan funds to the Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy to finance programmable thermostats, HVAC and window upgrades. The department's Division of Energy has underwritten $2.7 million for the cost of energy saving measures through its Energy Loan Program. The energy conservation measures will save more than $345,000 annually in utility costs.

Since the inception of this program in 1989, building improvements financed with the Department of Natural Resources' Division of Energy loans have resulted in more than $158 million in energy savings for public school districts, local governments
and public colleges.

To learn more about the Dept. of Natural Resources' Division of Energy, visit this link
Conservation Department Update

Peregrine Falcon Web Camera

The peregrine falcon nesting box located atop the Commerce Tower is a partnership between Missouri Department of Conservation and NAI Capital Realty. The Commerce Tower remains the exact location in which the department originally began releasing peregrine falcons in 1991. A total of 24 falcon chicks were released during the summers of 1991 and 1992. Since then, the Commerce Tower has remained a preferred nesting location of the peregrine falcons.

To view streaming video, please click here.

The peregrine project will help Missourians discover nature right in the nest of
these amazing raptors. The peregrine falcon has made an incredible comeback from the brink of extinction. Restoration efforts by state and federal agencies and
organizations have helped make the peregrine falcon a common sight in parts of Missouri.

For more information on peregrine falcons, please click 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.