Spotlight on Osage County: Crisis Heroin, Meth and Our Kids

177 community members, including elected officials, school administration, teachers, business leaders and families came out to the community center to hear a presentation on drug abuse in Osage County.

Jim Marshall, retired teacher and parent, was on hand to present his very personal story about his son’s drug addiction. Mr. Marshall’s presentation galvanized the audience with its intensity and compassion. He shared statistics, and backed those up with personal reflections that made a lasting impact.

Some of those statistics were disturbing in fact, in particular, one teen every 12 minutes dies from a drug overdose. You could have heard a pin drop in this very large room that was filled with people, it was remarked over and over how raptly the audience was listening to Mr. Marshall. His presentation inspired people to recognize and commit to stopping drug abuse in our community now.

Just one comment from the evening, posted on our social media page…. “A HUGE thank you to everyone who made this evening’s event possible! Coach Marshall was phenomenal Looking forward to seeing what the people of Osage County, working alongside our local law enforcement and the Narcotics Taskforce, can do to make the OC Drug Free!!!”

I don’t know any better endorsement than that. Truly, Jim Marshall is an inspired speaker, and elicits the same in his audience. We will be forever grateful to him for kicking off our campaign.

Former heroin user has warning for Jefferson City

Cody’s gift: Son’s overdose leads to awareness about drug abuse

Kehoe Capitol Report: Budget Bills Head to Senate

The second half of the legislative session began Monday morning with coffee at Scrivner’s Coffee Cup Café in Russellville. Though the group of attendees was relatively small, there was no shortage of discussion, advice, or questions. On topics ranging from gas prices to transportation infrastructure, and from the need for a second nuclear plant at the current Callaway site to ethics in the legislature, I received a healthy dose of insights, recommendations, candid criticism, and much appreciated support. I want to thank Scrivner’s Coffee Cup Café for allowing me to be there, for their fantastic hospitality, and for their excellent coffee.

This week the house began work on advancing a transportation infrastructure bill. This bill would use different funding mechanisms to pay for long overdue and much needed improvements. Similar to what took place in the senate on my SB752, the house will conduct two weeks of hearings on this bill. Representative Long’s HB1874 continues the conversations that began in the senate. Instead of authorizing tolling on I-70 to pay for needed improvements, HB1874 will eliminate the gasoline tax and increase sales and diesel taxes to fund infrastructure improvements statewide. I look forward to many beneficial discussions stemming from this bill just as they did from my SB752. This is a real problem that will only be solved when legislators have these difficult discussions, and I am grateful to Representative Long and the house for doing so.

I continue daily discussions with my fellow senators about securing Missouri’s energy future and putting thousands of Missourians back to work by increasing nuclear capacity at the current Callaway site. In addition to these discussions, members of the Utility Alliance, an alliance that is the only of its kind in the nation and includes investor owned utilities, electric cooperatives from across the state, and numerous municipal utilities, remain resolved and unified in their efforts to secure additional reliable and cost-effective 24-7 baseload power for Missourians. The structure, breadth and depth of this alliance has received national attention from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and international attention from other countries looking to advance nuclear energy via broad-based provider support. Missouri needs this energy security and Missourians want the good, long-term, high-paying, boots-on-the-ground jobs that building additional capacity at the current Callaway site will create.

On Thursday I was pleased to see the senate pass my SB626 dealing with product liability. This common sense measure will give manufacturers a defense against frivolous lawsuits from people who make unauthorized alterations to a product and then turn around and sue the manufacturer for damages because the modified product failed as a result of the very modification they made. Unscrupulous lawyers stand in heated opposition to this bill because it impedes upon their frivolous lawsuit racket. This measure is good for Missouri manufacturers because it provides an element of defense which currently does not exist in Missouri law. I heard a local manufacturer put it this way: “I don’t know how many more of these lawsuits I can afford to win.”

Without SB626, Missouri manufacturers will continue to do one of two things: 1) ship jobs overseas where labor is cheaper thus providing them the money necessary to defend themselves from these frivolous lawsuits; or 2) raise prices to cover the incredible costs of defending themselves from these frivolous lawsuits. This simple tort reform will better enable manufacturers to defend against lawyers that make a living trolling for and filing unwarranted lawsuits against job creators in the manufacturing sector.

This week the house sent over its version of Missouri’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget and the senate will now begin its work on these bills. This will not be an easy or quick process, nor should it be. In the face of significant budget shortfalls and multiple competing demands and priorities, the senate should and will make deliberate and thoughtful decisions on the budget…the one thing that we are required, constitutionally, to pass.

On Thursday afternoon I attended a Heroin Awareness Community Town Hall Meeting at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Jefferson City and I will never be the same again. I was heartbroken by the stories I heard and so very impressed with the individuals and families that have dealt first-hand with the terrible wreckage that heroin can inflict, yet have overcome that hurt, pain, and loss to try to prevent such things from happening to others. I was particularly impacted by Coach Jim Marshall’s passion and dedication. Coach Marshall and his wife, Merry, have embraced this cause and educate with a perspective that is both heart-wrenching and incredibly effective. The combined effort of Coach and Merry Marshall, numerous other individuals, the Jefferson City Police Department, the Cole County Sheriff’s Office, the Council for Drug-Free Youth, and multiple other non-profit organizations is saving lives and increasing awareness in Central Missouri. I cannot help but take great pride in our community for working to eliminate this problem.

I am in this office to serve the constituents of the 6th Senatorial District. Please contact us at (573) 751-2076 if my office or I can be of any assistance to you or if you have questions.

Heroin Overdoses on the Rise in Missouri