VFW Legislative Alert: 

Urge Senate to Pass S. 1982

Comprehensive Veterans' and Health Benefits Package Today!    Take Action!

While Congress is on recess, we ask all of our members and advocates to once again take action by sending a letter, calling or attending a town hall meeting with your Senators. Ask them to support and pass this sweeping legislation when they return to Washington.

If signed into law, the bill would expand and improve health care and benefit services to all generations of veterans and their families. Most notably, it would expand the current caregiver law to include all generations of veterans; offer in-state tuition protection for recently-transitioned veterans; reauthorize the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP); improve access to mental health and treatment for victims of sexual assault in the military; and authorize construction of more than 20 Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC's) to serve veterans in their communities.

Action Needed: Send a letter, call or meet with your Senators - urge them to support and pass S. 1982, the Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014. Tell them that this historic legislation will provide vital services to all generations of veterans and their families. Remind them we are a nation still at war, and veterans are still in need of the critical services this legislation will provide.

For contact information, to include State office locations and DC phone numbers, visit our website - www.vfw.org and click on Action Corps - Get to Know Your Elected Officials.

Background: S. 1982, the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014 is the most comprehensive veterans' legislation to be introduced in decades. It addresses many of the VFW's legislative priority goals, but remains stalled in the Senate.

House Gives Initial Approval to Right to Work Legislation (HB 1770)

Apr. 10, 2014...

This week the House gave first-round approval to legislation that has generated a great deal of debate and discussion this session. Commonly referred to as Right to Work, the bill would prohibit contracts that require a worker to join a union or pay union fees as a condition of employment.

Across the country, 24 states have already enacted Right to Work laws. These states include all of Missouri’s neighbors with the exception of Illinois and Kentucky. Supporters of the idea say the states where it has been enacted have seen faster job and economic growth when compared with states without Right to Work laws in place. They also say many employers consider whether states have such laws in place when considering where to locate their businesses. In addition, supporters stress the importance safeguarding basic personal freedoms by giving workers the ability to decide whether to join a union.

Opponents of the idea say that unions play a vital role in negotiating good wages for employees and ensuring that workplaces remain safe. They stress that these benefits help both union and non-union members, who sometimes are required to pay fees to unions. They also say the Right to Work effort is really focused on diminishing the influence of unions in the political process. In addition, opponents point to the fact that Missourians voted against the implementation of a Right to Work law when it was last on the ballot in 1978.

While the bill received first-round approval this week, it still requires another affirmative vote in the House before moving to the Senate. Between now and then we will continue to debate the merits of this proposed change that would impact employers and workers in all parts of our state. If approved by both chambers the proposed change would go on the August ballot for voter approval.

Missouri Leads the Way in Conservation and Protection of Environment

by Debby Kwiecien

Mar. 26, 2014...  On Mar. 12 at 7pm concerned citizens gathered at the Pacific City Hall to find out more about the environment, what is being done to preserve and protect the environment and what they could do to help in those efforts.

Guest speakers were Patricia Schuba from LEO [Labadie Environmental Organization], Steve Mahfood, former DNR director and Ron Coleman former executive director of the Open Space Council.  Each of the guests presented varying aspects of Missouri's environment from the richness of the lands and waters to the specifics of what has caused the deterioration of the watersheds, ground water and river ways and wildlife.

The first national scenic river way was established at Jack's Fork in the 1800s.  Missouri leads the country in established Stream Teams having over 4,000 teams that spend hours yearly cleaning up the waterways.  Missouri's Department of Conservation was established in 1937 and Missouri is the only state to have both a Conservation sales tax and a Parks and Soils Sales tax, which has allowed Missouri to make great strides in improving its water quality and standards, ridding the state of serious threats.  For instance, 20 years ago Missouri had almost 3000 landfills, now there are 26 landfills that are now being well managed by the state.

However, Missouri wildlife has lost much of its habitat due to inappropriate construction; these decisions need to be made with protecting the environment as a priority.  According to Mahfood there needs to be more public land that is managed and protected by the cities and states.

Air Quality in Missouri has also vastly improved since the 1940s, although issues are still out there that need to be addressed, such as the coal fired electric plants in the state that have not been updated since the 1970s.

Missouri's Department of Natural Resources will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2015 [est. 1975].  

Coleman said, "I have a vision that a kid throws a fishing rod over his shoulder and walks down to the river for an adventure."

Coleman has been working with Alderman Steve Myers to create a river walk along the Meramec River in Pacific.  The City of Pacific has supported this endeavor by purchasing much of the flood plain in that area.  

"I see more treetops in Pacific's future," said Coleman.  "The Meramec River is a great resource for Pacific and a way to preserve green space."

Schuba stated, "We never thought LEO was going to be a long fight, but the legislators are now listening.  Be There!  Be Engaged!  And, Hang On!"

LEO has been pushing Franklin County, the State of Missouri and the Federal Government in the effort to enforce safety regulations on coal ash and fly ash electric companies that are dumping coal ash and fly ash in the United State's waterways.  The coal ash and fly ash are contaminated with metals that are detrimental not only to the environment but also to the people and animals that live in those areas.

LEO has been backed up with its concerns by the TVA (2008) spill that impacted Emory River in Tennessee and by the North Carolina (2014) spill on Superbowl Sunday that contaminated 70 miles of river way there.

"If we get ahead of this now," said Schuba.  "We can demonstrate to the rest of the country that proper monitoring and cleanup is beneficial to the entire country."

LEO"s premise is "People are worth it!  Missouri's waterways are not the proper disposal site for coal ash and fly ash."

Daisy Girl Scout Troop 4215

Mar. 21, 2014...

Daisy Troop 4215 opened their Mar. 20 meeting saying the Girl Scout pledge.

This meeting featured guest speakers, Lloyd Klinedinst, Bobbi, and Susan Cunningham instructing the Scouts about participating in gardening at the Pacific Community Garden.  Joining the Scouts were Cadet Scout and Junior Scout Emerson and Madison Steger who have been caring for the garden plots that the Daisy scouts will be taking over this spring.

The Scouts will be growing vegetables and fruits in the raised beds and harvesting them to donate to the Pacific Agape House.

Photos courtesy Lloyd Klinedinst

St. Patrick's Day

Mar. 16, 2014... The third annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Pacific, Mo., attracted hundreds of people to watch as floats passed through old town. The parade, led by Pacific Police Chief Matt Mansell, began at the Meramec Valley Middle School and ended at the Pacific Brew Haus.

After the parade everyone gathered at the railroad plaza for food, games, a petting zoo (Meadowcrest Farm) and music by DC Productions.

Photos by Debby Kwiecien

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Veterans Designation on Driver’s Licenses

Are you a veteran? Would you like to have your driver’s license reflect your service? Visit Rep. Tim Jone’s blog at http://speakertimjones.blogspot.com/2013/01/veterans-designation-on-drivers-license.html to learn more.

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Do You Have Questions About God?

The Chance Gives You the Opportunity to Have Your Questions Answered

By Debby Kwiecien

Mar. 11, 2014...Have you ever wondered if God really exists? How the world came to be? Did God really send his son, Jesus Christ, to save the world from its sins? Or, any of many other questions that might be niggling at the back of your mind about God, the Universe and Mankind? If so, one local pastor, Jack Bone from First Christian Church in Pacific, is offering you The Chance to ask all those questions and more at a bi-weekly gathering in the fellowship hall at First Christian Church, 422 W. St. Louis St., beginning April 15.

“We want everyone to know that this is a unique service,” said Pastor Bone. “There are people out there that are unsure about church; that have preconceived ideas about church; have unanswered questions about God and may just feel uncomfortable in the church setting. This service is for them.”

This service is going to feature Christian rock music, a relaxed fellowship hall ambiance, coffee and maybe some snacks to nibble on and the opportunity to ask Pastor Jack questions.

“If they aren’t comfortable actually asking me the question they can email, thechance516@gmail.com, the question to me right there,” said Pastor Jack. “And, I will answer their question. Or, if I don’t know I will find out.”

Pastor Jack is making this opportunity available based on (NIV “New International Version”) Eph. 5:15, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 

“This is for those people who nine times out of ten feel like they are being judged in our churches,” said Pastor Jack. “It’s for those that feel they ‘don’t fit in’ and are ‘uncomfortable’ inside the sanctuary.”

It’s to have those questions answered based on Biblical teachings and Apologetics (cosmology-the belief of ‘first cause’ or that a single entity started everything)—if someone is an Apologist they can prove the existence of God without Biblical support.

“I have a passion for telling people about God,” said Pastor Jack. “That’s what ‘The Chance’ is all about. We’re holding it on Tuesday evenings so that people do not have the excuse that it’s conflicting with their weekend plans. This is an opportunity for people to come and ask questions in a relaxed setting.”

The Chance service times are every other Tuesday beginning April 15 at 6pm at First Christian Church, 422 W. St. Louis St., Pacific, in the fellowship hall. Email questions before, during or after the service to thechance516@gmail.com and your questions will be answered during the service.