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Michael Doudna's Blog in 2013
Gun (or the lack of) Control

Posted 05/05/2013:  Some Missouri legislators are hoping to prevent recent gun control measures taken up by congress from impacting Missouri. Recent legislation sponsored by Chrissy Sommer would exempt Missouri from all federal gun laws.

This action is seen as a preemptive measure as much of the gun control legislation has failed in D.C. However, many feel the winds of change in Washington could make unwanted changes to Missourians' way of life.

The bill would actually make gun laws in Missouri less restricting by repealing some already enacted federal laws. The issue was extremely partisan in the House and looks to continue to be in the Senate.

This legislation would also make Missouri more attractive as a spot for potential gun manufactures, this legislation hopes to have a positive impact on Missouri.

The legislation might be teamed with other bills which would provide tax breaks into the gun makers in a combination that would help gun makers from states like Massachusetts.


Posted 04/28/2013:  Seersucker Wednesday may soon becoming to an end if Jefferson County Senator Ryan McKenna has his way. For those not up to date on the fashion statements going on in the Capitol, Senators have started to wear seersucker suits every Wednesday. The idea has spread and now about half of the Senators are participating in the latest fad.

Yet still there is a group of hold outs still trying to hold on to the "traditional" style of attire. Sen. Mckenna is the first to proposed an amendment that would ban seersucker students for anyone over the age of 8. He jests that other Senators are starting to put on the peer pressure to conform. McKeena's amendment lambasted the style writing that "it looks ridiculous" and he says he does not plan on conforming anytime soon.

However the fashion writer at Esquire suggests that "Perhaps McKenna's aversion stems from the notion that seersucker is an anachronistic symbol of Southern gentility — a throwback to mint julep-swilling gentlemen chomping cigars at lawn parties held at sprawling estates."

Whatever the case may be I will look to follow up on this important story that is sure to change Wednesdays at the Capitol for years to come--- or at least this legislative session.

What a week
Posted 04/21/2013:  This week was one of the busiest in terms of the national newsweek. The tragedies in both Massachusetts and Texas resulted in innocent lives being lost. When the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon the newsroom was scrambling trying to give you the best coverage on the Department of Revenue scandal, but now it is time to reflect on the week that was.

The bombs which resulted in three casualties, including the death of an eight year-old started the most impressive manhunt I can remember in the United States. The organization and discipline that the Boston police force, and other contributing forces,  was impressive. The fact that authorities were able to close down a city at 8:20A.M. creating a lock-down on such short notice is a monument to the cooperation between different forces and the residents in an area. When Suspect #2 was finally apprehended on Friday afternoon people took to the streets in celebration.

The last part, the residents of Boston taking to the streets, is a symbolic part of America. We are not used to being attacked on American soil. We hold this land to be sacred and believe it should be protected. So when we are attacked on our soil, we do not collapse in shock but band together in nationalistic pride. We celebrate our way of life and the fact we live in a country so great. All of us, whether we belong to the Democratic, republican, independent or Bull Moose part we rejoiced in the love and freedom we are so blessed to enjoy

Posted 04/14/2013:  This Wednesday Senator Rob Schaff tried to solve a problem which has plague Missouri poets for years, rhyming with the word orange. Much has been made about the unrhymability of orange and how nothing could be done to solve its loneliness, until Schaff decided to use his position to get something done.

Schaff proposed his idea as an amendment to a current bill for perfection, bringing the issue to the forefront of the Senate floor. Sadly many of Schaaf's peers did not take him seriously and it was up to Schaff to save poor poets everywhere with his defense.

For this he choose the medium of rhyme, putting a charge behind the amendment that only poetry can truly provide.

Line after line he spoke, expressing the benefits of the bill while expressing his passion. Each second building upon the last, creating a cascade of wordplay, winding itself down to show its purpose.

With the verbal onslaught was done, Schaaf's praise was sung, from St. Louis County to Kansas City, the appreciation for the amendment was audible.

Sadly came the vote, where the praise meant nothing and the Senate's continued crusade against poets, defeating the amendment.

One can only hope that Schaaf and other brave souls like him will put their foots out on the line in support of poets everywhere and finally put an end to the sad poets struggles.

Back to the grind
Posted 04/06/2013:  First week back doing day-turn stories, and I have to say it took a while to shake off the rust. I do not believe I have been doing this enough to take time off not doing stories and I feel this fact was more than evident in my work this week. Thankfully my work was partially saved by my topic this week focusing on the so-called "right to work" legislation. The bill, which passed its way through committee on Wednesday, would make it illegal for union membership to be a requirement for a job, thus would severely undermine the ability of unions to exist. The legislation if passed by both the house and the senate would bypass Gov. Nixon and go to the people, thus preventing Nixon from exercising his veto power and putting it up to popular vote.

This issue being as partisan as it is gave the opportunity to both parties to take strong stances on the issue each sticking with the same party platform that has existed for years. One has to believe that if the bill did get to the Senate it would be a strong candidate for a Democrat filibuster, preventing the action from ever getting passed.

Currently six of Missouri's eight bordering states have right to work legislation.


Spring Break
Posted 03/31/2013:  These last two weeks have alternated between the legislation's and my own spring break. During this time I was able to find information which will mean good news for almost all Missourians. The drought is over.

Thanks to the large amount of precipitation Missouri have received this year the state seems to be coming out of the longest drought in over 20 years. This means a stronger crop and cattle herds, therefore reducing the food prices everyday Missourians pay.

It is nice to see a change in the weather pattern that has plagued Missourians, and which cause Gov. Jay Nixon to make 25 disaster decelerations in the past year.

Missourians should start to see a dropping in many of the common grocery goods thanks to the increased harvest and Missouri's econonmy as a whole should expect to receive some benefit from the extra rain.

Though the rainy weather may get on our nerves, its helping us out in our pockets.

The Senate.
Posted 03/16/2013:  This week I had the experience of sitting in the senate and the house. In case you are new to the government (as I am), it is hard to express how different the Senate and the House are.

The house is a group of chaos with half of the seats often times unoccupied by the lawmakers who fought so hard to obtain them. Also the result is never in doubt, whatever the republicans want to pass or defeat they do only letting the debate string along until they feel that they have had enough.

The senate is different, it is small enough so that the debate  becomes meaningful and often times personal. Most senators usually have at least something to say on the issue and the result is sometimes in doubt. Though I find filibusters to be mind numbingly boring and meaningless debate even more so, it does not mean that it does not serve a purpose. It is a way of saying more than what words can adequately do. 

In conclusion I enjoy the Senate more because their is order and purpose. Real work seems to be done, and issues seem to fall less along party lines but more in line with the thoughts of the actual constituents.

Posted 03/09/2013:  Wednesday I was fortunate enough to do a story that was not in a hearing, but something that was current and developing.

The bill I covered was filed that day to strengthen the privacy laws of Missourians and it was in response to a lawsuit filed Monday in Stoddard County. The bill would make it illegal for the Department of Revenue to collect, save or transmit personal documentation to a third party or the national government.

This would further strengthen state laws which circumvent the federal RealID act of 2005, which required personal documentation to be on file at the federal government for things such as conceal and carry licensees.

The bill was so new that the legislation was not even available to House Democratic Leader Jacob Hummel when he gave me a statement on the bill.

This is the quickest I've seen a bill be put into legislation in response to some event outside of the state Capitol and I believe this is a result because of the public's' increased sensitivity to any restrictions placed upon an individuals privacy and/or gun rights.

We as a nation fear that we are to be taken advantage of by the government through an invasion of our privacy and personal records and then left defenseless by the confiscation of our guns. I believe some of these fears to be unfounded and irrational. Public opinion on the guns issue has swung between two extremes since the horrible events that took place in Newtown, Conn. Public opinion went from tighter control to a ferocious whiplash from the right. The answer most likely lies in the middle, of some adjustments and tweaks to the gun codes that reflects today's public opinion and technology. 

Posted 02/23/2013:  For once, political progress was limited this week by something other than party politics. The snow which caught Columbia unprepared found Jefferson City deserted, with all of the lawmakers already home in their respective districts.

The decision to cancel all on-goings in the capital was made before the first snowflake fell. This decision made me feel as if I was still in Georgia and school was being canceled because of the "threat" of snow. Now I cannot claim to know whether this was a wise decision, especially considering the most snow I have ever seen at one time previously was 3 inches (during snowpocalypse, where we got a full week off of school). I just would think that Missouri lawmakers would try to complete their workday before getting the heck out of dodge.Though of course I understand that their four day work week may have been getting a little to much to handle.

It may sound as if I am being very critical and it is true that I actually do not know the logistics of deserting a state capital before a snow storm hits. I just found it interesting that the Missouri legislators would have the same policy of cancelling session as schools in Atlanta (oh, and Atlanta only has eight snow plows for the entire metropolitan area).

Now excuse me, I going to go and play in the snow.

My thoughts
Posted 02/15/2013:  Jefferson City is controlled chaos.

Of course when I refer to Jefferson City I am referring to the state Capitol because there seems to be nothing of importance other than the political theater going on in this little town. Politics is the lifeblood of the city and the sole purpose of its existence. Without politics Jefferson City would recede into the river it overlooks.

I find that working in Jefferson City is fluid. Both shifts this week I had to drop everything to cover an event I knew nothing about. Nothing, except the 20 second bill recap given to me by the TA in charge at the time. The fluidity is neither good nor bad, it is just different. It is something that takes a little getting used to and it is, above all, interesting.

I hope this semester in Jefferson City will remain interesting, because right now it's nice to get away from the monotonous process of going to lectures and typing up notes off some random powerpoint presentation. I feel productive at Jefferson City and though I realize that I am slow at the process of producing stories now, I know that this process is getting me better every day I'm there.

Now I frankly do not know what is expected from me for these blogs so I think I am going to end this blog, however awkwardly, here.

Well actually I guess I am a broadcast person so I should probably just sign off instead.

Writing from his computer in Columbia, I'm Michael Doudna

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