Right to Work and Paycheck Deception

I want to work to continue to stop the misguided and misnamed Right to Work legislation that republicans are still intent on passing despite the overwhelming referendum rejection by the voters in 2018.  Right to Work legislation and paycheck deception  are still on the republican agenda and invariably result in lower wages, more dangerous working conditions, and less job security for middle-class workers.  Missouri needs to protect the people who live and work in our state and not allow small groups of wealthy out-of-state business interest groups to damage the livelihood of our hard working citizens.

Campaign Finance Reform, Gerrymandering, and Clean Missouri

Campaign spending in Missouri desperately needs to be reformed. Missouri is one of the few states that has no campaign spending limits from special interest PAC’s which has resulting in campaigns waged with millions of dollars worth of “dark money” donations, often flooding into Missouri from other states. Of course these donors then expect their wishes to be followed when candidates they donated to win their elections. Clean Missouri-enacted by voters in 2018-was a major move forward in cleaning up our out of control campaign spending, lobbyist gift giving, and district gerrymandering. Unfortunately republicans are so desperate to reinstitute partisan district gerrymandering, which allows safe seats to be drawn that incumbents then have an easy time defending, they spent most of their time in session this month working to repeal much of the constitutional amendment passed by the voters, instead of working on Covid-19 issues. Even if the repeal is defeated defending Clean Missouri will be one of my main goals.

Fully Funding Schools

The republican legislature has often underfunded the Missouri School Foundation Formula, shortchanging public education in Missouri year after year, even below the amount the republicans themselves have said was needed. This year and last they reduced the amount the formula called for and then when meeting those lower numbers claimed schools were fully funded when they were not. In response to lack of funds some districts have ceased to provide busing for students and others have had to go to 4 day school weeks. Our schools need more money and many school districts have been forced to ask voters to make up the difference with district tax increases which places an undue burden on middle class homeowners and seniors. Ensuring adequate state funding for our schools will be one of my absolute top priorities.

Senior Homestead and Missouri Veterans

Pass a senior homestead law to allow seniors to claim a state tax deduction when property taxes rise to unreasonable levels on their homes to help those on fixed incomes to remain in their homes. It is also very important to pass legislation for building new Missouri veterans homes to end the 1000 person waiting list for beds for needy veterans who gave so much for all of us. It is now time to give back to them.

Medicaid Expansion

250,000 to 300,000 Missourians desperately need the healthcare coverage they have been denied by the republican legislature they would have gotten under Medicaid expansion, even though it would be fully paid for by the federal government for 5 years and 90% thereafter. Missouri has already lost $900 million -2 billion the federal government would have paid for the expansion. Thousand of children have also erroneously lost their benefits as well this year  which is scandalous! Not expanding Medicaid is costing Missouri hospitals $8 billion over the next 10 years and has resulted in at least 10 desperately needed rural hospitals closing. Missouri could lose $20 billion in lost federal funds that are sent to other states that want them over the next 10 years. Thousand of uninsured Missourians have been needlessly suffering from lack of healthcare for the past two years since Medicaid expansion was denied by the republican legislature. There was no sound reason to not accept the federal funds and help suffering Missourians.

With Medicaid Expansion on the ballot in November voters will have a chance to right this wrong but the republican controlled legislature is still intent to cut Medicaid even further, expanded or not. The republican majority doesn’t seem to know or care that over 60 percent of seniors that require nursing home care have it paid for under Medicaid. Further cutting of the program may result in thousands of Missouri seniors either living with their children, having their nursing home care paid by their children, or simply dying early without needed care.

Business in Missouri

I intend to work to reduce red tape and offer commonsense solutions to help small businesses grow and create more jobs in Missouri. I will work with both democrats and republicans in the Missouri General Assembly on legislation to reduce business fees and eliminate unnecessary paperwork for family farms. We need to ensure Missouri is the easiest and best state in the country to start and maintain a business.

State & County Parks & Other Environmental Issues

Legislators have recently been introducing bills to sell state park lands-at a big fiscal loss no less, cut funding for the conservation department, take authority and responsibility for management decisions from scientist and park administrators, and turn these duties over to legislators, and have even tried to pass bills to privatize the use of Missouri streams. I want to work to prevent such misguided legislative actions and keep Missouri’s parks and wild areas open and available to  all Missourians. I also want to help our county government continue to expand St. Charles County’s exceptional county park system as much as possible.

Opioid Registry

Missouri is the only state without it’s own opioid registry to help stop the current epidemic of opioid addiction that has become such a scourge in Missouri. There is no excuse for not have this desperately needed registry but each session republicans bring up privacy issues that have little bearing on the problem and fail to pass a bill. I will work to ensure Missouri has a robust Opioid registry.

Sensible Gun Laws

Up until 2017 Missouri’s gun laws, while lax in some areas, at least required that a person who wanted to carry a concealed handgun to be required to be trained and certified in handgun use and safety, and obtain and carry a CC permit. This requirement was done away with by the legislature in 2017-against the advice of most state law enforcement agencies-and was done at the behest of the NRA to keep campaign donations flowing to legislators that voted as they wished and has resulted in a large increase in gun related crimes, injuries, and deaths in our state. I plan to work to restore common sense gun laws to our state to reverse this trend of gun violence.

Local Control

Republicans always crow about being in favor of local governments having the most to say about lawmaking, just as they say the states should be left alone by the federal government to make their own decisions on issues. They say this until local governments pass laws that the state level republicans disagree with then they make sure they override the local bodies! This has happened repeatedly in recent years on issues ranging from banning plastic throwaway grocery bags to reversing minimum wage increases in Kansas City and St. Louis. My opponent Bill Eigel, a senator from the St. Charles area, even wants to prevent Kansas City and St. Louis from keeping the earnings tax that funds over 50% of their cities’ budgets. They also recently passed a terrible bill to prevent communities from regulating CAFO’s in their areas which will result in much odor and pollution from these industrial farm operations. I will work to restore local control to local governments.

Budget & Fiscal Matters

The governor and Republican leaders have been repeatedly making unwise and unpaid for tax cuts to businesses (and much smaller cuts to individuals) that have resulted in drastic cuts to road infrastructure, K12 schools and universities, veterans and medical facilities, parks, and many more places. This shortage results in dangerous deferred maintenance on existing roads and buildings, and prevents new, much needed infrastructure projects from taking place. Counties and cities then have to raise taxes and fees on homeowners and residents to make up for these shortfalls. I want to work to restore fiscal responsibility to government in Jefferson City.

Richard Orr With Missouri Politicians Claire McCaskill, Nicole Galloway, Elad Gross