By Wally Kennedy
During a ceremonial signing of a new immigration bill on Monday in Joplin, Gov. Matt Blunt said the state of Missouri could not wait for the federal government to respond to what has become a serious national problem.
“This significant legislation will protect the safety of Missouri families and the security of our jobs from the threat of illegal immigration, and I am pleased that Missouri’s legislators responded to my call for action where Washington has failed to act,” Blunt said.
He said the United States is, for the most part, a nation of immigrants and that we “welcome legal immigrants to come here, learn our language and work here,” but that the rule of law with regard immigration must be enforced.
House Bill 1549 enacts into law policies Blunt proposed to crack down on illegal immigration, including prohibiting illegal immigrants from obtaining a license to drive. A press release issued by Blunt’s office characterized the bill’s provisions “as some of the strongest legislation in the country to fight illegal immigration.”
Flanked by state legislators from across Southwest Missouri, Blunt said the bill requires verification of lawful presence in this country for every individual arrested for incarceration.
It also prevents the creation of sanctuary cities in the state; requires verification of legal employment status of every public employee; allows for cancellation of state contracts for contractors if they hire illegal immigrants; requires public agencies to verify the legal status of applicants before providing welfare benefits; criminalizes the transportation of illegal immigrants for exploitative purposes; and enacts provisions to punish bad-acting employers who hire illegal immigrants.
But the fallout could have serious economic consequences for the state, according to Adolfo Castillo, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Castillo said he has not had an opportunity to read the bill, but understands that it mirrors similar legislation adopted last year in Oklahoma.
By Wally Kennedy
- Local News
Former Webb City teacher charged with sexual contact with student
A former Webb City High School choir teacher was charged Tuesday in Jasper County Circuit Court with having sexual contact with a student. According to a probable-cause statement, Carrie Njoroge, 30, of Oronogo, had consensual sexual intercourse with an 18-year-old male student in her office at Webb City High School during the evening hours of April 15.
Carthage Council reorganizes
The Carthage City Council has one new member after Paul McCoy was sworn in Tuesday as 2nd Ward councilman. Oaths of office also were repeated by Mayor Mike Harris, and Councilmen Lee Carlson, Jason Shelfer, Kirby Newport and Brady Beckham, all re-elected in city balloting on April 8. Councilman Dan Rife was re-elected as mayor pro tem.
New Powell bridge to open today
Great River Associates engineer Spencer Jones, of Springfield, is planning a final inspection of the new Powell bridge on Cowan Road off Route E, to be followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. today. The initial cost for the bridge was put at $800,000.
Mike Pound: Spring a great time to visit Carver monument
It occurred to me when the woman passed me — for the second time — as I ambled along the walking trail at George Washington Carver National Monument that perhaps I should step up the pace of my amble. The only problem is, the walking trail at the monument isn’t a place that necessarily inspires a stepped-up amble. To me, the Carver monument is a place to linger.
Season opens Friday for Carthage Art Walk
Art, music and other activities are scheduled Friday when a new season of the Carthage Art Walk opens on the courthouse square. Displays and programs set for 6 to 9 p.m. will showcase galleries, artists, restaurants and shops. Special events will feature a timed painting and a demonstration of an 1896 printing press.
Missouri lawmakers file three resolutions calling for impeaching governor
While Gov. Jay Nixon was in Nevada, Mo., on Wednesday, a Missouri House panel led by Republicans began hearing arguments on three measures calling for impeaching him. Nixon has downplayed the proceedings as a legislative “publicity stunt.” One resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, is critical of Nixon for waiting several months to call special elections to fill three vacated House seats.
SLIDE SHOW: Moving day for biology and chemistry building at Pittsburg State
They didn’t all go two-by-two, and the person in charge wasn’t named Noah, but nonetheless, critters of all shapes and sizes were on the move Wednesday. Students, volunteers and staff members helped Delia Lister, director of Nature Reach, relocate everything from a pair of prairie dogs to a vocal macaw named Charlie so that Heckert-Wells Hall — the biology and chemistry building where they are housed on the campus of Pittsburg State University — can undergo a $4.4 million transformation in the coming months.
Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns
Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.
3M plant expansion to create 22 jobs
An $18.7 million expansion at the 3M Co. manufacturing plant in Nevada will create 22 new jobs, a company official said Wednesday. “We started 43 years ago as a small manufacturer,” said Todd Cantrell, plant manager, in a meeting with employees. “We are now the largest 3M plant in the state of Missouri and one of the largest of all 3M plants.”
Nixon: Tax-cut bill holds fatal flaw; area lawmakers say stance totally false
Another year has brought yet another tax-cut fight between Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-led Missouri General Assembly, and on Tuesday, Nixon announced that he had found what he sees as a fatal flaw.
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