Danny Staples was straight-shooting legislator

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Former state senator Danny Staples of Eminence, Mo., died of a heart attack last week at the age of 68, just seven months after completing 20 years in the Missouri Senate. He was term-limited out. He had been in apparent good health. I know he missed serving in the Senate where his camaraderie was rare.

He was a good friend with whom I served for six years in the Missouri House where I first met him. He was a straight-forward, honest elected official whose word was good and whose sense of humor was better.

Danny liked to say he graduated 24th in a class of 23, but he was dumb like a fox. He chaired the Senate committees that handled most of the recent prison and transportation legislation.

Staples represented all the people of Missouri as well as those in his district covering Shannon and surrounding counties where he ran a canoeing, fishing and camping operation. We will miss him.

You know you're a redneck when ... (2003 edition):

You take your dog for a walk and you both use the same tree.

You can entertain yourself for more than an hour with a fly swatter.

You burn your yard rather than mow it.

The Salvation Army declines your mattress.

You think fast food is hitting a deer at 65 mph.

You offer to give someone the shirt off your back and they don't want it.

You come back from the dump with more than you took.

You keep a can of Raid on the kitchen table.

Your grandmother has ammo on her Christmas list.

You think a subdivision is part of a math problem.

Your kids take a siphon hose to show and tell.

You have used a rag for a gas cap.

Your house doesn't have curtains but your truck does.

You wonder how service stations keep their restrooms so clean.

You can spit without opening your mouth.

You consider your license plate personalized because your father made it.

You have a complete set of salad bowls, and they all say Cool Whip on the side.

Your working TV sits on top of your non-working TV.

You've used your ironing board as a buffet table.

You think a quarter horse is that ride in front of K-Mart.

Your neighbors think you're a detective because a cop always brings you home.

A tornado hits your neighborhood and does $100,000 worth of improvement.

You've used a toilet brush as a back scratcher.

You missed fifth-grade graduation because you had jury duty.

Holden's veto dampens Missouri's Independence Day: Gov. Bob Holden vetoed the Right to Carry Bill on July 3. I thought it was ironic that the day before Independence Day our governor would veto a bill dealing with one of our basic rights guaranteed in the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

In 1999 Missourians voted on another measure dealing with the right to carry. It was barely defeated with 52 percent voting no. Only seven counties voted against the measure then. It was basically a rural-versus-urban vote.

The governor said he vetoed it because this issue was defeated by voters in 1999. This is not the same bill that was narrowly defeated by the voters in 1999. This legislation has more restrictions, more training and better background checks than the 1999 version. Many of us feel we made it too restrictive, but it is a true compromise, which is apparent by the overwhelming bipartisan support it received in the House.

The defeated bill had language at the bottom of the ballot which said this bill would require local governments to spend money to implement Right to Carry in Missouri. I know several voters in my area who voted no only because they didn't want to pay higher taxes. I heard one man say, "I don't have a problem with folks carrying, but I don't want to pay for it." The fact is today's bill would bring about $6 million new dollars into state and local governments.

Missourians need the right to protect themselves. We are the No. 1 meth-producing state in America. Wayne and Bollinger counties are No. 1 and No. 2 per capita for meth busts. This has put all of our citizens at risk. Because of the meth epidemic, it is vital that citizens have the right to protect themselves, particularly in the rural areas. Many times law enforcement cannot respond in time to help.

Now that Ohio has passed a Right to Carry bill, we are one of only five states left that needs this protection. In each state where this has passed, violent crime has been reduced. Our state should join the other 45 who have allowed their citizens the right to protect themselves and their families.

Of the 29 bills that Holden vetoed, there were 22 that received a two-thirds majority vote or better in the legislature. If it is a House Bill, the veto override has to begin in the House. If it's a Senate bill, then it begins there.

We will try to override all of them that we can. As you look at the list, you will be surprised by the overwhelming bipartisan support many of the bills received. It makes you wonder what the governor was thinking. I would have thought that if he didn't like a bill he would have at least asked his party members to vote against it. I think you can tell he didn't let any of us know what he was thinking. On the few bills where we made the changes he asked for, he must have changed his mind, because he vetoed them too. -- Excerpt from the newsletter of state Rep. Rod Jetton, Marble Hill.

One of our state representatives forwarded this to me suggesting that media in Southeast Missouri might want to share it with their audiences. It seems like a good idea to me.

"Disabled American Veterans magazine (July/August 2003, page 29) will be asking churches, mosques and synagogues to ring their bells 22 times at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 27, 2003, in memory or those service members from the 22 United Nations countries who served during the Korean War. Commemorating the Korean War Armistice." -- Bill Walker, Marine Corps League

Gary Rust is the chairman of Rust Communications.

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