Once again there is negative news from Mizzou. A former tutor at the University of Missouri reported that she was encouraged to help student athletes with testing and even to complete entire courses. She stated that the athletes were involved in "revenue generating" sports which translates to football and men's basketball. This revelation comes on the heels of sanctions against the University of Notre Dame for assisting their athletes. Mizzou officials had no comment on the allegations.
On a very different note, for those employers anticipating changes in overtime rules, a federal judge in Texas has issued an injunction against these new Department of Labor rules. In his decision, the judge cited his belief that the department had gone beyond the intentions of Congress and its authority in implementing the new rulings.
The new overtime rules would raise the minimum salary allowed for an employee to be considered exempt, i.e., paid a flat salary rather than being paid overtime for work hours beyond 40 a week. Also, the new department rules have very cumbersome paperwork requirements for employers to justify the exempt status of an employee.
In response to these new regulations, 21 states and more than 50 business organizations filed suit to stop its implementation. The Texas judge sided with the plaintiffs over the federal government. Most likely this ruling will be appealed, but until that time the new rules are placed on hold.
This week is Thanksgiving. What we know as Thanksgiving is a longstanding tradition in our lives as well as American history. However, despite the fact that the holiday goes back to the beginning of colonial times, it took almost two and a half centuries to become a national holiday.
The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in September, 1620. Obviously, at such a late point in the year they struggled to survive throughout the next year because of a lack of food. Fortunately for the new settlers, the Abnaki Indians of the area helped them understand how to grow and harvest food in the New World. Although the Pilgrims continued to struggle, those who survived decided to celebrate the fall harvest of 1621 and invited their neighbors. Harvest festivals go back to ancient times and were common throughout Europe in the Pilgrims' time. It is hard for us to imagine today, but famine was on the doorstep of most people until very recent times.
Various thanksgiving-type celebrations were held throughout the colonies and in the early states. The Continental Congress called for a day of thanksgiving for the patriot victory at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. Subsequently, George Washington called for a day of thanksgiving in 1789 for the ratification of the Constitution. In 1817, New York proclaimed an annual Thanksgiving Day, and other states followed suit. In 1863, and in an effort to boost the morale of the Union troops, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving day. After the Civil War, Congress made this a yearly celebration in November. Franklin Roosevelt moved the date up one week to appease retailers as Christmas shopping traditionally goes into high gear the Friday after Thanksgiving (Black Friday).
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live. Serving the Constituents of the 51st District,