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Legislators look back at first session

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a three part series that deals with Rep. Brad Robinson and Rep. Steve Tilley’s first legislative session. Friday’s story will focus on the legislators’ future plans.

By CHRIS CLINE

Daily Journal Staff Writer

Approval ratings for the 93rd General Assembly depends on who you talk to. State legislators tackled issues ranging from tort reform to Medicaid to the state’s public education funding formula. While the final outcome in question for many, one thing is for sure, the decisions made during the 2005 legislative session will affect millions of people and will have a lasting effect for years to come.

“I am very proud that we were able to balance the state’s budget without having to raise taxes,” said Rep. Steve Tilley, R-Perryville. “I’m proud of the fact that when I campaigned I said exactly what would do if I were to get elected and I stuck to that.”

Rep. Brad Robinson, D-Bonne Terre, said this legislative session was difficult for him.

“The hardest thing was the simple fact of the legislation that we were dealing with,” Robinson said. “Everything we dealt with this year had major consequences for millions of people. When you start talking about social services and education, you are going to effect some people.”

Tilley said the choices came down whether or not to cut education, cut social services or to raise taxes.

“We had to reform our education formula,” Tilley said. “I think we have done this. Funding the formula has now become our number one priority.”

Robinson said the biggest concerns he heard from his constituents in the 107th District was over the Medicaid Bill.

“What happened and what was voted on is going to be law,” Robinson said. “I am against it and I voted against it. Opportunity is the value that unites us. This bill eliminates opportunities for the people that need them most. We are spending $1,300 per month for an inmate in Missouri. We are cutting people off of Medicaid, but we are paying for this.”

Tilley said he is most proud of getting the education formula passed, followed by the workman’s compensation bill and tort reform.

“I was fortunate in that I had a productive year,” Tilley said. “I was able to work with Sen. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, on a prescription drug bill. I worked on a bill that made non-hazardous food exempt from health department inspections. An example of this would be a church bake sale. I also was able to get a school wellness bill passed that will launch a pilot program in a select number of school districts to promote healthy lifestyles.”

Robinson said he is proud of the St. Francois County Fairgrounds and the Orchard Road project getting put on the MoDOT STIP list.

“The St. Francois County Fairgrounds interchange that will tie into the outer road is a done deal,” Robinson said. “I was bushwhacked several times by MoDOT on the Orchard Road Project, but we were also finally able to get it on the list. The first public meeting concerning the project is scheduled for late August, early September.”

Robinson said he was also proud of the Missouri State Highway Patrol bill he was able to get passed.

“Basically, this bill eliminates the inspection a vehicle owner used to have to get in order to get a salvage title,” Robinson said. “Let’s say your vehicle gets hail damage and the insurance company wants to total it out. You want to keep the vehicle so you work out a deal with your insurance company. You used to have to have an inspection done by the Missouri State Highway Patrol that would check for stolen parts before you could get your salvage title. As long as you are the owner of the vehicle and you are current on all of your other inspections this bill eliminates this hoop you would have had to have jumped through.”

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