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2012 Legislative session under way

This week was the beginning of the 2012 legislative session and, due to term limits, my last year representing the 3rd Senatorial District. It’s been an amazing seven years, and an incredible honor. I’m proud of the work I’ve done in the Missouri Legislature.

The beginning of session is always interesting. Numerous bills are introduced, many which promise to be high-profile and dominate a lot of our time. You also get a feel for how the rest of the session may go and what issues will take center-stage.

A major priority for this session is crafting a balanced budget. Like last year, this is going to be a difficult process. Despite some goods news on falling unemployment and a slight increase in revenue growth, we’re still facing a pretty big shortfall. We’re going to have to make hard decisions to find ways to cut state spending without hurting education.

Next week legislation will be sent to committees. One measure I introduced this week is Senate Bill 525, which addresses the partisan election of judges. In most counties in Missouri, circuit court and associate circuit court judges are elected in partisan races as a Republican or Democrat. Yet, we expect our judges to be beyond political parties and base their decisions on the facts of the case and their understanding of the law. I think it’s very important to maintain the impartiality of the courts. They’re meant to be above politics.

We have a challenging session ahead of us, but I’m hopeful we can work together to do what’s best for the people of Missouri. I will continue to keep you posted. 

In the meantime, visit my Senate website, www.senate.mo.gov/engler to view a complete list of my sponsored legislation for 2012, as well as other helpful links.

This report is filed at the end of each week during the legislative session. This report was filed at the close of business last week.

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