The Missouri Senate took a brief recess on Monday to celebrate the Easter Holiday, but we got right back to work on Tuesday. As we approach the last portion of the legislative session, the Senate is focusing on evaluating both House and Senate bills and passing policies that will benefit Missourians. While important reforms are being debated daily on the Senate floor, important discussions are occurring with agency leaders, businesses and organizations that are passionate about improving the laws that govern the state of Missouri.
I participated in discussions this week with the Missouri Office of Administration and the Department of Corrections about updating and reforming the merit system in place for state workers. The 3rd Senatorial District has the second highest number of state employees in Missouri, so I am invested in finding reasonable and balanced solutions to ensure that all state workers have the opportunity to advance in their careers. This issue has become especially apparent with employees from the Missouri Department of Corrections, and I met with Director Anne Precythe to discuss the best path forward.
One of the proposals under consideration by the Missouri Senate is Senate Bill 1007. This legislation modifies and repeals several portions of the current State Personnel Law, or the merit system. These policies are outdated, and prospective state employees are hesitant to apply for employment because of the current merit system. The current system is inefficient, but it is crucial that we identify balanced solutions that fix inefficiencies without causing unintended damage to current and potential state employees. I look forward to debating SB 1007 on the Senate floor and working with leaders like OA Commissioner Sarah Steelman and Director Precythe to reasonably reform Missouri’s personnel laws.
I was appointed this week to a conference committee on House Bill 1291. This bill changes the exemption classification regarding the requirement that 25 percent of a county’s special road and bridge tax collected in a municipality must be expended within the municipality for the repair and improvement of existing roads, streets and bridges. Currently, St. Francois County is the only county falling under this exemption. County classification has changed, so it is necessary to amend the statute in order for the exemption to apply to all affected counties.
I had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Department of Natural Resources and LafargeHolcim. This company employs a large number of individuals in our community and they were proud to inform me that it has been two years since the last accident at the facility. Additionally, the Department of Natural Resources plans to use LafargeHolcim as an example for environmentally friendly operations and stewardship. LafargeHolcim is a successful, growing company that deserves to be recognized for their contribution to our business community and their emphasis on environmentally friendly operations.
I was greatly honored to receive the Friend of Education Award from the Missouri Association of School Administrators. As a former teacher and the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, I am committed to working daily to advocate for smart policies that will benefit our administrators, teachers and students throughout the state. The mission of the Missouri Association of School Administrators is to develop and support effective public school leaders who have a positive impact on the lives of all Missouri students. This organization is doing great work in Missouri and I was honored to be recognized.
I met with Andrew Young from Bonne Terre who is a senior at Webster Groves. Andrew is interning in the House of Representatives this session. We also welcomed Cooper Broman from Festus and Ryan Honerkamp from Farmington, who are both students at Missouri University of Science and Technology. These young men were presenting their research projects at the Capitol for MU Undergraduate Research Day. Also constituents Jill Landry and Marcus Genova representing LafargeHolcim attended the meeting I mentioned above.
I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at 573-751-4008. You may write me at Gary Romine, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101; or email me at email@example.com; or www.senate.mo.gov/romine.
This report was filed April 5, 2018