This has been a very busy week at the State Capitol.
On Thursday, the Missouri Veteran’s Commission hosted a Commemoration Ceremony recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. There were over 400 Vietnam Veterans and their families in attendance. Governor Parson welcomed them home, thanked them for their service and for the sacrifices they made for our country.
Good News For Our District 117
This week the House and Senate have approved the budget for the Department of Corrections. Starting in January all corrections staff will receive a 3% raise. All staff will also receive steps for years of service receiving a 1% raise for every two years of service up to 20 years.
This has been needed in the Department of Corrections for years. I am very proud that we as a state are finally able to step up to help our corrections staff.
HJR 48 was perfected this week. The resolution does nothing to change Clean Missouri. What it does, if approved in the House and Senate, is let the people vote to make changes to Clean Missouri. The people of Missouri would be free to reject or approve the changes.
Upon voter approval, this proposed Constitutional amendment repeals an existing exception to the lobbyist gift ban for members of the General Assembly that allows small gifts of under $5. If the amendment passes, then no gifts from lobbyists or lobbyist principals to members of the General Assembly are allowed.
It also addresses the redistricting procedures.
(a) Districts should be composed of contiguous territory as compact as may be such that they approximate squares, rectangles, or hexagons to the extent permitted by natural or political boundaries;
(b) Districts should achieve partisan fairness and, secondarily, competitiveness where these criteria are further specified in the resolution;
(5) Specifies a procedure for gubernatorial appointment of six member House and Senate bipartisan redistricting committees. The process of selection allows each of the two major political parties to nominate candidates using majority votes of their congressional district committees and state committees.
Congressional committees submit two candidates and state committees submit five with the governor selecting two from each state committee and one member from those nominated by the political party congressional district committees.
Additional criteria for service as a member on the committees or selection of members if the political party committees fail to nominate candidates is specified in the resolution. Bipartisan commissions will always have equal numbers of members from the two political parties receiving the most votes in past elections and the same person is barred from service on more than one bipartisan committee;
(7) Requires the bipartisan committees to meet within 15 days, excluding Sundays and state holidays, of appointment to select officers, adopt an agenda, and file a tentative plan of apportionment and map with the Secretary of State within five months after appointment. Public hearings will be held after filing and a final map will be filed within six months of appointment which must be approved by seven-tenths of the commission members; and
(8) Specifies that a panel of appellate judges will create a redistricting map if a bipartisan commission fails to agree by the requisite seven-tenths vote. Deadlines and requirements for the map are further specified in the resolution.
Congratulations to Debbie Peterson for her appointment by Gov. Mike Parson to serve on the Missouri Health Facilities Review. Debbie and her husband Chip Peterson of Doe Run and her mother Sue Brown of Farmington visiting the State Capitol on Tuesday, April 23rd.
Bills of Interest
HB 1162 requires the Department of Economic Development to maintain funds received from any governmental entity for the purposes of providing, maintaining, and expanding rural broadband in the state of Missouri. I believe it is vitally important that we continue to expand access to Broadband.
To track the legislation that I have filed, go to https://house.mo.gov/MemberDetails.aspx?year=2019&code=R&district=117
Bills Truly Agreed and Finally Passed
HB 898 establishes a "Back the Blue" special license plate which will be available for a $10 contribution to the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation and a $15 fee in addition to normal registration costs. Supporters say many people are looking for some way to support law enforcement, and this is a good way to do it.
It is an honor to serve as your representative. Please feel free to contact our office with thoughts or concerns on State Legislation and Issues. Our Phone number is 573-751-2317