Wednesday, Jan. 8 was the start of the 2020 legislative session, and I am excited to be back in Jefferson City working with my fellow senators. For this week’s column, I want to share a few important local issues I am working on this session.
Recently, Ste. Genevieve was granted the designation of national historical park. This year, I am working with one of Missouri’s U.S. senators to secure additional land for this park. This is an incredible honor, and I am proud that the historical significance of this town is being recognized. I look forward to the official opening of the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park and watching this park grow into a tourist attraction.
I will also be working closely with state representatives to resolve issues with Farmington’s industrial park. The deeds to the properties in the industrial park contain reversion clauses, meaning the properties have to be returned to the state if the city does not use them for industrial purposes. In a couple of instances, the courts have had to clarify whether or not a property had an industrial use. This year, I am hopeful we can help address this issue by removing the reversion clauses.
One piece of legislation I filed this session is Senate Bill 621, which authorizes the transfer of state property in Iron County to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. The Missouri Department of Transportation asked me to file this legislation because of the scheduled bridge replacement on Highway 72 over Stout Creek in Iron County.
Like last year’s session, clarifying the issues surrounding mining royalties is one of my top priorities. It is imperative we establish a fair formula for federal distribution of these royalties to the counties where those royalties accrued. I believe these counties should receive their fair share of the royalties they produced so the money can be used in the community for schools, road repair and law enforcement agencies.
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Finally, there is one issue concerning the Iron County School that must be addressed. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources fined Doe Run $1.2 million for violating clean air policies at the company’s Iron County lead battery recycling location. Per Missouri law, this money must go to the school districts and counts toward the local effort within the school funding formula. This would affect the amount the districts receive from the state. It is my hope we can resolve this issue this session.
I am committed to working on these priorities, and I am confident my colleagues are as well. Sometimes local issues must be taken to the state level to be addressed, and I look forward to discussing these priorities with my colleagues and collaborating with them to find sensible solutions.
I always appreciate hearing your opinions and concerns regarding your state government. 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. For more information, please visit my official Senate webpage at www.senate.mo.gov/romine.