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The Senate Education Committee welcomed some of our state’s school superintendents during its hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 5, to discuss their district’s career development and internship programs.

I was impressed with each superintendent’s presentation, and I would like to highlight one of the programs discussed during the hearing. The administrators in the Washington School District noticed that sixth-graders were increasingly uninterested and withdrawn during class so they paired them with 12th graders and built doghouses. While this seems to be a simple project, students are able to build a business from the ground up. They draft the plans, order materials, learn hands on building practices and then market the finished product.

The sixth-graders have become more engaged and successful in their classes as a result of the program. The Washington School District is relatively small, but I applaud the initiative taken by the administrators to implement this innovative program to get their students engaged. It truly demonstrates their commitment to enriching the lives of their students and ensuring their success in school.

On Thursday, Feb. 7, I presented Senate Bill 201 to the Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee. This bill replaces the current registration fee system for certain motor vehicles with a system that is based on the vehicle’s combined city/highway fuel economy. Missouri is the only state to base its vehicle registration fees on horsepower. We are trying to bring the registration fee system in line with other states.

One bill I have proposed, Senate Bill 17, was debated and passed Thursday morning on the Senate floor. This legislation would allow retired teachers to continue receiving their retirement allowance from the Public School Retirement System of Missouri (PSRS) if they are employed by a public community college. Retired teachers are allowed to work certain jobs in a school district that does not require a teaching certificate, while still receiving their retirement allowance; however, the current law unintentionally excludes retired teachers employed by a public community college from this provision. This led to a decline in the number of retired teachers filling adjunct professor positions. I am pleased that this bill will be one of the first to be passed on the Senate floor. It will now move to the House.

Monday night marked the Senate’s annual charity bowling tournament at Capital Bowl in Jefferson City. The proceeds from this event went to Welcome Home, an organization in Columbia that serves veterans, helps them restore their lives and reenter society after their service to our country. We raised more than $12,000 for this organization and I’m glad I was able to participate in the tournament. It is a great opportunity for the senators and senate staff to mingle in a casual setting.

Capitol Visits

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 gary.romine@senate.mo.gov. For more information, please visit my official Senate webpage at www.senate.mo.gov/romine.

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Gary Romine is a Republican member of the Missouri State Senate, representing District 3.

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