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This last Saturday I had the opportunity to attend another work in progress meeting to discuss the future growth in our area. One of Governor Parson’s top priorities is the formation of Workforce Development. Meetings being held at US Tool have included members of our Chambers of Commerce, representatives from local schools and many of our local employers.

Our goal is to prepare our students for the jobs that are available in our area. We have all come to understand that not all people need to attend college to get a good job. Employers in our district want to partner with local schools to provide jobs for students. This is definitely a win for students and a win for employees who are wanting and needing to hire a dependable workforce. Our students are our future and we must do all we can to ensure they have all the opportunities and resources that are available to them.

Advocacy Day for Leadership Missouri was held at the State Capitol this last week. Students attending this program had the chance to meet with their Representatives, attended meetings and tours of the various state facilities to promote their leadership skills and to strengthen their knowledge of the state’s opportunities and challenges.

Bills of interest

HB 1062 was heard this week in the House. This is a tough bill that we as the legislature need to get worked out. It can benefit cities like Farmington by allowing them to buy cheaper electricity. On the other hand, I cannot support companies that are not even from Missouri taking farm properties through eminent domain.

Supporters say that the bill will prohibit private companies from using the state power of eminent domain in order to maximize their own profits while providing little or no benefit to Missouri consumers. The use of eminent domain is a last resort and is a burden on Missouri landowners and farmers. Eminent domain should be used only to benefit local residents and landowners. In this instance less than 12% of electricity will be sold to Missouri consumers. The Missouri Public Service Commission's certificate grants out-of-state interests a competitive advantage in the sale of electricity generated from wind farms. Direct current lines require very large structures and towers which can be an eyesore and might interfere with farming operations and other desired land use.

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Those who oppose the bill say that the project will generate $12.8 million in immediate tax revenue and create jobs. It will also result in about $7 million in property taxes to Missouri political subdivisions per year. The Missouri Public Service Commission has considered the matter for five years and crafted a reasonable certificate grant that is conditioned on land reclamation and a fund to provide for removal of any infrastructure if needed. Approximately 500 megawatts of power will be sold to Missouri municipal utilities and then to end users at very low cost and many small communities would save significant money on electricity.

HB 1151 removes an exemption from registration on the sexual offender registry when a registrant is no longer required to register and his or her name must be removed from the registry under the provisions of Section 589.414, RSMo.

The bill also removes sexual misconduct involving a child under Section 566.083, if it is a first offense and the punishment is less than one year, from Tier I of the registry. A first offense of sexual misconduct involving a child under Section 566.083, whether a misdemeanor or felony, remains on Tier II of the registry. It also changes sexual abuse in the second degree, child molestation in the second degree as it existed prior to January 1, 2017, and sexual conduct with a nursing facility resident or vulnerable person in the first degree on Tier I of the registry from when the punishment is less than a year to if the offense is a misdemeanor. Additionally, the bill adds certain offenses to Tier I and certain offenses to Tier II.

This bill went through my committee on Insurance. The idea behind the bill is to make sure that the offenses are appropriately labeled as a part of the proper tier. This is a bill that is not being soft on crime but smart on crime.

HB 324 dealing with the use of drones has now been rolled into HB 113 in the Senate. HB 324 protects our correctional institutions, mental health facilities, County and municipal jails from incursions from drones. This bill is all about safety. We are not taking away people’s ability to fly drones but are restricting their use over secure facilities. The St Louis Cardinals came to me asking to have their stadium added. They have been working with homeland security and the FBI to make sure that all of us our safe when we attend games. We have now have added open air sports facilities with a capacity of 5,000 or more. In the end we are attempting to give open air stadiums the ability to monitor the safety of all people who attend.

HB 493 is a bill that is attempting to bring down the cost of using an air-ambulance. Currently air ambulances rides can cost as much as $50,000. With my bill I am attempting to correct a law from around 1980 that gives an unfair billing advantage to air-ambulance services.

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