Economic Development, Chairman
Joint Committee on Gaming & Wagering
Joint Committee on Life Sciences
Appropriations - Health, Mental Health & Social Services
Administration & Accounts
Appropriations - Revenue, Transportation & Economic Development
Tourism & Natural Resources
Interim Committee on Improving Government Responsiveness & Efficiency
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I hope everyone has enjoyed the mild weather this past week!
This Wednesday, Governor Nixon presented his State of the State address to a joint session of the House and the Senate. He also provided his proposed state budget. Some of the funding increases proposed by the governor include:
· An additional $50 million in funding for our public K-12 schools throughout the state;
· Another $5 million for the state’s Early Childhood Special Education program;
· A $2 million increase for Project Lead the Way, which will be used to promote science, technology, engineering and math learning in an additional 350 elementary schools:
· An increase of $12 million in performance-based funding for Missouri’s public colleges and universities;
· A bump of $2 million for the Access Missouri Scholarship program and the A+ Scholarship program;
· An increase of $2.4 million for blind pension payments
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I hope everyone is keeping warm during this unseasonably cold weather. With the cold weather comes the buzzing of legislation that is picking up during the beginning of the session.
I am proud and honored that House Speaker John J. Diehl, Jr. has appointed me to lead one of the 13 new super committees in the Missouri House of Representatives. I will serve as the Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Commerce for the 98th General Assembly. The committee will oversee the activities of the Committee on Small Business, the Committee on Economic Development, and the Committee on Trade and Tourism. I am very thankful that Speaker Diehl has the confidence in me and asked me to lead this very important committee.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the House’s efforts in addressing the issues that impact Missouri’s economy, from job creation, to small business start-ups and expansion and retention, to focusing on hi-tech jobs, making sure Missouri has a ready work force through education and training for the jobs of tomorrow, and increasing trade and tourism in Missouri. I look forward to working with those committees to help Missouri’s economy move forward.
The committees are just getting organized at this point. Next week, Governor Nixon will present his State of the State address to a joint session of the House and the Senate. He will then be presenting his proposed state budget to the House. The various Appropriations Committees will begin to meet to review the proposed budget and begin to make their recommendations to the larger House Budget Committee. The House is hoping to have the budget completed and over to the Senate earlier than usual so that any recommendations passed by the legislature can be considered by the Governor during session, when both Chambers could reconsider any vetoes the Governor may make. Missouri must have a balanced budget according to our Constitution. That is an incredibly valuable tool we have; by requiring Missouri to live within its means, it will prevent Missouri from becoming a state with a massive deficit. All in all, we are very lucky to live in Missouri.
I joined my colleagues in the Missouri House Wednesday afternoon in the Missouri State Capitol as we took the oath of office and officially began the First Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly. While standing in the historic House Chamber with its majestic marble columns and ornate stained glass windows, I was reminded again of the incredible honor it is to serve as your voice in the halls of government. I take my duties as your state representative very seriously as I try to stand up for the values and beliefs of the families of our district. We completed the procedural requirements necessary to begin the legislative term and read the Preamble and Article I of the Missouri Constitution on the House Floor to remind us all of our rights and responsibilities.
There are several issues the House will be debating during the 2015 Legislative Session. As we move forward in the new year, I will share with you legislation updates.
I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season and all the joy that spending time with friends and family brings. I am ready to begin working once again for the great State of Missouri and the people I represent.
I hope your Holidays are filled with joy and warmth for you and your family. I wish you safe travels if you are visiting loved ones and wish the same for those who may be coming to stay with you. Please remember those who are less fortunate and our service men and women who won’t have the companionship of family and friends this holiday season.
I have included a link of upcoming events in our beautiful, historical county. It is a very hectic time of the year, but hopefully you can attend one or two as our community takes great pride and puts much effort in to these events. http://www.historicstcharles.com/things-to-do/events-calendar/
My colleagues and I will return to the Capitol on January 7th for the first day of session. My Capitol reports will shift their focus to the upcoming session and some of the key issues we will address. If you have any questions or concerns before then, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
God bless you, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Before we sit down with family to enjoy delicious turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, or any of the other traditional fixings this Thanksgiving, I hope we will take a few moments to give sincere thought to the significance of this annual holiday. Yes, it is a time to bring family together for an outstanding home-cooked meal, and maybe even to watch some football, but it also is a time to reflect on what the year has brought us, and to give thanks for the many blessings we have received individually and as citizens of the greatest nation on earth.
In addition to our words and thoughts, Thanksgiving should also be a time when we are called to action. It was President Theodore Roosevelt who once said, “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.” His words are a reminder that, while we are blessed with good fortune, there are many who are not. And, more importantly, it is imperative that we lend a helping hand to those in need when and where we can. That is why this holiday season should be a time when we remember to donate to our favorite charities, or give of our time at the local soup kitchen or food bank, or to take any action we can that will help someone in need. We have the opportunity to make the world around us a better place, and Thanksgiving is a reminder that we should do so when we can.
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