The Missouri General Assembly began the 2014 session at noon on Wednesday. After prayer, the presentation of the colors, and the Pledge of Allegiance, Speaker Tim Jones recapped his priorities for the new year, the 4Gs. The Gs stand for:
1. Growth and Opportunity
2. Guaranteeing Access to a Great Education
3. Guarding and Protecting Missouri Values
4. Generating Affordable and Abundant Energy
The first G includes such topics as regulatory and tort reform, an income tax cut, and programs such as the Angel Investment Act geared to attract high-technology companies. Passage of the Angel Investment bill will help us compete in recruiting and growing high-tech jobs that serve as such a vital part of today's economy. The bill will help us compete with our neighbor Kansas, which has such an investment mechanism. I have co-sponsored this bill with Denny Hoskins.
The second G includes education funding. The Missouri foundation formula for K-12 education is not fully funded. However, the Missouri General Assembly increased spending last year and intends to add more this year (assuming the economy remains at its current level). Finally, once again we will consider performance-based funding for new monies to higher education. This has been a priority of accountability for some time, and once again we will address the issue with the hope that we will overcome the problems we have uncovered in the past. I will keep you informed on this matter.
The third G includes matters of privacy and fundamental rights. As we witnessed last year with the two administration departments sending information to federal agencies, there are differences of opinions concerning the right of privacy. In the General Assembly the basic view is that the federal government is restricted by the Bill of Rights and other features which prohibit collecting data without a warrant (specifically, the 4th Amendment). As a body, we also believe in the fundamental right of self defense, and as a result strongly support the 2nd Amendment. Ensuring your basic rights will be a matter of primary concern during this session.
Finally, the fourth G includes many features of energy generation and delivery (infrastructure). Missouri has many coal-fired electrical generation plants, and these are important to having affordable energy in our state. We need affordable energy for now, but we must also look to future energy supplies. Small nuclear reactors (SNRs) hold considerable promise for the future and developing this source is a priority for the General Assembly.
It's great to be back on the job for the 51st District! I am looking forward to seeing many visitors at the capitol this year. Please give my office a call before you make your trip as I would like to take time to say hello.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City and Missouri. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.