We’ve had a busy week at the Missouri State Capitol. On Wednesday, Jan. 16, we met in a joint session with the House of Representatives to hear the governor’s legislative agenda and his budget proposals for the upcoming fiscal year. We also received committee assignments for the 100th General Assembly. These two events set the stage for the coming session and gave lawmakers a better picture of the work before them.
It was the first State of the State Address for a governor who ascended to office “amid rare and unique circumstances.” There certainly was an optimistic spirit in the House chamber as everyone in attendance is looking forward to a year without scandal or controversy.
The governor made it clear that he is focused on two issues: workforce development and infrastructure. He said bold ideas were required if Missouri is to remain competitive.
The budget the governor outlined includes more than $75 million aimed at preparing Missouri employees and businesses for a high-tech economy. His proposals included $22 million in tuition assistance for adult students, $10 million to help existing employers grow their workforce and $16 million for employer-driven job training programs.
Lawmakers were particularly interested in the governor’s ideas about infrastructure funding. It’s a critical issue, especially following the defeat of Proposition D in November. Rejecting another attempt at raising fuel taxes, the governor proposed $350 million in bonds to fund road and bridge improvements. He also called for a $50 million cost-sharing program to direct needed money to cities and counties. Finally, he called for $5 million to supplement federal funding for high-speed broadband in rural areas.
2019 COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS
I am pleased to announce that I have been named chairman of the Missouri Senate Committee on Small Business and Industry. I’m excited about leading this committee as we consider legislation that encourages economic prosperity in our state.
This year, I will return to the vice chairman’s role on the Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee. I also will serve on Appropriations, Economic Development, Insurance and Banking and Veterans and Military Affairs.
Other events of note during the past week included visits with constituents who briefed me on important projects in the 21st District.
Together with Sen. Dan Hegeman, who represents the neighboring Senatorial District 12, I met with Randall Railsback and Terry Rumery. These economic development professionals from Caldwell County updated us on the Little Otter Creek Watershed Project. This 344-acre lake will provide a dependable water supply, flood control and recreational opportunities for residents throughout northwest Missouri. After decades of development, construction is expected to begin this spring and the reservoir could be filled by 2020. The drought conditions we experienced last year prove this project can’t happen fast enough.
I also received an update from Randy Rodenberg of Bogard on efforts to list the Carroll County Memorial Soldiers Building on the National Historic Register. Built in 1922, the building honors soldiers from Carroll County who were killed in World War I.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at 573-751-4302. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.