It was my pleasure to introduce Saline County Northern District Commissioner Stephanie Gooden to the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee. In this photo, Gooden poses with her husband, Shane, and their three children following her confirmation hearing.
It was a short week at the Missouri State Capitol as offices were closed on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Senate quickly got down to business on Tuesday as the remainder of the week was full of floor sessions, committee hearings, and visits with constituents.
The Appropriations Committee met for the first time in 2019. We took care of organizational matters on Tuesday and began hearing testimony on budget items on Wednesday. This process will continue for weeks as representatives of state agencies, as well as public interest groups and concerned citizens come before the committee to advocate for programs and facilities they believe deserve a slice of the state’s limited budget pie.
Speaking of Missouri’s budget, I was honored to receive one particular visitor who stopped by my office to discuss spending proposals. The governor briefed me on his “Missouri Forward” budget and his legislative priorities during an office visit on Wednesday. It was an informative conversation, and I appreciate him personally reaching out to me.
Also, this week I was pleased to welcome representatives of the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants for a visit. As the only CPA currently serving in the General Assembly, I have a close kinship with this organization and value their efforts to keep legislators informed about tax laws and compliance issues in Missouri.
I had the honor of presenting Stephanie Gooden to the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee and introducing her family in the Senate chamber. She was appointed commissioner of the Saline County Northern District by the governor following the death of the previous commissioner. She received confirmation of her appointment by the Senate on Thursday during session. I’m confident she’ll do a great job.
Activities on the floor of the Senate chamber this week were largely limited to introduction of bills and assigning proposed legislation to committees. Three bills I’m sponsoring were assigned to committees for review:
—Senate Bill 43 would authorize video lottery games in Missouri. The terminals would be licensed by the State Lottery Commission and no game higher than $5 per play would be allowed. Payouts would be capped at $1,000 per play. This bill was assigned to the Progress and Development Committee.
—Senate Bill 44 would legalize betting on sporting events. It’s important to understand that this bill does not create sports betting. Missourians already wager about $3 billion each year on sports illegally. Decriminalizing sports betting would create jobs, increase tax revenue and provide oversight and regulation to what is now an underground activity. The Small Business and Industry Committee, which I chair, will consider this bill.
—Senate Bill 45 would expand insurance coverage for children with developmental disabilities. Missouri law already requires insurance providers to pay for physical, occupational and speech therapies for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Therapies for children with fragile X and Down syndromes, cerebral palsy, and many other disabilities would also be covered by insurance if this law clears the Health and Pensions Committee and is passed by the General Assembly.
Finally, I would like to introduce two bright young students from the University of Central Missouri who are working in our office this session. Our full-time legislative intern is Cierra Rodenbaugh, who studies political science in Warrensburg. Also, helping us part time this term is Ciera Smith, a native of Holden, and an agricultural business student. If you call or stop into our office and talk to these impressive women, I hope you will wish them well.
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 email@example.com.