Newly-Formed Committee Reviews Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Missouri Water Patrol Division
The Water Patrol was merged into the State Highway Patrol in 2011 following legislation (HB 1868) that was passed and signed into law in 2010. Following the passage of the bill, the governor projected that the merger would save the state $3 million annually while also providing improved service. Three years later many in the General Assembly question whether the move was the right one for Missouri and the hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy our waterways each year. These questions follow this summer's drowning of Brandon Ellingson at the Lake of the Ozarks after being taken into custody.
To take a closer look at the merger and the results it has produced for our state, House Speaker Tim Jones formed the House Review Committee on the 2011 Water Patrol Division Merger. Members of the committee will closely examine the details of the merger and the actual cost savings that have been realized in the years since it went into effect. They also will thoroughly review the training process that patrol officers must complete before being placed on the water. In its work, the committee will emphasize ensuring the Water Patrol Division has the resources necessary to meet the public safety needs of the people of Missouri in a cost effective manner.
The committee held its first meeting yesterday at Jefferson City. The next scheduled meeting will be at Osage Beach on Oct. 14.
Taking a Closer Look at the Lottery as a Funding Mechanism for Education
This week the current Majority Floor Leader and next Speaker of the House John Diehl called for a thorough review of the state lottery. Diehl even suggested that voters should be allowed to decide if the lottery should continue to exist.
The primary reason for questioning the current structure of the lottery stems from recent reports of declining funds going to education. The reports suggest the contribution to education will fall from $299 million to a projected $278 million per year. In addition, the reports showed more dollars are being used for lottery advertising, and more funds are being spent on travel and other administrative costs. The bottom line is that only 24.5 cents of every lottery dollar goes to public education.
Given the fact the lottery's contribution to education adds up to only 4 percent of the total state public education budget, Diehl said it is time to question whether the lottery is the best thing for the state going forward. Diehl has called for placing a referendum on the 2016 ballot. As always, I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the lottery and whether it has delivered on its promise to be a strong funding source for public education in Missouri. Please send me an email!
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. 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 me to make Missouri a great place to live.