Today, we began the 2nd Regular Session of the 97th General Assembly of the State of Missouri. We completed the procedural requirements necessary to begin the legislative term and we read the Preamble and Article I of the Missouri Constitution on the House Floor to remind us all of the rights, duties and responsibilities that that important document describes.
Every Monday afternoon during the Legislative Session, I will once again disseminate a brief update (" The Majority Minute") of the anticipated and/or primary Floor Action for the coming week. As we enter the New Year, I will share with you the priorities on which the House will be focusing.
There are several issues the House will debate during the 2012 Legislative Session. The principle agenda will be focused on the "Blueprint for Missouri", formulated by Speaker Tilley, myself and the House Majority Caucus. The four planks of the Blueprint consist of advancing legislation in support of: 1) Missouri Jobs, 2) Missouri Taxpayers, 3) Missouri Schools and 4) Missouri Values.
With the Missouri unemployment rate hovering around 9%, the House will debate how we can create the right climate for job creation in our State and what tools employers need to retain workers and add new employees to their payrolls. We will discuss Workers Compensation Reform (Co-employee liability, Occupational Disease, Second Injury Fund Reform), Prevailing Wage Reform, the Missouri Entrepreneur Virtual Resource Network, and a tort reform measures that will include Employment Discrimination Law Reform, Loser Pays proposals, and Joint and Several Liability Reform.
To protect Missouri Taxpayers, we will be focused on advancing the Taxpayer Protection Act and will once again adhere to our "No New Taxes" pledge together with a Balanced Budget as well as requiring County Debt Disclosure. Criminal Justice Reform (which can dramatically reduce excessive economic drags on the State Budget) will also be on our docket and will consist of recommendations from working groups and interim committees.
With attention being drawn to the now unaccredited Kansas City School District (joining the decades long unaccredited City of St. Louis School District), there will be free market legislation advanced regarding tuition tax credits in unaccredited districts and expanding charter schools. Other topics regarding improving Missouri's public schools, which are funded by your tax dollars and should be accountable to every taxpayer in the State, will include the Turner Fix, the Teacher Quality Act and a Foundation Formula Fix. My goal is to make control of school districts as local as possible and the only way to accomplish that is to truly give parents the power and choice to control the tax dollars that fund the education of their children in Missouri's public schools.
Last but not least, value based issues will also come to the fore. These include Veterans Home Funding, Pharmacist & Health Care Provider Conscience Bills, Mandatory Reporter reform, Expanded College Savings plans and Voter Photo ID-enabling legislation.
Throughout Session, I will continue to send The Majority Minute to my constituents, colleagues and friends across the state. If you ever have any questions or concerns or if we can be of any service, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (573) 751-0562.
Until our next update, I am, and remain, in your service,
Please contact me at:
201 West Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65101