2016 Legislative Session Underway
The Second Regular Session of the 98th Missouri General Assembly was officially called to order on Wednesday, Jan. 6. I made a special point of really taking in the occasion as this is the final year of my term and the last year I will be eligible to serve as your state senator, due to term limits.
The first day of session included the first reading of all pre-filed Senate bills. Some of those bills have already had their second reading and have been assigned to committee by the President Pro Tem, so we’re off to a fast start.
Fostering a stronger, more resilient economy and addressing the state’s antibusiness legal environment will be top issues for this year’s legislative session, in addition to transportation funding and ethics reform. Already this session, I have filed 10 pieces of legislation, including:
· Senate Bill 569 – Applies ban on using cell phones related to text messaging while driving to all drivers;
· Senate Bill 570 – Establishes campaign contribution limits;
· Senate Bill 571 – Modifies several provisions relating to transfer students in unaccredited school districts;
· Senate Bill 649 – Modifies the Higher Education Academic Scholarship Program by expanding eligibility requirements and by adding the option of receiving forgivable loans;
· Senate Bill 650 – Modifies the A+ Schools Program by removing the requirement that the student’s attendance of public high school occur in the three years immediately prior to graduation;
· Senate Bill 797 – Prohibits the sale or offering of powdered alcohol and creates a crime of illegal possession of powdered alcohol;
· Senate Bill 855 – Establishes a tuition grant program for spouses and children of war veterans;
· Senate Bill 873 – Creates the Missouri Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Initiative;
· Senate Bill 874 – Modifies provisions related to University of Missouri extension councils; and
· Senate Bill 904 – Modifies provisions related to gifted education.
Another important part of the legislative session is the governor’s State of the State address, which will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20. During this address, the governor will unveil his vision and his budget, and once that is unveiled, it will start the appropriations process. Once again, I am honored to serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee where our task is to develop a budget. The State of the State address will be streamed live and can be viewed on the Missouri State website.
As leadership in both chambers have pledged to work closely together, I expect my final session to very likely be one of the most productive.
As always, please feel free to contact me or my staff with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 866-277-0882 (toll-free) or (573) 751-2272, or by fax at (573) 526-7381.