Missouri lawmakers will return to Jefferson City this week as the Second Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly officially convenes on Wednesday, Jan. 6 at noon. State senators have already filed close to 300 pieces of legislation in anticipation of the upcoming session, a number of those bills were near the finish line as last year’s session ended. Accordingly, I expect us to begin significant legislative work on a number of bills early in the session.
As always, discussions on fiscal issues will continue to dominate discussions throughout the 2016 Legislative Session. Last year, the Missouri Legislature passed a budget that managed to provide a record level of funding for K-12 public education, while also attempting to rein in the unsustainable growth of our state social welfare programs. I fully expect a continuation of that same fiscally responsible approach to the budget process again this year.
And since the stability of our different infrastructure systems has a direct bearing on our entire economy, finding funding solutions that will meet our various infrastructure needs for years to come is likely to garner extensive debate. Along with a number of my colleagues, I am focused on working on responsible solutions to meeting our water resource needs. I also expect continued discussion on a number of proposals to fund our state roads and bridges, but I must again stress that, as I did last session, I believe that the people of the State of Missouri should have a direct say in a tax increases for roads and bridges through a public vote. I cannot and will not support a tax increase for our roads and bridges that does not go to a vote of the people.
My top priority here at the Capitol is, and always will be, to represent the citizens of the 12th Senatorial District to the best of my ability. I take the honor of representing you in the State Senate very seriously and to that end, I am constantly striving for reasonable and accountable government in the process, be it in through the state budget process or through discussions on some of the most challenging issues we will have in the 2016 Legislative Session.
As always, please feel free to call, email, or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is [email protected] and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.