Last week, was a relatively quiet one in the district.
I think it's because everyone needed their time to rest up for all the upcoming activities. I heard from Senator Schaefer, who will probably become the first chairman of our new committee on Child Abuse and Neglect.
We will meet for the first time this upcoming week to get started on organizing. I hope to start holding some fact finding sessions within a week or so. It seems to me that things are moving at a snail's pace, but it is an election year and no one wants to be too controversial. The hardest job in front of us on this committee will be finding out exactly what the procedures are and why they are set up that way. So far, I am finding that we do things a certain way, "because that's the way we were trained and they have always been done that way."
When our state, or for that matter federal, policies are established they usually have some some room for interpretation of the rules. As there are geographic differences around the state, there are also cultural ones. Sometimes what is best is a large metropolitan area is not necessarily going to work as well in a rural area. That's all well and good when we are talking about after school programs, but when we are setting parameters on what is the definition of child abuse and what constitutes removing a child from a home for their safety, we need a definitive rule.
When I was proposing this joint committee, we determined that it was going to take more than one session to dig through all the different rules and regulations. That is precisely why the committee will be holding year round meetings until 2018. We are to report our findings and recommendations at least yearly to the General Assembly and we may find ourselves proposing new legislation several times a session.
I reported last week that I have been appointed to an interim committee on local governance. We will meet again this coming week in Jefferson City and one of the topics of discussion will be “sharing of taxes.” It appears that in some counties a tax has been voted on for a specific purpose and after a while, the original need has been filled and the taxes are diverted to another purpose. One would think that we should just do away with the tax after the original need has been met. Are you kidding? Once we have tax money coming in, do we ever do away with it? This promises to be a really interesting series of meetings. The chairman may find that I'm a little hard headed about misleading taxpayers.
Boy, October is right around the corner! As we traveled around the district last week, I was amazed at how great the pastures looked in comparison to last month. We are still needing a lot of rain, but what we have received has been a real blessing.
Page 2 of 2 - Another thing I keep noticing is how all the communities in Southwest Missouri are on the grow. It almost seems like we have all been re-energized by the tornado disaster recovery in Joplin. We all seem to have reignited a sense of pride in who we are and what we are capable of doing!
Look at all the ribbon cuttings in the papers. Every week there are new businesses showcased and this seems to cause the existing businesses to spruce things up and pretty soon we have a total new look. I think our part of the state is poised for a growth spurt like we haven't seen since the 1960s. More and more people are choosing Southwest Missouri to raise their families where there is still a real value system. Our churches are growing by leaps and bounds and we have some of the best schools in the state.
We have a dedicated bunch of law enforcement personnel, fire fighters, emergency service workers, and many of them are volunteers. I have no idea how many hours of training it takes to keep them all as sharp as they are, but I'll bet it would amaze us.
These people, the chambers of commerce, the commissioners, the service organizations, and even the elected representatives are all working together to showcase our area and make us more attractive.
As I am writing this, there are only 44 more days until the election. We are inundated with information on the various candidates. No matter who your preference for office is, try to determine the facts before you cast your vote. Voting is one of our most sacred duties. We should do everything in our power to make a choice based on factual information. There are many voters who never go beyond the sound bites and tid bits of information that are designed to confuse the facts. There are real facts and figures available about every candidate and I am sometimes really surprised at the true stories behind the somewhat twisted reports from the media. Believe me, face book is NOT a reliable source of information. Take a look at a candidates background from a reliable source and sometimes it is entirely different from what has been reported. With that I will leave you for this week.
I am, and remain, in your service.
Bill Lant represents the people of Southwest Missouri in the Missouri House of Representatives. Contact him locally at 437-8223 or at his Jefferson City office at (573) 751-9801 or email him at email@example.com.