Regular session has ended for 2013. We completed all the work time allowed by 6 p.m., Friday, May 16. The governor has the prerogative of calling us back for special session, but I don't believe there are any pressing issues to warrant that.
Our next official duty will be the veto session in September, when we have the opportunity to try to override any vetoes by the governor. Candidly speaking, we had a pretty darned good session. Our leadership this year worked totally different than the past two years.
Both the House leaders and the Senate leaders were dedicated to working together to pass some much needed legislation for the six million people of our state. It is amazing what can be accomplished when legislators put their personal differences aside and work for the common good. That's not to say that there weren't some who abused their powers for personal reasons.
One senator on the final day threatened to filibuster and shut down everything to keep the transportation bill from moving forward. If it had passed, it would simply have placed a question on the ballot for the voters to decide. The best thing for me was to see the spirit of compromise. We had been working all session on a remedy for the second injury fund. Because the second injury fund became too inclusive of injuries that were never intended to be included, it was threatening to bankrupt the entire worker's compensation system.
Republicans and Democrats worked together to craft legislation that satisfied the governor, attorney general, the trial lawyers, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, big business, small business, The unions, and a majority of representatives and senators. If you think that was easy, you're NUTS! I was involved in that process from last August until it finally passed Friday at about 11 a.m. I'd rather help Jane in her flower beds than go through that again!
The Second Amendment Preservation Act guarantees that Missouri reserves the power to make laws regarding the everyday life, liberty, and property of it's citizens. In other words, the federal government cannot infringe on the peoples right to self defense and any attempt to usurp this power will be invalid in this state.
We passed two bills that will safeguard our confidential information from being transferred to the federal government or sold to marketing firms and move responsibility for issuing concealed carry permits to county sheriffs. We passed legislation to require that when the abortion chemical RU-486 is administered, the prescribing physician must be present. We passed Ag legislation that guarantees the Right to Farm. There are outside groups whose mission it is to place restrictions and regulations on the treatment of animals that would amount to a death sentence to Missouri farmers.
Enough is enough. This issue will be on the ballot in November. Benevolent tax credits benefitting pregnancy resource centers, food pantries, children in crisis among others, were extended. Several pieces of legislation benefitting our veterans were passed, giving honor where honor is due.
Page 2 of 2 - Workforce issues were addressed with a paycheck protection bill that allows public employees to decide whether to allow dues to be withdrawn from their weekly checks and whether to allow their dues to be used for political purposes. A prevailing wage compromise was drafted which allows changes in reporting requirements that should provide more accurate reflections of the wage levels in rural areas especially.
After many changes and amendments, we passed an education bill. Senate Bill 125 is designed to provide immediate help to the dismally failing school districts in St Louis and Kansas City. This act requires the State Board of Education to make new rules for classifying schools as accredited and unaccredited and immediately determining the governing structures and conditions for the school board to govern. We have waited long enough to take these steps.
These bills are now on the governor's desk as well as many others for his consideration. He has until Aug. 28 to make his decisions. I'm sure we will be addressing some of these topics again.
There is a lot of activity in the District coming up. The McDonald County Historical Society has a great grand opening of the new museum in the old courthouse lined up for the May 25-27. Check out their website for details.
Food For Thought: If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, Subsidized Housing and free cell phones, you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
Until next time, I am and remain in your service.
Bill Lant represents the people of Southwest Missouri in the Mo. House of Representatives. Contact him locally at 437-8223 or at his Jefferson City office at (573) 751-9801 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.