We had quite a bit of rain this past week, but it sure helped make the trees beautiful.

We had quite a bit of rain this past week, but it sure helped make the trees beautiful.

It's hard to remember how pretty fall can be when you either have two feet of snow in February or a drought in July, but this time of year is really special!

Jill Beshear and Janice Pratt sure made me feel special last week by having a ladies tea for me. I gave a legislative update for them and answered some questions about the Missouri plan for Medicaid expansion and spoke about our Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. I've been asked to hold some additional town hall meetings to allow folks in Neosho, Carthage and Webb City a chance to speak about their experiences with children's services. We were also asked by Sen. [Bob] Dixon from Springfield to hold a committee hearing dealing with the deadlines established by the Legislature dealing with investigations. The more time I spend with this committee work, the more things I find that need attention. We have unintentionally caused problems for the division and their ability to conduct a thorough investigation, and at the same time, we've neglected to put enough oversight in the processes. Both ends need adjusted! I'm sure glad we have another five years with this joint committee. It's going to take every bit of it.
We went to Kansas City at the speaker's request for a round table discussion with some concerned citizens groups.

The speaker and about 10 representatives were invited to participate in the discussion of future agendas for the legislature. We have some pretty big issues to deal with in the coming session. The governor is determined to make education spending a big issue. He is saying that he wants to spend an additional $600 million a year on K12 education and $250 million on higher education. I think I'll wait to see which social program he is going to eradicate to accomplish that lofty goal, but you can almost bet that it's a smoke screen for something else he doesn't want us to know about. The other issues that we will have to address are Common Core, Medicaid expansion, tort reform, tax reform, and Second Amendment protections. Oh, and the speaker wants to have a vote on Right to Work. It's going to be a very interesting year!

Saturday I had the honor of being at the veteran's celebration at Stella. It was plenty cool for the presentations, but boy was it worth a little discomfort! The Neosho ROTC preformed their MIA ceremony and if you haven't seen them do it, I promise it will bring a tear to your eye. Charlie Davis, the chairman of the veteran's committee, helped me with presentations of House resolutions to Glenn Fretz and Jim Maness. The Patriot Guard showed up in force and the Swatosh brothers were there with their wonderfully painted dune buggy and bike and trailer. Those two guys are really special. They make sure that every child that comes gets an American flag. They pointed out that they are American made flags as well!

Don't forget the town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at the New-Mac room in Anderson. We are asking anyone who wants to relate their experiences with children's service to call my office at the capitol to arrange for a time. Also, at 6 p.m. Thursday at the McDonald County High School cafeteria, there is a town hall meeting on fire safety. That would be a good one to take kids to with wood stoves and fireplaces being put into service. More next week, until then, I am and remain in your service.

Bill Lant represents the people of Newton and McDonald counties in the Missouri House of Representatives.