Sen. Wieland’s Capitol Update for the Week Ending March 16, 2017


 Capitol and MoDOT Updates

18Kristina Norwood and Jefferson County resident Cynthia Grieb from VOYCE of St. Louis visited to talk about long-term care in Missouri. VOYCE’s mission is to educate and empower people and their families for quality living across the continuum of long-term care.





19We had a large group of constituents visit on Pro-Life Action Day at the Capitol. Working with Missouri Right to Life, these advocates visited legislators to talk about the importance of protecting the unborn.




2017 Legislative Session Reaches the Halfway Mark

The first regular session of your 99th General Assembly is already halfway completed. Over 1700 pieces of legislation have been filed between the Missouri House of Representatives and the Missouri Senate. Of those, 544 are senate bills and 1223 are House bills.

The General Assembly has sent two bills to the governor for his approval. Senate committees have held public hearings on, and voted out, over 200 senate bills, and members have passed 36 bills out of the Senate. The Missouri House of Representatives has passed 84 house bills that are awaiting consideration by the Missouri Senate.

MoDOT Announcements:

Commuter Lot Closure
20The MoDOT commuter lot located at the southwest corner of Route M and Metropolitan Boulevard in Jefferson County will be closing. The lot, located in Barnhart, will permanently close on Friday, March 24.

Any vehicle left there after that date will be removed.  There is another commuter lot located on Metropolitan Boulevard just south of the one that is closed that commuters can continue to use.


MoDOT to Close Lanes on Interstate 55 Overnight, Weekends for Bridge Rehab

Lane Closures Start March 16, Will Continue Through 2018
21ST. LOUIS – Drivers who travel on I-55 through Jefferson County need to be aware of some major traffic effects starting later this week and lasting through much of 2017 and 2018.

Crews will close one lane of northbound I-55 at Route Z on Thursday, March 16 from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.  The lanes will be close again Friday, March 17 at 5 p.m. through Monday, March 20 at 5 a.m.

During the weekend lane closures, the exit from northbound I-55 to Route Z will also be closed.  Drivers can detour around the exit closure by taking northbound I-55 to Route M to southbound I-55 and back to Route Z.

This is the first in a series of overnight and weekend lane closures that are necessary so crews can rehabilitate 21 bridges over I-55 from Route Z near Pevely to Plattin Creek just south of Crystal City (approximately 8 miles). In addition, I-55 from Route Z to the Ste. Genevieve County line (approximately 16 miles) will be resurfaced, and guardrails and sign improvements will be made.

MoDOT will use the zipper merge technique whenever there are lane closures.  Research shows merging risks decrease and traffic moves more smoothly when motorists use both lanes until reaching the defined merge area and then alternate merging every other vehicle in “zipper” fashion into the open lane.  Motorists should watch for signs instructing motorists to resist the urge to merge and do the “zipper” merge where the lane closure occurs.  The project will run through late 2018.


MoDOT to Close Northbound Route 61/67 at Richardson Road March 24-26

Southbound Lanes to Be Reduce

ST. LOUIS – MoDOT will close a portion of Route 61/67 in Jefferson County next weekend. All lanes of northbound Route 61/67 between Richardson Road and Industrial Drive will close on Friday, March 24 at 7 p.m. so that crews can replace a pipe under the road. Local traffic only will be allowed through the closure location.  Drivers can detour around the closure by taking Richardson Road to I-55 to Route 61/67.

In addition, the left lane on southbound Route 61/67 will be closed between Fox Pointe Parkway and Betty Drive.  All lanes of northbound and southbound Route 61/67 will open by Monday, March 27 at 5 a.m.

Crews will then close the left lane in both directions of Route 61/67 between Fox Pointe Drive and Lunderhof Drive from Monday, March 27 through Monday, April 17.

This is the first in a series of lane closures necessary for a project that will resurface Route 61/67 from Route M to just south of Church Road.  For more information on the project, go to


Truly Agreed and Finally Passed Bills:
22House Bill 153 would modify provisions relating to expert witnesses in court trials. This would give Missouri the same standards as 40 other states and the Supreme Court.

Signing HB 153 into law will restore confidence in Missouri courts by ensuring that expert witnesses testifying on a case are, in fact, experts in the fields they are testifying about. Under current law, the jury hears both experts and then decide who truly is an expert. This bill would allow the judge to decide before the jury even hears the testimony.

As we all know, it is hard for a jurors — any person — to forget something even if they are told to discard the information. This bill passed both legislative bodies and was sent to the governor.


Senator Wieland’s Senate Bill 302 Passes Missouri Senate:

Senate Bill 302 would modify the Advanced Industrial Manufacturing (AIM) Zones Act by changing the definition of “new job.” Senate Bill 861, passed last year, diverted 50 percent of the payroll tax revenue on newly created jobs, created in an Advance Manufacturing Zone, which paid the states average wage back to the local port authority.

The state average wage is roughly $41,000. The poorest counties in the state have an average wage closer to $25,000. The way the law is currently written, it makes poorer counties taking full advantage of this economic development program incredibly difficult. Our fix simply changes the “state average wage” to the “county average wage.”

This act would also allow a port authority to establish an AIM zone in an area within the port authority’s ownership or control, and allow a port authority to expand or contract the area of an AIM zone by resolution.