Legislative Column for Dec. 7, 2018
If your family is like mine, you’re looking back on Thanksgiving with joy. This holiday, more than any other, has a way of bringing families together. But Thanksgiving is just the beginning of a busy holiday season.
“Over the hills and through the woods to Grandma’s house we go,” is more than just an old song. For many Missourians, travel is an essential part of the holidays. We drive to visit relatives and we endure the crush at airports to see loved ones far away. Even if we don’t travel out of town for the holidays, we spend more time on the road as we go about our Christmas shopping and stock up on supplies for entertaining.
I encourage everyone to keep safety in mind as they travel. Put the phone down and pay attention to the road. Watch your speed and keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. Buckle up and definitely don’t drink and drive. If everyone follows these simple guidelines, the roads will be a safer place and the holidays will be much happier.
If you are boarding an airplane, your Missouri driver’s license or state-issued ID will still be accepted at the airport. State officials are working to bring Missouri driver’s licenses into compliance with the federal REAL-ID law. In the meantime, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a waiver that allows Missourians to travel with their current ID through Aug. 1, 2019.
It’s also worth noting that voters rejected Proposition D on the Nov. 6 ballot. That measure would have raised the fuel tax in Missouri and provided much-needed funding for highway maintenance and improvements. With the proposition’s failure, Missouri’s fuel tax remains at 17 cents per gallon, where it has stayed since 1996, when the tax was last increased.
While the measure failed, the need for increased highway funding remains. Missouri has the second-lowest fuel tax in the nation and ranks 46th in revenue per mile of roads. This issue will not go away and I’m sure the Missouri Senate, along with the House of Representatives, will take another look at highway funding during the 2019 legislative session. I will not be filing a bill to address this issue but, of course, will keep my eyes on any legislation that deals with roads or Missouri’s fuel tax.
That and many other issues will come to the forefront in the coming weeks and months. Soon the Missouri Capitol will be a bustle of activity. Pre-filing of bills began Dec. 1, and the Legislature convenes on Jan. 9. Until that time, I intend to enjoy the holidays. I hope and trust that you will do the same. Please stay safe. And if you see me in line at the grocery store or out shopping for gifts, please say hello.
As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.