Addressing Human Nature
“Fear is the strongest driving-force in competition. Not fear of one’s opponent, but of the skill and high standard which he represents; fear, too, of not acquitting oneself well. In the achievement of greater performances, of beating formidable rivals, the athlete defeats fear and conquers himself.” Franz Stampfl
Last week’s report never got written. This week has been another active week, and I will try to recover. Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA ) teachers took time off from school this week to visit the Capitol, and several constituents came by to discuss education. It is always a pleasure to hear from teachers and observe their almost universal love for their students and commitment to helping students succeed. Although not true of every teacher, many have an inherent fear of competition – anything that gives parents the choice of an education model for their children. Although fear is often just human nature, some of it may come from insufficient or inaccurate information about the student successes being enjoyed in more than 25 states. It was evident that, with only one exception, the MSTA teachers expressed opposition to giving parents a choice.
The Senate debated and passed an industrial hemp bill this week. Although it is one of the oldest crops known to man, it is unusual because nearly every part of the plant has value. Until recently, however, hemp was an illegal crop due to its relationship to marijuana. For that reason, Missouri plans to authorize a pilot program that is rigorously regulated and monitored. If the pilot is successful, hemp could become a major Missouri crop in a few years.
Crime and prisons are a clear demonstration of fallen human nature, and Senate Bill 793 modifies how we address that nature. Missouri has been one of only five states that prosecutes 17-year olds as adults and incarcerates them in adult prisons. Senate Bill 793 moves them into the juvenile system, thereby keeping them away from older, hardened criminals and gives a young man or woman a better chance to escape the cycle of crime and enjoin themselves to a brighter future as employed, tax-paying citizens. Additionally, youth housed in adult jails are five times more likely to commit suicide than if held in the juvenile system. Based on the results in other states, there is also the possibility of saving money and improving neighborhood safety.
This week was Teen Pact week in the Capitol. Each year, a group of mostly home educated students come with their parents to Jefferson City for a week of training in government. Many, if not all, are Christians, and they learn everything from the Biblical foundation of America’s core principles to the professional perspectives of high-level public servants. I was unavailable to speak to the students this year and none were free long enough to come by the office, but two mothers stopped by to give me a report and pray for me and my office. These students are being taught about the failures of human nature and the principles of a divine nature that will keep them out of Missouri’s prisons.
Finally, the full story of the murder of Officer Chris Morton of the Clinton Police Department is still unfolding. We know that a military veteran and dedicated officer has fallen in the line of duty. Please keep him, his fellow officers and the entire community in your prayers.
Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. We welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.