Weekly Column for May 2, 2019
If you talk to any current or former legislators, you will hear about how it can take years for a bill to move through the General Assembly and end up on the governor’s desk for their signature. As this week in the Missouri Senate comes to a close, I am happy to write about the progress of two important pieces of legislation that I have worked on during the past few years.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 14 is a proposal that I have written about a number of times this year. I am sponsoring this proposal because I believe it is vital to the future of our state’s transportation network. On Wednesday, May 1, I presented my resolution to the House Budget Committee, and I was pleased by the conversation that we had during the hearing. We had a productive discussion on why it was important to use bonding as a funding tool for these 215 bridge projects, and how it makes our application for matching federal funding for the replacement of the Rocheport bridge competitive. The Rocheport Bridge is a vital part of this proposal because of its importance to commerce, not just in our state, but across the country. Recently, MoDOT announced that emergency repairs will be needed to ensure the bridge’s safety. Officials are also starting to draft plans to address the aging bridge’s other needs in case we do not acquire the funds needed to replace the Rocheport bridge. These plans could result in traffic delays of up to seven to eight hours and would only push our problem further down the road. We need to take care of this issue now, not later. SCR 14 still needs to be voted do-pass by the committee and approved by the House of Representatives before being sent to the governor for consideration.
Another bill I have worked on for the past few years is House Bill 260. Missouri’s poaching fines have been too low for years and haven’t been changed since 1989. It is time to raise these fines to account for inflation and give our state’s conservation laws the teeth needed to stop repeat poachers who steal our state’s natural resources. Proceeds from these fines would go toward the State School Moneys Fund. In addition, the measure ensures that our courts are able to evaluate these violations on a case-by-case basis. After all, a 16 year-old kid that makes a mistake while hunting shouldn’t be penalized the same as an adult who continually poaches trophy deer.
I’m happy to see these measures move forward, and I am optimistic that both of these measures will receive approval from the General Assembly and make their way to the governor’s desk.
It is an honor to serve you in the Missouri Senate. Please do not hesitate to contact my office at (573) 751-3678 or by email at email@example.com if you have any questions.