President Pro Tem McKenna in the Chair.
The Chaplain offered the following prayer:
Heavenly Father, help us to understand why we are here. Never let us forget who sent us here and the diversified backgrounds, beliefs and needs they represent. Use our efforts to make all the people better off than they were when they sent us here. Amen.
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag was recited.
A quorum being established, the Senate proceeded with its business.
The Journal of the previous day was read and approved.
Senator Quick announced that photographers from KOMU-TV had been given permission to take pictures in the Senate Chamber today.
The following Senators were present during the day's proceedings:
|Absent with leave--Senators|
|The Lieutenant Governor was present.|
Senator Rohrbach offered Senate Resolution No. 981, regarding the Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Eugene (Gene) Whittle, Miller County, which was adopted.
Senator Bentley offered the following resolution, which was referred to the Committee on Rules, Joint Rules and Resolutions:
SENATE RESOLUTION NO. 982
BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Eighty-ninth General Assembly, Second Regular Session, that Senate Rule 95 be amended as follows:
"Rule 95. 1. Notetaking and writing in the Senate Gallery is permissible, but no person shall enter the Senate Gallery with any typewriter or recording device. Laptop computers may be used by members of the senate at their desks and by the press at the press table in the Senate Chamber. No person shall take any photograph in the Senate Gallery. Persons with cameras, flash cameras, lights, or other paraphernalia may be allowed to use such devices at committee meetings with the permission of the Chairman as long as they don't prove disruptive to the decorum of the committee. Smoking is not permissible in the Senate Chamber or Gallery, committee rooms, lounge, the hallways, restrooms or elevators.
2. For the purpose of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the President Pro Tem may designate a portion of the Senate Chamber as handicap accessible and such areas shall not be considered a part of the floor of the Senate for the purposes of section 21.420, RSMo. Persons using such area shall not lobby members of the Senate while going to and from or while using the designated area.".
Senator Quick moved that the Senate recess
to repair to the House of Representatives to receive a message from the
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Honorable Duane Benton, which motion
The Joint Session was called to order by President Wilson.
On roll call the following Senators were present:
|Absent with leave--Senators|
On roll call the following Representatives were present:
|Crump||Daniel (42)||Daniels (41)||Davis (122)|
|Harlan||Hartzler (123)||Hartzler (124)||Heckemeyer|
|Kauffman||Kelley (47)||Kelly (27)||Kennedy|
|Absent and Absent with Leave--Representatives|
The Joint Committee appointed to wait upon the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Duane Benton, escorted the Chief Justice to the dais where he delivered the State of the Judiciary Address to the Joint Assembly:
1998 State of the Judiciary
The Supreme Court of Missouri
January 14, 1998
Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, members of the 89th General Assembly:
It is an honor today to discuss with you the state of the judiciary.
Over the years, I have worked with the General Assembly in a variety of roles. My first connection to state government was working as an intern in the House. Later, while in law school, I drafted legislation for members of the House. More recently, the Senate confirmed me to four different positions on boards and in the executive branch. I've been at hearings that seemed to last forever, and others that were over in seconds. I must say that we all look much better at 10:30 in the morning, early in the session, rather than at 10:30 at night at the end of session.
Over the years, I have learned to approach the legislature respectfully but directly; prepared but with common sense. In that spirit, my message to you today is straightforward. The judiciary in 1998 is working smarter than ever. We in the courts, though, need your support if we are to continue to provide the highest level of service, access and justice to the people of this state.
The judiciary is working smarter today than ever before. Facing increasing caseloads, the courts are efficiently serving Missourians. The judiciary is doing more and more with proportionately less and less.
The judicial branch is the smallest of the three branches of state government. We spend less than three-fourths of 1 percent of the total state budget. Though a separate, equal branch of government, the judiciary is smaller than 13 of the 15 departments in the executive branch. While our cost is small, our impact is great; we deliver services to all citizens of the state. Court employees work in all 114 counties and the City of St. Louis, in all 34 senate districts, and in almost all, if not all, of the 163 House districts.
1) We decide cases that affect citizens throughout this state, from traffic offenses and consumer-merchant disputes, to death penalty cases and multi-million dollar lawsuits.
2) We provide ways for people to resolve their disputes informally in small claims court, and for abused persons to get immediate protection from their abusers.
3) We do all this in a way that benefits both the people of this state as well as those who make the system work: quickly and for as little expense to the state as possible.
People sometimes think that courts impact mostly lawyers, yet almost one-half of the cases in Missouri courts ordinarily do not involve the lawyers hired by your constituents. Since 1983, leaving aside traffic and ordinance violations, total caseload in Missouri courts has increased over one-half; 58 percent to be precise. During that same 15 year period since 1983, the number of trial judges you provide by law grew by less than 2 percent - one new circuit judge and five new associate circuit judges.
As in the past, the judiciary will not recommend an increase in the number of judges. It is a tribute to our hardworking judges that we do not need to request new judgeships. Missouri judges not only work hard, they also - as judges for the whole state - are flexible enough to serve where needed. Each day, I sign orders temporarily sending judges to work in high-volume courts, often miles from their homes. I stand ready any time to discuss with you, individually or in committee, those laws that require judgeships in courts with smaller caseloads, rather than where they are most needed on a more permanent basis in the courts with heavier caseloads.
When we think of the judiciary, we tend to think only of the judges that serve the public. Judges, of course, are one cornerstone of the judicial system. However, they cannot do their work without the necessary staff. I am reminded of a joke I used to hear before I became a judge: "The Supreme Court is where the finest legal minds in Missouri gather - to serve as law clerks to the judges." Seriously, those of you who have been to court have seen that court clerks make the system work. Clerks perform essential functions in the judicial process - handling case filing, notifying those involved in cases, collecting and disbursing money, recording court action and proceedings, and managing juries. Just like judges, the number of clerks and other employees funded by the budget has barely increased in recent years, yet there have been dramatic increases in the number of cases handled by these employees due to increases in crime, drug use, juvenile delinquency, adult abuse, divorce, and all kinds of litigation.
While the number of clerks has remained about the same, child support collection responsibilities have grown even faster than the case filing rate, and now are a major part of the workload in many circuit courts. In fact, open child support cases have increased over 144 percent during the last ten years. The task is huge - court clerks collected 395 million dollars in child support payments during fiscal year 1997.
Due to the tremendous caseload growth and shifts in Missouri population, many local courts are doing much more with the same number of employees. The clerk shortage varies from court to court. Statewide it is severe. The Circuit Court Budget Committee - composed of judges from all over the state - has requested a total of 147 new clerks in the fiscal year 1999 budget. This number may sound shocking. Please keep it in perspective. There have been no - zero - additional court clerks appropriated for the last two years, so any increase will cover a three year period. The 1,703 court clerks all over Missouri are dedicated and hardworking, but they cannot indefinitely continue to keep pace with escalating workloads.
There is another way you can alleviate the clerk shortage. We must leverage their time and effort, taking advantage of technology to streamline filing, casefile handling, trial, appeal and disposition of cases. We in the judiciary must continue to work smarter, but we need your help to do so.
Most of you are familiar with statewide court automation, which will automate the records and accounting of the judiciary statewide. Thank you for your vision and foresight in enacting the initial law in 1994 and renewing it last year. Carved in stone in the Rotunda of this building, it says, "Where there is no vision the people perish." You have shown admirable vision and leadership in automating Missouri's courts, just as you have recently automated this very chamber.
Even more recently, during the past two years, you passed legislation allowing automation of the judicial accounting systems. Before, judicial accounting was so convoluted that there was no dream of computerizing these systems. You may recall the diagram with all the lines going everywhere that Chief Justice Holstein showed you during his first State of the Judiciary speech. You have provided an efficient way to manage court records, to go hand-in-hand with the legal authority for computerization you previously passed.
We stand on the threshold of similar results in overall efficiency. The biggest changes from court automation are just beginning to happen. During the past few years, the clerks, attorneys, and judges on the Court Automation Committee have spent a great deal of time and effort to design a computer system that will meet the needs of Missourians for many years to come. We have moved deliberately, intentionally so, in order to avoid problems that have occurred with other computer systems - some costing two and three times as much as ours - that simply failed to work when installed. When the taxpayer's money and the judiciary's reputation are at stake, the system must work from the time installed.
I have news to announce today. The new system is up and running as I speak. Montgomery County has implemented the new case management system, which operates on the underlying structure of hardware and software designed by the Court Automation Committee. The clerks and judge in Montgomery County like the reduced paperwork, and say they now can do their jobs better. For civil and probate cases, a manual "paper" system is now automated. Previously, court clerks manually created a file, a fee sheet and a docket sheet - then manually indexed and scheduled the case. In the new system, these are all automatically created.
The case management software is next to be installed in Jackson County in Kansas City and Independence, and in the Eastern District Court of Appeals in St. Louis. Once the system works in a smaller rural court, large urban courts, and an appellate court, the system is ready for any court in Missouri. By July 1, the system will be at the "ready to wear" point - that is, proven in small courts, large courts and appellate courts.
We now are at a critical turning point. Under the original plans, installing the new system in all courts was scheduled to take several years, so that some courts would not have the system until the year 2004. Rather than wait years for many of your constituents to see the benefits of court automation, we can provide these benefits now, at a lower total cost to the state. The benefits are clear; in addition to the more efficient installation process I have described:
The Governor has discussed these improvements with me and other representatives of the judiciary. He has expressed support for court automation and for the need to install the system statewide within a reasonable time, as opposed to piecemeal installation. I anticipate that the Governor's budget will properly accommodate these needs. I urge you to consider and support this budget item due to its great benefit to your constituents, the people of Missouri.
Though court automation is the most pressing challenge in the administration of justice, we in the judiciary are also "working smarter" on other issues. The Missouri Judicial Conference recently appointed a Task Force on Drug Courts. Drug courts are working in Jackson, Lafayette, Buchanan and Scott Counties and in St. Louis City. Drug courts have been successful. Graduates have obtained the education and job training to make it in the world without drugs. The vast majority go on with their lives, do not re-offend, and have become productive members of society.
I thank Senators Caskey and Rohrbach, and Representatives May and Ross for serving on this multidiscipline task force, which also includes prosecutors, defense lawyers, educators, job training and drug treatment professionals, and others willing to discuss the structure and procedure of drug courts. Please use the Task Force on Drug Courts as a resource as you tackle the challenges of illegal drugs.
We in the judiciary are always willing to consider other ways to improve judicial operations. Last year, you seriously studied appointing circuit clerks rather than electing them. The circuit clerk has evolved to a highly responsible position that should be a professional manager of court business. In many ways, the circuit clerk should be similar to the positions of the Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the House - professional positions here in the legislature. Professionalizing these positions in the judiciary is worthy of your consideration.
I appreciate the opportunity to address you today regarding the state of your judiciary. As Chief Justice, I look forward to working with you over the next two sessions. If you have any questions about court automation, the judicial budget, or any other issue affecting the administration of justice, please let me know. Together we can continue the Missouri tradition: a judiciary of the highest integrity, providing service, access and justice to all Missourians.
On motion of Senator Quick, the Joint Session was dissolved and the Senators returned to the Chamber where they were called to order by President Pro Tem McKenna.
Senator Wiggins assumed the Chair.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
The following Bills were read the 1st time and 1,000 copies ordered printed:
SB 721-By Klarich.
An Act to repeal sections 566.617, 589.400, 589.407, 589.410, 589.414, 589.417 and 589.425, RSMo Supp. 1997, relating to registration of certain offenders, and to enact in lieu thereof six new sections relating to the same subject.
SB 722-By Sims and Bentley.
An Act to amend chapter 375, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to consideration of domestic violence in insurance policies, with an effective date.
SB 723-By Sims.
An Act to amend chapter 173, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to educational assistance for certain persons.
SB 724-By Bentley, McKenna, Staples, Wiggins, Klarich, Childers, Yeckel, Johnson, Banks, Maxwell, Sims, DePasco, Clay, Howard, Mathewson, Jacob, Scott and House.
An Act to repeal section 143.183, RSMo 1994, relating to state income tax revenues from certain nonresidents, and to enact in lieu thereof one new section for the sole purpose of providing for state income tax revenues from nonresident entertainers and athletes.
SB 725-By Jacob.
An Act to repeal section 105.010, RSMo 1994, relating to public officers and employees, and to enact in lieu thereof one new section relating to the same subject.
SB 726-By Jacob and House.
An Act to repeal section 174.620, RSMo 1994, and section 174.610, RSMo Supp. 1997, relating to certain institutions of higher education, and to enact in lieu thereof six new sections relating to the same subject.
SB 727-By Banks.
An Act to repeal sections 92.715, 140.100 and 141.830, RSMo 1994, relating to the collection of delinquent taxes, and to enact in lieu thereof three new sections relating to the same subject.
SB 728-By Kinder.
An Act to repeal sections 91.025, 393.106 and 394.312, RSMo 1994, relating to electric utility industry competition and consumer choice, and to enact in lieu thereof nineteen new sections relating to the same subject.
SB 729-By DePasco.
An Act to repeal sections 130.021, 130.046, 130.047, 130.050 and 130.057, RSMo Supp. 1997, relating to the filing of reports with the Missouri ethics commission, and to enact in lieu thereof seven new sections relating to the same subject, with an emergency clause for certain sections and with penalty provisions.
SB 730-By DePasco and McKenna.
An Act to repeal sections 367.044, 367.045, 367.047, 367.048, 367.050, RSMo 1994, relating to pawnbroker regulations, and to enact in lieu thereof six new sections relating to the same subject, with penalty provisions.
SB 731-By Wiggins.
An Act to repeal section 144.062, RSMo 1994, and section 144.030, RSMo Supp. 1997, relating to sales tax exemptions, and to enact in lieu thereof two new sections relating to the same subject.
The following Bills were read the 2nd time and referred to the Committees indicated:
SB 471--Labor and Industrial Relations.
SB 507--Labor and Industrial Relations.
SB 675--Corrections and General Laws.
SB 707--Local Government and Economic Development.
The following Bill was read the 1st time and 1,000 copies ordered printed:
SB 732-By Schneider.
An Act to repeal section 337.021, RSMo Supp. 1997, relating to the initial licensure of psychologists, and to enact in lieu thereof one new section relating to the same subject.
Senator Mathewson offered Senate Resolution No. 983, regarding the Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Campbell, Green Ridge, which was adopted.
Senator Schneider offered Senate Resolution No. 984, regarding Mark J. Behlmann, Florissant, which was adopted.
Senator Schneider offered Senate Resolution No. 985, regarding George W. Houston, St. Louis County, which was adopted.
Senator Sims introduced to the Senate, Loretta Walker, St. Louis.
Senator Kinder introduced to the Senate, Russ and Kim Mothershead, Benton; and Catharine Vance, Versailles.
Senator Singleton introduced to the Senate, Tammy Spicer and Aaron Deslatte, Joplin.
Senator Ehlmann introduced to the Senate,
his son, Brendan, St. Charles.
Senator Jacob introduced to the Senate, Barry Orscheln, Moberly.
On motion of Senator Quick, the Senate adjourned under the rules.