Missouri Senate
97th General Assembly
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Bob Dixon

Serving the People of the
30th Senatorial District

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Senator Bob Dixon
Missouri Senate
State Capitol, Room 332
201 W. Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65101



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End-of-Session Review: Part IV

Good Government: Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency


With the governor's constitutional deadline to act on legislation having passed, we've closed out another phase in the legislative process. If you recall, as I began to review the legislative session, I included a 2013 session chart in an earlier Dialogue, outlining several of the priorities on which I worked and the bills in which they finally passed. To look at an updated chart, click here. As you can see, priorities in all three categories - quality jobs, effective justice, and good government - have been signed into law by the governor. In this final installment of my end-of-session review, I'll focus on a few of the bills related to good government.    


In Jefferson City, certain basic principles have continued to guide my legislative work. One of them has been the concept of an effective state government that works for Missourians, not against them. Practicing fiscal responsibility means concentrating on core, constitutional functions of government and doing them well. Making government leaner and more efficient, as well as transparent and accountable, should be ongoing goals. I've been able to advance laws, like the red tape reduction act in 2012 and other bills I sponsored this year, that put us in a better position to achieve these goals.


State Auditor's Duties and Responsibilities

Identifying waste in order to reduce costs is an essential element of fiscal responsibility. Regular audits of state and local agencies hold those entities accountable for their use of taxpayers' dollars. This year, at the State Auditor's request, I sponsored Senate Bill 65, the language of which passed in another bill I handled, House Bill 116, which has been signed into law. Both bills laid out with greater clarity the duties of the State Auditor and granted his office greater flexibility to determine when and how audits are conducted, promoting a more efficient use of resources. Over the course of four or five decades laws can easily become irrelevant, and many of the laws relating to the State Auditor have not been modified in over 50 years. In short, we sought to make sure outdated laws did not prevent the State Auditor's office from performing its duties as your watchdog.   

Streamlined Permitting Process

Over the years, I've also sought to support small business owners and entrepreneurs by tearing down barriers that increase costs and discourage new investment or growth.  Streamlining government and improving efficiency are important parts of these efforts.  For example, the process of obtaining permits can be a needlessly complex and expensive one that imposes unnecessary costs, so I sponsored Senate Bill 416 to simplify the process. Ultimately, this initiative was signed into law as a part of House Bill 28, an omnibus natural resources bill. Now, through the director of the Department of Natural Resources, those applicants with multiple permits or certifications will be able to utilize a coordinated and streamlined process, reducing the time it takes the permits to move through the system, saving small business owners money and time. Like last year's SB 469, this was a common-sense measure to cut red tape.    

September Veto Session

As I noted, we've entered a new phase in the legislative process, with the legislative veto session in September being the next significant date. The larger number of bills filed has been whittled down to a much smaller number of bills passed and signed into law, and an even smaller number of bills vetoed. By the time the bill filing period closed in both chambers, 484 bills had been introduced in the Senate, and 1042 bills in the House. When session ended, only 82 Senate bills and 80 House bills had been passed by the General Assembly. Of those 162 total bills, the governor signed 127, vetoed another 29, and allowed four bills to become law without his signature. Two proposed constitutional amendments, which will appear on the November 2014 ballot, were submitted directly to the Secretary of State.    

Looking Forward

As I look forward and prepare for veto session, I will take time in a future Dialogue to outline the bills vetoed by the governor (see Senate website or Governor's website). Over the next two months, as I examine the governor's rationales for vetoing each bill, I would greatly appreciate your input. The ability of the General Assembly to reconsider vetoed bills, and the opportunity to override a veto, is a prominent example of checks and balances in our constitutional structure. Just as the governor's veto power provides a check against potential abuses or missteps by the legislature, the veto override prevents abuses of discretion by the executive. Please, take time to review the vetoed bills and share your thoughts with me. Call my office at (573) 751-2583 or visit my Senate website at www.senate.mo.gov/dixon

As always, it is a privilege to serve as your voice in Jefferson City and cast your vote on the Senate floor.