Legislative Column for the Week of Monday, March 3, 2014

Spring Break Town Halls

Each year, we host a series of town halls over the legislative spring break. These meetings are another way for me to communicate with the residents of the district.  Previous town halls have proven extremely valuable in helping me understand not only how people feel about certain issues, but also which issues generate the most discussion.

The format of the town halls is simple. I start with a brief update of what has happened this session is Jefferson City and what bills I am sponsoring. The rest of the hour is spent going over the topics you want to discuss. I prefer a casual, open format that allows attendees to set the topics they would like to address.

In addition to the discussion on current issues, I will have some valuable information at a table in the room, including district surveys, last year’s End of Session Report, and various veterans’ information. 

We are holding this year’s town halls in four locations throughout the district to make them more accessible for 8th District residents. I encourage you to attend one of these town halls if at all possible. I look forward to seeing you there.

March 18

March 20

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Grain Valley City Hall

711 Main St., Grain Valley, MO 64029

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Lone Jack City Hall

207 N. Bynum Rd., Lone Jack, MO 64070

7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Blue Springs

CJC Training and EMS Education Center

4715 W. US 40 HWY, Blue Springs, MO 64015

7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Lee’s Summit

John Knox Village – Ambassador Room

500 NW Murray Rd., Lee’s Summit, MO 64081

Senate Bill Filing Closes

Last Thursday (2-27) was the final day to file bills in the Legislature for the 2014 session. In addition to the bills I prefiled, I sponsored an additional six measures since the beginning:

Senate Bill 829 would put the burden of proof for all tax disputes with the Department of Revenue. Currently, large businesses and businesses that collect sales tax have to prove their case. This is currently the only place in Missouri law where the defendant has a burden of proof.

Senate Bill 858 would institute tax reform, but is designed to go to a vote of the people. 

Senate Bill 877 is another bill that would change the definition of “misconduct” for purposes of unemployment. We often file bills a second or even third time so we have an alternate route to move forward if another bill gets set aside for some reason.

Senate Bill 892 would change the date of Missouri’s presidential primary to fall in line with national party rules. We hope to make this change early and avoid the possibility of caucuses, which most voters dislike.

Senate Bill 893 would change the date of Missouri’s state primary from August to June. The idea of this legislation is to lengthen the time for the general election period of statewide and state legislative races. 

Senate Bill 991 would create a mutual aid agreement for Kansas City area Kansas and Missouri tactical law enforcement. Currently, in a major crisis or natural disaster, tactical squads cannot cross state lines. This allows local law enforcement flexibility when most needed.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions, and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 573-751-1464, or e-mail at will.kraus@senate.mo.gov.