Legislative Column for the Week of Jan. 16, 2015


Senator Schatz waiting to be recognized on the Senate floor.

JEFFERSON CITY — Committees play a vital role in the legislative process. Once a bill has been filed (in either the Senate or the House) and has been read twice (second read) before the members of that body, the bill is then assigned to a committee. Committee meetings often include a time for public comment and feedback about the proposed legislation. Many times committees will discuss legislation more than once, until the members are satisfied with any changes they wish to see in the bill. The group then votes to send it back to their respective body, or reject the measure.

If the bill is rejected, it is considered “killed,” and no more action can be taken on it.

Should it be voted to be sent back to its originating body, it will then move to the calendar to be heard on the floor and debated. Once approved by that body, the bill will go onto the other chamber and go through the same process there.

In the Senate there are 18 standing committees; 21 statutory committees, which contain members of both the House and Senate; and three interim committees.

Earlier this week, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, announced committee assignments, which now gives each member of the Senate a more clear idea of where some of their time and efforts will be directed while in Jefferson City.

I am honored to have been assigned to the following committees: Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government;  General Laws and Pensions; Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy, and the Environment; Gubernatorial Appointments, and vice-chair of  Transportation, Infrastructure, and Public Safety.

Committee work is a vital part of the legislative process as it allows lawmakers to get a closer look at a subset of issues that citizens across not only our district, but the whole state, may face. I enjoyed the committee process while in the House and look forward to working on these committees this session in the Senate.

Thank you for reading this weekly column. You can contact my office at (573) 751-3678 if you have any questions.