Legislative Column for the Week of Feb. 5, 2015
On Monday, Feb. 2, Ethan Sellers was introduced on the Senate floor as our office intern for the semester.

Four weeks into session, the Missouri Senate is off to a busy start.

Last week, the Senate moved on two pieces of early legislation – one with a time limit and one a vetoed priority from last year. On Thursday, we voted to disallow a planned pay raise for state legislators. House Concurrent Resolution 4 (HCR 4) is unique because we had to act on it before leaving on Jan. 29, to block the pay raise proposed by a state commission. After some back and forth and potential threats of a filibuster, we finally had the opportunity to vote on the pay raise issue and it was overwhelmingly defeated with a 31 – 3 vote. I voted against the pay raise because now is not the time for legislators to accept a pay hike while many Missourians are still struggling to recover from the recession.

We also passed Senate Bill 12 out of the Senate last week. Senate Bill 12 is a large agriculture bill that passed last year but was vetoed by the governor because of a controversial provision moving the regulation of captive deer away from the Department of Conservation and into the Department of Agriculture. Fortunately, this controversial provision has been left out of this year’s agriculture bill and we easily passed the legislation on to the House. Provisions of Senate Bill 12 include measures to help young and beginning farmers, support Missouri dairy farmers, and other provisions to support the state’s farming and ranching industry.

This week, Senate Bill 11 was hotly debated. This legislation is an ethics reform bill and has been closely followed by lawmakers and citizens across the state. On Wednesday, (Feb. 4) we gave initial approval, by a vote of 31-0, to perfect Senate Bill 11. This measure would end out-of-state trips paid by lobbyists and would also ban lawmakers from becoming lobbyists until at least two years after they leave office.

As session goes on, I will work to keep my constituents up-to-date on these and other important pieces of legislation. 

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