Legislative Column for Dec. 9, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY - In just a few short weeks, the 2016 Legislative session will begin in Jefferson City. Based off conversations I had with constituents and colleagues, I have drafted legislation and pre-filed it in advance of the 2016 session. Here are a few of the bills I have pre-filed and will work hard on this coming session.

Senate Bill 640 is an example of what I think is commonsense government, allows permanent, nontransferable, trailer licenses so motorists don’t have to re-register their trailer every few years. There is a higher fee initially, but overall, consumers will save money, time and the inconvenience of having to re-register their trailer every few years. Current state law only allows trailers that attach using a fifth wheel or kingpin assembly to qualify for permanent registration. If Senate Bill 640 becomes law, I think permanent trailer plates will be a great convenience for the many Missourians who use trailers for work and recreation.

Senate Bill 701 will change the way the governor can fill vacant seats for county commissioners. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of county commissioner, the governor must fill the vacancy with a person who resides in the district at the time of the vacancy. However, there is no legislative oversight on the governor’s appointment. Senate Bill 701 will change the replacement process so that when there is one year or more remaining in a vacant commissioner’s term, the governor’s appointment will have to be confirmed by the Senate. A similar process is followed for other gubernatorial appointments such as agency directors and other leadership roles. Vacancies in the County Commissioner’s office in our area and across the state prompted this legislation.

Senate Bill 781  allows any political subdivision to use a design-build contractor for waste water and water treatment projects. The Department of Economic Development is required to consider design-build waste water or water treatment projects when disbursing grants under the Community Development Block Grant program. This legislation will give our local governments more flexibility as they upgrade and improve infrastructure.

I am still drafting legislation and will likely introduce more legislation dealing with a proposed German-American Cultural Heritage Corridor and other items. Getting an early start on these bills will allow me to devote my efforts towards their passage early in the coming session.

The 2016 legislative session starts Jan. 6 at noon. If you happen to be in Jefferson City during the upcoming legislative session I encourage you to stop by my office. My staff and I are always happy to visit with constituents.

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