Legislative Column for the Week of Jan. 5, 2015
The 98th General Assembly Convenes

Lawmakers returned to Jefferson City this week for the opening day of the 2015 legislative session on Wednesday, Jan. 7.

The week began with a flurry of activity, as my colleagues and I prepared for a wide range of bills covering many important issues to be discussed and debated over the coming months. Although all of us have differing opinions about the issues, our goal is to work together to pass laws that will make Missouri a better place to live, work and raise a family. 

The new session brought six new senators to the floor, as well as 11 of us who were re-elected, as we took our oaths of office administered by Chief Justice Mary Russell of the Missouri Supreme Court. Many of our family members and friends were in attendance as we were sworn in on the Senate floor.

Unfortunately, just as the proceedings got under way, the events took a strange turn as a group of protestors stormed the chamber displaying signs and shouting slogans. Eventually, the Lieutenant Governor had the upper gallery cleared and locked in order to keep the protestors from disturbing the order of events.

It saddens me that some people think the only way to bring about change is to cause chaos to get attention. While we live in a land where freedom of speech is granted, and every citizen has a right to express themselves, disturbing the solemn occasion of the opening day of legislative session is not a good way to elicit change. Legislators are always open to discuss concerns and issues with constituents in a proper manner. Most of the time, just sitting down and talking with lawmakers about the changes we need to see in our state can have a much more positive impact than disrupting the legislative process before it even gets started.

For this reason, I always encourage my constituents to feel free to contact me throughout the year with comments, questions or issues by calling my office at (573) 751-5713. To find more information about the bills I sponsor, visit www.senate.mo.gov/brown.

Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.