Missouri Senate Capitol Briefing for the Month of November 2011
Senate Committees Continue To Work
Dutifully Throughout Missouri

Lawmakers Prepare for Second Regular Session of the 96th General Assembly

After the First Extraordinary Session of the 96th General Assembly concluded with a sine die motion on Oct. 25, lawmakers have focused on addressing matters in their districts, taking care of constituent needs, and dedicating their time to their respective legislative committees.

Throughout November, several legislative panels met throughout the state to address pressing issues in Missouri, including the possibility of forming a state health insurance exchange, reviewing the state transportation and criminal justice systems, public employee retirement, and school accreditation.

The Senate Interim Committee on Health Insurance Exchanges, chaired by Sen. Scott T. Rupp, R-Wentzville, is responsible for researching Missouri’s options regarding the establishment of a health insurance exchange and studying its effect on existing state laws. The board held meetings on Nov. 10, in St. Charles, as well as in Springfield on Nov. 16, in order to listen to public testimony regarding a possible health insurance exchange.

Health insurance exchanges are required under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The federal law permits each state to create its own health insurance exchange, join an exchange with neighboring states, or be subject to participate in one created by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

Panel members on the committee include Sen. Rupp; Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield; Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon; Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah; Sen. Luann Ridgeway, R-Smithville; Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph; Sen. Shalonn “Kiki” Curls, D-Kansas City; and Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis.

To listen to “This Week in the Missouri Senate” from Nov. 17, which features an update on the Senate Interim Committee on Health Exchanges’ work in Missouri, please click here. Senator Rupp and Sen. Keaveny are featured in this report.

With an objective to discuss the future of Interstate 70, members of the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight met with Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) officials at a hearing on Nov. 16. The joint committee was created to review MoDOT’s annual report of expenses and other related matters.

In addition to lawmakers from the House of Representatives, senators serving on this panel include Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton; Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City; Sen. John Lamping, R-Ladue; Sen. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa; Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Crystal City; and Sen. Robin Wright-Jones, D-St. Louis.

Please click here to listen to “This Week in the Missouri Senate” from Nov. 23, which features a report regarding the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight. Included in this report are Sen. Stouffer and Sen. Wright-Jones.

Also during the month of November, the state capital served as the stage for hearings conducted by the Missouri Working Group on Sentencing and Corrections, as well as the Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement.

The Missouri Working Group on Sentencing and Corrections, which met on Nov. 16, focused its work this month by making Missouri communities safer, ensuring funding is appropriately spent within the criminal justice system, as well as tackling  several responsibilities, including:

  • Analyzing the drivers of the prison population;
  • Auditing the state’s sentencing and corrections policy;
  • Consulting criminal justice stakeholders; and
  • Developing policy recommendations.

Panel members have stated that their goal is to meet for the rest of the year to help craft legislation that would be considered during the 2012 regular session.

Senators on the panel include Sen. Goodman (co-chair); Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City; and Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar.

Please click here to listen to “This Week in the Missouri Senate” from Nov. 3, which features a report on the Missouri Working Group on Sentencing and Corrections’ work regarding Missouri’s criminal justice system. Featured in this report are Sen. Goodman and Sen. Justus.

Members of the Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement gathered to discuss the well-being of Missouri’s public employee retirement systems. The committee’s origins date back to 1983, when the First Regular Session of the 82nd General Assembly passed legislation creating a permanent pension review and oversight body — the Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement (JCPER).
As required by statute, committee members must:

  • Make a continuing study and analysis of all state and local government retirement systems and report annually to the General Assembly;
  • Devise a standard reporting system to obtain data on each public employee retirement system that will provide information on each system's financial and actuarial status at least biennially;
  • Determine from its study and analysis the need for changes in statutory law; and
  • Make any other recommendations to the General Assembly necessary to provide adequate retirement benefits to state and local government employees within the ability of taxpayers to support their future costs.

Lawmakers serving on this panel include Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau; Sen. Rupp; Sen. Timothy Green, D-Spanish Lake; Sen. Keaveny; Sen. Lamping, and Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City.

City Academy in St. Louis was host to the Joint Interim Committee on School Accreditation meeting on Nov. 17. The Joint Interim Committee on School Accreditation, co-chaired by Sen. Cunningham, is responsible for reviewing school accreditation issues. The committee is also charged with evaluating the impact of recent court cases, including the Turner v. Clayton School District and Jordan D. King-Willmann v. Webster Groves School District rulings regarding school attendance and student choices.

Other panel members include Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington; Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg; Sen. Stouffer; Sen. Chappelle-Nadal; and Sen. Curls.

Second Regular Session of the 96th General Assembly Begins in January

The 2012 legislative session will commence in just a few short weeks. Until then, lawmakers have been busy preparing measures that will be addressed during session.

December 1 marks the date prefiled bills for the 2012 regular session will receive their numbers. Prefiling may continue up to (but not including) the first day of session, which begins at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012.

Legislation filed during the prefiling timeframe will be automatically introduced and read for the first time on opening day of the Second Regular Session of the 96th General Assembly. Traditionally, each member of the Senate — beginning with the lawmaker who has the most seniority — picks his or her top three priority bills, which are then each assigned a number.

In the meantime, the Missouri Appellate Apportionment Commission announced new legislative district boundaries. (Click here to view new districts.) Lawmakers will continue to serve their current legislative districts in both the Senate and the House. Although the new map took effect immediately, the redrawn boundaries will coincide with any new member joining the Legislature after the next election.

To follow these and other issues facing the Missouri Senate, visit www.senate.mo.gov. Visitors can track legislation as it passes through the General Assembly, learn more about their district, or, when the Legislature is in session, listen to streaming audio of legislative debate as it happens. For more legislative news, please visit the Senate Newsroom. There you will find various audio and video programs and other services, such as:  

  • Missouri Legislative Update (MLU) – A video program produced periodically throughout the year that provides an overview of the news in the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives. The program features news interviews with lawmakers and stories on issues concerning Missourians.
  • Capital Dialogue – Missourinet's Bob Priddy hosts this monthly half-hour roundtable program bringing legislators together from the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives from different political parties to discuss their positions on specific issues and legislation.
  • This Week in the Missouri Senate – A weekly five-minute audio program that wraps up the week’s news in the Missouri Senate. Programs are posted online every Friday in .mp3 format.
  • Senate Minute – A condensed, one-minute audio report of current Senate news. Programs are posted in .mp3 format and are available through podcast.
  • Daily Audio / Video Clips – Throughout the year, the Senate Newsroom posts broadcast-quality audio and video highlights from Senate committee hearings, floor debate, press conferences and other legislative events.  Please note: Clips linked to this Capitol Briefing are only available for the legislative week referenced in the publication.
  • Daily News Clips – The Senate Newsroom compiles daily news clips from various print and online publications that cover issues relating to the Legislature and state government. An archive of past clips is maintained online and is offered as a subscription service.


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