Taking Time for Constituents
We just concluded another busy week at the Missouri State Capitol. In fact, this was the first week in recent memory that was not cut short by either weather cancelations or holidays. We made good use of the time with a full schedule of committee hearings and productive time spent in the Senate chamber. The pace of moving legislation picked up this week and we advanced several bills. Among measures either perfected or sent to the House of Representatives were an education reform bill aimed at improving literacy, a property tax measure, a sales tax exemption necessary for Missouri to be considered as a host for professional soccer’s 2026 World Cup and a funding measure for the Kansas City Police Department. Tuesday, March 1, was the last day bills could be introduced in the Senate for the 2022 session and we saw a flurry of legislation introduced. I’m not one to wait for the last minute, so all of my bills had already been submitted before the deadline. The Senate Appropriations Committee concluded its work hearing budget requests from various state agencies and we’ve now moved onto to taking testimony on specific legislation with impacts on the state budget.
My direct involvement was not necessary during most of the Senate floor debates this week so I enjoyed having more time to meet with constituents who took advantage of the nice weather and traveled to the Capitol. I always try to accommodate anyone from the district, but some weeks are more conducive to office visits than others. It’s great to take more time when the schedule allows.
Among the visitors this week were a number of folks involved in production agriculture. February 27 through March 5 is designated “Thank a Farmer Week” by the Missouri Farm Bureau. I enjoyed meeting with members of this organization throughout the week and discussing legislation I’ve sponsored to support our state’s No. 1 industry. I especially welcomed the opportunity to update Missouri farm producers on Senate Bill 644, which includes incentives for meat processing facilities, the timber products industry and small businesses engaged in agricultural production. I’ve also introduced Senate Bill 866 to renew the Missouri Agriculture and Small Business Development Authority, Senate Bill 905 to establish the Missouri Rural Workforce Development Act, Senate Bill 805 to encourage production and use of biodiesel fuels and several other measures to create economic opportunities and improve the quality of life in rural areas. Needless to say, we had a lot to talk about when the Farm Bureau folks came calling.
Meeting with constituents from the district helps me put a face to the various issues that come before the Senate each year. Far more so than professional lobbyists, I rely on these visits from the folks back home to keep me informed and to better understand how the legislation we consider impacts the lives of everyday Missourians. The range of topics that come to my attention through these meetings is remarkable and can be highlighted with just a few examples from this week. Beth Walker, a constituent from Marshall, stopped by the office while in the Capitol advocating for the American Cancer Society. Beth is a two-time cancer survivor so it was great to hear her perspective on support for cancer research and services. Larissa Pendleton, representing Hamilton Bank, stopped by to discuss priorities of the banking community. James Stanfield of Slater Main Street News shared concerns and issues impacting Missouri’s hometown newspapers. Family physician (and Lafayette County Coroner) Dr. David Pulliam of Corder visited on behalf of the Missouri Association of Family Practitioners. I also welcomed a delegation of emergency services professionals from Carroll and Johnson counties who participated in EMS Day at the Capitol.
It was also my pleasure to host two young constituents who job-shadowed me this week as part of their participation in FCCLA, the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. It was great to share time with Charity Middleton of Walker and Elizabeth Ratliffe of Warrensburg, who spent a day learning about the Missouri Senate and the duties of an elected official.
Finally, I’d like to share some news. This week, I was honored to be recognized with a 2022 Legislative Award from the Missouri Nurses Association. The award is given to members of the Senate for “outstanding contributions toward legislation that promotes the health and well-being of Missouri’s citizens and promotes the nursing profession.” I am humbled by the association’s recognition and am committed to continuing to support these hard-working nursing professionals going forward.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-4302. You may also email me at email@example.com.