A Busy Capitol Week
It was an eventful week in the Missouri Senate, with committees taking testimony on proposed legislation, spirited discussions about congressional redistricting on and off the Senate floor, the opportunity for my office to participate in a special meeting focused on workforce development and a parade of visitors to the 33rd Senatorial District office.
In committee action this week, I was honored to present Senate Bill 785 to the Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee. This legislation modifies burdensome state regulations impacting local timber haulers as they move logs to processing facilities. Under current law, logging trucks pulled over by the Highway Patrol are subject to a roadside inspection that requires the trooper to calculate weight distribution over each axle while passing traffic puts everyone in danger. This legislation simplifies the weight calculations so inspections take place quickly and safely. Passage of this legislation would make our roads safer, while simplifying enforcement for state troopers. I appreciate my constituents in the timber industry bringing this issue to me, and I’m happy to try to help them streamline our laws so they can operate safely within compliance.
Also this week the Local Government and Elections Committee took testimony on my Senate Bill 845. This legislation removes a requirement that smaller counties publish needlessly detailed financial reports in local newspapers. Instead, these counties will be allowed to provide simplified summary reports, following the same format used by Missouri’s largest counties. The summaries provide all the information most of us would ever need, and the detailed information will still be available upon request. My legislation does require one additional piece of information: the salaries of all elected officials will be published. Currently, that information is not included in the financial reports required of smaller counties.
As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting, I took special interest in a lengthy floor discussion in the Senate chamber this week. On Tuesday, the committee approved House Bill 2117, the legislation containing proposed changes to Missouri’s congressional districts. The bill places each Missouri address into one of eight congressional districts, and therefore determines who you’ll see on the ballot when you vote for a representative in Congress. I voted for HB 2117 because it protects our rural communities and the values of the Ozarks. We’ll take the bill up next week, and pass a map that will accurately reflect Missouri.
Also this week, my office participated in the lieutenant governor’s roundtable on child care and workforce development. During the discussion, we learned that more than 30% of child care facilities have closed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of affordable child care was cited as the No. 1 barrier for employees – especially mothers – returning to the workforce. I believe we have to make it easier to open new child care facilities, but they must be safe for our kids. I’m looking forward to working with the lieutenant governor in the future as he seeks solutions to this problem.
Finally, I had the pleasure of welcoming a number of visitors from the district this week. We were especially happy to see Dawn Cox, director of Douglas County’s DOCO Sheltered Workshop. I’m a huge fan of our sheltered workshops and am committed to helping them however I can in Jefferson City. I also had the opportunity to host Haileigh Jordan as she job-shadowed me this week. Haileigh is a senior at East Newton High School and president of Missouri DECA. I met Haileigh at a conference last year and was impressed by her passion for career and technical education, a long-time priority of mine. I’m glad she was able to join us, and I hope she learned as much from me as I did from her.
It is my honor to serve the residents of Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Ripley, Texas, Webster and Wright counties in the Missouri Senate, and it’s always a pleasure to hear from friends and family back home. If I can help you in any way, please call my Capitol Office at 573-751-1882, or my District Office at 417-596-9011. You can also visit my webpage at www.senate.mo.gov/mem33, on Facebook: @SenatorKarlaEslinger, or follow me on Twitter: @seneslingermo.