The second week of the 101st General Assembly has just concluded. In a typical year, the first few weeks of session tend to be filled with procedural details and ceremonial events. There’s a different atmosphere in the Capitol this year. The loss of more than a month of legislative activity in 2020 due to COVID-19 seems to have inspired us to get on with business quickly as this session begins.
The much-anticipated committee assignments were announced this week, and we now have our marching orders for the coming term. I’m happy to report that I have been asked to continue as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This committee is responsible for considering and reporting on legislation affecting courts, civil procedure, criminal laws and related matters. As a practicing attorney, I am honored to contribute my knowledge and experience when the Senate considers matters relating to laws and courts.
Violent crime continues to plague Missouri, especially in our larger cities. Addressing Missouri’s alarming homicide rate is a priority for the Legislature, and we focused on seeking solutions during the past two years while I’ve chaired the Judiciary Committee. I expect those efforts to continue this year, as we look for ways to reduce crime, make our streets safer and ensure that violent criminals end up behind bars where they belong.
In addition to chairing the Judiciary Committee, I will again serve as a member of the Committee on Gubernatorial Appointments and the Senate Rules Committee. I have also been named to the newly reorganized Government Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee. Together with my new assignment as Majority Whip in the Senate, I will have the opportunity to influence some of the most consequential legislation the General Assembly considers this year. I appreciate the confidence shown in me, and I look forward to continuing to serve my constituents as a member of the Senate’s leadership team.
The second week of session was not entirely occupied by legislative matters, however. On Monday, Jan. 11, both chambers of the Legislature met in a rare outdoor joint-session to witness the inauguration of Missouri’s 57th governor. It was a stirring ceremony with scripture readings, a military band and a flyover from a B-2 Spirit Bomber. Oaths of office were administered to the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and state treasurer. The event also served as the kick-off for our state’s bicentennial celebration. Missouri officially became a state on Aug. 10, 1821, and there will be events honoring 200 years of statehood throughout 2021. The traditional formal ball, typically held following the governor’s inauguration, will wait until August. The delay is due in part to concerns about COVID-19, but also to coincide with bicentennial festivities later this year.
It is my great honor to represent the citizens of Platte and Buchanan counties in the Missouri Senate. Please contact my office at (573) 751-2183, or visit www.senate.mo.gov/mem34.