Dollars for the District
As I prepare this report, we are just a few hours away from the deadline for approving the 2023 fiscal year operating budget. The appropriations bills we are set to pass will fully fund Missouri’s K-12 classrooms, increase starting pay for teachers and provide additional resources for our schools’ transportation costs. There’s also increased funding for highways and bridges, rural broadband expansion and a long-overdue effort to address aging infrastructure throughout the state.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I was able to secure $30 million for a new state-of-the-art career training facility at the Northland Career Center in Platte County. This facility will prepare Northland-area high school students for careers in high-tech fields. We were also able to provide $5 million for a new applied learning center at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. Both of these projects further the goal of workforce development so Missouri can compete in tomorrow’s economy.
As we prepared next year’s budget, we also made sure to bring relief to hard-working Missouri families, particularly in this time of record inflation. I was proud to vote for a $500 per person ($1,000 for married couples filing jointly) tax credit. A lot of people are struggling right now. I was really happy we were able to give back a portion of this year’s budget surplus to the people who deserve it the most — the taxpayers.
In other legislative action this week, the Senate passed legislation to secure the integrity of Missouri’s elections. Among many provisions, House Bill 1878 eliminates electronic voting machines in Missouri and requires voters to present a valid photo ID prior to casting a ballot. Both of these measures will go a long way toward making our elections more secure and provide more confidence in the reported outcomes. I sponsored legislation similar to both of these provisions this year, and I am pleased these reforms are moving forward.
Another measure passed by the Senate will discourage the forced taking of private property through eminent domain procedures. This legislation came about after an out-of-state utility began developing a high-voltage electric transmission line across north Missouri. The line, which passes through Buchanan County, does not primarily benefit Missourians, but will deliver energy to customers beyond our border. I believe this is an inappropriate use of the power of eminent domain, so I was happy to support House Bill 2005. This legislation will help prevent future efforts to seize private land when there isn’t a clear benefit to Missouri citizens.
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.