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Plans to tear down old Cole County jail and sheriff's house move forward April 16, 2014

Perspective: Nuclear bill progresses; jobs advance

I have always heard that things can happen quickly, and change even more quickly, in the Legislature if circumstances and opportunities collide at the right time. This was proven to me this week.

With just six weeks to go in this session, I was more than a little anxious for substantive progress in a couple of areas, so advances on nuclear legislation and other jobs legislation was most welcome from my perspective.

On Monday afternoon, the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting voted a first draft map out of committee. I have spent a great deal of time studying and analyzing both the House and the Senate redistricting maps. Additionally, I have spoken to citizens and elected officials, from the county level to members of the congressional delegation.

I still have reservations about both the House and Senate maps because I am concerned that both maps facilitate being represented in Congress by a representative from suburban St. Louis, rather than from Central Missouri — an individual that likely would not understand or appreciate the smaller-town, conservative, agrarian values of Central Missouri. I will continue to be actively involved in redistricting discussions, and I will continue to work toward a solution that is in our best interest.

During a committee meeting on Tuesday, and with the help of several like-minded senators who support maintaining the option of building another nuclear plant at the current Callaway site, I was able to attach the language of Senate Bill 321, plus language for funding the Office of Public Counsel, onto another piece of legislation and get it voted out of committee.

This new bill, SB 48, contains all the consumer protections in SB 321, including a hard-cap and claw-back, and fully funds the Office of Public Counsel such that every single point of contention for the opposition is fully and completely addressed in this one bill. SB48 is now on the calendar and I look forward to this bill being given all the time necessary for debate, and ultimately being voted on by the whole Senate.

On Tuesday evening, I had the great fortune of attending the Vitae Society dinner in Jefferson City. I look forward to and enjoy this event every year, and without fail, I leave invigorated and proud to be part of an ever-growing prolife movement that believes that God is the creator of all life and that we are both obliged and honored to uphold the sanctity of life.

Before adjourning on Thursday, the Senate gave initial approval to a bill that would break loose the stalled unemployment legislation and extend unemployment benefits for an additional 20 weeks. I was very pleased to add an amendment that reduces Missouri’s state share of initial unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20 weeks. This reduction will have zero effect on people currently unemployed, nor will it negatively impact any Missourians who are hired and might unfortunately lose their jobs after this bill goes into effect, as they will still be eligible for 73 weeks of total unemployment benefits.

The federal government has spent Missouri businesses into an almost $1 billion debt, and reducing the burden on businesses will offset the additional federal taxes that will be levied on Missouri businesses to pay-off that debt. More importantly though, reducing the Missouri share from 26 to 20 weeks will encourage businesses to hire and expand. I have said all along this session is about jobs, and this amendment encourages hiring and job expansion.

My next coffee stop will be 7-8 a.m. Friday, April 15, at the Coffee Zone in Jefferson City. I am in this office to serve the constituents of the 6th Senatorial District. Please contact us at (573) 751-2076 if my office or I can be of assistance.

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