Perspective: Presiding, press conference, and presentation

Since I was sworn in as your senator on Jan. 5, not a day has passed where I haven’t learned something new.

One of the things that I did not fully appreciate before becoming a senator is the extent to which tradition and formality guide the day-today actions of the Senate.

One of the Senate traditions I experienced this week was presiding over the afternoon session on Tuesday.

Fortunately, both the Senate as a whole and I survived my first experience in the chair. I want to thank the secretary of the Senate and my fellow senators for their tutoring and supervision, and I look forward to continuing to learn the duties of the Presiding Officer and putting them to use frequently.

Wednesday morning, I presented two bills in front of the Transportation Committee.

Senate Bill 378 provides a framework for the Missouri Department of Transportation to undertake designbuild projects on a limited basis. This process is a tool in MoDOT’s toolbox that could be used to save the state money while providing the smoothest and safest roads possible across the state.

Senate Bill 402 would replace license plate tabs with inside-thewindow stickers for purposes of showing current motor vehicle registration. Tabs on license plates are more subject to theft than are insidethe-window stickers, and this common-sense measure will help ensure that Missourians spend less time at fee offices by reducing tab losses from theft.

On Wednesday afternoon, I was honored to be part of a press conference with Rep. Jeanie Riddle, the executive director of Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future, numerous other senators and representatives, and a large crowd of supporters who came to the Capitol to voice their support for SB 321 and for keeping open the option of building a second nuclear reactor at the current Callaway site.

Like me, those who participated in and attended this press conference understand that it is imperative for Missouri to address the need for continued growth of electricity demand in the face of an aging coal fleet and almost certain coal-punitive federal regulations.

Upon conclusion of the press conference, I presented SB 321 in front of the Veterans’ Affairs, Emerging Issues, Pensions and Urban Affairs Committee, and the turnout in support of SB 321 was nothing short of remarkable.

By my count, 275 citizens, ranging from CEOs of utility companies that are part of the energy consortium to retired Missourians who were witness to Callaway 1 and the all the associated jobs, provided testimony at this hearing. Of those 275, 251 (91 percent of all the witnesses) were in support of SB 321.

Like me, and like the 19 senators that co-sponsored this legislation, these citizens understand that SB 321 provides the best, and in fact only, viable framework which balances consumer protections and creates the appropriate business environment for capital collaboration.

I was pleased with the direct discussions that took place during the hearing and I look forward to the committee acting swiftly to approve SB 321 and send it to the floor for debate by the whole Senate. I make no claim that SB 321 is a perfect bill, but it represents the fruits of weeks of discussions and compromise by both sides of this issue.

As pleased as I was with the direct discussions that took place during the hearing, I was equally as disgusted that supporters of SB 321 were labeled as “liars” simply because we see this issue differently.

This personal attack was thoroughly unwarranted and completely unfounded, and I apologize to all of you who received this unwarranted rebuke simply for participating in this process.

On Friday morning, I enjoyed coffee and conversation with many of you at the Pioneer Restaurant in Versailles. After coffee in Versailles, I stopped by the Eldon Upper Elementary school to participate in their annual civics day, and I was pleased to stand beside Miller County elected officials and business leaders in support of this worthy cause. In both Versailles and Eldon, your words of encouragement, and your candid critiques, were appreciated.

My next two coffee stops will be Friday, March 25 at the all-new Denise’s Diner in Holts Summit and Friday, April 15 at the Coffee Zone in Jefferson City. Both events will go from 7-8 a.m.

I am in this office to serve the constituents of Missouri's 6th State Senatorial District. Please contact us at (573) 751-2076 if my office or I can be of any assistance to you or if you have questions.

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