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Local lawmakers receive committee assignments

by Joe Gamm | January 13, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
In this Jan. 16, 2019 file photo, Rep. Rudy Veit discusses issues on the floor of the House Chambers in the Missouri Capitol.

Republican leadership for the Missouri House announced committee assignments early Wednesday evening.

At the same time, the leadership notified Democratic leadership how many slots would be available for their members in committees. Democrats spent until about 2 a.m. Thursday finalizing their committee assignments.

Rep. Willard Haley, R-Eldon, will act as vice chair for the Workforce and Infrastructure Development Committee, on which he served during the past session.

"I am just entering my second term," Haley said. "Last year, I was not in a leadership position at all. I felt like last year's committees were perfectly suited for me."

Haley said he volunteered to work his way up in this committee. He said he showed interested in being a vice chair on the committee, which this year should continue to look at broadband issues and infrastructure.

He also served last year on the Conservation and Natural Resources Committee and on the Agriculture Policy Committee, both of which he'll be on again this year.

A new committee for Haley this year will be the Rural Community Development Committee, which will focus on assuring rural Missouri isn't neglected for economic development, he said.

"I'm very, very pleased with the committee assignments," he said. "Leadership worked hard to put us in committees that we're best suited for."

Rep. Rudy Veit, R-Wardsville, will again use his legal expertise for the state's benefit.

He has again been assigned as vice chair of the Judiciary Committee.

"It has a lot of bills from a lot of different areas that come through," Veit said. "We sit down and work though these bills and try to avoid collateral consequences."

The Judiciary Committee has a number of new members, Veit said.

"They're excited about being on it. It's where the fine-tuning of a lot of bills happens," he said.

The committee tries to identify problems that may cause bills to go into litigation or problems that cause them to be declared unconstitutional, Veit said. If either of those situations occurs, he said, the bills are going to adversely affect someone.

Veit will chair the Corrections and Public Institutions Committee.

This committee will consider bills that are intended to resolve issues within prisons, of which there are several in Veit's district. The committee will also look at issues surrounding how prisons are going to be affected by mandatory sentencing.

"We as an institution also have to look at current facilities and what our long-term needs are," Veit said.

Veit is also on the new Transportation Accountability Committee, which will look at issues with transportation and how money is spent.

"I see my role as more of a problem-solver," he said.

Problem-solving is the entire purpose for the Legislative Review Committee, his fourth committee, which is intended to make quick fixes to proposed laws. There are several attorneys on the committee, he said.

Bills get on the floor, but may have issues that have been overlooked or may cause unforeseen consequences, Veit said.

He said the committee's role is to fine-tune ideas, so bills can get from point A to point B.

A newcomer to the House of Representatives this year, Rep. Jim Schulte, R-New Bloomfield, received assignments for all four committees where he felt he would fit best -- Government Efficiency and Downsizing, Utilities, Veterans, and the Special committee on Homeland Security.

Government efficiency is something that Schulte campaigned on.

"Having worked for the National Guard and the Highway Patrol, I have watched over the years and seen we frequently get good ideas and how we improve on them," Schulte said. "We never look back after 10 years. I hope to at least evaluate programs. I want to see if our programs are working efficiently and effectively."

Schulte said he understands he's not going to come into the House and change the world. But he hopes to share new perspectives with the chamber.

The Callaway Nuclear Plant is in his back yard, Schulte said, and many, many complex issues surround it. So he felt that he should be a fit on the Utilities Committee. Also, he said, "We have so-called solar farms trying to come into the county."

He said he has nothing against green energy, but is concerned they often require tax subsidies.

Rep. Dave Griffith, R-Jefferson City, will again chair the Veterans Committee. He will act as vice chair for Rules-Administrative Oversight. He is a voting member on Health and Mental Health Policy and on Administration and Accounts.

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