The 2020 session has begun. It should be a very challenging year. In addition to all of the other issues we will deal with this session, I have introduced several bills. These are not my brilliant ideas, but they have come from recommendations from judges, school board members, constituents, attorneys and government agencies.
House Bill 1330 is a land conveyance bill allowing the state to convey land for a port authority in Jefferson City adding to the system of existing ports going from St. Joe to New Orleans. A new port in Jefferson City would not only create jobs but would also allow much larger vessels to transport goods across the water, taking stress off of our roads. One unit would handle approximately 1,700 TEUS or separate containers or equivalent to approximately 850 tractor-trailers. This vessel would go up to 13 miles per hour and would be approximately 600 feet long. However, even with its extra size, it will be able to run in shallower water, travel faster and produce less wake than the current vessels seen on the Missouri River today.
It is not only my belief it is needed. I have listened to and considered the opinions of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, Gov. Mike Parson, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and others, stressing the need to develop our waterways in Missouri. Our waterways will be in the future, I believe, a major highway transportation system for a lot of our goods. This will help workforce development, business growth, improve our infrastructure and relieve part of the pressure on our highways. This bill is drafted so if the port is not successful, the land will revert back to the state. There are reams of pages on the project and the need for it. In summary, it is using new technology, including a new port in New Orleans and will become a very efficient part of a plan for transporting goods through the middle of the United States.
I will be introducing House Bill 1542, which is a bill to clean up some issues related to the Second Injury Fund. It clarifies the order of payments for injuries prior to Jan. 1, 2014; allows for electronic filing of workers' compensation appeals to the Industrial Labor Commission, an improvement over the old law that everything be filed in paper. In addition, it allows the Industrial Relations Commission to hire a third-party administrator to handle insolvencies of self-insured trusts. There should not be anything controversial in that bill, and hopefully, there won't be a whole lot tacked onto it.
House Bill 1331 addresses the issue of larger counties, such as Cole County, getting reimbursement for hosting smaller county murder trials due to lack of capable facilities, such as capital murder cases requiring sequestrations of jurors. Currently, if a case is set in Cole County from a small county, a capital murder case could cost counties such as Cole County more than $100,000. Unfortunately, when the bill is sent back to the smaller county to pay, they don't have the funds to do so. This is not only a problem for Cole County, it is a problem for a lot of the counties of our size that are situated between small counties. It also addresses the problem of small counties' inability to seek the death penalty. Some counties at the moment simply cannot afford to ask for the death sentence because win, lose or draw, it would basically bankrupt the county.
House Bill 1332 is a cleanup bill addressing an oversight that has occurred in prior legislation dealing with pre-trial release and use of electronic monitoring. Presently, if someone attempts to destroy the ankle bracelet or damage it, it is a crime. However, it is not necessary for one to destroy their ankle monitor since they can simply let the battery die and face no consequences. We are adding provisions that require anyone ordered to wear an ankle monitor to maintain the charge of it so we do not expend court time and law enforcement time to find individuals to ensure they aren't violating the terms of their release.
We are in the process of filing a bill authorizing a school board to be subdivided into districts with school board members coming from each district. While in smaller districts it may not be an issue, in districts where there are 30,000-40,000 constituents, there should be an option to subdivide the district for more individualized representation. The important part of this bill is it does not mandate anything. It just gives school boards the authority to set up districts if they so choose. I have no intention of mandating my views on any school board. It is simply giving them the opportunity to address the issues. We already have some bills being introduced for some school districts mandating that they be divided into districts, and this is an attempt also to let the school boards and local constituents decide how their district should be run.
A bill dealing with the decision-making within limited liability corporations will be introduced. In their founding documents, some LLCs do not presently address what happens when LLC partners cannot agree on a course of conduct. More and more, people are setting up their own LLCs that may or may not have the proper language in to deal with disagreements on courses of conduct, leading to issues down the road. This bill will not inhibit people from putting whatever language they want in their LLCs founding documents, but it will simply provide a method for our courts to resolve dissolutions where the founding documents do not address the matter and the partners cannot agree. Such a procedure exists for corporations in our state and other states, but it has not yet been adopted for LLCs.
In addition, I am on the Judicial Committee, Economic Developmental Committee, Special Committee on Aging, Consent and Home Procedures Committee and Special Government Oversight Committee. There are numerous bills in front of them that will need to be studied and addressed.
As you can see from the bills I introduce, one of my roles is to come up with practical solutions for everyday problems and issues. I have constituents with other issues to be addressed. However, not every issue can be resolved with legislation. While I work with my constituents to try to find other solutions, which is part of my job, I cannot just file a bill because a problem exists.
Thank you for your patience, your support and ideas. Whoever your representative or senator is, certainly keep reminding them we need to address infrastructure, workforce development and initiative petitions on constitutional amendments. These are issues that need to be addressed, and we cannot continue to ignore them because the consequences could be very severe for future budgets and future generations.
State Rep. Rudy Veit, R-Jefferson City, represents the Missouri's 59th House District, and shares his perspective on statehouse issues twice a month.