It’s been a busy fall at the Capitol.  As you have been reading, we have finished the Extraordinary Session called by Governor Mike Parson, and we’ll talk more about the interim session in a moment.
First, I’d like to focus on two new agenda items.  One is a very important ballot issue coming up soon in November that will, if approved, drastically change our Missouri Constitution by fully legalizing marijuana sales and expunging (destroying and closing thousands and thousands of individual records) of past illegal drug criminal convictions.  Please remember that this Amendment was wholly proposed and written not by state officials but by those proposing to sell more of what used to be called street drugs.   If you want to be “politically correct,” the terms “recreational drugs” and the “recreational drug industry” are now preferred as the correct terms to be used by these folks.   
As a general rule, I try not to tell people how they should vote on any issue because that is your constitutional right to decide, but it is a fair question to ask of your representative how he or she will vote.  This is a very important issue to me, and to me, it is a big fat “NO VOTE” on Amendment 3.
Amendment 3 will lead to more drug sales which is why the “recreational drug industry” is spending so much money to make sure Amendment 3 passes. 
I spent much of my career working as a trial judge addressing drug addictions and the crime that arises therefrom as well as trying to help both kids and adults in Drug Court.  There is no doubt in my mind that greater sales of marijuana will  lead to the greater availability of marijuana in our homes and ultimately into the hands of our children.  If Amendment 3 passes, our communities will be working harder to help fight even more addictions both among adults and especially among our children, and I just can’t support it.  This is your decision to decide.  Please vote.
On a new business item, I was recently appointed by Speaker of the Missouri House, Rob Vescovo, to a four-year term on the joint Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission.  This is a Commission created by Missouri Statute to provide advice and guidance to Missouri Courts on both public safety and fairness in the sentencing process on felony crimes. 
Many local folks have complained to me over the last several years that they believe the scales of justice have been unfairly tilted in favor of  convicted felons over the safety and protection of local communities and crime victims.  I’ll be working hard to rebalance that scale bringing back critically important victim and community safety issues to the sentencing process.   Other members of the statutory Commission include six members appointed by the Governor, two by the Supreme Court, one by the President Pro Tem of the Senate, and one by the Department of Corrections.
Finally, I’ll mention what we accomplished in Extraordinary Session.  This has been covered a lot by other media sources so I’ll be brief.  First, we passed a big across-the-board individual income tax rate cut.  Over several years, it will drop the individual tax rate down from 5.2 percent rate to eventually a 4.5 percentage rate (after future economic triggers are met).  
I will be working on an even higher tax cut next year targeting working families and seniors continuing to struggle with ongoing inflation. Some people are already complaining that further tax cuts will be too much, but I disagree.  In Missouri, we are required to balance our budget every year.  Unlike many states and the federal government, we have also been (and remain fiscally conservative) in our state spending.  Missouri remains among the few highest rated “AAA” bond states, and we now have built up the largest “rainy day” reserve fund in the history of our state.  We have about five billion dollars now set aside in reserves which is a mind-boggling number.  Much of this reserve is from federal COVID-type relief funds the federal government keeps handing out, but to the surprise of some, our state economy never went down during the pandemic but has continued to grow.  Our state income revenues are actually up over 18 percent this year over what was projected.  
In Extraordinary Session, we also passed a farmer protection bill requested by our Governor.  This bill extends several tax credits available to farmers, and expands a state loan program available for small farms.  This bill also contains language that Senator Karla Eslinger and I worked on (and I had the honor of writing) protecting and expanding the Missouri sales tax exemption for farm equipment.
Wrapping up for now. Thank you for the ongoing honor serving as your representative and speaking for your commonsense values. If you would like to schedule a specific time to meet locally or at the Capitol, please call my office at 573-751-1455, or email my office at   Please also note that I have a new Legislative Assistant, Becky Connell, and I’m sure that she would appreciate hearing from  you.
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