Capitol Report

This week has been the annual spring break for our Missouri general assembly, and a time to visit with family and friends before returning to Jefferson City. Sandy and I have been spending time with grandkids, and we’ve had a great time. Being parents is one of the highlights of our lives, but being grandparents is even more fun. 
When we go back to the Capitol, the House will be finalizing and voting on the final House version of the state budget. Once approved in the House, the budget is sent to the Senate for their review. The federal government has again approved additional stimulus funds for state and local governments, and appropriating how that money should be spent will be an ongoing process as new rules come down from the Feds. Certainly, additional federal dollars can help stimulate local economies, but it’s also a big concern that the growing federal deficit will soon become too great a burden for our children and our children’s children to someday face. Fortunately, our state constitution requires Missouri to balance its budget each year helping keep our state economy strong. It’s too bad that our federal constitution doesn’t have a similar restriction on spending.
This past week, the House passed HB 257. This is a bill that I sponsored, but the idea came from a local resident. From a local Head Start bus driver, I learned about a glitch in Missouri law. Missouri drivers are required to stop for a stopped K-12 school bus displaying proper lights and signage, but that same law does not apply to identical Head Start buses. Practically, this means that drivers are not required to stop for Head Start buses displaying the same lights and signage. 
I’ve worked with the Head Start folks across the state for the last couple of years to close this loophole to better protect all of our young bus passengers. I think this bill has a good chance of getting out of the Senate and being approved by the Governor this year. I apologize to the person who pointed out this problem with our law because I cannot find my original notes with your name and number. Please call or email me with your name and number so that I can recognize you for your great idea.
I will also highlight HB 1416 that fellow representative John Black and I drafted, and he filed. It’s known as the Fundamental Freedom from Government Act. The intent of this bill is to provide Missouri citizens greater protections for fundamental 1st and 2nd Amendment rights of religious freedom and right to bear arms. The bill was heard in the House Judiciary Committee this past week, and is scheduled for final Judiciary Committee review and vote on Wednesday March 23, at 5 pm. Please check it out.
In close, I’ve been asked to comment about the COVID pandemic. Locally and across Missouri, the statistics are increasingly looking much better. In Howell County, we have gone from a countywide high of over 50 new cases per day to averging less than 10 new cases per day. As of the date this report was filed, Howell County had less than 20 new cases reported in the last week. We still have a ways to go, but things are improving. 
The local vaccine rollout has been one of the smoothest in the state. In Missouri, the COVID vaccine is not being mandated, but local residents have already taken advantage of the free vaccine. Over 8,500 vaccinations have been given in Howell County. Overwhelmingly, I’ve received positive reports of the great job our local officials have been doing in organizing the vaccination clinics. 
Please let me know If you have other concerns and suggestions. I look forward to continuing to represent your common sense, conservative values. If you would like to schedule a specific time to meet locally, please call my office at 573-751-1455, or email my office at

Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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