At the Capitol, we’re gearing up to start the 2023 session, and it’s been busy. In a moment, we’ll talk about things happening at the Capitol, but first, my family and I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and very happy holidays!
Christmas has always been a favorite holiday in the Evans’ home (our home for six generations), celebrating family and fellowship and the birth of our Lord.  Sandy and I are especially excited this year because all of the kids will be returning to celebrate this holiday season together.
As a family, we have always enjoyed Christmas--the special holiday music (Little Drummer Boy my favorite),  the lights and decorations,  big meals, and of course, giving special gifts. One of our favorite traditions is to read Luke 2, verses 1-14   (King James version) before going to bed Christmas Eve, something that my family has done together as long as I can remember. We all have different traditions at this time of year and  hope your holidays will bring many blessings and good memories.
Locally, if you have seen me gimping around the last few weeks, it’s because I had a right knee replacement.  Way back when in high school, I had a severe football injury to my knee, and it’s been getting weaker over time.  The joint is already stronger than it was before surgery.  Thanks for your thoughts and prayers -- it has helped.
Turning to news from the Capitol, I’ve moved into a new office on the third floor (Room 302-1) across from the House Chambers and next door to my friend, Jon Patterson.  Jon is our newly elected Republican floor leader of the Missouri House and is also a medical doctor (surgeon) from Kansas City.  I think he’ll do a great job helping lead the Republican party in our state.
Dean Plocher is moving out of the floor leader’s office and around the corner to the Speaker’s office.  Dean has been elected as our new Republican Speaker of the Missouri House.  He is off to a fast start on next year’s session as well.  Dean is a hard worker and fantastic guy, and we expect him to be a rock solid leader.
This fall, Dean appointed me to chair a work group to help revise the Missouri House operating rules governing the day to day operations of the House.  The work group has had several goals.  First, we continue to fight the influence of third parties (lobbyists) on our government.  Next, we also are committed to eliminating omnibus bills (very large bills with multiple subjects), as well as reducing the total number of bills and amendments filed in the Missouri House.  All of these things lead to unnecessary, excessive, and often confusing laws.  Not counting amendments, more than 1,500 bills were filed last year in the Missouri House (one of the highest numbers in the country).  Agreeing with our founding fathers, too much government is never in the long run a good thing.  We plan on doing better.
Missouri House priorities for this coming year will include additional tax cuts. I’ll be refiling my bill to eliminate all taxes on Social Security retirement and disability income.  I’m hopeful that we can also see across the board income tax cuts helping lower income families as well as the elderly. With constantly rising prices, it’s been tough for a lot of folks just to get by. Returning tax money when we can makes good sense.    
We’ll also be working on initiative petition reform,  fairness in athletics, and bail reform.  As constitutionally mandated, we have already started work on a balanced state budget. Although not appointed until early this coming year, I expect to be reappointed to the Budget Committee as well as Chair of the Judiciary Committee.  We’ll dig deeper into other pending bills in upcoming Reports as the new session gets going.
If you have a chance, please also welcome my new Legislative Assistant (LA), Becky Connell.  You can visit with her at the same numbers listed below.  Although I’ll be in a different office, the other contact numbers haven’t changed.
Again, 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 Becky at my office at 573-751-1455, or email my office at   
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Howell County News

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