FROM THE CAPITOL
Wed, 01/18/2023 - 4:44pm admin
At the Capitol, we’ve been sworn into office and are starting the 2023 Session. A lot of family and friends traveled up in support of the public swearing-in ceremonies and we had a great time. I thank everyone for the honor of serving your interests in my third two-year term.
I have moved into a new office (Room 302-1), and I hope you’ll stop by and visit. his new office is easier to find and is on on the third floor (front door side) of the Capitol and just across from the side entrance to the House floor. I would be honored by a visit.
I’m very fortunate to be assigned to such a nice space. However, it was funny to learn yesterday that my office started out as the thrid floor men’s toilet. The Capitol was rebuilt after a fire roughly 100 years ago, and the space remained the mens’ toilet until it was remade into a office around 25 years ago.
As I was sitting in the office today, I received my new committee assignments. My two leading committees are Judiciary and Budget. I’ve been assigned by new Missouri Speaker of the House Dean Plocher to again serve as Chair of Judiciary and Vice-chair of the Subcommittee for budget appropriations covering Public Safety, Corrections, Transportation, and Revenue. I was also appointed to the House Ethics Committee, the Consent and House Procedures Committee, and the House Rules Committee. Additionally, at end of the year, I was appointed by the outgoing Speaker to the statewide Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission.
I expect a few other committee assignments shortly. It’s great staying busy.
As mentioned in an earlier Capitol Report, I was also assigned last summer by our Republican caucus to lead a strategy work group. Agreeing with our founding fathers that too much government is never a good thing in the long run, we set priorities, including: 1) reducing the size of government and beauracracy, 2) fighting the influence of lobbyists, and 3) increasing transparency.
Contrary to what many lobbyists argue, there is no constitutional right to big government. Our founding fathers recognized that one of the greatest ongoing threats to our country (and to individual rights and liberties) is government itself. Our Constitution was written to check and limit everything politicians do, not the opposite, but sadly government has continued to grow.
However, I am pleased to report that we have taken a step forward in limiting the growth of state government. Now, by Rule in the Missouri House, representatives are limited in the total number of bills any person can file in a single session. The new rule limits individual bill filings to 20 per year. I think that number is too high, but it’s a start.
Since 2001, new bill filings in the Missouri House have rocketed up to an all-time high of 2,256 new bills being filed just this past year. What causes this booming business of new bills? I strongly believe this explosion is caused by big money special interests promoting their own bottom line or their own special political agenda.
As set by our Missouri Constitution, regular session in Missouri runs from January through May. In that limited time, we simply do not have the time to properly “vet” thousands of bills each year, and it is not possible (and a bad idea in general) to simply pass every bill filed.
To properly vet a bill means to shine a public light on each bill (to be transparent). It means getting public input, conducting public hearings, and holding public debate, and then fixing things before passing a bad law. I will continue to fight for limited and more transparent government. We must do better.
I would like to conclude this Report with a tribute to a lifelong family friend, Laurel Thompson, who recently passed into the hands of our Lord. Always serving humbly, Laurel worked tirelessly to help his community. Like his voice, Laurel’s life was full of humor, vitality, kindness, and intelligence.
Laurel had a distinctive voice that once heard was always remembered. As a radio announce for three decades, he became well known as the “Voice of the Ozarks.” His sports announcing had a special way of drawing listeners into the beating heart of each game.
To his family, he was a great husband, father, and grandfather. To many across the Ozarks, he was a close friend. His bright smile, great stories, and good advice will never be forgotten.
Again, thank you for the ongoing honor of 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 email@example.com.
Missouri State Representative