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29 March 2010

Schaefer: Senate Meets to Reboot MO, Legislation in Committee, Congratulating State Champions

This week, my colleagues and I held an all-day work session in the Senate to consider ways to "reboot" state government. In addition, several measures I sponsored are making their way through the legislative process, including a bill that addresses premarital agreements and legislation that strengthens the penalties for putting a child in danger.

Rebooting Missouri Government

Missourians have overwhelmingly responded to our request to submit their ideas for a more efficient state government by visiting the Senate's Rebooting Government website ( Ideas will continue to be accepted throughout the legislative session and may be made anonymously, if desired.

On Tuesday of this week, the Senate suspended normal debate and committee hearings to focus on ways make Missouri government more cost-efficient. Lawmakers were divided into eight groups of four senators to consider public opinion and agency recommendations on ways to streamline government in the current economic condition.

I chaired the group charged with discussing the area of Agriculture/Outdoors/Department of Natural Resources. Representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Conservation, and Department of Natural Resources met with our group to discuss ways to cut costs without crippling the agencies. We also read through e-mails submitted by Missourians from across the state regarding ideas to bring down the cost of government. By the end of the meeting, we agreed on five measures that would help alleviate costs and streamline agency functions without cutting jobs:
  1. One or two week rotated unpaid furloughs for every state employee, in lieu of lay-offs.
  2. Consolidation of laboratories.
  3. Combining certain boards and commissions.
  4. Comprehensive review of agency program fees to identify ways to make the program fully fee-funded instead of relying on General Revenue to subsidize the programs.
  5. Comprehensive review of federally required programs to determine if the administration of any programs can be returned to the federal government.

Committees Hearing Legislation

We continued work on many of my bills in committee this week. On Monday, two of my bills were heard in Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Senate Bill 998 enacts the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which closes any loopholes with regard to premarital agreements. Senate Bill 1004, also known as “Karra’s and Jocelyn’s Law,” increases the penalties for shaking a young child. More specifically, the bill makes endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree to be an unclassified felony with a prison term of 20 years or less when the person creates a substantial risk to the life of a child under the age of five.

On Wednesday, Senate Bill 886, which deals with plumbing codes, was heard in the Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee. Senate Bill 999 was voted do pass in the same committee. This bill introduces a job creation measure to developing 21st century manufacturing jobs. As data centers and other technology-focused jobs are created in the United States, Missouri (especially central Missouri) is in a position to lead the way in new and developing economic fields. These data centers could employ up to 200 full-time jobs and create thousands of construction positions for the 19th district.

Capitol Visitors

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of hosting lunch for the fourth grade class from Fairview Elementary School in Columbia. I certainly hope they enjoyed their visit to Jefferson City!

Senator Schaefer (center) with fourth graders from Fairview Elementary School in Columbia.

In addition, I want to extend my congratulations to the Sturgeon High School Boys Basketball team for winning the MSHSAA 2A State Basketball Championship last weekend. Well done on a great season!

Sturgeon High School Boys Basketball team, the 2010 MSHSAA 2A State Basketball Champions. (submitted photo)

Thank you for your continued interest in the issues that affect the citizens of Boone and Randolph counties. If you have any questions or concerns involving state government, please contact my office.

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