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09 August 2011

Hoskins: Dog Days Of Summer Continue, General Assembly Redistricting

Although it is just now August, the dog days of summer have been with us for way too long. We in Johnson County know that dog is man’s best friend, but this is really too much. Unfortunately, I’m not telling you anything new if I talk about this hot, humid summer so I’ll leave that alone. One thing I can say is thank goodness for air conditioning.

Typically, I only issue a Capitol Report when I’ve actually been at the Capitol. I’m not in Jefferson City these days since this is the interim session but there are several things I want to cover with you that I think justify sending one out. I hope you’ll agree. Since I send all these Capitol Reports electronically by email, then my Capitol Reports don’t really have a direct cost since there is no expense in the cost of delivery. I realize not everybody has email but I sure appreciate being able to use this as a cost effective tool to communicate with my constituents.

So let’s jump right in here to the things I want to share with you today.

Additional Committee Appointments

Since the legislature adjourned in May, Speaker Steve Tilley has made new committee appointments. I continue to serve on Budget, Appropriations for Transportation & Economic Development, Higher Education, Veterans, and Renewable Energy so these are additional duties.

My training as a CPA gives me special insight into seeing past the smoke and mirrors. That is a critical reason Speaker Tilley appointed me to serve on the Interim Committee on Budget Transparency plus the Joint Committee on Transportation. I have long touted the importance to publically report how our state’s funds are being expended. Because of Johnson County’s strategic location at a major highway crossroads and being bisected by the state’s primary east-west railway line, I bring a good knowledge base to this table, too. I am hopeful both of these committees will provide additional information for my Appropriations Committee and the House Budget Committee to use in consideration of the next fiscal year’s budget.

Redistricting Process

The Missouri House Redistricting Commission has been meeting to collect input on the most appropriate way to draw the boundaries for the House legislative districts. Violet Corbett from Johnson County was appointed to serve on this commission. There are two major proposals being considered offered by each of the two primary political parties. The Commission has been collecting comments regarding those plans to use in the development of the final map it will present to Governor Nixon. I don’t expect the Commission to adopt either the Republican or the Democratic plan in entirety.

I submitted a letter to the Commission expressing what I consider to be in the best interest for our county and Johnson County’s communities. Actually, I concentrated my comments to the Commission on impacts specific to Johnson County. The Democratic Plan proposes to divide Johnson County into four different House districts. Under that plan, the City of Warrensburg would be divided into two separate districts, too. I don’t think the current representation we have for Johnson County has problems. The Republican Proposal would essentially keep Johnson County pretty much the same as it is now with three House districts and Warrensburg with a single representative. Why fix what isn’t broken?

I’m looking forward to the final map the Commission will submit. I am especially hopeful it will result in a good plan for Johnson County.

Special Session

Our primary objective in the last legislative session was economic development especially as it relates to jobs. Due to complications of a threatened gubernatorial veto, the legislature was unable to accomplish all we had set out to do. Now Governor Nixon has announced that he plans to call the legislature back for a special session to address economic development. There is also speculation that discussions regarding the presidential primary might also be included. The only issues that can be addressed during a special session are those agenda items specifically named by the governor. Neither the detailed agenda nor the dates have been released. The legislature comes back for the regularly scheduled veto session on September 14. If we have a special session, it will need to be prior to the veto session when we consider all bills the governor vetoed.

Whiteman Tour

Last Friday, it was my pleasure to showcase Whiteman Air Force Base to some of my legislative colleagues. There were 13 legislators plus their guests on the tour. Several of them brought their sons to see the inner workings at Whiteman. We had also planned to tour at the University of Central Missouri but the itinerary changed at the last minute. That day we had the first rain we’d seen in weeks so that caused us to lose the time we needed to go to UCM. We’ll head to UCM another time. My purpose in hosting this tour was to increase the level of knowledge of the impacts this key military installation and UCM have in our state. We in Johnson County know how important these two fine jewels are so I look forward to helping others know, too.

Ways to Keep in Contact

I consider communication with my constituents a high priority. My weekly Monday morning chat at 8:45 a.m. with Woody at KOKO Radio on AM 1450 is one of the best ways I’ve found for you to literally “hear” from me. During session or interim, tune in every Monday morning at 8:45 to hear the latest concerning District 121.

Please share this report with anyone you feel would be interested in this information. It is genuinely a privilege to serve as your state representative.

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