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15 September 2011

Denison: Special Session Update, Interim Committee on Criminal Justice System Formed

“It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves.” – Francois De La Rochefoucauld

Special Session Update

The House made quick and efficient work of the bills set before us during the special legislative session. Members met last Thursday to complete committee work on the bills and then convened Friday for session to approve the bills and send them to the Senate. The bills dealing with disaster relief funding, tax amnesty, the presidential primary and local control of the St. Louis Police Department received strong bipartisan support and moved through the process with little debate. They now await approval on the other side of the building where the economic development package that is the key piece of the legislative session has run into several snags. As I have mentioned in previous reports, the House and Senate reached a deal on the economic development package that would achieve cost savings in existing tax credit programs in order to fund new credits to help encourage job growth in Missouri. That deal now appears to be dead as the Senate has approved legislation that bears little resemblance to the bill agreed to by House and Senate leaders. The House will have a chance to work on the bill in the coming days. I will keep you updated as we do our best to create a fiscally responsible package that will create good-paying jobs for Missourians.

Annual Veto Session Held

In the midst of the special legislative session, the House convened for a constitutionally-mandated session to consider legislation passed by the General Assembly, but vetoed by the governor. The annual veto session offers the House and Senate an opportunity to enact vetoed bills into law by overriding the governor’s veto. To override a veto, the motion must be approved by two-thirds of the majority of both the house and the senate.

In total, the governor vetoed eight House bills approved by the Missouri General Assembly and used a line item veto for one budget bill. The governor also vetoed six Senate bills. The House and Senate moved quickly during the regular session to override the governor’s veto on legislation that redraws Missouri’s congressional districts. During the veto session, the House and Senate chose not to attempt overrides of any of the other vetoed bills.

Interim Committee Will Look At Missouri’s Criminal Justice System

Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley has formed a new committee to assess the effectiveness of the state’s current criminal justice system. Committee members will meet four times in the coming weeks to take a closer look at issues ranging from prison population to recidivism rates to current sentencing laws. The committee’s goal is to find ways to improve public safety while also safeguarding taxpayer dollars. Members will consider options such as utilizing rehabilitation programs for nonviolent offenders rather than sending them to prison. State correctional facilities currently hold more than 30,000 inmates and the annual budget for the Department of Corrections is approximately $660 million. Finding ways to reduce the overall prison population and cost to taxpayers will be key goals of the committee.

In the District

Following is the work being accomplished this week on two of the road construction projects in Springfield. The information is from MoDOT:

Route 60/65 Interchange Reconstruction, Springfield

  • Rehabilitating deck of eastbound Route 60 bridge over Lake Springfield
  • Building crossovers in median of Route 65 on either side of Route 60 between old northbound lanes and southbound lanes
  • Grading rock and dirt to build new westbound lanes of Route 60 leading to new bridge over railroad tracks west of Route 65
  • Building columns for new eastbound and westbound Route 60 bridges over railroad tracks west of Route 65

Route 65 Soundwall Project, Springfield

  • Pouring concrete for soundwall footings on west side of Route 65 between Route 60 and Battlefield Road
  • Dirt work along southbound lanes of Route 65 near Route 60

Interim Office Hours

Interim office hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Normal schedule will resume December 1, 2011. If you need to call me at home, my number is 417-887-3353.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Best wishes.

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