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28 November 2011

Lant: No News From Jeff City The Best News To Report

Absolutely nothing was going on in Jefferson City last week which is probably the best news I could report. We are still awaiting word on the new District maps but the commission has until December 17 to announce them. I suspect that my district and Bill Reiboldts’ will change a little bit, but it probably won't be a drastic difference. Early in the process each political party was asked to submit their idea of what the districts should look like. The Republican map showed very little change, basically just adjusting for population growth. The Democrat map, however, put Bill Reiboldt, Myself, and Bill White all in the same district. That would sure be interesting!

I have been asked several times lately what bills I intend to prepare for next Session. So far I have been working on four rough drafts. I will resubmit the Funeral Protest Bill that the Governor vetoed. The bill provides that protestors must remain at least 200 feet away from a funeral home, church, cemetery, or line of procession for 2 hours before and 2 hours after the funeral. There is a provision for the protest assembly to be granted space outside the immediate area which should satisfy the "Freedom of Speech" question. I feel like it is only common courtesy to allow a grieving family the privacy to conduct last rites with the dignity the occasion dictates. The second bill I have been working on allows a tax credit for the installation of a storm shelter. There would be a limit on how much would be reimbursed and a cap on the total credit for any budget year. Although this appears to be a bill designated for Joplin, there is a lot of interest all over the state in storm shelters. I have been asked to submit a bill or an amendment to a bill that would allow the McDonald County Commissioners to place a question on the ballot that would allow a recreation tax to be levied to offset the additional cost of emergency services in the summer. It stands to reason that with the thousands of campers, rafters, tubers, etc. that descend upon the streams and rivers each summer, there is going to be an additional cost for providing emergency services to the area. It will be up to the county to set the amount and place the question on the ballot. Finally, I am preparing a proposal to allow an option for the payment of prevailing wage. This, by far will be the most controversial bill I am working on. The idea we are working on would require the Governor to trigger the application by designating a "Disaster Area". The governing body of the designated area, whether it be a local school board, a city council, or a county commission, would then decide whether or not to opt out of prevailing wages for the repair or rebuilding of the affected area. The bill has provisions to exempt the counties containing the largest metropolitan areas of the state. The only intention of this legislation is to allow as much as possible to be rebuilt for the least amount of money.

We are rapidly approaching the Christmas season and with it comes a lot of Parades and Celebrations. This is my favorite time of the year as I am able to visit with so many different people. It sometimes becomes a real trick to be at two or three parades in one day, but we will do our best. Speaking of celebrations, Bill Reiboldt and I are having a Reception for Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller. Shane has announced his candidacy for Secretary Of State and we wanted people in the area to have the chance to meet him and hear what he has to say. It will be held at the Lampo Building from 4:00 P.M. until 6:00 P.M. on Thursday the 8th. Come by for refreshments and good company!

I urge everyone to be extra cautious with all the Holiday Travel coming up. We will be making a lot more trips to town and traveling on busy streets and highways for the next few weeks. Please be extra careful as there are many, many distractions for everyone on the roads. More next week, until then I am and remain, in your service.

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