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03 November 2011

Mayer: Special Session Wrap-up, Natural Disaster Recovery and District News

Last week we ended the special session called by the governor that began Sept. 6. We understand the importance of working together to address Missouri's high unemployment rate and an on-going budget crisis. That is why the Senate worked diligently to pass an economic development bill coupled with tax credit reform that both Republicans and Democrats supported the first week of special session. The bill would have saved taxpayers nearly $1 billion over 15 years while securing the future of innovative and financially responsible tax incentive programs to help keep and bring jobs and businesses to Missouri. Unfortunately, the House and Senate could not philosophically see eye-to-eye on all the components of this massive bill.

While I am disappointed that economic development/tax credit reform legislation did not become law this special session, I believe we will continue to move forward with earnest and fruitful discussions to identify solid public policy protecting Missouri taxpayers in the coming months — with meaningful legislation in 2012 as the result.

During special session we passed two bills that were signed by the governor. With an objective to clear up confusion displayed by concerned parties, SB 1 requires school districts to submit written policies concerning student-employee communication by March 1, 2012, with emphasis on the district’s stance regarding the use of electronic media and the Internet for communication. The goals of these policies are to prevent inappropriate communication from occurring between school employees and children.

Another special session bill to receive the governor’s stamp of approval is SB 7, that I sponsored. With a purpose to attract science and innovation companies to Missouri, this bill creates the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, popularly known as MOSIRA.

Look for legislation pre-filed by lawmakers for the 2012 Regular Session to become available Dec. 1 on the Missouri Senate website.

This interim, in response to the many natural disasters our state witnessed this year, I created the Senate Interim Committee on Natural Disaster Recovery to identify the best ways we can legislatively and financially assist our state in recovery efforts. Three subcommittees focused on emergency, fiscal, and insurance response and held hearings across the state.

The Subcommittee on Emergency Response had the responsibility of focusing on the physical response to a natural disaster, such as disaster relief, emergency crews, and utility crews. The Fiscal Response Subcommittee explored who pays for cleanup and care of affected areas until the vicinity can resume productivity. The Subcommittee on Insurance Response assumed the task of examining how impacted individuals and businesses file insurance claims and how those claims are addressed by insurance companies, as well as the qualities that define a disaster in order for insurance companies to provide compensation. The final report detailing the committee’s work is available online here.

Last week I appointed Mr. Brett Dorton of Dexter to serve on the Joint Interim Committee on State Employee Wages. Mr. Dorton is one of two citizens selected to serve on the panel. Attracting and maintaining a talented and dedicated workforce is essential to providing critical state services to our citizens. I believe Mr. Dorton’s background in the private banking industry will provide the panel with beneficial information on how to develop strategies for providing fair wages and benefit packages to Missouri’s state employees. Members of the panel are responsible for comparing the wages of Missouri state employees to other state employees throughout the country, studying and developing strategies for increasing the wages of Missouri’s state employees, and reporting its findings to the House and Senate budget committees by Dec. 31, 2011.

I also had the honor of helping pay tribute at the memorial highway naming and sign dedication for State Representative Otto Bean, Jr. naming Highway 25 in Dunklin and Stoddard Counties from US 412 to Routes U and Z the Representative Otto Bean Jr. Memorial Highway. He was a dear friend, wonderful person and dedicated representative and it was fitting that we gathered to dedicate this token of our district’s admiration for his life and service. It’s a special honor and I am glad each time I pass by these signs, I and so many others will remember this great man. To learn more about the tribute or watch video from the event click here.

I was also happy to join in the Mid-America Express event in late August to celebrate the completion of the Route 67 project. The project included upgrading the route to four lanes from north of Poplar Bluff to Fredericktown in Madison County. To learn more about the project or see photos and video from the event click here.

I will continue to keep you apprised of issues important to the people of the 25th Senatorial District and all Missourians. Please feel free to contact me throughout the year with any comments or questions using the information listed below and on my website at

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