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27 January 2012

Lampe: Springfield-Branson Area Leaders Make Jeff City Feel Like Home

I never feel more at home in the Capitol than when I am surrounded by the fine community leaders, business owners, and people of Southwest Missouri. Wednesday was the annual Springfield-Branson Salute and trip to Jefferson City. The people of Southwest Missouri breathed life into the building, and it was exciting to see so many friendly faces in the halls and chamber.

The Springfield-Branson Salute also gave us the chance to showcase how wonderful our area is. Springfield is home to the largest accredited school district in the entire state. In a time when economic development and growth is slow, Springfield boasts the fastest-growing metropolitan area. The beauty and culture of Southwest Missouri makes it one of the most appealing tourism areas in the state, and one of the most attractive places to raise a family. It is no wonder that I am proud to be from Springfield. I applaud all of my neighbors and friends for ensuring that our community is a strong and thriving beacon of opportunity.

Elementary and Secondary Education Committee

The House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee met on January 25 to hear HB 1228. The bill expands the authority for charter schools to cover the entire state, expand the list of entities allowed to sponsor charter schools, create a statewide chartering commission and make several changes designed to improve the accountability and transparency of charter sponsors and charter schools. I want to encourage you to read this bill and give me your feedback.

The House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee also heard HB 1174. The bill revises the law regarding the timelines and options for State Board intervention when it classifies a district as unaccredited. The bill would allow the State Board to conduct a hearing regarding the status of the district at any time after the district is classified as unaccredited. Current law requires the State Board to intervene when a district has been classified as unaccredited for two full years, and for districts other than St. Louis Public Schools, requires the State Board to lapse the district. Springfield Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Norm Ridder, testified before the committee on this legislation. He did a wonderful job of providing useful information for the committee.

On the Floor this Week

Two bills were passed on the House Floor. These bills were HB1135, the state administrative rules review, and HB 1140, the Missouri Accountability Portal.

HB 1135: This bill authorizes the Secretary of State to make non-substantive changes to the Code of State Regulations to update the agency's name, address, phone, or website information which are needed because of statutory changes or executive orders. Within 60 days after receipt by an agency of a written petition filed by an individual requesting it to adopt, amend, or repeal a rule, the bill requires the agency to submit a written response to the petitioner and a copy of the response to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and the Commissioner of Administration containing its determination, along with a concise summary of the basis for its determination. This bill also outlines when rules should be terminated.

HB 1140: This bill requires the Office of Administration to maintain public school and municipal and county government accountability information on the Missouri Accountability Portal. School districts and public charter schools must annually collect and submit detailed employee compensation data and the district's annual operating budget and bonded indebtedness to the Office of Administration for inclusion.

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