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27 January 2012

Lichtenegger: Frugality Increases In House

The leaders of the House of Representative continue to look for ways to address the state’s budget short fall and save Missourians money. This week they announced Thursday to be a technical House session only. This will save the state thousands of dollars this week because House members’ per-diem will be reduced by one day. This technical session should not significantly affect the legislative process this early in session because most bills currently are in the committee / public hearing phase. As the 2012 session progresses and the House Calendar fills with debatable bills the Monday through Thursday schedule will most likely be kept. We continue to believe that if we as legislators are asking our fellow citizens to tighten their belts, we should do no less.

I and my office continue to exercise frugality in all our resources. Thus far this fiscal year I have spent less than one-fourth of my allowable expense account. At the end of the state’s fiscal year, I expect to return to the House-Member-account-funds a significant amount of money. But I’m only one person; we all should look for ways in which we can do-without -at least during these economic tough times.

Wednesday HB 1135 passed the House and was reported to the Senate. This bill is expected to improve transparency by mandating reviews of administrative rules. Government on any level will over time have rules that become outdated or obsolete. Periodic reviews will ensure that all agency rules are efficient and effective.

Currently state agency rules can remain in force indefinitely. House Bill 1135 also requires all administrative rules to sunset after 10 years. The sunset provision will force all rules to submit to a public comment process, giving citizens a voice in how our state departments function. Most taxpayers feel that now, more than ever, all governments – from local municipalities to the federal level- should not only be as lean and efficient, but also transparent and accountable.

Please be informed regarding a correction to last week’s Capitol Report about HB 1140. Last week it passed out of House Rules. This week on Wednesday, January 25, it passed out of the House and was reported to the Senate. My apologies for the error.

Constituent Corner

I want you to be aware of an opportunity for small business owners in Southeast Missouri to participate in a program called Fast Trac® Growth Venture. It is a free, comprehensive 10–session program beginning Wednesday, February 8 at the University of Missouri Cape Girardeau County extension office. For more information call 243-3581, by February 6. Call now; seats are limited. Participants will also receive a free fiscal business analysis of their company. This program has been made possible by a grant from the Delta Regional Authority.

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