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13 January 2012

Neth: Letting 17-Year-Olds Vote In Primaries Among Proposed Legislation

The first full week of session is complete. There is not a lot of official activity going on yet as it takes some time for many things to formally get going, such as bills being referred to committees and things to debate on the House floor. However, that does not mean that meaningful things are not going on.

I have spent a lot of time talking to numerous people about the issues that I will be most involved in this year. Many times it is these types of conversations and relationships that one builds on to be successful in anything one might do during the session. I always say that the most important thing to success in the political realm is the good relationships one builds in order come to consensus.

Listed below are the bills that I plan on sponsoring. This is not to say that there might not be others, but these are the things I currently have working. In addition, one thing that many people don't realize is that most of the time individual bills do not get done by themselves. Usually there is just not enough time to get through all the bills that are offered. Many time bills are made into amendments that are added to other similar bills in order to get done. So for those things that I support I continually work to find a place for it so I can ensure it gets done in some form.

I know I have been seen, heard and quoted some lately in the press regarding the Kansas City School District and its future. As things are still a little fluid there I'm not ready to give a full accounting of things quite yet. However, I am committed to ensuring that the kids in Kansas City do not lose any more years of learning due to the dysfunction of their adult leaders and that those actions do not negatively impact the surrounding districts.

Have a great weekend.

Martin Luther King Day Celebration

I will have the privilege of joining many others around the nation on Monday of being a part of an event celebrating Martin Luther King Day. William Jewell College will be holding an event at 10:00 AM on campus at Gano Chapel. I will making some brief remarks during the event. The featured speaker will be Patricia Okonta, a Liberty High School graduate.

Student Proposed Legislation

Local students work to get the law changed

I am preparing to file a bill later in the month that would put on the ballot a Constitutional change to allow 17 year olds the ability to vote in a primary election if they will be 18 at the time of the next General Election. This was brought to my attention by the AP Government classes at Liberty High School and Liberty North High School and their teacher Kurt Gates.

After much research on the part of the students and finding out that several other states allow this in some capacity I decided to support the students' efforts. Besides working to change existing law, it is proving to be a great lesson in the legislative process, both in theory and reality.

Currently, the students are contacting my fellow House members to let them know about the bill and to ask them to support or co-sponsor. I have talked to the classes about the best way to do that and good strategies. Once the bill is filed, I will hopefully get a hearing in Committee and have some students testify on behalf of the bill and then work some more on lobbying for the bill.

I have received many compliments already on the students' efforts and am receiving a lot of commitments for co-sponsors. Let me know your thoughts and I will pass it on to the students so they are aware of the feedback.

Planned Legislation 2012

Assault on a Police Animal Penalty

This came to my attention via Corporal Kendrick with the Clay county Sheriff's Department. In the current Missouri statute if a Police animal is intentionally assaulted it is a C misdemeanor. This legislation would change the penalty to an A misdemeanor.

Ball Room Dancing for credit in Schools

This would allow a school in Missouri to offer Ballroom, Square, or Country dancing to be taken as a class/course for physical education requirements. This effort is the result of efforts by 34th District resident Will Adams.

Private Contractor/Owner Payment Contracts

This Bill would create provisions meant to protect contractor payments. It puts in place safeguards to make sure expected payment is made and expected work is done when in the private sector. This matches the current requirement on public construction.

Allowing 17 year olds to vote in the Presidential Primary

This idea was put into motion with the help of Kurt Gates' AP Government Classes at Liberty High School and Liberty North High School. The Bill would allow voters who will be 18 years old by the November Elections of a Presidential voting year to vote in the Presidential primary at the age of 17 years old.

School Bonding increased Indebtedness

This would allow schools increase their bonded indebtedness as long as they meet set criteria.

Term Limits

Term limits would be set to a total of 16 years of time served in the House and Senate combined. Instead of being limited to eight in one and eight in the other, it can be all in one body or the other or any combination.

Grade Cut-Off Dates

This would establish that no school districts may establish a cut-off date for final grades that is more than two days before the last day of school, except for that of graduating seniors.

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