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20 January 2012

Ridgeway: The 2012 Session Begins

The 2012 legislative session in the Missouri Legislature has begun. Legislators who, for the past few months, have been working in their districts as well as working on Interim Committees and in special session will now be traveling to Jefferson City each week for regular session. From now until mid-May all Missouri House and Senate members will drive to the capitol each Monday. Legislative session and committee hearings are held Monday through Thursday. Additionally, meetings with various citizens will occur as people travel to the capitol to express their views on legislative proposals. Most legislators return home late Thursday afternoon. Fridays and weekends are usually reserved for meeting with constituents in their home district, catching up with our non-legislative jobs and of course, time with our family and church.

The biggest issue facing legislators will be gathering all information necessary to create a balanced state budget. Unlike the federal government in Washington, DC, the Missouri Constitution requires a balanced budget. I am grateful for this amendment as government should live within its means.

Missouri and the rest of the nation continue to struggle with high unemployment and a stagnant economy. Our state could be facing as much as a $700 million budget shortfall as federal funds came to an end while at the same time federally mandated spending continues to climb. In other words, Washington, DC has spent our nation into massive debt and now they are attempting to force their big spending ways on us here in state government. We simply must push back against this kind of control and manipulation by Washington, DC.

On a very positive note, there was a legislative prayer breakfast sponsored by one of Jefferson City’s local churches during the first week of session. Many House and Senate members, the Governor and various executive staff members and candidates and Supreme Court judges were in attendance. Concord Baptist Church did an excellent job with the prayer service. The service truly lifted up our state in prayer. The cornerstone scripture quoted was I Timothy 2:1-2*, the point of which is that it is incumbent upon the body of believers to hold up all persons in authority in prayer. I view it as part of my responsibility to pray for my district as ultimately the people are in charge in our representative republic. Please continue to pray for all of us in state, county, city and federal government as we face issues that are far beyond the sole capability of human wisdom.

I look forward to your continued input as this new session begins.

*I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives.
I Timothy 2:1-2, The Living Bible & Message Translations

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