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13 January 2012

Schaefer: Appropriation Committee's First Meeting Of Session

This week marked the first hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Testimony was heard from representatives of the Department of Social Services, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Health and Senior Services, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Revenue.

We heard many moving comments, and I greatly appreciate the time, effort and dedication of those who attended and testified.

Starting Monday (1/9), I filed the following bills with the Senate:
  • Senate Bill 627 would allow the Director of the Office of Administration’s Division of Facilities Management, Design, and Construction to provide waste management services for any state agency except for those agencies designated in the constitution.
  • Senate Bill 628 would expand the number of detention facilities which qualify for the Inmate Security Fund. The money gained from this fund would be used to purchase information-sharing equipment that would allow inmates in short-term detention facilities to be identified and tracked within certain criminal justice systems.
  • Senate Bill 629 would affect tobacco product manufacturers that are not participating in the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement by requiring them to deposit money into an escrow fund. Money from these escrow funds would be appropriated to non-profit institutions to build research facilities and promote the research of tobacco-related illnesses.
  • Senate Bill 644 would ensure that our health care providers are reimbursed uniformly, regardless of the venue in which health services are provided.
  • Senate Bill 645 pertains to environmental permits and changes the timeframe of appeals made based on the decision of an environmental commission. This bill would remove the requirement that any actions filed in a court of law seeking judicial review by the Air Conservation Commission or Clean Water Commission must be made in the court of appeals rather than in the circuit court.
  • Senate Bill 651 relates to the licensing of home inspectors. If passed, this bill would require all home inspectors to apply for a license and complete a training program. This bill is important in order to ensure our homes are properly inspected by a certified and knowledgeable individual. This bill would take effect January 1, 2014.
On Wednesday (1/11), I spoke with representatives from various community colleges in the state of Missouri. My Senate colleagues and I discussed budget concerns with these dedicated individuals, while keeping in mind our mutual interest in sustaining quality education despite our limited state budget.

Beginning Jan. 18 at 8 a.m., the Appropriations Committee will hear public testimonies from the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, Department of Higher Education, Office of Administration, Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Conservation, Department of Economic Development, Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration, Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, Department of Public Safety, and Department of Corrections.

If you are interested in testifying on issues related to the above departments listed, please call the Appropriations staff at 866-475-6083 or email public{dot}testimony{at}senate{dot}mo{dot}gov. Positions to testify are limited, so contact as soon as possible. If you are scheduled to testify, please arrive before 8 a.m. in order to check in and find a seat.

If you have a specific question or need regarding issues other than the Legislature, my Community Service Directory will provide you with the information you need to contact the correct state department or individual to answer your question.

Thank you for your continued interest in the issues that affect the citizens of Boone and Randolph counties. If you have any questions or concerns throughout this session, please contact my office.

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