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19 January 2012

Torpey: Kickoff To Session 2012

As we wrap up the second week of session, I am happy to say that the House has hit the ground running this session. Through the course of this week, we heard the Governor give the State of the State Address, as well as Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Teitelman give the State of the Judiciary Address during a join session of the House and Senate. I go further into detail on the State of the State below; as for the State of the Judiciary, Judge Teitelman urged lawmakers to pass measures to reduce the number of people in prison for parole and probation violations. These changes could save the state $16.6 million over five years and reduce the state prison population. The legislature has been studiously reviewing such proposals relating to non-violent offenders since late last year. Being a member of the Appropriations of Public Safety and Corrections, as well as serving as Vice-Chair of the Interim Committee on Criminal Justice, I have found a niche in the corrections system; I look forward to discussing legislation that revamps our system, while saving the state money and holding violent offends accountable for their actions. We also heard a quite a bit of legislation on the floor this week, including Rep. Burlison’s HJR 43, the Taxpayer Protection Act which places smart limits on state appropriations. In short, this bill prohibits appropriations in any fiscal year from exceeding the total state general revenue appropriations for the current fiscal year that exceeds the level for Fiscal Year 2008. Although the week was cut short due to celebration of the great accomplishments by Martin Luther King, Jr., the House had a productive week of hearing and debating legislation, as well as laying out a plan for the rest of the session. I look forward to continuing this hard work and creating meaningful legislation for the state of Missouri.

Creating a Haven for Small Businesses

Partnering with MO SBTDC, PTAC, and Others

On January 3rd, I was introduced to a proposal which would create an entity entitled “MORE” or Missouri Opportunities and Resources for Entrepreneurs. By partnering with Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Centers (MO SBTDC) and Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, MORE will organize and oversee a seamless network of business assistance and support organizations with the mission of cultivating a climate of opportunity and support for Missouri businesses. Behind this proposal is the challenge that we have many organizations offering support to small businesses, but there is little coordination between these organizations, creating difficulty in regards to access. By creating a comprehensive, collaborative catalog of business support services, entrepreneurs and small business owners can easily access the information they need to grow and succeed. Throughout the coming weeks, I will be working with a few of my peers in the Missouri House to seemingly perfect this proposal in order to create a seamless,
successful entrepreneurial support network. I will be sure to keep you up-to-date.

Governor Nixon’s State of the State Address

On Tuesday evening, January 17th, Governor Nixon, the Missouri State Supreme Court Judges, statewide elected officials, the Missouri Senate and Missouri House welcomed the Governor for his annual State of the State Address. The theme of the address was “Missouri Moving Forward.” Governor Nixon addressed the promise of not increasing taxes, more cuts to government spending by reducing the payroll, and adding jobs to Missouri. Unfortunately these promises will lead to shortfalls elsewhere. The Governor targeted higher education, proposing cuts in their budget of nearly 13%. There is major concern that these cuts could lead to universities raising their tuitions significantly. Nixon encouraged the universities to “cut overhead and administrative costs and to run smarter, more efficient operations.” Senator Kurt Schaefer and Representative Tim Jones were given the opportunity to deliver the Republican response to the State of the State which you can view here:

Sponsored Legislation

  • HB1214 (sponsor)—Establishes the Missouri Entrepreneur Resources Virtual Network to provide resources for the development of businesses; referred to the Committee on Small Business
  • HB 1317 (co-sponsor)—Expands the crime of child abuse to include shaken baby syndrome
  • HB 1334 (co-sponsor)—Establishes the Fair Fare Passenger Safety Act of 2012 which prohibits any person operating a motor vehicle for compensation and transporting passengers from using a hand-held wireless communication device
  • HB 1399 (co-sponsor)—Requires the injection of therapeutic substances around the spine or spinal cord for the treatment of pain syndromes by certain methods be performed only by a licensed physician
  • You can find further information on these bills via the House

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