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10 February 2012

Neth: Lots Of Visitors, Meetings, Floor Action To Start February

Op, note: House Bill 1104 is misidentified as House Bill 1140. HB1140 requires the Office of Administration to include certain school, municipal and county records on the Missouri Accountability Portal.
A very busy week. Lots more floor action and lots of meetings and visitors.

On any given day, I have meetings pre-scheduled on my calendar. Of course there is the normal session time each day, but we never know how long it might go so that can throw off the schedule. In addition, there are people and groups that come by my office to discuss issues hoping to catch me in my office or be available. I certainly do my best to meet with everyone I can, but there does come a point at times.

For example, on Tuesday, I had meetings go throughout the lunch hour. It got to about 2:30, people were still coming by and I finally had to tell my assistant to close my door, hold anyone off for at least 15 minutes and I hit the snacks I have in my office. Certainly no complaints- just a snapshot of a little life in the Capitol.

Have a great weekend!


Update on Legislation

Student lead effort

This week I filed HJR 75 that would allow 17 year old citizens to vote in certain elections if they will be 18 at the the time of the election. This effort was initiated by the AP Government classes at Libety High School and Liberty North High School taught by Kurt Gates. In a prior Capitol Report I went into detail on the effort.

The students have been active in contacting my colleagues in support of this issue and were able to get several co-sponsors for it. At this point, I am asking for a hearing in the Elections Committee (which I am on). I hope to confirm in the next week or so if I will be able to get a hearing and hope to get some of the students to Jefferson City to testify on behalf of the bill.

I have discussed the bill with the Elections Committee chairman and expect to have a hearing on the bill in the next few weeks. We hope to get a few students to come to Jefferson City to testify on its behalf.

Visitors to the Capitol

Lori Streu and her sons Nathan and Garrett came to the Capitol for a visit and tour. Their main purpose was to meet a requirement for Nathans for Boy Scouts. They spend some time in the Chamber seeing the action of the House and then taking a tour of the building. An interesting thing to note is that Lori's grandfather was a legislator in Nebraska.

Marvin Weishaar and Steve Potter stopped by on behalf of Mid Continent Public Library.

This Week in Committee

Elections Committee:

HB 1340 (Hearing): This Bill addresses the issue of vacancies in the offices of County Clerk, Collector, and Assessor and how those offices may be filled. This bill also addresses vacancies with the county Auditor which has been an issue in Clay County before.

HCS HB 1059: Changes the required percentage necessary to initiate a recount of the votes cast in an election. Voted Do Pass Consent (10-0)

HCS HB 1106: Changes the laws regarding county collectors and collector-treasurers. Voted Do Pass Consent (9-1)

HCS HB 1457: Requires a candidate for county treasurer to file a signed affidavit stating that the candidate meets the minimum bond requirements for the office of county treasurer. Voted Do Pass Consent (9-0)

HCS HB 1442: Fills a vacancy in the office of United States Senator, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Auditor, or State Treasurer by appointment by the Governor with the rule that the person appointed cannot run for that office at the next election. Voted Do Pass (7-3)

HCS HJR 41: Proposes a constitutional amendment modifying term limits. It would allow someone to serve in the General Assembly for a total of 16 years total in any combination of the House and the Senate. Currently it is limited to 8 years in one and 8 in the other. Still a total of 16 years potentially. (9-1)

Elementary and Secondary Education

HCS HB 1228: Specifies that a student at certain institutions of higher education has the right to record public classroom lectures for his or her personal use. Voted Do Pass (14-4)

Emerging Issues in Animal Agriculture

HCS HB 1444: Prohibits the sterilization, adoption, euthanasia, or other disposal of animals seized or removed from an owner until final disposition of the charges against the owner. Voted Do pass, with amendments.

HCS HJR 61: Proposes a constitutional amendment affirming the right of persons to raise livestock in a humane manner without the state imposing an undue economic burden on their owners. Voted Do Pass (12-0) with amendments

This Week on the House Floor

The following bills were passed out of the House:

HCS HB 1140: Changes the laws regarding elections by requiring a voter to provide photo identification. Passed out of the House.

HB 1219: The would change Missouri law regarding discrimination law and whistleblower protection.

HB 1311: Authorizes a state and local sales and use tax exemption on items related to data storage centers and server farm facilities

Comments on Legislation

I supported HB 1140, voter photo ID and HB 1311 related to Data Centers. The former is supported by a large part of my district and I support personally. The latter is a huge deal for our area given the large amount of underground space available. This is not a give away in my opinion. It has strict limits and requirements for any businesses that would use the program to locate in Missouri.

As I did last year as well, I voted against HB 1219, which related to employment discrimination and whistleblower protection. In my opinion it watered down our discrimination laws and would water down the right to trial by jury. In terms of Whistleblower protection it lessened it by making the it a high bar of proof for anyone who might potentially need that protection. I and 12 other members of the majority voted against our fellow caucus members on this. Not an easy thing to do, but an important line to hold.

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