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07 February 2012

Sater: Visitors From Barry County, Budget Remains Top Concern

Greetings from your State Capitol. I don`t get too many guests from Barry County to the Capitol since it is a bit far to come, but was pleased to see a few good friends from the county last week! Cheryl Williams was here for a Land Title Association meeting, Stormy Holzman for a Realtors’ meeting and our county Commissioners for their state meeting. If you are in the area, my office can be used by you for a break, a place to hang your coat during your visit here, a place to get refreshments, and just a place to rest for a while. You can even bring your lunch and use my table. This is just as much your office as it is mine.

The Health Care Policy Committee that I Chair, has been going strong the last two weeks. I have had several bills presented so far this session. These bills include: 1) mandated oxygen readings for newborns, 2) breast cancer screening information on breast density, 3) the way hospitals are inspected by the state allowing accrediting agencies to do more of the inspections, 4) an abortion inducing drugs safety act, 5) a bill allowing school nurses to stock asthma rescue inhalers, and 6) a bill for a pharmacy’s right to stock drugs they want to stock. Each committee can pass a total of three bills out of committee, unless the bill is a consent bill. A consent bill is any bill that has been unanimously passed by vote with no opposition, and then voted a second time by consent without opposition. There has to be these two votes to pass the bill out consent; otherwise it is considered a slot bill. The pharmacy bill was the only consent bill so far. I will hold the other bills not passing as consent, and maybe combine them into one large bill.

We are working on several bills in the House. These include: 1) a voter ID bill, 2) a bill to sunset future state regulations after ten years subject to renewal, 3) a bill to require the Office of Administration to post compensation and budget information for school districts and municipal and county governments, and 4) legislation increasing the truck weight limit for hauling livestock and agricultural products statewide from 80,000 to 85,500 pounds except on interstate highways.

Although all of these bills are of importance, the budget is the most important issue we are working on at this time. Governor Nixon, in this year’s proposal, has cut college funding by 12.5% which is over $100 million dollars in General Revenue. This means Crowder College in Cassville will also receive this cut. The budget kept public school funding about the same as last year. The Higher Education cut would not be so bad if this was the first time, but it has been reduced by 5-6% the past 3 years. We will have much more discussion on the issue in the coming months.

I will be keeping you informed on issues coming before the House in future releases. Thank you for allowing me to serve. My Capitol Office is open now Monday through Friday and can be reached at (573) 751-1480. You can also call me at my home in Cassville (417/847-4661).

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