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Census Data Shows Growth in Southwest Missouri
Late last week, detailed population data for Missouri was released. The numbers show that Christian County is the fastest growing county in Missouri. Over the past 10 years, Christian County’s population has increased by 43 percent, nearing 78,000 people. The 7th Congressional District, which includes the area covered by the 20th State Senatorial District, is the largest congressional district in the state. This growth in our area shows that people are choosing to move to Southwest Missouri, and this speaks volumes for the quality of our communities. (More data is available at mcdc.missouri.edu.)
This data is used every 10 years for the task of redistricting. Even though Missouri’s population did see overall growth, it was not enough to retain our nine congressional seats. Between now and the end of the session, a new map of Missouri, split into eight congressional districts, will be created and approved by the Legislature. House and Senate redistricting committees are currently holding hearings throughout the state to get public input on the redistricting process. Two bipartisan commissions appointed by the governor will work on the task of redrawing the state’s 34 Senatorial districts and 163 House districts to reflect shifting populations.
Legislation Filed Before Senate Deadline
March 1 was the last day to file legislation in the Senate. A total of 433 bills were filed this session in the Senate, with more than 700 filed in the House (the deadline for filing bills in the House is April 1). While many of these bills may never reach the floor for debate in their current form, many of these provisions will be passed through amendments on bills that are moving through the process. As we continue our work this session, I will keep you posted on what legislation is moving successfully through the legislative process.
This week, I filed Senate Bill 387, legislation that would save the state money on corrections while still holding nonviolent offenders accountable. The legislation would allow a court to put certain offenders on electronic monitoring (like ankle bracelets) instead of putting them in jail. The cost of the electronic monitoring could be charged to the offender at up to $8 a day. This program would save the counties money because they will not have to foot the bill for housing these prisoners. At the same time, the legislation would also allow offenders to remain employed while they serve their sentence.
Another piece of legislation I filed this week is Senate Bill 388. The bill eliminates, combines and revises certain state boards, commissions, committees, and councils. The elimination of these panels would help reduce inefficiency in our government system and save your taxpayer dollars. Many of our state boards and commissions serve to give citizens a voice in their state government, but there are some ineffective and redundant state boards and my legislation will either eliminate certain panels all together or transfer them to similar existing boards.
Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol
This week, we welcomed students from the University of Missouri system to Jefferson City for Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. Students travel to the Capitol to share their university research experiences with state lawmakers. I welcomed two students from our area who were displaying their research projects:
* Joe Pieczynski of Ozark, whose research project was called, “Social Networks in an Enterprise Portal and the Effect of Corporate Governance for Generation Y.”
* Jordan Lee Wilson of Nixa, whose research project was called, “Effect of Groundwater Depth on Aerobic Biodegradation of BTEX Using In-Planta Measurements.”
Welcome to Your State Capitol
I was pleased to welcome several groups of visitors to the Capitol this week. These included:
* Local members of the Missouri Farm Bureau.
* Members of the Silver Haired Legislature.
* Representatives from the Alzheimer’s Association.
* A group of licensed psychologists.
* Constituents from the district raising awareness for bleeding disorders (hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, etc.).
* Nursing home administrators from the district in the building for Missouri Healthcare Association Day.
* United Methodist Women.
* Local chiropractors.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any other matter regarding your state government, please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-1503; you are also welcome to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.