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With the New Year comes a new legislative session in Jefferson City. The second regular session of the 96th General Assembly was called to order on Jan. 4 by Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives, Steven Tilley. With his opening remarks, Speaker Tilley outlined his “Blueprint for Missouri.” The four pillars of the Blueprint consist of advancing legislation in support of Missouri taxpayers, Missouri jobs, Missouri schools, and Missouri values.
First and foremost, the biggest challenge facing Missouri is the economic status of the state. During these difficult economic times the Missouri taxpayer must be protected from “big” government with the establishment of constitutional restrictions that will limit the growth of government. This also means balancing the budget without new taxes while also improving government transparency by requiring county disclosure of debt.
Secondly, in order to revive Missouri’s economy we must create a job friendly environment. Without a doubt, the entrepreneurial spirit is vital to the economic well-being of Missouri and we must support the development of small businesses by establishing a resource network to ensure ideas become reality. By helping Missouri’s entrepreneurs and reforming existing business regulations such as prevailing wage laws, workers’ compensation law, and employment discrimination laws an economic climate can be created in Missouri that is good not only for businesses but for the individual worker as well.
While it is important to make Missouri more business friendly, it would all be for nothing without a skilled workforce to fill job openings. It is paramount that Missouri’s school children receive a world-class education. Simple measures can revitalize Missouri’s education foundation formula and reforming student transfer laws can make it easier for students in unaccredited districts to receive a worthwhile education.
As the Missouri Legislature sets out to make Missouri a better place in which to work and raise a family, we cannot turn a blind eye to the core values upon which the state and our nation were built. We must protect the right of conscience for Missouri pharmacists when it comes to the distribution of abortion drugs. Recent events have highlighted the need for Missouri to review its mandatory reporting laws to protect our children from predators.
Without a doubt, Missouri will face numerous challenges in the near future. However, Missourians never turn away from a challenge, no matter how overwhelming it might seem at first. Time and time again the drive and determination of those that call Missouri home exemplify the power of working together. I look forward to working alongside my fellow Representatives and Senators to develop meaningful legislation that will help our great state prosper and grow.
As always, it is a privilege and an honor to represent you in the Missouri House of Representatives.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be your voice in Jefferson City.