Our 100th General Session of the Missouri House of Representatives is well underway. I received my committee assignments and we held our first hearings this week. I will be serving on the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee as well as the Workforce Development Committee. The education committee’s charge is to consider and report upon bills relating to life-long learning including educators, financing, property, indebtedness, and curriculum. The workforce development committee’s charge is to consider bills and matters relating to the attraction, training, retention, and safety of the workforce. I am honored to serve on these two committees as this work will directly relate to our district’s needs and interests.
Wednesday, the capitol members of the House and Senate gathered in the House Chamber to get an update on the state of Missouri’s judicial branch. Lawmakers listened to the annual State of the Judiciary Address that was delivered by Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Zel Fischer.
In his address, Fischer told legislators, “We know our partners in the legislative and executive branches are committed to doing the best job possible to make Missouri better. We are no different. The state of the judiciary is good.” He used his speech to address a variety of topics ranging from the importance of treatment courts, a new rule to benefit military spouses as well as a rule change that will make pretrial release conditions fairer for low-income defendants.
Our work this week also addressed children’s safety. House members gave overwhelming approval to legislation meant to protect underage victims of sex trafficking from prosecution. The Crime and Prevention and Public Safety Committee heard testimony on a bill named in honor of Haily Owens, a 10-year-old girl who was kidnapped while walking home from a friend’s house and then murdered by her abductor. The bill’s sponsor hopes to make changes to the state’s Amber Alert system to protect other young people from suffering a similar fate. The bill now requires committee approval before moving to the House floor for discussion.
At the end of last week, I attended the Joint Committee on Education legislators retreat. The day and half event gave me and other legislators and opportunity to work with higher education experts, work force development experts and leaders from our K-12 systems. It was a very productive day of learning and collaboration that resulted in increased awareness of current challenges and possible solutions to enhance K-12 education, career readiness and workforce development.
As always, if you have any questions, need help with an issue or just want to say hello please don’t hesitate to call, send a message or drop in. It is so nice to see and hear from folks back home. Thank you for providing me this wonderful opportunity to be of service to the great people of the 155th District.