I hope this note finds all doing well. The Eslinger family enjoyed time together and a blessed Christmas. I returned to the State Capitol on Wednesday, January 8 for the start of the 2020 legislative session. This is the second regular session of the historic 100th General Assembly. I look forward to continuing my work as a member of the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and the Workforce Development Committee. I will also serve as Vice President of the Lincoln Conservative Caucus and Co-Chairman of the Scholarship Committee, Women Legislators Caucus.
The beginning of the 2020 session also marked the start of the legislative careers for six new House members who were elected during November 2019 special elections. The new members were officially sworn in by House Speaker Elijah Haahr. With their addition, the House now has 114 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and one vacancy.
After the traditional opening day ceremonies, members of the Republican Party joined our Speaker of the House in the House Lounge to meet with the press about upcoming priorities for the year. Speaker Haahr led the conference and said the legislature would look at policies to help address the violent crime problem in the state’s largest cities. He noted that the police force and investigatory unit in St. Louis are overwhelmed, and said legislation that would enhance the protection of witnesses could find support this session. “We stand at the ready to try to do what we can as a state to help the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City as they deal with this,” Haahr said.
Speaker Haahr also said the House would not be supportive of an increase in the gas tax, but would consider a Wayfair fix that would level the playing field for Missouri businesses.
The Wayfair fix is named after the June 2018 United States Supreme Court decision in Wayfair vs. South Dakota, and would implement specific mechanisms needed to collect taxes from out of state retailers. Missouri is currently one of only two states with a general sales tax that does not tax remote sales.
Earlier this year I began working with fellow legislators regarding the Wayfair fix and other options. This is a complex issue but one that should be resolved. I will continue to work with colleagues and will keep folks at home apprised of our progress. If you have any questions or would like additional information please don’t hesitate to call.
During the press conference, the Speaker also said the legislature is ready to craft a fiscally responsible state budget. He said lawmakers are ready to budget judiciously in preparation for possible expenses that could put additional strain on the state spending plan. Speaker Haahr also stated that lawmakers will again make education funding a top priority as they prepare the state operating budget.
Haahr noted that the House already has 866 pieces of legislation filed. A core duty as your Representative is to remain knowledgeable and active in the shepherding of good legislation but most importantly to stop bad legislation. With 866 pieces of legislation already filed by the first day of session, I know this year will be filled with late nights and hard work to fulfill my duty. Speaker Haahr said that his office will refer approximately 100 bills to committee this week so work on the bills can begin. The legislature has until May 15 to get bills across the legislative finish line and to the governor’s desk.
Thank you for the opportunity to be of service to the great folks of the 155th District. It is an honor to be your voice in Jefferson City.
Please contact me at: 201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 400CB, Jefferson City, MO 65101-6806, Phone: 573-751-2042; Email: email@example.com