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May God bless you - Representative Bill Reiboldt
Last week a Missouri Senate committee held hearings on two bills that seek to allow college and university students with a legal conceal carry (CC) permit to do so on our state campuses. Supporters of these measures see them as building on 2014 legislation that lowered from 21 to 19 the legal age requirement for conceal carry permits in Missouri, legislation that was vetoed by Governor Nixon but overturned by the General Assembly and ultimately became Missouri law. They state the overall objective of the proposed new legislation is to maintain a safe environment for our students and give them the right to protect themselves on campuses. In regard to this controversial issue, all thirteen of our four-year Missouri universities and several community colleges oppose the bills.
Senate Bill 731, if approved as proposed, would give students with a CC permit permission to carry on campuses, disregarding any administrative ability to say otherwise. The bill lets institutions opt out of the CC provision if they agree to station armed guards and install metal detectors at the entrances of every building on the college or university campuses. Those opposed to this measure say that it would be extremely costly to comply.
Last week’s session was shortened by the observance on Monday of Martin Luther King, Jr Day, a federal holiday that celebrates the life and achievements of perhaps America’s most influential Civil Rights leader. King is remembered for his efforts to promote racial equality in the United States.
On Wednesday of this past week Governor Nixon delivered his final State of the State Address to a joint session of Missouri’s General Assembly and highlighted some of his past accomplishments. My perception of the speech is that in his last year as governor, Mr. Nixon is calling on the General Assembly to work with him to address the challenges facing our state. As always, things seem to break down along party lines, especially given the political environment of 2016, though there is still the desire on the part of most to do the best for Missouri.
A top priority of the 2016 legislative session is to pass a substantive ethics reform bill. Last week during the second week of session the MO House gave approval to four reform bills, before sending them on to the MO Senate.
These bills, which have been discussed in prior sessions, moved quickly this year through the process. They were heard in committee on Monday, debated and given initial approval on the House floor on Wednesday, then third read and passed on to the Senate on Thursday. The first four bills passed by the House are as follows:
HB 1452 would require elected officials to file a personal financial disclosure twice each year; whereas, at the present time Missouri law requires only a single disclosure each year.
HB 1575 requires elected officials to report lodging and travel expenses within 30 days of the reportable event.
HB 1979 would put an end to the revolving door practice by requiring elected officials to have a one-year cooling off period after leaving office before they can take a job as a lobbyist.
HB 1983 specifies that no statewide official or member of the General Assembly can serve as a paid political consultant while in office.
The second regular session of the 98th Missouri General Assembly is officially underway. We were gaveled in Wednesday by our new speaker from Popular Bluff, the Honorable Todd Richardson. Then, as he will do each day at the beginning of our sessions, House Chaplain Msgr. Kurwicki offered a prayer. On Opening Day he highlighted a passage of scripture from Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” After the prayer and immediately before the Pledge of Allegiance, the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop F Color Guard presented the Colors. The House Speaker then administered the oath of office to three new members who were elected to fill vacant seats, meaning that now as session begins, all 163 seats are filled.
In Speaker Richardson’s opening address to the House, he encouraged each member to strive to work together to “find answers to the seminal challenges of our time and (to) make tough decisions.” He also reminded members that the Missouri House of Representatives “cannot be a place where inaction, infighting, and indifference defines it.” He went on to say, “This must be a place where we tackle and solve real problems.” The Speaker then set the tone for the upcoming session by establishing some of the top legislative priorities, including that of ethics.
The top news story for the first week of 2016 in Missouri is the record rainfall which caused major flooding in the state and the many individuals and groups who helped those affected by the waters. We help each other here in Missouri when it is needed, and it was needed recently.
As a member of the Missouri House Committee on Corrections, I want to join Governor Jay Nixon and Director of Corrections George Lombardi in expressing my appreciation to their staff, supervisors, and inmates who responded quickly to help with sand-bagging efforts around the state. The hard work from these individuals during the disaster made a profound difference in saving various properties in areas where they worked. Also, I want to express my personal gratitude and appreciation to all Newton County law enforcement, firemen, and first responders who helped in rescue efforts. At this time, I believe Missouri has recorded 22 deaths from flooding. Sadly, reports are that well over half of those lives could have been saved if drivers hadn’t attempted to drive through high water. It’s always wise not to drive into water covering roadways, since it is difficult to determine what the real situation is in and under those waters. Unfortunately, we also received reports that some individuals actually moved warning barricades, resulting in others unknowingly driving into high and dangerous waters. Though we do not have specific figures on how many disasters were a direct result of the moved barriers, the potential for tragedy is huge.
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last week notified Missouri officials that the state exemption from enacting the federal Real ID requirement would end on January 10, 2016.
The Real ID Act passed the U.S. congress and was signed into law by President George W. Bush in May of 2005. Provisions in the Act required every state to issue driver’s licenses that would comply with a national standard. The Act came about in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States. The Muslim terrorists who hijacked the airplanes had obtained fraudulent identification, including driver’s licenses that helped them to board the planes they flew into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Many states responded negatively to the implementation of the Real ID Act and opposed it.
Select Committee on Agriculture - Chairman
Appropriations - Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources