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May God bless you - Representative Bill Reiboldt
Thursday was a sad day for all Missourians as we received word of the tragic death of Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich.
After the House had adjourned from its morning session, and upon returning to the office, I received a note saying that Auditor Schweich had been taken to a St. Louis hospital with a medical situation and to be prayerful for him. Shortly after that, it was announced that he had passed away and there was to be a memorial prayer service in the House chamber. I was able to attend this service before traveling home.
Everyone at the Capitol is in shock and disbelief upon hearing of the death of Auditor Schweich. Though most of us do not understand why this happened, we realize there are times when we just have to accept things as they are. Now may be one of those times. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schweich family: wife, Kathy, daughter, Emily, and son Thomas, Jr. This tragic loss has to be extremely difficult for them and our heartfelt sympathy goes their direction. Tom Schweich had a brilliant mind, was incredibly honest, and was a devoted and dedicated public servant. We may never know why things happened as they did, but we do know he was focused on making Missouri and the world a better place. Thank you, Tom Schweich, for your service to our state. It was very much appreciated.
The conflict is over eggs and the frontline is California.
When American consumers go to the supermarket, they typically find a dozen eggs to be an affordable food choice. Eggs are an excellent and convenient protein source, and the average American will consume 247 (or 20 dozen) of them annually. Production and marketing of eggs is big business, but now egg producing farmers with new technologies and practices are coming under attack by animal right’s activists, led in part by the well-funded radical Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
HSUS has consistently and aggressively pushed their animal rights agendas on pet producers, agriculture businesses, and the food industry. Most recently they have been focusing on egg producers. The producers have countered by defending their industry and their efficiency in producing a quality and safe product at an affordable cost. Though still reasonably priced in most parts of our nation, egg prices in California have substantially increased this year as a result of new industry regulations there.
A joint Missouri House and Senate committee held its first public hearing this past week into the events following the release of a grand jury’s decision concerning the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson, Missouri last November. On the night of November 24, a St. Louis grand jury refused to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, charged in the killing death of Brown. A volatile situation erupted and substantial damage was done in the area. Now, investigations are being conducted to see what went wrong that night in Ferguson.
The Accountability committee, a joint bipartisan group doing the investigation is made up of seven senators and seven House members. Established in 2004, this committee was created to study inefficiencies, fraud, and misconduct in state government. The committee’s purpose at this time, though, is to try and get answers as to why the Missouri National Guard was not used or was told to “stand down” on that fateful November night.
As the 2015 Legislative Session moves forward, perhaps one of the most discussed issues is that of ethics reform. Issues that are to be included in forthcoming legislation are as follows:
* barring incumbent state lawmakers, along with candidates for the House and the Senate, from working as paid political consultants for fellow state lawmakers or candidates
* creating a 2-year “cooling off period” before a former lawmaker can become a lobbyist
* barring lobbyists from paying for out-of-state travel and related expenses for state lawmakers
* requiring all lawmakers and state elected officials to complete one hour of ethics training within 120 days of taking office, with failure to do so resulting in a salary withhold until training is completed
* requiring lobbyists to report everyone they represent in order to eliminate the practice of hiring subcontractors to hide who a lobbyist really works for
* requiring lobbyists to report all expenditures made of behalf of all public officials
Select Committee on Agriculture - Chairman
Appropriations - Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources