We heard a presentation from Ameren Electric Company in the afternoon. It was an update of sorts of the many new mandates and regulations coming out of Washington and their eventual effect on all of us. Missouri currently gets 85% of its electricity from coal-fired plants. Due to Federal regulations, 15% must come from renewable sources such as solar or wind. Our source for renewable energy is wind generation in Kansas. Because new regulations may force us to generate renewable within our state, we could be forced to build huge solar plants or find places for wind generators. Unfortunately, with our energy companies having to replace coal with much more expensive natural gas, the addition of more cost for wind or solar will mean dramatically higher electric rates. Not good news... A lot of people are researching many ways to keep cost increases to a minimum, but if the current EPA rules stand, there will have to be some adjustments in the future. It just seems ludicrous to me that the US has more coal than anywhere on the planet. Our coal fired plants are 95% plus efficient and we are shutting our plants down and selling our coal to China and India who have NO scrubbers on their plants. Now just how is that helping to keep the atmosphere clean?
We discussed some priorities for next session. One thing that simply has to get done is prescription drug monitoring. Missouri is the only state that has no means to monitor prescriptions. A person in this state can go to ten different doctors and get ten different prescriptions for the same restricted medication. Other states have databases that let pharmacists know if a prescription has been filled for a patient in another pharmacy within the same period. Pharmacies are all equipped with the computers to do the job but the legislature has to pass a bill to authorize it. We also need to pass laws to level the playing fields for small business trying to compete with mega corporations. There is nothing wrong with healthy competition, but when current statute favors businesses based on their size and not the quality of their product or their service, something needs to be done.
There are a lot of "unknowns" surrounding our upcoming veto session. The Governor has held schools and social services hostage saying that if we override his vetoes he won't give them the money that we appropriated to them in the budget. He is applying Obama tactics and misstating facts and his budget staff have created fictitious numbers that they cannot show backup for. Many cities and counties have asked the Governor's Office for a copy of the figures that show them to be loosing revenues if the proposed tax cuts are passed. At the time of this writing, NO figures have come from Jefferson City. Their plan is to grow government again by re-interpreting current tax laws and forcing small business all over the state to pay back taxes that are completely unjustified. There will, without a doubt, be some vetoes that stand and others that are overridden. We will do our best to do the best thing for the people of our districts.
I'll be back in Jefferson City this week for a hearing on child trafficking. It should be informational as well as infuriating when we look at the current influx of immigrants and how many of them are destined for the sex trade. I'll have more info next week, until then I am and remain in your service.