Tuesday, we started work. We had a short session followed by meetings with different department heads all afternoon. I had a great meeting with Emily VanSchenkhof with Missouri Kids First. She is helping me develop a plan for hearings on Child Abuse. I also met with the people who are working on the bill language for for Fire Protection legislation that hopefully will finally provide certification for sprinkler installers and we can complete the job that was started 5 years ago to put sprinklers in Nursing Homes. Sometimes just one word or phrase that is unclear can cause years of uncertainty. That is exactly why we should take our time when we are creating legislation and get it right. I had a meeting with Senator Sater and a group of people from his Senate District who had some opinions on upcoming legislation they wanted to share. I think it's great when groups come to the Capitol to discuss issues that they are concerned about. There were four Representatives and Senator Sater all ready to give our views and listen to concerns at the same time and in the same place. I think we should schedule joint listening posts in the district from time to time.
I got started Wednesday with a 7:30 breakfast with the Missouri Forest Association. They come to the Capitol every year and put on a breakfast in one of the hearing rooms to get to know the Representatives in their Districts. The Forest Product Industry is a huge contributor to Missouri's economy and they do a good job of providing facts and brochures highlighting their many products.
Floor action Wednesday was devoted to passing the Rules of the House. At the beginning of every new Session, we have to establish the rules that we will be operating under for the next two years. With a couple of small adjustments, they remained the same. We passed the rules and now are able to begin Committee Hearings. Shortly after Session closed, I met with Senator Rupp who is the Workforce Chair in the Senate. We are trying to find a better way to present a bill dealing with the Second Injury Fund. We shared some thoughts and are working on legislation that may be more acceptable. They tell me that it's probably a good bill when everyone comes away "almost" happy. I will be chairing my first hearing in the House on Wednesday when we hear Representative Guernsey's HB 34. It provides for a way to exempt certain school districts from some prevailing wage standards. It should provoke some lively discussion!
Thursday morning we met with the Department of Agriculture for an early breakfast and update on changes in their department. The drought is very much a concern to everyone in the department. Later in the day I met with some folks from Transportation who were also very concerned about the effect of the drought on river traffic. We will have at least one more year of severe conditions to deal with according to the experts.
I spent the weekend enjoying family as I've been blessed with another birthday and they somehow thought I should celebrate. My youngest son, Craig, is visiting from Alaska so we really had a great time. This week promises some new and exciting experiences so be sure to read next week's report. Until then, I am and remain in your service.