When his office mate opted to move out, I took over that space. Now Bill and I will be in the same complex and Charlie Davis is just around the corner. This will make it much easier for local folks to visit with us. I also spent considerable time looking at bills to pre-file. I settled on just three to begin with. We are still in need of finishing the legislation on requiring fire sprinklers in nursing homes. We have a law requiring the installation of sprinkler systems by certified installers, but there is no State Certification process in statute. We have had an ongoing attempt to repair this oversight in the original bill, but so far there has always been some objection. Hopefully this time will be the charm! Another bill that keeps making it's way around is a State Income Tax break for installation of a storm shelter. We made some changes to last year's bill and hopefully this time we will be successful. I'd still like to provide fourth-class cities the option of electing Aldermen that are 18 years old. Many times there are just not enough qualified people interested in filing for office and this would let young folks take an active part in their community.
We haven't been assigned to committees as of now but the Speaker has asked each of us to notify him in writing what we are interested in serving on. My first choice was to Chair the Workforce Committee, then to remain on Professional Registration, to be assigned to Transportation, Economic Development and Utilities. Committee assignments are usually made by the first week of session so we should know pretty soon what we will be focusing on. I've probably explained before, but committees are where the bills are introduced and where committee members as well as the public have a chance to testify for or against a proposal. After everyone has a chance to voice their opinions and ask questions of the bill handler and witnesses, the committee, either then or at a future time, votes on sending the bill on to the floor leader or killing it. Each committee chairman is normally limited to sending only three bills per year to the floor so they must choose carefully what they wish to be presented. The exception to this is a bill that the Speaker wants to be considered. Usually these are bills that mirror the Speaker's priorities for the year. For this reason, issues that have been identified as priorities are usually not pre-filed.
Southwest City and Pineville both had their Christmas Parades on Saturday. There were great turnouts at both places. The good weather sure helps people make a decision to take the kids to a parade. There were a lot of older folks lining the parade routes also. I guess the saying "Everybody Loves a Parade" is sure true. Jane has discovered something else. You never get too old to enjoy Tootsie Rolls. We even make sure the Police Officers directing traffic get a handful!
Next week we are going to be at Noel and Seneca. I sure hope the weather is as good then as it's been so far.
Racine Christian Church had its "Journey to Bethlehem" program on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Last year 3800 people went through the journey and the Church was praying that this year we could get 5000. Be careful what you pray for: they had 6720 people go through and the poor cast was totally worn out! The program is well planned and the cast does a wonderful job of portraying the Christmas story. There are close to 200 people that participate in putting the show on. Start making plans to attend next year!
I'm on the way back to Jefferson City for an Abuse and Neglect Committee meeting on Monday and a Local Governance Committee on Tuesday. I'll report next week. Until then, I am and remain, in your service.