With ethics reform on the docket of the House and Senate, the press is taking a hard look at some of the dining opportunities lobbyists offer to Legislators. It has long been a common business practice to enjoy a working lunch or dinner while getting the old sales pitch. The same thing is practiced in State and Federal government circles. The last couple of Speakers have allowed the lunches and dinners to grow to a whole new form. Actually, they have encouraged the use of restaurants and country clubs for informal committee meetings. Our new Speaker has just brought that practice to a screeching halt! He has directed the Committee Chairs to conduct all hearings within the confines of the Capitol and to limit the committee lunches and dinners. The main reason for the group functions was to keep the expenditures from showing on individual’s ethics reports. That is a shady practice at best and I'm glad it's over with.
I met with people from the Child Advocates Office as well as the Court Administrators Office last week in preparation of filing some additional bills designed to make the Division of Children's Service work better. We identified some specific problems that will take some new statutes to correct and we are now working on the fix. I'll keep you posted as we get closer to filing bills. Some of the things we looked at have an astronomical price tag with the state of our economy. That doesn't mean I've given up, it's just going to take some creative bookkeeping.
Patrick Miller and his son Blake from Fairview visited last week. Patrick is the new State Coordinator of TeenPact and they have asked me to assist Senator Emory in sponsoring some of their activities at the Capitol this year. They were introduced on the House Floor and Blake was made the Page of the Day. I also invited Blake to come to the Capitol and job shadow me for a day. I'm always excited to see young people take an interest in their state politics.
McDonald County Republicans are having their first Lincoln Day Banquet in recent years. It will be at River Ranch on February 28 at noon. Catherine Hanaway is to be our guest speaker and Billy Long and Roy Blunt have been invited as well as all State Office Contenders for 2016. Tickets are 15 dollars and can be obtained from Jane Lant at 417-223-4492 or at Feed Store and More in Anderson.
This week my committee has 3 Right to Work bills to hear so I should have an interesting report next time. Until then, I am and remain in your service,