Jane and I drove the entire district to see the extent of damage. Once again, I am amazed at the resilience of people in this part of Missouri. By Tuesday there were clean up efforts going on everywhere. There weren't people standing around expecting someone else to doe the job for them like you see reported on the news when disaster strikes elsewhere. Neighbors and friends were pitching in to get the jobs done. That attitude is what made this country what it is and it may be gone elsewhere but it's sure alive and well here! If you have questions about emergency assistance programs, you can call 2-1-1. This is a United Way Agency. They are able to answer questions regarding public information and disaster related events. The information they gather will be forwarded to various community response agencies such as the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, AmeriCorps, etc. Many services may be available and they will direct you to the agency that may be best able to assist you. You may also call 1-800-427-4626 if your phone carrier doesn't work with 2-1-1.
Session begins on Wednesday the 6th. What most of us thought would be a rather quiet year due to the election cycle promises to be anything but! It looks like we will be addressing some issues that have re-emerged from the past. In 2009, the Legislature at that time decided that Missouri should not participate in the Federal "Real I.D." program. The program allows biometric data from photographs and also fingerprints to be accessed by international agencies for tracking of U.S. citizens. There apparently was a lengthy debate in both the House and Senate before the Bodies decided that Missouri should not participate. Now it appears that the Feds intend to intimidate us 6 years later by threatening to refuse our drivers licenses as proof of identity when we board airplanes. The "Real I.D. program just establishes a National Database and is the groundwork for the National I.D. system that has been proposed many times. I have no doubt that this issue will occupy a lot of time and energy. Another returning issue will be funding for MoDot. The flooding and all the road and bridge damages that it has brought about seem to underscore the need for a solution to MoDot's money woes. Several proposals for increasing the fuel tax have already been filed but any proposition for enough of an increase to solve the problem seems to be doomed at the polls. One bill that I heard about last week suggests that the State should return all the lettered routes to the counties. It would drastically reduce the amount of roads that the state was responsible for maintaining. That issue would of course have to be approved by the voters. We are also going to have to deal with the refugee situation. I don't think there will be too many dull sessions between now and May!
Missouri is set for a March 15 Presidential preference primary election. When filing closed last week there were 9 Democrats, 12 republicans, and 5 Libertarian candidates to choose from. That's it for now; there should be plenty of news next week.