Speaking of cell phones, there is growing pressure on the legislature to ban their use while driving. There are mountains of evidence that just talking, let alone texting causes distractions and that of course leads to accidents and deaths. If you spend any time on the interstates you will encounter multitudes of people traveling in the left lane at 60 miles an hour, totally oblivious to the traffic backing up behind them and passing illegally on the right, while they are totally absorbed in their conversations. Even worse is the guy who is constantly running off onto the shoulder or crossing the centerline because he is trying to either read or write a text message. When they do this on the interstate it is bad enough, but when it occurs on two lane and curvy roads it is a recipe for disaster. Believe it or not, I am well acquainted with a guy who watches Netflix while he is driving! Big trucks already have restrictions and many trucking companies will fire a driver for breaking these laws. Pay attention to people driving around you for the next couple of weeks and I'm sure you'll agree that it's time to take some kind of measure to restrict this dangerous activity.
The incoming Speaker of the House has asked each of us to give him a list of our legislative priorities for the next session. He has also invited the people of Missouri to share with us what you think should be our focus. I have always depended on my constituents to tell me what they think is important and I encourage you to email me at the Capitol address with your suggestions. (Just don't do it while you're driving) There are many contentious issues that will be coming up in the next couple of years. We will be dealing with attempts by special interest groups to place things on the ballot again. We will have to spend valuable legislative time debating the merits and drawbacks of legalizing marijuana, expanding gay rights, and restricting horse owners from using training devices. I know these things are important to a lot of people, but I'd sure rather concentrate on finding ways to bring industry and good jobs to the state.
On Friday, the East Newton School District attended the Stewards of Children training seminar. Missouri KidsFirst and the Southwest Alliance teamed up to present a powerful presentation on how to prevent child sexual abuse. There were approximately 150 teachers and staff in attendance and for two hours you could have heard a pin drop! My personal goal is to help make this training available to every teacher in the state.
I've got a meeting in St Louis this week, I'll tell you all about it next time. Until then, I am and remain in your service.