Senate bills are now coming to us and they include some pretty contentious issues. One of the first to arrive is SJR39. It proposes to allow the voters to decide whether add to our Constitution specific language that will guarantee religious freedoms. The provision, if passed by the voters, would prohibit the state from imposing a penalty on religious organization acting in accordance with sincere religious beliefs concerning same sex marriage ceremonies. It would also prohibit penalizing individuals who decline to provide goods for a same sex ceremony or reception. This bill will be heard in committee and if voted out, will be sent to the floor for debate. The Senate is also working on the photo ID bill that we sent them and I expect to see it return with changes for our second approval. Senator Libla is sending us a bill that would increase fuel taxes by nearly 6 cents per gallon. This will also be a ballot issue if it passes. My guess is that it won’t make it to the finish line. We also need to address the Governor’s veto of the Paycheck Protection bill that the House and Senate approved earlier in session. These issues will take up several hours of floor time and I’m sure there will be extensive media coverage.
I was looking at headlines concerning MU last week and I saw where there is a lot of pressure on the Senate to restore some of the funding that we withheld from their budget. The article was trying to make the point that the reductions would cause students to get a poorer quality education. Only two articles later I saw where the University had just hired an Officer of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. His base salary is to be $235 Thousand per year. I must be getting too old to understand.
Pineville 8th Grade visited last week. We were able to introduce them on the floor of the House and they took some great tours. It always makes me puff up with pride when Capitol Staff comment on how extremely well behaved and polite the kids from my District are. What a great bunch of kids and teachers we have!
Filing for the August Primary closed last Tuesday and all of us in the Southwest are unopposed. This will be the last two-year term for all five of us who were first elected in 2010. I have been extremely proud to serve this District for the past 6 years and I have really appreciated your support! More next week, until then I am and remain in your service.