The Speaker assigned me to a new Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight. We are to be tasked with reviewing the Missouri Department of Transportation's yearly report. We will also review a status report of Transportation's revenues and expenditures including a detailed summary of projects funded by new state revenue. I will be a part of the taskforce searching for affordable, effective solutions that will allow us to maintain our transportation infrastructure. I have to admit that I am looking forward to participating in this venture.
My committee on Workforce standard met twice last week. On Monday we heard two Right to Work bills that would put the measure before the Governor. We had a large amount of testimony on both sides of the issue and the hearing lasted four hours. The major opposition was from the unions who contended that there would be "freeloaders" who didn't belong to the union but would gain the benefit of higher wages. The majority of those testifying for the bill contended that Missouri would gain much needed new industry that would create jobs and tax dollars. We met again on Wednesday for another Right to Work proposal. This bill was proof that if you live long enough, you'll see everything! The bill sponsor was an African American democrat from St Louis. His bill was designed to provide RTW for construction unions only. He contended that minorities had long been ignored by the construction trades and presented facts and figures showing that there were only a small percentage of minorities represented in the apprenticeship programs. There were many witnesses present to testify on both sides of the issue and I have to admit, it was a different look at the RTW question.
I have a bill being processed that would require the Highway Patrol to prepare a brochure that lists the rules and penalties concerning the recreational use of our rivers and streams. With the EPA preparing to issue new regulations for water use, there is a high probability that some camper or campground owner will be singled out as an example. There are already at least 3 Departments in the state plus the Corps of Engineers regulating uses of the waterways, and some of the penalties are pretty stiff. For example, it can cost you $1,000 per tire to drive a vehicle in the river! The Patrol would accumulate the rules and penalties from the state departments and have the brochure distributed to all campgrounds and outfitters by January of 2016. I'll keep you posted on the bills' progress.