I can't leave this subject without telling a quick story. The SAFE program needs Law Enforcement cooperation also and the Highway Patrol authorized Grant Hendrix to assist us with it. When Grant was introduced at the assembly and walked to the microphone, 1200 kids were shouting, applauding, and whistling. If the Patrol ever needs someone to show them how to get community cooperation and acceptance, they'd better check with Grant!
The official start of the 2016 Legislative Session began on December 1st with the pre-filing of bills. What many of us thought would be a relatively quiet session looks to be anything but. I was told that nearly 1000 bills were pre-filed. That is more than the pre-filing from the past 4 years. Many of the bills were drafted in response to some of the hot topics nationally. There were numerous references to refugees and gun control as well as controversial topics from last year's agenda. Many of these bills will be withdrawn after the point has been made, but a lot of them will receive a public hearing. Needless to say, this will be time consuming but there is a lot to be learned during the hearing process. There are always priorities that the Speaker and the leadership team wish to advance. One of the ones that I have heard about is Photo ID's for those wishing to vote. We are required to show a photo ID for nearly every transaction we make from going to the doctor to buying groceries. It only makes sense to use one when voting. This will be an issue that will be placed on the ballot for you to decide. We will definitely see bills dealing with ethics as the Speaker has assured us we will act on this subject early in session. There are going to be discussions on Planned Parenthood and the participation of MU as well the annual revisiting of Education Funding. I have pre-filed workforce legislation as have several other Representatives including one proposal to put the Right to Work question on the August ballot. There are several different versions of bills to adjust Prevailing Wage requirements for schools and municipalities and we have been asked to consider putting a paycheck protection issue on the ballot. At least four versions of campaign finance laws have been filed and this is both a House and Senate priority. We had a good law until 5 years ago when the Supreme Court invalidated the entire law because it had one questionable clause in it. That's the danger of passing bills before they are completely checked out. I will be filing a bill to correct the problems that the Department of Justice has with our current Juvenile Office system. We are holding our final roundtable discussion this week and should get all the interested parties to agree to the bill language. I am planning trips to the Capitol for hearings for the next two weeks in hopes of being ready for the start of Session on the 8th of January. It looks like we're going to have plenty to do.