We were at the Festival of Wreathes at Crowder on Tuesday evening. This was the 12th year for the Festival and it was a huge success! There was an excellent meal furnished and a fantastic silent auction with every kind of Christmas Decoration imaginable available at great prices. Area merchants donated some great items for both the silent auction and the live auction that followed. Bob and Cara Lasswell were great as usual and another record amount of money was raised to provide scholarships to area students. Over a hundred thousand dollars was generated by some of the greatest people in the world! I keep saying that if the rest of the country operated the way we do in Southwest Missouri there wouldn't be any problems! Crowder continues to offer an excellent deal to area students with campuses in Neosho, Jane, Webb City, Nevada, and Cassville.
We are rapidly approaching time for Session to start. Nearly every day now I am in contact with other Representatives about proposed legislation for pre-filing in December. From what I'm hearing, we should have a different list of priorities to deal with. I don't think we will have many of the really controversial issues come up because no one is running for office in 2015 and there isn't a need to capture the limelight. It's kind of sad to realize that much of the work done by legislators is driven by their need for recognition. We don't see nearly as much of that on a State level as on the Federal but there's still plenty to go around. I'm planning to work on some common sense workforce issues that would benefit rural and urban areas without incurring too much wrath from organized labor. One idea we are taking a long look at would allow an opt out of prevailing wages on small projects. School districts and municipalities would be able to take on small improvements more readily and so far there hasn't been too much opposition to the idea. I'm also planning to file a bill that would allow an expansion in the practice of Nurse Practitioners. I have been working on the idea for several years because I really believe that for most rural and remote areas, Nurse Practitioners will be providing most of the primary care in the future. One only has to look at the statistics to see that there are just NO doctors interested in being General Practitioners. It has always been hard to attract physicians to small towns, but with Obama care, it's even worse. There are some bills being prepared to address Missouri's tort reform, which should help curb the loss of doctors to neighboring states, but we will still need to address the doctor shortage.
I completed my yearly report for the Senate and House on the findings and recommendations of the Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. We have identified several things in the past year that we feel need to be addressed. It is my recommendation that we form sub committees for each of the issues and either bring about policy change or change the statutes to correct the problems. I'll provide more information on the proposed changes after we meet in early December.
Saturday I was privileged to be in Goodman for the Grand Opening of the "Little Free Library." This delightful concept involved building a covered bookcase in the park and stocking it with children's books. The books are available for any child who wishes one and they are encouraged to "take one leave one". The concept was proposed to the council by Cody and Cora Duncan who carried out the project. This is the same young couple who in 2008 sold the city on the idea of giving them property to build the "Stay and Play Park". I presented them with a House Resolution for their efforts but they sure deserve a big THANK YOU when you see them!