Capitol Report 02/12/2015

Important Legislative Updates
For the first time in the history of the Missouri House of Representatives, a Right-to-Work bill is now through this chamber and on its way to the Senate. My colleagues and I took an important and historic vote Thursday to approve the bill that would simply prohibit contracts that require a worker to join a union or pay union fees as a condition of employment.

During discussion on the House floor, we heard a great deal about the economic impact that becoming the nation’s 25th Right-to-Work state can have on Missouri. And while these are important factors to take into consideration, I think the bigger issue is the fundamental concept of preserving the liberties and individual freedoms that define our nation. You may read more about this legislation below.

This week HB 179, the first bill I have introduced, is pressing on through the legislative process! It was heard and voted “Do Pass” out of the Rules Committee, which is an important step in the legislative process. This is great news, because I truly believe in HB 179 and the important benefits it will provide to veterans across the state.

Also, the House has recently adopted HCR20 to urge the Department of Defense and Missouri’s Congressional delegation to protect, promote, and leverage Missouri’s military bases and agencies, keep the number of military personnel in the state intact, and preserve defense industry procurement so that Missouri may continue to support the defense and protection of the state and the United States and keep its economy in sound condition.

You may read more about what is happening at your Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently and tirelessly for you as your State Representative.

jasonsignature

MDC Deer Regulations
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is seeking public input on proposed changes to the state’s deer hunting regulations for the 2016-2017 hunting season.

For the fall firearms deer season, MDC proposes:

  • Maintaining the current timing of the November portion but reducing the length from 11 days to nine days,
  • Expanding the late youth firearms weekend from two days to three days and having it begin the Friday after Thanksgiving instead of early January,
  • Reducing the length of the antlerless firearms portion from 12 days to three days and beginning it on the first Friday in December, and
  • Eliminating the urban zones portion.

For the fall archery deer and turkey season, MDC proposes:

  • Allowing crossbows as a legal method, and
  • Reducing the limit of antlered deer during the archery season from two to one.

MDC also proposes simplifying conservation area regulations and also wants public comment on permit fees for nonresidents regarding a possible increase, decrease, or no change in price.

The proposed regulation changes are a result of public input and MDC deer management research and practices. During the summer of 2014, MDC gathered more than 4,000 public comments on deer management and possible regulation changes through open houses, online comments, letters and emails. MDC also surveyed many deer hunters regarding potential regulation changes. MDC staff will present final regulations recommendations to the Conservation Commission in late 2015.

Worker Freedom
For the first time in the history of the Missouri House of Representatives, a Right-to-Work bill is now through this chamber and on its way to the Senate. My colleagues and I took an important and historic vote Thursday to approve the bill that would simply prohibit contracts that require a worker to join a union or pay union fees as a condition of employment.

Fleeing Missouri (2)

During discussion on the House floor, we heard a great deal about the economic impact that becoming the nation’s 25th Right-to-Work state can have on Missouri. And while these are important factors to take into consideration, I think the bigger issue is the fundamental concept of preserving the liberties and individual freedoms that define our nation. I think all Missouri workers should have the right to decide whether to join a union or pay union dues, and that’s why I supported this piece of legislation that provides this important freedom.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. I will keep you updated as this important piece of legislation makes its way through the legislative process.

RTW Neighbors (2)

Also, as I mentioned, we heard a great deal of information this week about the kind of beneficial impact Right-to-Work can have on our state’s economy. Several of my colleagues quoted various business site selection experts who said many employers won’t even consider relocating to a state unless it has a Right-to-Work law in place. As we look for ways to bolster our economy and bring new family-supporting jobs to Missouri, it’s clear that Right-to-Work can be an important component in our plans.

Some of the other economic benefits discussed on the floor include:

  • Since 2000, nearly five million Americans have moved to the 24 states that provide workers their freedom. One-quarter of these states border Missouri.
  • During the 10-year period from 2004 to 2013, Right-to-Work states grew jobs at an average rate of 5.3 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s more than twice the rate of job growth in forced-union states (2.1 percent). More specifically, right-to-work states grew 3.6 million jobs during that time frame, far exceeding the total of 1.5 million in states without worker freedom.
  • Right-to-Work states also have experienced higher wage growth. U.S. Department of Labor data from 2003-2013 show wages grew by 15.1 percent in Right-to-Work states, while wage growth lagged behind at 8.2 percent in forced-union states.
  • Although opponents argue that right-to-work results in lower wages, data suggests that workers in right-to-work states have more disposable income. After adjusting for the differences in the cost of living between states, the National Institute for Labor Relations Research reports that 2013 per capita disposable income was $38,915 in Right-to-Work states, compared with $36,959 in forced-union states. Their data suggests that dual-income families in Right-to-Work states average nearly $4,000 more in disposable income than their counterparts in forced-union states.

HCR 20
The men and women of our Armed Forces do so much to protect our freedoms and our way of life, and this week I was proud to stand in their defense as they face the threat of military personnel reductions. Right now, the U.S. Department of Defense is looking for ways to cut more than $1 trillion over the next decade, and one of the ways they propose to do it is by reducing the numbers of soldiers, marines and airmen by nearly 200,000.

Here in Missouri, where we have a number of major military bases and agencies, this downsizing effort could have a major negative impact on our economy. Keep in mind that the current military presence in our state is responsible for approximately 275,000 jobs – 123,000 direct and 152,000 indirect – in our state and generates billions of dollars in economic activity each and every year. As several of my colleagues pointed out on the House floor, the military is one of the largest industries in our state and certainly one we cannot afford to lose.

That is why we adopted HCR 20 this week to urge the Department of Defense and Missouri’s Congressional delegation to protect, promote, and leverage Missouri’s military bases and agencies, keep the number of military personnel in the state intact, and preserve defense industry procurement so that Missouri may continue to support the defense and protection of the state and the United States and keep its economy in sound condition. My hope is that our message will be received and that we will see action taken to prevent what would be an extremely damaging blow to thousands of Missouri families, many of our communities, and our state’s economy.

Happy Birthday President Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, on February 12 in 1809. He worked on a farm, split rails for fences, worked in a store, was a captain in the Black Hawk War, and worked as a lawyer. Lincoln began his political career at the age of 23 in 1832 when he ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Illinois General Assembly, as a Whig Party member.

Through great perseverance, Lincoln won the presidency in 1860 and, despite being a Republican, rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union case during the Civil War (1861-65).

Lincoln was known as the Great Emancipator, the Rail Splitter and Honest Abe. He was the president throughout the American Civil War and is known for his struggle to preserve the Union and the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC on Good Friday, April 14, 1865.

Lincoln had a way with words!
Not only was Lincoln spiritual and intelligent, he was also a heck of a speech writer. He wrote his own speeches, and it is said that his famous Gettysburg Address wasn’t even the best one! Rumor has it that the speech Lincoln made to the Illinois Republican Convention on May 29, 1856 was his best, but it was either so enthralling that nobody remembered to take notes, or it was so controversial that nobody was allowed to print them. Either way, no record of it exists.

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