Missouri’s newest lawmakers have been in office for just over a week now, and they say they’re ready to get to work on some key issues.
Over the next several weeks, the men and women of the Missouri legislature will craft the laws Missourians will have to live with for years to come. But for some of them, before they get to the voting, comes the learning.
“There are those folks who just naturally come in and assume office and everything goes smooth, but the majority of us are gonna have to learn how to be effective within the context of what we’re doing,” says State Rep. Lane Roberts.
For Roberts, this is only his second week as a member of the Missouri legislature. Even so, he says he’s already working towards filing legislation in an area that’s important to him: public safety. But he says that won’t be the only area that he focuses on.
“I don’t intend to be a one trick pony, where the only thing I do is public safety. I hope we get our committee assignments today, I would love to serve on the Public Safety Committee because it is near and dear to my heart–I’m not going to pretend it’s not–but I want to do more than that,” says Roberts.
Meanwhile, Bill White has made the move to the State Senate after eight years in the House. White says while there are similarities, there are some big differences as well.
“Every senator gets to talk. You will not be cut off. In the House you have to be recognized before you can speak,” says White.
White says while relationships were important in the House, they are even more vital in the Senate because there are only 32 members of that chamber.
“A lot of the Senate is based on relationships and being very up front with people. You know, like ‘I really like your bill, but I have a real problem with this section, this is what I want to do to it,’” says White.
White says he’s already filed ten bills, ranging from tort reform to funding for local sheriff’s offices. He says while the legislature will try to avoid controversy this year, he’s hoping they can keep us last year’s pace. Robert says he believes that may be possible, especially with the leadership of Governor Mike Parson.
“I think he has the ability to bring together a lot of different elements, a lot of different philosophies that are gonna be in the best interest of Missouri just because he is a decent guy.” says Lane Roberts.
Governor Parson will deliver the annual State of the State Address Wednesday afternoon at 3 o’clock. In the days coming after that, he’s expected to release his recommendations for Missouri’s $28 billion dollar annual budget set to go into effect on July 21st of this year.