The General Assembly met for the first full week of session following a historic snowstorm on the weekend of January 12.
I feel privileged for the opportunity to continue representing the people of the Third Senatorial District, and I am looking forward to the thoughtful discussion and productive debate that will occur this session.
I am optimistic that by working together, my fellow senators and I can bring positive change to the state of Missouri.
The General Assembly has been meeting in the current State Capitol since its completion in 1917, and I feel honored to be a part of the historic 100th General Assembly.
Committee assignments were announced this week, and I am honored to serve as chairman of the Education Committee and the Joint Committee on Education and as vice chairman of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee.
I am also a member of the following committees:
n Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment;
n Economic Development;
n Seniors, Families and Children
n Career and Technical Education Advisory Council
n Midwestern Higher Education Compact
Each year in January, the governor gives the State of the State address. Key issues highlighted in the address included workforce development and infrastructure. Governor Mike Parson advocated that $22 million be provided for Fast Track, a program that allows Missourians to receive advanced training in high demand areas from our state’s colleges and universities. Prior to the start of session, I prefiled Senate Bill 16 which creates the Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant, so I am thrilled that the governor wishes to fund this important program.
It is no secret that the Department of Corrections is facing many challenges, from the rising costs of incarceration to finding and retaining talented, qualified corrections officers.
During my time in office, I have had numerous conversations with the governor and department director regarding higher pay for our correction officers, and finally, those efforts have paid off.
During the governor’s address, he announced that two of the state’s corrections facilities would consolidate their operations — Crossroads Correctional Center and Western Missouri Correctional Center. According to the governor, this decision was largely based on the desire to find efficiencies in state government. He believes that by consolidating these two facilities, the state can improve security at all of its correctional facilities and offer a much needed pay raise to Missouri’s correctional officers. This pay raise is especially important to our community because of the number of correctional officers living in the Third Senatorial District.
In addition, the governor also announced plans to make state government more efficient. While discussing his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the governor announced his plans to reorganize and streamline the Departments of Economic Development and Higher Education. The restructuring of these two departments is incredibly important to me because I serve as the chairman of the Senate’s Education Committee, as well as the chairman of the Joint Committee on Education, and I look forward to working directly with the governor on his plans to make these departments work better and smarter for our constituents.
Overall, the governor gave an impressive speech that outlined his legislative agenda for the upcoming year. I support the governor’s call for increased opportunities for workforce development, and I look forward to working with him to improve Missouri’s aging infrastructure.
[Gary Romine, a Ste. Genevieve County resident, serves Missouri’s Third District in the State Senate. His office can be contacted in Jefferson City at 573-751-4008. His mailing address is: Gary Romine, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101. And his e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.]