|JEFFERSON CITY -Robert N. Mayer (R-Dexter), who had been unanimously elected Senate Leader, today announced 15 Senate committees that will be tasked with holding public hearings and drafting legislation on issues important to Missourians, bringing the total announced to 18. The committees will be in place for the First Regular Session of the 96th General Assembly that runs through 2011. As Senate Leader, Mayer names all committees, appoints chairmen and members of the majority caucus to those committees.
Mayer said the state is facing serious challenges and the hard work to find solutions to those challenges begins with the committees. He said Missouri is confronted with serious challenges in 2011, including a $300-$500 million budget shortfall - putting state revenues just over what they were back in Fiscal Year 2005.
"We want to improve the everyday lives of the people of Missouri and that means passing a balanced budget without a tax increase, putting Missourians back to work, and continuing our commitment to education," Mayer said. "In order for us to accomplish these goals, much heavy lifting will be expected of these chairmen over a short amount of time. I have full confidence in their abilities and am anxious for their work to begin."
In a four-tiered approach to putting people back to work, Mayer said, "We will put Missourians back to work by enabling all employers to invest in working families rather than government growth, improving employers' ability to hire and retain quality workers, making sure employees can't be personally sued for honest accidents at work, and ensuring an employee's liberty when it comes to joining or leaving a union."
Mayer will head the committees dealing with Administration and Gubernatorial Appointments. The other committee heads are (in alphabetical order): Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources: Sen. Brian Munzlinger (R-Williamstown); Appropriations: Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia); Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment: Sen. Brad Lager (R-Maryville); Education: Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg); Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections: Sen. Kevin Engler (R-Farmington); Fiscal Oversight, Ways and Means: Sen. Chuck Purgason (R-Caulfield); General Laws: Sen. Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield); Governmental Accountability: Sen. Jim Lembke (R-St. Louis); Health, Mental Health, Seniors and Families: Sen. Luann Ridgeway (R-Smithville); Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government: Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale); Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence: Sen. Jack Goodman (R-Mt. Vernon-[yay, a local]); Progress and Development: Sen. Victor Callahan (D-Independence- [yay, a Dem]); Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics: Sen. Tom Dempsey (R-St.Charles); Small Business, Insurance and Industry: Sen. Scott Rupp (R-Wentzville); Transportation: Sen. Bill Stouffer (R-Napton); and Veterans' Affairs, Pensions, Urban Affairs and Emerging Issues: Sen. Jason Crowell (R-Cape Girardeau).
Mayer has announced the appoint of Sen. Ron Richard (R-032) as vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Richard previously had announced that he will be working with his colleagues in the Senate to review ideas to restructure and reform Missouri's tax structure and economic development. The Senate will meet in a variety of working groups in the first weeks of the 2011 legislative session in an effort to Reboot Government-whether it be through more control, alterations, or deletions, he said. Richard was also appointed to serve on the Transportation Committee, Ways and Means and Fiscal Oversight Committee, and the General Laws Committee.
Members of the Missouri Senate Democratic Caucus expressed their hopes that the First Regular Session of the 96th Missouri General Assembly would be a productive session that benefits all Missourians. Sen. Victor Callahan (D-Independence) was elected Minority Floor Leader. The 2011 legislative session will conclude on May 13, 2011.
For a full listing of assignments or to learn more about the role of each senate committee, visit here.
On the House side newly elected Rep. Bill White (R-128) has jumped right in. He is a member of the following committees Appropriations - Health, Mental Health and Social Security (chaired, BTW, by Tom Flanigan- R-127); Appropriations - Transportation and Economic Development; Tax Reform and Downsizing State Government.
Sen. Roy Blunt, well-known to politics in Missouri who took over the seat vacated by Sen. Christoper "Kit" Bond, has announced his methods for communicating with his constituents. The include these social media tools: a Facebook page found here, an official Twitter page found here and an official YouTube page found here. He has announced that Amber Marchand will be his communications director; Tim O'Toole, media director; and Tom Brandt, deputy press secretary.
Billy Long, newly elected to the US House of Representatives from the 7th District, has been named to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and committee dealing with Homeland Security.