Picking up the pace at the Missouri Capitol

The Missouri State Capitol came alive this past week as the pace of the 2019 legislative session picked up. With committee assignments determined, senators began reviewing bills and considering the governor’s budget proposals. The halls filled with constituents, state agency leaders and representatives of various organizations who came to advocate for their causes. It’s exciting to be part of the process.

Tony Luetkemeyer

Tony Luetkemeyer

The Gubernatorial Appointments Committee, one of five committees I serve on, met to provide “advice and consent” for the governor’s nominations to various boards and commissions throughout Missouri. State law requires appointments made while the Legislature is not in session be approved within 30 calendar days of the start of the legislative session.

One nominee the committee approved this week was Lee Tieman, who was named to the Missouri Western State University board of Governors in November. I had the pleasure of introducing this St. Joseph native to the committee and was proud to see his confirmation clear the full Senate the following day. Tieman is a tireless supporter of Western State University and its athletic programs and will be a great addition to the board of governors.

The Rules Committee also met this week. An area state senator drafted a resolution referred to the committee that would designate the Kansas City Chiefs as the official professional football team of the state of Missouri. As the only pro football team, and the team with the longest presence, in Missouri, the Chiefs are an obvious choice for the distinction. Given the great success the team saw this season, I enjoyed taking a few minutes to congratulate athletes who brought positive attention to our state.

So far, activity in the senate chamber is focused on assigning bills to committees. I was pleased to see my Senate Bill 155 was assigned to the Seniors, Families and Children Committee this week. This measure establishes a prescription-drug monitoring program that will help physicians and other prescribers identify persons who abuse painkillers. Missouri is the only state in the nation without a state-sponsored prescription-drug monitoring program. Drug-related overdoses are now the leading non-natural cause of death in our state. I hope to see this common-sense legislation become law, so we can begin to address the opioid epidemic in Missouri.

Finally, I am looking forward to the first hearings held by the Judiciary Committee. This is the committee I’m chairing. Our work of reviewing bills relating to criminal and civil courts in Missouri begins next week.

It is my great honor to represent the citizens of Buchanan and Platte and counties in the Missouri Senate. If there is anything I or my staff can help you with, please contact my office at (573) 751-2183, or visit www.senate.mo.gov/luetkemeyer.

Tony Luetkemeyer is Missouri State Senator for the 34th district that represents Platte and Buchanan counties. He is a resident of Parkville.