Give Liberty a Chance!

God has given to men all that is necessary for them to accomplish their destinies…

And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgement of faith in God and His works.

- Frederic Bastiat, The Law, 1850

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Session Notes

Each session has a character of its own with this session having the slowest start of any session that I have been a part of since being elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2002.

The pace of this session is both a blessing and a curse.

While, as a limited government conservative, not passing a lot of bills is good for the long-term health of our republic - and that is a good thing - I am concerned about the possible missed opportunities for good legislation that has the potential to preserve Liberty and enable individuals to pursue prosperity without government hindrance.

The House and Senate have been slowly moving legislation through the process.

To date, only ten bills and two concurrent resolutions have been passed out of the House and sent to the Senate. The Senate has managed to send twenty bills and one concurrent resolution to the House.

The Senate concurrent resolution, which rejects the state tax commission’s recommended increase in the agricultural land productive values, has passed both chambers and has saved Missouri farmers from a property tax increase. On the other hand, both chambers have passed their own versions of an insurance mandate that supporters openly admit will hurt small business owners.

While few bills have been debated by the full House, committees have been at work hearing testimony on proposed legislation. The committee process dominates the early part of each session. No bill can reach the floor for debate until it has passed through a committee. Floor time should increase significantly over the next few weeks as committees pass their work on for the consideration of the full House.

To date, there have been 1034 bills, 65 concurrent resolutions, and 52 proposed constitutional amendments offered by the 163 state representatives in the House. There have been 423 bills, 19 concurrent resolutions, and 24 proposed constitutional amendments introduced by the 34 state senators.

While floor activity has been light, the state budget has commanded the majority of legislators’ attention. The House appropriations committees have completed their grueling hearing schedule and have passed their recommendations on to the full budget committee so that they can commence their grueling hearing schedule. The House typically takes until the last week of March to send the state budget bills to the Senate.

The state budget must be completed by May 7th pursuant to the constitution. The General Assembly will remain in session until May 14th – giving the General Assembly plenty of time for mischief.

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