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With only a matter of days remaining for this year’s regular session — our last day is Friday, May 17 — lawmakers are working on sending approved measures to the governor for his signature and investigating the actions of state agencies and the executive administration with regard to Missourians’ private information. We’ll have a lot of long days in the near future, but my colleagues and I are dedicated to working for you and doing everything possible to make our state a better place to live.

As the 2013 session is drawing to a close, bills are more frequently moving closer to the legislative finish line. One of my sponsored bills, SB 235, was approved by the Legislature and sent to the governor for his signature. This bill modifies the law relating to residential real estate reporting; it would eliminate a duplicate and ineffective regulatory reporting requirement for residential lenders that has developed over time with the federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). This act would save state agencies and the residential lending industry time and resources.

Another bill moving through the Missouri Senate that has been set aside for future consideration in the upper chamber is SB 210, which would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to conduct at least one public hearing in each Missouri congressional district prior to the full implementation of the Common Core State Standards. At least two weeks prior to the first of the public hearings, DESE would need to perform a fiscal analysis of the projected cost to the state and school districts of the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

These standards are defined as an initiative to establish a single set of educational standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade in the subjects of English language arts and mathematics. States may voluntarily adopt these standards in their educational systems; DESE adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010, but they won’t be fully implemented until the 2014 school year. Many Missourians aren’t familiar with the Common Core State Standards, and it’s vital they are aware of the changes that could take place in their children’s schools. I have serious concerns about the entire program. Some of my colleagues and I are concerned about the gathering of unnecessary information on students (due to the new assessments on students included in the program), in addition to the program’s costs. A one-size-fits-all education plan encouraged by the federal government needs to be researched and isn’t necessarily the best fit for Missouri. The Common Core State Standards fail to address specific needs of individual states, and with so many unanswered questions with regard to students’ information, SB 210 is a helpful tool to examine the best options for Missouri students.

This week, testimony was heard regarding the alleged sharing of a list detailing Missourians with concealed carry permits (CCWs). According to an Associated Press article, federal fraud investigators testified on Wednesday that they had sought three times to obtain a list of Missourians who have CCWs. We know a federal agency was looking into potential fraud in the system of disability benefits. The article noted a Missouri lawmaker to say that the investigation “could have targeted veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, who legitimately are receiving Social Security disability benefits but may also legitimately have a concealed gun permit because they have never been judged mentally incompetent.” My colleagues and I continue to dig deeper into this investigation to protect your private information and demand more accountability for state agencies and the executive administration.

If you have any questions about the matters I’ve addressed in this legislative report, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office.

Welcoming Guests to the Capitol

With not much time remaining in the 2013 legislative session, I’m glad to meet with visitors who come to Jefferson City to meet with me. This week, I had the pleasure of meeting junior high students from Hartville, Mo.; eighth grade students from Licking, Mo.; and students from Shook Elementary School.

If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, please don’t hesitate to contact my capitol office at (573) 751-1882.

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