Crane in Danger of Losing Its License Bureau
One of my concerns this past week was the announcement from the Dept. of Revenue of closing the license bureau in Crane. We received numerous emails and phone calls from constituents in the Crane area that are rightfully upset about that decision. I spoke personally with the Governor’s liaison on Monday evening and emphasized the efficiency, convenience and dependence from the community of the license bureau. He was going to meet with the Director of D.O.R. and discuss the issue. I also signed a letter, drafted by Senator David Sater (also signed by Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick), that addresses what the loss of the long-standing license bureau would mean to the citizens of Crane and the surrounding area. The letter was sent to the Director of D.O.R., Mr. Joel Walters, and it expresses our dislike of the decision and asked that it be reversed!
The letter was also sent out as a press release. We are doing all we can. I hope it makes a difference. Citizens can go to the D.O.R. website and send an email online. Go to: dor.mo.govand scroll down to the bottom left, in the blue area. The more the merrier; the squeaky wheel gets the grease!
Another Local Issue
I also dealt with several complaints from residents of Stonebridge Village in Branson West, related to a rate increase in fees for water and sewer. Stonebridge Village’s water system is owned by American Water. There has already been a public hearing held in Branson. I’ve been in contact with a lobbyist from American Water and we had a meeting in my office. Things seem to be improved but the rate hikes will most likely be approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission. Note: There’s already a process in place for dealing with increases in fees for water and sewer in Missouri. I’m satisfied I’ve done all I can at this point.
Several bills continue to be passed out of the House and sent to the Senate. Here’s one of the more significant bills passed this week:
HB 1409 relating to unemployment compensation, passed by a vote of 96-53. This bill reduces the amount of unemployment based on the current unemployment rate. For instance, if the unemployment rate is 9% or higher, the benefit is 20 weeks. It follows a moving scale of reduction based on the rate, with the lowest being 13 weeks of unemployment benefits if the state average is below 6%. Missouri closed 2017 with an overall unemployment rate of 3.5%. Our Tri-Lakes area, with seasonal employment, fluctuates dramatically during January, February and March and then levels out.
HB 1355 relating to retired police officers returning to work during emergencies, is ready for debate on the house floor. It’s awaiting a place on the calendar.
HB 1356 relating to fees associated with the serving of civil papers, is awaiting a hearing in the Judiciary Committee.
HB 1713 relating to adoptee birth certificates and HB 1714, relating to adoption records, both are to be voted out of committee this week.
HB 1715 passed out of committee on Monday and will now go to the Rules Committee.
HB 2181 relating to yielding to other equipment at railroad crossings, passed out of the Transportation Committee on Wednesday and will go to the Rules Committee.