As many of you have probably heard, the Governor has extended the Stay At Home Order for the State of Missouri through May 3. I, like many of you, am ready to get back to life as we once knew it. Unfortunately, I think it will be awhile before we get back to normal. It seems like COVID-19 will be around for next 18 months at least. We are going to have to find ways to cope. We cannot just stay in our homes for the next year and a half. As we move forward, we must remember the things we have learned from this crisis. Please remember to check on your senior family members and neighbors during this time. No one wants to be a burden on others and some will not voluntarily reach out for help. We are all in this together and any help you can offer to others is greatly appreciated.
Lawmakers Set to
Return to Jefferson City
on April 27
Members of the Missouri House and Senate will make their way back to the State Capitol building on April 27 to resume the 2020 legislative session. When they return, legislators will focus their efforts on crafting the Fiscal Year 2021 state operating budget, which must be approved by May 8 in accordance with the Missouri Constitution.
House Speaker Elijah Haahr and Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo issued a joint statement with Senate leadership regarding the decision to resume session.
They stated, “During this unprecedented time, our legislative body has worked to balance the health and safety of members, staff, and visitors with our constitutional obligation to pass a budget. The decision to move forward on April 27 was not an easy one, however it is absolutely critical for the people of Missouri that we keep the state government funded and services operating without interruption. We will use the intervening time to monitor the trajectory of Missouri’s coronavirus cases as well as assess the impact of newly-issued federal guidance and disaster funds on the state budget.”
Lawmakers suspended the legislative session in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They returned on April 8 to pass a $6 billion supplemental appropriations bill and emergency aid package for the current Fiscal Year 2020 state operating budget. While they were in the building, legislators and staff followed all recommended protocols to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. House and Senate leaders said the General Assembly will continue to follow the appropriate safety protocols when session resumes on April 27.
The General Assembly will continue to adhere to social distancing and infection mitigation procedures when members return. Committee hearings and legislative proceedings will remain open to the public and their testimony. We strongly encourage members of the public to follow social distancing guidelines and participate in the legislative process electronically when possible.
Anyone interested in observing the legislative process can visit the Missouri House of Representatives website at www.house.mo.gov. The House provides video streams of all floor proceedings and most committee hearings. This is available any time, not just during the social distancing order.
Special Summer Session
After being out of session for over a month, it is highly expected that the Governor will call the Legislature back for a special session this summer. There are many things that we will work on before we dismiss May 15, however there are so many unknown factors that may need to be readdressed at a later time. We will make decisions based upon the information we have now, but once Missouri gets back to work and things start returning to normal adjustments may need made.
MODOT Work Zone Awareness
Route K in Reynolds County will be reduced to one lane as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform pavement repairs. This section of roadway is located from Route 21 to the Reynolds County line. Weather permitting, work will take place Monday, April 20 through Tuesday, April 21 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.
Drivers are urged to slow down and pay attention as construction ramps up for summer months. This week is National Work Zone awareness week and is used as a reminder to slow down and avoid distractions when driving through work zones. Two simple and impactful actions to help protect yourself and those working along the highways is to buckle up and put the phone down. Distracted driving remains a leading contributor to work zone crashes. The best defense in a work zone crash, or any crash, is a seat belt. In 2019, 64 percent of vehicle occupant fataliites were not wearing a seat belt.
Traffic volumes across the state are down approximately 40% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but MoDOT officials and law enforcement are seeing an increase in speeding on the highways. Do your part to save lives buckle up, slow down and pay attention.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or suggestions you might have. As your Representative I am here to assist you however I can. I can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 573-751-2112.
Chris Dinkins is the area’s state representative for the 144th Legislative District. She can be reached by email – [email protected] or by telephone: 573-751-2112.