Liberty is Choice
“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” — Samuel Adams
Much of last week was applied to the “perfection” of Senate Bill 1, the so-called School Transfer Bill. Senate Bill 1 will receive one more vote in the Senate, the third-read vote, and then will move to the Missouri House for further consideration. A similar House bill,House Bill 42, has already passed the Missouri House and is awaiting a Senate hearing. Both bills address the pressing need to provide students a path out of failing schools. The bills will offer new options to parents who, regarding their children’s opportunity to learn and succeed, feel hopeless and helpless.
New options for student learning include transferring within their district to schools that are succeeding, the expanded use of charter schools, and the availability of virtual schools. Senate Bill 1 also addresses the tragedy of “social promotion” – passing students to the next grade level, ready or not. The results of social promotion can include graduating seniors that can’t read or even make change. There are additional details and provisions in the two education bills, and of course the bills will likely be further refined throughout the process as one or both make their way to the governor’s desk. Fundamentally, SB 1 is about giving parents and student’s choice; liberty is choice.
By now you have heard about the tragic death of State Auditor Tom Schweich last Thursday. A large group of us attended a memorial service in St. Louis on Tuesday, March 3. Besides the unspeakable grief for his wife and children, Missouri has lost a brilliant statesman and incredibly effective auditor. Please pray for Tom’s family and all who mourn his passing.
Monday, March 2, included a coordinated trip to Fort Leonard Wood for 23 state senators, a large number of House members, as well as statewide elected officials and federal legislators. The purpose of our visit was to support the incredible community, business, and state effort to win military support for keeping Fort Leonard Wood at its present staffing and mission level. Military budget cuts and base reductions are threatening thousands of military and support jobs in Pulaski and surrounding counties. Nearly 2,000 local citizens and military personnel attended the public hearing in support of the fort. I have not attended any of the other 20-plus meetings in support of other bases, but the public support and the information provided could not have been more compelling. Now it is up to the military.
Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.