Greetings, My Fellow Missourians

Early Monday morning I attended the monthly board meeting of the St. Clair County Health Department in Osceola. Several owners/operators of St. Clair County restaurants were also in attendance. The issue they have been concerned about regards the health department’s recent announcement on charging inspection fees in 2018. The health department’s decision to adopt new inspection fees did not receive approval by the St. Clair County Commissioners. MO State Statute 192.300 is interpreted differently throughout the state; some counties interpret that it requires county commissions and county health boards to work together to adopt new ordinances and fees. However, other cases have occurred where only county health boards adopt new ordinances and fees without county commission approval. One of my goals for the past five legislative sessions has been to clarify this statute in governing food handling facilities and wastewater regulations. There has been too much related controversy on this topic, and we need to readdress this statute and fine tune the language.

Wednesday started with a trip to Springfield to attend the MO Health Care Association (MHCA) Legislative Luncheon held at Maranatha Village. MHCA members include 500+ nursing facilities in Missouri. The long term care industry contributes billions to the state economy on an annual basis. After the long-term care budget cuts this year, the state saved $16.2 million. However, it returned $27.9 million to the federal government, because with every $1 the state spends on its skilled nursing facility residents, the federal government matches it with $1.60. Missouri must enhance this federal match soon or this budget cut to save money will negatively impact the state general revenue fund by over $40 million. Affiliated MHCA members are committed to compassion, advocacy and theadvancement of excellence and quality in the long term care industry. We must work to insure this continues.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Cedar County Ambulance District building in Stockton was held on Wednesday afternoon with a good attendance in spite of the damp, cool weather. I commend the Cedar County Ambulance District Board for seeking out a local architect and local contractor for this project. And speaking of projects, it is really encouraging to drive throughout the district and see so many construction sites. I hope this building boom continues leading to increased job growth and a stronger district economy.

I headed to Springfield again Thursday for the Missouri State Troopers Association Legislative Breakfast at Troop D Headquarters. Missouri Highway Patrol Colonel Sandra Karsten visited with me at length about new technology the patrol has incorporated to aid in the fight against crime such as helicopter video to aid on-the-ground patrol. She shared concerns with me about recruitment and retention for state troopers and the fact that both are down across the state. The MO State Highway Patrol is one of the most highly respected law enforcement agencies in the country. However, Colonel Karsten believes recent issues in the state have had an impact on personnel. For anyone interested in a career with the patrol, the next recruit class is tentatively scheduled for July, 2018. More information is available through theMissouri State Highway Patrol Career Recruitment Division online or by calling 1-800-796-7000. College student internships are also offered through the Career Recruitment Division.

Opportunity to serve in Cedar County:

The Cedar County MU Extension Council is accepting nominations for the 2018 public election of new council members. Nominations will be reviewed at the Dec. 4 council meeting, so please contact the extension office as soon as possible. Elections will take place for new council members during the third week of January. For questions, please call 417-276-3313.

Some upcoming activities include:

Nov. 10, Veterans’ Breakfast at Osceola High School, 9 a.m.

Nov. 10, Special Veterans’ Ceremony at McCarty Senior Center in Wheatland, 11 a.m.

Nov. 11, “Wreathing of the Waters Ceremony” at Drake Harbor, Warsaw, at 11 a.m.

Nov. 18, “Season of Giving” Annual Weaubleau Parade, 11 a.m. to 12 noon.

Nov. 18, “Thankful for the Holidays” El Dorado Springs Christmas Parade and Lighting Festivities with the parade beginning at 3 p.m. and lighting celebration activities in Spring Park beginning upon conclusion of the parade all in conjunction with the 4th Annual Home-Based/Small Business Holiday Expo in the Spring Park Community Building before and after the parade.

Dec. 2, “Christmas in the Country” Appleton City at the Forest Park Building, Train Depot, and Drury Hotel with craft vendors, baked potato luncheon, contests and silent auction.

It is my honor to serve the constituents of District 125. If you ever have questions, concerns, or input, please feel free to contact me any time at (573) 751-4065.