My Fellow Missourians:

Not only is National Black History Month celebrated during the month of February, it is also National FFA Week from Feb. 18 through Feb. 25. We are fortunate to have nine high schools in District 125 that have very active FFA Chapters. In fact, I have presented 13 resolutions to graduates that have achieved the American FFA Degree. This rigorous educational program gets the credit for much of our country’s success in agriculture today.

Tuesday morning began at the Capitol with the weekly Capitol Commission study. Capitol Commission of Missouri is a cross-denominational, non-partisan ministry that teaches in-depth Bible studies for all members and staff. This is a wonderful ministry and support system. During the first week of session in January, Dr. John Battaglia, who leads the weekly Bible study, presented each member with a new Bible on behalf of the Missouri Capitol Commission.

Missouri Military Appreciation Day was observed on Tuesday with members of the MO Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission highlighting the significant contributions and sacrifices of military service members and the importance of the economic impact that military installations have on the state of Missouri. During the day, the governor launched a new program to help returning veterans find quality jobs. Governor Greitens and Major General Kent Savre signed a Memorandum of Agreement outlining a workforce initiative for service members and their spouses. Under the new agreement, the Missouri Division of Workforce Development (DWD) and the Army will cooperate to better connect military men and women entering the civilian workforce with Missouri businesses offering apprenticeships that could lead to full-time employment.

St. Valentine’s Day was celebrated at the Capitol on Tuesday with most people wearing red. After debating several issues on the House floor, I drove home late afternoon to spend the evening with my wife, Marla. This dear lady not only surprised me by taking care of the livestock chores, but she prepared a delicious beef pot roast and dessert of peaches and ice cream.

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel and former U.S. Congressman Allen West was the keynote speaker at a meeting on Wednesday night sponsored by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association. He commented about tax reform, trade agreements, Quest workers, and solving inner city problems. He was “spot on!” Plus, he is a strong supporter for Article V of the Constitution for holding a Convention of the States. This would allow the states to gather and propose amendments to our Constitution such as a balanced budget and term limit amendments. One of his closing comments last night was, “Life is all about how you live your ‘Dash’.” What a profound statement!

Removing burdensome regulations for hair braiders (HB230):

The House took action this week to reduce regulations placed on hair braiders. Both Governor Greitens and House leadership have made it a priority to reduce the number of regulations that too often stifle economic development in the state. The legislation simply specifies that hair braiders do not have to obtain a cosmetology license in order to earn a living.

Protecting missouri’s peace officers (HB 57):

House members approved legislation this week that would create enhanced penalties for individuals who assault officers of the law. The legislation would increase by one degree the penalty for voluntary or involuntary manslaughter; first- or second-degree property damage; unlawful use of a weapon; rioting; or first-degree trespassing; when those crimes are committed against a law enforcement officer. As an example, voluntary manslaughter is a class B felony under current statute, but if HB 57 becomes law, voluntary manslaughter committed against a law enforcement officer would see the penalty increased to a class A felony. Enhanced penalties are necessary because crimes against law enforcement officers have increased in recent years.