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Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2016

January 11, 2012

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012, at 1:35 PM

The Missouri House opened its new legislative session Wednesday, January the fourth, with a fresh perspective and a renewed sense of optimism with the introduction of our Blueprint for Missouri. The Blueprint is our plan for this session that focuses on protecting taxpayers, creating jobs, reforming schools and protecting our values.

Missouri is a great place to raise a family because of the values we share. Whether we are talking about protecting the life of a child or providing for the veterans who have served our country with honor, we all hold the values in high esteem. These are Missouri's values, and they deserve to be protected.

Most of you are aware of the terrible circumstances surrounding Penn State University where numerous children were allegedly sexually assaulted and a series of adults failed to report the abuse after being informed.

In light of this tragedy, the Missouri House has asked the Children and Families Committee to look into ways we can strengthen our Mandatory Reporter laws to ensure that this doesn't happen here. Children are our most vital resource and protecting them from sexual predators is of upmost importance.

Taking care of our veterans is also a top prioritythis session. The down economy and the ensuing budget shortfall in the state have left our veterans homes in the middle of a funding crisis. If a dedicated funding source isn't found, the Veterans Commission will start closing homes in July of 2013, and our veterans will be unable to get the care they need.

We are exploring a combination of ways to find the funding that returns our veterans homes to solvency. Several ideas are being explored that will produce the proceeds to ensure that we are able to take care of those who have taken care of us.

As representatives, we are dedicated to standing for the values of Missouri's citizens. We are determined to protect our children and supply the needs of our veterans.

The presentation of the United States and state flags, which opened the new session was done by the Malden High School JROTC under the direction of Sgt. Gene Laferney. The patriotic and precise performance received a standing ovation from all member and personnel in the House chamber. To my knowledge, this is the first southeast group to do an opening ceremony. Thank you MHS.

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