By Monte Miller
Missourian Staff Writer
The 2017 Missouri Legislative session kicked off Wednesday with the swearing in of newly elected members and returning incumbents, as well.
Portions of Franklin County are represented by four different state representatives, three of which are returning to Jefferson City and the other is just beginning his first term in the House.
Paul Curtman, R-Union, is coming into his fourth and final term in the House, where he has served since 2010.
His colleague Kirk Mathews, R-Pacific, who ran unopposed for his seat and will begin his second term along with Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, also was successful in his re-election to a second term.
The sole rookie representing Franklin County is Nate Tate, R-St. Clair, who won the vacated seat of Dave Hinson, who was elected to the Franklin County Commission in November.
Tate was officially sworn in on Wednesday and although he has several items on his agenda, he was not able to file any bills before the legislative session began.
On the other hand, Mathews, Curtman and Alferman filed nine bills combined beginning Dec. 1.
More than 320 bills and 10 house joint resolutions were prefiled by more than 150 representatives.
As promised last summer, Justin Alferman filed HB 61, which “designates a bridge on a portion of State Highway 100 in Franklin County as the ‘Lyndon Ebker Memorial Bridge.’ “
Alferman also filed HB 60, which “changes the laws regarding lobbyist expenditures.”
He also filed HB 234, which changes the laws regarding the filling of commissioner offices and HB 247 establishing procedures to the sale of municipally-owned water or sewer systems.
Paul Curtman has filed HB 169, which requires a committee of the House of Representatives to review and issue reports on the audits of any state agency or department conducted by the State Auditor’s Office.
He also filed HB 170, which would allow those licensed by the Department of Agriculture to grow, harvest and cultivate industrial hemp.
After teaming up on several bills last year, Kirk Mathews has already struck out on his own for 2017, filing two early bills.
The first, HB 111, specifies the representation that collective bargaining units can provide within the bi-state development agency.
His second early bill also deals with mass transportation and establishes a regulatory system for transportation network companies.
Later in December, Mathews prefiled HB 303, which establishes the offense of filing false documents with the Recorder of Deeds.
The Republican Party will maintain its overwhelming 117 to 46 majority over Democratic lawmakers.
The Senate swore in six new members and will hold a 25 Republican to eight majority.
In the executive branch, Republican Gov. Eric Greitens was sworn in Monday, Jan. 9.