With the elections over, Missouri state senators, including, Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, caucused in Kansas City last week to lay out their party’s plan for next year’s legislative session.
A week before, Schatz mailed out a legislative survey to residents in Franklin County asking them their thoughts on several major issues facing the next general assembly.
“We take the data very seriously,” Schatz said. “It’s always helpful to have some input from the constituents when we are working on things. We had pretty good results from the surveys last year and the information was very valuable.”
Included in the survey are questions focused on state and national issues and the level of interest of Franklin County voters.
Those issues include:
• Higher education
• Cigarette taxes
• Internet access
• Health and Medicaid
• Right to Work
Also included is a question asking the opinion of the electoral college as opposed to the national popular vote being the deciding factor in electing the president, in light of the recent presidential election where Donald Trump won the electoral vote to become president, but Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote.
Schatz said transportation funding and tort reform will be high priorities and Right to Work will be addressed with renewed vigor with a Republican now in the state’s top office.
“We met with Gov.-elect Greitens last week and we are getting a feel for each other’s agendas,” Schatz said. “It’s too early to tell how he will be to work with. We want to know his plans, tell him ours and make sure the two intersect.”
With a Republican-dominated legislative branch and now executive branch, Schatz said he and his colleagues are primed to pass legislation with minimal opposition.
“Transportation funding has to be addressed and we can’t just keep kicking it down the road,” Schatz said. “I’m sure Right to Work will come up again along with worker’s compensation. We have to get a feel for the business climate in the state and removing red tape.”
During the primary race for governor, Schatz and a few other local state legislators, who did not support him, expressed some negativity toward Greitens for lumping them into the “career politician” basket.
“A lot of things like that are said and go on during a primary,” Schatz said. “Once the dust settles, those kind of things get buried. Now, he (Greitens) realizes we will be key to his success. We’ve moved on beyond those comments and will work as a united front.”
He added another key to Greitens’ success will be taking the advice of legislators and surrounding himself with the right people.
“As an outsider it will be like drinking from a fire hose coming into all of this,” Schatz said. “He will have to listen to people that have experience and understand the system. He has some good people helping him.”
For Schatz, he said he is organizing his own legislative calendar and he and his staff are working to prepare bills, some from last year and some new, to begin filing on Dec. 1.
He said he will have more specifics on the bills in coming weeks.