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Senator Says Study Committee Bill Is Working

Senate President Pro Tem David Long says his bill limiting the focus of summer study committees has helped streamline the study process.

Long says before his bill, there were concerns that committees were costing taxpayers unnecessary dollars.

Photo: Phil Jern (flickr)

Long says before his bill, there were concerns that committees were costing taxpayers unnecessary dollars.

Lawmakers will begin work on legislative summer study committees in the next few weeks, looking at issues and preparing bills for next session.

Senate President Pro Tem Long says much of the groundwork for future sessions is accomplished in the summer study committees, but he says the committees had gotten out of control. There were simply too many of them created in statute, and there were concerns about an increased cost to the taxpayers.

“We couldn’t get quorums in a lot of these committees. It looked like Legislative Services would have to hire additional personnel just to staff them,” says Long.

So Long created a bill this past session that limits the number of permanent committees and the range of topics they can consider. He says the bill is already making a difference – this summer, lawmakers are faced with some major issues, including a study of pre-kindergarten education and the business personal property tax.

Long says, in the past, separate committees would have been created just for those issues; this year, they were included in the committees specifically named in Long’s bill.

“I think that’s a good precedent.  I think we’re setting an example by saying, ‘Unless it’s a very, very special issue that really requires its own committee, that you go to the permanent committees,” he says.

The bill does allow for special, standalone committees, but they can only last for one year, which Long says will help ensure the same problem isn’t created again.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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