Freshman Orientation (Mrs. Burnett gets a weekend pass)
Practice makes perfect. This morning we practiced the protocol for committee meetings and hearings. I’ll admit we had some fun with it using an old bill (that wasn’t passed) that sought to designate a dog named Old Drum, as the State Dog. It claimed that Old Drum was the subject of a famous eulogy in a famous court case closing argument, and therefore should be designated as the State Dog for Missouri (see The Case of Old Drum). We also covered budget concerns. Budget is really the primary responsibility of your State Government – determining revenue and then allocating it according to the restrictions that are attached to it. Much of the revenue that comes into the state (Federal funds and “Other” funds) is already allocated for specific purposes, and it is the responsibility of the state government to distribute it accordingly. About one third of the revenue is identified as “General Revenue,” and that is the money we have to work with when we create bills that carry fiscal notes. Since we are bound by the State Constitution to maintain a balanced budget, in order to allocate money to support a new program or initiative we have to first reduce an allocation somewhere else in the budget. This becomes a bigger problem when the budget is underfunded due to unforeseen reductions in revenue, and that is pretty much where we are at right now in the State of Missouri. Please let me know if you have concerns or ideas for the best use of our scarce resources, and share them with me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The afternoon was spent going over the personnel side of being a State Legislator and completing all of the necessary paperwork, and then we all got to go home! Stay tuned for next week’s posts about the Freshman Tour. We will be traveling the state by bus.