How to bring more money to Columbia: local lawmakers weigh-in

2 years 2 months 4 weeks ago Thursday, January 04 2018 Jan 4, 2018 Thursday, January 04, 2018 6:44:00 PM CST January 04, 2018 in Top Stories

COLUMBIA - Local legislators spent the second day of the 2018 Missouri Legislative Session in Columbia to discuss ways of bringing more economic success to the city.

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce hosted the legislative reception at the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri on Thursday. The chamber said the session has become somewhat of a tradition.

"The chamber's priorities are always good priorities. They're common sense, they're not really partisan in nature, and they're things that really impact this community," Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said. "Things that have been ongoing issues in the community: transportation and infrastructure, job creation, the opioid epidemic are all things that reach across party lines."

Several lawmakers spoke about their plans for the new legislative session:

  • Senator Caleb Rowden (R - District 19)
  • Representative Kip Kendrick (D - 45th District)
  • Representative Martha Stevens (D - 46th District)
  • Representative Chuck Basye (R - 47th District)
  • Representative Cheri Toalson Reisch (R - 44th District)
  • Representative Sara Walsh (R - 50th District)

"I get complaints about bridges a lot. A good example is the overpass on Rocheport on I-70," Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, said. "When I first got on the legislature, a MoDOT [Missouri Department of Transportation] engineer took me on a ride and you can see rebar and stuff hanging out."

"It changed my opinion - I've always been an advocate for no more taxes and all that, but I've got to say that I've changed my opinion on that. We should send a good proposal for the people to decide and let Missourians vote on that," he said.

Legislators also listened as representatives from the city's chamber of commerce said there are six priorities heading into the new legislative session:

  1. More funding for the University of Missouri
  2. Improve the city's transportation system, like rebuilding roads
  3. Expand training for the MU Research Reactor (MURR)
  4. Continue building and completing the Columbia Regional Airport Terminal Project
  5. Support legislation in favor of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP)
  6. Start an official, statewide prescription drug monitoring program

"There's no better way to understand the needs of the community, the passions of the community then to be out talking to those folks. We get a lot of emails and things that say, 'Hey, we're in favor of this or this.' But I think talking to them, looking at them eye-to-eye, face-to-face and seeing why is really important," Rowden said.

Columbia Chamber of Commerce President Matt McCormick said this was the first time the session was held at the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.

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