JEFFERSON CITY, OCTOBER 11, 2012 – During the interim, when we are not in session in Jefferson City, my staff and I get a chance to focus our attention on issues within the district and prepare for the next legislative session. I thought it would be helpful for you to know the kinds of services we provide, and the ways we can serve you.
We are available year-round to help you if you have an unresolved issue with any part of state government. From difficulties in getting paperwork filed, to issues related to services from any other state department, we help constituents solve problems all the time. Often, when you are stuck in bureaucratic red tape, a simple phone call from our office will get things moving again.
State Laws and Regulations
We get a lot of e-mails regarding current state statutes and regulations, and how they apply in certain situations. While we are not lawyers, we have access to some of the best in the Capitol resources, and can usually give precise answers. Often, that research will lead to potential legislation.
Local Meetings and Events
During the interim, the Senate office staff and I get the chance to attend many meetings in the district, as well as host meetings at our in-district office. I try to meet regularly with local elected officials and representatives from our local school districts. The 8th District office staff and I also attend local meetings hosted by area businesses, chambers, community colleges, and even churches. We also regularly meet with constituents at our office or out in the district. My favorite occasions are attending community events like parades, festivals or fairs in the 8th District. If you see me out and about, don’t be afraid to stop me to say “hi.”
As we get closer to the 2013 session, we really start to evaluate which legislation to sponsor and what other matters we want to keep a close eye on. With 400 to 500 bills filed in the Senate (and usually 1,000 or more in the House), it is impossible to focus on everything. The process starts with a lot of summer research, discussions with local officials and constituents, and talks with other legislators. Once we decide on a piece of legislation, we work with other departments to fine-tune that measure. Official numbering of pre-filed bills starts Dec. 1 and I will update you more at that time.
Preparing Our Capitol Office for Session
Days during session move pretty quickly, so I have found it is best to be well prepared. During the interim, we are making sure we have enough materials for visitors, beginning the process for finding interns, cleaning out files to make room for the new, and going through committee binders to keep what we need before preparing them for a new session.
Even during the interim, we get a good deal of mail and e-mail. My goal is to personally answer as many of my constituents as possible. Occasionally, we need a few days, sometimes more, to research an answer, but we try to get back to each writer as quickly as possible. We always appreciate your suggestions and input and I hope you keep writing.
As you can see, we keep pretty busy, even when we are not in session. While a legislator’s job is supposedly part-time, I find I need to be available and can be quite busy year round. Please let me or either member of the office staff know how we can help at any time.
Please feel free to contact the 8th Senatorial District’s Capitol office with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 573-751-1464, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.