• State Reps. Evans, Franks, and Merideth Discuss Legislative Session with Missouri Public Affairs Network

    Jul 17, 2017

    Missouri State Representatives Jean Evans (R-99), Bruce Franks (D-80), and Peter Merideth (D-78) addressed the St. Louis Regional Chamber’s Missouri Public Affairs Network on Friday, July 14. The three freshmen representatives on the “rising stars” panel led an engaging and insightful conversation which covered their first impressions of representing the St. Louis area in Jefferson City.

    7.17.17 MOPAN PictureRep. Evans said she was pleasantly surprised by how well her fellow legislators got along regardless of political affiliation. She added that the newly elected representatives in particular have expressed a desire to do away with partisan gridlock, so much so that they often cannot distinguish between Democrats and Republicans.

    Rep. Franks spoke about his experience working across the aisle with Republican lawmakers, particularly given his party’s “super-minority” status in the Missouri House of Representatives. Franks said that working with lawmakers from across the state opened his eyes to the urban-rural divide. He also expressed gratitude for being able to work with an opposing party “that’s actually willing to listen,” noting the bipartisan effort to secure $4 million in federal funds for summer youth jobs in Missouri.

    Rep. Merideth echoed his colleagues’ remarks about the sense of bipartisanship among the newest members of the Missouri House. Merideth said he was most proud of his work on HCB 3, a bill intended to extend community services to vulnerable populations which received bipartisan support, but was ultimately vetoed by the Governor.

    All three representatives were asked to evaluate the Governor’s recently announced safety plan for the City of St. Louis. Rep.Evans expressed support for the plan, while Reps. Franks said the plan fails to address the root causes of violence. Rep. Merideth cited the negative impact of predatory ticketing practices on police-community relations.

  • Illinois Public Affairs Network Addresses State Budget Concerns

    Jun 22, 2017

    The St. Louis Regional Chamber hosted the Illinois Public Affairs Network on June 16, 2017 at the Doubletree Hotel in Collinsville, with legislators from our region providing a recap of this year's legislative session.

    Representatives Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) and Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) addressed topics related to the state’s budget impasse and the Illinois Senate’s passage of workers compensation reform. Rep. Hoffman said the general assembly’s top priority is passing a budget and despite the fact that Illinois hasn't had a budget in 716 days, “It does no good to point fingers and blame.” Hoffman acknowledged the benefits of workers compensation reform, but added that medical insurance reform will be essential in protecting injured workers.

    Rep. Stuart, a newcomer to the general assembly, expressed her desire to get back to work once the Governor’s special session begins on June 21. She also reminded the Network of how the state’s budget troubles impact public higher education, specifically budget issues at Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville, and noted that some universities may face closure. Stuart is no stranger to public education, as she has served as a math instructor at the elementary, high school, and university levels.

    Kevin Riggs, Managing Director of Dentons’ Public Law practice, closed the meeting with a legislative update and reiterated the speakers’ earlier calls for compromise both on the budget debate and other legislative items facing the Illinois General Assembly.

    IPAN Photo
    Representatives Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) and Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) address the Illinois Public Affairs Network on June 16, 2017