The 101st General Assembly of the Missouri legislature begins January 6th with members being sworn in. Seventh District State Representative Rusty Black of Chillicothe will begin his third term.
Black reports he has asked to remain on the Budget Committee. He has also asked to continue to be the Appropriations Chair for Education and the Vice-Chair of Pensions. He would also like to continue on the Agriculture Policy Committee or serve on Corrections and Public Institutions.
Black also has several bills “in the works.” Three of them deal with pensions. He explains one deals with the teacher pension system that he plans to file before January 1st or right after the session starts.
Black says another “long piece” of legislation would clean up language regarding Missouri State Employees Retirement. The third bill dealing with pensions involves MOSERS, but it would not affect anyone except legislators.
Black also has a bill dealing with huffing, which was stopped last year due to COVID-19. He says the legislation is related to an accident in Chillicothe a few years ago in which a female attorney died. He wants to get that bill moving.
There is also discussion on a bill involving firefighters, rural fire districts, and rural fire associations that generally rely on dues to sustain operations. Black does not know if he will be the one to file the legislation.
Black notes there are about 200 fire associations in the state.
Meanwhile, Black believes the governor did the right thing by allowing counties, cities, and other entities to decide if mask orders should be issued in regard to COVID-19.
Black has received calls on both sides of the issue about how the governor’s actions have affected the virus’s spread and says he wears a mask whenever required or when he thinks he has been around new people.
Black believes the masks do more good for the wearer than anyone around the wearer, based on his knowledge from being a former agriculture teacher. He admits he is not an infectious disease expert.