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Freshmen Legislators Have Orientation

On January 3rd, Missouri's senators and representatives will begin the next legislative session. KSMU's Matt Petcoff caught up with a couple of the newest lawmakers from the Springfield area to discuss their plans for their upcoming term.

In less than a month, our elected officials will head back to Jefferson City to begin work in the 94th General Assembly.

Making their first trip this year will be Democrat Charlie Norr and Republican Shane Schoeller.

Both men say they already have plans for these upcoming months of work.

But, before either can officially begin work as a Missouri lawmaker, state law requires newly elected officials to attend freshman orientation.

Adam Crumbliss is the Chief Clerk for the Missouri House of Representatives.

He says it's important for these newly elected representatives to be prepared for the upcoming session.

Charlie Norr represents the 137th district, which encompasses the northwest portion of Springfield.

He says things haven't really slowed down even after the election ended and he wasn't quite sure what all to expect with the orientation process.

But, he also says he is already working on legislation for this session because lawmakers began filling bills on December 1st.

Norr says Lampe, who is also a democrat, is really helping to prepare him to be a member of the Missouri legislature.

But, Norr also says he realizes how being a part of the minority party can make accomplishing his goals more difficult.

As a member of the majority party, Shane Schoeller may have a little more flexibility with his proposals.

But, the newly elected representative for the 139th district covering northern Springfield and other areas of northern Greene County says he agrees that bipartisan work is important.

Schoeller says he believes that Missourians are fed up with the constant bickering between parties.

As for preparing for the upcoming session with orientation, Schoeller says he is excited for what he calls a comprehensive schedule.

But, while he too says attacking the Medicaid situation will take up a large amount of time throughout this session he is also setting his own goals for his time in Jefferson City.

One topic he hopes to spend more time on is tax relief for businesses in Missouri and says he heard some startling facts while sitting in on a meeting recently with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.

Norr, Schoeller and the rest of the newly elected officials still have one more week of orientation before being sworn in as lawmakers in January.

Their orientation process, which began on the 27th of November, will continue until next Thursday, December 14th.