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Sen. Justin Brown’s Legislative Column for Jan. 14, 2021

The 2021 Session Begins

The 2021 legislative session is now underway in Jefferson City. Lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Jan. 6 for the start of the 101st General Assembly. On Monday, Jan. 11, the governor’s inauguration ceremony was held on the south lawn of the Capitol. It was a chilly morning, but the sun came out just as the governor was about to take his oath. Also swearing-in that day were the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer and Missouri’s attorney general. It was an enjoyable ceremony, with music from the Missouri State University Chorale, the 135th Missouri Army National Guard band, a fly-over by a B-2 bomber and a 19-gun salute in honor of the governor.

In addition to swearing in the governor, the ceremony was the first official event in celebration of Missouri’s 200th anniversary. The traditional governor’s ball, normally held following the inauguration, has been postponed until August to coincide with the bicentennial of statehood. With the ceremonies out of the way, it’s time to get down to business at the Capitol.

This week, senators received their committee assignments. I was honored to be asked to chair the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee. With Interstate 44 passing through three of the five counties of the 16th Senatorial District, I am committed to maintaining a strong transportation system in our state, and look forward to steering this committee.

I was also pleased to have been assigned to the Seniors, Families, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, which will allow me greater influence over legislation affecting our servicemen and women, as well as state programs that relate to Fort Leonard Wood. As a former banker, I will bring my experience as a new member of the Senate Insurance and Banking Committee. I’ve also been asked to continue serving on the Appropriations Committee, which helps draft the state budget. Finally, I also return to the committee perhaps closest to my heart, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources. As a full-time farmer, I believe it’s critically important to have farmers involved in passing laws that impact our state’s agriculture.

MEET YOUR DISTRICT STAFF

As we begin this new legislative session, I want to introduce the people who help me serve you.  This year, Ashley Bax has joined my office as my new chief of staff. I rely on her to coordinate my legislative activities and follow legislation. Ashley previously was chief of staff for a now-retired senator from southeast Missouri. Beginning her third year in my office is my legislative assistant Diane Koestner. She previously worked for my father, when he served as senator for the 16th District. When you call my office, Diane is the person on the other end of the line. She’s responsible for the day-to-day management of the office.

I’m excited about the upcoming session and look forward to a productive year. We have a lot on our plate, with many issues left unresolved from the 2020 session. It’s my hope we can make it through this year without interruption and stay focused on creating a stronger Missouri. I’d like to hear from you if you have concerns about Missouri state government, or if you’d like to share ideas for making our state a better place to live and work. I’m here for you, and so is my staff.

It’s my honor to serve as your senator for the 16th District. If you have questions or need any assistance, please call my office at 573-751-5713 or log onto my webpage at https://www.senate.mo.gov/brown for more information.