Rep. Keeney talks legislative priorities at GOP club meeting

Sunday, January 6, 2013
Shelley Keeney

The Republican-laden state House and Senate will examine issues such as teacher evaluations, sales-tax collections on out-of-state vehicle purchases and tax credit reform in the upcoming session, a local legislator who holds a House leadership position told a county Republican club Friday.

State Rep. Shelley Keeney, R-Marble Hill, spoke about priorities for Missouri House Republicans as outlined by Speaker Tim Jones when she met with local party members Friday during a monthly gathering of the Cape County Republican Women's Club at Dexter Bar-B-Que.

Keeney, the House Majority Caucus Chairwoman, ran through a list of priority legislation that will go through committees for discussion, then on to the GOP-majority House and Senate floors when the session begins this week.

Keeney focused on Jones' plan of economic development that includes energy and education issues.

Keeney voiced support for Jones' priorities, which he pitched during a recent statewide tour. They include tax-credit reform, health-care tort reform, removing some business regulation and lowering corporate taxes. She also spoke of one of several related to education, which Jones recently called a "better balance in the relationship between funding and school and teacher performance."

An issue continuing into the 2013 session could be a change in how teacher evaluations are handled. Some legislators believe teacher performance should connect more closely to consequences and affect their employment status -- basically "holding bad teachers accountable and rewarding good teachers," Keeney said.

"The idea seems to be gaining traction each year," she said, although it remains a tough issue for the legislature and the public to address, because of the close connection of teachers to communities.

Another topic Keeney expects could come to a vote would be whether to reform the state's prevailing wage laws or try to eliminate prevailing wage completely. Other issues are whether state law should be amended to spur special elections in the case of vacant statewide offices, and if the state legislature should act to allow local governments to re-establish sales-tax collection on some out-of-state purchases.

Legislative ability to let towns and counties have the ability to collect some sales taxes was taken away by a state Supreme Court ruling in 2012.

Keeney said the outlooks of legislators varies.

"It's very split," she said. "And I don't think it's that they don't want to see something happen. I think the concern is turning that power to do something over to the municipalities and the counties, rather than us do something on the state level."

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

236 S. Broadview St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: