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- Senator introduces bill for I-57 that would connect Sikeston with Little Rock (04/28/16)4
- Law firm requests information about Cape's traffic cameras (04/25/16)2
- Local lawmakers split over failed medical marijuana bill; voters may have a say (04/26/16)19
- Local company makes eco-friendly kitty litter that cuts cat-box smell (04/25/16)
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Jason Smith to serve on House Natural Resources and Judiciary committees
Missouri's newest congressman, Republican Jason Smith, received committee assignments Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
Smith will serve on two U.S. House of Representatives committees -- Natural Resources and Judiciary. The role of committees in Congress is to decide which pieces of proposed legislation move forward for a vote by the entire House or Senate.
Smith won a June 4 special election in Missouri's 8th Congressional District that chose a successor for Jo Ann Emerson, who left Congress in January shortly after beginning a 10th term to head the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Smith, a Salem, Mo., native who served as a state representative and speaker pro tem in the Missouri House of Representatives, last week said he would like to serve on the House Agriculture Committee, but no open seats were available. U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, serves on that committee.
"I hope to be on committees that can utilize my talents best, and help me represent this district," Smith said. "Natural resources is open, which has a lot to do with the forest industry and our national parks, which I think is very important, and it has a lot to do with different areas of agriculture in the 8th. That would be of interest."
In a news release sent Wednesday, Smith said committee assignments reflect the needs of his constituents.
"The Natural Resources Committee is of great importance to families living in Southeast and south-central Missouri," Smith said in the release.
He said he knows the challenges farm families face from government regulations and that the committee membership is pertinent because the district contains the Mark Twain National Forest, National Scenic Riverways and mining and timber interests. Smith said he wants to work to "protect private property rights and bring a little common sense to the national debate."
Smith, an attorney and livestock owner, campaigned for reducing government regulations on business and farms during his bid for Congress.
Smith also said in the release he expects the Judiciary Committee will be "tackling some of the biggest issues facing our country. From immigration reform to recent reports of government surveillance, the Judiciary Committee will play a key role in crafting national policy."
Emerson served on the House Appropriations Committee and on several subcommittees dealing with agriculture, energy and homeland security.
The Judiciary Committee contains subcommittees on issues such as regulatory reform, courts, civil justice and immigration.
More information on the committees and issues can be found online at judiciary.house.gov and naturalresources.house.gov.