Following the Easter holiday, members of the Missouri Senate, along with many of our Senate staff, gathered in the Senate chamber to honor 13 of our former colleagues, all of whom have passed away within the last two years. We were also very honored to have with us numerous family members and close friends of the senators.
 

Senator Ron Richard gives his opening remarks at the Missouri Senate’s 2017 Memorial Service in the Senate chamber Tuesday, April 18. The ceremony was held to remember the lives and service of 13 former state senators.

During the two-hour memorial service, members of the Senate family shared some of their favorite stories about the senators and reminded all those in attendance of the significant personal accomplishments and professional contributions each made to the Show-Me State. With the Missouri State Highway Patrol Color Guard on hand for the presentation of colors, special remarks from former Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and former President Pro Tempore Jim Mathewson, musical selections from two local high school choirs, prayer, one final roll call and more, the occasion was both solemn and joyful — full of memories, comradery and laughter.
 

The 13 senators honored during Tuesday’s Senate Memorial Service were: Vince Baker, Mary Groves Bland, Harold Caskey, William Cason, Donald Gralike, John Johnson, Emory Melton, Edward Quick, John T. Russell, John Schneider, Betty Sims, Carl Vogel and Anita Yeckel. For more information about these former Missouri state senators, you may access their memorial service biographies on the Senate website or by clicking here.
 

In legislative news, Senate debate on the Missouri Property Tax Credit — also known as the “circuit breaker” tax credit program stretched from Tuesday evening until after 5 a.m. Wednesday, before the corresponding legislation was temporarily shelved. In its current form, the circuit breaker program allows certain senior citizens and disabled individuals to qualify for a tax credit for a portion of the real estate taxes or rent they have paid for the year. House Committee Bill 3 seeks to repeal the renter’s provision of the circuit breaker program; it leaves in place the provisions for low-income seniors who own property and disabled individuals.
 

By repealing the renter’s provision, it is estimated the state will save approximately $56 million — money the Legislature could allocate elsewhere to prevent other budget cuts relating to home care and nursing care.
 

On Wednesday, the Senate took up and passed House Bill 339, relating to the reservation of rights and time limited demands.
 

 
Senator Ron Richard with Seneca High School FFA students in his Capitol office Wednesday, April 19.

 

Finally, I was pleased to welcome a group of Seneca High School FFA students to the Capitol on Wednesday. They stopped by to visit on their way to Columbia for the 89th Missouri FFA Convention, which runs from April 20-21. During the annual convention, members conduct association business, elect new officers, participate in leadership workshops and are honored for their outstanding achievements. Among those I had the privilege of hosting: Angel Roller, Seneca R-7, Agriculture Instructor and FFA Advisor; Kelsey Russell, Seneca Jr. High Agriculture Instructor; and Richard Roller, Regional Sales Manager for Seitz Fundraising.