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Monday, May 2, 2016

Legal, economic issues concern new senator

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sen. Ed Emery
JEFFERSON CITY -- Convened Jan. 9, the Missouri Senate is picking up speed and Sen. Ed Emery of Lamar is elated by his committee assignments and determined to make the most of the time left in the 97th General Assembly, which will end May 17.

Elected to his first four-year term last Nov. 6 to replace Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, who was redistricted out of the 31st Senate District, Emery has been appointed vice chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and named to the Education, Ways and Means, and Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and Environment committees.

"Decisions must be made to bring an element of balance back into the tort system now that the courts have thrown out caps on non-economic damages," he said in a Tuesday phone interview. "I have filed a bill to put impeachment trials back into the Senate because having them in the State Supreme Court has done a lot of harm in terms of accountability in the judiciary.

"Having impeachments at the Supreme Court is frequently defended as part of the Missouri Court Plan, but it was a separate recommendation at the 1945 State Constitutional Convention. It's a violation of checks and balances."

Crediting his eight years as a state representative for helping him in the Senate, Emery said his work with the Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee will involve the somewhat exotic issue of small modular reactors, which he said represent "a great opportunity because we have the infrastructure and technical expertise" to bring associated economic development.

"SMRs are a new approach to nuclear-generated electricity that will have a lot less impact on the environment and should mean an easier approval process with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission," he said. "We didn't get one of the first grants a few weeks ago, but I think we have a good shot in the second round."

Emery said Missouri should have a higher standing than many of its competitors because the Callaway Nuclear Generating Station has run since 1984 near Fulton, northeast of Jefferson City. "The economic development impact is pretty dramatic," he said.

"Ameren Missouri is heavily involved along with Sen. Mike Kehoe (R-Jefferson City, assistant majority floor leader)."

Writing tax-related bills, membership on the Senate Ways and Means Committee was another key position that Emery wanted to occupy and he promises to join the tax-cutting plans of Republican Sens. Eric Schmitt of Glendale (majority caucus chairman) and Will Kraus of Lee's Summit. The GOP controls the Senate with a 24-10 advantage over the Democrats.

Top leaders are President Pro tem Tom Dempsey of St. Charles and Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard of Joplin.

Working with Schmitt and Kraus, Emery said, he "will pick their brains to see what economic and tax issues will be successful in our state.

"I think we will see solid, meaningful action because Kansas is having a negative impact as businesses move out of our state and into theirs," he said. "Right now, we're having a border war. Rather than one state's trying to take jobs and prosperity away from the other, we need good policies on both sides of the state line so that both states are growing.

"Kansas has cut business taxes by 50 percent or more and reduced personal income taxes."

In a news release, Emery asked his constituents in Barton, Bates, Cass, Henry and Vernon counties to pray for their political leaders. "There are other ways to stay involved, but none exceeds that of your fervent prayers," he said.

"In the words of Benjamin Franklin, 'The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of the truth that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?'"

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