Have a Happy Thanksgiving
For many families, one of the highlights of each year is the moment when loved ones come together around a holiday dinner table set with roasted turkey and all the trimmings. Thanksgiving is more than just a tradition in many households. It is a celebration of the family itself. Is it any wonder why the fourth Thursday in November is one of the most treasured days in many households? It certainly is in mine.
Unfortunately, this is not a normal year. Many families, concerned about the coronavirus, may choose to scale back their holiday traditions. Each family will have to make their own judgments about in-person gatherings, but I hope we all find ways to connect for the holiday. It’s been a difficult year for many, but we still have much to be thankful for.
Please accept my best wishes for a joyous Thanksgiving. However you chose to celebrate, it’s my hope that everyone can spend the Thanksgiving holiday with people they love. Whether you hold hands in prayer around the dinner table, or reconnect with loved ones on the phone or online, I encourage everyone to keep the tradition of togetherness at Thanksgiving. And if you’ve suffered hardship in the past year, my thoughts and prayers are with you. May we all join together as Americans, give thanks to our creator and have a happy Thanksgiving.
Lawmakers Return for Extra Session
A second extra legislative session is now underway in Jefferson City. The governor called the General Assembly back to Jefferson City to approve a supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2021. The $1.27 billion spending bill will provide the governor authority to distribute federal money intended to help Missouri respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Without the legislation, our state may not be able to take full advantage of relief programs approved by Congress. The House of Representatives began its work on the supplemental appropriations bill on Nov. 5. The Senate was expected to take up the measure this week, but that activity has now been postponed until after Thanksgiving.
On Nov. 12, the governor expanded the scope of the session. He now asks the General Assembly to enact COVID-19 liability protections for first responders, schools, businesses and other organizations. In requesting the legislation, the governor praised the efforts of Missouri hospitals and health care providers who have cared for COVID-19 patients. Likewise, he wants the Legislature to shield schools, businesses and other organizations from lawsuits relating to their response to the pandemic. We asked these people to step up and take risks while many other Missourians hunkered down. The least we can do is ensure they won’t be punished for their good deeds.
Legislative activity is expected to proceed once the Senate returns to Jefferson City. Lawmakers will then look to the start of the 101th General Assembly, which is scheduled to convene on Jan. 6, 2021. Pre-filing of bills for the coming session begins Dec. 1.
Little Otter Creek Lake Project Moves Forward
A quarter-century effort to develop a 344-acre multipurpose reservoir in Caldwell County moved one step closer to realization with final approval by federal agencies. The bidding process for the construction phase will begin this fall. If all goes well, crews will start clearing the land this winter and construction of the dam will begin during the summer of 2021.
The first project of its type approved in Missouri in more than 25 years, Little Otter Creek Lake will provide drinking water to Caldwell County communities, increase recreational opportunities in the region and contribute to flood control efforts. County residents have contributed more than $4 million toward the project through a sales tax initiative passed in 2004. Additional funding comes from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies.
Construction of the project is expected to take about two years. It could take another two years to fill the lake, depending on rainfall. Little Otter Creek Lake will be located east of Hamilton along Highway 36.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-4302. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.