By Susan Redden
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Two Joplin area representatives have been named to a committee that is to examine how effectively and efficiently state departments are operating.
House Speaker Tim Jones recently announced the creation of the House Interim Committee on Government Responsiveness and Efficiency, and named as members Rep. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, and Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City.
Jones said the committee will be asked to examine how governmental agencies operate, with the goal of reducing red tape and improving the quality of service provided to Missouri taxpayers.
Rep. Sue Allen, R-Town and Country, the chairwoman, said the committee will begin its work by looking into recent issues with the Missouri Department of Social Services. She cited in particular an audit that criticized management of an early childhood fund and the department’s failures to release information related to child abuse cases in a timely fashion.
“We will do our best to discover areas where things can be done more efficiently, and develop policy suggestions for putting our recommended improvements in place,” Allen said.
Flanigan said he is familiar with financial issues of the Department of Social Services after serving as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee on Health, Mental Health and Social Services.
“These are administrative agencies where the director is appointed by the governor,” he said. “So we can ask questions and make recommendations, but most of our decision-making authority is over the budget.”
Operations of the Department of Social Services also are a focus of a committee of which Rep. Bill Lant, R-Pineville, is a co-chairman. Lant called for the appointment of the Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, which was named a year ago.
One of the newest members of the Missouri House got one of the best scores in the “2013 Economic Prosperity Report Card” issued recently by the Missouri Chapter of Americans for Prosperity.
A 100 percent rating was given to Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, who joined the Legislature after a special election in April. Moon was one of nine representatives receiving a perfect score from the group.
The group tracked and scored lawmakers on how their votes lined up with stances of the organization, which opposed Medicaid expansion, Common Core education standards, a transportation sales tax proposal and utility surcharges, and supported measures for paycheck protection, lifting prevailing wage requirements and imposing spending caps.
Patrick Werner, AFP state director, said the report card “sheds light on who is standing up for limited government, lower taxes and regulatory freedoms.”
Moon was the only lawmaker from the region receiving a 100 percent score from the group. Other area scores were: Davis, 70 percent; Flanigan, 80 percent; Lant, 78 percent; Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, 88 percent; Rep. Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, 78 percent; and Rep. Bill White, Joplin, 89 percent.
Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, and Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, each received an 86 percent score.
Though some other votes varied, all local lawmakers were marked down by the AFP because all, except for Moon, supported a measure that would have submitted to voters a proposed 1-cent sales tax for 10 years to fund projects to upgrade the state’s transportation infrastructure.
Sen. Roberts honored
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas was honored last week for his efforts in connection with the closure of the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant in Parsons.
Roberts received the Association of Defense Communities Congressional Leadership Award, recognizing his efforts to ensure that the plant could be a site for future job creation after it was targeted for closure in 2005. The site, which was closed in 2009, now is the home of the 14,000-acre Great Plains Industrial Park.
SUSAN REDDEN is a staff writer for the Globe. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 417-627-7258. Follow her on Twitter @Susan_Redden.