The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 15, 2013

Committee on downsizing state government plans public hearing for Joplin

By Eli Yokley

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lawmakers looking for ways to lessen the impact of state government will meet in Joplin on Wednesday as part of a nine-city listening tour.

State Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, who serves as vice chairman of the House Committee on Downsizing State Government, said the group is charged with listening to people who think Missouri government is too intrusive or inhibiting of business or other efforts.

“People feel like government is getting bigger and bigger, and bigger isn't always better,” Kelley said this week in advance of the meetings. "We want to get rid of statutes that are not needed or find programs that are being unsuccessful and eliminate those programs."

Unlike interim committees meeting throughout the state this summer, the Committee on Downsizing State Government is a standing committee that will be listening to public concerns, rather than considering any specific legislation.

"We're looking at eliminating things you've come to find out are more than a hassle to the citizens of Missouri than a benefit,” said Kelley.

For example, Kelley said during the spring session of the General Assembly, the committee moved legislation that removed restrictions banning the sale of home-baked goods.

State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, the chairman, said in a statement that the group is looking for areas where government is competing with or inhibiting private enterprise, inefficiencies or waste, suggestions to streamline government, and evidence that government has grown too intrusive.

Kelley said he expects between four and six of the committee's 13 members to be at any given stop on the nine-city tour.

State Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin, also is on the committee.

In addition to Joplin, the three-day tour will stop in St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Springfield, Independence, St. Joseph, Columbia, and Jefferson City.

The Missouri House Committee on Downsizing State Government will meet from  11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Joplin Chamber of Commerce, 320 E. 4th Street.