OUR OPINION: Lawmakers on pace at session’s midpoint

With lawmakers returning today from spring break, perhaps a recalcitrant spring will return as well.

An evaluation of the first half by state Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, was very much on Lawmakers on pace at session’s midpoint target.

“This session is going as well as I’ve ever seen a session go,” he said. “We’re in about the same place we always are. We’re very much on time.”

Interim committees charged with gathering information and laying groundwork before the legislative session begins prompt an expectation – indeed, a temptation – for quick action.

But haste is no virtue when it comes to making laws, crafting budgets or redrawing district boundaries.

And this session, approving a budget is not the only mandate. Lawmakers also must draw new congressional boundaries based on the 2010 Census and the reduction of congressional districts from nine to eight.

Redistricting is no small chore. In addition to mathematical and geographical requirements, politic parties traditionally promote configurations that will favor their candidates.

Ultimately, proper redistricting must reflect the constituents, and we encourage lawmakers to redraw boundaries to fairly and accurately mirror Missouri’s makeup.

Continued economic anemia again is forcing Gov. Jay Nixon and legislators to cut spending to match projected revenue reductions.

This is both a painstaking and painful process that calls for diligence and scrutiny.

Swirling around these requirements are numerous proposed laws – ranging from spurring job growth to requiring prescriptions for cold medicines containing an ingredient used in making meth.

All of these proposals and issues merit comprehensive discussion and debate by lawmakers who, in Kelly’s words, are about the same place as they always are at the midpoint.

On with the session.

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