Despite the cancelation of its annual Legislative Reception, North County Incorporated Regional Development Association (NCI) recently released its 2013 Legislative agenda.
NCI canceled its reception, scheduled for Feb. 21, because of weather conditions and President/CEO Rebecca Zoll said there are no plans to reschedule it.
Each year, NCI, as well as the chambers, set a collaborative agenda for issues and ideas they would like addressed in the North County area.
The items for this year’s agenda, included:
- Economic Development: The group supports a number of initiatives that would grow small businesses, funding for job training and protecting tax credits; but it also takes a stand for incentives and funding for increasing global competitiveness as could be the case with the International Cargo Hub at Lambert International Airport-St. Louis.
- Education: NCI supports policies and funding that expand early education and to help primary and secondary schools meet the state’s goal of being ranked in the Top 10 by the year 2020. The group also touches on the school transfer law, which evolved from the Turner vs. Clayton case, mainly dealt with the question of whether accredited St. Louis County school districts, such as Ferguson-Florissant or Hazelwood, would be required to enroll students who request a transfer from an unaccredited district. The group states, “We support the Cooperating School District for Greater St. Louis’ critical characteristics that are needed in legislation to establish reasonable parameters for the movement of students from unaccredited districts to accredited districts. Without reasonable parameters local school boards would lose qualitative decision making authority and unaccredited school districts would be financially devastated.”
- Healthcare: The group does not take a stance on the Affordable Healthcare Act but supports adequate funding of state health care programs and full, affordable and comprehensive access to health insurance.
- Transportation: The group supports a number of initiatives in regards to transportation, including maintaining existing infrastructures, keeping representation of St. Louis on the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and different forms of user fees as possible additional funding for transportation.
- General Issues: The group outlines a number of other issues under this topic area, including support for collection of sales tax for online and remote purchases, support for legislation that deals with guidelines for the sale of scrap metal, in order to prevent metal theft such as copper and a tax structure review.
While the large reception was canceled, Zoll said North County and chamber leaders recently went to Jefferson City and met with legislators at a dinner party about how to improve the North County community.
Zoll said the responses from legislators in attendance, which included State Sen. Gina Walsh, State Reps. Margo McNeil and Sharon Pace, were positive.