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After decades of contemplation and debate, a group known as Better Together is recommending an end to the “Great Divorce” between St. Louis and St. Louis County.Better Together is proposing an ambitious plan to create a unified metro government and police department and limit municipalities' ability to levy sales taxes. The plan would be decided through a statewide vote.Proponents contend it will scrape away layers of local government that has been holding the St. Louis region back. Opponents believe the plan will create an unwieldy and large centralized government that could be implemented against the will of city and county residents.

Politically Speaking: Rep. Dottie Bailey On Her Transition And Priorities In The Missouri House

State Rep. Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka
David Kovaluk I St. Louis Public Radio
State Rep. Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka

State Rep. Dottie Bailey joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum to talk about her first few days as a member of the Missouri House.

The Eureka Republican represents parts of St. Louis and Franklin counties, including municipalities such as Wildwood, Pacific and Eureka.

A native of Belleville, Illinois, Bailey’s professional history is in the banking industry, as an accounts manager and loan buyer. She’s been active in local politics for some time, becoming a part of the St. Louis-area Tea Party movement.

When Kirk Mathews decided not to seek re-election last year, Bailey filed to run as a Republican. She defeated Matt Doell in the GOP primary by roughly a thousand votes, which was tantamount to election in the heavily Republican district.

After being sworn in early this month, Bailey was assigned to House committees on Elementary and Secondary Education, Children and Families and Financial Institutions.

Here’s what Bailey had to say during the show:

  • Bailey discussed her legislation to alter Bryce’s Law — which was passed earlier this decade — to provide scholarships for children with developmental disabilities to go to other schools. Her bill would allow for general revenue — as opposed to private donations — to be used to fund the scholarships.
  • Even though she may hold very different political views than her Democratic colleagues, Bailey said she wants to work across the aisle as much as she can. She said the fact that Republican and Democratic freshmen lawmakers were on a bus tour together helped build relationships.
  • She also reflected on parts of Gov. Mike Parson’s State of the State speech, including his call to close a prison near Cameron and increase funding for treatment courts. Bailey said she was enthused to hear that overhauling criminal justice was a priority for the governor. “Small changes will make massive, massive effects on government spending and on lives in general,” she said.
  • Bailey is opposed to any St. Louis-St. Louis County merger plan going to statewide voters. She said lawmakers are discussing whether to place a corresponding item on the 2020 ballot requiring any proposal to be approved by St. Louis and St. Louis County voters.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Dottie Bailey on Twitter: @repdottieb4mo

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