The state of Missouri has several hundred boards and commissions that deal with everything from complex day-to-day tasks to simple yearly reviews. These boards and commissions are made up of Missouri residents who usually have to meet some specific criteria. While most positions on these boards and commissions are unpaid, a few do have salaries and almost all pay for travel expenses for members. The governor appoints the vast majority of board and commission members with the advice and consent of the Missouri Senate.
Most of Missouri’s boards and commissions were created in statute by the Legislature. A few were created by a governor’s executive order. The bulk of these panels meet in Jefferson City on a quarterly basis, but each board or commission is different. Some meet as little as once a year.
Some of the boards and commissions, like the Public Service Commission, have very detailed and critical roles in state government. The PSC is responsible for reviewing all utility rate increases and meets on a regular basis. Each state college or university has a board of curators/governors created to oversee all university operations. Both St. Louis and Kansas City have sports authority boards to oversee stadium operations.
Other boards are specific to an industry. For example, there is the Elevator Safety Board, the Oil and Gas Council and the Credit Union Commission. Most medical specialties have their own board, such as the State Board of Optometry. If a large industry exists, there is a board to oversee it.
While I believe we have too many boards and commissions and too many regulations to go with them — many of them are important. It will be up to the Legislature to make sure we eliminate those that rarely meet, those that have outlived their assigned task and those that are redundant.
Serving on a board or commission gives Missouri residents who have specific knowledge or skills a chance to participate in the process. I highly encourage you to take a look at the list of openings to see if you could contribute. There are currently more than 1,000 vacancies statewide.
State Senator Will Kraus-R serves District Eight and is a resident of Lees Summit.