The Capitol Report | February 15th, 2018

State Unemployment System & Needle Exchange

Another round of legislation is now on its way to the Senate after yet another busy legislative week at the Capitol!

This week, the House approved a bill meant to protect the state’s unemployment system from insolvency in the event there is another economic downturn. The legislation is designed to make sure the state has enough money in its unemployment trust fund so that businesses don’t have to pay a penalty.

In addition, the House approved a bill that would ease state law to allow organizations to give clean needles to users of illegal intravenous drugs. Some say the bill will help combat a potential outbreak of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C caused by the sharing of used needles and will get more people into drug treatment.

Needle exchange or syringe access programs already exist in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. The legislation would relax state law to allow the programs to operate and to expand to other regions in the state. Both bills now move on to the Senate for consideration.

Also, this week one of my bills, HB 1930, was brought up on the House for third reading. The bill adds political subdivisions and special districts to the list of entities prohibited from regulating the exhibition of a properly displayed United States flag. The House voted in favor of the bill and it will now move on to the Senate!

Another one of my bills, HB 2175, had a public hearing. The bill states that if a health care provider reports a mother or child, within eight hours of birth, testing positive for alcohol, controlled substances, or other drugs, as specified in the bill, to the Children’s Division, then the Children’s Division must submit a referral to the Juvenile Office as soon as reasonably possible. The hearing went well and, hopefully, the bill will be voted out of committee in the coming days.

If you ever have questions, comments, or concerns, please call my office at 573-751-1688 or email me at: jason.chipman@house.mo.gov

You may read in more detail about what is happening at your State Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

 

 

 

House Passes Important Reforms for State Unemployment System (HB 1409)

Members of the Missouri House gave final approval to a bill meant to protect the state’s unemployment system from insolvency in the event there is another economic downturn. Supporters say the bill is necessary because Missouri is the only state that has been forced to borrow money from the federal government to pay for unemployment benefits during each of the last five economic downturns. They also say businesses are negatively impacted because borrowing federal dollars causes employers to lose a portion of a federal tax credit they normally receive.

The legislation is designed to make sure the state has enough money in its unemployment trust fund so that businesses don’t have to pay a penalty. Specifically, it would increase the minimum amount of money in the fund by $120 million before employers’ contribution rates decrease. For example, Missouri businesses would see their contribution rates decrease by 7 percent if the fund has a balance greater than $720 million. Rates would drop by 12 percent if the fund sees a balance in excess of $870 million.

The bill would also tie unemployment benefits to the average unemployment rate so that more benefits are available when unemployment is high. If the state were in a position of high unemployment (9 percent or higher), benefits would be available for 20 weeks. In periods of low unemployment (lower than 6 percent), benefits would be available for 13 weeks. Supporters note that similar systems are already in place in states like Georgia and Florida. They call the change an important step toward ensuring Missouri can afford to help its citizens during times when they are without work. Supporters also note that the average period of unemployment in Missouri is 12.1 weeks so the 13-week benefit period would be sufficient in most cases.

The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration. The House and Senate approved similar legislation in 2015 only to see then Governor Nixon veto the bill. The House approved a veto override during the regular session that year, and the Senate then completed the override during the annual Veto Session. The law was later struck down by the Supreme Court because of the fact the veto was not overridden in the same session.

House Approves Needle Exchange Bill (HB 1620)

The Missouri House approved legislation this week that would ease state law to allow organizations to give clean needles to users of illegal intravenous drugs. Supporters say the bill will help combat a potential outbreak of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C caused by the sharing of used needles, and will get more people into drug treatment.

Needle exchange or syringe access programs already exist in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. The bill’s sponsor said these programs are operating in violation of state law regarding drug paraphernalia, but local jurisdictions allow them to operate because of the impact they have. The legislation approved by the House would relax state law to allow the programs to operate and to expand to other regions in the state.

Proponents also say the bill will save the state money in costs to Medicaid of treating people who contract conditions like HIV and Hepatitis C by sharing needles. The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Other Bills Moving to the Senate

HB 1413 would require the authorization for certain labor unions to use dues and fees to make political contributions and requires consent for withholding earnings from paychecks. Supporters say the bill would increase transparency within public sector unions by holding them to private union disclosure standards. They say it would also protect the political viewpoints of public sector union members who may disagree with union leadership, and may accordingly wish to not have their dues or membership pay for the union’s political activities.

HB 1367 would allow licensees to obtain duplicate licenses from the board of cosmetology and barber examiners. Supporters say the bill would allow cosmetologists and barbers to get replacement licenses through the mail rather than having to come to Jefferson City in person.

HB 1420 would extend the sunset for the early learning quality assurance report pilot program from August 28, 2016 until August 28, 2019. Supporters say the program provides parents with information that helps them make good decisions about early childhood education for their children.

HB 1930 would include political subdivisions and special districts in the list of entities prohibited from regulating the exhibition of a properly displayed United States flag. Rules, regulations, and ordinances of all kinds are subject to the requirements of the bill. The bill will encourage the proper display of the flag at public buildings owned by the state or any political subdivision or agency of the state. The bill does not apply to purely private associations or restrictive covenants. Federal requirements for the use and display of the flag are not mandatory and there is no penalty for improper display.

HB 1267 would add approved virtual institutions to the Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program. Supporters say the bill would expand eligibility for financial assistance under the program to students seeking degrees from virtual institutions.

HB 1691 would modify the appeal procedure for decisions by the public service commission. Supporters say the bill would streamline the appeal process for commission orders and decisions, and avoid potential errors that are currently possible when the commission forwards mail to the court.

HB 1838 would authorize and empower the governor to convey all interest in specific property, described in the bill, located in Jefferson City, Missouri. Supporters say the bill would allow the conveyance of land that would be developed with money raised from private sources to create safe and appealing access to the river, especially to the thousands of kids who visit the Capitol every year.

HB 1653 would modify provisions of law relating to certain incentives offered by manufacturers and retailers of intoxicating liquor. Supporters say the change would allow consumers to see the cost of the products before going to the store. The consumers benefit by seeing which store is offering the best price. Supporters say that the current restrictions on advertisements are an infringement on free speech.

HB 1251 would change the laws regarding foreclosure proceeds. Supporters say the bill would fix an issue where tax sale proceeds are improperly distributed to the wrong party. Currently, the owner of a home could improperly receive the proceeds of a tax sale, instead of the proceeds going to the lien holder on the home.

HB 1879 would change the laws regarding financial transactions by public entities. Supporters say the bill would update and modernize the state’s public entity finance statutes, which will create efficiencies in banking and investment of public funds. This bill would also reduce administrative hassle and burden.

HB 1859 would allow law enforcement agencies to assist other law enforcement agencies. Supporters say there are officers and deputies in other counties who would like to help smaller counties, so a mutual aid agreement such as the one created by the bill is necessary. Currently, only adjoining counties may enter into mutual aid agreements, but sometimes counties need help from, or can offer help to, counties outside the adjoining areas.

HB 1389 would exclude autocycle operators from protective headgear requirements. Supporters say that autocycles generally have roll bars and seat belts or air bags so that they are as safe as many types of cars such as convertibles and that a helmet is unnecessary.

HB 1460 would authorize a tax deduction for any prize or award won by an Olympic medalist. Supporters say that athletes train for years to represent their country in the Olympic Games and the bill would exempt any Olympic medals and prize money won from state income tax.

HB 1685 would exempt short-term major medical policies from several health insurance mandates and allow such policies to have a term of less than one year. Supporters say bill would exempt short term policies from many health insurance mandates and increase the term limit from six months to a period of less than a year. The change could help families get more affordable health insurance coverage.

HB 1690 would modify provisions of the Missouri life and health insurance guarantee act. Supporters say the bill would modify the act to mirror the national model. It would give increased support for long term care insurance and strengthen and add protections for health maintenance organizations.

Scholarship Opportunity

Women Legislators of Missouri are encouraging young women set to graduate from high school to apply for a $500 college scholarship. Each year the group selects one student from each of Missouri’s congressional districts to receive the award. Members hope to spread the word about the scholarship opportunity so that female students from all parts of the state will apply.

The Women Legislators of Missouri Caucus created the senior scholarship program to provide financial assistance to students on the basis of leadership, academics and community service.

Applications should be submitted online at http://www.myscholarshipcentral.org by March 9, 2018 . Once on the website, click the blue “Apply Now” button, set up a password, and complete the General Application.

The Women Legislators of Missouri Scholarship will be listed in the “Recommended Opportunities” for all Missouri, female, high school seniors.

The group will select recipients and then a hold a reception in their honor on Monday, April 18 in the State Capitol. Following the reception, the scholarships will be presented to the recipients in the Missouri House Chamber. For further information, contact Rep. Crystal Quade 573-751-3795.

Capitol Visit

CubaPeoplesBankEarlier this week, I enjoyed visiting with Jill Wagner and Elizabeth Barton with Peoples Bank (Cuba) who were at the Capitol for the Missouri Bankers Association’s (MBA) Target Banker Program. The program strives to connect local banking members of MBA with their own state representatives and senators to discuss important developments in the banking community.

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol Office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

Advertisements

The Capitol Report | February 8th, 2018

New Bills Move on to Senate

Several more bills are now on their way to the Senate after yet another busy legislative week at the Capitol. This week, the House approved a bill that would allow a teacher to count hours spent in a local business externship as contact hours of professional development and a bill that would require every school district and charter school to maintain an accountability portal for the public.

Other bills passed out of the House include a piece of legislation that would modify the laws regarding background check requirements of in-home service providers and home health agencies to less the burden of red tape and minor violations and a bill that would modify the A+ Schools Program by removing the requirement that the student’s attendance of public high school occur in the three years immediately prior to graduation; in effect, removing a technical requirement that prevents some students from being eligible for A+ benefits.

Also, this week one of my bills, HB 1930, was brought up on the House for consideration and debate. The bill adds political subdivisions and special districts to the list of entities prohibited from regulating the exhibition of a properly displayed United States flag. The House voted in favor of the perfection of the bill, and the bill should now move on to a final vote in the House in the coming days!

In other news, the House gave preliminary approval this week to legislation that is meant to hold unions accountable to their members. Commonly referred to as paycheck protection, HB 1413, would allow public employee union members to ensure their dues aren’t used for political purposes they do not support. In effect, the bill would give public employee union members the right to opt-in annually to have their dues automatically deducted from their paychecks.

Another bill that the House gave initial approval to was a piece of legislation that would require both parents be notified before a minor in Missouri has an abortion.

Both of these bills now require one more vote in the House before moving to the Senate for consideration.

Also, Women Legislators of Missouri are encouraging young women set to graduate from high school to apply for a $500 college scholarship. Each year the group selects one student from each of Missouri’s congressional districts to receive the award. Members hope to spread the word about the scholarship opportunity so that female students from all parts of the state will apply.

Applications should be submitted online at http://www.myscholarshipcentral.org by March 9, 2018. Once on the website, click the blue “Apply Now” button, set up a password, and complete the General Application.

If you ever have questions, comments, or concerns, please call my office at 573-751-1688 or email me at: jason.chipman@house.mo.gov

You may read in more detail about what is happening at your State Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

House Gives First-Round Approval to “Paycheck Protection” Legislation (HB 1413)

The Missouri House of Representatives gave preliminary approval this week to legislation that is meant to hold unions accountable to their members. Commonly referred to as “paycheck protection” the bill would also allow public employee union members to ensure their dues aren’t used for political purposes they do not support.

In effect, the bill would give public employee union members the right to opt-in annually to have their dues automatically deducted from their paychecks. The current system requires a public employee to opt-out, and if they fail to do so their dues are automatically deducted. The bill would change current law to require annual written consent from a public employee before any amount could be withheld from the employee’s earnings for the payment of any portion of dues, agency shop fees, or other fees paid to a public labor organization. The legislation also would require public employee unions to obtain annual written consent in order to spend a portion of the fees on political activities.

In addition, the bill is designed to increase transparency by requiring public labor organizations to maintain financial records identical to those required by federal law. The reports must be made available to employees in a searchable electronic format.

Supporters say the bill increases transparency within public sector unions by holding them to private union disclosure standards. They say the bill also protects the political viewpoints of public sector union members who may disagree with union leadership, and may accordingly wish to not have their dues or membership pay for the union’s political activities.

The bill now requires one more vote in the House before moving to the Senate for consideration.

House Approves Change to Abortion Parental Notification Law (HB 1383)

The Missouri House gave initial approval to legislation that would require that both parents be notified before a minor in Missouri can have an abortion.

Current Missouri law requires that a minor seeking an abortion and one parent or guardian of that minor give written consent before the procedure is performed. House Bill 1383 would require that the parent or guardian giving consent notify any other custodial parent or guardian in writing before the minor gives her consent. The bill contains exceptions for an emergency, or for custodial parents or guardians who have been found guilty of certain crimes, are listed on the sex offender registry, are the subject of an order of protection, have had parental rights terminated, or cannot be located.

Supporters of the bill say it is a common sense measure. They say a custodial parent is notified of every major medical action taken on their minor child with the exception of an abortion procedure. The goal of the bill is to make all parents aware of the medical procedures being performed on their minor children. They note it contains protections so that a parent who is a bad actor does not need to be notified. The bill is meant to start a discussion and protect the young person who is making a life-altering decision. The House has approved similar bills in each of the last two sessions, but the bills did not receive final approval in the Senate. This year’s bill requires another vote in the House before moving to the Senate for consideration.

Bills Moving to the Senate

HB 1415 would allow a teacher to count hours spent in a local business externship as contact hours of professional development. Supporters say the bill is meant to encourage teachers to engage in learning experiences with businesses in the community and bring real world skills back into the classroom. The bill would also provide students the opportunity to choose between the ACT WorkKeys assessment or ACT (including ACT Plus Writing) assessment. The ACT WorkKeys indicates that a student is career ready and provides an option for students that may seek vocational training rather than college.

HB 1370 would require every school district and charter school to maintain an accountability portal for the public. Supporters say the bill will help citizens look up basic financial information on their school district and enable them to ask questions at board meetings or gain additional information from the department.

HB 1350 would modify the laws regarding background check requirements of in-home service providers and home health agencies. Supporters say the bill would increase the number of people who can work as an in-home service provider or personal care attendant and relieve burdensome paperwork requirements on the department because 75 percent of applicants are eventually given good cause waivers. This bill would stop applicants from being flagged for minor violations, like littering or writing a bad check, which also may have occurred several years ago.

HB 1446 would expand the existing exception for small cities, towns, and villages that allows candidates for election to assume office without holding an election if a particular election is uncontested and the number of candidates available equal the number of open positions. The exception currently applies to cities, towns, or villages with 1,000 or less persons, and the bill would expand it to apply to those with 2,000 or less persons. Supporters say that the bill will help save money in approximately 44 percent of instances while not changing any electoral results.

HB 1411 would prohibit a peer support specialist from disclosing any confidential communication properly entrusted to the counselor by law enforcement and emergency personnel while receiving counseling. Supporters say the program is already in effect but there is little participation because it is not confidential. This is a very important program, because officers need someone to talk to. More officers killed themselves last year than were killed in the line of duty. This legislation is not only about preventing suicide, but it is also about making sure we have officers who are healthy for service.

HB 1605 would expand the duties of the Missouri State Capitol Commission. It would grant the commission the authority to supervise and coordinate activities in the Capitol building, grounds, and annex areas including evaluating and making recommendations involving the 21st Century State Capitol Restoration Project. Supporters say the bill may help increase the presence of experts on the arts, history, and civil engineering on the commission and achieve a bipartisan devotion to ensuring the integrity and historical preservation of the Capitol building and its grounds.

HB 1744 would modify the A+ Schools Program by removing the requirement that the student’s attendance of public high school occur in the three years immediately prior to graduation. Supporters say the bill removes a technical requirement that should not prevent students from being eligible for A+ benefits.

HB 1880 declares the expansion of broadband services to be within the best interests of the citizens of Missouri and a public purpose. In furtherance of expanding broadband throughout Missouri, the bill states the intent of the General Assembly to encourage agreements between various parties and rural electric cooperatives to expand rural broadband services. Supporters say the availability of Internet services is essential to Missourians’ daily lives, especially for individuals living in rural communities. For the aging population in particular, access to broadband is necessary for telehealth and communication.

HB 1492 would extend eligibility in the Show-Me Heroes Program to five years from discharge of deployment. Currently, the spouses of active duty National Guard or reservists and active duty military personnel, and returning National Guard troops and reservists can participate in the Department of Economic Development’s Show-Me Heroes Program for one year following discharge of deployment. Supporters say that for various reasons many returning military personnel are not ready to look for employment in the first year. The bill would allow them extra time to participate in the program.

HB 1286 would modify provisions of law relating to the detonation of explosives and actions for private nuisances brought against certain permittees. Supporters say that this increase is necessary and supported by those in the industry that would be required to pay it.

Scholarship Opportunity

Women Legislators of Missouri are encouraging young women set to graduate from high school to apply for a $500 college scholarship. Each year the group selects one student from each of Missouri’s congressional districts to receive the award. Members hope to spread the word about the scholarship opportunity so that female students from all parts of the state will apply.

The Women Legislators of Missouri Caucus created the senior scholarship program to provide financial assistance to students on the basis of leadership, academics and community service.

Applications should be submitted online at http://www.myscholarshipcentral.org by March 9, 2018 . Once on the website, click the blue “Apply Now” button, set up a password, and complete the General Application.

The Women Legislators of Missouri Scholarship will be listed in the “Recommended Opportunities” for all Missouri, female, high school seniors.

The group will select recipients and then a hold a reception in their honor on Monday, April 18 in the State Capitol. Following the reception, the scholarships will be presented to the recipients in the Missouri House Chamber. For further information, contact Rep. Crystal Quade 573-751-3795.

FFA State Officer Team Visits State Capitol

In what has become an annual tradition for lawmakers, the members of the FFA State Officer Team visited the State Capitol building this week to talk about the importance of agricultural education in Missouri. The group made the trip to Jefferson City in conjunction with Career and Technical Education Month to represent the more than 25,900 students around the state who participate in FFA.

Their visit was highlighted by a speech made in the House Chamber by FFA President Abby Bertz. Bertz discussed the organization’s origins in Kansas City, and focused her comments on the importance of preparing the next generation of leaders. FFA prepares the next generation to meet the challenges of feeding a growing population by helping its members to develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways through their experiences in agricultural education.

Raising Awareness of Teen Dating Violence

The month of February is set aside each year in Missouri to raise awareness of teen dating violence. Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month was created with the passage of SB 921 by the Missouri General Assembly in 2016.

The awareness month encourages Missourians to participate in appropriate activities and events to raise awareness of abuse in teen relationships. Missouri is one of several states that have adopted teen dating violence awareness weeks or months in an effort to draw the public’s attention to a national campaign that promotes prevention, healthy relationships, and offers information and resources.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 10 percent of all high school students report experiencing physical dating violence in the last year, and approximately 10 percent report experiencing sexual dating violence in that same time period. The CDC also found that among students who dated, 21 percent of female students and 10 percent of male students experienced physical and/or sexual violence.

The CDC notes that unhealthy relationships during the teen years can disrupt normal development and contribute to other unhealthy behaviors in teens that can lead to problems over a lifetime. Studies have shown that teens who experience dating violence are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, engage in unhealthy behaviors such as experimenting with tobacco, drugs and alcohol, and have thoughts about suicide. The mental and physical health consequences can extend into adulthood, and unhealthy relationships in adolescence also can create a cycle of abusive relationships.

Capitol Visit

Yesterday, I was honored to present Jeff Sandquist of Rolla with a House Resolution commending him on receiving the 2018 Missouri Arts Award in Arts Education from the Missouri Arts Council.

Jeff has been a real force for the arts in Rolla and across the state since 1983 as a classroom music teacher, choral director, program designer, policy developer and advocate, and leader of professional organizations including his current chairing of the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education.

A well-deserved honor. Again, congratulations, Jeff!

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol Office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

The Capitol Report | February 1st, 2018

Visiting Scholars & Paper Terrorism

Several bills are now on their way to the Senate after another busy legislative week at the Capitol. This week, lawmakers approved a bill this week that would provide young people with greater access to highly-skilled, experienced instructors in areas such as health care, manufacturing, and engineering. The legislation, which also received House approval last session, would allow the State Board of Education to issue a visiting scholar certificate as a license to teach in public schools.

The House also approved legislation this week that is designed to deter those who engage in what is commonly referred to as paper terrorism. The legislation would make it a crime to file false documents such as fraudulent liens or quitclaim deeds.

Also, this week, I filed HB 2329, which changes the law regarding county budgets. Under current law, a county budget officer may take up until February 1st until he or she submits a budget for that same fiscal year to the county commission. In other words, a county may be well into a fiscal year before the actual budget for that same fiscal year is approved.

Therefore, to help resolve some of the issues that can arise from this arrangement, HB 2329 will move back the deadline for a county budget to be submitted to the commission in an effort to ensure the county budget is actually submitted to the commission before the next fiscal year begins.

More details on HB 2329 can be found at:
https://house.mo.gov/Bill.aspx?bill=HB2329&year=2018&code=R

Other Bills Voted Out of the House and Moving to the Senate:

HB 1617 would update Missouri’s telehealth laws. Supporters say the bill would allow health care providers to be reimbursed for telehealth services from MO HealthNet, just as they are reimbursed in the private sector. The bill would make telehealth more accessible and will help patients receive better care.

HB 1504 would require certain counties to adopt ordinances regulating land use around National Guard training centers. Supporters say the bill is a proactive measure to protect the National Guard Training Center in Newton County from encroachment by development.

HB 1408 would change the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program (MOVIP) to “The Missouri Course Access Program” (MCAP). Supporters say the bill would give students the opportunity to take courses that their school does not offer, especially in the case of small schools unable to hire teachers for advanced or specialized subject areas.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please call my office at 573-751-1688 or email me at jason.chipman@house.mo.gov

You may read in more detail about what is happening at your State Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

 

House Works to Enhance Real World Learning Opportunities for Young People (HB 1665)

Lawmakers approved a bill this week that would provide young people with greater access to highly-skilled, experienced instructors in areas such as health care, manufacturing, and engineering. The legislation, which also received House approval last session, would allow the State Board of Education to issue a visiting scholar certificate as a license to teach in public schools.

Supporters of the bill note that students benefit from real-world, hands-on learning and point to the success of several innovative school-community-business partnerships that provide opportunities for students to be immersed in real-world working environments and test drive careers through site-based learning. They say there is a need for qualified teachers with industry experience to assist in providing high quality learning experiences.

The visiting scholar certificate would allow a professional to be employed in a content area in which the individual has an academic degree or professional experience. The visiting scholar would only teach classes for ninth grade or higher and the hiring school district must verify that the individual will be employed as part of a business-education partnership initiative designed to build career pathways for students. The certificate would last for one year and the applicant could renew it a maximum of two times if certain requirements are met.

Supporters say the bill would allow students to benefit from the expertise of successful professionals in fields of high need. Without the program, qualified experts could be deterred from participating if they are required to obtain a teacher’s certificate. The program would also give accomplished professionals an opportunity to give back to their communities by sharing their knowledge and expertise with the next generation.

Fighting Paper Terrorism (HB 1769)

The members of the Missouri House approved legislation this week that is designed to deter those who engage in what is commonly referred to as paper terrorism. The legislation would make it a crime to file false documents such as fraudulent liens or quitclaim deeds.

Supporters of the bill say it is necessary to combat a problem that has seen law enforcement officers and other public servants targeted by individuals who use these false claims as a revenge tactic. The sponsor of the bill noted there are instances where criminals have filed false claims against their arresting officer or a judge. Paper terrorism can also result from instances such as a boundary dispute between neighbors. The fraudulent liens filed by one party in an act of retaliation can then lower an individual’s credit rating and force the person to pay expensive legal filings.

The problem is currently only addressed in the Uniform Commercial Code, and not the state’s criminal code. The bill passed this week would make the offense of filing a false document a class D felony, and include an enhanced penalty for false documents filed against elected officials, law enforcement officers, and other specified individuals. The bill also would create a process to help identify these crimes and prosecute them. Supporters note that other states and the federal government have enacted similar laws to combat paper terrorism.

Simplifying Missouri’s Bingo Laws (HB 1484 and HJR 59)

House members approved both a bill and a proposed constitutional amendment that would remove some of the unnecessary regulations that currently exist for bingo games in Missouri. The changes are meant to ease the burden for charitable organizations who use bingo games to raise funds.

The Missouri Constitution currently requires a member of an organization licensed to conduct bingo to be part of the organization for at least two years before being able to participate in the operation of a bingo game. The legislation approved by the House would change Missouri law to reduce the requirement to six months of membership. The change would also need to be made in the Missouri Constitution, which would require voter approval. The measures approved by the House would also remove the statutory restrictions on the advertisement of bingo.

If both pieces of legislation make it through the legislative process and the constitutional change is approved by voters, charitable organizations would then have a larger pool of members eligible to assist with running bingo games. The change would take pressure off of older members who are the only ones qualified to run games under current law, and would allow newer, more active members to participate in their operation.

Other Bills Voted Out of the House and Moving to the Senate

HB 1617 would update Missouri’s telehealth laws. Supporters say the bill would allow health care providers to be reimbursed for telehealth services from MO HealthNet, just as they are reimbursed in the private sector. The bill would make telehealth more accessible and will help patients receive better care.

HB 1504 would require certain counties to adopt ordinances regulating land use around National Guard training centers. Supporters say the bill is a proactive measure to protect the National Guard Training Center in Newton County from encroachment by development.

HB 1408 would change the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program (MOVIP) to “The Missouri Course Access Program” (MCAP). Supporters say the bill would give students the opportunity to take courses that their school does not offer, especially in the case of small schools unable to hire teachers for advanced or specialized subject areas.

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol Office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

The Capitol Report | January 25th, 2018

Developing Missouri’s Workforce

Another legislative week comes to a close! Members of the House and Senate gathered in the House Chamber this week to listen to the annual State of the Judiciary Address. Delivered by Missouri Chief Justice Zel Fischer, the address provided lawmakers with an overview of the state’s court system and the challenges it faces. Fischer used his speech to highlight the need for expanded drug treatment courts to help fight against the abuse of opioids in Missouri. Fischer also called on legislators to work with the court to develop solutions for the challenges faced by the state’s criminal justice system.

Also, this week, I had public hearings on three of my bills: HB 1680, which prohibits public institutions of higher education from requiring students to live on campus, except for first-year freshmen; HB 1930, which adds political subdivisions and special districts to the list of entities prohibited from regulating the exhibition of a properly displayed U.S. flag; and HB 2076, which specifies that public institutions of higher education shall not require their students to pay fees related to health care if they show proof of health insurance coverage. Time will tell, but hopefully, these bills continue to move through the legislative process!

In other news, this week House members passed a bill that would give institutions greater flexibility to offer degrees that meet the needs of their local communities and businesses. The bill would in effect allow community colleges to offer four-year baccalaureate degrees in certain programs. House members also gave initial approval to a piece of legislation meant to better prepare young people for success in the workforce. The bill approved by the House is meant to expand course options and access for K-12 students. The legislation would change the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program (MOVIP) to “The Missouri Course Access Program” (MCAP) and allow any K-12 student to enroll in MCAP courses.

Other bills passed this week include: HB 1287, which would specify that commercial insurers are exempt from filing rates and policy forms with respect to certain lines of commercial insurance; HB 1381, which would establish procedures relating to financial accreditation standards for insurance companies and an insurance group’s corporate governance; and HB 1531, which would modify the circumstances in which a party may be joined in a civil action. The bill would allow an insurance company to use an interpleader to defend the insured and pay its policy limits.

You may read in more detail about what is happening at your State Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

 

Developing Missouri’s Workforce (HB 1465)

The Missouri House of Representatives approved legislation this week to help ensure Missouri’s system of higher education is working to meet the state’s workforce and education needs. House members passed a bill that would give institutions greater flexibility to offer degrees that meet the needs of their local communities and businesses. The bill would in effect allow community colleges to offer four-year baccalaureate degrees in certain programs.

The bill is meant to address the lack of skilled workers in certain fields in various parts of the state. To address the workforce shortage, a community college could apply to the Coordinating Board of Higher Education to offer a four-year degree in a field that is underemployed. Community colleges would need to meet several standards in order to be approved and would need to show there are no other available options like collaborating with a four-year university.

The community college would also need to prove the program is necessary to address a workforce shortage, and that the institution has the ability to provide a high-quality program.

Supporters noted that all 22 of the state’s public universities and colleges have agreed to the language in the bill. They say the legislation will give students all over the state greater access to educational opportunities, and help to further develop the state’s workforce.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Expanding Virtual School Options for Missouri Students (HB 1408)

House members also gave initial approval to a piece of legislation meant to better prepare young people for success in the workforce. The bill approved by the House is meant to expand course options and access for K-12 students. The legislation would change the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program (MOVIP) to “The Missouri Course Access Program” (MCAP) and allow any K-12 student to enroll in MCAP courses.

The Missouri Virtual Instruction Program was established in 2007 to offer online courses to public, private, and home school students. The program allows students to take advanced courses that are not currently offered by their local school districts. However, the existing MOVIP has seen funding dwindle in recent years, which has limited free tuition to students who are unable to attend traditional schools because of health issues. As a result, many students in districts without certain high-level math, science, and advanced placement courses are not able to enroll in these courses online.

The legislation approved this week would change the program so that it does not rely on a direct appropriation, but would instead redirect a portion of the per-pupil funding provided by the state. In order to give students in all parts of the state access to advanced coursework, the legislation would allow students to take online courses that would be paid by the school district or charter school. Students would be eligible if they have attended the school for at least one semester, and the course is not available in the school district. The bill requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to review the online courses to ensure they meet state standards.

Supporters say that the bill gives students the opportunity to take courses that their school does not offer, especially in the case of small schools unable to hire teachers for advanced or specialized subject areas. They say it is meant to make education fair, equitable, and accessible.

The bill now awaits a final vote in the House before moving to the Senate for consideration.

Other Bills Moving Out of the House

HB 1287 would specify that commercial insurers are exempt from filing rates and policy forms with respect to certain lines of commercial insurance. Supporters say the bill is necessary to update and modernize the regulations for large premium highly complex insurance policies.

HB 1381 would establish procedures relating to financial accreditation standards for insurance companies and an insurance group’s corporate governance. Supporters say the legislation is a model act from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that will make reporting consistent across the board. They say it is necessary for company accreditation in Missouri.

HB 1531 would modify the circumstances in which a party may be joined in a civil action. Supporters say the bill will solve a problem created by case law that would allow an insurance company to be sued for bad faith and be required to pay a sum in excess of its policy limits. The bill would allow an insurance company to use an interpleader to defend the insured and pay its policy limits.

Lawmakers Receive 2018 State of the Judiciary Address

Members of the House and Senate gathered in the House Chamber this week to listen to the annual State of the Judiciary Address. Delivered by Missouri Chief Justice Zel Fischer, the address provided lawmakers with an overview of the state’s court system and the challenges it faces.

Fischer used his speech to highlight the need for expanded drug treatment courts to help fight against the abuse of opioids in Missouri. He noted that drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and that the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids continues to rise. Missouri saw a significant increase in overdose deaths with 1,066 people losing their lives in 2015 and 1,371 in 2016. Fischer said drug courts are more cost-effective than any other criminal justice strategy to address the growing problem, but 15 counties in Missouri currently have no access to any type of treatment court. He pledged to work with lawmakers to help make the treatment courts available in every jurisdiction in the state.

Fischer also called on legislators to work with the court to develop solutions for the challenges faced by the state’s criminal justice system. He explained that Missouri is not seeing a decrease in violent crimes as has been the trend nationally. Fischer also pointed out that Missouri is spending more than ever before on corrections as the incarceration rate continues to be well above the national average. He said a task force has spent time looking at ways to keep spending for corrections in check and reinvest those savings in evidence-based strategies to reduce recidivism. He asked legislators to work with the court to support legislation that will produce “significant, sensible, and meaningful improvements.”

Fischer highlighted the efforts of a second task force that is focused broadly on criminal justice. He said the group will recommend risk-assessment tools for determining a defendant’s suitability for pre-trial release, and recommend ways to improve how courts impose fines, fees, and costs. “It seems obvious and important that – before a trial is held and guilt or innocence is determined – we reserve our jail space for those who pose the most danger to the community for risk of fleeing the jurisdiction, and not those who simply may be too poor to post bail,” said Fischer.

New Committee Will Work to Improve the Care and Well-being of Young People

A newly-formed committee will focus its work on policy proposals impacting the health and welfare of the thousands of children and youth in Missouri’s care. The Special Committee to Improve the Care and Well-being of Young People will consider ideas to improve the child welfare system that is charged with the important task of protecting the most vulnerable Missourians.

House Speaker Todd Richardson said of the committee, “We need to find ways to best serve our children and youth who, at no fault of their own, are put in challenging circumstances. With the amount of legislation filed to address the policies and practices of the programs that serve as the state’s safety net, a specific committee with its sole mission to carefully evaluate each proposal was needed so we ensure every child in Missouri has the opportunity to succeed in life.”

The number of children in the Missouri foster care system is growing each year with the Department of Social Services responsible for nearly 13,000 children this year. The pressures of a growing system, as well as the demanding and emotionally grueling nature of the work have made it difficult to be responsive to the needs of those requiring help from the Department. In Missouri, the average time a child spends in foster care is estimated to be 2 years and about half of the children experience three or more foster care placements.

The Children’s Division, under the Department of Social Services umbrella, is responsible for the administration of Missouri’s child welfare services. The Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline, School Violence Hotline, Intensive In-Home Services, Family Centered Services, Adoption Services, Independent Living, Foster Care, Residential Licensing and preventive services are a number of the programs the division administers.

Speaker Richardson added, “We have a moral responsibility to every child under Missouri’s watch to protect their dreams, hopes, and desire to succeed in life. My expectation is the work of this committee will result in the passage of compassionate and comprehensive legislation aimed at ensuring Missouri’s youth receive the care they need.”

The Speaker referred the first bills for consideration to the committee this week.

 

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol Office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

The Capitol Report | January 18th, 2018

Reducing Burdensome Regulations

This week was another busy one at the Capitol! I filed HB 2175 on Wednesday, which would require the Children’s Division to refer all cases in which a birth mother or infant tests positive for illegal controlled substances after childbirth to the Juvenile Office. In light of recent changes within the Dep. of Social Services, this bill will help ensure that when the birth mother or her infant test positive for illegal substances that the proper authorities are notified and that such instances do not go unnoticed or unchecked. The full bill text can be found here: https://goo.gl/raEipq

In other news, the first bill the House passed this week was a ban on lobbyist gifts. Similar to legislation the House has passed in each of the last two sessions, the bill would ban gifts from lobbyists to legislators and other statewide elected officials.

The House also passed HB 1500, known as the hair braiding bill. This bill lowers regulations for certification, making it easier to open a small business. Just over 47% of all workers are employed by small businesses. Lowering regulations, like hair braiding requirements, will create more jobs in Missouri.

Also, another important piece of legislation passed through the House this week was HB 1246. The passage of this bill is a step forward in addressing the human trafficking in Missouri.  HB 1246 requires certain places, such as airports and train stations, to display posters informing victims of resources and services available to them. More on these bills below.

The discussion and passage of legislation to combat human trafficking took place in the Missouri House as the nation paused to observe National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. To raise awareness of this modern form of slavery, the president proclaimed January as a month to educate Americans about human trafficking.

Trafficking is one of the largest and fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world. It involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Each year millions of men, women, and children are bought and sold for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. The illegal industry generates billions of dollars in profits by victimizing people in countries in all parts of the world.

The Department of Homeland Security says everyone has a role to play in combating human trafficking, The first step in identifying victims is recognizing some of the key signs of human trafficking.

To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).

You may read in more detail about what is happening at your State Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

 

House Approves Bill to Reduce Burdensome Regulations (HB 1500)

The members of the Missouri House gave bipartisan support Wednesday morning to legislation meant to cut burdensome red tape and reduce government overregulation so that businesses can thrive in Missouri. The House approved HB 1500 to remove unnecessary burdens for those who want to braid hair in Missouri.

Under current law, hair braiders must complete 1,500 hours of training to receive a cosmetology license despite the fact the training does not cover hair braiding. The bill’s sponsor told his colleagues that the current requirements force hair braiders to undergo more training than it takes to become a police officer. He said his bill is meant to remove “unnecessary and irrational burdens” for those who wish to braid hair in Missouri.

The bill approved by the House would specify that hair braiders do not have to obtain a cosmetology license in order to earn a living. The bill would require individuals engaging in braiding to register with the State Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners. No education or training would be required to register, except that the hair braider would need to complete a self-test on infection control techniques and diseases of the scalp.

Missouri is currently one of just 13 states that require some form of cosmetology license for hair braiders. The bill sponsor said passage of the bill will help get the government “out of people’s hair.”

The bill passed the House by a vote of 131-17. It now moves to the Senate for consideration. The House passed similar legislation in 2017, but the bill failed to secure Senate approval before the session ended.

House Members Approve Lobbyist Gift Ban Legislation (HB 1303)

Also, on Wednesday morning, House members worked to once again pass legislation meant to diminish the influence of lobbyists. Similar to legislation the House has passed in each of the last two sessions, the bill would ban gifts from lobbyists to legislators and other statewide elected officials.

Missouri currently has no limits on lobbyist gifts. The bill House members passed this week would create a gift ban on gifts such as meals or tickets to concerts or sporting events. The bill contains some common sense exceptions such as one that would allow for events to which every member of the House and Senate are invited at least three days in advance. The sponsor explained the exception is meant to allow for grassroots-driven events where large groups of Missourians have the opportunity to meet with all members of the legislature. The bill also contains an exception that would allow a legislator to receive an award or accept flowers for the funeral of a loved one without breaking the law.

Supporters of the bill said it is meant to restore the public’s trust in its elected officials by eliminating any appearance of impropriety and banning all gifts that could give a lobbyist undue influence.

The bill passed with bipartisan support with a vote of 134-12. It now moves to the Senate for consideration. Previous versions of the bill did not receive Senate approval before time ran out in past legislative sessions.

House Members Approve Bill to Fight Human Trafficking (HB 1246)

Legislation is now on its way to the Senate that is meant to provide rescue information to victims of human trafficking, and educate citizens across the state about the growing criminal industry. The House approved HB 1246 by a bipartisan vote of 139-5.

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, Missouri currently ranks 20th in reported human trafficking cases. The state saw 74 human trafficking cases reported in 2017, and more than 200 cases reported over the last two years, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

The bill approved Wednesday morning would require the Department of Public Safety to develop a poster to promote the use of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline. The posters would be displayed at common areas where human trafficking can occur such as hotels or motels that have been cited for prostitution, and train and bus stations.

The sponsor of the bill said it will help to save lives and bring victims home to their families. She noted that studies have shown that when victims utilize hotline numbers, they have a better chance of getting rescued. The sponsor also pointed out that the bill will provide law enforcement officers with increased access to tips to allow them to combat trafficking.

If approved by both chambers and signed into law, Missouri would join more than 20 other states that already have similar posters in place.

Observing National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

The discussion and passage of legislation to combat human trafficking took place in the Missouri House as the nation paused to observe National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. To raise awareness of this modern form of slavery, the president proclaimed January as a month to educate Americans about human trafficking.

Trafficking is one of the largest and fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world. It involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Each year millions of men, women, and children are bought and sold for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. The illegal industry generates billions of dollars in profits by victimizing people in countries in all parts of the world.

The Department of Homeland Security says everyone has a role to play in combating human trafficking, The first step in identifying victims is recognizing some of the key signs of human trafficking. Some common indicators provided by the department to help recognize human trafficking include:

  • Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
  • Has a child stopped attending school?
  • Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
  • Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking. To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).

Capitol Visit

MORealtors2018
Yesterday, members from Missouri Realtors traveled to the Capitol to advocate for the opposition of changes to the historic tax credit and low-income housing credit, and for the support of first-time home buyer’s savings accounts and real estate licensee immunity from liability. It was great to see so many realtors from the 120th District!

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol Office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

The Capitol Report | January 11th, 2018

Legislative Session Underway

The 99th Missouri General Assembly, Second Session, has officially begun. Governor Greitens delivered the 2018 State of the State Address yesterday in the House of Representatives Chamber at the Missouri State Capitol. In the address, the governor discussed the current condition of Missouri as a state, job growth, economic outlook and forecasts, among several other topics important to the well-being of the state.

As I have mentioned previously, 2017 played host to some very historic events in Missouri. Now, in 2018, the new year brings more topics to the table including approval of measures to cut bureaucratic red tape, lessen the regulatory burden on families and businesses, and advance policy changes that will provide more educational opportunities to young people in all parts of the state.

Also, late last night, following the State of the State Address, a story broke about Governor Greitens having an extramarital affair. The governor made a statement about this situation, but few factual details are known at this time. However, the following statement has been released by House leadership. “While the details of the story continue to emerge, the allegations made against the Governor last night are deeply concerning. The Governor must be forthright and accountable for his actions.”

More than anything, I am extremely disappointed. For the Governor to run on a platform of ethical behavior and, as he stated, “cleaning up the culture in Jefferson City”, I find his actions beyond hypocritical. My heart goes out to his wife, his children, and the other family affected during this difficult time.

In other news, the members of the Missouri House came together this week to make substantive ethics reform a top priority for the 2018 legislative session. The House gave initial approval to gift ban legislation that is similar to bills that received bipartisan House approval in both 2016 and 2017, but failed to secure final passage in the Senate.

This year’s version of the bill is meant to limit the influence lobbyists have on legislators by implementing a strict ban on gifts. The bill approved by the House would prohibit lobbyists from paying for things like steak dinners, tickets to sporting events and concerts, and travel and lodging expenses. The sponsor of the bill said it is meant to restore the public’s trust in its elected officials by eliminating any appearance of impropriety and banning all gifts that could give a lobbyist undue influence.

The bill now awaits a final vote in the House before moving to the Senate for consideration.

Moreover, as the nation paused to recognize Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11, the members of the House took action to address the growing problem that has devastated lives in the state and across the country. The Missouri House gave first-round approval to legislation that would make Missourians better aware of the resources available to assist victims of trafficking.

The bill would require the Department of Public Safety to develop a poster to promote the use of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline. The posters would be displayed at common areas where human trafficking can occur such as hotels or motels that have been cited for prostitution, and train and bus stations. Currently 28 other states require or encourage the display of trafficking hotline posters.

The House now needs to vote a final time on the bill before sending it to the Senate.

You may read in more detail about what is happening at your State Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

 

 

 

House Gives Initial Approval to Ethics Reform Legislation (HB 1303)

The members of the Missouri House came together this week to make substantive ethics reform a top priority for the 2018 legislative session. The House gave initial approval to gift ban legislation that is similar to bills that received bipartisan House approval in both 2016 and 2017, but failed to secure final passage in the Senate.

This year’s version of the bill is meant to limit the influence lobbyists have on legislators by implementing a strict ban on gifts. Currently, Missouri is one of only 10 states to have no limit or ban on gifts from lobbyists. The bill approved by the House would prohibit lobbyists from paying for things like steak dinners, tickets to sporting events and concerts, and travel and lodging expenses. The sponsor of the bill said it is meant to restore the public’s trust in its elected officials by eliminating any appearance of impropriety and banning all gifts that could give a lobbyist undue influence.

The bill does contain common sense exceptions that would still allow lobbyists to make expenditures to the entire General Assembly. The exception would allow for events to which every member of the House and Senate are invited at least three days in advance. The sponsor explained the exception is meant to allow for grassroots-driven events where large groups of Missourians have the opportunity to meet with all members of the legislature. The bill also contains an exception that would allow a legislator to receive an award or accept flowers for the funeral of a loved one without breaking the law.

The bill now awaits a final vote in the House before moving to the Senate for consideration.

House Members Continue the Fight against Human Trafficking (HB 1246)

As the nation paused to recognize Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11, the members of the House took action to address the growing problem that has devastated lives in the state and across the country. The Missouri House gave first-round approval to legislation that would make Missourians better aware of the resources available to assist victims of trafficking.

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, Missouri currently ranks 20th in reported human trafficking cases. The state saw 74 human trafficking cases reported in 2017, and more than 200 cases reported over the last two years, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Missouri is part of a global problem that has seen the trafficking industry grow into a multi-billion dollar industry.

The legislation approved by the House builds on past efforts to address the trafficking problem by making Missourians better aware of the resources available to assist victims of trafficking. The bill would require the Department of Public Safety to develop a poster to promote the use of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline. The posters would be displayed at common areas where human trafficking can occur such as hotels or motels that have been cited for prostitution, and train and bus stations. Currently 28 other states require or encourage the display of trafficking hotline posters.

Supporters of the bill say that requiring the posters to be displayed will help inform the public about human trafficking, and will help victims identify resources that can provide assistance. They note it’s also critical that law enforcement receive tips to help combat trafficking.

The House now needs to vote a final time on the bill before sending it to the Senate.

Federal Income Tax Changes

In light of the recent passage of the federal income tax overhaul, I thought it would be beneficial to provide you with a brief summary of the major changes.  The net effect of most of these changes is that corporations will see a significant decline in their tax rate, individual tax payers are being encouraged to take the standard deduction instead of itemizing, and the income tax brackets for filers are generally adjusted down.  Below is a brief list of the changes.

Changing from existing federal tax law:

  • The corporate income tax rate is reduced from 35% to 21%
  • Changes to the income tax brackets (10% up to 37%)
  • The Affordable Care Act individual mandate is removed
  • The standard deduction is increased:
  • From $6,350 to $12,000 for single filers
  • From $12,700 to $24,000 for married filing jointly
  • 529 education savings accounts are now eligible for K-12 spending
  • Allows for expenditures up to $10,000 to private institutions
  • The Child Tax Credit is increased from $1,000 to $2,000:
    • Is now refundable up to $1,400
    • For single filers making up to $200,000
    • For married filing jointly making up to $400,000
  • Creates a $500 credit for non-child dependents (includes parents and adults with disabilities)
  • Pass thru entities get up to a 20% earnings deduction that begins to phase out at $315,000
  • The estate (death) tax threshold is doubled
  • The $4,050 personal exemption is removed
  • The tax preparation deduction is removed
  • The moving expenses deduction is removed
  • Alimony is no longer deductible
  • Increases limits on the alternative minimum tax
  • Eliminates the $4,050 personal exemption
  • The state and local tax (SALT) deduction is now capped at $10,000

Not changing from existing federal tax law:

  • No changes to classroom supplies deduction
    • If a teacher uses personal money to purchase supplies
  • Home owners’ profit off of sale is still at the capital gains rate
  • Tuition waivers for graduate students remain tax free

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol Office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

The Capitol Report | January 4th, 2018

Legislative Session Begins

Last year, Missouri saw some historic events occur within our state. Now, in 2018, the new year brings more topics to the table including approval of measures to cut bureaucratic red tape, lessen the regulatory burden on families and businesses, and advance policy changes that will provide more educational opportunities to young people in all parts of the state.

Members gathered in the House Chamber Wednesday, January 3 as the 2018 legislative session officially began. The opening day activities were highlighted by a speech from House Speaker Todd Richardson who encouraged his colleagues to continue the work they have done to make the great state of Missouri even greater.

House leaders made it clear on the opening day of session that they plan to work quickly to pass several priority pieces of legislation.

The House is set to take up three pieces of legislation that have received strong bipartisan approval in the past:

Human Trafficking (HB 1246) – House members will work again this year to address the growing problem of human trafficking. The state is currently ranked 20th in reported human trafficking cases according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.

Ethics Reform (HB 1303) – House members will also work to once again pass legislation meant to diminish the influence of lobbyists. The bill House members will work to pass will create a gift ban with some common sense exceptions that would allow a legislator to receive an award or accept flowers for the funeral of a loved one without breaking the law.

Reducing Burdensome Regulations (HB 1500) – House members will also work to cut burdensome red tape and reduce government overregulation so that businesses can thrive in Missouri. Specifically, legislators will look at the issues faced by hair braiders in Missouri as they currently must obtain a cosmetology license that requires 1,500 hours of training that is not relevant to the practice of braiding. House members will work to again pass legislation to specify that hair braiders do not have to obtain a cosmetology license in order to earn a living.

You may read in more detail about what is happening at your State Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

 

 

State of the State Address

Governor Greitens will deliver the 2018 State of the State Address at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 10 in the House of Representatives Chamber at the Missouri State Capitol. In the address, the governor will discuss the current condition of Missouri as a state and may discuss job growth, economic outlook and forecasts, among several other topics important to the well-being of the state.

A live-stream of the message will be available at mo.gov

2018 Legislative Session Begins

Members gathered in the House Chamber Wednesday, January 3 as the 2018 legislative session officially began. The opening day activities were highlighted by a speech from House Speaker Todd Richardson who encouraged his colleagues to continue the work they have done to make the great state of Missouri even greater. As Richardson said in his speech, “That is why it is critical for those of us in our final session, and for those who will pick up the torch when we are gone, to make it our focus in everything we do to leave this state a better place than we found it.”

Richardson used his speech to highlight the accomplishments of the legislature during his time in office. As he pointed out, in recent years the General Assembly has been able to pass the first income tax cut in nearly a century; and made it clear the state is open for business by passing Right-to-Work, making the state’s legal environment fairer for both employees and employers, and taking steps to eliminate bureaucratic red tape.

Richardson also noted the legislature has fought for the core values that are important to Missouri families by “giving their children better opportunities to have the kind of educational experience that will prepare them for success.” Richardson said lawmakers have also worked to promote pro-life policies that protect the lives of the innocent unborn and the health of the mother; and defend and strengthen the gun ownership rights of law-abiding Missourians.

The Speaker then praised his colleagues for working together to create higher ethical standards to raise the level of accountability and trust in state government, and to strengthen the integrity of our democratic process by ensuring that elections are fair and accurate. Richardson said lawmakers have also made it clear that “the brave men and women who keep us safe will have our support.”

Looking ahead to the weeks to come in the 2018 session, the Speaker said he hopes lawmakers will continue to work to pass impactful ethics reform, and increase the level of trust and accountability between the citizens and their citizen legislators. He called on his colleagues to once again stand up for the working families across the state so that they and future generations can look forward to a more prosperous Missouri.

Speaker Richardson said the legislature has work to do so the session can be remembered as one that led to greater freedom for young Missourians seeking the education that will serve them best. As the Speaker said, the legislature must make the “state a place where everyone has the opportunity to build a great life for themselves no matter where they were born or what their parents did for a living.”

The Speaker said the legislature must also take action to help the many Missourians who must now fight through unfair and cumbersome regulations to offer a simple service such as braiding hair to provide for themselves and their families. He called on his colleagues to work this session to break down barriers for those Missourians who would bring innovation and economic opportunity to the state.

Speaker Richardson ended his comments asking his colleagues to “join together in service and good faith for the people of Missouri, so that each distinguished member of this House can one day look back during his or her final session and say that this chamber, this government, and our great state are better off than ever before.”

House Plans to Work Quickly to Pass Priority Legislation

House leaders made it clear on the opening day of session that they plan to work quickly to pass several priority pieces of legislation. The House is set to take up three pieces of legislation that have received strong bipartisan approval in the past. While these bills made it through the House, they did not receive Senate approval before time ran out on the 2017 session.

Lawmakers hope this year to move all three measures across the legislative finish line:

Human Trafficking (HB 1246) – House members will work again this year to address the growing problem of human trafficking. The state is currently ranked 20th in reported human trafficking cases according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Lawmakers hope to build on past efforts to address the trafficking problem by passing legislation that would make Missourians better aware of the resources available to assist victims of trafficking. The bill would require the Department of Public Safety to develop a poster to promote the use of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline. The posters would be displayed at common areas where human trafficking can occur such as hotels or motels that have been cited for prostitution, and train and bus stations.

Ethics Reform (HB 1303) – House members will also work to once again pass legislation meant to diminish the influence of lobbyists. Similar to legislation the House has passed in each of the last two sessions, the bill would ban gifts from lobbyists to legislators and other statewide elected officials. Missouri currently has no limits on lobbyist gifts. The bill House members will work to pass will create a gift ban with some common sense exceptions that would allow a legislator to receive an award or accept flowers for the funeral of a loved one without breaking the law.

Reducing Burdensome Regulations (HB 1500) – In the first weeks of session, House members will also work to cut burdensome red tape and reduce government overregulation so that businesses can thrive in Missouri. Legislators will look at the issues faced by hair braiders in Missouri as they currently must obtain a cosmetology license that requires 1,500 hours of training that is not relevant to the practice of braiding. In comparison, a real estate agent needs only 72 hours of training, and an emergency medical technician needs only 100 to be licensed. House members will work to again pass legislation to specify that hair braiders do not have to obtain a cosmetology license in order to earn a living. The bill would require individuals engaging in braiding to register with the State Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners. No education or training would be required to register, except that the hair braider would need to complete a self-test on infection control techniques and diseases of the scalp.

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol Office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov