The Capitol Report | April 19th, 2018

Governor Update & Bills Sent Back to Senate

After the release of a report made by the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, and with new information that Attorney General Josh Hawley has evidence to support another felony charge on an unrelated matter, the members of the House leadership team this week called for the governor to step down.

House Speaker Todd Richardson, House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, and House Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo issued the following joint statement calling for the governor’s resignation:

“At the outset of this process, we said the governor needed to be forthright and accountable for his actions. After thoughtful consideration of the findings in the House committee’s report and today’s news that the attorney general has evidence to support another felony charge, we believe the governor needs to take responsibility for his actions.

Leaders at all levels of government are entrusted with an incredible responsibility to the Missourians we represent. When leaders lose the ability to effectively lead our state, the right thing to do is step aside.  In our view, the time has come for the governor to resign.”

In other news, the House reviewed several Senate bills and sent them back with changes to the Senate this week.

SB 623 would change the law so that any surplus proceeds from a foreclosure sale of real estate are first distributed to any recorded lien holders prior to being distributed to the owner. If after three years any funds have not been distributed such funds would become a permanent school fund for the county. 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.

SB 569 would specify that when a directed trust, as defined in the bill, grants investment decisions to a person or advisory or investment committee then the trustee shall not be liable for any loss resulting from the investment decisions made. Supporters say making Missouri trust companies more competitive keeps jobs in the state and currently Missouri is losing jobs to other states that have passed similar legislation.

SB 573 would allow members of the National Guard or reserve components of the Armed Forces of the United States to deduct such military income from his or her Missouri adjusted gross income to determine such taxpayer’s Missouri taxable income. The percentage of such income that may be deducted would be phased in between tax years 2020 and 2024 in 20 percent increments. Supporters say the current deductions do not apply to activated National Guardsmen serving within the state. This bill would provide an extra benefit and show support for the military installations and operations in the state when the federal government is looking at reducing or expanding military missions.

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

 

 

Members of House Leadership Call for the Resignation of Governor Greitens

After the release of a report made by the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, and with new information that Attorney General Josh Hawley has evidence to support another felony charge on an unrelated matter, the members of the House leadership team this week called for the governor to step down.

House Speaker Todd Richardson, House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, and House Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo issued the following joint statement calling for the governor’s resignation:

“At the outset of this process, we said the governor needed to be forthright and accountable for his actions. After thoughtful consideration of the findings in the House committee’s report and today’s news that the attorney general has evidence to support another felony charge, we believe the governor needs to take responsibility for his actions.

Leaders at all levels of government are entrusted with an incredible responsibility to the Missourians we represent. When leaders lose the ability to effectively lead our state, the right thing to do is step aside. In our view, the time has come for the governor to resign.”

House Leadership was joined by Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, who also called for the governor to resign. The governor responded by saying he will not resign his position. Legislative leaders will wait for the investigative committee to complete its work. The House Speaker has said the legislature should call itself back for a special session to consider any recommendations the committee has for action against the governor. The Speaker has said his goal is for the legislature to remain focused specifically on the tasks Missourians count on its lawmakers to complete.

House Gives Final Approval to Tax Reform and Infrastructure Act (HB 2540)

The House this week sent the Senate a comprehensive tax reform and infrastructure plan that would lower the state’s personal and corporate income tax rates and transform Missouri’s tax system to the most competitive in the nation, while also making substantive reforms to generate much-needed funding to repair and improve Missouri’s aging transportation infrastructure.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Elijah Haahr, said he has four goals he wants to accomplish with the legislation:

  • To make Missouri one of the top 10 most competitive states in income tax;
  • To make Missouri one of the top 10 most competitive states in business tax;
  • To develop a long-term, sustainable solution to funding our infrastructure; and
  • To accomplish these things in a fiscally responsible way.

The sponsor told his colleagues the bill accomplishes his goals while adding, “Our goal in this is to provide a better tax policy framework for the state of Missouri going forward. This is not a one-year problem or a two-year problem. It is a ten, fifty, and a hundred-year problem. We’re trying to create a system that can be sustainable for 21st century Missouri.”

In an effort to ease the tax burden on Missouri families, the bill would reduce the state’s highest personal income tax rate from 5.9 percent to 5.0 percent. The change would place Missouri in the top 10 states for lowest personal income tax. The bill would also help Missouri’s business climate by cutting the corporate income tax from 6.25 percent to 5.0 percent. This reduction would also put Missouri in the top 10 states for the lowest corporate income tax.

Additionally, the bill would generate much-needed revenues for the state’s roads and bridges. It would put Missouri in line with many other states by indexing vehicle user fees to the cost of inflation. The state’s current vehicle license and registration fees were put in statute in 1984, and have not changed in more than 30 years. The tax reform bill would update fees from their 1984 value to present day value. The increase is a key component to the effort to generate nearly $2 billion in additional funding for transportation infrastructure over the next decade. The idea was recommended by both the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force and the House Policy Development Caucus.

Additionally, to maintain financial stability to the state tax code, the bill would make a number of other reforms including:

  • Joining the Streamlined Sales Tax agreement so that Missouri collects sales tax on online purchases so that Missouri brick and mortar businesses are on equal footing with online competitors;
  • Phasing out the federal income tax deduction on state returns for individuals and corporations with over $150,000 in income;
  • Reducing waste in state government by consolidating maintenance between certain government agencies;
  • Eliminating deductions and closing loopholes; and
  • Implementing other necessary reforms that would eliminate government inefficiencies.

The reforms are critical components to keep the bill fiscally responsible and as close to revenue neutral as possible.

A committee amendment added on the House floor would delay implementation of many of the provisions of the bill by a year. Legislators said their goal with the change is to accommodate the current Fiscal Year 2019 budget plan the House and Senate are working to pass.

The Senate, which has sent its own version of tax reform legislation to the House, will now have the remaining weeks of session to act on the bill.

House Bills Moving to the Senate

HB 1261 would require all state and local licensing boards or entities to waive, for a two-year period, any fees charged to obtain or renew occupational licenses for military families and low-income individuals who request such a waiver.

HB 2286 would change the definition of “local log truck” and “local log truck tractor” to allow the trucks to pull a trailer that has up to three axles.

HB 2360 would add several professions, including air ambulance pilots, air ambulance registered professional nurses, air ambulance registered respiratory therapists, uniformed employees of the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and specified emergency medical technicians, and their children and spouses, to the list of those eligible to receive a public safety officer or employee survivor grant from the Coordinating Board for Higher Education within the Department of Higher Education.

HB 2117 states that the administration of eye drops to a newborn infant would not be required if a parent or legal guardian objects to the treatment because it is against the religious beliefs of the parent or guardian.

HB 1591 would modify provisions relating to the operation of watercraft. The bill is aimed at reducing damage to residential docks and enhancing water safety.

HB 1264 would modify the definition of a “passenger car” from a motor vehicle designed to carry 10 persons or less to a motor vehicle designed to carry 15 persons or less. The bill would modify the law to allow evidence of the failure to use a properly adjusted seatbelt to be used for any purpose, including assessment of comparative fault and evidence of failure to mitigate damages, in a products liability action involving a passenger car.

HB 1249 would allow a court to order credit for time served when an individual has been held in custody for a show cause order pertaining to any matter related to a minor traffic violation. The bill would further require any summons, notice to appear, or citation for a minor traffic violation to include the date and time a defendant is to appear in court when the defendant is first provided the summons, notice to appear, or citation.

HB 2129 would require that beginning in school year 2019-20 students in public or charter high schools shall receive 30 minutes of instruction providing information on decisions about organ, eye, and tissue donation before graduation.

HB 1611 would provide that a person who is injured by a product has 10 years after the sale or lease of the product to bring a suit for damages.

HB 2119 would provide that punitive damages shall not be awarded except upon proof by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally caused harm or acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others.

HB 2140 would allow state offices, departments, boards, commissions, bureaus, political subdivisions, agencies, and other institutions to purchase supplies under a cooperative purchasing agreement from certain authorized General Services Administration vendors without regard to competitive bid limits.

HB 2336 would specify that a child taken into the custody of the state or a child under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court shall not be reunited with a parent or placed in a home in which a parent or any person residing in the home has been found guilty of sexual trafficking of a child in the first degree.

HBs 2523 & 2524 would modify provisions of the sunshine law and create the transparency division within the attorney general’s office to monitor sunshine law violations by state agencies.

HB 1542 would prohibit a pharmacy benefits manager from charging a copayment for a prescription or pharmacy service that exceeds the amount retained by the pharmacy from all payment sources for filling that prescription or providing that service. It would also prohibit a pharmacy benefits manager from prohibiting a pharmacy from informing a person of the difference between his or her co-payment and the amount he or she would pay if a health benefit plan was not used to cover the cost.

HB 1915 would increase the penalty provisions for knowingly violating the law relating to the no-call list.

HB 2155 would allow wholesalers to employ persons 18 years of age to unload delivery vehicles and transfer liquor into retail premises with supervision.

Senate Bills Sent Back to the Senate with Changes

SB 623 would change statute so that any surplus proceeds from a foreclosure sale of real estate are first distributed to any recorded lien holders prior to being distributed to the owner. If after three years any funds have not been distributed such funds would become a permanent school fund for the county. 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.

SB 569 would specify that when a directed trust, as defined in the bill, grants investment decisions to a person or advisory or investment committee then the trustee shall not be liable for any loss resulting from the investment decisions made. Supporters say making Missouri trust companies more competitive keeps jobs in the state and currently Missouri is losing jobs to other states that have passed similar legislation.

SB 573 would allow members of the National Guard or reserve components of the Armed Forces of the United States to deduct such military income from his or her Missouri adjusted gross income to determine such taxpayer’s Missouri taxable income. The percentage of such income that may be deducted would be phased in between tax years 2020 and 2024 in 20 percent increments. Supporters say the current deductions do not apply to activated National Guardsmen serving within the state. This bill would provide an extra benefit and show support for the military installations and operations in the state when the federal government is looking at reducing or expanding military missions.

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

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The Capitol Report | April 12th, 2018

Report Released & The Opioid Crisis

On March 1, the Missouri House of Representatives gave bipartisan support to a resolution that outlined the powers of a special investigative committee formed by the House Speaker to investigate the facts surrounding alleged misconduct by Governor Greitens.

During the last several weeks, the committee conducted a thorough investigation of the facts. The committee’s membership included lawyers, retired law enforcement officers, and other members with diverse professional backgrounds, from different parts of the state. Their job was not to make their own conclusions but to hear testimony and make a judgement about the credibility of that testimony. After weeks of hearings and testimony, the committee finally released its findings on Wednesday, April 11. The committee’s findings are now available online on the Missouri House of Representatives website homepage located at http://www.house.mo.gov

In other news, the Missouri House voted on HB 2105 this week to take more steps toward fighting opioid addiction with a focus on shifting the response to addiction from law enforcement and incarceration to treatment availability.

The bill sponsor, Rep. Keith Frederick, said, “That’s the thing that’s lacking so much now, is we don’t have enough health care providers to provide access to what’s called, ‘medication-assisted therapy.’ It is basically using medications like buprenorphine and Suboxone that get rid of the craving for narcotics and it allows people to get back to a useful, functional, rewarding life, but they need the medication on an ongoing basis and for that we need healthcare providers to help provide access to that sort of treatment, and we don’t have enough of those now.”

The main provision of the bill would create the “Improved Access to Treatment for Opioid Addictions” Program (IATOA). It would use assistant physicians – a position created by legislation passed in 2014 – to work in a collaborative way with licensed doctors to provide addiction treatment throughout the state. The assistant physicians would be supported by the ECHO program (Extension for Community Healthcare Options) – a program that uses videoconferencing to connect experts with providers statewide to help providers offer specialized care. The sponsor said the program would be among the first of its kind in the nation, and other states are already taking note of it and considering how to create their own.

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 Investigative Committee Releases Report

On March 1, the Missouri House of Representatives gave bipartisan support to a resolution that outlined the powers of a special investigative committee formed by the House Speaker to investigate the facts surrounding alleged misconduct by Governor Greitens.

During the last several weeks, the committee conducted a fair, thorough, and timely investigation of the facts. The committee’s membership included lawyers, retired law enforcement officers, and other members with diverse professional backgrounds, from different parts of the state. Their job was not to make their own conclusions but to hear testimony and make a judgement about the credibility of that testimony. After weeks of hearings and testimony, the committee finally released its findings on Wednesday, April 11.

The committee’s findings are now available online on the Missouri House of Representatives website homepage located at http://www.house.mo.gov. The link to the committee’s findings is on the front page of the website under “Special Investigative Committee on Oversight.” The link leads to a page where the committee’s report, transcripts, and exhibits are available in PDF format. Before reading any of the provided material, please be aware the report contains content of a sensitive and sexual nature. The House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight has kept descriptions of an adult nature and coarse language in order to provide an unfiltered record of witness testimony. In some cases, the identities of witnesses and sensitive information have been redacted from the record to protect privacy.

Following the release of the report, House Speaker Todd Richardson and members of House Leadership met with the media to provide reactions to the report’s content. The Speaker said, “the testimony outlined in the report is beyond disturbing.” The Speaker then noted that the Special Investigative Committee on Oversight will continue its work to gather additional information that comes to light. The committee will also expand its mission to provide members a recommendation of any and all appropriate discipline of the Governor.

As the Speaker told the press, “The power given to the Missouri General Assembly to take disciplinary action or remove elected officials from office is one of the most serious and consequential powers the Constitution grants the legislature. We will not take that responsibility lightly, nor will we act rashly, however, we will not shrink from it.”

As the Speaker concluded his comments he said his goal is for the General Assembly to remain focused on the tasks that Missourians sent legislators to Jefferson City to complete. To that end, he said he and members of House and Senate leadership have begun the process of calling a special session for full consideration of any recommendations by the committee.

House Approves Legislation to Create New Approaches to Fight Opioid Addiction (HB 2105)

The Missouri House has voted to take more steps toward fighting opioid addiction with a focus on shifting the response to addiction from law enforcement and incarceration to treatment availability.

As the sponsor said, “That’s the thing that’s lacking so much now, is we don’t have enough health care providers to provide access to what’s called, ‘medication-assisted therapy.’ It is basically using medications like buprenorphine and Suboxone that get rid of the craving for narcotics and it allows people to get back to a useful, functional, rewarding life, but they need the medication on an ongoing basis and for that we need healthcare providers to help provide access to that sort of treatment, and we don’t have enough of those now.”

The main provision of the bill would create the “Improved Access to Treatment for Opioid Addictions” Program (IATOA). It would use assistant physicians – a position created by legislation passed in 2014 – to work in a collaborative way with licensed doctors to provide addiction treatment throughout the state. The assistant physicians would be supported by the ECHO program (Extension for Community Healthcare Options) – a program that uses videoconferencing to connect experts with providers statewide to help providers offer specialized care. The sponsor said the program would be among the first of its kind in the nation, and other states are already taking note of it and considering how to create their own.

Another of the bill’s main provisions would limit the amount of an opioid drug that could be prescribed to someone for acute pain to a seven-day supply. The provision is meant to keep people from becoming addicted while not limiting such drugs to those who rely on them for long-term pain management. The sponsor said, “The idea is to prevent people like the high school athlete who has a knee injury and the doc gives him 150 Percocet or whatever – it’s to nip that in the bud; prevent new people from getting addicted, but while acknowledging that there are people in our state that have chronic pain and they’re getting along pretty well.”

The bill would also create the Prescription Abuse Registry – a registry a person could voluntarily add himself or herself to – for individuals who have struggled with addiction. The registry would do no more than notify doctors who choose to check it that those on the list have had a substance abuse problem. A person could petition to be removed from the list five years after adding her or his name to it.

Other provisions in the bill would create a drug take-back program for disposal of unused prescriptions, and bar the Department of Corrections from preventing offenders from receiving medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse or dependence.

The bill would also discontinue patient satisfaction scores of doctors, to the extent allowed by federal law. The sponsor said the change would keep doctors from being given low scores by patients with addiction issues to whom they refused to prescribe opioids. The sponsor said such false, punitive low scoring can hurt doctors’ reputations, and hurt them financially.

The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.

House Approves Legislation to Save State Dollars and Improve Access to Birth Control (HB 1499)

The members of the House gave bipartisan approval this week to a measure aimed at increasing women’s access to birth control while saving the state money. The legislation would allow health care providers to use a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) for a patient other than the one to whom it was initially prescribed.

When a woman in Missouri chooses to have a LARC implanted her doctor must order that device and the woman must return for another office visit to have it implanted. If the woman changes her mind before the second visit and doesn’t want the device, Missouri law doesn’t allow it to be used for another patient. It must be returned to its manufacturer and often it is destroyed.

The bill’s sponsor said because Medicaid pays for those devices, the passage of his bill would save the state money. He said, “The State of Missouri currently wastes hundreds of thousands of dollars every year as well as very expensive devices every year, and this bill will allow those devices to be reassigned which will save taxpayer money and will help to save women time and money with extra doctor’s visits.”

The sponsor noted that in Fiscal Year 2017 about 1,800 LARCs were “abandoned” by patients in Missouri. Approximately 1,000 of those could have been used for other patients and that would have saved Missouri about $220,000.

The bill is now under consideration in the Senate.

Bills Headed to the Senate

HBs 2337 & 2272 would modify the fee requirements for every individual or entity making a filing with the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration. Supporters say the bill is necessary to keep the Department of Insurance funded. In 2014 we had a fund balance of $14 million and the General Assembly swept over $12 million of this revenue to use for different projects. Insurance receives no General Revenue and is funded by these fees. The insurance industry agrees that these fees need to be increased so that the department can continue regulating the industry.

HB 1296 would establish “Toby’s Law,” which requires any person who has pled guilty to or been found guilty of driving while intoxicated to complete a victim impact program approved by the court. Supporters say a program like this could keep people from continuing to drink and drive and it could even encourage some people to get sober. Most counties already have a program like this and most judges already require it, but this bill would require all counties to have this type of program.

HB 2255 would modify provisions relating to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Initiative. Supporters say the bill would benefit students interested in a career in STEM subjects.

HB 2231 would remove the requirement that land surveyors submit letters of reference in order to be licensed. Supporters say the letters of reference don’t currently serve any purpose because the board does not deny applicants based on the content of these letters.

HB 1419 would require certain health care professionals to complete two hours of suicide prevention training as a condition of licensure. Supporters say many suicide victims see a physician in the month before their death, but many health care professionals do not have the training necessary to recognize or treat suicidal patients.

HB 1275 would establish the “Allan Purdy Work-Study Program” to be administered by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. Supporters say the bill would promote workforce development while providing financial aid. They say work-study is a missing piece of Missouri’s available financial aid program, and this bill would help fill that gap.

HB 1629 would provide that a doctoral degree from programs accredited or provisionally accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System are acceptable for licensure as a psychologist if the program meets certain requirements. Supporters say the bill would allow the state to license psychologists who have gone to schools accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS). There are currently 35 programs across the country that are recognized by PCSAS but until states recognize PCSAS for licensure purposes those programs also have to be accredited by the American Psychological Association. Supporters say the PCSAS is an accepted accreditation program within the industry and there is no reason for the state not to recognize it.

HB 1252 would add digital mammography and breast tomosynthesis to the definition of low-dose mammography screening and require reimbursement rates to accurately reflect the resource costs. Supporters say these mammograms are 3-D and are much more accurate and have less false readings. They say these will save money because of not having to re-do a mammogram.

HB 2562 would establish treatment court divisions, which would include, but not be limited to, Adult Treatment Court, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Court, Family Treatment Court, Juvenile Treatment Court, and Veterans Treatment Court. Supporters say that treatment court is successful, and there is an indication that similar courts for other issues could be successful, too. They say the local courts can and should set their own policies for these types of courts, but the legislation establishes best practices for them. The intention is to help advance the ball toward institutionalizing the concept of treatment court.

SB 592 now heads back to the Senate after the House made changes to the bill. The legislation would modify the state’s election laws. Supporters say the bill is a product of consensus and would provide many necessary changes that would make the operations of local election authorities and the Office of the Secretary of State more efficient, allowing them to provide better service to the public. The bill would also make the absentee voting process easier by extending mail time. Many of the changes in the bill have been vetted in prior years and much of the bill consists of fixes to minor problems and technical changes.

HCR 59 would designate the month of August as “Minority Organ Donor Awareness Month” in Missouri. The legislation would encourage and recommend that people of the state of Missouri observe Minority Organ Donor Awareness Month through activities which will specifically address the need to increase awareness of organ donation by all ethnic groups and the need for organ donors. Such activities could include prayer breakfasts, health walks, and donor drives.

HCR 69 would urge the President of the United States to authorize a state funeral when the last of the World War II Medal of Honor Recipient dies.

HCR 73 would recognize the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument at the College of the Ozarks campus in Point Lookout, Missouri, as the official Gold Star Families Memorial Monument of Missouri. It would also urge the Missouri Department of Transportation to prepare and establish appropriate highway signage to recognize the location and directions to the Missouri Gold Star Families Memorial Monument and the Missouri Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The signage would be paid for by the College of the Ozarks.

HCR 70 would declare youth violence as a public health epidemic and support the establishment of statewide trauma-informed education. It would also designate June 7 of each year as “Christopher Harris Day” in Missouri to remember children in St. Louis and throughout the state of Missouri lost to violence.
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 | April 5th, 2018

Comprehensive Tax Reform

Lawmakers gave initial approval this week to comprehensive tax reform legislation that would cut the state’s personal and corporate income tax rates and transform Missouri’s tax system to the most competitive in the nation. The legislation would also make substantive reforms to generate much-needed funding to repair and improve Missouri’s aging transportation infrastructure.

The sponsor of the bill noted the bill has four pillars – an income tax cut, a business tax cut, a funding mechanism for the state’s road fund, and a variety of fiscally responsible revenue generators. As he told his colleagues, “The reason that we run for office, and stand on the floor, is to try to do big and bold and ambitious things for this state, and I believe this is one of them.”

In an effort to ease the tax burden on Missouri families, the bill would reduce the state’s highest personal income tax rate from 5.9 percent to 5.0 percent. The change would place Missouri in the top 10 states for lowest personal income tax. The bill would also help Missouri’s business climate by cutting the corporate income tax from 6.25 percent to 5.0 percent. This reduction would also put Missouri in the top 10 states for the lowest corporate income tax.

Additionally, the bill would generate much-needed revenues for the state’s roads and bridges. It would put Missouri in line with many other states by indexing vehicle user fees to the cost of inflation. The state’s current vehicle license and registration fees were put in statute in 1984, and have not changed in more than 30 years. The tax reform bill would update fees from their 1984 value to present day value. The increase is a key component to the effort to generate more than $2 billion in additional funding for transportation infrastructure over the next decade. The idea was recommended by both the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force and the House Policy Development Caucus.
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

 

 

Missouri House Approves Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (HB 1266)

The Missouri House of Representatives approved legislation this week that would prohibit abortions on any fetus a doctor determines is capable of feeling pain.

House Bill 1266 would prevent such abortions unless they are found to be necessary to avert the mother’s death, or if there is a serious risk to the mother of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function. In such cases, a doctor would be required to end the pregnancy in a way that gives the fetus the greatest chance of survival without posing such risks to the mother.

The sponsor calls the bill the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” and other backers of the legislation say there is scientific evidence that a fetus can feel pain at 22 weeks gestational age, or 20 weeks fetal age. The sponsor said at this stage it is “much safer for the mother and for the fetus to be able to have a C-section.”

The bill also requires reporting of such abortions to the Department of Health and Senior Services, and would make a doctor who performs an abortion in violation of the bill’s provisions subject to discipline. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

House Moves to Protect and Expand the Use of Service Animals (HB 1369 and HB 2031)

House members approved two pieces of legislation this week related to the use of service dogs in Missouri. One would expand the state’s legal definition of what qualifies as a “service dog.” The other would make it illegal to misrepresent an animal as a service animal.

According to the sponsor, the bills are aimed at making life better for those who legitimately have service dogs and service animals. She said these individuals represent a growing segment of society, and the list of conditions dogs can help with continues to grow as well.

HB 1369 changes the definition of “service dog” to include psychiatric service dogs and mental health service dogs. The definition covers dogs that serve individuals with conditions including panic attacks, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).sponsor said the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has left the definition of what is considered a “service dog” in a gray area, so HB 1369 would make clear what animals qualify as service dogs.

HB 2031 would add the crime of misrepresenting a dog or animal as a service dog or assistance animal to Missouri’s existing law against impersonating a person with a disability. It would make those crimes misdemeanors punishable by up to fifteen days in jail, or up to 6 months for repeated violations.

Backers of HB 2031 said when people fake having a service animal it casts doubt on individuals who really do have them. The sponsor said such fraud causes other issues as well, and noted that untrained dogs have attacked service dogs in training, or attacked patrons in a restaurant.

HB 2031 would require the Commission on Human Rights to use its existing complaint hotline to take reports of individuals believed to be faking having a disability or a service animal.

It would also require the Governor’s Council on Disability to design a placard that restaurants and other businesses could display stating that service dogs are welcome and that misrepresentation of a service dog is illegal. A brochure would also be created to help business owners know what questions are allowed and guidelines on how to behave around service animals. Both bills have now moved to the Senate for consideration.

Tax Reform Bill Receives First-Round Approval (HB 2540)

Lawmakers gave initial approval this week to comprehensive tax reform legislation that would cut the state’s personal and corporate income tax rates and transform Missouri’s tax system to the most competitive in the nation. The legislation would also make substantive reforms to generate much-needed funding to repair and improve Missouri’s aging transportation infrastructure.

The sponsor of the bill noted the bill has four pillars – an income tax cut, a business tax cut, a funding mechanism for the state’s road fund, and a variety of fiscally responsible revenue generators. As he told his colleagues, “The reason that we run for office, and stand on the floor, is to try to do big and bold and ambitious things for this state, and I believe this is one of them.”

In an effort to ease the tax burden on Missouri families, the bill would reduce the state’s highest personal income tax rate from 5.9 percent to 5.0 percent. The change would place Missouri in the top 10 states for lowest personal income tax. The bill would also help Missouri’s business climate by cutting the corporate income tax from 6.25 percent to 5.0 percent. This reduction would also put Missouri in the top 10 states for the lowest corporate income tax.

Additionally, the bill would generate much-needed revenues for the state’s roads and bridges. It would put Missouri in line with many other states by indexing vehicle user fees to the cost of inflation. The state’s current vehicle license and registration fees were put in statute in 1984, and have not changed in more than 30 years. The tax reform bill would update fees from their 1984 value to present day value. The increase is a key component to the effort to generate more than $2 billion in additional funding for transportation infrastructure over the next decade. The idea was recommended by both the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force and the House Policy Development Caucus.

Additionally, to maintain financial stability to the state tax code, the bill would make a number of other reforms including:

  • Joining the Streamlined Sales Tax agreement so that Missouri collects sales tax on online purchases so that Missouri brick and mortar businesses are on equal footing with online competitors;
  • Phasing out the federal income tax deduction on state returns for individuals and corporations with over $150,000 in income;
  • Reducing waste in state government by consolidating maintenance between certain government agencies;
  • Eliminating deductions and closing loopholes; and
  • Implementing other necessary reforms that would eliminate government inefficiencies.

The reforms are critical components to keep the bill fiscally responsible and as close to revenue neutral as possible. The bill now requires another vote in the House before moving to the Senate.

Bills Headed to the Senate

  • HB 1486 would require any individual participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to comply with the work requirements described in federal statute and regulations. Any nonexempt participant who refuses or fails without good cause to comply with the work requirements would be ineligible to participate in the program for three months for the first occurrence of noncompliance; six months for the second occurrence; and two years for the third occurrence of noncompliance. Supporters say the change could help encourage people to move away from dependency on government help and back to work. They also note the bill would not take away children’s benefits.
  • HB 2101 would specify that guardian ad litem fees shall not be automatically waived in certain civil actions. Supporters say that, currently, any time you have a party involved with legal aid, costs and expenses can be waived upon certification that the party is indigent. This sets out an exception for guardian ad litem fees. Any party, once a trial has ended, can file a motion to have the fees addressed. Judges cannot currently apportion any fees to the guardian ad litem.
  • HB 2192 would authorize the treasurer of a seven-director school district, when entering into a bond to the State of Missouri, to use one or more sureties instead of the two or more sureties required by current law. Supporters say the current law is archaic and a single insurance company can cover these sureties now.
  • HB 2221 would remove the requirement that the experience requirements for registered interior designers be verified by at least two client references, business or employment verification, and three industry references. Supporters say the references are unnecessary. Only two other states currently require letters of reference in order to register.
  • HB 2339 would create the “Missouri Military Community Reinvestment Program” within the Department of Economic Development to assist military communities in supporting and sustaining their installations, to encourage communities to initiate coordinated response programs and action plans in advance of federal government realignment and closure decisions, and to support community efforts to attract new or expanded military missions and specifies that the appropriation for the program may not exceed $300,000. Supporters say the bill would help fund programs for communities to promote their community and the military installation within it when federal base realignment and closures are discussed or when the Department of Defense is expanding missions. Supporters note the state’s military installations are economic drivers in their communities and it is important for the state’s economy to protect and expand the missions of these bases.
  • HB 1633 would specify that a court shall be obligated to charge the jury with respect to an included offense only if it is established by proof of the same or less than all the elements required to establish the commission of the offense charged, there is a rational basis in the evidence for a verdict acquitting the person of the offense charged and convicting the person of the included offense, and either party requests the court to charge the jury with respect to a specific included offense. Supporters say the Supreme Court held that lesser included offenses should be instructed if there is a rational basis to acquit the defendant of the charged offense but to convict of the lesser offense. They say a rational basis makes more sense than there just having to be a basis to charge for the lesser offense.
  • HB 1973 would remove a temperature change from the definition of a water contaminant for the purposes of the Missouri Clean Water Law and specify that agricultural storm water discharges and return flows from irrigated agriculture are exempt from permitting requirements under the Missouri Clean Water Law and should not be considered unlawful unless the discharges have entered the waters of the state and rendered the waters harmful, detrimental, or injurious to public health, safety, or welfare, to industrial or agricultural uses, or to wild animals, birds, or fish. Supporters say the bill would align Missouri law with federal water laws. Currently, only point sources of pollution need to obtain a permit, but under the current statute a nonpoint source could be required to obtain a permit at the state level. The bill would clarify that nonpoint sources do not need to obtain a permit.
  • HB 1574 would allow a physician to enter into collaborative practice arrangements or supervision agreements with a total of six fulltime equivalent advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), assistant physicians, or physician assistants. Supporters say the bill would expand access to health care. Currently, 109 out of the 114 counties in Missouri have health care shortages. Proponents say the bill would enable more APRNs to practice in areas that badly need more health care professionals.
  • HB 1832 would change merchandising practices and credit user protection law and create the offenses of defacing a credit card reader and illegal use of a card scanner. Supporters say the offense was not addressed in the criminal code revision in 2014, and the Attorney General should have the authority to investigate the offense because it spans many counties and sometimes even many states. They note that offenders are becoming emboldened by technology, and are getting better at stealing people’s credit card information.
  • HB 1667 would establish a rebuttable presumption that child custody arrangements that award equal parenting time are in the best interest of the child. Supporters say it is only fair for equal parenting time for both parents to be considered in the best interest of the child, unless there is some evidence showing that one parent is not fit. Oftentimes, courts will still automatically presume that mothers are the best parents and that fathers are not as fit to parent. Proponents say fathers should not have to spend endless hours in court and spend tons of money just to prove that they are equally fit to care for their children.
  • HB 1368 would modify the Missouri Returning Heroes Education Act to require any institution of higher education that receives state funds to limit the amount of tuition it charges to combat veterans enrolled in a program leading to a graduate degree to no more than 30% of the cost of tuition and fees. Supporters say the bill would allow servicemen and women who fought for their country to stretch their benefits a little further and to receive a graduate education at a reduced cost.
  • HB 2183 would modify provisions relating to hospital licensure and regulations. Supporters say the bill would give more clarity and consistency with federal requirements to the state’s hospital regulations.
  • HB 2039 would create the Missouri Route 66 Centennial Commission composed of 18 members who reflect the interests, history and importance of the communities along Route 66 in Missouri. Supporters say the bill would create a commission to help celebrate the centennial and the importance of Route 66 to Missouri and the nation.
  • HB 1257 would allow private businesses to give hiring preference for veterans. Supporters note that the federal and state government can give preferential treatment to veterans. The bill simply makes it clear that private businesses can do the same. Supporters say some businesses want to give a hiring preference to veterans, but are worried about violating employment laws. This bill does not require private businesses to do anything. The legislation simply clarifies that they can legally give a preference to veterans should they want to.
  • HB 1516 would specify that licensed chiropractic physicians may treat and be reimbursed for conditions currently reimbursed under MO HealthNet. Supporters say the bill would allow Medicaid patients to have more choices in getting health care and at cheaper prices. They say it is generally about 40 percent cheaper to go to a chiropractor on the first visit.
  • HRB 1 would repeal obsolete, expired, sunset, and terminated statutory sections and portions of sections. The bill would repeal various obsolete statutes that have been endorsed by the Joint Committee on Legislative Research.

Capitol Visits

The University of Missouri System held their annual Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol today. I stopped by and enjoyed seeing three different exhibits from S&T students: Tiffany Lyche (left), Michael Khayat (center), and Joel Merz (right).

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 | March 29th, 2018

House Completes Budget, Sends to Senate

House members worked late into the night Tuesday to give initial approval to a fiscally responsible spending plan that makes a record investment in K-12 education. The House then gave final approval on Thursday to the 13 appropriations bills that make up the $28.1 billion state operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019.

The House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick has said the conservative spending plan is based on a sensible consensus revenue estimate that will avoid shortfalls that could force the governor to withhold funds. This year’s budget plan enforces fiscal discipline by holding welfare spending in check. It also includes a budget reserve of $100 million to allow for emergency spending needs. Additionally, the House version of the budget rejects a plan endorsed by the governor to borrow $250 million to expedite tax refunds.

The Budget Chairman praised the budget for its commitment to transparency. In addition to eliminating all “E”s, which represent open-ended spending limits on funds, the spending plan improves transparency in several other key areas. The budget approved by the House breaks down spending for the state’s legal expense fund, which previously had no system in place to track how dollars are spent to pay for settlements and judgments against state agencies. In addition, the spending plan improves transparency for spending within the state’s conservation department, and for dollars allocated to home-delivered meals. The budget also makes a $34-million fund in the Department of Corrections transparent and accountable for the first time.

The House version of the budget makes a record investment in K-12 education by fully funding the school foundation formula, which included new funding for early childhood education. In total, the House plan increases funding for the foundation formula by $98.9 million. Included in that figure is $48 million in new funding for pre-K education for low-income children. With this plan, the legislature would fully fund the foundation formula in back-to-back years for the first time in a generation.

The state operating budget as it leaves the House also restores $68 million in cuts proposed by the governor to higher education. The restoration of funding comes in conjunction with a pledge by the state’s universities and colleges to raise tuition by no more than 1 percent. Schools must hold to that pledge as long as they receive the funds allotted for them in the budget. If for some reason the funds would be withheld, the schools would be allowed to increase tuition by the rate of inflation. The agreement is a reflection of the commitment of House members to hold down the cost of higher education for students and families.

In total, the $28.1 billion spending plan is approximately $650 million smaller than the plan proposed by the governor. The budget would utilize roughly $9.4 billion in state general revenue dollars, which is approximately $400 million less than the governor called for in his budget proposal.

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

 

 

Fiscally Responsible Spending Plan Heads to the Senate (HBs 2001 – 2013)

House members worked late into the night Tuesday to give initial approval to a fiscally responsible spending plan that makes a record investment in K-12 education. The House then gave final approval on Thursday to the 13 appropriations bills that make up the $28.1 billion state operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019.

The House Budget Committee Chairman has said the conservative spending plan is based on a sensible consensus revenue estimate that will avoid shortfalls that could force the governor to withhold funds. This year’s budget plan enforces fiscal discipline by holding welfare spending in check. It also includes a budget reserve of $100 million to allow for emergency spending needs. Additionally, the House version of the budget rejects a plan endorsed by the governor to borrow $250 million to expedite tax refunds.

The Budget Chairman praised the budget for its commitment to transparency. In addition to eliminating all “E”s, which represent open-ended spending limits on funds, the spending plan improves transparency in several other key areas. The budget approved by the House breaks down spending for the state’s legal expense fund, which previously had no system in place to track how dollars are spent to pay for settlements and judgments against state agencies. In addition, the spending plan improves transparency for spending within the state’s conservation department, and for dollars allocated to home-delivered meals. The budget also makes a $34-million fund in the Department of Corrections transparent and accountable for the first time.

The House version of the budget makes a record investment in K-12 education by fully funding the school foundation formula, which included new funding for early childhood education. In total, the House plan increases funding for the foundation formula by $98.9 million. Included in that figure is $48 million in new funding for pre-K education for low-income children. With this plan, the legislature would fully fund the foundation formula in back-to-back years for the first time in a generation.

The state operating budget as it leaves the House also restores $68 million in cuts proposed by the governor to higher education. The restoration of funding comes in conjunction with a pledge by the state’s universities and colleges to raise tuition by no more than 1 percent. Schools must hold to that pledge as long as they receive the funds allotted for them in the budget. If for some reason the funds would be withheld, the schools would be allowed to increase tuition by the rate of inflation. The agreement is a reflection of the commitment of House members to hold down the cost of higher education for students and families.

In total, the $28.1 billion spending plan is approximately $650 million smaller than the plan proposed by the governor. The budget would utilize roughly $9.4 billion in state general revenue dollars, which is approximately $400 million less than the governor called for in his budget proposal.

Other highlights of the FY 2019 Budget include:

  • Restoration of cuts proposed by the governor for several of the state’s cooperative higher education programs, including the Cooperative Medical School Program with MU and Missouri State; the Cooperative Dental Program with UMKC and MU; and the Cooperative Engineering Program with Missouri S&T and Missouri State.
  • Funding increases recommended by the governor for the state’s scholarship programs including a $2 million increase for Access Missouri, $3.5 million in additional funds for the A+ Scholarship Program; and an additional $1 million for Bright Flight.
  • $2 million increase in funding for the Missouri SkillUP Program that provides free job training and employment opportunities for low-income Missourians.
  • $2.25 million increase in funding for K-12 transportation.
  • $300,000 in new funding for school safety grants.
  • $8.5 million increase in funding for the First Steps Program that provides services to families with children, birth to three years of age, with disabilities or developmental delays.
  • $1.8 million increase in funding for the state’s independent living centers, which help people with disabilities to increase their independence and their opportunity to participate in day-to-day life within their communities.
  • $4 million in new funding for Missouri’s Access to Recovery program, which helps individuals and families struggling with substance use disorders and provides the tools needed for long-term recovery.
  • $5 million in new money to provide community-based services that will allow those battling substance abuse to receive appropriate treatment as an alternative to prison.
  • $500,000 funding increase for the state’s drug treatment courts.
  • $2.5 million in funding to extend MO HealthNet benefits for pregnant women who are receiving substance abuse treatment within 60 days of giving birth for up to 12 additional months.
  • $9.8 million in new money to increase provider reimbursement rates to improve access to services to those with developmental disabilities.
  • $1 million increase for the Missouri Technology Corporation, which promotes entrepreneurship and fosters the growth of new and emerging high-tech companies.
  • $1 million increase in funding for the state’s public libraries.
  • $400,000 restoration of funds for the Missouri National Guard to prevent several armories from being closed.
  • $4 million in funding to make good on the state’s commitment to the Biodiesel Producer Incentive Fund

 

The budget bills now head to the Missouri Senate for consideration. The two chambers will need to agree on a final version of the state spending plan by May 11, which is the constitutional deadline for budget approval.

Providing Help to Mothers Battling Substance Abuse (HB 2280, 2120, 1468 & 1616)

The Missouri House gave final approval this week to legislation that would expand MO HealthNet benefits for pregnant women to provide substance abuse treatment for up to one year after giving birth. The bill represents a bipartisan, collaborative effort to extend Medicaid benefits for postpartum substance abuse treatment.

Supporters say that treatment for substance abuse is important for new mothers because postpartum depression may cause the women to self-medicate with controlled substances. As the sponsor of the bill told her colleagues, “Opioid and substance abuse during pregnancy is on the rise, with opioid use during pregnancy mirroring that of the general population. The current time offered for substance use disorder treatment, which is 60-days for these new moms, does not allow for enough treatment for most women to experience success with recovery. If a new mom is doing well then loses support and treatment for her abuse, she will often relapse.”

The bill’s projected cost is more than $4 million through 2021, but supporters note the change would save the state money that would have gone to caring for children who could go to state care if their mothers aren’t afforded treatment. The budget approved by the House this week includes money to pay for the projected costs to extend this coverage.

The bill has been sent to the Senate for its consideration. If it becomes law, the state will have to seek a waiver from the federal government to allow for the program to be created and implemented would be the first state to seek such a waiver. The bill’s sponsor is hopeful the state could get an answer from the federal government by the beginning of 2019.

Bills Headed to the Governor’s Desk

HB 1465 will give higher education institutions greater flexibility to offer degrees that meet the needs of their local communities and businesses. In effect, it will create a framework that will streamline the way public universities and community colleges reform their degree offerings and approve new programs. The new system will encourage institutions of higher learning to collaborate and will help to eliminate program duplication. The bill will allow community colleges to offer four-year baccalaureate degrees in certain programs of need within their communities. It also creates a method for four-year institutions to expand their professional doctorate degree offerings. Supporters say institutions need flexibility to offer degrees to meet local needs, and the bill enables collaboration between institutions to make degrees available to students. All 22 of Missouri’s higher education institutions have agreed to the plan.

HB 1838 will 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 will 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 1504 will allow the governing bodies or county planning commissions in Newton and McDonald counties to adopt ordinances regulating incompatible land uses and structures within any or all the unincorporated area extending up to 3,000 feet outward from the boundaries of any National Guard training center if the county has participated in the completion of a joint land use study associated with the training center. Supporters say the bill is a proactive measure to protect the National Guard Training Center in Newton County from encroachment by development. The buffer zone created by the bill is the product of a joint land use study and is highly supported by the community

HB 1531 will 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 will allow an insurance company to use an interpleader to defend the insured and pay its policy limits.

Bills Headed to the Senate

HB 2274 would reauthorize the DeMolay license plate. Supporters say the bill would allow a youth organization to participate in the license plate program by waiving non-fee based requirements for signatures.

HB 2216 would specify that Missouri law includes systems for potable water and that all Missouri landowners have the right to have, use, and own systems for rainwater collection anytime and anywhere on their own property, including land within city limits. Supporters say some counties prohibit wells on certain residential property, and the bill would allow all residents to provide water to their home as long as the well complies with state law.

Honoring Missouri’s Vietnam Veterans

The members of the Missouri House of Representatives welcomed some of the state’s greatest heroes to the State Capitol this week to be honored for their service to this country. Vietnam veterans traveled to Jefferson City to be honored by lawmakers during the annual observance of Vietnam Veterans Day. I was honored to sponsor a resolution for Sandy Farrar of St. James. Unfortunately, Sandy was unable to make it to the Capitol, but he will receive a resolution in the mail commemorating him for his service as a captain in the Army.

For nearly two hours on Thursday morning, House members brought more than 100 veterans onto the House floor to honor and thank them for their service. The celebration included presentations of official House Courtesy Resolutions to all the attendees. The resolutions are meant to honor the accomplishments and the service of the state’s Vietnam veterans. All of the veterans in attendance ended the event by gathering for a picture in front of the Speaker’s dais as the members of the Missouri House offered their thanks and applause.

During the event, House members also paused to honor one of their own as they presented State Representative Pat Conway with an official resolution that recognizes him for his leadership in creating the state Vietnam Veterans Day. Conway played a pivotal role in securing passage of HB 1128 in 2012. The bill designates March 30 of each year as Vietnam Veterans Day in recognition of the courage and patriotism of those who served during the Vietnam Conflict. Conway has organized the Vietnam Veterans Day events in the House Chamber each year, and is himself a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict. During the ceremony, members stood and applauded Conway for all that he has done to honor and recognize Missouri’s veterans.

Capitol Visits

The Missouri Alliance for Arts Education has sponsored a Fine Arts Education Day (FAED) at the Missouri State Capitol since 2004. This year, FAED was on Wednesday, March 28th. I truly enjoyed spending most of the morning visiting with fine art students from Rolla and St. James who shared their stories with me of how the arts has impacted their lives.

The purpose of Fine Arts Education Day is to highlight the importance of fine arts education in Missouri schools. During FAED, the Missouri State Capitol building is alive with vocal and instrumental ensemble performances, dance groups and theatrical presentations.
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 | March 22nd, 2018

Highlights of the First Half of 2018 Session

After months of work by the House Budget Committee, the Fiscal Year 2019 state operating budget is now ready for discussion and debate on the House floor. When lawmakers return from their annual break on March 26, the budget will be their top legislative priority. House members will work to approve the appropriations bills that make up the spending plan and send them to the Senate so that both chambers are on track to complete the budget by the May 11 deadline.

Next week, when House members offer amendments to the budget plan, it’s important to note that such changes must remain revenue positive or revenue neutral. If a member wants to add money to a specific area of the budget, he or she must first find another area of the budget from which the funds can be transferred. There is no way to simply add funding to a particular program without first cutting it from somewhere else in the budget. This process ensures the budget remains in balance.

Over the next few weeks, House members are also expected to consider comprehensive tax reform legislation that would lower the state’s personal and corporate income tax rates and transform Missouri’s tax system to the most competitive in the nation.

The legislation would also make substantive reforms that would generate nearly $2 billion over the next 10 years for the state road fund to repair and improve Missouri’s aging transportation infrastructure

Last week, the House sent several more bills to the Senate for consideration. In fact, in the first two-and-a-half months of session, the House has been able to send more than 160 bills to the Senate. These bills included a wide variety of topics from ethics reform and reducing burdensome regulations to investing in Missouri’s energy infrastructure and helping first-time home buyers.

Reminder: This year the House will hold the Vietnam Veterans Day celebration on Thursday, March 29th at 9 AM in the House Lounge at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. If you or someone you know is a Vietnam veteran who would like to be honored this year, please contact my office by:

Email: jason.chipman@house.mo.gov Phone: 573-751-1688

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

 

 

 

 

Highlights of the First Half of the 2018 Session:

Ethics Reform (HB 1303) – House members once again passed 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 that is now in the Senate would 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 sent a bill to the Senate that would cut burdensome red tape and reduce government overregulation so that businesses can thrive in Missouri. The bill would address 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 passed 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.

Preventing Overregulation (HB 1928) – Legislation now in the Senate would ensure government engages in the licensing and regulation of occupations and professions only when it is necessary to protect the welfare of the public. If the need exists, the regulation adopted by the state would need to be the least restrictive type of occupational regulation consistent with the public interest to be protected. The bill would also establish a heightened level of review with specific criteria for all legislation that would seek to license an occupation or profession for the first time or to substantially expand the scope of a current professional license.

“Paycheck Protection” Legislation (HB 1413) – The Missouri House of Representatives gave approval 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.

Repealing Prevailing Wage Law (HBs 1729, 1621 & 1436) – The Missouri House approved a bill meant to make public construction projects more affordable for taxpayers. The bill would repeal Missouri’s prevailing wage law to help reduce the cost of construction and maintenance projects for municipalities and school districts. Missouri’s existing prevailing wage law sets a minimum salary that must be paid to individuals working on public projects, such as the construction or repair of bridges, school buildings, and fire stations. If the prevailing wage law is repealed, bidders on such projects would pay the state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. Contractors and subcontractors would be permitted to pay higher than the minimum wage, but that would not be a requirement.

Investing in Missouri’s Energy Infrastructure (HB 2265) – The Missouri House approved legislation that would encourage investment in the state’s energy infrastructure while also capping utility rate increases for customers. The bill would set annual rate caps at 2.85 percent for Ameren and 3 percent for other electricity companies. Under the current system, Missouri has seen rates increase four times faster than the national average over the past decade. If the bill becomes law it would result in Ameren cutting rates by 4 to 5 percent and putting $100 million back into the pockets of its customers. To modernize Missouri’s energy infrastructure, Ameren has committed to invest $1 billion in their infrastructure and put 3,000 people to work during construction.

Helping First-Time Home Buyers (HB 1796) – House members gave approval to a bill that would make it easier for Missourians to save money to buy their first home. The bill would establish the First-Time Home Buyer Savings Account Act and authorize a tax deduction for contributions to a savings account dedicated to buying a first home. The bill would authorize an individual income tax deduction for 50 percent of the contributions to the account. It would have an annual contribution deduction limit of $1,600 per taxpayer. The bill specifies the maximum contribution limit for all tax years would be $20,000 and the maximum total amount in the savings account would be $30,000.

Developing Missouri’s Workforce (HB 1465) – The Missouri House of Representatives approved legislation to help ensure Missouri’s system of higher education is working to meet the state’s workforce and education needs. The bill would give institutions greater flexibility to offer degrees that meet the needs of their local communities and businesses. In effect, it would allow community colleges to offer four-year baccalaureate degrees in certain programs.

Visiting Scholars Certificate (HB 1665) – Legislation that has received the approval of both the House and Senate and now awaits the governor’s signature would provide young people with greater access to highly-skilled, experienced instructors in areas such as health care, manufacturing, and engineering. The legislation would allow the State Board of Education to issue a visiting scholar certificate as a license to teach in public schools. 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 bill is meant to allow students to benefit from the expertise of successful professionals in fields of high need.

Expanding Virtual School Options for Missouri Students (HB 1408) – House members approved a piece of legislation meant to better prepare young people for success in the workforce. The bill 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 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.

Important Reforms for the State Unemployment System (HB 1409) – The House sent to the Senate 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 bill would 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. The legislation is also designed to make sure the state has enough money in its unemployment trust fund so that businesses don’t have to pay a penalty.

Eliminating Fraud from the TANF Program (HB 1443) – House members sent legislation to the Senate that is meant to increase accountability and eliminate fraud in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The bill would increase penalties for the misuse of funds provided by this program that is intended to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency. The bill would also prohibit TANF or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from being accessed as cash through an ATM. Additionally, the bill would add pornography to the list of items that are prohibited from being purchased by TANF or SNAP benefits.

Criminalizing “Revenge Porn” (HB 1558) – Members of the Missouri House of Representatives approved legislation that would make it a felony offense to disseminate private sexual images without the consent of the person in the image. Often referred to as nonconsensual pornography or “revenge porn,” the offense occurs when an individual sends or posts sexually explicit photos or videos of someone without their permission even if they were originally taken with consent.

Fighting Human Trafficking (HB 1246) – Legislation that has already passed both chambers and been signed into law is meant 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 have built 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.

Raising the Marriage Age to Protect Young People (HB 1630) – As part of their effort to fight human trafficking in Missouri, House members approved legislation that would prohibit marriages for children under the age of 15, and raise the minimum age for marriage with parental consent to 17. Missouri currently has a minimum age of 18 to obtain a marriage license without parental consent. Young people age 15 to 17 can receive a license with parental consent. Individuals of any age also have the option to get married without consent if they successfully petition the court to obtain a license.

The bill would raise the age requirement to 17. Young people under the age of 17 who want to be married would need to obtain a court order that verifies the marriage is advisable and there is no evidence of coercion or abuse of either party entering the marriage. The bill also would strictly prohibit any marriage where either party is under the age of 15, and would ensure no marriage license is issued to any person 21 years of age or older if the other party to the marriage is less than 17 years of age.

Parental Notification Bill (HB 1383) – The Missouri House has voted to require the notification of both parents when a minor in Missouri seeks to have an abortion. The legislation would require that a parent or guardian giving consent for a minor to have an abortion notify any other custodial parent or guardian in writing before the minor gives her consent.It would not apply in an emergency or for custodial parents or guardians that 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 for whom the whereabouts are not known. Missouri law now requires that a minor seeking an abortion and one parent or guardian of that minor give written consent before the procedure can be performed.

Support for Pregnancy Resource Centers and Maternity Homes (HBs 1288, 1377 & 2050) – During the first half of the session, House members gave their approval to legislation that would continue and expand support for pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes in Missouri. The bill would extend the sunset for tax credits that help encourage investment in these programs that benefit many of Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens. Under current law, the tax credit for donations to maternity homes is set to expire June 30, 2020. The tax credit for donations to pregnancy resource centers expires December 31, 2019. The legislation approved by the House would extend the sunset for both credits to 2024.

District Visits

Crawford County Law DayLast Friday, it was Law Day at the Crawford County Courthouse. Local elected officials and I enjoyed visiting with students from Bourbon, Cuba, and Steelville about what we can do for them.

steelville-3rd-graders.jpg
Earlier this week, I really enjoyed visiting and taking photos with 3rd graders, parents, and teachers from Steelville Elementary. Every year the school comes up to show students their state capitol and introduce them to how their government functions.

St James CoC Luncheon
I got a chance to attend the St. James Chamber of Commerce Luncheon this week and hear about the proposed renovation of the St. James High School.

 

 


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 | March 15th, 2018

House Reaches Halfway Point of 2018 Session

This week we cleared the calendar, so to speak, ahead of the legislative spring break by sending several more bills to the Senate for consideration. In fact, in the first two-and-a-half months of session, the House has been able to send more than 160 bills to the Senate.

Among these bills were priority items such as substantive ethics reform; legislation eliminating burdensome regulations that stifle job growth; bills to encourage the development of Missouri’s workforce; and a measure to protect the lives of the innocent unborn. The House and Senate have also worked together to approve legislation that has already been signed into law by the governor to address the growing problem of human trafficking.

House members will now spend time in district during spring break and will return to the State Capitol on March 26. Upon returning, our focus will be on the state operating budget, as well as tax relief legislation. The legislature has a deadline of May 11 to complete the state budget. The bills sent to the Senate by the House have until May 18, when the legislative session officially concludes, to receive approval from both chambers.

In other news, in 2012, Representative Paul Fitzwater and Representative Pat Conway filed and passed legislation to declare March 30th as Missouri Vietnam Veterans Day. To celebrate, the Missouri House holds a recognition day each year to present official resolutions to Vietnam veterans who bravely served their country.

This year the House will hold the Vietnam Veterans Day celebration on Thursday, March 29th at 9 AM in the House Lounge at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. If you or someone you know is a Vietnam veteran who would like to be honored this year, please contact my office by:

Email: jason.chipman@house.mo.gov
Phone: 573-751-1688

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 Reaches Halfway Point of 2018 Session

As House members concluded their work and headed into their annual spring break, they did so with an impressive list of accomplishments. In the first two-and-a-half months of session, the House has been able to send more than 160 bills to the Senate. Among these are priority items such as substantive ethics reform; legislation eliminating burdensome regulations that stifle job growth; bills to encourage the development of Missouri’s workforce; and a measure to protect the lives of the innocent unborn. The House and Senate have also worked together to approve legislation that has already been signed into law by the governor to address the growing problem of human trafficking.

Some of the Bills Sent to the Senate This Week

HB 1578 would amend the law regarding joinder of parties in civil proceedings by stating that out-of-state injury claims arising out of separate incidents or purchases of the same product or service will not justify joinder of two or more parties in one action. The bill would further change the law regarding the definition of principal place of residence, for individuals, corporations, and insurance companies, for venue purposes in civil actions. Supporters say the bill would correct the problem of out-of-state plaintiffs filing lawsuits in Missouri circuit courts. They say the bill would reduce costs and increase access to the courts for Missouri residents by clarifying the venue and jurisdiction requirements to file a lawsuit in Missouri.

HB 2014 is a supplemental appropriations bill that would allocate more than $700 million in funds for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018. The bill would appropriate dollars for programs such as Early Childhood Special Education, vocational education, and foster care.

HB 1953 would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to develop and disseminate information regarding the bone marrow registry. Supporters say the bill would allow doctors an easy means to spread information regarding the bone marrow registry to new patients who are not already registered.

HB 2122 would change certain vehicle sales laws. Supporters say the bill would help prevent loss of revenue to the state from individuals who engage in extremely minimal auto sales and are then exempt from all property taxes and other fees on multiple other vehicles. It would also enact a fair system for off premise auto sales so that local dealers are not overwhelmed by extremely large and temporary sales operations.

HB 1344 would require entities providing private probation services for misdemeanor offenses to utilize the cutoff concentrations utilized by the Department of Corrections with regard to drug and alcohol screening for clients assigned to such entity. Supporters say this is about preventing bad things from happening to citizens by putting private probation on the same level as the state’s testing levels. They say there has to be more accountability, especially when companies are profiting from keeping their clients in the system. The cutoff levels should be the same whether it’s felony probation or misdemeanor probation.

HB 1800 would change provisions of law relating to the public service commission’s complaint procedure. Supporters say the bill would narrowly tailor the commission’s complaint process such that the commission will only need to process complaints that it has the authority to hear.

HB 1364 would modify provisions relating to hazardous waste fees paid to the Missouri Emergency Response Commission. Supporters say a large percentage of the fees collected under the program are returned to the local community, there is no state funding, and they even try to use as much as they can from the 25 percent of the funds that go to the Missouri Emergency Response Commission.

HB 1713 would allow a birth parent or adoptee to request a contact preference form that will accompany the birth certificate of an adopted person. Supporters say the bill would allow adoptees to access their birth certificate or medical history without a court order and unnecessary expenses.

HB 1714 would give an adopted adult, biological parent, adoptive parent, or the lineal descendants of an adopted adult the ability to make a written request to the court to disclose information identifying the adopted adult’s biological parents. Supporters say the bill would allow an adopted adult to obtain information regarding their biological parents and personal items retained by the court, as well as address inconsistencies between counties.

HB 2026 would specify that any individual on probation or parole may be housed in a jail with offenders or persons being held on criminal charges. Supporters say the bill would clear up a legal question about people being held on probation and parole violations. They say the legislation is necessary because, without it, facilities would be forced to house all probation and parole offenders with civil offenders or they would need to significantly increase their budgets to get additional housing to house probation and parole offenders.

HB 2042 would modify provisions relating to sexual offenders. Supporters say the bill would make Missouri fully compliant with federal sexual offender registry law, and it would help bring more clarity to a process that already exists. The legislation would also add a petition process for removal from the State Highway Patrol registry.

HB 1991 would enact the “Uniform Small Wireless Facility Deployment Act” to establish that an authority shall not enter into an exclusive arrangement regarding the use of the right-of-way for the collocation of small wireless facilities or the installation, operation, marketing, modification, maintenance, or replacement of utility poles. Supporters say the bill would streamline the small wireless facility deployment process by overcoming the hurdles involved with multiple and possibly conflicting local ordinances. They say data deployment and access is critical for public safety and health.

HB 1614 would prohibit political subdivisions from adopting or enforcing ordinances or regulations relating to seeds or fertilizers. Supporters say the bill would ensure that all residents of Missouri have the same ability to use fertilizers on their crops and fields. Political subdivisions are already prohibited from adopting ordinances, rules, or regulations relating to pesticides. This would do the same for fertilizers.

HB 1469 would modify provisions of the Missouri military code by changing the name of the “Missouri reserve military force” to the “Missouri state defense force.” Supporters say this change would align with other states across the country. More than half of the states in the United States have changed their statutes to mirror this language.

HB 1517 would require the attorney general and the commissioner of administration to submit to the general assembly a monthly report of all settlements and judgments paid from the state legal expense fund. Supporters say the bill is about transparency and budgeting relating to the lawsuits against the Department of Corrections and other state agencies. The Attorney General’s Office is currently posting this information on its website and has recently released a report detailing the litigation liabilities paid from the Legal Expense Fund.

HB 1573 would allow a school district to use a calendar based on hours of attendance rather than hours and days of attendance, if the minimum number of hours is at least 1,044 hours of actual pupil attendance. Supporters say the bill would grant school districts flexibility in planning their school calendar.

HB 1893 would change the laws regarding the location of public auctions in the City of St. Louis. Supporters say the bill would address what is, or may become, a security issue because potential buyers are carrying a lot of cash. Additionally, allowing the sale to be held inside and away from the front door addresses weather and bottleneck issues.

HB 2243 would provide a method by which distributions from the statutory County Recorder’s Fund will be allocated among counties if collections fall below distributions. Supporters say that economic conditions caused house sales to fall and therefore revenue from document recording fell, too.

HB 1872 would establish a grant program within the Department of Economic Development to expand broadband Internet access to unserved and under-served parts of Missouri. Supporters say the bill is based on a successful rural broadband expansion plan from Minnesota. The bill would create a broadband development grant program to address the 61 percent of rural Missourians, representing more than one million individuals, who do not have access to reliable broadband services.

HB 1388 would add amateur kickboxing and amateur mixed martial arts to the list of contests the Division of Professional Registration, within the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration has the authority to regulate. Supporters say the purpose of the bill is to protect children that are currently participating in amateur MMA competitions. They say the current sanctioning bodies are not doing enough to protect kids participating in a sport that has the potential to cause serious and permanent injuries.

HB 1719 would prohibit any state board, department, or agency that issues professional licenses from denying a license based on age, to any person 18 years old or older. The bill contains an exception for licenses associated with gaming. Supporters say that age requirements for professional licensure are arbitrary and unnecessary. They say that if a licensure applicant meets all of the education and training requirements imposed by the state there is not a valid reason to deny him or her a license because of age.

HBs 2277 &1983 would exempt those who originally provided a physician statement as proof of a permanent disability from the need to provide additional physician statements to renew license plates or placards. Supporters say that the bill alleviates the need to present paperwork such as physician’s statements multiple times. It is a reasonable effort to be consistent with federal law and accommodate disabled individuals.

HB 1828 would require individuals, or organizations on behalf of a group of individuals, seeking to train peace officers in responding to animal neglect and abuse incident reports to submit all training materials relating to animal care to the State Veterinarian and all training materials relating to offenses involving animals to the Department of Public Safety for review on an annual basis. Supporters say the bill would give clarity and stability to the person who provides training relating to animal care for public officials responding to reports of animal abuse and neglect.

HB 2127 would change the examination requirement for an assistant physician so that an assistant physician needs to complete Step 2 or Step 3 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination within a four-year period before applying for licensure (but in no event more than four years after graduation from a medical college). Supporters say the assistant physician program allows doctors to gain experience while waiting to enter residency and that more physicians means increased access to care.

HB 2208 would add all electronic voting systems produce results from paper ballots marked by hand, or in the case of disabled voters who need assistance, from paper ballots marked by a paper ballot marking device designed to assist such voters. Supporters say the bill would provide an audit trail for any potential contested election and will help prevent election fraud.

HB 2194 would allow qualified entities, under certain circumstances, to receive individuals’ criminal history information from the central repository as part of the “Missouri Rap Back Program” as well as the National Rap Back Program. Supporters say there could be arrests or convictions that occur after a background check has been conducted, so the entity would have no way of knowing about them. The bill would help them get notified right away.

HB 1503 would establish a fund for providing state-guaranteed small business loans to veterans. Supporters say that after World War II, 49 percent of returning veterans started their own businesses because a federal loan guarantee was available. Currently, only 6 percent of returning veterans start their own business. The bill would provide veterans with an opportunity to start their own business and contribute to the state’s economy.

HB 2322 would modify provisions of the retirement system for prosecuting and circuit attorneys. Supporters say the bill would help get funding for the retirement plan back in line. The retirement age for new members would be increased and the bill would modify the provisions for part-time prosecuting attorneys who go full-time.

HB 1635 would modify provisions relating to the reporting of suspected abuse and neglect of a resident of a long-term care facility who is 60 years of age or older or an eligible adult. Supporters say residents of long-term care facilities are particularly vulnerable to abuse and are often unable to report assaults to law enforcement on their own. The bill would ensure that law enforcement officials are notified of any sexual assaults as soon as possible.

Capitol & District Visits

Recently, Mid-East Area Agency on Aging was kind enough to ask me to participate in their March for Meals program. I truly enjoyed spending time with Sullivan City Administrator J.T. Hardy and delivering meals to some home-bound adults in Sullivan.

Last week, Crawford County Presiding Commissioner Leo Sanders and I helped present awards at this year’s 2018 Crawford County Extension Council Banquet.

The awards included:

Norman Souders (Cuba) – Missouri Century Farm Award. The Souders Farm dates back to 1917!

Carol Banta
(Charter member of the Aim High Extension Homemakers Club) – Extension Leaders Honor Roll Award

Karen Cottrell – Extension Leaders Honor Roll Award

This week, Bryan Lambeth, St. James Ambulance District EMS Chief, along with other EMS organizations across the state, visited with legislators in Jefferson City to discuss various legislation directly affecting EMS.

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 | March 8th, 2018

State Budget Begins to Take Shape

This week we are starting to see this year’s budget proposal take shape. The chairman of the House Budget Committee unveiled his versions of the appropriations bills that will make up the Fiscal Year 2019 state operating budget. The bills include some key changes from the recommendations made by the governor.

One such change calls for the K-12 School Foundation Formula to be fully funded. Also, because of extended Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) program funding at the federal level, there is approximately $80 million in state revenues available for use in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. Therefore, the budget chairman is recommending that a portion of these funds be used to restore the governor’s recommended core cuts to higher education.

Right now, House leaders are working with the state’s institutions of higher learning to ensure tuition is not raised for students and families. If no agreement can be reached, the chairman is recommending the additional dollars be used to boost funding for need-based scholarships. The House Budget Committee will now work through each of the appropriations bills and decide if any changes need to be made to the current proposal. The Budget Committee will then give its stamp of approval to the spending plan and send it to the House floor for discussion, which should take place when the House returns from spring break.

The House also recently sent a bill to the Senate that would establish a statewide program designed to promote careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The legislation is modeled after successful programs in Tennessee and Arkansas that have helped promote the importance of the STEM fields to young people.

Also, one of my bills, HB 1679, which prohibits public institutions of higher education from requiring students to purchase a meal plan when a student presents medical documentation of a food allergy, sensitivity, or a medical dietary issue, was passed out of the House and is on its way to the Senate!

Reminder: As in years past, the Office of Missouri Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson is conducting the Senior Service Awards. This is a wonderful opportunity for outstanding senior citizens across Missouri to be recognized for their service and dedication to their communities. If you know of a worthy senior citizen within the 120th District, please call me at 573-751-1688 or email me at:
jason.chipman@house.mo.gov

Individuals should be at least 60 years of age and volunteer a minimum of 25 hours per year. A copy of the nomination form can be accessed here. The deadline to submit your nominations is March 29, 2018.

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 Budget Proposal Begins to Take Shape

The chairman of the House Budget Committee this week unveiled his versions of the appropriations bills that will make up the Fiscal Year 2019 state operating budget. The bills include some key changes from the recommendations made by the governor.

One such change calls for the K-12 School Foundation Formula to be fully funded. The governor has called for a $50 million increase to spending for elementary and secondary education. The budget proposed by the committee would add another $48 million to the governor’s funding recommendation for an increase that is $98 million above the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriation level.

Because of uncertainty with the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at the federal level, the Budget Committee took a fiscally responsible approach last year by opting to protect Missouri’s at-risk children without relying on federal funds. Now that funding for the program has been extended through Fiscal Year 2023, there are approximately $80 million in state revenues available for use in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

The chairman of the House Budget Committee is recommending that a portion of these funds be used to restore the governor’s recommended core cuts to higher education. Right now, House leaders are working with the state’s institutions of higher learning to ensure tuition isn’t raised for students and families. If no agreement can be reached, the chairman is recommending the additional dollars be used to boost funding for need-based scholarships.

The House Budget Committee will now work through each of the appropriations bills and decide if any changes need to be made to the current proposal. The Budget Committee will then give its stamp of approval to the spending plan and send it to the House floor for discussion, which should take place when the House returns from its spring break.

Increasing STEM Career Awareness (HB 1623)

Legislators took time last week to observe the state’s annual STEM Day, and this week took action by approving legislation that would establish a statewide program designed to promote careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The legislation is modeled after successful programs in Tennessee and Arkansas that have helped promote the importance of the STEM fields to young people.

The bill would require the state Department of Economic Development to establish the STEM Career Awareness Program to increase awareness of careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for students in grades six through eight. The program would involve online-based curriculum that would raise awareness of more than eighty different careers and technologies, and would be organized around the concept of solving societal or human-centered problems. The bill would require the department to have the program in place by the 2019-20 school year.

The bill would also require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop a high school graduation policy that allows a student to fulfill a unit of academic credit with a district-approved computer science course for any math, science, or practical arts unit required for high school graduation. In addition, it would require the State Board of Education to convene a work group to develop and recommend academic performance standards relating to computer science. Finally, it would create the Computer Science Education Fund to provide teachers with professional development programs relating to computer science.

Proponents of the legislation say it is critical to promote the importance of STEM careers in order to support the economies of the state and the nation. They say a lack of awareness of STEM fields is what is keeping many young people from pursuing careers in these areas. They note there are many unfilled programming and coding jobs in the computer technology field. By giving students increased exposure to these careers, the state can better prepare the next generation of Missourians to succeed in the fastest growing job sector.

House Gives Initial Approval to Bill to Repeal Prevailing Wage Law (HBs 1729, 1621 & 1436)

The Missouri House gave first-round approval to legislation meant to make public construction projects more affordable for taxpayers. The bill would repeal Missouri’s prevailing wage law to help reduce the cost of construction and maintenance projects for municipalities and school districts.

Missouri’s existing prevailing wage law sets a minimum salary that must be paid to individuals working on public projects, such as the construction or repair of bridges, school buildings, and fire stations. If the prevailing wage law is repealed, bidders on such projects would pay the state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. Contractors and subcontractors would be permitted to pay higher than the minimum wage, but that would not be a requirement.

Supporters say that prevailing wage causes communities and school districts to pay too much for needed construction or maintenance, or to forego the projects entirely. Supporters also stress that removing the prevailing wage requirement would allow the state to be better stewards of taxpayer dollars.

Those who oppose the bill say the prevailing wage would be lower in rural areas if it were mandatory that contractor wages be reported. If wages were reported then prevailing wage would better reflect local economies, and the law would work as originally intended. They say repealing prevailing wage would not actually save public dollars, but rather shift costs from political subdivisions to the state as lower wages will consequentially lead people to seek more public assistance.

The bill now requires another vote in the House before it moves to the Senate. If the bill is signed into law, Missouri will join states such as Kentucky, West Virginia, and Indiana, which have all repealed their prevailing wage laws in recent years. Missouri would become the twenty-third state without a prevailing wage law.

Other Bills Moving to the Senate

HB 2238 would establish the “Social Innovation Grant Program” to find alternative solutions for serving the state’s vulnerable populations. Supporters say all people need adequate housing, food, medical care, and education. The bill would allow public/private partnerships to expand state dollars to help provide more money for basic needs.

HB 1618 would allow unused controlled substances to be accepted from the public through collection receptacles, drug disposal boxes, and other means provided through drug take-back programs by a DEA-authorized collector in accordance with federal regulations, regardless of whether the authorized collector originally dispensed the drug. It would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to develop an education and awareness program about drug disposal. Supporters say the bill would help get prescription drugs off the street. The goal is to allow collection in as many places as possible to make it easy for people to dispose of unused prescription drugs.

HB 2079 would establish the “Missouri State Coroners’ Training Fund” and create a $1 fee for all death certificates issued in the state, which would be deposited into the fund. Supporters say the bill would bring the Coroners’ Training Fund into the 21st century as many of the statutes relating to coroners are well over 80 years old. There are many areas in which coroners need more training, and the legislation could help provide that.

HB 1265 would require all declarations of candidacy to contain the candidate’s legal last name. Supporters say the bill would help prevent voter confusion based on the use of identical or similar names to incumbent candidates or nicknames. The use of birth or maiden names would provide voter access to case.net and other resources to research candidates.

HB 1797 would establish the Nuclear Power Plant Security Guard Act and establish the offense of trespass on a nuclear power plant. Supporters say the bill would help to resolve conflicts between Missouri and federal law, and allow security guards at these plants to use deadly force to protect the plant if necessary.

HB 1525 would change the laws regarding unclaimed property. Supporters say the bill would prevent fraud and excessive billing in the unclaimed property recovery process, while still allowing legitimate recovery actions to proceed efficiently.

HB 1250 would establish the Missouri Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which would allow fiduciaries to access electronic records of the account holder. Supporters say this type of legislation has been enacted in 38 other states. This legislation is comprehensive and it covers decedent estates, as well as guardians and conservators. It is necessary for people to have access to online accounts, because they might contain necessary information. This would allow users to put limitations on the access to the accounts.

HB 1358 would create new provisions relating to password protection. Supporters say the bill would secure privacy rights by prohibiting educational institutions from requiring students to divulge their social media passwords and content.

HB 2116 would exempt certain vessels propelled by outboard jet motors and operating on non-impounded waterways from the passenger seating and guard and rail provisions currently in state law. Supporters say the bill would allow certain older model flat bottom boats in excellent condition to continue to operate.

HB 2102 would change the laws regarding property classifications for zoning so that sawmills are classified as agricultural property. Supporters say that in some counties which have planning and zoning with an agricultural exemption, saw mills are being zoned commercial and must follow the ordinances for commercial property when, in fact, the property should be zoned agricultural. This bill would clarify that saw mills are agricultural operations and should be classified as such.

HB 1895 would provide that when a death occurs under the care of a hospice, no investigation shall be required if the death is certified by the treating physician of the deceased or the medical director of the hospice. Supporters say when a person on hospice dies, an investigation is unnecessary because it should be known what the cause of death was. The bill does not prohibit the coroner or medical examiner from doing an investigation.

HB 1613 would allow residents of Missouri to have a medical alert notation placed on their driver’s license to indicate that they have an emergency medical card in their possession. Supporters say the notation would help law enforcement or emergency medical personnel know that they should search for a medical information card. This method would still respect individual privacy.

HB 1456 would change the laws regarding funding for emergency 911 services, administration of 911 funding, Missouri 911 Service Board, and the cooperation and contracting between emergency services providers. Supporters say that this bill is meant to redefine what a telephone is as far as 911 services are concerned, and the statute needs to be updated to include cell phones.

HB 2110 would increase the reward a county commission may offer for the apprehension of a felon from $500 to $100,000. Supporters say the bill should help counties apprehend more suspects because it would increase the range they may offer as a reward for such apprehensions.

HB 1947 would change the law regarding sale of water or wastewater systems in fourth class cities. Supporters say they would be interested in purchasing some municipal utilities so the lower voter-approval threshold would be beneficial, especially given that very few, if any, other governmental votes require this high of a majority.

HB 2104 would restrict the use of cell-site simulator devices. Currently, there is a prohibition on the interception of oral and wire communications without prior authorization from a court. The bill would provide similar prohibitions on the use of a cell site simulator device to obtain information from a communications device, such as a cell phone, tablet, or laptop.

HB 2062 would allow law enforcement agencies located in the Joplin area to request assistance from agencies in other jurisdictions, including some jurisdictions located in Kansas and Oklahoma. Supporters say this would allow for mutual aid for counties surrounding Joplin so that aid may be sent across state lines to offer assistance. It would not make responding mandatory.

HB 1868 would establish a statewide hearing aid distribution program for low-income individuals. Supporters say the bill would help those who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate with others and would allow them to be removed from other governmental programs because they can more easily find work.

HB 1625 would establish the Missouri Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program to provide low-income seniors with fresh, Missouri-grown produce. Supporters say that many seniors live on a fixed income and cannot afford fresh fruits and vegetables. The bill would help seniors afford fresh produce from farmers’ markets across the state.

HB 1442 would set a 60-day time limit for the governor to fill a vacancy in the Office of County Commissioner with the advice and consent of the Senate. Supporters say the bill would ensure that vacancies are filled in a timely manner. It would not affect counties that already have a mechanism in place for filling vacancies.

HB 1645 would modify provisions relating to actions for damages due to exposure to asbestos.

HB 1892 would modify residency requirements for deputy sheriffs. There are already residents of other states who are licensed officers in this state but they cannot be hired because of current statute.

District & Capitol Visits

Earlier this week, I was honored to host Leadership Phelps County (LPC) again this year for their annual State Government Day at the Capitol! LPC State Government Day involves several local community leaders who travel to the Capitol to learn more about state government, ask questions, and meet with their elected officials.

LPC leaders for this year were Chantae Alfred and Tracy Limmer. Others in attendance this year were: Leigh Ann Bauman, Jordan Bowen, Jordan Hance, Leah Bramel, Tara Peters, Kimberly Bruno, Joseph Carmack, Melanie Roark, Kelsey Dixon, Amanda Tucker, and Jason Shenefield.

Yesterday, I enjoyed visiting with Government Programs Director Doyle Edwards and Chief Legal Officer Alan Gerson from Brewer Science in Rolla. I worked at Brewer Science for many years prior to becoming a state representative. Brewer Science is a global technology leader in developing and manufacturing innovative materials and processes for the fabrication of semiconductors and microelectronic devices. You may learn more about Brewer Science at: https://www.brewerscience.com/

Last Saturday, I presented my Aunt Bonnie (Grace Asher Cox) with a House Resolution commemorating her 80th birthday! Happy Birthday, Aunt Bonnie!

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