Capitol Report January 17, 2019

Newly appointed Committees

 I have been appointed as the Chairman of the Special Committee on Career Readiness. This Committee offers an opportunity to fill in the gaps that are not covered by other Committees, such as Education, Higher Education, and Workforce Development.. I look forward to diligently being an advocate for the young adults that are finishing High School and  not explicitly looking to enter into a four-year university and focusing more on the trades.

I also have been appointed to the Committee on Legislative Oversight, and the Committee on Administration and Accounts.

Governor Parson Delivers Annual State of the State Address

Members of the House and Senate gathered in the House Chamber on Wednesday afternoon to hear Governor Parson share his vision for the state. Parson delivered his annual State of the State address where he unveiled the budget items and policy initiatives he wants to put in place with the help of the legislature.

In his speech, Parson outlined priorities that include key investments in workforce development, new investments to support and improve the state’s infrastructure, improving access to health and mental health care, and downsizing government by consolidating two correctional centers. He told lawmakers, “I stand before you today to share a vision – a vision that will chart Missouri’s future into the next decade. Missouri is dear to my heart, and by working together, we can protect and build a Missouri that is successful for the next generation.”

Some of Parson’s proposals include:

  • A new scholarship program called Fast Track that will help adults over 25 get the certification or training they need to fill a skill gap.
  • An investment in Missouri One Start, which is a consolidated, streamlined version of the Missouri Works Program, that will help new and expanding businesses by providing and covering the costs of training for employees.
  • Investment in the Missouri Excels Workforce Initiative to develop and expand employer-driven education, training programs, and initiatives to substantially increase educational attainment.
  • A bonding initiative to address the 250 bridges statewide that are in need of critical repair or replacement.
  • A cost-share program that will allow the state to partner with local communities to help address the most serious infrastructure needs in their areas.
  • Increasing access to broadband Internet in rural areas.
  • Funding for improvement projects for Missouri’s ports so that they can continue to move billions of dollars in cargo each year.
  • Expanding access to mental health services.
  • Enhancing telemedicine options to provide better care to rural Missourians.
  • Improving opioid abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery across the state for high-risk and vulnerable populations.
  • Curbing costs in the state’s Medicaid program while also improving the quality of care for Medicaid recipients.
  • Restructuring the state’s corrections system by consolidating Crossroads Correctional Center with Western Missouri Correctional Center, and providing significant pay increases to correctional officers in an effort to retain employees.

In response to the governor’s address and proposals, Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr, Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, and Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo issued the following joint statement:

“The Governor did a great job of presenting his vision of building a better Missouri. Whether it’s increasing broadband access, making government more efficient, criminal justice reform, or educating Missouri employees to meet 21st century workplace demands, we share many of the ideas he has for Missouri.

We know our members have a strong desire to move the state forward with bold solutions to the challenges that face us.  As a co-equal branch of government, we look forward to reviewing the details of his proposals and budget recommendations in the weeks to come.  We appreciate the great working relationship we have with Governor Parson and are optimistic that together we can further our shared priorities for our state.”

House Adopts New Rule to Protect Constituent Correspondence

The Missouri House took action this week to implement the rules members will follow and operate under for the 100th General Assembly. The rules govern everything from the authority granted to the Speaker to refer bills, to the makeup and responsibilities of House committees, to the decorum that must be maintained in the House Chamber.

The rules adopted this week also contain a new provision meant to address the sensitive and private information that constituents sometimes share with their elected officials. Voters approved Amendment 1 in November to make member emails and correspondence subject to the state’s sunshine law. Members are working diligently to fulfill the sunshine requests they have received, and to make government as open and transparent as possible. At the same time, they remain sensitive to the need to maintain the privacy of constituents who share personal information that is not meant for public consumption.

The new rule approved by the House simply gives members the ability to protect the private, personal information shared by their constituents. Members have noted that constituents sometimes share information ranging from a social security number to the details of a serious health condition. In an effort to keep this type of information out of the public domain, House members voted this week to protect their constituents and the private information they share.

House Speaker Haahr Announces Committee Assignments for the 100th General Assembly

House Speaker Elijah Haahr recently announced the House Committee chairmanships and his selections for Republican membership on House committees for the 100th General Assembly.

“One of the greatest qualities of the Republican Caucus is the diverse experiences and talents this group of individuals brings to our legislative process,” said Haahr.  “We have worked hard to take full advantage of each member’s unique background and match them with committees that will bring their expertise forward to address the state’s most difficult challenges.”

Republican lawmakers appointed by the Speaker to committee chairs include farmers, military veterans, clergy members, former teachers, small business owners and attorneys.  Chairpersons come from all geographic regions of the state, including the state’s largest cities and rural Missouri.

Haahr continued, “The work done by the committees is one of the most integral parts to the policy-making process.  It is in committee hearings where every Missourian has the opportunity to testify on bills before the General Assembly.  These committees also hear directly from stakeholders of legislation, ask the tough questions to thoroughly examine all the complexities of legislation, and make recommendations to the full body on bills that should proceed through the process.”

There are 43 standing, special and subcommittees in the House of Representatives that specialize in specific areas of legislation. The Speaker appoints all majority members of regular standing committees and all members to special standing committees – which have the authority and duties of a regular standing committee.

Haahr added, “Under the leadership of the men and women chairs, I have full confidence that our committees will be very productive this year in crafting bold and innovative legislative proposals to build a better Missouri.”

For a complete listing of all committees and their members, please visit www.house.mo.gov and click the “Committees” tab at the top of the page.

Missourians to Get February Food Stamp (SNAP) Benefits a Month Early due to Partial Federal Government Shutdown

Missourians who are eligible for Food Stamp benefits will receive their February Food Stamp benefit by January 20, 2019. The United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Food Stamp program, informed states that payments for the February Food Stamp or SNAP benefit must be issued early due to the partial federal government shutdown.

Missourians will be notified of this change and must be aware that this is an early payment of the February Food Stamp benefit. “It’s important for families to understand that they will not get a Food Stamp benefit again in February, and we caution them to not immediately spend the benefit because it must feed their family for both months,” said Steve Corsi, who serves as the director of the Missouri Department of Social Services.

Food Stamp benefits are 100 percent federally funded and are not appropriated through the Missouri state budget. In December 2018, the Food Stamp program served 327,740 Missouri families or 703,365 individuals and the average benefit per household was $256.81 or $119.66 per person. Each month, Missouri receives approximately $84.2 million in Food Stamp benefits from the federal government.

Although the Department of Social Services, Family Support Division continues to accept and process Food Stamp applications, FNS does not guarantee eligible applicants will receive Food Stamp benefits while the partial federal shutdown is in effect.

 

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 303-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Markus Vest at markus.vest@house.mo.gov 

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The Capitol Report | January 10th, 2019

 

2019 Legislative Session Begins

The members of the historic 100th General Assembly gathered in the State Capitol Wednesday for the opening of the 2019 legislative session. This session the Missouri House of Representatives welcomes fifty-six first-time members, who took the oath of office alongside 106 returning members. The House now has 115 Republicans and 47 Democrats with one seat currently vacant. In comparison, the Missouri Senate now has a split of 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats.

The 2019 session began with Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft presiding over the proceedings. Ashcroft told the new lawmakers gathered in the House Chamber, “Let me encourage you to cultivate the American dream right here in Missouri and leave an even greater opportunity for success to the next generation. With your commitment to enhancing educational opportunities, increasing government transparency, providing critical oversight of the executive and judicial branches, we can continue to make Missouri a land of opportunity and ensure a bright future for our state.” Missouri Supreme Court Justice Mary Rhodes Russell then administered the oath of office to all those in attendance.

After House members were officially sworn into office, they elected Rep. Sonya Anderson to serve as the temporary Speaker of the House. With Anderson presiding, members then elected Rep. Elijah Haahr to serve as the Speaker of the House for the 100th General Assembly. They also elected Rep. John Wiemann to serve as House Speaker Pro Tem. Both Haahr and Wiemann then addressed the body to share their goals for the 2019 session.

House Speaker Haahr Outlines Priorities during Opening Day Address

 Following his election by acclamation, new House Speaker Elijah Haahr delivered an opening day address that outlined his policy priorities for the 2019 session. After thanking his family for the support they have given him as he has pursued a life of public service, the Speaker talked about how the first General Assembly two centuries ago represented a state of 66,000 citizens and the 100th General Assembly now represents a state of more than 6 million. Haahr reminded his colleagues that they are the voices of the people and the House Chamber is “a meeting place that unites us as a state.”

Haahr noted in his address that the state is at record low unemployment, the tourism industry is booming, and the state’s geographic location in the middle of the country gives it a natural advantage as it competes for commerce. Despite the success the state has seen, Haahr said the legislature cannot rest. He told his colleagues, “This year we will create bold solutions for the challenges faced by every Missourian.”

As Haahr outlined his priorities for the legislative session, he focused on:

  • Passing policies that cultivate employers rather than control businesses.
  • Building on the historic tax relief passed by the legislature and continuing to balance the budget without raising taxes on Missourians.
  • Continuing the legislature’s commitment to fully fund the school foundation formula. Haahr noted that “the way we spend educational dollars is as important as how much we spend.  We need schools that challenge yet support our students.”
  • Developing 21st century colleges to help create a 21st century workforce.
  • Continuing to lead the charge to confront the opioid epidemic raging across the state.
  • Providing opportunities to those in a broken criminal justice system by passing more reforms that build on the reforms made last year to Missouri’s sentencing laws.

Haahr reminded his colleagues that they stand for every Missourian. “We stand for the innocent, the infirm, the born and the unborn,” he said.

Speaker Haahr closed his speech by saying, “Our birthright is not dictated by our birthplace. Our achievement is not conditioned by our income. Americans can do anything they set their mind to, and Missourians will show them the way. From growing families to the greatest generation, from entrepreneurs to empty nesters, we are the voice of Missourians pursuing the American dream. Let us join together, seize the opportunity, and be bold.”

House and Senate Members Hold Joint Session and Reception to Commemorate 100th General Assembly

After both the House and Senate wrapped up their typical opening day proceedings, the two legislative bodies convened a joint session in the House Chamber to celebrate the historic 100th General Assembly.

2019 marks two milestone events in Missouri’s history. The First General Assembly of the future State of Missouri convened at the Missouri Hotel in St. Louis on September 19, 1820—nearly a year before the state was officially admitted into the Union. The General Assembly organized, held the inauguration of the governor and lieutenant governor, and elected Missouri’s two United States senators. The first legislature also designated St. Charles as the temporary capital and appointed a commission to report on the site for the permanent capital.

Just over 100 years later, on January 8, 1919, the Fiftieth General Assembly convened in the current Capitol for the first full session of the legislature in the new building. The session ended a seven-year period where legislative and executive functions were performed in temporary quarters until the construction of the Capitol was complete.

To commemorate these events, the General Assembly held a joint session upon the adjournment of each chamber’s regular session. The joint session was held for the sole purpose of taking a group photograph of the members of the 100th General Assembly. Following the adjournment of the joint session, a special reception in the third-floor rotunda was held to celebrate the milestones.

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 303-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Markus Vest at markus.vest@house.mo.gov 

The Capitol Report | January 3rd, 2019

Legislature to Reconvene

Welcome to 2019! The new year brings new opportunity and many changes, and Jefferson City is no exception. There will be several changes when we reconvene the General Assembly. One significant change is in my office.

If you have called or emailed my office over the last three years you undoubtedly had contact with Dylan Bryant, the office Legislative Assistant. Dylan has moved to Health and Senior Services, and on to new challenges. He will be the Deputy Chief of Vital Records. Although I’ll miss his company and efficiency, I’m excited for his new opportunity.

However, not to worry, the office is covered. The new Legislative Assistant is Markus Vest, a veteran LA around the capitol building, a former National Guard Sergeant, and an efficient office manager. I know we will be successful with Markus in our group, and I’m looking forward to a great session with him as the office anchor.

Also, when we swear in on January 9, there will be 60 new members in the House.  That is correct, well over a third of our 163 members will be brand new when they raise their right hand on Wednesday. We often say that learning to be a State Legislator is like drinking from a firehose. Funny, yes, but it is also the truth.

The freshmen already had their tour, met most of the House leadership, and received a bit of the local flavor from all corners of the state. They also spent some time touring the Capitol building, learning where the hearing rooms are, how to be recognized on the floor as well as introducing bills and amendments, and participating in some mock committee hearings. They have received a copy of the House Rules from the 99th General Assembly to begin their study: we will have a few rules changes in the new General Assembly, but they are basically the same from term to term.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for a new member is learning everyone’s name. As a junior, I have 60 new names to deal with. This may seem like a giant task; but think about 163, plus 34 Senators, plus staff! Then a new member must learn the procedures, not just the floor, but filing a bill, getting it heard in committee, herding it through the Floor Calendar, trying to get enough votes, and then the work really begins when it goes to the Senate! However daunting this seems, the new members I’ve met seem very ready to take up the task at hand and become successful Legislators. I’m looking forward to working with them!

On an historical note, this will be the 100th Missouri General Assembly. We will wrap up 200 years of government by the time we end next year. One of the early stops I made as a Legislator happened to be in St. Charles to visit the original meeting place of our first legislature. There, on the second floor in a cozy room where those first Representatives came together to launch our journey of statehood. They sat on stiff wooden benches, kept their spittoons handy (chewing tobacco was common in 1821), and began to add form to the barebones government of the new state.

When we swear in Wednesday at noon, I hope all the Legislators feel the energy that the first group must have felt. It’s always history when we make laws, but milestones are worth commemorating. If you have the opportunity, make a trip to your statehouse this year, and please stop by to visit. I always enjoy company!
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

 

 

 

 

2019 Legislative Session Set to Begin January 9

The holiday season is now coming to a close and the members of the Missouri House and Senate are set to begin the 2019 legislative session. The session, which is set to begin Wednesday, January 9 at noon, marks the beginning of the 100th General Assembly. When the House convenes for session it will be made up of 116 Republicans and 47 Democrats, although one Republican seat will become vacant when Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick resigns to become the new Missouri State Treasurer.

The First General Assembly of the State of Missouri was held in September 1820 at the Missouri Hotel in St. Louis. In 1821 the assembly moved to St. Charles. It was this first assembly that established many basic state laws. Subject matter ranged from issues of land to trade to western settlement, and to slavery.

As the 100th General Assembly convenes on January 9, members of both chambers will again take up issues important to the people of Missouri and to the overall well-being of the state. The official legislative agenda for the 2019 regular session will be set on opening day when the Speaker of the House delivers his address to outline his policy priorities.

Legislature and Governor Agree on Consensus Revenue Estimate

The governor’s office recently came to an agreement with leaders in the legislature on the revenue estimate that budget makers will use to craft a balanced spending plan. Gov. Parson reached an agreement with House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick and Senate Appropriations Chairman Dan Brown on the Consensus Revenue Estimate (CRE) for Fiscal Year 2020, which begins in July of 2019.

Leaders project the state will see 2 percent growth for the upcoming fiscal year. This represents growth of $193 million over the estimated revenue for the current Fiscal Year 2019. If the growth prediction is accurate, Missouri will see revenue collections at an estimated $9.822 billion for Fiscal Year 2020. As Gov. Parson and the General Assembly move forward with crafting a fiscally responsible spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year, they will base their budgeting on the CRE.

House Budget Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick said, “Budgets are based on projections. The best way to ensure a balanced budget is to use a conservative but realistic revenue estimate, which I feel is represented in this agreement. I appreciate Governor Parson and Senator Brown’s commitment to fiscal discipline as we enter a new budget cycle. As I exit the General Assembly and pass the torch to Rep. Smith, I am proud to say the state’s finances are on solid ground. I wish the new Chairmen in the House and Senate well as they work to craft a balanced budget.”

Fitzpatrick will vacate his set in the House and his position as House Budget Chairman to become the Missouri State Treasurer. State Rep. Cody Smith, who currently serves as vice chairman of the committee, will take over as chairman and oversee the budget crafting process in the House during the 2019 session.

Rep. Cody Smith Announced as Chairman of the House Budget Committee

Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr announced that the House Budget Committee chairman for the 100th General Assembly will be Rep. Cody Smith. Smith will replace Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, who will be stepping down from the House to become the new State Treasurer.

“Rep. Smith has proven himself to be a true steward of Missourians’ hard-earned tax dollars and a leader in securitizing government spending,” said Speaker Haahr.  “Having served the past months as the vice-chairman and preparing for the session, he is ready to tackle the complexities of the budget process and provide stability on the committee for years to come.”

The House Budget Committee is tasked with crafting and passing the state’s $28 billion operating budget that funds the critical functions of state government.  The committee chairman also leads in negotiating differences between budgets proposed by the Governor and the Senate.

Haahr continued, “Passing a balanced budget is the most important responsibility of the Missouri General Assembly and I am confident in Rep. Smith’s ability to ensure every tax dollar spent reflects the priorities of Missourians. Government must live within its means and Rep. Smith will put conservative principles into action to protect from wasteful spending while not raising taxes.”

Smith is a small business owner and realtor with an extensive background in banking and finance.  In November, he was elected to his second term in the House.  He was appointed vice-chairman of the committee this past summer and has also served as the vice-chairman of the important Fiscal Review committee.  There, Smith was instrumental in the thorough review of legislation being considered that would require the state to spend taxpayer money.

“I look forward to bringing my real world insight as a business owner to the Budget Committee,” said Rep. Smith.  “I thank Speaker Haahr for this appointment and I am ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to guide the House in passing a responsible and balanced budget.” 

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 303-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Markus Vest at markus.vest@house.mo.gov 

 

 

The Capitol Report | December 20th, 2018

Neighborhood Assistance Program & Unemployment Rate

The Department of Economic Development announced last Friday that it would award $7.57 million through its Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) to nonprofits across Missouri for community development projects.

NAP helps not-for-profit organizations raise private-sector funds by providing partial state tax credits to businesses that make contributions to approved community improvement projects.

Businesses can donate cash, materials, supplies or equipment; technical assistance and professional services; labor; real estate; or stocks and bonds. Credits can equal up to 50 percent of the total amount contributed or up to 70 percent for projects located in the most rural areas.

A special congratulations to the St. James Golden Age Center which will utilize NAP funds to help fund the operational and program expenses of the new Senior Center and Food Pantry Program. The focus is to reduce food insecurity, improve senior living, and decrease health disparities among low-income seniors and families by increasing food interventions through coverage of urban and rural areas within Phelps County.

For more details, visit: https://ded.mo.gov/content/department-awards-757-million-through-neighborhood-assistance-program

The holiday season brought with it good news as the Missouri Department of Economic Development recently announced the state’s unemployment rate has reached a record low. The state rate dropped a tenth of a point for the Month of November and is now at a record low of 3 percent. The figure represents the lowest rate in the state’s records that date back to 1976.

The state unemployment rate has now been below the national rate for 43 consecutive months. The national unemployment rate in November was at 3.7 percent. For the state, the number of unemployed Missourians decreased by 901 in November. The decrease brings the total number of unemployed in Missouri to 93,460, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Over the last 12 months, nonfarm payrolls in Missouri have grown by 32,400 jobs, or 1.1 percent. Since October 2017, industries with the largest growth include accommodation and food services (+10,100); health care and social assistance (+9,300); manufacturing (+5,900); and professional, scientific and technical services (+5,300).

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

 

 

Neighborhood Assistance Program

The Department of Economic Development announced last Friday that it would award $7.57 million through its Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) to nonprofits across Missouri for community development projects.

NAP helps not-for-profit organizations raise private-sector funds by providing partial state tax credits to businesses that make contributions to approved community improvement projects.

Businesses can donate cash, materials, supplies or equipment; technical assistance and professional services; labor; real estate; or stocks and bonds. Credits can equal up to 50 percent of the total amount contributed or up to 70 percent for projects located in the most rural areas.

A special congratulations to the St. James Golden Age Center which will utilize NAP funds to help fund the operational and program expenses of the new Senior Center and Food Pantry Program. The focus is to reduce food insecurity, improve senior living, and decrease health disparities among low-income seniors and families by increasing food interventions through coverage of urban and rural areas within Phelps County.

For more details, visit: https://ded.mo.gov/content/department-awards-757-million-through-neighborhood-assistance-program

Missouri Unemployment Rate Reaches Record Low

The holiday season brought with it good news as the Missouri Department of Economic Development recently announced the state’s unemployment rate has reached a record low. The state rate dropped a tenth of a point for the Month of November and is now at a record low of 3 percent. The figure represents the lowest rate in the state’s records that date back to 1976.

The state unemployment rate has now been below the national rate for 43 consecutive months. The national unemployment rate in November was at 3.7 percent. For the state, the number of unemployed Missourians decreased by 901 in November. The decrease brings the total number of unemployed in Missouri to 93,460, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Over the last 12 months, nonfarm payrolls in Missouri have grown by 32,400 jobs, or 1.1 percent. Since October 2017, industries with the largest growth include accommodation and food services (+10,100); health care and social assistance (+9,300); manufacturing (+5,900); and professional, scientific and technical services (+5,300).

House Budget Chairman Appointed as Next State Treasurer

House members gathered in the State Capitol recently to celebrate one of their own as current House Budget Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick was selected to become Missouri’s next State Treasurer. Fitzpatrick was picked to fill the vacant office by Gov. Mike Parson, who held a ceremony in his office to announce the appointment.

Parson said, “I am honored to appoint Scott Fitzpatrick as the next State Treasurer. Scott has built his career, as a small business owner and legislator, with a proven track record of being a wise steward and protector of the people’s money.”

Fitzpatrick has served three terms in the Missouri House of Representatives and has spent the last two years serving as chairman of the House Budget Committee. As chairman, he has led the legislature’s efforts to craft fiscally responsible budgets that have made record investments in education while protecting taxpayer dollars by eliminating waste and fraud.

About his appointment, Fitzpatrick said, “I want to thank Governor Parson for the tremendous honor of being selected as Missouri’s next state treasurer. As house budget chairman, I’ve worked to protect Missouri taxpayers by passing balanced budgets that eliminate wasteful spending while investing in our shared priorities. As State Treasurer, I’ll continue to work each and every day to promote government transparency and efficiency.”

Incoming House Speaker Elijah Haahr said about the selection, “Governor Parson made an outstanding choice by selecting Scott Fitzpatrick to serve as our state’s chief financial officer. As the House Budget Committee Chairman, Scott has helped lead the House in crafting fiscally responsible budgets that have invested in the priorities of Missouri families. He is a true steward of taxpayer dollars and someone who has rooted out fraud and abuse at every turn. Scott’s exemplary service in the House has earned him the respect and admiration of everyone he has worked with here in Jefferson City and throughout the state. His legacy as a champion of the taxpayer will grow even stronger as he serves Missouri as our State Treasurer.”

Governor Forms Missouri 2020 Complete Count Committee

With the 2020 Census just around the corner, Gov. Mike Parson recently established the Missouri 2020 Complete Count Committee with the goal of heightening awareness of the census. The committee will also be responsible for coordinating messaging and community outreach in hard-to-count areas of Missouri.

The governor’s office noted that an accurate census count is the bedrock of U.S. democracy, and it is a civic duty to participate just like voting. A fair and equitable count is critical in determining the economic, social, and political voice of Missouri’s citizens. It also ensures fair representation, funding, and investment for all communities. The number of people counted in an area determines the size of school classrooms, the locations of parks and playgrounds, the routes that ambulances take to and from hospitals, the decisions businesses make to hire or expand, and so much more.

Parson said, “We cannot overstate the importance of accurate and reliable census data. Collected census data is used for everything from how we determine the distribution of congressional seats to how we allocate federal resources, an issue that is particularly important for Missouri’s urban and rural communities.”

December is Christmas Tree Month in Missouri

In recognition of the efforts of Missouri’s many Christmas tree farms, Gov. Mike Parson has proclaimed December 2018 as Christmas Tree Month in Missouri. Parson recently held a ceremony at the State Capitol to recognize the importance of the classic symbol of the holiday season, and to promote the benefits of the Christmas tree industry to the state’s economy and environment.

“The Christmas tree is a classic symbol of the holiday season, and its sentimental importance is cherished by many Americans,” said Parson. “Missouri is proud to be home to Christmas tree farms that support this American tradition by providing families with the opportunity to harvest and personally select a family tree.”

 

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 303-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 | December 13th, 2018

Missouri Receives Vital Infrastructure Grant

Missouri recently received good news as the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $90 million in federal grants for infrastructure projects in the state. The funds will be used for five projects designed to increase safety, minimize congestion, support efficient freight movement, and promote economic development.

The grants were awarded through the department’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program, which is allocated for nationally and regionally significant projects.

The five projects selected by the federal transportation department are as follows:

  • $25 million for the Buck O’Neil Bridge over the Missouri River in Kansas City
  • $25 million for the Bella Vista Bypass (I-49) in McDonald County
  • $19.8 million for the SEMO Port
  • $10.4 million for the City of Maryville’s South Main Corridor Improvement Project
  • $10+ million for the Sedalia Railroad Spur

Governor Mike Parson recently brought together stakeholders and industry leaders in an effort to develop solutions to the unmet health care needs of rural Missourians. The governor organized the first ever Rural Health Care Summit, which was held in Bolivar, Missouri.

The summit addressed topics such as economic development in rural communities, Medicaid, rural hospitals, workforce provider access, Project ECHO, and telemedicine/behavioral health. The governor said it is important to improve health care for Missourians by developing better access to providers and hospitals, especially in rural areas.

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 Receives Vital Infrastructure Grants

Missouri recently received good news as the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $90 million in federal grants for infrastructure projects in the state. The funds will be used for five projects designed to increase safety, minimize congestion, support efficient freight movement, and promote economic development.

About the grants, Gov. Mike Parson said, “Some of these projects have been envisioned for more than 20 years, but they lacked the funding to make them a reality. We appreciate Missouri’s federal delegation, Senator Roy Blunt, and President Trump’s administration for their commitment to infrastructure, especially in rural Missouri. These infrastructure investments will play a major role in ensuring we have the framework for access and expansion in the future.”

The grants were awarded through the department’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program, which is allocated for nationally and regionally significant projects.

The five projects selected by the federal transportation department are as follows:

  • $25 million for the Buck O’Neil Bridge over the Missouri River in Kansas City
  • $25 million for the Bella Vista Bypass (I- 49) in McDonald County
  • $19.8 million for the SEMO Port
  • $10.4 million for the City of Maryville’s South Main Corridor Improvement Project
  • $10+ million for the Sedalia Railroad Spur

Governor Hosts Rural Health Care Summit

Governor Mike Parson recently brought together stakeholders and industry leaders in an effort to develop solutions to the unmet health care needs of rural Missourians. The governor organized the first ever Rural Health Care Summit, which was held in Bolivar, Missouri.

The summit addressed topics such as economic development in rural communities, Medicaid, rural hospitals, workforce provider access, Project ECHO, and telemedicine/behavioral health. The governor said it is important to improve health care for Missourians by developing better access to providers and hospitals, especially in rural areas.

“Almost 40 percent of Missouri’s citizens live in rural areas, and we are committed to making sure they too have access to both preventive and emergency care when it’s needed. We need to look at innovative solutions to increase providers and access to quality healthcare in rural areas,” said Gov. Parson.

Dr. Randall Williams, the director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, added, “The purpose of the summit is to learn from each other, hear about what is working, and explore together the areas where we can improve. We have many innovative programs in Missouri and want to share ideas on how best to move forward. I have seen firsthand throughout Missouri how people working together can meet challenges and deliver superb care.”

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 303-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 | December 6th, 2018

Bill Pre-Filing Underway

The 100th General Assembly is gearing up for the 2019 legislative session that begins January 9. In advance of the upcoming legislative session, members are able to pre-file bills starting in December. While the typical pre-filing start date is December 1, the House began its pre-filing period on Monday, December 3. Bills will continue to be pre-filed by House members up until the start of the 2019 session.

The pre-filing period typically moves at a hectic pace as lawmakers file hundreds of bills. Leading up to the 2018 session, House members filed nearly 300 bills in the first five days of the pre-filing period. When it was all said and done, House members pre-filed 638 pieces of legislation leading up to the 2018 regular session. This figure eclipsed the previous record that was set leading up to the 2016 session when House members pre-filed 623 bills.

The pre-filing period for the 2019 session is sure to see a similar level of activity as both returning and new members seek to address pressing issues in the state and in their districts by filing legislation. As the weeks progress, I will share the bills I plan to file this coming session.

To check on bills as they are pre-filed, visit the official website of the Missouri House of Representatives at www.house.mo.gov and click on the “Bill List” link.

Earlier this week, I attended a public policy summit hosted by former State Treasurer Eric Schmitt at the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Columbia. The summit was an informative and engaging time to discuss post-secondary higher education opportunities for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

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

 

Bill Pre-Filing Underway

The 100th General Assembly is gearing up for the 2019 legislative session that begins January 9. In advance of the upcoming legislative session, members are able to pre-file bills starting in December. While the typical pre-filing start date is December 1, the House began its pre-filing period on Monday, December 3. Bills will continue to be pre-filed by House members up until the start of the 2019 session.

The pre-filing period typically moves at a hectic pace as lawmakers file hundreds of bills. Leading up to the 2018 session, House members filed nearly 300 bills in the first five days of the pre-filing period. When it was all said and done, House members pre-filed 638 pieces of legislation leading up to the 2018 regular session. This figure eclipsed the previous record that was set leading up to the 2016 session when House members pre-filed 623 bills.

The pre-filing period for the 2019 session is sure to see a similar level of activity as both returning and new members seek to address pressing issues in the state and in their districts by filing legislation. As the weeks progress, I will share the bills I plan to file this coming session.

To check on bills as they are pre-filed, visit the official website of the Missouri House of Representatives at http://www.house.mo.gov and click on the “Bill List” link.

Governor Proclaims December 3-9 as Computer Science Education Week

During both the 2018 regular session and an extraordinary session called by the governor, lawmakers made it a priority to help prepare Missouri’s young people for the thousands of unfilled computer science jobs in the state. Now, the governor has proclaimed the week of December 3-9 to be Computer Science Education Week in Missouri. The week is part of a national event that will focus on the importance of computer science education and giving students the skills to meet growing workforce demands.

“In 2017, Missouri had approximately 10,000 computer science jobs left unfilled. Recognizing Computer Science Education Week is a further step Missouri is taking to encourage and promote these fields and secure more of these jobs as we continue to improve our economy and provide Missouri students with the skills needed to secure high-paying jobs,” said Governor Parson.

During the 2018 extraordinary session, lawmakers approved HB 3 to institute a STEM Career Awareness Program for 6th-8th graders designed to promote careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The legislation also requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop a high school graduation policy that allows a student to fulfill one unit of academic credit with a district-approved computer science course for any math, science, or practical arts unit required for high school graduation. The legislation is meant to better prepare tomorrow’s workforce for the many unfilled computer science positions in the technology industry.

“Missouri legislators recently took a bold step to support K-12 computer science education by becoming the first state to pass legislation during a special session expanding course opportunities,” said Governor Parson. “As we continue to focus our efforts on increasing awareness in computer science education, our students will be better prepared and equipped with the skills to succeed and meet tomorrow’s workforce demands.”

Treasurer’s Missouri Public Policy Summit

Earlier this week, I attended a public policy summit hosted by former State Treasurer Eric Schmitt at the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Columbia. The summit was an informative and engaging time to discuss post-secondary higher education opportunities for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

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 | November 29th, 2018

New Legislative Session & Dep. of Public Safety Audit

With each new session, we have entering “freshmen” legislators for the General Assembly. Typically, a Freshmen Tour is provided to help these newly elected legislators acclimate to their new responsibilities. Part of this “tour” includes choosing offices at the Capitol, traveling around the state, visits with various state department personnel to learn of their duties and roles, participating in mock floor debate, and learning about the formalities of House committees. The new “class” of legislators has been hard at these activities this week, and should be ready to go in early January.

In other news, Gov. Parson has asked for an audit of the Department of Public Safety. There have been some questions about administrative procedures within the department including allocation of some public funds.

Galloway encouraged anyone with information about questionable use of taxpayer dollars by the Department of Public Safety to contact the State Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline at moaudit@auditor.mo.gov or by calling 800-347-8597. Concerns may also be submitted anonymously online at www.auditor.mo.gov/hotline

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

 

 

New Session Approaches

With each new session, we have entering “freshmen” legislators for the General Assembly. Typically, a Freshmen Tour is provided to help these newly elected legislators acclimate to their new responsibilities. Part of this “tour” includes traveling around the state, choosing offices at the Capitol, visits with various state department personnel to learn of their duties and roles, participating in mock floor debate, and learning about the formalities of House committees. The new “class” of legislators has been hard at these activities this week, and should be ready to go in early January.

In other news, Gov. Parson has asked for an audit of the Department of Public Safety. There have been some questions about administrative procedures within the department including allocation of some public funds.

Department of Public Safety to be Investigated

Following an internal review of the chief public safety officer’s office, Missouri Governor Mike Parson is asking for the state auditor to conduct a more in-depth examination.

On Tuesday, Gov. Mike Parson submitted a formal request to State Auditor Nicole Galloway to conduct an audit of the Department of Public Safety Director’s Office.

“Upon review of the Governor’s request, I have committed to performing an independent audit of the administrative practices of the Department of Public Safety,” said Auditor Galloway. “As with any review, we will determine the scope of the audit to appropriately address any concerns brought forward throughout the process.”

Sandy Karsten, then-Missouri State Highway Patrol Colonel, was appointed as the head of the Department of Public Safety on August 27, 2018. She replaced then-Director Drew Juden, who was appointed by former-Gov. Eric Greitens.

The Department of Public Safety oversees eight agencies — including the highway patrol, Missouri National Guard, and Veterans Commission — and roughly 15,000 employees.

Upon assuming the role of director, Karsten requested that the Office of Administration conduct an initial review of the DPS Director’s office.

“Our initial review raised concerns that warranted a more in-depth examination of past public safety administration practices,” Karsten said. “The previous state audit of the DPS Director’s Office was completed nearly five years ago. A state audit is the appropriate next step to ensure the DPS Director’s office is fulfilling its obligations to the people of Missouri.”

“Anytime a department director raises concerns about questionable use of taxpayer dollars, we take them very seriously– that’s why under these circumstances we have requested a state audit,” Parson said. “Director Karsten is doing a great job leading DPS and has a clear understanding about the importance of keeping government accountable to the people of Missouri.”

Galloway encouraged anyone with information about questionable use of taxpayer dollars by the Department of Public Safety to contact the State Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline at moaudit@auditor.mo.gov or by calling 800-347-8597. Concerns may also be submitted anonymously online at www.auditor.mo.gov/hotline

 

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