District 120 Capitol Report – 04/23/2015

BUDGET AGREEMENT & MUNICIPAL COURT REFORM
After several long days of negotiations and discussion, the House and Senate finally worked out their differences and gave final approval to the Fiscal Year 2016 state operating budget. The bills now move to the governor’s desk a full two weeks ahead of the constitutionally mandated budget deadline. During the budget process, the Senate made significant changes to the House version of the state spending plan, including a lump-sum budgeting approach that included 4 to 6 percent cuts to health, mental health and social services programs. House FloorThese changes drew the scrutiny of some on the House side and even lost the backing of leadership in the Senate as negotiations progressed. The final version of the budget approved by both chambers moves much closer to the original House spending plan, but does take some fiscally responsible steps to rein in the growth of the state’s social welfare programs. The final version of the budget does include the Senate’s plan to move Missouri’s Medicaid population to a system of managed care, but the transition will occur slowly and only after the plan has been reviewed.

The members of the Missouri House also took action this week to protect Missourians from some municipalities that have exhibited what House Speaker Diehl called “predatory practices” to raise revenue through excessive traffic tickets. The bill approved by the House is designed to shut down “speed traps” by limiting the amount of revenue municipalities can generate from traffic violations.

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

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

-Jason Chipman


Budget Agreement

After several long days of negotiations and discussion, the House and Senate finally worked out their differences and gave final approval to the Fiscal Year 2016 state operating budget. The bills now move to the governor’s desk a full two weeks ahead of the constitutionally-mandated budget deadline. During the budget process, the Senate made significant changes to the House version of the state spending plan, including a lump-sum budgeting approach that included 4 to 6 percent cuts to health, mental health and social services programs. These changes drew the scrutiny of some on the House side and even lost the backing of leadership in the Senate as negotiations progressed. The final version of the budget approved by both chambers moves much closer to the original House spending plan, but does take some fiscally responsible steps to rein in the growth of the state’s social welfare programs. The final version of the budget does include the Senate’s plan to move Missouri’s Medicaid population to a system of managed care, but the transition will occur slowly and only after the plan has been reviewed. The $26 billion spending plan that will take effect on July 1 of this year does include record levels of funding for elementary and secondary education. In total the state is now spending just under $5.8 billion on public K-12 schools, which represents more than 22.2 percent of total state spending. More than $3.2 billion of that funding is state general revenue, which represents more than 36 percent of the $8.85 billion state dollars over which the legislature has direct spending authority. The budget also includes significant boosts to several important education programs, and sizeable funding increases to the state’s public colleges and universities. Some of the funding highlights contained in the FY 2016 budget include: 

• An additional $84 million for the School Foundation Formula for K-12 public education;
• An increase of more than $2.4 million to the Parents as Teachers Program;
• Full funding for virtual education;
• Funding to create a state dyslexia coordinator;
• A $12 million increase for performance funding for Missouri’s public institutions of higher education;
• More than $5 million in new equity funding for Missouri’s two-year colleges;
• Funding to establish a state military advocate;
• A 3 percent funding increase to providers who care for elderly and developmentally disabled Missourians
• A 3 percent provider rate increase for autism projects; and
• Additional funding for MoHealthnet adult dental benefits.

Municipal Court Reform
The members of the Missouri House also took action this week to protect Missourians from some municipalities that have exhibited what House Speaker Diehl called “predatory practices” to raise revenue through excessive traffic tickets. The bill approved by the House is designed to shut down “speed traps” by limiting the amount of revenue municipalities can generate from traffic violations. The plan that now has to move back to the Senate for another round of approval would limit the amount of revenue municipalities can generate from traffic tickets to 20 percent, which is down from the current limit of 30 percent. The bill further limits municipalities in St. Louis County, which has been plagued by excessive traffic violations, so that only 15 percent of their total revenue can be derived from traffic tickets. The House version of the bill inserts additional protections for Missourians by ending the process of courts issuing failure to appear charges against defendants for missing court dates on minor traffic violations. The bill also would prevent courts from ordering jail time for individuals who fail to pay traffic fines. In addition, the bill now includes provisions to ensure accountability from municipalities in St. Louis County by requiring they meet minimum standards — police services, balanced budget, insurance, etc. — or face dissolution. The bill drew strong bipartisan support as members from both parties said it will ensure municipalities act in the best interests of their citizens rather than treat them as sources of revenue.

State Parks Youth Corps
The For the sixth year, State Parks Youth Corps (SPYC) will provide Missouri youth the opportunity to work outdoors improving Missouri’s state parks and historic sites. Online applications are now being accepted for youth ages 17 to 24 to participate in the 2015 program. SPYC – a nationally recognized jobs initiative started by Gov. Nixon in 2010 to enhance Missouri’s 87 state parks and historical sites – is a cooperative partnership between the Division of Workforce Development and Missouri State Parks. In 2015, SPYC will employ Missourians between ages 17 and 24 at state parks and historic sites across Missouri, with the program running through Dec. 31. Applications for the program are now being accepted online at thinkoutside. mo.gov. “Since 2010, State Parks Youth Corps workers have made a real difference in state parks and historic sites throughout the Show-Me State, while gaining valuable job skills” said Gov. Nixon. “In 2015, young people will once again be able to gain on-the-job training while experiencing the beauty of the great outdoors.” Since the program began in 2010, more than 2,600 young people have put in more than 600,000 hours enhancing parks and sites throughout the state. In 2014, young people spent more than 59,000 hours gaining real job experience in Missouri State Parks. In 2014, the program expanded to offer additional paid positions to area youth at St. Louis City and Kansas City parks. In 2015, St. Louis and Kansas City parks will again benefit from the program. For information about state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Contact: Steph Deidrick, 573-751-9392 steph.deidrick@dnr.mo.gov or Gena Terlizzi, 573-751-1010 gena.terlizzi@dnr.mo.gov

Annual Legislative Soft Ball Tournament Raises $3,749 for the Samaritan Center
Baseball GameLast week I participated in the Annual Legislative Softball Tournament. Each year the State Legislature hosts a soft ball tournament to raise funds for a local charity. This year all the funds raised went to the Samaritan Center. The Samaritan Center is a social service agency organized to meet emergency or crisis needs of the people in the Mid-Missouri area which are not already being met through state or federal programs or non-profit programs. This year we were able to raise $3,749 to give to the Samaritan Center.

Oversight Division Survey
The Oversight Division is in charge of conducting performance evaluations and program reviews of state agencies or programs during the interim as assigned by the Committee on Legislative Research. As your State Representative, I have some input on what the Oversight Division investigates this year; therefore, I would like your input! Please email my Legislator Assistant, Dylan Bryant, at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov with suggestions of programs or agencies that you would like reviewed by the Oversight Division. The most popular choice will be what I recommend to the Joint Committee on Legislative Research and the Oversight Division.

Facts & Figures
Each week you can find an interesting fact or figure here on how Missouri measures up to other states and the U.S. government: State and Local Corporate Income Tax Collections Per Capita range from $0.00 in NV, TX, WA, & WY to $912 in AK. MO with $63 is very close to being the lowest in the country.

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 115H, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant atdylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

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