District 120 Capitol Report – 04/30/2015

Appropriations, Human Trafficking, & College
One piece of legislation signed by the governor this week, HB 14, authorizes approximately $250 million in supplemental spending for the current budget. The bill was approved a few weeks ago by the House with bipartisan support and provides necessary funding for education and programs that assist some of Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens.

The members of the House also took action this week to combat the fastest growing criminal industry in the world – human trafficking. The House approved legislation to create the Human Trafficking Task Force with the mission of raising awareness of the human trafficking problem in Missouri and providing organizations and agencies that enforce human trafficking laws and assist victims with a central place to share information. The task force is charged with reporting a summary of its activities and making any recommendations for legislation to the General Assembly by January 1, 2017.

The House gave approval this week to a wide-ranging education bill that includes a provision to better prepare Missouri high school students for success in college.

The bill would require school districts to develop a policy and implement a system for identifying students in their ninth grade year who are at risk of not being ready for college-level work or for entry-level career positions. Students would be provided with academic and career counseling prior to graduation to ensure they are able to graduate prepared and on time.

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

Supplemental Appropriations
One piece of legislation signed by the governor this week authorizes approximately $250 million in supplemental spending for the current budget. The bill was approved a few weeks ago by the House with bipartisan support and provides necessary funding for education and programs that assist some of Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens.

Some of the funding items contained in the bill include:

  • More than $7 million for public education, primarily for early childhood special education and the school district trust fund;
  • More than $11 million in funding for services for abused and neglected children who are in protective custody of the state through the foster care system;
  • More than $4 million for staff providing direct care services for Missourians receiving treatment at Department of Mental Health facilities,
  • More than $41 million for In-Home Services for seniors and Missourians with disabilities through the Department of Health and Senior Services, and
  • More than $5 million for programs assisting the blind through the Department of Social Services.

Human Trafficking
The members of the House also took action this week to combat the fastest growing criminal industry in the world – human trafficking. The House approved legislation to create the Human Trafficking Task Force with the mission of raising awareness of the human trafficking problem in Missouri and providing organizations and agencies that enforce human trafficking laws and assist victims with a central place to share information. The task force is charged with reporting a summary of its activities and making any recommendations for legislation to the General Assembly by January 1, 2017.

The measure gained unanimous, bipartisan support in the House where supporters emphasized the need to take action against the human trafficking industry that generates $150 billion in annual profits throughout the world. The criminal industry makes its profits on the backs of an estimated 21 million victims, including 5.5 million children. Supporters said the state must take an active role to help the dozens of nonprofit organizations that are already diligently working to shut down the human trafficking industry.

Success in College
The House gave approval this week to a wide-ranging education bill that includes a provision to better prepare Missouri high school students for success in college.

The bill would require school districts to develop a policy and implement a system for identifying students in their ninth grade year who are at risk of not being ready for college-level work or for entry-level career positions. Students would be provided with academic and career counseling prior to graduation to ensure they are able to graduate prepared and on time.

In addition, the state education department would recognize school districts that develop individualized personal plans of study to meet the needs of seventh grade students. Each plan would include the requirements for graduation, the student’s career or postsecondary goals, coursework related to the goals, and career-related experiences.

Supporters said the provision addresses the need for remediation in Missouri. They noted that 38.7 percent of high school graduates need a remedial course in English or Mathematics during their freshman year in college. The bill will help the state to implement steps to make ensure that students graduate from high school on time and ready.

Freshman Class C.O.P.S. Challenge
043015-0032The freshman class fund-raiser for this session was Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (C.O.P.S.).Our goal was to raise $5,000 and this week we presented our donation in the amount of $5,600.00.C.O.P.S. provides resources to assist in the rebuilding of the lives of surviving families and affected co-workers of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty as determined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Public Safety Officers’ Benefit (PSOB), National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) or Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) criteria. C.O.P.S. provides training to law enforcement agencies on survivor victimization issues and educates the public of the need to support the law enforcement profession and its survivors.

More information about C.O.P.S. can be found on their website: http://www.nationalcops.org/

District Events
Hummingbird Banding at Onondaga Cave State Park—Researcher Lanny Chambers will visit Onondaga Cave State Park throughout the season to capture, band and study Missouri’s smallest flying machine, the ruby-throated hummingbird. Sponsored by Missouri State Parks, the event is scheduled for May 2, July 4, Aug. 8, and Sept. 5 and will take place at the park’s visitor center between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Visitors will get a close-up look at this tiny bird, and will learn about its life history. Guests are welcome to bring cameras, but will be instructed to keep an adequate distance from the birds and researchers in order to insure the safety of the birds. Lucky visitors may get to release a hummingbird. The event is free and open to the public.

Onondaga Cave State Park is located seven miles southeast of the Leasburg exit off of Interstate 44 on Highway H. For more on the event, contact the park at 573-245-6576. For more information about Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Scout Patch Program at Onondaga Cave State Park in May and September
Scout troops can participate in a two-day event at Onondaga Cave State Park in May and September. Sponsored by Missouri State Parks, patch programs will be held on May 2-3 and Sept. 12-13.

Scouts will be introduced to the Missouri State Park and Historic Site Jr. Explorer program and all scouts completing the requirements associated with this event will receive a unique patch to add to their collection. Patch requirements include a number of interesting activities and a service project.

Space is limited and reservations are required. Applications for the program can be found at http://mostateparks.com/event/62319/scout-patch-program and must be completed and signed by the scout leader. Group or individual camping is available. Some fees apply.

Onondaga Cave State Park is located seven miles southeast of the Leasburg exit off of Interstate 44 on Highway H. For more on the event, contact the park at 573-245-6576. For more information about Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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 Sales Tax Rates range from 0% in states such as AK, and MT to 7.5% in CA. MO with 4.225% is very low and ranks 38th 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 at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

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