District 120 Capitol Report | July 2, 2015

Education Reform in Missouri Schools
As Missouri’s economic picture has continued to brighten, the governor has taken action to release millions of dollars in withheld funds for several important programs. To date, general revenues for the state have increased by 7.5 percent compared to where they were at the same time last year. The extra revenues prompted the governor to release more than $22 million in funding for everything from education to job training.

Even with the released funds, however, the governor continues to prevent another $216 million from being disbursed to various state programs and projects. While the governor has recently signed many pieces of legislation into law, he has vetoed HB 42 that was hailed by supporters as a way to help young people in struggling school districts. Proponents said the bill’s system of accreditation for individual schools rather than entire districts would have alleviated some of the transfer issues and allowed kids to stay closer to home.

Also, this past session, the General Assembly gave final approval to HB 501. The legislation is meant to ensure young people are educated regarding the potential dangers of sexual predators and the increased risks associated with the Internet. The bill requires any course materials and instruction relating to human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases in a public or charter school to teach students about the dangers of sexual predators, including on-line predators. The bill is currently on the Governor’s desk.

Finally, last week Gov. Nixon signed HB179, my bill regarding veteran designations on driver’s licenses, and SB156, a highway and bridge naming bill that includes my language to name the bridge on Hwy 19 between Cuba and Steelville the ‘Betty Vickers Memorial Bridge’, into law. Congratulations to retired veterans and the family and friends of Mrs. Vickers!

FlagFireworksFrom my family to yours, I wish you a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday. I know for many this is a time for friends, food, fun and fireworks, but I urge you to also keep in mind the significance of our Independence Day that commemorates the moment in time when our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. It has now been more than two centuries that the American people have enjoyed the freedoms and rights that have made this the greatest nation on the planet , and I think it’s important that we take a moment to remember and appreciate all that we have been given. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

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

Governor Releases Funding
As Missouri’s economic picture has continued to brighten, the governor has taken action to release millions of dollars in withheld funds for several important programs. To date, general revenues for the state have increased by 7.5 percent compared to where they were at the same time last year. The extra revenues prompted the governor to release more than $22 million in funding for everything from education to job training.

Specifically, the governor released funding for the following:

  • Missouri Works Job Training – $4,297,007
  • Missouri Technology Corporation programs – $1,300,000
  • Regional Education Professional Development Centers – $1,000,000
  • Math and Science Tutoring Program – $400,000
  • K-12 transportation funding – $5,000,000
  • County reimbursement for prisoner costs – $1,756,552
  • Early Grade Literacy Program – $100,000
  • Sheriff Issuance System Development – $650,000
  • ADA Treatment for Ex-Offenders – $500,000
  • State Health Lab Expenses – $191,400
  • Utilicare Assistance – $4,000,000
  • Local Election Authority Grants – $3,088,303
  • Crowder Community College – Hickey Building on Webb City campus – $375,000

Even with the released funds, however, the governor continues to prevent another $216 million from being disbursed to various state programs and projects.

Education Reform Legislation Vetoed
While the governor has recently signed many pieces of legislation into law, he also vetoed HB 42 that was hailed by supporters as a way to help young people in struggling school districts. Proponents said the bill’s system of accreditation for individual schools rather than entire districts would have alleviated some of the transfer issues and allowed kids to stay closer to home. The bill also would have given students new educational opportunities by allowing for more charter schools and providing a virtual school option.

In objecting to the bill, the governor sided with opponents who took issue with the expansion of charter and virtual schools, which he referred to as a voucher scheme. Opponents also criticized the bill for failing to provide real solutions for the failing districts that have strained financially to pay the tuition of transferring students. Those opposed to the bill also said the virtual school option failed to provide the necessary oversight and accountability for student performance.

Following the veto, the bill’s sponsor said he was disappointed to see the governor reject the education reform plan, but also said he does not plan to bring it up for a veto override. The issue of fixing the transfer law was partially addressed recently when 22 school districts pledged their support to help the unaccredited districts in Normandy and Riverview Gardens. The districts will provide assistance in the form of lowered tuition cost for transfer students and teacher training.

Sexual Education
Also, this past session, the General Assembly gave final approval to HB 501. The legislation is meant to ensure young people are educated regarding the potential dangers of sexual predators and the increased risks associated with the Internet. The bill requires any course materials and instruction relating to human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases in a public or charter school to teach students about the dangers of sexual predators, including on-line predators. Pupils must be taught how to behave responsibly and remain safe on the Internet and the importance of having open communication with responsible adults and reporting any inappropriate situation, activity, or abuse. The bill is currently on the Governor’s desk.

Legislation Passed
Last week, Gov. Nixon signed HB 179, my bill regarding veteran designations on driver’s licenses, and SB 156 into law. HB 179 will allow retired veterans to use their retired ID cards to get the designation instead of having to use their discharge papers. SB 156 is a highway and bridge naming bill that includes my language to name the bridge on Hwy 19 between Cuba and Steelville the ‘Betty Vickers Memorial Bridge’. As with all laws (without an emergency clause) signed by the Governor, they will go into effect August 28. We will schedule a ceremony for the bridge naming to happen shortly afterward. Congratulations to retired veterans and the family and friends of Mrs. Vickers.

District Visits
I was honored yesterday to visit both Tacony Manufacturing and Cohen Architectural Woodworking in St. James. Tacony Manufacturing was a business initially founded in 1946 specializing in selling and servicing sewing machines. Over the years the company has expanded across the nation and diversified its work. Most recently, the company has partnered with Maytag to craft vacuum cleaners. Cohen Woodworking was founded in 1982 and specializes in a wide range of wood products created with the finest craftsmanship possible. We are very lucky to have a Tacony facility and the Cohen family in our district.

Special Events
Missouri State Capitol Time Capsule Unveiling—July 3, 2015 at 1 PM. South Lawn, Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO A 100-year-old time capsule was removed June 9, 2015 from the cornerstone of the Missouri State Capitol Building. Gov. Jay Nixon will unveil the original time capsule and announce the contents of the new time capsule at a ceremony Friday, July 3, 2015 commemorating the 100th anniversary of the laying of the Missouri State Capitol’s cornerstone.

Hummingbird Banding at Onondaga Cave State Park—July 4, 2015 10 AM, Onondaga Visitor Center 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. 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 Mission of Mercy Free Dental Services — July 31-Aug 1, Doors Open at 5 AM. Hearnes Center Field House, 600 E Stadium Blvd., Columbia, MO MOMOM is a large scale dental clinic to provide free oral healthcare to patients of all ages who cannot otherwise afford care. Cleanings, fillings, and extractions are covered, but not crowns, bridges or dentures.. Arrive early as the clinic is first come first serve until we reach capacity. Please read the Patient FAQs available online at http://www.momom.org.

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:

Property taxes paid as a percentage of owner-occupied housing values range from 0.28% in Hawaii, and 1.02% here in Missouri, to 2.38% in New Jersey.

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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