District 120 Capitol Report | July 30, 2015

Arming The Guard, Tax Holiday, & Medicaid Expansion
Following the tragic shooting in Tennessee that took the lives of five soldiers, legislators in Missouri called on the governor to allow members of the National Guard to be armed. Lawmakers stressed the importance of allowing National Guard members to defend themselves and their families on American soil. They also noted that governors in several other states, including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Texas, Florida, and Louisiana, quickly moved to allow the members of the National Guard in those states to be armed.

Approved by the legislature in 2003, a three-day back-to-school sales tax holiday to begin on Friday, Aug. 7 at 12:01 a.m. and run through Sunday, Aug. 9 will exempt everything from school supplies to computers from state sales tax of 4.225 percent. In some cases, local municipalities have also chosen to honor the holiday, which means parents in these areas will be able to forego local sales tax as well. For a complete list of the cities and counties that have chosen not to participate, please click the following link: http://dor.mo.gov/business/sales/taxholiday/school/

During recent years, legislators in states like Missouri have remained steadfast in their refusal to take federal dollars to expand Medicaid. Their argument from the beginning has been that, even with federal funding, growing the size of Medicaid would not be sustainable financially in the long-term. They felt the best way to help Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens was by keeping Medicaid at a financially responsible and sustainable level so that it can continue to provide health care to those most in need.

Today, states that have refused to expand Medicaid are pointing to the problems faced by those that did expand as examples of why it was the right decision to not expand. To date, more than a dozen states that opted to expand Medicaid have seen their enrollments greatly exceed projections. Kentucky saw more than 300,000 residents sign up, which was double the number projected and even greater than what was predicted through 2021. The end result is that the state will take on tens of millions in additional unexpected costs and those costs will climb into the hundreds of millions in the years to come. Other states like California, Washington and Oregon are facing similar financial challenges because of Medicaid expansion. 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

Arming the Guard
Following the tragic shooting in Tennessee that took the lives of five soldiers, legislators in Missouri called on the governor to allow members of the National Guard to be armed. Lawmakers stressed the importance of allowing National Guard members to defend themselves and their families on American soil. They also noted that governors in several other states, including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Texas, Florida, and Louisiana, quickly moved to allow the members of the National Guard in those states to be armed.

Tax Holiday
As the summer begins to wind down, parents inevitably turn to preparations to send their children back to school. A big part of that process is purchasing the supplies and clothes their kids will need as they head back to the classroom. Fortunately, Missouri has a three-day back-to-school sales tax holiday that exempts everything from school supplies to computers from sales tax.

Approved by the legislature in 2003, the three-day period allows parents to buy school-related items such as clothing, school supplies and computers without having to pay the state sales tax of 4.225 percent. In some cases, local municipalities have also chosen to honor the holiday, which means parents in these areas will be able to forego local sales tax as well. For a complete list of the cities and counties that have chosen not to participate, please click the following link: http://dor.mo.gov/business/sales/taxholiday/school/

This is a great way for Missourians to stretch their dollars by making the cost of going back to school a little more affordable. Parents are encouraged to take advantage of the holiday that begins Friday, Aug. 7 at 12:01 a.m. and runs through Sunday, Aug. 9. It’s important to note that the school supply tax exemption has a limit of $50 per purchase, while the clothing exemption has a $100 limit and the computer tax exemption has a limit of $3,500.

Medicaid Expansion
During recent years, legislators in states like Missouri have remained steadfast in their refusal to take federal dollars to expand Medicaid. Their argument from the beginning has been that, even with federal funding, growing the size of Medicaid would not be sustainable financially in the long-term. They felt the best way to help Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens was by keeping Medicaid at a financially responsible and sustainable level so that it can continue to provide health care to those most in need.

Today, states that have refused to expand Medicaid are pointing to the problems faced by those that did expand as examples of why it was the right decision to not expand. To date, more than a dozen states that opted to expand Medicaid have seen their enrollments greatly exceed projections. Kentucky saw more than 300,000 residents sign up, which was double the number projected and even greater than what was predicted through 2021. The end result is that the state will take on tens of millions in additional unexpected costs and those costs will climb into the hundreds of millions in the years to come. Other states like California, Washington and Oregon are facing similar financial challenges because of Medicaid expansion.

Currently, thirty states have expanded Medicaid so that adults with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible. The federal government presently pays for all of the costs of expansion, but will begin lowering its share of the financial burden so that states pay for 10 percent of the costs by 2020.

Court Reform Now Law
SB 5 was signed this month by Governor Nixon and will now become law. The bill is designed to protect Missourians from municipalities that have used excessive traffic tickets and fines to generate revenue. The bill limits 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 12.5 percent of their total revenue can be derived from traffic tickets.

The bill also creates additional protections for Missourians by capping the total fines and court costs for minor traffic violations at $300, and 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 minor traffic offenses. In addition, the bill includes provisions to ensure accountability from municipalities by requiring they meet minimum standards – police services, balanced budget, insurance, etc. – or possibly be dissolved.

Special Events
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:

The number of people per household ranges from 2.33 in North Dakota, and 2.48 here in Missouri, to 3.17 in Utah.

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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