Capitol Report 09/24/2015

Annual Veto Session Review
This week I would like to wrap up the events that occurred during last week’s annual veto session.

SB 224, now set to become law, is meant to ensure scholarship benefits through the state’s A+ Schools Program are received only by young people who are legal residents of the United States. Specifically, the bill requires a student to be a United States citizen or a permanent resident in order to receive benefits.

The impetus for the legislation was a decision by the Missouri Department of Higher Education to allow students who are lawfully present, but not legal residents, to receive A+ scholarships. The decision applies directly to students who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that allows children who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents to stay and legally live, work and study.

The House and Senate also collaborated last Wednesday to overturn the governor’s veto of HB 722 meant to keep minimum wages in municipalities throughout Missouri at a rate that does not exceed the state standard.

Supporters of the bill have said a uniform minimum wage is important to provide a level playing field for employers and employees around the state. They say the bill is simply a clarification of existing law, which prohibits cities from raising the minimum wage. Opponents say the bill is an attack on local control and an infringement on the rights of municipalities. They also say higher wages for Missourians can only have a positive impact on the economy.

In addition, the bill that will now become law ensures Missourians will continue to have the choice of paper or plastic bags at the grocery store. The bill specifies that all merchants doing business in this state must have the option to provide customers with a paper or plastic bag for any item or good purchased. The bill also makes it clear that a political subdivision cannot impose any ban, fee, or tax upon the use of paper or plastic bags.

A final note: over the next few months until the beginning of the next legislative session in January, the Capitol Report will be sent out once a month.

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

A+ Scholarships
Another bill now set to become law is meant to ensure scholarship benefits through the state’s A+ Schools Program are received only by young people who are legal residents of the United States. Specifically, the bill requires a student to be a United States citizen or a permanent resident in order to receive benefits.

The impetus for the legislation was a decision by the Missouri Department of Higher Education to allow students who are lawfully present, but not legal residents, to receive A+ scholarships. The decision applies directly to students who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that allows children who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents to stay and legally live, work and study.

Supporters of SB 224 say the bill ensures the limited amount of scholarship money in the A+ program will be reserved for legal Missouri residents. They say it is unfair to Missouri families to see diminished scholarship amounts for their children because the dollars are instead going to young people who are not legal residents. Opponents of the idea say it is an attack on young people who are in the country illegally through no fault of their own. They say the legislature should work to increase funding for the A+ program so all children can benefit.

The A+ Scholarship program allows Missouri high school students who have met certain requirements to receive state-funded assistance to attend participating public community college or vocational/technical school, or certain private two-year vocational/technical schools. The program allows thousands of Missouri students to pursue a college degree each year.

Uniform Minimum Wage
The House and Senate also collaborated last Wednesday to overturn the governor’s veto of legislation meant to keep minimum wages in municipalities throughout Missouri at a rate that does not exceed the state standard.

Supporters of the bill have said a uniform minimum wage is important to provide a level playing field for employers and employees around the state. They say the bill is simply a clarification of existing law, which prohibits cities from raising the minimum wage. Opponents say the bill is an attack on local control and an infringement on the rights of municipalities. They also say higher wages for Missourians can only have a positive impact on the economy.

In addition, the bill that will now become law ensures Missourians will continue to have the choice of paper or plastic bags at the grocery store. The bill specifies that all merchants doing business in this state must have the option to provide customers with a paper or plastic bag for any item or good purchased. The bill also makes it clear that a political subdivision cannot impose any ban, fee, or tax upon the use of paper or plastic bags.

Other Bills Now Set to Become Law
HB 618 – Changes the laws regarding the disposition of human remains. Expands the types of medical professionals who can attest to a cause of death, to include physicians’ assistants, assistant physicians and advance practice registered nurses.

HB 878 – Specifies that the Department of Public Safety must have the authority to commission corporate security advisors and establishes procedures to do so.

HB 1022 – Authorizes a return of premiums paid by insureds.

HB 1098 – Changes the laws regarding trust companies.

SB 20 – Creates a state and local sales and use tax exemption for material, machinery, and energy used by commercial laundries in treating or cleaning textiles.

SB 142 – Requires the Department of Natural Resources, when developing a state implementation plan, state plan, or non-point source management plan for submission to the Environmental Protection Agency, to prepare an implementation impact report in lieu of a regulatory impact report in collaboration with certain other state entities. The report will be delivered to the Governor, Joint Committee on Government Accountability, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives along with the proposed plan 45 calendar days prior to submission to the Environmental Protection Agency.

SB 345 – Increases the fee that banks can charge consumers for loans of 30 days or more, to a maximum of $100. Limit now is $75.

District Visits
During the interim season between legislative sessions, I have been attending several meetings with local organizations and businesses and making constituent visits. This week I had a great tour of the Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital, and in the next few weeks I will be meeting with several more local businesses in District 120 including:

  • Crawford County Electric Co-Op, Bourbon—Sept. 28th at 10 AM
  • Crawford County Jail, Steelville—Oct. 5th at 10 AM
  • LMI Aerospace, Cuba — Oct. 12th at 10 AM
  • Wal-Mart Distribution Center — Oct. 19th at 10 AM

If you are a local business or organization and would like me to come visit your location, please email my legislator assistant, Dylan Bryant, at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

Facts & Figures
Each week you can find an interesting fact or figure here about Missouri!

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial consists of the Gateway Arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion, and St. Louis’ Old Courthouse. During a nationwide competition in 1947-48, architect Eero Saarinen’s inspired design for a 630-foot stainless steel arch was chosen as a perfect monument to the spirit of the western pioneers. Construction of the Arch began in 1963 and was completed on October 28, 1965.The Arch has foundations sunken 60 feet into the ground, and is built to withstand earthquakes and high winds. It sways up to one inch in a 20 mph wind, and is built to sway up to 18 inches.

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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