The Capitol Report | 12/17/2015

Common Violations & New Legislation Filed
In a few days, our families and friends will gather together to celebrate the spirit of Christmas. We will share our love and exchange gifts as a way of reminding one another of how much we care and how deeply blessed we truly are.  As we all start to travel and make our commutes this holiday season, I would like to share a few of the most common violations of law in our state. But first, thank you to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the chiefs and sheriffs of the 120th District for their input!

Careful Driving: Missouri law requires drivers to always drive in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed as not to endanger others. This is especially important to consider during inclement weather, as a safe rate of speed may be lower than posted speed limits – RSMo 304.012

Distracted Driving: Cell phone use and texting are two of the most common distractions. In Missouri, texting is banned for drivers 21 years of age or younger – RSMo 304.820

Headlamp Color: Auxiliary lamps may only be white, yellow, or amber in color – RSMo 307.095

Headlamps: A vehicle’s headlamps must be on when the windshield wipers are in use – RSMo 307.040

License Plates: License plates must be securely fastened and visible for inspection by any law enforcement entity. If you have frames around your license plates, ensure that the frames do not cover any part of the plates. – RSMo 301.130

Passing Lanes: Remember that the left lane is to be used primarily for passing, while the right lane is used for normal driving – RSMo 304.015

Seatbelts: In Missouri, the seatbelt law is secondary, which means a seatbelt violation cannot be the primary reason for stopping the vehicle. Seatbelts are required for passengers in the front seats. However, if the driver holds an intermediate driver license, all passengers must wear seat belts – RSMo 307.178

“Slow Down and Move Over”: Many Missouri drivers know to slow down and move over for police and emergency responders on Missouri’s roadways. However, in 2012, the state law was expanded to also apply to state transportation vehicles displaying flashing amber and white lights – RSMo 304.022

Tinted Windows: Current law states that the front side windows of a vehicle must allow at least 35% of light in, while the back side windows and rear window can be tinted any darkness. Missouri does allow special medical exceptions under certain circumstances. – RSMo 307.173

Tires: Studded snow tires are only allowed on Missouri roadways from Nov. 1 to Apr. 1 – RSMo 307.171

It is hard to believe this year is almost over! On January 6th, 2016 the Second Session of the 98th General Assembly will convene. I would like to share with you eight bills that I have pre-filed thus far. You may view the bills at: http://www.house.mo.gov/member.aspx?district=120 Please feel free to contact my office with any comments or questions.

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

Holiday Safety
In a few days, our families and friends will gather together to celebrate the spirit of Christmas. We will share our love and exchange gifts as a way of reminding one another of how much we care and how deeply blessed we truly are.  As we all start to travel and make our commutes this holiday season, I would like to share a few of the most common violations of law in our state. But first, thank you to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the chiefs and sheriffs of the 120th District for their input!

Careful Driving: Missouri law requires drivers to always drive in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed as not to endanger others. This is especially important to consider during inclement weather, as a safe rate of speed may be lower than posted speed limits – RSMo 304.012

Distracted Driving: Driver distraction is a contributing factor in many crashes. In 2014, distracted driving was reported in crashes that killed 3,179 people (10 percent of all fatalities), although many instances may go unreported. Cell phone use and texting are two of the most common distractions. In Missouri, texting is banned for drivers 21 years of age or younger – RSMo 304.820

Headlamp Color: Auxiliary lamps may only be white, yellow, or amber in color – RSMo 307.095

Headlamps: A vehicle’s headlamps must be on when the windshield wipers are in use – RSMo 307.040

License Plates: Missouri law requires that license plates be securely fastened to a vehicle, and that all parts of the plates are visible and clean for view or inspection by any law enforcement entity. If you have frames around your license plates, ensure that the frames do not cover any part of the plates. If you receive two plates, you must place one on the front and one on the back of your vehicle. Note: your vehicle must have a white light shining on the rear license plate so the plate can be seen from 50 feet.

If you have a trailer or a motorcycle, you will only receive one plate, which must be on the back of your vehicle. If you have a truck licensed in excess of 12,000 pounds, you will only receive one plate, which must be placed on the front of the truck. If you want a second plate, it must be specifically requested. You must place the original plate on the front of your truck and if a second plate is issued, it must be placed on the rear of the truck – RSMo 301.130 & 307.075

Passing Lanes: Remember that the left lane is to be used primarily for passing, while the right lane is used for normal driving – RSMo 304.015

Seatbelts: Seat belt laws are divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary seat belt laws allow law enforcement officers to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt, without any other traffic offense taking place. Secondary seat belt laws state that law enforcement officers may issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt only when there is another citable traffic infraction. In Missouri, the seatbelt law is secondary and applies to those in the front seats. However, if the driver holds an intermediate driver license, all passengers must wear seat belts – RSMo 307.178

“Slow Down and Move Over”: Many Missouri drivers know to slow down and move over for police and emergency responders on Missouri’s roadways. However, in 2012, the state law was expanded to also apply to state transportation vehicles displaying flashing amber and white lights – RSMo 304.022

Tinted Windows: In 2002, Missouri enacted laws regulating the Visible Light Transmission or VLT of tint placed on a windshield. Current law states that non-reflective tint is allows at the top of the front windshield above the AS-1 line. The front side windows must allow at least 35% of light in, while the back side windows and rear window can be tinted any darkness. Missouri does allow special medical exceptions under certain circumstances. Note: Dual side mirrors are required if your back window is tinted – RSMo 307.173

Tires: Studded snow tires are only allowed on Missouri roadways from Nov. 1 to Apr. 1 – RSMo 307.171

Pre-filed Legislation
It is hard to believe this year is almost over! On January 6th, 2016 the Second Session of the 98th General Assembly will convene. I would like to share with you eight bills that I have pre-filed thus far. Please feel free to contact my office with any comments or questions.

HB 1687 – Creates the budget planning incentive fund in which revenues disbursed to state agencies that are unused and saved for return back to the general revenue fund may be diverted for bonuses to state agency employees.

HB 1688 – Requires public officials to make use of electronic mail provided by the state for specified official purposes and when handling confidential information or intelligence materials. This bill requires public officials to make use of electronic mail provided by the state for specified official purposes and when handling confidential information or intelligence materials.

HB 1689 – Creates the crime of smoking in a motor vehicle while a minor is present in the vehicle, which is an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed $20. A law enforcement officer can only enforce this provision if they have already stopped and detained the driver operating the motor vehicle for a separate traffic violation.

HB 1690 – Requires the Office of Administration to contract with an out-of-state entity to conduct a government efficiency and reform review and analysis of the Executive Branch of state government and shall be known as “MO GEAR.”

HB 1691 – modifies the amount of cash, securities, or other total non-exempt assets an aged or disabled participant is allowed to retain in order to qualify for MO HealthNet benefits. Currently, the limit for a single person is $1,000 and the limit for a married couple is $2,000. The bill increases the limit to $2,000 for a single person and $4,000 for a married couple.

HB 1692 – Currently, any prior criminal convictions or any prior pleas of guilty, pleas of nolo contrendere, and finding of guilt may be used to effect a witness’s credibility in a court proceeding. This bill specifies that municipal offenses and any prior pleas of guilty, pleas of nolo contrendere, and finding of guilt in municipal court may also be used.

HB 1693 – Currently, if a person commits the offense of driving while intoxicated with a person less than 17 years of age in the car, the offense is a class A misdemeanor. This bill changes the age to less than 18 years and reclassifies the offense to a class E felony.

HB 1694 – This bill requires the Governor to issue writs of election within 30 days of notice of a vacancy or a resignation in the Senate or House of Representatives unless the term in office can be filled at a general election held within six months of the vacancy or resignation.

Legislative Agenda
Members of the House Majority Caucus met recently to discuss some of their legislative priorities for the upcoming session. While the issues will change and evolve as session progresses, the caucus meeting did make it clear that several items will be prominently discussed during the upcoming months.

Ethics Reform – The House Speaker has made meaningful, substantive ethics reform a top priority that will be one of the first things addressed when the session begins. Reforms will likely include a ban on all gifts from lobbyists to legislators, and an end to the revolving door that allows members to leave the legislature to immediately become lobbyists.

Transportation Funding – Missouri continues to face a funding crisis that will jeopardize the state’s ability to maintain and upgrade the state’s highways and bridges. House members are focused on finding transportation funding solutions, and are equally committed to doing so without increasing taxes on Missouri citizens.

Economic Development – The members of the Missouri House will continue efforts in 2016 to bolster Missouri’s economy by attracting more job creators to the state. The legislature will also continue to work to minimize bureaucratic red tape to ensure businesses can thrive and grow.

Stadium Financing – The legislature continues to be opposed to the governor’s plan to finance a new stadium for the St. Louis Rams without securing the approval of the public or the legislature.

Addressing the Terrorist Threat – In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, legislators in Missouri continue to look at ways to ensure the safety of Missouri citizens.

University of Missouri Reforms – Following the protests that led to the resignation of both the system president and the MU chancellor, legislators are now looking at reforms to ensure adequate oversight and accountability within the system. Legislators are committed to ensuring the state’s flagship state university can carry out its mission to provide a quality education to all students.

Reining in the Executive Branch – The Missouri House will continue its efforts to rein in a governor who continues to abuse his authority. The legislature will likely move to override the governor’s budget restrictions that he put in place despite having a revenue surplus.

Pro-Life Agenda – The legislature will continue its efforts to protect the sanctity of all life by working to make abortions even rarer and safer.

Protecting Second Amendment Rights – House members also will work this session to ensure the rights of law-abiding gun owners are protected.

Holiday Season Brings Good News
The holiday season in Missouri has brought with it the gift of good news. Missouri recently learned that things are trending in a positive direction for both the state’s system of education and the economy.

The state learned that Missouri’s high school graduation rate is now one of the best in the nation. According to U.S. Department of Education data, Missouri now has a 4-year graduation rate of 87.3 percent, which is an increase from the previous year’s rate of 85.7 percent. The percentage ranks Missouri in the top 10 in the nation, and significantly ahead of the national average of 82.3 percent. Also of note is that Missouri’s graduation rate surpasses the national average for all racial and ethnic groups and underserved populations.

On the economic front, the Missouri Department of Economic Development released the state’s most recent unemployment data. Missouri’s unemployment rate fell by three-tenths of a percent in November, and now stands at 4.7 percent. The current level of unemployment in Missouri is lower than the national average of 5 percent, and the lowest the state has seen since April 2006.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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