The Capitol Report | 1/21/2016

Sponsored legislation, State of the State, & Rejected Tax

It has been another productive week at the State Capitol! First, I would like to discuss a few bills that I have filed this legislative session:

HB 2089
House Bill 2089 gives all non-charter counties the option to publish annually required county financial statements on either a dedicated county website or in a newspaper. HB 2089 provides options for cash-strapped counties, while still ensuring citizens are able to readily access important financial documents and statements. If a county opts to post financial statements online, as opposed to a newspaper, a request for a copy of the financial documentation must be provided at the county’s expense.

HB 2090
House Bill 2090 specifies that no public administrator acting as guardian or conservator can be required to disclose any personal or financial information including his or her social security number or personal bank account number to any party with which they are contracting on behalf of a ward or protectee.

HB 2091
House Bill 2091 decreases the amount the division must reimburse a county jail or other institution for the costs of detention from at least $30 per day per offender to at least $25 per day per offender. The Department of Corrections is required to enter into an annual contractual agreement with the counties to pay this amount by June 30th of each year.

HB 2092
House Bill 2092 specifies when the visual and aural recordings of verbal and nonverbal statements of a child under the age of 14 who witnessed a crime can be admitted into evidence in a court proceeding.

In other news, Governor Jay Nixon delivered his final State of the State Address this week as he called on legislators to work with him to advance several issues including ethics reform. Immediately after he finished his speech, House Speaker Todd Richardson delivered his response to the governor’s call to action. It was during his response that Richardson noted that the governor has too often been someone who pledges to work with the General Assembly, but then fails to live up to his promise.

As it has done several times over the years, the Missouri House of Representatives took action this week to reject a proposed tax increase on Missouri’s agricultural land. The House gave bipartisan support to HCR 58, which would reject a recommendation made by the Missouri Tax Commission for a five percent tax increase on farm and ranch properties. With House approval, the measure now moves to the Senate where it is expected to move quickly through the process.

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

Sponsored Legislation

It has been another productive week at the State Capitol! First, I would like to discuss a few bills that I have filed this legislative session:

HB 2089
House Bill 2089 gives all non-charter counties the option to publish annually required county financial statements on either a dedicated county website or in a newspaper. HB 2089 provides options for cash-strapped counties, while still ensuring citizens are able to readily access important financial documents and statements. If a county opts to post financial statements online, as opposed to a newspaper, a request for a copy of the financial documentation must be provided at the county’s expense.

HB 2090
House Bill 2090 specifies that no public administrator acting as guardian or conservator can be required to disclose any personal or financial information including his or her social security number or personal bank account number to any party with which they are contracting on behalf of a ward or protectee.

HB 2091
House Bill 2091 decreases the amount the division must reimburse a county jail or other institution for the costs of detention from at least $30 per day per offender to at least $25 per day per offender. The Department of Corrections is required to enter into an annual contractual agreement with the counties to pay this amount by June 30th of each year.

HB 2092
House Bill 2092 specifies when the visual and aural recordings of verbal and nonverbal statements of a child under the age of 14 who witnessed a crime can be admitted into evidence in a court proceeding.

State of the State Address

In other news, Governor Jay Nixon delivered his final State of the State Address this week as he called on legislators to work with him to advance several issues including ethics reform. Immediately after he finished his speech, House Speaker Todd Richardson delivered his response to the governor’s call to action. It was during his response that Richardson noted that the governor has too often been someone who pledges to work with the General Assembly, but then fails to live up to his promise.

“The hallmark of this governor is talk and not action,” said Richardson in his response. “Each January he comes to the General Assembly and promises to meaningfully engage on the challenges facing Missouri. With few exceptions, he has failed to deliver on that promise.”

Richardson went on to say, “This Republican legislature has pledged to lead even in the governor’s absence. Because of his lack of leadership, Governor Nixon has been overridden more times than every other governor in the history of this state combined.”

Richardson used his response to highlight the many accomplishments the legislature has made in recent years. He focused on the tax cut approved by the legislature and then put into effect as law over the governor’s veto. As Richardson said, “Because of these actions, and despite the governor’s objections, this year Missouri families will see their first income tax cut in nearly a century.”

The Speaker also mentioned the legislature’s efforts to protect the Second Amendment rights of Missourians. “Just last year this General Assembly defeated a proposal to enact a massive tax on guns and ammunition, and we will continue to defeat similar proposals going forward,” said Richardson.

The House Speaker also noted that the legislature has made great strides in protecting the lives of the unborn. He said because of legislative efforts there are now thirty percent fewer abortions in Missouri than there were a decade ago.

In his State of the State Address, the governor again called for Medicaid expansion, and the Speaker responded by saying the legislature will continue to stand firmly opposed to the federal health care plan. Speaker Richardson noted that even without expansion, Medicaid enrollment has increased 15 percent in the last 18 months, and spending has increased 26 percent since Governor Nixon took office.

“Republicans have stood adamantly opposed to an ever encroaching federal government and this is especially true with our health care,” said Richardson. “We will continue to oppose this president, this governor, and the Democrat party in their efforts to expand the failed and flawed Obamacare system.”

Transportation System
One of the major issues discussed by House Speaker Richardson in his response was the need to increase investment in the state’s transportation infrastructure. Richardson noted that, “investing in our state’s transportation funding isn’t just a convenience issue; it’s one of economic necessity and public safety.”

The Speaker said he is proposing, along with his fellow House and Senate leaders, that the state reinstitute the Missouri Department of Transportation cost-sharing program. Richardson said the once popular program among Missouri cities and counties will allow local governments to work with the state to meet the infrastructure needs of their communities.

“While this proposal won’t solve all our transportation problems, this investment will send a clear signal to job creators and industry that our state is making the necessary investments and improvements to our infrastructure to allow business to capitalize, expand, and grow,” said Richardson. “And we can do it without asking Missouri families for a single penny.”

Rejected Tax Increase 

As it has done several times over the years, the Missouri House of Representatives took action this week to reject a proposed tax increase on Missouri’s agricultural land. The House gave bipartisan support to HCR 58, which would reject a recommendation made by the Missouri Tax Commission for a five percent tax increase on farm and ranch properties.

A five percent increase went into effect in 2015 after the Tax Commission made a similar recommendation in 2014. Proponents of rejecting the new proposed increase said now is not the time for yet another tax increase on farmers and ranchers who are struggling in the current economy. They also noted that many of Missouri’s agricultural lands have been adversely impacted by flooding, which is something the commission doesn’t take into account when making its recommendation.

With House approval, the measure now moves to the Senate where it is expected to move quickly through the process.

Voter ID

The House approved and sent to the Senate this week two pieces of legislation designed to require a valid form of photo identification in order to vote.

One piece of legislation would change the Missouri Constitution to allow a system of voter identification. If approved by the legislature, the change would then need to be approved by Missouri voters. The constitutional change is necessary because a voter identification requirement put into law in 2006 was ultimately struck down as unconstitutional by the Missouri Supreme Court. Lawmakers hope to avoid a similar challenge in the future by amending the constitution to allow voter identification.

The second piece of legislation would implement the system of voter identification if the constitutional amendment is approved by voters. The bill would require voters to present a specified form of identification in order to vote in a public election. Valid forms of identification would include photo IDs issued by the state, the federal government or the military. The bill also would require the state to pay for individuals to obtain a valid ID if they do not have one, or to obtain documents necessary for an ID. The bill also states that individuals without a photo ID could still vote by casting a provisional ballot.

Supporters called the measures a necessary step to protect the integrity of the elections process. They said providing a valid photo ID is the best way to ensure voters are who they say they are when they cast their vote. They also deflected criticism that the bill would disenfranchise Missourians without an ID by pointing to the provisions that would require the state to help such individuals obtain state-issued photo identification.

Both measures now move to the Senate for discussion.

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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