The Capitol Report | October 13th, 2016

Budget Withholdings & Human Trafficking

Shortly after the legislature overrode the vetoes of several House and Senate bills last month, the governor responded by withholding approximately $59 million from the state’s current operating budget. Nixon had previously restricted $115 million in funding from the budget in July. This week the governor released $12 million of the withheld funds with the majority of the funds going to public schools. The governor cited revenue growth of 5.8 percent in September as the reason for his decision. Even with the release of funds, the governor continues to withhold $162 million in funding from the state’s $27.3 billion budget. The state will need to continue to see healthy revenue growth in order for the remainder of the budget restrictions to be released.

In other news, throughout the interim and until the end of the year, committees and task forces continue to meet on a variety of important issues in our state. Recently, the Human Trafficking Task Force, chaired by Rep. Elijah Haahr, held two hearings to discuss Missouri’s next steps in fighting human trafficking in the state. The task force learned that trafficking victims who are rescued often need months and even years of mental, emotional, and physical treatment. Treatment is extremely expensive and time consuming and there is currently a lack of resources for victims of trafficking.

The task force chairman said the group will consider recommending budgetary proposals that would give financial backing to the groups that offer treatment to victims. A subcommittee within the task force is currently studying the issue. The task force will also consider recommending the creation of a state position that would be dedicated to dealing with trafficking issues. Additionally, the task force will recommend that the state require or recommend that the national trafficking hotline be posted in employers’ breakrooms, and that former trafficking victims be given options to expunge prior prostitution convictions. The task force plans to meet again in November or December to finalize the recommendations it will make to the General Assembly.

As a reminder, I will be holding a local listening post open to the public on Monday, October 24th at 6 PM at the Country Kitchen in Cuba. Aaron Jeffries, Deputy Director of Outreach and Policy with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and other conservation staff will join me. The listening post will provide local citizens with the opportunity to ask any questions, provide suggestions or comments, discuss new hunting and fishing regulations, learn about MDC programs and services, and other related topics.

You may read in more detail about what is happening at your State Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

Governor Nixon Releases Some Withheld Funds

Shortly after the legislature overrode the vetoes of several House and Senate bills last month, the governor responded by withholding approximately $59 million from the state’s current operating budget. Nixon had previously restricted $115 million in funding from the budget in July.

This week the governor released $12 million of the withheld funds with the majority of the funds going to public schools. The governor cited revenue growth of 5.8 percent in September as the reason for his decision. Even with the release of funds, the governor continues to withhold $162 million in funding from the state’s $27.3 billion budget. The state will need to continue to see healthy revenue growth in order for the remainder of the budget restrictions to be released.

Task Force Meets Again to Discuss Ways to Fight Human Trafficking

Members of the Human Trafficking Task Force held two hearings recently to discuss Missouri’s next steps to fight trafficking in the state. Task Force members met in Mehlville and Columbia to take testimony on the issue that continues to destroy lives in Missouri and around the world. In Columbia the task force heard emotional testimony from a woman who told the story of how she was trafficked by her parents from the time she was a toddler. Her courageous decision to share her story reminded the committee that trafficking too often begins at a young age and within a family.

The chairman of the task force said the witness’s testimony highlighted many of the issues the task force hopes to address as it continues its work. The task force hopes to look at ways to prevent trafficking, to catch it when it happens, to make sure the multiple agencies that might be exposed to trafficking would refer such a case to an investigating agency, and to back groups that support victims’ transitions into life after trafficking. The task force learned that trafficking victims who are rescued often need months and even years of mental, emotional, and physical treatment. Treatment is extremely expensive and time consuming and there is currently a lack of resources for victims of trafficking. The task force chairman said the group will consider recommending budgetary proposals that would give financial backing to the groups that offer treatment to victims. A subcommittee within the task force is currently studying the issue.

The task force will also consider recommending the creation of a state position that would be dedicated to dealing with trafficking issues. Additionally, the task force will recommend that the state require or recommend that the national trafficking hotline be posted in employers’ breakrooms, and that former trafficking victims be given options to expunge prior prostitution convictions. The task force plans to meet again in November or December to finalize the recommendations it will make to the General Assembly.

Cuba Listening Post

As a reminder, I will be holding a local listening post open to the public on Monday, October 24th at 6 PM at the Country Kitchen in Cuba, MO. Aaron Jeffries, Deputy Director of Outreach and Policy with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and other conservation staff will join me. The listening post will provide local citizens with the opportunity to ask any questions, provide suggestions or comments, discuss new hunting and fishing regulations, learn about MDC programs and services, and other related topics.

I look forward to the opportunity of holding a listening post in the 120th Legislative District. I know individuals have questions, suggestions, and concerns. Therefore, I encourage everyone who is able to come out and join us on the 24th for an informative 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 115-H, 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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