Tag Archives: chipman

The Capitol Report | January 18th, 2018

Reducing Burdensome Regulations

This week was another busy one at the Capitol! I filed HB 2175 on Wednesday, which would require the Children’s Division to refer all cases in which a birth mother or infant tests positive for illegal controlled substances after childbirth to the Juvenile Office. In light of recent changes within the Dep. of Social Services, this bill will help ensure that when the birth mother or her infant test positive for illegal substances that the proper authorities are notified and that such instances do not go unnoticed or unchecked. The full bill text can be found here: https://goo.gl/raEipq

In other news, the first bill the House passed this week was a ban on lobbyist gifts. Similar to legislation the House has passed in each of the last two sessions, the bill would ban gifts from lobbyists to legislators and other statewide elected officials.

The House also passed HB 1500, known as the hair braiding bill. This bill lowers regulations for certification, making it easier to open a small business. Just over 47% of all workers are employed by small businesses. Lowering regulations, like hair braiding requirements, will create more jobs in Missouri.

Also, another important piece of legislation passed through the House this week was HB 1246. The passage of this bill is a step forward in addressing the human trafficking in Missouri.  HB 1246 requires certain places, such as airports and train stations, to display posters informing victims of resources and services available to them. More on these bills below.

The discussion and passage of legislation to combat human trafficking took place in the Missouri House as the nation paused to observe National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. To raise awareness of this modern form of slavery, the president proclaimed January as a month to educate Americans about human trafficking.

Trafficking is one of the largest and fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world. It involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Each year millions of men, women, and children are bought and sold for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. The illegal industry generates billions of dollars in profits by victimizing people in countries in all parts of the world.

The Department of Homeland Security says everyone has a role to play in combating human trafficking, The first step in identifying victims is recognizing some of the key signs of human trafficking.

To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).

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

 

House Approves Bill to Reduce Burdensome Regulations (HB 1500)

The members of the Missouri House gave bipartisan support Wednesday morning to legislation meant to cut burdensome red tape and reduce government overregulation so that businesses can thrive in Missouri. The House approved HB 1500 to remove unnecessary burdens for those who want to braid hair in Missouri.

Under current law, hair braiders must complete 1,500 hours of training to receive a cosmetology license despite the fact the training does not cover hair braiding. The bill’s sponsor told his colleagues that the current requirements force hair braiders to undergo more training than it takes to become a police officer. He said his bill is meant to remove “unnecessary and irrational burdens” for those who wish to braid hair in Missouri.

The bill approved by the House would specify that hair braiders do not have to obtain a cosmetology license in order to earn a living. The bill would require individuals engaging in braiding to register with the State Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners. No education or training would be required to register, except that the hair braider would need to complete a self-test on infection control techniques and diseases of the scalp.

Missouri is currently one of just 13 states that require some form of cosmetology license for hair braiders. The bill sponsor said passage of the bill will help get the government “out of people’s hair.”

The bill passed the House by a vote of 131-17. It now moves to the Senate for consideration. The House passed similar legislation in 2017, but the bill failed to secure Senate approval before the session ended.

House Members Approve Lobbyist Gift Ban Legislation (HB 1303)

Also, on Wednesday morning, House members worked to once again pass legislation meant to diminish the influence of lobbyists. Similar to legislation the House has passed in each of the last two sessions, the bill would ban gifts from lobbyists to legislators and other statewide elected officials.

Missouri currently has no limits on lobbyist gifts. The bill House members passed this week would create a gift ban on gifts such as meals or tickets to concerts or sporting events. The bill contains some common sense exceptions such as one that would allow for events to which every member of the House and Senate are invited at least three days in advance. The sponsor explained the exception is meant to allow for grassroots-driven events where large groups of Missourians have the opportunity to meet with all members of the legislature. The bill also contains an exception that would allow a legislator to receive an award or accept flowers for the funeral of a loved one without breaking the law.

Supporters of the bill said it is meant to restore the public’s trust in its elected officials by eliminating any appearance of impropriety and banning all gifts that could give a lobbyist undue influence.

The bill passed with bipartisan support with a vote of 134-12. It now moves to the Senate for consideration. Previous versions of the bill did not receive Senate approval before time ran out in past legislative sessions.

House Members Approve Bill to Fight Human Trafficking (HB 1246)

Legislation is now on its way to the Senate that is meant to provide rescue information to victims of human trafficking, and educate citizens across the state about the growing criminal industry. The House approved HB 1246 by a bipartisan vote of 139-5.

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, Missouri currently ranks 20th in reported human trafficking cases. The state saw 74 human trafficking cases reported in 2017, and more than 200 cases reported over the last two years, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

The bill approved Wednesday morning would require the Department of Public Safety to develop a poster to promote the use of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline. The posters would be displayed at common areas where human trafficking can occur such as hotels or motels that have been cited for prostitution, and train and bus stations.

The sponsor of the bill said it will help to save lives and bring victims home to their families. She noted that studies have shown that when victims utilize hotline numbers, they have a better chance of getting rescued. The sponsor also pointed out that the bill will provide law enforcement officers with increased access to tips to allow them to combat trafficking.

If approved by both chambers and signed into law, Missouri would join more than 20 other states that already have similar posters in place.

Observing National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

The discussion and passage of legislation to combat human trafficking took place in the Missouri House as the nation paused to observe National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. To raise awareness of this modern form of slavery, the president proclaimed January as a month to educate Americans about human trafficking.

Trafficking is one of the largest and fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world. It involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Each year millions of men, women, and children are bought and sold for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. The illegal industry generates billions of dollars in profits by victimizing people in countries in all parts of the world.

The Department of Homeland Security says everyone has a role to play in combating human trafficking, The first step in identifying victims is recognizing some of the key signs of human trafficking. Some common indicators provided by the department to help recognize human trafficking include:

  • Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
  • Has a child stopped attending school?
  • Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
  • Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking. To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).

Capitol Visit

MORealtors2018
Yesterday, members from Missouri Realtors traveled to the Capitol to advocate for the opposition of changes to the historic tax credit and low-income housing credit, and for the support of first-time home buyer’s savings accounts and real estate licensee immunity from liability. It was great to see so many realtors from the 120th District!

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 415-B, 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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The Capitol Report | January 11th, 2018

Legislative Session Underway

The 99th Missouri General Assembly, Second Session, has officially begun. Governor Greitens delivered the 2018 State of the State Address yesterday in the House of Representatives Chamber at the Missouri State Capitol. In the address, the governor discussed the current condition of Missouri as a state, job growth, economic outlook and forecasts, among several other topics important to the well-being of the state.

As I have mentioned previously, 2017 played host to some very historic events in Missouri. Now, in 2018, the new year brings more topics to the table including approval of measures to cut bureaucratic red tape, lessen the regulatory burden on families and businesses, and advance policy changes that will provide more educational opportunities to young people in all parts of the state.

Also, late last night, following the State of the State Address, a story broke about Governor Greitens having an extramarital affair. The governor made a statement about this situation, but few factual details are known at this time. However, the following statement has been released by House leadership. “While the details of the story continue to emerge, the allegations made against the Governor last night are deeply concerning. The Governor must be forthright and accountable for his actions.”

More than anything, I am extremely disappointed. For the Governor to run on a platform of ethical behavior and, as he stated, “cleaning up the culture in Jefferson City”, I find his actions beyond hypocritical. My heart goes out to his wife, his children, and the other family affected during this difficult time.

In other news, the members of the Missouri House came together this week to make substantive ethics reform a top priority for the 2018 legislative session. The House gave initial approval to gift ban legislation that is similar to bills that received bipartisan House approval in both 2016 and 2017, but failed to secure final passage in the Senate.

This year’s version of the bill is meant to limit the influence lobbyists have on legislators by implementing a strict ban on gifts. The bill approved by the House would prohibit lobbyists from paying for things like steak dinners, tickets to sporting events and concerts, and travel and lodging expenses. The sponsor of the bill said it is meant to restore the public’s trust in its elected officials by eliminating any appearance of impropriety and banning all gifts that could give a lobbyist undue influence.

The bill now awaits a final vote in the House before moving to the Senate for consideration.

Moreover, as the nation paused to recognize Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11, the members of the House took action to address the growing problem that has devastated lives in the state and across the country. The Missouri House gave first-round approval to legislation that would make Missourians better aware of the resources available to assist victims of trafficking.

The bill would require the Department of Public Safety to develop a poster to promote the use of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline. The posters would be displayed at common areas where human trafficking can occur such as hotels or motels that have been cited for prostitution, and train and bus stations. Currently 28 other states require or encourage the display of trafficking hotline posters.

The House now needs to vote a final time on the bill before sending it to the Senate.

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

 

 

 

House Gives Initial Approval to Ethics Reform Legislation (HB 1303)

The members of the Missouri House came together this week to make substantive ethics reform a top priority for the 2018 legislative session. The House gave initial approval to gift ban legislation that is similar to bills that received bipartisan House approval in both 2016 and 2017, but failed to secure final passage in the Senate.

This year’s version of the bill is meant to limit the influence lobbyists have on legislators by implementing a strict ban on gifts. Currently, Missouri is one of only 10 states to have no limit or ban on gifts from lobbyists. The bill approved by the House would prohibit lobbyists from paying for things like steak dinners, tickets to sporting events and concerts, and travel and lodging expenses. The sponsor of the bill said it is meant to restore the public’s trust in its elected officials by eliminating any appearance of impropriety and banning all gifts that could give a lobbyist undue influence.

The bill does contain common sense exceptions that would still allow lobbyists to make expenditures to the entire General Assembly. The exception would allow for events to which every member of the House and Senate are invited at least three days in advance. The sponsor explained the exception is meant to allow for grassroots-driven events where large groups of Missourians have the opportunity to meet with all members of the legislature. The bill also contains an exception that would allow a legislator to receive an award or accept flowers for the funeral of a loved one without breaking the law.

The bill now awaits a final vote in the House before moving to the Senate for consideration.

House Members Continue the Fight against Human Trafficking (HB 1246)

As the nation paused to recognize Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11, the members of the House took action to address the growing problem that has devastated lives in the state and across the country. The Missouri House gave first-round approval to legislation that would make Missourians better aware of the resources available to assist victims of trafficking.

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, Missouri currently ranks 20th in reported human trafficking cases. The state saw 74 human trafficking cases reported in 2017, and more than 200 cases reported over the last two years, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Missouri is part of a global problem that has seen the trafficking industry grow into a multi-billion dollar industry.

The legislation approved by the House builds on past efforts to address the trafficking problem by making Missourians better aware of the resources available to assist victims of trafficking. The bill would require the Department of Public Safety to develop a poster to promote the use of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline. The posters would be displayed at common areas where human trafficking can occur such as hotels or motels that have been cited for prostitution, and train and bus stations. Currently 28 other states require or encourage the display of trafficking hotline posters.

Supporters of the bill say that requiring the posters to be displayed will help inform the public about human trafficking, and will help victims identify resources that can provide assistance. They note it’s also critical that law enforcement receive tips to help combat trafficking.

The House now needs to vote a final time on the bill before sending it to the Senate.

Federal Income Tax Changes

In light of the recent passage of the federal income tax overhaul, I thought it would be beneficial to provide you with a brief summary of the major changes.  The net effect of most of these changes is that corporations will see a significant decline in their tax rate, individual tax payers are being encouraged to take the standard deduction instead of itemizing, and the income tax brackets for filers are generally adjusted down.  Below is a brief list of the changes.

Changing from existing federal tax law:

  • The corporate income tax rate is reduced from 35% to 21%
  • Changes to the income tax brackets (10% up to 37%)
  • The Affordable Care Act individual mandate is removed
  • The standard deduction is increased:
  • From $6,350 to $12,000 for single filers
  • From $12,700 to $24,000 for married filing jointly
  • 529 education savings accounts are now eligible for K-12 spending
  • Allows for expenditures up to $10,000 to private institutions
  • The Child Tax Credit is increased from $1,000 to $2,000:
    • Is now refundable up to $1,400
    • For single filers making up to $200,000
    • For married filing jointly making up to $400,000
  • Creates a $500 credit for non-child dependents (includes parents and adults with disabilities)
  • Pass thru entities get up to a 20% earnings deduction that begins to phase out at $315,000
  • The estate (death) tax threshold is doubled
  • The $4,050 personal exemption is removed
  • The tax preparation deduction is removed
  • The moving expenses deduction is removed
  • Alimony is no longer deductible
  • Increases limits on the alternative minimum tax
  • Eliminates the $4,050 personal exemption
  • The state and local tax (SALT) deduction is now capped at $10,000

Not changing from existing federal tax law:

  • No changes to classroom supplies deduction
    • If a teacher uses personal money to purchase supplies
  • Home owners’ profit off of sale is still at the capital gains rate
  • Tuition waivers for graduate students remain tax free

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 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

The Capitol Report | January 4th, 2018

Legislative Session Begins

Last year, Missouri saw some historic events occur within our state. Now, in 2018, the new year brings more topics to the table including approval of measures to cut bureaucratic red tape, lessen the regulatory burden on families and businesses, and advance policy changes that will provide more educational opportunities to young people in all parts of the state.

Members gathered in the House Chamber Wednesday, January 3 as the 2018 legislative session officially began. The opening day activities were highlighted by a speech from House Speaker Todd Richardson who encouraged his colleagues to continue the work they have done to make the great state of Missouri even greater.

House leaders made it clear on the opening day of session that they plan to work quickly to pass several priority pieces of legislation.

The House is set to take up three pieces of legislation that have received strong bipartisan approval in the past:

Human Trafficking (HB 1246) – House members will work again this year to address the growing problem of human trafficking. The state is currently ranked 20th in reported human trafficking cases according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.

Ethics Reform (HB 1303) – House members will also work to once again pass legislation meant to diminish the influence of lobbyists. The bill House members will work to pass will create a gift ban with some common sense exceptions that would allow a legislator to receive an award or accept flowers for the funeral of a loved one without breaking the law.

Reducing Burdensome Regulations (HB 1500) – House members will also work to cut burdensome red tape and reduce government overregulation so that businesses can thrive in Missouri. Specifically, legislators will look at the issues faced by hair braiders in Missouri as they currently must obtain a cosmetology license that requires 1,500 hours of training that is not relevant to the practice of braiding. House members will work to again pass legislation to specify that hair braiders do not have to obtain a cosmetology license in order to earn a living.

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

 

 

State of the State Address

Governor Greitens will deliver the 2018 State of the State Address at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 10 in the House of Representatives Chamber at the Missouri State Capitol. In the address, the governor will discuss the current condition of Missouri as a state and may discuss job growth, economic outlook and forecasts, among several other topics important to the well-being of the state.

A live-stream of the message will be available at mo.gov

2018 Legislative Session Begins

Members gathered in the House Chamber Wednesday, January 3 as the 2018 legislative session officially began. The opening day activities were highlighted by a speech from House Speaker Todd Richardson who encouraged his colleagues to continue the work they have done to make the great state of Missouri even greater. As Richardson said in his speech, “That is why it is critical for those of us in our final session, and for those who will pick up the torch when we are gone, to make it our focus in everything we do to leave this state a better place than we found it.”

Richardson used his speech to highlight the accomplishments of the legislature during his time in office. As he pointed out, in recent years the General Assembly has been able to pass the first income tax cut in nearly a century; and made it clear the state is open for business by passing Right-to-Work, making the state’s legal environment fairer for both employees and employers, and taking steps to eliminate bureaucratic red tape.

Richardson also noted the legislature has fought for the core values that are important to Missouri families by “giving their children better opportunities to have the kind of educational experience that will prepare them for success.” Richardson said lawmakers have also worked to promote pro-life policies that protect the lives of the innocent unborn and the health of the mother; and defend and strengthen the gun ownership rights of law-abiding Missourians.

The Speaker then praised his colleagues for working together to create higher ethical standards to raise the level of accountability and trust in state government, and to strengthen the integrity of our democratic process by ensuring that elections are fair and accurate. Richardson said lawmakers have also made it clear that “the brave men and women who keep us safe will have our support.”

Looking ahead to the weeks to come in the 2018 session, the Speaker said he hopes lawmakers will continue to work to pass impactful ethics reform, and increase the level of trust and accountability between the citizens and their citizen legislators. He called on his colleagues to once again stand up for the working families across the state so that they and future generations can look forward to a more prosperous Missouri.

Speaker Richardson said the legislature has work to do so the session can be remembered as one that led to greater freedom for young Missourians seeking the education that will serve them best. As the Speaker said, the legislature must make the “state a place where everyone has the opportunity to build a great life for themselves no matter where they were born or what their parents did for a living.”

The Speaker said the legislature must also take action to help the many Missourians who must now fight through unfair and cumbersome regulations to offer a simple service such as braiding hair to provide for themselves and their families. He called on his colleagues to work this session to break down barriers for those Missourians who would bring innovation and economic opportunity to the state.

Speaker Richardson ended his comments asking his colleagues to “join together in service and good faith for the people of Missouri, so that each distinguished member of this House can one day look back during his or her final session and say that this chamber, this government, and our great state are better off than ever before.”

House Plans to Work Quickly to Pass Priority Legislation

House leaders made it clear on the opening day of session that they plan to work quickly to pass several priority pieces of legislation. The House is set to take up three pieces of legislation that have received strong bipartisan approval in the past. While these bills made it through the House, they did not receive Senate approval before time ran out on the 2017 session.

Lawmakers hope this year to move all three measures across the legislative finish line:

Human Trafficking (HB 1246) – House members will work again this year to address the growing problem of human trafficking. The state is currently ranked 20th in reported human trafficking cases according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Lawmakers hope to build on past efforts to address the trafficking problem by passing legislation that would make Missourians better aware of the resources available to assist victims of trafficking. The bill would require the Department of Public Safety to develop a poster to promote the use of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline. The posters would be displayed at common areas where human trafficking can occur such as hotels or motels that have been cited for prostitution, and train and bus stations.

Ethics Reform (HB 1303) – House members will also work to once again pass legislation meant to diminish the influence of lobbyists. Similar to legislation the House has passed in each of the last two sessions, the bill would ban gifts from lobbyists to legislators and other statewide elected officials. Missouri currently has no limits on lobbyist gifts. The bill House members will work to pass will create a gift ban with some common sense exceptions that would allow a legislator to receive an award or accept flowers for the funeral of a loved one without breaking the law.

Reducing Burdensome Regulations (HB 1500) – In the first weeks of session, House members will also work to cut burdensome red tape and reduce government overregulation so that businesses can thrive in Missouri. Legislators will look at the issues faced by hair braiders in Missouri as they currently must obtain a cosmetology license that requires 1,500 hours of training that is not relevant to the practice of braiding. In comparison, a real estate agent needs only 72 hours of training, and an emergency medical technician needs only 100 to be licensed. House members will work to again pass legislation to specify that hair braiders do not have to obtain a cosmetology license in order to earn a living. The bill would require individuals engaging in braiding to register with the State Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners. No education or training would be required to register, except that the hair braider would need to complete a self-test on infection control techniques and diseases of the scalp.

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 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

The Capitol Report | December 28th, 2017

2017 Year In Review

As Missourians prepare to welcome in the New Year, the General Assembly is gearing up for the start of the 2018 legislative session. While the new session will bring with it a number of legislative priorities that are important to Missouri families and businesses, it’s important to remember the 2017 session was a highly productive one with several major wins for the state.

One of the biggest highlights of the 2017 session is a fiscally responsible state spending plan that makes a record level of investment in K-12 education by fully funding the Foundation Formula for the first time. The legislature was also able to get a Right-to-Work bill to the governor that is meant to protect the rights of workers and encourage job creators to set up shop in the state. The new law is currently on hold because of a ballot initiative that voters will have the opportunity to vote on in 2018 to determine if Right-to-Work is right for Missouri.

Also during the 2017 session, the legislature approved tort reform bills to put an end to frivolous lawsuits by putting new expert witness standards in place, and strengthening Missouri’s workplace discrimination standards. Another major accomplishment for the legislature in 2017 was the passage of legislation that establishes a regulatory framework for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft so they can expand and create jobs throughout Missouri. Also, Missourians will now show a valid photo ID at the polling place to ensure they are who they say they are when voting.

The 2017 session also saw lawmakers approve legislation to allow Missourians to obtain a photo ID that is compliant with the federal REAL ID Act. And while the regular legislative session ended in May, several pressing issues brought legislators back for additional work during the summer months. The governor called lawmakers in for not one, but two, extraordinary sessions to consider policy changes that needed attention.

After successfully wrapping up the extraordinary sessions, lawmakers transitioned their efforts to the committee work that is a normal part of the interim period. In an effort to address Missouri’s crumbling roads and bridges, a group of lawmakers and civilians worked together to develop recommendations to repair the state’s aging transportation infrastructure. In 2017 the House Speaker also formed a group of lawmakers to look at the direction health care should take in Missouri.

New Year2017 brought with it many important moments for the legislature and for the people of Missouri. Lawmakers now turn their attention to the 2018 session, which promises to have several big ticket issues on the agenda. In the months to come legislators will look to pass substantive ethics reform, approve measures to cut bureaucratic red tape and lessen the regulatory burden on families and businesses, and advance policy changes that will provide more educational opportunities to young people in all parts of the state. The 2018 legislative session begins Jan. 3.

Have a happy and safe New Year!

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

 

 

 

2017 Year In Review

As Missourians prepare to welcome in the New Year, the General Assembly is gearing up for the start of the 2018 legislative session. While the new session will bring with it a number of legislative priorities that are important to Missouri families and businesses, it’s important to remember the 2017 session was a highly productive one with several major wins for the state.

One of the biggest highlights of the 2017 session is a fiscally responsible state spending plan that makes a record level of investment in K-12 education by fully funding the Foundation Formula for the first time. The legislature was also able to get a Right-to-Work bill to the governor that is meant to protect the rights of workers and encourage job creators to set up shop in the state. The new law is currently on hold because of a ballot initiative that voters will have the opportunity to vote on in 2018 to determine if Right-to-Work is right for Missouri.

Also during the 2017 session, the legislature approved tort reform bills to put an end to frivolous lawsuits by putting new expert witness standards in place, and strengthening Missouri’s workplace discrimination standards. Another major accomplishment for the legislature in 2017 was the passage of legislation that establishes a regulatory framework for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft so they can expand and create jobs throughout Missouri.

Another major development in 2017 was the institution of a photo ID requirement for voting in Missouri. It was in November of 2016 that Missouri voters overwhelmingly supported a system of photo Voter ID meant to protect the integrity of the elections process. The legislation approved by the General Assembly, which serves as a companion piece to the voter-approved constitutional change, officially went into effect June 1. Now, Missourians will show a valid photo ID at the polling place to ensure they are who they say they are when voting.

The 2017 session also saw lawmakers approve legislation to allow Missourians to obtain a photo ID that is compliant with the federal REAL ID Act. Missourians were in danger of being unable to fly domestically or visit federal facilities with their current IDs because they are not compliant. However, with the passage of the bill, the federal government has now granted the state a waiver that will allow Missourians to travel with their existing IDs until Oct. 10 of 2018. The state will not have the new compliant IDs available until March of 2019, which means Missouri will eventually seek another waiver to allow residents to use their existing IDs to fly or visit military bases until the new IDs are in place.

While the regular legislative session ended in May, several pressing issues brought legislators back for additional work during the summer months. The governor called lawmakers in for not one, but two, extraordinary sessions to consider policy changes that needed attention.

The first extraordinary session moved quickly and efficiently as the House and Senate worked to get a jobs bill across the legislative finish line in a matter of days. The General Assembly approved legislation meant to bring 500 good-paying jobs to Southeast Missouri.The legislation approved by the General Assembly allows the Missouri Public Service Commission to consider lower utility rates for a longer contract of service for companies that use tremendous amounts of electricity.

The second extraordinary session called by the governor saw legislators work to better ensure the health and safety of women by putting common sense safety requirements in place for abortion clinics. The bill approved by the House and Senate also protects pregnancy resource centers from a city ordinance the governor says has made St. Louis an abortion sanctuary city.

After successfully wrapping up the extraordinary sessions, lawmakers transitioned their efforts to the committee work that is a normal part of the interim period. In an effort to address Missouri’s crumbling roads and bridges, a group of lawmakers and civilians worked together to develop recommendations to repair the state’s aging transportation infrastructure. The 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force was created by HCR 47 that was passed during the 2017 legislative session. The task force is set to reveal its recommendations as the 2018 session begins. The transportation funding issue was also considered by the House Policy Development Caucus, which also has a series of recommendations for adequately funding Missouri’s roads and bridges.

In 2017 the House Speaker also formed a group of lawmakers to look at the direction health care should take in Missouri.The Interim Committee on Stabilizing Missouri’s Health Insurance Markets was created for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of what changes at the federal level will mean to markets in the state. The committee has looked at how the rollback of the Affordable Care Act will alter the health insurance climate in Missouri, and worked to determine if Missouri should pursue a federal waiver to sidestep requirements of the ACA and allow the state to have greater flexibility and stability for the health insurance market.

A Task Force on Dyslexia completed its work in 2017 and released recommendations for having Missouri public school students screened for dyslexia. The task force’s report to legislative leaders and the governor recommends that all students in kindergarten through grade three be screened for dyslexia and related disorders beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

2017 brought with it many important moments for the legislature and for the people of Missouri. Lawmakers now turn their attention to the 2018 session, which promises to have several big ticket issues on the agenda. In the months to come legislators will look to pass substantive ethics reform, approve measures to cut bureaucratic red tape and lessen the regulatory burden on families and businesses, and advance policy changes that will provide more educational opportunities to young people in all parts of the state. The 2018 legislative session begins Jan. 3.

Missouri is Modernizing its Foster Care System

Last Friday, First Lady Sheena Greitens announced that Missouri is modernizing its foster care system by joining the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE). NEICE allows child welfare agencies to share Interstate Compact and the Placement of Children (ICPC) forms and information electronically.

“Red tape and bureaucracy shouldn’t keep kids in foster care from finding their “forever families.”

The first lady stated that, “If a family in Iowa or Illinois wants to adopt a child from Missouri foster care, or an aunt in Arkansas wants to become their guardian, the child shouldn’t have to wait in limbo for six months or a year until the paperwork gets done. But all too often, that’s exactly what happens. That’s why I’m delighted today to announce that Missouri is joining the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE). It’s designed to expedite the placement of children in safe, permanent families across state lines, and to reduce administrative paperwork and costs.”

NEICE takes a system that currently relies on photocopying and snail mail and puts that process online, cutting out unnecessary red tape and bureaucratic delays. A pilot study found that NEICE cut the time spent on paperwork for an interstate placement by 20% to 45%. As a result, children got to their forever families over a month faster.

Eventually, NEICE could also be used to facilitate inter-state cooperation on issues like child abuse investigations and combating human trafficking.

Treasurer Schmitt Asks Legislators to Allow Tax Relief in Upcoming Session

Last week, Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt sent a letter to all members of the Missouri General Assembly urging them to allow tax relief to take effect by not decoupling Missouri’s standard deduction from its federal counterpart.

The standard deduction, which makes a portion of a taxpayer’s income exempt from taxation, will nearly double under the federal tax reform bill passed by Congress yesterday. Since Missouri’s standard deduction is linked to the federal figure those changes will automatically carry through to the state tax code, barring legislative action.

“I sincerely believe letting Missourians keep more of their hard-earned money is always the right thing to do,” wrote Schmitt. “Allowing Missouri’s standard deduction to be nearly doubled is one way to achieve that goal, and I encourage you to remain steadfast in your opposition to any measure that would reverse or prevent that automatic change.”

The full text of the letter is available at: https://treasurer.mo.gov/docs/default-source/default-document-library/schmitt_letter_dec21.pdf

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 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

The Capitol Report | December 21st, 2017

Missouri Veterans Homes & Pre-Filed Bills

Last week, I shared with you that the St. Louis Veterans Home has been under investigation following a series of complaints made by family members of veterans residing in the veterans home. Since this announcement, there has been some concern regarding the potential for the veterans homes in the state to become privatized. This is very unlikely. All of the Missouri veterans home are regulated under federal law, not state law. Moreover, the governor’s office has indicated this is not likely a path they will choose to pursue.

Earlier this week, I pre-filed four bills for the upcoming legislative session. They are as follows:

HB 1678—Establishes the “Curriculum Transparency Act”. The act would require any public university or college in Missouri to make publicly available the curriculum for any degree offered by the institution.

HB 1679—Prohibits public institutions of higher education from requiring students to purchase a meal plan when a student presents medical documentation of a food allergy or sensitivity, or a medical dietary issue

HB 1680—Prohibits public institutions of higher education from requiring students to live on campus, except for first-year freshmen who may be required to live in campus housing for their first year

HB 1681—Specifies that convictions and certain pleas in municipal court may be proved to affect the credibility of a witness

In other news, earlier this week, the Missouri Housing Development Commission voted 8 to 2 to zero out the state’s low-income housing tax credit for the year. It also voted to apply for the federal version of the incentive. The commission’s vice chair, former state Sen. Jason Crowell, speared the commission’s move. He’s been critical for years of the low-income housing tax credit, but failed in his efforts to scale back the program during his time in the Missouri Senate.

Lt. Governor Mike Parson led the opposition to the commission’s decision. He said it would make it harder to provide housing not only to low-income urban residents, but to rural Missourians and military veterans as well. Parson recommended an alternate plan to study how eliminating the tax break would affect the state, but it was voted down.

Lastly, it is hard to believe, but Christmas is just around the corner and the year is nearing its end. Please have a very Merry Christmas!

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

 

 

Missouri Veterans Homes

Last week, I shared with you that the St. Louis Veterans Home has been under investigation following a series of complaints made by family members of veterans residing in the veterans home. Ultimately, an independent investigation revealed serious issues across a variety of areas.

As a result, the governor launched full investigations into each of Missouri’s other veterans homes. Since this announcement, there has been some concern regarding the potential for the veterans homes in the state to become privatized. This is very unlikely. All of the Missouri veterans home are regulated under federal law, not state law. Moreover, the governor’s office has indicated this is not likely a path they will choose to pursue.

Pre-filed Bills

Earlier this week, I pre-filed four bills for the upcoming legislative session. They are as follows:

HB 1678—Establishes the “Curriculum Transparency Act”. The act would require any public university or college in Missouri to make publicly available the curriculum for any degree offered by the institution. Many colleges and universities already post the “curriculum” for specific degrees, but that information often fails to include any details beyond a very general description of the overall program. The proposed legislation would explicitly include syllabi, reading lists, attendance requirements, extra credit opportunities and required homework or projects as part of the information to be made available to the public.

HB 1679—Prohibits public institutions of higher education from requiring students to purchase a meal plan when a student presents medical documentation of a food allergy or sensitivity, or a medical dietary issue

HB 1680—Prohibits public institutions of higher education from requiring students to live on campus, except for first-year freshmen who may be required to live in campus housing for their first year

HB 1681—Specifies that convictions and certain pleas in municipal court may be proved to affect the credibility of a witness

Low Income Housing Tax Credit

Earlier this week, the Missouri Housing Development Commission voted 8 to 2 to zero out the state’s low-income housing tax credit for the year. It also voted to apply for the federal version of the incentive.

The commission’s 6 to 2 initial vote last month was followed by a period of public comment. But in the end it did not change things, as none of the commissioners who voted last month to cut off low income housing incentives changed their minds. Governor Greitens phoned into the meeting and voted in favor of zeroing out the tax credits. He said in a written statement that special interests abused low income housing tax breaks to make themselves rich.

“There are a lot of ‘developers’ and ‘syndicators’ who profit from taxpayer dollars, and they pay politicians big bucks to keep the program in place,” the governor said. “We need a quality program to actually get results for people – not a special interest scheme that makes insiders rich.

The commission’s vice chair, former state Sen. Jason Crowell, speared the commission’s move. He’s been critical for years of the low-income housing tax credit, but failed in his efforts to scale back the program during his time in the Missouri Senate.

“Forty-two cents of every dollar actually goes to housing,” he told reporters after the vote. “As I’ve said over and over again, only politicians spending other people’s money think it’s a good deal to spend a dollar for only 42 cents worth of bread.”

Lt. Governor Mike Parson led the opposition to the commission’s decision. He said it would make it harder to provide housing not only to low-income urban residents, but to rural Missourians and military veterans as well.

“People out there that’s affected by this, at the end of the day, we’re not giving them much of a solution for the problem,” he said. “We made a decision today on no factual basis, whatsoever…more politics than factual.”

Parson recommended an alternate plan to study how eliminating the tax break would affect the state, but it was voted down.

A History of Christmas

Christmas

Christmas is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For two millennia, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature. Of course, Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the commemoration of the birth of Jesus. Christmas customs include attending church, exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, sharing meals with family and friends and, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. Of course, today December 25 is a federal holiday.

In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the primary holiday, and believe it or not, the birth of Jesus was not celebrated! In the fourth century, Pope Julius I decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century. By the end of the eighth century, the celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to Scandinavia. Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day that the three wise men completed their journey to find Jesus in the manger.

In the early 17th century, religious backlash changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and, as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas. However, with the Stuart Restoration of Charles II, the Christmas celebration returned. The pilgrims, English separatists who came to America in 1620, were also very strict in their Puritan, and as a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early New England. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. In contrast, Captain John Smith of Jamestown reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident. However, after the American Revolution, another backlash occurred and English customs fell out of favor, including the celebration of Christmas.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that Americans began to embrace Christmas. In 1819, best-selling author Washington Irving wrote “The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.” a series of stories about the celebration of Christmas in an English manor house. The sketches feature a squire who invited the peasants into his home for the holiday. In contrast to the problems faced in American society, the two groups mingled effortlessly. In Irving’s mind, Christmas should be a peaceful, warm-hearted holiday bringing groups together across lines of wealth or social status.

As Americans began to embrace Christmas as a family holiday, old customs were unearthed. People looked toward recent immigrants and Catholic and Episcopal churches to see how the day should be celebrated. In the next 100 years, Americans built a Christmas tradition all their own and formed the holiday we know today. Christmas became a federal holiday in 1870.

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 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

The Capitol Report | December 14th, 2017

St. Louis Veterans Home & Tax Assistance

As you may know from the news, the St. Louis Veterans Home has been under investigation following a series of complaints made by family members of veterans residing in the veterans home. Ultimately, an independent investigation revealed serious issues across a variety of areas. As a result, the governor launched full investigations into each of Missouri’s other veterans homes, replaced all five of the previous administration’s appointees to the Missouri Veterans Commission, called on Larry Kay to be replaced as the Executive Director of the Missouri Veterans Commission, and for Rolando Carter, the administrator of the home, to be fired. This topic is discussed in more detail below.

Now, for some good news. The Missouri Department of Revenue has decided to reopen its tax assistance office located in the Harry S Truman State Office Building at 301 West High Street, Room 330, in Jefferson City. This office is open to the public from 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday and is staffed with tax experts who are available to provide assistance with business tax registration, income tax compliance, corporate income tax questions, lien/garnishment resolution, and electronic filing for online filing and payments, among other services. This is a great free resource to those that may need assistance during the tax filing season! For more info, visit: http://dor.mo.gov/news/newsitem/uuid/3605234a-79c4-4942-bf75-0b2104bc07ec

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

 

 

St. Louis Veterans Home

The St. Louis Veterans Home has been under an independent investigation, ordered by Governor Greitens, following a series of complaints made by family members of veterans residing in the Veterans Home. Specifically, in July 2017, the governor’s office received reports of mistreatment and inadequate care at the St. Louis Veterans Home. The Missouri Veterans Commission (MVC) oversees and runs these homes. The governor told the MVC that he expected answers—an immediate investigation and response. The MVC reported that they were unable to find evidence confirming the allegations.

The governor then instructed the Department of Public Safety to follow up, looking for any criminal misconduct. At the conclusion of their work, the Department of Public Safety advised the governor to call in the US Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct another full and complete investigation. The governor then requested an investigation from the VA. They published a 57-page report that examined the quality of the home against 158 different standards. The VA said that, for all 158 standards, the St. Louis Veterans Home met all quality thresholds.

However, not dissuaded by the results and among continued complaints, the governor decided to order an independent investigation of the St. Louis Veterans Home commissioned by Missouri’s Department of Public Safety and conducted by Harmony Healthcare International. Ultimately, the independent investigation revealed serious issues across a variety of areas. As a result, the governor launched full investigations into each of Missouri’s other veterans homes, replaced all five of the previous administration’s appointees to the Missouri Veterans Commission, called on Larry Kay to be replaced as the Executive Director of the Missouri Veterans Commission, and for Rolando Carter, the administrator of the home, to be fired.

“Big government failed these veterans. The Missouri Veterans Commission and VA told us that there was nothing wrong with these homes. Based on what the families told us, however, we were still concerned. So we launched an independent investigation. It found failures at the St. Louis Veterans Home that the VA and Missouri Veterans Commission missed or ignored,” said Governor Greitens.

The governor added: “We hold leaders responsible. Missouri’s veterans—our neighbors, friends, parents, and grandparents–were being hurt. When people are being hurt, and bureaucrats fail to act, fail to listen, and offer only excuses, we’re going to find out, and they are going to be fired.”

Missouri Department of Revenue Tax Assistance Office Reopens

The Missouri Department of Revenue has reopened its Jefferson City Tax Assistance Office. Located in the Harry S. Truman State Office Building at 301 West High Street, Room 330, the office is open to the public from 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday. Tax experts are available to provide assistance with business tax registration, income tax compliance, corporate income tax questions, lien/garnishment resolution, and electronic filing for online filing and payments, among other services. The Jefferson City Tax Assistance Office was one of seven such offices that were closed in 2014.

“A principle focus of the leadership of the Department of Revenue over the last year has been to dramatically enhance our level of customer service from where it has been in the past,” said Joel Walters, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue. “Reopening the Tax Assistance Office is part of a larger, renewed commitment to serving our customers better. We understand and appreciate what a void closure of this office left, as well as the tremendous value bringing back face-to-face expert assistance provides.”

(For more info, visit: http://dor.mo.gov/news/newsitem/uuid/3605234a-79c4-4942-bf75-0b2104bc07ec)

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 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

The Capitol Report | December 7th, 2017

Bill Pre-Filing Begins & California Egg Lawsuit

While the 2018 legislative session is still weeks away, House members are busy filing the legislation they will work to pass into law in the coming year. Friday, Dec. 1 marked the first day legislators in both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly could pre-file bills for the upcoming session.

The pre-filing period is already moving at a frenetic pace as House members have filed nearly 300 bills in the first five days. In comparison, House members pre-filed a total of 373 bills throughout the entire pre-filing period for the 2017 session, and 366 pieces of legislation for the 2015 regular session. So far the 2018 pre-filing period is on a pace similar to the 2016 session that set the high water mark for pre-filed bills in the House at 623.

In other news, Missouri’s Attorney General is renewing efforts to challenge a California law that forces Missouri egg producers to comply with California’s farming regulations in order to sell eggs in California. Attorney General Josh Hawley is leading the challenge that is joined by 12 other states. The 13 states are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block the California law that requires eggs sold in the state to come from hens that have a specified amount of space in their cages.

Hawley said the regulations are “unconstitutional and a clear attempt by big-government proponents to impose job-killing regulations on Missouri.” The legal challenge made by the states provides an economic analysis showing the impact of California’s burdensome regulations. The lawsuit alleges the California law has cost consumers across the nation up to $350 million each year because of higher egg prices. A study done by an economist at the University of Missouri found that the price of a dozen eggs has increased between 1.8 percent and 5.1 percent over the last two years because of the California law.

The suit brought by Missouri and 12 other states claims that California’s regulations violate both a federal law prohibiting states from imposing their own standards on eggs produced in other states, and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress exclusive authority to regulate commerce among and between states. A similar lawsuit was previously rejected by a federal appeals court. The current legal challenge asks the Supreme Court to take up the case directly, and provides the economic analysis to show the California law impacts more than just individual farmers.

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

 

 

House Members Gear Up for 2018 Session as Bill Pre-Filing Period Begins

While the 2018 legislative session is still weeks away, House members are busy filing the legislation they will work to pass into law in the coming year. Friday, Dec. 1 marked the first day legislators in both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly could pre-file bills for the upcoming session.

The pre-filing period is already moving at a frenetic pace as House members have filed nearly 300 bills in the first five days. In comparison, House members pre-filed a total of 373 bills throughout the entire pre-filing period for the 2017 session, and 366 pieces of legislation for the 2015 regular session. So far the 2018 pre-filing period is on a pace similar to the 2016 session that set the high water mark for pre-filed bills in the House at 623.

House Speaker Todd Richardson issued the following statement on the first day of pre-filing: “We came to Jefferson City to get results for Missouri families, and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re taking action on important issues. Members of the House have filed bills today that increase educational opportunities, improve economic growth, and cut burdensome regulations and barriers to innovation. I look forward to working with the Governor and House members to get these priorities passed.”

Missouri Attorney General Challenges California Egg Law

Missouri’s Attorney General is renewing efforts to challenge a California law that forces Missouri egg producers to comply with California’s farming regulations in order to sell eggs in California. Attorney General Josh Hawley is leading the challenge that is joined by 12 other states. The 13 states are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block the California law that requires eggs sold in the state to come from hens that have a specified amount of space in their cages.

Hawley said the regulations are “unconstitutional and a clear attempt by big-government proponents to impose job-killing regulations on Missouri.” The legal challenge made by the states provides an economic analysis showing the impact of California’s burdensome regulations. The lawsuit alleges the California law has cost consumers across the nation up to $350 million each year because of higher egg prices. A study done by an economist at the University of Missouri found that the price of a dozen eggs has increased between 1.8 percent and 5.1 percent over the last two years because of the California law.

The suit brought by Missouri and 12 other states claims that California’s regulations violate both a federal law prohibiting states from imposing their own standards on eggs produced in other states, and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress exclusive authority to regulate commerce among and between states. A similar lawsuit was previously rejected by a federal appeals court. The current legal challenge asks the Supreme Court to take up the case directly, and provides the economic analysis to show the California law impacts more than just individual farmers.

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 415-B, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov