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Capitol report

The members of the Missouri House and Senate worked together this week to override the governor’s veto of legislation to reform Missouri’s system of welfare so that it does a better job of moving folks out of poverty and toward self-sufficiency. The override motion cleared the House by a vote of 113-42 and the Senate by a vote of 25-9.

Another bill on its way to the governor’s desk would protect Missourians from some municipalities that have exhibited predatory practices to raise revenue through excessive traffic tickets. The bill approved by the House and Senate is designed to shut down “speed traps” by limiting the amount of revenue municipalities can generate from traffic violations.

The plan that is now just a signature from the governor away from becoming law would limit the amount of revenue municipalities can generate from traffic tickets to 20 percent, which is down from the current limit of 30 percent. The bill further limits municipalities in St. Louis County, which has been plagued by excessive traffic violations, so that only 12.5 percent of their total revenue can be derived from traffic tickets.

The bill also creates additional protections for Missourians by ending the process of courts issuing failure to appear charges against defendants for missing court dates on minor traffic violations. The bill also would prevent courts from ordering jail time for individuals who fail to pay traffic fines.

The House also took up and approved legislation that the President Pro Tem and I have been working very diligently to pass. SB 322 would allow elderly and disabled Missourians to possess more assets and still qualify for Medicaid.

Current law allows an individual to have only $1,000 in assets to qualify for Medicaid assistance. A married couple has an asset limit of $2,000. The bill approved by the House would steadily increase these limits to $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a couple by 2020. After that, the limits would continue to increase with the rate of inflation.

The bill received strong bipartisan support on the floor where I noted that Missouri’s assets limits haven’t changed since 1973. Supporters said the current limits prevent some of Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens from having enough in savings to adequately provide for themselves, or pay for things like emergency car or home repairs. The bill is now headed for a conference committee where selected members from the House and Senate will negotiate the final version.

Please contact me at 201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 411-2, Jefferson City, Mo. 65101-6806; by phone at 573-751-3455 or by email at

State Rep. Kevin Engler, R-116

State Rep. Kevin Engler, R-116

This report is filed at the end of each week during the legislative session. This report was filed May 8, 2015.

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