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Bill passes out of House

** Missouri 117th District House Representative Mike Henderson, R-Bonne Terre, files his Capitol Report at the end of each week during the state legislative session.

It has been a long busy week at the Capitol with session lasting late into the night. We have passed a lot of legislation. Some great legislation and others that I am not in agreement with.

My bill, HB87 passed out of the House on Tuesday. HB87 Revises the definition of counties exempt from certain requirements of the county special road and bridge tax. This bill is specific to Saint Francois County and will help the county be able to spend their special bridge tax money more efficiently. Thus, this bill will save the county up to $400 thousand a year. Currently, HB87 is headed to The Senate. It is my hope that my bill will make its way out of The Senate and onto the Governor’s desk.

Four bills caught my attention this week. HCB3 eliminates the circuit breaker tax credit for renters and transfers the savings into the Missouri Senior Services Protection Fund. HCB 3 provides the state with $55 million for healthcare. This fund will be used to pay for senior services such as in home health and nursing home care. The focus will be on our most vulnerable citizens in the state and is merely a transfer of funds to continue defending those in need.

HB270 also caught my attention this week. HB270 raises the marriage age in Missouri from 15 to 17. We hope that this bill will reduce human trafficking. Currently, Missouri’s low marriage age allows human traffickers to bring people to the state for marriage. HB270 would fix this problem and send message that Missouri is addressing the issue of human trafficking.

HB634 has been a hot topic bill this week. HB634 will allow Charter Schools to open in any district that has one building underperform on its annual performance report for any two out of three year period. The Charter Schools have no accountability standard for student performance but we were able to get some accountability added. In this bill they are given 5 years. After that if they underperform for any two out of three year period they lose their charter and are shut down. Those provisions make the bill better than it was going to be but I am not convinced it is suitable for kids in areas where schools are already successful. However, In Saint Louis and Kansas City where entire school districts are failing kids I support the formation of Charter Schools. Those kids need another choice. The problem we have is many of the Charter Schools are in those areas were also an abject failure.

House members showed their support for the thousands of Missourians with developmental disabilities who develop professional skills in the state’s sheltered workshops through HCR 28. Sheltered Workshops provide a controlled work environment and a program designed toward enabling individuals with disabilities to progress toward normal living. Currently, more than 6,300 Missourians with developmental disabilities are employed by Missouri’s 92 sheltered workshops, with another 1,100 waiting to work. Unlike many states, Missouri does not use federal dollars to fund the workshops. Instead, the workshops generate as much as 70 to 80 percent of their funding from contract services, and then receive additional funds from their county and the state. Despite this, the federal government has impacted the way workshops operate in Missouri. Supporters of workshops say the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which went into effect in 2016, is adding bureaucratic layering that slows the process of finding work for those who have disabilities. They refer to it as an unfunded mandate that is placing an undue burden on the workshops. The House approved a resolution to reaffirm Missouri’s support of the sheltered workshops in the state. The sponsor hopes it will help send a message to federal legislators that will cause them to take a second look at the unintended consequences of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

This week I met with many people from my district. Wednesday was Disability Advocacy Day and I was able to meet with Roger and Bill representing the LIFE Center in Farmington. Visited also with Liz Galt from Farmington also a champion for Disability Groups. As shown below, I met with Jamie Lipe, Dan Combs, and Don Thompson of the Missouri Bankers Association. As always, thank you for visiting and sharing your questions, comments, and concerns with me.



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