As the Missouri House comes down to the final days of the 2017 legislative session, legislators have seen several of their top issues cross the finish line, but continue to wait for other bills to receive approval from both chambers.
Unfortunately, due to the standstill in the Senate, many good bills are still pending; Following are three bills that have passed and are now on the way to the Governor for his signature.
Implement substantive tort reform, including new expert witness standards that will make Missouri’s court system fairer for all; and
Create penalties that will protect crops and farmland from the misuse of illegal pesticides; and
Establish a regulatory framework to allow rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to expand throughout Missouri and create thousands of jobs.
With one day to spare, the Missouri General Assembly gave final approval to a state spending plan that fully funds the Foundation Formula for K-12 education. The budget that now heads to the Governor’s desk invests approximately $27.7 billion in the state’s priorities while also dealing with the reality of sluggish revenue growth.
At the last minute, the Senate modified a separate House bill that will have a direct impact on several items in the spending plan. Earlier in the Session, the House submitted to the Senate a Senior Services Protection Fund, which would be funded by repealing the renter’s portion of the senior citizens property tax credit.
The Senate made a key change to the plan so that it would instead receive funds by “sweeping” the un-expended monies from several state funds associated with regulatory boards and commissions.
The $35.4 million the Senate’s plan would generate would be one-time dollars, which means legislators would need to seek other options for funding the plan in future years. The Senior Services Protection fund is directly tied to the budget because several items in the state spending plan rely on its existence in order to receive funding.
The fund would restore a partial cut to programs for in-home health care, nursing home services and Area Agencies for use in Meals on Wheels program.
Legislation now goes back to the House for either approval or sent to conference where negotiators from both Chambers will work toward a compromise. The Legislature will have until Friday, May 12th for final approval.
On a personal note, I would like to extend my thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the flooding this past week.
Missouri 116th District State Representative Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, files his Capitol Report at the end of each week the state legislature is in session.