I want to thank all those who have made phone calls, visited the Jefferson City office, sent e-mails or written letters to my office throughout this frustrating and at times, difficult legislative session. In order to balance the state budget, hard decisions have to be made that impacts people’s lives. We strive to keep the funding intact for our senior citizens and our most vulnerable citizens as well as making the education funding a top priority.
I have listed below briefly some of the Budget and Legislation highlights. I will be mailing out a more detailed end of session report in June.
-Budget is balanced, as required by the Constitution
-Restored proposed cuts to K-12 transportation ($36 million).
-K-12 foundation formula is fully funded; an increase of $48 million.
-$6 mission to expand broadband to rural schools
-$250k to revamp Amber Alert (adds silver and blue alert to the system)
-Allocated $42 million (all federal money) to implement the excellence in mental health programs
-$2 million more in funding for alternatives to abortion
-$200 million set aside in a supplemental fund to pay for unexpected expenses
Earlier this year, we passed the first ever complete ban on lobbyist gifts in Missouri history. Banning lobbyist gifts limits special interest influence on our legislators and rebuilds trust between legislators and Missourians
This year the House Members passed numerous pieces of tort reform legislation that will help Missouri job creators. For too long our courts have favored trial attorneys. By making our courts more balanced, we are creating a better environment for job creators and businesses.
The tort reform bills that made it through the legislative process will help put an end to frivolous lawsuits by putting new expert witness standards in place, and strengthening Missouri’s workplace discrimination standards.
As part of the tort reform package, the House and Senate gave final approval to legislation commonly referred to as collateral source reform. This bill will help to clarify that an injured person involved in a lawsuit can recover only the actual cost incurred for medical treatment. Specifically, the legislation would modify Missouri’s collateral source rule that currently prevents evidence from being admitted to show when a plaintiff’s losses have been compensated from other sources such as insurance or workers’ compensation.
The REAL ID act is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. Missourians will soon have the option to obtain a driver’s license that is compliant with the federal REAL ID act. This legislation will require the Department of Revenue to issue REAL ID compliant (to those who want them) driver’s licenses and identification cards. Compliant licenses will be needed to do things like board airplanes and enter military bases and federal buildings.
SB 16 (bill is identical to HB 129)
Legislation that I sponsored. This bill provides that the usual and customary delivery charges that are stated separately from the sale price shall not be subject to sales and use taxes.
This report was filed May 15, 2017