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House Reaches Halfway Point of 2018 Session

As we concluded our work and head now into our annual spring break, I think we’ve done so, with an impressive list of accomplishments.

In the first two-and-a-half months of session, the House has been able to send more than 160 bills to the Senate. Among these are priority items such as substantive ethics reform i.e. no lobbyist gifts, eliminating burdensome regulations that stifle job growth. There are over 33,000 regulations in our state and every time we work on bills we are removing about one out of every three regulations. I think this is working because Missouri has its lowest unemployment in the last seven years. We passed bills to encourage the development of Missouri’s workforce; and a measure to protect the lives of the innocent unborn. The House and Senate have also worked together to approve legislation that has already been signed into law by the governor, to address the growing problem of human trafficking.

So now this week I get to spend time in our district. I’m looking forward to the meetings I have in Marble Hill and Fredericktown. I also have meetings with Farm Bureau in Perryville and retired teachers throughout the district. When I return to the state capitol we will focus our efforts on the state operating budget. We will also work on bills from the House and the Senate on Missouri income tax relief legislation. We have until May 11 to complete the state budget.

There were two bills from this past week I want to draw your attention to:

Eliminating Fraud from the TANF Program (HB 1443) – This week we sent legislation to the Senate that is meant to increase accountability and eliminate fraud in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The bill would increase penalties for the misuse of funds provided by this program that is intended to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency. The bill would also prohibit TANF or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from being accessed as cash through an ATM. Additionally, the bill would add pornography to the list of items that are prohibited from being purchased by TANF or SNAP benefits. The state spends over $30 million of our tax dollars to help needy families. No doubt there are families that really need this assistance. The part we are trying to increase accountability on is the $19.3 million of that $30 million which is cashed out through ATM machines. Once they have cashed we have no accountability of what that money is spent on. Hopefully, it is on nutritious foods, clothing, etc. and not on beer, cigarettes, etc. This bill now goes to the Senate.

Repealing Prevailing Wage Law (HBs 1729, 1621 & 1436) – The Missouri House approved a bill meant to make public construction projects more affordable for taxpayers. The bill would repeal Missouri’s prevailing wage law to help reduce the cost of construction and maintenance projects for municipalities and school districts. Missouri’s existing prevailing wage law sets a minimum salary that must be paid to individuals working on public projects, such as the construction or repair of bridges, school buildings, and fire stations. If the prevailing wage law is repealed, bidders on such projects would pay the state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. Contractors and subcontractors would be permitted to pay higher than the minimum wage, but that would not be a requirement.

As always, if you are in Jefferson City, please be sure and stop by your beautiful State Capitol building; as we look forward to seeing our constituents.

Representative Rick Francis, 145th District Representative

Representative Rick Francis, 145th District Representative

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