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Looking back at legislative session

We are now in the final two weeks of session.  This is the point when legislation goes to the Governor’s desk or, as Representatives we prepare to file it again next year. Many times it takes two or three years to get great legislation that is really not controversial to the finish line.  So far, I believe we have had a very productive session. We have Truly Agreed and Finally Passed a lot of good legislation. 

My Bills:

HB 1290 is on the Governor’s desk. This bill requires that the POW/MIA flag be flown on state properties that have the proper poles to fly the US, Missouri and POW/MIA flags together. It also says that if they do not have a flag and one is not provided by a citizen or local VFW they are not required to fly it. The bill has no cost to the state of Missouri but is very important to the veterans in our area. This bill was brought to me by several veterans from our local VFW’s. 

HB 1291 was passed in the senate this week and is headed to the Governor’s desk as an omnibus local and County government bill. For St. Francois County it gives the County Commissioners flexibility in their use of the Special Road and Bridge Tax money. This bill was brought to me by our County Commissioners and will be put it to good use to help all the citizens of the county. 

HB 2306 is now rolled into Senate Bill 659 and was passed this week. It now just needs the signature of the Governor. It allows the creation of a non-profit land trust for the purpose of managing contaminated land. The purpose is to allow the people of St. François County to access the $24.5 million in ASARCO funds. These are the funds from the settlement from lead contamination.  The same funds that were used to purchase state parks in areas that were not affected by lead contamination. It is imperative we get these funds moving in the area they were intended for. 

HB 2225 is now rolled into Senate Bill 982. This is a consumer protection bill related to the billing practices of insurance companies. Anyone who has been frustrated with getting insurance to pay those unexpected emergency room and out of network bills will be very excited about this bill. 

Budget:

The state budget for 2018-19 is $28.3 billion.  This is an increase of $500 million.  It is based on the economy growing at 1.9 percent. This is a fairly modest growth projection based on current numbers. 

The Foundation formula for K-12 public education was fully funded.  An additional $98 million was added to their budget for next year along with $10 million more for school transportation. Transportation will still only be funded at around 25 percent. 

Higher Education levels of funding were increased as the result of an agreement with colleges to not raise tuition more than 1 percent. This is very important for the students of the state. Student loan debt continues to rise and it is affecting students for a decade after graduation. At the current time there is more student loan debt in this country then credit card debt.  Students hold $1.31 trillion in student debts.  Americans hold $779 billion in credit card debt. 

Corrections Officers will get a $350 raise starting July 1st and an additional $700 raise starting Jan. 1st. All other state workers will get a  $700 raise starting Jan 1st. State workers making $70,000 or more will get a 1 percent raise. 

$1.8 million increase in funding for the state’s independent living centers

$5 million in new money to provide community-based services for those battling substance abuse

$72 million more for nursing home reimbursements

$374,000 for physician prescription monitoring program

$260 million increase in transportation spending

$90 million increase for state employees’ benefits

$61 million increase for Economic Development

$55 million increase for Mental Health Services

Bills of Importance:

HB 1558 This bill creates the offense of nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images, which is a class D felony. A person commits such offense when he or she: intentionally disseminates an image of another person fitting criteria specified in the bill; obtains the image under circumstances in which a reasonable person would know or understand that the image was to remain private; and knows or should have known that the person in the image has not consented to the dissemination. The bill specifies certain exceptions to the offense. HB 1558 is basically a revenge porn bill designed to protect all people, especially the young  who are so  vulnerable to this digital age we now live in.

Rep. Mike Henderson

Rep. Mike Henderson

This report was filed May 11, 2018

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