Chris Dinkins

Chris Dinkins

Greetings Friends!

Summer is underway, but it sure seems like spring with all this rain! I don’t know about you, but it’s sure making it hard on me to keep up with my lawn mowing.

Have you ever visited the Reynolds County Museum? If you haven’t you don’t know what you are missing. I know you are thinking, "What could a museum in Ellington have to make it so great?" Well, I will just have to say, you will need to go see for yourself. You will be pleasantly surprised, I know I was.

The Reynolds County Genealogy and Historical Society Museum was established to accept donations, gifts and loans for items that illustrate the history of Reynolds County. Museum items are at least 25 years old, unless they pertain to military history or are a part of a special exhibit. Put this on your to do list for one of those hot summer days.

MoDOT to Hold Public Meeting

The Missouri Department of Transportation will hold an informational public meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, July 15 to discuss the relocation of Route D in Wayne County. The meeting will be held at the Bill Emerson Memorial Visitor’s Center, located at 10276 Route T in Wappapello.

The project includes relocating Route D as part of the improvements to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Control Plan at Lake Wappapello. Improvements to Route D would extend from south of the bridge over the East Fork of Lost Creek to .5 miles south of County Road 524. During the meeting, two alternates will be shared for relocating Route D. This is your opportunity to let your voice be heard.

Missouri General Assembly Approves “School Turnaround Act” to Aid Low-Performing Schools (HB 604)

On the last day of the legislative session, the General Assembly gave final approval to an important piece of legislation meant to provide more tools to better meet the needs of students in underperforming schools. Known as the School Turnaround Act, the bill empowers the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to identify underperforming schools and provide an influx of much-needed support to the teachers and leaders within those schools.

Once implemented, the program will create opportunities for identified schools to partner with outside organizations that have demonstrable expertise in school improvement. Those organizations will provide the intensive professional learning and coaching necessary to help school staff better meet students’ needs.

This bill is the first of its kind in Missouri and includes an innovative “pay for performance” provision, ensuring that outside providers will only receive their full fee payments for schools that meet improvement targets.

By passing this legislation, we reaffirm Missouri’s commitment to ensuring that every child has the access they need to receive the best education we can give, while also providing our educational staff the tools they need to accomplish the goal of creating the best and brightest Missourians.

The School Turnaround Act will supplement the initiatives outlined in the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan, which was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in 2017 and approved by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Missouri’s plan is a commitment to ensure that all students have equitable access to high-quality education to help prepare them for success in school and in life. The bill now awaits the governor’s approval to become law.

Governor Signs Bill Ensuring Access to Fed Rap Back Program (HB 694)

The governor recently signed into law a piece of legislation meant to ensure the state will continue to benefit from access to the federal Rap Back Program. Rap Back is a real-time monitoring system for criminal history that allows entities that are enrolled to receive ongoing status notifications of new arrests, both in Missouri and in other states, once employees’ fingerprints are in the system.

The members of the General Assembly passed HB 1350 during the 2018 legislative session to allow the Missouri State Highway Patrol to submit fingerprint-based record checks to the national Rap Back Program. The legislation passed this year will ensure the state can continue to participate in the program. The bill simply provides separate authority for public and private entities to use Rap Back.

Missouri needed to make the change because the FBI has stated the existing language does not meet its standards. Right now, Missouri is still participating in the Rap Back Program because of a grace period that lasts until August 2019.

The legislation is incredibly important for health care providers, child care providers and schools who want to have updated criminal background information on their employees. By making the change, the state will continue to have access to a program that helps protect Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens.

The legislation also contains a provision that will extend the court surcharges in all criminal cases that are deposited into the DNA Profiling Analysis Fund. The fund plays a critical role in keeping the state crime lab operational. The fund is set to expire in August 2019. With passage of the bill, the expiration date would be extended to 2029.

I hope you have a wonderful week and a happy Fourth of July! As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or suggestions you might have. If you have an event you would like me to attend please let me know. As your representative, I am here to assist you however I can. I can be reached by email at Chris.Dinkins@house.mo.gov or by phone at 573-751-2112.

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