HB 225 creates the "Fast-Track Workforce Incentive Grant" to provide grants for Missouri citizens to attend an approved Missouri post-secondary institution of their choice. To be eligible, a student must meet certain criteria set forth in the bill, including having an adjusted gross income of less than $80,000 and being at least 25 years of age. Grant funding may be renewed, but the student must continue to meet the eligibility requirements and must demonstrate a grade-point average of at least a 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

Eligibility for a grant expires upon four semesters (or equivalent) after the earliest receipt of the grant, receipt of a bachelor’s degree, or reaching 200% of the time typically required to complete the program of study.

I believe it is very important that we continue to train people for family sustaining jobs. This bill is part of the Governors initiative on Workforce. I am fully supportive of this bill and others to create a better workforce and higher paying jobs.

HB 581 expands where a charter school may be established to include:

(1) Any county with a charter form of government;

(2) Any city with a population greater than 30,000; or

(3) Any school district accredited without provisions.

I am not opposed to all Charter schools; I believe if the public schools are failing then parents and students should be given other options. However, we must make sure we give them a better option. I cannot support general expansion because over one-third of Charter schools opened in the last 20 years have closed due to poor performance or financial mismanagement. Missourians have spent $620 million on failed Charter schools. I believe we need to be looking for the best options for students not just another option.

My Legislation:

HB 324 will be heard on the House Floor next Tuesday. It deals with the flying of drones over correctional centers. This bill continues to draw interest from people who want to be included in it, so I have expanded the bill to now include state mental health facilities; county and municipal jails. Drone technology is rapidly growing and laws have not kept up. The bill is intended to let correction facilities deal with drones being flown over their facilities. There have been at least 11 incursions on Correctional properties, with the possibility of these drones bringing in drugs, cell phones or weapons. The main point of this bill is safety for corrections workers and offenders.

HB 492 will have a committee hearing next week. This bill prohibits health carriers from only allowing health care providers to be reimbursed using methods requiring the health care provider to pay a fee or reduced reimbursement rate in order to receive such reimbursement.

HB 493 will also have a hearing in the Insurance Committee next week. Currently, under the Comprehensive Emergency Medical Services Act, health carriers and managed care plans are required to pay benefits directly to any ambulance service when an insured requests services from an ambulance service. This bill limits the direct payment to ground ambulance services. The idea behind the bill is to force air ambulance services to compete under the free market approach with the hope that cost will decrease.

To access the Missouri House of Representatives and track all legislation filed, click on the following link: https://house.mo.gov/LegislationSP.aspx.

Information from the Department of Revenue

The following resources are available for taxpayers:

• A dedicated phone line for customers who have questions about their 2018 tax return. Customers can dial (573) 522-0967 for assistance.

• Internet installment agreements can be accessed at dor.mo.gov/cacs/. The Department encourages customers to utilize the online service, which is quick, secure and offers the same options as are available by phone.

• As they do every year, Taxation Division call center agents will work with customers needing additional assistance on a case by case basis. Customers can dial (573) 522-0967 for assistance.

• Taxpayers can once again sign up to receive automatic text and email alerts each time the status of their state tax return is updated. Enroll in alerts at dor.mo.gov/returnstatus/.

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