This is the last week before spring break. Very important week because generally bills that are not out of Committee by spring break do not make it to the finish line.

We have been working long hours on the floor to try and give as many good bills as possible a chance to become law. It is very important to remember that bills that seem small or insignificant to one group can be very important in the life of others. Our job is to vet bills and make sure we pass legislation that helps people without any unintended consequences.

One of the most important things we do as Representatives is to Balance the State Budget. The House Budget Committee finalized the appropriation bills and beginning Monday, March 25th, House Members will work together to approve the appropriation bills by the deadline of May 10th. Click here to access the 2020 State Budget Plan. https://house.mo.gov/budget.aspx

Bills of Interest:

HB 410 changes the laws regarding physical therapists so that physical therapists no longer need a prescription or referral from a doctor in order to treat a patient. Instead, a physical therapist is only required to refer to a medical doctor any patient whose medical condition is beyond the physical therapist's scope of practice. This bill will allow direct access to a physical therapist and will help hold down the cost for patients.

HB 523 changes the penalty provisions for knowingly violating the law relating to the no-call list. The bill creates a $2,500 to $5,000 civil penalty for the first violation, a $5,000 to $10,000 penalty upon a finding of a second violation, and a $7,500 to $15,000 penalty upon a finding of a third violation. However, the bill specifies that there shall be a limit to the total amount of civil penalties a defendant has to pay for violations that occurred within a one month period. The bill also states that whenever the Attorney General is successful in any proceeding it initiates against a violator of the no-call list law, the court may also award restitution of up to $100 per person for individuals who reported the violations. I am tired of getting the unwanted calls as I am sure are many of you. It is my hope that this bill will put more teeth in the no-call list.

HB 374 requires after August 28, 2019, any political subdivision imposing a sales tax increase that requires voter approval to place the following information on every ballot associated with the proposed increase:

(1) The highest cumulative sales tax rate within the political subdivision if the sales tax increase is enacted;

(2) The lowest cumulative sales tax rate within the political subdivision if the increase is enacted; and

(3) The average cumulative sales tax rate within the political subdivision if the increase is enacted. The average cumulative sales tax rate must be calculated by adding together the cumulative sales tax rates of every distinct taxing district within the political subdivision, and dividing that sum by the total number of distinct taxing districts within the political subdivision.

This bill simply brings transparency to the taxes you are paying.

HB 267 allows a school district to offer an elective social studies unit on the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible, or the New Testament of the Bible. The course will include the contents, history, literary style and structure, and influences on society. No requirement shall be made by the district on the text translation students must use.

By July 1, 2018, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) must convene a work group to develop academic performance standards for this course and before January 1, 2020 have developed written curriculum frameworks for school districts to implement.

There were many groups visiting their State Capitol this week. When visiting the Capitol, these groups bring with them a wealth of information and contact information for our offices to use as resource materials. If you need any information on long term care, independent living, information regarding the Blind Federation, disability advocacy resources, nursing home resident’s rights, etc… give our office a call. This week alone, groups from Aging Matters, Missouri Bankers Association, Crome Advocacy of Farmington, Missouri Centers for Independent Living, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, over 600 members of Missouri Right to Life, Missouri County Treasurer Association and Missouri Humanities Council came to the State Capitol.

Balancing the budget is crucial, Vetting Legislation is necessary, Visiting with the people makes it all worthwhile.

If I can be of any assistance regarding state matters, please feel free to contact my office at 573-751-2317.

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