HB 139 One of the most important things I believe is important for our republic and our state is transparency. By making government more transparent average citizens and taxpayers will have better piece of mind that their elected officials are delivering on their promises made during a campaign. We took a great step at increasing transparency in our state government. As a result, this week we passed HB 139. This bill requires school districts and county governments to collect information that is already public and send it to the Missouri Accountability Portal at – http://mapyourtaxes.mo.gov/
The Office of Administration must also maintain travel accountability information detailing the Governor’s travel information on the portal which includes, but is not limited to, the departure date; departure time; arrival date; arrival time; accompanying passengers; duration of the trip; purpose of the trip; destination; and detailed travel expenses. Municipal government accountability information must also be maintained by the Office of Administration on the portal.
HB 108 was unanimously passed, 156-0. This bill deals with the regulations surrounding contributions to political action committees and provides some much needed revisions to our campaign finance laws.
HB 174 passed 142 – 12. Currently there are nine districts for which each district contributes one member to the University of Missouri Board of Curators. Since the districts are being reduced to eight, this bill allows for at least one, but no more than two, members of the Board of Curators to be from one of the eight districts.
HB 112 & 285 relating to tax classification of sawmills, passed 112 - 40. The classification change from commercial to agricultural and horticultural reduces the property tax rate from 32% to 12%. This is a wise move for supporting this struggling segment of the business community in Missouri. The vast majority of these businesses are family run small businesses providing needed regional employment during tough economic times. Creating an environment friendly to their survival is a positive for saving Missouri jobs and businesses.
HB 167 was debated on the floor at great length this week. This is the “English Only Driver’s Exam” bill. MODOT spends millions of dollars on road signs in the name of safety which are in English, the official language of our State. It is not good government policy to then turn around and provide licenses (a privilege, not a constitutional right) to anyone who cannot read them and be aware of situations on our roadways. This bill passed 102 – 56.
HJR 2 proposes a Constitutional Amendment that would guarantee a person’s right to worship or pray on public property. It would also be a reaffirmation of a person’s right to choose any or no religion. This is one of the cornerstones of our nation. It passed 126 - 30.
HB 266 changing the weight limitations for hauling livestock and/or agricultural products on state highways in Missouri, passed 106 - 46. The concern over damage caused by an increase in weight would be offset by fewer hauls.
HB 339 changing the regulations surrounding the carrier of last resort obligations for telecommunications companies, passed 106 - 43. It is a good bill to reduce unnecessary regulations and potential cost in the telecommunications industry.
HB 213 is commonly referred to as the late term abortion ban. The bottom line is that it is a constitutionally defensible position that the State should protect those who are most needy. With respect to the neediest, who could be more in need of protection than an unborn child? In the State of Missouri, if you are an unborn child who has reached a level of viability, you are currently not afforded any legal protection. We must take the steps necessary to correct this injustice and HB 213 does exactly that. This bill passed 120 – 37.
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HB 423 was recently heard in committee. This bill would enter Missouri into a compact with other states which pledges to improve Healthcare Policy with the consent of Congress. The House Elections Committee voted do pass HJR 14, which proposes a constitutional amendment changing the laws regarding elections by authorizing provisions relating to advance voting, voter identification, and absentee voting.
HB 409 was heard today in committee but it was not voted on. Testimonies in the committee were dominated by the many groups wanting to keep the current system. This bill deals with the teacher retirement system and would change the options for new teachers.