In addition to bringing a lot (a lot!) of rain, this week saw a continuation of steady momentum as the Senate passed more good legislation, which will bring us closer to achieving our goal of making the state of Missouri an even more attractive place to live, work and do business. The week also brought me the opportunity to meet some great people from the 21st District who provide transportation to thousands of Missourians. Members of OATS Transportation from Livingston County visited the office this week. OATS is of one the many associations that provide a service to citizens in the 21st District, and I had a great time learning more about it and its members. I always enjoy visiting with people from the district and hearing about their ideas about how to improve services in our local communities.
We sleep comfortably and go about our lives confidently in part because of our men and women in uniform. When our brother and sisters, sons and daughters, and fathers and mothers return home, many of them face hardship, particularly in securing employment. This is troubling for our veteran and military families, many of whom struggle to reintegrate into society. What we need is a path. A path that will lead us to fostering a more military family- and veteran-friendly climate. And this week, I have seen the beginning of that path.
This week, the Senate passed Senate Bill 18. This pro-military, pro-veteran legislation would waive business startup fees for veterans and military spouses. Because employers might perceive that military families are mobile, they may be reluctant to hire military spouses. This contributes to higher unemployment rates and lower salaries for military families. Ensuring that the military and veterans have our support in starting their businesses is the first step we must take on that path to fostering a more military family- and veteran-friendly climate.
In addition to supporting our military and veterans by passing SB 18, the Senate displayed its support for small-business employers and employees by passing my proposal, the “Big Government Get Off My Back Act.” The pro-military and pro-small-business SB 18 would help military families and families start their business and give small businesses the ability to hire more employees like our military spouses and veterans.
Additionally, I am pleased to report that the Senate passed one of my bills, Senate Bill 395, which would help to modernize the accountancy profession. Recognizing that there are individuals who are able to complete the necessary course of study in order to become a licensed accountant at an earlier age than others, SB 395 lowers the age someone can become licensed from 21 to 18. Further, the SB 395 makes Missouri a more welcoming business climate for certified public accounting firms that operate in other states but do business here. Anytime we can make Missouri more business friendly, we’re helping put all Missourians on a more prosperous path.
Also this week, the governor announced an initiative that could significantly help the people of the 21st District. The governor reaffirmed the state’s commitment to our rural communities by either providing funding to our school districts or supporting our efforts at the federal level for broadband expansion. What could all this mean? For the Missouri farmer, it could mean having the tools to compete more successfully on a market that is heavily Internet-driven. For the contractor who works from home, it could mean using more reliable network connectivity to secure stronger relationships with businesses and clients. For the school district, it could mean having the technology to expose students to the educational and cultural interactions that other students around the world have. For the student and his or her parents, it could mean having the opportunity to take courses and be a part of classes that may provide the necessary skills and knowledge for collegiate and workforce preparation. For everyone, it could mean better connecting Missourians from different areas across the state and more exchanging of ideas and experiences.
This is what progress looks like in the Legislature: listening to constituents; taking the first steps on that path to helping our military and veterans; supporting our small businesses with less regulation; and using our resources to promote and improve our agriculture industry and education institutions in our rural communities. Let us keep up this momentum as we work hard and tirelessly during the last 5 weeks of this session.
Bill Tracking Update
SB 183 - 04/10/2017 Adopted as amendment to SB 18, Passed Senate and First Read in House (GREF)
Extends the Big Government Get Off My Back Act and modifies several provisions relating to the collection of money by public entities
SB 257 - 03/01/2017 Hearing conducted (COMM)
Allows telephone companies to select an alternate method of property tax assessment
SB 280 - 03/16/2017 Placed on Formal Calendar for Perfection (VETS)
Requires the Department of Revenue to issue both REAL ID compliant and noncompliant driver's licenses and identification cards
SB 335 - 02/15/2017 Voted out of Committee (SFCH)
Modifies the definition of a service dog
SB 359 - 04/04/2017 Vote out of committee (SBIN)
Modifies provisions relating to the promotion and sale of alcoholic beverages
SB 360 - 03/14/2017 Bill Combined w/ (SCS/SBs 360, 238 & 36) (EDUC)
Modifies provisions relating to virtual public schools
SB 375 - 04/05/2017 Voted out of Committee (SFCH)
Changes the law regarding consent for a minor to obtain an abortion
SB 376 - 03/30/2017 Placed on Informal Calendar (GENL)
Designates "Old Drum" as the historical dog of the state of Missouri
SB 395 - 04/06/2017 First Read in House (PROF)
Modifies provisions relating to the practice of public accounting
SB 416 - 02/28/2017 Hearing conducted (WAME)
Exempts the purchase of utilities for certain food preparation uses from state sales and use taxes
SB 452 - 02/28/2017 Hearing conducted (EDEV)
Creates the Missouri Video Lottery Control Act
SB 454 - 03/27/2017 Hearing conducted (PROF)
Modifies provisions of the Missouri Athletic Trainer Practice Act
SB 472 - 03/27/2017 Removed from Consent Calendar (AGRI)
Modifies the definition of "livestock" to include honey bees for the purposes of the state sales tax law
SB 485 - 03/30/2017 Placed on Informal Calendar (EDUC)
Excludes funds designated by taxpayers in an urban district as early childhood education funds from the local tax revenue calculation used to provide funding to charter schools that declared themselves as a local education agency
SB 531 - 03/09/2017 Second Read and Referred to Committee (SFCH)
Provides for patient due process for persons receiving services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities
SB 532 - 04/05/2017 Voted out of Committee (HPEN)
Modifies provisions relating to Department of Mental Health inspections
SCR 7 - 03/07/2017 Hearing conducted (RJRR)
Expresses support for the people of Israel
SCR 15 - 02/14/2017 Referred to Committee (RJRR)
Designates August 21, 2017, as "Total Eclipse Day" in the state of Missouri
I urge you to contact my office with any questions or concerns you have about state government so I can better represent you during the 2017 legislative session.
I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at 573-751-4302. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.