Starting Jan. 3, I will be back in Jefferson City working towards common sense solutions for all of the constituents I serve in the 21st Senatorial District. As we take time with our families to enjoy the holidays, I would like to address some of last year’s victories as well as discuss several legislative proposals to watch for in 2018.
Currently, Missouri ranks 47th in the nation in terms of job growth, business development and attracting a skilled workforce. In February 2017, the governor signed Senate Bill 19 into law. Commonly known as Right to Work, this legislation encourages businesses to move to Missouri. I believe this legislation will strengthen our state’s economy by making Missouri more attractive in the eyes of businesses and job creators.
The 22 states that passed Right to Work laws before 2012 have seen an increase in jobs, union membership and increased wages, and now Missouri will be a part of this pool. Recently I met with a “site locator” firm. Companies looking to move or expand commonly hire a site locator firm to help them find a suitable location to expand their business. The site locator said that six of every 10 companies that hire them will not consider a state if it is not a Right to Work State
I voted in favor of this legislation and I am proud to know that through this initiative Missouri can get more citizens working. As confirmed by the site locator, I truly believe Right to Work will make Missouri more attractive to businesses looking to move to our state.
While session might not start until Jan. 3, my colleagues and I have already started drafting and discussing legislative proposals for consideration. So far, I have pre-filed eight pieces of legislation for discussion and debate during the upcoming legislative session.
Senate Bill 608, also known as the Business Premises Safety Act, protects businesses from lawsuits stemming from third-party activity that occurs on their property. Existing law is too harsh on Missouri businesses, mandating they must bear responsibility for preventing crimes that are often unpredictable. As a result, businesses avoid high-crime areas, which only hurts those who live in these neighborhoods. The act aims to clarify the state’s common law, which has been muddied in this area from confusing rulings by Missouri appellate courts.
Senate Bill 609 repeals the state’s prevailing wage law. Under current law, Missouri mandates minimum wage rates for all public works construction projects. This rate is often in excess of the state and federal minimum wage rates. The wage is based on voluntary wage surveys submitted by contractors working in each county. This legislation aims to make government construction more cost-effective, thereby saving taxpayer money, while also making it easier for municipal governments to get more bang for their buck on local infrastructure projects.
Senate Bill 610 aims to prevent a person who is delinquent in child support from attaining benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program or SNAP, the program formerly known as food stamps. There are three ways an individual would be exempt from this including if a court has allowed the individual to delay payment; the individual is complying with a payment plan; or the Department of Social Services determines the individual has good cause for non-support. Through this legislation, I hope to ensure child support is paid on time. We must do everything we can to protect and care for our state’s children.
I have also refiled legislation requiring public employees to give written or electronic notification to unions before their dues can be deducted from their paycheck. Commonly referred to as paycheck protection, Senate Bill 771 would require unions to receive written authorization on an annual basis.
Please don’t hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns you have about state government so that I can better represent you during the 2018 legislative session. As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at 573-751-4302. Submit your requests for resolutions or follow my legislation at http://www.senate.mo.gov/mem21/. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.