This Monday is Memorial Day. As you hopefully enjoy some time off and fun with family and friends, please take time to reflect on what is really important to us. Memorial Day serves to remind us that we enjoy freedom because of all those who have fought and died to give us this freedom.
With that reminder in place, I would like to continue to share the bills that have been Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed, and now await executive action. SB 656 proved to be one bill in particular that gained great attention this session, and I'll take a bit of time to explain its provisions.
SB 656 will allow Missourians to carry a concealed weapon without the need for a permit. Commonly referred to as constitutional carry, the bill would allow any person to carry a concealed firearm anywhere that is not expressly prohibited by law. In other words, in Missouri if someone with a concealed carry permit is allowed to carry in that space, any eligible person (not restricted by convictions and of age) may also carry a concealed weapon. This provision is not reciprocal to other states.
Also, SB 656 also contains a provision commonly referred to as the "Stand Your Ground" law. The measure removes the requirement that a person must first retreat to use deadly force if they are under fear for their life. The bill also expands the state's castle doctrine law to extend the protection against lawsuits to house guests who use deadly force.
Now, let's move on and examine other senate bills approved by the legislature.
Truly Agree and Finally Passed Bills (SBs)
SB 608 -- Modifies several provisions relating to health care:
Under current law, every public institution of higher education in Missouri must require all students residing in on-campus housing to have received the meningococcal vaccine, unless an exemption applies. This act would require all such students to have received the vaccine not more than 5 years prior to enrollment and in accordance with the latest recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, this act defines "on-campus" housing as including any fraternity or sorority residence, privately owned or not, on or near the campus of a public institution of higher education.
SB 613 -- Enacts new provisions of law relating to the workers' compensation insurance premiums of volunteer fire departments:
This act permits volunteer fire protection associations to apply to the State Fire Marshal for grants for the purpose of funding the workers' compensation insurance premiums for the association's volunteer firefighters. Grants shall be disbursed by the Marshal, subject to appropriations, based on the number of volunteer firefighters who received workers' compensation benefits from claims arising out of and in the course of the prevention or control of fire or the underwater recovery of drowning victims in the preceding calendar year.
SB 620 -- Modifies composition of the Career and Technical Education Advisory Council and requires said council to establish minimum requirement for a career and technical education certificate:
This act requires the state board of education and career and technical education advisory council to establish minimum requirement for a career and technical education certificate (CTE) that a student can earn in addition to their high school diploma. Students entering high school in the 2017-18 school year and thereafter will be eligible for a CTE certificate.
SB 624 -- Modifies the crimes of stealing and fraudulent procurement of a credit or debit device:
Under this act, it will be a Class B felony to physically take or attempt to take property from a person when the property is owned by or in the custody of a financial institution. Physically taking property from a person is currently a Class D felony, unless the property is $25,000 or more in which case it is a Class C felony.
SB 625 -- Designates certain state highways and creates a process for the naming of additional highways and bridges:
This act designates a portion of I-470 in Jackson County as the "Judge Vincent E. Baker Memorial Highway." This act also designates a portion of Interstate 49 in Newton County as the "Special Agent Tom Crowell Memorial Highway", among others.
SB 635 -- Establishes the Missouri Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Council and the Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program:
This act allows the board of trustees of any authorized municipal hospital to invest up to 25% of the hospital's funds not required for immediate disbursement in any U.S. investment grade fixed income funds or diversified stock funds, or both. The provisions of this act shall only apply if the hospital: (1) receives less than 1% of its annual revenue from municipal, county, or state taxes and (2) receives less than 1 percent of its annual revenue from appropriated funds from the municipality in which the hospital is located.
SB 638 -- Modifies several provisions relating to elementary and secondary education:
This act creates the "Missouri Civics Education Initiative." This act requires the subject of American civics to be included in the exam required for graduation from any public or private school, other than proprietary schools. (Section 170.011) Any student entering ninth grade after July 1, 2017, who is attending a public, charter, or private school, except for private trade schools, shall pass an examination on the provisions and principles of American civics. The test will consist of one hundred questions similar to the one hundred questions used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
SB 641 -- Creates an income tax deduction for payments received as part of a program that compensates agricultural producers for losses from disaster or emergency:
This act creates an income tax deduction for payments received as part of programs that compensates agricultural producers who have suffered a loss due to disaster or emergency. The deduction will be available for all tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014.