Recently Governor Nixon has taken action on several bills, as the deadline (July 14) approaches for gubernatorial action on legislation passed by the General Assembly. One recent piece of legislation the governor signed is designed to promote American history and civics education in Missouri classrooms. SB 638 creates the Missouri Civics Education Initiative to require students in public, charter, and private high schools to receive a passing grade on a standardized civics test in order to graduate. Exams will consist of the same 100 questions used on the civics portion of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services' U.S. Naturalization test that is taken by immigrants attempting to gain American citizenship. All students entering ninth grade after July 1, 2017, will be required to receive a passing grade on the civics test. I am pleased to say that I co- sponsored this initiative throughout the process.
SB 572, also signed by the governor, will lower the maximum fine for minor traffic violations from $300 to $225. The bill also expands the law to include limits on fines from ordinance violations. The new law will cap fines for first offenses for violations of nuisance, building, and zoning ordinances at $200. It also will make it clear that defendants will not be jailed for non-payment.
HB 1562, also recently signed by the governor, is a piece of legislation designed to help stop the multi-billion dollar criminal industry of human trafficking. The new law expands the crime of sexual trafficking of a child to include the advertisement of a child participating in a commercial sexual act. This is similar to the federal SAVE Act that is already law. In 2004, Missouri became one of the first states in the nation to put sex trafficking laws in place.
Finally, once again I will list the bills that have been Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed. This week continues with House Bills.
Truly Agree and Finally Passed Bills (HBs)
--HB 1593 - Modifies provisions relating to proceedings against defaulting collectors
This bill provides that the 10% per month penalty for which a collector or collector-treasurer is liable upon failure to make a payment due on settlement does not apply to collections related to taxes paid under protest or as part of a disputed settlement.
--HB 1599 - Establishes procedures for an adopted person to obtain a copy of his or her original birth certificate
This bill specifies that an adopted individual or his or her attorney may apply for an original copy of his or her birth certificate. The applicant must be at least 18 years of age; was born in this state; and provide appropriate proof of identification to the state registrar.
--HB 1631 - Modifies provisions of law relating to voter identification
The provisions of this bill will become effective only upon the passage and approval by the voters of a constitutional amendment regarding the authorization of photo identification requirements by general law. The effective date of the bill will be June 1, 2017 if the constitutional amendment is passed prior to that date.
This bill changes the laws regarding elections by requiring persons wishing to vote in a public election to present specified personal identification to establish their identity and eligibility to vote. Satisfactory forms of identification include a non-expired Missouri driver's license, non-expired or non-expiring Missouri non-driver's license, a document issued by the United States or the State of Missouri containing the name of the individual that shows a photograph of the individual, or any armed services identification containing a photograph that is not expired or does not have an expiration date.
Any persons without such photographic identification may vote a regular ballot upon executing a statement under penalty of perjury that they are qualified to vote and presenting specified forms of identification including school identifications, utility bills, bank statements, paychecks, and government documents. The Secretary of State may approve non-photographic means of
identification by rule. Persons signing a statement shall be required to have their photograph retained by election authorities for future identification purposes. Provisional ballots will be used only for those who refuse to sign a statement of eligibility and will require returning to the polling place with photographic identification and signature matching in order to vote.
The state will provide one free non-driver's license for purposes of voting and will pay the cost of specified documents, including birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, adoption certificates, name change court documents, social security cards, and naturalization documents, that are necessary to receive a non-driver's license in order to vote. All election authority costs associated with the implementation of the photo identification requirements of these provisions must be reimbursed from the General Revenue Fund by an appropriation for that purpose. If there is no appropriation, then the identification requirements of the bill are void and must not be enforced.
--HB 1646 - Establishes the Missouri Civics Education Initiative
The bill contains the American civics exam, similar to SB 638 (recently signed into law, see above). Students will be required to take and pass an American civics test similar to the civics portion of the United States Naturalization test produced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The bill allows the school district to administer the test on American civics in conjunction with testing on the provisions and principles of the United States and Missouri constitutions, American history, and American institutions. The school district may use an on-line test to comply with these provisions. Each district must adopt a policy permitting a student with a disability to receive a waiver from this requirement, if recommended by the student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) committee. This bill also allows a school district to recognize a student's participation in the Constitution Project of the Missouri Supreme Court, as specified in the bill.
--HB 1649 - Provides that a person who removes an unattended child from a locked car shall not be held liable for damages
This bill specifies that any individual who forcibly enters a motor vehicle for the purpose of removing a minor from the vehicle is immune from civil liability if specified conditions are met. This provision does not affect the person's civil liability if the person attempts to render aid to the minor.
--HB 1681 - Exempts yoga training courses, programs, or schools from provisions of law regulating proprietary schools
This bill exempts yoga teacher training courses, programs, or schools from provisions regulating proprietary schools.
--HB 1682 - Modifies various provisions relating to health care providers
This bill specifies that state licensure requirements for physicians, chiropractors, optometrists, and dentists must be granted based on demonstrated skill and academic competence and not conditioned upon participation in a health insurance plan, public health care system, public service initiative, or emergency room coverage. Licensure for physicians or optometrists must not be conditioned upon compliance with 45 CFR 170, relating to the meaningful use of electronic health records.
--HB 1684 - Allows certain cities, towns, or villages located in first, second, or third class counties to consolidate if they meet certain conditions
This bill authorizes certain municipalities in counties of the first and second classification that are not adjoining or contiguous to each other to consolidate under the procedures established for municipalities that are adjoining and contiguous. The bill also authorizes municipalities in counties of the third classification that are separated by a distance of not more than one and one- half miles to consolidate.