Tax break alert! Remember, this weekend is a sales tax holiday. To help prepare for going back to school, Missouri has a three-day back-to-school tax holiday that exempts everything from school supplies to computers from sales tax. For more information, visit: http://dor.mo.gov/business/sales/taxholiday/school/
As promised, four additional TAFP’d bills are summarized below after notice of a special event and some remarks on recent actions by the governor on foster care funding cuts. More TAFP’d bill summaries will follow in the weeks to come. Finally, before Veto Session in September, the governor’s actions on all bills will be reviewed.
Dark Side of the Moon
No, it’s not a Pink Floyd album from the 1970s, it is an extraordinary natural event. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, at approximately 1:10 PM, the Great American Total Solar Eclipse will sweep across the United States along a stretch of land only 70 miles wide. Fortunately, many places within the 51st District will be prime viewing spots including: Marshall, Sedalia, and Warrensburg. It is the first total solar eclipse to be visible from only the US since before 1776. For Missouri, this is the first total solar eclipse since 1869, and for some areas of Missouri, it is the first since 1442. The path of totality runs from the pacific coast of Oregon to the Atlantic coast of South Carolina. To help celebrate this once in a lifetime event, several cities and towns are holding fairs, tours, trail rides, and other activities.
Here are links to a few cities in the 51st District celebrating the eclipse: Marshall: https://www.marshallmosolareclipse.com/; Sedalia: http://www.mostatefairfoundation.net/events/2017/total-eclipse-of-the-trail ; and Warrensburg: http://www.warrensburg.org/.
After months of work by community members, the Amphitheater at the Saline County Fairgrounds is open for business. This is just in time for the eclipse activities running up to the solar eclipse on Aug. 21. Please see the story above.
Governor Reverses Unintended Cuts to Foster Care
Governor Greitens recently announced that he is undoing a 1.5 percent cut to funding for foster care families. The cuts were unintentionally made as part of an overall reduction in Medicaid spending. If the cuts had gone into effect, foster families could have lost between one and six dollars per week in assistance, definitely a burden for foster families.
In undoing the cuts, Greitens wrote a letter to foster families letting them know it was “never our intention” to cut aid to families who care for foster children. He said, "Missouri should not take money from them and their families, not even in these tough budget times.” The reduction will end within the next month as the administration moves money out of other foster programs that have seen savings in recent months. Foster parents are unlikely to see any change in their reimbursements.
Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed Bills
SB 66 (Signed by Governor: 7/5) - Modifies provisions of law relating to workers' compensation
This act authorizes, beginning Jan. 1, 2018, a shareholder of an S corporation with at least 40% or more interest in the S corporation to individually elect to reject coverage under the workers' compensation laws by providing a written notice of the rejection to the S corporation and its insurer. The shareholder may rescind the rejection in the same manner. The rescission shall entitle the shareholder only to the benefits which accrue on or after the date of the notice and received by the insurance company. SB 66 states that if an employee voluntarily separates from employment at a time when the employer made work available for the employee which was in compliance with any medical restriction imposed upon the employee as a result of an injury that is the subject of a claim for benefits under workers' compensation, neither temporary total disability nor temporary partial disability benefits shall be payable to the employee. Among other provisions, SB 66 also, changes laws regarding discharge and discrimination. Under current law, no employer or agent shall discharge or in any way discriminate against any employee for exercising any of his or her rights under workers' compensation law. This act modifies that provision so that no employer or agent shall discharge or discriminate against any employee when the exercising of such rights is the motivating factor in the discharge or discrimination, the federal standard.
SB 88 (Signed by Governor: 6/30) - Establishes a two year statute of limitation for claims of malpractice or negligence against veterinarians
This act provides that malpractice actions against veterinarians or entities providing veterinary services for damages shall be brought within two years from the date of the occurrence of the act.
SB 95 (Signed by Governor: 7/7) – Extends the expiration dates on certain provisions relating to public funds
Under current law, a provision allowing counties to decrease their annual budgets expired on July 1, 2016. This act extends the expiration date to July 1, 2027. Also, under current law, provisions allowing the Secretary of State to collect an additional $5 fee credited to the State's technology trust fund for filings relating to business organizations, commercial transactions, and trademarks, names, and private emblems are extended to December 31, 2021.
SB 108 (Signed by Governor: 6/14) - Grants reemployment rights to members of the military
This act provides that a Missouri employee who is a member of the National Guard of another state called on active state duty by the governor of that state or who is a member of any reserve component of the Armed Forces called to active duty shall be entitled to reemployment rights upon his or her return to Missouri as granted under federal law.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at email@example.com. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.